Lockdown: Answers from the great beyond

Friday I woke up at around 2:30 and got out of bed around 3:30. I worked on the story that had been causing me problems and submitted it shortly after dawn. Then worked on some finishing details of another story (some Photoshop work on a donor’s picture and some double-checks on edits).

I had a couple of hours before a 9:00 short-notice all-staff Zoom meeting for some “good news” from the CEO and was quite hungry since I’d skipped dinner. So I did an online order from Zippy’s. With all the choices in my neighborhood I’m not sure why I wanted Zippy’s, but there it was. They said it would be ready in fifteen minutes, and that’s about when they brought it to my car in the phone-ahead curbside delivery area. Well done.

So breakfast was a chili moco (it’s a Hawaii thing) and a slice of custard pie, enjoyed leisurely while I read the news.

Thursday night, a bunch of us were texting about what the good news was going to be. My favorite suggestion was that the foundation was buying us a pony, but I had a feeling I knew what it was based on something kind of casually tossed out during our training Thursday morning. I turned out to be right: after final accounting, we surpassed our fiscal year goal by about 26 percent. For a fundraising organization like ours, that’s a pretty big deal, a reason to celebrate.

Of course, after Bloody Wednesday, I wonder how many of us really feel like celebrating. We got to that number on their work, too. I certainly feel good about our work paying off, but I’m in no mood to celebrate.

I worked on a story I’m having to restructure some. The donors haven’t responded to my emails so I’m telling it a different way. I actually kind of anticipated this would happen, so I was ready. It still wasn’t gelling quite the way I like, so I didn’t get it done by the end of my workday. I’ll be finishing it up Saturday morning I guess.

I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs
I’m tossing out punchlines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground

It’s an R.E.M. song about Andy Kaufmann. My second-favorite R.E.M. song. Sometimes it pops into my head when I’m thinking about this writing thing I do. It’s a powerful, God-like thing, and it’s also a chaotic mystery that sometimes falls down around me while I try to hold things literarily, linguistically together. Sometimes I’m pushing an elephant. Sometimes I’m shooting punchlines out of my sleeve without even thinking about it. Sometimes the pianos rain while my fingers type desperately away. Gorgeous imagery.

I kept working well past my usual work hours, putting Noelle on again, and then Rocket Science while I fooled myself into thinking I might have enough in me to pull the story together. I didn’t.

So I made a ribeye for dinner and left the work on my screen to look at between bites of my food and glimpses of Anna Kendrick. Steak is one of my favorite meals, but I don’t make it too often because I don’t really do it very well. This one came out pretty good, though, probably because I spent the bucks on a good slab of meat. I wilted some kale and sliced some aliÊ»i oyster mushrooms (Wikipedia says they are also called king trumpet mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, and French horn mushrooms), then sauteed them together. Ate the steak and veggies with white rice.

The mushrooms were my “something different” during an unplanned stop at Safeway early Tuesday morning. A good choice. I don’t love kale, and I’m not sure these were the best accompaniment for them, but the dish works for me.

Thie chili moco and ribeye were my two meals. I either skipped lunch or dinner, depending on how I want to think about these things. I snacked on a few Lay’s potato chips (kettle cooked New York Pizza flavor). They were pretty good. Actually tasted like pizza.

Deep Purple’s new album has a ridiculous name: Whoosh! It’s been delayed twice because of the pandemic, but it’s finally out and I gave it a couple of spins. The songs range from stupid to pretty good. There’s nothing great, but it’s a nice, fun album. Steve Walsh’s solos are fantastic, though, and I’m pleased with Don Airey’s keyboarding. Jon Lord was always my favorite guy in Deep Purple, the guy who I think defined their sound better than the other amazing musicians in the band, but Airey as his replacement is better than adequate. If I didn’t know it wasn’t Jon Lord (he died eight years ago, and retired from band ten years before that), I wouldn’t be able to tell.

