The Corona Diaries Week 49 - Cresting The Summit

Apologies for switching metaphors on you.

Maybe it should have been "I feel a breeze coming" or some such.

I'm starting to feel some positive stuff again. That's the main take away. More people I know are getting vaccinated, another vaccine has been approved, and summer is looking better and better. I even started looking at flights to far away places for Christmas time. I was going to say "I guess you call that hope," but I haven't lost hope, I guess I lost patience. I wanted to speed things up to better days. Don't we all.

Part of what was screwing me up was my dumb brain doing that hindsight thing. Thoughts like "Well, if you had started that last April, you'd be done by now" which is true on one hand. True in a normal year. But total BS for 2020. I mean, in April 2020 everything was still scary and weird and unclear and uncertain. How could you plan anything when the whole world felt out of balance, on fire and insane? (That orange guy was still president and it was not clear if he would be reelected or not!)

The old monkey brain, the bullsh*t talking brain was trying to make me feel like I had failed. Failed what? So I reflected back on the last year and am proud of the things I've accomplished:

  • Kept the household running smoothly
  • Cooked good dinners most nights (we eat together at the table almost every night)
  • Learned how to make Japanese milk bread (better make some more this week)
  • Put on an amazing array of summer camp activities for Harper last year (this one is HUGE)
  • Worked my ASS off during the fall with election volunteering/texting. YOU'RE WELCOME AMERICA.
  • Went camping (well, that was not wildly successful! but we sort of did it...)
  • Had a getaway to the desert in November
  • Completed one manuscript for a short novel
  • Started another manuscript for a short novel
  • Kept a group of friends connected and supported every week (every single week)
  • Started running jogging trudging again. Okay okay, I'll give myself "jogging". (It is definitely not running!)
  • Gained only five pounds this year. Amazing, honestly.
  • Schooled Harper in all the Marvel movies.
  • Taught Art class almost every week for Harper's third grade glass. (Extra challenging over zoom, let me tell you!)

That's the list that comes to mind as I sit here on a Sunday morning. Please feel free to tell me what else I've done/accomplished this year.

Swords08This past week has been a really good one in terms of attitude shift. And not just my attitude with the pandemic, the anticipation of things getting so much better, but with the longer future, my own path, where-to next in my life. Like the seeds I planted a few years ago, which have been growing into small plants, are now finally showing signs of flowering (which will then bear fruit not unlike the strawberry plant in my kitchen - see below).

Ms. Eight Of Swords over here has been a running theme so far for 2021 and I revisit her message often, especially the reversed position. Don't let that image fool you, there is good news within.

Now onto the weekly recap. Let's start with cats.

This guy.

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I wake up before the sun to get very quiet, very focused creative time to myself. First stop, go potty. Mr. Biscuit usually follows me in. Sometimes he jumps up on the sink. But last week? Well. I don't know what to tell  you other than I'm glad I had my phone with me.

Just trying to pee here, Mr. Biscuit. Could you give me some space?
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Also, on one morning last week around 4am, he jumped on my little nightstand (something else he never does) and KNOCKED MY GLASS OF WATER OFF THE TABLE. Grrrr. Nothing like being up at 4am mopping up water in the dark. Cats.

This was a big week for Biscuit as he killed his first bird. Eek! Apparently he brought it in the house and was playing with its lifeless body in the hallway. Willoughby needs to teach him leave it at the door, like she does.
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But he's so pretty.
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Kurt and Willoughby shared a moment.
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Blood orange was the theme at Trader Joe's this week. Make their blood orange cake and bought some of the actual oranges which turned into a cocktail. But the cocktail needed a touch of sweet (That is salt on the rim.)

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Ate some lovely fresh greens and purples.
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Baked our favorite no-knead olive bread which literally sits for 8 hours, then you flop it around a little more, let it sit for another hour then bake it.

