Lockdown: Two-week extension

Got out of bed early after not quite enough (and not very good) sleep. I hate myself.

Heated up the leftover stuffed eggplant and ate it while I prepped for a 10:00 phone interview with a donor. Around 9:15 I splashed some sauce from breakfast (not an oyster sauce, but something like it) onto my keyboard. Great.

I pulled the keycaps without my keycaps tool — that’s still at the office, where until March I did most of my keyboarding. Quickly did a YouTube search and learned how to pop the caps using a credit card. Worked pretty well.

I napkined the sauce pretty well. Ran a wet napkin over exposed areas to get the residue, and a dry napkin to get the water. There’s sauce visible inside the S and X switches, but I tested all the exposed switches before replacing the keycaps and everything is working okay.

Washed and dried the keycaps. Put them back. Ten minutes to spare before my interview. That was enough time, thanks to my good prepping last week. Just not what I had in mind for easing into the week.

Had a couple of Zoom meetings; they were fine, if a bit lengthy. Worked on some acknowledgement letters I didn’t quite finish.

At six, I participated in a fantasy football draft. I’m putting one of my online fantasy sources to the test this year in a handful of money leagues. This is my third money league and I have one or two more. Very small stakes.

I did some chores, the prepped the laundry and water refill. Got to bed by nine, which was ninety minutes later than intended. Dang it.

The stupid water vending machine was out of order again. So I just hit the drive-through for dinner (Quarter-pounder meal from McD’s) and came to the laundry. I’ve had the place to myself until just now when the lady who I know likes my old spot came in. I have fewer than ten minutes left on the dryer, so the small overlap is okay with me.

Lunch was my yet-unnamed noodle soup with veggies I planned to explain in this space today but time’s running out, so I’ll explain next time. It was good, though, and a little throwback to when I was between jobs and making the most of my paltry resources.

Got a text from Juli (a former boss), who had a commas question. We chatted a while. Her daughter just graduated HBA and started school at Santa Clara. I helped her a little with her essay, which is one reason Juli shares updates like this with me. Suzanne texted to ask what I’m reading. Sylvia texted after I was already in bed to share a link to a potato chip reviewing blog. Interesting but possibly dangerous. She’s also a little worried about something in the Philippines with her family, so I tried to be a little encouraging.

They mayor extended the stay-home order, but parks are opening up for solo recreational use. Perfect for me, since parking is my only real issue. I’ll miss having the water nearly to myself, though. Most early morning swimmers go solo anyway, so the population in the water should be about the same as normal, at the hour when I go.

Dryer’s about done, so I’m running. Reach out in comments if you want to connect.

Lockdown: Not the same old sheet

I slept pretty miserably Sunday night. I don’t know why. Sometimes when I’m achy from a hard swim, I have trouble sleeping, but I wasn’t feeling it enough for that to be the issue.

So I just got up, much too early, and put the last bit of work into my fantasy football spreadsheet. The thing is pretty cool. This sheet is my annual reminder to myself that for as much as I know about Excel and its ilk, there’s a lot of power beneath the hood most of us never tap into. So each year I tweak the sheet with some modification I don’t know how to execute. This year, it was programmable buttons to execute multiple functions. I didn’t do anything especially tricky — mostly just “look in that cell and place the info in that other cell when I click this button,” or “add five to that number whenever I click this button, but add one to the same number when I click this other button.”

These are the sorta Mickey Mouse functions. I’m eager to try the more advanced ones in another year’s time.

I finished early enough to get a short nap before the draft. We started at two via Zoom. Darren, who owns a design/build company, has a company account, allowing us (me, Marc, Don, Reid, Gregg, Darren) to have our draft. Kendrick, Sean, Marshall, and Byron couldn’t join us.

It took about three hours. And it was pretty fun. My high-school classmates are the only people I feel completely at ease with, totally okay being just myself. It’s a big deal. And I like it when there are enough of us that I don’t have to carry any conversations.