The songs are very positive, a kind of happy-to-be-alive vibe a band like Deep Purple has certainly earned. I’m going to spin it a few more times over the weekend for sure, then add the pretty-good songs to my 2020 playlist.

I texted Crush Girl my happy weekend wishes, then sent the same texts to a few other friends. Jennifer asked me if I’m going to stay up for the election printouts and of course I am. I think majority wins in the major city elections (mayor and prosecutor) are unlikely, but my candidates have an outside shot at making it to a runoff. Which annoys me this year because I think the candidates with the best name recognition are not good choices this time around. Ugggggh.

I remain a libertarian (lower-case L), but I almost always vote progressive in city elections, and my choices in state elections tend to be pretty liberal. There’s a good reason for this: when local governments are liberal, federal governments can be conservative. The federal government doesn’t have to be as far-reaching into our daily lives when needs are taken care of locally, which is really how it should be.

As an extreme example, if every school district in the country had standards (I don’t mean educational standards, dammit — I mean standards for providing equal access to education and competent administration of this education) better than today’s national standards, we wouldn’t need the crappy federal department of education or its idiotic current secretery.

That government which governs best governs least, and all that. Can you imagine what we could do with money we weren’t spending on the federal DOE?

Apply this thinking to stuff like conservation, energy, housing, human services, and some parts of communications regulations, and not only do we lessen the impact of a bad president (purely hypothetically speaking, of course) making bad appointments, but we decrease layers of government, which saves money. Something taken care of locally is paid for much more efficiently than the same problem taken care of federally.

True conservatives would say we could take it a step further: don’t use local governments at all to address many of these issues. Let local organizations take care of it, removing yet another layer of government to the equation. If the states and counties don’t involve themselves as much in feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, real people on the ground in the midst of the crises, like churches and other nonprofits, can do it, and people can support them better when they aren’t paying so much in taxes.

It’s a fair point, and ideally it would work, but I’ve worked in human services here, in private nonprofits, and too many people fall through the cracks. Some involvement by local governments seems important if we really care about every resident, which I think we should. Someone needs to tell the badly run private rehab center that it can’t do what it’s doing (as an example). Because we are all better off when we are all better off.

I didn’t go for a walk Friday but I’m almost sure to Saturday, since I refuse to wait around between printouts for election results. I hate the way the local stations fill time between printouts. I’ll hang around for the early returns, then get some fresh air.

Not sure what I’m doing for the rest of my weekend: either vegging in front of the TV or vegging with some good books. I also picked up some decadent food things with which to destroy my body while I try to mend my spirit. I predict they will work for exactly half this equation.

Hit me up in comments if you would like some more connectivity. Texts, IMs, DMs, that kind of thing.

Lockdown: Saltwater therapy

Thursday was another short day even though it was kind of a long day.

I went to the beach after the laundry, and all the good parking was gone. I had to park on the other side of the drive-through, but at least it was close to the good spots. Though I planned to take a leisurely swim and just enjoy being in the water, I found myself doing an easy sprint for kind of a long time. It felt good. I went a little further than usual, then lingered in a nice wide-open space for a little while before coming in.

It was an especially nice morning, visually and physically. I could feel myself breathing out of every part of me, just getting bad air out and soaking good air in. I’m glad I took the time, because a few hours later, the mayor closed the beaches until at least September 5.

I had no way of knowing, of course. I stopped at one of the breakfast spots in my hood, picking up a pork belly omelette (pretty good) and a strawberry shortcake pancake (excellent). I kinda thought they might be breakfast and lunch, but my body burned right through the whole thing.

I had the 9:00 training on Zoom. It was okay. It was meant for development officers, and I don’t really know what they do, so a lot of it was way over my head. I stopped trying to follow everything and just grasped onto the things within my comprehension. It was difficult, but I was glad to be included.

For lunch I had the leftover pasta with the not-quite-enough gorgonzola. Didn’t even heat it up — just ate it cold right from the container.

