Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday I got my short list done

Ginny loves to play Swat The Bug on TV (there are lots of Youtube videos for cat play) but her bigger sister Ginny crowds her out. How can I teach them to share?
I don't think you can teach them to share the hunt; it may not be in cat nature.
Today I made a list of chores and accomplished all of them. I deposited my lexvid check and then drove to  Mercer Island to give Kiara the remote to her TV (which she had retrieved earlier in the week. I'm buying whatever furniture she left behind so I can move into the Green Room, which is now nicely furnished, once Ed moves on. If Kiara ever needs to come back we'll shift around but as things are, I'm getting the bigger room with better sunlight).
Since I wanted to get out today, I offered on "Buy Nothing Highland Park" and the West Seattle Time Bank to go shopping. Four people had requests. I found the right baby formula and toothpaste, but neither Target nor the Dollar Store had Chlorox wipes or Monopoly (Targe had a couple of new fangled versions of Monopoly but this was for a gift to an aged parent so the requestor didn't go for it.) It was very satisfying to be able to do a little something for my community members. The people receiving the baby formula repaid me with a tip that I did not ask for (and did not need but what the heck, I'll respect their offer.)
My "Buy Nothing" pal came by with some brewer's mash for gardening; she'd offered it because she has a regular supply. It was odd to have to stand back while she shoveled it out of her tote into a bucket but that's what isolation requires.
I'm working on catching up on my various chores but there is a heck of a lot of Toastmasters and 4freeCLE and WPTL and cleaning and more. It's better than being bored but I don't know when I found time to work!
I did make a successful resolution about social networking. I have a tendency to respond to fascists and trolls as they make the same tired old arguments; I respond with facts and nobody changes. It's a waste of time, although I do enjoy mocking people who use potty words. I keep hoping that rational discourse is possible, but it does not seem to happen on the internet, yet I feel emotionally bad if I leave them be; I know that they are responding to my comments with further insults. The breakthrough I am working on is to regard those notifications of response as nothing, or even less: as expressions of frustration from people of no importance. They are like evil little imps, who cannot slay me, but can waste me. If I don't give them my attention they cannot waste my time; and time - as  we all know - is life.
I don't think of this as fleeing; I think of this as frustrating them and saving myself, so it's a double win.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday: More Of The Same

Today I started, as has become my habit, with three short exercise videos: yoga to stretch out and warm up, something more active (such as Madfit); and then some core work (today: standing abs from Gymra). This is a good habit.
Ed was gone most of the day. I was concerned that he was planning on settling in, and that I might have a situation moving him on. However, when he returned in the evening, he said he'd gotten a social worker appointment at the VA Hospital for Monday to figure his sheltering.
At 1pm we had another WSBA training for the all-day program April 3, at which I am moderating a panel. I don't actually know anything about the topic, but I have been given questions to ask from Regina, so I just have to be confident and smooth. I have the questions taped to the wall by my desk so I can practice.
I sent out another email to the blockwatch. Right now there's a lot of news so I might as well share it.

Today on my walk I saw this bit of folk art whose story is more complicated then it may seem at first glance. On the roof, you see a Boy Scout trefoil, so this must be someone's project. It's a birdhouse, but notice the hinge and the message about picking up poop. I expected it to be full of plastic dog poop bags, but when I lifted the lid, I saw little cardboard tubes, some of them obviously containing Mason bees mudded in, or the like. Either way, it's an asset to the neighborhood and a Swiss army knife of a birdhouse!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thursday Not At Nordstrom

Every day during the #COVID19 shutdown, I take a walk around the neighborhood, just to stay fresh and take a picture of something beautiful or interesting. This tree has never disappointed!

Today's main funtime activity is speaking at Nordstrom's Toastmaster's group, over the internet. My friend Victoria asked if I'd volunteer since they were short a speaker, and I'm eager to get all the experience I can. We used the "bluejeans" tool, which seems similar to Zoom although the windows were arranged differently. It was fun and I got some good feedback. Jovica gave one of his as-usual solid speeches; my feedback to him was that he was masterful as usual and I suggested he consider Darren LeCroix's tip about not being his own expert, but telling the story of having a guru give him the answer to the problem. This may be overkill for COVID19 speeches since we all pretty much understand the issue - but then again, maybe not; stories stick!