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Burned myself in the process AND it was under-baked. Fack.
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Saw a new doctor, new GP, and did the fasting all morning before the appointment (to get the blood tests done). Special treat was picking up a chicken burrito from Poquito Mas for lunch. Haven't been there in ages.
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Harper helped me with a birthday card for her cousin Matthew.

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I met an old friend in Sierra Madre and we walked to a coffee place next door to a cleaners. PANTORIUM! It just made me laugh. "BRING YOUR PANTS TO THE PANTORIUM!"
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The aforementioned strawberry plant. I got this as a thank you gift last summer when I sewed masks for a friend. It came as a packet of seeds and a little ceramic planting pot with dirt which I planted and keep in our kitchen window sill.

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They grew, then I split apart the tiny plants and put half in a bigger pot. And this week I noticed tiny flowers with wee little strawberries forming! There are about four on the plant. I can't believe it. I'm so pleased and proud. Add this to my list: Patience and nurturing of my strawberry plants.
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Patience and nurturing. We all need that more than anything this year.


The Corona Diaries Week 48 - Ever Drifting

Sums it all up:

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Mockingbird here to mock me. Because what I need is more mocking. As if my self-loathing is not enough.
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Made an egg salad sandwich on white bread with lots of salt. It was yummy.
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Marinated ribs kalbi style.
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Then grilled them up. Also yummy.
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Prepped science class items for Harper.
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Monorail Biscuit.

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Harper wanted to go to the windy hiking spot again. So we did.
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Our neighbors with the amazing winter garden stopped me on my walk the other morning and said to please pick a big handful. So I did.
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Went to the park today with one friend from school. They have a 3 month old baby.

IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO REACH OUT AND GRAB UP THE BABY TO SNUGGLE AND SMOOCH.
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It was nice to see friends in real life.

I'm really really really really really fucking tired of this shit.


The Corona Diaries Week 47 - Drifting

Still drifting.

It's Wednesday and I've barely been able to get up the enthusiasm to write this blog post.

I was thinking of The Long Winter in the Little House series. They are trapped in their house with no food or trains or supplies. Day after day as the blizzards came and went, they ground wheat in the coffee grinder to make bread. That was literally all they had to eat for months. I know, we are not starving and it's not even cold. But the image of the daily grinding grinding grinding is feeling familiar to me. Along with the monotony of the weather here. Look. If I have to be stuck in my house every damn day, it could at least be raining. But no. (And I am not trying to be insensitive to all the people in Texas, etc, who are literally freezing without power and heat right at this moment. That is brutal and it's going to be a tough recovery.) I'm just going a bit f*cking crazy with the sameness day in and day out.

So here we go.

Harper attended a zoom birthday party on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon for her friend Violet. First there was the birthday girl stopping by to drop off the party things (and pick up her gift).

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The bag held cupcakes in these cute boxes.
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As well as decorating items - toppings, sprinkles and frosting made ready in a piping bag.

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Then the virtual party and decorating.

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Harper's card to her friend.
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The birthday girl's dad is a professional photographer so he put this together of Violet dropping off party supplies for all the guests. I feel like it is such a succinct image artifact for this pandemic era. (click for bigger if you want.)
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Later that day was the Super Bowl, which I barely took notice of. But! I made a pot of chili and some cornbread.

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We did a grid. Harper and Willoughby were the big winners.
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In the middle of all the...fun? Our kind neighbor with an incredible veggie garden stopped by with this handful of greens. It was so pretty I just stuck it in a vase for a day or two, then got around to chopping some up for a salad lunch.

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Later in the week I tried making this recipe. I only had frozen tuna, but what the hey. I had finally gotten a hold of miso paste so I was ready.

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It got a bit um DARK.
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It didn't cut well and frankly ended up looking like cat food. (Tasted fine.)
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Willoughby was fine with it. I was just annoyed.
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Mid week monochromatic lunch for Harper. Healthy, but one simple color palate.
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Cats are nice.

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Did I include this in my last post? Probably. But I still love it and want to frame it.

