Friday 5: Just vegging

From here.

  1. What’s your favorite root vegetable, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?
    I am Japanese, so before I had to get carb-conscious, pretty much every meal came with rice and I’m fine with it. Rice is probably my second-favorite food after pasta. And in leaner times, I survived on huge amounts of rice and small amounts of meat and veggies. However, I’m also Irish and German, so we ate a bunch of potatoes instead of rice at many meals. My mom was cool like that. And boy do I love me some potatoes. I’ll eat mashed potatoes as a whole meal, not merely as a side.
  2. What’s your favorite leafy green, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?
    Because it’s so flexible and because I really like the taste, it’s probably cabbage, which I like best in a stir-fry. As a dish by itself, I think my favorite is won bok (Napa cabbage), which I like best as kimchi! In recent years, I’ve purcashed far more bok choy and choy sum, so a good case can be made for them. Choy sum blanched and added to soups or ramen. Bok choy roasted and eaten as a side.
  3. What’s your favorite legume, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?
    Pinto beans, seasoned, refried, and stuffed into a flour tortilla! Also black beans and garbanzo beans, added to any other beans and tossed in a vinegar-based, oniony dressing as a four- or five-bean salad. And soy beans, boiled in salty water and eaten from the pod.
  4. What’s your favorite vegetable to put on a pizza?
    Onions for sure. I think my favorite pizza is chicken breast, onions, peppers, and tomatoes with lots (and lots) of red sauce.
  5. What’s your favorite fruit to eat in a green salad?
    Thinly sliced strawberries, especially with a good balsamic vinaigrette. Canned mandarin oranges are also surprisingly good in the same situation. I’m not counting tomatoes, but if I did they would naturally be number one. Grape tomatoes. With papaya seed dressing.

Friday 5: A Clubhouse ain’t nothin’ but a sandwich

From here.

  1. What is the longest you ever spent on the phone on one call?
    In high school for sure. My longest calls were with my classmate Kelly, who helped me get through long nights the summer before our senior year, and V, the person I’ve spent more cumulative time on the phone with than anyone else. That same summer and the following school year, we easily had six-hour calls.
  2. When you were a teen, how important was the phone in your daily life?
    Super super super super super super super super super important. The school day was hectic, and because it was a private school, we all lived on different parts of the island. Hanging out was difficult on school days, so school nights were for the phone. In addition to all the usual “What did you get for number six on the chemistry homework?” there were all the pretty girls who needed regular how-are-you-doings from me.
  3. How much do you use the actual telephone function of your phone today?
    My boss calls me once a week. I call my parents roughly once a week. And that’s pretty much it unless I must speak on the phone with one of the coworkers, or conduct an interview. I’m getting better about ordering takeout on the phone if I must, but that’s a royal pain.
  4. How well do you handle phone calls at work?
    My parents taught me phone etiquette, as I think all my friends’ parents taught them. I speak very well on the phone in a way I don’t see anymore from most young people (and you know me; I’m a huge apologist for young people). I did time answering phones for my high school as an office assistant, and I worked retail for several years. Oh, and I’m a fill-in at the front desk at my office now, in non-pandemic days. I don’t like speaking on the phone, but I do it well. On the other hand, I have to get psyched up to call someone for an interview, or even to call my parents sometimes. So in that respect I don’t handle it well at all.
  5. What are some good telephone-themed songs?
    “Answering Machine” by Rupert Holmes is pretty great. “Call Me” by Blondie. “Tiger Phone Card” by Dengue Fever. Oh, and here’s one you might not think of because we think of it as a song about the radio: “Pilot of the Aiwaves” by Charlie Dore. The lyrics seem to indicate the persona is writing to the DJ but who does that, unless it’s to Casey Kasem?

Lockdown: Someny things to eat

Slept okay Monday night. Got like four hours uninterrupted then another hour. Got off to a slow start at work but found a groove in the late morning. Again took my lunch nap earlier than usual because of the jackhammerers. This delayed my working breakfast until like 1:30, when I had a rather large serving of lomi salmon. I’m pleased with it, but wish the recipe I followed didn’t call for a 24 ounce salmon filet. It was pricey, for one thing. And it’s way too much food for me.

