Push For Spring

Weather has finally warmed up after a couple weeks of the most frigid cold I have experienced since childhood. I never lost power or water. A friend of mine in Omaha said they had rolling black outs but she was without power for only a couple hours.

I weathered the worst of winter pretty well. Even though I don’t leave my apartment every day, I still keep in contact with friends and family. My neighbor and I drop in on each other a few times a week to check in on each other. I did sleep a lot this winter but haven’t had any truly serious problems. Still get groceries delivered a few times a month.

Mentally I’m stable. At least as stable as I can be during a pandemic. I’ve had a few breakdowns over the last year. But they were short lived and didn’t require meds changes or going the the hospital. It sometimes gets lonely, to be sure. I’m glad I love to read and can keep myself occupied that way. While I’m not currently on any major reading projects, I usually spend a couple hours a day reading online articles. Most of them are science, tech, and business related. I try to avoid most things about politics. Too divisive and stressful for my tastes.

As far as computer games go, I’ve dusted a few of my older games off and been messing with those lately. I’ve gotten into Medieval Total War and the Railroad Tycoon series the last couple weeks. Sometimes I’ll do PlayStation Madden NFL or FIFA Soccer for a change up. I can’t really get into first person shooter games much. They just don’t hold my interest quite like Civilization or the Total War series.

Still doing lots of cooking. My cleaning lady told me she can tell a good cook by how messy the kitchen is after a meal. I still don’t eat fast food very often. Actually haven’t had any fast food since before Christmas. Most fast food upsets my stomach and makes me feel sluggish any more. But I do make lots of soups and pasta dishes. I do grilling on the Foreman grill too. Don’t do any baking or desserts though. I haven’t tried my hand at baking sourdough bread yet.

Been watching small college football on the weekends. It seems weird to be watching football in February. But then the last year has been anything but typical. I renewed my ESPN Plus subscription so I can catch some of these games. And baseball spring training has been going for almost a couple weeks now. I don’t usually feel like winter is ending until I’ve seen a preseason baseball game or two.

My parents have now had both rounds of the covid vaccine. They’re getting out and about more often. They pick up the grandkids from school usually a couple times per week and do in person shopping and church. And I heard that a third vaccine has been approved here in the US just a couple days ago. Maybe we are starting to see the end of the line for this pandemic. I probably will get my vaccine sometime this summer. Not being a senior citizen or essential worker means I’m pretty low priority. But I’ve avoided getting sick for a year now. A few more months is manageable.

February 16 2021

Been having a prolonged cold spell lately. Probably the worst I can remember in over 30 years. I think we have at least 18 inches of snow in my hometown. Hard to tell as my windows have been frosted over for several days. We haven’t lost power in my town. Heard that several million people in Texas have been without power since yesterday. During this cold spell, I usually go to bed shortly after sunset, wake up for a couple hours in the middle of the night, and go back to sleep until 7am.

As I had some back up food, I haven’t had to get out in this mess. Been eating lots of soup and pasta lately. I haven’t even been off my floor in over a week. My neighbor is kind enough to pick up my mail a couple times a week. I give him laundry money in return.

Mentally I’m still stable. I do have a couple minor flare ups every day, but they usually pass after several minutes. The mornings are usually the worst for these. I haven’t been really depressed about having to limit my in person interactions, at least not lately. It helps I can still keep in contact with friends and family via Zoom calls, phone calls, social media, etc.

My friends aren’t doing as well as I am. My friend in Omaha is having epileptic seizures again and has to work from home My friend in Denver is pulling lots of double shifts as her company can’t keep much for new hires. My only real problem is chronic back pain. But it doesn’t effect me much as I can have most things delivered to my house.

Mid Winter 2021

I’m still staying close to home most of the time. I still spend a good chunk of my time listening to audiobooks. Saw the first two seasons of Black Mirror over the last week. Quite chilling about how bad people can abuse some of these newer techs.

I have been more aches and pains the last couple weeks. But they are usually worse in cold weather anyway. We’re supposed to get a real bad cold spell in a couple days that could last a week. So I won’t be going anywhere unless I have to.

Mentally been having minor flare ups again. Fortunately they don’t last long. I can weather them better when I am alone. Sometimes takes several minutes to get through them. But I make a point to avoid people during these episodes. I won’t even answer the phone or the door if they are bad enough.

I still keep in contact with friends and family several times a week. They are ready for this pandemic to be over too. My friend in Denver is planning on moving out of the city as soon as she can afford some rural property. Says things have gotten real bad in the cities, especially in the last year.

Jan 26 2021

We got over a foot of snow on the ground right now. I’m staying inside for awhile. I’m content to read, play computer games, and stay warm. I was supposed to have a couple packages from Amazon come this afternoon. Don’t know if they’ll be delayed or not. Packages delayed by snowstorms isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination.