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Took the girl out for a trash collection walk one morning.
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We found LOTS of caterpillars in our garden.
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Last year I signed up for the NIH (national institutes for health) study about covid. It's all totally anonymous and so I don't know what they do with or discover about my blood. But I sent in a blood sample last year and there was a follow up sampling last week. They send you about 4 times the amount of supplies that you will actually need.
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Also got a mobile knife sharpening guy to come over to sharpen our knives along with scissors and our swiss army knife. Can't wait to pack that little knife on our next trip to Europe. Swiss Army knives will always make me think of Europe.
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Tom dropped by with some treats - including three "Goose" the cat mini figs for Harper. We watched Captain Marvel again that night for fun. We've also been watching WandaVision which is crazy and good and there are three episodes left and we are waiting with bated breath!

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Are class last week was about making Valentine cards.
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Harper also wrote cards for Grace and Gammo with sweet images of HUGS.
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Clay class was also Valentine Themed.
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Last Saturday I forced everyone out of the house again for a walk in nature. It's kind of like pulling teeth, honestly. But I'll keep doing it. We went to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. It was pretty busy/full, but luckily it's a LARGE park.

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Harper said she LOVED the windy spot the best. And there were many birds of prey to watch swooping and floating.

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Found one geocache!
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Then there were birds to feed and chase.
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Then it was Valentine's Day. We all gave each other chocolates and cards.

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Did my best/worst heart-shaped pancakes for brunch.
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Then swedish meatballs and mushy peas for dinner. Random.
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On Monday - a holiday - I did a big tidy up of my clothes. Pulled all the clothes out...
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Then sorted them into "give away" and still to deal with.
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It felt good to do I guess.

And now it's another week. Grind grind grind.

 


The Corona Diaries Week 46 - Still Stuck In The Doldrums

Still here. Still in blah mode.

The mom guilt reared its ugly head this week and while burning this candle was nice, it didn't help with the guilt.

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Harper has not had enough physical exercise at all lately and she needs it. I need to force myself and her out the door more often. Or at least make her do some online dance/fun stuff. It's hard enough to commit to MYSELF to exercise enough. Ugh. I do go out every day and walk or "run". But that's my ME time, my time out of the damn house, my time to listen to podcasts and be alone. I do well when I exercise in the morning, then can come home, shower, start the day. And that would be the easiest time to get Harper out, but then when do I go? I have to stop being so precious with my time I guess. Just get over it.

It's not like I have to get dressed and go into an office. I could be sweaty and stinky all day, it doesn't matter.

Whatever.

She's mostly doing fine, thank the gods/goddesses.

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She enjoys digging out and wearing my cowboy boots.
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And the occasional VR Game. (that's like exercise, right? Sigh.)
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I'm constantly recruiting her to draw pictures in cards (as you've seen). This week she did a card for Gammo Jane...

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...and a friend's daughter's birthday.
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And in art class (taught my moi) we did snowperson perspective drawings. One kid on the zoom said "This is my favorite art project so far!" That made my cold heart warm up a bit.
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In clay class they made little foxes and a nature scene.
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And this is...uh...weird. One doll wrapped in a ribbon, another covered in goo. Cool cool. "ART"
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Food this week was also kind of blah. I was working on eating out of our freezer, trying to clear it out, so the dinners were not very exciting. I did make spinach pancakes for lunch again one day.

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Also we got a delivery of Girl Scout Cookies. Half of these will go into the newly cleared out freezer...
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A smattering of images to represent my week.

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This was a small thing - a bit of tidying up that I'd been putting off for ages (this plus another inbox full of paid bills and other paperwork), but oh it felt nice. There is still a medium size stack of things to actually go through, but mostly it's all clean and NICE.

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In all the cleaning out, I found these from a while back. Both make me so happy.

Family portrait.
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Mr. Biscuit's adoption day listing!
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Then. Just to mix things the F*CK UP - I went to give blood. Grace had mentioned she'd just gone and I thought- YES! I could go do that! So I went to the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, where I've gone for years. But it had been six years since I last gave. Way too long between donations. Normally I'm 100% doing it for the good community spirit. This time, I'll admit I did it also for the free Covid Antibodies test you can get. I'm pretty sure it will be negative, but cool to find out. That will take about 3 weeks.

