Lockdown: Bin a long time

Monday was the first Monday I was at work since before Labor Day. I was so tired from the stupid vampire hours Sunday that I didn’t even think about the beach. Just dragged myself from between the sheets and got to work at the appointed time.

The sad thing about my tidy file cabinet drawers is that I spent so much time on them and don’t even get to appreciate them since I haven’t officially worked in my cube since the middle of March and don’t expect to before 2021. My Monday would have been a lot better if I’d used that time getting my actual work done.

Or finishing my edits on Hawaii Stories. Argh.

Am I spread thinly these days? Gosh, it doesn’t feel like it.

I am not complaining, but this writing life is so strange sometimes.

After work I did some housecleaning related to the Beast. Also related to the Monster. Some of those stray, severed limbs I said were hidden about. I took care of their disgustingness. I’m certain I’m still not done with that, but it’s nice that what was a weekly two-hour ordeal has been reduced to occasional fifteen-minute unpleasantness.

There was room in the trash bin (sort of a no-no nowadays), so I cut up and flattened a good number of empty Amazon boxes, and that filled the bin right up. Making my life less of a shambles, one weekly trip to the curb at a time.

Breakfast was corned beef hash, hapa rice, and eggs again. I didn’t want unused portion from breakfast Sunday to sit in my fridge long, as that’s the kind of thing that tends to be orphaned. No room for orphans in my little dorm fridge. That was good to cover me for lunch too, with some clementines early, and a few maple creme Oreos later.

Dinner was leftover mapo tofu. I think it tasted better the second day, and there’s plenty left.

Jennifer sent me a text link to some video of the orphaned sea otter (orphans again…) eating ice. Very cute. Sylvia texted me to ask about where the good spots are for parking at Ala Moana if she wants to jump in the water where there are no rocks. I gave her my advice. Try the Kewalo end, beginning twenty yards east of the first showers and you can jump in anywhere east until just past the lifeguard tower. Then it’s rocky until just east of the pavilion, after which it’s smooth sailing all the way to Magic Island.

Crush Girl and I traded just a few text messages. She was doing something fun and I preferred not to bother her, mostly. I still did, but only near the end of the day.

I went to bed early but slept terribly again Monday night. Woo. The hits keep coming!

Don’t forget to reach out if you’d like some connectivity during this everlasting pandemic. Just leave a comment.

Lockdown: Hashing it out

The worst thing about not sleeping well Saturday night is the decisions one must make Sunday morning. Get up in time for the 7:00 football games, or sleep in and be content with whatever the late games are?

A quick look at the schedule made the choice for me. The Raiders-Patriots game was on. I had plans for Sunday and I chose tiredness over accomplishing less. Never mind that some of the accomplishments were of trivial worth.

I spent daylight hours mostly doing small housekeeping things and a little bit of work. When the late game — the Packers and Saints — ended, I went to the office. My software didn’t need updating, which is usually the only thing that gets me in there these days, but I left some housekeeping unfinished last weekend.

I took care of some busy work. Forms, emails, getting my parking sticker updated, that kind of thing, then continued work on my file cabinet. My files may not be super organized now, but the cabinets are tidy as heck. I brought most of my stuff home for the kind of sorting I’ve been doing on stuff in my house; I also took some stuff from home to the office. I have a rather huge collection of pre-printed stationery, stuff I collected during my teaching years.

It became something of a signature of mine to print my forms on pretty stationery. I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of forms I had to keep track of every day when I started at Assets, and one way for me to keep it all straight was to print it all on its own stationery. Beach stationery for the daily attendance. Flower statinery for the study hall assignment slips. That kind of thing.

I also had a few assignments for my frosh computer applications courses involving preprinted stationery, so I purchased it whenever it was on sale in the office supply stores, which was almost every season. Halloween paper went on sale in November; Easter paper went on sale in April.

Of course I held on to it all because when I left Assets I thought I’d be back in some classroom somehwere before too long. This is unlikely now, so I’ve brought the stationery with me wherever else I’ve worked. It comes in handy.

I hadn’t taken it to my current job because I packed it away when I left the engineering firm and didn’t get around to unpacking it until decluttering Thursday evening. It looks pretty great in my file cabinet drawer at the office now. All that’s missing is someone to need it.