Not that anyone has to worry about carrying a conversation when Reid’s in the room.

Watched the news, did some writing, took a turn with the Beast, getting rid of a whole mess of VHS cassettes left over from when I taught speech. Student videos they used to keep in my classroom (because you weren’t allowed to present on your scheduled day if you didn’t have your tape, and missing a scheduled day was a 10% score reduction) and never picked up when the course was over. Yeah, I still have them twenty-three and twenty-two years later. Some of these tapes are of seniors in the very first speech class I taught. Fall 1997.

I actually kept several. Most had molded or mildewed. Magnetic tape in humid environments is such a fragile thing. But some looked to be in good shape, so they’re suriving the first purge. Some who belong to students I’m still in touch with or whose parents I’m still in touch with.

I don’t think I’m going to get to the Beast Tuesday evening, but when I get to it next (Wednesday?), I think I’m finally going to have a certain section of my house completely cleared. I started there because it’s where I can store the stuff that survives the first purge. I hate the way things get a lot messier before they get neater, when you do a big cleanup like this. Getting this small corner of my house clear is a huge step, and it will decrease some of my stress. Because right now, if I want to get a can of corn out of the closet in my laundry room, I have to move a few plastic tubs into my hallway, get the corn, and move the tubs back so I can get down my hall to the kitchen. Idiocy.

I’ve reduced the number of cooking implements I own by a great number, but there are a few things I need to keep, even if I don’t use them that often. They are in a large green tub I move into and out of my bathroom. More idiocy.

The trash bin went to the curb filled to the top. Very satisfying.

Breakfast was leftovers of the beef broccoli cake noodle. I didn’t even heat it up; just ate it cold out of the plastic container. For lunch right before the draft, I made burrito filling and had a few burritos. This filling’s a bit blander than the last for some reason. Might chop up some peppers and mix them in later.

Oh, I went to the supermarket half an hour before it closed, even though I didn’t need much. The Diet Pepsi supply was low. I wanted backups on dish soap and paper plates, in case of a hurricane. I also really wanted a decent steak.

I mention this because I hit the McD’s drive-through on the way home and picked up dinner. Chicken McNuggets. Just nuggets this time, no fries. Got home and watched an episode of Halt and Catch Fire before turning in around 1:00.

Sylvia and I traded some texts about our weekends. That was nice. Crush Girl texted to ask how my knee was. That was super nice. We talked a little about baking, and how we’re both staying away from Costco.

I run a fantasy football league in our office. Fourteen participants this year, half of them women. It’s very exciting, as team-building is a huge part of my thing at the foundation. We’re drafting Wednesday night, and I’ll be happy to get it over so we can enjoy the season. Draft season is a little hectic.

Ready for a new week. I can feel the productivity building up inside me.

Don’t forget that every day you’re not contributing to the health crisis, you are doing something positive, even if you’re consuming pie and chips at the same time. Cut yourself some slack. Get fresh air and sunshine. Stay connected to people. Connect with me if you could use more connection, ’cause I’m here for it.

Lockdown: Boy meets buoys

I slept okay Saturday night. Got to bed around ten and fell right to sleep. I slept about four hours uninterrupted, which has been rare lately and was really nice. I woke up a second time around three, went to the bathroom, and decided I was up for good, rather than trying to squeeze in another half hour before the 3:30 alarm.

I’m growing to enjoy Sunday mornings the day before a holiday. I never used to, when I was teaching. I like them enough that I’m taking Mondays off the next two weeks. Need some me-time, especially since we have no holidays between Labor Day and Veterans Day. That’s far too long a stretch for Hawaii people.

Ali texted me with a prayer request, something I’ve been better about receiving with the expected heart this past year. I’m writing something about it, but I kind of want to wait until after the first week of November to conclude it. It’s Lent-related. We chatted a while and I said I would pray. Not something I say sincerely very often about third-party intercession.

It helped that I knew I’d be in the water, which is where I am most apt to do it.

