Lockdown: Pho what it’s worth

(I started this Tuesday afternoon and am only finishing it late Friday night. That kind of week.)

It was a pretty good weekend. I took my first, tentative, fully vaccinated, post-lockdown steps into society, sort of. Sleep continues to be an issue.

I got up early Saturday after only a few hours of sleep. I meant to, but I woke up earlier than planned and couldn’t get back to sleep. Again. I called my parents to let them know I was coming over Sunday just to hang out, and I’d pick up dinner on the way.

The Saturday Hawaiian plate ritual continues. I had some of it for breakfast as I listened to some baseball. Took a long nap. Finished the Hawaiian food for lunch. Did the usual Saturday stuff: crosswords, news, fantasy sports catchup, the Spelling Bee.

I drove to Keehi Lagoon again. Walked around the still-closed park as I read my Kindle. Took a few photos. Was shooed out by a police officer supervising that little tent village, but I still got a good hour of walking and nearly finished the novel.

I kind of wanted to stop somewhere for takeout but I just wasn’t hungry. As reluctant as I was to head home, that’s what I did. Tucked myself back into bed and finished A Pho Love Story.

Sunday I got up before sunrise and drove to the beach about an hour later than the Sunday before. The parking situation was more like what I expect on a Sunday morning, so at that hour, I didn’t get the good spots on the Kewalo end. Plenty of good spots on the Magic Island end, and I had a good swim. My body told me to go, unlike a week earlier, and it felt good. I actually hung out a little longer than usual, just enjoying being in the warm sun and salty ocean.

The Subway at the enormous shopping mall across the street had been closed for breakfast these past several month. It had actually been a few months since I drove past, and I wondered if it was back to normal hours.

It didn’t make it. The signage and decor were gone. Dang it.

So I hit the Jack-in-the-Box drive-though for a couple of breakfast biscuits and took them to the office. I had a few tasks to take care of but I didn’t settle in and actually do work. Just took care of the tasks, finished my breakfast, and got out.

Came home for a nap, then drove to Pearl City. Picked up takeout and visited the parents. It was nice to spend time with them again even though all we did was watch TV and eat dinner.

It was an okie dokie weekend. I’m eager to get the beach back into my routine, and I’m thinking about working in the office a couple of days a week beginning soon.

Lockdown: This is the way we wash our clothes

(so early in the morning)

Friday evening, about 10:45. I’m barely hanging on to consciousness but I need to stay up another hour or so in an effort to reset the body clock. I tried it last night, too, getting to bed at about half past midnight, but I woke up at 3:30 and stayed up until 6:30, kind of destroying the plan.

I’ve been dragging all week for lack of a good night’s sleep. It’s bad. No matter when I put myself to bed, I get up in the middle of the night and just can’t settle back in.

Or worse: I manage to stay awake all evening without a post-work nap, then when I struggle past the sleepiness, my brain finds this extra store of energy and I’m wide awake until late.

One of my principals at Assets was like this too. She said she always found a second wind at about 10:30, so she tried to be in bed before it kicked in.

Work was a mix of being very productive and not making the best use of my time this week. I did good work, and brought a few things across home plate, but I did it slowly in some cases. Crossed a bunch of new things right off the list, but some of the old things are nagging and lingering. Bleah.

But hey. One of my proposals, worked on for a couple of weeks, went to a donor who’s very open to a large gift we asked for. We’re talking millions. It’s still in the discussion stage, but when you ask someone for millions of dollars and the person doesn’t say no, you get a good feeling.

It helps that the fundraiser I worked with has been one of my cheerleaders. We bring this gift home and I’m going to get a little bit of the credit, which will be nice. I want to be good at this, and it helps when I have the confidence of the people I work with.

I didn’t get out at all during the work week. No beach time. No walks. Mostly because of my tiredness. I don’t think I did any reading either, except Wednesday morning when I went to the laundry. The one in Manoa, the one who changed its operating hours from open-all-night to last-wash-at-nine. Now that I’ve got those two shots in me and two weeks of getting my immunity built up, I felt okay going back to do a five a.m. wash. It wasn’t bad, either. A few other people in there, but we kept our distance and almost everyone had a mask worn properly.