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When I took off my bandage a few hours later, surprise! A slip of the needle left some blood in my arm.
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Which now looks like this today. Doesn't hurt, just looks wacky.
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I've made another appointment to donate again in April. I will do better about donating more regularly.

There is talk out there in the media about opening schools again soon. I'm content to wait until all the teachers and staff and most of us parents are vaccinated. I don't expect school to really go back in person until the August start. (FINGERS CROSSED SO HARD FOR THAT!) but if they were able to go back in May even for the last few weeks, that would be so wonderful. Hard to know right now, though the signs are good. By the time I donate more blood, we'll know for sure, right???

 


The Corona Diaries Week 45 - The Horse Latitudes

Becalmed seas. No wind. Dead sails. Dry air.

That's what it feels like these days.

I hear bars and restaurants are open again (outdoor only) in LA. That sounds nice.

We are not changing our habits now. We have treated this covid lifestyle mostly the same since last March. We did do a lot more park action with Harper's friends from school last summer and into the fall, but then we pulled back as numbers started going up again. We were probably fine at the park, but why take a chance.

As mentioned last week, we bought plane tickets to Maui in July. That made me feel really good. Something really positive to look forward to and plan for. And so I made a big long list of things to do (lei making lessons, surf lessons, art camp, etc). And now we wait.

Six months of dead sails.

At Seabury Hall, my high school which I loved, I would get third quarter blues. Sometime in February when it was more than halfway through the school year, but not close enough to summer to get excited about school being done, I would get the third quarter blues. It was just a slog. Every day felt 48 hours long.

This is a slog. We have it very comfortable and it is a slog.

I'm tired of this house, of my roommates, of this neighborhood, this city. I want to rearrange all the furniture. Change all the rooms out - make the dining room the office, make the office the living room. Make the living room the bedrooms. Make the bedrooms the dining room. SOMETHING. SOMETHING TO MAKE IT DIFFERENT.

sigh.

It was a quiet week of the normal routine.

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Harper finished a clay project from last week's lesson.
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Found this tiny apple on my walk.

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One out of the ordinary thing was going to the foam store to buy a sofa cushion for our old saggy couch. Wild times! Crazy adventures!
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It was pretty chilly one day so we all snuggled in bed after school.

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Then Harper and I got up and made some basic blueberry muffins.
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Do you want to know how they tasted? BASIC. Thank god for butter.
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It rained on Thursday night and Friday morning. That was interesting. Then it stopped and got sunny again.

Yesterday I forced everyone out of the house for a small hike at Will Rogers State Park.
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It was lovely to see so far all over LA with the post rain clear skies.
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Then I got to chill with cats in the afternoon.
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That was the week.

So many more weeks to go.

 

 

 


The Corona Diaries Week 44 - Our Long National Nightmare Is Over*

*There is much work to do to clear a path forward from the wreckage of the last president, but damn if it isn't a great start just to have rational, responsible, smart people in charge.

Here I am, inauguration morning, under Kurt's cozy slanket, beaming about our brighter future. First it was Michelle Obama KILLING IT in her Inaug-Day outfit. Wow. Then Amanda Gorman stopping time with her poem "The Hill We Climb". Triple Wow. Oh and a woman Vice President. Oh and human beings with hearts and souls running the place now and getting right to work.

Not pictured - me weeping and clapping with joy.

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Last week I got to work on helping my indoor plants. I had too many that were outgrowing their pots. I only had a little bit of dirt and I just barely made it to propagate a bunch of plants. They've been out there for a week and now I hope they are not dying from the shock of replanting...Also it was cold (in the 40s) these last few nights so that might not be good for them....!!! I'll have to move some inside.

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Harper and I did some geocaching as well (with new bike helmet). It was a hot day so a water break was needed.

