Lockdown: I tofu**ed up

They should all be three-day weekends.

The good feeling I had Monday carried over into Monday night and most of Tuesday. I dropped off to sleep later than I should have, but still got just over six hours of good sleep. It’s less than ideal but it’s more than I’ve been getting. And I still woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night for no apparent reason.

I wrote that I had clementines and dried apricots for breakfast Monday, but I got that wrong. Those were my morning snack. Breakfast was the rest of my chicken-carrot-kabocha soup. Delicious, and definitely a keeper.

Tuesday morning I drove to Taco Bell for breakfast, for the first time in a while. It was great! Get the breakfast Crunchwrap thing; I think it’s the best thing on the breakfast menu.

Worked on my student profiles, mostly, then did some long-term thinking about how we name and archive our old proposals. Posted a news release on our website but am standing by for photos. Sent a few emails.

After work I took a nap, then did a couple of work tasks I’d procrastinated on. Listened to some music and labored over the Spelling Bee, which was driving me nuts. Couldn’t find the pangram until the very end, which pushed me over the genius line. Belittlement. Geez.

I don’t remember why I stayed up until nearly four in the morning, but it wasn’t because I was doing anything important or meaningful. My brain just wasn’t ready.

I hate my brain sometimes.

I didn’t really have lunch, but I think I had three dinners, or one dinner in three courses, with long breaks in between. I had a head of broccoli I needed to consume pretty much immediately, so I blanced that and just ate it by itself. Broccoli’s one of my favorite foods but I have to remind myself once in a while. If I had someone else to prepare it for me the way I like it, I’d eat it every day. I know this doesn’t make sense, since blanching something in salt water is almost the least preparation you can do on a veggie.

A couple of hours later, I had some firm tofu with kimchi. I love a cold dinner like this sometimes, and it was great. For reasons I’m embarrassed to admit, I had to eat the tofu right away too, because it was on the border. Okay, the reason is when I brought it home from the tofu factory Saturday, I left it in my trunk and took a long nap! The only thing that got me actually out of bed was remembering I had three cartons of tofu in the hot trunk of my car. Ugh. Negated all the reasons for picking it up at the factory.

Firm tofu has a much shorter shelf life, so it went first. Soft tofu, of which I still have two cartons, lasts a bit longer and I’m hoping five hours in my hot trunk had less of an impact. We’ll find out Wednesday evening!

Then a couple of hours later, when I was already overdue for bed, I had a couple of lazy (microwaved) quesadillas. I could probably just have gone to bed and been fine, but I caved in to the munchies. It’s a battle I lose about half the time.

I texted Crush Girl to ask how her weekend was, and didn’t hear back. It was kind of late, like 9:30 in the evening, so I didn’t really expect to.

As I said, I eventually got to sleep shortly after four, and only because it was getting ridiculous and I had to.

Reach out if you need someone to connect with. Leave a comment. I’ll email you with contact info. You don’t need to be untethered in this bizarre time if you don’t wish to be.

Lockdown: Shorter work weeks longer lives

A very long time ago, Cathy was giving one of her what’s-crazy-about-Hawaii monologues, this time about how many holidays we have here. It’s true we have some holidays people from outside the state would find puzzling. Prince Jonah Kuhio day, for example, right near the end of March. A state holiday. King Kamehameha Day in the early summer. A state holiday.

Okay, I said. But surely every other state has its own version of these holidays, right? Cathy insisted it just wasn’t so. So I looked it up, starting with her homestate of Oklahoma. And geez. Those poor Oklahomans. They pretty much had the full list of federal holidays plus maybe one more as a state-only holiday.

I went through some other culturally rich states, and pretty much found the same thing.

Here in the fiftieth state, we have New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January), Presidents Day (February), Prince Kuhio Day (March), Good Friday (March or April), Memorial Day (May), Kamehameha Day (June), Independence Day (July), Statehood Day (August), Labor Day (September), Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day (November), and Christmas Day (December).

The one federal holiday we don’t observe here is Discoverers Day, which our state has named Indiginous Peoples Day, but it’s not yet a state holiday. We traded it decades ago for MLK.

Thirteen state holidays for twelve months sounds thin to me, a far cry from excessive. If I didn’t also get something like eighteen vacation days each year (thank you thank you thank you thank you, lovely employer) I don’t know if I could take it.

Let me just say this, and consider it before you dismiss it. Despite a pretty terrible diet, people in Hawaii have the longest life expectancy in the nation. Every time some happiness study is released, Hawaii comes out on top (or at least second) as the happiest state. All this despite a crazy cost of living, sky-high taxes, a business climate super unfriendly to small businesses (mostly because of the taxes, but also because of regulation), and at least on Oahu, some of the worst traffic in the nation.

How does it add up? Weather for sure, but also those holidays and what they represent. Board shorts. Aloha shirts instead of coats and ties. “Hawaiian time.” I’m tempted to add an extremely secular culture, but that may be my own biases talking.