The problem with going at 5 is I missed the overnight lunch menu at McD’s, and I was really looking forward to a Big Mac combo. I think they shift to the breakfast menu at 5, and I ordered a few minutes before 5. Must go a little earlier next time.

So I had an Egg McMuffin combo, which was still good, but I’d had one earlier in the week, too. Not the same.

I also read A Pho Love Story and am nearly done.

This week, someone asked if I’d seen Mythic Quest on Apple TV+. I’d heard of it but hadn’t investigated. The someone said she was interested. A couple of days later, she’d seen the whole first season (season 2 drops next month) and really liked it, and was looking for someone to talk about it with.

So yeah. I picked it up the other night and I’ve now seen five episodes. I do like it — it appeals to a certain geekiness in me. Reminds me a little of Silicon Valley, but there are elements reminding me also of Halt and Catch Fire and even Atlanta and Forever. Pretty dang good.

Coincidentally, Friday Apple dropped an eleventh episode, a special addition to season 1. Kind of cool — a new episode dropping right when I’m picking the show up, a year after its debut. And I got to break the news to the friend, who was pretty stoked to hear about it.

I listened to a ton of baseball, which means my podcast consumption has dropped off, and my music-listening, too. Although Liquid Tension Experiment dropped its third album Friday and I’ve had it on repeat all evening. I’m really digging it.

It wasn’t a very interesting food week. After the watercress tofu tomato onion salad, I didn’t try anything new. Made a couple of omelets with leftover salad ingredients. Had Taco Bell for breakfast Thursday. Got takeout from Bangkok Chef Thursday night, which meant Thai food for breakfast and lunch Friday. I’ll probably make fixings for lazy burritos sometime this weekend, and I have a couple of ideas for some new things to try in the IP.

My ambitions for this weekend are slightly less slothful than last weekend. I have a few things to do, and I’m hoping to visit the parents, perhaps bring some dinner over, now that we’re all post-vaccine. I may even skip going to the office. I got enough done and enough prepped for next week that I can give myself two days completely off from even thinking about work. Yay. We’ll see if I actually do it.

Okie dokie. Time for some teeth-brushing and then a hopeful trip to bed.

Friday 5: Aca-scuse me?

From here. What an obnoxiously silly set of questions.

  1. In what way have you recently been rebellious?
    Keehi Lagoon Park has been closed for a year. There are concrete barriers blocking entrance to the park by car, but the tennis courts in front are open. So parking there and walking into the park is a piece of cake, as I’ve been doing these past few weekends. I’m not the only one — there are a few others walking around and through the park when I’m there, but we stay far, far away from each other. If you know anything about the park, you know it’s very popular with homeless people. I guess during the pandemic, the city erected a little compound with large military tents and picnic tables, fenced off and overlooked by police officers, for the usual park residents, ostensibly to keep them safe. Whenever I go by, there aren’t very many people there unless they’re all in tents. The whole thing is a placid picture I’ve enjoyed walking through while reading my Kindle. My car’s safety inspection expired in February 2020, so there’s also that.
  2. What fond memories do you have of camping out?
    I was a Boy Scout, so camping was a huge part of my teen years, from seventh grade until I graduated high school. One of my NaNoWriMo projects was about summer camp the year after my sophomore year, the year my patrol (The Roach Patrol) won the patrol challenge, and there are a ton of memories from just that one week. Lately, though, I’ve remembered late nights playing cribbage under the dining fly, by the light of old Coleman lanterns. My scoutmaster always brought a couple of boards, usually one for each patrol, and we played for chores or KP duty. The new scouts almost always got the raw end, as older guys would take advantage of their rawness. Cribbage is supposed to be a civil game, but it has one cutthroat feature: when the scores are announced after each hand, if a player doesn’t claim points the opponent sees, the opponent gets to steal them. We usually played four-handed cribbage, with older guys partnering up and younger guys partnering up, but in my patrol we also mixed it up sometimes, older pairing with younger. These were great friends. We played game after game, telling the same stupid stories from past summer camps, laughing at the same stupid jokes, drinking cocoa warmed up on a propane stove, late into the night for the whole week.
  3. When did you last have a snow cone, or something similar?
    In Hawaii, it’s called shave ice (except on the Big Island, where it’s called ice shave), and it’s one of my favorite snacks. Like most of us, I’ve avoided the shave ice stands for more than a year. The last real shave ice I remember was when my company moved to its new offices on King Street. There’s a bikeshare station on our block, so one day at lunch I changed into shorts and a tee, and biked the King Street bike lane back to University Ave, then came back. On the way back, I stopped at a little hair salon slash shave ice joint. I know, it’s a weird combination, and based on the quality of the shave ice, I’m going to say the salon is the main business. Oh, wait! I remember for Penny’s birthday in October ’19, we went to that Korean shave ice spot on Keeaumoku, inside the 88 Mart. In Korean it’s bingsoo, and at En Hakkore Cafe it’s a large and busy dish. Not what I’m used to but still quite good. So that was a few months more recent than the hair salon.
  4. Where do you have difficulty fitting in? Where do you easily fit in?
    Fitting in has been an issue my whole life. I’m just a misfit in most situations, and I’ve come to be (mostly) at peace with it. And I think it’s one reason I’ve been thinking a bit about those cribbage games when I was a teen. The feeling of belonging I felt with my friends under that dining fly especially is dear to me. I didn’t even really feel like I fit in with my troop most of the time, but in my patrol it was usually great. These days, I enjoy the feeling of misfit community at metal shows, where I have found the people to be nicer than at concerts of any other type.
  5. How do you feel about banannas?
    I disliked bananas for most of my life. If anything I ate or drank had banana in it, I just couldn’t get it down. Then several years ago, I made a dedicated effort to learning to like them. First I chilled them, then smeared them with lots of peanut butter and brown sugar. It took a while (and lots of brown sugar) to consume a whole banana, but I did it, not enjoying it at all for weeks. Then I got to where I could tolerate them, and I gradually used less peanut butter and less brown sugar. Now I can actually eat a banana. I can’t say I like it, but it’s no longer an issue. When I get an acai bowl, I eat every slice of banana in the bowl with no problems. I’ve been surprised by how starchy bananas are, how filling and satisfying just one good banana can be. And I’m hoping within a few years I will actually like them.

