Lockdown: My ballot is marked and mailed

Not really sure what happened to Saturday. I got to sleep Friday night at like five in the morning or so, got up at eight, did the crossword puzzle and had breakfast and read the news. Went back to bed, then spent the day getting up and going back, in two hour stages. Around 11:00 in the evening I went for a walk.

I just did the DeSa Field bus stop thing, left two bags of bottles and cans, then walked to Long’s to get a few things. Walked back home and it was about 8,000 steps in all. It’s the only meaningful thing I did all day. I did a few chores but they were the keeping-up chores, not the getting-caught-up chores.

Oh wait. I voted. That’s meaningful. Even though for the primary I never vote outside my party, and there were no Libertarian candidates on the ballot in any races relevant to me. That left only the OHA election, which I never participate in, and the races for prosecuting attorney and mayor. One prosecutor candidate was a public defender, and she’s the only one who said meaningful things about drug users, homeless people, and counseling. She was an easy choice, once I read the candidate profiles. For mayor, I typically favor strong candidates who did meaningful time on the City Council. A friend of mine is one candidate’s communications director, and what she says jibes with my limited exposure to her when I was briefly employed by the Council a couple of years ago. So she got my vote. There are enough strong candidates in that race to make a majority win for any candidate unlikely, so that’s sure to come to a runoff in the general. This was my main reason for the walk, actually. Dropping the votes in the mail.

I texted Grace and Penny to ask them who they voted for, so we had a little conversation about that. Then I texted Karen to ask her if she was even allowed to tell me, and of course she’s not. She’s a judge. I got one text from Crush Girl responding to something I texted her Friday. That was it.

Breakfast was a couple of lazy burritos. Lunch was one and a half tuna sandwiches. Dinner was the other half of the sandwich and a bag of chips.

I feel okay. I don’t know why my body and brain checked out for the day. This seems to have happened on Saturdays past, possibly last Saturday. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’m glad I’m chronicling this stuff here.

It’s 2:33 in the morning Sunday now, and I’m planning to put myself to bed soon in an effort to reset. Again. I have things on the agenda tomorrow including getting some work done, and hopefully some reading.

Which means I’ll be wide awake all day and ready to connect if you need some connection. Hit me up here and I’ll send you my contact deets. Let’s go.

Lockdown: with the sickness

I didn’t decide until I got behind the wheel, the smell of fresh laundry filling the car from the back seat, that I was going to the beach. I thought for sure, it being Friday morning, that if I didn’t get there super early I wouldn’t get good parking near either of my preferred spots. I keep forgetting that it’s all about the surf — how busy the beach is depends on the surf in this spot. And it must not have been pumping (although it looked it to me) because there was a ton of parking. I got my second-favorite spot on the Kewalo end of the beach and just took it, even though I’d have preferred jumping in at the other end, the Magic Island end near the pavilions. Couldn’t pass up the spot.

Anyway. I did a hard sprint and then swam a little further than usual, then lingered in the shallows a little while, just enjoying the water and sun. I got had early enough a start that I wasn’t in a hurry to get out. I actually took some moments to pray while floating on my back.

Rather than stopping for food on the way home, I stopped for groceries. There’s a Foodland in Ala Moana Center with quite a different selection of stuff from my neighborhood Times Supermarket, and I’ve been needing to get out of my rut. Dismayed to find there were no (mung) bean sprouts, I grabbed the last bag of soy bean sprouts, some tatsoi, some choy sum, and a couple of small bits of cheese — a blue and a gorgonzola. There’ll be veggies and pasta this weekend.

Got home early enough to get an early start on my workday. It was pretty much like Thursday. Busy but not stressful, and almost surely not productive enough. I’ll put in some hours Saturday and Sunday for sure, especially since my supervisor gets back from a week off on Monday. A new proposal came in, almost entirely written already, which is exactly what we (my higher-ups and I) have in mind. I shooooouuuuuuld be able to just drop it into a template with a couple of nice photos, then clean up the language. Saving that for Sunday.

Then the illness I mentioned in my Thursday entry hit, around midday. I had no energy and no appetite, and felt a little weak. Weird feelings inside, maybe my gut? I took a very long lunch and slept the entire time, then got up feeling well enough to make up the hours in the early evening.

Was it something I ate? Quite possible. For breakfast I finished up Thursday’s vinha d’halos omellete. I admit it smelled a little sour, but I had doused it with Tabasco the day before, so I assumed it was from that. I still kinda think this. Then the appetite was gone for the rest of the day. Very late, while I typed up Thursday’s entry, I had canned pork and beans straight from the can for lunch. A few hours later, approaching sunrise, I had a couple of hot dogs, sliced lengthwise and placed on sliced sandwich bread with some extra sharp cheddar. Hot dog and cheese sandwich. I was feeling better by then.

