Lockdown: Runnin’ on empty

wobbler album cover

I hate to say this but Thursday’s long hours and attention-focused work left me spent Friday. I attended to my work and responded to emails quickly, but I didn’t actually produce anything. I could have, too; I have a couple of web things to work on and a story to write.

First, though, I hit the beach. Lighter rains (probably) meant less runoff where I swim, and although I was too exhausted to get up early and get there at sunrise, I joined the second, post-dawn-patrol shift of swimmers, getting there around 8:30. The water was a little gross but not really gross, probably not even noticeable unless you go in the water there regularly. So I had a good swim. It wasn’t as strenuous as I was hoping, partly because my body was tired and slightly out of practice, and partly because the water was moving a bit more than usual.

However, I hit the accustomed distance, emailed my boss to let her know I’d be getting off to a later start at my desk than usual, stopped for breakfast at Pancakes & Waffles, and got to work in much better spirits than I have in a while.

Yes. Despite a fridge full of Portuguese bean soup, I picked up a baked potato omelette with a short stack for breakfast and lunch. And a chicken katsu plate for dinner. Don’t ask me why. I didn’t love the breading on the katsu, but the chicken was well made. I’d order it again.

When work was done I just vegged. Didn’t have anything left in the tank after a busy, challenging week. I also had plans to go to my parents’ Saturday morning and had to be up early.

I texted with Sharon through most of the work day, at first about work stuff and then some of our cooking projects. Susannah texted because she published an article in the Star-Advertiser and wanted to comment on something she was peeved about. I definitely sympathized and did my best to console her. Desi sent more updates on our friend’s mom’s funeral proceedings. Ali and I texted a lot about depression, and how we respond to it. And Crush Girl and I traded texts about this place she knows that’s available to rent.

I did get to spin a few new records as I worked, though. That was fun. Still haven’t sat down with the new Bruce album. Sometime this weekend I think. I did listen to Despicable, the new Carcass album. I’ve never really been into Carcass but this impressed me for some reason. I don’t remember them being this melodic or technical. I was intrigued by reviews of May Our Chambers be Full, the collaboration of Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou. I’d never heard of Rundle but the concept was cool. Execution left me a little flat, though. I may give this another spin, in case I’m missing something.

I also revisited one of last week’s new releases, Dwellers of the Deep by Wobbler. Total late-70s prog vibe. They sound like they used to be a Yes tribute band who decided to make original music. It’s dripping with Yes influence and this is a good thing. In a year when at least two members of Yes have released solo albums, it’s interesting that a band who sounds like Yes put out the better work.

That’s it. Reach out if you need someone to connect with. The gray days of disease and dis-ease aren’t going anytime soon. I’ll do my best to be real. I probably won’t do my best to be prompt. But you never know.

Lockdown: Hanging on with gritted teeth

I was slammed with work Thursday. Nothing urgent. The first half of my day was kind of in cruise mode. I did work, but nothing was due. Everyone else in my department was up against it, though, so I took on someone’s task and that was kind of urgent, and it was tedious and long. I didn’t hate it. But wow, did it take some time.

I did take a few breaks along the way, to rest my brain, but I didn’t really finish things until 8:00 in the evening, and I had gotten off to an early start Thursday morning hoping I might be able to clock out early and watch a movie or something.

The best laid schemes.

And I was tiiiiiiiiiired. Terrible sleep Wednesday night. Dragging past the finish line on that task late Thursday. It was a bit of a struggle.

I did the Friday NYT crossword Thursday before bed. It was challenging and I got one square wrong. Careless! If I had thought for one minute I would have known it was a bad square. It was initially an unnoticed typo, one that made a legit word. So when I did a quick check, I just read the answers to see if they were actual words I knew. It was stupid.

Then I just went to bed. I was tired. I took a while to fall asleep but finally conked out around 10:30 I think.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were just Portuguese bean soup. I didn’t even really have a dinner; just got by on what I had for lunch, really. It was good but I’m fairly sure I’ll be tired of this dish in a few days.

Desi sent me more texts about our friend whose mom died. I feel terrible, and I know Desi feels terrible. She was so close to that family while we were in school at Hilo. Ali texted to tell me the regular Kindle is $60 now. Useful to know but once I’ve had a Paperwhite I really don’t think I can ever go to a Kindle, except as an inexpensive backup. But then that’s what I’ve got a phone and tablet for, you know? Not the same thing, but neither is the regular Kindle.

