Sunday, December 27, 2020

merry making

Christmas 2020, there it went.

I hope everyone reading had a nice Christmas if celebrated and a nice Friday if not.  We actually had our family celebration yesterday - the day after - and it was all good.

I worked on Christmas day, so spent it with my coworkers and the old folks.  It was a good day, everything went very smoothly, like a Christmas miracle.  I was in the kitchen prepping the tiramisu when two of our burly cooks hefted a couple of huge hams from the oven.  As they beamed at the beautiful and aromatic fruits of their labors, I couldn't help but think, "those look like two little charred pigs", which in a way, they were.  

To the cooks' credit, they were beautiful hams, but my on-again-off-again inner vegetarian had a bit of a "farm to table" moment at first sight of them.  When I buy ham in the store, it's not nearly as critter looking.  Anyway, the Christmas meal was a success with the senior citizen masses.  

About a week ago, Meego let me know that close friends he'd hung out with had tested positive for COVID.  This was just after he and his roommates came off of two weeks of self-quarantining after one of the roommates and roommate's girlfriend tested positive.  

Like a responsible college kid in a pandemic, Meego wanted to have a COVID test before we had our family get together.  We scrambled a bit to find a testing site and get him an appointment.  I honestly didn't think he'd have results before the weekend, but he got his negative result on Thursday giving us the all clear.

We had a fun day-after-Christmas Christmas with the brood.  They are a difficult bunch to get gifts for, each being single with no dependents and decent incomes - well, except for Meego the college kid who will always welcome cash.  But we managed a bit of seasonal materialism to go with the flow.

Now, onward to the new year.  Resolutions?  Yeah, riiiiiiiight...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

'twas the night before

 Days are getting longer, do you feel it?  We've passed the winter solstice, so brighter days are a-coming!

I was sitting here potatoing on the futon when the cat perched on our one festive window.  He was all, "Take a pic of me.  Just like this. Come on, I don't have all day"


Earlier this week at work, I came in from one of my two weekly COVID tests (we have to test outside, not sure why) when a couple of front office ladies said, "Oh, there she is!  Hey, we just pulled your name for the Christmas raffle!"

I had a bit of deer-in-the-headlights moment.  I didn't even know there was a Christmas raffle, let alone that my name was in the hat.  But Oh Well!  I was led to an office that had a bit of a hoarder vibe going and told that I could pick from among the piles.

There were various items that I would categorize under "generic Christmas gifty things", mostly food related.  I was eyeing the large green tea assortment, but then considered (1) we are an empty-nester household of two, and (2) I'd ridden my bicycle to work and would have to get my raffle gift home.

I ended up selecting this cute little cast iron pan, complete with brownie mix.  Look how precious:

After opening it up at home and inspecting it further, I noticed it has the added bonus of this memorable year in the casting for all eternity.  

I figure I will make the brownie from the accompanying mix, reminiscent of the Easy Bake Oven I never had as a kid.

Later as I was wasting time on my phone perusing social media for worthwhile inspiration, I happened to come across this photo:

And I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice and practical to have two of these?"

Maybe next year's raffle.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

dreaming, watching, shopping, working, oh my!

Just before I awoke this morning, I was dreaming of a black owl.  It was present in the background of my dream, but then it seemed to take an interest in me.  It followed me around and eventually perched itself on my shoulder and then my head, where it was happy.

Gosh, must be some profoundly meaningful dream!  But what is my subconscious/ the universe trying to tell me??  As I sat here pondering, I noticed the cheapo coaster I keep on my desk:

All right, so maybe it was a rando dream about coasters... or coffee... or... I dunno, cork?  Nothing to see here.

In other current events:


We finished "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix.  I enjoyed the series with its well developed and engaging characters and plot.  I did find the final episode rather corny and predictable, but it tied up the story well enough.  

Speaking of tying up, remember elementary school how we'd sing when someone got new shoes?  I still remember the words to the song, try as I might to forget.

Anyway, I got new shoes for work this week.  I don't know how many steps I put in during a shift, but I'm sure it's a lot.  I was wearing simple canvas sneakers that were comfy on my feet, but my calves and knees felt like lead by the end of the day.  I chalked it up to poor footwear and went on the hunt for something better.

Sierra Trading Post came through for me once again.  I bagged a pair of $130 Hokas for $43.  I'd tried the brand for running not long ago, and wasn't impressed, but they've turned out great for work.  In conclusion, my legs are happy and my wallet isn't empty.  Now I know why the nurses wear Hokas, however, nobody sang for me.

Speaking of work, I find I'm enjoying my position as den mother despite my initial wariness...  it's early days though.  Honestly, I have little interest in geriatrics, nutrition, and dietetics in general, but I'm a total nerd for accuracy and efficiency, and this job fits that bill nicely.  Dare I say I'm actually using a bit of my graduate degree on a job?  

Well, let's not get carried away.

Friday, December 18, 2020

maybe next round, and gimme 15 minutes?

I took the cat to the vet's for his annual checkup and shots earlier this week.  As I was putting him into his carrier, he had a sudden epiphany that he didn't want to go and gave me the finger.

Spoiler alert:  he still ended up going to the vet.  He's got the rabies shot, and I've got the wounds to show for it.  Yes, I know cat scratch fever is in actual thing, and happily, I don't have it... yet.

Speaking of shots and diseases, we got a memo at work informing us that our facility will have the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine available to any staff or resident who wants it within the next couple of weeks.  For now, it isn't required for employment, but it likely will be once the vaccine is more widely available. We were each asked to indicate one of three choices:

  1. Yes!  Sign me up!
  2. Nope, but maybe later.
  3. Maybe, but I have questions.

I submitted the "Nope, but maybe later" option.  I'm not an anti-vaxxer, and naturally I hope the vaccine takes us out of the COVID wars, but I'm willing to wait a bit longer.  I also got an email from my allergist office as there have been risks associated with allergic reactions to the vaccine.  They've deemed me as relatively low risk for severe allergic reaction, saying I should feel free to get the shot, but hang out and be observed for about 15 minutes afterward.  