I wonder if there was something funky in the ocean water, which seemed pretty clean to me. Or maybe it was a weird combination of something in the water, an extra-strenuous swim, not quite enough sleep, and something slightly amiss with my leftover breakfast omelette.

I think I feel okay now.

I was too swoony to do much texting. Short texts to the writing partner to let her know I looked at her recent query and made a few suggestions. Some texts in the engineering firm group text about Julie coming back to Hawaii from Rhode Island, but I didn’t really participate. Crush Girl texted me her thoughts on the restaurant I gave her feedback on the day before. She wasn’t impressed.

Didn’t go for a walk since I felt physically terrible. Strong chance of some kind of fresh-air-getting Saturday evening.

I re-watched the last episode of season four of Orange is the New Black then went right into the first two episodes of season five. Decided against the re-watch with the audio commentary and dove into the next season.

Okay it’s Saturday morning as I type this and I’m going back to bed. Reach out in comments if you need someone to connect with. I suspect many parts of the country is going back to something like the stay-home edicts we got in March. Could be a long second half of summer. I’m here if you need company.

Lockdown: No laundry on Thursday nights

It’s late Friday evening as I finally settle in to write about Thursday. I’ve felt unwell most of the day. Neither energy nor appetite, but no other noticeable symptoms so far.

Thursday I woke up a little early (for me) and drove to Pancakes and Waffles to grab breakfast and lunch. I got a prime rib loco moco for breakfast and a vinha d’halos omelette for lunch. The loco was pretty dang good. The omelette probably wasn’t the best choice for leaving on the kitchen counter for lunch, although I can’t figure out why. I’ve done it with other omelettes and they were pretty good.

Work was busy but not stressful. Another quiet day with the boss out. I worked on my tasks but probably not diligently enough. One story I assumed was done some time ago has come up for edits almost daily. Not a pain and not a problem. Just a little distracting from the stuff I’m trying to get done before Monday.

I pretty much went right to bed after my work hours. Got to sleep shortly after eight. I planned to go to the laundry (and the beach) Friday morning, ‘though I really didn’t want to. I liked the idea of having done the laundry; I just didn’t want to get up in the wee hours and go there, and although during this lockdown I had yet to do the laundry Friday morning, I had a feeling it was not going to be the oasis of out-of-house solitude I crave for this weekly ritual.

Almost just threw it in, then decided I would set the alarm and decide when I woke up.

I slept pretty well but got up at one and knew I was up-up. So yeah. I packed up the laundry and my empty water jugs. Hit the water dispenser, then McD’s, then the laundry.

Aaaaand it wasn’t exactly Grand Central Station, but I was never alone the entire time I was in there. Not stressful. Not peaceful either. Had a Quarter-Pounder combo for dinner.

Sharon sent me some texts to ask about a post office so she could take care of some work-related stuff. Crush Girl asked me about this noodle place I’m familiar with — she had a craving. The spot has good reviews, and I’ve been there a few times. Ali sent me some texts about corporate culture. It was a good, long conversation but I think she and I aren’t going to agree on a few things.

Didn’t go for a walk because laundry. Listened to some good music but I’ll recapt that later.

Reach out in the comments if you need some connectivity. Texts, DMs, IMs. You know.

Friday 5: State change

From here.

