Sunday, January 17, 2021

OK. So what do we do when we're now in double "lockdown"?

Pandemic and... post-insurgency military presence? *sigh* 

We watch TV. A lot of TV. Eventually there will be no TV left to watch.

"Heaven's Gate: The Cult of Cults" - We both assumed this would be a crazy, over-the-top documentary, even knowing the ending before it started, but it was so much not that. It made us both sad.

"Murder on Middle Beach" - A documentary made by a former SCAD student about the murder of his mother. It's a story we hadn't heard and while we'd hoped for a better resolution, the story is compelling.

"Lovecraft Country" - filled with mystery, monsters, and science fiction, and set in segregated 1950s USA, this one really entertained.  We recommend it (yes, there's sex and violence and some language) for being so different and well-told.

"Mr. Robot" - a great series that hadn't been spoiled for us so we didn't see the ending coming. It's a mind-bender and a lot of fun to watch in a sort of "alternate now."

"The Masked Singer" - what's not to love?

"The Masked Dancer" - I was curious, Ian indulged me.

Yes, more 90-Day Fiance.  Does it get old? Yes, yes it does, but it's also mindless and we do other things while it makes noise in the background.

But guess what, hockey is back and with the funky scheduling there is So Much Hockey to watch! Yay!

Pandemic related stuff:

Food: We've started a Blue Apron subscription for 3 meals a week. The program supplies all the ingredients and the recipes, and it's so nice to avoid the "what's for dinner?" especially on work nights. We've really enjoyed it and are slowly learning some cooking techniques as well. Some of the recipes have been amazing.  I'd say 2 or 3 have kind of missed the mark.  We make our meal choices several weeks before they are delivered and it's been a great adventure in new foods and flavors. It's also great to keep us out of the grocery store, so now we're investigating whether grocery delivery make sense for us.

Fogging: Our glasses fog when we're masked, like everyone else. We tried NerdWax and found that it just doesn't cut it. First off, it has to be applied every day. Just be aware. Then, it doesn’t prevent your glasses from fogging, it just fogs.... differently. Normal fogging is opaque, still happens over time. But if you’re only walking into the store, this can work for you because the first minute or two, it really seems to work - the glasses fog some and then immediately unfog with each breath, which is nice. But after a few minutes, the moisture gathers not so much as fog but as a watery film that is just as hard to see through as fogging. Everything goes wobbly, like if you open your eyes while swimming underwater. Wipe it off a couple times, and eventually, you’ve wiped off the NerdWax.

Vaccine: Due to weird situations with the deployment of the vaccine, somehow the State Department received a number of vials and those who wanted were able to get it beginning Dec 29. I had my first on Dec 29 and Ian on Dec 30. Ian had minimal reaction, I had a pretty sore arm for 24 hours. I had my second shot on Jan 15 and was pretty uncomfortable for 24 hours with a sore arm, headache, fever/chills, upset stomach. Ian's second isn't scheduled for a bit yet.

Game: We've done a boxed escape room game (Exit) and a boxed mystery game (HuntAKiller). A few tips - If you play the Exit game, photocopy all the pages prior to playing the game.  The reason? It's one-time use, and it felt SO wasteful after a 1-hour game to just throw it all away. After completion, I looked through to see if there was a way to kind of rebuild it, but no. So - make copies of all the pages in color. and sort of rebuild the book (the one we did was only about 8 pages) before you play.  Having said all that, the game was fine.  The puzzles were similar to basic escape room puzzles and there wasn't really a story.  For HuntAKiller we chose a "premium" all-in-one box (rather than a current monthly subscription or an older subscription that's boxed) and truth be told, it was just OK. The biggest issue we had was there was no real starting place, we didn't know who we were in this game world.  While there is a bag of stuff to filter through and some on-line clips to watch (for us, they were about the town we had just moved in to), that was it. And at the end when we'd figured out the puzzles and made a guess, there wasn't a way to figure out if we were right without being told the final answer. Unlike an escape room where if the key doesn't fit you try something else, in this if you guessed the key the only way to know if you were right was if the answer was handed to you.  We didn't care for that.  Thankfully we were right, but still, ya know?