So although I didn’t sleep very well Sunday night, and certainly not enough, I woke up Monday in a mental state approaching peace. My body, still feeling a bit of tiredness from Sunday’s swim, relaxed into the late morning and into the sagging mattress (yeah, I’m due for a new bed). My mind thought about how nice it was to have nothing on the to-do list. I had a rough to-think-about-doing list, but whatever. It certainly wasn’t oppressive.

I had some clementines and dried apricots for breakfast. Read the news, did some puzzles, took care of some journaling. Listened to a lot of music. Did a few easy chores. Took a nap. Had a couple of quesadillas for lunch (just tortillas and extra-sharp cheddar).

I took some time to pay attention to some long-delayed online things I’d meant to contribute to — you know, responding to comments, chiming in with long-awaited opinions, that kind of thing — and made a few notes for my review of On the Horizon.

I hate to say it, but I was getting pretty close to bored or something around nine in the evening. Very unusual for me — there usually aren’t enough hours in the day for everything I want to do — so I was just about to do some decluttering for want of anything else to claim productivity with when I realized I hadn’t had dinner and I was kind of hungry.

So I blanched a whole head of broccoli and did the angel hair pasta thing again, with olive oil, butter, lime juice, and capers. It was delightful. I ate all the broccoli and (sorry to admit) all the pasta. Sated and spent, I noticed all motivation for doing any housecleaning was nowhere to be found.

I still did a wee bit o’ tidying, as it was a trash-to-the-curb night.

Can’t remember when I got to bed, but it was much later than it should have been, somewhere approaching three in the morning, I think.

I texted a couple of coworkers (Sharon was one of them) to mention something I discovered at our office when I was there Sunday. I would have texted them from the office that night, but it was February 14. I did not want to be the single guy texting female coworkers that evening. Embracing my loserhood does not mean necessarily communicating it all the time.

It was what a holiday should be. Weekends are for a mix of getting stuff done, getting some relaxation, and having some fun, and they’re never long enough for all three. A holiday lets you get two of those things done on the regular weekend and then the third for the day off. When I finally did drift off, it was with a feeling of anticipation for the coming work week, and while I love my job, this just doesn’t happen often enough.

More three-day weekends, please. More holidays. More sunny weather. More good music.

Things I’m saving to write about later: the music I listened to Monday and what I learned about tofu Saturday. And oh yeah, my resolutions. Next post.

Reach down and reach out if you want someone to connect with. Just leave a comment and I’ll send you contact info.

Lockdown: In garbage, out of garbage

Holy moly. Saturday night’s sleep was half great and half terrible. I don’t know what’s going on with me. I fall asleep with Darth Vader and do really well. Then I wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason (although I suspect the headgear is too tight, and I’m waking up from discomfort) and have the dangest time getting back to sleep.

So Sunday I oozed out of bed in the late morning and immediately heated a bowl of leftover kabocha-carrot-chicken soup. It was better after a few days in the fridge, all that gingery goodness speading itself out.

I’d already done the crossword, thanks to my ridiculous sleep schedule, hours before turning in Saturday, so I did the Sunday L.A. Times puzzle, which was pretty good, ‘though I got one square wrong.

I spent a lot of time reading news and dealing with the failed impeachment trial. There was some interesting, encouraging commentary, and I’m just going hold on to that for a little while, clinging ever to the sunnier side of doubt, and all that.

I watched the first half hour of this terrible movie called The Apple. At first I couldn’t remember what made me put it in my queue, except that it was a campy movie musical. Then I saw it was a produced by Cannon Pictures. A few years ago I saw this fascinating documentary called Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, and I must have looked through their catalog for more appealing titles.

Anyway, I like bad films, but this one’s really, really bad, and I may not be able to finish it. If I have some time Monday, I’ll give it another try.

Took a nap then headed for the beach about an hour before sunset. The weather was somewhere between normal and bleak most of the day, although there hadn’t really been any rain. I didn’t know if this bade well for how crowded things would be. It was a Sunday before a Monday holiday, but it was also Valentine’s Day, so who knew what was going on down there?

The Kewalo end was pretty busy and rather teeming with activity, but the Magic Island end, near the pavillions, was pleasantly sparse with humans. My first and fourth favorite stalls down there were both wide open, so I grabbed my A+ stall and got wet.

It was pretty gross. Even a bit grosser than last Sunday, which I said was right at my limit for grossness. But I was in, and I needed the time, so I kept going. Except for one fairly large patch of floaty nature garbage, It wasn’t too bad out by the buoys. I swam a good distance mostly without encountering other people, and went pretty hard for about a third of it.

Cruised in, took a long, cold shower, and headed for the office.

I needed food, but it was Sunday, and the places I had in mind closed at eight, at least on a regular Sunday. I didn’t want to call a bunch of places on Valentine’s Day. So for the first time since they moved in about a year and a half ago, I ordered takeout from Karai Crab, which is directly above our basement office, in the space Cafe Sistina occupied for twenty years.

Ordered the cioppino and a side of rice. It was delicious. I updated software, set out some snacks for the coworkers, did a little bit of file organizing, a little bit of long-term thinking, and a little bit of vegging.

