Lockdown: How urgent our love can be

My sleep has been terrible lately. Although I’ve had sleep issues my whole life, something feels a little different about this, so I’m slightly concerned. Of course, everything feels different nowadays so maybe I should just ride it out.

You know how sometimes you don’t want to get started on Task A because you’ll have to interrupt your flow when Task B comes back to you for your turn at it? That was most of my Monday. I even got up early to be available for Task B. I can’t say I didn’t do anything, because I made good progress on Task C. But I really wanted to get into task A and didn’t put a dent in it. At around 3:30, I emailed the parties I waited on, saying, “Hiiiiii. How are we doing on this?”

How we’re doing is not submitting Task B, the thing I worked on most of my Sunday afternoon and evening. They’re going to work on it themselves some more then send it back to me who-knows-when to make it pretty.

I’m totally fine with it — I say this with complete sincerity. It’s the nature of the work and I’m here for it. I’m mostly annoyed with myself for not just getting into Task A, knowing that things like this happen.

As I’ve said, everything’s urgent. There are just different levels of urgency.

I took a couple of naps after work and then without really procrastinating (I mean, not really), I attacked the Monster and got a good chunk of it done. A few unexpected wrenches in the machine slowed me down so that what’s usually a ninety-minute task took me nearly three hours, but honestly, it was fine. I was happy to make progress, however slowly it came.

I neither walked nor read Monday. I was just too tired, especially after my Monster slaying.

For breakfast I had overnight oats. They were okay. For lunch, I stir-fried won bok, watercress, and baby bok choi and had it with lazy fried rice. It was a little tired, so I also threw in a can of chicken breast, which really brought it to life. I had the leftovers for dinner. I also snacked on a snack-sized bag of potato chips and had a few of the peanut butter Oreos. They’re getting stale; I’m not going to make it to the end of the package before they’re no good.

I traded some texts with Crush Girl and Ali about finally discovering who pulled a couple of pranks with my car last year. I knew it was Dave. When it first happened, once I realized it wasn’t someone at work, the two most likely candidates were Dave or JB, and JB is in Virginia. There was also a fair chance it might be Liz and Jamie, paying me back for a lot of stuff JB and I did to (for!) them in college.

Anyway, Dave outed himself on IG yesterday.

I texted Sharon late to talk more about Bloody Wednesday. I also got an email from one of the Bloody Wednesday victims. We exchanged some thoughts on writing and on the Scrivener application.

We put out our call for submissions for Hawaii Stories issue 2. It could be a good one.

The numbers keep climbing. The sports leagues keep insisting they’re going to play. The schools are opening. It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Not really. But I am fine, at least for now. So if you’re in need of some connectivity, hit me up in the comments. I’ll send you my contact info and we can haha heehee hoho all the way to wherever the men in white suits take us.

Lockdown: Survivor’s guilt

Sunday was pretty much a work day. I didn’t plan to spend a whole day, but that’s sort of what happened. I got to sleep shortly before sunrise, then was awakened by the landlord doing stuff in the yard right outside my window, just an hour later. I usually sleep right through that.

It took about half an hour for him to get done, so I got up to use the bathroom and couldn’t get right back to sleep. Ugh. So I did the Sunday NYT crossword and fell back into bed. I had an alarm set to 12:10 but ignored it and didn’t get out of bed until past 2:00. I had planned to be in the office at 1:00 and spend just a couple of hours.

I did some daily chores and didn’t get to the office until 3:30, and I didn’t start working until 5:00. I was so hungry (I hadn’t had anything to eat yet) that I went through the BK drive-through on my way to the office, and I enjoyed it so much I took ninety minutes on it in the breakroom. Double Whopper, yessir. And rings. I almost never get a double but I needed to taste meat. So that was breakfast and lunch.

I did the proposal revision and emailed it out. Took about two and a half hours. Not bad. I thought it would be faster, but I had to remind myself how to do some things in InDesign. It’s been a long time since I was using it every day, and you forget how to do some things.

I got an email back, pretty quickly, telling me I’d left out the appendices. Ugh. Totally my bad. So I spent another couple of hours doing that, the bulk of it learning how to do what I was trying to do (import a table, and install Adobe fonts I didn’t have).

Then I updated the software on my work PC. I did a little bit of housekeeping while it did that, and when it was all over I was pulling out of the parking structure at about 11:30. An eight-hour day in the office. Not all of it working, sure, but dang it.

