Lockdown: Ready, willing, and bagel

Tuesday night I slept terribly for the first half of the night and then okay for the rest. Got things rolling at work (emails, mostly) and drove to Lox of Bagels to pick up a couple of bagel sandwiches. Breakfast was a lox and cream cheese sandwich on a whole wheat bagel, with everything. Delicious. Lunch was a roast beef sandwich on a sesame bagel. Also delicious.

Work was decently productive. Nothing like Tuesday, but also nothing like Monday. The training on Zoom was okay. The December staff newsletter went out in email in the early afternoon, and I got a couple of emails from coworkers in response. Some of my colleagues apprecaite the monthly one-minute writing tip I write.

When work was done, I got right to work getting stuff ready to do laundry and refill my drinking water. Did the full bleach-rinse thing on all thirteen gallon jugs. Packed the laundry. Skipped dinner since I knew I’d be hitting the McD’s drive-though on my way to the laundromat.

I did have a few taro chips for a snack.

I had enough time to read a little and do the Thursday NYT crossword early. Turned in shortly after nine o’clock.

Crush Girl and I texted most of the day. I helped her brianstorm some gift ideas for a mutual friend. We talked a little about lunch and stuff we’re reading.

Except for journaling and work stuff, I didn’t do any writing, but that was part of the deal for December anyway: I wasn’t going to do any creative writing on laundry nights. This is only the second laundry night of December for me. Wish I could say it was only the second night I didn’t write anything.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with in these pandemic days of auld lang syne, whatever that means!

Lockdown: Some of them want to be used by you

Somehow, my sleep Monday night was worse than Sunday night. I don’t know how I keep doing this to myself.

I do know that I crawled to the desk at about 8:30 to look at emails and think about these three student profiles I’m working on, then attended a short training session on Zoom (mid-year self-assessments), then at 10:00 I made a run to Mexico restaurant, a very short drive from the house, to pick up my meals for the day.

It’s a good restaurant, or at least it’s quite popular, and I think I’ve eaten there twice, both times in its first year, maybe ten years ago. I’m trying to mix things up a little.

I had the chilaquiles for breakfast. They were good, but probably not as good as the same dish at Serge’s or Scratch. I also picked up an adobado burrito, which was enough food for lunch and dinner. All three meals from one mexican restaurant. The burrito was definitely above average. Whatever they call the preparation of the pork filling, I need to learn to make it.

Mexican food must have been what the doctor ordered, because I was super productive the rest of the day. I didn’t do any actual writing, but I edited a few things, corresponded with a few people, and put some good content on the website. Then I rescheduled my Wednesday one-on-one with my supervisor to late Tuesday so I could sit in on another Zoom training Wednesday.

Part of it was motivation to get as much checked off the list before the long weekend as possible. I get a four-day weekend here, and I am going to do my best not to think about work at all until the first working day of 2021.

After work I goofed around on my phone and read, and did a tiny bit of writing. I feel like there might be a few chores in there too but honestly I can’t remember. It was supposed to be laundry day, but since I’m taking Thursday off, I thought it was better to do the laundry Thursday; then I wouldn’t be dealing with more sleep deprivation. Or maybe I would be but it wouldn’t be while trying to work; it would be while trying to vacation.

There was a lot of texting. The Cindy-Julie-Suzanne group text shared some of the stuff we’re reading. Sylvia sent me a photo of her Yeti mug with one of the tea bags I left for the office. That was cute.

Crush Girl texted me a lot through the day. We talked about baking, about New Year’s plans, about Nigella Lawson mispronouncing “microwave” (she said “mee-cro-wah-vee”), about some Christmas gifs we received, and (the best part) books I recommend she begin the new year reading. I love it when people ask for book recommendations.

Ali asked for some creative ideas about something I won’t mention here. Of course I had a ton of ideas but it was an activity I didn’t want to think about her engaging in, especially in these pandemic days. But my feelings are irrational, and I knew it even while I was feeling them, so I did my best. I think she got something usable from my ideas. I told her I have more, so she can ask again any time.