I got to the parking lot a few minutes before it opened, joining the queue of expectant surfers, paddle-boarders, swimmers, and walkers. The surf forecast called for three- to five-foot waves on the south shore. At five, the lot still wasn’t full, but by the time I walked to Starbucks and back with my second pumpkin spice latte of the season, it was pretty close.

I spent the predawn half hour out at the edge of Kewalo, looking over Ala Moana. It was pretty. Drank coffee, ate a doughnut, and listened to Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction as morning broke. All days should begin something like this.

Got in the water a little ahead of what has been normal. The water was an incredibly lovely pale, transparent turquoise in the shallows, a color I don’t think I’ve seen there. The beach is reacting well to having far fewer people in the water every day.

I went hard enough that I’m still feeling it in my shoulders nearly forty hours later. It just felt so good, and I think the higher number of surfers in the lot meant there were fewer swimmers, because I didn’t have to deal with very many others. There’s a guy who looks like R’s father who doesn’t swim straight between the buoys — he kind of zig zags a little, and he always gets too close to me, sometimes causing me to have to stop where I am and let him pass.

It takes everything I have not to lose my zen. I gotta find a good Christian equivalent for this sentiment. We Christians are too conflicted about everything to have such a useful phrase.

It is quite possible that these morning swims are the best things in my life lately. Why should it be a struggle to drag myself out of bed two hours before sunrise to have the best thing in my life? If Anna Kendrick were going to be at the Starbucks at that hour, standing in line ahead of me every morning, you know I’d be there without fail. And that’s not even as good for me.

Still it would be good for me, though. So if you’re reading this, Anna, just come on by when the virus gets nicer.

I went to Foodland Farms at Ala Moana for some groceries. Came home with a few small wedges of cheese I’ve never tried or heard of. Also, Foodland has a store-branded balsamic vinegar and olive oil that’s a pretty good price. I picked up some of the vinegar to try with the cheese and my next loaf of bread.

I thought maybe Sunday morning, early enough, would be okay for a visit to the Korean grocery in my hood. It’s been since last winter that I’ve gone. My office is walking distance from a few good Korean markets, so if I need something I’m likelier to get it there during a lunch break.

It wasn’t bad, but I lingered a little too long. Then I walked to the Chinese noodle factory a few doors down and picked up some Hong Kong noodles. I stopped at Rainbows for a boneless chicken, post-swim gluttonfest. It went down quickly and I’m hoping I burned right through it.

The rest of the day was getting ready for the fantasy football draft with my high-school classmates. The draft is Monday afternoon, and I had more fiddling with my spreadsheet to do.

I don’t think I had lunch, but I had a slice of blueberry-peach pie for dinner. Crashed on (not in) my bed as I considered hitting the local supermarket before closing. Woke up too late to get there, but I knew I wasn’t going anyway. Ryan posted a photo he took at Waipio Costco Sunday — the line is serpentine in shape and Mississippian in length. Ugh. No thank you. Even if the crowd at the grocery was proportinately smaller, it would be too stressful.

The only other text was from Crush Girl, who sent me a photo of a snack she tried. We chatted a little about that, and about how her weekend was going.

I kind of thought I’d be watching a lot of Halt and Catch Fire this weekend, but I only got to see two episode. Goals for next week.

Let’s connect if connection you lack. Or lack in sufficient qualities or quantities. Stupid pandemic’s still going, and things don’t feel like they’re getting better soon. Just leave a comment.

Lockdown: Fantasy island

I cruised into Saturday without a real agenda. Then I got the email from Don saying our fantasy football league, which goes back twenty-five years or longer, is on. In a group email we scheduled the draft for Monday afternoon.

I immediately scheduled a couple of live drafts in Yahoo leagues, money leagues this time, to get back into the groove. Then I popped open this Google Sheets spreadsheet I use, shared with the guys in my league. It’s sort of a real-time draft board, and every year I add something cool to it. This year I wanted to add some buttons, to automate certain repetitive tasks.