Lockdown: Back to the beach (at last)

Thankfully the McD’s at Waiakamilo and Dillingham was open for takeout. I thought I needed to get some sugar into me quickly, so I had a small vanilla shake, then chased it with two cheeseburgers and a medium fries. They did the trick. At least the weird internal shakiness was gone.

I wrote this a year ago. Early April 13 about April 12, 2020. I remember that night. I was really feeling unwell. Shaky. I scarfed that impromptu takeout meal standing on the walkway of the adjacent stripmall. The fries were especially delicious that night.

I miss these late-night walks, which may have been my mental health anchor in the early weeks of the lockdown. We were actually locked down that weekend, Easter weekend, with an actual citywide curfew. You could be out excercising, but if you were in your car you had to be on your way home or on your way to work, or getting something important from a store. Great evenings for walking late at night. Great alone time.


Saturday morning I wrote something about slothful intentions. See, when you set the bar at sloth, it’s pretty easy to feel accomplished. I got up early that morning after only four hours of sleep, drove to Young’s for a huge Hawaiian plate, and enjoyed the heck out of it while writing my Friday 5.

Took a long, heavenly nap. Worked the crossword while finishing my food, then it was time for a little foodventure. I made pimento cheese, inspired mostly by a great segment on the ESPN Daily podcast.

Just give it a quick listen. It’s short, like three minutes, and it’s super interesting. And it made me seriously want to make it.

After all the tasting as I went, I felt pretty gross, so I quickly asked Siri when sunset was. In half an hour. I figured it would take me fifteen minutes to get to Keehi Lagoon, leaving me fifteen minutes before sundown and another thirty before darkness. I could work with that.

So I read A Pho Love Story on my Kindle as I walked around the still-closed park. It was really pretty, which is a nice surprise because it’s not a very pretty park by Oahu standards. Like a lot of stuff this past year, it’s benefitted from having no people.

The book’s quite engaging, so I kept walking after dark, just back and forth in the tennis court parking lot, where my car was. I think I totaled an hour of very leisurely walking for a little over two miles.

The sunshine, fresh air, and mild exercise were a tiny piece of the weekend, but I think they really made the weekend for me. Without them, I’d have felt pretty terrible about the way the rest of it went. With them, my spirits were just a lot better, and I’m fairly sure my hitting the beach eeeeeaaaaarly Sunday morning had a lot to do with how good I felt Saturday night.