So this all feels like good activity.  Is this the beginning of the end, a good end?

The cat's over there looking at me like, "You can't get COVID if I take you out first"

Sunday, December 13, 2020

for the want of a happy squirrel

My job at the old folks home.  It's not at all glamorous.  In fact, in many ways, it is highly anti-glamorous.  And to say that the pay compensates for the anti-glam would be incorrect.  

When I'd been there for about a month, a coworker told me how she thinks of the residents on her days off.  She looks at the clock and thinks about what they're doing at the given time.  She would wonder how their morning went, how the afternoon is going, etc.

Darned if I don't catch myself doing it too.  I'm off today and currently wondering how the morning went.  Dare I say I've made friends with some of the residents? 

Honestly, though, there are time when I just don't have the time they assume.  They want to chat and tell stories, and I totally understand that, especially given the quarantine conditions.  

An added bonus is that, for many of them, they're speech is slow, and it's like I can feel my internal lava bubbling as I wait for them to finish a sentence.

I got caught in such a situation yesterday.  In her mid-60s, T is one of our youngest residents.  She's young enough to be the daughter of most of the others.  But she clearly can't live independently.

Her speech and movements are slow and rather childlike, but now and then, she'll crack a funny joke that gives a glimmer of her wit.  We don't know why the residents live in a care facility unless they tell us - HIPAA and all that.  I knew that T has children and grandchildren, and she hasn't always been the way she is now, but nothing beyond that.

I was with her yesterday, and she was commenting on the snow slowly falling outside her window, and how the snow gets the squirrels all excited.  Then she lowered her voice a bit and looked straight at me.

"That's what happened to me", she said in her slow measured way.  "I slipped on my icy stairs as I was feeding the squirrels.  That's why I had to have brain surgery..."

Then she added, "Please be careful out there".

Suddenly, I didn't feel in a rush.
Yup, please be careful out there.  Pass it on.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write about the last time you visited a friend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

one of the good ones

I didn't really know Jackie that well until we were in high school.  She was from a large family, and I knew her sister, Laverne, better as she and I were in the same grade.  Jackie was a year older.  My boyfriend and Jackie's boyfriend, Andrew, were good friends with each other, though, so the four of us would sometimes hang out.  

She was sweet and sort of quiet back then.  She doted on her boyfriend, and never seemed to have anything bad to say about anyone.  She was mature and responsible for her age.  I think growing up in a large family often does that.

We grew up and moved on, left those boyfriends behind.  Jackie and I reconnected several years ago through facebook, and I was impressed by her travel adventures and her good looking, successful family.  I always knew she'd be a good wife, mom, aunt, grandma... such a large family!  She earned accolades through her many years of government work as well.

There are several friends from high school I've no qualms about losing touch with.  But I was glad to still be friends with Jackie and Laverne, even if just through facebook.  Jackie had remained her sweet self, but added some sassy!

So I was a bit frightened when Laverne shared that she and her husband had tested positive for COVID a few weeks ago.  Thankfully, they both weathered it, and she was so grateful.  Whew.

Then... a few days ago, Laverne shared that Jackie was sick with COVID.  She was in the ICU on a ventilator.  

Jackie passed away yesterday. 

RIP, sweet Jackie.  You will be greatly missed by so many.

P.S. I know you let Andrew win at Atari.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

vehicular thoughts, and staying on course

I've been half-assedly car shopping.  More like car pondering, really.  

We have two cars,  neither of which is driven much.  I commute on my bicycle, Magnum works from home. We drive the cars occasionally but not daily, and I'm not ready to go car free like some other bicycle zealots I know.

So, what to have sitting in the garage?  My current ride is a great little grocery getter. Easy to zip around town in while it takes baby sips of gas.  Most of the time, it suits my needs perfectly.

But then it will snow, and I'm reminded of its limitations.  Then I get all thinking 4x4 something or other.  

Then the snow melts, and I'm all, "Who wants a 4x4?".  Then I'll want to go further into some mountain trails and look dejectedly at the grocery getter... It's a vicious cycle.  In the meantime, the grocery getter stays.

Speaking of moving around, I did another of those Tortoise and Hare races this morning.  This one was a 6K, so a little under 4 miles.  It was fun, and I didn't get lost this time.  We don't have final results yet, but I know I passed more tortoises than hares passed me, so good enough.

It's just nice to have some semblance of The Before Times - before COVID - getting out and racing with other people.  We mask up and don't congregate, try not to breathe on each other while on the course.  Better than nothing.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

next, please

Yesterday, I received a text and e-mail with the subject "Your COVID-19 test result"

and I was all, "WHAAT?"

We started doing weekly testing at the end of September and recently began twice weekly tests at work.  I'd never received an official result, just told that "no news is good news" as we'd be notified only if we tested positive.

I hastily clicked the link only to find that the test I did on Monday was negative.  Apparently, we've begun sending our nasal crap to a different lab, which notifies everyone of their results.

I dunno, thinking about it, in some ways, I kinda wish I was positive and one of those asymptomatic people.  Get it over with, y'know?  But then, we just had our Thanksgiving gathering, so maybe not.

The general gossip is that our county will receive some Pfizer vaccines in waves beginning in a little over a week.  Healthcare workers and essential (grocery stores, etc.) employees will be of the first to be eligible.  My coworkers and I are pretty sure that the vaccination will be required for us to remain gainfully employed at a long term care facility.  We pondered.

If it wasn't a requirement for employment, we mostly all agreed that we would not choose to be in the first round of lab rats vaccine recipients.  

"But maybe it will make us artistic!",  coworker Anna joked.  See what she did there?

