Lockdown number 5, Day 5

Did I expect to be writing during another lockdown -yes, no, maybe? It seemed inevitable even with our country’s reasonably stringent border measures that the Delta strain of the Covid virus would find it’s way across the ocean. We have had a few close calls, and border closures to countries such as India have caused scathing criticism from some, and widespread applause from others. Whatever side of the fence you sit on politically, geographically or emotionally, lockdowns are a challenge. However, I would agree that lock-downs also seem to be the most logical choice for the general safety of our population. So, here we sit waiting again for 1 or 3 pm news updates and announcements, constantly scrolling our phones for new ‘locations of interest’.

Here in Auckland, where our index case was announced on Tuesday 17 August, we are holding our breath that one of the many (now up to 5000 deemed close contacts) have not been somewhere we have visited or that we have not contracted this virus just by being in the same vicinity as anyone who was infectious. The delta variant is described as being much more contagious and also transmitted as airborne particles which make it all the more risky to be in its presence. As at yesterday (4 days after first case) there are 51 positive cases so far, with most of these in Auckland and only a handful in Wellington.

Right now, our government has all of the country in a Level 4 lockdown for a full 7 days, and none of us can see this lifting on Tuesday when it is reviewed tomorrow. So, lockdown it is for our family.

It is different this time, 18 months on from the first time we experienced this. We are more informed of what to do and how to go about our daily life. Fortune did not smile on us for taking our golf trip to Taupo (that will be postponed), but this week marked the beginning of Phil working 20 hours per week for a 12 week trial. This is instead of the usual 40+ hours and commuting he does. This change will work solidly in our favour during lock-down. Last week, was week one of reduced hours and it could not have come at a better time for us. Phil worked in the office Monday and Tuesday (pre lockdown) and then from Wednesday to Friday just needed to be available to assist with process and manage lock-down dynamics. This time last year, he was shut in my craft from from 9 to 6 pm, carrying out business and experiencing a lot of stress. This left me and a reduced team of carers with the task of caring for Mitchell and keeping Holly happy.

This time, we are trying to keep our bubble as tight as we can while caring for Mitch 24/7, but with both Phil and I in the mix the rostering is easier. It’s still no easy task managing him in a restricted environment. As anyone with experience of autism knows, often the key element of keeping the peace is routine and pattern. What lock-down does is mess with that. How can we explain no school, everyone home, support workers unable to come, not being able to go outdoors, go to the library, pool, park, or go into the supermarket. Not easy for any/all of us, but for a person who thrives on routine, it’s an atomic bomb. Exploding indoors. So, already there have already been moments of exasperation, anger and frustration, and this creates a tricky dynamic for the whole family. So, we do the best we can. That means we try to balance time with and without caregivers, time for each of us to have some space, and time to rest and sleep. Life is always about balance and in a time like this it is also a lot about compromise and working together so that everyone benefits.

In my bits of downtime I have been able to spend a little bit of time playing in my journals in my craft room. I was happy to complete one more weekly class from the Wanderlust programme. I have admired the journals and notebooks by Helen Colebrook for sometime and often look on her site https://www.journalwithpurpose.co.uk/. Her aesthetic is very different to many of the other wanderlust tutors and I like the way she focuses on ‘writing’ in her journals. Her journals are still creative and artistic, but they combine more writing and a crossover into bullet journaling which makes a change from the collage, paint and intuitive styles of many of the tutors this year. Ironically, I had ordered the Journal with Purpose book from the library some time ago and had just picked it up before lockdown – so I will have time (I hope) to enjoy using more of the ideas.

Week 32 Wanderlust with Helen Colebrook

I had recently purchased an extra dylusions journal (approx 8″ x 5″) at the SENZ show last month, so did this spread in there. I’m not exactly sure what the journal will be about, but I decided as the page was about ‘hopes and dreams’ it didn’t really fit in my other more mixed media journals, and I didn’t want to work in my 8 x 8 self care journal. So, I just had to start yet another journal. This is the size I also use for my gratitude journal and I like this size for pages which I am doing handwritten journaling on and where and when you are not necessarily doing layered or dimensional work. Helen did add some texture paste to her layout (it was after all a texture class), but for this purpose I wanted to keep my page relatively flat, so the ideas I used were to use the distress ink edges, making a little origami envelope and a little bit of stamping and washi tape. Inside the envelope I have a couple of little cards, one is a little more journaling , the other a picture of Milan, Italy. I just think this journal might have to become a place to house my thoughts on goals, plans, habits and the like. But you know I might change my mind by tomorrow.

I do have a habit of starting new journals without a clear purpose and as a consequence have a few on the go at any one time. But, there are no rules about this – and over time I have realised that my personality requires the variation. I am not one for sticking to one style or format for too long. I like all size notebooks, working on different paper, mixed media and minimalist, so as long as I’m happy then that’s grand isn’t it? Recently I saw some really cool kraft notebooks done by Claire Stead on art journal love, and I can’t wait to have a play with the ideas she shared. I have quite a few unused kraft pages in my Dina Wakley journal so it looks like I have an idea.

Woo hoo, crafty funtime.

Be careful out there.

Love Cherie

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