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Joy for the Week Ahead 11 May 2020


Are the numbers looking better in your part of the world? I hope so. Many communities are opening up a little bit over the course of the next few weeks. I have not left my house in six or seven weeks now. Perhaps some of you are the same. Perhaps others have been working the front lines, in grocery stores, hospitals, or delivery vehicles. Whichever category fits you, thank you for your generous sacrifices. If you are sheltering at home, you are protecting yourself and others. If you are working in the community, you are making it possible for others to continue to have access to goods and services. None of us is going to escape the consequences of this pandemic, so whatever your role, I deeply appreciate it. Mine is apparently to stay home and to stay away from others, while continuing to support my community with my dollars as best as I can while helping to end the spread of the virus. Whatever your role is, I hope you know that it’s important and valued.

I think COVID19 fatigue has entered the mainstream, because it’s actually becoming more difficult to find joyous, generous offerings online nowadays. Everyone is tired of all of this. Of course, this means we need it even more!

  • Masks. Are you looking for mask supplies, patterns, or guidance? Jo-Ann Fabrics has a comprehensive mask-making resource. Many Jo-Ann stores are open for curbside pickup if you order online!
  • Do you have a library card? Do you have access to ebooks via your local library? I discovered that some library systems will let you get a card without actually going to the library…you can do it online! Here’s a good guide to help you do that. Also, I was able to get a second library card in a different library system because we have a rental property in another state. The book selection and waiting times are different in different systems, so if you have access to another community system, you can have double the options.
  • Online library access part two. Some library systems also offer non-residents access to their ebook catalogue! You may have to pay to subscribe, but given how much it costs to buy books online (and the risk that you might hate the book and waste your money on a bad read), it might be worth it to you to pay the annual fee in order to borrow. Here’s a list.
  • Online library access part three. Don’t forget the Internet Archive. You can sign up for a library card right on the website (upper right-hand corner) and borrow scanned copies of books from the participating libraries. Especially useful for old books that aren’t in print as well as school books. They also offer other media, such as films, television, and audio.
  • Free art lessons. There are lots of online art “schools” but this one is amazing. I’ve watched YouTube tutorials but the tons of good stuff at The Virtual Instructor is only available by paid membership. However, in order to help out art teachers and students who have to teach and study at home right now, The Virtual Instructor has made a collection of its classes free. They are also available to the rest of us who are not students or teachers. Drawing and working with art materials is a wonderful contemplative activity when times are stressful. Check out this generous gift here. The links to the free coursework are in the video description.
  • Last but not least. I used to research and read reviews before buying things online. I don’t anymore. First of all, I’ve figured out that many reviews are bogus (the best word for a review that’s not real). Second, I don’t want to read a rant or a gush, I just want facts. So I turn to Wirecutter. It’s a review website that supports itself by earning a few pennies when you click one of their links (you don’t pay extra, the seller does). When I need to buy something, I go to Wirecutter, find the expert article, scroll down to their recommendation, and click. End of story. So if you’re looking for specific ways to solve coronavirus-related problems, here’s their comprehensive list of carefully researched and vetted solutions. So before you cut anyone’s hair (including your own!), check Wirecutter! (Yes, there is an article on that!)

Thank you so much to everyone who writes in to say hello! I am honored to have the opportunity to say something to an audience of devoted readers.

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