Day 257: Thanksgiving 2020

Susie fell last night just after I went to bed. I developed a migraine just as I was finishing “Day 256” and was in bed when I heard the tell-tale thud. I knew it was not a serious fall as the thud was moderate and did not have a crash or a second thud. I am a connoisseur of falling and rushed out to help, thinking it was a more simple fall. Susie was on her back, not what I expected, and she had fallen backward. She somehow tangled up her feet when arranging the living room (!?) before going to bed. She could not stand when I pulled her up on her feet. She was just exhausted. I think the PT and the exercises tired her out, and she just went down. We all be more careful.

Today, the morning started about 9ish with us missing some call. Because of the fall, I forgot to put the phone in the bedroom. We started about then. We had no plans other than to pick-up three prime rib dinners from Golden Valley Brewery at 2:30. Susie watched the Macy Parade. Susie was fine and not showing any new weakness.

I made a pumpkin pie. I make it every year–exactly the same and from the same label off of a can. There is a story, but I will keep that for another year. In the evening, I dropped off two pieces of pie at the Weld-Martins as we usually do Thanksgiving together, but not in 2020. They still get my pie!

The secret to my success!

I finished making the pie this afternoon, and then it was about time to get dinner. Corwin got home right after I left Susie. Golden Valley Brewery had ten cars at least picking up food. In about fifteen minutes, they had me sorted and on my way.

The food was perfect prime rib with mashed potatoes and fresh and maybe undercooked (to my taste) green beans with a perfect roll so light it just melted away. The salad was with blue cheese with nuts, cranberries, and a sharp but perfect vinaigrette. The prime rib was huge. Susie ate about 1/3 of her prime rib. She will have it for lunch tomorrow! She had pie a bit later and then 1/2 of the apple tart supplied by GVB.

Thanksgiving was a success, and I called GVB and identified myself, and thanked them for a wonderful dinner.

Please note, here in the Greater Portland Area we have a 30+ year tradition of Kink.FM playing at 5PM on Thanksgiving the song “Alice’s Restaurant.” We listened to that after dinner and while relaxing a bit. The 1968 version, the original version, is 18+ minutes long and gets only played twice a year. Susie, Corwin, and I were singing along and smiling at the funny stories.

Returning to gaming things, I also ordered cards for one of my games today, Twilight Imperium 4 (TW4). I just got a new expansion for the already huge and complex game, but I learned that I was behind the times. I had not seen the Omega items. Apparently, a new set of replacement content and new content was published back in May. The publisher has not created a set of official replacement parts; instead, you can print your own!

I went to the Make-playing-cards website and uploaded the images, supplied from the Board Game Geek website, and then ordered the cards made for me. It was actually fun to follow the instructions, all on a post on Board Game Geek, and create 56 cards, front and back, for the game from the supplied images. I ordered a small practice set of just 16 cards to see if I got them right. I will get the cards about mid-December. I just love the Internet.

Lastly, today I took the new expansion for TW4 and applied it to the base game. The new rule book for “Prophecy of Kings” covered how to do this. I had to remove some replaced content and then add new content to the existing part of the base game. This would not be hard, but Twilight Imperium 4 has over 500 plastic pieces combined with the extension! There are now 31 different factions to play with different markers, powers, cards, and likely special markers just for them. All add to be updated and stored in separate ziplock bags. I will not be playing this game until the virus is under control as it is best with six players and takes about six hours to play.

Today more than thirteen-hundred ten people in the USA died from the virus.

As we are now in Holiday Season, I picked my first seasonal song: ๐•บ ๐•ฎ๐–”๐–’๐–Š, ๐•บ ๐•ฎ๐–”๐–’๐–Š, ๐•ฐ๐–’๐–’๐–†๐–“๐–š๐–Š๐–‘. This version is in Hebrew and English. Happy Holidays!

Day 256: Ramp down Wednesday

Today started about 7ish this morning. Susie had physical therapy today at 10, so I had to get going early if she was to be ready. Susie was going about 9ish.

I received a call from the insurance company for Nike that they have approved my leave. Today is, in fact, the last day of my leave. Thursday and Friday are holidays for Nike WHQ. Interestingly, my request is until this coming Monday, and they approved me until January 3rd. A last-minute approval!

The PT guy, replacing our previous gal, pushed Susie hard and had her standing up and sitting five times in a row three times. He also helped her walk down the hallway and back without her walker. Lastly, he had me toss a stuffed animal at Susie to catch and throwback ten times. Susie was exhausted when he left and took a nap.