It’s nice to be useful. She didn’t ask me for financial advice or to sing a high C, neither of which I would have been any good for. She asked for creative ideas. Crush Girl asked for book recommendations. These are things I can do.

I’ve continued to listen to Joan Jett — moved on to her third and fourth albums, which aren’t as good as her first two, but she is very good. A charismatic recording artist with her own sound. Before I heard these albums all the way through the way I have, if someone had announced she’d be here in concert, I would have been pretty apathetic. Now, if she comes (and if the world is a safer place), I am totally going and I’m bringing friends.

Spent a bit of time listening to Weird Al Yankovic, too. It was a nice, nostalgic trip. His rhymes on “Smells Like Nirvana” and “Eat It” are just so clever.

I read Weird Al loves the music of Tonio K., whom I also love, so I spun Tonio’s Notes from the Lost Civilization. Such a great album.

Somebody remind me to expound sometime this weekend on how I hate the last days of a year, but how they don’t feel quite as terrible this year as in other years.

The year draws to a close. Don’t ring out the old, feeling lost or disconnected. It doesn’t have to be that way. Leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact info. Just be warned I’m almost always a bit glum on December 31.

Lockdown: Macchio Macchio, man

Aaaaaand let’s talk about Monday.

Slept terribly. Again. Tried to write but couldn’t focus. Spent some energy chasing down some loose ends, not left loose by me but my responsibility, so I hit those emails with gusto. Not really gusto. But more energy than I felt, that’s for sure.

Took a short break to hit the Taco Bell drive-though. Still good. Not tired of it yet.

I have to admit I was low-energy and non-productive pretty much all day. Not my best day at the nonprofit, but at least I did not make anyone’s work more difficult, which is a huge positive given my history. I just kept a low profile, answered emails quickly (it wasn’t difficult; I think I only got three emails) and set myself up for success Tuesday.

I skipped lunch, so by early evening I was ready to eat, and I was determined to get some takeout, something different, either somewhere I’d never been or something I’ve never had from somewhere I have been. First I drove aimlessly around the hood: Liliha, Nuuanu, Kalihi. Pulled up to Ha Long, a very popular pho joint on Dillingham. I’ve had pho there (it’s good but it’s not great), but I decided if they had a promising-sounding banh mi on the menu, I’d get that.

Then I realized I’d left my wallet on my desk. I had my phone, which has saved me most times I didn’t have my wallet, but I didn’t want to approach the register, ask if they took Apple pay, then slink out when they said no. So I drove home, returned, ordered a lemongrass chicken banh mi and some summer rolls, and dove in when I got it home. The banh mi was quite good — definitely a step up from Ba-Le, which might be the only other place I’ve had it. There’s a Ba-Le on campus at Manoa and I dined there many times before we relocated our offices.

I didn’t do any writing during my usual dedicated writing time, unless journaling counts, which I try not to allow.

For some reason got on this Joan Jett kick and listened to her first two albums all evening. Good stuff. Punky and raw but polished enough for radio, somehow.

I read a little, then watched the first two episodes of Cobra Kai. Tamlyn Tomita and Yuji Okumoto are in season three, so I’ve got to see it when it drops. What the heck. Season one was ten bucks on Prime, which is less than a movie ticket in a theater, and it’s five hours of hopefully solid nostagia.

The first two episodes are promising. The show does pander shamelessly to 80s nostalgia, but whatever. I like how the show makes a point of showing how much more enlightened teens today are. We were barbarians in the 80s and I hope none of us is proud of it.

Then it was more reading until I fell asleep, uncomforably and without Darth Vader. Great. What’s worse for my health: reading in bed now when it results in my sleeping without my lifeline, or reading in bed as a tween, under the covers with a flashlight?

Books are bad for you.

I got a text from a coworker thanking me for my Christmas gift. That felt good. Penny texted me to say she finished Ted Lasso, so we chatted about that a little. Jennifer sent me some screen shots of the local news; it led to the use of “nonprofit” as noun and adjective. Crush Girl and I traded a few messages about her Christmas get-together.

