Taught

It is about this time of year you start seeing people lamenting how terrible the year has been and how “they are ready for the new year.” Somehow the new year will be better. I’m usually not in this camp, but clearly that has changed this year.

I think we can all safely say 2020 has been absolute dumpster fire! It started out ok but just ran right down the shitter as things progressed. It certainly has been educational for me. I only wish I could say in a good way. My enduring faith in humanity has definitely been challenged this year.

We’ve got these insidious behind the scenes machinations trying to destroy our way of life. The greedy and power hungry are pulling the strings of our ‘leaders’ while the general populace languishes in poverty. Said population is often so focused on survival they can’t see they are being used as pawns. And seeing some of the most needy in our society support the very same people hurting them is painful to witness. More so, it is a disturbing example of history repeating itself. Rome is definitely burning, folks. To polish off the trifecta, we have the indifferent. These are the people who are well off enough to be completely immersed in the their own little bubble of existence. Occasionally, tidbits of information pierces said bubble but there is no filter to determine it’s accuracy or relevance. At some point a “working knowledge” arises from which all their decisions are based for good or bad. These are usually where you find the Karens of the world. Pity the soul that incurs their wrath by causing them any level of inconvenience.

I am not even sure what my frame of mind would be right now had I not been able to get back in the gym. I had gotten to a point about 5 months in where I wasn’t doing well. I’m sure I looked fine on the outside, but I wasn’t. But, as Elle Woods would say, “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t shoot their husbands.”  And I’m referring to the endorphins, not my husband. lol  Being back in the gym has really helped lift my spirits and pulled me out of being depressed.

Even as I sit here writing this I am struck by my own privilege. I am fortunate to have the opportunity and comfort to sit here whining about this shitty year. I know that and for so many it has been that much harder. I wish I could say that doesn’t necessarily make the impact of this year any less painful. So yeah, I can’t wait for it to be over. I’m hoping the new year is better. I mean, hell. It can’t get much worse, right?1

Hope does springs eternal…

  1. Don’t answer that []

Recovery

Building on my last post, I wanted to share more about the small but welcome improvements in the SF area. California adopted the 4-tier system of restrictions relating to the pandemic. If your state doesn’t have it, it’s pretty simple. Each tier has it’s own level of restrictions, what can/can’t open, etc. We have purple, red, orange, & yellow; purple being the most severe and yellow being the least. It makes it easier for counties and cities to better manage local health orders and restrictions.

Of course, SF being a very dense environment, even when we move into a higher tier we tend to have some lingering tougher restrictions. While unfortunate, it is necessary to avoid a resurgence of cases. And seeing surges in pretty much the entire middle of the US, we are grateful for the slow but steady improvements. SF has officially moved into the orange tier and our ‘rt’ ratio is hovering just below 1.1  Hopefully, we can stay in the orange and yellow tiers.  *crossed fingers*

Indoor bars, theaters, and larger social establishments are still closed. (I don’t understand why theaters can’t open if gyms can, but I don’t make the rules.) Restaurants have been able to serve outdoor seating for awhile now. Some bars have paired up with restaurants to gain an allowance to open outdoors as well. Now that SF is in the orange tier, restaurants and retail shops can open indoor facilities in a limited capacity. For myself, I still avoid eating indoors. I am just not that confident in others. We tend to order for home more than going out to eat, but I try to adhere to my weekend rituals as much as I can.

Shawn and I have slowly been allowing ourselves to do more outside the apt. Meanwhile, I see people planning trips and going to far off places and I just shake my damn head. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that a lot of people don’t really give two-shits about others as long as they aren’t inconvenienced. But, I digress… I have restrictions that also affect my ability to work so even if I was more comfortable, I would still not be traveling.

I’ve been seeing and helping an elderly retired coworker since the beginning of the pandemic and every time I see him, I make sure to test negative for covid-19 beforehand. Before we could get tests, I would leave disinfected items outside his doorway or stairs. He is in a high risk category due to his age and I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed it on to him.2 Anyway, I’m getting upset thinking about it, let me move on.