Either way, I'm naturally hopeful that the vaccine(s) prove to be effective without harmful side effects, whether I get one or not.  If so, I look forward to:

Students going back to school.  The idea of kids doing all online school bothers me, and I don't even have schoolkids of my own anymore.  As a tutor, though, I see that students - including bright ones - are struggling with engaging with and understanding content delivered online.  This includes college students. I'm sure it's a struggle for teachers too.  Plus, c'mon. For how many of us was sitting in the classroom the best part of school? Extracurricular activities? Socializing?  Anyone?

Going to a movie theater.  I'm not a huge cinephile, but it's nice to see movies on the big screen with that surround sound while sitting in the dark on one of those cushy recliner seats once in a while, no? 

Working with a naked face.  It gets sweaty in those masks all day.  Throw on a gown, goggles, and gloves for those in quarantine, and it's a sweat fest.  Honestly, that's not all bad, but there are a few people at the facility that I interact with somewhat regularly, and I don't know what they look like, and vice versa. 

I've seen those in my immediate department, as we take food breaks together.  But several others, who I interact with daily, including our manager?  I couldn't pick them out of a police lineup.

Healthy economy. I'm not one for crowded places, but travel, hospitality, and food service industries have really taken hits.  Colorado is basking in beautiful fresh powder in the high country.  Ski resorts are open, but limited.  While I don't necessarily partake, I like the revenue 😌 and I like people to have fun options.  Well, at least we have recreational pot, which seems to be doing pandemically well.

Telling COVID-19 stories.  Yeah, I look forward to looking back at this time as an anomaly rather than this becoming a new normal.  Fingers crossed.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1.  Write about something you are looking forward to.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thai Thanksgiving, hoarders, and fantasies, oh my

We ended up breaking the "rules" for Thanksgiving.  All the kids live close by and had the day off.  Magnum and I had the day off.  Nobody had plans.  Come on over, we said.  They came over.

I had  no turkey, no fixin's.  We had Thai takeout.  I'm thankful for Khon Thai Restaurant for being open on Thanksgiving.  Different Thanksgiving experience, but all good.

And we did get in a bit of a hike.  By the time we'd managed to gather, it was a little late in the day, but we snuck in a short hike before darkness and cold. I worked on Friday, had today off, and will work tomorrow.  Today was beautiful and Magnum and I did a bit more hiking, longer than Thanksgiving's.

yes, it's me
yes, I'm smiling

Plenty of others were out enjoying the trails, but really, we didn't need to mask up much. Plenty of social distance to be had for most of the way.  I just was feeling rather apocalyptic at picture time.

Speaking of feasts, we currently have a certified hoarder at our rehab facility.  It's weird and a little creepy.  He orders bunches of food, but doesn't eat it all.  Just stashes the food and - more importantly it seems - the dishes, glassware, utensils, etc.  His room isn't that big.  Why does he do this?  

We've taken to bringing him things in disposable containers, which stresses him out.  I can't imagine what his house looks (and smells?) like.

Speaking of strange activity, I went on facebook earlier out of boredom.  A friend showed results of googling [his name] and "fantasy outfit".  Why?  I dunno, that's what goes on over at facebook.  

Like a lemming, I tried it, with no intention of posting results to facebook.  My results weren't anything special, but then I thought, what if I just google [my name] and "fantasy", forget about the outfit.  Let's see what google thinks my fantasy is.

Here's my top hit:

Oh sheesh, yeah that's right. I share my maiden name with a known white supremist terrorist.  

Let it be known that this is NOT my fantasy.  

What does google think your fantasy is?

Thursday, November 26, 2020

lunchtime, pilgrims

 Happy Thanksgiving, 'merica!  

It's a quiet one around here.  A few weeks ago, my boss asked us to rank the five upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas eve, Christmas day, New Year's eve, New Year's day) in order of importance for wanting the day off.  Old people need care every day, so someone's gotta work the holidays.  

I ranked Thanksgiving first, so I'm off today, and we're not planning anything.  Our county went into stricter COVID-19 guidelines this week, and when Chaco and Wolfgang were over a couple of weekends ago, we decided we wouldn't gather since the family is made up of  four separate households, one including college kids.  Seems like the responsible thing to do.

So while it doesn't feel like Thanksgivings of the past - Turkey trot in the morning, then family fun and food at the sister-in-law's - I'll try to make the most of it.  It's a pretty and sunny day, and I'm thinking I'm due for some nature time.

And there's still  much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful I have a job from which to request the day off. And I'm thankful for the good people working today.  Yesterday, some of us were reminiscing about pre-pandemic days.  Someone mentioned missing salad bars.  Who would've predicted a whole conversation about missing salad bars a year ago?  Will salad bars become relics that today's children will never experience?

I'm thankful for my and my family's health. While we're not getting together, we had a little extended family zoom with Magnum's side last weekend.  Easy and no pondering what to wear.  I'm now doing twice weekly COVID testing for work, and am remaining negative.  Remember when being negative was a bad thing?

I'm thankful for the IRS.  Who says that??  Earlier this week, we got a check from the IRS.  Seems suspicious, right?  They explained that they found an error in our tax return, explained what the error was and from which line item of our return.  The legit check they sent included interest from the time we paid our taxes.  What??

I'm thankful for diversion.  We started watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix.  Just one episode in, and I did fall asleep for a bit, but it looks to be well done so far.  I've also been watching A Teacher on Hulu which is a series of (I think) seven episodes depicting the development and fallout from a sexual relationship between a female high school English teacher and one of her male students.  I think it's well written and acted, and it's appropriately creepy.  It's not a romantic situation.

I'm thankful for getting old, sorta.  Had another one of those birthday things this week...  Guess it beats the alternative.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: thankful.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

run for the donut

Magnum and I did a thing today, a charity run.  It's named the Turkey Donut 5K.  "What is a turkey donut?", you ask.  So did I.  Here ya go:

I have no idea the origin of the name, but the local running club hosts it every year the Saturday before Thanksgiving for a fundraiser for the local food bank.  It's a predict run, meaning that the winner is NOT the fastest runner, but rather the runner who can  most accurately predict his/her finishing time.  For obvious reasons, no watches are allowed during the run.