That's what's up with us.  How about you?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

2021 arrived.

Hello 2021

2012: GO

2013: OUTSIDE

2014: CHANGE

2015: SIMPLIFY

2016: MINDFUL

2020: PACE

2021: BREATHE

If I'd known what 2020 was going to be like, Breathe would have been last year.  But now that we've been holding our breath for nearly a full year, it's a good reminder that that is, well... unsustainable. We're all turning a little blue.

So - Breathe. Yeah. Good word.

Now that's out of the way.

Here are some ideas for how to start this year off, some thoughts on how to make the next few months, or even year, a little better right off:

Learn your blood type

Make your To Read list for the year.

Clean out your Inbox and your saved items folders.

Buy/Make a new face mask. (You deserve it.)

Clean out your medicine boxes.
Store your expired meds, unsafe for flushing, for the next drug takeback day.

Dump out your ice cubes.

Buy a succulent.

Hand wash your sweaters.

Replace lightbulbs that are burned out, or ones that aren't. Maybe use these.

Clean out the tray under your toaster.

Run your coffee pod machine with a cleaning cycle.

Snip the vacuum brush roller clean, and wash the vacuum filters.

Launder your kitchen and bathroom mats.

Vacuum under your couch.

Turn/flip your mattress.


I realize that it's been a while. You understand. What with the election and the pandemic, my sleep was disturbed and trying to read didn't transport me away like TV and movies and Animal Crossing did. Now with brighter skies ahead, there's definitely a glimmer of calm seeping in to my brain and reading is back on the menu. I'll finish A Promised Land.

The holidays were special this year. My youngest was in the UK by choice, even if it was a forced choice by restrictions, lockdowns, and quarantines, and called in by Messenger. My Marine was given 48 hours leave. My Marvel kid drove to Jax, NC to pick up the Marine and then made their way here. She stayed with us the longest and her best friend joined the day after Christmas for a few days. Our oldest came down for the holiday afternoon with her SO. My parents called in over Messenger. It was as right as it could be with games, gifts, laughter, annoyances, food, and more togetherness than we've had in a long while.

So here we are.

2021. May it never say "hold my beer."


Saturday, August 29, 2020

On to September

Jonathon came home from the UK on 10 June and started teleworking on 15 June, he's been keeping himself busy while social distancing and earning the monies, while Ian enjoyed his decompressing homeleave time. A couple weeks ago Ian started working again, and goes into the office a couple times a week with me.  We scooter in on those days with our brand new electric commuter scooters.  It takes roughly 25 minutes from door to desk. The pandemic continues though, and while we're getting out more on our scooters it's a good thing we enjoy spending time at home. With the hot and muggy summer days it's not hard at all to sit in the A/C and watch a lot of TV and movies.

On that note...
We've watched: The Third Man,  Midsommar, My Inconvenient Truth, Chinatown, Apocalypse Now, Alien, 13th, Jaws, Apocalypse Now, RoboCop, Shutter Island, Inception, Bonnie and Clyde, The Hospital, Dog Day Afternoon, the doc The Jinx, a doc on Galaxy Quest. Some of those were rewatches.

TV shows have been a little less diverse.  I convinced him to try "Castle Rock," a series that works in season 1 until the very last episode, but we'll still try out season 2 at some point. "Ramy" was OK, Ian enjoyed it more than I did. "Picard" was really good.  A totally different feel to other Star Trek series, but definitely the right creative move.  

There's been a lot of 90-Day Fiancee, coupled with 90-Day: The Other Way and 90-Day: Happily Ever After?  I definitely need a break from all that "reality" TV. We do recommend "Travel Man" with Richard Ayoade, "Upload," "Modern Love," and the new "Unsolved Mysteries." And of course, QI. At the times we need background, you can't go wrong with Dr. Who.

All in all, a lot of quiet downtime at home, amidst the continued bread baking and dinner making. In May, my last grandparent passed away and I've spent a bit of time on ancestry.com building what I can of our family lines. Some old photographs and documents have surfaced from my grandmother's items and I'm slowly creating a history - a superficial history, granted - for my kids. 