  1. What recently caused you to boil?
    I’m going to stay away from national current events because that’s too easy, and focus on my personal life. Bloody Wednesday at work, a few weeks ago when our leadership laid off ten percent of my awesome coworkers, was devastating and infuriating at the same time. It’s been a month, and we’re still dealing with it. The devastating part is obvious, but the infuriating part is that even though nobody can really predict a pandemic or what it’s going to do to a nonprofit organization, getting to a point where you have to cut loose ten people, ten awesome people, some of whom have been with the organization for decades, is a failure by leadership. I know these things often cannot be helped, but someone is responsible, and it’s never, ever the responsible people who lay themselves off. Perhaps it’s a built-in unfair reality of doing business, especially in a profit-driven world where a nonprofit works on the thinnest of margins, but that doesn’t change the unfairness of it, and I’ve a right to be angry. Which I am.
  2. What often causes you to freeze?
    I don’t know what things are like in other places, but in some cultures here it’s socially normal to give everyone a kiss when you greet them in social settings. Say, at a picnic. Someone shows up and walks around greeting everyone with a kiss. If it’s a guy, he shakes hands or fist-bumps the guys, but he kisses the women. If it’s a woman, she kisses everyone. I like kissing women as much as the next guy, unless the next guy is Joe Biden, but I freeze up every time this happens. Thankfully, it seems to be happening less and less, but man. Sometimes it happens in a group of people you don’t know very well. Super stressful. Aaaaaand sometimes (albeit rarely these days) it happens in the conference room at work. Yikes. And no thank you. Honestly, it’s more often a hug, but I’m almost nearly as terrified of the hugs as the kisses.
  3. When did something evaporate into thin air?
    For Christmas, my sister gave me this cast-iron griddle I love but haven’t used yet. She threw in a couple of amazing oven mitts, and I adore them. I never knew I needed oven mits that only go up to your wrists, made of some heavy-duty fabric but with silicone on the part of the hands and fingers where you grip stuff. The silicone has grippy bumps too. I have these enormous cloth-lined silicone oven mitts that go up to my elbows. They’re great for getting a broiling pan out of the oven, but practically useless for getting a small bowl out of the microwave oven. These little hands-only oven mitts are great for that kind of thing, and I’m dexterous enough in them that I can twist off stubborn jar lids or bottle caps with them. Anyway, I have difficulty keeping track of them for some reason. They’re there, and then they’re not there. Maddening!
  4. What recently caused you to melt?
    I’ve been watching Anna Kendrick in Noelle lately, just for the feel-good. Anna plays Noelle, Santa Claus’s daughter. She tries to convince her brother, the heir to the red suit, to return to the North Pole to claim his title, but he’d rather teach yoga in Arizona. It’s a silly movie completely absent any cynicism or darkness, but I love it. And Noelle has these moments where she extends grace and compassion to people who need it (and who doesn’t need it?). There are a few scenes that have teared me up ever since the first time I watched it, but now I get teary in almost all these instances. Noelle’s gift for listening to people so they know they’re being heard and sympathized with is amazing, the kind of thing we are all charged to do, and she demonstrates how easy it really is. And there’s this silly that’s-what-Christmas-means-to-me speech that’s written specifically to make you cry, and of course I resist that entirely, but the last five times I’ve watched the movie I just let it go, melting right into the living room carpet.
  5. Among United States you haven’t visited, which would you most like to check out next?
    It’s obviously going to be a long time before I can do it, but I’ve got my eyes on Ohio, with Illinois and Missouri second and third, mostly for reasons related to professional sports. Each of these states has two Major League baseball teams loaded with history and lore. Ohio is in first because it also has the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, which I really need to visit. The music festival I most want to attend someday is in Atlanta every fall (except this fall), so Georgia’s on the radar too.

Lockdown: Anxiety has got me on the run; anxiety spoils all the fun

I think the stay-in-bed-as-long-as-possible plan worked. I did take a mid-day nap, as I usually do these days, but I wasn’t dying for one, and I was pretty dang functional before and after. I was still tired. I suspect tiredness is part of my existence in this lockdown for now. I did not feel the constant state of sleep deprivation that’s been with me for half a week.

I got some good work done on a proposal revision and spent a little bit of time thinking about another story I’m working on. Not super productive. Not idle or wasteful, though.

In the evening, I had to go either to Costco or Target to pick something up. Something’s been causing me stress, and a certain purchase would be a temporary fix, but it could be a fairly long-term temporary fix, something to make me feel better about my daily life. I’d stressed about it long enough; I wanted to push it off until Thursday night but didn’t. Forced myself out to Target.

Costco’s in my hood. Three people at this Costco tested positive for the virus. Freaked me out a little. Also, I could not verify online that Costco had what I needed. It usually does. That doesn’t mean it did this evening.

Target confirmed online it had what I need. It was a bit more populated than Costco is when I go, half an hour before closing. So that was stressful. In fact, on the drive there, I did some deep breathing exercises and said a couple of prayers for peace and safety. It wasn’t just being out among all those people — I was feeling really uneasy about something, possibly anxious. I (thank goodness) don’t suffer from anxiety the way a lot of people who suffer from depression do. That’s a killer comorbidity I’m lucky not to deal with. Still, I was physically feeling dis-ease and tension.

I got the thing home and set it up and it was more difficult in some ways than I expect, and it was easier in some ways than I expected. Easier in the more concerning ways, so yay.

One reason I was stressed was my plan to do laundry Wednesday night (early Thursday morning). If stuff took too long to take care of, I’d get to bed after 10 and have to be up at 2, putting me right back where I was with sleep. The very thought stressed me out until I wrote off the laundry. I’ll do it Thursday night (early Friday morning) or I just won’t worry about it and do it next week.

Taking care of business, being elastic with my schedule, fending off my proclivity for procrastination, and deep breathing with prayer all seemed to settle me down. I’m writing this at 11:30 with the intention of getting to bed by 12:30 so I can get a good sleep and attack Thursday with ferocity.

Texting was also helpful, and for a change, it wasn’t Crush Girl who anchored me. I traded some texts with Julie about the new Taylor Swift album. Is the persona in “Betty” a guy or a girl? We debated. Crush Girl and I traded a few texts about Hawaii’s record number of new COVID-19 cases (109!). Then Ali messaged me to talk about books. It was a good conversation. She told me some stuff she evaded when I asked a few years ago. I feel like my mysterious friend is becoming less secretive. It’s nice.