I ended up 25 seconds faster than I predicted, which I thought was pretty darn close, but NO.  I ended up coming in 18th out of 103 with my guess.  The winner was less than 2 seconds off.

Well, at leat I made the top twenty.  Magnum, who doesn't usually do these kinds of things, came in about 4 minutes faster than he predicted.  So while he wasn't anywhere near the winner's circle, he learned he can run faster than he thought he could.  His prediction put him at 91st place

So it was a good time for a good cause.  They kept us pretty well spaced apart and actually had runners take off in two different directions to further separate us.  Gone are the days of mass starts and elbowing for position *SIGH*.  In fact, I felt pretty alone for much of the run and worried I might go off course like I did during that last event, but nope.

We raised over $1,700 for the cause, despite a pandemic, so woohoo for turkey donuts!

I did manage to win a $25 gift card for a local restaurant in the post-run raffle.  Sadly, our county is going to stricter COVID-19 lockdown restrictions next week.  I'm not much for visiting restaurants these days anyway.  

Remember the carefree days of going to a restaurant with a naked face?  Anywhere outside your house with a naked face?  I think covered faces are going to be with us for a while.  In the meantime, I came across this infographic:


Probably true for Colorado. 

New Hampshire?  Care to weigh in?

Friday, November 20, 2020

when the dog bites, when the bee stings

This week, I lost one glove, one earring, and one sock.  I'm annoyed when I lose one component of a pair.  I would honestly rather have lost the pair of gloves, the pair of earrings, and the pair of socks.  Then I wouldn't have those solo reminders of their uselessness... as they remind me of my carelessness?

BUT I'm not going to whine.  Even with a pandemic in the air (literally), there are always good things happening.  Here are a few of my most recent favorite things:

  • The weather's been lovely.  Not to bore with small talk about the weather or anything, but really, after we got hit with a foot and a half of snow and subsequent cabin fever in October, November's been so kind.  A fellow bicycle commuter refers to it as "Goldilocks weather" because it's just right - after that massive dump of snow put a handle on our wildfires.

  • I'm enjoying my job, and I'm happy with the idea of taking on the lead position.  After getting over the initial queasiness of working with the frail and infirm, I find I get a kick out of the residents and enjoy making their days a little more comfortable, and I enjoy the lot of young coworkers.  Really, if someone would've told me a few months ago that I would be happy to rinse off some dude's dentures (or do other tasks involving old people who don't like wearing clothes, etc.) so he can eat his chicken, I would've said they were talking about someone else.

  • Our new fiber optic internet installation was quick and easy.  Honestly, I haven't noticed much of a difference because I don't really need Gig speed, but it's  nice to know it's there.  No issues so far.  It's only been three days...

  • I got a new vacuum cleaner this week, speaking of boring small talk.  But really, omg, it's life changing.  Y'all know we have two dogs and a cat.  It's a constant battle with the fur, and I was losing.  Chaco linked me up with the new pet vacuum cleaner her recently got and oh my god. Seriously, after the piles of fur I've since sucked up, how do our dogs still have fur on their bodies?

  • Hulu, Netflix, and Kindle are making it easy to stay entertained while social distancing.  

  • I'm remaining positive about staying negative.  With the increase in COVID cases in our state as well as others, our facility has increased required testing to twice a week for staff.  It's nice to know skills acquired as a kid are still useful in real life.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Share a list of some of your most recent favorite things.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

speed and critters

We're scheduled to undergo a transition of power today.  I'm hoping it goes super smoothly, unlike some *ahem*. 

We're changing internet providers today, so I thought I'd stop by and fluff up the blog in case it all goes belly up.  Our city has begun offering one gig of broadband internet.  That's 1000 Megabits/sec for us old folks!

Our neighborhood was one of the first to have it available back in August, but we had a contract with ¢om¢ast, so waited.  The time has come.

Honestly, I doubt I'll even notice much difference for my usage.  Gamers love it, but I'm not in that crowd.  Magnum will probably appreciate it for downloading CAD files while working from home.  Workers laid the fiber outside yesterday, and the indoor hookup will happen later today.

As per usual these days, we had to affirm that we have not recently tested positive for COVID, have no symptoms of COVID, haven't travelled out of state recently, etc. etc. Ugh, it's gonna be a long winter, I think.  Might as well have Gigabyte speed internet.

Speaking of long winters and apocalypses, we finished up watching season one of To the Lake on Netflix.  

Two thumbs up!  It's left wide open for another season, which I would watch.  But stories like that can drag on for too long and run out of material IMHO, e.g. The Walking Dead.

Speaking of home comforts, here's a little pet parade.  We have our two pooches and cat, and Chaco stopped by on Sunday with his doggo.  The dogs make a mad threesome while the cat hangs out in and trashes my office in protest.

Look how obediently they hang on my every word

Of course not, actually.  I just happened to have treats in my hands.  

And yesterday, Meego sent me an update on Drax, his Euromastyx.  Look how purdy!

He'd just finished shedding and was posing for a fresh pic.  It reminds me of those selfies people strangely post from their bathrooms (note the poop).  Anyway, Drax is looking good and much bigger than when I last saw him in person/reptile.  The pandemic has treated him well.

That's the main excitement from my neck of the woods.  Fur and scales.  

Stay safe, everyone.  I hope to visit from the Gigabyte side soon.

Friday, November 13, 2020

put a band-aid on it

I was procrastinating on being productive while over at Pinterest this morning and came across this "mental health challenge".

Firstly, I think the title is misleading.  Is it encouraging us to challenge our mental health?  I don't think so.  I started looking at some of these challenges and realized they all sound fun.  How many can I do in ONE day??

It's a day off from work for me today after a weird week, COVID taking center stage.  

I mentioned one of my coworkers just returned from a bout of COVID.  I wouldn't have known but for the fact that she herself told me she'd had it.  At first I thought it was strange that no one told us that a person in our department was positive, but then, we're all required to test weekly anyway.