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Then we rode past the apartment I lived in for a few years before I bought this house. (23 years ago!!!!!) This was my first really grown up place in that it was a one bedroom apartment and I lived alone. I loved this little four unit courtyard building.
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We finished our Marvel Movie Marathon this week. We watched Infinity War one night and poor Harper was crying so hard! (I mean, so was I. Peter Parker turning to dust kills me every time.) Then Endgame made it mostly all better. We had the list on the fridge and some extra healthy snacks.

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Cats.

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I got a delayed Bday gift from my mom - this amazing coffee cake (To go with the monthly coffee subscription she also sent!). I swear the coffee cake is 150% butter. Oy! We had some and then I put half of it in the freezer.

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Then another box of treats that were a xmas gift from friends in NYC. Monthly treats from various countries! This was from The Netherlands. Tasty.
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My little newsgirl drew a picture for friends who just had a baby.

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I love this! Cracks me up. "6 inchs"
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There was avocado toast (with coffee cake chaser) for breakfast one day and a lentil soup I made for lunch yesterday. It looks kinda dull, but tastes yummy.

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Then it rained a bit yesterday. Yay! As the clouds became more scattered and less rainy, we went to the beach for a lovely long walk.

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Someone wrote this!
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My little pot of gold.
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We ended the cold day with a lovely hot bowl of pho. Perfect.
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Here's to better things to come! I felt optimistic enough about the next six months that I bought tickets to Maui for July...fingers crossed so hard we get vaccinated by then. Harper won't be (kids won't get it for a long while) so we'll take all the precautions when we fly. I hope it works out!

 


The Corona Diaries Week 43 - Happy Birthday To Me

All of us will get a covid birthday - last week was mine. It was not crazy different than what a normal birthday might have been like. I'm pretty low key about these things. Biggest difference is we would have gone out for dinner not stayed in, of course. There might have been lunches or coffees with friends scattered throughout the week. It was a lovely day no matter what, filled with flowers and gifts and treats and sushi!

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Harper and I made mini victoria sponge cakes. 
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Then we got an afternoon delivery from Jacquie of an extra fancy cupcake! And in the evening another cupcake delivery from Tom! We were swimming in cake.
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I got an impeachment for my birthday. That was nice.

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I got other lovely gifts of coffee and comfy pajamas and a Ted Lasso t-shirt! Love that Ted Lasso...have I mentioned? Ha.

The Sunday before my bday I was feeling like a trapped tiger. So sick of being here and nothing changing. So with inspiration from Grace, I bought (read: picked up curbside) some temporary hair dye from Target and Harper and I did some fun hair coloring. Pink for me, purple for her. She wanted it only on the bottom half. Hers came out kind cool. Mine came out kinda bleh.

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Oh well. It will all be gone in a few weeks. 

made some yummy food this week - homemade veggie cream cheese for the store bought bagels. It's soooo tasty! 

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I made green pasta and it was super yummy! I need to up my food photography game because this image doesn't do it justice.
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Savory green pancakes were a delicious and pretty damn healthy lunch! Both "green" recipes came from Jamie Oliver. I love his cooking and especially the five ingredient cookbook. 
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The aforementioned popcorn for movie watching. We have continued our Marvel film festival and are almost done! I'm going to miss our movie times.
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After school online classes started again and Harper wanted to take the clay class again. Can't say no to that. Who doesn't love a Uni-Bunny?

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This she drew one night after we had said goodnight. Not 100% sure what the story is, but cats in high-heeled boots? I'm in.
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There was also a run of wacky outfits this past week. 

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Plus a classic "wear mom's clothes" moment.
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After picking up our hair dye last Sunday, we stopped in a park do find a geocache and do some scooting/scootering. 
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We pulled out the car seat pieces and Willoughby enjoyed that for an afternoon.

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Our little Free Library is SO FULL.
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Had to replace the undersink water filter - an annual event. It's not hard, just SO AWKWARD. Mundane life.
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I can already feel the difference on these stairs - it's getting a little easier! I'm encouraged to keep going for more! Soon it will be multiple ups and downs, then RUNNING! 

