The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Blogging during the Quarantine

image from
Oh my goodness!  So much has changed since the last post!  I think that everyone in the world (or almost everyone, at least), is going through this unprecedented experience: just about the whole world is shut down (or just opening back up), and most of us are sheltering in place by not leaving our homes except to get groceries and attend to other emergencies, wearing masks and gloves, and staying at least 6 feet away from people outside our own households.  There is a lot of controversy (and name-calling and character-assassination on both sides of the issue) about whether or not such strict lockdown is necessary or even legal.

The school where I work has been closed since mid-March (although we did a very quick switch to 100% online/remote learning, with varying degrees of success), and all of the living history and costume-related events, as well as all other public events for the next several months, have been canceled or rescheduled.  Costume College, which was scheduled for the end of July, has been canceled, and the theme that was set for 2020 has been pushed forward to 2021.

image from Clipart ETC
Luckily, I was able to keep my job and continue with 50% or so of my work, remotely, providing weekly "virtual library" time through Zoom for all elementary grade students, although I haven't seen the middle schoolers since the campus closed.  Since I'm salaried, I haven't experienced a reduction in pay, but since I normally also work half-time through the summer, running the library for summer school ... my pay may end in a few weeks!  We are scheduled to still hold summer school and summer day camp, whenever we can re-open the campus, but I haven't heard or seen any re-open date yet.  For next school year we will prepare to do everything in person, with a Plan B online option, in case we receive a last-minute lockdown order like we did in March.

I seem to be o.k. with being at home all the time -- I am an introvert, after all -- but I do miss the few costume events that I was looking forward to attending.  However, I realize that I am in a place of privilege: I haven't lost my job or my wages because my employer shut down our location, I don't have any children at home that I also have to educate, and I haven't had any health issues that couldn't be addressed because the hospital was turning away everyone without immediate health emergencies.  I also don't live in an abusive domestic situation, and I don't struggle with health-threatening mental disorders.  I can afford to stay home, so I do, but so many people can't!

Because I don't have the worries enumerated above, I have been able to enjoy many of the hobbies and interests that I did before the lockdown (in between conducting Zoom meetings, researching and making reading assignments, following up with students who haven't done the aforementioned assignments, etc.), and I have been enjoying all the virtual concerts on Facebook and YouTube.  I recently read about a virtual Jane Austen Ball, which happened today (May 16), put on by the ladies behind the Drunk Austen page on Facebook.  I couldn't get in to the dance lessons (the Zoom links seemed to be outdated and unusable even 15 minutes after the lessons were supposed to start), or the tea party (only on Instagram, and I don't have an account), or the cocktail hour (which was supposed to be on Facebook LIVE, but there was no link or broadcast posted even an hour after it was supposed to happen)!  Oh well!  It looked like a lot of fun.

Everyone was encouraged to post photos or videos of themselves doing Jane Austen-related things, to add to the scheduled activities; I didn't feel like getting into my Regency gown, but I did remember that I own an antique book of poetry that was published during Jane Austen's lifetime, so I did a show-and-tell video about that.  I was unable to post my video on the Drunk Austen Facebook page, and I don't know where everyone else was posting their photos and videos, so I decided to post a link here, on The Cup That Cheers.

MAN, editing videos is annoying!  And I don't know what was going on with the audio, but then I don't have the right kind of software to edit it; I just filmed on my phone, downloaded it to my laptop, uploaded the files to WeVideo (which I have been using to clip my recorded Zoom library meetings for school), and attempted to add some simple effects and background music.  It's viewable, but not great. Maybe it will entertain you, or distract you if you've been worrying a lot, lately.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video, and I hope you're handling the quarantine/shelter-in-place/lockdown well!

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)