Has Spring Sprung?

It is the first day of April as I write this. The trees outside my window are starting to bud and I see pigeons every day. Baseball season starts today and I joined a fantasy league with a few old college friends like I do every spring.

Spent the morning in my complex’s library a couple days ago. Caught up with a few neighbors I hadn’t seen during the winter. I’m still a little paranoid about venturing out even though millions of people are already vaccinated. I read a lot to pass the time. Still do audiobooks a couple hours a day in addition to traditional paper books. Bought groceries this morning. So I’m set for several days.

Still sleeping a lot. I usually go to bed around 10pm, wake up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom, and then usually get up for good shortly after 6am. I sometimes nap in the early afternoons. The best time for me to host visitors is usually late mornings or the noon hour.

I don’t have plans for Easter, at least not yet. Probably going to call family and friends after church services. I might be more into it if I were near my nephews and niece or my cousins’ kids. My aunt usually hosts Easter dinner and all my cousins’ bring their families. It was cancelled last year due to covid and I don’t know the plans for this year. I’ll probably do zoom calls to my parents and brother’s kids.

Saw my parents a couple weeks ago. First time I got to see them since Christmas. My parents said they are proud of how I have handled the pandemic, being essentially on my own for a year while handling a mental illness. Other than a couple breakdowns, I think I’ve done alright. Sure I don’t socialize much, at least not in person. But I’ve always been an introvert who appreciated alone time and people in small doses. A few people in my complex had the covid already. Two friends of mine have had it. Three of my cousins had it. A lady who had sold some acreage land to my parents years ago died from it. I’ve heard that Germany and France are back on lockdowns again. Vaccines are still going out hard and heavy here in the US. Cases are starting to increase again here in the US after weeks of decline. I was afraid cases would increase once the weather started warming and people went out in large crowds more.

Looks like winter has ended. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do get another snow storm or two. But they won’t last long now. I think spring has sprung.

Quarantine Journal: March 25 2021

Doing well overall. Started lifting weights again. I’m taking vitamin D supplements and I think it helps with the depression and anxiety. Met my new landlady a couple days ago while I was waiting for a delivery man. I think she will make a good manager.

I’m thinking about signing up for a home health service to see if I can a covid vaccine at home. Without a car I’m essentially home bound unless I want to hire an Uber driver. I’ve heard that many places are starting to have spikes in case numbers again. For as many problems as my country had in the first several months, we have gotten vaccines out faster than I thought we would. I’m thinking where was this level of focused action one year ago? Many people died that didn’t have to.

While I don’t socialize much in person, I leave my door unlocked during daylight hours in case anyone wants to drop by. My neighbors and I check in on each other a couple times a week. I’m having fewer aches and pains the last few days. Maybe I’m doing something right.

Still stable mentally. Had one flare up in early January but it was short lived. Haven’t had any since. It does get lonely sometimes spending most of my time at home and by myself. But I am still prime target for covid and there are still lots of vaccinations to go. This thing isn’t over by any means just yet.

End of Winter and Thoughts After One Year of Pandemic

Winter is almost over in my part of the world. I usually leave my windows open during the day only to get under blankets after dark. The days are usually warm but the nights are still chilly. The days are also a lot longer than just a couple months ago.

The vaccinations are rolling out pretty quickly in my country. Both my parents are fully vaccinated and getting out more often. Probably be a few more months before I qualify. Yet I have avoided getting sick for over a year. I still have some emergency supplies just in case. The last year has been lonely. But it wasn’t overly stressful. I’m glad I live in a town with home delivery groceries and Amazon delivery. I’ve avoided doctors’ offices and public places since last February because of pandemic. I did this as I am higher risk being overweight and mentally ill. But, as I had a set up where I could get groceries and prescription medications delivered, I didn’t have to leave my apartment unless absolutely necessary. My neighbor, who is quite mobile, picks up my mail once a week. In return I give him quarters for laundry and the downstairs vending machines. Amazon, grocery delivery, wireless internet with access to Youtube and Netflix, mail service, my cleaning lady arriving once a week, cell phone calls to family and friends, Facebook Messenger with friends, etc. has been a godsend for me and people like me. I sold my car almost two years ago as I no longer trust myself driving. My reflex and attention to detail just aren’t what they once were. If I do get real desperate, there are a few Uber drivers in my small college town. Most of the delivery drivers I have dealt with are younger people in their 20s. I think this pandemic would have been a lot worse had it hit back in the 1980s when we didn’t have easy access to internet, delivery services, fast vaccine developments, etc. I guess I am seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic. I just hope when another one hits, could be a few years or even not for another several generations, we are better prepared. As bad as covid is, it could have been so much worse.

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.

Feb 4 2021

Woke up to at two more inches of snow this morning. Supposed to get real cold starting in a day or two. Thankful I have some extra food and blankets in case I can’t get out. Sounds like it’s supposed to be the worst cold spell of the winter so far.

Still keep in contact with my family several times a week. My dad had a birthday a few days ago. Didn’t get out to celebrate as his back is really hurting now. He has an appointment with the VA soon to see what his options are. Mom is doing alright. She picks up their grandkids from school a couple times per week. My brother and his wife have been working longer than usual hours lately at their jobs. My parents had their first round of vaccines two weeks ago. They’ll try to get the second round within a week or two. As I’m neither senior citizen or front line worker it could be summer before I’m eligible for mine. I’m still amazed at how fast several vaccines were developed. And not just by only one or two nations. A lady my parents bought some land from several years ago died from the pandemic. I’ve had three friends who’ve gotten sick. All three made recoveries. After a year of pandemic, hopefully we are getting close to this thing burning out. My former neighbors said they are going to host a major cook out once this thing gets under control and most people get vaccinated. I’m starting to save my money for some really good stuff. He said he’d do all the cooking if a few of his friends supplied the meat, vegetables, and desserts. I won’t argue with that.

