Day 38: Wednesday 5 Phase 1: Normal Wednesday

Today the 6AM start and 7AM first meeting came too soon. I completed the coding for the vendor patches while listening to meetings on Zoom.

I took off Friday and Monday. Looking at tomorrow, my Thursday has 30 minutes not booked at this time–ugly, which includes starting at 8AM and ending at 5PM with lunch being booked with an “optional” meeting. Many times I am double-booked.

Returning today, lunch was busy, so I made chili pie. I got a can of Stag Chili from a can and warmed it in a pan. I got corn taco shells and heated them. I put the chili over broken taco shells and covered with cheese: Chili pie. It was easy to do while listening to Zoom meetings.

I am on book 13 of the Maisie Dobbs series. I found book 11 an overly dark story, but I liked 12, Journey to Munich. I really liked books 2-10, book one being just OK.

I was not feeling that well so I laid down for a bit. My right knee is painful. The pain is slowly going away.

Dinner was KFC delivered. I played The Grand Austria Hotel with Corwin’s business partner Evan while Corwin worked on his new forge.


The gameplay was a bit rough as I had to remember all the rules and Evan had never played it before. I remember some criticism I read about The Grand Hotel Austria saying the game has too much going on to learn quickly and it is easy to forget a rule. We had to do a few catch-ups on scoring. I still like the game, but it is hard for new players.

The stock market went up and down today. Again, there seems little logic to its moves.

The reports are that eight-hundred ninety Americans were slain by the virus today including four people from Oregon and eleven from Michigan. The infection rate in the USA is explosive.

I found this song, many don’t like the use of ‘war’ in the song, but I like this friendly version: Onward, Christian Soldiers. I remember it being fun to sing.

Day 37: Tuesday 4 Phase 1: More Work and Forge

Today I was a bit slow and got going online for Nike about 7AM. The day I spent mostly apply software changes by hand. It is always a strange feeling to be coding again, even when it is just to follow directions in a PDF. I am now an architect for computer systems and should not be coding, but it is still satisfying to return to your roots and code something.

Today was coding and getting some basics corrected here and there at work. It seemed like a clean-up day as I try to listen to Zoom meetings, code, and help get some clean-up on some processes done. So a more regular day.

Susie was up before noon today, so I took her out to lunch. Masked, we joined a few people at BJ Brewhouse. We had tried it before, and they seem to take safety very seriously there. I had the soba noodles with chicken, slightly spicy, and simple, but almonds and broccoli florets and shredded carrot take it to a higher level. Susie ordered a whole rack of ribs and put the second half in a box to bring home.

So later today, we set up Corwin’s forge on the deck. It is a small brick forge that costs only about a hundred bucks and made in Michigan, my home state. I have been looking for a low-end buy-in to blacksmithing for Corwin as he wants to be a bladesmith. Finally, found one: Sarqit Outdoor Living School. Sarqit makes a propane heated forge for blade work. It is made of some fire bricks and a propane torch.

We set it up on the deck, and after the first torch failed to work, we got another one. We got it running on small bottles of propane, and Corwin spent hours banging on metal. Over the years, we have acquired some items such as a test supply of steel, metal worker gloves, railroad anvil (old railroad railing cut in about a foot section bolted to a wooden log), and a few other smaller items. Today Corwin brought them all together and started heating the metal and using the railroad anvil.


(Corwin’s new forge, simple but working).

While I heard the hammering, I defrosted some pork chops.  Simple again for dinner, just fry pork chops in the pan with butter and Herbes de Provence. Pan then lifted and put in 350F oven to finish. I made couscous again, we have a case, with almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and a hint of cinnamon and cardamon. Corn from frozen steamed added a veggie to our dinner. Susie thought it was good.

So Corwin was hammering and doing what he has always wanted to do today, Susie got to have ribs and a short trip, and I was coding at work. Not a bad day.