Came home pretty hungry but got distracted by my fifth or sixth viewing of Noelle, that Anna Kendrick Christmas movie they launched Disney+ with last fall. I must be vulnerable or something, because I got teary as heck. Actually cried near the end.

It was my first time in the office since Bloody Wednesday, and I spent a moment looking at a few of the empty desks. I’m feeling incredible survivor’s guilt now. And I’m pretty dang sad.

Finally got things moving near the end of Noelle. Had some Korean instant ramen with a small mountain of won bok and baby bok choi. I watched Rocket Science with Anna Kendrick right after. Not on purpose; it was the next movie on the jump drive I have stuck into my Blu-Ray player, and while I was cooking in the kitchen, the player just advanced to the next file. I ate dinner and watched that, and now I’m doing this. It’s almost four in the morning.

While in the office, I had a snack sized bag of sour cream and chive potato chips and a snack sized bag of cheddar bunnies.

I didn’t walk! I was going to leave the office at around 9:30 and do a quick 10,000 steps but then I had to do those appendices, so that took the rest of my evening.

I texted a few people Sunday. Sharon to talk about my survivor’s guilt. Penny to ask her to pass along a job lead I have, for one of the victims of Bloody Wednesday. Nobody who left sent the whole company contact info, and only one person sent an aloha email to everyone. I texted Crush Girl to ask a little about her weekend. Oh, I texted Ali, too, to talk about survivor’s guilt. She tried to counsel me out of it but I told her although I know all the stuff she said, you really can’t help feeling it. It may be a little while before I’m over it.

Monday’s going to be pretty busy, so I’m ending here in hopes of getting five good hours of sleep before I have to be at my desk.

Click that comment button if you’re looking for someone to connect with in these ridiculous lockdown days.

Lockdown: The absence of presence

My Saturdays seem to be falling into something of a pattern. Which I guess is appropriate since all my days seem to be falling into patterns. I didn’t drop off to sleep until past 6:30 in the morning and for some reason I woke up at 8:00, tired but wide awake. So I got up and had a bowl of raisin bran for breakfast. Read the news and did the NYT crossword (13:46 for a Saturday puzzle, and a totally clean solve).

I went back to bed for a few hours, got up and puttered around, went back to bed some more, and got up for lunch. Leftover angel hair. Watched the news. Did a few of the daily chores. Went back to bed.

I got out of bed around 9:30 in the evening and read more of the news. I re-watched episodes 5 and 6 of Casual, then read chapter 2 of No Filter. Around midnight I had dinner, the rest of the angel hair leftovers. Listened to some podcasts.

Oh, somewhere in there I spun the new Kansas album, The Absence of Presence, a few spins. It’s good. The best thing I can say is that it sounds like a Kansas album, which isn’t true of all their work. This sounds like the late-70s band even without Kerry Livgren. A good candidate for my end-of-2020 top ten list.

I texted briefly with Crush Girl and that was it. She apologized because she was going to tell me when I could meet her to give her something, and she forgot. Kind of a bummer, but I’m glad she got back to me. We’ll try to connect before the weekend is up, which frankly may be really good for me even though it’s ostensibly so I can give her something.

I didn’t go for a walk, and if you’re thinking my not walking lately is contributing to my downer mood, I’m sure you’re totally right. Just need to get it together. It’s weird because I’ve often sacrificed the walk in favor of sleep, but sleep’s been terrible lately anyway.

Sunday will be better.

Time for bed. If you need some connection, I encourage you to leave a note here. I’ll give you my contact info for texting or IMing or DMing. I’m lucky to have good friends who are keeping me somewhat tethered. If you need something like it, here I am.

Lockdown: Sloooow daaaaaaaay

Friday wasn’t bad either. I know I got some work done but I can’t really remember what. Felt like a slow day, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. I know I say this a lot, but a huge part of my job, when I’m writing these stories, is thinking. And sometimes it’s thinking directly about the story itself and sometimes it’s thinking peripherally about it, and sometimes it’s thinking about something entirely unrelated.

In the office, it can be a little stressful, trying to look busy when I’m just thinking. I take a lot of walks. But sometimes it helps to have the work on the second monitor while I’m looking at something on the first. That’s the peripheral thinking, much of the time.

At home it’s less stressful since nobody can see me, but I admit sometimes thinking leads to distraction, much more easily at home than in my cube. There’s more than a fair chance this happened a few times Friday.

For breakfast, I did the stir-fry again, with won bok, watercress, and bean sprouts with lazy fried rice. It was a lot of vegges — enough food that I streched it across two meals. I didn’t have dinner until reeeally late. Like past one in the morning. I made a pot of angel hair with jarred sauce. I threw some red pepper flakes, red wine, and dried garlic in the sauce with a little bit of honey. It came out great; I’m looking forward to leftovers Saturday.