From Facebook friends I got an identification on those little purple flowers, and with that I confirmed that they are edible. However, I have to nominate "Deadnettle" for the Worst Name.
I mean, seriously, it has "Dead" right in it, and "nettle" sounds ominous too.

Heather's new mattress arrived. The box just appeared on the porch without any delivery truck to importune about taking to old one away. I guess that is the new normal. The cats found it interesting!

I had a discussion with Sherry yesterday about my feelings on having a roomer. I decided I need my privacy more than I need the money right now. Now to implement with kindness and firmness. I have to make sure Ed knows he can't stay here long. I don't want this to turn into an overstay with him acquiring the rights of a resident.
Arthur wants to know if he can keep it

Shadow Investigates

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Is This Wednesday?

I slept in grossly today, until nearly 7 PM. Ed was already off to work. I did about 40 minutes of exercise (sarabeth yoga, madfit low impact, gymra standing abs), fed the cats, showered. 10-11 I listened to a CLE, although I may have missed some of the Prove-You're-There prompts because I was checking on other things - a hazard of working and studying from home!
I'm practicing being pre-tired; not re-tired because I don't intend to be sleepy but pre-tired because I plan to stop regular work, live on pension, and do work that is worthwhile. I just have to figure out the practicalities.
For midday went for a walk outside but forgot to take the new grabber Ed gave me. It's just as well; I came across an abandoned trove of clothing on the parking strip, just getting wet in the rain. It was already bagged so I took it home to the outside project area for processing tomorrow.
I harvested the usual pan of miner's lettuce plus a little dandelion and a wayward chive. I took a little of that little purple flower to experiment with.
Cyril has been talking both to me and to Ed about my renting a room to him. I am unsure about this but renting rooms *is* something I've been thinking of, and he comes recommended by Cyril. I took the plunge and suggested the blue room (which leaves me the green room, which is much nicer. I deserve the nicer things.)  I think this will work out, or at least will be an adventure.
I flea'd the cats.
I am still debating whether to ret the Blue Room to Ed. I recall how difficult it was to share the drive with Carlos; this would be even more disturbing. I talking it over with Sherry and concluded that right now I need my happiness more than the money. I can rethink things if money gets to be more of a problem.
I am concerned about Ed needing housing but I need housing too; I think I will set a target date for re-housing him. I can live with that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The New Normal

It's Tuesday, and my cats wake me at the usual time because they're hungry! The fact that I'm not going into work is completely irrelevant; my first duty is to feed them.
I hear a faint maowing. Ginny went out last night and I forgot to stay up intil she returned. The weather is chill but decent; she's miffed but not distressed when I let her in.
I do my exercises: 20 minutes of yoga, a full body, low impact workout that makes me sweat, then a standing abs workout: more sweat. Then a hot hot shower!
Ed the houseguest says good morning; he's off to give somebody a ride.
I make the coffee. I harvest a pan of miner's lettuce, because it's the season, and also snip the dandelion flowers that have erupted since last time. The ones in the front yard I leave as a warning to others (also because I'm reluctant to consume something grown next to the road - but maybe that's not really an issue); the others go into the salad or cooking pot.
I blanch the miner's lettuce and baggie it for freezing; it'll be a nice addition to soups or omelets later in the year.
I do some writing: yesterday's blog journal, a facebook post compared Trump to the Joker, and start this day's journal entry (which you are now reading).
Late in the morning I have a web meeting about WSBA's webinar facility; WPTL members Anne (our next section Chair) and Dwight (who's been shadowing a couple of programs) needed to get official training so they could serve as producers, and I sat in to see what I'd missed in training (...probably forgetting everything I didn't use....) and comment on my experience. This went very well; WSBA's Devorah is a good trainer and very knowledgeable; Anne and Dwight are smart indeed.
Ed my houseguest was out much of the day, helping drive people around or doing some odd jobs. He very much wanted to help around here so I asked him to expand my garden along the fence. I am conernd because he's in the hospital a lot, but he assures me his only limitation is on how much he can lift;  If he gets tired gardening, he'll just stop.
Later in the day he went out to get his mail from his old place. Even later than that, his friend Mike came by and we almost shook hands by reflex; at the last moment I stopped and we bumped elbows, to be safe. It is unfortunate that I have to think of housemenates and guests in terms of disease potential.
I harvested, blanched and froze another bit of miner's lettuce. Thee's also a lot of stuff with a purple flower but I haven't figured out what it is; google photos keeps picking out the wrong stuff. If it's edible then I want to know! I don't want to be overly dramatic but having backup food is not a bad idea.
I spent much of the rest of the day thinking I had a couple of Toastmasters meetings but finding information only about one. A distressing number of emails did not specify which date and time they were talking about; as a result, I realized very late that I was double booked, and had to bow out of one. The lesson for me is to continue included date and time or another unique identifier whenever I write.
Kiara came by to pick up the items she needed; otherwise stuff in her room can go into storage. She offered and I accepted to buy her furniture; she needs the money ad not to worry about her stuff. I need to have the room decorated so nicely, and to move in when it becomes available. I will miss the purple bed but I deserve nice stuff if it's in my house.