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Lastly--we had our typical LA Mid-January heat wave. So we chanced it and went to the beach. 

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It was busy, but there was lots of space between beach goers and we mostly all had masks on. 

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Harper making socially distanced friends. I am a chicken and hate the COLD WATER! So she had to swim on her own save for the occasional grown up she would talk to.
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Harper is an excellent beach bunny. 
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Onward to the inauguration week. Onward toward making tentative summer plans in anticipation of vaccines being available to us in the late spring. Harper won't be vaccinated, not sure when the kid version will be available, but I hope the country will be getting closer to herd immunity by then. Fingers crossed.


The Corona Diaries Week 42 - Feels Like 2020

The turning of a new year is symbolic, I know that. But maybe 2021 doesn't really get started until after January 20th. 

Last week was BONKERS. Attack on the US Capital by a huge trump crowd, five people died. That was crazy weird and surreal and added even more of an unbalanced feeling to the world as we know it. I think I haven't really processed all that happened because it was so unexpected and cuckoo. Like how 9/11 was mind-boggling. You couldn't wrap your head around the things you saw. Well, I couldn't quite do it last week. Idiots just streaming into the capital building? Still can't. So many failures all over the place. I hope there are some kind of consequences for the "president" and the other trumpsters in congress for inciting and encouraging what happened. 

The good news before the madness was that both senate seats in Georgia went to the democrats. The senate is now split, tie goes to VP Kamala Harris. That person, Mitch, is no longer Senate majority leader. YAY. But it will still be a challenge, but a much better challenge. So there is that to look forward to. But we have ten more days until things can really change for the better. 

Last week here in Freyland, we had a pretty chill week. I though I would be back to work, but it turned out, no. So this coming week will be busy. Last week was instead was a nice week of getting some stuff done, cleaning up/cleaning out more and then having afternoons of watching Marvel movies. Harper is now working her way through Marvel Cinematic Universe. We would close the curtains and make popcorn and watch movies. It was so lovely and relaxing. I'm going to miss it. Her school starts again on Tuesday. 

We have continued the geocaching fun, riding bikes around and searching. We found one near Harper's elementary school. Not sure why Kurt is throwing gang signs. 

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Kurt and Harper also had a bike ride and found a nice tree to climb.

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I worked on expanding my cooking this week. Chose things out of cookbooks instead of just online sites or food newsletters. Browsing through my cookbooks was very relaxing and inspiring. I started with the new cookbook I got as a gift from a local Maui friend. Makes my mouth drool just reading through it!

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I started with pickled onions. OMG they are soooo tasty.
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Then I started making local style Mac Salad and had a minor disaster. Mayo all over. Good times!

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But it worked out very well in the end with shoyu chicken, mac salad and rice. Basically Plate Lunch for Dinner! Yum! (There were actual vegetables on the side.)
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I made a big pot of minestrone using up lots of veggies that seem to pile up on their own in the veggie drawers.

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Still loving the cafeteria trays for Harper's lunches. 
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Made a chicken pot pie. Tasty, but not thick enough gravy.
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Popcorn in the making - tin foil with steam vents so the popcorn doesn't get "damp". Kurt likes it classic: melted butter and salt. I like how I learned from Grace: Olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a variety of flavors in the spice rack. I like salt, onion salt and something from TJs. SO good. 
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Willoughby has been coming up on my desk lately. 

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And Mr. Biscuit helped count votes in Georgia.
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I stood by with my new Ted Lasso themed sweatshirt. It seemed to work, but we weren't sure until the next morning. 

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Mr. Biscuit also had a delayed one year doctor's visit. He did very well with all his shots and is in good health. Good Boy Biscuit!