Man, I got out of there late. I don’t know where the time went, but that’s sort of a normal thing for me on Sunday nights. Didn’t get home until nearly 12:30.

I did Monday’s crossword, drank a lot of water, worked on the Spelling Bee, goofed around on my phone, and got to bed around 3:00. Progress?

JB texted to say he’s reading Animal Farm for the first time. I sent him a little encouragement and told him some of the characters are based on historical figures, according to Orwell. Julie mentioned in the Julie-Suzanne-Cindy group text that she’s listening to the audiobook of the book Cindy recommended a few days ago. You gotta love book talk in texting conversations. I wish people would just text me what they’re reading every day and what they think of it so far, without my asking.

I group-texted Grace and Penny to ask if their parents had their shots yet. Among us, I’m the only one whose parents have had both doses.

I had the munchies before bed, but rather than go to one of my usual midnight munchies options, I had a snack-sized Twix and a fun-sized Butterfinger. My coworker left a birthday gift on my desk — a nice, large mug with I survived another meeting that could have been an email on it, and she threw in a few candies. The two small candy bars did the job. Earlier, of course, I had my three clementines and six dried apricots. I think it was right after the soup, since the soup was kind of a small serving.

If you need someone to connect with, I’ve got the bandwidth. Leave a comment and I’ll send you contact deets.

Lockdown: Kimchi whiz

Boy did I get to sleep late Friday night. I think it was creeping up on four in the morning. Which of course meant Saturday I got out of bed at about nine. Forced myself up, really, to run some quick errands, knowing I could get a nice long nap later.

Stuck a DVD in the mail for Netflix. Stopped at Palama Market to get kimchi, but ugh. I did not like their selection, which was pretty much limited to their house brand, which has far too many ingredients, including stuff I suspect is a preservative. Kimchi with preservatives just goes against my concept of and appreciation for kimchi, expecially when there are house brands elsewhere in town with just a few ingredients and no preservatives.

I was on that end of Kalihi for a reason. This was the day I was finally going to get tofu right from the Aloha Tofu factory, which is also in Kalihi, very near where King Street intersects Dillingham Boulevard. I read an article about it about six months into the lockdown, and it’s supposedly fresher and less expensive there. It was a piece of cake: I just parked my car in front of the lot, walked to this walk-up counter on the side of the building, and ordered two cartons of soft tofu and one of firm tofu. Aaaaand since there was nobody in line after me, I asked a few tofu questions of the guy who served me, which I’ll share later.

Then it was off to Young’s for my every-other-Saturday Hawaiian food, and then to H-Mart for their house kimchi, which is still not my favorite but at least the ingredients are sensible, and there are no preservatives.

Brought it all home and pigged out on Hawaiian food until nature tooks its usual course and I crashed for several blissful hours.

I got up in the late afternoon and worked a couple of chores, including doing the bleach rinse on my water jugs. It’s not hard work but it’s tedious and it takes longer than it should. I had a podcast in my ears as I labored, which helped a lot, and then it was done, and I drove to Mapunapuna to fill everything.

Driving to Mapunapuna, which is maybe between three and four miles from home, when I could drive just down the street or over one neighborhood to do the same thing seems really silly, especially now that I’m mostly over that burger spot. I may have to reevaluate this silly exercise. Now that I’m doing laundry right in my hood, it seems silly to erase the one good benefit by going a lot farther to do a different thing.

If I’m going down there anyway, like to pick up prescriptions or get some blood drawn, that’s a different story. But Saturday night I just drove down there for water.

I hit the McD’s drive-through on my way home, mostly because I wasn’t really ready to go home yet, and once I got the thought of spicy McNuggets in my brain, I had to have them in my mouth and then in my belly.

And then, for absolutely no reason at all, I stayed up until past four-thirty in the morning. I wasn’t even doing anything. Just not going to bed, even though I could easily have fallen asleep hours earlier. I think I just enjoyed being up during those hours. My heart longs to be a vampire again.

I’m a hopeless night owl.

There was some fun happy new year talk in the Suzanne-Cindy group text (no Julie because we were talking about local places to get Chinese New Year food). Jennifer commented on the Ronnie Chieng video I sent and I responded. That was it for texts.

I wasn’t much in the mood for music most of the day, so I caught up on a few podcasts and even revisited a few older ones I’ve kept in my phone. Reply All is doing this outstanding short series about race issues at Bon Appetit, especially in the test kitchen. Fascinating and honestly, I’m so privileged because a lot of the time, I hear the situation and I don’t hear the established racism. My response is to dismiss it and say, “Not everything is racism!” But I’m trying to rethink a lot of things. If many people say something is racist, perhaps I need to get myself out of my shoes and see it a different way.

I still don’t usually agree, but I’m listening. And the podcasts (two episodes so far; I don’t know how long it’s supposed to go) have been very well done.

I listen to two podcasts twice before I take them off my phone: The Tony Kornheiser Show, because I often miss jokes, and also because I just enjoy the show when it’s normal. It hasn’t been normal because Kornheiser is 71 so he’s not doing the show with his usual cast of cohosts until everyone’s got shots in their arms. Also Reply All, which is just so brilliant and funny I listen twice to make sure I learn stuff I’m supposed to learn.