Beyond the assistance to my dear friend above, we are just now reaching a point where we feel comfortable meeting people outdoors for meals or conversation. I say we, but it is more me. lol Shawn is still content to avoid people for the most part. He will probably be reticent until there is a viable vaccine. Even when to go to the gym, we usually go to a sparsely populated location with sign-ups well below the allowable limit.3 It has been good for him to get out of the apt more though. He was getting really depressed as well. I think the gym and the sporadic trips outside of the apt has helped him as much as it has me.

Of course, we miss traveling. We miss weekend jaunts to bars, beer busts, movies, etc. We miss visiting distant friends and places. We miss a lot of things. It sucks monkey balls, but we know by isolating we are helping to prevent the spread of covid-19. We are both hopeful a safe vaccine will be available sometime early next year. For myself, I doubt I’ll ever take for granted again the openness of our life. The simple freedom to hug friends, to kiss or touch others, to be close to people. I think the intimacy of strangers (if such a thing exists) is what I miss the most. The relaxed restrictions gives me hope we are on the right path. Until then, I hope you are safe and well.

  1. rt is the likelihood of retransmission from an infected person. Anything above 1 is considered not good. []
  2. or anyone for that matter. []
  3. You can see online how many slots are available and taken by the hour. []

Herd

So today, the official response from the Whitehouse (WH) is they now endorse herd immunity as a regimen to combat the spread of covid-19.

First, here is the definition of “herd immunity”:

the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.

“the level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity varies by disease but ranges from 83 to 94 percent”

Webster’s dictionary

Based on that, herd immunity is currently impossible. We cannot use herd immunity as a treatment regimen because we don’t have a vaccine!

The WH’s deliberate misinterpretation of the idea is to do nothing. Just let everyone be exposed and see who lives and dies. That is NOT herd immunity. This approach pushes the death toll into the millions, not the low hundreds of thousands like we have now. Just one percent of the US population, just one (1) percent, is over three (3) million people!  If we jump that up to five (5) percent, the death toll is just under 17 million people.

For perspective, one percent is more than the entire population of Phoenix, AZ. Five percent is more than the entire population of the New York City metro area. And this does not take into account the millions more who will struggle with lingering illness for weeks or months.

Even if you’re dumb and deaf, you can understand how insanely stupid and dangerous this is.

Voting has never been more important. It is heartening to see many cities are reporting record numbers of registered voters as well as early voting. Vote like your life depends on it because it just might this time.

Mood

Look! Another post NOT about politics! Yay!

It’s been just over a month now and surprisingly the gyms are still open. There was only a minor bump in covid-19 cases here in SF from the Labor day weekend.1  I think many people here learned their lesson from Memorial day, which saw a huge spike.

Anyway, it is good to be back in the gym. Due to restrictions, we are still at a 1-hour limit. You book online and then show up to workout. Once the hour is done, they kick everyone out for the next group. I’m at the point where the hour limit has become a little restraining. This tells me I’m steadily moving back to a solid routine. My regular workouts are around an hour and 15-20 minutes. I’ve been easing back into my workouts to avoid injury. I will need to tweak my sets now to get the same burn. Prior to the pandemic, I had just gotten to a point where both the shoulder and arm were all healed up. I’m have no interest in repeating my past mistakes. The first couple weeks back were the worst with soreness, but now it is the ‘normal sore‘.

My general mood has improved drastically. This is sort of the reason for my rant today. It might seem trivial but I just feel better most days. I am not as depressed over the state of our country. The negative shit I read on social media doesn’t seem to hit me as hard. For lack of a better description, I just feel better and I like it! hehehe People often denigrate gym goers as narcissistic and shallow, and while that may be true for some, it is most definitely not true for all. I find my general optimism has returned as well. It has been a most welcome change. The daily onslaught of worsening news was wearing me down. And while I certainly haven’t dismissed the very real problems in our society, I feel better able to face the day now. Now, if I can just shed this thick gut I’ve developed.