After work I took a really hard nap. Woke up a little groggy but quite refreshed, so I kind of got back to work. Wanted to finish this thing someone asked for.

My late lunch was a couple of hot dogs with mustard, ketchup, and sauerkraut. My late dinner, eaten as I wrote my lockdown recap, was sort of a little of this and a little of that, separated by long breaks. My appetite was kind of crazy for some reason. Started with some cold somen with Pietro’s miso dressing. I made a couple of pork carnitas tacos. Ate some dried apricots. Zapped a couple of lazy quesadillas. Yeah, it was insane.

I don’t really know where the day went, but that was about it. I guess working, napping, working, and eating everything in sight will pass the time.

Crush Girl and I texted all day about food, working from home, and more food. It was a food kind of day. Sharon texted to ask if I’ve heard of this Elisa Lam true crime thing and I hadn’t. I went through a couple of true crime phases, one in the early nineties when I read a lot of serial killer books as research for a novel I still plan to write. Again in the early 2000s when I got hooked on some Dateline things, plus Reid got me into the Paradise Lost documentaries.

I decided one night while trying to listen to the Serial podcast’s first season that I was done with the genre. I didn’t see any real meaning in it, and I think losing myself in that kind of negativity isn’t good for me. Which I shared with Sharon. Sylvia and I office-Skyped about getting vaccinated — we both have appointments now. Heard back from a few more people about what they’re reading.

Get thee to a nunnery. And hit the comments if you need someone to connect with. Pandemic sucks. Pandemic without any human connection sucks worse.

Lockdown: Salmonchanted evening

Hey, I’m writing about Monday and it’s only 11:44 p.m. Tuesday. Progress.

I stayed up much too late Sunday night, as I always do, getting to sleep around 3:00. This is getting suicidal.

This week’s meeting schedule is back to my usual two: just the one-on-one with my supervisor and the department Zoom. This is a welcome bit of info, since meetings really throw off my workflow.

I’m standing by for responses from a few people on whom I’m writing stories, so I sent a few follow-up emails, then asked the DO for advice. His response was something I never thought of, and it makes total sense: these stories probably mean a lot more to us than they do to the people I’m interviewing, so don’t freak out. They’ll respond when they’re ready.

Hm. That seems so obvious. And it freed me from locking in on stuff at the top of my list and I got into the stuff further down.

So I did background on a couple of things, sent and received a few work-related but not really work emails, and even reached out to a coworker, encouraging her to apply for one of our in-house positions.

The next-door neighbor is having some major work done on her house and all day Monday I had to deal with the sound of a jackhammer — yes, a jackhammer — pretty much right outside my bathroom window. The noise isn’t too bad at my desk, where I can just play music at a normal level through my Bluetooth speaker and be pretty unaware. I thought I’d have to resort to my noise-canceling headphones, but now.

In my bedroom, though, it’s insane. So I took my lunch nap a little earlier than usual, grabbing it when the jackhammerers took their lunch break.

After work, I took a long, hard nap, forcing myself up around 9:00 to deal with this slab of salmon I cured in my fridge for nearly two days. Lomi salmon, baby! My first try. I’m trying to up my potluck game, so I’ve been brainstorming things that transport well, don’t have to be prepared the night before, and are popular. Lomi salmon seemed like a less-labor-intensive and more popular item than the thing I have the most confidence in, my tabouli.

I was wrong about the labor intensivity. It’s about the same. However, you can make it a couple of nights ahead (I’m guessing) rather than exactly the night before.

I don’t know. I think it came out pretty good, admitting I didn’t really know what i was doing. Definitely worth repeating to see if I get better at it, but I also think I need to sample it at more places than the ones I frequent.

I watched the next half hour of Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a bit melodramatic, and so far not very feminist for Shakespeare. A lot depends on these last 20 minutes. Still, quite entertaining, if heavy-handed in its direction. Michael Keaton is hilarious.