Somewhere in there I had a small bag of kettle chips for a snack, and enjoyed a couple of kalimotxos with dinner.

After the evening news (infuriating, as usual), I spent most of the night in bed, napping like crazy and listening to podcasts. It didn’t start out as escapist napping, but that’s definitely what it was when I willed myself up, at about half past midnight, to make dinner.

I watched the second half of the first season of Casual. I think I’m in on the second season. It’s a pretty funny, smart show with seriously broken main characters. The insufferable central male character is sliiiiightly less insufferable in the second five episodes, demonstrating a kind of grace I wasn’t expecting, in situations where vengeance might have been forgiveable.

Crawled back into bed at 6:30 in the morning, or thereabouts.

Writing partner texted me an update. I apologized for not yet getting to her work. Then I spent a few minutes thinking about entering a flash fiction in a national contest.

Sharon and I texted a little about one of the candidates for city council. We’re voting by mail this month for the primaries and it’s time to make some decisions. Not for the national or state elections — I’m going to vote Libertarian (capital L) and there aren’t any contested races. Our city elections are non-partisan, though, and the primaries are a chance for candidates to win outright if they get more than 50% of the vote. Otherwise they set up runoff elections. I’m 75% sure about my mayoral choice, but I honestly don’t know what to do for the prosecutor. I didn’t love the responses any of the candidates submitted to the Civil Beat survey. I think the only candidate I’m certainly not voting for is the guy who was already in the prosecutor’s office under the (suspended) incumbent.

Slow day for text messages too, it turns out.

Which means I have bandwidth. Reach out if you’re in need of connection. This is a crazy time and it looks like it’s about to get crazier. I’m here (ish) if you need me.

Lockdown: Holding

Thursday was aight.

I reached out to a couple of scholarship recipients for interviews, and connected with a coworker to get me in touch with a donor, after getting my notes and ideas organized for this one story. Then I did a little bit of background on another story. Mostly I organized my files, a tedious and time-consuming pain, but it has to be done sometimes.

The potato chips I ordered were delivered. That was kind of fun.

I spent most of my free time either napping or reading. Got through chapter one of No Filter and chapter two of Quiet. Had a horrible stress dream during one of my naps, about my parents dropping in on me with some family friends, coming into my house as I slept. The family friends had a couple of daughters who were interesting, of the sort my mom would like, but I was too stressed about the situation to get to know either of them and I woke up totally stressed-out. Ugh. I’m stressed just thinking about it.

I don’t know if this is a solution, but an evening of mindless entertainment of the video sort may be in order here.

I have to pick a few things up from either Long’s or Walgreens, each of them an equidistant short walk from my house, and each of them open all night. I was going to walk down but I’m really trying to avoid people, and by the time it was late enough I was too sleepy to go.

Or maybe not. I just realized I can probably McGuyver something for the thing I have in mind, using stuff I have in this cluttered abode.

Why I picked up breakfast Thursday is a mystery. I got home from the laundry (no beach), slept a few hours, got up, and ordered online from one of the breakfast spots in the hood. I ordered a veggie omelette and Nutella French toast. The French toast was fine, but it was just way too chocolately for me. I’m also kind of grossed out by palm oil nowadays and avoid it as much as I can, so what was I doing? The omelette was okay, but seriously nothing to get out of bed (or out of the house) for.

It was enough food for breakfast and lunch, actually. Dinner was a couple of microwave oven quesadillas. Fast and simple. I snacked on a snack-size bag of sea salt potato chips.

Writing partner sent me some updates on her work. I said I’d get to it but I didn’t. AJ and I decompressed a little about the stress we’ve each been feeling about this stupid COVID-19 situation. Sylvia sent me a link to a recipe for two-ingredient bagels, which look amazing. She says she’s going to give them a try this weekend. I said send me photos!

I accidentally sent Jennifer a happy birthday text meant for someone else. Then asked her for her birthday and she didn’t give it up. Sent the happy birthday text to the person whose birthday it was.

Crush Girl and I texted about a nice range of subjects including her dinner plans this weekend (again).

Did not go for a walk.

I think Thursday was kind of spent just moving toward the weekend, but I don’t really have anything going on this weekend, so I can’t figure out why. And it looks like I might have to work on a proposal if revisions come in over the weekend. Ugggh.