It’s not as easy as just recording a macro, which I’ve done in Excel. What I wanted to do required a little bit of scripting, so I taught myself some of the script Google Sheets uses and spent a huge chunk of Saturday playing around with it. The learning curve was initially steep, but my experience with coding helped a lot: I tried a few things intuitively, and they mostly worked.

Now the sheet is super functional but not very pretty — I knew if I tried to make the buttons pretty, I’d spend all weekend just on that. So this will be my improvement for next year.

I watched two episodes of Halt and Catch Fire. Got through a box in my attack on the Beast. Not a Rubbermaid tub, but a cardboard box this time. Almost all of it went into the trash. Yay. Took a while, though, since it was mostly papers and notebooks.

Breakfast and lunch were both leftover angel hair. I picked up another pie in the morning (blueberry peach), so a slice of that was my snack. For dinner I went to the Chinese restaurant in my hood and got takeout: stuffed eggplant, tofu and mixed veggies, and beef broccoli with cake noodle (it’s a Hawaii thing). Lots of leftovers, of course. I didn’t even touch the tofu and mixed veggies, and have half remaining of the other two dishes.

Sharon and I traded some texts about this thing I saw at the Chinese restaurant (her family owns a Chinese restaurant in town), then we got to other topics, mostly a former best friend of hers who’s been bugging her. Ali texted to tell me she read a passage in a book that made her think of me. That was nice.

Went to bed early with big plans for Sunday.

It’s too late to be part of my Sunday (I’m writing this on Sunday evening), but I’ve got a whole week ahead of me during which I expect not a thing to be different from the six months leading up to it, so if you need a little connectivity, leave a comment.

Lockdown: Getting to Natsunoya

People frequently joke about Friday being an unproductive day at work, but it’s often my most productive day, especially in those few final hours on the clock. I really try to get as much of my list ticked as I can before the weekend. The more unproductive Monday through Thursday are, the more I’m likely to get serious stuff done Friday.

Friday didn’t want to make it easy for me, though. Started with a 9:00 Zoom I didn’t handle very well, followed by a 10:00 Zoom directly about my work, which seemed a little awkward for everyone but me. I was a bit oblivious to subcontexts, so they flew over my head while I think others stepped gingerly around something about which I’m still not fully aware.

It took a little bit of recovery time. I coordinate the office fantasy football league, so I spent a little bit of time communicating with the other participants. Then I drove to Natsunoya for some takeout, and although it wasn’t great, it was good, and it powered me the rest of the way. I first-drafted the story about the ex-UH Manoa football player I interviewed on the phone, then worked a little on some acknowledgement letters for one of the units.

The lunch was a surf and turf special, steak and garlic shrimp. Pretty good but overpriced. I appreciated the potato-mac salad, which is made with spaghetti noodles instead of elbow macaroni. I love that. They also threw in a jin dui and a nice piece of eggplant. It was a nice bounce-back from breakfast, which was Korean instant ramen with a couple of eggs and some Vienna sausage. The cholesterol special. I had to hurry it up because of that 9:00 meeting (why I agree to them I do not know). Wolfed down some very pleasurable bites, then had to leave it until a forced five-minute gap before the second meeting.

It was two hours sitting on the table before I got to enjoy the second half, by which it was cold and soggy. Still not bad, to be honest.

Dinner was some angel hair. I made the same sauce but added some Portuguese sausage I have to use up. I enjoyed it while watching the second half of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. The movie slogs in a few spots, and it’s too long by fifteen minutes. Still, it’s dumber than the original and quite a bit funnier. There’s a cute takeoff on The Seventh Seal, which I still have not seen. In that film, a character plays chess with Death. In this one, the characters play Battleship instead. I laughed aloud several times.

Stayed up a bit later than planned — like past two, approaching three. But I needed this weekend, and was eager to indulge after a week of going to bed early.

I got a text from a coworker who wanted to know where some templates are. Crush Girl and I exchanged a few messages about my lunch and our upcoming long weekend. Jennifer sent me an article about making kvass, which is a drink you make with sourdough starter and some dark bread, and I’m totally game to try it. I’m not a big fan of rye but I might bring home a loaf of pumpernickel and give it a shot.

