Lockdown: Right in my breadbasket

That final-final-final draft of the proposal needed one more edit. It didn’t take long, but I waited until Friday evening when my coworkers were off the network. Meanwhile I worked on a social sciences proposal. I told someone I’d do my best to have a draft sometime Friday but I knew even then it would be difficult. I’ll find time this weekend to finish a first draft.

This is not a complaint (although I’ll admit some days the same words would be). I had a lot of emails, with smallish tasks requiring me to hit pause on the proposal. Tree things, not forest things. I’ve been convinced since the days at the engineering firm that these moments, including conversations that pop up at the copier or right at my desk, are not obstacles to the work; they are the work. They really should be taken as seriously as the seven-hour task on which hundreds of thousands of dollars rely.

This is my attitude most of the time, and it was my attitude today. I rolled up my sleeves (just kidding; it was warm today and I’m working at home, so I wasn’t even wearing a shirt most of the day) and went after each thing quickly. In a way it was a little bit of a test, as I really want to get that proposal drafted. But mostly it was satisfying.

A coworker mentioned in the office Skype that she had a similar day, only getting one thing off her to-do list because of all the emails. I totally felt that. Office life is a strange thing sometimes, and a completely different animal from teaching.

I didn’t go for a walk Friday. Ugh. Now I think it’s been more than a week. Saturday I will do something at least resembling a walk, and not focus on the steps but on fresh air, solitude, sunshine (or moonlight), and just moving.

What a great day for music. I was disappointed a few weeks ago to learn that scheduled releases from Neil Young and Bob Dylan did not actually drop. I didn’t have an explanation so I let it go until I saw them both pop up Friday. The delays were because of the pandemic, I’ve since read.

Neil Young’s Homegrown is an unreleased album recorded in 1974 and 1975. Young is known to be a ridiculously prolific songwriter, always with far more music than he plan to release. In this case, he had two albums recorded and played them for some friends at a listening party. They favored Tonight’s the Night, which itself was an unreleased album recorded a few years before that. Homegrown even had album art already, but it was the other album that was released. Forty-something years ago.

A few of the songs were performed in concert or released on rarities collections, like as extras in boxed sets and stuff, but today the album is released, and it’s beautiful. Not quite as mellow or as acoustic as either Harvest or Harvest Moon, which are its contemporaries, it is very intimate, kind of humorous, and very nearly as good as mellow Neil Young gets. Think “Heart of Gold” but not quite as great. Oh, and the album’s only 35 minutes long, which I love. Nowadays I have little patience for albums longer than 45 minutes.

Rough and Rowdy Ways is Dylan’s first album of new, original material since 2012. I’ve heard one of the advance singles and really like it, but I’m saving this album for a long, attentive listen Saturday. I sort of cannot wait.

Michael Franti & Spearhead have been trickling out songs from Work Hard & Be Nice for a month, leading to a lot of confusion on my part. I thought the album release was a couple of weeks ago, then saw it was only six songs. So yeah, I thought it was an EP. Then a week later it was eight songs, not six. What? Now Friday the entire album, and it’s as good as the stuff I’ve had on repeat for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t reeeeally hold up to scrutiny, but that’s not the point. It’s feel-good music. You’re not supposed to scrutinize it; you’re supposed to feel it. “Good Shit Happens” is one of my favorite songs of 2020, but there are a lot of good options on this album.

Still, I kinda wish Franti didn’t rhyme “today” with “today” repeatedly in one song, and “simple” with “people” repeatedly in another.

A bunch of obscure new metal albums I’m interested in checking out, but I’ll write about them later. And one high-profile new album, a self-titled Lamb of God album getting lukewarm reviews. I may skip it, especially since the thing I’m spinning now by a band I’ve never heard of is quite mind-blowing.

Breakfast was a bowl of Honey Oat Special K. I must be pouring more into the bowl than usual, because I think I’m down to one bowl left in this box, and I’ve only had two now. It’s okay. I discovered Thursday night at Costco that breakfast cereal is super inexpensive there. I know that’s a ridiculous thing to say, but breakfast cereal hasn’t been part of my life for ages. I’m only getting back into it now, which I’m sure is not for the better.

Lunch was leftover pot roast, with carrots, potatoes, and hapa rice. I again forgot that I have steamed kale to go with it.

Dinner was a tuna sandwich on toasted multigrain, making today’s food exactly the same as yesterday’s. I don’t think I’ve done this throughout the lockdown. However, I did kind of indicate this might happen when I brought those groceries back from the supermarket last Sunday night.

Part of it is that blasted loaf of supermarket sandwich bread. When you live alone, and when you hate wasting certain kinds of groceries, a loaf of bread is a challenge. I think I’m down to four more slices, and I’m sensing I’m running out of time. I may have a cheese sandwich for a late snack before bed.

While working on my many emails today, I steamed three pounds of broccoli florets from Costco, then left them on the counter to cool. I snacked on broccoli when I got the munchies, since it was right there and because I love broccoli. Later, I had three of those chocolate peanut butter pie Oreos. Yeah, it was a day of snacking. Although since I did nothing to the broccoli but steam it (no salt or anything else), those are free calories, right? I think WW counts them as zero points.

Saturday I need to call the folks to let them know I’m coming over for a little bit of social distanced chit-chat while I give my dad his gift. I’d like to do some reading too, and a few chores. I didn’t make sourdough bread Thursday because of that other bread I have to get through, but I fed the starter again and it’ll be ready for the bread machine just past noon, I think. So breadmaking is also in the plan.

Suzanne, one of the ladies in the engineering firm group text, sent a funny image about the rally in Tulsa. I didn’t want to think about it so I didn’t respond, but it got some hahas from the others.

Jennifer texted me to say she tried adding lemon to the whisky she sent a photo of before. Said it makes a big difference. I’ve never tried it or even heard of it, I said.

Sylvia texted me in the evening, from a comedy club. We talked a bit about how owning ebooks is great for settings like comedy clubs when you don’t want to socialize. She was reading on the Kindle app on her phone. This led to other conversation, some of it too personal to share. Then of course our conversation turned to Taco Bell, since that’s what we do. We were each independently thinking of going, but neither of us did. She realized she had nachos fixings at home, and I remembered that bread.

Crush Girl and I traded a few texts about a few different subjects. It was nice.

I missed the national news and only caught the later broadcast of the local news. I feel okay about this. In fact, I feel great, despite the dire number of new Hawaii cases — 27. Highest one-day increase since April. We. Are so. Screwed. One of the clusters is a church group in Waipahu who met in someone’s home. People. We need to stop it. Pleeease.

Man, it’s 4:30. I had no intention of staying up this late. Time for semi-psycho writers to consider putting themselves to bed.

Still inviting you to reach out, if you’re looking for more connectivity. I have to say without texts messages from my friends, I would likely slide into the darkness in times like this, when there’s tension between the realities of the state opening back up and the diagnoses shooting upward while I try to make sense of my life alone at home. I don’t know if you’re feeling that, but if you are, I’m here. And will be for a looooong time, apparently!

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