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.