I had chili for lunch. Susie was happy with a scone. I started on the laundry. I also watched some more of Hunters on Amazon Prime. This is a Hollywood story of Jews fighting Nazis. The last couple of episodes are not working for me. It is just too fanciful, and the main characters are less sympathetic.

I did more editing of Howard in Amsterdam. I had to get some tea as the editing was putting me to sleep. This is my story of my hero in Amsterdam and is based on our visit there for Christmas.

Expedition Unknown was the only thing I saw on TV that was interestingโ€”the show on Egypt was well put together and fun to watch, but I knew most of the findings. I know about the archeologist’s new findings on Hatshepsut, the famous woman pharaoh, and the archeologist Nefertari’s new thinking about Nefertari’s identity. The next episode I watched was about the Mayans. I did not know much about the Mayan’s lost first historical period as that was not in my long-ago world history classes. It is a newish finding. I really like watching the new Mayan sites being discovered.

The next episode I watched was about The Secret. It is a treasure hunt still on-going for hidden boxes buried in the USA in the 1970s that I did not know about. Three of the boxes have been found. The treasure hunt is based on a book of the same name; Josh, the host of Expedition Unknown, says that their story about The Secret gets a lot of mail, and he has searched for the boxes for years. They did this as a follow-up episode. It was fascinating, but I am resisting buying the book and starting my own search!

Switching to board games, I also opened a few of the card decks in Twilight Imperium 4: Prophecy of Kings board game extension I received in the mail yesterday. I wanted to learn some of the new changes. I read the new rules yesterday, all of them. Much of the new stuff is in the components and not in the rules. I discovered the new technology cards and cannot wait to try them out. The new planets, all on cards, in the fictional universe, also looked interesting. For the base TW4 board game, the extension is quite a lot of internal change. Again, I need Covid-19 to end so I can play this. It is best with six players, something I cannot do in a pandemic.

Dinner was an experiment. I partially defrost a couple of pounds of skinless and boneless chicken thighs and then set-up the Instant Pot to cook them. I found a recipe on the Internet that called for 1/2 an onion, some garlic, seasoning, and adding two cups of water. Set the cooking for 14 for frozen chicken thighs. I was skeptical that the Instant Pot, after the C8 errors and using mostly frozen chicken, would not ruin the food, but one has to learn. I did forget the salt (I try not to use it anyway). The chicken needed salt, no surprise that, but even eating it with just steamed green beans from the microwave, it was still a good dinner. I got Susie to eat a lot, and she needs the protean. So it was a success.

So far, the Instant Pot is working and was my first pre-Black Friday purchase. I also received an email from the board game Vindication designer, Marc, one of my favorite game designers from the local area. They had a special update for Vindication going on for Black Friday. I tried to use the link on the email last night, but the website’s servers failed under the load. I tried again and again, but the problem did not clear up. It was a time-out in the underlying infrastructure. I found this intellectually interesting and tried to work my way past the time-outs, but I finally gave up. Later today, I finally ordered my copy of the update to my copy of Vindication.

So now I am on holiday, not leave. I do not feel like I have to be doing something all the time now. I always felt I needed to be doing something because otherwise, I should be back at work. A sort of guilt and I got very tired some days. I am trying to pace myself and try to enjoy the next four days. I plan to return to work on Monday, working from home. Susie will still be my focus. Nike has granted me leave until next year if we need it.

The US stock market retreated a bit from the highs. Nike stock continues to fly straight up to more than $135 today. My 401K reached it lowest point in May this year and then climbed to add 50% back reaching a positive growth for the year of about 16% now.

Today more than twenty-three hundred people lost their battle with the virus in the USA.

I do not remember doing this one before, Camina, Pueblo de Dios. This is in the Methodist Hymnal, #305, and in English, this is Walk On, O People of God.

Day 255: Tuesday of Trials

Even the pizza was late. Dominos sent me a make-up eMail after my Pizza was more than 15 minutes late. Today had many trials.

A huge box was delivered today from Amazon. The pack of furnace filters I ordered–I am out and try to have a few spare. A four-pack of 16x25x4, but instead, it is a 20x25x4, which is huge and not something I can use. I have already asked for a fix, but Amazon did not make this mistake; it was one of its vendors, meaning I have to wait for them to decide something. So I have a huge box with no filters.

