Featured Entries

Each week during PJP’s first phase, we posted a few journal entries that participants gave us permission to share anonymously.
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Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

Indeed I have!

After two years of limited and tentative get-togethers, it feels like there have hardly been any social opportunities I HAVEN'T taken advantage of

In the past seven days I've:

* Had a leisurely and entirely enjoyable hour and a half lunch with a colleague at a popular and busy restaurant

* Attended a planning meeting for a weekend camping trip that subsequently got cancelled due to wildfires

* Taken the day off from work to run errands, including buying chicken feed at a farm supply store, shopping for clothes at a second-hand store, and getting groceries at a big box store

* Played board games for several hours at my friend's art gallery with two other friends

* Hiked a seven mile trail in the mountains with a party of six

* Watched a movie at the local art house theater

All of these, except the hiking, was not possible at various points in the pandemic

You better believe I appreciate the chance to do all the things now that restrictions have been lifted

Is it risky? Sure!

Do I know it could be rescinded at any moment if any variants around the world develop more threatening profiles? Yes!

"You only live once" has never seemed more applicable

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

La vida se ha vuelto más difícil. Hoy no he tenido un buen día y tengo la mente llena de pensamientos tristes y negativos.

En los dos años de clases virtuales me he retrasado mucho en mis estudios y eso me frustra tremendamente. También me molesta no tener el dinero suficiente para pagar mis gastos, ¿pero cómo podría? No tengo trabajo y mi familia insiste en que eso es lo mejor para mi ahora y que me enfoque en mis estudios y en mis pasiones como escribir. Ellos me dan una cantidad ínfima que apenas me alcanza para mis gastos universitarios, aunque se encargan personalmente de pagar por otras necesidades. Me molesta cómo me controlan:dinero, horarios, clases, etc. Por otro lado, esto probablemente es solo un berrinche aumentado por mis ganas de consumir y por mi desorden hormonal. ¿Qué hago quejándome? Sé que cuando tenía más libertad y dinero en mi poder tomé decisiones desastrosas que me marcaron hasta hoy, así que entiendo que ellos me cuiden y sean aprensivos.

En momentos así, donde mi mente tira con igual fuerza en dos direcciones opuestas, sólo me queda meditar y orar al Padre para encontrar reposo para mi alma.

Espero que la otra semana escriba algo más animado.

Talk about whatever else is on your mind today.

The journal makes me think about what is happening. This includes more than the pandemic. Some of your questions make me think about the world in general and the US in particular. Some of your questions, especially about health care seem redundant to me, being a Canadian. Americans and Canadians are similar in many ways. However, the issues that divide your nation seem foreign to me. Gun rights, abortion, and a fear of universal health care are three I have a difficult time understanding.

At times, I fear that America's divisiveness is creeping across the border. Or recent protests and rallies are supported by numerous Americans. My values, I believe, mirror many Americans and there are Canadians that agree with restrictions that many US states are implementing.

When I go to vote in any election, it is a simple process. Federal Elections are managed by the Federal government. The people making the decisions are not political appointments. Electoral officers do not change with new governments. We vote less than America. Sheriffs, clerks, Judges, and many other officials are appointed based on a thorough process of screening and decisions made by committee from all stakeholders. Popularity and money buy fewer positions in Canada.

We are not perfect. We are divided in many ways. We have our own skeletons in the closet, the main one being our past and current treatment of First Nations people. Our government will and does apologize for our past injustices. We do not ban books based on Critical Race Theory or any other issues. We now require all students to take courses that recognize our past mistakes and injustices

I worry that my neighbour to the south is moving from democracy to anarchy and authoritarianism. I hope that electors can see the path America is heading and make decisions based on fact and information and not opinions lies and fearmongering. I once heard from a guest speaker at a convention I attended his definition of an "expert." - "Someone who travels more than 30 miles and carries a briefcase." America seems to be full of such experts at this time.

The pandemic seems to have quickened the move towards a different United States. Unfortunately I don't see as much of the "United" at this time.

Thanks for listening. We can all do better.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I have learned this spring that wearing a mask for the past two springs kept me from being miserable with allergies. Now I'm draining, eyes are puffy, and I'm miserable because I'm not wearing it unless I'm around large groups of people I don't know.

