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Day 252: Slow Saturday

My inner ear is a bit off today, and I am dizzy. I hope the cold tonight can bring an end to all the pollen that is making me a bit grumpy and messing with my ears. I missed a meet-up and did not play any games today. Slow today.

I started about 8ish this morning. I managed some sleep, but I woke tired. I managed to get up and read email and news. I called a few people, taking to mom Wild. Before I knew it, it was noon. I ordered lunch from Gyro House in Beaverton. I had a lamb gyro and got lentil soup and bread for Susie as a change.

I always put a note on my order to Gyro House that I miss them. Today they wrote back.

Message in lunch

I spent the day staying inside working on a 6000-word story I wrote about my hero Howard in the lockdown. I want to add an epilogue as we are now a bit further into the lockdown, and I want to include a few more events.

I did take a few breaks for a short nap and to read when hours and hours of editing got to me.

Susie is doing her exercises every day.

I used Grammarly to edit the story. Grammarly has an add-in for the Microsoft Word version I had to buy when I upgraded my Mac this week. Before, I had to upload the story and then download it. Now I can just run it inside of the document, cool! The new hard drive is very fast and I see no time to save now.

I had a huge number of issues. It took all day to get the document corrected. I also noted that the newest part of the story needs work before I start on the epilogue. I was am happy that all the fixes are in now. I just have to rework the last sections.

I made cheese burgers, no bun for Susie, for dinner for just Susie and I.

Susie is watching an old Clint Eastwood film while I write. I made microwave popcorn to go with it. I have missed popcorn and going out to the movies. It is not the same, but fresh popcorn is always good!

Today it was reported in the USA that fourteen-hundred sixty people died from the virus including seven from Oregon.

Today I went to something I found on YouTube, GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO. Antonio Vivaldi.

Day 251: Susie is 29 again

Zoom calls do not synchronize sound well. Today is Susie’s birthday, and I managed to connect with her aunts, uncle, mother, and sister on Zoom today to celebrate. Susie asked for carrot cake. I made one for her from scratch that was excellent. The cake’s spices are a bit more intense, and the roasted walnuts make it marvelous. I also made the frosting from scratch, and I discovered that the fresh-made frosting is lighter and fresher than what is used on store-bought cakes. I often scrap it off the cake. I had only a ‘5’ candle, but that worked–I did not have an ‘8’. I lighted the candle, and a completely out of sync “Happy Birthday” followed. Susie blew it out. I served cake for us here in the house.

Everyone was happy to have seen and talked to each other. I had to pull the curtains closed as it was oddly bright in Oregon today for folks to see Susie on screen. While we were meeting on Zoom, Joyce’s flowers arrived–Joyce is Susie’s aunt. We were able to show everyone the flowers via Zoom.

A huge balloon bouquet appears a few hours after the Zoom called ended.

Susie with balloons

Before the balloons arrived, we drove across Beaverton in Air Volvo to Dondrea’s house. I had bought a huge amount of spice that I had divided for her, and I had some books too. Dondrea suggested a book about the 1898 Chicago Fair, I read it, and then I had to know more and bought the original guides. I had bought two copies from eBay and AbeBooks–I thought there were different books, but no. She gets one for suggesting the story to me. I also had two copies of the Green Book (a reprint of a guide book for Black Americans in the 1950s on how to travel safely in the USA for African Americans) and included that in the books to give to Dondrea. The Green Book is featured in the popular book and hit TV series Lovecraft Country. I had bought the reprints and again managed to get two. So a spare to Dondrea. I also included my copy of Lovecraft Country I bought for reading on a trip–I don’t usually buy physical books. Finally, I put in some carrot cake and a recipe for German Goulash in the bag.

We pulled into the driveway, and Susie stayed in the car. I handed the bag of stuff to Dondrea. It was the first time we have seen each other since February! It was nice to see her and share my extras. We had masks, and we did not break our bubbles. We left after just a few minutes.

After we returned, Dinner was a German Goulash like strew. I add carrots, potatoes, and celery to the meat and onion recipe. I also baked this in the oven. I should have cut the meat smaller. We have enough left for a few more dinners!

Starting from the start, the morning began a bit late, and we had the Physical Therapist here at 11ish. She was delighted with Susie’s improvements in walking and spent an hour with Susie on exercises and checks. I showed the PT Susie’s skating video, just the short program, which I think made the connection a bit stronger, but we learned this was her last session with us. New procedures require a set of staff to be supplied to facilities (they have to be tested twice a week for Covid-19), and our PT, Michelle, is one of the people headed to facilities. The change is to make folks safer, but we will miss Michelle and will have to start again with a new PT next week.

In case I have missed this, Covid-19 really sucks! Lockdowns suck!

I have ordered prime-rib dinners for Susie and me for Thanksgiving from Golden Valley Brewery. Dan Gray had asked me my plan, and I thought about cooking, but plan ‘B’ was GVB. It is now The Plan. I am scheduled to pick up our dinner at 2:30 on Thanksgiving Day. Again, GVB has been one of my go-to places for this disaster. Thanks, Dan, for asking!

