Self-Isolation Diaries – Week 5

Greetings, Internet! The self-isolation continues, and the ukulele obsession is only growing. Really curious to see where that all goes. I promise that I’m doing other, non-ukulele-related things (you know, dissertation and all). But I’m not sure how long the stay-at-home order is actually going to last (I mean, sure, May 15th is technically the new end date, but is it, really?), and you can’t write your dissertation if you get cabin fever. So, best to stave that off as long as possible, no?

Day Twenty-Nine (4/10)

  • Happy birthday to my sister! In a non-social-isolation world, I’d probably have met her at some point during the day for birthday noms. Alas. I sang her a song, at least.
  • Tried dermaplaning! It was ridiculously easy (I mean, I had to watch a couple of beauty YouTubers show me how to do it first, but like, super easy once I got the hang of it).
  • Was totally on pace to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and then didn’t.
  • Currently feeling: There are a lot of ukulele chords on the internet for songs that I like. Get ready, people of YouTube who like ukulele covers in boring backgrounds. This isn’t really a feeling, just, I realize that when I freak out about anything, I turn to music. I turn to songs I like to sing, and thank goodness I have an instrument here. And thank goodness there are people who don’t hate what I’m singing.
  • Currently looping: The Postal Service’s “This Place is a Prison.”


Day Thirty (4/11/20)

  • Did the FES cycle. Watched videos about how to set up a home studio. Mostly I just wanted to know which type of microphone to buy. Because I want my ukulele videos to have the best sound.
  • Did a work-hangout with a friend. Her birthday is next week and I am so stoked for her birthday song request.
  • Did a Wine-and-FaceTime with my sister. Then drank more wine and watched “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” Shouted out my favorite lines as they occurred (e.g. “I AM NO MAN”).
  • Currently feeling: Why, yes, I am dancing along to a “Pride and Prejudice” movie soundtrack at 11:30pm. Sometimes, you just need to dance.
  • Currently looping: David Bowie’s “Starman


Day Thirty-One (4/12/20)

  • Did some work for my dissertation. Should really get into those primary sources, but then again, my advisor sent me an article in German to read, so I should get on that first, right?
  • Had a Zoom chat with some Ed School disability services office friends (and my former boss!). It’s a shame that Harvard’s Ed School continues to really not care about students with disabilities, although I can’t say I’m surprised.
  • Was a good Italian and ate an early dinner this Easter.
  • Did a writing workshop with a friend who requested “Hollaback Girl” as a ukulele birthday request. Looked up the chords. They are not accurate. Looks like I’ll have to go with something less B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
  • Currently feeling: Whoo, thirty-one days! That’s basically a month. I think the air has been slowly deflating from my tires, but I haven’t checked, so I’m going to think of it in a Schroedinger’s Cat type scenario. 
  • Currently looping: Within Temptation’s “Ice Queen.” Heard a livestream of their Wacken Open Air concert from 2019 and they did an acoustic version of this song. ‘Twas amazing.


Day Thirty-Two (4/13/20)

  • It is pouring outside, so, it’s good to know that I wouldn’t have gone out today anyway.
  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Posted my cover of No Doubt’s “Running.” It’s not their biggest hit by a mile, but it’s one of my favorite songs of theirs.
  • Realized both that I agreed to do a number of birthday ukulele requests, and that a disproportionate number of my friends were born in April. Lol.
  • Sat in on my friend’s Zoom dissertation defense. I understood some of it, which is more than I thought I would. He passed with flying colors, so, yay!!
  • Watched “Outlander.” Just a few more episodes until the season’s over. Sigh.
  • How is it that the microphone I want is sold out?! Goshdarnit.
  • Did a Google Hangout with a friend from Ed School. I may have hated the program, but there were a handful of people I’m thankful I met.
  • Currently feeling: Well, today flew by. I forgot it was Monday and thought it was Wednesday, and then realized it wasn’t. That’s what happens, I suppose, when you go to bed at 2am the night before. I’m not sure how to feel about days that fly by. There’s always so much more I want to get done. When some people hear that I live alone, they seem concerned that I’ll get terribly lonely. There are instances where loneliness creeps in and I pause for a few minutes to stare into space, but then I remind myself that if I had a roommate, odds are we would’ve gotten into a screaming match several times by now. And then apologized for each said screaming match and ended up baking a batch of brownies or peanut butter cookies, all the while streaming some comedy special on Netflix. In either case, time really flies.
  • Currently looping: P!nk’s “Just Give Me a Reason.” It’s on my list of “songs I would do at karaoke if I could get someone to join me.” Also I’ve just been on a P!nk kick recently, with zero intention of doing any of her songs on a ukulele.