It’s late Sunday night as I write this and I’m not staying up until four tonight, so beat it. But leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. This offer won’t be around forever, so get in while the getting’s good.


Lockdown: The sun comes up today

I slept a little better Thursday night heading into Friday morning, but still not enough. Argh.

I also didn’t work very productively, I’m sorry to say. Friday used to be my most productive day, when we were working in the office. I did pretty well with emails but the words just wouldn’t flow on these three student profiles I’m working on. I may have to give them a little bit of attention over the long weekend.

The impeachment proceedings were on again. Although the outcome was pretty much determined already, I think it was important for me to go through it and deal with it (I’m writing this just past midnight Saturday night) and then get over it. Now that it’s over, I’m hoping I may be able to sleep tonight underneath the satellite sky once again, perhaps for the first time in more than four years.

I’m taking deep breaths, trying to sit up straight in my uncomfortable dining room chair that’s become my work chair, listening to music with wide open ears undistracted by the news of the day. I think I’m going to add some conscious mediation to my routine, although I’m trying to figure out where I’d make the time. Going to take a look at some websites for some advice — it’s been a long time since I seriously thought about it ritually. I’ve already found myself centering on certain verses of scripture that have (mostly) helped, and I’ve done a version of it whenever I’ve been in the ocean since Lent in 2019.

One of the House impeachment managers quoted what’s been my verse these past four-plus years. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. I’ve tried, in the face of very unpeaceful times spurred by a very unpeaceful goverment leader, to bring small amounts of peace to others. I thought it might give me more peace too, but it’s mostly only made me angry, like helping that young Chinese woman find her dance classes in a rough part of Chinatown one night, or going way out of my way to help a drunk Micronesian man get his phone from the woman who found it, none of us having wheels and all of us riding buses.

Incidents like these should have soothed my soul, but they made me face the northeast and yell obscenities in the direction of the White House. I’m not speaking metaphorically.

I know there is peace to be had, and I know where it comes from. I just haven’t been able to connect with it much, except for those moments in meditation-like states in the Pacific Ocean. Maybe I can find it now.

After work, I did some quick chores and took a long, unsettled nap. It kind of helped, but not really.

I watched a documentary on DVD. I can’t write what it was, because it’s rather distasteful and I’d rather not cop to my interest. A legit documentary, though, produced by one of Hollywood’s esteemed producers (at least one Best Picture Oscar, with several nominations), about one of those topics you’d be embarrassed to explore. Heck, I live alone and no longer worry about judgment on such things (mostly), but I still peered through my blinds a few times to see if anyone were outside, seeing what I was watching.

Ha. I’m totally serious.

Anyway it was a good documentary, really well done. If you see me in person and want to know about it, I won’t hesitate to tell you. I just don’t want to put it up in a public space where it can be misunderstood out of context.

Two weekends ago, I spent $21 on an apple-caramel pie from Hawaiian Pie Company. My favorite of their offerings. Friday night, I still had eaten only one slice out of it. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I guess I like a little bit of sugar in my day somewhere, most days. I think the clementines and dried apricots have taken care of me, though.

I cut a slice out Friday night for dessert, and it was gross. Kind of gummy and mealy. I don’t know if I imagined it or it really didn’t hold up well for two weeks in a cold fridge, but I tossed it. Need room in my refrigerator, and I didn’t want to eat the pie just to eat it.

It’s too bad, too, because I’ve finally earned enough frequent customer points to get a free pie. And now I don’t really want one.

Fridays, I like to get breakfast out. It’s not a conscious thing, or a habit or ritual. I just wake up Friday mornings and think how nice it would be to have breakfast out. I mean via takeout, although in regular times I feel the same way as I head to the office. When I was riding the bus to campus, I would get up early, stop Friday mornings somewhere along the way, and sit down to breakfast prepared by someone else, sometimes going out of my way to Waikiki (for example).

So for breakfast I drove to Rainbow’s and brought home a boneless chicken plate. Breakfast-slash-lunch. For dinner I made kimchi stew, rather a lot of it. Clementines and dried apricots for a snack.

It was the first day of the Lunar New Year, so of course there were a lot of happy new year messages. Among others, I heard from Jennifer and Maria. I texted Crush Girl to say happy new year.

I’m really getting into the new Transatlantic album. Might have to do a serious headphones-and-lyrics-sheet listen sometime this weekend, ‘though it’s a long album and I don’t know if I have the attention span. I was a little disappointed in Neal Morse’s last solo album — I just didn’t find it very memorable, which can happen with musicians a prolific as Morse. I wonder if it was because he hadn’t played with this specific group pf musicians in many years. Whatever it is, he and the other guys (Pete Trawavas! Mike Portnoy! Roine Stolt!) appear to have put together a winner here, and I really appreciate the variety of lead vocals i this band. Even Portnoy has lead vocals on one song. Nice.