Monday, March 23, 2020

TM Contest in times of Covid19

Ginny and Imp check out the cedar chest of blankets
Today while on social isolation I harvested another pan of miner's lettuce, blanched and froze it. I suppose this should be a habit since I will enjoy the stuff much later.
Most of the day I thought about and prepared for the Toastmaster's contest at 5:30. Since I was the only competitor in my section, all I had to do was ensure that I stayed within my time limits, but I really wanted to do as well as I could. I am especially interested in the difference between speaking in person and speaking through Zoom. I have come to rely on body gesture and audience feedback, but working on a laptop for people mostly watching on these small screens feels very different. I contemplated replacing my largest gestures with images but the work of flipping between the Zoom performance window and the other window seemed likely to interfere with timing, at least until I get better.
I decided to rely on cramping the key gesture in, and otherwise using facial expression by coming closer to the camera. Most of the speakers stayed farther out so we could see their bodies, but this didn't seem to improve the performance.
I also used information from the Darren LaCroix presentation at the last District conference, as followed up in free lectures from Stage Time University. In particular, I re-wrote my speech so that I was not the hero; I introduced my guru John The Anthropologist (remembering my 1st father in law), and also gave more character to Uncle Terry as he told he little story.
I feel I succeeded (at least I did not go overtime) but I really want feedback. I'll ask my friends who attended.
Also today I got a call from one of Cyril's clients, asking for a referral which I gave. Later I got a call from Cyril about a buddy of his from 40 years back, who needed a place to stay while his home was cleaned of mold. I think Cyril wanted something else of me, but I immediately offered Kiara's room, and that has worked out. At first I felt regret because it's hard having strangers in, but on the other hand I feel good about sharing the space and if I'm eventually going to rent it out I'm going to have to learn to deal.
I would have moved back in there myself, leaving the blue room for a rental, but for Kiara's reasonable concerns about Arthur peeing when he's angry. Well, I'll deal.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quarantine Gym Routine