The wind in Texas has been ridiculous for about 3 weeks, and it has blown in every known allergen in the universe, right into my backyard and up my nose.

And allergy medicines just make me spacey. Here's hoping I can make it through the school year before I lose my ability to focus my eyes.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I had to travel on an airplane for a family member funeral this week. This is after US airlines have done away with the mask requirement in airports and on board.

It. Was. Frightening.

Almost no one on board with a mask but me (double-masked). Seat neighbor coughing. Lots of people coughing. Big busy airport with few in masks. Everyone talking loudly on phones, eating, sneezing, children crying. It was surrealistic. It's like everyone has decided there is no risk. They seem so excited to be in a crowd and breathe in everyone else air. It just seems so weird to me. In scenes like this, I have to think, is it just me? Am I being ridiculous? Am I clinging to masking for no good reason? Why are there so few of us with masks? But every day I hear about cases rising again and news about people getting sick, pockets of new waves of covid, rising hospital rates, the waning effectivity of our original vaccines and boosters, and no real news about new ones. Yes, less deaths, hooray, but until a varient comes along that does not cause long covid, I'm staying masked. Long covid sounds hard. Masking is easy.

Go ahead, stare at me like I'm the weirdo...

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The pandemic is almost nonexistent where I live. I have gone to craft classes, attended a rodeo, drank beer at a local craft brewery, ate in restaurants, went to an employee appreciation luncheon, attended a night of readings at a writers’ retreat, and gone places with others in a personal vehicle in the last couple of months. It feels wonderful to get back acting normal.

The photo is of an acrylic poured painting I did at my friend’s house. Everything we went through with the pandemic still seems surreal and mixed up, like the painting.

Think back to the beginning of the pandemic. Is there anything you wish you'd done differently? If so, what, and why?

I wish I had taken pictures of the roadways, grocery store parking lots, and any other quiet empty place. I wish I had written in a physical journal every day a few sentences about what I was doing, how others were doing around me, what I was afraid of, and how we felt about it. Because no one I loved or knew well died from covid my heart was not broken much during the pandemic, and I'm able to look back on it as a time of peace and learning where the hubbub of the world calmed down for a bit.

Now it has come back worse than ever. I'm almost nostalgic about the early days, although it was painfully, unbearably sad and I cried many times. I was so worried about my children and so anxious to do something to help, and so impotent in my ability to affect anything. Countless times I saw a pipetting going on on television in news reports and I know how to extract RNA, double stranded RNA, and DNA, and enzymes, and I could have been one of the people helping them that way but I had no venue for that before me because I retired from my laboratory job in 2017. I was itching to help and wished I could have been able to. I took up being a so-called vaccine buddy for the agency on aging to help people who couldn't use computers to a vaccination when they finally at long last, so much awaited, became possible. Now here we are in the late days and people are fighting it with all they can not to get vaccinated.

Human beings are very hard to understand.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Looking back at my previous journals, it seems that I often wrote about how uncertain COVID-19 has made the future. Shifting regulations, new variants, and the possibility of lockdowns constantly loom at the back of my mind. Accordingly, this past week reminded me of how variable things are. Because [our college] community has been experiencing a spike in cases, all of campus has had to go back to masking indoors with protective KN95s through the end of classes. We almost made it to four mask-free weeks, but the inevitability that cases would keep increasing made that impossible. While reactions around campus are mixed, I do not have strong feelings one way or another. Honestly, I knew indoor masking could be a possibility again, and while I am a bit annoyed at having to readjust to breathing through a mask, I can handle a couple weeks of mask wearing if it means other campus activities, like outdoor festivals, remain open.

One thing different this time around is the weather. Spring is here, which means days have been sunnier and temperatures have been warmer. Last week, I spent a lot of my time searching for new outdoor study spots and soaking up some sun for the first time since October. I even had a couple classes outside (hint: the anthropology class I am writing this journal for) and felt so much more mentally refreshed than I usually do after spending my time sitting indoors. Being able to spend more time outdoors, I also think it will be easier to adjust to mask wearing. During the winter, I felt like we all curled up into our own little bubbles and hid behind our hats, coats, and masks, so hopefully now we can use the warmer weather as an opportunity to maintain connections with others despite having to mask. I am eager to see how we all practice mask wearing in a new seasonal context, especially having already experienced waves of regulations in the past.

