Wednesday, April 29, 2020

van sleeping and quarantine eating

Sleeping-in-idling-minivan woman?  Once again, she was "there" Saturday morning.  For all I know, she (and others?) are there during other times, but I've only noticed the phenomenon on (say those two words together three times) Saturday mornings when I head out for joyful runs.

Once again, she appeared to be sleeping.  Once again, she was gone a short while later. 

Suffice to say I'm not curious enough to set up a stakeout.  Mounting a wildlife camera, however, I wouldn't hate.  Either way, it provides something to ponder these days.

In the meantime, as I've been keeping myself informed on informative things during safer-at-home, I came across this educational graphic:

So far, I've lived in three U.S. states:  Colorado, New York, and Utah, with the longest time in Colorado.  Yes, oh Yes, I've had a NY (aptly named) Garbage Plate.  And one cannot attend a potluck in Utah without encountering Jell-O salad - always green, from my surveillance. 

Rocky Mountain Oysters, however, I've never had.  For those who don't know, Rocky Mountain Oysters are not seafood.  They're bull calf testicles.  Most bulls become steers at a young age, so these are the leftovers.  Shame to just throw them away!

In scanning this map, there are plenty of things I've never tried and many I'm not even sure what they are.  Maybe I'll put Rocky Mountain Oysters on my bucket list.

Maybe not.

What are you eating?

Thursday, April 23, 2020


I have this neck gaiter thing.  I think it was a "participation prize" from a 5K a few years back, and it's really comfy and useful and not just for necks.  It can be worn as a beanie or headband or balaclava.  It protects from the elements while being very lightweight and stretchy, so can also be worn on hot days as protection from the sun.

I typically wear it while bicycling, and I recently noticed that it's getting a bit worn out. With the covid quarantine, I'm always looking for a good excuse to order something online to provide a short-lived false euphora do my part to stimulate the economy.

I quickly found just what I was looking for - a 6-pack of them in a variety of colors and patterns.

"Currently Sold Out".  Whaaaaaaat?

Sheesh, it seems that these wraps are much like the 1/4" elastic I've been desperately seeking.  Yeah, okay, they sort of work as a facemask.  I think of them more as something to wear to knock off a 7-11, rather than to legitimately go out in public, but okay.

I did order some though, as they'll be available soon.

Here are a few other items to fill my emptiness I've needed to purchase recently:

These packets of Maxim (isn't that a hussy magazine?) Korean coffee.  I discovered these years ago when Chaco came home after his first year of college.  His then roommate and now good friend is Korean and they had a mother lode of these coffee packet sticks.

I don't normally like instant coffee nor do I put sugar in my cuppa, but these packs make for a nice hot beverage break once in a while.  I find I like having them around even though I can't read a darn thing on them.


The next thing I see in my order archive are these Scotch Brite lint rollers, pack of 3.  Wow.  How boring am I?

We have two dogs and a cat.  So be it.

And to continue with the old lady theme, the next purchase - not counting the various nutritional supplements - is a 3-pack of compression socks.

Back in the day, I think these were typically white and worn by old people with circulation problems and called "support hosiery".
These days, they're black, called "compression socks", and considered athletic wear.

I bought them for working in a kitchen, and I also often wear them for running.   But yeah, they're... support hosiery.

All in all, I think I'm doing okay with keeping the online shopping in check during the quarantine.  Since we thought we would be moving again soon, that was good motivation to not add to the pile.  But now we're "settled".

Maybe I'll go read some Marie Kondo.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Are you shopping online more now that we’re in quarantine? Share some of your recent purchases.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

open season?

Our governor announced this week that businesses will be allowed to start opening up again this weekend.  Hospitals can begin scheduling elective surgeries, dentist offices can open, etc.  It will be a slow ramping up of activity, and we'll watch and wait.

Restaurants, bars, and clubs are looking at mid-May openings.  Hair salons and spas can open next week.  All of this with precautions left in place - don't gather in large groups, wash your hands, wear masks...  School districts and colleges decided weeks ago to not reopen for the remainder of spring semester.

I wasn't too surprised about retail shops being allowed to open.  A lot of places remained in business, offering curbside and in-store pickup, throughout the "lockdown".

But I was a bit surprised that barber shops and hair salons will be opening.  Were the decision makers tired of their quarantine hair?

I attended a party last night. Woo, what a bash.

Girls gone wild, I tellya.

Really, it was better than nothing.  The isolation affects some people harder than others, so a gathering of any kind is good.

Jane says, "It's great!  I've learned how to order groceries online, I'm getting lots of sleep and reading lots of books!"

