Tag Archive | lockdown

COVID Diaries: Day 365

That’s it…  We’ve hit a whole year.  A whole year of disrupted life; isolation, worry, and all the other things that have gone along with COVID.

On this day last year, we were sitting in my employees’ office, making last-minute plans to work from home.  Sending telecommute agreements to managers to have their employees sign, assigning cables and peripherals for Surface computers.  Testing Microsoft Teams for videoconferencing.  St. Patrick’s Day was the last day that I was in the office on a regular basis.  The official lockdown in Washington was announced on March 23.  Although I have been in to work since then, it is for a day at a time, once a week at most, but generally a day every couple of weeks. 

I mourn everything that has been lost since then, and I have struggled mightily at times.  I haven’t had a real vacation in that time, as I am not a fan of staycations.  I’ve had a few days off here and there, but it isn’t the same as getting out and fully decompressing.  I long for a flight to a far away town.  I long for a road trip to a National Park.  I think I just need to book something soon. 

I continue to believe that COVID has been a huge boost for the early retirement plan.  With nothing to spend money on, I have saved so much!  But I have had a hard time feeling motivated to tackle all the home projects that I ought to do.  Purging all the random crap that I know I should get rid of?  Still not done.  Selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace?  Nope.  COVID has not been the shot in the arm I need to take on these tasks…  See what I did there?  Clearly this lockdown has not made me more witty either! 

Anyway…  15 days to bend the curve and all.  Maybe year two will finally start looking up.

COVID Words of Wisdom: They said I changed a lot.  I said a lot changed me.

How are the rest of you all feeling on this one year anniversary? 

COVID Diaries: Day 345

It’s my weekend! 

It’s a beautiful, partly-sunny morning, the birds are chirping, and I have a date with the rake and the yard waste toter.  My yard is once again littered with small branches and pine cones from the wind storms, as well as fall leaves that are still hanging out in the nooks and crannies.  I also need to do the dreaded deep clean of the house.  It is needed.  When did life become about doing chores?  There really has to be a better way.

Last weekend Shelley and I did a FunDay and went down to Stanwood and Camano Island to do some state park exploring and girl bonding.  The sprinkles of rain weren’t too bothersome and we enjoyed searching the parks for little plastic clue balls.  It is an annual event where if you find a hidden clue ball, you can turn it in for a blown glass ball.  They are beautiful!  We didn’t find any, but it was a wonderful, relaxing way to explore a new area and let the stress of the work week fade away.  We also learned some tips and tricks to employ next year.  We tried out the food at a relatively new brewery in Stanwood, SAAL Brewing, and it was delicious! 

I also finished my latest book club book, and finished my Bend to Whistler Challenge!  I walked 700 miles between October 1, 2020 and February 19, 2021.  We had six months from our start date to finish the challenge, so I’m still tracking my miles.  I want to see how far I end up at the end of March. 

 

Monday night I completed the 2,000 piece puzzle I had been working on – it only took me 17 days!  Clearly my puzzle skills have been honed by a year of lockdown…

Restaurants are back open at 25% capacity, so on an evening walk to drop off books at the library we decided to stop at a brewery in town for their to-die-for bison burger.  The last time we were there was in early September, for our birthday lunch.  Yes, Shelley and I are birthday twins.  How often do you find a friend who shares your birthday!?  The burgers were amazing, and the company was perfect. 

At work I completely wrapped up a project I’ve been working on for almost a year, and came within a stones throw of finishing a second one.  That felt good!  These were monotonous and tedious tasks with no benefit to the organization; they are simply a statutory requirement.  It felt good to be able to finish something that has taken a lot of time away from my regular duties! 

Last night I made the transition to the weekend by watching a Facebook Live Event on the Ghost Towns of Washington State.  Many I have heard of, but some were brand new to me!  One of the ghost towns featured I have visited; Monte Cristo is accessed by an eight mile round trip hike, as the road and railroad line long ago stopped being maintained and eventually washed out.  I even blogged about it!  I definitely need to do a ghost town road trip one of these days. If you want to check out Washington State Ghost Towns, here it is

It feels nice to be feeling like myself again.  I know so many of you are feeling the same way – the endless, aimless drifting of a surreal “new normal.”  Thankfully, spring is less than a month out and the days are still getting longer and brighter!