Shawn and I have been hitting the gym pretty much every weekend. I work 4-10’s so I get a 3-day weekend.2  I squeeze in an extra gym day on my Friday, since I don’t have to get up early the next day, which makes for a solid 4 day gym schedule. I will often try to squeeze in at least one day for cardio during the week, but it’s a bit erratic so far. ‘Cause we all know how much I looooove cardio!

I certainly recommend getting in exercise if you can. It doesn’t have to be a gym. You can go for walks, runs, bike rides, etc. Whatever gets you moving and your heart rate up. It might be tough at first, but you will find it definitely helps your moods.

 

  1. Meanwhile, over half of the country is spiking again. []
  2. Oh, I forgot to mention he has gone back to work, albeit temporarily for a contract job. []

Election

I try to keep politics out of my blog but it has never been harder than these past 4 years. I know if I were still at it prolifically, I’d have lost the battle long ago. Thankfully, life keeps me distracted enough on social media ranting about politics.

As we approach the election, I’m concerned for our way of life. I remember being worried way back when Romney ran for POTUS. Remember that? Yeah, good times. lol Fast forward to the bar being lowered so low as to be underground, we get to see what a real threat to our democracy looks like. The man has shown nothing but disregard for the rule of law, a basic understanding of how government works, and any sense of decency. We now how multiple instances of his own words telling us what he thinks of the country. Everything from calling our troops suckers and losers and to how truly deadly covid-19 really is…IN HIS OWN WORDS! And yet, he is still polling in a region that could get him re-elected. If enough good people do nothing he will too. Make no mistake, it is not a guarantee that he will lose in November. Granted, polls tend to be skewed toward older generations, but do not take the possibility lightly. We all laughed when he was a nominee and look what that got us.

That said, I truly believe we have a good chance of voting him out of office. Not only has he alienated many of his previous followers, but even many staunch republicans have turned against him. He is dismantling our democracy and leading to the destruction of our way of life. People are motivated to get him out of office. He and his crooked cronies know this too and are plotting to steal the election. It came out this week the Whitehouse has hired an army of attorneys to contest election results in most of the ‘swing states’.  The military won’t support him so they are now pushing to get a uber conservative (and freakishly religious) judge pushed thru onto the SCOTUS. Without any significant voting fraud cases in the last two decades, they are pushing full steam ahead with lies about voter fraud and vote theft. Forgetting for a moment, he encouraged people in several states to commit a felony by voting more than once, he is desperate to sell a narrative our votes can’t be trusted.

Never in my lifetime did I think I’d witness such a blatant act of criminal fraud from a sitting president. Nor did I ever think the American people would stand idly by and let it happen. It is frightening how disconnected so many people are from what is happening. And when they realize it, it will be too late. Our democracy is in tatters right now. If we don’t get out and vote, it could all be gone sooner than we think.

I certainly hope you are registered to vote and will do so. It is vital that we all vote and let our voices be heard. We must make the number so overwhelming from every possible angle, he can’t overturn the will of the people.

Year 1

Miss Daisy Mae has been with us just over a year now. She is settled into her life at the Moby-shack. She is healthy and doing well. She loves her Daddy & Pappa and spends a big chunk of her free time trying to get cuddles or snacks from us. Her cute little smile will just melt your heart. I mean look at that face. lol

She is still a chewer with a slightly decreased inclination to swallow everything she chews on. She has determined toy stuffing is not to be eaten. We broke her habit of chewing on furniture and shoes. We can safely leave shoes out without fear of her destroying them. It is funny watching her work thru it in her head though. When she plays tug of war or ‘chase the toy‘, she gets so excited. She works up into an almost fit. At this point, anything that falls in front of her face is a potential chew toy. Occasionally, a toy will land close to one of our shoes and she’ll inadvertently grab the shoe. Right about the time we are about to scold her, you can see in her face/eyes she realizes the item is a no-no and drops it in favor of the toy. She is such a little stinker!

She will still try to hoover up any random berries or tree droppings she finds while on her walks. Acorns, bush berries, random squashed lemons,1 it is all fair game to her. I’m quite sure they’ve given her an upset tummy on more than one occasion. We still have to keep a close eye on here during walks. Speaking of walks, she tolerates walks to do her business, but in very typical bulldog fashion, as soon as the business is done she is ready to return home.