Today I also received my technology from Adafruit in New York City. I have a new HalloWing M4 Express. This has a little screen and is shaped like a skull but runs on an M4 in Python (“Excellent,” I would say in my best Mr. Burns voice). I have a convex glass lens to put on the screen to make the eye look 3-D. It comes with software to project an eye looking around-creepy. It is for Halloween. I hope we will be able to do the trick and treat things then!  I also picked up a Grand Central M4 with headers for more proto-typing work–My goto for robots.

The stock market gave back much of the explosive growth of Monday, volatility continues. I am just holding on to what I have.

I find it so sad to report that the expected increase in the deaths has happened with just under a thousand Americans losing their battle with Covid-19 today. This rate is the highest number in three weeks–the experts predicted that the death rate will follow the increase in infections by three to four weeks. We are there now. Reports are that they are running out of ICU beds in Florida. Here in Oregon, the infection rate has doubled in the last month. I am keeping mostly locked down with just a few trips for lunch to keep our sanity!

I went with the song that came to me when trying to find something to fit the increasing death and infection rates and the lack of ICU beds: Are Ye Able.




Day 36: Monday 4, Phase 1: Monday Back To Work

Well, 6AMish came rather soon this morning. I was back at it and working today from home. I decided the best thing to do was, after seeing my paid-time-off balance was still over 120 hours that I need more time off! So I took off Friday and Mondy.

I worked all morning and started to do some coding. This is applying vendor patches (OSS notes to you SAP folks), but these are manual, and you have to code them. So I was writing code while listening to meetings and attending Zoom calls.

I ordered Pho for lunch that was delivered while I was on yet another Zoom call.

I had Corwin chop a red onion for me and run three pounds of most excellent boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Again, I would not want to meet the chicken that had thighs like those in a dark ally, huge!

My meetings went to 6PM. I then helped finish dinner. I cut the large chicken parts in half and covered them with the onion in a dutch oven pot. I added three tablespoons of  Zamouri Tagine Moroccan Chicken Spices and just a dribble of olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes at 350F. Cut up a preserved lemon and remove seeds. Get a handful of green or better olives. Add that and back for another 25 minutes.

I made couscous to go with it. Two cups of chicken broth heat up–just warm is good. While that is heating throw three teaspoons of butter in a skillet and get it warm–not too hot. Add about 1/2 cup of almond slices and cut them a bit. Add about a cup of yellow raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a light dash of cardamon (careful it has a strong flavor). Then I dump in a box of coucous (1 1/3 cup) into the pan and toast it. I stop before it browns. When you see brown, stop and lift the pan off the burner! Pour the almonds, raisins, and couscous into the warm chicken broth without making a mess, likely the warm broth with boil when the hot grain hit it. Stir, and it will be done. No more heat!

The broth from the chicken is poured over the couscous side, chicken pieces and olives and lemon bits on top.

Susie and Corwin loved it.

The stock market flew out of control. Records are breaking, and my 401K is again back to positive earnings.

Today I learned that Federal Marshals are arresting protestors in Portland, Oregon. The President made good his threats. Portland groups are working to help folks in the virtually unknown process for federal charges on protesting and bailing people. I have no other statement to give on this.

I am breaking out in hives today. So this will be short.

The reports are that more than two-hundred-fifty Americans were lost to the infection today. The infection rate is explosive in some states, and the military has more than three-thousand four hundred new infections reported today–pray for our military! I thought a Psalm would work for today, Psalm 91.







Day 35: Sunday 4 Phase 1: Quiet Sunday

Today I slept in and missed the delivery of my groceries. They came early, and I thought it was Corwin coming home. I found them later and put them away.

I had pizza for breakfast. I, of course, made coffee, Mexican Fair Trade. Nothing like the taste of liberal border-crossing coffee in the morning.