COVID Words of Wisdom: “Kill the part of yourself that still wants to save someone who walked away while you were drowning.” –Unknown

 

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 333

Day 333.  Well that has a nice symmetrical look…

It’s the Valentine’s Day edition here, but really that means it is just another Sunday… 

I was supposed to have Friday off (my regular Friday off), but my employee wanted a vacation and I can’t blame her!  So I worked instead – I can take another day sometime soonish…  I did get a new employee hired, just pending the background check, so that was a nice start to the weekend!  Hopefully work will be back to its more normal frenetic pace soon.

It snowed Friday night, after much pondering by weathermen about whether or not we would get snow here.  We got up to about seven or eight inches!  Since then, some has melted, while at the same time it is still snowing.  It is pretty and peaceful and reminds me of my dad, who always loved the snow.

Yesterday afternoon I went out for a walk to enjoy treading through the fluffy whiteness.  I might do the same again today.  There is something so soothing about seeing the white fluff fall from the sky.  It’s supposed to warm up and turn to rain tomorrow, I think, but I will love it as long as it sticks around.

Things are starting to look up COVID-wise.  Our Governor is finally allowing our County to begin to open back up, with restaurants and entertainment allowed to open at 25% capacity.  It has literally been 11 months since anyone could go to a movie or museum around here – it will be pandemonium!  But wait, nevermind, because our only mainstream theater is Regal Cinemas, and they announced several months ago that they were temporarily closing all their theaters, so who knows how temporary that will be, or if they will be just another casualty of the lockdown…

I’m making progress on a 2000 piece puzzle that I got for Christmas!  Hard to believe it is twice as many pieces as the largest puzzle I have done before.  It doesn’t seem too tough – but I’m still probably only 30-40% finished.  It keeps me busy.  Cora remains ever helpful… 

How are things in your world?

COVID Diaries: Day 328

I’m exhausted.  Like bone tired, even after what I feel like is a good night’s sleep.  I’m burning the candle at both ends because one of my employee positions is vacant, but the work doesn’t slow down, it just falls harder on the two of us who remain. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel though, as interviews are Thursday!

There’s a cold front blowing in, well right about now, that’s supposed to bring below-freezing temps, high winds and maybe even snow…  I can’t decide if I want this or not.  The snow part – I definitely know I don’t want the bitter cold and the wind!  I guess it’s fine as long as the power doesn’t go out…  Aforementioned interviews on Thursday and all…

I need a break in a bad way, but the combination of the workload, plus still not being able to go anywhere anyway keeps me trying to buckle down and wait it out. Who else is feeling this way?  Do you have any brilliant ideas to break up the monotony?

Last Friday was two years since my dad died.  Most people don’t remember the day specifically, and I suppose you wouldn’t, but I dreaded it for weeks ahead of time.  I was working, so it wasn’t as hard as I feared, but the days after got progressively harder for some reason that I can’t really explain.  Yesterday was the hardest – low, low energy…  I miss him so much still.

I have an meeting with my financial advisor next week to see how I’m progressing towards my early retirement goals.  After my horse died last March, I put extra money to my retirement fund, because, well, horses are expensive.  I’m excited to find out what that means in terms of the long game.  I literally cannot wait until I can retire!  COVID and lockdown has certainly put that into even sharper focus for me.  I’m ready to really enjoy what I’ve worked hard to build.

COVID Words of Wisdom: “How do you know if a man values you?” You wouldn’t even be questioning it.  –Unknown

 

COVID Diaries: Day 316

Another long long week…  Another weekend!  Except I have a meeting in the morning on my day off because I wasn’t quite able to get to everything I needed to get done.  Sigh…  Cora doesn’t mind; she just likes that I’m home.