I was still craving movement, so on impulse, I stopped at a liquor store in my neighborhood, thinking I’d grab a Diet Pepsi, then walk around on Pier 38 as I continued to read. Then as I stood outside my car putting my mask on, I realized I’d really had quite enough, so I hopped back in and went home.

I blanched a bunch of watercress and ate a few handfuls of that for a snack. All that Hawaiian food had me pretty sated, and I thought the fiber would be good for my insides. Then much later I had a pimento cheese sandwich, because of course.


I went to bed kind of early Saturday night, so I could wake up early Sunday. Got up a little earlier than planned, about an hour before my 4:45 alarm, and couldn’t get back to sleep. So yeah, it was off to the beach. After a stop at the McD’s drive-though for an Egg McMuffin and a couple of breakfast burritos, which I ate in my car (a rare thing) while reading my Kindle before the sun came up.

I do not know what the deal was, but I got my favorite parking lot and still would have if I’d come twenty minutes later. For some reason the beach was not a popular early morning activity Sunday. I actually waited until the water was light enough for me to see how gross it was before jumping in. It wasn’t gross at all. It was nice. And still there weren’t that many people in the water.

I took it easy, since it had been more than two months since my last swim. I guess I went for nearly forty minutes, but it was a old man’s forty minutes. Stopped at Starbucks on my way home for a decaf vanilla latte.

I was about to head home with it, when I remembered that I was vaccinated, and one day away from the two-weeks-post-shots milestone. So you know what I did? I grabbed my Kindle and drank my coffee at one of the outdoor tables. It was almost normal.

Got home and almost immediately took a nap. Woke up pretty refreshed but achy as heck a few hours later, and made another pimento cheese sandwich. Took some photos for the ‘gram, of course. Went back to bed, but not for tooooo long. Woke up and made the salad for which I’d blanched the watercress. Watercress, tofu, grape tomatoes, sweet onions. It came out pretty great but blanching the watercress was kind of dumb. Took the edge off the greens, so they added blandness. Without the nice bite of raw slices of onion, it would have been a failure.

I had a bowlful with just shoyu as a dressing.

Did a few house things and headed to the office, where I actually did regular work-work. Edited some photos, then placed them in a proposal I’m working on. This one’s kind of different: it’s related to hog farming. Most people around here don’t know it, but the University of Hawaii started as an agricultural college, so the ag college at Manoa is actually the oldest college in the university, predating statehood by fifty years or so.

Oh yeah, and I picked up dinner at Grace’s on my way in. This is turning into a bad habit, but maybe it was okay. The morning’s swim was causing me to burn through everything. That’s the theory, anyway.

To recap: lots of sleep. Lots of reading. A little bit of sunshine, fresh air, and exercise. My slothful ambitions were satisfied, and so was I for a change.

Friday 5: III III III III III

From here. I hate the way this formatting turned out but I’m not going to spend my whole Saturday trying to make it pretty.

  1. Who are your three latest celebrity crushes?

My main lockdown crush is Mona Kosar Abdi, co-anchor on ABC’s overnight (on repeat all night) news program World News Now. I’ve kept crazy hours this past year, and while I keep the TV off during the day and most of the evening, if I’m up very late, I like having the news on. Especially when Mona’s on, because she’s utterly gorgeous and exceedingly smart in a field where everyone’s smart.

My most recent crush is Jessica Kleinschmidt, a baseball reporter in the Bay Area, mostly covering my favorite Oakland Athletics. I listen to Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast every weekday, and he had her on recently to talk about the Athletics. When she’s not delivering baseball stuff, she talks a lot about what it’s like to be a woman in sports journalism, and she paints a suuuuper discouraging picture. Posts like this on IG are another reason I’m crushing. It’s total BS that she has to put up with this crap, but she does. Every fricking day.

Annie Clements has been on TV a lot this past year, as she’s the bass player and back-up vocalist in Maren Morris’s band. Maren’s had quite a year and she deserves it, but I was familiar with Annie because I listen to a lot of bluegrass and bluegrass-adjacent music, so I follow Americana musicians on social media, including Annie. Women bass players are already badass, but Annie is extra badass.