I am reading The Word is Murder: A Novel, Kindle version, of course. I like the new approach this novel uses to tell a detective story. The story is set a few years ago in London and written in the first person. The novel follows a writer who starts to tag along with a detective, one he does not really like, to tell the detective’s story and how the detective solves a murder. The writer in the book is a BBC writer, and the book purports that the writer writes for well-known shows like my fav Foyer’s War. The writer character in the book is trying to expand his writing to include real-world events. It is fun and dark and full of sidebars of what it is like to be a writer. So far, I really like it.

More than nineteen-hundred twenty people died from Covid-19 today in the USA.

I found a communion song that seems to fit the start of the holidays, Come Let Us Eat. This is Methodist Hymnal #625.

Day 250: Quiet Thursday

I started my day at 5:45ish this morning. Susie was up to use the bathroom, and I discovered I had a headache, so I got up to get a drink of water. I decided to just start my day like normal, about 6ish. I have been sleeping in late for a few days. It felt good to have an early start.

I also have to admit that having my personal laptop back made it feel like a more normal morning. I could do my email and read the news as usual. The same way I have been doing this for more than a decade. The current Mac is actually the continuation of two other previous Macs–I just restore to the next new physical system. I try not to be a creature of habit as that can lead to disappointments, but it is nice to be back to my familiar screens and set-up.

To that end, I received a My Passport brand external hard drive from Amazon today that I am now using as a backup device via Time Machine. I have to plug it in to use it, but it is much faster than the WiFi solution I previously used and has 5TB to handle updates. It took two hours to get caught up on back-ups, not the WiFi all night update. I have moved to newer technology! I am current on back-ups (again) and can work safely again.

I also have a perfect copy of the previous files on a Lacie hard drive–these are shock-proof and to some degree waterproof hard drives. I restored the Mac files to this hard drive first to ensure I had a safe collection of my files before trying to get the laptop to work again. I will stick this spare in a safe location. This is how I ensure I do not lose files anything over time. I even have a copy of an old Windows system on a shelf on another USB drive–this was the predecessor computer to my Mac and for a few years lived a virtual Windows instance on a Mac Mini. It has some of my original Dungeons and Dragons writing on it.

Returning to events of this morning, I spent the morning making a Carrot Cake for Susie’s next 29th birthday on Friday. I made it from scratch using a recipe from King Arthur’s Flour. Corwin and I shredded carrots and I got bowls and pans ready to make a layer cake. I then executed the cake.

One of the cakes fell (the center collapsed). The center was not fully cooked. I put it back in the oven and decided to ignore that. It is a carrot cake, extra moist! If it was a regular cake, we would be looking at a do-over.

I let the cakes cool. I watched the series on Amazon Prime, Truth Seekers until Susie gets going. It is a mix of horror and SciFi with the goofiness I adore and try to emulate in my own writing. Truth Seekers is about a cable guy with the hobby of investigating the unknown. Not only has he found it, but it has also noticed him. In the story, he does a YouTube channel and is tied into a community of fellow wackos. Just fun and scary too.

Susie did her exercises and took her special Thursday only medications. We stayed in all day as there is a lot of virus cases out there. No time for an outing!

I called Senator Wyden’s office and asked them to try to help stop the election shenanigans in Michigan. I spoke to a nice person at the Portland office for the Senator and told them to look at the 1876 Election for what is happening; Chef Justice Rehnquist wrote a book about it that, if you can get through the dry start, is quite amusing and explains what happens when votes are not certified. Oregon was unable to certify its votes in 1876, and Michigan could go that way. The Supreme Court selected the President for 1876!

The nice gal said she would tell the Senator that I called and what the subject was and look up the book. I do not think Senator Wyden can do anything, but he has at least one person originally from Michigan and now living in Oregon, me, called and said essentially, “ugh.”

Once the cakes are cool, I make the frosting and use a cake knife to cut the cake flat on the bottom. This of course allows us to sample the cake. It is a bit more intense than spice cakes I have made from a mix. The roasted walnuts are marvelous. The frosting is not as easy to make as I hoped. The powdered sugar had lumps (!?); I have to add some cream to the mix and beat it until my arm is tired. The frosting is a bit thin but a mix of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla tastes fresh with a hit of tang. I also do not like a lot of frosting. I tribble some leftover frosting on the cake bits I cut off. Excellent!

The cake is done and sprinkled with almond slices. It does not fit in the frig, but it is cold tonight, so it is on the deck in a Tupperware cake case.

I had a cleaning appointment with the dentist today. Masks and care took every step. No change, so we will just return in six months.

Susie has her Physical Therapy appointment on Friday. I read and napped a bit—Susie even rode her bike for the first time after the stroke.

First easy day in weeks. Dinner was Beefaroni for Susie from a can and a sandwich for me.