The sun comes up today
Let the whole world fade away

There will absolutely be some beach time this weekend if it doesn’t rain much. And I’m itching to do some writing that’s been on my list for a while.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Don’t be disconnected. I know the temptation; believe me. The reason I recap my texts and phone calls every day is to monitor myself against my self-destructive tendencies. Namely, the tendency to withdraw into myself and my cave. It’s fine once in a while for a day or two, but pandemic days make it too easy to do it for too long. Don’t go there. Smash my comments and I’ll get to you.

Lockdown: Vader, alligator

My sleep Wednesday night was especially bad, which is a disappointment, because I got my replacement stuff for Darth Vader, and everything felt more comfy. I know because I tried it out during my lunch nap Wednesday. I had to set everything up at mid-day, knowing if I waited until bedtime, I would be too lazy to do it.

Wednesday night I was all set up and ready to go, but wanted to read some news on my phone before turning in. Aaaaaand I fell asleep like that, with Darth Vader on the mattress next to me. Great.

I woke up a couple of hours before my alarm, put everything on correctly (again noting how slightly more comfy things felt) and slept well for two hours.

I really hate myself sometimes.

I took a little while Thursday at my desk to find my work mojo, but once I got into my groove, I was kind of cruising. Submitted a first draft of my UH Hilo story right before my one-on-one with my supervisor, during which we discussed how that story looks. Then we had our departmental Zoom call, with just three of us, to work on some strategic planning responses.

My supervisor liked the draft, so before I sent the draft to the development officer working with the donors, I had to give her a call. It had been on my list for a few weeks to call her. We got caught up in some awkwardness a couple of months ago, and I wanted to make sure we were cool. She assured me we were, and I was relieved.

Yes, I had the impeachment proceedings on the TV as I worked. There was some disturbing stuff. I mean, the entire thing is disturbing, but I thought Thursday’s stuff was especially so. I wonder if the Republicans would be speaking differently if Congress members had been taken hostage, tied to chairs and terrorized. Or if there had been a shootout when aggressors got too close to the Vice President. Would they be so reluctant to vote for conviction? Because if they would, they’re saying the only difference is that the aggressors were ultimately unsuccessful. This is flawed thinking, because the issue at trial is whether 45 incited the riot. Whether the rioters killed just one police officer or took Senators hostage is irrelevant: did the outgoing officeholder stir them to action?

And even if he didn’t, his words and actions, while completely in character, were so unsightly and disgusting, I can’t believe he still has esteemed members of Congress backing him up. It’s so wrong.

I spent my evening after work reading the news, working some puzzles, listening to podcasts, and spinning a few records I can’t remember. I did some journaling, worked some easy chores, and considered options for the weekend.

I had anot her phone call from Reid for advice on his son’s homework. Anto texted me some photos from the calendar I gave him as a Christmas gift, which led to a brief conversation.

Later, I sent him a photo of my own calendar, which was related. His calendar is Middle Earth trivia. My movie trivia calendar asked me to identify the most recent sequel to win a Best Picture Oscar. “Easy,” I said through my still-half-asleep haze as I arrived at my desk Thursday morning. “The Return of the King.” I flipped the page to check my answer, and my calendar said I was wrong! It said the correct answer is The Silence of the Lambs, which was like fifteen years earlier. I was so irritated.

Don’t tell anyone, but I also wouldn’t have remembered that The Silence of the Lambs was a sequel. *blush*

Thursday I also texted Crush Girl, asking if she was okay. She’s been especially quiet lately. It led to a very short conversation, but at least part of it was about books, so that made me happy.

Okay, I was naughty for breakfast-slash-lunch. I made a rather large pot of angel hair pasta with jarred red sauce (with red pepper flakes, brown sugar, gin, dried minced garlic, and some cheddar cheese) and ate the whole thing over the span of a few hours. Don’t tell my doctor.

For dinner I made kimchi stew. In between there were some dried apricots, ‘though I forgot to have clementines, so my potassium intake wasn’t quite what I’ve been shooting for. And right before I got ready for bed (again, far too late into the evening) I got extreme munchies so I made one and a half microwave quesadillas. The only reason I didn’t have two quesadillas is I ran out of cheese.

Don’t panic. It’s on the shopping list. I can make it to Sunday night on just a wedge of past-dated blue cheese if I must.

That’s it. Get out of here. And don’t forget to leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. Long weekend ahead and that virus is still out there doing its thing. Don’t be alone.

Lockdown: Spinning in a new locale

The laundry chronicles

Tuesday night I got to bed at about 10:30 with my alarm set for 2:45 Wednesday morning. This was the day to check out Kapalama Laundrette, and since it’s so close to the crib, I let myself sleep half an hour longer.

Except I woke up at around 2:00 and couldn’t get back to sleep. I jumped up, got things ready for the laundry, taking my sweet time, and by the time the alarm went off, I was ready to go.

Stopped at the McD’s drive-through a block away from the laundry. That’s convenient.

This laundry wasn’t going to have the debit card system loaded by a credit card from a touch-screen display, I was pretty sure (based on Yelp reviews), I stopped at a credit union (no-fee) ATM right behind the building. That’s convenient.