It felt good to declutter my cubicle space. I still have a little more to do, but not much more. The file cabinets are so tidy! It’s very satisfying.

I got home very tired, but I made the mistake of firing up Pitch Perfect and got sucked in. By the time I was done, I still had a few Sunday evening chores to take care of, which lasted halfway through a second viewing. Then I read a little, did the Monday crossword, and felt the naughty thrill of enjoying the super-early hours for the first time in a while. I let the vampire out of the cave and it reveled.

Fell asleep somewhere around 3:30, guilty, slightly ashamed, dreading the alarm clock, and writing off the planned Monday morning ride to the beach.

Breakfast was some corned beef hash and eggs with hapa rice. Lunch-dinner was Korean takeout, picked up on my way to the office. It was also a late-night snack. Somewhere in between, I had a couple of clementines.

Crush Girl texted a few times. She had some work stress, and I was happy to let her vent. I hope she works it out; things seem kind of bad.

If you need someone to chat with in these dark days, I invite you to leave a comment. I’ll send you my contact info and we can exchange complaints about work and the Raiders. Or whatever.

Lockdown: Everybody was tofu fighting

Slept pretty terribly Friday night. I’m very disappointed in myself.

I started the weekend with the usual Saturday morning stuff. Crossword puzzle. News. Podcasts. Stupid phone games. A little bit of texting.

I called my parents in the late morning. They seem still to be hanging in there, which was nice to hear. I spent close to an hour with them, most of it with my dad. My mom says her phone calls with her friends are a lot like my phone calls with her. How are you? About the same; how are you? About the same. Anything new? Not really. You? Nope.

I also spent some time working on my Christmas shopping. It’s difficult to tell what the Christmas season is going to look like, including my employment status, so I think I’m going to try to get my gifts taken care of by the beginning of November.

I had a couple of clementines for a late breakfast, then a small bag of chips for a snack. So by the time I got lunch-dinner started, I was pretty hungry.

For some reason, I always assumed mapo tofu was complicated to prepare. That local chef acquaintance who died last week? He posted a photo on IG just a few hours before of the dish he made that morning: mapo tofu. So I had it on my mind when I went to the grocery store Monday night, and found a good recipe.

It does have a lot of ingredients, which is probably why I thought it would be more challenging, but the actual preparation isn’t complicated at all. I was quite pleased with the results, too. I had too generous a serving with some hapa rice (actually 75-25 brown-white) while I did a little bit of writing.

I put a few podcasts on while I decluttered. Got through a medium-sized plastic file box and a large tub. I think about half the stuff in both containers went to the trash, but these were at the top of a large stack in my living room, so it’s recent stuff, actual stuff in current use. However, this stuff is (mostly) now in assigned spaces. Some of it (a few concert posters, a few ticket stubs, a few notes from friends) is keepsake stuff I still don’t know what to do with, so it went into a keeper tub, which went to the storage corner of my laundry room.

It was good progress, especially since the only reason I actually got into it was because I thought I should. I wasn’t feeling it until I was well into the task. But yay.

I rewarded myself with some idle, wasted time playing stupid phone games. Again. Got the munchies a little late, one of the rare instances where I craved something sweet, so I broke open a package of maple creme Oreos I’ve had in the pantry for a few weeks. They’re good, and I enjoyed four of them before shutting everything down for the night.

Crush Girl and I sent a few texts back and forth, sporadically through the day. One of the movies we talked about Thursday was in the news late Friday, so I sent her a link. Jocelyn and I traded some Gchat messages about Juju Chang’s newphew, a pitcher for the Dodgers.

After three straight three-day weekends, I’m going to have some diffculty getting into the groove this week. Gotta make the most (and maybe the least, at the same time) of my Sunday.

But I’ve got room for you, if you need someone to connect with. Leave a comment. I’ll send contact info.

Lockdown: The yielder to the pack

I got to the beach shortly before sunrise Friday. The water was nice, but there were quite a few more swimmers than usual, and more of them swimming in packs. I certainly don’t begrudge the group swimmers their camaraderie, but they always swim abreast, which means an always-yielder like me has to go far out of my way to give them the berth wide enough for my comfort. There was a moment when a large pack was coming up behind me while a smaller pack came toward me from ahead. I got out of their way as they converged and fought the annoyance down.