Okay meals. After I took care of a few emails this morning, I drove to the Subway in my hood (open at 10, officially, but it was open when I got there a little earlier) and picked up two sandwiches. Footlong meatball for breakfast (I was feeling indulgent). Footlong turkey for lunch. I’m having dinner now, another can of pork and beans right from the tin. I didn’t snack at all today, ‘though I can’t rule it out for later if I should wake up in the middle of the night with the munchies. I feel like tonight would be a likely night for it.

I didn’t take a walk this evening and feel mildly disappointed about it, yet I’m including it with the other things I did today in order to not be stressed out and boost the likelihood of getting decent sleep, so I’m calling it a sacrifice for my greater good.

Listened to a few podcasts and spun the new Haken album, Virus, three times. I’ve always been aware of Haken and appreciated them, but I never really gave them an attentive listen. They’re on InsideOut America, probably the most reliable record label in the country for my tastes, which means I should have known I’d respond well. It’s a good, interesting album. Reminds me a little of Jason-Newsted-era Voivod with a teeny bit of Katatonia thrown in. I need to find out who Haken’s drummer is, because he thrashes on this album.

Okay. To bed. Here’s my daily reminder that you needn’t go through this pandemic madness alone. If you need someone to connect with, connect with me. Hit me up in the comments and I’ll send you my contact info. Twitter/ IG / FB / phone. As one of my favorite podcast hosts says, “Don’t not do it. Do do do it.”

Lockdown: Bed head

Sleep continues to be a problem. Probably because of the weird sleep I got on hurricane Monday, when I put myself to bed at close to four in the morning Tuesday I couldn’t get to sleep. At five I just gave up and went to the stupid hardware store to get those sockets. Picked up a Maglite too, since I’m not very happy with my hurricane lighting options. Hurricane season lasts into fall. Might as well be pleased with my gear.

On the way home, even though I wasn’t really hungry, I picked up a boatload of food in the McD’s drive-through and ate it all while I read the stupid news. We’re talking enough food for two breakfasts. I’m not even going to spell it out because it’s disgusting. I really went to town.

I also sat down to work much earlier than usual, like around 6:30.

I have to say it wasn’t my most productive day at the home office. I answered all my emails fairly promptly, did edits for the staff newsletter (that takes time, and I’m pretty careful with it), and took a look at a proposal draft that came back to me with edits. I didn’t do any actual writing, and not for lack of assignments. It was one of those days after which I think I owe my employer some extra time and work.

Pretty much as soon as I was done with work, I got ready for bed. The plan was to spend as long as I needed in bed to get a full night’s sleep, even if it were split up a few times. Which it was. I had no trouble dropping off; I was so exhausted. But it wasn’t the putting-myself-to-bed sleep, the intentional stuff with Darth Vader that my body and brain need. It was fall-asleep-with-the-phone-in-my-hand-halfway-through-a-text-message sleep.

Still it was pretty restful, since my body slept me hard. It was intense sleep. Between around 6:30 in the evening and 2:00 in the morning, I think I slept pretty well. I was really hungry by then, so I got up and ate a can of pork and beans, right from the can. When you’re eating canned pork and beans because the budget demands it, it can be a disheartening meal, even if you love it, which I do. When you don’t have to, it’s a nice meal. Eating out of the can reminds of camping with my Boy Scout troop, which always brings good memories. I like camp eating.

I went back to bed for a little more sleep.

So my meals were the McD’s overload and the can of beans. I snacked on two snack bags of kettle chips. Actually one was a snack around lunch time; the other was part of that late dinner of canned beans.

Traded a few texts with Penny to see how she was doing with that new phone. Sharon sent me a link to a Q&A with a certain local candidate. She wanted to know my thoughts, but I fell asleep in the middle of the article, so I haven’t gotten back to her on it yet. Crush Girl asked me for some food recommendations in a certain neighborhood. I sent her some good ones but she ate elsewhere with her friends.

Did not go for a walk, as sleep was the priority. If I listened to music, I don’t remember what it was. I did listen to several podcasts, some of them twice, just to have the sound of conversation in the background after already listening to them actively the first time. I like going to sleep with podcasts playing, but I don’t want to miss anything, so I usually play stuff I’ve already heard.

When I’m not falling asleep in the middle of text conversations, I’m not a bad SMS conversationalist. So if you need someone to connect with, hit me up. These are bizarre times, and they call reassurance or encouragement wherever you can get it.

Lockdown: A few cross words

I had two major tasks to get done today. I won’t name either, but one involved replacing a part on a home appliance. The other was the Monster.

I got started on the appliance during the evening news. Advice on replacing the part was scarce online. There are apparently a lot of ways to do it, varying by manufacturer and model, and no help for my specific situation.

I had the part, mail-ordered for almost sixty bucks. I had a general idea of what to do, based on videos for other models. However, until I tore the thing open, I wouldn’t know exactly what I was dealing with or how to fix it.