Sarah says, "The buttons on my jeans have started to social distance from each other"

Bottom line, no one is sick or destitute or lacking toilet paper.  Whew.

The hospital provides us with procedure masks, which are now mandatory for everyone in the building.  The masks aren't reusable after each shift, so I'm going to make a better and washable DIY one so I'm not dipping into the PPE supply each workday. 

Yesterday, I was out getting provisions and hit up the craft section hoping to find some 1/4" or 1/2" elastic.  All gone.  Sold to other mask makers, no doubt.

Time to get creative.

Got a homemade mask?  Care to share?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

look out and look up

Okay, now I'm starting to wonder.

Last week, I mentioned I'd gone out for a run on Saturday morning and passed by a lone woman sleeping in her idling minivan.  I speculated that she just needed some time alone, away from the house and family.  When I returned near the end of my run, she was gone.


She was there again yesterday morning.  Same lone woman. Same minivan.  Engine running.  She wasn't sleeping this time but rather looking at her phone.  Okay, fine.  Maybe she had such a recharging session last week, she's decided to make it a regular thing.  I get it.

And once again, upon my return, she was gone.  HOWEVER, in that same spot sat a guy in a Jeep Cherokee.  He was also by himself.  The engine was running.  What the...?

Now, this wouldn't be so weird if not for the location.  I mean, people pull up on streets for whatever reasons.  Except, this isn't a place where people would normally park.  Here's a view from google maps:

It's the road off the main road that enters our neighborhood.  I've placed a "suspicious" emoji to identify the spot of the idling-vehicles-with-one-person-inside.  It's not in front of any particular house.  I'll also mention that if someone was just lost and turned in to figure things out, it's a coupla blocks in from the main road.  Seems like a lost person would just pull off the main road.

Clearly, something's going down in the hood!  Or... clearly, I'm going batsh*t crazy amid the lockdown!

In other paranoia news, I think the military is tailing us.

We lived in Colorado Springs for 16 years before moving here in December. Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and our house was not too far from there.  Every year at USAFA graduation, the Air Force Thunderbirds put on their dazzling show.  They also have a few practice sessions beforehand, so it's pretty much a week of Thunderbirds flying around, which was always cool.

The Academy held graduation yesterday, quite a bit earlier than typical.  It was a subdued event with graduating cadets sitting eight feet apart, no spectators, and no Thunderbird performance.

In light of the covid-19 situation, the Thunderbirds instead did a flyover of Colorado, starting at the North end, where we are, and continuing over USAFA graduation and beyond.

Magnum and I were out walking around when we noticed several groups of people out, socially distanced, seemingly waiting for something.  That's when I remembered about the flyover.

We don't get Thunderbird action in Fort Collins.  In fact, it's rare to hear a jet of any kind, so this was something.

And then... there they were.  They made their pass while people snapped pics and clapped.  A few honked car horns.

It really wasn't anything like the raucous display of power, precision, strength, and technology of their typical graduation performance.  It was instead an eloquent show of support and solidarity.  Nice.

Several photos from locals showed up online a short while layer.  Some indicated expensive camera equipment and honed photography skills.  But of the amateur photos I saw, I like this one the best.


Friday, April 17, 2020

a cure for the cold

This morning, I headed into the great white unknown.  Weather people said we got 12.2 inches of snow.  Important to carry out to that first decimal place so we can say, "OVER a foot!"

I've been using public transit off and on all winter.  I've mentioned here that I'm not a fan of contributing to traffic congestion.  It's one of the reasons I commute on my bicycle and plan living/working locations accordingly.

Yes, I have a car.  Yes, I have a driver's license.  I just don't particularly like driving in order to transport only myself if not necessary.  Plus, riding a bike is so much more fun.  On days when it's not, there is a very convenient bus route to/from my hospital job.

As I suspected once the lockdown order was given, ridership has gone way down, so I wasn't worried about being trapped on a bus with a bunch of breathing humans and vice versa.  This being a college town, the public buses are quite popular, and a good portion of the regulars were students.  All the schools and colleges are closed now, and I don't think there's ever been a time since when there were more than 4 riders on the bus.  Plus the buses are so clean! Grocery shopping causes more angst than riding the bus.

So anyway, there I was on the bus this morning.  I was the ONLY patron.  The driver was a trainee, possibly driving her first real route.  There was also a supervisory person riding along and offering encouragement.

It just felt kinda surreal.  There we were, three ladies on a big old bus, lumbering down the road in all it's frosty snow-covered glory with hardly any other apparent souls in the world.

As we approached my stop, I felt rather silly pulling the signal cord.  Like I should simply state, "This is my stop up next".  But I played along and pulled the cord.  We three acknowledged our appreciation for each other and wished each other health and safety.