I’m off New Year’s Eve and would like to think of some good way to spend it. It will probably sneak up on me, though, and I’ll spend the morning thinking of something to do and then the evening trying to make it happen, but it won’t. If I just spend it in bed reading, I should be satisfied, right? That’s really what I want to do every December 31.

My book calls. I must answer. First, a few chores. I am going to get ready for bed, hours before I plan to put myself to bed, hoping to avoid a repeat of Monday night.

Don’t go through it alone. Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. It’s a long, dark weekend ahead.

Lockdown: Lollipop ladies and pelican crosswalks

Stayed up too late Saturday night reading. Still working on Utopia Avenue and it’s pretty engrossing.

So I was a bit annoyed with myself, with my book, and with the world when I woke up Sunday before seven. I did a quick check of the NFL news and thought I’d go back to sleep, but it wouldn’t come. I just got up.

I watched most of the early game, the second half of the second game, and half of the third game, with a nap somewhere in there, and a porterhouse steak in my grill pan (with the Mitchell Street seasoning and a pat of butter) for lunch, before packing up for the office. I actually had very little to do there this weekend, especially since I popped in Christmas night to drop off my office gift, but I was ready for a little change of scenery.

The software was all current. I tried to work on a story but couldn’t focus. And I was too tired to just give up and come home, so I was there about three hours, mostly staring blankly at the screen. It was actually kind of restful.

Stopped at Grace’s for a chicken katsu plate. I was very hungry by the time I got home at about 9:30 and my plans for leftovers vanished as I pretty much inhaled that thing wile reading my book.

Most of my evening chores were done during football, so I enjoyed a nice quiet evening reading, with breaks for the bathroom and stupid phone games. It’s nice to have my Kindle back.

A few highlighted lines from Utopia Avenue.

“The cellar of the 2i’s Coffee Bar at 59 Old Compton Street is as hot, dank, and dark as armpits. Two naked bulbs dangle above the low stage made of planks and milk-crates. The walls sweat and the ceiling drips.”

“What’s not written in ink on paper is, de jure, written in piss on snow.”

“‘In fifty years,’ said Jasper, ‘or five hundred, or five thousand, music will still do to people what it does to us now.'”

“It’s a classy Victorian pub with brass fittings, upholstered chair backs, and NO SPITTING signs.”

“Under the striplight in the staff kitchen, Jasper studies the sleeve of The Cloud Atlas Sextet.”

“Writing is a forest of faint paths, of dead ends, hidden pits, unresolved chords, words that won’t rhyme. You can be lost in there for hours. Days, even.”

“On the table is a pot of tea Jasper doesn’t recall making, the core of an apple he doesn’t recall eating, and a page of staves, notes, and lyrics he knows he wrote.”

“The hookah’s spell is fading. Dean lies where he lies on Shanks’s Turkish carpet.”

“A lunchtime lollipop lady took up position on the pelican crossing and directed a crocodile of infants across the road.”

Aaargh. I don’t seem to have in my highlights a couple of sections I really want to write about, where David Mitchell gets away with something that, if I wrote it, I would immediately have deleted because it’s too cute and clever by at least half. If I don’t find these sections I’ll have to re-read (or scan) later to find them. Need to ask myself if I’m not brave enough to leave alone some of the cutesy ideas I come up with instead of deleting them as being too cutesy.

Pretty sure Sunday, always a day of very little texting, was my first day of the lockdown with no texting at all. I didn’t even notice until I turned in.

Uneventful Sunday (I’m sparing you the horrible fantasy football details), kind of like my Saturday, and I headed into the work week kind of refreshed.

I hope wherever you are, you’re reading a good book for escape or inspiration, and that you have someone to connect with as we approach the final seconds of a crappy year. If you don’t, leave a comment and I’ll send you come contact info. Tell me about your book or the sweaty walls and dripping ceilings.