Crush Girl had a little bit of work stress Thursday so I texted to check on her. The stress thing went well, so that was nice to hear. Then we talked a little about her next baking project. I’m a little concerned about her peace of mind lately, but then I’m concerned about my own as well, and as I’ve privately messaged other friends, I’m hearing the same from them. We’re all hanging on with gritted teeth.

That was my Thursday. Not much to talk about, really. And I’m glad I got through it.

If your teeth are gritted too and you don’t have someone to connect with over it, leave a comment. I’m here.

Lockdown: I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you

Slept okay Tuesday night but it was laundry night. So I was up at 2:30.

Refilling the drinking water and getting a Big Mac combo were routine, which is exactly what I want. Laundry was mostly okay, even though there were a couple of people in and out (not lingering in the laundry, the way I do) doing a ton of wash.

No beach. Too rainy lately. Dang it. So I stopped at Safeway when it opened, picked up a block of extra sharp Tillamook, some hot dogs, some chips, and some buns. Yeah, I felt I would need some quick meals this week.

Took a short nap before work.

Wednesday work was a little intense. My supervisor backed off a little but I knew I was behind and I wanted to get caught up, so I cranked my focus up and got the web stuff done, including some extra social media work I’m not expected to do but for which I’ve said I’m available. Almost all my work Wednesday was web work, with very little writing of the sort I normally do. Different. Not better or worse, and creative in its own way. Just a bit sugoi because when I know I’m late with stuff, I’m determined to make it awesome.

I made the Portuguese bean soup in the Instant Pot. There’s a recipe I’ve been looking at in the local FB IP group. Specific with ingredients but vague with amounts. I like that for a soup.

It came out fine. I intentionally overdid the elbow macaroni because I always think there’s not enough when I get this dish in a restaurant. Bad move. I mean, I expected the pasta to soak up the liquid, but I knew there was enough flavor in there that I could just add water as needed whenever I heat some up. I did not count on this amount of macaroni kind of making the overall dish pretty bland. I’m very disappointed in myself.

And I made a freaking ton of it. So I’ll be fiddling with it as I have leftovers for probably the next week. I’m going to have it probably two meals a day through the weekend just to avoid having to eat it racing against time later.

Good lessons. The dish has its roots in Hawaii plantation days, so it’s almost universally made with smoked ham hocks or ham shanks. I’ve seen recipes that call for both. Once upon a time these were garbage cuts (see also: oxtail), but our struggling Hawaii cultural forebears learned how to cook with them. Slow and low. Where there’s not much meat, there’s a ton of flavor if you know how to coax it from the bone and sinew.

Now, of course, since they are such an imprtant ingredient in very popular dishes, these cuts aren’t inexpensive at all. If you really want to go cheap, now you go turkey tails.

While I worked on the dish, I kept trying to figure out what the smoked ham shank reminded me of. I kept going to cured things like corned beef or pastrami, but then I got it. It tastes like a good ham, with perhaps a more intense flavor. I’m attributing that to the fact that it’s smoked, but maybe it’s the cut. I have very little experience with the cut.

I think the next time I prepare this dish, I’m going to try it with some real ham. It’ll be leaner and meatier, if a bit less flavorful, but I’ll be able to cut back on the Portuguese sausage because I’ll just use more ham.

I got to bed around ten, hoping to get up early and hit the beach if it didn’t look like it had rained much.

So, breakfast, I guess, was the Big Mac combo, but that really felt more like a delayed Tuesday dinner, which I skipped. Lunch was hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut. I had a slice of apple pie for a snack. Dinner was the soup.

Crush Girl texted me to talk about her work. She’s been a little stressed. I’m worried she’s going to leave her job, although I think if it’s making her really really really really unhappy she should do what she thinks is best for her.

Sharon and I texted about some of the stuff we’ve been spending money on lately. Lots of Amazon for us both. I actually have decreased my online shopping, at least in frequency, trying to stick to one delivery every other week, usually coinciding with payday. But I got a delivery Wednesday only a week after my previous order.

Important stuff, you know? Like the sleep mask I was using is falling apart. A critical piece of my entire sleeping apparatus, since I sleep with the bedroom light on and Darth Vader works best for me when I’m on my back. So I got a new one. Also a birthday gift for Penny. And a set of strainers since I’ve been doing more baking. And a new external 2TB hard drive.