Oops. Now it’s 2:06. I thought I finished this and hit the publish button, but it appears I got distracted.

Breakfast was Taco Bell! Yummy. Lunch was a couple of hot dogs with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. I was biting into one when they said on the news that Love’s Bakery is closing. A Hawaii institution for nearly 170 years. I don’t buy grocery store bread anymore, except hot dog buns, and Love’s makes the best ones. They cost like three times more than the cheap ones but whatever. Dang.

Dinner was some of the lomi salmon, but several bites of the pork carnitas, cold and right out of the plastic container. I’m a savage. I also had a late snack of tortilla chips and fresh salsa. Remember in the early days of the lockdown when I was eating chips and salsa every freaking day? Now I remember why. Good food for the soul.

I texted a bunch of people to ask what they’re reading. Still waiting on some responses so I’ll share later. It led to some nice conversations. Crush Girl and I texted through the day, getting each other through our respective work days.

Boy am I tired.

Okie dokie. Just leave a comment if you want someone to connect with during these crappy crappy crappy crappy crappy crappy pandemic days. Don’t be untethered.

Lockdown: Winging it

Saturday night I actually got about six and a half hours of good sleep. This is probably the night I need it most, so this was really good.

I lounged a bit in bed and slept another half hour or so. Seven hours of sleep? I’ll take that.

Most of the day was just busy work and vegging. Read the news, goofed around on my phone, listened to music and podcasts, did a teensy bit of housekeeping. I had carnitas tacos for breakfast-slash-lunch. They were pretty good.

I had to go to the office to do some of the stuff that’s too difficult from home. Mostly I was super worried that I accidentally overwrote the original InDesign file I modified for this other newsletter. After being so grateful it was there, easy to find, and easy to modify thanks to my coworker’s dilligent effort and foresight, it would have been soooooooooo stupid for me to then do a stupid regular save (instead of a save as) with the modified work.

Buuuuut thank goodness I wasn’t THAT stupid.

While at the office I grabbed dinner from this new Korean street food place across the street. Fried wings. Delicious! Glass noodles wrapped in nori, battered, and fried. Delicious! Crispy potstickers. Delicious! It was a lot of fried food — oh, and the wings came with crinkle-cut fries (delicious!) — and probably too much for one meal, but I didn’t let that stop me. Also left my boss’s birthday gift on her desk.

Got home late in the evening and unwound. Wrote. Read. Did the Monday crossword in 4:02. Argh! I reeeeally wanted to break four minutes but I got slowed down with a typo near the very end.

I was up so late I got the munchies, hours after I should have turned in. So I just miked a couple of hot dogs and ate them with ketchup and mustard — no sauerkraut since I was trying to just take the edge off. The doggies did the job and I went to bed faaaaaaaaar to late for a responsible working professional.

JB texted to talk a little about George Orwell. Jennifer sent me photos of her new home decor. Star Wars stuff. No Precious Moments on the etagere or tole painting over the doorways for my friend! Crush Girl and I chatted a bit about this Filipino Oregonian wine and the Golden Globes awards.

Leave a comment. If you need. Someone to connect with. In these fricking terrible pandemic days. It’s MARCH AGAIN people! Holy crap.

Lockdown: Having my Fil

I didn’t get much sleep Friday night. Got up at six-thirty to hit the supermarket. It opens at five, but I know from experience now that I don’t have to be there right at opening to avoid people. I had until about seven before things got hairy.

Loaded up on Diet Pepsi, my main objective, but also grabbed some broccoli, green onions, hot dogs, buns, sauerkraut, and a few pantry staples.

It was a dismal, rainy morning and I enjoyed the feeling of the cold rain on my face, so I drove around Kalihi for a while. I’ve been deep-diving into the discography of Free (you know, the band who sang “All Right Now,” and whose members founded Bad Company) and the second album was a nice listen as I navigated the mean streets of Kapalama.