2. What three strange things have you done during the pandemic?

So much strangeness. Doing my laundry every week (in recent months every other week) at Manoa Laundry at 2:00 in the morning probably tops the list. It was a major inconvenience, and kind of stressful, but it gave me some much-needed out-of-house structure in a crazy time. Picking up McD’s at the drive-through on my way was part of the structure — my only dining out for most of the year.

Going to the office one day every weekend isn’t strange — I’ve been doing it for four years. It’s usually just for a little while, remnants of always going to my classroom on weekends during my teaching career. This past year, however, I only go in on weekends, specifically on Sunday because nobody else is around. I’d rather not, most of the time, but it keeps me connected to my workplace and it’s a good time to do some undistracted thinking.

This is really strange, since I’m such a keep-to-myself person. I’ve become acquainted with my letter carrier. Like, acquainted enough (although we’ve only met face-to-face once) that when I’m on the road and he sees my car, he waves at me and I wave back. Late last summer I left him an Amazon gift card because I’ve relied on Amazon this year, and I appreciated his important role in getting me my stuff. Then when we met, he thanked me in person (after leaving me a nice note) and we had a short conversation. It led to waving from behind steering wheels.

Oh. I also bought a $50 box grater. Very strange.

3. What three goals do you have for the weekend?

Lots of sleep. Lots of reading. Some sunshine and fresh air. I’m keeping it simple.

4. What three things are you avoiding?

Uggggh I’d rather not even think about this. I’m avoiding taking my damaged vehicle to the shop for an price quote for the insurance company who’s paying for repairs. It’s just such a hassle. I’m avoiding making an appointment with my ophthalmologist, which is a big deal because my eye problems aren’t limited to bad vision. I have a glaucoma-like condition (my record actually uses the word glaucomic) I can’t neglect, and I missed last year’s appointment. I’m avoiding housecleaning.

5. What three things are you feeling pretty good about?

The start of major league baseball for sure. It’s such a comfort. I’m feeling good about my parents being vaccinated, and my being two days away from fully vaccinated. It means I’ll be able to go over on weekends again. I’m feeling pretty good about work, since I had a very productive week — the kind of productivity my coworkers actually see. Some of my good work is pretty invisible. Some of it is very visible. I like both types, but this noticeable type helps because it more directly makes a difference in other people’s work.

Heading into the weekend with slothful intentions. I’ve got the Athletics vs. Astros game on and I’m headed back to bed for a nap.

Lockdown: Anxiety has got me on the run

Depending on how you think about it, the lockdown is either about to end soon, or it ended last summer, or it ended earlier last summer, or it ended late last spring.

When it began, we were pretty much locked down. Like universally grounded. So much was uncertain (“in these uncertain times…”), and we didn’t know what was safe, and we thought this might end in a few weeks and everything would be back to normal.

We were ever aware of our food stores, our toilet paper supplies, and the latest hot spots where the numbers shot up.

I think I handled those early days best. All this alone time was kind of welcome. The adventure of finding interesting ways to feed myself with the stuff I had kept me thinking about my next meal as I was completing the current meal. Sleep was a huuuuge issue, but when is it not, in my life?

These past few weeks, as I’ve fallen behind on my daily updates, it hasn’t been just about being busy, which I sort of have, or being slightly depressed, which I also have, or being a little anxious, which I also have. I think I’m moving into a different mental space: out of lockdown and cautiously but eagerly into whatever’s next.

Eventually, I’m going to stop with these intended daily updates and settle into whatever needs this space satisfies, with whatever frequency. The season of the lockdown journal is ending.

I’m a week away from being about as immune as I’m expected to get, I guess. There will be an accounting, too. My body is in the worst shape it’s ever seen. My brain is teetering on a few different brinks, some of which are new ground for me. I’m restless in a lot of ways. I’m anxious in a lot of ways. I’m mildly depressed in a lot of ways. All related to this stupid lockdown.

Yeah, I’m a little overwhelmed, too. And as I’ve felt it, I’ve retreated into escapist behavior, which of course makes everything worse. So I’ve sunken into this little hole and I need to get out of it. I keep telling myself tomorrow is the day and the day goes by and it feels worse because I didn’t make it actually be the day.

Ugh.