Lockdown: Hiber nation

I’ve often said there are two times a year I wake up and feel the absence of another person in the bed next to me. Christmas morning and some other random morning during the year. I didn’t feel it Friday morning, perhaps because I’ve had no in-person social interaction for nine months. I don’t know what the connection might be, but I think there is one.

I kind of felt flashes of it Saturday, the day after Christmas, as I moved through my day, hibernation-like, with no tasks or ambitions. I got up in the late morning, read the news, looked at a few blogs, did the crossword puzzle (unsuccessfully), and browsed Amazon. Made myself a pan-fried ahi filet with the Mitchell Street seasoning and a fresh pot of quinoa. The seasoning worked well with fish. I don’t think I prefer it to just pepper and kosher salt, but it’s a nice changeup.

Some time after breakfast, I went back to bed, not necessarily to sleep, but if sleep came upon me I wasn’t going to chase it off. A little bit of phone-staring, a little bit of reading, a lot of napping, and no stress. I soaked it up and rolled around in it.

I got up at four in the afternoon and thought I could do a few chores and make a run for the beach. When I got outdoors to grab something from the car, I was snapped into Saturday’s reality for the whole island. It had rained all day. All that cozy napping? Turns out it was the perfect day for it, and I guess a lot of us were.

Not wanting to swim in runoff, especially with the winter mostly being dry enough so far, I gave that idea up and played around a little more with my phone. Spent a little bit of time writing, then paying bills. I think I may have taken another nap.

Around eight I drove to Liliha Bakery and brought home another meat loaf plate. The last one had been six days earlier, which I consider at least not a condemnable interval.

I did a few more chores and then I don’t know what happened. Most likely I reclined in my bed and fell asleep and didn’t wake up until about three, with lights and other normally unplugged applicances still running. Ugh. Got up to at least shut the house down and went back to bed.

Jennifer texted me a link to an article about a coffee drip pot. I’m interested but since I’ve cut way, way down on coffee I need to file this away until maybe I’ve got my BP in a better place. I’ve been testing normal lately, but that’s with daily meds.

JB texted me something about the Dolphins-Raiders football game, but all the Saturday games were on the NFL Network, which I don’t have, so I didn’t know what he was talking about. Ali has already begun reading Mr. Penumbra’s, the book I gifted her, and had a few early thoughts. I love getting responses to the actual books I gift, even if the recipient responds negatively. In this case it was positive, I think. She said something like, “This is such a Mitchell book.” I wanted to say, “No I’m reading a Mitchell book — Utopia Avenue. You’re reading a Sloan book.”

Crush Girl and I traded a few very short texts about what I’m reading and how she was spending her day. Reading!

Daily reminder that you don’t need to go through this miserable winter of our discontent disconnected. Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. I’ll send contact details.

Lockdown: Christmas tranquilitea

Christmas! I didn’t sleep well but it was okay. I meant to hit the beach at sunrise. It didn’t happen, but my brief family time would be early enough to leave plenty of room for an afternoon swim.

None of which means it was any easier getting out of bed Friday morning than every other Christmas morning of my adult life. I got the car loaded and rolling about half an hour later than planned, rolled up to the drive-through pickup at Big City Diner for the prime rib holiday meal, and got it to the parents’.

We chatted at a distance (me wearing a mask), split up the food, wished each other Merry Christmas a few times, chatted some more, and said let’s do it again as soon as the world’s a safer place.

I got my dad a bottle of the Balvenie 15, aged in sherry casks. Got my mom thirty pounds of premium Japanese rice. Also presented her with last year’s Christmas gift. I was going to make an appointment with a dog groomer last spring (the groomer in Pearl City was booked through February) and then we got locked down. So annoying.

She seemed pleased. I’d made the appointment and driven to the groomer to pay in advance. A little bit of an inconvenience I hope pays off.

When I got home I made myself a plate and pigged out while reading the news. Took a very short nap and hit the beach, where I got a pretty good parking spot, as it was a gray, rainy day and people were packing up to go. There were a lot of people on the beach when I went in; when I got out the beach was practically empty.