  • Warmup (YouTube: SarabethYoga)
  • Cardio (YouTube: MadFit)
  • Strength (YouTube: GymRa) 
  • Cooldown (Cats: PetThem)  
It works!
My Trillium Is Up!
Again I awoke to a worried dream; I was performing the Toastmasters contest and about to go overtime. Fortunately I remembered Sandy, the Chief Judge, telling us about this very thing happening to her, so like her I abruptly cut my speech short and, since I was the only contestant, qualified to go to the next level even though the quality suffered. I figure that this alarm was due to the corona virus crisis both worrying everyone and maybe throwing off my sleep schedule.
I worked on contest preparations, reviewing a Darren LaCroix Stage Time University lecture and revising my speech to include some of their ideas. I realized that I had been the hero of my own story, so I added John the Anthropologist as my guru. I had not really made it clear what I wanted people to take away from this or worked on their emotions, so I polished that. Mostly I was concerned about changes in movement, gesture and affection from working through Zoom. My speech really needs the up-down-sideways gesture, but I can't do that closeup and I didn't like the look of being far from the camera.
I had advertized my Miner's Lettuce bounty. At least half a dozen people came by to take some, mostly taking clods to replant. In retrospect, I wish I'd cleaned up the patio because the work table is covered in what looks like trash, but it's too late now I suppose.
I took Arthur in to get his eye drained. It's been only 3 weeks but they took more liquid than usual. I don't know whether he's becoming extra leaky - he's sneezing wetly a lot - or whether it was just stress from the dog.
When I walked into the vet, who did I see but Amy Higbee! She had brought in their cat for something. We talked about our critters and accommodating to the crisis. Eventually I brought up the miner's lettuce and she expressed interest in some. It seemed odd seeing her out of context, first at Meeples with her kids a few weeks ago, now at the vet and later on my patio collecting lettuce, but that's community I guess.
In the evening, while working on the speech, Dianne Chandler brought up teleworking on FB. I followed up which led to a discussion with Steve Holmes, who said there'd been an email sent out about the procedure. Naturally the email had gone to work so I didn't get it. I'm not sure what the right thing to do is but unless I hear otherwise, I'll finish the 2 weeks, then call Galen and, if necessary, agree to come in to take the class required to take the laptop home. I have the home office anyway, but I want to delay the trip as long as possible to (I hope) minimize the number of people I would contact. Also I'm not unhappy about the administrative leave.
Arthur yowls at bedtime, so I turned in after finishing up the written evaluation of Karen's performance of the Tuesday TM 832 meeting. I guess it's part of a Pathways project.
I have yet to figure out regular meals - as opposed to frequent snacking - or minimizing distractions - such as watching youtube or casual games. These are the classy drugs of the current era.
Rewatching The Dick Van Dyke show (which we all enjoyed as children) and I now understand why Laura Petrie left Rob Petrie for Lou Grant. Rob's charming and funny, but kind of a dick to her.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Saturday At Home

For the first time for as long as I can recall, I awoke from a worried dream. I was on a bus going over the pass (which I knew was Snoqualmie Pass, coming home from Eastern Washington). The driver talked a lot while focussing on following the road which had no guard rail to stop us from plunging down the cliff of several hundred feet. I have never liked that stretch of road but it was worse not being in control.
I have been practicing social distancing, which means I'm alone with the cats and the internet. I still do some exercise every morning, but my energy is low so I often settle for some yoga. I like playing the exercise youtube through the day, for the sound of human voices, but the cats prefer their videos. I compromise.
Kiara came by to do some house cleaning. She trying working while in school but this interfered with her studies; I'd much rather she do some housecleaning that fits her schedule and excels at school I trust her around here to do a good job and not need direction. It was odd to maintain the necessary distance since she's kind of huggy but that's just the way it is right now. We're all doing our best to be smart.

Thursday At Home

Today Gaylen called and said IRS was granting 2 weeks of Administrative Leave related to coronavirus. He'll re-code the sick time I took earlier this week.
This means I have support (and income!) for self-isolating until after March 27. I will reassess then.
It feels selfish not to go to work but it would be selfish to do so, so either way I'm being faithful to my spiritual traditions.
I am spending this time cleaning, taking online classes. I took in a program about speaking online (specifically: winning speaking contests online, but the methodology fits any online speaking) and realized two things:
  • I tend to look at the screen, not the camera; I need to do something to focus myself on the camera!
  • My large gestures look very different online
  • My script needs restructuring to deemphasize myself - when I'm in person, the animal connection allows the self-focus, but that gets filtered out through the glass of the lens.
It's all very educational.
I also planted onions and the last of the chard seeds, and harvested more of the miner's lettuce for freezing (it'll be nice in soups in the fall). We must think ahead.
Late in the day I saw a post by my friend Jenn about mask donations to her ER, then a tweet by an MD asking for more. With a little research I saw some hospitals were reduced to asking the public to sew masks!
These would not be used alone for covid-19 patients, either as covers allowing the professionally built masks to be reused, or for less serious cases, such as people in the waiting room with a cough or who were just worried without a mask. CDC is allowing even scarves when there are no alternatives, so homemade masks are better than nothing.
I'm researching and posting about this, hoping to get some people interested in helping out, when Arthur announced it was bedtime - which it was. He warned me one or two more times, then went and expressed his cat rage by peeing on the bed.
I don't like it but I understand his annoyance. He's just not good with words.