Monday, March 30, 2020

Quarantine Update...

Last Friday, I mentioned accomplishing some stuff. Of the three things I mentioned, only one was worked on last week as it should have been--the book; one was half-assed--the weight loss; and one wasn't even gotten to--the garage.

I just wasn't feeling it. Until yesterday. I finally started sorting through some boxes. I loaded up my car with as much stuff as I could fit without playing Tetris and jamming the cargo area full front to back, top to bottom. Of course, I'll have to unload it all tomorrow morning when I get to work, but that's fine.

Unfortunately, my trip to the donation station was originally postponed because of rain, and now it's on hold indefinitely until the world is allowed to open again. But all the stuff will be ready to go when it does.

As for the weight loss, I did get up and exercise every day but one, because I was up late (re-)watching a hockey game. I do build in those off days for the mornings after hockey game attendance or hockey game watching from home, so it wasn't as if I was cheating. In fact, I lost all those built-in off-days because hockey's been canceled.

On the other hand, I've been comfort / stress-eating more carbs than I need to, so I haven't lost anything, but I haven't gained anything either. But! Starting yesterday, I'm back to wearing the Fitbit, which tracks all my steps and exercise and food / water consumption. I'm hoping that by having to log my food and see the daily numbers, I'll be less inclined to eat the things I shouldn't. *fingers crossed* I'll see some improvement this week.

And last but not least--the writing. After exercising each morning, I plop my heinie in my chair, put on the headphones and Harry Potter soundtrack, and write. Since hockey's been canceled and I have no off-days, except the one I mentioned earlier, I've been making progress every day. Yesterday morning, I even knuckled down to sort out the actual timeline as well as some wonky plot issues. My romance beats are lined up and ready to go.

I've been working on this thing since mid-January and it's just about done and is very over word count. It's very rough and needs some heavy handed edits, but I'm ready for it!

While going through boxes left by my Brown Eyed Girl that she slated for donation--I came across this...

Why, yes, that's a tiara. While I wouldn't have bought one for myself, I'm not turning one down that's there for the re-appropriation. Where would I wear it, you ask. Well, I wore it on Sunday during my ZOOM session with some of my writers group friends. They loved it. I might even wear it to the first meeting back. :0)

And one last thing--the trip to WalMart this morning was not bad. There still wasn't any toilet paper, although they'd had some. I saw a woman with a package in her cart. Unfortunately, there was none left by the time I reached the appropriate aisle. But the cereal aisle was fully stocked and there was bottled water and plenty of bread. The lunch meat and meat displays weren't full, but they weren't barren either. I have hope that next week will be even better.

Take care and have a great week.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Why Weren't We Prepared...?

Several people, and probably more, but including Bill Gates five years ago, predicted a pandemic.

Why was the United States, then, not prepared to handle a) testing, b) vaccinations, c) the needs of the health care system to handle those the very least?

Because politicians / the government are / is generally more concerned with their own wants and needs, as well as the here and the now issues of their constituents. While the government has a role in these types of extraordinary events, and while I'm disappointed in our preparedness, is it solely the government's responsibility to be ready?

What about the health care system itself? What abut the pharmaceutical companies? What about private companies and organizations? How much falls on an individual?

I don't know the best answer, of course... No one wants to prepare (i.e. spend money) for something that seems so unlikely to happen.

Being prepared aside, it's satisfying to hear / read about how people from across all manner of industries are doing what they can.

For example:

The family distillery who switched to making hand sanitizer and offering it to their community for free; they did ask for donations, if they could be spared, but they are not refusing to give out their product.

Bauer, a sports equipment manufacturing company, who switched to making face shields for health care workers instead of hockey masks.

There are more, but you get the idea.

Anyway, it's the weekend again. So here's to that. here's hoping my local grocery store won't look so bare Sunday morning. And here's to writing time, which I will have an abundance of tomorrow morning.

And finally...the last of the cruise pictures.

From our stop in Belize:

Next time we cruise and have a stop in Belize, I'm gonna spend the day on the beach. It was incredibly beautiful there. For the rest of the Belize pictures, click here.

From our stop at Costa Maya:

I might consider swimming with the dolphins on my next trip to Costa Maya--that looked like fun. So one of those dolphins was playing catch with those people up on the walkway in the background. For the rest of the Costa Maya pictures, click here.

 Have a great weekend. :0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No Time to Die...

That's a movie title, by the way, not any sort of commentary on anything...

One of the many things affected by COVID-19 are movie releases. While on the cruise, I happened to catch Skyfall, Daniel Craig's third Bond film and subsequently saw the trailer for this new one.

Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond and I was super excited until I got home and learned they were postponing its release until November. While I want people to be safe from illness, I'm disappointed that I won't get to see the movie anytime soon.

How about you? Who's your favorite Bond?

Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton,  Pierce Brosnan, or Daniel Craig...

Image from James Bond Vector

Monday, March 23, 2020

Days Without Hockey

Some humor to lighten our day...