I also had the ocean mostly to myself. It felt great, and I lingered a bit longer than usual.

Drove to the office. Wednesday or Thursday, my gift to the office came via FedEx, too late for officemates to appreciate it ahead of the holiday, but it’s okay. It’s meant to be enjoyed for some time.

Came home. Watched Noelle one and a half times. Played around with my phone.

Oh yeah. The other early morning when I mailed some gifts, I remembered that I never gave Reid his birthday gift in July. When I ordered it, I kinda thought life would be normal again by midsummer. What a foolish man.

I had a rough idea of where I left it. Took me a little bit of time to locate it in a small plastic box of stuff I brought home from the office in August. Yay. They were face masks made from fabric supporting a certain football team I hate. I stuck that in with his and his wife’s gifts and dropped it in the mail.

Christmas afternoon as I got ready to hit the beach, it hit me. The long-misplaced Kindle could very well be in that plastic box. The last time I saw it was when I took it to the office a few months ago — it’s why I never purchased a replacement (‘though I considered it). The only places it could be were the office, my car, my house, and the laundry. I was certain I never left it at the laundry (because I never actually took it out to read while at the laundry). It wasn’t in my cubicle and it wasn’t in my car.

So yeah. It was there. I spent the afternoon charging it up, then after Noelle I settled in to read. I thought starting a new book was a good way to go into the final week of the year. David Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue, which I purchased the week it dropped but never got around to. I’ll be happy to have it read, as I completed many books published in 2020.

It’s quite good, seventy pages in. I fell asleep reading (something I almost never do with a physical book but frequently do with the Kindle) and look forward to wrapping myself up in it Saturday.

I skipped breakfast in favor of sleeping a little longer. Lunch was a hunk of prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, garlic shrimp, and bread pudding from Big City Diner. Delicious. I got hungry again close to midnight so dinner was some Chicken McNuggets and fries from McD’s.

There were the usual Merry Christmas texts from friends and relatives, including Reid, Jennifer, the writing partner, Charles the Rock, and Anto.

Ali texted me to thank me for a Kindle book I gifted her. I actually got her something I wanted to mail her, but I had a feeling she wasn’t going to give up the mailing address (I’ve asked before, and she didn’t refuse, but neither did I get the address), so a Kindle book it was. That led to some conversation about books and how we spent Christmas.

Crush Girl and I messaged sporadically through the day. It was nice; almost like spending it together in a very casual way.

I feel lucky not to have lost friends or relatives (or even acquaintances) to this stupid disease. It’s been a crappy year and I’ve made it so far because I like being alone anyway and because I’ve had good friends to connect with, not in person. Don’t try to go it without connections. Leave a comment and I’ll reach back.

Friday 5: Year in review, part 2

From here.