I entered the hospital, met as always in the new normal - the nurse standing by to take temperatures.  The whole day, so far, felt like a dystopian novel.  I usually turn down the temp check, lying to them by saying I'd checked mine already.  But they've often joked that I'm taking their jobs away, so I decided to go full on dystopia and get the temperature swipe.


She looked at the readout and gave a little laugh.  Like, "PffffffT", then determined that my skin temperature was too cold to register.  She fanned my face for a while, strangely seeming to cool me down, then swiped again.

98.3 F and holding.

Later, in the kitchen, someone delivered a gift from Starbucks for everyone on staff.  We're a relatively small hospital, currently with reduced staffing, so this was ample:

Coffee and danish varieties all around - speaking of taking away our jobs...

But seriously, it was a much appreciated gift.  Each bag had some positive affirmations written on it.  Some might find that sappy, but it was with warm fuzzies as our small crew of four stood reading the bags...

...right before we snatched first dibs on one of the pastry bags before they headed out to the floors.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

snow what I mean?

I got out for a bit of a walk today.  It was really for research.  I was researching to see IF I could get anywhere because we got walloped with snow last night and all day.  I can't remember how many times I shoveled.

Here's a shot of our neighborhood park.

I was able to get around portions of the neighborhood, and my shoes and gaiters were inadequate at keeping my feet dry.  Shoulda worn the pack boots.

But actually, it was rather pretty.  I heard birds chirping, and I saw kids out playing in the snow.  A mom and her son- about 10 years old I'd guess - emerged from this park as I went slogging by.  They were decked out in skiwear and probably heading home after a romp in the foot or so of fresh snow.  

It's like a winter resort vacation without the crowds.  Let's pretend?  

If nothing else, a major winter storm took our minds off of covid isolation.  

For a minute.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

hospital crickets and senior photos

I have a productive day ahead!  We'll see if it actually happens...

Normally, I'd be working at the hospital today, but hours have been cut.  Like many other hospitals, ours is nearly empty.  Elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed until after the quarantine, whenever that is.  Our Women and Infant Services unit (a.k.a "maternity"?) has closed, and moms are diverted to another of our hospitals.

So, we are essentially an ER with lots of empty beds and a skeleton crew in the kitchen and dining room.  We have taken in some covid patients, but they are treated and sent home.  If they need further  hospitalization, they're sent to our Mother Ship hospital in Greeley.

This is good news, naturally, in the grand pandemic sense.  News headlines highlight overwhelmed hospitals and staff, but that's just  not the case for many - most? - hospitals.  I'm lucky that my hospital job is just another side gig and not a full-time source of income.

On the other side gig side, I still have a handful of tutees.  A couple are SAT preppers, although SATs are also cancelled until maybe June.  These two need extra prep time, though, and they know it and are taking advantage.  With school activities cancelled, what else they got to do?

I feel bad for high schoolers, particularly seniors.  Looking back now, those things - banquets, athletic events, performances, prom, etc. - that seemed like big deals really weren't, but still.  Seniors today don't know that yet.  Have you seen or participated in the latest facebook photo challenge/game/thing?  Supposedly to inspire the class of 2020, post your senior class photo.  A few of my friends have participated, and it's harmless enough.  But really, I say...

Preach it, Picard!

With my downtime today, I plan on cleaning up and organizing some lesson plans, geeking out with a spreadsheet or two.  Maybe get in some housekeeping while I'm at it.

In the meantime, here's something I ran across on my instagram feed - a screenshot of a Tinder conversation.  Not MY Tinder conversation, mind you!  I don't have a Tinder account.
My tutees would probably get a laugh out of it, but they won't be seeing it from me!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

minivan for one

I was out for a socially distanced run this morning and jogged past a minivan parked on the side of the road.  The engine was running, and I saw a person in the driver's seat.

As I went by, I noticed a reclining woman who looked to be asleep.  I didn't see anyone else in the van, but I was trying to not be nosey.  I suppose there may or may not have been small children in the back, but I don't think there were any other adults.

A couple of scenarios came to mind:

  • She had to escape the family, even if just to catch a solo nap on a random street in the minivan
  • Her sleep deprived self  has a baby who would not go to sleep, so she took it for a magic van ride and ended up also heading into dreamland, thankfully after pulling over but before turning off the engine.

When I was finishing up my run, she and the van were no longer there.  I guess we'll never know the story.  Assuming it was a short break of some sort, I wish her and her family a happy Easter.  Take it from Consuela...