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I have a new challenge in my exercise routines. It's super challenging now to even walk up without losing my breath, but I'm inspired by RCL who tells me he runs to a set of steps and does the steps then runs home. So my goal is to do similar. So far, so good in that I am working my way up to both the running and the stair climbing. Currently they are separate work outs, but I plan on combing it next month.

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Kurt used his power tools to break up the Christmas tree. 

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Harper got one last gift from Christmas, a box of CANDY! Jesus. She's going to have some serious withdrawals when it's empty. 

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She drew this fab picture of a cat in our window. (Tornadoes were a separate exercise.)
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On Saturday Harper and drove to Ojai to visit a friend. We hung out and chatted and played Harper's favorite: Mad Libs. There was a story about "interviewing" pizza that turned out to be "suspicious." It was a jolly time.

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I asked Harper to take pictures of Orange things. Here is a sample:
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Then we ate pizza for lunch! (with lots of leftovers)
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Of course we went geocaching to walk off lunch and also have an adventure around Ojai. We walked through a cool garden near our friend's house to find our first cache.

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Harper and I found one more near the old Ojai Jail as we drove out of town. 

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But the most exciting thing we found this week is that Harper is such a big girl she no longer needs her booster chair in the car! FINALLY! HOORAY! 

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Her booster seats (one in each car) were from child seats that then turned into boosters. So now we can take the other booster out of our stored car as well as the rest of the chairs taking up space in our garage! Always nice to pass them along and make more space.  Another family milestone! 

Now holding my breath to see what this coming week brings...

 

TECHNICAL NOTE: Typepad has been having issues with images not loading so if you see gaps, that's not my fault...it's been frustrating.


The Corona Diaries Week 41 - Welcome 2021--PLEASE BE BETTER

In April of 2020 I was on a zoom hangout and someone asked everybody when we thought we'd be through this pandemic situation. People gave answers like "Summer" or "October." I said "2022." I'm not normally a pessimist, but even in April it seemed clear it would be a LONG time before we got back to anything like normal. Well. I mean for those of us who actually believe there is a pandemic and who stay home and wear masks. Also, the specter of the presidential election left so much up in the air at that point. 

And now? I had been thinking - I could be happily wrong and we'll get back to a kind of normal by the end of 2021. I have been so hopeful that I started thinking about where to have a winter break holiday next year. (Italy? England?). But then, with the terrible numbers in California and elsewhere, and the equally terrible news that the vaccine roll out has been SO MUCH slower than predicted or planned, it still could really be 2022. 

Sigh.

Dare I hope that with a new president in office, one who believes in science and who has a serious covid task force already working, dare I hope that vaccines will roll out quicker? All I can do is hope. 

Of course there is also the Georgia elections coming up in two days. I'm not counting any chickens. I'm barely even counting the eggs at this point. If that goes our way, then things might be a little bit easier. But we'll see. And don't you worry, I'll be texting and moderating like a mad woman tomorrow and Tuesday! Fingers crossed so hard.

This past week was extra relaxing. I promised myself I would take two hours each afternoon and just watch tv. Something I never do during the day. We only have one tv so claiming it and the couch at the same time was so nice. I did time for when Harper was in her online camp, so that helped me not to be disturbed. I watched The Durrells in Corfu. It was just what I needed - a period piece in a fabulous location, humor, drama and British accents. 

It actually rained on Monday (12/28) - full on proper storm with thunder and lightning! You might know how rare that is in LA. It was HEAVEN. Such a treat and refreshing change. Harper got to try out her new raincoat (thanks Gammo!).

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Then we had cozy time on the big bed, watching it rain while listening to music and reading. Also HEAVEN.

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The weather reports had shown it was supposed to rain more again this coming week. I check it just now and: 

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COME ON! So disappointed. One night and one day of thunderstorms wasn't even enough to wash off the flower from April. Shaking my head.

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Though our rainboots got filled. 

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Moving on from my weather disappointment...

We finally put up the Christmas Banner that Harper made all the letters for! Yes, I do realize it was post Christmas. But it did make the room look even more fun and festive. 