I struggled with the stories I was trying to finish. It was a very warm afternoon, and I had a lot of trouble focusing, though I really tried. Around five I packed it in and went to bed. I was in bed by six or so, waking up a few times in the night, with the alarm set for 2:00 so I could get up and finish my task in the cool, quiet night.

I skipped dinner and I didn’t go for a walk. My body was still a little tired from the swim, tired but not achey. And it appreciated the early sleep.

Ali and I did quite a bit of texting, starting with a couple of funny photos we saw elsewhere and shared in text. We talked a little about the mayor’s edict, and I asked her if there was anything in Hawaii she missed that I could mail her. It was nice.

Crush Girl texted me just as I got into bed, so I stayed up a little longer just to have the conversation. I sent her a photo of the three new varieties of Lay’s chips I scored at Safeway. She sent me a link to a review of a spot in Manoa that apparently has a killer lobster roll.

I think that was about it. A day that started very early and ended very early without a whole lot to make it remarkable besides a good swim and a new lockdown. The beaches and parks have reverted to the restrictions we had in March. Great. I can still go to the beach, but I’ll have to park at Kewalo and walk over. It’s not really that big a deal, but I’ll have to beat the surfers to the parking, which means I’ll have to get there very early.

Don’t forget to hit me up if you’re looking for a little bit of pandemic connectivity. This thing isn’t going anywhere any time soon, despite what certain elected officials would like us to believe. Reach out if you need to or want to.

Lockdown: A break in the logjam

The feel-good from defeating the Monster early Tuesday bled into my most productive day Wednesday at work in more than a week. I think it didn’t carry over into the rest of Tuesday because I was still recovering, so the momentum skipped a day, if such a thing is possible.

I sigh a sigh of relief. It’s not that I thought my mojo was gone for good — it was too plain that I was feeling crappy all twenty-four hours of my days, not merely the nine or ten each day I spend supposedly being a writer for a nonprofit.

But I had things to complete. People whose tasks were on pause while they waited for me. People including my supervisor who just signed a lovely annual review of my performance. People who are trying to deal with some of their best, most reliable reports being cut loose on Bloody Wednesday. It weighed.

I struggled to complete this donor story I was more than a week late with. Had to do a little deep-Google to find a twenty-year-old Star-Bulletin article that helped me reframe my story. It broke everything loose for me. Turned it in mid-day.

I have another story I’m behind on, but also had in queue a proposal that someone wanted “sooner rather than later,” which of course is only a hair clearer than “ASAP,” but this one came to me already written (!) by someone in the department. Which is how this whole proposal structure was originally put forth. The researchers do the work with some organizational guidance from me. Then I put it in a nice template and edit the language so it’s readable and pretty.

This one was organized so well I didn’t move a thing. Just dropped it in the template and edited a bit for readability, then brought in a few photos I got from some coworkers. Utterly painless. A first! And it looks good.

Thursday morning I have a three-hour development training via Zoom. I was terrified about this until I found out the entire development staff (and then some) plus a few others (like me) are in this, more than two-thirds of the company. So I’ll most likely be able to Zoom in with out my being in video, making it easier to squirm in my uncomfortable desk chair and scratch my forehead without looking like a doofus in front of everyone. We’ll all be muted, of course, so that makes it even easier.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I know I have a lot to learn and I’m here to learn it. Even in pedagogically questionable ways on less-than-ideal platforms. I shouldn’t rip anyone’s pedagogy before I’ve seen it. It’s the concept of teaching something useful in this format that gets me, but what choices have any of us got?

Also, it starts at nine, when I usually don’t get to my desk until half an hour later.

Thankfully, my afternoon Zoom for brainstorming an annual report thing is called off.


I signed out at about 6:15 after sending off that proposal, then got right to work getting ready for bed. Loaded up the empty water jugs, brushed my teeth, packed my laundry stuff, and went to bed at around eight. Got up at 2:30 to come to the laundry, which is where I am now.