Sharon’s thing, a piece of exercise equipment that’s been difficult to get in 2020, she ordered it the first week of September and she’s only getting it now! Yikes.

I have a Twitter friend whom I’ve met in real life a couple of times who texted me a photo of Lay’s beer cheese chips at the supermarket. This flavor was around last year, so I was pleased to see it’s returned. I don’t know what this friend believes about life and death and why we’re here, but if she weren’t married I’d be super inclined to find out. Dang it.

Penny gave me a nice bottle of bubbles for Christmas this year. I haven’t popped it open because that’s a lot of wine for one person, and time is ticking with the fizzy stuff. When I make calimotxos I don’t worry about it much because it’s cheap wine and I know it’ll keep at least through a weekend. Bubbles are a little trickier to keep in the bottle.

I mention this because I think if things go a certain way Tuesday night, I’m going to pop it open and possibly finish the bottle. It’s not a super pricey bottle, so it’s not the expense I worry about. It’s the waste of some good American bubbles. I have a preference for sparkling wine; it’s what I almost always get if there’s a happy hour and it’s on the menu. I mean in normal times. You know that inexpensive La Marca prosecco? I love that stuff.

Feeling a little wrung-out. Need to get some seawater in me and on me by the end of the weekend.

If you’re in need of some connectivity, I encourage you to leave a comment and let me know. I’m down for it. Even though Jennifer sent me a bunch of links I haven’t commented on yet because I’m still getting caught up on that stuff. Blame work!

Lockdown: I got a little behind

I slept pretty well Monday night, once I got to sleep, but because I turned in so late (after 3:00), I only got four hours or so. This made work kind of a struggle. I’m already behind on some of the web work, thanks to my having been behind on the print editing. It made for a stressful morning. I was called on my tardiness, too, and I couldn’t make any excuses except that the web stuff is new to me and I’m still finding my workflow.

Somehow, I got kind of a lot done, even making room for several phone calls and a couple of emails asking for editing advice. By the late end of my work day (close to 7:00), I was spent.

I lounged for about an hour and then took care of my getting-ready-for-laundry-night chores. Got to bed later than planned (9:00) and didn’t get to sleep until quarter to ten. Then of course I woke up at 11:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep for an hour.


The World Series is over and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the champs. It was an outstanding series, one of the best I’ve seen. I had the game on while I worked, and it was lovely background music as I ran through my tasks.

I picked up breakfast and lunch at Rainbows. Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice for breakfast. It was okay. I really should have just made it at home, since I have all the ingredients in my fridge and most of these take-out joints don’t use the best sausage. Boneless chicken for lunch. It was a lot of food but I was ravenous, and I planned to skip dinner.

I texted a bit with Sharon, starting off with some work stuff and moving into regular chitchat about a UPS shipment she was waiting for and a UPS shipment I received (I ordered a small sampler from Maui Chocolate because I’m writing a story about the proprietor). We also talked a little about making mochi and voting.

The rest of my texts Tuesday were work-related. Except for the World Series and (later) some Armored Saint music, it was a rather work-centric day, which is fine for a Tuesday.

I’m a little behind on returning texts, but if you need some connectivity in the doldrums of pandemic living, leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact deets. I got you. Maybe a few days late, but I got you.

Lockdown: Hello drive-through, my old friend

Can’t stop spinning the Armored Saint album. It’s really good. Just give this song a try.

I’ve been less stressed at work but I’m still behind on stuff. I thought I could catch up Sunday when I was at the office. Then a couple of last-minute things came in. A donor I tried to set a date with this week wanted to talk late Friday. A development officer had a very last-minute proposal she was writing but I was editing and formatting.

I thought I did okay, but it turned out I wasn’t productive enough Monday. I wonder if there’s a time difference between my perception and reality. With the terrible sleep I got Sunday night, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I got through the day okay. There was an email reply from the author whose book I got an advance copy of. She answered my question, saying no, the edition I read was not the version that’s being released when the novel drops. It was unproofed but was already being proofed, and if I noticed anything I was welcome to share my observations. Of course I’m going to send her all my edit suggestions. It’s going to take all week, probably, although I did take good notes in the second half of the novel.