Not one of my better days, ‘though I can’t really point to anything that sucked. Here’s to a better Friday.

Lockdown: Letting our teachers die

I felt better when I got out of bed Wednesday. Not completely back, but that lack of energy was gone, so I put in a fairly honest day’s work.

I had a phone meeting with my supervisor about the stories I’m working on. One’s going to be pretty easy, assembled from pieces of stuff already published. The other’s going to take a bit of legwork, possibly a phone call or two. So I worked a bit on that, then did some editing to an appeal letter sent by a coworker in a department I don’t get to work with very much, someone I see maybe once a year. It was nice to do a thing for them.

Breakfast was late again — around noon. I did a quick stir-fry of bean sprouts, watercress, and won bok. Set that aside then did a lazy fried rice — just hapa rice, salt, and pepper fried in olive oil, then two eggs cracked over it and scrambled in. It went great with the veggies and was a rather pleasing meal. Reminded me of college.

Lunch at around 6:00 was just a small dish of potato salad. I wasn’t too hungry.

I’m having my dinner now at the laundry — a Big Mac combo.

The news continues to be depressing. The governor of Georgia decreed that any local law mandating the use of face masks in that state was void. So the Atlanta mayor’s own decree requiring masks is invalid now.

I’ve got a very Republican friend who sometimes reads this space. I disagree with him on almost every issue, which is weird because I’m a conservative (libertarian, remember?) and we can’t seem to find a lot of common ground. When Barack Obama was elected president, he said this country would “go to Hell in a handbasket” under his presidency.

I think a lot of conservatives might agree this actually happened, although I think their argument is weak. However, I think it’s difficult to argue against our going to Hell right now in a vessel quite a bit larger than a handbasket. Tens of thousands of people each day are catching this disease because Republican leadership in certain parts of the country, egged on by the president, are spitting in the face of science in the name of personal liberty. And that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt. A less charitable interpretation would be that in order to appease the president and his base, they are willing to let people die.

It just makes me want to scream.

A friend of mine has a friend who teaches in that Orange Country school district in the news this week. She sent me a quote from a letter the school board sent to teachers blatantly refusing to allow social distancing or face masks in classrooms. I wouldn’t publish this because it’s a reliable source (my friend)’s reliable source, so I’m allowing that it might not be totally true. Still, the audacity is infuriating.

Meanwhile Californians continue to die.

As should be obvious, a great number of my friends is in education in Hawaii. One of them who teaches at a prominent independent school says that as of now, with a month to go before classes resume, the plan is to conduct school in person.

My question is how prepared is the school for the preventable death of one of its teachers? I mean, forget students who would be horrible enough to lose to this thing, but one of its employees forced to come to work at a time when this disease isn’t remotely under control and whose numbers continue to climb? That’s negligence at best. It’s malicious apathy at worst.

Another friend who works in an office downtown was recently told to come back into the office for work. Now someone in the office has a housemate who tested positive. The coworker hasn’t yet been tested, and the office hasn’t been closed. She’s opting for working at home, though. Thank goodness.

I recognize and accept that I’m typing this from a position of almost extreme privilege, but come on. This dedicated libertarian (lower-case L) thinks the government exists for a few very specific reasons, but the health and safety of the citizenry is probably the top of the list. Whatever it costs us to keep people safe at home, even if it’s cash handouts and eviction moratoria, it’s a justifiable cost. It’s a freaking mandated cost, mandated by the very nature of democratic (lower-case D) government.

I just took a moment from writing this to see if Netflix has either Gaslight film on DVD. It has the original 1940 version, but not the 1944 version with Ingrid Bergman. Amazon has the 1944 film for rent (cheap) and UH Manoa has it for loan (free because of my employer’s association with the university). I might prefer to spend the $4 to watch it on Prime than to drive to campus during library hours and pick it up.

I actually got myself to bed at 9:00 and to sleep probably within fifteen minutes. Got up at 2:15 and I feel tireder than on most laundry mornings when I get much less sleep. I’m thinking I may not be fully recovered from whatever yuckiness that was on Tuesday. My tiredness may also be related to my really not wanting to come in today to do this. I finally got going because I don’t want to deal with crowds at the beach Friday or during the weekend, but I just realized today’s the last day of the jellyfish influx so dang. There went that plan.

It’s okay. I think I need sleep more, and this will give me a few more hours before work.