Day Thirty-Three (4/14/20)

  • Recorded the remaining ukulele videos for the week. Am looking forward to recording next week’s videos, but am also frustrated that I can’t seem to find the microphone I want.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend. Had her listen to the covers I recorded because I can’t seem to post things without running them by someone first.
  • Definitely ordered too much food from the grocery store. Why do I think that fridges can keep things fresh indefinitely? This is poor logic.
  • Rewatched some of the team gymnastics competition from the 2016 Olympics. Guys, I miss sports. So many sports. It’s only a matter of time before I rewatch the 2016 track and field events and cheer for Allyson Felix.
  • Currently feeling: Today flew by, too. Where does the time go? I need to make a plan for my dissertation. Or search through some ninth-century hagiography. It concerns me that I’m not more worried about my dissertation timeline.
  • Currently looping: P!nk’s “Sober.” Seriously, the P!nk kick is real.


Day Thirty-Four (4/15/20)

  • Posted my cover of David Bowie’s “Starman” as a birthday request.
  • Did the FES cycle.
  • Ordered a bunch of recording equipment. It’s all going to ship in at least a week or two. This is really not how I saw my quarantine going, but I’m not mad at how it’s playing out. And hey, at the very least I’ll have what I need to record some proper ukulele lullabies for my niece!
  • Got my copy of Gregory of Tours’ Histories. I can’t believe I didn’t already have the Penguin edition of this! Time to make sense of all the things my advisor has been telling me.
  • Currently feeling: Today went by quickly because I did everything oh so slowly. It wasn’t even that intentional. I just felt sluggish.
  • Currently looping: Sia’s “Breathe Me.” I know she’s known for mostly dance songs now, but I love her earlier music. It’s perfect for writing sad things.


Day Thirty-Five (4/16/20)

  • Filled out my university’s re-enrollment form. It’s nice that my program acknowledged that the job market is the absolute worst right now. I remember hearing that the 2008 recession killed the History job market for a while, so, no telling what the post-pandemic job market is going to look like. I’m glad that a couple of my colleagues were able to accept job offers before all this chaos ensued.
  • Recorded a birthday request. That microphone cannot get here soon enough.
  • Tried to record another birthday request, and then realized the song was a bit out of range. Switched to a different song by the same artist. Whoops.
  • Did a work hangout with a friend who basically pointed out to me that my ukulele playing is self-taught. I wasn’t sure about that because I took a few months of guitar lessons about ten years ago, and to me that was enough to count as ukulele lessons, but after I thought about it for a while, she may be right.
  • My mother asked if I could place a Whole Foods order online for her. Then I found out that Amazon is limiting how people shop online, so this is an interesting (i.e. weird) development.
  • Currently feeling: I realize I tend to take my hobbies very seriously (I mean, as if today’s post wasn’t enough of an indication of that). Like, there’s a whole audio system that will head my way in the next couple of weeks or so. I should probably learn how to use iMovie when the microphone input isn’t the one that’s built into the laptop. And then I realized that I basically am forcing myself to learn iMovie, audio systems, and oh, that’s right, the ukulele, on the fly. How did that happen?
  • Currently looping: Ed Sheeran’s “Dive

Thanks so much for reading! Hope you’re all staying safe and staying in as much as you are able to!

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