It doesn’t make sense to be annoyed if I’ve got a larger personal-space bubble than other swimmers, who based on my experience have teeny-tiny bubbles.

I picked up a loco moco from Bob’s BBQ on Dillingham. The loco is inexpensive there and rather good for the price, but it’s not quite as satisfying as I need after a good swim, so I also went through the drive-through at the neighboring Taco Bell for a little bit more.

My focus Friday was completing edits for the staff newsletter, and I also did edits on an appeal letter from one of the higher-profile units at UH Manoa. Worked a little on my stories but not enough. I’m going to have to do them over the weekend.

It took me a while to find my groove, but I eventually settled in and got the stuff done. I have to say I’m fairly proud of the results, something I don’t feel every day.

I watched the news, did some crosswords, listened to podcasts, and read some football news. Played some silly phone games in my bed and crashed there without intention. So I got up shortly before three and wrote Wednesday’s journal while giving the new Public Enemy a spin.

There are some solid tracks there, and it’s something of a relief to see that Flavor Flav is back in the mix. My early favorite tracks are “GRID” with Cyprus Hill, “Public Enemy Number Won” with Ad-Rock, Mike D, and Run-DMC, and “Smash the Crowd” with Ice-T and PMD. There’s an update of “Fight the Power” called “Fight the Power: Remix 2020” with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, and ?uestlove. I like it a lot but it’s not an improvement on the original. If I saw them in concert and they broke this one out instead of the original, I’d be super annoyed.

Friday I also spun the new album from The Ocean, Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic. Musically it’s a lot less heavy and dense than my favorite work from them, but it’s still quite a terrific album. I’m going to have to sit down with the lyrics and see how it works thematically. Strong contender for best metal album of the year.

Crush Girl texted me a photo of her latest baking accomplishment. It looked pretty great. We talked a little about one of her favorite movies from her childhood. I love talk like this.

Sylvia and I texted all evening. She’s got some Hilo acquaintances staying over for unexpected, strange reasons, but she’s such a trouper. Sharon and I texted some work talk, actual business related stuff and not just office chitchat. Vicky texted me to let me know there’s a special for new members, but it expires at the end of the month. I told her to send me the order form but not to get her hopes up.

How the heck is it almost the end of September? Uggggggh.

For lunch, I finished off the beef stroganoff, and for dinner I unwrapped a small hunk of Oma cheese from the Jasper Hill creamery. Didn’t finish it off, thinking it might be good to cook with. It’s a good, creamy, slightly nutty, somewhat pungent cheese; I enjoyed it with some crackers. A balsamic vinegar drizzle cut through the pungency and added a little bit of depth. Some local honey did very little for it, but I think something sweet would really add something.

All righty. Bring on the weekend. And leave a comment if you’d like someone to connect with in these pandemic days. I’ve got bandwidth for that.

Lockdown: Multi-level friendship in virus days

I’m writing about Thursday at 2:30 Friday night, so I’m really behind. I’m also listening to the new Public Enemy album, and listening to rap makes writing difficult. But you know. When it’s time for Public Enemy, it’s time.

More progress, yet still no completion, on my stories. Worked on my contributions to the staff newsletter, which was a good break. I took my lunch hour late, at 3:00 after our department’s Zoom meeting, so I could sit in on my high-school classmate Vicky’s MLM seminar.

I avoid these things as avidly as anyone, but Vicky’s a good friend, this is a side hustle she’s been working at for a long time, it’s important to her, and if I can give up half an hour of my day to be an attentive audience and help her out, why shouldn’t I do it? In fact, since the seminar (attended by her since I think I was officially her guest, but not led by her) was super non-threatening, I’m thinking I should find other friends running MLM businesses and just volunteer, if it actually does help.

The thing was on Zoom, and we had the option to participate with video and audio turned off. I’ll admit it was also mildly interesting and I won’t rule out placing an order although I have to say I’m not enthusiastic at all about the product, and it’s a bit pricey. It’s for Vicky.

I worked a little later than usual, the last hour while watching the news, then worked on the Beast. I actually went through two small tubs and a larger one, and pretty much emptied two of them. The sorting was easy; it was mostly books and DVDs. The books went on a shelf in a cabinet I’m using as temporary book holding, in my laundry room. The DVDs went into a couple of carrying cases I picked up on Amazon at the beginning of summer. They hold forty normal-sized DVDs, and they’re big enough to accommodate those whole-season boxes. I haven’t decided what to do with my DVDs in the long term, but since I still prefer them to digital services, I need a reasonable way to store them while I figure it all out.