  1. What did you learn in 2020?
    A major lesson I learned on my own, highlighted by recent events at ESPN and the testimonies that followed, is that you simply cannot assume your work will speak for itself. There are people who make important decisions about your employment who do not know what you do. I listen to this podcast I’m fond of but don’t always enjoy. Its target audience is younger than me by twenty years, it’s about sports but not really, it’s super creative in how it uses its time (even the ads are mustn’t-miss programming), and it’s way up front about its host’s mental health issues. It didn’t start off this way: its host and co-host took time to develop a relationship and a nurturing community of listeners (a community that doesn’t include me, but this is also part of its appeal). The co-host is pretty much 49% of the reason for the show’s success — its creative success and its commercial success. It was doing so well that ESPN asked them to produce the podcast twice a week after a couple of years of going once a week. Not two weeks after it began its double output, the co-host was laid off. It’s a clear case of executives acknowledging a program’s success while having no clue what makes it successful. Screw that. People get laid off; it’s a ridiculous, unfair fact of business. This is insane, though. ESPN is killing the show it’s trying to build. Anyway, I wen through a bit of this myself this year.
  2. What do you regret doing (or not doing) in 2020?
    The big one is injuring my knee. Long, late-night walks were the thing around which my lockdown life revolved on a day-to-day basis. When my knee got too sore even for sleep, it was the end of my walking obsession. My physical and mental health since then is now one of the things I have to manage consciously, and I’m not always good at it. It has definitely healed some, so that I’m not thinking about it 24 hours a day, but last week’s car repair stuff meant a bit more walking than I’ve been doing, and my knee has really complained, reminding me that when this pandemic crap is over, I need to get it looked at. We’re talking major quality of life issues now. I regret not reading.
  3. What are you proud of doing in 2020?
    I neglected my living space for quite a long time, and I’m proud that I’ve taken big steps toward getting it squared away. I have a lot yet to do, but it feels really good to see my progress.
  4. Who did you get to know better in 2020?
    It was a real challenge getting to know anyone better in these circumstances. I have some new coworkers I’m getting acquainted with now, but I think the spirit of the question has more to do with people who were already in my life. I think my answer is Ali, who was already one of my best friends at work, but she’s got these walls that keep me away from a lot of personal stuff. She left the company (and the state) in February, and we’ve spent a lot of time communicating via text since then, and I feel like she’s letting me in, a little at a time, ‘though she insists she doesn’t consciously keep me out anymore. I think I disagree, yet I acknowledge I’m getting to know her better. I’m grateful for her friendship.
  5. What do you hope to accomplish in the remaining days of 2020?
    I would really like to get these car repairs done. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I don’t want to leave my car anywhere during a long holiday weekend, and I don’t think they’ll be able to take me during the week. Oh, I know. The new blog. I still haven’t decided if I’m actually going to launch it, but my frustration with the writing makes me think I should really do it, if for no other reason than to explore the challenge of writing it interestingly and well. I’m giving myself until December 31 to decide. If I go live, I go live on New Year’s Day. I’d also like to finish a few books I started.

Lockdown: A bowl full of mellow

Thursday was mellow, as Christmas Eve always is on a work day. Half the company took the day off, so emails were mostly a trickle, and nobody was really waiting on anything to be completed. This is the perfect setting for my being seriously productive.

With my coworker, I finished the film review column, then added my monthly writing tip and a few more edits. Sent it off for the guy who assembles the thing in MailChimp who doesn’t plan to get on it until Monday. In fariness, I was supposed to have it in by the end of Tuesday, so I was a full day and a half late.

I edited and posted a news story on the website and did a little bit of outlining on one of those student profiles.

During my lunch break, I ran a few more Christmas errands. They were a little exhausting, I have to say. In fact, all the Christmas erranding was exhausting this year, not to mention stressful, but my car was running nicely and I had the means this year to get people what I wanted, so my spirits were good even while my nerves were close to fraying.

After work, I vegged a little while, wrapped a few gifts, and drove to my sister’s place in Waipio. She wasn’t home, but my niece was. The niece met me in the parking lot and grabbed gifts for my sister, my nephew, and her from the back seat. We chatted very briefly, but it was good to see her.

That put me in the spirit, as gift delivery always does, so I came home and watched Noelle over dinner.

Breakfast was the last of my leftover quinoa and kale, with some fried eggs and Vienna sausage. Naughty, I know. For lunch I made a large bowl of pasta. Jarred sauce, dried garlic flakes, red pepper flakes, vodka, gorgonzola, brown sugar, and a huge handful of steamed kale. I had leftover, so that was dinner. I also (finally) had the last piece of the strawberry guava pie, two weeks after picking the pie up from the bakery. Whew. Glad that’s done with, and happy for the space it opened up in my fridge.

Crush Girl was delightfully chatty; we texted most of the afternoon and evening about Christmas plans, about which Christmas movies we’d watch, and about our baking projects. She’s quite the avid baker. It was nice and connective, and friendly and Christmassy. Most of the rest of my texting Thursday was practical: working out details with my sister and niece for the gift dropoff.