Swung through the BK drive-through for breakfast, then back home to devour it. Normal Saturday morning online stuff: the news, the Spelling Bee, some phone-vegging. Then back to bed for a little while.

Ran to the wine merchant to grab my supervisor’s birthday gift. There’s this local master sommelier who put together an Oregon pinot noir called Fil. I’m guessing he’s Filipino by his name, so it’s a cool name for his wine, athough I’m thinking Filipinot Noir would have been cleverer.

Most wine drinkers wouldn’t consider it a pricey bottle, but I usually keep it under twenty bucks when I’m drinking by myself, and this bottle was twice that. When the clerk greeted me, I said I was there for the Fil, and she asked how many bottles I wanted.

I was just going to be the one, but since she asked I figured I’d get one for me too. Yikes!

The bottles sell out quickly. They got a case or two Friday and by Saturday there were just a few left. I figured I’d hang onto my bottle until my first get-together with friends, post-vaccinations. Can’t make promises, though. That’s a good-looking bottle.

Got home and took another short nap, then put the rent into an envelope and my water jugs into the car. Drove to Mapunapuna for water, then the aiport post office for the rent. Aaaaand since I was in the area, hit the Dunkin’ drive-through, which I have never done before.

When I was in Boston for the work trip, of course I had a cup of Dunkin’ coffee one day and boy is it overrated. I didn’t even finish the cup — tossed it about midway through. But I was craving something sweet, so I ordered an iced vanilla latte, and it was pretty dang good. Verrrry sweet, though.

Spent the evening writing and phone-vegging. Did the Saturday crossword a little late, and the groove was good so I did the Sunday puzzle as well. Sunday was more of a challenge than usual, but I got a clean solve, which closed me out for February with all 28 puzzles finished. That’s my first calendar month with all legal solves.

Crush Girl texted me a photo of some cookies she made, which was sweet. They looked pretty good. Jennifer texted me some home decorating updates (she looked into the fun house mirror!). I texted my boss a happy birthday message. The other Jennifer spent a little bit of time in the hospital with an IV in her arm. I don’t think she was there overnight, but I checked on her and we chatted a bit. Later I texted Ryan to tell him about this podcast hosting service I’d heard about.

Someone took me up on my offer to send a Clubhouse invite, and the invite gets sent in text messages, so I also texted someone I’ve only been casually acquainted with online for several years. She was unfamiliar with Google Voice, so I sent her some info that way too. Lets you use a different number for apps that require a working phone number.

‘Sabout it.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. I’ll send you info. Don’t need to be coy, Roy.

Lockdown: The master’s grand InDesign

It’s a few minutes past midnight Sunday evening as I write about Friday. Guess this wasn’t the weekend to get caught up.

Thursday night my sleep was somewhere between not good and not bad. I got started at work by going through the week’s emails. I was pretty sure with all the weirdness (a day and a half of vacation, doing a lot of work on my personal time, some of it very late at night, some of it at my parents’ dining room table), I was missing something.

I keep a running to-do list in Word. It’s usually a physical list in a notebook I keep on my desk, but that system just doesn’t work for me working from home. So an ever-modified Word doc is keeping me going, but sometimes I make a mental note to put something in the doc and then forget to do it.

I ate the rest of that yummy shoyu ahi poke for breakfast, with leftover quinoa.

Sent some follow-up emails to people I’m waiting to hear from. Then got to work on the thing that did escape my attention, something I promised to have ready Friday.

I shan’t bore gentle readers with details, but the task was simple: modify a page we published in our print magazine three years ago for the newsletter of a UH Manoa college. Most of the copy and formatting would remain; I just had to swap out one photo, edit a headline, change contact info at the bottom, and reword some of the footer language.

Our graphics person, who puts the print magazine together, is super, super good about labeling files, so finding the original InDesign files from three years ago was a piece of cake. She’s on a short leave of absence as she tries to finish her dissertation.