The space this decluttering opened up after just Thursday evening’s work is noticeable. It feels good. I’m focusing lately on the area right around my work space, where I spend most of my waking hours these days.

Breakfast was leftover beef stroganoff. It was a little better the next day but still disappointing. Lunch was a couple of clementines, followed by a couple more some time later. Dinner was more of the bread I made the other day, some of it with tuna and some with peanut butter.

I went to bed kind of early so I could get to the beach Friday morning before work.

Sylvia texted me early to talk about some of her feelings about the new position. I kinda wish she could just get started, as the build-up is causing her more stress than I think is healthy. I texted the other Jennifer to give her some thoughts on Bill & Ted.

Crush Girl and I texted briefly about stuff we cooked recently and traded some thought about the fire in Manoa that got really close to houses and schools. Oh, and of course Vicky and I traded texts about the seminar we attended. I told her I’m not interested in any kind of side gig with her, but I’m not ruling out trying the product, which I wouldn’t say (to her) if I didn’t mean it.

I have room in my day for more connectivity if it’s what you need. Hit me up in comments if you want some fellowship.

Lockdown: Slurring my meals

When I wrote about my Tuesday at the laundry early Wednesday morning, I wasn’t sure I’d go to the beach on my way home. I just wasn’t feeling it. But if there’s a positive theme about all my lockdown time, it’s making myself do stuff I don’t want to do, even when there’s nobody to pressure me to do it, and learning it doesn’t suck that badly.

Surf musta been up, because I didn’t see good parking on the Kewalo end, where I’d hoped to jump in. Found a good spot on the Magic Island end, right where the pavilions begin. Goofed off on my phone while waiting for sunrise, and then jumped in ten minutes before dawn anyway. I seldom swim in dark water, but it looked pretty inviting.

I kind of thought I might just cruise, since it was my third morning in the water in five days, but I found myself pushing, and it felt good, so I just went with it. The water felt so nice that I lingered, staying in the ocean a bit longer than usual. I even spent a little bit of time in prayer, which is something of a worrisome trend lately, when I’m cooling down in the water after a good swim.

I stopped for breakfast at Pancakes and Waffles. Something called the P&W omelette. It was good. I had enough left over for lunch, too.

I’m behind on these stories. My supervisor’s getting a little impatient, and I totally get it. I just really don’t like the feel of this one story that’s holding me up. I worked on it most of the day, and put it aside to work on the other. I didn’t complete anything. I had one phone call (my weekly one-on-one with my supervisor) and one Zoom meeting, for some work we’re doing with the Cancer Center.

After work, I made the first of three new (to me) meals I planned. Beef stroganoff in the Instant Pot. I didn’t really plan on something so heavy, as you’ll see with my other choices this week. I was just browsing recipes and the photo looked interesting to I went with it. It came out pretty good, but then I tried to thicken it with a cornstarch slurry, following optional instructions in the recipe. I still can’t do it. I don’t know what my issue is, but thickening things with cornstarch just doesn’t work for me.

I wouldn’t say I ruined it, because it’s still edible and it’s not bad, but ugh. It’s not great.

I ate it while watching Bill and Ted Face the Music, the third film in the series. It’s pretty stupid and pretty clever and even pretty funny.

I don’t want to get into it (because it’s a tiresome story that keeps repeating) but I crashed Wednesday night before putting myself properly to bed, sometime around 10:00. It was terrible, because I kept waking up and telling myself to get up and turn off lights, brush my teeth, and put myself to bed. And I kept falling asleep, and waking up and — shoot, I said I wasn’t going to get into it.

I forced myself out of bed at about 2:30 in the morning, and I was kind of hungry, so I ate some leftover bread and leftover tuna, chatting with my friend Victoria about NaNoWriMo on FB messenger. Finally got everything taken care of and myself back in bed at 4:30.

I snacked on some clementines between lunch and dinner. Forgot to mention that.