Twice over the long weekend I drove to Keehi Lagoon and walked as I read my Kindle. It helped. Enormously. Of course, it sounds like doing something (fresh air, sunshine, exercise) when it’s really the ultimate escapist behavior. My first escapist behavior. Why is reading my favorite thing? Because it takes me away.

As disappointing as this past year has been, now it’s home, and now it’s about to change again. I’m not ready to rush headlong back into the old space, even if the old were to be exactly the same as it was when I left it. I want to see my writing partner again over pizza. I want to sit in a cafe and drink coffee as I read. I want to go to a concert. Just maybe not all at once, I guess.

I also want my year back, damn it.

Anyway.

I’ll get this lockdown journal caught up some time this week; I swear. I will also do some of the other stuff I’ve been putting off simply because I have to. And yeah, the beach. I need some beach time.

I’m okay. I just need to sort through some stuff, and most of it will be best sorted through by getting it done, not by writing about it. Ack.

Back to the inanity of my daily recaps sometime Tuesday. I promise! Sorta!

Lockdown: Bury my heart on Klickitat Street

Saturday I slept in. The only reason I got up when I did was the fantasy baseball draft I scheduled for noon. The draft went well. I had the second pick in a snake draft and really liked the team I put together. Took about an hour and twenty minutes.

Breakfast was lazy burritos. Of course breakfast was at noon, so maybe it was lunch. For a late lunch, I made this simple mushroom chicken recipe in the Instant Pot. Chicken breasts, mushroom broth (water plus a few teaspoons of mushroom Better than Bouillon), mushrooms, garlic, pepper, salt, butter. It came out pretty good. The chicken was fine but next time I’ll cut it into chunks. The mushrooms and broth were terrific. I made enough for three meals. Then kim chi stew for dinner.

I sorta had in mind to do what I did the Saturday before. Drive to Mapunapuna and check out Fisher for some discounted shelves, then walk around Keehi Lagoon while reading my Kindle, but I just couldn’t get myself out the door. So I watched Cobra Kai and mostly just did what I did Friday. Veg.

I really wish I read more.

There wasn’t much texting Saturday, mostly short continuations of conversations from Friday. Penny did text me the Atlantic’s obituary of Beverly Cleary, which I’d already read. She hadn’t heard about Larry McMurtry, but she never did finish Lonesome Dove, so I didn’t expect her to be as tuned in on that.

Two of the most influential writers in my life, one in my formative years and one in my post-college years. I’ve written this here before, but I say it all the time anyway: nobody writes as clearly as Larry McMurtry. He’s the clearest, most readable writer I’ve encountered, and I’ve modeled my own professional voice after his, as much as I could anyway. He does it in prose fiction and in non-fiction, and I don’t know how he does it. I know he doesn’t waste words, and it’s his economy I’ve most tried to mimic. Not here in this space, obviously, but in more formal writing.

Maybe you’ve noticed it. I’ve removed several common constructions from my prose, and I can feel the difference. The ubiquity of “both” in common written communication is one. “So-and-so says the new policy with affect both A and B.” Get rid of “both.”

I can’t share a specific example I encountered this week, because it’s related to my work and I can’t piss people off. But I read a proposal by a group of professors in which one paragraph contained THREE sentences using “both” this way. It was insane. I almost couldn’t believe it, but of course I can. Pay attention and you’ll see it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll the time.

Another, almost as ubiquitous peeve: “not only A, but B.” Or “not just A, but B.” It’s maddening.

These things crowd our language and make murky our meaning.

So yeah. This weekend I’ll pour one out for Beverly Cleary and one for Larry McMurtry.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’re pandemicking disconnected. Don’t do that.

Lockdown: Lazy burritos

It’s late Tuesday and still no real side effects, thirty-two hours after the injection. My arm where the needle went in is sorer than it was, but that’s it.

Not entirely true. I was reeeeally tired at the end of my workday today, so I locked up the house, brushed my teeth, and went to bed just after seven. But then I woke up at half past midnight ravenous, so I’m up now. Not exactly sleepy but definitely tired. Run-down. Is that the side effect or something else?

I woke up Friday morning (a state holiday!) with not enough sleep because I wanted the option of getting Taco Bell for breakfast. Quickly decided Taco Bell could wait for some other day and went right back to bed, where I stayed until the very late morning.

