Tag Archive | quarantine life

COVID Diaries: Day 420

This past weekend I took a brief trip to the Washington coast.  It was full of solitude, but realistically, that’s basically the same as being at home.  Except the sandy beaches. 

I found a little, cute motel in Ocean Shores, and spent a few days walking on the beaches, looking for sand dollars and agates.  I got up before dawn to get to the agate beach at low tide, and barely saw another soul in the hours I was there. I found several agates and lots of interesting jasper rocks.  I also found one gorgeous, large red agate (not pictured)!  I can’t wait to see how they look after getting polished in the tumbler. 

I also found a ton of sand dollars, as I wandered all by myself on a windy, on-and-off rainy Saturday.  Going to the beach in the Pacific Northwest, at any time of the year, isn’t for the faint of heart.  I was cold and tired by the time I got back to the room each time, but on Saturday I got 20,000 steps wandering along the beaches.

Cora issued stern looks when I got home.  How dare I go away…  It was good for me to get away, but I’m lonely.  That part never really goes away, whether I’m at home or away.  I haven’t quite learned to settle into that skin. 

I started a new puzzle; one I received as a gift for Christmas from my aunt and uncle.  I made quick work of the border Monday, but haven’t done more yet.

Somehow we got a reprieve from going back into a tighter lock down.  Our governor “put a pause” on rolling back counties that weren’t meeting the metrics, including my county.  It’s almost as if he’s just making it up as he goes along…  Yes, I’m being sarcastic…  I guess we’ll see what happens in two weeks.

COVID Words of Wisdom: I found myself thinking about you last night and about everything that was lost.  But it was different this time.  My heart reminded me that I still have everything.  You are the one who lost it all.  — Alfa Holden.

COVID Diaries: Day 411

Another weekend has come and gone.  It’s back to the grind.  I have already had a long morning, and I don’t have much inspiration at the moment, so the grind is probably going to be harder… 

A few days ago, I finished my most recent puzzle.  Castle Donan Eilean in Scotland.  One day, I’d like to visit Scotland again.  Mom wants to go to Ireland – I can’t wait to travel again.  All that dreaming led me to book a weekend at the coast – a few days of beachcombing will have to do for now.

I’m loving the nicer weather, although it rained for good portion of last week. I always love seeing the blue sky peek out from the clouds!

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately – I finished three books this weekend! 

My new rock polisher came and I started in on my second batch of rocks.  So far, so good on round two. My beachcombing weekend will give me a lot of opportunity to scout for some new rocks!

Counties are being locked down again – the word is that we will miss the culling tomorrow, but we will probably get locked down again in 3 weeks.  I guess we’ll see.  It helps me to save money, I suppose.  And Cora loves it…

COVID Words of Wisdom: You never know how hard someone had it before they became soft, and you never know the ugliness they had to go through to have such a beautiful heart.  Sometimes we learn grace from the worst times of our lives and that’s what saves us.  – Stephanie Bennett-Henry

COVID Diaries: Day 402

We had over a week of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, with highs in the low 70s!  We even broke a record last week, with a high of 74.  It has been amazing.  I’m not one who can take the endless gray and cold days of winter and early spring around here.  Someday soon, I’ll have to change that up.  This morning, it’s back to rain…

The sunshine and warmth meant I was able to get in some outdoor dining at my favorite spots around town and soak up the Vitamin D and good food! Plus the time spent with girlfriends is always much needed.

The rocks I started tumbling are finished!  They look beautiful!  I even discovered that one of them is most definitely an agate and there’s another one that I think is an agate.  I’m going to keep trying to find agates, but obviously my agate skills need polishing.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure that the motor on my tumbler went kaput, within hours of starting a second batch of rocks.  I tried to poke around in it with my very limited mechanical skills, but the sound it is making and the fact that it is no longer turning the shaft leads me to believe there’s not an easy fix for this.  It was $12.99 at the Goodwill, so I can’t say I did too badly.  I’ll keep working on the first one, but thanks to Amazon Prime, my new rock tumbler arrived yesterday and I’m back in action!  Yes, I am aware that owning a rock tumbler (or multiple rock tumblers) puts me in a very distinct category of nerd.

Now that the rain is back, I imagine I’ll make some more progress on my puzzle.  I worked on it for a bit last night and was happy with where I ended up.

I’ve been getting some reading in too, but I still really need a vacation!

COVID Diaries: Day 374

The weekend has arrived again!  I had to work yesterday on my day off, as one of my employees had a family emergency, so it was nice when the workday was finally over! 

I had a friends dinner date on Thursday night at a new pho restaurant in town.  So simple and so delicious!  It’s so nice to be able to eat in a restaurant again.  We followed it up with a walk to the University, since it is now light out later in the evening. 

Friday night I took a long walk in the Arboretum, and then back down through the University.  It’s so nice to have this wooded park just a few blocks from my front door. Afterwards, I tried a new Raspberry Lemonade canned wine.  It was ok; not great, not terrible.

Today I had to do the unpleasant task of buying a new washer.  Why are these things so expensive and why oh why can they not make quality things the way they used to?  In my first house, the dishwasher was 42 years old and still worked fine.  You are lucky if you get 7 years out of an appliance these days.  But I am now the proud owner of a brand new Speed Queen top loading washing machine with exactly no bells and whistles, which is exactly how I think it ought to be.  Hopefully it will last… 

To reward myself for getting this chore done, I went to the Lost Giants cidery and got a 6-pack of their new Passionfruit Guava cider.  It is soooo good! 

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!

 

COVID Diaries: Day 370

We launched into spring last weekend with a gorgeous sunny day!  Haha – just kidding – I wish.  It rained.  Pretty much all weekend.

That didn’t stop me from taking a long walk in the rain on Saturday, but I must admit that the rest of the weekend I was lazy.  I made chili with bratwurst meat, which seemed to fit the still-wintery gloom.

A year ago (shortly before COVID) I found a rock polisher at Goodwill and snatched it up for $12.99.  However, there it sat, unused, because I couldn’t figure out how to get the lid to seal when you put the rocks, grit and water in it.  The instructions I found online weren’t very helpful.  A few weeks ago though, a friend showed me how it works, and now I’m on a roll, happily tumbling the few rocks I had collected.  I swapped them out to change the grit this last weekend and they are definitely starting to shine up!  I can’t wait to see how this batch turns out!  Of course, this means I need to find some more rocks, so next time I have a complete batch to polish.

I have been told many times that my interests are those of much older people.  History, battlefields, antiques, rocks, etc.  I suppose they are right.  I don’t care though.  I’ll retire early and travel, visit battlefields and collect rocks, and be happy.

Yesterday I was rummaging through a box of old postcards that were sent to my grandparents and aunts between the 1960s and the 1980s.  I found one from Nebraska, three days after my parents’ wedding in 1968.  They drove from Michigan to California, where my Dad was already working.  Mom was unimpressed with Nebraska, per her postcard narrative.  She doesn’t remember this, but it made me smile.  I still haven’t made it to Nebraska – I wonder if I will be more impressed.

Last night I finished a Thomas Kinkade puzzle that I had gotten at Goodwill a few years ago.  It was hard!  But thankfully it had all its pieces, and the English cottage scene makes me want to jet off to the real English countryside.  It’s either that or bake myself in the Arizona sun, to try to tan away the nearly translucent skin I acquire each winter.  Some hiking in Sedona sounds really good about now, but of course, it is still far colder there than it is here in the Pacific Northwest.

This coming weekend marks my two-year anniversary at my job, and my raise!  Woot woot!

Happy Tuesday, Peeps.  I hope you are well.

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 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?