InDesign is such a good application that changes like this are a breeze when you know what you’re doing and when the person who creates the document does things cleanly. It’s probably unnecessary to admit here that I’m not one of these people. I’m terrible about naming files and I do things in desktop publishing apps (Illustrator and Photoshop, too) I know are bad practice, but the stuff I create doesn’t require anyone else to work with the files. That’s my excuse at this place of employment, anyway. If you’ve worked with InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator, I’ll just say that I pretty much never bother to name my layers. You’re shrieking; I can hear it.

Despite the easy task, the major curveball here is that my work laptop, my home wifi, and the company’s virtual desktop combine to make work in InDesign and Photoshop incredibly, painfully slow. Like double-click a file icon and wait three to five minutes for it to open. Like six minutes for a save-as. It’s insane! I’m not even exaggerating.

Oh dang. I said I wouldn’t bore the gentle readers with details. Email me or text me if you really want the details, because if you’re into this kind of thing, they’re actually kind of interesting. It’s stuff related to the slowness and unreliability of my network connection and the document always losing its links!

What it comes down to is what would have taken fifteen to twenty minutes at my desk in the office took about six hours working from home. Longer, really, but I’m taking a couple of hours off the time because I caused my own problem by doing something idiotic.

Anyway it came out pretty sharp and everyone’s happy with the product. I emailed it to the recipients at about 9:30 in the evening; it came back with one change request at about 11:30. I made the change and sent the new draft at about 12:30 Friday night.

Happy weekend!

During one of the evening’s agonizingly slow tasks, I threw some pork into the Instant Pot and made carnitas again. For tacos. But I ate a bowl of it with leftover quinoa instead, and midway through the bowl it got gross. The quinoa was borderline when I spooned it into my bowl. And then before I was finished eating it was like I could taste it turning bad as it happened. I threw it out and ate a few more bites of pork right out of the pot.

I really needed to do a supermarket run, but I was just too tired. I was far too tired to consume any entertainment media, so of course this means I went to bed at a decent hour, right? Yeah, no.

Friday I texted my former coworker Laura with some info in our staff newsletter. She’d seen the movie I reviewed and wanted to see what I wrote. Gwen texted to continue our conversation about vaccinations. Sylvia texted me a photo of this puppy in distress she and a neighbor helped. Sharon and I texted for a while, speculating about which of our coworkers would be a good fit for a recently open in-house posting. I texted the DO to let her know I’d sent the draft of that InDesign PDF. Crush Girl and I texted a lot through the day, keeping each other company as we each did our work. It was nice.

I wrote this in forty minutes. Not bad.

Crush that comments button if you want someone to pandemic-connect with. Don’t isolate in utter isolation. It’s not good!

Lockdown: Lift every invoice and sing

I keep thinking I’m going to get caught up on these but then before I know it, it’s past twelve Saturday night and I’m trying to write about a Thursday I barely remember.

I should have slept well and maybe I did, but I honestly don’t remember. I got up earlier than I wanted and hit Tamashiro Market shortly after it opened. The supermarket at the stripmall didn’t have a couple of things I wanted Wednesday night and one of the island’s most popular fish markets is in my hood. Don’t ask me why I go there like once every two or three years. I need to make it part of my regular routine, especially since I’m trying to up my fish intake.

So, you know. I hit the Taco Bell drive-though for breakfast on the way back.

Since work is usually the first thing I do, I have to check the work emails to jolt the memory. Looks like I started with some edits to that proposal I worked on during my days off. I followed that with a tricky check request in our online invoicing system. That was actually kind of fun.

We had training via Zoom early in the lockdown on our new system, and I sat in on it even though I didn’t understand what it was about. I’m a writer, not a manager, so I don’t have to deal with budgeting and check requests. However, since I did go to the training and nobody else in my department did, the next time we had an invoice to pay (my department is communications and marketing, so we do have some major expenses), my supervisor asked if I would handle it.

The first one was super difficult. The terminology was all new, so I didn’t even know what a lot of the vocab meant. Happily, whoever put the tutorial together did a pretty good job, so although it took a while, I got it right (with some help from our really good fiscal team), and now I’m the guy who does this for our department. I rather enjoy it.