I am still sleeping a great deal. Most nights I go to bed around 10pm and wake for good around 9am. I wake up a couple times in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and stretch. I usually get stiff and sore after sleeping for several hours. I have found stretching for a minute or two before I get out of bed can knock most of this down.

I haven’t visited my neighbors this week. I’m pretty content to stay home and keep to myself and my audiobooks. Typical mid winter for me.

I have all but given up on social media. I chat with a few friends, a couple neighbors, and a couple cousins. That is it. If I don’t know someone in person I will no longer chat with them over social media. It’s no longer worth the headaches and stress. The only reason I keep facebook is so I can have instant messaging. I cancelled twitter over a year ago. I understand why many social media sites are becoming ghost towns. It’s no longer any fun outside of close friends and family.

January 20 2021

Been sleeping more the last several days. Just been more on edge and irritable than usual. I usually leave my apartment only to pick up mail or do laundry, at least for the last week. We haven’t gotten much snow the last few weeks. Looks bleak and dead outside of my window with the gray skies and no snow.

I still keep in contact with family on an almost daily basis. My parents are getting their covid vaccines tomorrow. Then they’ll get their second round within a couple weeks. They are looking forward to being able to get out more and socialize in person. They’ve been doing zoom calls for everything for family gatherings to church services since this whole mess started.

I have been listening to audiobooks and watching history channels on youtube. Currently working on some Isaac Asimov right now. Haven’t been watching much for sports lately. Seems kind of extravagant to be watching ballgames when thousands of people are dying everyday in a worldwide pandemic. It’s just not the same watching games with really limited crowds. Looking forward to the Olympics this summer. I have no doubt Japan will be a great host. Hopefully we can get crowds back at events like baseball games and outdoor concerts by the end of summer.

I’m still amazed that several vaccines were able to get developed in only one year. Goes to show what can be accomplished when the stakes are high, funding is abundant, and the best minds in the world are focused on one single issue. Even though covid has infected and killed millions of people, I am hopeful that we can solve even bigger problems coming in the upcoming decades. If we can develop several vaccines for covid in only one year, maybe we can build colonies on Mars and reverse climate change. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we as a civilization are focused.

January 2 2021

Another holiday season has come and gone. I saw my parents a couple days before Christmas. Had Christmas dinner with them. First time I saw them since June. We still have lots of snow on the ground so I don’t get out much these days. Been content to stay home, listen to audiobooks, and play computer games.

Been sleeping more lately. I have more or less kept to myself between Christmas and New Year’s. Been feeling kind of irritable and short tempered the last few days. So I’m reducing my caffeine and trying to sleep more. I also make a point of avoiding rude and angry people. I think the pandemic is getting to most people I know. It’s gotten to me sometimes even if I try not to take it out on others. Two of my cousins had covid this fall. There have been a few thousand cases in my hometown with a few dozen deaths. So it is here even several hours outside of major cities. Granted we haven’t had the protests or looting that some places have. If I wasn’t concerned about covid I probably would get out and about more often. But as I am mentally ill and overweight I already have two conditions that would make covid worse than normal for me. I still have some face masks, a bottle of hand sanitizer, plenty of soap, and enough food supplies and meds I can stay bunkered down for weeks if needed.

I guess the highlights of my week are when my neighbors and I drop in on each other just to check in. My neighbor across the hall is kind enough to pick up my mail and help me out a couple times a week. In exchange I will usually give him some face masks or some quarters. We have a soda pop machine on ground floor that has the coldest soda pop I ever had. It’s worth the 75 cents a can to get a frigid Diet Coke. Our laundry machines still take quarters too. My mom gave me a bunch of quarters for Christmas. Saves me a trip to my bank. I also enjoy Thursday afternoons when my cleaning lady arrives. She gives the place a good scrub down every week and she indulges my need for chatting. I’m glad she at least tolerates my eccentric sense of humor.

Overall I’ve done okay during this pandemic. Sure I get lonely sometimes. But that’s why I have a cell phone and my facebook account. But, since I sold my car back in 2019 I’m able to save some money as I don’t have to buy gas or change oil. Once I found I could get my groceries delivered and get amazon delivery, usually within two to three days even in my rural town, I no longer had much of a need for a car except for emergencies. My drivers’ license is due to be renewed this summer. I’ll probably keep it updated just for emergency purposes. I tend to get sensory overload with my mental illness. And I felt that made me unreliable as a regular driver. Since I can already get most things delivered to my house, I really don’t need a car. Even my small town now has a few Uber and Door Dash drivers. As I can stay home with fewer problems, I’ve managed to avoid getting sick so far. Hopefully only a few more months until I can get the vaccine.

November 21 2020

Stayed up late again last night. Been listening to audiobooks quite a bit lately. Bought some groceries yesterday. Looks like I’ll be spending the rest of the month at home. My town passed a mask mandate through late February 2021. Glad I bought a box of masks last week.