Below is a picture I took last week while sitting under a tree and writing an essay for class; this was a day before the new mask regulations were announced.

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Una de las afectaciones relevantes es que uno no puede acceder al transporte público sin portar un cubrebocas al pasar por esta situación puede que gente al rededor se aproveche de la situación, el gobierno debería de brindar cajas de cubrebocas para la comunidad que lo necesite en los espacios que son regidos por el metro metrobús etc. me ha tocado ver personas indigentes que les niegan el acceso por no portar uno y tampoco tienen las posibilidades del acceso a uno orillándolos a usar alguno que ha sido desechado en la basura, procedente de cualquier persona. Alterando la sanidad, exponiendo su salud

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Today is April 30th, the last day of April. And tomorrow, is the first day of May. And! It's a new beginning also. Everyone of you should be happy in May, too.I hope so!

Also, Today is the first day of the May Day holiday, and we will have another nucleic acid test. According to the news, yesterday, 29th April, there was a novel coronavirus carrier in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, an international airport near my school, and then went to my home. The most frightening thing is that he stayed in a hotel less than 100 meters away from my community and then tested positive.To tell you the truth, I am quite worried now. According to my parents, many places in our house are sealed up, so you can't go out for walking the dog. And my side of the house will probably be locked down, and my side of the house won't be allowed out unless it's serious.

In this three-day holiday, I can only learn to study, playing sports sports pastime time.

That all~

¿Esta época del año le parece ser diferente de lo normal, o diferente de como debería ser? Si es así, dé algunos ejemplos de lo que siente que es diferente.

Nessa última semana flui como se não houvesse mais pandemia, sendo essa uma percepção coletiva entre as pessoas próximas de mim. Algo que já estava intensamente presente na minha vida. Não vivemos mais em tempos pandêmicos. Não aguentamos mais permanecer com máscaras, que asfixiam os sorrisos. Não aguentamos mais permanecer distanciados, pois somos seres coletivos. Não aguentamos mais tomar vacinais, com suas doses infinitas, em que lucram excessivamente as indústrias farmacêuticas. É difícil encontrar formas de estar fixo num contexto tão contrastante, em que somos reduzidos e consumidos.

É estranho descrever esse momento atual da pandemia. Em que não reconheço mais sua existência. Ao mesmo tempo em que as pessoas continuam morrendo e adoecendo. Parece que retornamos ao “novo normal”. Quando na verdade nunca fomos normais nessa sociedade doente pelo dinheiro. E seguimos nossos fluxos existenciais como se nada tivesse acontecido, como se uma pandemia, um sinal de alerta não tivesse alcançado alguma centralidade. Será que aprenderemos ou morreremos ainda mais numa próxima pandemia?

Esse retorno das estruturas para essa dita normalidade produz intensos desconfortos frente aos seres viventes nessa sociedade em colapso de si. Me sinto um tanto adoecido nesse “fim da pandemia”, com receios do que virá no futuro próximo. Essa angústia provoca momentos de inércia na minha vida, que me fazem olhar ao redor, sem muita perspectiva de amanhã. Nesse percurso vou caminhando para compreender quais afetações e sensações mais permeiam esse nosso ser e estar no mundo pós-pandemia, se assim é possível conceituar, já que as linhas tênues da espacialidade-temporalidade estão extremamente esgarçadas. Não consigo colocar as vacinas como divisoras de águas para o fim da pandemia. São para mim, um meio, mas não a solução para essa crise sanitária.

Dentro desse contexto, com flutuações de emoções vou seguindo pelas encruzilhadas, nos caminhos de possibilidades que promovem mais fortalecimento ao redor de tanto sofrimento. A pandemia criou marcas inesquecíveis nas diferentes gentes, com suas singularidades, e assim, é preciso encontrar formas de cura.