The COVID cases here continue to be high, so unfortunately the lockdown continues, even as most other states are lifting theirs.  Our surge started after the new lockdown went into effect, so let’s just think on that for a moment…  I’m tired.  The vaccine rollout is a mess; our county has literally no vaccine at all.

We got about a flake and a half of snow this week before it petered out and the sun came out.  I think I would have preferred a foot of snow!  I mean I work from home anyway, so why not?

The weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day my friend and I went on a little Sunday Funday jaunt nearby.  We found an old ship from 1917 that was scrapped and turned into a breakwater in the 1960s.  The trees growing out of it are pretty tall!  I’ve lived here all my life and had no idea this was close by until I was searching around for fun oddities to go see.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we had a great time!  It was so refreshing to have good weather in January! That made lunch outside tolerable, maybe even nice?  The fish and chips certainly lifted my spirits!

We also spent some time exploring a nearby state park that I’ve driven by a million times, but rarely stop at.  We walked the beach and hiked to a view of the Deception Pass Bridge.  What an incredible day!

I started a new puzzle, but haven’t made it very far.  The panorama format makes it look so small, even though it is 750 pieces!

I was thinking on life the other day and came up the idea to pass along some words of wisdom.  I mean, I’ve done a lot of living; it’s nice to think I might have learned something along the way.  Some will be mine, but I might share snippets from others too (attributed of course).  So here you go!

COVID Words of Wisdom:  If you are lucky enough to have a woman who tells you what she needs, make sure you listen and at least try to deliver. If you don’t, she won’t stop needing it, but she will stop needing it from you.

COVID Diaries: Day 305

Over 300 days of lockdown.  The downhill slide to a full year.  It’s been almost a whole year since I took more than 2 days of vacation, or went on a real vacation.  They are talking about another whole year of this, and that makes me sad…  While I still don’t mind working from home, it’s the lack of connection that’s one of the hardest parts for me.  And of course, the lack of adventure…

After more horrible rain and wind, the weather finally broke to a few beautiful sunny days, and now we are back to overcast, but at least it wasn’t raining this morning!  We needed to dry out, considering there has been pretty major flooding, downed trees, and power outages around here.  This morning I went for a hike with my girlfriends.  The Chanterelle Trail is about 4.5 miles (sources pin this particular trail at 4.2 miles and 4.8 miles, so I split the difference).  1,000 feet of elevation gain took us up over Lake Whatcom for some pretty incredible views. 

This is a hike that is just outside of town, so it is nice that it only takes about 15 minutes to get there!  It was a wonderful hike, with the exception of that one little bug that flew into my mouth and… ewww…

The rest of my weekend will be devoted to puzzling, reading, and blogging, and hopefully another adventure with a friend tomorrow!  I started a 1500 piece puzzle – this is the largest one I have ever worked on!  I’m enjoying it so far, but I can’t seem to find a couple of edge pieces, and I hope they aren’t missing.  This puzzle was a new-in-box puzzle, so that would be frustrating!  The search continues, but I’m making progress on the innards.  Cora, of course, has been her usual “helpful” self.

Last night I watched Rear Window again, one of my favorite classic Alfred Hitchcock films.  If you haven’t seen it, it is worth checking out!  It had been a while since I had watched it, and it is still just as good.  People used to be so elegant!  I wonder what they would think of us working from home and never changing out of sweatpants!

As you work on Monday, or if you are lucky enough to have the holiday off, please remember that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. called on all of us to unite, rather than divide.  And that means stop ranting on Facebook and insulting people who don’t believe the same thing you do.  Here are a couple of my favorite MLK Jr. quotes.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
 
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
 
My love to you all!  Be kind!