There’s a Zippy’s right in that strip mall, so when life gets back to normal (if ever), that will be convenient, although I suppose by then I’ll be doing my laundry at my parents’ house again.

There was one other vehicle in the parking lot when I pulled up. A van belonging to one of the restaurants. It appeared I was the only human on the premises. Nice.

The laundry is long and narrow with coin-op washers on the right in two sizes (triple and quadruple capacity) and dryers on the left (same?). The faux hardwood paneling has been worn through from years of foot traffic so it looks like some diseased tree losing its bark, in these kind of lava lamp non-patterns. It looks gross. There are folding counters right at the entrance, where there are also vending machines for detergent and fabric softener. Three industrial metal folding tables fill the aisle down the middle, each with its own trash can. There were also trash cans near the entrance.

The facility looked decently maintained, although not obsessively maintained, but it was a freaking mess at this hour. Abandoned zippered plastic bags (I recognize them as vehicles for quarters; one even had a crumpled quarters wrapper inside) took space atop washers, as well as the usual assortment of odd socks, abandoned towels, and even a pillow.

Here’s something I don’t get, and only became aware of when this lockdown began nearly a year ago. Apparently, it’s become a thing to dump your used dryer sheets onto the floor of a laundry. It was a problem at Manoa, and it’s three times as bad at Kapalama. After a few months of tolerating it in Manoa, I made a little ritual of picking it all up (carefully, usually with a napkin in my hand to separate me from the discarded sheets) and tossing it. At Manoa it usually meant ten to fifteen sheets. At Kapalama, it was easily thirty to forty, and I’m not exaggerating. They were all kind of gathered in the front area near the vending machine, sort of in a line hugging the baseboards, like the way there’s always a curvy line of tiny shells and seaweed at the beach to mark the high tide line when the tide goes out. Only ever so slightly less beautiful.


I claimed the table furthest from the entrance, near the change machine (thankfully operable; you can bet they keep that in good working order) and loaded two machines. When I got it going, I went back to the car to get my book and Big Mac combo. I wasn’t sure if there was a no food policy, so I planned to eat on the trunk of my car if necessary, but I couldn’t find a sign indicating such a policy’s existence. There was also no apparent no reading policy, thank goodness.

Before I tore in, I kind of swept all the dryer sheets into a small mountain with my foot, then threw it all away. There were a few scattered about the rest of the facility, so I gathered them, too, as well as the zippered bags and orphaned clothing I knew nobody was coming back for. Left the towels and pillow.

It was quite a bit nicer now.

A few people mentioned the mildew in the glass front-opening doors of the washers, and it was right there, a rather unsightly and unsettling reality I knew I was going to live with and not think about too much. At least the dryers looked clean and should kill any mildew spores or however mildew reproduces. Is it even a living creature?

My Big Mac and fries breakfast was delicious. I’ve made it a habit to order an extra Diet Coke with extra ice (it’s just a buck) even though I seldom finish both drinks. It’s better to have too much than not enough.

As I ate, I finished On the Horizon, which finished quite a bit better than it started. A security guard walked past the door a few times. I waved each time. He didn’t return the gesture, but it’s cool.

About midway through my drying, two Micronesian women came in wearing masks (I put mine on too) to clean up. They were friendly but not too friendly, getting to work in their efficiently habituated way, both dealing with the trash first, checking all the machines, then one wiping down the washers and the other emptying lint traps on the dryers. By the time I was folding, one had already swept the floor while the other mopped. If either noticed the floors were unusually clean, neither said anything.

As I packed up to go, a guy backed his truck into the stall next to mine, and the women clearly recognized him. Maybe to empty the machines, or do some maintenance? I’m stereotyping because he was a guy and they were women, I know, but also his truck had a very utilitarian look while they’d arrived in a late-model, very clean four-door sedan of some make I couldn’t identify with a casual glance.

If I find myself between jobs again (not out of the question, ever), I might look into doing laundry maintenance. The hours would suit me, not to mention the quiet solitude. The laundry nearest my house had signs up last summer looking for a person to do nightly maintenance at that laundry and a couple of others.

Summary. In the positive column: five-minute drive from home, one block from a McD’s, good ATM right behind the building, well-lighted, untidy but not dirty (ignoring the mildew in the washers). no other patrons at three in the morning, and across the street from a 7-Eleven, if I should forget something essential. In the negative column: not as safe a neighborhood, suuuuuper untidy, much smaller, mildewy windows on the washers, and pricey!

Oh yeah. Forgot to mention that it’s five bucks a wash, compared to $4.30 at Manoa, which is fine. But drying? Twenty-five cents for three minutes, compared to twenty-five cents for eight minutes at Manoa. Dang it! What the heck?

I got home at about five, put my newly washed linens on the bed, and got another three hours of sleep before work. I slept pretty well.

Uninterrupted writing time (but not necessarily uninterrupted writing)

Staggered to my desk Wednesday morning with my schedule pretty clear. My weekly one-on-one was pushed back to Thursday afternoon. I don’t know if it was because I told my supervisor I needed a bunch of uninterrupted writing time, or because a meeting popped up for her (it did but I don’t know if that’s why we rescheduled to the next day). It was welcome.