Amazon had a good special on Instant Pot that I have always wanted. So I ordered one for the holidays for me and the household on Sunday. It was delivered today. So I unwrap it and follow directions, and it fails and gives me an error code C8. This means the pot has detected a non-standard pot in the pot. I am beyond disappointed as I have followed directions. I find their website and put in a trouble ticket (?!) with photos.

The dreaded C8–it looks like some broken in Star Wars

I do manage to not break it or to burn myself with the C8 on the Instant Pot. I unplug it after I get it open from the first run and do the test rerun. Perfect. But, because I could not cook dinner while this was in the way, I ordered pizza (see above for how that went).

I did receive one of my board game orders today, Twilight Imperium 4 Extension: Prophecy of Kings. This is the long-awaited addition (and some corrections) to the #1 4X-styled board game (4X: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, & eXterminate) from Minnesota’s Fantasy Flight Game. One imagines you must live where it is freezing to design a space empire game! Few games make it to version 4 and then add on an extension, but Twilight Imperium is one that we expect, as they said in Harry Potter, great things–terrible great things.

The base game, Twilight Imperium 4, is like running the wrong side of Star Wars. You are the Evil Sith Lord, but five other (now seven other) would-be empires are forming too. They will do anything to be the greatest, just like you. This six-person game is a massive race to win before the other would-be empires stop your evil plans. The rules are huge, and the game heavy in the details of running your empire and how to defeat or even ally other empires. It is the game you spend half a day playing and then another crying in your beer. The extension offers more options now, but I have yet to win in my Portland gaming group.

I cannot play this until after the virus is solved.

I also replaced the faucet in the kitchen. Corwin and I discussed it, and we were concerned that the tape job on the old one would not be enough. I went to Ace Hardware and bought the same faucet I installed with dad on September 20, 2010 (I found the photo). It took an hour. The old one came out easy, but the new one was harder to install, and I had to get two wrenches to attach a hose. It was easy after that, but a lot of muscles are saying, “what was that?” now.

New Faucet with old one

I also found the first working suction cup handle, MHI Safe-er-Grip. I put one of these on the shower walls, and I cannot remove it by pulling (some levers lock and unlock it). Susie now has safe handles in the shower. I went back and bought two more! I do not know what to do with the one I got from Amazon that is unsafe–I put in a negative review that they have yet to approve. Hmmm.

But today is about trials. The occupational therapist wants the glass doors removed from the shower in the master bath. Well, I hate ’em glass doors. Can I remove them–I think I can? I did remove the two (yes, only two) screws that hold the top on, and I can lift the whole assembly out. It is a lot of glass! I will wait for some help before I do that, and I have a shower rod ready!

My paperwork is in for my leave to help Susie. The insurance company that Nike uses has not yet acknowledged my faxing and mailing of the documents to them. I will have to manually upload each page tomorrow if they still refuse to acknowledge my documents. Yes, the trials go on.

The president had an emergency news conference today to announce that the stock market broke 30,000 today. He took credit for that and thanked everyone for working in his administration. I also received an eMail from RiteAid saying they are ready to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine and will keep us informed when we can get it. It is free to anyone, the eMail said.

Susie has physical therapy tomorrow. She was tired today from the exercises. She did a lot more today than the previous days.

We will keep going. It is getting better each day. It is not easy.

As the president said, the US stock market has never been higher. Nike stock is steady at about $134 now. My 401K is now showing more than a 15% return for 2020.

The deaths count is more than two-thousand one-hundred today in the USA from the virus. This is a rate we have not seen since the terrible times in April.

I went with one I know, Where He Leads Me, as it just seemed to fit today.

Day 254: Monday Again!

Today started about 8ish, and I totally forgot that Susie had an appointment for hair, toes, nails, and so on with Zerida at 9. Susie remembered and was ready in time, and Susie was off on-time. I did manage to do the dishes, and we ordered Thai food for Corwin and me for lunch. I had Pud Thai with shrimp, my usual. This was from the Thailand Restaurant that I often got take-out from when working at the office. The food is spicy and good.

Susie returned from her appointment with lunch from McDonald’s: Chicken McNugget HappyMeal. This is a fav. Susie took a rest after that. She quickly tires.

I did some more communication for work and put in for another week off. This is a short week–Thanksgiving Week–so I am missing very little this week (nothing usually happens this week). I plan to return to work this coming Monday–this will still be working from home due to Covid-19.

