Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted here so I thought it might be time to get off my butt and post an update!

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Firstly, I want to wish everyone (only a little belatedly) a very happy new year. Little has changed from my window here in Montréal. Well, except for winter: after a few wonderfully snowy weekends, every time I walk through a parc nearby I am struck with memories from my elementary school days, of building snow forts during la récré and how magical it all was.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton to share other than all that nostalgia that snow-man-perfect-snow can bring. Back in November, I had all these lofty ideas about what my writerly productivity would look like during my calmer work period over the holidays, but I got seriously ill for about five weeks (to the point I went to get myself tested for Covid at Hôtel-Dieu, thank all the plague gods old and new that the result came back negative) and then suddenly it was January again, I had to get back to work, and I accomplished absolutely nothing and didn’t even get to rest much. Great.

Despite all that, I want to note some tiny victories from the last little while that have helped us keep perspective.

Let’s start with the cat. At the end of December, my friend Ananarchie texted me to share that a friend in common was looking to rehome one of their cats, a big floof named Ben. We’d already had a possibility to adopt a kitten back in the early fall but we’d bowed out because not enough time had passed since we’d lost Luna. However, happily, Leif admitted to me that he’d just started that week to take a look at cat adoption websites, so the moment was perfect. We went to visit Ben and brought him home that afternoon.

The new cat adjusted to his new surroundings uncommonly quickly. He has a sweet personality, and is huge (especially compared to our previous cat Luna). With his long grey fur, he is especially attractive and knows it, always on the lookout for attention. And what a little glutton! For the first time in a long time we have to supervise our plates and the food in the kitchen. With his warm floofiness, Ben adds a little bit of cheerfulness to our every day. We’re really grateful for him.

A screenshot of the lanscape of the spawn area on my Minecraft server.
A screenshot of the lanscape of the spawn area on my Minecraft server.

On top of the fluffball, it’s my Minecraft adventures that bring me quite a bit of satisfaction lately. When I was sick in December, I bought myself a few months of a Java Realm and it allowed me to hit two birds with one stone. I invited some friends to join me, and so the game helped cut through both the isolation and the boredom of confinement and the curfew. It’s been over a year since I’ve played Minecraft regularly, but I told myself that while waiting for Joachim to finalize his newest modpack it would be fun to work on my own server for a while.

A second photo of a landscape of my Minecraft server, showing a castle under construction in the foreground.
A second photo of a landscape of my Minecraft server, showing a castle under construction in the foreground.

On top of the screenshots shared here, I also share my builds in a Twitter thread once in a while. (While I’m not up for streaming right now, would photo journalling my server be of interest to my blog readers? Let me know!)

A third screenshot of my Minecraft server, showing the coast and a lighthouse and a boat.
A third screenshot of my Minecraft server, showing the coast and a lighthouse and a boat.

I’ve also read a few interesting books since the beginning of the year. Most notably, I finally read Circe by Madeleine Miller and the first volume of La Passe-miroir series (translated into English as The Mirror Traveller) by Christelle Dabos. Leif read Circe a few years ago and has been bugging me to pick it up ever since, and I sincerely regret waiting so long to read it from cover to cover. It’s so good! For the other, I had no expectations going into the Dabos book and was very pleasantly surprised with that first volume, staying up all night to finish it, and can’t wait to continue the series.

Otherwise, life goes on in that anxious monotony characteristic to life in a pandemic. Despite the mostly positive slant of this blog post, I don’t want to falsely portray these last months as going swimmingly well. Like most people, my mental health is precariously perched on the tip of a knife. I started taking a new medication in July to help deal with continuous and really debilitating panic attacks. Six months later, I’m still not fully adjusted to the secondary effects concerning nausea and the disturbance to my sleep schedule. Coupled with the pandemic, it all creates a stressful ennui that not even my love of tea can remedy. Mostly, I try to be patient. What more is there to say? We’re all going through it. I don’t want to prescribe or predict anything. I am only really hoping, at this point, that my motivation, discipline and productivity (especially with writerly things) return. Eventually.

Until then, at least there's Minecraft.

Hang in there, everyone.