Breakfast was a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats (not the store brand for a change). Lunch was a bowl of pasta. I used a jarred sauce and added red pepper flakes, dried garlic flakes, and brown sugar. This has been my preferred preparation lately for some reason. No wine since I didn’t have an already opened bottle this time. Stirred in some gorgonzola but could have used more. Dang it. It was yummy anyway.

Dinner, which I am consuming now, is a Big Mac combo from McD’s.

Ryan and I traded a mess of texts about Hawaii Stories, then took it to FB messenger to include one of our Hilo friends. JB and I texted briefly about War and Peace and Moby-Dick. Crush Girl texted to ask how I’m doing, and I told her honestly that it’s been a rough week. I asked about her weekend, and she told me a few nice things about it that really made me feel good. It was nice to hear about her having a good weekend, since mine was so lousy. I admit it was also nice because there was a little bit of personal disclosure from someone who’s not always eager to give it out.

Sent the loanable Kindle books list to a few more people via text. Texted Sharon to ask if she’s spending less money since the lockdown began (I’m spending more lately than I was several weeks ago, but I’m still coming out ahead every two weeks, which is why I wondered). Julie texted to talk more about the Taylor Swift album.

Didn’t go for a walk because laundry. May hit the beach on my way home.

Two loads of laundry tumble in their duplex of dryers. The nation stumbles deeper into death and disease. The elected leader bumbles his way through interviews and press briefings. We the People fumble toward the possible ecstacy of November relief. Let it please not be too late, O God.

Reach out. I’ve got bandwidth if you’ve got connectivity issues.

Lockdown: Bed and too much food

Tuesday wasn’t as bad, but I still wasn’t very productive. It’s beginning to alarm me. I struggled through the day, at the very least responding to emails, and did my best during a ninety-minute Zoom meeting.

When I was done with work I just went to bed and stayed there until around 2:00 when I woke up hungry.

That was pretty much my whole day.

I texted a bunch of people to share my list of lendable Kindle books, which I revised this week. I created the list a year and a half ago for people who might find something they’d like to read. Nobody every does, but it’s okay. I like making it available.

Sylvia and I texted about one of her sister who lives in Virginia — I asked if she was safe from the storm. JB asked if I’ve read War and Peace, which I have not. Sharon and I texted some stuff about how almost everyone looks great in a face mask. That was about it.

For breakfast I hit the McD’s drive-though and wolfed down an obscene amount of food. Obscene. For lunch, I made some instant mashed potatoes, and stirred in a can of corn and a can of green beans, plus some gorgonzola. Delicious. I wasn’t hungry for dinner and went to bed super early, but then woke up and ate the leftover potatoes and had a bag of chips. Not a very exciting culinary day but satisfying and overindulgent.

Didn’t go for a walk. Too tired.

If you want to connect, leave a comment. I’ll text or DM you. Same, if you want to borrow a book from my list. I put a lot of time into creating and editing it, as you can probably see.

Lockdown: Frabjous day

After roughly ten hours in bed Sunday night, perhaps seven or eight of them sleeping, I was up around 7:30 and raring to go. I’m kind of working on two stories at the same time. Made decent progress on them both and got hung up on them both right around the same time. This is not an ideal way to work but for some reason I couldn’t focus on one at a time.

Slowed way down around the lunch hour, just felt my energy drain out of me again, like it did late Friday and all day Saturday. I don’t know what this is. I’m not ruling out something emotional, but it feels different from the usual emotional muckiness. I wonder if I’m recovering from eating something bad.

I struggled to get to the end of my work day, but really what was the point? I was nearly useless except for responding to emails. When I took my usual hour for lunch and tried to take a nap, I realized all that sleep Sunday night left me not at all sleepy. So I just lingered in bed, sapped of strength and not sleeping. It was a bit disheartening.

When I was off the clock I just went to bed. Went into and came out of uneasy sleep for several hours, replaying the podcast I was listening to every time I woke up and realized I’d missed it. At around 11:00, I got up to take my weekly bite out of the Monster, after spending half an hour convincing myself it would be okay to let it slide for one week.

