Lockdown: Chili fatigue

Wednesday was pretty mellow. Woke up ahead of my alarm and took my time getting to work, but still got started earlier than has been my wont in these lockdown days. Got my brain and typing fingers warmed up on some little tasks and emails, then called my supervisor to discuss a new arrangement.

My job breaks down mostly into three very different kinds of writing. I write feature stories about scholarship recipients, alumni, donors, and corporate giving. That’s the difficult but fun part. I also write acknowledgment letters from different UH people, thanking donors for their gifts. I’m supposed to rewrite these things every six months or so. It’s also difficult, because finding new ways to say thank you is tough, and I have to make certain university VIPs happy, since their signatures go on these things.

Since last summer, I’m also writing gift proposals for targeted donors. We’re talking about a three-page request to Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So for $200,000 to endow a scholarship in the College of Blank for students who blank-blank. It’s not difficult, but it’s challenging in a a different way, mostly in working with different people with different priorities. In pre-writing conversation, one person will tell me, “Here’s the one thing you must include…” and then in the first round of edits, this one thing will be the first thing someone else crosses out. I once had the dean of a college add a sentence to the very beginning of my introduction that was nearly verbatim the last sentence in my introduction, leaving the original sentence unmarked. I didn’t know if I was being asked to move the sentence or to be intentionally redundant.

I resolved it by adding “Again…” to the closing sentence, to indicate intentional redundancy.

Anyway, the phone call was to discuss bringing the other writer in our organization into the process, as sort of my tutor. She’s our grant writer, and she writes proposals all the time with researchers doing most of the actual writing. Her recipients are corporations, though, while mine are individual donors, which is one way our jobs are distinguished. We work well together, and we respect each other’s work, so my supervisor and I agree this arrangement could really be helpful. I look forward to it.

I spent the rest of my workday working on the story causing me problems. Didn’t finish but hoped to get it done Thursday. Friday is a holiday (Statehood Day), and I’m taking vacation on Monday and Tuesday. I had another phone call with the development officer involved with this story. It was our first time talking since we all got sent home, so it was nice to catch and share our thoughts about Bloody Wednesday. She said she felt as I did: that I was the one in our department most likely to be let go. I appreciated that she saw it my way.


Breakfast was instant ramen with kale and choy sum, the last of the fresh veggies in my fridge. I’m not planning to hit the grocery store until near the end of the weekend, but I may have to adjust. Or eat some canned things. Or get veggie-laden takeout. Ooh, good idea.

Lunch was the rest of the bread, with honey-macadamia peanut butter. Dinner was chili and hapa rice. It’s going on ten days old and I had around three more servings of it, so I tossed it all in a pan and simmered it for a bit, to discourage any nasties from putting down roots. I’ve got to admit I’m already tired of the idea of chili, although I enjoyed it while I actually consumed it. Might need to make a smaller pot next time, or switch things up even more than I planned. Maybe some curry next time, or a radically different kind of stew.

Shortly before bed, I popped open a can of that hard seltzer I picked up as my something different the weekend before last. It’s a local brand, Ola, made with local organic ginger. I like flavored (and even unflavored) seltzers a lot, but I’m not yet sold on hard seltzer. I assumed they were all spiked with some kind of malt liquor, but this is spiked with alcohol fermented from organic sugar. So rum? I don’t know what makes a rum besides sugar.

I poured it over ice, and it was okay. At just under five percent alcohol by volume, it gave me a pleasant, low-grade, almost-buzz.

Jennifer sent me another screen shot of the baby otter. Very cute. That may have been my only text Wednesday. Weird. I didn’t notice less activity there. There were some IMs in the company Skype but I don’t remember them. They might have been work-related.

I crashed just after midnight and slept decently, around seven hours, the second half correctly strapped into Darth Vader.

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