Lazy burritos for breakfast. Someone reminded me that I promised months ago to share my lazy burritos situation. I’m telling you, it’s one step more involved than opening a can of refried beans and spooning them into a flour tortilla, so don’t get excited.

Open a large can (twice the size of the regular can) of refried beans and dump its contents into an appropriately sized food storage container. I usually go with the vegetarian variety of refried beans. I like fat, but if I can choose veggie fat instead of animal fat, I might as well.

Mix in a whole can of Ro-Tel. That’s a specific brand of canned tomatoes and peppers. There are other brands and they work too, but not as well. So if you’re making the big bucks that I, a writer for a nonprofit, rake in, just get the Ro-Tel.

I have a jar of home-concocted chili powder which I will talk about another time. I usually don’t bother, but sometimes (as this week), I mix in a couple of tablespoons. If I have some leftover rice, I’ll stir some in too. It adds texture and extends the filling so I can have it for more days in a row. Before I was rolling in dough for being a writer in a nonprofit, I used a lot more rice. These days I use less, and I usually don’t use any at all. It’s carby enough, and beans are good carbs (because protein and fiber) while rice is just carbs, unless it’s brown rice, in which case it’s still carby but a bit better for you.

That’s it! Spread it on a flour tortilla, usually with a generous slice of extra-sharp cheddar and roll it up. I usually make two and stick them in the microwave oven on high for a minute. Keep the food storage container in the fridge for breakfast all week.

I considered filling a second container with scrambled eggs so I could make lazy breakfast burritos. I didn’t do it, despite picking up fresh eggs. Maybe this weekend.

I mostly vegged my day away and I’m only somewhat rueful. Worked a few crosswords, read a little. I can’t remember what I had for lunch, if I had it at all, but I had tofu stew for dinner and it was great.


Okay now it’s late Wednesday. I crawled into bed before finishing this, intending to rest just a little while, and it turned into hours. And when I got up I didn’t feel like writing.

Friday interaction. Crush Girl texted me to talk about this place where she was picking up dessert. We seldom text on weekends so it was a nice surprise. Jennifer sent me a short video of a local newscaster (my favorite, although I seldom watch her station) calling Kermit the Frog’s song “Rainbow Collection.” Of course I had to text Cathy to wish her a happy Prince Kuhio Day, her favorite Hawaii state holiday.

That’s it. Leave a comment if you’re in need of someone to connect with.

Lockdown: Fear! Does not exist! In this dojo! Does it?

Who has two thumbs and a sore arm where a second needle was inserted Monday afternoon? Yeah. This guy. It’s very late Monday night (nearly three in the morning) and I should have been in bed hours ago, but I’m morbidly staying awake to see when the side effects kick in. If they don’t by the time I post this, I’ll call it a day and see what the deal is when I wake up.

Thursday the 25th was a struggle. The week of sleep deprivation really caught up to me, but hallelujah: Friday was Prince Kuhio Day, a state holiday, so Thursday was Friday.

My supervisor needed the day off because she’d just had her second shot, so my three-meeting-day was down to two, and I had a mostly stress-free day working on my usual stuff. There was more newsletter work, and more discussion about upcoming proposals. I heard back from the program director of the thing I wrote the UH Hilo story about, and he seemed to be pleased.

The mid-day meeting was really a monthly lunch activity. Once a month, someone leads a little Zoom session teaching, informing, or demonstrating something fun or interesting. We’ve had little workshops on better phone photography, the many neato uses of tahini, and (this time) getting into gardening. I attend because it’s important to me my coworkers know I support them. Better team-building.

My late meeting was the big monthly advancement meeting, to which I’m not an active invitee. I’m invited to the meetings because I work so closely with the development officers on some of their projects, but the meeting’s not for me, so I get to participate passively.

After work I crashed hard, and when I woke up I didn’t get back to work as I usually do because it was the weeeeeeeeekeeeeeeend. I mostly just vegged. Watched a few episodes of Cobra Kai. Listened to podcasts. Since new music drops Fridays and late Thursday night is Friday everywhere else, I spun some new music.