Connections were interesting Wednesday. Sylvia sent me a photo of an antique reading chair from the 18th century. It has a swing-arm book stand coming out of one arm and another swing-arm candlestick holder coming out of the other. Brilliant. Chair looks pretty comfy too. The backrest doesn’t abut just the rear side of the chair, like most chairs today. It wraps around the corner, so it abuts two sides, leaving the opposite corner to go between your legs, one leg on each side of the corner. I don’t know why chairs aren’t build like this anyway. I find most chairs horribly uncomfortable, but this looks like it would work. I wonder if it’s to avoid having women sit in what some would consider an indelicate position. Pssh. If I had this thing I’d convert that candlestick holder to a drink holder.

Someone in the engineering group text sent a link to an article about a squirrel testing positive for bubonic plague.

Sharon and I traded more thoughts on Bloody Wednesday and our departed coworkers. Yeah, we’re all still dealing with it.

The writing partner sent me a progress report on her newfound verve in rewriting her novel. I said I would probably have time this morning at the laundry to take a look at it, which I will do as soon as I post this.

Crush Girl and I traded some thoughts on her dinner plans this week. It’s related to our earlier conversation when she asked me if I’d ever dined at a couple of restaurants she named. I had.

Laptop’s about to run out of juice. It was at 100% when I started this an hour or so ago and now it’s down to 38%. I really need to replace the battery.

Let me know (in comments below) if you’re looking to connect. I’m here for texts, DMs, and IMs if you want to reach out.

Lockdown: Sick day

Not feeling well.

I was moderately productive at work, responding to a few emails, tying up some loose ends, managing some files, and doing the background on my next story. Around noon I started to feel weak, just a total lack of energy. Something inside felt a little unsettled too, so after my 2:00 Zoom meeting, I took the rest of my day off for sick leave and retired immediately to bed.

Following were several hours of that sick-sleep. Falling unconscious in odd positions (face pressed forcefully into the mattress, mouth wide open, one arm dangling off the side of the bed, butt sticking up at an impossible angle), waking suddenly to shift into some other weird position, look at the phone, try to read something on it, then dropping off again with some vague awareness that time is passing but not really knowing how much.

I forced myself up at round 9:00 to hit the grocery store, which was unusually crowded at 10:30 (half an hour before closing on a midweek night!). It was quite stressful.

I went in with a list, knowing nothing was going to look good, the way I was feeling. Mostly stuck to the list although I had “something totally different” on the list and I just didn’t have it in me to really search for something different. I’m falling into kitchen malaise, I think, and need something to get me excited again. The kalimotxos have been great but somehow a cocktail’s not the same thing as some exotic fruit or veggie from somewhere I’ve never been, or some canned thing I’ve never tried.

Keeping up one’s living space is a pain in the neck, something I’m only recently kind of learning to do with regularity, thanks to lots of time at home, and goodness knows my living space has some unpleasant tasks unique to me. But is there any chore more annoying than bringing in the groceries? I hate it so much. It’s disheartening.

When I was living in the dorm, JB and I would hit the Manoa Safeway and spend ambitious amounts money on ambitious numbers of groceries. We’d carry everything down to the kitchen to stash our stuff in our assigned cabinets and our assigned fridges and then we’d go to Grace’s for dinner. Why is cooking the last thing anyone wants to do after bringing home fresh groceries? I think it has something to do with the pain-in-the-neck task of putting everything away.

I put the pantry stuff away and found weird places to keep the next week-and-a-half’s worth of Diet Pepsi, but left the produce on my counter and collapsed in the bed, not getting back up until after 4:30 in the morning. What am I doing to myself?

I put the produce away — even chopping the watercress into stir-fryable sizes and putting it in a zippered plastic bag.

I had breakfast kind of late, like not until 11:30 or so. I had half a can of corned beef hash in the fridge from before the weekend of decadence, so I fried that up with some eggs and had it on the hapa rice. I’m pretty sure I skipped lunch, but my brain is hazy about that time of day. I feel like I must have eaten something but can’t find any evidence of it.

I had dinner just now, a bowl of raisin bran.

Jennifer texted me a link to an article while I was at the supermarket. It talked about what you need to earn hourly in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii. Depressing.

Crush Girl and I traded more book talk, which was nice. Sharon and I did some work talk until I felt too tired to continue.

I didn’t go for a walk because of not feeling well.

I don’t know how I feel now, but I think I feel another crash coming, and I still need to brush my teeth.

Which I think I’ll do now. No time for proofreading. I’ll fix typos later. Reach out here if you want someone to connect with in this extended lockdown.

Lockdown: Where my homies at?