Then it was our weekly department Zoom meeting, and then I sat in on our monthly meeting for development officers. I was recently invited to join these, and while my job is nothing like their jobs, I work closely enough with them that it helps me with my work when I understand them a little better. This one was kind of fun.

My late lunch was leftover supergreens and a few bites of leftover entrees from Panda takeout, eaten cold right out of the Ziploc cannisters. Because of that late snack, there wasn’t a lot left, so I added some clementines and dried apricots. Not a bad way to start work.

After work, of course I took a nap. Dragged myself up and cubed a two-pound ahi filet for poke. I have made ahi poke before (a very long time ago) and don’t honestly know what I’m doing with the selection of fish. The market has it price by grade: good grade, high grade, and something like premium grade. There might have been a fourth grade.

The price differences are huge. I reasoned that since I’m eating it raw, but not as sashimi, I should get the high grade, which is sixteen bucks a pound! I hacked off a thin slice and slid it onto my tongue and knew immediately I’d bought too good a fish. It was so delicate and so delicious I could have eaten the whole filet like that, without shoyu or wasabi. Oh. My. Goodness. If I’d had some ponzu ingredients I’d have just done that.

I got the whole thing cubed (it took a while; I’m decent with a chef’s knife but fish is a new thing for me), popping cubes into my mouth as I went along. I scraped the skin and had what amounted to an ahi tartare, which I sprinkled some shoyu on and that was great too.

Added shoyu, wasabi oil, sliced onions, and sesame oil. Ate half of it with some fresh quinoa and put the other half in the fridge.

I think I overprepared it. Just the fish and onions and a little bit of wasabi oil would probably have been fine. Or just the fish, onions, and shoyu. Good lesson for next time.

Crush Girl and I texted pretty much all day. That was great. She actually reached out first to ask how it’s going. That was great. While I’m still interested in getting to know her away from the one context in which we’re acquainted, I’m no longer mooning over her as I was a year ago. Still, it’s nice to get some of her attention.

Gwen texted me to talk about her dad getting his shot.

I think that was it. It’s late and I’m going to bed. Hopefully.

Leave a comment if you want someone to connect with. I’ll send you some contact info.

Lockdown: Jamoca me crazy

It’s late Friday evening as I write this about Wednesday. I’m tired and I’m dragging, and I’m relieved to welcome the weekend even after such a short work week. Just let me soak up the weekendness and maybe a few sunbeams and I think I’ll be okay. Feeling pretty drained right now, though.

I went to bed at something resembling a decent hour (two in the morning resembles a decent hour, right?). The dog was lying on the couch as I locked everything up. When I put myself down on the mattress, he trotted over and dove in. He’d been waiting.

I could have had a good six solid hours of sleep but woke up a few times, and for the last couple of hours I slept soundly but without Darth Vader. I think a couple more nights and I’d have settled into a good routine, but really, I can’t think of why I would believe this. I can’t get into a good sleep routine in my own bed.

Drove to Kapiolani Coffee Shop for a loco moco. It was pretty good but my stomach wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t even come close to finishing it.

The dog wouldn’t eat his breakfast again. Ah well, the folks would be home in the early afternoon so he’d be okay. And like me, he could stand to miss a few meals. Unlike me, he actually missed them.

I got some good work done. A little bit of proposal work, my weekly one-on-one with the supervisor, some correspondence on some other stories. All at the dining table where at age sixteen I labored over reading and note-taking for AP Bio, one of the rare courses for which I actually spent time studying and doing homework. It didn’t last long, maybe only the first semester, but I think often of those nights at that table. I wasn’t out to prove anything to myself, yet I proved to myself I could do well in school if I spent the energy.

It was one of the rare courses where I felt the need. It was challenging. Difficult, even. Then probably the worst thing that could happen happened. I got the highest score in the class on the first unit exam, and did really well on the second. So, you know. I felt the challenge had been met and it was time to spend my nights thinking about other stuff. Like girls. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Just happened, as these things always do.