Animal Crossing and The Witcher books and walks to Starbucks take up the rest of my quiet time.

Katherine came down for a few days, Jonathon stayed with her for a few days, then Becca was here for about a month with Mokka.  Nicholas is still in Norway and we look forward to seeing him soon.

Take care of yourselves. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Not even 6 months in to the year.

It's been a week. Like opposite sound waves that cancel each other out, it's been a week of great highs and extreme lows. When you sit in the middle you're not sure what to listen for or what direction to turn.

What a week.  But what else should I expect from 2020.

---

My last grandparent died yesterday.  My favorite grandparent, my Babcia, who never had an unkind word to say to anyone, who loved her family above all else, who had nothing but smiles and food for everyone who knew her. She was steadfast and reliable and lived a life of challenge and loss and laughter and history.  She was easy to love and she will be so, so missed.

---

We've spent a lot of time watching the news. There are a lot of thoughts in my head, but they are mine and they have no place speaking over the words that those marching and protesting voice and what they live daily. Words are what I have and they are insufficient and have no purpose but to make me feel better. And this trauma is not about me.

---

Ian came home Wednesday night.  He's home, he's home for good. It's a wonderful thing.  It was a long 11 months, 11 months we hadn't planned on being apart, with about 7 weeks together in those 11 months, which sounds great, and was great, but still.... 11 months. But now he's home, and home is good. The sun is shining, the weather is gorgeous, we have some great food and each other and a cat.

---

The launch yesterday was a shining spectacle of ingenuity.  Kudos. We watched liftoff and then again today for the docking and hatch opening and it really is an accomplishment to be proud of. We've been watching "For All Mankind."

---

And the brightest moment yesterday, 5/30/20, was Rebecca's graduation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Summa cum laude with a BFA in Production Design... she has worked fiercely for her degree, cultivated relationships, earned recognition, and pushed through uncertainty and every challenge thrown at her. We all see what's ahead - more uncertainty, more challenge, more work. Her industry is exploring how it can reopen with new safety guidelines and she will process through it together with the rest, and we'll be there to assist as we can. We can't restart Amazon or Netflix or any part of the entertainment industry but we can help her with other things as needed. 

---

Several horrible things.

--- 

Several great things, and we need them, all of them. These huge things. And the small things, the tiny things, the minuscule things. The birds at the bird feeder, the puffy clouds, the hand holding, the Starbucks, the comfy couch, the clean water, the lack of rockets, the ability to stay safe at home. 

We are lucky and we are privileged, and we will not speak above the voices that need to be heard. We will use our votes and our funds to do what we can to amplify the voices that do matter.

Yesterday - 5/30/20: In the Foreign Service we don't say Goodbye

We say... See you soon.  Happy onward. Or Until we meet again. We are blessed by the people who cross our paths, enter our lives, become part of our family, some who make a huge impression on us by their goodness and kindness, who make us laugh and have wonderful stories to tell, and who we truly truly love.

In the Foreign Service there are no Farewells to those we love. In my life, there are no Farewells to those I love.

So to Babcia, our Babcia...

Until we meet again. I love you.


2016


Monday, May 18, 2020

Happy Anniversary to my one and only

24.

It was a beautiful day 24 years ago that I had the honor of marrying the guy...



who then traveled the world with me...






raised 4 awesome kids with me...



who makes me laugh...



and think...


and just love spending time with him...



This is the first time in 24 years we haven't spent our anniversary together, and hopefully it will be the last time we're apart.  When we were going to Baghdad together, I didn't even think about it.  When we ended up not going together, he scheduled his final R&R to coincide with our anniversary and Becca's graduation.  Then, well, the rest is history.  Today is the day and he's not here, and what choice do we have but to be OK with it all?  We video chatted.  I told him I loved him. And I miss him. But like all the things this past year, I do what I need to do, he does what he needs to do. Have there been moments of emotional frailty? On my side, I'll admit yes. Thank goodness for my kids, my job, my home - all sources of comfort and normalcy.

We make plans for when we do reunite again. Next week? June? I don't know.  

But it will happen and I'll be ready and waiting.