I traded a bunch of texts with Penny about buying a laptop. Crush Girl and I texted quite a bit about some stuff we’ve been watching. I mentioned Central Park and Grace and Frankie (which I still haven’t watched). She mentioned that My Octopus Teacher documentary everyone’s talking about. Then we talked a little about some Steve Martin films we both like.

When the Amazon fairy brought those Pitch Perfect DVDs Tuesday, it also brought a replacement memory foam matress-topper. The one I had was ancient, a Christmas gift from George a million years ago. It’s been falling apart, and the entire lower right corner ripped completely off, making it a bit uncomfortable to sleep on my back, which I sorta have to do with Darth Vader on my face. It’s weird what you make yourself get used to.

The new mattress topper is nicer than the last, and half the price. I’m quite pleased, and it’s one reason I crashed so quickly last night before I really meant to. I shan’t make this mistake again, at least not this evening.

If you need someone to connect with, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll send contact info and we can text the night away, if I’m not face-planted, drooling into my new matress-topper.

Lockdown: Acascuse me, annoying laundry dude

Monday night I slept terribly again. I really need to get a grip on this or it’s going to be a miserable autumn.

I got right to work Tuesday morning, catching up on emails and doing a few quick edits on appeal letters. Corresponded with two of the donors. Played around with the two stories I’m working on. Kind of a routine, uneventful day.

The Amazon fairy brought a Blu-Ray with the entire Pitch Perfect trilogy, so that kept me occupied right after work while I got my laundry ready and did a few chores. It was a bit more than usual, since I used a ton of rags on cleaning out the old fridge and defrosting the new. New, store-bought, microfiber rags I don’t want to just toss even though the ones I used on the old fridge were disgusting. I hosed them out, sun-dried them, and threw them into a separate bag for a separate wash.

Got to bed around nine, an hour later than I planned. I could have made it by eight but after I took care of all the lame chores, I kind of goofed off in my downtime.

Breakfast was my fresh bread with some local peanut butter. I still have some of that expensive stuff I bought for the relative who doesn’t like peanuts. This was that Kona coffee peanut butter and wow. It’s really good. Probably a bit too sweet, but still kind of amazing. I’d feel very confident giving this stuff as gifts for people who like peanut butter. Which my intended recipient does not.

For lunch I made some tuna fish and ate it with the bread. Not exactly sandwiches; more like a spread. The bread’s a little dense for sandwiches, even when I slice it about as thinly as I can.

I had a little before-bed snack of two clementines. They are so good right out of the fridge. I’d never purchased them before my trip to the supermarket a couple of weeks ago, only getting them when people at the office shared them, when they were room temperature. They’re good like that, but wow, they’re delicious cold. I’ve added them to my regular shopping list.

Dinner was a Big Mac combo from McD’s, which I picked up on my way to the laundry. There’s a guy here who, for the past two weeks (yeah, he was here when I was here a couple hours later last week), uses the machines right next to where I’m situated, despite there being three other rows of machines not in use at all. It’s very annoying. Last time, he hung out in front of his machines the entire time they were running (it was a little crowded by the time I had my clothes in the dryer, and the other hangout spots were taken, but still). Anyway geez. How about a little bit of space, potential spreader?

He also slams the washer doors shut, very forcefully, which you would have to do if you were to close them without just turning the latch. Man, I didn’t even know the machines could be slammed shut like that. What an annoying guy. I’ll bet when he’s a passenger in your car, he changes the radio station, puts his feet on your dashboard, and slams the door with obnoxious force when you drop him off.

I was going to add he probably goes through your glove compartment too, but I actually don’t mind that when certain people do it, so I took it off the list. Ali did that the first time I drove her in my car and I found it kind of charming.

She texted me just before I got up to do the laundry, asking me a little about my (suspected, undiagnosed) seasonal depression. Also sent me a nice photo of a sunrise she took on her morning commute. It was sweet.

Sylvia and I texted about the Sun noodle company for some reason. Another coworker texted to ask if I knew about this email we all got, announcing Sylvia’s moving to a completely new position in the company. She wanted to know if I knew about it. I did — it was the thing I said Sylvia and I texted about the other night that I couldn’t share. Very cool, and I’m super happy for my friend.

I had to text Penny to ask for updated contact info for a mutual friend. My friend Lauren had some questions related to the work this mutual friend is an expert on. So the mutual friend and I texted a few times, and Lauren and I texted a few times.