Motivation and willingness came from almost a nothing-to-lose position. If I blew it, the worst case meant not being able to use the appliance for some time, but it’s on its last legs anyway, so breaking it was only hastening the (probably) inevitable. Almost as distasteful but equally inconvenient was the possibility I ended up in pretty much the same position: replacing a broken part with an ill-installed new part. This would leave me in the same spot but sixty bucks lighter.

I’ll spare my gentle reader the blow-by-blow, but let’s just say I’m slightly worse off than when I started but the appliance still does what it was doing, only somewhat not as well. It’s not hopeless; I just don’t have standard sockets for my socket wrench in this house. I have metric, since the last few cars I’ve had were all foreign-made. I was horrified to discover that it seems I need a socket wrench to loosen a large number of smallish bolts to install the replacement part correctly. I’ve MacGuyvered a temporary solution, and if I get it in me to run to the hardware store tomorrow, I’ll give it another shot Tuesday.

I was pretty dang disheartened. I took to the bed, discouraged and mildly depressed at my failure and its implications for life in this house. I can actually afford to replace the appliance entirely, and that’s in my plan, but certain realities prevent this from being a feasible action just yet — it’s further in the plan than I’ve yet come.

It was nine-ish and I was just going to turn in, go to bed and forget the rest of the stuff I wanted to do, and try again some other day. But some time before midnight, I got up and thought I should at least fight the Monster. I can see the end of this ridiculous journey and I didn’t want to let the week go by without at least some progress.

So I did it. Took about the usual-sized bite out of the arduous task; took too long but whatever. I did it. And from the looks of it from here, I might be two weeks away from done. Which is pretty mind-blowing. I listened to podcasts while I toiled and the time seemed well spent.

All this means my spirits are much higher than they were a few hours ago, although I’m still bummed about the appliance thing.

The communication from the office Sunday was unclear enough that a lot of people wondered if we were expected to work today. It was clear to me that we weren’t, and when three coworkers texted me to ask me if I was working, I explained why I was certain we weren’t supposed to. However, it was also clear from email traffic that a lot of people were working! Including people in my department who got the same message I got. So although I didn’t any real work, I did reply to a few emails, and I shared this with the three people who reached out. Two said they were doing the same thing — not really working but answering a few emails. The other never got back to me.

For breakfast, I had a bowl of raisin bran after waking far too early. I thought maybe a quick, short meal and the morning news would be all I needed to get me back to bed. Which is sorta true. I had a very late lunch, right around when the early local news came on. I stir-fried won bok, choy sum, and bean sprouts — actually, I didn’t stir-fry them at all. I really just wilted them. Threw them in a sauce pan with no oil, just salt and pepper. Let the heat wilt the veggies and steam off most of the moisture they throw off. It’s what I’ve been doing lately when I’ve said “stir-fry.” It’s a cleaner, tastier preparation.

The third plate lunch from L&L from Sunday was barbecue chicken. They serve three thighs, and I ordered it “all rice,” which is three scoops of rice instead of two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad.

I chopped up one of the thighs, threw that in with the veggies and some dried garlic flakes, then heated up some of the rice (about half?) and poured it all on top. Um, then I fried two eggs and laid that over everything. It was delicious.

It’s approaching 3:30 in the morning and I haven’t had dinner. I might just go without. I did snack on two snack-sized bag of Route 11 kettle chips, one with lunch and one right after the Monster. So maybe I don’t need dinner. Good chips, by the way.

Didn’t go for a walk Monday, but I have a good feeling about Tuesday.

I didn’t do all the Sunday croswords on Sunday, so I finished them up Monday. NYT: 32:58. A clever theme but kind of unsatisfying. LAT: 23:03. Also a clever theme and also unsatisfying. Washington Post: 18:33. Not as clever but an admirable feat, and super fun. I love Evan’s music-themed puzzles.

AJ got the internal job she interviewed for and let me know early Monday. Yay. Writing partner let me know she was done with her new revision; I apologized for not taking a look yet. Penny had some questions about her new phone, which I did my best to answer. Then the texts from the three coworkers.

Monday felt like a typical Sunday, minus the late-evening angst I always feel about the coming week. Which is nice, since Sunday was completely outside normal in every way and didn’t feel like anything familiar. Looking forward to a productive Tuesday-starting week.

Reach out here if you’d like someone to connect with. I’ll do my best. I’m a texting fiend lately.

I’m not going to proofread until I get up Tuesday. So pardon typos. I’ll fix later.

Lockdown: Dougless

I’ve lived through two hurricanes I can remember. Iwa in eighth grade. Iniki in 1992. There have been a lot of very, very near-misses since, but the islands have been incredibly lucky since the year I was 23 and that category 4 storm devasted Kauai in ways it’s still feeling.