Mellow mellow mellow with a dash of productivity, a sprinkling of accomplishment, and a twist of Christmas spirit. Not to mention some nice driving on long freeways with podcasts (I wasn’t in the mood for music). A good (nearly merry) Christmas Eve.

Christmas eve reminder to reach out if you need someone to connect with. ‘Tis the season and all that!

Lockdown: What’s up? Docs.

Wednesday morning on the way back from the post office, I went through the McD’s drive-though despite being super tired and only slightly hungry. I don’t know why.

Had a very early (for me) breakfast while I read the news and wrote a few emails, then went back to bed for a couple of hours. Again: that was the best sleep. What’s up with this?

Got up to work on staff newsletter stuff. Had my weekly one-on-one with my boss, then a phone call with one of our new directors. We’re working on a Valentine’s Day card together for her department. We’re also collaborating on my movie review column for the newsletter this month, each of us listing our five favorite documentaries. She mentioned in her bio when she came aboard that she loves docs, so I got on that for the collaboration.

This is my part:

Wordplay (2006)
It’s a wonderful look at the New York Times crossword puzzle—the people who solve it, the people who construct it, and Will Shortz, the brilliant, singular man who edits it.

35 Up (1991)
A class of English seven-year-olds was interviewed for a film, and profiled again every seven years. Last year, the kids were 63 for their ninth film. 35 is the best, but they’re all great.

Spellbound (2002)
Superimposes the Scripps National Spelling Bee on class and education in America—heartbreaking and triumphant.

Woodstock (1970)
Three days of peace, love and terrific music.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
In 1973, high-schoolers Steve and Robb formed a metal band, vowing to keep rocking together until they died. They’re still at it, even after performing in front of 174 fans in a 10,000-seat arena.

Most of my Wednesday workday was newsletter stuff. I had a late interview with a student, one of those students who calls alumni to ask them for donations. She’s my second student interview in a week, and I have one more next week.

Took a nap after work, then read the news and did some gift-related things. Called my mom and dad for a little while. Did a little bit of writing.

My Diet Pepsi ran out before the food in my fridge ran out. By a lot. This tells me I got takeout too many times these past two weeks. Still had to go to the supermarket, so I waited until half an hour before closing. It was blessedly uncrowded and unbusy. I focused on replenishing the cupboard, with so little room in the fridge, and didn’t buy anything new. I didn’t have time to mess around.

Did a little more writing, a few chores, and more gift stuff. In bed at close to three. Yikes.

Breakfast was a local deluxe platter (it’s a Hawaii thing) from McD’s. Lunch was a boneless chicken plate from Rainbows. That was dinner too — it’s a lot of food. I had a slice of strawberry guava pie for a snack. This pie is two weeks old Thursday, and I have one slice left. It’s not that I don’t like it — I do. It’s just really sweet for my tastes.

Crush Girl and I texted a bunch at different times. That was pretty much it, but it was enough. Good interaction.

This is my third Christmas with this foundation, and each year they’ve given us a bonus day off: either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, or we can take half a day on each. The last two years I’ve taken the half day for each, but this year I’m taking off for New Year’s Eve. I don’t really know why, since the days are going to be nearly identical. I mean to every other day since March, not just to each other. I’m thinking maybe I’ll go on a long drive, or hit one of the beaches I love in remoter sections of the island. Or maybe just read.

Anyway I work tomorrow when half the company is taking the day off. This is good. It means I should get a lot of work done. I have a few errands to run during my lunch hour. Other than that I think my day is clear. There’s a meeting I think is going to be canceled. Good conditions for productivity.

Oh when I was getting gifts Monday, I bought a nice-looking bottle of prosecco for my Christmas holiday. Should go well with Taco Bell for breakfast.

I’m looking forward to some down time, but I plan to stay connected to my people. If you’re not connected enough, I hope you’ll leave a comment. I’ll give you my contact info and you can reach out whenever. Don’t be lonely.

Lockdown: The greatest among you shall be your soft-servant

The days have a sameness I saw coming back in March. It’s one reason I was determined then to log certain things, to separate one day from the previous with projects and goals and updates on trivialities. Also to avoid falling into bad tendencies, such as the predilection for staying in bed two weeks at a time.