Didn’t finish anything but made decent progress. Also had the impeachment proceedings on the TV as I worked.

Another dead hiker

There was a story on the evening news about the body of a hiker found near the Makaha Pillboxes trail. When they gave the victim’s name, I recognzed her as a local chef I interviwed for a short alumni profile a few years ago. I’d spoken with her on the phone and traded emails, and our photographer went to her restaurant to take some cool photos.

No cause of death given, but it sounds like she fell. She was thirty. Young, and energetic and quirky. I texted Kapio and Sharon, two of our alumni people, to let them know. Then sent them the photos we hadn’t published, in case they wanted to share on social media. I let our photographer know, and my supervisor, and our development officer at Kapiolani CC, which was a mistake because after I sent the link to the story, I realized the chef was a graduate of Leeward CC. Anyway, the DO remembered the woman anyway, so we chatted a little about that.

Connection and consumption breakdown

That was most of my texting Wednesday. Not the best thing to converse about. Penny texted to ask some questions about purchasing MS Office. Reid called and then texted to get some help with his son’s English homework.

Breakfast was the Big Mac combo. Delicious, even if the fries tasted a little old. I had a morning snack of clementines and dried apricots. For lunch, I made kimchi fried rice, with some leftover hapa rice, Portuguese sausage, eggs, onions, kimchi, and shoyu. It was pretty good, even though I’m not the best fried rice cook, and brown rice doesn’t really contribute well to this dish. Dinner was kimchi stew. It all felt routine but comfy and pleasurable.

Anthony Fauci says by the end of July, it’s possible everyone who wants to get vaccinated will be vaccinated. Encouraging news. But it’s many months ’til then, and if you’re still going through this stuff with nobody to connect with, you probably shouldn’t. Leave a comment and I’ll send you some contact info.

Friday 5: Couples therapy

From here.

  1. Which celebrity couple, past or present, do you find particularly interesting?
    In high school, it was Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, alas. Lately, because of Ted Lasso, it’s been Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde, alas. For all my life it will be Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
  2. A couplet is a pair of rhyming lines of verse, one after another. Example:
    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
    In the form of a couplet, how would you describe your hopes for the weekend?

    Peaceful sleep, terrific books, a sunny beach
    Give me lots and lots of each.
  3. With what (or whom) have you recently, consciously uncoupled?
    I’ve got this friend, a former coworker who moved to the East Coast who I really felt a connection with, but we recently had a miscommunication ending with my apology and that’s the last we communicated, around a month ago. I had a feeling we were saying bye, and it saddens me, but I also think it may be for the best. She’s the only friend I’ve ever had who shares my birthday, which I consider special, but she’s a twin, so for her it wasn’t special at all. We were never a couple (it was never that kind of friendship), the way we think of it, but as friends I think we’ve consciously moved on. Alas.
  4. When did you last purchase something in a two-pack only because it doesn’t come in a one-pack?
    This annoys me. When I was still driving my Camry, it was more than ten years old when the map light went out. I had to buy a two-pack of replacement bulbs. I don’t know why I held on to the second bulb; there was pretty much no way I was ever going to need it, but who throws out a brand-new bulb?
  5. What were you doing a couple of hours ago, and what will you be doing in a couple of hours?
    It’s 7:11 p.m. Thursday evening here. Two hours ago I was watching the local news and finishing up some work (I work to 6:30 most evenings). If recent history is any indication, I won’t even begin to think about dinner until 9:00, and it’ll take half an hour to put together (most likely kimchi stew). I’ve done my chores for the day, thank goodness, so I’ll just be eating and trying to relax.

Lockdown: Edible (and nonedible) rangements

I’m having difficulty lately remembering the duration and quality of my sleep, which is a little weird. I’m kind of obsessed with it, as it is the defining problem in my life for a long time. I mean from my perspective. From others’, it’s a range of faults beginning with arrogance, continuing through naivete, and ending with vanity.

I couldn’t think of W, X, Y, or Z faults, but ask R, Mochi Girl, Crush Girl, or any of my former employers and I’m sure they’d be glad to complete the alphabet and perhaps take a second lap.

So I’m sure I slept Monday night, eventually, and I’m reasonably sure it wasn’t very good and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t enough, but that’s just based on recent history. Saturday night, the night I spent nine hours in bed to get seven hours of good sleep, was surely the fluke.

I worked on my UH Hilo story (not the one that was slaying me a couple of weeks ago; a new one I’m not having too much difficulty with), corresponded with a donor about sharing his story with our readers, proofed our print magazine (which I may be assembling and laying out this summer, depending), put together the shorter version of that other UH Hilo story, and pretty much got stuff done. Except writing the UH Hilo story, which I hoped to finish my first draft of.

I had coverage of the impeachment trial on my TV, muted during commentary but unmuted during presentation.

I took an early lunch break to pick up prescription refills at Kaiser in Mapunapuna. I meant to bring all my water jugs for refilling at 99 Ranch, but I’d forgotten to give them the bleach rinse I think they’re due for, so I only took four jugs, unrinsed. I’ll prep the rest of them before the weekend and hopefully get them all refilled then.