I went to work on the Titanic model today, as it seems I can only get to it on weekends. I managed to get half of the enclosed promenade buildings done without too many issues. This includes putting in all the tiny windows and gluing the building walls into the model with all the new windows. I also replaced a wall with a brass replacement that came with the etched brass replacement parts. It looks terrific and is part of the front of the ship. The classic look of the vessel has been redone in etched brass to remove the bulky plastic you usually see on a model like this. I am really hoping to get that famous curved white look you see in the movies and drawings.

I started on the funnels and have undercoated them with a light white to kill the bright orange (?!) plastic from the kit. I have also added most of the etched brass to the funnels and decided to pass on rigging the funnels. I don’t think it will improve the model and, if poorly done, will ruin the model.

My working on tiny scales with etched brass has improved. I can now bend small parts. It is still hard to avoid crushing a railing, but I am getting better at fixing crushed railings!

I also started on the deck chairs in tiny brass. I folded my first one and then dropped it. It has disappeared like it found a little black hole. I have plenty more I can do. Just funny that the first one just vanished.

I suspect I have months more to go on the model, but they suddenly come together.


Susie and I went out for dinner and beer with a friend at Cedar Hills McMenamin’s. Purple Haze is our beer of choice. We talked about many things, including ideas for how my Howard’s Lockdown science fiction story will go. I did not get to any new writing today.

Just a quiet day. I might do some baking yet. I started this early so I could have some time left tonight.

Today the reports are that the death rate is still decreasing, and more than two-hundred-fifty died of the virus today in the USA. The infection rate is increasing, with Oregon, adding 300 more infections just today.

I know I have done this song before, but I find this arrangement and thought we should just do it to remember the marchers: WSSU Choir – Lift Every Voice and Sing – arr. Roland M. Carter.


Day 34: Saturday 4 Phase 1: July 4th

Today is a holiday, and I slept in. I not moving until 10ish. Sleep came, and I decided that while it was here, I should spend more time with that old friend. When I finally got going, I made Mexican Fair Trade coffee. Nothing like some liberal border-crossing brew to get you started on the right path in the morning.

I made lemon ginger scones last night from King Arthur mix. I am now through about half of the case I ordered at the beginning of the emergency. They are good.

I worked a bit on the model Titanic and have started on the enclosed promenade deck. This is mostly attaching tiny brass window frames to the model.

I made bean and chicken and veggie soup today. When the emergency started, it was impossible to get soup starters, so I found some at The Women’s Bean Project. I decided to make soup today. So far, I am the only one who has had any. It is good. I bagged it and froze it.

Lunch was leftover pizza from The Rock. I like to microwave it hot and then let it sit so the warm get through the whole slice and then do another run to get is sizzling. I then let it cool down. The crust is a bit too soft, but it is still good.

I wrote more science fiction: Howard’s Lockdown.  Today I invented Dreamland Portland near the doomed city of the unspeakable elder god’s city. I am working on a Dicken’s like story of three cultists visiting Howard. I will not want a very long story as you need to keep it light if you are harvesting Dickens! Currently, in my account, Howard is traveling with the entity of cults of the past, Alister Crowley, and just left a bar that serves extracts of books. Mr. Crowley ordered the drink Audit with No Regrets. Made from the extract of tax law books and a biography of Henry VIII, shaken with an olive.

I am planning, someday, to publish Howard’s stories. The stories match some of my travels. Istanbul, Amsterdam, Orlando computer conferences, and a Christmas story I wrote riding Amtrak. I write one from my experiences and imagination.

I also squeezed in a practice game of Istanbul. Set-up for two players. I play both. I added coffee.

Tonight is firework night. My street has acquired a massive supply of illegal fireworks. Going with the summer theme: We are the People Our Parents Warned Us About Jimmy Buffett. The explosions and flashes are ongoing.


(Susie out for the fireworks, kept on masks and social distance)


(the fireworks were close, that is the tree in my front yard)

Reports are confusing. The death rate is down with over two-hundred-fifty Americans dying today from the virus. The infection rate continues to explode.

I found this new hymn I had not heard before that seemed to work for me: The First One Ever.