Hope you had a good weekend. I had big plans for writing. Alas, I shot myself in the foot by volunteering to host a four-hour write-in early Saturday morning for a writers conference that had transitioned from an in-person gathering to online sessions, utilizing various social media platforms as well as ZOOM.

I was going to be up and writing anyway, right? I have a ZOOM account since my own group was going to use it for our monthly meeting, right?

Problem a) I'd never attended a ZOOM meeting before and didn't know how the platform worked. Problem b) I didn't do a trial run the day before to iron out technical issues which led to wasting a full hour of writing time finding a work-around.
Problem c) Everyone arriving at various times kept distracting me from my work and so Saturday was a complete bust for me.

I did determine, however, that I prefer straight typing chats much better for that sort of thing and should we do them in the future, I will use a different platform to host.

I also spent some time Saturday afternoon using one of my favorite writers tools (a particular book) along with notes I'm made while on the cruise to get the story arc / plot onto large post-it notes to make sure I hit all the marks. Which I mostly did. Sunday's early morning writing session was very productive as a result, so whew. I was beginning to stress out that I wasn't going to ever get to write again. :0)

If you like to learn, The Great Courses if offering a one month free trial. They have a ton of really cool and interesting subjects to choose from. They do require a CC to create your account, but I just set a reminder for 27 days out to login and cancel the trial.

Here's to another week of social-distancing.

Take care--

Friday, March 20, 2020

Thank Goodness It's Friday

If there was ever a time to say Thank Goodness It's Friday it's now. As things continue to slow and shut down, I'm glad it's the weekend.

A handful of our clients have decided to work from home, but that doesn't affect us much. We're still showing up every day and taking care of the back end side of IT.

I spent some time project planning yesterday as I mentioned Wednesday I needed to do. Looking at the breakout makes me want to not do at least one of them... If you're so inclined to see what my project planning looks like, it's here. The verbiage (project / phase / task) is taken from our software at work and worked well for my purposes. Plus it's always nice when my two worlds can cross-pollinate.

Home life is back to normal. The last piece was finding my charger cable for my car, and now that's back in the car... I'll go grocery shopping early Sunday morning as per usual and hope that the shelves look closer to full than to empty. But we'll make do with whatever I find. The dog will get her first bath in probably 4 - 5 weeks, poor thing. I'll prep food for the week. Laundry will get caught up once and for all. I can hardly wait.

I might -- MIGHT -- start on that garage project.

I'm already working on the Holiday / Disability Anthology.

Aspects of the weight loss project will be put into place.

And now...more cruise pics!! These are just general pictures from time on the boat...

The view from my in-law's cabin at the back of the boat.

Playing shuffleboard one evening,
even though none of us actually knew how to play.

The view down the side of the boat from deck 8, I think.

Chess, anyone?

For the rest of the randomness, click here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

To meet or not to meet, is no longer the question...

My monthly writers meeting has gone virtual. Our speaker for this month will be speaking to us via Zoom. Bars and restaurants in Tarrant County are going to be shut down at some point today, so the decision is definitely out of my hands now, but we'd already made the decision so that we weren't scrambling super last minute to put plan B into motion. I'm really going to miss seeing my friends this month though. These women are my people.

My thoughts about what's going on due to COVID-19 have spanned the gamut all week as I read this article and that article and the other article. I've finally come to the conclusion, however, that a) while all these closures are tragic and spell hardships for a great many people, they're necessary; b) social distancing is unfortunately necessary primarily / especially to manage the impact on our health care system; and c) many people want to blame the government and / or the media for various things going on such as panic buying, but I honestly don't know how things could have gone any different. People are still gonna over-react, people are still going to make decisions based on fear and not facts, people are still going to get their news *not* from appropriate sources.

We're a mere three months out from the first confirmed case in China. Were we supposed to shut down everything mid-January when we didn't know much? Sure, that would have been better. And what exactly caused people to think toilet paper was the can't-live-without item?

I really don't know.

But for good and for ill the world has been forced to hunker down and so we shall. We all have a chance to reconnect with our families, we can catch up on reading and crafts, television, and maybe get some spring cleaning done.

My plans include getting the garage cleaned out and getting my two books written and some other writing/publishing related stuff that I need to decide upon and write down.

Anyway...I was on a cruise to the Western Caribbean two weeks ago. That seems so long ago at this point, but I promised pictures. Our first stop was New Orleans, though, and I shared a few pictures the other day. Here are a few more from DH and my morning trek through the residential portion of the French Quarter. I have a love of architecture and I fell in love with the area. If I had money to spare, I would buy property in the French Quarter and try to infuse the area with small businesses and small living spaces...


Here are just a few of my favorites:

 This one is the one I'd buy for me...

There were so many building for sale and / or boarded over. It made my heart hurt.

But if you want to see the rest of my random photos, here's the link.

Take care and be safe!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Unreal Times

I've started three posts for today, but things are changing at such a rapid pace that whatever I wrote on Friday is no longer applicable.