She'll be back.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

into the unknown

I'm about to  head out to get my allergy injections.  I finally graduated to "maintenance" mode and need to just get the shots every 4 weeks.  The clinic has assured us that they're open and dishing out injections, and I'm due this week.

I've noticed a marked improvement in allergy symptoms since I began getting the injections, but I'm not totally free.  For me, the worst symptom is being off balance.  Apparently, my allergies mess with my inner ear(s), and it's like being drunk without the fun part.

Speaking of drunk fun, I thought I'd share this pic a friend of mine put on her facebook, highlighting her covid-19 look.

I blurred her features, although I think anyone would be hard pressed to pick her out of a lineup from the photo.

I can definitely relate to the hair.  The DIY comfort mask is working for me too.

And yes, she's an essential employee.  She fittingly owns a liquor store.  Masked up and advertising all in one.

One of the things that makes me a bit anxious during this coronavirus upheaval is when I get a hit of allergy response - sneezing, runny nose, coughing - when I'm out among the people. In addition, since I had that tooth extraction that opened up my sinus last fall, my left nostril is on constant slo-drip. I almost want to wear a sign that says something like,

"No, really!  It's pollen and a bum sinus, not the virus!"

I'm loving the recent warm temperatures and sunshine, but as for trees, weeds, and grasses, I'm allergic to just about all.  And they're all waking up and spreading the love right now.

So I'm off to the clinic to distantly sit among others trying or not trying to suppress the sniffles and coughs.
Alone together.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. What do you do to manage anxiety or uncertainty caused by the current Covid19 climate?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

hey all you cool cats and kittens

Just got back from a grocery run.  I wore a makeshift comfort mask so the other shoppers wouldn't hate on me.

Realize, the masks are meant to keep infected people from spreading a virus to others, not necessarily to keep the mask wearer from getting a virus.  I worry that people will get a false sense of safety from thinking they won't get covid-19 if they wear a mask, so there's my PSA for today.  Still gotta practice healthy hand hygiene, etc.

In other stay-at-home news, I admit that Magnum and I succumbed to the peer pressure and binge watched Tiger King over the course of 4 nights or so. 

I'd seen the trailers and thought, naaaaah.  But then... all those memes and gifs and photos...  It was a Tiger King blitz!  In the midst of a global pandemic, no less!

I "had to" see what this was all about.  Fine!  We watched it!

Well, it was certainly entertaining.  And, for me anyway, it provided an escape from the literal viral news.  I mean, it's like these people in the documentary are from/ on another planet.

And now we've finished watching, so what's next on the to-do list? 

I suppose we can start howling at 8pm.  Joining?

Have you watched Tiger King?  Are you howling?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

fools rush in

I was working at the hospital yesterday when Chris, a coworker, entered the kitchen looking rather panicked.

"[Boss], I'm so sorry.  I delivered a tray to a patient and tripped on the cart.  I spilled hot coffee all over the guy"

And we were all thinking, Tripped?  What?  Hot coffee?  Whaaaaat? Poor dude's already in the hospital, and now you've burned him too?! Just because everyone's thinking about COVID-19 doesn't mean we can forget about everything else!

All that thinking happened in about a half second along with the manager's heart momentarily stopping before Chris said,

"April Fools!"

Ack, that guy!

Just because everyone's thinking about COVID-19 doesn't mean we can forget to prank each other.

I'm glad to still be working outside of the house, not only for the pay, but for the human contact.  I wonder about the lasting effects of social distancing.  Yes, we have Skype and Zoom and Facetime, etc.  Still doesn't seem like quite the same.

Another coworker is Marty, a line cook.  He has the habit of using the f-word on a regular basis in everyday conversation.  He doesn't use it in anger.  In fact, he's a very relaxed and courteous person who is actually quite articulate otherwise.  It's become rather comical the way he'll drop an f-bomb while talking about most any topic.

He's also a fellow bicycle commuter.  Yesterday, I pulled up to the bike rack and didn't see Marty's bike.  But I instantly noticed a beautiful all black road bike, all tricked out for commuting.  I hadn't seen it before and wondered whose it was.  Almost took a photo for the facebook commuter group, it was so pretty.

Lo and behold, Marty was working yesterday.  He asked if I'd biked in, and I said, "Yep... is that your black Specialized in the bike rack?"

"Yeah", he replied as if hoping I would've noticed it. He went on to gush a bit about the bike and his ride in that morning.  All the while, I noticed in the back of my head that he had yet to drop an f-bomb.  Hmmm... maybe when he gets to talking about certain topics...

" I said yeah, f**k it, I'll buy it", he concluded.

Then again, maybe familiarity is a good thing during this time too.

If isolated from work or scheduled group activities, what are you missing most?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Share something that made you laugh this week.