Last night after I wrote, I did go for a walk. I meant it to be short, just down to one of the bus stops down the hill and two or three blocks over so I could tie a few grocery bags full of recyclable bottles and cans to it. I don’t need the nickels but I need the exercise, so I leave the returnables for those people who collect them.

I had three bags full of ten to twelve cans and bottles each. Tied two of them to a trash can at the bus stop near Joey DeSa field, then was going to tie the third to the can at the bus stop in front of the Catholic church a block away. But there were suspicious-looking guys hanging out in front of a house where there are always suspicious-looking people hanging out, and this time they were going back and forth across the street, which was right where the bus stop was.

So I detoured and took my cans to a bus stop on Liliha, then decided I might as well walk to the 7-Eleven near Kawananakoa School and get a money order to pay the rent. But the ATM was out of order there so I walked to the other 7-Eleven, on Nuuanu and School. It’s a only a slightly shorter walk than what was my norm before my knee started killing me.

It ended up being 10,000 steps. I set out shortly before midnight, and got back close to 2:00. Sigh. I cooled off and wound down, then put myself to bed and was still wide awake at 4:00 and was still kind of awake at 6:00. Ugh.

It must be that a good walk takes me three hours to really wind down from. Which is insane. I’m not running a super marathon; I’m strolling through a neighborhood. Geez. I don’t know what to think or do. Because I was very tired and sleepy before the walk and then not at all for hours after.

Despite my two hours of sleep, I woke up Monday ready to go. Revised a draft that was supposed to have been done but came back for more changes. Finished the second of those stories that took too long. Did some background on my next story. Submitted a rough first draft of a proposal for the college of engineering. Emailed a couple of people to get approval on a story draft. I was productive as heck.

I read chapter one of Quiet and wrote some pretty extensive notes. I don’t want to have to read this yet again, so I’m trying to get as much out of it as I can. Watched the news. Took a nap. Read the news and ate. Moved some of my kitchen countertop appliances around to make better use of my space. Tackled the Monster.

I was feeling pretty weak by then, around midnight, so I really dilly-dallied through the task, taking more than two hours on something that usually takes just shy of ninety minutes. But I got it done, and after all these weeks of commitment, I’m beginning to see some big differences. Rather pleased.

I felt so good that I set up some space in my laundry room to do jigsaw puzzles. When the Monster is slain, I’ll rearrange my living room with a dedicated jigsaw puzzle table, but I felt I deserved a temporary space for it in the laundry. AJ sent me a gorgeous puzzle a couple of months ago and I need to show her my gratitude by actually working on it.

I didn’t work on the puzzle — separated the edges from the interior, then took a photo to send to AJ, and that was it. Because it’s past 4:00 in the morning and I need to get to bed.

Breakfast and lunch were the leftovers from L&L. The chicken katsu was unusually good. I made a large pot of hapa rice and had canned chili for dinner. Just still didn’t feel like actually preparing something.

I decided that for hapa rice, a 3 to 1 brown rice to white rice ratio works best. Equal parts is hardly noticeable as brown rice. Drank kalimotxos out of my huge beer mug. I still have a third of the bottle of shiraz but I’m out of cola, so that’ll be it until the weekend I think.

There was a lot of interaction Monday. AJ and I traded texts before I fell asleep to see if I was awake. She guessed wide awake at 3:00, which I was. Then much later I thanked her again for the puzzle and sent her a photo of the edge pieces separated out.

Called my parents during my lunch break. They seem okay. Not as upbeat as the last time I saw them. I told them about Bloody Wednesday and they reassured me if it ever comes to it, I always have them and their home to fall back on. I thanked them and said I know; I appreciate it.

The writing partner was super super amped about some revisions she made to her novel, so she wanted to talk on the phone. I was annoyed at having to make a second voice call in one day, but it turned out to be really nice to hear her voice, and we had a good, productive writers group session.

Jennifer and I traded a few texts about canned chili (this is what inspired my dinner) and her working in the office situation. I texted Crush Girl to tell her this story I saw on the news — I thought she’d think it was sweet. She did. Then I sent the same story to Ali in Boston, and she said she’d read the same story too.

Penny and I traded some book talk. That was nice. I like having friends who read. It makes me sad about Silent Book Club being on hold for the foreseeable future.

Didn’t go for a walk so I could take care of the Monster, but also to give my knee a break. If I don’t do laundry Wednesday morning, I’ll at least walk down the hill and back up Tuesday evening.