I went to the Taco Bell drive-through for breakfast. I don’t know why. Just a bit unmotivated, I think, to take care of meals in a better way. I have ingredients for Portuguese bean soup in my fridge, which I have plans for Wednesday evening. I had a slice of apple pie for lunch. It was goooooood. Then I hit the Korean take-out for dinner. A meat jun plate and a veggie plate for later. Korean veggies keep pretty well.

After some thought this weekend, I decided to give NaNoWriMo another go. Checked in on the website, when Chrome told me my PW was compromised on that site and thirteen others. Most of the websites don’t even exist anymore, so I just deleted the stored passwords from Chrome. Then logged in on the other sites and updated my PWs. It wasn’t painful, but it took a while.

Oh, I suddenly remember why I was up so late. I took a nap after dinner and didn’t get up until about nine. I felt great! Bad news, of course. I thought I might try to go back to bed, but I remembered that it was trash-to-the-curb night and I hadn’t done any decluttering.

I lugged one large tub to the carport and gave it a quick look. It was all books I plan to keep, so the whole tub went into my storage space in my laundry room. That might not sound like much, but moving a tub from my living room to a storage space is a big deal as I try to turn my living room into a more habitable space.

Of course I had time for another tub. This was full of stuff from my teaching days, circa 2007 and 2008. Teaching materials, old documents and forms, stuff like that. Even lesson plans. I threw most of it out but kept some. I photographed some and tossed it after. As long as I have the photographic record I don’t need the actual documents on some of this stuff.

That was a good pile of stuff to go through — the stuff I consider typical of what remains. Stuff I thought I needed to hang onto when I thought I would be teaching again someday. It felt good to send it to HPOWER. And it felt good to remember my days in the classroom., days when I was doing something I’m good at.

All that clearing out was before my password resetting adventures. I may also have added a few cozy mysteries to my Amazon cart to consider later. Truth is, I have quite a few unread cozy mysteries in my stack, and I don’t need to add anymore. I just felt this urge to kind of symbolize my jumping back on the train with a few more books.

Penny and I texted a little about cozy mysteries again. Sylvia and I chatted on a couple of different platforms about Biki riding. Ali sent me a text to tell me she got a 100 on her latest paper. Sharon and I talked about Drew Barrymore. Did you know she has a new daytime talk show? It’s kind of strange but it’s a hundred percent Drew Barrymore, and I adore her. But you can see how spot-on all the SNL impressions of her are.

You know what? I think I may just have to deal with terrible sleep, cozy mystery obsession, and laziness in the kitchen for one more week. I won’t say anything about after a week’s time because I want neither to jinx anything nor get my hopes up, but I am fricking miserable about all kinds of things related to next Tuesday. The word for the next week is survival.

Whatever you’re hanging onto by your fingernails, if you need someone to share it with, just hit me up in comments. I absolutely do not want to talk about current events, but I’ll text with you about whatever you’re doing to deal with them.

Lockdown: Building a mystery

I wanted to do a million things Sunday and did a few of them, so it was a good day.

It started with not enough sleep. I fell asleep just fine, once I shut my book, but woke up at six after just a few hours of sleep, so I could do a quick check of the NFL news to see if I had to make any last-minute changes to my fantasy football lineups. I did get back to sleep but woke up at 7:30, too early after going to bed so late, but I got up.

I watched the Packers and Texans game while I did a little bit of writing. Read the news, ate a little bit of mochi, brainstormed a little for NaNoWriMo, which I think I am doing this year. I’m somewhat inspired by my reading this weekend.

Around 1:00, I headed for the office. They rescheduled the Raiders game and I stuck around to see if they were going to put it on TV, but alas. I stopped at Subway for a sandwich (footlong turkey on wheat), got to the office, and took care of some business.

A coworker mentioned she might be in the office Sunday too, and although I have done my best to avoid coworkers at all, which is why I go on Sundays, this coworker might have needed help getting into the building, which she did. So I brought some of my less-than-pretty mochi for her. I miss my coworkers!

I listened to the World Series game on the MLB app while I worked. It was good company. And it’s been a great World Series.

I was tempted to stop at the same Subway on my way home and get another sandwich. I enjoyed the heck out of the one I had for breakfast-lunch and although I wasn’t hungry yet, I knew I would be, since the sandwich and the few bites of mochi were all I’d had.

Instead I had some canned turkey chili (almost no fat) and leftover rice, and it was also quite enjoyable. And I read the rest of my book, the entire second half. It felt really good, like I rediscovered something special. I quickly emailed the writer, because I had a question about something before I wrote my review.