I asked a couple of other coworkers if they knew "Elle" had just returned from the land of COVID.  They, too, were a bit shocked to learn of it, and I realized I probably violated HIPAA.  But hey, it's all among friends, right?  Our boss has been out all week too, saying she was exposed and self-quarantining.  She's working from home, and I honestly wonder if she also tested positive.  

Additionally this week, we received information packets regarding signing up for next year's employee benefits, and we had a resident test positive - resulting in heavy precautionary procedures - and subsequently test negative. I picked my benefits info up from the office and was also given a pocket-sized dispenser of hand sanitizer and a small case of band-aids - gifts from HR.

I returned with my packet and freebies, to which another coworker snarked, "Oh hey, thanks for working the COVID hall!  Here are four band-aids!"  

HA!  Ya think we'd at least get a t-shirt.

Anyways, I'm going to challenge my mental health and do some 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 23 and maybe some 13, and 18.  

What are you doing for fun on this Friday the 13th of 2020?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

a vacation to COVID and happy bath day

My coworker today was back after fighting off the COVID.  I didn't even know she had it, I thought she went away for a few days of fun.  Turns out she did.  And she got COVID.  

Bummer of a vacation.

But she's back and seemed none the worse for wear.  She said she had a fever, terrible headaches and body aches, and lost her sense of smell and taste.  No coughing or breathing troubles.  Weird thing that COVID.

This makes her the second person in our department, that I know of, to come down with it.  I've lost count of the number of times I've been tested (all negative).  My nostrils and inner bowels of my skull hardly care anymore.

In more uplifting news, those wildfires?  They're pretty much squelched.  I mean, they're still burning, but well contained.  We got another good dumping of snow earlier this week, and the reports are "minimal fire activity and smoldering".  So there's that.  I've really been feeling like getting away for some nature time lately.  It's starting to get cold and sloppy in the boonies, but I won't complain.

One of the residents at work today told me she'd just had a bath.  She hadn't had one in several years, only quick showers.  She explained that her incontinence makes baths impractical, but I think we've got a new bath system now that allows constant fresh water. What a treat for her!

Honestly, I don't remember the last time I had a bath, but at least I know I have the option.  This particular woman has lived in our facility since she broke her neck years ago.  I didn't know until today how she'd ended up in her condition.  We don't ask, but sometimes the residents will offer information. Her mind is sharp, and she is an articulate woman, but her body - not so much.

She has special forks and spoons that we shove into her claw-like hands, and she is then able to feed herself.  It used to make me uncomfortable to bring her food and do the fork/spoon shoving bit, but I've realized that I now look forward to talking with her.

And today, we celebrate a bath.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

running lost and thankful it's a UTI?

 I ran a 5K this morning.  A real organized event with other people at the same place at the same time.  The local running club I joined just before COVID shutdown happened has these "tortoise and hare" races once a month from October thru April.  

Other regularly scheduled events over the summer were run "virtually".  Pay a registration fee, go run a certain distance using an app, upload the "race", get a shirt or whatever.  Yeah, no.  The fun for me (and most participants) is the running and racing with others. Today's 5K was the first in a long time.

In short, for tortoise and hare races, runners start at different time intervals based on predicted pace.  Slower runners start ahead of faster ones with the fastest people starting last, trying to catch the people ahead.  

I ended up passing everyone in front of me and leading for the final mile.  This was a blessing and a curse because I was unfamiliar with the course/area and veered off course at the start of the homestretch.  I still finished first, but ran farther than I needed to.  So there I was coming into the finish at right angle to the actual course.  Not embarrassing at all!

Note that I did not run the fastest, I just passed the tortoises in front of me while keeping the hares behind me at bay.  It was actually quite fun despite my fumbled finish.  It was just nice to participate in a group event.  There were rules requiring masks and keeping people from gathering, but it was certainly better than nuthin'.

The park where the race was held wasn't far from home, so I jogged to and from.  As I was returning home, I got a text from a girl at work.  Could I finish out her shift for her?  I was looking forward to a shower and potato time, but I figured she wasn't feeling well or she wouldn't have asked.  Fine, I would only be there for about three hours.

After a shower and food, I went in, hoping she didn't have any COVID symptoms.  Our workplace has put strict rules in place, keeping staff away for even the mildest of symptoms.  We are already short staffed because of a few people with cold symptoms that likely just have colds.

I went in and learned that the girl I was replacing was suffering with a UTI, thank goodness.  No, wait, UTIs suck!  

But hey, it's not COVID. Another small victory.

Friday, November 6, 2020

to the wolves

Welp, I guess it's happening.  A little sooner and more "formal" than I'd expected.

So my job at the care facility - the one I found after COVID took most of my other job away - has been going nicely.  I actually like it better than the previous job at the hospital plus the commute is way shorter. I've mentioned how a lot of the rest of our team is young.  Mostly young adults, and a few are still in high school.  Oh, the drama

I was a bit surprised at how young some were, but they are actually great with the residents.  In hindsight, I think that hiring such a young crew is partly by design.  I think the old people like having these "kids" around.

So that's what I walked into a couple of months ago.  There are a two other older ladies like myself, but the majority are quite young. Last week, our boss lady posted a notice for a Team Lead position, and for anyone interested to contact her.

I, for one, wasn't interested.  I still tute a few hours each week and didn't want additional hours. Coworker "Anna" told me she was gonna go for it, and I don't know about anyone else.  Earlier this week, I asked Anna if anything was happening with it.

"She said she's waiting to see who all is interested, and then she'll conduct interviews", Anna replied.  She quietly added, "I think she's waiting for you".

I told Anna about my disinterest and not wanting additional hours. She would be a good choice for the position.

A couple days went by, then I got a text from boss lady:  Are you interested in the lead position?

Again, the tuting... additonal hours... blah, blah, blah

"I"d consider not increasing your number of workdays", she volleyed.

Oh.  Well.  That changes things.

