Lockdown: My lot in life

Sunday I got up too early, far ahead of my alarm, and knew it would be useless to try and fall right back asleep, so I got up, took my meds without food (they don’t need food but I think they do better with it), and did the Sunday crosswords in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. 25:30, 20:29, and 28:00 respectively. The longer time for the WaPo was because the theme was a bit challenging.

Unlike the LAT and NYT, the WaPo only publishes a Sunday crossword, a puzzle once ruled by the late esteemed Merl Reagle and now more than ably constructed by Evan Birnholz, whose creations are always fun and inventive.

I knew I was in for a long solve when the first long answer’s clue was U(N)D(E)R(T)AKING. I didn’t get what was going on until the last of the long answers, and then only after getting through most of the puzzle around the long answers. The clue (H)INDQ(U)A(RT)ERS gave the answer PAIN IN THE BUTT. See, “hurt” is spelled out in the parentheses, and “hindquarters” is another word for BUTT. The PAIN is literally in the BUTT in the clue. So U(N)D(E)R(T)AKING is CATCH IN THE ACT (net as a verb means to catch; an undertaking is an act). Some of the other clues and their long answers:


It’s brilliant if maddening. And Birnholz sets himself a very high standard for clues and fill, keeping things appropriate for general audiences, and absent most crosswordese, those words or phrases you only know because so many crossword puzzles contain them. A good puzzle if one of my slower Sunday efforts.

It was back to bed for me, for a planned two-hour nap, but I took an hour to get to sleep, so I didn’t get back up until 3:00. Ugh. I’d planned to be the office at 2:00.

They’re scheduling people to be in the office, people who need to be there at least sometimes, and people who prefer working there. I don’t feel safe yet, although I’ve seen the schedule and it’s very few people each day. So I’ve gotten permission to go in Sunday afternoons when I know I’ll be the only person there.

The work laptop needs its software updated frequently, so I save it for the Sundays, and try to do the work I can only do on that computer while I’m in the office. The remote desktop is just so slow, and it doesn’t play nicely with my home wifi.

I haven’t gotten as much done these past two Sundays as planned, since I’ve had urgent proposals to finish. I was there until 1:00 in the morning two weeks ago; I was there until nearly sunrise last Sunday.

But hey. Nothing urgent this week, so I took care of a bunch of housekeeping and packed up a bunch of the stuff a person accumulates over the years working at the same place. Not knowing when I’ll be working regularly in my cube again, I just brought home most of my office stuff: pens, stickies, binder clips, stress balls.

Updated my software and added Adobe Bridge. The proposals I’m working on require a lot of searching through our photo archives, and although I’ve never used it, I know Bridge is so much better for that kind of thing. One nice thing I figured out right away is you can define a batch action, then drop multiple photo files right onto it. Works a lot like the automations you can create right in MacOS. I defined a “resize” command so I could resize multi-megabyte photos to much, much smaller files. Just drag, drop, and click go, and the files are resized and copied to a pre-defined location, leaving the originals intact.

Useful because I plan to send a bunch of photos in email to a development officer to ask which she’d like to use for the proposal. Now they’ll total less than one MB for all seven photos, rather than the 20-something megs it was going to take.

I loaded up the car and went for a walk. I told you I was going to do it for sure Sunday.

It wasn’t long: from Young Street near Keeaumoku, I went down Young Street to University Ave, then came right back. Only encountered a few other pedestrains and sidewalk hangers-out. I avoided them all, of course. It’s only about a 7,000-step walk (I walk it a lot in normal times, so I’m very familiar), but it was just good to get out and moving. My knee didn’t feel it a whole lot during the walk. I’m feeling it now. Anyway, just over 10,000 steps for the day, for the first time in a couple of weeks.

So the walk was from about 9 to 10, and I got in my car and came right home. Much better than one in the morning.

I sorta skipped breakfast, as I mentioned. I went through the Jack in the Box drive-through on my way to the office for a burger and onion rings. I could have done without the Oreo shake, but did I? I did not.

I didn’t have dinner until some time after I got home. Finally finished off the brown rice with chicken, kale, and broccoli, and am I glad. That last serving probably should have gone in the trash anyway. My body hasn’t rebelled yet, thank goodness, but bad bacteria can take 48 hours before they do things to you. A friend of mine works in a blood lab and has done research on the nasties that make your body do unpleasant things after eating bad food.

I ate it with fried eggs and canned corned beef hash. It would have been great if the green stuff in the rice wasn’t suspect.

The only texting was with Crush Girl, a few short messages about a favorite pastry she finally got to try. I was pleased for her. I mentioned late Sunday I have a year of Apple TV+ for free, something I didn’t know until I got a message saying I have to initialize it soon or the offer expires.

So I signed up and watched the first half-hour episode of Central Park, an animated musical sitcom. It was pretty cute. I’ll probably check out a few more episodes before I decide what to do with it. Just before bed, I returned to Orange is the New Black season four. I was on episode six, and yikes. So dark. It ends on something of a cliffhanger for a much-loved character. A dark cliffhanger. A less purposeful me would have gone right to the next episode, but I was responsible and just got ready for bed.

I don’t see any urgent proposals coming up unless the cancer center thing comes back to me with edits. This means I can focus on my long-dormant stories. Looking forward to a productive week where I tick off a lot of stuff that’s been on the list for too long.

Whatever you’re up to this week, if you need someone to connect with, reach out here. It’s a stupid thing to keep offering every day but I do it because I’m serious.

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