In this space I’ve told the story of the hurricane headed right for East Hawaii in my first weekend on the Big Island after moving there to finish school. It made a 90-degree turn straight north moments before it was supposed to hit. I watched the TV udates on my small TV in my unfurnished living room, sitting on the hard carpeted floor with a can of Spam and a candle next to me, certain God was telling me I’d made the wrong choice.

The headline on the front page of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald the next morning was WHEW!.

Douglass was a closer call, in some ways more dramatic for us all if not for me personally. It came right at us then jumped northwest sliiiiightly ahead of its projections, then flew past on a path parallel to the island chain, leaving each island (except Hawaii Island, which avoided it altogether) just out of the storm’s reach. Incredible.

I had a feeling I wouldn’t get much sleep Saturday night and I was wrong. I got no sleep at all. I wasn’t worried or nervous or anything. It was just this weird feeling of expectation that wouldn’t let me rest. It was frustrating but I didn’t fight it. I got in my car at about 5:15 and filled four gallon-jugs with water at the water-filling place. I was pretty sure I had enough but I was up, the supermarket in front of which the fountain is wouldn’t open for another half hour, and I craved the fresh, misty air on my face.

Got home, did a few preparation things in the carport. At about 8 I thought I’d see if Rainbow’s was open, to grab breakfast and lunch. It wasn’t, so I hit L&L and grabbed three plate lunches. Insane, but I didn’t know what the next 24 to 48 hours were going to look like. It was rainy and overcast, and pretty windy but not especially so.

So for breakfast I had two thirds of a laulau/kalua plate. Lunch several hours later was that and some of a chicken katsu plate. Dinner was the rest of the chicken katsu. I still have an entire plate lunch for Monday.

In the early afternoon, I figured I should grab what sleep I could before the storm hit. I got up in time for the local news, although the TV was on all day and so was the local news, really. Coverage was pretty good, but there was so much unberable filler I was begging for them to throw it to the national news at 5:30, even though the national news on Sunday evenings is usually terrible too. The local affiliate did not. We just kept going with ridiculous person-on-the-street interviews and some UH professor who looked like middle-aged Geraldo Rivera and didn’t make any sense.

I took about as much of that as I could, then went back to bed. I was pretty dang tired. Got up a few times to see if we were officially in the clear. In the late evening Sunday, we were.

It was a relief. I went back to bed and didn’t get up until just past midnight. So there’s a good chance I’ll be up all night again, dang it. Going to try not to let that happen. It’s 2:46 now, though, so yeah.

I didn’t go for a walk, ‘though I certainly was tempted. We’ll see what things look like Monday night.

Texting was pretty continuous all day, as you might imagine. My uncle hit me up in IG early. Some coworkers and I traded updates. Sylvia and I talked about our food plans. Ali in Boston asked for an update. Writing partner just wanted to see what I was up to, and she sent me some photos of her kid reading books. Crush Girl seemed not to be following the news, so she asked me periodically what I knew. I also texted a few female friends to ask if the Kauai mayor is a hunk. The consensus: kinda.

During his late-morning press conference, the governor shut down state offices on Oahu, plus the university, which sent a few of my coworkers and me into speculation mode. As a rule, if the university is closed for safety reasons, so are we. Within an hour we got the word: no work Monday.

Since Monday is a no-work day I’m not too worried about the sleep thing, ‘though I’d rather not be up all night again. I’m on my second kalimotxo and will have one more. That should help.

Because of the TV, I didn’t listen to much music, but I gave Taylor another spin, and now I’m on my second spin of Fear, a new album by Valkyrie. Stoner-doom metal, ‘though not very metally. A nice, enjoyable listen, though. I’d go see these guys play. The solos are deft and melodic, somewhat reminiscent of Thin Lizzy for some reason.

I have some big projects Monday, since it’s not a work day. Kind of looking forward to them, just to get them out of the way. Also wouldn’t mind getting some reading in. Today should have been a good day for that but I was just so tired.

A memorable if uneventful day. Just what I and my homestate needed. Thanks, God.

Lockdown: Folklore

The last time a hurricane was headed right for us, some time in 2018, my dad predicted the wind shear near the Big Island would slice the top right off the storm and reduce it to just a little storm. That’s exactly what happened.

When I called my parents Saturday morning, I was hoping for some similar prediction, but “The navy ships are leaving Pearl Harbor right now,” he said. “When the ships take off, you know we’re in for a wind event. The ships don’t care about rain.”

My dad used to live on those ships. And he has an excellent view of Pearl Harbor from his lanai. When he says the ships are leaving it’s because he’s seen them leave.

“We’re going to get hit. Not hard, but hit for sure,” he said.

Great.

This thing looks like it’s heading right for us, like it’s going to plow right through the island chain beginning at the Big Island in the southeast and curving up to the northwest, moving back in time through the history of the islands from youngest to oldest.