Today I'm at work. Our office consists of four people usually. One employee is on vacation for the next three days; DH is at home still self-quarantining, but will probably start actually working remotely; the other employee is here to hold down the fort and do the actual work of our business (IT/MSP) while I do the back end/admin stuff.

Our oldest arrived in town the weekend we left on our trip and left this morning to start her new life in Denver with her soulmate (her words, not mine). Now that DH has his office back and we're back to our usual household residents, life can finally return to some semblance of rhythm and routine.

Remember I wanted that last week. Well, it didn't happen. Too many bodies in the house, too many dishes to wash, too much laundry to do, too much going on in the world to focus on writing as I'd hoped to. But now that the home-front is back to normal, maybe I can re-establish some equilibrium and re-gain that focus.

My plans for writing this past weekend didn't pan out as hoped either. With everything going on both in the house and out in the world as well as not being in the story for almost two weeks, I wasn't nearly as productive as I'd hoped. Thank goodness I don't depend on writing and productivity on that front for my paycheck. I'd be in big trouble.

But something normal and exciting did happen this past weekend. My baby girl (aka DD or my Hockey partner in Crime) bought her first car. She's been driving what she affectionately calls The Tank--a 1999 Dodge Ram pickup we gave her way back in the day when she first started driving and the other two didn't. She's been driving it ever since, nursing it through various mechanical issues through the years. But it is really on its last legs without some serious work that she can't afford, so...

Anyway, while her original plan was to get a smallish SUV, much like my RAV4, she ended up with a 2014 Chevy Cruze. As a sedan, it had a smaller price tag, so that was a factor. And the color--well, it was like a sign. :0)

I might have mentioned my love of Pecan Pralines & Cream ice cream a time or two in the past. Well, pecan pralines are actually a thing... I thought it was just combined for the ice cream flavor but not so. And I discovered pecan pralines are an actual thing in New Orleans, so I went in search. I didn't get a picture of the bag before I tore into it, but here are the pecan pralines. I like them a lot, but they're definitely better in the ice cream. :0)

Last but not least, some things to do online during this nationwide shutdown:

Download coloring books from museums:

The Metropolitan Opera will be streaming operas free in the evenings for a while:

And the Cincinnati Zoo will be offering a "daily safari" via Facebook highlighting one of their animals:

Take care...catch you Wednesday.

Friday, March 13, 2020

The world shuts down and yet life must go on...

The world is grinding to a halt as the Corona Virus does its thing and yet we must carry on with life as best we are able. It's an interesting contrast.

All major sports seasons and events are or, I imagine, will be canceled or suspended. Conferences of all kinds are also being canceled. I get it. Slow the spread as much as possible so that medical facilities aren't overwhelmed, although it might a little late on that front. I want my hockey teams safe and healthy and I don't want sick people in general, but I'm really bummed the season was canceled.

I'm also nervous about the impacts across the globe, across the nation, and across the various industries; what the ripple effect is going to be.

Unfortunately, the only thing I can do is stay home--which I mostly do--and keep myself and my family out of harm's way.

It's really terrible to learn and to understand how spectacularly the infrastructure of our country has failed us. Yes, there have been people predicting something like this for years, but no one took it seriously enough to act or prepare.

I hate to imagine what the landscape of society will look like by the end of 2020.

Sorry for the downer post, but just posting all my vacation pictures without acknowledging the world-wide crisis would leave the wrong impression.

Anyway, have a safe and educational weekend--meaning, stay tuned to what's going on and take the utmost precautions you can.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The best things about the cruise...

...aside from just generally being on vacation for a week+ were:

1. I got to eat ice cream everyday. Most days it was soft serve, but one day the soft serve machine was frozen and so I checked out the actual ice cream station and discovered coconut ice cream!! They didn't have it out every day, but I checked. :0)

2. Eating English muffins (with butter and strawberry jelly) and bacon and fresh pineapple every day for breakfast. :0)

3. Spending some quality time with DH. :0)

As I mentioned, I'd never been to New Orleans, so I was excited to visit the city, specifically and especially the French Quarter.

Here are a few fun pictures of my visit:

On the shelf at a local WalMart... hmmm...

I'm not a whiskey drinker, but the Jack Daniels commercials are usually amusing,
and so was this billboard.

These coi were just painted randomly on the sidewalk.

And what (first or any(?)) visit is complete without a visit to Cafe DuMonde for beignets??

DH and I woke ridiculously early our first full day in NOLA and made the stop at about 4am. Probably a good thing, because all the pictures I've seen of this place during they day--it's packed. So it worked out.

Beignets and cocoa FTW!!

More pictures to come.

Hope you're having a great week.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Didja miss me...?

DH and I were on an NCL cruise of the Western Caribbean along with my mother- and father-in-law.

We embarked from New Orleans--a city I'd never been to--so we traveled a day early so that we could explore the French Quarter a little.

There will be pictures and tales of our adventures coming soon. I meant to pre-schedule some posts for last week, but just ran out of time.

But I'm back and ready to get back into the regularly scheduled rhythms and routines of life.

Hope you're well and had a good week last week. See you Wednesday...