Because Monday I only got half my errands done, I took a few hours off Tuesday morning as well, and continued the tasks. So as unusual as a day like Tuesday is, it looked and felt nearly identical to Monday. The details were different, as were a couple of the frustrations, but as Tuesday wound down, all I could think was that it was like a redo of Monday.

I got up. Finished up this story I’m working on and submitted it. Had a phone meeting with a development officer about two stories I’m working on for his department. It was a normal call and the stories are pretty straightforward. Typed up a few notes and sent my supervisor an update.

Around lunch time I got in my car and zipped around town, finishing up the Christmas shopping. Parts of it were frustrating, as these errands often are, but parts were quick and easy. I was in the area, so I poked my head into Ohana Hale Marketplace to see if I could grab food and eat it on the car, but yikes. That place was packed, and there were people everywhere with masks off (because they were eating) or not covering their noses (because they were idiots). I’m shuddering just remembering it. I couldn’t get out of there quickly enough.

With everything pretty much done, I still had some time for a late lunch. I opted instead for soft-serve. There’s a spot in industrial Kalihi, right behind the Nissan dealership where last week I got the airbags replaced, and I’d never been to this spot. They have an original location in Aiea I have been to.

Ordered a s’mores soft-serve, which was chocolate soft-serve with little marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, several medium-sized toasted marshmallows on a skewer, and a gigantic Oreo cookie. I could have done without the little mallows, and the Oreo was terrible, but the rest of it was quite outstanding.

Got back to my desk and tried to work, but I had enormous difficulty focusing. Spent most of the rest of my day throwing around ideas for this Valentine’s Day card I’m working on for one of the departments, in anticipation of a meeting I was supposed to have about it the next day.

When work was done I just crashed. Like comatose before hitting the pillow crashed. So, so tired.

I got up to write a little, but decided the best way to use my time was to go to bed, around one-ish, I think. I had planned to stay up and finish wrapping gifts, then make a late-night run to the post office.

Instead, I got up at 4:30, stuffed six Priority Mail envelope mailers, loaded up the car, and headed for the Makiki post office. Got there around six . Yeah, I don’t know where the time went, but I know it was six because I checked, and because that’s when I got there a week ago on my way home from the laundry to maile that first batch of gifts.

Aaaaand I think it went smoothly. Which cannot be taken for granted, since last week I sent two friends (who don’t know each other) each other’s gifts. Uggggh. The late drive to Penny’s Monday night was to fetch one. The other’s on its way back to me from Kauai. That recipient just did a return-to-sender for me, so she didn’t have to pay any postage.

I’m not done. I have to more Priority Mail boxes to send out, hopefully Thursday morning early. I’m going to do a grocery store run as soon as I finish typing this, then pack those boxes up. I already paid for the postage, so if all goes well, I just stick those labels on these boxes and drop them in the self-serve dropoff Thursday. Yee-haw.

Breakfast was more of the kale-quinoa stuff, with a couple of fried eggs and a little bit of extra-sharp cheddar. It was yummy. Lunch was the soft-serve and a hot dog (it was a combo, okay?). Dinner was a bowl of pasta with jarred sauce, vodka, red pepper flakes, a little bit of sugar, dried garlic chips, blue cheese, and a mess of steamed kale. It was quite delicious. I would eat this every other night if there were no negative consequences.

Texted a few friends for addresses. I have their addresses, but it’s easier and faster just to ask. Gwen and I texted while I ran my errands; she needed some Mac help I’m no longer qualified to give, but I did my best. Crush Girl texted me a link to this great photo essay in one of the national papers. Amazing photos. Now I want to go to northern Europe for the winter.

Time to hit the grocery.

Do not go through pandemic sameness alone. Leave a comment if you’re not feeling connected. I’ll send you contact info. We’re going to get through this. You’re going to get through this. Don’t go through it alone, even if that’s your inclination, as it is mine!