I spent some time between my work tasks cleaning up and moving my stuff to the car. The folks came home at about 1:30 and reported they’d had a lovely time. It was nice to hear. And they were grateful for my watching over things.

I took care of a couple of errands on my way home, then took a short nap before getting back to work.

I thought I might want a Subway sandwich for dinner, but the joint was closed when I got to the stripmall. Thanks, COVID. So I ate ice cream instead (thanks, COVID!) at Baskin-Robbins. Scoop of Jamoca; scoop of cookies and cream in a cup. Glorious. Heavenly. Delightful.

Picked dinner up instead at Panda’s. I thought I could use a good dose of those supergreens they offer as a side now, a replacement for the steamed veggies they used to serve.

After work it was more napping, then back to the stripmall for a quick run through the supermarket. I didn’t have time to mess around, so I didn’t get a something-different this time. I also only got one six-pack of Diet Pepsi because it was all they had on the shelves, which means I’ll have to go back Saturday morning. They also didn’t have a couple of fresh things I had on my list, so it was a letdown of a trip.

Went to bed around two, in great need of a good night’s sleep.

Jennifer texted me a link to something related to Friends of the Library. I haven’t looked at it yet. I think that was it for texts. It was a busy day so I hardly noticed the quietude of my texting stream.

I had a little bit of a late-night snack, munching on most of the leftovers from Panda. Somewhere in the middle of the day were some clementines and some dried apricots. My stomach’s getting back to normal. I think the broccoli, kale, and cabbage in the supergreens mix did me some good.

Smash the comments if you need someone to connect with. I’m also offering invitations to Clubhouse, if you’d like to give it a try and have an iPhone. I’m not offering to connect there, since it’s not really my thing, but we can trade follows and who knows? I might come out to chat one night. Mostly I just eavesdrop, though. Comment if you want a Clubhouse invite. Just don’t pandemic untethered.

Briiiiiiiiing the weeeeeeeekeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnd!

Lockdown: Bark at a crow

The thing I couldn’t write about is finished. I was house- and dog-sitting for my folks, who exactly two weeks after receiving their second shots, took a little staycation at the military-owned resort in Waikiki. It wasn’t because of the shots; it was because Tuesday was their 53rd anniversary. The shots made them feel safe enough to do it, though.

And thank goodness. They’ve been good about keeping away from humanity, except for trips to the navy commissary for groceries every other week or so. My dad does it willingly; my mom wasn’t built for isolation. She’s been a bit down.

Of course I said I’d be happy to watch the house and dog. I’m always happy to do it, since their house is far nicer than mine. Also I love them and I love the dog.

I looked forward to the change of scenery as much as they looked forward to theirs.

So now it’s Thursday night, just past midnight as I write about Tuesday, if I can remember it. I’ve got the new Evergrey album, Escape of the Phoenix, playing in the background. It’s good! I knew it would be. I preordered the CD and it hasn’t gotten here yet.


I took vacation Tuesday, so Monday night I was up much too late. Maybe not a great idea since I got so little sleep Sunday night, but whatever.

The dog, who adores me, was clearly stressed about my folks not being there. My parents say whenever I drive up the hill to the house, the dog recognizes the sound of the engine and knows it’s me (I drive a rather loud car, I’m embarrassed to admit) and runs to the top of the steps to wait for me.

He did not want to hang out with me Monday evening, though. Wouldn’t eat his dinner. Stayed outside on the lanai most of the night. When I closed the back door (his sign that someone’s leaving the house or it’s time for bed) and turned out the light, he ran to the parents’ bedroom and jumped on my mom’s bed, where he sleeps. It was really cute.

I left him alone. Set up a mattress in the living room, arranged my Darth Vader machine, and went uneasily to sleep. It takes me a couple of nights to get used to sleeping there when nobody’s home. I stress a little about making sure the house is secure.

When I woke up a couple of hours later, I saw him watching me from the couch. I said, “Hey, come over here,” and he ran over, jumped into the mattress, and cozied up alongside me.