I woke up after only about three hours of sleep and decided to stay up, looking forward to a nice afternoon nap. The idea was to tie things down around the exterior of the house, but it really looks like I have most of Sunday to do it, so I’m just going to wait. Instead I did a few normal chores and a little bit of reading. And lots of podcast-listening.

I took a very short nap so I could wake up for the news, then went back to bed and got up at around 8. Clearly it was time to take a walk, I think my earliest walk since this lockdown began. It didn’t quite work out that way, but I did get out the door by 9 and took a couple of bags of bottles and cans to the bus stop nearest my house — not my usual bus stop a bit further up the road. I thought I might keep the walk short, so I relieved myself of the recyclables as quickly as I could.

And then it called to me. McD’s. It was right there, across the street and up a block. So I had lunch in the dark, in a grassy area near the bus stop. A McChicken sandwich, a McDouble, a small chocolate shake, and a Diet Coke. I never smoked when I was in high school, but it felt the way I imagine I’d have felt the first time I snuck a cigarette on the roof of the classroom building at school.

I never did cut a class to smoke a cigarette (I didn’t have my first cigarette until I was twenty-five) but I did cut chapel once, up on the roof. We weren’t allowed up there, but there was nothing to stop us except a sign telling us not to go there. There’s a locked gate now.

Breakfast, several hours earlier, was the leftover penne, this time with some blue cheese melted in. It was delicious. Dinner, which I’m finishing up now, is a bowl of instant ramen with a large handful of choy sum and half a bag of bean sprouts. It’s aight. I picked up a different brand because I had “something different” on my shopping list and this was the best I could do. Some Taiwanese instant soba actually (not ramen). It’s not good. Unfortunately I have four more packages of this stuff. Guess it’ll go into the hurricane kit.

I felt the weight of my sins, deep in my gut, so I walked around the block and meandered through the neighborhood to try and exorcise the demon of gluttony, but as I warmed up I knew I didn’t want to go home. I ended up going through some weird (but not unfamiliar) streets and finished with 12,000 steps, or just about half a mile shy of what was once my daily expectation. Not bad.

“Exile,” “The Last Great American Dyanasty,” and “Betty” are the standout tracks for me on this new Taylor Swift album. If you’re only casually curious, check those three songs out first. She has Bon Iver on “Exile.” It’s kind of an amazing track. “Betty” is the real heart-breaker, though, and perhaps closest (thematically) to the work she’s better known for.

I love that she did a song with Bon Iver, but if she’s thinking of making this genre her new home, I’d love if she did a few songs with Kina Grannis, Marié Digby, or the Mountain Goats. That’s who this new album makes me think most of. Or she could revisit her country roots and maybe do something with the Secret Sisters. Heck yeah.

I was riding with Susan one night, somewhere in town on our way to dinner. This was after I thought we both knew it wasn’t going to happen between us (I was apparently wrong about the “both” part, but I didn’t find out until quite a bit later at a concert), and she was playing a mix CD. It had a Bruce Cockburn song on it — she said I was the one who turned her on to him, of course — and then something else I really dug, and then a Mountain Goats song.

It wasn’t just any Mountain Goats song. It was the Mountain Goats song, the one that makes me weep every time I hear it. “1 John 4:16” from The Life of the World to Come (2009). Susan and I had never discussed the Mountain Goats; I was surprised to learn she was aware of them. I said, because I wasn’t immediately sure, “Is this the Mountain Goats?”

She said, “Um, I think so.”

In the holding tank I built for myself
it's feeding time
And I start to feel afraid 
'cause I'm the last one left in line
The endless string of summer storms 
that led me to today
Began one afternoon with you, long ago and far away

And someone leads the beast in on its chain
But I know you're thinking of me 
'cause it's just about to rain
So I won't be afraid of anything ever again

In the cell that holds my body back, 
the door swings wide
And I feel like someone's lost child 
as the guards lead me outside
And if the clouds are gathering, 
it's just to point the way
To an afternoon I spent with you when it rained all day

And someone leads the beast in on its chain
But I know you're thinking of me 
'cause it's just about to rain
So I won't be afraid of anything ever again

Ugh. I can’t even read those lyrics without tearing up. They just uncover the vast emptiness I camouflage with work, writing, podcasts, music, food, movies, and God. I’ve learned to live with it — I think we’ve all got it in some flavor, only most of us deal with it better, some of us filling in enough of it with marriage and kids, calling it good enough.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe R’s got it figured out and the emptiness was me, and now that I’m not there, it’s not there either. I know that can’t be entirely right; she’s got some family things that are mind-blowing and I can’t talk about them because they’re not mine to talk about, but maybe she figured enough of it out that she doesn’t have a “1 John 4:16.”

Dammit.

So I told Susan, with about as much pleading in my voice as I could manage while still being somewhat mature, that if we didn’t skip the song, I was going to cry. She skipped the song, and God bless her, she didn’t ask about it. Which in retrospect wasn’t fair of me because I made her cry at the Kina Grannis concert we went to some time later. Weird how these things are all linked.