Still have to awaken my sourdough starter, though. It’s one of the last remaining items in my old fridge.

I feel good about the week, especially the quick turnaround on that one story and hitting the beach three times. I also made some good progress on the Beast, which I am blocking off some time for this weekend as well. I much prefer Friday holidays, but the nice thing about Monday holidays is that I have more time to do Monday evening stuff. It’s one of my busier personal evenings of the week.

Hope you’re holding on too, wherever and whoever you are. These sucky days won’t be with us forever, but they are going to be with us a while. So reach out if you need some connection. I’m here for it.

Lockdown: Saved fun

I’m journaling before my day is over, something I haven’t done very many times in the lockdown. If something meaningful happens between the time I post this and the time I retire, I’ll add it sometime Friday.

After the laundry, I got to the Kewalo parking lot just before five. There were still several parking stalls left, but the lot filled quickly after that. Surf was definitely not up, although the forecast says it may get up to three feet on the south shore over the weekend. I think this morning’s dawn patrollers were hopeful, but I overheard some of them saying later that it was terrible, “even worse than yesterday.”

I walked to Starbucks for a latte, then right back to Kewalo, where I watched the sun come up. It was nice.

Got into the water, and that was nice too. I took it kind of easy — didn’t go very far, but it was still a little strenuous. The other night while I was decluttering, I found a partially exposed waterproof Fun Saver, and with the full moon high in the sky just before dawn, I thought today would be a good day to take it into the water and see what I could do.

It’s a lot more difficult shooting with a point-and-shoot while treading water than I would have guessed. Not only is it nearly impossible to hold the camera steady, but you’re holding the camera with two hands, so you have to tread water with just your legs, including your sore knee. Plus there’s the whole viewfinder-is-not-where-the-lens-is situation on fixed-focus cameras like this.

It was mostly shooting in the dark, taking several exposures of each intended shot, and just hoping something interesting or at least keepable would show up.

Still, it was pretty fun, despite all the seawater I drank.

I’ve been in the water three times in a week: Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I’m wondering if every other day is sustainable, or something approximating it.

I had a pretty good phone interview with a donor, then worked with two other donors to set up interviews. Worked on some teaser copy, then played around with the story I’m writing about the donor I spoke to, a UH Manoa football player from the 1970s.

After the news, I worked on the Beast. Since I’m basically doing this one storage tub at a time, and the contents of these things is unpredictable, sometimes the nightly task takes a couple of hours, while sometimes it’s pretty quick. This evening I dealt with one small container and one large one, and they were both nearly full of stuff to throw out. This pleased me, because it didn’t take my whole evening and because the stuff I did save fit into the saver tub I’ve been working on these past few days. I’ve effectively reduced four tubs’ woth of stuff into half a small tub, which means I’m opening up more space for doing this work.

I picked up breakfast at Pancakes and Waffles, a roast pork loco moco, and pretty much burned right through it. I snacked on the rest of those carnitas Lay’s, then got takeout from Teishoku. Sashimi and tonkatsu. The sashimi was pretty good, but the tonkatsu was terrible. I’ve had the same dish in the restaurant, in days when we could dine in, and it was pretty good. This was miserable. I’m very sorry to say it, but if you want good Japanese takeout, you have to get it at a Japanese-run establishment. Which of course means overpaying. But at least you get good food.

I haven’t had dinner yet, but I’m hungry so I’ll have something before bedtime, which should be pretty soon (it’s 9:12). There’s a very good chance it’ll be a cold can of pork and beans from the can, and maybe a can of Vienna sausage to go with it.

I got one text, Crush Girl’s response to my question last night. That was pretty much it.

Oh, the other night I found a couple of photos of Traci, George, and Ross I shot on film when we went to Hilo for a long weekend about thirteen years ago. I snapped photos of both pictures with my phone, then sent them to George’s and Ross’s wives via FB messenger. It led to a little bit of conversation, spaced out over a few days. That was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and I forgot to mention it.