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Aaaaand yesterday we took it all down. Except the banner. Kurt and I joked it would stay up all year. Or were we joking?

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There were a few late Christmas gifts - always fun to get more after the actual day!
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I bought this for Kurt - it's the AFC Richmond team logo from the show (and my current obsession) Ted Lasso. 
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Mr. Biscuit communed with the post Christmas day tree. 

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I made no-knead olive bread last week. It was quite tasty! Also very very easy except for the WAITING 8 HOURS for it to rise and be ready to cook.

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Then I made olive bread egg in a hole. YUM. 10/10 would bake this bread again.

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Eating apples one day, harper noticed this one looked unusual. "It's like a cylinder." Good vocab, Harper. Well done.

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Harper and I went out for our first Geocaching adventure! We found two within easy walking distance of our house. Harper was into it! 

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Next time we'll bring trinkets to trade. Found a micro sized one next!
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We are n00bs so we needed the hints. But as we get better, I think we'll stop needing them as much.

We went with Kurt again a few days later, this time on bikes. We had three of them in our sights but only found two. Handy to have the tall guy along!

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Heading home from the treasure hunt, donuts purchased on the way as our reward.
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I did some tidying and found this stationery relic:

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Biscuit in a basket.

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I asked Harper to help with with a birthday card for a friend who is turning ten. The front of the card had an image of a slice of rainbow cake which clearly inspired her. She said, "what does he like?" I said, "Lego and soccer." And then she remembered they have two black cats. Boom! A+ This just makes me so happy.
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New Years Eve came and with very kind gifts from Tom (Shout Out!) we celebrated well with disco ball cups, party favors. Then a sushi feast! 

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I started planning some dinners from cookbooks for the coming week and came across this almond orange cake recipe that sounded really easy. Starts with boiling two oranges for two hours. The boiling removes the bitterness from the peel and pith because then you puree it all. 
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Then you bake it. Now. The instructions said "about an hour" which to me means, "Start checking it at an hour." But I should have started checking at 45 minutes...Oh well. It's a bit dark on the outside, but lovely on the inside. It's almost really good. But I think the oranges needed another 1/2 hour of boiling as you can still taste just a touch of bitterness. The recipe also says "Serve with whipped cream." Well. Whipped cream makes just about everything better, doesn't it?

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Harper got her next Crate Expectations box and the theme was penguins. Part of the box had fake snow! So we did that yesterday.

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I'm writing this on Sunday (Jan 3) as I usually do. I might have blown it off till tomorrow, but with the election texting and work (did I mention I had two weeks of work before Christmas?) starting up again, there will be no time. We are going to go geocaching again this morning, then do housecleaning. Specifically Harper's room as it is a crazy messy place after birthday and Christmas. 

Two things about Harper getting older. She still comes to our bedroom early in the mornings from time to time to climb into bed on my side. I love it and hope she never stops. Also, in the last couple of months I stopped checking on her in her room before I go to bed. Nine years of looking in on her sleeping face has kind of come to an end. If I'm going to bed pretty late, I'll peek in. But mostly not. 

Lastly, my seven plan/goals for the end of 2020 didn't end on as high note as I hoped. I did have work/income, so that's actually a very good thing. I did write about 15,000 words on my next manuscript, so that's not nothing. I finished proofing the manuscript I wrote this year and actually sent it to the kind volunteer readers. That's a good thing. I did get some good exercise in, but the lazy holiday week hasn't helped. Though I don't mind as it was a lovely week of relaxing and fun.

I have new goals for the new year and will take some time today mapping them out realistically. I need to create a plan that doesn't get derailed when/if I get paying work. Will I share it all here? Maybe. Mainly I'm doing very small, very specific goals (Lose 5 pounds in January.) and will take my time starting some of them. No need to start them all TOMORROW. That's a recipe for failure. 

2021 is going to be a lot like 2020 in many ways, but this year, there is a beacon of hope. Patience is critical, as are small steps. I paraphrase the movie Contact: "Small moves, Julia, small moves."