The loneliness gets to me sometimes. I’m not irritated or paranoid about it. Just kind of sad. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books. And in almost every way imaginable. I’m still amazed workable vaccines were developed in only one year. I just hope enough people use these vaccines and practice preventative measures enough we can end this pandemic soon.

I doubt we will have a complete return to the normal ways of previous years. I don’t plan on doing much shopping in person anymore. I’m completely at ease for having doctors’ appointments online. I already got rid of my car last year. I had grown to hate driving the last few years before I gave it up. I have gotten pretty decent at cooking my own meals. I enjoy watching movies in my own home with my own snacks and no one kicking the back of my chair. I have thought for years that doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, etc. don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve. I think the same way about delivery drivers and minimum wage workers.

Progress didn’t stop during 2020. It actually sped up, often out of necessity. I read a couple days ago that now over 65 percent of the world has internet access and over 90 percent now has electricity. The change over to renewable power is going faster too. Read another article a couple days ago that over 90 percent of new electrical generating capacity is now clean energy like wind, solar, hydroelectric, etc. Politicians can talk all they wish about saving the coal and oil industries, but even the economics of cheaper renewables are working against this. It is now profitable to install green tech. I don’t think some of my friends would have seen the free market as ushering in green tech. Maybe we will head off the worst of climate change because the finances now make sense. Pity the tech wasn’t there twenty years ago.

As far as other progress goes, I read some places are now experimenting with flying drone taxis. Supposedly Dubai is supposed to have this service within the next two years. So everyone complaining about no flying cars can finally keep quiet and fly off. Personally I think a person born in the late 1800s, if they saw the world today would probably be more impressed with internet access than anything flying.

As bad as this pandemic has been, it could have been so much worse. Even if this would have hit back as recently as the 1980s, it would have been much uglier. I’m still amazed at how much work can be done from home. Couldn’t have done this without reliable internet. With vaccines set to be mass produced, I can start to see the end of the pandemic is in sight.

November 20 2020

Stayed up late last night, latest I’ve stayed up in weeks. Spent some time out of my apartment. I saw some maintenance workers in the apartment next door. So I’ll probably get new neighbors soon.

I’m slowly starting to reestablish contact with old friends. I kept mostly to myself and a small core of long time friends and family for the last couple years. I had gotten burned out on people fighting over petty nonsense over social media. For an introvert like myself, social media was a blessing as it was far easier for me to socialize over facebook than in person. Since I live in a small town and most of my friends live hundreds of miles away, I don’t have many opportunities for good socializing. Since I have rare interests, socializing has always been difficult for me. Once people started arguing over social media real bad, it really killed my social life. It hurt real bad. While I’m starting to rebuild those friendships, there are at least a few I’m not sorry I lost. One good thing about social media is that I get to find out what someone is really like. The bad thing is that I get to find out what someone is really like. I suppose it is like in order to find out what someone is really like, give them power and near unlimited expression.

Found some audiobooks on youtube, at least some that are old enough they don’t violate copyright laws. Been listening to philosophy books for the last couple days.

Not experiencing as many aches and pains the last several days. I still take advil in the mornings but I take it only once a day. I don’t need as much sleep. I usually only sleep seven hours a night. I usually spend three to four hours a day in bed reading online articles or texting friends.

Too Bad I Don’t Get Paid To Learn or My Path To Becoming An Independent Scholar

I’ve been enjoying the cooler fall weather and the changing leaves. Been having bouts of depression the last few days. They clear up after some good conversation with old friends and family. I think the loneliness of the pandemic is starting to get the best of me. I’m too paranoid to socialize in person much as most people I know won’t wear face masks. And with flu season starting in only a few weeks, this could be a really rough winter. I’m prepared to hunker down and stay home for a real long time if needed, at least in terms of supplies. I’m not so sure about the mental part of it.

I’ve been having more time to think during this pandemic. Been reflecting on my past and growing up. When I was a kid, some of my happiest memories were being alone and exploring our large back yard and letting my mind wander. I’d often make up stories and keep these story lines going for months at a time. I never did write any of them down and have forgotten most over the years. I kept a journal one summer while in junior high, at least until my brother stole it and mocked me for some of my writings. He and some of the neighborhood kids used to spy on me when I paced the backyard too. Hurt really bad to have my privacy violated like that. I didn’t realize I was good at writing and story telling until I was almost done with college.

I graduated college with a business degree. I originally started as a pre medicine major with the idea I would get a job in a research lab eventually. While I was really interested in biology, palentology, and chemistry as a kid, I was also really interested in history and literature. I didn’t consider studying history or english in college because I heard the horror stories about arts and humanities students finding only minimum wage jobs after graduation. I only studied business because I got a D in organic chemistry, which destroyed my chances for graduate school. I also didn’t know much about business or money besides how to balance a checkbook. And since money involves everything, I thought business might lead to a career once I finished college. I really enjoyed the economics, finance, and investing classes. I didn’t enjoy the accounting classes. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and no idea what I was going to do with it.