I’m very tired but I’m going to try and have a nice dinner and maybe watch the first half of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. I have a 9:00 Zoom meeting Friday (ugh) followed by a 10:00 Zoom meeting (ugh). There may be as many as two phone interviews as well (stressful but fun). Still, I feel like I should cram one more thing into my Thursday.

And hey, if you need someone to connect with, I’m good for some texting or IMs. Or FB messenger. Just leave a comment and we’ll work it out.

Long weekend coming up. Let’s finish the week strong and charge into the weekend like it’s our last holiday until Veterans Day. Man, what a long stretch that is. I’ve already requested a few Mondays off for September.

Lockdown: Vampire, rise

I slept roughly. I guess I got enough, hours-wise, but it took ten hours or so to get there. I guess I’ve been rested enough lately that it didn’t really have an impact, and I didn’t feel the need for a mid-day nap. Still, I was more than ready for bed by the time I retired at 8:00 in the evening.

I had three meetings. One via phone and two via Zoom. A bit of a strain, but the meetings weren’t bad. Worked on a little more website copy. Set up a couple of phone interviews. Prepared for phone interviews. At least the work wasn’t taxing, with all those meetings to deal with.

It was an actual twelve-hour day, since I got out of bed at 8:00 and was back in bed at 8:00. Didn’t leave room for messing around. I did a few chores and prepped for laundry, and that was about it.

Breakfast was leftover angel hair. Delicious. I had a very late lunch of a couple of burritos because I was worried about the freshness of the filling. Used it all up and will make some more Thursday evening, I think. Dinner, which I am consuming now at the laundry, is a Big Mac combo.

When I got here, someone was in my spot. This is the first time it’s happened in these five months, although there is a woman who comes in after me sometimes who I can tell wants my spot. I was forced to work at the other end of the room, and it’s actually better. I’m not near the machine that reloads your card (this is one of those laundries where you put money on a card, then use the card to pay for services), so people don’t have to walk behind me. I’m on a smaller counter spact, but it’s large enough and it’s kind of private. There’s also an electrical outlet right at counter level, so I may bring my charger next time and see if it works.

However, when I loaded the dryer, I simply moved my clothes from the nearest washer to the nearest dryer, not noticing until after I got it going that it was one of the larger dryers and therefore more money to operate. My load looks kind of silly in that cavernous tumbler, but ah well. Next time I’ll pay better attention.

I texted the other Jennifer to mention that I’d forgotten Jane Weidlin and Clarence Clemons were in Bill and Ted 1. She watches the movie every few years and said she didn’t realize Clarence was even in it. Crush Girl texted me just before I went to bed with a photo of her dinner. We chatted a little about the spot where she went, and I asked her if she ever buys two plates, to save one for later, which is what I’ve been doing for the past three months or so. Didn’t hear back, but it was just as well because I would have been asleep if she’d responded.

The transformation from being a vampire hasn’t been as difficult as I expected. While I yearn for long walks at three in the morning and the quiet solitude of writing in the silent darkness, I’m up early enough most of the time to beat the sunrise by an hour or two. If the tradeoff is for three or four mornings a week in the ocean, I’ll take it without too much regret. Everything feels better when I have that time, and it carries over to the next day, so I only really need it every other day. I just wish I could count on parking — that’s the major stress, besides getting to bed early enough.

The Waterboys and the Avett Brothers put out new albums last week and I still haven’t gotten to them. I did check out new albums by John Petrucci (excellent), the Atomic Bitchwax (very good), and Pain of Salvation (excellent), so it’s still been a good week for music so far. And Fates Warning announced a new album for November 6, and there’s a new Stryper album Friday! I’ve already heard one song and it’s quite good. I’m really looking forward to that one — I may not listen to anything else all weekend if it’s good.

If you want someone to connect with in these dark, dismal, depressing days, you know what to do.