I did a couple of quick chores, the Monday NYT crossword (easy; I was annoyed that I finished in 5:05) and a little bit of planning for the week. Turned in a bit late, but happy to have made good use of my weekend.

I traded some texts with Penny about cozy mysteries. We share a weakness for them. I told her I’m planning to gift her this one I just read, in Kindle format when it officially drops. Crush Girl and I traded some texts about some stuff that’s frustrating her. I feel a little useless, completely unable to make her feel better about things, but I know it’s not my role to fix everything. Ali sent me a short video she shot of a strange Uber driver she had. We cracked a few jokes about that.

I’m not always quick to return a text, but if you need someone to connect with, I’m happy to connect too. I’m kind of a mess right now, seven months into this lockdown. I hate to think what I would be if I didn’t have good friends to trade silly messages with about work, books, Uber drivers, and food. It’s really making the difference for me, so if you could use a little, leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact info.

Lockdown: Muthavaca

I don’t know why I was expecting the new Mountain Goats album to be less than outstanding, but I was, and it is. I need to spin it again, of course. And probably again, with a lyrics sheet. So far, however, I don’t really like the sound of this one.

I’m intentionally not listening to the new Bruce Springsteen until Sunday evening, perhaps after the football games.

I slept decenlty but not well Friday night. Lingered a little too long in bed, reading the news on my phone then dragged myself up to do some writing and to pick up a pie. Apple. Oh, and some garlic ahi poke for lunch and dinner.

I did the Sunday NYT crossword. A 31-minute DNF because of one area where an answer from a foreign language I don’t know (vaca) and a historical figure I’ve never encountered (Nitti) crossed a species of tree I’ve neither seen or heard of (live oak). Although the crossword blogs didn’t indicate anyone else had my problem, the consensus rating is around 2.5 out of 5, so I’m not the only solver who didn’t love this one.

I took a short nap, then got up and made mochi for the first time. I forgot to cover it with foil as I baked it, so it was a little hard on its pink surface at first. However, after storing it it over night, it’s just a little stiff on top. Still pretty yummy. I have to get better at slicing it into pieces, as evident in this photo.

Then I settled in with some mochi, ice water, and that cozy mystery. And I read for four hours. I haven’t done this much sustained reading since sometime last year, and it was glorious. Got halfway through and enjoyed the reckless abandon of staying up super late with just a book.

I’ve written in this space about how I haven’t done much reading since the lockdown began, but I also have been on a break from cozy mysteries for a few years. I don’t know why. Jumping into this one, I was reminded of how fun they are to read and how difficult they are to put down. I’m back on the cozy mystery train, which is good because I have many in my physical and electronic book stacks.

Cindy asked the Cindy-Suzanne-Julie group text where to get soft serve besides Dairy Queen. I gave her a list of places I’ve tried. It was a fun conversation, and it was nice to find some places I haven’t tried yet. Someday, when we’re okay to go out again.

I also traded short texts with Ali and Crush Girl. Nothing especially gripping, but it was nice to have the contact.

Breakfast was a slice of peach-pear pie and a couple of hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. Lunch was the poke with fresh hapa rice. Dinner was more of the same.

A decent, mellow Saturday. I have a little bit of work to do Sunday, and I’m expecting to be very, very tired, but I’m hoping also to spend more time with my book.

Leave a comment if you don’t have adequate connectivity in these, the dismal days of the pandemic. I may look up from my book long enough to respond. 🙂

Lockdown: Saint that a shame

Thursday night I slept decently, but woke up around 4:00 and had trouble resting until it was time to get up. Frustrating.

I got out of bed a little before the start of my workday and drove to Subway for breakfast. Footlong turkey on wheat. I had a $2 reward to burn before Monday. Used to save the rewards up until I had enough for a free footlong, but that’s when I was eating there two or three times a week.

Work was so much less stressful than it’s been, now that I’ve got that bear of an assignment turned in. I posted an article, edited some letters, interviewed a donor (this is a good one — I look forward to sharing), edited a photo for someone else, and wrote some social media posts that didn’t go up yet.

Too tired Friday night to do anything fun (or meaningful). I did a couple of crossword puzzles (poorly), read more of the news than usual, did a little fantasy football research, and watched the new Borat movie. It’s funny in a super clever, super awkward, fairly gross way. I was impressed with how Sacha Baron Cohen uses his stunts to catch normal people being kind, though. Most unexpected.