In short, looks like I will be the den mother I was starting to feel like anyway with just a few hours additional each week.  Except it's an actual position.  I only mentioned it to Anna, so she would learn from me before it's official and not from someone else.


Boss lady said she had me in mind from the get go, mentioning my "calm demeanor" and my "maturity" as well as prior experience.

Translation:  I'm old and don't do drama.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

candy anyone?

Happy November!  It's the end of the week at the end of the month.  I'm tallying.

First of all, our Halloween numbers summarize as follows:

Groups - one
Total Trick or Treaters - two

Okay, so  now what am I gonna do with my big bag of Costco candy?  We weren't sure what to expect, what with a pandemic and all.  Plus, this is our first Halloween in this house/neighborhood/town.  We had no baseline.

I did mildly better with my Inktober numbers than with dishing out Halloween treats:  20/31

My final submissions:

I felt a bit like my "Crawl" tortoise at the end, but really, it was another fun Inktober.

This past work week was a tough one in that four residents passed away within 24 hours.  Even for an old folks home, that's high.  It's a somber thing to see bodies wheeled out, respectfully draped.  I will miss each of them and their easy going, upbeat personalities despite their final struggles.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

a Halloweener

 What was that I heard?  Someone calling for help?


Yup, there it was again.  And it continued with rhythmic frequency



I was in a hallway at work, and to be honest, such pleas are not uncommon.  They can be for anything from, "I dropped my glasses" to "I've fallen and can't get up" and anything in between.

I entered the room and asked the resident if there was something I could do for him.  He was a relatively big man sitting up on his elbows in bed, his eyes a bit wild looking, just recently admitted for rehabilitation of some kind.  I didn't know anything about him or his condition.  

But it was evident that he could sufficiently hear me, and he spoke clearly with no slurred or slowed speech. All in all, at first glance, he seemed in pretty good shape compared to some of the others, until...

"There was a little kid just in here!  He was looking for somebody, and then he took off!  My legs don't work or I would've gone after him!"

Oh, okay.  I made a mental note that the guy wasn't as coherent as I'd first thought.  There were most certainly no little kids running around the facility.  But I played along and asked for a description, so the man would know I took him seriously.

A little boy, about 9 or 10 years old.  He's wearing pajamas and looking for someone named Nick.  He'd entered the room and even listened to the man's chest for a while before running out into the hallway.  

"Okay, thank you, sir.  I'll let others know to be on the lookout.  I'm sure we'll find him and get him in touch with Nick", I responded.

He seemed relieved and relaxed back onto the bed.  I mentioned the episode to his CNA and chalked it up to another day in a care facility.

Pffft, a little boy running around in his PJs.  

In a care facility.

Yeah, right.

I mean, people die here.  

It's no place for kids.



Linking up this week with MamaKat for the prompt:
2. Write about something that has pleasantly surprised you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

tasteful sideboob, not

She seemed like a committed and doting wife, maybe a bit on the controlling side.  But I had to admire her attentiveness and appreciate her graciousness toward my coworkers and me.  

I've mentioned the care facility where I work is half long term care (nursing home) and half rehab facility for people who are not bad off enough to be hospitalized but not quite ready for independent living.  That part of the biz is a "halfway house" of sorts.

So we had this man check into the rehab a coupla weeks ago.  I'd guess he's somewhere in his mid-60s?  Unlike the other residents, his wife performs a good deal of his care. I assume she's his primary care giver at home and has been in that role for a while, so she worked something out with the facility and medical team to regularly come in and do things for the husband.  This was instantly notable as "different" since no one is allowed visitors during these COVID times (unless they're dying).

As I said, she's always been nice to us and communicates well with the staff.  Yesterday, a coworker walked passed the guy's room, and wife/nurse is standing in there flashing her boobs.  To her husband, not my coworker... for clarification.

Okay, that was a bit odd.  

  • The rooms have doors, and if a door is closed, we will always knock before entering.
  • To be in the room, one must don a mask, face shield, gloves, and gown.  Flashing boobs (or anything, really) is not a particularly easy task in that getup.
But hey, more power to 'em.  Just maybe shut the door mkay?

Speaking of rehabilitating, our snow is slowly melting.  I think the final measurement put us at a foot and a half, which is a large dumping, particularly since it's not even November.  We've had clear blue skies ever since, and it's so nice not to be living with all that smoke and ash.

The fires are not out, however, and containment is still only partial.  Just as how the COVID pandemic has been educational regarding viruses and immunity, I've been learning a bit of fire science lately.  In kindergarten fire science terms, trees that have not fully burned during a wildfire can hold heat inside of them and catch fire later on if not cooled down enough.  That's why Smokey Bear tells us to put out our campfires to the point of being completely cool, not just to no longer flaming.

In the meantime, it's been  nice to go outside and be able to comfortably breathe. During the snowstorm on Sunday, I was already feeling the cabin fever, so we gave ourselves a mission other than shoveling to go play outside.

To the ballot box.  Uphill both ways in the snow.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

a Sunday rundown


We're getting our snow.  Boy, howdy, we're getting our snow.  Magnum and I just finished making a second shoveling pass of the various surfaces.  It's really coming down, but I personally would rather shovel 3 inches of snow four times than shovel a foot of snow once.

I took the dogs out first thing this morning, and they were looking at me like, "Wha happened overnight?"

And there is currently about twice as much snow on the ground as in the pic.  The main happy dance around here is how this helps contain the various wildfires.  No, the snow won't put them out.  In fact, I'm sure plenty of the snow melts and evaporates before it even hits the ground near the fires, but it will certainly help slow the spread.

I was at work yesterday, and one of the cooks got a notification that the East Troublesome fire was approaching the highly popular Estes Park YMCA camp.  We all commiserated our special memories of the place and crossed our fingers that it would be spared.  The camp is the area where we spent the first part of 2016, 'member?

We were there in the wintertime, but it's even more popular during summer months for its access to outdoor recreating in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The fire is also burning up areas we were just at this past August.