Lockdown: I know his name; he’s called Mr. D

I didn’t get as much sleep Monday night as I tried. Kept waking up for the first half of my planned time. Finally got like two solid, uninterrupted hours before waking up at 3:00 Tuesday for some reason. I figured that was it, so I lounged for half an hour and got ready to go.

Got to the parking lot at Kewalo just past 4:00. Lots of parking. Darn it. Walked to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato (redeemed some stars) and a breakfast wrap. Wandered back to Kewalo and enjoyed both near the water as the sun came up. It was nice.

Jumped in the water shortly after sunrise. It was very nice. I swam longer and faster than I’ve gone in some time. I’m okay with taking it easy since it’s more about quality time than actual exercise, but now that I’m not walking I think a more concerted effort to push myself is called for. I wouldn’t win any races. Still, I remember where I started thirteenish years ago when I first made this part of my life again, and it makes me feel really, really good.

I drove to my mom’s house to drop off her birthday gift and to chat for a while. My parents live in a two-story house, but downstairs is just the garage, laundry, and entrance. All the actual living space is upstairs, so we chatted with me downstairs and them upstairs. The dog came down to say hi a couple of times.

My mom’s gift was thirty-five pounds of Japanese rice from Rice Factory. It’s pricey stuff, but my mom really likes it. I also took my mom and dad the remaining half of the lemon chess pie.

Got to work a little late and took vacation hours to cover it. The workday passed rather quickly. I did some website stuff, writing the copy for the “we’re hiring!” page, then made plans for those interviews I need.

I wrote myself a pass on the Beast for Tuesday night, opting instead for dinner and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, a rental from Amazon. I’m planning to review the new third movie for the staff newsletter, and wanted to review the first two films first. It’s been thirty years since I saw the original. It’s such a stupid movie.

I’d completely forgotten that Clarence Clemons and Jane Weidlin are in it. That was the highlight for me.

The movie ate up my free time, and the cleanup took me past my intended bedtime.

On the way back from my parents’ house, I was pretty ravenous, despite the coffee and breakfast wrap, so I hit the Wendy’s drive-through. I’ve been kind of fascinated by fast-food breakfasts I haven’t tried, ever since that first Taco Bell morning. I won’t say what I ordered because it’s embarrassing, but it was pretty good. Standard breakfast-sandwich stuff but with a fried chicken sandwich option most places don’t have.

I don’t understand why these joints don’t have a breakfast hamburger. I was hoping to see that at Wendy’s, since their hamburger is the best-tasting of the fast food joints around here. One huge advantage for Wendy’s is the seasoned breakfast potatoes, which are basically steak fries given the curly fries treatment. A huge improvement on curly fries, but I’d honestly rather have just regular steak fries.

That was was second breakfast and lunch. It was a lot of food. Dinner was a modest-sized bowl of angel hair pasta. I used a canned sauce and added dried minced garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, vodka, and gorgonzola. It came out great, especially when I added a drizzle of good olive oil.

I’ve got a lot of half-consumed bottles of alcohol in my cabinet, and I need some cabinet space, so I’m trying to use stuff up. This vodka usually goes into food anyway. Absolut is kind of gross. It tastes waxy to me, but it’s good in food. A restaurant I used to enjoy made a pink sauce with marinara and vodka, which is where I got the idea. Good stuff.

Got to bed at around 11:00 and was asleep before midnight.

I texted the writing partner and apologized for procrastinating on reviewing her work. Sent a former coworker, a victim of Bloody Wednesday, a job link in case he hadn’t already seen it (he had). Traded texts with Penny about helping me with my podcast, which now I’m having second thoughts about. I mean I’m having second thoughts about this modified format which isn’t what I had in mind, pre-pandemic.

Sent Ali a photo of Kewalo under the near-full moon. A nice photo. She said she misses this place.

