Siege Diaries 12/21/2020


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  How can I make the most of today–and in doing so, my life?

The Stoics measured the concept of “making the most” of a day in terms of progress in wisdom and insight, not in terms of “stuff getting done” in our usual sense of progress on projects or entertainment.   This is a message particularly cogent on a day that we learned the entire province would go into lockdown on the 26th.  Frankly, this came as a bit of a relief to many of us who have been watching numbers creep up and hands being flailed while mixed messages were delivered–and there are still some of those, but at least everyone will be at the same status for two weeks, four for southern Ontario.  That’s all well and good if they can use the opportunity to get a leg up on contact tracing.

So how do you make something of your life while not ever leaving your home (except for groceries and takeout)?  Well, if the goal is progress in wisdom and insight, I know personally from my experience earlier this year that it’s absolutely possible to make the most of one’s days.  Now, here at the end of the year, there is no calendar ahead full of events to be cancelled (with the exception of traditional holiday ones).  There is no planned vacation to hope (in vain) might be saved.  So even more than last time, I need to live in the present.  The future?  It’s looking a bit brighter, a little more hopeful, but there is a long path to travel.  And the wisdom I have gained in the past nine months is that it does not help to continually yearn for what you can’t have, and there’s no way to bargain with reality.  I have been being “super careful” and “really safe,” but I have also been “very lucky.”  And the risk does not vanish because I’m “doing everything right.”  I won’t chance it.  I have other perfectly cromulent things I can do–activities that I can do right here, right now, including pondering the universe.  And this time, next year, I might not have that time for those activities–and I will be glad I took the time to pursue them.

However, I’m going to put a date on the calendar:  February 12.  If one starts at March 14–the start of my own siege–and compares it to the historical Siege of Leningrad–which started on September 8–February 12 equates with August 9, which was when Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 7 was performed in the besieged city.  The siege was not over at that point–it would not be for a year and a half, with the lifting of the blockade still months in the future–but that performance was an act of persistence and resistance.  I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do on that date, which is a Friday–but I am sure I’ll come up with something.

Now that I have my dress form set up, I spent the evening fitting mockups of for my planned projects, with mixed results.  The vest pattern I purchased fits well–but the problem is that I don’t like the cut;  I’m looking for more of a 1930s vibe, which uses darts rather than piecing to tailor the fit.  I took a look at the pattern I bought online and mocked up, and confirmed that the fit of it is odd for me.  It may be that I am differently proportioned than the model for the pattern.  Whatever the case, I am back to looking for a pattern.  This won’t stop the embroidery side of the project, luckily.

It does mean that the other project will go first.  And this is where things have gone well–it looks like it should need very little tailoring at all, and doing the mockup has also given me insight into how the jacket is assembled and how the lapel facings work.  It also revealed that I need a zipper–referred to in the instructions as a “slide fastener”–the pattern dates to 1936, which is just about the point where zippers began to be seen in clothing, and apparently the name “zipper” still hadn’t quite been adopted yet. With lockdown in place, I found what I needed on Amazon, although I paid more for it than I would have liked.

Grocery shopping today, and I had been a bit worried that on the first day of heightened restrictions things might be a bit hinky at the supermarket.  But it’s not March any more.  The stores have had lots of practice now, and so it felt pretty normal for a Monday at 11 am.  I also popped into Denninger’s before picking up Swiss Chalet–very much like last week.  I wanted mincemeat tarts and was hoping for some of their prepared chicken meals, which they didn’t have any of, but they did have the apricot glaze that is used in one of them, so I bought chicken breasts and will do my own meal.  I won’t go out again until Thursday, and I’m planning ahead on that one because I expect that day to be a zoo;  I’ll probably go as early in the morning as I can go.  That should take us through the holiday and the weekend.  We have a Keg gift certificate and are planning for Christmas eve takeout from them.

Unfortunately, tonight was too cloudy to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at its closest point.  I have hopes for tomorrow.