COVID Diaries: Day 296

Whelp, it’s a new year and nothing is magically better!  I knew that was a long shot, but seriously…

Here in my lockdown life, it goes on.  I started a new puzzle, and continue to read two or three books at a time…  I counted up all the puzzles I did in 2020 – there were eight.  And all the books I read in 2020; 35!  I decided to set my goal at 36 books for 2021.  It isn’t an easy goal, as I do have a tendency to read long, non-fiction books.  I wonder if I can complete nine puzzles…

I made it through my first five day work week in three weeks.  It was brutal!  I went through most of Tuesday thinking surely it must be Thursday already…

The relentless rain has eased up and then started again the last couple of days.  Yesterday evening it was clear, so I went for a walk after work.  My friend Shelley and I walked downtown, checking out what has closed due to the never-ending lockdown.  It’s pretty sad to see all the empty storefronts.  I’m sad that so many businesses, and so many people, have lost everything they have worked so hard for.  Other restaurants have built some pretty elaborate indoor-outdoor setups!  I tell you, the propane companies must be making a fortune right now!

I’m glad it’s the weekend and I have a couple of days to relax!

Happy New Year?

COVID Diaries: Day 280

Technology has not been my friend this week… At work, I spent hours yesterday troubleshooting new file share software with IT, only to have it still not work…  And this morning, I posted a travel blog about the Mount Washington Auto Road, only to discover that it posted it with the date of when I started the draft, so it doesn’t show in the reader!

At least this morning’s sunrise was stunning!  And, I looked out my window while I was working to see five deer in my yard!

If you want to read my Mount Washington post (of course you do!), click here.

Two more sleeps until Christmas and no more works!

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 254

It’s the Thanksgiving edition; ok, so I’m a day late – whatever…

When we started this COVID lockdown thing, it was just after St. Patrick’s Day.  That’s a lot of celebrating not being done this year, and it’s just getting started…

So in light of Thanksgiving, I decided to do a post about what I’m thankful for, because it certainly isn’t all the wild and exotic travel locations I have visited this year!

  1. My family and friends, even if I don’t really see them much lately…  The holidays remind me how much I miss my dad, but I have other dear friends and family that I cherish, and I am grateful for them.
  2. I have saved so much money on gas and car maintenance this year!
  3. Mild weather.  I have said this before, but it’s rarely cold enough, hot enough or rainy enough that you can’t go outside in the Pacific Northwest.  When you are cooped up at home the way we have been for so much of this year, the opportunity to walk and hike is certainly something to be thankful for. 
  4. Kindness.  It seems that there are an awful lot of people who have not been kind this year, and that makes it stick out more when I encounter kindness.  It’s been a hard year on all of us, and the ranting, lectures and venom don’t help.  I hope people do a bit of soul searching and try to get back to that basic value.
  5. Cora.  She keeps me sane and laughing, whether it’s sticking her butt in my face while demanding dinner (at 3 in the afternoon), “helping” me with a puzzle, or snuggling at night, it’s been nice to have someone who listens to my monologues and doesn’t judge the fact that I’m talking to myself.
  6. Canned wine and hard cider.  These are so much easier to take on a mountain hike and a summit reward!  I’m no longer limited to hiking with beer!
  7. The critters in my yard.  My work from home months are more bearable when I have the deer, woodpeckers, squirrels, bunnies and other birds stopping by to keep me company.
  8. A strong real estate market.  I’m holding out hope that my appreciating home will mean I can retire earlier, when I sell and move someplace cheaper, mortgage free!
  9. My health.  I’m healthy and strong and grateful that my body sustains me through the physical activity I enjoy doing.
  10. My imagination.  It reminds me that we will get through COVID eventually, and there will be travel, camping, adventure and sightseeing to resume doing at that time.  Until then, a girl can dream…

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, whatever it looked like, and that you are safe and healthy throughout the holiday season.

 

COVID Diaries: Day 242

Just like that, starting tomorrow at midnight, we are locked down again…

No more:

  • Indoor gatherings
  • Indoor dining
  • Museums
  • Bowling
  • Indoor zoos
  • And… No Thanksgiving outside of your own house…

That’s all well and good if you have a family at home, but what a draconian measure for those who live alone…  I know an awful lot of people who live alone, even if you don’t, everybody has COVID fatigue.  Let me just say, I’m thinking there are going to be an awful lot of covert Thanksgivings this year…  Happy holidays!