New metal releases (on first look) didn’t seem that interesting, so I caught up on March releases outside the genre. Neil Young, live and solo. Amazing. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Ringo Starr. Optimistic, somewhat insipid, unchallenging, and sweet. And only five songs, which I think is the sweet spot for new Ringo music every few years. Paul Stanley doing Motown covers. It sounds great but it’s not for me.

I didn’t know “Down by the River” was a Neil Young song. I knew it was a cover when I heard it on Indigo Girls’ 1200 Curfews live album, but I never looked up who they were covering. It’s on this new Neil Young album (recorded 1971; released 2021) and it’s freaking gorgeous.

Breakfast was lazy burritos. Lunch was hot dogs. Dinner was more waffles. Yeah, I pretty much ate the same stuff Thursday as Wednesday and it was great!

My goals for the weekend were many and not scribbled in blood, but the stuff I most wanted to hit were a trip to the beach, lots of reading, catching up on reviewing stuff, and some vegging with Cobra Kai.

Reid texted me to get the name of a former colleague I’m recommending. We had some talk in the Suzanne-Cindy group text about this Asian American march I wasn’t going to. Crush Girl and texted a bit during my late meeting.

I was spent. Wrung out. Went to bed too late but mostly happy because I was enjoying the further adventures of Daniel LaRusso and looked forward to three days off. Yay.

Hit me up in comments if you need someone to connect with! Don’t pandemic lonely!

Lockdown: Not enough sleep and I feel waffle

Because I was up so late doing newsletter stuff Tuesday, I was a mess Wednesday as well. Mad cycle.

We kind of moved the staff newsletter edits up a few days because one of us is taking Monday and Tuesday off, but our original deadline for submissions was Friday, so even though I submitted my edits late Tuesday night, a lot of Wednesday was working on late content. Not officially late, but late for our new workflow. It was okay. I think the first draft came out great.

I also finally reworked this UH Athletics proposal I’d been sitting on for a few days, then thought it might not fly, so I made a second reworked proposal and submitted two parallel drafts. I was right. We went with the second, while I felt the first was a lot more readable.

More early proposal conversation trickled in. I think I now have three proposals on their way to me, so this coming week could be a little crazy.

There was some emailing about our book discussion group’s selection, too. That was fun.

Yes, I took a short, intense nap after work just to get my brain back on track, then got up, ate dinner, and went back to bed early, like around 9:30. Laundry was plan.

I got up an hour earlier than my alarm and just went with it. Packed up the laundry and my Kindle and headed down to that crappy laundry in Kapalama, which was at least quite a bit less messy this time.

It was a lot busier than my first time! Ack. People were cool about trying to keep their distance, but that’s a narrow room. I was quick about loading the laundry, then escaped to the parking lot, where I ate a Big Mac combo on the trunk of my car while I read A Pho Love Story.

That part of the experience was nice. It was a cool, slightly breezy early morning. The food was delicious, the Diet Coke refreshing, and the reading very entertaining. I thought of two Vietnamese families I know with kids who might like to read it, so I put two hard copies in my Amazon shopping cart. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but I think I will.

I spent a mini fortune on the wash, and not only because it’s so dang pricey there. I did a few more loads than usual, but whatever. In a few weeks I’ll most likely be taking my laundry to the folks’ on weekends and doing it there.

As crappy as this laundromat is, I have to say it’s nice to be down and back in two hours. That’s at least an hour less than when I was driving to Manoa. Although I’d still rather be doing my wash there, at least the tradeoff isn’t entirely against me with this new situation. I could have been back in bed by 5:15 but I watched the morning news first for some stupid reason and got to bed closer to 6:00.

Breakfast was lazy burritos, lunch was hot dogs, and dinner was mini waffles from the waffle batter I bought at Liliha Bakery. They were so good I didn’t put anything on them, just ate them at my kitchen counter as they came out of the iron. I’d eat one while the next was in the iron. Not a healthy eating day for sure.

Crush Girl and I texted about books quite a bit Wednesday. That was nice. Sharon asked me a work question, this one about my friend Ryan who I introduced her to. I texted Tiger to ask if she’s received her shots yet (not yet). I also texted with Sylvia a little about books, since she’s participating in the book discussion.

That was Wednesday. Kind of a draining day, but they were all kind of draining this week except for Monday, which I remind myself was quite nice.

Leave a comment. If you want someone to connect with. I’m a texting machine lately and you can slide right in if you need someone.