While I was down there, I had breakfast-slash-lunch of shoyu chicken from Flamingo. It’s directly across the food court from that burger place, and I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if the people there could see I took my appetite elsewhere.

Ate the chicken on the trunk of my car. Flamingo’s food ranges (again with the ranges) from not good to not bad, but it’s difficult to mess up shoyu chicken, and these were some meaty thighs. It was a nice, simple, filling meal.

After work, I took a nap and scrolled through news on my phone.

For dinner, I took that hebi steak to the grill pan. It was pretty fishy-smelling, ‘though it had a few days left on the shelf date. I used salt, pepper, and just a light dash of the Mitchell Street seasoning. I like the seasoning; I’m just trying to find its sweet spot.

Cooked it on medium to get it cooked all the way through; I didn’t really want to mess with it the way it smelled. Ate it with some fresh hapa rice, and it was decent. Next time I get a fish like that, I’m going to bread it and deep fry it, or maybe try it in the kimchi stew.

I tried to get to bed early, since I planned to do the laundry early Wednesday, but I took too long winding down and didn’t get to sleep until about 10. Argh.

I listened mostly to the new Foo Fighters album on repeat through the day. It’s really growing on me.

Cindy texted the Cindy-Suzanne-Julie group text about this book she just finished, which led to a little discussion about some Asian American lit we’ve been reading. Julie, being in Rhode Island, was probably in bed, but she joined in later. I think that’s it for texts Tuesday.

Other food I ate: dried apricots, two pieces of ohagi, and a couple of handfuls of wasabi peas. Forgot to have clementines, so I didn’t take in as much potassium as has been my goal.

La la la la la reach out la la la if you la la la la la need someone to connect with la la la in these la la la la dark twisted demented lalalalalalala laaaaaaa pandemic days.

Lockdown: Out there, fighting foo

Sunday night I got like four hours of okay sleep and a couple hours of terrible sleep. I have got to put myself to bed much earlier, especially Sunday nights, which continue to be a problem for me and have been for decades. Which reminds me: resolutions, next post.

I wasn’t very productive at work, and I don’t think it was the sleep deprivation. My attention was just all over the place, and although I put together a decent outline for this story I’m working on about thirteenth year programs on the Big Island, it took most of the day. A terribly inefficient output.

During my late lunch break, I made a chicken-kabocha-carrot soup in the Instant Pot, mostly following the recipe I used for the broccoli-Brussels-sprouts soup and the acorn-squash-potato soup. I used less ginger, added some chicken breasts, and bumped the cooking time under pressure up to 15 minutes from 10. I mostly increased the time under pressure because of the chicken, but also because of the ginger, which has really been bugging me in these soups.

It was a good move. Even when bits of ginger evaded the immersion blender, they tasted much better (less rough and raw) in my spoon. I was enormously pleased. These soups are purees, but I removed the chicken (of course) and half the kabocha before blending, then chopped up the chicken in large bites and put it back. This is a good soup!

After work, I took a hard nap for about ninety minutes, then got up and finally replied to all the happy birthday messages on FB. More than a hundred and ten of them. I wrote sort of the same thing but I didn’t copy-paste, and I tried to make each thank-you its own thing. Social media is about engagement, and you can’t carbon-copy true engagement.

It took a while — long enough to hear the new Foo Fighters album all the way through twice. It’s not a very long album, which I appreciate. Makes repeated listens much more meaningful.

I did some chores, got ready for bed, and switched to Kiss music while I posted a new Social Distancing Top Five. Then stayed up far too late scrolling through news on my phone before going to bed. Fell asleep listening to my fall-asleep podcasts.

Breakfast was dried apricots and clementines again. Lunch was soup. I was going to skip dinner, but then I was up so late I got hungry and made a couple of very quick microwave quesadillas.

I had some work texts from my coworker Julie, then some otter video from Jennifer. I texted the other Jennifer to let her know there’s a new Social Distancing Top Five, not knowing she’s no fan of Kiss. That was it, but it was enough because of all the FBing. A lot of people responded to my responses, which was nice. I felt loved.

When Foo Fighters were on SNL late last fall, they debuted a couple of songs from the new album, including “Shame Shame,” which I found more than slightly unimpressive. In the context of the album, it’s a lot better, especially since it’s not characteristic of the entire album. I was worried they’d done some weird style shift, moving into funkier, slightly less melodic and definitely less rocking territory. The rest of the album does play around a little with styles, but it’s still definitely a Foo Fighters album, so “Shame Shame” is actually not bad.

If you weren’t paying attention, you might not have seen that two Oakland Raiders are going to the Hall of Fame. Tom Flores, who played QB for the Raiders and then was an excellent head coach, has finally been elected as a coach. He was the first Hispanic American to be an NFL head coach, so it’s a big deal. Also Charles Woodson, a cornerback with an incredibly long career, mostly for the Raiders and Packers, was elected in his first year of eligibility. Good day for the Silver and Black.

Going to bed early(ish). Reach out if you need someone to connect with.