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.

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.

Christmas and Pandemic and Mental Illness

We’re now only a week away from Christmas. My elderly parents and I both think travel is too risky this year. I guess I quit keeping track on where the worst outbreaks were. My town has been having outbreaks to where I don’t even leave the complex anymore. I bought a couple boxes of masks for management to hand out to shut ins and people who can’t get masks. I’m glad they got the supply issue on those figured out. Also picked up some disinfectant spray last time I bought groceries.

Had a Zoom call with my psych doctor a few days ago. I’ve been stable enough that we decided not to change anything. I talked to him for at least twenty five minutes. I see him again in two months. I sometimes have momentary flare ups. Haven’t been as bad this week as last week.

I’m having fewer aches and pains these days, even when I wake up. My flexibility is slowly coming back. I’ve been lifting weights three times a week. I plan on doing this for the rest of winter.

As far as my plans for Christmas, my cleaning lady said she would bring a plate of food. I will be calling my parents, my brother’s family, and as many friends as I can. Most of my friends are pretty stressed this holiday season. My friends in Omaha are looking for a cheaper apartment. Both had covid back in September. My friend in Denver is looking to buy a house in a rural area. Housing is overpriced in most urban areas. And her neighborhood has gone really bad within the last ten years.

I’m glad I don’t live anywhere near a city center if things are going to be this bad and stressful. At least in a small college town I can disappear and blend in and still be in a pretty safe town. Living in a small town (less than 40,000 people) several hours away from any major metropolitan areas, I think we’ve avoided most of the problems with the protests and the early outbreaks. We’ve had shortages on some supplies, namely cleaning supplies. And for a few weeks during the summer we had shortages on frozen meats after the outbreaks at several large packing plants. But it was easily managed with a little planning.

Some people got complacent in the early months when it was mainly urban areas having the most problems. But it was only a matter of time before the virus made it to the rural areas. I haven’t been to the hospital since the pandemic started. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant either. With Door Dash being in my town, I probably could get any fast food within reason delivered. But as it’s been three years since I had even a Big Mac, I guess I lost my taste for fast food. Fast food no longer agrees with me. I usually get upset stomach when I eat things like that.

But now that the vaccines are being given, hopefully the end of the pandemic is in sight. 2020 has been a dark year for most people. I’m thankful I haven’t had as many problems as most people even if I rarely leave home anymore.

Thanksgiving During Pandemic

I’m spending my Thanksgiving in my apartment this year. I couldn’t get my ham so I’m grilling bratwursts and making a large pot of cheese soup instead. I’ll also be doing Zoom calls with my parents and my brother’s family. I think most people in my complex are either staying home or going to local relatives. My cleaning lady said she’d bring a plate for me and the rest of her disabled clients.

Been listening to audiobooks more lately. Currently a couple hours into some Nietchze. As far as my other projects for pandemic, I recently finished Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I started back in February and finished a few days ago. Certainly a worthwhile read for anyone interested in history and economics. Granted it’s really long, almost as long as the Bible. Been reading more poetry too, mostly Emerson, Whitman, and Dickenson. Read some Kipling this summer.

Read in the news yesterday a third vaccine is ready for FDA approval. I think it’s from AstraZenica. I just hope enough people use it and distribution can be solved. I imagine front line health care workers, police, and military will be the first in line Hopefully I can get mine sometime by summer 2021. In the meantime, I’m avoiding crowds and wearing masks when I meet delivery drivers. For the ones that don’t come to my apartment, one of my healthier neighbors will drop off packages for myself and the other shut ins.

I did have a slight flare up over the weekend. Thankfully it was short lived. Nothing a few minutes of ranting and several hours of sleep couldn’t solve. Overall I’m doing well even if I am voluntarily isolating. I just hope this burns out soon.

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.

November 19 2020

My hometown passed a temporary mask requirement ordinance at a city council meeting this week. It’s supposed to be in effect until February. The number of cases has spiked in my town. I wear masks when I meet delivery drivers and have guests. Have been for months. While I probably won’t be seeing my family for Thanksgiving, my cleaning lady said she would bring a couple plates of food.

I don’t have any plans for the weekend besides maybe watch some football. I’m still getting used to watching ballgames in empty arenas. I’m reading a lot again, mostly science articles. Found out that many of the audiobooks I was listening to on youtube were taken down recently. Likely because of copyright laws.

Weather has been nicer than normal the last several days. But we’re supposed to get chilly weather starting tomorrow. Today might be the last nice weather day for a long time. Most of the leaves have fallen now.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Have some rough patches last week. But have felt better this week. I still don’t venture out much. I do check in on my neighbors once a day. I usually call my parents a few times per week. And I chat with my best friend via facebook a few times a week as well.

I saw that my supermarket is starting to limit the number of certain items people can purchase, especially paper towels and cleaning supplies. I usually bought a little extra in terms of food and cleaning supplies every time I got paid this summer. I should be able to bunker down for awhile if things get real ugly. I’ve heard that rural areas are now getting it worse than the big cities. Looks like it could be a long winter.

November 18 2020

Looks like I will be spending Thanksgiving alone this year. With the increases in covid cases, my elderly parents think it’s a bad idea to travel several hours to visit me. I understand. I’m thinking about buying a pre cooked ham and maybe a cherry pie. My cleaning lady said she usually makes a plate for her elderly or disabled clients. Even the local Knights of Columbus aren’t hosting their huge dinner this year (though I do think they’ll deliver to people who sign up a few days in advanced).

I’m not surprised that cases are surging again with the cold weather. I am disappointed that many people I know still refuse to take covid serious. I rarely leave my home because of this. It’s really childish to think that wearing face masks in public and avoiding large indoor gatherings are infringements on rights. It’s really discouraging to see just what most people are like in times of crisis. Yet, while the quantity of my social contacts has declined, the quality of my friendships and interactions are increasing. I no longer have the patience to tolerate rude, toxic, and reckless people. Maybe that is why I’m holding together well during the pandemic and economic problems.

I see that most of Europe is back on lockdown. While I think this is what the US needs (as people refuse to practice common courtesy) I fear there will be blood in the streets if anyone even talks about this, let alone tries to enforce it. It’s really discouraging. Seeing how poorly people are taking the problems of 2020 makes me afraid for the future. It’s hard to think a year or two down the road once this pandemic burns out when people actively fight against making things better.

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.