Deaths from the virus in the USA today rocketed to more than a dismal two-thousand sixty. This includes twenty deaths in Oregon and is the worst day for Oregon so far in 2020. New reports are that the hospitals are filling-up in Oregon. The next three months will be hard.

I have done this song before, but it fits today’s news: A Little Mercy Now.

Day 249: Tough Day for Susie

Today was a non-stroke related medical appointment for Susie. The dermatologist appointment was just after lunchtime, and Susie had seven skin biopsies. This is in addition to the six she had last month. Those include multiple pre-cancer lesions that need to be removed; Mohs surgery is already scheduled over two different days in December. We are challenged with more skin items likely to be in 2021. This is a tough day!

After that adventure, we stopped by McDonald’s and Burger King for lunch. We actually ate it in the car while we got gas for Air Volvo. Refueling is unusual as we do not travel much. The new lockdown in Oregon, starting today, eliminates most reasons for leaving the house.

I ordered groceries, we are almost out of toilet paper, including some add-ons for Susie from Safeway.com. Susie wants a carrot cake for her birthday. I have found at King Arthur Flour’s website a recipe that looks good. I have most of the items now, but I might need two tries at this, so I ordered extra.

My Apple computer, a 2014 Retinal Mac Pro, finally finished restoring my data, profiles, and applications this early evening. I was able to bring it back to life. I did have to buy a Microsoft Word License, but I have managed to limp along on my old license from two Macs ago; I have avoided the Apple-Microsoft “tax” for years. Big Sur, the version I had to install, has knocked over a lot of my software, but so far I have only had to re-buy Word.

Even Dr. Fauci was working on summoning back my Mac!

Note: My last backup was twenty minutes before the crash. I recovered all data and even every email. The John Wick 2 movie copy to local was the event that tripped the failure–the irony is not lost on me. It is remarkable that I have experienced three total failures and have used Time Machine to recover 100% each time. The only data loss that I have experienced was some PDFs that Apple tried to copy to their iCloud storage, never from a hardware failure or backup failure.

Susie was tired from the biopsies (they usually start to hurt on the next day), and I was still getting my Apple set-up (most of the setting survived, but there are always little surprises) we ordered from Happy Panda Chinese. It is always good, fresh, well made if you don’t mind the generic American version.

I have learned in my adventure with the Apple that Time Capsule is a dead technology. Apparently, it overloads WiFi and is slow (that I can confirm) to restore. I have ordered a new 5TB drive with uses USB to use for Time Machine back-ups. My Apple is also no longer supported in any way by Apple, with no spare parts available. I have a dual-core 3Ghz with 16G memory, and it was cutting edge four years ago. It is running Big Sur without slowing. I will resist replacing this for a while, I think.

Note: I have installed a 2TB Aura SSD, and is about three times faster than my old original hard drive and twice the size. It is also the largest drive available for this platform now. I do not wish to ever again open the laptop!

A hard day for us, but we have passed through it. I just have a dentist cleaning on Thursday. That looks easy compared to these last weeks!

I have all my tools back.

The US stock market went up when there appeared to be a vaccine. The stock market went down when their appears to be no stimulus plan, no plan or funning to distribute the vaccine, and new lockdown are being done helter-skelter across the USA. But, Nike stock is at $132. My 401K is at record levels.

More than nineteen-hundred sixty people died today in the USA from the virus include ten people from Oregon. The rate of deaths is back to the April level. I fear a disaster is coming; the hospitals and the health care system cannot handle what is coming. I cry.

I found this song with an adaption by a relative of my favorite war hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, and could only find this version that I liked: As the Sun Doth Daily Rise.

Day 248: Tuesday Tired

Susie had some issues at 5:30AM this morning. I had to do some caregiver work and clean-up some things. Details are best not recalled. This left me with interrupted sleep. I got going about 10ish very tired and even a bit dizzy. Being an IT person, I knew it would pass. I started slow. The dizzy part passed and I was careful all day.

I continued with laundry and get something to eat. I get Susie going at 11ish. My Mac is still restoring and did get about 1/3 done. The restore process is running very slow. I really miss my computer and all my cool tools. Really want it done. It looks like another day of waiting.

We had Holly from Occupational Therapy here at 12:30. She went over Susie’s current abilities to help run the house hold and how safe Susie is moving about the house. Susie has some new exercises. She is to keep a journal to help her remember her day. Susie is also carry her laundry out of the bedroom.

After that I made some cheese hamburgers for lunch. I try to use the food we have already. Susie had her burger and cheese without a bun with potato salad.

I took a nap and try not to watch my Mac restore. I put some of my figures around the Mac and my Dr. Fauci Boblehead for luck.

I made chicken soup from a can and cheese and salami on crackers for dinner.

We then watched Nova’s Can We Cool The Planet and then I read some more.

We have more medical stuff on Wednesday.

Today it was reported that more than sixteen-hundred ten people died today in the USA from the virus.

Today’s hymn is one I think I can sing: I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light.