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Mario's Quarantine Diary, Day 11: Ode to joy, wherever you can find it

Old routines give way to new ones as The Tri-City News' Mario Bartel are well into Week 2 of their condo quarantine
walking on a trail
A walk in nature is good for the soul at any time, but especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.

As each day of this pandemic passes, it’s apparent this isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s especially difficult to process events into June and July already being cancelled.

Those festivals you may grow weary of covering as a journalist year after year after year are such an important part of a community’s identity, and they're falling as spring and summer calendars are slashed.

May Days.

The Fingerling Fest.

Golden Spike Days.

Is Canada Day next? What about RibFest?

If Vancouver and its suburbs already had a reputation as “no-fun city,” the rest of the world is catching up.

Amidst the stresses of trying to stay healthy, employed, fed and financially afloat, joy has become a precious commodity.

Last week’s sunshine may have been bad for physical distancing but it certainly helped my family's spirits ease into the idea of self-isolation and a world filled with worry.

It’s now the second week of our quarantine and the drudgery of this long march back to some form of normalcy is beginning to set in. 

New routines are being established, though they’re not necessarily good ones — like the 5:30 a.m. wake-up call that became 6:30 a.m. that is now 7 a.m., although I doubt it will escalate past that as our son is like a proverbial rooster when the little clock in his room hits that hour.

Old routines, like watching the evening news on TV, have been dispatched. Too scary.

Confined by uncertainty, we grasp at any fleeting moment that helps us escape, forget the world’s current troubles.

Like my seven-year-old and I doing post-game interviews with each other after our afternoon soccer match in the courtyard. (His questions tend to ramble — he's going to have to work on that.)

Or the simple pleasure of a walk in the sun, surrounded by nature.

A spoonful of ice cream, secreted in the back of the freezer (although we missed out on Rocky Point Ice Cream’s online sale of its inventory last weekend).

ice cream

An improvised dinner put together from random ingredients that our son actually devoured, including the following two days as lunch leftovers.

When the butter on a heated bagel melts to just the right creamy viscosity.

Heck, the other night I was so desperate for a feeling of earned accomplishment, I even offered to clean my wife’s bathroom. Who knew polished stainless steel could make you feel so good?

How are you finding joy right now?


Miss a day? Catch up here:


Day 10: Thank goodness for doodle time

Day 9: Cycling through the uncertainty

Day 8: Lessons from the vegetable crisper

Day 7: Let's do the time warp again

Day 6: The new normal is taking some adjustment by everyone

Day 5: She's fit, she's strong, but she has diabetes which make her vulnerable

Day 4: Trying to contain the fear

Day 3: How much do you tell your kids about COVID-19

Day 2: Doing the right thing at the 25th hour

Day 1: A brief trip means a COVID-19 condo quarantine