Monday evening, and one hell of an anniversary. It’s been 150 days since xgf (né gf) and I decided to run away from Toronto, launching our own pandemic adventure (which went on for 72 days as we bounced between AirBnBs), and kicking off this blog. Thirty-three more days, and this blog will be half a year old. What a strange way to mark the passage of time.

I still haven’t fully unpacked from my big vacation roadtrip: I gave it a good college try and redistributed the prettiest rocks around my room, on my closet shelves, and in the bathroom. (Start the day by looking at something ancient and beautiful!) Between this, my antique camera collection, a small trunk filled with beautiful foreign coins (a passing obsession a while back), and a collection of visual art, my place looks more eccentric than ever. Assuming I don’t lose it all in a fire or a robbery, I wonder how strange my dwelling will look when I’m, say, 70. Heh.

Absent any particular kind of progress in my life, I’ve decided to double down on DuoLingo’s French lessons: pushing through them as much as I can until I make too many errors (the paid version has no limitations; the free one does), as opposed to just launching it for one mini-lesson per day. I’ve passed a threshold of sorts a few days ago when I realized I could read French jokes. (I still had to double-check it on Google Translate, but yep, I’d gotten it right.) I still can’t quite grasp the intricacies of pronunciation, but I’m definitely making progress. I guess this self-imposed lockdown is good for something after all. (And I really can’t recommend DuoLingo highly enough. I wish it’d been around when I was much younger.)

In covid news: my old gang of do-gooders, the King County Explorer Search & Rescue, has cancelled their annual recruitment drive due to covid concerns. The training process is long and demanding: eight months spent learning orienteering and first aid skills in crowded classrooms, going on weekend-long hiking trips (cold and long and miserable, for the most part), learning to use a compass with 99% precision, etc… There really wasn’t any way for them to run this training for hundreds of people in a safe and socially distant manner, but still – that’ll be a huge loss to the organization. I miss going on rescue missions with them: there’s nothing quite like this in Toronto. (Mainly because there’s nowhere to hike.)

Folks online are making an awful lot of jokes about buying cheap, gently used motorcycles a few weeks after the Sturgis bike rally. Not the nicest kind of humour, but that’s probably exactly how things will play out. The Georgia school that suspended the student who shared a picture of a crowded hallway ended up with several covid cases. They’ve closed down the school for two days for disinfecting. I honestly can’t tell if they think the virus is a hoax or if they’re deliberately playing dumb: by now, everyone should know that the incubation period can be far longer than two days, and that all of this is just kabuki theater. I feel bad for the kids.

The New York Times has published a story about annoyed Canadians gently harassing American tourists who lie about their plans to visit Alaska. (Anecdotally, some of the harassment is not so gentle and results in vandalized vehicles.) RCMP (aka the Mounties) hasn’t done a whole lot in terms of enforcing, with only a handful of citations. That may change. The NYT story is the most high-profile reporting I’ve seen so far on the growing schism between my two adopted countries. I’m rooting for Canada on this one, eh.

And to wrap this up, here’s a cute pic of the French joke I mentioned earlier: