Lockdown: Frabjous day

After roughly ten hours in bed Sunday night, perhaps seven or eight of them sleeping, I was up around 7:30 and raring to go. I’m kind of working on two stories at the same time. Made decent progress on them both and got hung up on them both right around the same time. This is not an ideal way to work but for some reason I couldn’t focus on one at a time.

Slowed way down around the lunch hour, just felt my energy drain out of me again, like it did late Friday and all day Saturday. I don’t know what this is. I’m not ruling out something emotional, but it feels different from the usual emotional muckiness. I wonder if I’m recovering from eating something bad.

I struggled to get to the end of my work day, but really what was the point? I was nearly useless except for responding to emails. When I took my usual hour for lunch and tried to take a nap, I realized all that sleep Sunday night left me not at all sleepy. So I just lingered in bed, sapped of strength and not sleeping. It was a bit disheartening.

When I was off the clock I just went to bed. Went into and came out of uneasy sleep for several hours, replaying the podcast I was listening to every time I woke up and realized I’d missed it. At around 11:00, I got up to take my weekly bite out of the Monster, after spending half an hour convincing myself it would be okay to let it slide for one week.

I did the strenuous, somewhat time-consuming second task in what’s still a three-task Monster routine. The strenuousness had me taking a lot of breaks, including one two-hour one in bed. Ugh. But at about 2:00 I got up and finished it, then did the other stupid tasks and finally wrapped it all up at about quarter to six in the morning.

I’m a little too tired to really reflect on this, but the Monster as a singular, daunting task is pretty much slain. There are a few severed limbs here and there that I will have to tend to here and there, but we’re talking an inconvenient 10 minutes at a time, a few times over the next month or so, not ninety minutes to three (or six, as it was today) hours every week. I really got started in the last week of April. Looking at my calendar, I count fifteen weeks without skipping a week, doing roughly the same amount of unpleasant, disgusting, strenuous work on this ridiculous thing.

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I can recite “Jabberwocky” by memory, in case you need someone to bring some poetry to your wedding ceremony. It just happened. I never set out to memorize it; I just know it.

So what next? The Monster was a cumulative problem that I’ll have to be vigilant against its rising up again. This means regularly tending to a chore unlike any chore you have to do wherever you live, I assure you. Like, I could give you a hundred — nay, five hundred — guesses and you’d never even get close. As long as I do that every few days, it’s not a big deal. And by my calculations I would have to neglect it for a whole month to accumulate what’s been one week’s worth of Monster-slaying activity during this lockdown.

Let’s not let it get to that again.

Here’s also what’s next. I have an even larger task, another cumulative thing I’m not nearly as embarrassed about, that I couldn’t really take care of until the Monster was out of the way. I just have a ton of decluttering I have to get done. It’s something I attack here and there, periodically, but not with the focused regularity it requires. Not with the devotion I’ve paid the Monster these past fifteen weeks.

So I guess I’m going to apply this kind of dedication to decluttering, reserving the same time every week with an early Monday morning deadline. I’m calling this stupid, annoying beast of a task the Beast, which I will begin next week. I think this week I’m going to pick up the loose ends of the Monster, as best I can, just to get as many remnants of it out of my way as possible.

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

I haven’t actually been to bed, like really put myself to bed, since I got up at 7:30 Monday morning. This is going to play hell with my brain, my work, and my overall Tuesday. I’m considering taking a vacation day for mental health, except I’m against deadlines on three things. Ugh.

Breakfast was a couple of tuna sandwiches. Lunch was instant ramen with a small mountain of soy sprouts and bok choi — grown-up bok choi, not baby bok choi. Each meal was slightly too much food, so I didn’t have dinner, and neither did I have any snacks. That no-energy thing I’ve been going through lately has come with a loss of appetite, too, which is probably as much in play here.

My coworker Stacia texted me a link to a New Yorker article about this copy-editing game. We have to play this, I responded. She said she knows. We talked a little about how we could use it as part of a group interview the next time we fill a spot in our department.

Jennifer sent me some info about this Nutella packaging I wondered aloud about on IG. Pretty interesting but also kind of dumb. I dislike Nutella now anyway.

Traded a few FB messenger thoughts with Jen, one of my NaNoWriMo buddies. Another friend on messenger sent me a link to a forum discussion we had about The Good Earth exactly fourteen years ago.

That was about it, but that was perhaps all I had capacity for. Here’s to better feeling Tuesday.

I didn’t go for a walk! Gr.

Reach out if you need some connection. I’ll send contact info.

Lockdown: Remembering the Ala Mo

Sunday was slightly better. I got up far too early, so I read the news for a bit and went back to bed for a few hours. Got up before noon (progress!), and rather than settle in with the crossword as usual, I just got stuff ready to take to the office. Got a few quick chores done first and then got to work at about 3:00.

Did some housekeeping stuff at my desk, including updating software on my work laptop and packing up some more stuff to bring home. On Ali’s last day at the office in February, she left me a dozen packs of Shin Ramyun, the most popular (at least in America) of the Korean instant ramen brands. I’d been keeping some in my desk for a few years specifically for Ali when she didn’t have anything for lunch, and she was paying me back even though I told her that was ridiculous. I have five left and brought them all home, along with a few other things from the snack/lunch drawer.

Then I walked to Ala Moana Center to get some hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works. Man, that was stressful. It was stressful walking down Keeaumoku the six blocks or so. That’s a high-pedestrian-traffic bit of city, so I wore my mask and so did most of the others, but people were not careful to stay away from me. I stepped out into the road a few times just to leave enough space. And yeah, I was miffed.

It was more of the same at the mall. At least there were zero maskless people, but there were just so many people. Bath and Body Works did a nice job keeping us spaced out while waiting in line to get into the store, and there were few enough people inside that staying away from others wasn’t difficult, thank goodness. Props to Bath and Body Works.

I considered grabbing lunch at the Lanai, the lesser (in size) of the food courts at this enormous mall, and could have found a table spaced far enough away from others to do it, but all those people eating, with no masks? I couldn’t do it.

I hit Target on my way out, to grab a new fan and a box of cereal. Target was far more croweded than Bath and Body Works and it was pretty darn stressful in there too. That’s it; I’m done with trying to buy things in daylight hours, especially on weekends.

Walked to Zippy’s instead to grab lunch. Took it back to the office to eat while I read the Washington Post and Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Settled in at my desk to do some real work, and got out of there at about 8:00. I’d aimed for 7:00, but I kept thinking of things to do, stuff that’s just easier to take care of in the office.

The walking was good, although my knee was unhappy with me by the time I was done. It came out to about 7,000 steps, and if I’d been keeping an eye on the step count I think I’d have gone another 2,000, but oh well. Maybe I’ll find a way to build this into my Sundays: errand-running on foot while my computer updates in the cube. Just, dang. Maybe not Ala Moana or Keeaumoku Street.

I was enormously tired when I got home. Didn’t even fire up the computer and do any of my usual Sunday night things. Just brushed my teeth and was in bed by nine. Slept soundly (but without Darth Vader) for a couple of hours, then another couple of hours with Darth Vader. Woke up at about 2:00 really hungry, then took an hour of lying there thinking about eating. Got up and had (I guess) a very late dinner and dove back into bed at about 4:30. Slept a few more hours and got up at about 7:30.

There was some texting with Sharon about work stuff. Ali and I chatted extensively about a situation involving a social problem, and we talked quite a bit about books. Man, we never talked about reading when she was here, so this is a nice new facet to our friendship. I gave her books for Christmas each of the past two years, both of which she read (novels by Linda Sue Park), but we never talked about books other than that. Weird. Oh, she was very supportive of my starting Silent Book Club, but we had our first meeting the week after she moved. Sigh.

Breakfast was a bowl of instant ramen, with tatsoi and soy bean sprouts. Soy sprouts are fine, but they’ve got these enormous, nutty heads that I find distracting in most dishes. They’re fine as a side, but as an ingredient I find them bothersome. I know I’ve cooked with tatsoi before, although I can’t remember anything about it. I like the thinner, lighter-tasting stems, compared to tatsoi’s cousins bok choy and choy sum. I think they might be good in a raw salad. I’m thinking tatsoi with cold tofu cubes, halved grape tomatoes, and very thin slices of red onion, maybe with chopped parsley and that’s it. Or maybe parsley is too strong for the tatsoi. Anyway, I have half a bunch left and look forward to having fun with it.

Lunch from Zippy’s was chicken katsu. One of their more reliable dishes. The very late dinner in the middle of the night was a bowl of cereal. There was a slice of custard pie in there somewhere, too, I think right before I brushed my teeth to go to bed.

Neither a notable nor memorable day, but I’m chronicling them all. And here is one.

You’re likely tired of my offering, but I’m also doing this every day (that I can think of it) because I know that without a certain amount of connecting with friends in ways I’m comfortable, I’d be teetering on the edge if not tilted over it by now. If you need someone to connect with in this bizarre, maddening, frustrating season, hit me up in comments. I got you.

Lockdown: My ballot is marked and mailed

Not really sure what happened to Saturday. I got to sleep Friday night at like five in the morning or so, got up at eight, did the crossword puzzle and had breakfast and read the news. Went back to bed, then spent the day getting up and going back, in two hour stages. Around 11:00 in the evening I went for a walk.

I just did the DeSa Field bus stop thing, left two bags of bottles and cans, then walked to Long’s to get a few things. Walked back home and it was about 8,000 steps in all. It’s the only meaningful thing I did all day. I did a few chores but they were the keeping-up chores, not the getting-caught-up chores.

Oh wait. I voted. That’s meaningful. Even though for the primary I never vote outside my party, and there were no Libertarian candidates on the ballot in any races relevant to me. That left only the OHA election, which I never participate in, and the races for prosecuting attorney and mayor. One prosecutor candidate was a public defender, and she’s the only one who said meaningful things about drug users, homeless people, and counseling. She was an easy choice, once I read the candidate profiles. For mayor, I typically favor strong candidates who did meaningful time on the City Council. A friend of mine is one candidate’s communications director, and what she says jibes with my limited exposure to her when I was briefly employed by the Council a couple of years ago. So she got my vote. There are enough strong candidates in that race to make a majority win for any candidate unlikely, so that’s sure to come to a runoff in the general. This was my main reason for the walk, actually. Dropping the votes in the mail.

I texted Grace and Penny to ask them who they voted for, so we had a little conversation about that. Then I texted Karen to ask her if she was even allowed to tell me, and of course she’s not. She’s a judge. I got one text from Crush Girl responding to something I texted her Friday. That was it.

Breakfast was a couple of lazy burritos. Lunch was one and a half tuna sandwiches. Dinner was the other half of the sandwich and a bag of chips.

I feel okay. I don’t know why my body and brain checked out for the day. This seems to have happened on Saturdays past, possibly last Saturday. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’m glad I’m chronicling this stuff here.

It’s 2:33 in the morning Sunday now, and I’m planning to put myself to bed soon in an effort to reset. Again. I have things on the agenda tomorrow including getting some work done, and hopefully some reading.

Which means I’ll be wide awake all day and ready to connect if you need some connection. Hit me up here and I’ll send you my contact deets. Let’s go.

Lockdown: with the sickness

I didn’t decide until I got behind the wheel, the smell of fresh laundry filling the car from the back seat, that I was going to the beach. I thought for sure, it being Friday morning, that if I didn’t get there super early I wouldn’t get good parking near either of my preferred spots. I keep forgetting that it’s all about the surf — how busy the beach is depends on the surf in this spot. And it must not have been pumping (although it looked it to me) because there was a ton of parking. I got my second-favorite spot on the Kewalo end of the beach and just took it, even though I’d have preferred jumping in at the other end, the Magic Island end near the pavilions. Couldn’t pass up the spot.

Anyway. I did a hard sprint and then swam a little further than usual, then lingered in the shallows a little while, just enjoying the water and sun. I got had early enough a start that I wasn’t in a hurry to get out. I actually took some moments to pray while floating on my back.

Rather than stopping for food on the way home, I stopped for groceries. There’s a Foodland in Ala Moana Center with quite a different selection of stuff from my neighborhood Times Supermarket, and I’ve been needing to get out of my rut. Dismayed to find there were no (mung) bean sprouts, I grabbed the last bag of soy bean sprouts, some tatsoi, some choy sum, and a couple of small bits of cheese — a blue and a gorgonzola. There’ll be veggies and pasta this weekend.

Got home early enough to get an early start on my workday. It was pretty much like Thursday. Busy but not stressful, and almost surely not productive enough. I’ll put in some hours Saturday and Sunday for sure, especially since my supervisor gets back from a week off on Monday. A new proposal came in, almost entirely written already, which is exactly what we (my higher-ups and I) have in mind. I shooooouuuuuuld be able to just drop it into a template with a couple of nice photos, then clean up the language. Saving that for Sunday.

Then the illness I mentioned in my Thursday entry hit, around midday. I had no energy and no appetite, and felt a little weak. Weird feelings inside, maybe my gut? I took a very long lunch and slept the entire time, then got up feeling well enough to make up the hours in the early evening.

Was it something I ate? Quite possible. For breakfast I finished up Thursday’s vinha d’halos omellete. I admit it smelled a little sour, but I had doused it with Tabasco the day before, so I assumed it was from that. I still kinda think this. Then the appetite was gone for the rest of the day. Very late, while I typed up Thursday’s entry, I had canned pork and beans straight from the can for lunch. A few hours later, approaching sunrise, I had a couple of hot dogs, sliced lengthwise and placed on sliced sandwich bread with some extra sharp cheddar. Hot dog and cheese sandwich. I was feeling better by then.

I wonder if there was something funky in the ocean water, which seemed pretty clean to me. Or maybe it was a weird combination of something in the water, an extra-strenuous swim, not quite enough sleep, and something slightly amiss with my leftover breakfast omelette.

I think I feel okay now.

I was too swoony to do much texting. Short texts to the writing partner to let her know I looked at her recent query and made a few suggestions. Some texts in the engineering firm group text about Julie coming back to Hawaii from Rhode Island, but I didn’t really participate. Crush Girl texted me her thoughts on the restaurant I gave her feedback on the day before. She wasn’t impressed.

Didn’t go for a walk since I felt physically terrible. Strong chance of some kind of fresh-air-getting Saturday evening.

I re-watched the last episode of season four of Orange is the New Black then went right into the first two episodes of season five. Decided against the re-watch with the audio commentary and dove into the next season.

Okay it’s Saturday morning as I type this and I’m going back to bed. Reach out in comments if you need someone to connect with. I suspect many parts of the country is going back to something like the stay-home edicts we got in March. Could be a long second half of summer. I’m here if you need company.

Lockdown: No laundry on Thursday nights

It’s late Friday evening as I finally settle in to write about Thursday. I’ve felt unwell most of the day. Neither energy nor appetite, but no other noticeable symptoms so far.

Thursday I woke up a little early (for me) and drove to Pancakes and Waffles to grab breakfast and lunch. I got a prime rib loco moco for breakfast and a vinha d’halos omelette for lunch. The loco was pretty dang good. The omelette probably wasn’t the best choice for leaving on the kitchen counter for lunch, although I can’t figure out why. I’ve done it with other omelettes and they were pretty good.

Work was busy but not stressful. Another quiet day with the boss out. I worked on my tasks but probably not diligently enough. One story I assumed was done some time ago has come up for edits almost daily. Not a pain and not a problem. Just a little distracting from the stuff I’m trying to get done before Monday.

I pretty much went right to bed after my work hours. Got to sleep shortly after eight. I planned to go to the laundry (and the beach) Friday morning, ‘though I really didn’t want to. I liked the idea of having done the laundry; I just didn’t want to get up in the wee hours and go there, and although during this lockdown I had yet to do the laundry Friday morning, I had a feeling it was not going to be the oasis of out-of-house solitude I crave for this weekly ritual.

Almost just threw it in, then decided I would set the alarm and decide when I woke up.

I slept pretty well but got up at one and knew I was up-up. So yeah. I packed up the laundry and my empty water jugs. Hit the water dispenser, then McD’s, then the laundry.

Aaaaand it wasn’t exactly Grand Central Station, but I was never alone the entire time I was in there. Not stressful. Not peaceful either. Had a Quarter-Pounder combo for dinner.

Sharon sent me some texts to ask about a post office so she could take care of some work-related stuff. Crush Girl asked me about this noodle place I’m familiar with — she had a craving. The spot has good reviews, and I’ve been there a few times. Ali sent me some texts about corporate culture. It was a good, long conversation but I think she and I aren’t going to agree on a few things.

Didn’t go for a walk because laundry. Listened to some good music but I’ll recapt that later.

Reach out in the comments if you need some connectivity. Texts, DMs, IMs. You know.