I did some more editing on some Howard stories using Grammarly to fix all the misses. It is hard not to wince at each mistake I missed. I decided to work on all the critical mistakes first. I will do more contextual editing after the basic fixes are in.

I read a bit and rested for a bit. I played a game of Istanbul with the coffee add-on for fun this afternoon against myself. I play a two-person game and see who will win trying to make the score as close as possible.

Dinner is BBQ tonight, and I finally found wooden matches in the garage. It was so dark at 4:30 with the overcast clouds that I could not see. I had to bring up a light to see to light the grill. Finally, I managed to light the gas using a wooden match.

I grilled bratwursts. I try not to carbonize them (I forgot about them a year ago and had carbon), but I like them very well cooked. I, as usual, took the most burned one–slightly crunchy. We had them with potato salad. Susie and Corwin liked them.

I forgot to include Matt Vincent in my Dungeons and Dragons remote game reminder email yesterday! We played today, he (with no notice) and Mackers could not make it, but we had enough players to get through a few difficult encounters. We use Roll20 online service to play D&D 5th Edition (5E) online. Roll20 also has video conferences built-in so we can see each other and talk. I run the games as the Dungeon Master (DM), and everyone else has a character to play. The software even provides lighting effects for the players. They can only see as far as their simulated light sources will let them see.

I spent a few hours reading and preparing for the game today.

Today’s story was about the dreaded Drow Dark Elves and their ruined temple in the Mad Mage’s Dungeon, deep down about halfway to the bottom of the complex. The adventurers are looking to find glory and fortune in the Mad Mage’s Dungeon. Their largest battle was a fight today was with piles of bones and junk that had been animated into undead shambling mounds. The mounds swallowed three characters, but they managed to cut out of them and finish off the vile undead bone piles. Before that, they fought two mutated Drow that was more like giants than Drow Dark Elves. My automated rolls were abysmal for that battle, and the battle was shorter than I expected. It happens sometimes. The adventurers are slowly looting and driving the Drow out.

We have planned occupational therapy for Susie tomorrow, and a new physical therapist comes on Wednesday, Jonathan. Our previous PT had to stop, and so we get a new guy.

Today the certification of the election continues with Michigan certifying its votes for Joe Biden, and the GSA agreed to begin the transition.

The reports have more than nine-hundred seventy people dying today in the USA from the infection. The vaccine is only weeks away.

I turned to this song in the Methodist Hymnal (525) and then found this excellent solo version: We’ll Understand It Better By and By.

Day 253: Sunday Simple Day

Today was quiet too. That is really a blessing as I felt better, so I could get a bit of rest and relaxation. Yesterday I was just tired.

I started at about 8ish, and I just went slow. I read my email and had breakfast. I then ordered some groceries from Amazon.com as an experiment. They will be here in the morning Monday. Delivery is more expensive than Safeway.com, and the items more expensive. So far, the experiment is failing.

Susie started when her mother called and said there was ice skating on the TV. We found that, and I got Susie Eggo waffles with peanut butter. I stepped out for 30 minutes to get some items from Safeway. I thought we could have some more items after reading some recipes I have. Some Thai and Indian style chicken and veggies are possible this week now.

Susie is doing her exercises. She is keeping her journal. She remembers much when I ask her, but she still misses here and there. We keep working on it. Her walking is looking better, and her side stepping is better. This morning she did have trouble getting started, and she was unsure of her movements.

Dinner was reheated stew from two days ago. It was better reheated. I made it with garlic bread I picked up fresh from Safeway.

I watched some more of the Amazon Prime series, The Hunters. It is another well done Hollywood version of history and fiction mixed. This is Nazi hunters in the 1970s. I like it, but it has all usual the warnings–not for kids.

I also wanted to get the board game Istanbul rules down for one of the add-ons I have (I have the big-box version with all the add-ons). I played a game with Mocha and Baksheesh add-on. I just enjoy playing it. There is no official solo version. I just play a two-player game and play both sides and see who will win.

Notice that the white player is a women. I change the image from all men.

I finished up the initial fixes for the Howard’s Lockdown story–I fixed the ending. I started on the fixes for Howard in Amsterdam. It needs work. I still want to add an epilogue to Howard’s Lockdown story to add 2020 Halloween and some more election jokes to it. I will also need to fix up the other three Howard stories.

More than eight-hundred sixty folks in the USA died today from the virus including one person from Oregon.

I turned to this hymn is the Methodist Hymnal, #648, and had not heard it before: God the Spirit, Guide and Guardian.