Sharon texted to ask if I’d seen Mulan yet, which I will do someday but probably not soon. The cast is amazing but the reviews just aren’t compelling enough at that price, plus I don’t subscribe to Disney +. We talked about a coworker who might be leaving soon. Ugh. A serious downer. One of my favorite coworkers.

My former HPU classmate and Assets colleague Jill messaged me on FB to ask for some help with a potential grad school project. And Fern messaged me on FB to ask a hypothetical about Olivia Munn and Anna Kendrick. I haven’t responded to that one yet.

I guess, come to think of it, I’d be okay with Ali changing my radio stations and putting her feet on the dashboard too. But not the door-slamming. I hate that.

Haven’t decided yet if I’m going to the beach after the laundry. I’ll decide when I’m done, I think. Not really feeling it this morning, but I might need it.

Don’t forget to reach out if you could use some more connectivity. Leave a comment and I’ll send you contact info.

Lockdown: Heart of darkness

I again slept poorly, but got a decent two hours and twenty minutes just before getting out of bed. Thankfully, getting out of bed was a little later than usual since I took a vacation day Monday. I did a few work emails and read the news while eating a small bunch of grapes. Left the house at about 10:30 for the beach.

I stopped at the neighborhood mom and pop’s for a bottle of water and two Spam musubis (it’s a Hawaii thing), which I consumed in the car as I watched the surf. I got a pretty good parking space, about four back from the one I really wanted but rarely get.

I tried to decide, as I was swimming in the cool ocean on a warm late morning, if I like swimming mid day better than early morning. Couldn’t settle it. They’re so different and they offer such great experiences, although I’ll say getting out there early does take a bit more effort.

I’m trying to figure out what it was, or even if it’s worth figuring out, but I had a feeling all morning that I can only describe as heavy-hearted, like everything I was doing, including taking a day off from work, was avoiding thinking about something terrible or doing something I don’t want to do but have to. There was a little bit of dread mixed in, but most of it was this sick sense of avoidance.

It was constricting, squeezing my heart and guts a little but not a lot, just enough to let me know it was there; I think that’s where I’m getting heavy-hearted from.

I was able to distract myself from the feeling while I swam, and for the half hour or so after I got out of the water, but it crept back up on me as I drove home. I had a small list of things I wanted to do before the dinner hour, but instead I took a nap — not as more avoidance behavior, because believe me, I’m extremely, extremely familiar with that pattern, but just because I was tired and I was on vacation.

I don’t know what I did, but the nap was great. Maybe it was the exertion from physical activity and being out in the sun, or the podcast I played on my phone as I slept, but I think I rested two hours, and when I got up, I felt physically great and emotionally okay.

I have a couple of radios in the house but none of them is plugged in at all times as most people’s radios are. One is a clock radio in case my phone ever stops working; I keep it in my bookshelf but right now it’s behind the bookshelf. Another couple are boom boxes I have in weird storage places. I’m mentioning this because the Las Vegas Raiders were playing the Saints on Monday Night Football at 2:00 our time, but ESPN has the Monday Night games and I don’t have cable.

So I downloaded one of the free radio apps you can put on your phone and streamed the Westwood One radio broadcast from a radio station in Georgia. Radio games are blacked out on your own local stations if you’re trying to listen via a mobile app for some reason. So I put the game on from Columbus, Georga while I did a few house chores.

First I put bread fixings in the bread machine and let that take care of itself. Then I washed out some coffee mugs I found in my recent decluttering. They needed quite a bit of attention, but I got them sparkly, I think. I actually have to wait until daylight Tuesday to be sure, since two of the mugs are black and I need to be very sure they’re as clean as possible. There were gross things in them — dead things. I’ve already given them a good Clorox soaking, but I think I’ll do it again just to be sure.

Then I defrosted my fridge. The dorm fridge I got a couple of months ago, not the one I just cleaned out and unplugged. These things have a tendency to ice over and if you let them go too long you break some of the plastic things attached to the freezer compartment. It’s needed it for a couple of weeks and I knew I was going to do it sometime this week. This seemed like a good day, since I was listening to the game.

I ate some extra sharp white cheddar with some crackers and another small bunch of grapes while I defrosted.

What a great game. The Raiders won in an impressive way, and are undefeated after two games.