He was still there when I got out of bed Tuesday around eight or nine, which impressed me since my folks are up much, much earlier than that. I put his breakfast out but he wouldn’t touch it.

I really looked forward to several takeout meals during my stay, since I’ve mostly been away from Aiea going on a year. Breakfast was takeout from Button Up Cafe in Pearl City. I got the short rib loco moco (it’s a Hawaii thing) and ugh. I should have gotten something else. I had the short rib loco the last time I visited two and a half years ago, and didn’t love it.

It was okay, but my stomach was upset and I didn’t finish it.

I spent some of the morning doing work emails even though I was on vacation. Just wanted to keep up with a few things. Took a little nap, then came back to my house for a few hours. Mostly to catch up on sleep, I’m afraid, but also to do some house things.

On the way back to the dog, I kept thinking of places to get dinner, but the thought of food made me ill. I made the very mature, grown-up decision to worry about dinner if I got hungry; not to get dinner someplace interesting just because I was in the neighborhood. This made me feel tinges of missing out, but mostly it relieved me.

I put the dog’s dinner out and he wouldn’t even look at it, but he did hang around near me most of the time. Alternated between the lanai and the dining room, where I’d set up my work stuff. I don’t blame him; I should have set up a table on the lanai too, as I usually do when I stay over. It’s so much nicer and cooler out there.

My parents live in a neighborhood known for its impressive views of the south side of Oahu. Although they live in the lowermost house in the ‘hood and don’t have quite as stunning a view as houses higher up, since there are no houses in front of theirs, they at least have an unobstructed, sweeping view of Pearl Harbor. You can see as far east as Waikiki and as far west as Waipahu and Ewa. It’s quite nice, and I normally love working on the lanai. I don’t know why I didn’t do it this time.

In one of his hangouts under my chair, I got up and grabbed his dish. I put one piece of his kibble in my palm and he ate right out of it. I did it a few more times before offering him small handfuls, which he seemed pretty happy to consume. He still didn’t finish the entire serving, but at least he ate.

I also found my appetite, quite late in the evening, but it wasn’t much of one, so I just opened a can of chicken and ate it with hot (white!) rice. Drizzled a little bit of shoyu on it and that was it. Simple and tasty, and it didn’t upset my stomach.

I spent a few hours on work stuff. Proofreading the staff newsletter, editing the proposal I’d begun Monday. It actually felt good to do work during vacation time, since I was doing it on my time on my terms. With a cute dog lying at my feet.

Jennifer texted me to ask my thoughts on Shakespeare adaptation movies. We traded some opinions, which led after my work and shower to my watching, for the first time, the Kenneth Branagh Much Ado About Nothing, which I also have never seen performed on stage. Nor have I read it.

I watched the first half and really liked it. It’s hilarious. I’m not sure I like Branagh in it, ‘though even I can see the acting talent. I just disagree with his interpretation. Of a character I didn’t know anything about in a play I’ve never read. Take that, Sir Kenneth!

I had rather my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

You know, I’ve read the criticism of Keanu Reeves in this play, and it’s kind of unwarranted. He’s fine. The character just isn’t very meaty (at least so far), and yeah: Keanu doesn’t have quite the range of Branagh or Denzel Washington or Emma Thompson or any of the other obviously veteran Shakesperean actors. He’s only bad in comparison to a great cast. He’s not actually bad.

Looking forward to finishing it.

The only snacking I did was on clementines and dried apricots around what would normally have been my late lunch hour.

Sharon texted me to say she wished she’d taken a vacation day. This led to some talk about takeout in the Aiea-Pearl-City area. JB and I texted some thoughts about his favorite baseball and football players. Crush Girl and I texted through the day about a bunch of different stuff, including what we’re reading and what she’s been watching.


As I write this late Thursday night, the rain is coming down in barrels. Hope this doesn’t wipe out my chances of hitting the beach sometime this weekend. It’s been two weeks.

There are also new albums Friday by Einherjer, Epica, Alice Cooper, and the Melvins. Could be a good listening weekend.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with in these ongoing pandemic days. I got you.