Oh, I also spun the new Armored Saint album, and it’s reeeeally good.

People get nostalgic for olden days, but sometimes they are horribly misguided. With schooling for sure — we know so much more today about learning differences, when some decades ago we would label some students “slow” and put them in non-college prep track.

You know what else sucked when I was growing up, that doesn’t suck now? When I was fourteen, I read heavy metal magazines, where I learned about bands like Metallica, Armored Saint, Anthrax, Kix, Keel, and Cirith Ungol. I saw the records at Tower, but I couldn’t afford to buy stuff unheard, and there was nowhere to hear these bands.

Metallica and Anthrax were big enough that if you paid attention, you’d hear them on movie soundtracks at the cinema, or sometimes on MTV, but there were so many bands who sounded cool who you could never hear. I’m still making up for a lot of lost listening, and I’m in my fifties.

Anyway. Finally getting into Armored Saint. I’m already super familiar with the lead singer, John Bush, who was for a time the lead singer in Anthrax. Until last night I had no idea Armored Saint was a musically decent band. Since Bush contributes a lot of songwriting, it makes sense that this Armored Saint album reminds of a less thrashy Anthrax.

The songs are interesting, and the musicians have a good sound. The album is very well produced, too, which of course enhances my listening. This is almost surely a top-ten album of the year for me. And I’m looking forward to exploring more of the band’s discography.

Ali texted me really late (for her). We shared a lot about our work situations, and a little bit about racial healthcare disparities. Sylvia texted and we talked a little about exercise and food. Vicky sent me more info about some of her MLM meetings. Crush Girl and I shared briefly about stuff I won’t describe.

Need this weekend a bit more than most. Here’s to it.

If you’re having trouble finding people to connect with, I hope you’ll leave a comment. Don’t go through these days alone.

Friday 5: Z

From here.

  1. How have you been sleeping lately?
    Miserably. For the past few weeks. A combination of work stress, not enough exercise (because of bad weather), and current events is making peace and rest difficult to find. I’m hoping some of this will be alleviated in ten days or so.
  2. What kinds of linens and stuff do you have on your bed today?
    I’ve found a combination I really like, so when it’s time to wash everything, I just strip the bed, do the laundry, and put it all back. I have a navy blue fitted sheet from Target. Not the least expensive of Target’s offerings, but not the most expensive. I’ve found that higher thread counts are kind of uncomfortable for me; I like a little bit of texture in my sheets. My flat sheet is a brownish-orange sheet, also from Target and possibly the least expensive. I have a black pillowcase from Target for my regular pillow, and a dark blue pillow case with a starry sky pattern (as in yellowish white dots to look like the night sky) for my body pillow. I have a blue and white Mexican blanket, a gift from R, on standby, but I haven’t needed it since winter.
  3. What’s the latest you’ve gotten out of bed these last few months?
    I like to stay in bed late on weekends, but my terrible sleep has made such relaxation distasteful. I’m usually up by 9:00 on weekends now, and usually take a short nap later in the day.
  4. Have you had any pleasant or unpleasant dreams lately?
    Geez. I had a terrible nightmare Wednesday morning. I was a teacher, and it was set in a school. Since I’m not a teacher anymore, I’m interpreting this as related to my work stress. I was in possession of a female student’s binder when I shouldn’t have been. It was kind of an accident. I realized I’d grabbed the wrong thing, and was flipping through it when there was a knock on my classroom door. There was a TV reporter with a microphone and several reporters with cameras outside, asking to come in and speak to me. I hadn’t done anything wrong except this unintentional possession of the student’s binder, but I also knew how it might look. I went into near panic when I realized I was dreaming, and I forced myself awake. It was really scary.
  5. What helps you relax these days?
    Morning swims for sure, but I haven’t been in the ocean for two weeks now. There are a few podcasts I enjoy, whose hosts have relaxing voices. After listening, I often don’t delete them, so I have a few hours’ worth on my phone. Most nights, I’ll play the podcasts when I lie down to sleep. It helps. Mina Kimes. Kevin Sheehan. John Hodgman. Katie Nolan.

Lockdown: Sweatshop

Sooooooooo I went to bed around midnight Wednesday and woke up at 3:00 Thursday morning to get back at it. It took me until about 3:30 to get to my desk. Traffic on the way to work was horrible; there was a bit of congestion at the hallway-livingroom junction.