I watched the evening news, checked in on a few friends on social media, then browsed some recipes before my late-evening trip to the supermarket. I decided on ingredients for three new (to me) dishes, and then my bread was ready, so I had a couple of thin slices with a little more of the white cheddar.

Grocery run was less stressful than it’s been. I spent a wee bit more than I planned, but okay whatever. It actually felt pretty good to go in with a real list in hand and focus on that. I left room for some me-ness in the exercise: I had “some kind of fruit” on the list along with specific items like Worcestershire sauce and mirin, and of course I picked up a few things not on the list like a bottle of cheap red wine and some angel hair pasta.

There was a little bit of trash talk in the office fantasy league chat, so that was nice. Ali texted me a couple of photos for my opinion; I gave it and then asked her how she’s doing. No response yet but I may not get one. Sent JB a Raiders GIF, to which he responded with “Yeah, baby!”

Sylvia texted to ask about a local chef who died. She was familiar with his blogging; he was a friendly acquaintance of mine from the early Twitter days. We’re friends on social media but we’ve never reeeeally been friends. I won’t speak ill of him, and I have no reason to, but for some reason he didn’t seem to have much use for me. Nice guy, though, and I understand why Twitterlulu (as we once called our collective self) is heartbroken. I know of many instances where he was a great friend to others.

Crush Girl and I texted most of the late afternoon; she was good company while I ate crackers and defrosted, despite her not caring one iota about the Raiders game. Later in the evening, we actually spoke on the phone, as she needed some help with something and she thought it would be easier in actual conversation.

Although I’m not exactly feeling the heavyheartedness I experienced this morning, the memory of it is heavy itself. What was that? It’s playing around on the fringes of my mind even as I convince myself it’s passed.

Ryan emailed me to say my daily invitation to connect with readers of this space hinted at my needing more connection myself. I appreciated his checking on me, and while I welcome whatever connection comes my way, it’s worth pointing out that I consider myself really lucky to be connected already to some really great people. Man, some people during this lockdown are spending all day and all night with spouses, children, roomies, or lovers. I’m blessedly free of constant company and I get to speak with Crush Girl on the phone once in a while.

I do want to be a connection for others who don’t have enough, though. So leave me a comment and I’ll send my contact info. I probably won’t speak with you on the phone unless your name rhymes with Mush Curl, but I’m good for some DMs.

Lockdown: My diet is “die” with a T

It took me a while to kick Sunday into motion, but I did it and I feel pretty okay about it.

Started with the Giants-Bears game, which was fine if not especially memorable. Did some reading on safe weed killers. Ate a bunch of red grapes for breakfast. Window-shopped for animation software.

Followed that with the Chiefs and Chargers. The Chargers have nothing to hang their head about. They played a great game and showed the league what the Niners showed in the Super Bowl: the Chiefs offense can be stopped. It just takes a heck of team to keep it up for a whole four quarters. In this case, it took four quarters and overtime and the Chargers weren’t quite up to that. But hey. It was their QB’s first game ever and he didn’t even know he was starting until just before kickoff.

I did the Sunday NYT crossword in nineteen minutes and change. Ate a slice of pineapple whip pie for lunch. I didn’t mean to; I was just hungry and there it was. Looked at all my fantasy teams. Played stupid phone games.

Then it was the Patriots and Seahawks. Heck of a game. I didn’t sit in front of the TV and soak it in, though. I emptied and (sorta) cleaned the fridge. It’s going to take a few more days; needs a little bit of elbow grease and some drying out. I got it unplugged with the doors wide open right now, with a bottle of bleachy water and some rags nearby.

It was seriously unpleasant for reasons I don’t want to get into, but I promise you they are unlike anything you’ve seen even in the grossest of fridge-cleaning projects. But I got it done. Yay.

Did a few other chores and then the game was over. I dropped half a pie off at Penny’s and went to the office for the software updates, stopping at Grace’s (the plate lunch place, not my friend’s) for a chicken katsu dinner. I was so hungry. Took care of my phone updates while I was at it (the office wifi is great when nobody else is in the office).

Texted a little with Crush Girl too, while I was in the office. Sylvia and I traded a few messages about McD’s — she tried the spicy Chicken McNuggets too.