Has the coronavirus pandemic changed how you see the country you live in? If so, how?

The country (US) is more divided than I can ever remember in my 62 years of life. I remember some schism in the 60’s and 70’s and especially over the Viet Nam war, but this is a different situation. The lives lost, the refusal by so many to make sensible and protective decisions. Maybe as COVID seems to be ebbing (at least temporarily), and restrictions are being lifted, the tempers and outward expression of divisions have dropped a few notches. But I still feel personally at-odds with so many people who completely chose to be on the wrong side of things - from vaccinations to refusing to follow restrictions to buying into conspiracy theories, etc. This will take a long time for me to get past. We even moved across the country, and out of our former home of 23 years, to live in a more educated and COVID sensible place because of the ignorance and attitudes we experienced in the Southeast during the worst of the pandemic. I will never return.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Because of the another outbreak of Omicron, we had to have wipe tests these days. I decided to become a volunteer yesterday, which was very meaningful. Sincerely hope that the pandemic will end very soon.

Many women have had to stop working for pay as a result of the pandemic. Has this affected you, or anyone close to you? If so, talk about what's happened.

My daughter is a fulltime pharmacist In a small independent pharmacy . When the pandemic hit her bosses started working more cuz they couldnt go anywhere . My daughter lost hours due to the bosses working more. So hard to manage on a reduced salary and she didn't qualify for any government assistance

Have you noticed any changes in your relationships with coworkers, neighbors, or acquaintances since the start of the pandemic? Have these kinds of relationships gotten stronger or weaker? If so, how?

This picture of a scale in a hardware store where I bought fresh peanuts is an example of comfort food and also a reminder of Peanuts the Charles Schulz cartoons. I find that I am proactive to make new connections in fields of interest that intrigue me. I bought the peanuts as I waited to get into an exhibit of Techspressionism which is artwork created digitally or using technology. It was a great exhibit I reconnected to the woman who did a seminar many years ago at Guild Hall in East Hampton about software to create digital art. I call my works digital abstract expressionism. I actually sold an art work at Guild Hall in a member exhibition. Only 19 works sold out of 400 displayed. The curator of the exhibit on Saturday April 23 was also a new connection. So I guess I manage to make new connections which compensates for not staying in touch with old friends.

Have you noticed any changes in your relationships with coworkers, neighbors, or acquaintances since the start of the pandemic? Have these kinds of relationships gotten stronger or weaker? If so, how?

I live in a senior community that was in lockdown for quite some time. Because all we had was each other, I've become quite close to some of the people here. That's been quite wonderful.

Unfortunately, though, I have lost contact with many many people I knew outside of this community. It makes me sad but I am hoping to reconnect in the future. I don't like long phone conversations but I love face-to-face meetings where you get the whole person, body language and all. Looking forward to that!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I'm one of the very few people in my office-environment workplace who still wears a mask. I've known a few people to have COVID recently, like my really-suffering very-pregnant friend, so the risks are on my mind.

I can't deny that my mask is also a protest. Everyone's all, "ohh, it's so nice to see faces, it's so good to not be working from home, I'm so glad we don't have to wear those darn masks anymore." I disagree with all of that. I can't say that at work, but I can wear my black KN95 in a conference room crowded with fifteen bare faces, like a big ole sign that secretly says, "I hate this and I'm scared for my pregnant friend and I object!!!!!"

Does this time of the year feel different than it normally does, or different than it should? If so, give some examples of what feels different.

Certainly our family Easter celebration was different than usual. No big communal gathering around the table. We still found creative and safe ways to get together but certainly wasn’t our normal Easter dinner.I wonder when/if we’ll ever celebrate all events in our usual ways? 😢

Has the pandemic prevented you from living up to your potential in any way? If so, give an example or two.

I feel the pandemic has prevented me from living up to my potential professionally because I made the decision to stay home with my children from March 2020 through present times. They needed support for remote learning and mental health challenges and I needed to be here for them. As a result, I have been out of my career for 2 years now. I left a job I loved and it is no longer available to me. Therefore, I am now floundering as I contemplate rejoining the workforce in person. I cannot find a similar position near me and may take a position for a considerable pay cut to be able to have the flexibility and hours that permit me to take care of my family's needs and have work/life balance. It's hard. I pray for guidance and grace.