I did the strenuous, somewhat time-consuming second task in what’s still a three-task Monster routine. The strenuousness had me taking a lot of breaks, including one two-hour one in bed. Ugh. But at about 2:00 I got up and finished it, then did the other stupid tasks and finally wrapped it all up at about quarter to six in the morning.

I’m a little too tired to really reflect on this, but the Monster as a singular, daunting task is pretty much slain. There are a few severed limbs here and there that I will have to tend to here and there, but we’re talking an inconvenient 10 minutes at a time, a few times over the next month or so, not ninety minutes to three (or six, as it was today) hours every week. I really got started in the last week of April. Looking at my calendar, I count fifteen weeks without skipping a week, doing roughly the same amount of unpleasant, disgusting, strenuous work on this ridiculous thing.

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I can recite “Jabberwocky” by memory, in case you need someone to bring some poetry to your wedding ceremony. It just happened. I never set out to memorize it; I just know it.

So what next? The Monster was a cumulative problem that I’ll have to be vigilant against its rising up again. This means regularly tending to a chore unlike any chore you have to do wherever you live, I assure you. Like, I could give you a hundred — nay, five hundred — guesses and you’d never even get close. As long as I do that every few days, it’s not a big deal. And by my calculations I would have to neglect it for a whole month to accumulate what’s been one week’s worth of Monster-slaying activity during this lockdown.

Let’s not let it get to that again.

Here’s also what’s next. I have an even larger task, another cumulative thing I’m not nearly as embarrassed about, that I couldn’t really take care of until the Monster was out of the way. I just have a ton of decluttering I have to get done. It’s something I attack here and there, periodically, but not with the focused regularity it requires. Not with the devotion I’ve paid the Monster these past fifteen weeks.

So I guess I’m going to apply this kind of dedication to decluttering, reserving the same time every week with an early Monday morning deadline. I’m calling this stupid, annoying beast of a task the Beast, which I will begin next week. I think this week I’m going to pick up the loose ends of the Monster, as best I can, just to get as many remnants of it out of my way as possible.

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

I haven’t actually been to bed, like really put myself to bed, since I got up at 7:30 Monday morning. This is going to play hell with my brain, my work, and my overall Tuesday. I’m considering taking a vacation day for mental health, except I’m against deadlines on three things. Ugh.

Breakfast was a couple of tuna sandwiches. Lunch was instant ramen with a small mountain of soy sprouts and bok choi — grown-up bok choi, not baby bok choi. Each meal was slightly too much food, so I didn’t have dinner, and neither did I have any snacks. That no-energy thing I’ve been going through lately has come with a loss of appetite, too, which is probably as much in play here.

My coworker Stacia texted me a link to a New Yorker article about this copy-editing game. We have to play this, I responded. She said she knows. We talked a little about how we could use it as part of a group interview the next time we fill a spot in our department.

Jennifer sent me some info about this Nutella packaging I wondered aloud about on IG. Pretty interesting but also kind of dumb. I dislike Nutella now anyway.

Traded a few FB messenger thoughts with Jen, one of my NaNoWriMo buddies. Another friend on messenger sent me a link to a forum discussion we had about The Good Earth exactly fourteen years ago.

That was about it, but that was perhaps all I had capacity for. Here’s to better feeling Tuesday.

I didn’t go for a walk! Gr.

Reach out if you need some connection. I’ll send contact info.

Lockdown: Remembering the Ala Mo

Sunday was slightly better. I got up far too early, so I read the news for a bit and went back to bed for a few hours. Got up before noon (progress!), and rather than settle in with the crossword as usual, I just got stuff ready to take to the office. Got a few quick chores done first and then got to work at about 3:00.

Did some housekeeping stuff at my desk, including updating software on my work laptop and packing up some more stuff to bring home. On Ali’s last day at the office in February, she left me a dozen packs of Shin Ramyun, the most popular (at least in America) of the Korean instant ramen brands. I’d been keeping some in my desk for a few years specifically for Ali when she didn’t have anything for lunch, and she was paying me back even though I told her that was ridiculous. I have five left and brought them all home, along with a few other things from the snack/lunch drawer.