The stuff I had left was generally tedious work I don’t mind doing when I’m not in a hurry, which is one reason I did it in the wee hours, when I wasn’t on company time. We have this enormous, highly confidential database of people associated with the university, and this major publication I’m working on likes to cite people’s degrees, grad years, and campuses when we write about them. Like this: “Sally Smith (BA ’08, MS ’12 Hilo) met with constituents to talk about…”

It takes a lot of time, and it’s kind of a pain because it’s a huge database, and you can imagine we have a million Sally Smiths in it, and I have to find the one record matching the subject of the sentence, if this Sally is in fact a grad, which may not be the case.

I also checked name spellings, which I’ve adopted as my personal mission. Also tedious, and also something of a guessing game. If the person’s not in the database, I have to hit Google or Linkedin to match the person in the text with the person in the real world, to be sure I’ve got it spelled correctly. This takes a lot of time, too, and I’ll do it again when I’m proofing the assembed draft.

I got through at about 6:30 with one task left. I kind of screwed up a similar task (one huuuuuuge reason I was so late with this assignment to begin with), so I sent a clarifying email to my supervisor and went to bed for a couple of hours.

The first, three-hour sleep was really solid. The second, two-hour sleep was pretty bad, even with Darth Vader. But I kind of expected that, especially with all the junk food I ate while I worked. Chips and wasabi peas, mostly. An ice-cold Diet Pepsi. Oh yeah, there’s the reason, I guess, although I drank that early, so it should have mostly been metabolized out of my system.

The rest of the workday was systematically plodding, but productive. Got that last thing done. Posted a news release on the website and looked up the social media tags so our social media person wouldn’t have to do it. Another tedious task, looking up FB, IG, and Twitter accounts, if they exist, for tagging in our social posts. Then I wrote the posts, mostly as suggestions, for the person who officially handles the accounts.

When the day was done, I was super tired, and I considered just vegging in front of the TV, but I listened to podcasts instead and did a few chores. I may also have done some online shopping I’ll regret later.

There’s this musician I like, Luke Brindley, who Kickstarted two albums this year. One, This Spaces, is an instrumental, and I’ve been spinning it while writing this week. It’s remarkably good for keeping me in the writing part of my brain. I think I’ll write a full review after a few more spins. It’s a strong candidate for my non-metal album of the year. I haven’t taken the (figurative) cellophane off the other album, even though the non-instrumental is the reason I jumped on the Kickstarter in the first place.

Oh, I don’t know how this happened but I spent a little bit of time reading, too. Still working my way through Sarah Frier’s No Filter, but also dove into a new cozy mystery, an advance copy (!) by a writer I like. I signed up to be on her advance copy team so I could be one of those people who posts reviews of her books before they’re actually published. I think finishing the novel will be one of my things for the weekend.

And looking for my Kindle. Argh.

I kind of skipped breakfast Thursday because of all the junk I ate while writing. For lunch I had a few hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. Dinner was leftovers of the baked ahi, with some borderline leftover rice. I had a slice of peach-pear pie for dessert, not really enjoying it because I think I was eating it just to keep from going to bed too early. Ridiculous. The only food I actually enjoyed Thursday were the hot dogs. Since we’re still getting rain and I can’t swim in the ocean, meals are the only real carnal pleasure I have these past few days. Sucks not to enjoy food.

Now that I’ve got that onerous task done, and am settling back into work I’m not letting destroy my psyche, hopefully things will get back to some kind of fake normal.

Grace is terrible about texting, but we got into it a little Thursday evening. She’s working too hard, of course. We talked about voting and this boba spot on her street that used to be my favorite. I’ve cut way, way back on boba, mostly because if I have to get it to go, I’m just not as interested. I miss cafes.

Ali must be busy. I sent her a little update on a coworker’s retirement, and didn’t hear back. It’s been like three or four days of her not returning texts, which is totally fine and actually normal for her.

Crush Girl and I texted some more about her work situation. I gave unsolicited advice, of course. What a mansplainer I can be sometimes.

I feel lucky to have friends with whom I connect via SMS. It’s a low-pressure, non-immediate interaction that suits me very well. If you could use a little of that, please leave a comment and I’ll send you my contact info. You don’t have to go through these damndemic days alone. There’s a cleverer phrase there somewhere but I’m too tired to come up with it.