Don’t tell anyone I said this; I need to maintain my lone wolf cred. When I was out walking last night, I realized that it has taken four months of pretty steady solitary living for me to miss spending time in person with my friends, coworkers, and family. I miss human company. Live, in-person human company. With people I know, not just with the strangers in cafes and restaurants and movie theaters.

It feels a little weird. Like, I’ll experience something like this all the time for specific people — like hey, I haven’t hung out with so-and-so for a while. I wonder if she wants to get coffee. Or a general kind of hanging out — like man, I could really use some social female company. But missing being around people who know me, all of them at once? Very odd.

Four months. And it could be another four or eight before it ever happens. It feels weird, but also I’m trying to take advantage of the distancing. Undistracted by social stuff, I’m taking care of a lot of stuff I should have taken care of long ago, and that feels good.

Anyway, something to think about. I might have expected my threshold to be closer to six months, but here we are at four months and I’m missing getting a pizza with my writing partner or coffee with Grace or lunch with the coworkers or dinner with the folks. A passing mood? Or the beginning of a descent? Let’s find out!

And if you’re needing more connection, I’m happy to participate. Leave a note here and I’ll send you my contact info for DMs, IMs, and texts. Let’s message.

Lockdown: Am I awake or asleep?

If I go for a walk right now, at 10:30 in the evening, and if I make it a quick one, I can satisfy my need to get some fresh air and some blood flowing, but I’ll be back at 12:30, I’ll need an hour to unwind, and then I’ll need an hour to write this. I can’t write right after a long walk. Or even a medium walk. And I’d like to get the work week started sanely, without being up until sunrise.

So I’m writing this now. Then I’ll do my getting-ready-for-tomorrow stuff, then go for a walk, maybe. Then come home, brush my teeth, and go to bed. I won’t be able to sleep right away, but maybe I won’t need the whole hour to cool down since I won’t be sitting down to do any thinking.

So yeah. Let’s see how this works.

I slept weirdly. Woke up feeling kind of rested, but Darth Vader wasn’t on my face. I took it off and went back to sleep and remember none of it. The machine tells me how much time the thing was in operation, and it said something like four hours and fifteen minutes. Not long before I actually awakened.

I didn’t get up and moving until 1:30. Ate the beef stew for breakfast. It was gross. Did the NYT crossword, texted Ali, read the news, did the LAT crossword. Somehow it was suddenly 8:00 in the evening and I had nothing else to show for it. I seriously don’t know where the day went.

I drove down the L&L and picked up a kalua pig combo with laulau. I have leftovers. I also picked up a chicken katsu for tomorrow. So I ate takeout for every meal beginning Friday and extending into Monday. Not proud, but strangely pleased.

I really wish I woke up early enough to have breakfast and then call my parents. I try not to call them too late in the afternoon. I’m going to have to take a morning break Monday and give them a call. Just need to see how they are.

While I had lunch/dinner, I re-read the intro to Susan Cain’s Quiet, the fourth time I’ve read the intro. Trying to give the book an honest, thoughtful, slow read, but I keep getting sidetracked. I also read the intro to Susan Frier’s Unfiltered: The Inside Story of Instagram, which I purchased a month before it was released and am only getting to now.

I’m pleased that I spent the time. I’d rather be reading a novel but I guess this is where my brain is right now, so I’m going to ride it. I’ve been following Frier on Twitter for some time. She’s a tech journalist who does really good work. And she’s rather fetching. Which I didn’t know when I followed her, I’ll have you know. I’ll admit it factored into my pre-ordering the book, though.

I didn’t listen to much music Sunday. A little bit of power metal as I was up and about. Nothing while I read. I’m spinning the Choir’s Bloodshot Eyes (2018) now, mostly because it stimulates my Sunday mood really well. Something wistful about this album that reminds me of my Sunday evenings when I was still teaching.

AJ texted me while I was typing yesterday’s entry, to see if I was asleep. She guessed wrong. I was awake. We chatted a little before I went to bed. Jennifer and I talked a teeny bit about the sourdough starter article she sent me. Silly shenanigans in the engineering group text. I sent Ali a couple of texts but she did the touch-respond to each, without actually texting me back. What’s the word for that? When someone ha-has your text message? Oh, I forgot she actually texted me when I was asleep — sent me a photo of a guy on 90-Day Fiance who goes everywhere carrying a cat. I responded with, “That’s me in six months.” Sylvia sent me a link to a recipe for rolled hoagies. It looks pretty involved, I said, but it looks delicious.