I’m on vacation Monday. Aside from the beach and some more decluttering, I don’t really have plans. Maybe work on the podcast and tidy up my desk area. I still have to watch Bill and Ted 3, which I am reviewing for the staff newsletter, but I also downloaded both seasons of The Office (the original BBC series) and the whole season of Central Park, which I saw the first episode of on Apple TV+ and found mildly amusing.

Oh, I forgot I have some editing to do for the second issue of Hawaii Stories. I think I’ll take care of that when I get back from the beach. I didn’t go to the grocery store Sunday night as planned. I want to plan a meal or two before I go, so I’ll do that Monday night. Make plans to make something different, so I can shop with more purpose.

I say it every day because I mean it. In March, I set out to log certain things I knew I’d have to keep track of, in order to avoid slipping into my worst tendencies. Except for a few trips to the edge of the abyss, I think I’ve mostly done okay, although my eating choices lately have been for utter crap. And I’m finally getting a little bored.

I keep track of my interpersonal interactions because left to myself, I’m apt to withdraw entirely, which I know is no good for me. Dropping half a pie off at Penny’s is only minimally about getting that thing out of my house so I don’t inhale the entire thing. It’s mostly about being in other people’s lives, and keeping them in mine. So if you need a little of that, hit me up in comments.

Someone else said it, but I repeat it to myself nearly every day: each day you’re not contributing to the health crisis, you’re doing something good for the world. If you have to eat a few pies, scrub a few refrigerators, swim a few miles, or text a total stranger just for some connection, it’s all good. You’re not out there spreading illness, threatening the health and safety of your neighbors. So do what you need to do.

Lockdown: My brain. Is mossy.

I welcomed the start of the weekend but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. I didn’t have major plans or high ambitions; I just hoped I might make it something different.

Woke up early to get to the beach. Parking was a little tight when I pulled into the drive at about 5:30, but I could tell it was mostly surfers. Got a decent parking spot and looked at social media for a while before jumping into the ocean.

The water was moving. I went in on the Magic Island end and swam west, and I was going a lot faster than my strokes should have taken me. So I went a bit further than usual, turned around and really had to work my way back. There weren’t very many swimmers. I was in the water longer than usual, past forty-five minutes, possibly approaching an hour, ‘though certainly not more than that.

I ran a couple of early-morning errands, then got breakfast from Nico’s. Grilled ahi with rice and a tossed salad, which I ate in the Zippy’s parking lot while waiting for Hawaiian Pie Company to open. I had a pineapple whip pie to pick up.

Read the news. Took a nap. A long nap. Had a slice of pie for lunch. Messed around on my phone. Kinda surfed the over-the-air channels for a while, falling into a little bit of a Wikipedia hole as I read about some of the channels.

For dinner, I made a pot of quinoa with onions, eggs, and that Impossible sausage I need to use up. It was fine. It was even good, and sausage-like enough, although the way I used it probably isn’t playing to its strength. I have two links left so I may fry them up Sunday the normal way and see how they do.

I had half the pot for leftovers, too. Might stir in a can of corn when I heat it up later.

I made plans with Penny (via text) to drop off half the pie for her sometime Sunday, since I’m planning to go to the office and update software on the work laptop. I also gave her a little bit of advice for purchasing a laptop.

Sylvia and I texted quite a bit in the evening. I can’t say what it was about (it’s work-related) but it was pretty cool. Good news at a time when my coworkers and I can really use some.

I’ve fallen into a little bit of a sameness funk, despite more trips to the beach, which are up to three a week. Novelty snacks aren’t doing it for me anymore. I’ve hit a bit of a lull in the decluttering this past week, and I think that’s part of it. Planning to finally empty and clean out the old fridge (and turn it the heck off!) Sunday during the late football game. That’ll feel good, and perhaps get me out of decluttering inertia. I don’t want to break my streak of weeks taking the bin to the curb full to the top.

Media consumption is interesting while I’m consuming it, but it doesn’t make me feel good once I’ve turned it off. I think football’s going to be the same. I’ve been talking to Penny about helping me with a test run of the podcast.

I wonder if channeling some creative energy that way will do it. I’ve just been having second thoughts about how interesting this Plan B is going to be. Since the first ten are for practice anyway, I think I should just jump in and use ten episodes to figure it out.

Stuff to think about.

Connection. If you need some and want to trade texts or DMs, just leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info.