Been doing more cooking regularly. My personal favorite is cheese and potato soup. I kind of cheat and use a mix that requires only boiling water. But I can make turn out well, especially when I add a bag of vegetables or even some Ramen noodles. It can be kind of messy but it tastes real good. My cleaning lady joked she can tell a good cook from how messy their kitchen is. When I was in college and working as a cook for a pizza restaurant, I was told you could always trust a fat cook.

Keep in contact with some old friends regularly. My friend in Denver is saving up to buy a few acres near a small town. She said she wants to eventually have several streams of income besides her regular full time job. She and her sisters were astute business people even as kids.

Back to lifting weights again. Had some bad pain in my elbow for several days to where I couldn’t lift much without pain. Took over a week to clear up. But it’s back to normal now.

I still drop in on my neighbors a few times a week. We check in on each other. My closest neighbor and my cleaning lady are the only guests I have on a regular basis anymore. I haven’t even had a chance to meet my new landlady. I’ve talked to her over the phone a couple times but haven’t met her in person. I’ll have to see her to get my lease renewed sometime this spring. But that’s usually only fifteen minutes of paper work. It’s almost routine now. Barring anything major, I will have been in my current place fifteen years this summer.

It’s been almost a year since I had my floors replaced. I have the vinyl floor instead of carpet now. It’s much easier to keep clean. The only drawback is that it is slippery when wet. But if I stay off the floor for an hour after the mopping is done it is safe to walk on. Almost slipped in the bathroom a couple times after sloshing water out during my showers. Solved that problem by covering the entire bathroom floor with towels before I shower.

Don’t know if I’m losing weight, but I am more flexible now than even three months ago. My stamina is slowly coming back. My muscles are as strong as ever but I don’t have the steam I did even three years ago. Thankful my mind is still sharp and the ups and downs of schizophrenia are easier to manage.

I still sleep quite a bit. But if I stretch for a minute or two before getting out of bed every morning I am better off. Usually take over the counter pain reliever once a day, usually with breakfast. I now limit myself to only one cup of coffee per day. Too much coffee makes me irritable. I don’t eat much sugar anymore. The only times I have soda pop is when I order delivery pizza. I don’t even keep bread in my house.

Overall I’m weathering the winter and pandemic well. Have been watching where I go and avoiding large crowds for a year now. This has to be brutal on most people, especially kids and front line workers. I can imagine people that are kids and teenagers today talking about these days like their great grandparents talked about the Depression and World War 2 to their own kids and grandkids long after I am gone. Sure it does get lonely sometimes. Thankful this didn’t hit before the age of internet and free long distance calls. My dad was telling me that when he was in the Air Force in the 1970s, a long distance call from Japan to the USA was four dollars per minute. That’s mind boggling to even me and I didn’t regularly use internet until I was a junior in high school in 1997. Makes me wonder what else is going to happen within the next couple decades. I can’t even begin to imagine the world my nine year old nephew will inhabit when he’s forty in 2051.

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.

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 11 2021

Been pretty quiet the last few days. The highlight of my day was washing several loads of laundry and having a large Amazon delivery. Spent some of my stimulus money on clothing. I was needing some new shirts and pants. It’s been cloudy and damp for the last several days. It got just warm enough during the days to melt the ice and then it would refreeze after sunset.

Been cooking more complex meals lately. Made some alfredo pasta a couple nights ago. Made a few batches of creamy potato soup. I haven’t tried any baking yet. I’m probably going to grill some bratwursts in a day or two.

Chatted with a few neighbors while I was doing laundry this afternoon. I don’t get out as much as I used to. Found out one of my neighbors had hip surgery a couple weeks ago. As far as I know, we haven’t had any cases of covid in my complex lately. Last I heard, nine million doses of vaccine have been given here in the U.S. One of my college friends is a high school teacher and he’s supposed to be getting his any day now. I think the first priorities were health care workers and elderly people in nursing homes, at least in my country. I heard that California is getting it real bad. The number of new cases per day is actually going down in my state. I haven’t had it, at least not that I know of. I’ve had two cousins catch covid in addition to three of my friends. My friend out in Denver said she’s had at least a dozen clients catch it already.

I’m not sure when I’ll be getting my vaccine. As I’m not healthcare, first responder, elderly, police, or military, I’m not a high priority. Hopefully I can get mine in the spring or early summer. But I’ve taken precautions for almost a year. What’s a few more months at this point?

Mid Winter and Mental Illness

Bend spending most of my time at home. I still drop in on a few neighbors every two or three days. We check in on each other. Been damp and cold the last several days. We’ve avoided the major snows some places got this week. Just been good days to curl up on my recliner, make some potato soup, and listen to audiobooks. Currently four hours into The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I’ve found that I’m now able to absorb information better if I hear it than if I read it. But if I can both read and hear it, it’s almost permanent now.

I admit I don’t write as often as I used to. But as I don’t go out nearly as much, I have less to report. Between the pandemic taking it’s toll and people being upset about many other things, it’s probably best I limit my social interactions for the time being.

As far as I know, I don’t have any neighbors in my complex with covid right now. One of my friends in here had to have a stress test for her heart issues the day I’m writing this. I hope they find out exactly what is going on. I’ve had a couple cousins and at least three friends who’ve already had it. I hope I can avoid it. I’m afraid it would really mess with my mental illness. And the fact I’m overweight would make it only worse.

Right now as I look out my window it’s overcast with light snow. No wind so it’s one of those almost Christmas card type of scenes. It’s quite beautiful. Helps take my mind off the pandemic, social problems, and my own issues.