Feel a little yucky, physically, which I think I predicted sometime Saturday. At least right now, I regret nothing. I have to say the national news about COVID-19 is really, really bringing me down. I listened as usually on Sunday mornings to NBC’s Meet the Press via podcast and that made it worse. Then, unusually, I listened to ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous and that made it worse. We gotta get this guy out of the White House.

I’ve been staring at a blinking cursur for ten minutes, which means it’s time to just go. So let’s go. It’s three minutes to eleven, and I’m putting the odds of my taking a walk before bed tonight at something like 1.5 to 1 in favor.

Reach out if you need some connection. I can’t say I’ll be the cheeriest company, but I’ll be company. Leave a message in this space.

Here’s to a good week.

Lockdown: Kalimotxo kalimotxo kalimotxo

Saturday. Man it felt good.

I did go to sleep at around 9:30 Friday night. The first two hours were that drooling, unintentional sleep, without the Darth Vader mask. The next three and a half were the peaceful, proper sleep of a normal human being with a hose coming out of his face and air being pushed in by a machine. Then the next couple of hours were a weird mix of rest and unrest. Peaceful unrest but still not really sleep.

I typed up yesterday’s journal then around eight, I went to the supermarket.

I’d never heard of a kalimotxo until I saw someone drinking one on IG. Read a few articles in the NY Times and a few other cool food-and-drink publications and I was sold. So yeah. 8:00 in the morning at the supermarket for cheap wine and Hawaii-made cola. The kind sweetened with cane sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup.

It’s basically cheap red wine and cola in equal amounts. On ice. It sounds gross but it’s terrific. Like everything a sangria or spritzer wants to be but isn’t. That cola flavor makes such a difference.

Before heading home, I stopped at a breakfast spot in the hood. Not Pancakes and Waffles, but Egghead Cafe. I picked up a veggie omelette (they have two on the menu) and some peanut butter French toast, which was basically a peanut butter sandwich dipped in French toast batter and fried. It was rather delicious. The omelette was amazing. Fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms, onion, garlic, spinach, Swiss cheese, miso, and a sweet sesame sauce. I thought the shiitake-Swiss combination was going to make the meal, but it was the fried tofu, which was kind of stiff and chewy, almost like a shiitake before it’s all the way rehydrated. Gave the whole thing a great, meaty feeling.

That was breakfast and lunch. I pretty much sipped on kalimotxos from lunch time to right now (it’s just past six in the morning), which isn’t as bad as it sounds. I didn’t finish the whole bottle of the $6 cab and only got through two cans of the cola.

For dinner, I drove to Liliha Bakery and ordered two entrees. I had the meatloaf for dinner. I’ll have the beef stew Sunday for either breakfast or lunch.

Two days in a row of takeout for all three meals. I’m not disgusted with myself yet, but I’ll get there sometimes Sunday for sure.

Gluttony, sloth. Sloth, gluttony.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I haven’t done any reading since the lockdown began. I made myself do it today, though. Finished the graphic novel I posted a review of a few hours ago. Probably the highlight of my day, besides just having a break from all the work sadness.

All day I had my power metal playlist spinning in the background. Edenbridge. Kamelot. Two bands I think would make my own top 25 albums list for the genre. Others I’d kind of forgotten about, like Edguy and MasterPlan.

Lots of texting Saturday. I responded to Jennifer’s sourdough text and she said she’d like to hear how anything comes out if I give something from the article a try. Crush Girl and I talked about her plans for the weekend. Actually, we conversed about some good stuff, like the breakfast places I’ve been trying lately in my hood. And a couple of restaurants she asked me about because she might check one out soon.

Penny heard about Bloody Wednesday from one of her friends who’s married to one of the guys who didn’t make it. Ugh. She wanted to know if I was still employed. There was some talk in the engineering firm group text about a possible Zoom to watch one of the kids have a birthday cake. I remained silent on that one.

The best was Ali. She was very talkative, and we shared some stuff we almost never got to talk about while we worked together. It was therapeutic. We talked books, too. I was really worried distance was going to separate our friendship, and I’m still a little worried about that, but so far it’s pretty good. Not like seeing each other every day good, but better than I might have hoped. I think I need her more than she needs me, so I’ve been a little sensitive about this.

I didn’t go for a walk. I ate like a madman and drank kalimotxos and read a graphic novel and watched a couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black and made a small chores list for Sunday. I’m expecting to do more of the same Sunday, except for adding the chores, possibly to include the Monster. And I have a shiraz instead of a cab.

So, lots of time for texting and DMing if you need it. Hit me up.

Time for bed. God bless us and make us good boys and girls. Amen.