After graduation I worked a couple retail sales jobs as that was all that I had available to me. Even while working those jobs, I used to get anxiety real bad about working. I used to vomit before work most days because of the anxiety. I later got a job as a graduate assistant while I was working on my masters’ in economics. That job, while really enjoyable, lasted only a few months because I couldn’t make grades. I also don’t think my bosses or coworkers liked me.

After I qualified for disability insurance a few years later, I finally had a safety net. I worked part time for a few years as a janitor at the county courthouse. After a few years of that, I decided to take “early retirement” and finally do what I wanted for the first time in my life. I devoted my life to studying, reading, writing, etc. And I have never been happier. I may not make much money and I probably never will. But I’m good with that. I never had the kind of ego that needed lots of money, a prestigious job, a big house, a wife and kids, etc. I guess I just wanted to be an independent scholar. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties I got to realize this dream that I was too scared to admit to anyone, even myself.

I love learning. I always have. Even being the odd kid in my school who loved learning and was too stubborn to hide it, it was never beaten out of me. I guess I was fortunate that, even though I got lots of garbage from classmates for being too smart, most of my teachers didn’t discourage my thirst for knowledge and wisdom. I even had a few who encouraged me and loved me for being eccentric. And I found even more teachers like that in college. I also met kids who loved learning even more than I did. It was amazing. It’s tragic that most kids have that God given love of learning beaten out of them at such an early age. I don’t know why I never lost that love. I’m just grateful that I never did.

Thoughts On Daily Routines, Autumn 2020, Emergency Preparations, etc.

I’m still sleeping more than usual. But I feel quite stable. I usually go to bed around 9 or 10pm and wake up for good around 9am. I wake up at least once in the night to visit the restroom and sometimes it takes about an hour or two to fall back asleep. I’m still limiting myself on caffeine. I usually have no more than one cup of coffee every day, usually with breakfast. I contact my parents several times a week. My mother is keeping a daily “pandemic journal.” She usually records what’s happening in the news as well as locally and her own thoughts. My nephews and niece have been back in school since mid August. I can’t imagine how tough it is for those kids. The two oldest are teenagers and those years are rugged enough even in good times. My brother and his family are moved in to their new house. They have more space now and have a couple gardens. My mother and one of my nephews have planted some vegetables that are starting to grow.

The corn harvest is going right now here in Nebraska. It does feel odd to not be watching my Huskers play football on Saturday afternoons. Our season is supposed to start on October 24, barring any major outbreaks of the virus. I sometimes watched European soccer and playoff basketball to have some resemblance of normal. Baseball playoffs start this week in the USA.

The election is coming up in only a few weeks. For me, there is some added anxiety just from the unknown. I think the concern over the unknown is probably worse than the outcomes. I just hope there aren’t more bad riots. Regardless the outcomes, there were be millions of angry people in my country. It’s sad to see this happen. But, if we survived a civil war, two world wars, and several economic collapses, I believe we can survive our current mess. I won’t comment on my political beliefs except to say they are my own and I refuse to try to force them on anyone else.

I get paid again in a couple days. While I am short on cash (like many people right before payday) I am not short on food or supplies. Anytime I get paid, I make a point to buy extra non perishable food in case of shortages. I have done this for years. I guess growing up in a rural farming village of less than 500 people with the nearest supermarkets being a fifteen minute drive away and the nearest Wal Mart being an hour and a half away, it was drilled into our heads at a very early age to be prepared in case a winter snow storm shut down the highways or any other natural disaster. Since most people I grew up around either worked in farming or supported the farmers, our very lives depended on the weather and the seasons, even in modern times. I guess most people I grew up knowing always maintained some of the self reliant and make do beliefs of our pioneer ancestors. I suppose you could say we were emergency preppers before there was a term for it. I consider myself a bit of a prepper even if I don’t believe most conspiracy theories. I fear most people don’t get involved in emergency prepping exactly because of some of these theories. It makes sense to have several days worth of food, emergency water, supplies, and getting on good terms with your neighbors and community just in case. I mean, most people have home owners insurance but still don’t want their house to burn down. It’s just a back up, no different than having emergency supplies or a football team having backups in case the team’s star gets injured.

It is autumn in my part of the world. The trees are turning and the nights are getting kind of chilly. I usually run my furnace at night and sleep under a fleece blanket. While spring is my favorite time of year for physical well being, I do get a lot of writing and reading done in the fall and winter. Even as a child I did my best in school in the spring semesters. But I am feeling calm overall in spite of everything going on. I’ll be glad when a vaccine becomes widely available and this pandemic comes to an end.