Additional Material

This is a photo of me starting my balloon garland for L’s birthday. As many kids her age, she hasn’t had a real birthday party since she was 2. This year, she is attending preK and we determined that we were comfortable having a few kids from her class to our home for a real party. WHT a joy to hear their laughter and shrieks of joy throughout the house for a few hours! It really warmed our hearts. This also brought the return of what A describes as my “way-too-intense” party planning, which obviously includes a balloon arch as pictures above. What can I say? I love entertaining and it allows me to be creative and make people happy in a fun atmosphere. After two tough years of pandemic (which of course is ongoing and we have to live with), it felt great to be able to allow L and her friends to experience some joy. The late-night prep work was all worth it!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I don't got too much to say this week, trying to plan things to do this summer around the house and yard. Other than that it really hasn't affected me too much, except for the masks at medical facilities.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Yet another of my friends, vaccinated and boosted, has come down with Covid. And at the same time, more and more places are doing away with mask mandates. The two grocery stores where we shop are now both masks-optional, although most customers and staff still wear them. I’m not yet feeling comfortable at unmasked indoor locations, or even outdoors in situations where people are unmasked and social distancing isn’t possible. My partner and I did go to a play and a poetry reading this past week, but both indoor events were at venues that required attendees to show proof of vaccination and remain masked throughout the event. I have been encouraged to read that a good mask can offer a fair amount of protection even if others around are unmasked, and I expect that my partner and I will continue to wear masks for some time to come.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The under 5s still can't be vaccinated. Treatments and preventatives for the vulnerable are still scarce and rationed. SARS2 is still not seasonal. The vaccine mitigates, but does not prevent, Long COVID; an effective preventative for that is unlikely any time soon. My insured self can probably access a PCR test in my county, but I don't know if an uninsured person can. Case counts are now unreliable, and hospitalization counts are a lagging indicator. Sewage is not being monitored in my area.

It's not so much that I'm fighting the temptation to throw all caution to the wind and take back the small pleasures I enjoyed away from home. I would like to, yes, but all sense tells me to wait until I know certain conditions are met. Until that happens, what is, is. Try not to get SARS2. Try not to be in a position to give it to someone else. This is the way. What makes me struggle right now is all the messaging that tells me there's something wrong with me doing this.

The birds start singing about an hour before sunrise, and don't stop until after dark. It's baby rabbit and squirrel season. The trees have leaves, now. Violets have joined the dandelions on the ground, and the crabapple, plum, and redbud are gorgeous. My new wild iris and onion are awake, as are goldenrod, ironweed, and aster. Sunflowers will soon join them.>s The mint I bought to celebrate my second booster is bushing up nicely in its new pot, and soon I'll have fresh mint for my tea and ayran. I'll start my tomatoes and basil on May Eve.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Week of April 18-23, 2022

Personally I am back to feeling like I am in the middle of a dense fog. Sometimes the fog clears a bit

and I am able to function almost normally and then it thickens….and I am back to taking one hesitant

step at a time. To me, this is my recent experience with the coronavirus that lingers in our atmosphere,

outdoors and indoors, masks or no masks.

The most recent information is more confusing than ever. Masks may not be as effective as in the earlier

days of Covid. Unless one is immune compromised. Now ventilation, clean air, filtered air and fresh

air is being proclaimed as far more important. And of course the vaccinations, boosters and anti viral

medications which are or are not available.

So I open windows, turn on my air cleaner and fans. I also wear a mask if I am outside or if someone comes

to my apartment. I am vaxed and boosted and take Vitamin D3 to help my immunity. Sometimes I

think those of us with serious health issues have it down pat….we know and understand the importance

of being cautious. We do not have to think twice about whether to mask today and not tomorrow.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

my disabled brother sent me this about a month ago, in a good mood then.

Tomorrow I go see him for this first time since a very difficult visit 9 months ago. Hoping against hope his mood is improved. He has 3 co-occurring mental illnesses, and the past year and a half have been an absolute struggle.