As of this morning, the camp has not suffered any fire damage 🤞 

In other silver liningness  news, this felt like a pretty busy and productive week.  As such, I didn't get much inktobering done at all, other than one quickie:

But I'm reminded...

I don't have to do them all.

I don't have to do any of it.

Chaco and Wolfgang stopped over last evening.  Chaco treated us all to Thai takeout as a sort of acknowledgement of a new work position he just started.  Meego was out of town with some friends, so missed out.

I think I've now had 5 Covid tests.  They're not getting any more comfortable, but they remain negative.  I  normally like to stay positive, but in this case,  no.

Better go shovel.

Friday, October 23, 2020

en vogue

Winter's coming.  We're all hoping for a ton o' snow to dump on the fires that are burning up Colorado right now, but we'll take whatever we can get.  But I don't want to whine-blog again about the damn fires.  Nope, gonna go sweep those ashes off my patio and under the rug.

I did happen to come across a "cheat sheet" of sorts - a prepared list of what to gather in case of an evacuation for *some reason or other*  for different advanced warning times:

I've known people who've had to be evacuated, and they speak of grabbing their photo albums.  I thought, well, I'd just grab my computer and my external hard drive because that's where my important documents and photos are.  

But no, we have several photo albums from pre-digital-camera times.  I briefly thought about starting a photo scanning-and-organizing project before thinking, "ugh".  God, that sounds tedious and time consuming. Well, the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step and all that.

So I dug out some old photos wondering how much was really worth salvaging.  Some go way back and are from my parents' collections.  

This morning, I headed out for a run, and it was 25F degrees out.  I had to remember what one wears to run in 25F degrees.  Gotta keep warm, but don't want to be too bulky.  

A good head covering is a cold weather friend, and we certainly want to be fashionable at the same time.  Kate Middleton, for instance, knows what's what→→

My search for a suitable hat reminded me that I was once similarly fashionable.  I do have an interest in fashion, although these days, I dress  more for function.  But back in my heyday, Kate and I could've been two peas in a pod as evidence in an unearthed photo from my recent investigations

The fur hat.  Is it ever out of style?

Answer:  Yes.  Absolutely Yes.
(and we won't speak of the pants)


Linking  up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Throwback Thursday! Find an old photo and share the backstory!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

smoke and mirrors

Greetings from a dreary Sunday morning in my neck of the woods.  I'm actually happy for the drearage because it's brought with it some sort of precipitation.  We've had so little, and there's a raging wildfire knocking on our back door. 

The Cameron Peak fire now holds the spot of the largest wildfire in state history at nearly 200,000 acres and counting.  Whoever's ever sung, "rain, rain... come again another day".  Now would be good!

The university's meme page posted a graphic, but I think most of us are feeling the same vibe, college student or no


We had some really smoky days this week.  If nothing else, it gets people to wear their facemasks all the time.  My bike rides into work left me with annoying particulates in my eyes, tempting me to break out the ski goggles.  Residents at the facility were not allowed to go outside.  Those poor folks are isolated enough as it is and now can't go out for "fresh" air, which includes the popular haircut tent.

I'm remaining positive, though, thinking colder temperatures and more rain will help get a handle on things.  I'm looking forward to being able to hike again on Horsetooth mountain and check out the charred remains and subsequent new growth.

In other news, I managed to have my work schedule adjusted so as to not work every Saturday and Sunday, which is why I'm sitting here now.  Sunday's off, woohoo!  And I managed to get a few more inktobers in although I've missed a couple.  We've passed the halfway point:

The inktobering is cutting in a bit to my blogging time, but I'm still here reading the latest.  Maybe a day or two after the facts, but still here.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

are men more organized than women?

It's amazon prime day, whacha buying?

I went to amazon this morning, looking for a purse/bag/satchel/whatever you call these things.  Shopped around, read some reviews, got some recommendations.  Finally, I ordered one.  

The bag I ultimately selected noted that it was rated a top selection for "murse" (man purse) and is in fact noted a "men's" bag in the description.  It looks very similar to other women's or unisex bags I considered, and actually, many of the reviews I read for it were from women glowing about the bag's positive attributes and noting how "it's great for women too!"

So, what makes it a men's bag?

The most notable difference - the one that sold me on it - is that it allows for wonderful organization:  more useful pockets and compartments, handy places for everything one typically carries around.  

There was a short video on the item page showing what I assume are man hands placing man things - wallet, phone, tablet, keys, pens, earphones - in various handy compartments. Not a tampon or bottle of Midol to be had, no mascara or lipstick, no romance novels. The bag could also easily accommodate these things, but apparently women just throw that stuff in a tote so they can upend the whole thing and sort through a pile when something is needed.

Don't women also carry money, phones, keys, pens, earphones, etc.?  Don't they also appreciate good organization? I do.  Am I doing something wrong?

Oh well, I ordered me a murse

In other news, one of my coworkers is quite crafty and has created a nice little income stream from her unique facemasks.  I'm not sure if she has an Etsy shop, but I remember going to Etsy early in the mask days and not being able to make a choice.  I remember thinking, "I wish I knew someone selling these things"

Wish granted!  Plus, she brings them into work for easy access.  Looky the cute bicycle mask she made for me:

I hadn't requested a bicycle mask specifically.  I knew she offers a variety of designs and told her I'd pick from whatever she had, but she made this thinking I'd like it, which I do!

How nice when sellers clearly consider the customer.  Says the woman who just bought herself a man purse.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

nothing disgusting

Today's inktober prompt is "disgusting", and I decided to give myself a break from the inking since (1) a break sounded good, and (2) I couldn't think of anything "disgusting" that I'd want to be engaged with for an hour or so.

I did manage to get through the first 10 prompts in time, so adding to last week's inktober update...

Number 10, "Hope" is a pregnancy test stick of unknown outcome.  I figure "Hope" applies to either result, depending on the testee.

But speaking of "disgusting", there was a time when same sex marriage was considered disgusting.  There are many with that view still today.  But too bad for those people, because it's totally legal in all 50 states.