My high school classmate Tiger texted me to ask about a song she remembered from our days at HBA. We had a biology teacher who was a musician, had grown up playing in local bands in clubs since his teen years, and who always had his Ovation guitar in the classroom, and when it was your birthday he would ask you what kind of music you liked, and he’d make up a birthday song for you right there. He sang in a lot of our chapels, and there was this one song HBA students really responded well to. She couldn’t remember the name of the song or the teacher, exactly, so I sent her the link on YouTube. Nice way to start the day.

Crush Girl and I talked about her adventures Saturday morning. I had been a little nervous for her, with the hurricane coming, but it turns out she could have spent the whole day because Saturday’s over and it was lovely from beginning to end. She sent me a photo of where she’d been. Gorgeous.

My boss texted the whole department to tell us to be careful, and that she’d stocked up on duct tape, so if we needed any we should just call. Someone else chimed in with what he had plenty of. My reply was that I must be doing it wrong — all I’d brought home was red wine and Maui Brewing cola so I could have kalimotxos.

Ali and I texted back and forth a few times early and late. She’d gone berry picking. I was getting the house ready for a hurricane I hoped wasn’t coming. She asked about some work things. I updated her. We talked a little about my salary. I said the topic was making me uncomfortable. Sent her the link to the song Tiger asked about, thinking she might find it interesting.

I know you’re thinking of me, ’cause it’s just about to rain.

One reason (and there are many) this song makes me cry is that I know this line isn’t true. It’s one of the most interesting parts of this whole R saga, the way I lifted so easily and so quickly out of her life while she never lifted out of mine at all. This is that baggage everyone’s always talking about. I’m carrying a ton of it, all with her monogram, and if she’s carrying any at all, it’s not mine. I say “interesting” because there’s a novel in here somewhere, there’s some incredible truth about human relationships I’m still chipping away at. “Down here, it’s just winners and losers, and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line,” says a Bruce Springsting song I love. What if that’s true? You’re a winner or you’re a loser, and there’s that line.

If you’re in the islands, be careful. If not, enjoy a lovely rest of your weekend, and reach out if you need someone to connect with. Assuming I don’t lose cellular service, I may have lots of time for texting.

Lockdown: They didn’t even say her name

Thursday night I got myself to bed at around 2:00. A small triumph. I had considered staying up until 4:30, when the Costco gasoline station opens, to fill my tank first ahead of the hurricane, but decided that was silly, even though staying up until 4:30 is practically a way of life for me nowadays. It’s practically a tenet. The prospect of 7ish hours of sleep before work was too sweet.

There is a gas station right at the bottom of my hill, without Costco prices but without Costco lines. And it’s not even a five-minute drive.

But I woke up at around 4:45 anyway, against my better wishes, and thought what the heck. I put on some clothes and jumped into Jessica.

The Costco line was a bit longer than usual at five in the morning, but not by much, so there was almost no wait. I stopped at the nearby gas station on my way up the hill and filled my tires, something I’ve neglected to take care of since before Mother’s Day.

I managed to get a little bit of sleep before work, but I was groggy as heck, and my vision was blurry most of the day. Not my best day. I worked on my contributions to the staff newsletter and played around with a story I’m working on, but didn’t make a lot of progress.

Breakfast was a bowl of instant ramen with a mountain of bean sprouts. Warm salty, fatty, and soothing. Lunch was cold pizza. I had cold pizza for a snack, too. Then made a pot of penne with jarred sauce (I added red wine and red pepper flakes) for dinner. Not quite plague of locusts consumption, but I was still something of an eating machine.

Just before bed, I watched the last episode of the fourth season of Orange is the New Black. Heavy, heavy stuff with a few moments of comic relief. I think I read that while season three was in production, the show was extended a few more seasons, so while the writers worked on season four, they knew they already had at least season five ahead of them. This may have contributed to season four ending on a foreboding note, rather than the uplifting, tears-of-joy ending the first three seasons gave us.

“They didn’t even say her name!” screams one inmate when the warden does his news conference following the death of a favorite character. It feels like I’m watching a show about today.

I’m eager to get to season five. I usually re-watch a season at least once (usually more than once) before I move to the next, but I may not have the patience. The last two episodes have commentaries, so I’m definitely going to watch them with the commentaries first. Then I’ll decide.

Didn’t go for a walk. Ugh.

Ali and I texted a lot about her Kindle situation. It was a highlight. I like talking about books and book-related stuff with friends. Crush Girl and I texted a bit about the hurricane and our plans for the weekend. I think that was it.

Not a memorable day but thankfully a Friday. I need this weekend, with or without a hurricane. Preferably without.

If you’re in need of connection, hit me up in the comments. We can text through this together. Tell me what you’re reading or something. 🙂