Lockdown: And the sun keep on burning

Didn’t sleep well Saturday night, and stayed up too late despite my tiredness. But I’d taken care of things Saturday so I could watch football Sunday without worrying about having to get a million things done, so I got up and watched football.

I was going to have something unhealthy with rice and eggs for Sunday breakfast, a processed meat of some sort (sadly, I have a few options), but when I put water into the rice pot I realized I had bugs. Lots of tiny, tiny ant-looking bugs but way smaller.

I keep my rice and quinoa in a cooler in the carport. In a cooler because it’s pretty bug-proof. In the carport because in my old age, I seem to have gotten to a point where it’s nearly impossible to measure rice without spilling some. I prefer having to sweep spilled rice off the carport floor to having to sweep it up off the kitchen floor. It’s done the job for quite some time.

Most of the time, the rice is in its original plastic bag, inside a zippered bag, but in these lockdown days, I’ve taken to buying ten-pound bags of rice rather than five-pound, because for a while rice was scarce and I’m eating far more meals at home. So white rice in a five-pound bag was in a zippered bag; brown rice in a ten-pound bag was just closed with a few folds and a binder clip. Quinoa was in the original zippered bag it comes in.

There were so many tiny, tiny bugs in the cooler I couldn’t tell which rice they got into. Looked like both, actually. There were some inside the zippered bag, even. So I bagged it all up and tossed it. There’s no sense in eating possibly contaminated, infested rice just to save a few bucks. Hosed out the cooler. I’m still going to use it to hold my rice but I guess I’ll keep it in the laundry room, which is nearest the front door, so I can still measure it in the carport.

Rice gets infested. It’s a fact of life. If you’re lucky, you only have to deal with it once in a very long time, or it’s got bugs in it when you get it home from the store, because grocery stores refund your money without even blinking. They know.

I still had two nice crowns of broccoli in the fridge from my last trip to the grocery store twelve days ago, and they still looked great. I need to figure out how I did that. So I blanched them both and made instant mashed potatoes. Stirred in the leftover Om cheese from a week (or so) ago in half of it and some leftover gorgonzola from longer ago than that.

Broccoli and cheesy mashed potatoes for brunch. I could eat that almost every weekend if it weren’t so darned carby. It was enough food that I didn’t even start thinking of dinner until it was time to hit the grocery store at about 10:30 in the evening.

I did a few chores, worked on a little bit of writing, considered my Christmas list, solved two Sunday crosswords, and tidied up a tiny bit. I took a nice two-hour nap.

Went to the supermarket after doing a little bit of meal planning, but was stymied in the Asian aisle when I discovered there was no mochiko. Frick. I already had everything on my list in my cart. I paid for it anyway — the bill was a bit steeper than usual, but I also bought twenty pounds of rice — and ran to Long’s to see if there was mochiko there. Nope.

Great. Now I’m considering ordering some from Amazon.

My something different this time was potato starch, which is for chichidango, if I ever get to make it. I’m kind of annoyed that recipes specifically call for potato starch, since I already have more cornstarch and tapioca starch than I will likely use up before crawlies get into it. I’m going to have to ask Mochi Girl if it really matters.

The Manoa Safeway opens at 5:00 these days (in normal times, it’s open 24 hours). I may pop in to see if there’s mochiko there when I do my laundry this week.

I’ve been pretty moody this past week. I can’t say where it’s coming from, but I’m leaning toward pandemic blues. A little bit of boredom, a little bit of missing people, a little bit of not knowing what the holidays are going to be like, and a little bit of a sense of lost time, not taking advantage of the days while I have them, in these, my waning years. I’m going to be 52 in January without ever really being 51. There’s also a considerable feeling of impending despair on election day.

I know none of this is unique to me, but knowing doesn’t make it less of a downer.

On the way home from the grocery store, I picked up some chicken nuggets from McD’s. And fries. And a small chocolate shake. And a large Diet Coke with extra ice.

I’m not proud of myself.

As usual, there wasn’t much texting Sunday, which is the day I typically need it least. Crush Girl texted me about a meal she was preparing and was a little nervous about. I texted her to tell her my mochiko woes.

And the world keep on turning
And the sun keep on burning
And the children keep learning
How to grow up big and strong

One of Mark Heard’s best songs. Covered by Rich Mullins on Mullins’s best record, and performed here at Cornerstone ’97. Popped into my head today as I thought about the course of the world. Haven’t been able to shake it.

Strong man take no prisoner
Favor no plea
He leave no gold in teeth of enemy
He fit and dominant
He rise above
He not have the word that mean love

45 has COVID-19. Even in the maelstrom of the election season, best wishes from people on ideological shores separated (or connected) by an ocean of cultural differences. And still the posturing of an authoritarian despot, propped up by his people to appear as big and strong as always, and appearing pretty much the opposite.

Rich Mullins died at 41, ten years younger than I am now. Mark Heard died at 40, five years before Mullins. Good people who seemed to want only to create meaningful art.

Strong man beat the plowshare
He forges sword
He take the flower and he curse the thorn
He crush the serpent
He bite the fruit
His hand is absolute

And the world keep on turning
And the sun keep on burning
And the children keep learning
How to grow up big and strong
How to grow up big and strong

If you want someone to connect with in these endless pandemic days, I encourage you to leave a comment. I’ll send my contact info. Don’t go through this alone.

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