Merry Christmas: the self-quarantine, the advent calendar(s) and writing my brains out

Good evening, my darlings. I apologize for not sharing any update, but things have been crazy: lots of clients haven’t been working for months, this year (their choice: they didn’t trust people to work from home) and they just discovered that – oddly enough – December, 31st didn’t move. It’s like your regular closure for […]

Good evening, my darlings. I apologize for not sharing any update, but things have been crazy: lots of clients haven’t been working for months, this year (their choice: they didn’t trust people to work from home) and they just discovered that – oddly enough – December, 31st didn’t move. It’s like your regular closure for the year, except it’s worst.

Last week, after a couple of months of staying at home, I finally went out for a walk.

And on that topic, I feel I should clarify something.
Every time I wrote “staying at home”, I didn’t mean “going out less”: I really meant staying at home. Like I have my groceries delivered to my door.

Anyway, as I said, last week I went out for a walk. I specifically picked last Saturday, because it was our last day in the so-called orange zone, which meant you could go out for a walk (or even shopping, if you felt wild enough) but restaurants and pubs were still closed. I guess I felt like it was the last useful day to do that, just have a walk, before the cages were open and people went crazy with Christmas shopping.
And this is precisely what happened.
Things happened so fast and I know that we should be used to that right now, but it still surprised me.
We were all open, all yellow – yaaaay! – and then we were all closed again, death numbers were spiking and the percentage of positive people against the people actually tested reached unparalleled indexes.
Which, as you might know, is bad.

I even took a picture of a Christmas window, last Saturday.

So here’s the thing.
Germany is having talks of a “hard lockdown” and when you take a look at their numbers, they’re far worst than we are and their idea of a hard lockdown is: you can have home gatherings of up to 5 people coming from 2 different households (children not included because hey, everyone knows children do not carry the disease, right?).

We’re doing something “softer”. It looks a bit like this:

Now let me remind you:
red means you cannot get out of the house, unless you have proven, non-negotiable health/work reasons: all shops are closed, except essential ones, and if you roam around your municipality, you need to produce a certification in which you state that you’re having such a need;
orange means you should really stay indoor, but technically you can freely roam around your municipal district, shops are opened with the notable exception of shopping malls during week-ends, you still can’t dine at the restaurant, and you need to state your business if you’re crossing borders with another town: you still cannot move from one region to the other;
yellow means you still should stay home, but you can roam around your region and technically you could even cross borders with another yellow region.

These colours were devised in order to have rules that were taking into consideration how well a region is doing, so that we didn’t have to close down all the Country just because in one region (mine, for instance) people were dying like flies in winter.

Here’s the situation. Green are the recovered cases, in grey the death toll. It’s not that bad, is it?

At first, when I saw this, I freaked out.
I haven’t seen my friends in months, now, and they’re the friends I have spent each and every holiday in around 10 years. You could rightfully define them “my family”. We quickly went and see them few weeks before Halloween, grabbing a last chance to go out of the region. And that was it.
I haven’t seen my grandmother since last February: she tested positive for Covid a month ago and I have talked to her over the phone, but that was it.
I haven’t seen my father in a lot. We meet over FaceTime each Sunday for a glass or dry vermouth before lunch and chat about stuff, but that’s it.

It’s not like I was expecting to be out of the woods for Christmas.
What I was expecting is for people to be a little more responsible and for me to be able to see some family.
As I remind you, I am not getting out of the house.

We live in a very small house: the Christmas Tree is proportioned.

The the full regulation came out and I guess it’s ok: it’s allowed to move in group of two people, in order to visit the house of friends or family. You still can’t cross the borders for the region (or the municipality, I really didn’t get it) but at least I’ll be able to have a safe Christmas lunch with my father.

I’m trying to be as festive as I can, because I love this time of the year and it’s helping me to stay positive. We’ve been doing the LEGO Advent Calendar, as usual, and for the first time in a very long time we’re not missing days because I’m moving around the Country to teach lessons (in theory you could hold classes if you grasp at straws and say it’s a computer laboratory and people can’t attend from home, which would be criminal bullshit, in my case). It’s a very thin silver lining, because I really don’t like teaching on-line all the time, but still it’s a silver lining. We have the Harry Potter Advent Calendar: I’ll start boycotting J.K. Rowling’s transphobic ass next year.
It’s all themed with objects from the Yule Ball in The Goblet of Fire, which is also one of my favourite books (and definitely my favourite movie) and it’s absolutely adorable.

Here’s one of the surprises: the Winter Tree.

I’ve also been decorating the house and I tried to support as much independent artists I could, this year. I did a whole wall with Christmas cards and a large print with Santa and his reindeers on a starry sky.
Here’s some lovely cards I bought from or8design

You should also check out the enamel pins: they’re lovely.

…and here’s a shot of the wall from a couple of days ago.
It’s a work in progress and I’m adding more stuff every day.

Starting from the top left, you see a lovely postcard gifted with a wonderful chocolate-flavoured herbal tea prepared by Letizia, a friend from my Tolkien days. You also have three cards by Miss Ella (I featured here in my Advent Calendar) and, below the bear-riding girl letting go of the butterflies in her stomach, an old postcard my mother gave me. There’s also the lovely Nutcracker by Imajanation (also featured in my Advent Calendar here). The big card, the square ones and the print are from Maddy Sargent, also an artist I like a lot. There’s also a small kitten playing with a huge ball of yarn, a postcard I bought in London last year, but it’s not signed and I can’t remember the name of the artist. Any help is appreciated.

What you don’t see, is some other stuff waiting to be hanged: I bought some wonderfully witted cards from Bewilderedbeest, for instance, but I they’re bigger than the plastic bags I have.

Anyway, if you follow this blog you might have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot, lately.
I’ve been doing a series of technical posts after a course for a client, alright, but I’ve also been writing about Norse mythology and, if you’re patient, I’ve got some stuff coming out regarding iconography and art inspirations in cartoons. And there’s the Advent Calendar featuring independent artists.
I’m trying to keep my mind occupied.
Most of all, I am trying to divert my attention on pretty things.

I hope it’s helping someone, or that someone will drop on there pages in the years to come, looking for information on whoever illustrated that weird story where a boy was milking lions.

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