Then I walked to Ala Moana Center to get some hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works. Man, that was stressful. It was stressful walking down Keeaumoku the six blocks or so. That’s a high-pedestrian-traffic bit of city, so I wore my mask and so did most of the others, but people were not careful to stay away from me. I stepped out into the road a few times just to leave enough space. And yeah, I was miffed.

It was more of the same at the mall. At least there were zero maskless people, but there were just so many people. Bath and Body Works did a nice job keeping us spaced out while waiting in line to get into the store, and there were few enough people inside that staying away from others wasn’t difficult, thank goodness. Props to Bath and Body Works.

I considered grabbing lunch at the Lanai, the lesser (in size) of the food courts at this enormous mall, and could have found a table spaced far enough away from others to do it, but all those people eating, with no masks? I couldn’t do it.

I hit Target on my way out, to grab a new fan and a box of cereal. Target was far more croweded than Bath and Body Works and it was pretty darn stressful in there too. That’s it; I’m done with trying to buy things in daylight hours, especially on weekends.

Walked to Zippy’s instead to grab lunch. Took it back to the office to eat while I read the Washington Post and Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Settled in at my desk to do some real work, and got out of there at about 8:00. I’d aimed for 7:00, but I kept thinking of things to do, stuff that’s just easier to take care of in the office.

The walking was good, although my knee was unhappy with me by the time I was done. It came out to about 7,000 steps, and if I’d been keeping an eye on the step count I think I’d have gone another 2,000, but oh well. Maybe I’ll find a way to build this into my Sundays: errand-running on foot while my computer updates in the cube. Just, dang. Maybe not Ala Moana or Keeaumoku Street.

I was enormously tired when I got home. Didn’t even fire up the computer and do any of my usual Sunday night things. Just brushed my teeth and was in bed by nine. Slept soundly (but without Darth Vader) for a couple of hours, then another couple of hours with Darth Vader. Woke up at about 2:00 really hungry, then took an hour of lying there thinking about eating. Got up and had (I guess) a very late dinner and dove back into bed at about 4:30. Slept a few more hours and got up at about 7:30.

There was some texting with Sharon about work stuff. Ali and I chatted extensively about a situation involving a social problem, and we talked quite a bit about books. Man, we never talked about reading when she was here, so this is a nice new facet to our friendship. I gave her books for Christmas each of the past two years, both of which she read (novels by Linda Sue Park), but we never talked about books other than that. Weird. Oh, she was very supportive of my starting Silent Book Club, but we had our first meeting the week after she moved. Sigh.

Breakfast was a bowl of instant ramen, with tatsoi and soy bean sprouts. Soy sprouts are fine, but they’ve got these enormous, nutty heads that I find distracting in most dishes. They’re fine as a side, but as an ingredient I find them bothersome. I know I’ve cooked with tatsoi before, although I can’t remember anything about it. I like the thinner, lighter-tasting stems, compared to tatsoi’s cousins bok choy and choy sum. I think they might be good in a raw salad. I’m thinking tatsoi with cold tofu cubes, halved grape tomatoes, and very thin slices of red onion, maybe with chopped parsley and that’s it. Or maybe parsley is too strong for the tatsoi. Anyway, I have half a bunch left and look forward to having fun with it.

Lunch from Zippy’s was chicken katsu. One of their more reliable dishes. The very late dinner in the middle of the night was a bowl of cereal. There was a slice of custard pie in there somewhere, too, I think right before I brushed my teeth to go to bed.

Neither a notable nor memorable day, but I’m chronicling them all. And here is one.

You’re likely tired of my offering, but I’m also doing this every day (that I can think of it) because I know that without a certain amount of connecting with friends in ways I’m comfortable, I’d be teetering on the edge if not tilted over it by now. If you need someone to connect with in this bizarre, maddening, frustrating season, hit me up in comments. I got you.

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.

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.”