A longtime good friend of mine got hitched yesterday for the first time at the ripe age of 58.  I'd originally planned to be at the wedding, but COVID threw a small wrench in those plans.  

Undeterred, he married his partner while many of their friends tuned in online.

I'm so happy for them both.  *SNIFF*  Nothing disgusting here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

the dogs ate my shoe, and the cat stole my ring

The title pretty much sums up the last couple of days.  

Our dogs don't typically eat shoes, but never say never.  I came home from work and kicked off my shoes a couple of days ago.  No doubt, the shoes had some enticing-to-dogs smells on them from the kitchen.  A while later, I discovered what looked like the remnants of a shoelace.  Alas, one of the shoes had been violated, but not too seriously.  

Luckily for the dogs, those shoes were about to be thrown out anyways, having served a good life.  Rather than try to revive them, I chucked them.  My wedding band, however...

I'd taken my wedding band off and stuck it in the pocket of my jeans on Tuesday night before bed to slather on some nourishing hand lotion.  The next morning, I couldn't find the band, so went about my day like an unwed woman.  That evening, we looked all around where it HAD to be- near where I'd hung up my jeans - but came up empty.  The cat stole it, it's the only logical explanation. 

Another day went by with no trace of it, but this morning, I slipped on my house shoes, and there it was: inside one of them.  I've put those shoes on the past two days, but only this morning noticed the band inside.  Aha, clearly, the cat felt guilty and put it there.  Or rather, he got bored with the game.

It's been a good week, though.  While at the dentist, the dental assistant and I talked of how we enjoyed "going to" work as opposed to working from home.  Of course there are several factors that weigh in including job description, coworkers, work environment, commute, etc.  

I feel I have the best of both worlds, having a part-time away-from-home gig (with a super short commute) and a part-time from-home gig.  I enjoy them both and don't get burned out on either. 

This week, I was asked to help train a new-hire at the rehab facility.  I take that as a cue that I have moved out of "noob" status myself.  

And finally, the world said good-bye to Eddie Van Halen this week.  I know I wasn't alone in crushing on him (BIGtime) back in the 80s.  He was just so dang talented!

Back then, people often told me I resembled Valerie Bertinelli, so when the two of them got hitched, I found solace in thinking that EVH would favorably spot me in a crowd.  Maybe?

Today should be a full day off for me.  I'll do some housewifery, maybe listen to some fave Van Halen tunes, maybe get some shoes...

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

touching the void

I'm in therapy.  Physical therapy?  Kinda?

It was almost exactly one year ago that I had that monster tooth removed from my head.  I don't miss it, but I have missed chewing over there.  This morning, I got my "dentures"

This whole mouthpiece for one tooth, but it's the simplest solution.  I love it already.  It needs a name.

So I've been eating a bunch doing therapy to learn to chew over there again.  It's a slow go, and I'm feeling quite full.  Still, I'll continue in the name of progress.

Remember being a teenager with that raging teenage metabolism?  I remember eating large bowls of cereal just before bed, going out with friends for pizza or chili fries after Friday night football games, etc.  All of that in addition to three square meals a day.  If I ate now the way I did in high school, I'd probably weigh around 300 pounds.

The reminisces came up at work over the weekend.  Someone said something about coworker Young Mick, and a cook chimed in, "Ever see his breakfast order??"

We can eat whatever we'd like at work, and are allowed to order one meal per shift from the cooks for our scheduled break.  I know it's already made a noticeable dent in my own grocery bill, and others similarly appreciate the perk.  

Young Mick is 17 years old.  Super nice kid and a very compassionate helper to the old folks.  I'd never particularly taken notice of what he eats, even though we take breaks together, since we're all spread apart while eating these days.  But when the cook mentioned the amount of food he puts away, the rest of us covertly observed yesterday.

A pile of French toast, several slices of bacon, eggs, pastry, OJ... Still hungry, he grabbed a cup of thick yogurt to ceremoniously end the feast.  He managed it all in the time it took me to finish a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee.  Impressive.  Seemingly not an ounce of fat on that kid.  Ah, to be 17 again.  I'm sure his parents appreciate the supplement, and I hope they have a large pantry.

As I'm learning to chew with my whole mouth again, I managed another Inktober submission for the prompt "Rodent".  What to draw? 

I wonder why that concept came to mind...

Sunday, October 4, 2020

staying busy and steering clear

Another week is in the books and I feel like a recap is fitting! 

I'm continuing to enjoy my newish job as I'm still learning the ropes.  As with any job, there's always something to b*tch about, but all in all, I'm liking it.  

One dislike is that I work weekends.  Being bottom of the totem pole sets me up for that, and I know that eventually - soonish - I'll get off the Saturday-Sunday duty.  At least I don't work evenings, so there's that.

Speaking of playtime, I've survived the first four days of Inktober.  I'm glad Inktober is a thing, and I'm glad that Wolfgang essentially holds my butt to the fire every year to participate.  My pens and papers were collecting big dust, and it's been fun so far.  

I'm not optimistic that I will get all 31 prompts in this year, but 4/4 is good enough for now.

Speaking of Wolfgang, we touched base with all three of the brood this week.  Wolfgang recently got a pretty new bicycle via mail order and had it shipped to our house since he lives in an apartment complex.  So he came by to put the pretty bike together.

Chaco stopped by this week for various reasons, one of which being that his dog likes to play with our dogs and vice versa.  For the record, the cat is less than thrilled with these visits.  He also brought ingredients and cooked up a Filipino dish: lechon kawali ,a dish I'd never heard of.  It's crispy fried pork belly.  Just reading that adds 5 pounds.  

Meego also stopped by and filled us in on college during COVID.  He doesn't live in a dorm, so isn't as affected as those who do.  Of course, there are no typical university events going on.  This weekend, for instance is (stay home)coming weekend.  See what they did there?  

Speaking of COVID, I've now been tested three times and have yet to become a statistic - unlike a certain someone...