Have You Heard: The Stuck At Home Edition

At somewhere around week three of sheltering in place, or whatever we’re calling it these days, I began to have bad insomnia. Now, when you have a traumatic brain injury, this is pretty common. In fact, it should probably be a non-issue. Except, for me, it’s been because I’m having the same pattern of dreams. In these, I’m yelling into my pillow angrily at some interruption of my sleep, from birds tweeting too loudly to my husband playing certain musicians too loud. I typically wake up and try to figure out if it was really true, that I could speak, and, finding I’m unable, sit up in an annoyed fog. Thankfully, this gives me a lot of time to think about things, and we all know thinking too much during a crisis is the best way to deal! Anyway…

Have you heard of all the creative ways folks are covering their faces, now that it’s essentially recommended nationwide? To be clear, covering your face has limited efficacy when it comes to catching COVID-19, but when it’s transmission, these face coverings are often the best way to keep your various personal aerosols from escaping. In general, these face masks are practical and basic—just a bandana, fashionable scarf or carefully sewn fabric, as a recent NPR article detailed. Other masks seen in the wild have ranged from fursuits to classic plague doctor garb.

Were you aware although pets don’t appear to be susceptible to COVID-19 in general, there has been a dramatic decline in pet adoptions? This is largely due to the closure of shelters and implementation of strict social distancing at others, but in general, it seems people stuck at home are still not ready to admit that a new pet might help cure the pandemic blues. At the Oregon Humane Society, adoption teams will call you and do all the typical screening for you—all you need to do is find a pet with the personality you’re seeking. Cat Adoption Team, which provides all the cats for the newly reopened—and promptly closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—Purrington’s Cat Café, and the Pixie Project, provides contactless cat and dog adoption.

In other news, while you’re impulse-buying out of extreme boredom, consider donating to one or two of the many fundraisers going on right now. You could donate to United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Foundation or any of the numerous funds listed at the Funders for LGBTQ Issues page.

I’m sure you’ve bought video games during this period of extreme boredom, and as a result I want to help you find friends for Switch, Xbox, Steam and PS4. Send me an email at [email protected] with your gamer tags and IDs and whatever alias you’d like to use, and I’ll share them in a HYH edition in the next couple of weeks!

Hey, grad students! I’m sure you’re tired of the roadblocks to research at this point—I am definitely exhausted by now—but let’s take this time to get all our things in order. First up, a lot of us should consider extending our time to degree by at least a term. This might be a difficult decision, but the reduced stress will be helpful, I promise. Second, perhaps it’s time to consider alternate assignments for this term if you aren’t graduating just yet. Finally, don’t be afraid of medical leave. The protection offered by this status is immensely helpful when you’re unable to continue now but anticipate a future return.

One last thing, y’all. I’ve discussed arts and crafts at length in this article in the past, but considering the potential for an extended isolation period, now might be the time for not just new arts and crafts but teaching and sharing your skills with others. Consider using live broadcasting or videos, podcasts or even simple sketching or written instructions to get your skills out there. Furthermore, ensure that when you share the lessons of others you are being extremely careful to credit the originator. Likewise, please watermark any produced lessons. When you’ve got that up and running, if you’re a Portland State student, please feel free to let us know here at Vanguard.

Until next week: stay healthy(ish)!