Oh, and I FB messaged a former student. When I was decluttering Monday evening, I found something belonging to his mother, and was pretty sure she’d want it back. We’re not FB friends (I don’t initiate social media friendships with students; I let them decide how they want to relate to me post-graduation), so I wrote “Sorry to bug you, but I have to ask you a little question. Nothing scary, I promise.”

He responded, “Yo Mr. D. What’s up?”

Warmed my heart, the way this thirty-one-year-old still calls me Mr. D and didn’t have any problems communicating with me the way he once did when he was fourteen. The last words he messaged me were, “That would be great. Thanks Mr. D.”

The last four years or so of my career, the students got away from “Mr. D” and called me by my name. Which seemed natural and fine. But I do look fondly on those years when I was an initial.

The days peel away, each not very different from the one before. I knew this was going to happen, which is one reason I committed to journaling this stuff when lockdown began. It’s a way for me to keep track of things that are important, and to identify signs of falling into bad ruts. The messaging helps. Tuesday evening it helped a little more than usual.

If you need something like it, add me to your rotation of connections. Just drop a comment and we’ll work something out.

Lockdown: Stabbed it with their steely knives

I can’t remember why I didn’t go to the beach Monday morning, but I don’t think I decided not to until Monday morning. I still picked up breakfast before getting to work. A loco moco from Kam Bowl Restaurant at the neighborhood stripmall. It’s right next to an L&L, but where L&L gives you mass quantities of a mediocre loco, Kam Bowl’s is an adequate serving but of much better quality. Also a few bucks more, but it’s worth it.

Work was pretty good. Did a little more background, edited an appeal letter, worked on some website content. Busy, but neither strenuous nor stressful.

After work I worked on the Beast. My clutter is a gigantic and complex thing, like that garbage patch floating in the Pacific. Broad and deep and perhaps home to a few microecosystems. My strategy is systematically to go through it in increments and in stages, the first stage simply to throw out what is obviously trash. In this way, going through one Rubbermaid tub at a time, I can cut the volume down by 50 percent, I’m guessing. The next stage will be some kind of order, plus another separation of wheat from chaff.

A lot of it is teaching material. Important to hang on to, once upon a time, but no longer. It makes me a bit wistful for days in the classroom.

However, I try not to take too much time for wistfulness. Out, damn journaling rubric that once wowed my colleagues! Out, vile yearbook tutorials on InDesign I so lovingly crafted! Begone, ye factoring exercises for math students needing extra practice!

Some of it made the first cut but may not survive the second pass. The cute in-class exercise for my grad school classmates on Bloom’s Taxonomy, on colored index cards with flower-shaped stickers, bound by a little binder ring. The small guides I created (comb-bound, but on quarter-sized paper — I snipped the plastic combs down to size) about dyslexia (“The Care and Feeding of Your Dyslexia”) and depression (“Sometimes You Can’t Snap Out of It”) for my substitute teachers to read. When am I ever going to need these again? I don’t know but they’re too neat to just toss. For now.

It’s tedious and time-consuming, but at least it’s mostly not strenuous, like the Monster was, and neither is it disgusting, which the Monster also was. And the payoff is usually another plastic tub ready to be washed out and dried, then nested with the other empties for whenever I need them later.

I also finally finished emptying the old freezer. It was all I could take this week. Next week I’ll try to empty the fridge the rest of the way. I did most of the heavy lifting already; now it’s mostly just getting into the back corners and low shelves.

I didn’t get to bed until 9ish and didn’t fall asleep ’til nearly 10. Ugh.

I texted the writing partner to let her know I haven’t forgotten about her. Crush Girl and I talked about our weekends. Looks like we both had pretty good ones, ‘though we both did some work on our days off. I let Jenny know I asked my boss about doing the writing webinar.

Lunch was again a slice of lemon chess pie, and dinner was again some English muffin pizzas. This will be the last of them for a while, the pie and the Englih muffin pizzas. I’m done with the English muffins and I’m giving my parents the remaining half of the pie when I go over Tuesday.

If you need someone to connect with, leave a note in the comments. I’m here for it.