Home life is good otherwise. Her and Toby have gotten better at rough-housing without Daisy getting frustrated. Toby is forever trying to get her to play tug of war and chase. She likes to play but only until she actually gets the toy. Then she just wants to settle and chew on it. Meanwhile, Toby will continue trying to swap chew toys or bait her to play. At some point, she gets frustrated and snaps at him. He in turn will run up to the closest adult with this look on his face like, “Daisy won’t share the toy!” Daisy has realized the routine and gets less annoyed with him. Toby adores her and will actively seek her out for play. She is content with her humans, but happily engages with him.

Shawn kept pushing me to let her sleep with us, so she is now a bed dog as well. I’m not against it too much since she doesn’t shed anywhere near as much as Cooper. Even on allergy meds, Cooper was constantly shedding. If she isn’t already passed out snoring, Daisy will routinely hop up in the bed and face the bedroom door when she realizes I’m getting ready for bed. Of course, Shawn is still learning to deal with her snuggles that turn into hogging the bed. I don’t have the problem because she has figured out when I push my legs up under her, she needs to move. lolol  I’ll routinely wake up for work and find Shawn half off the bed as he contorts himself around her.

Speaking of Cooper, I still think of him almost daily. I miss ‘the precious‘ as I liked to call him. I’ll randomly slip up and call Daisy by his name. The dull pain of his passing is still with me. I’m not sure it will ever go away.

So there ya have it. The princess is doing well. You can see from the pic, she clearly isn’t missing any meals.

  1. Several neighbors have lemon trees. []

Deaths

I’ve had not 1, but two significant deaths lately. My good friend Rick passed away. He lived in Hawaii with his husband Jeremy. It was unexpected and a total shock. I don’t need to go into the details, but I’m sad to have lost my friend. It was not covid-19 related, btw. Rick and I met years ago when he was still living here in SF. We met at the gym and he was kind and friendly, even if he looked intimidating as a big ole bodybuilder. I was at what I refer to as the “end-stages” of some of my emotional growth. I had overcome a lot of my demons and was finding my confidence. Out of the blue, Rick came into my life and was just a good genuine friend. We briefly flirted with dating, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Our friendship survived his move back to Hawaii, and Shawn and I have visited him there more than once. He was one of our destinations as soon as we felt comfortable traveling again.

Rick was a war vet and suffered from PTSD. With the current state of political affairs, he was often upset and unhappy with where our country is heading. Not only that, he was denied his rightful military benefits for years due to the old DADT law. He did finally get them, but I know it bothered him he had to fight for so long to get them. I hope he is in peace now, free of the torments of this life and worries for the future. He will certainly be missed! Rick, we love and miss you.

*

Trailing right behind that, I found out the very next day, my old blog buddy ‘ThisboyElroy’ passed away as well.1 It was the day before his 40th birthday. This one also really shook me as I just never thought of someone so full of life could go so soon. I met Adam back after he started his blog, when he and his ex were still together. We actually met at one of the blogger shindigs that were so popular back when blogging was still new. He, Brad, and I hit it off right away! We randomly hung out together over the span of years. And after Adam and Brad split, we sort of became distant but not from any tension. We were just on different paths and didn’t often interact as much. I never got to meet Adam’s new husband. I didn’t want to bother or intrude on his grieving, so I’ll try to reach out to him after some time has passed. Adam was a positive force in this world. He was smart, not afraid of confrontation, and singularly focused on the goals he wanted for himself. His infectious smile and sharp wit will be sorely missed.

*

When I was younger, I often commented I didn’t expect to live into old age. For a variety of messed-up reasons, I never thought I’d live to see 40. Here I am pushing 50 and I am grateful for my life. It was wrong of me to be so callous about it. Life is too fragile and finite to be so careless about it. I should be so fortunate to be remembered as fondly as I remember Adam and Rick.

Be at peace my dear friends.

 

  1. They actually died on the same day []

Sore

OMFG! I’m dying! Ok, not really, I’m just sore as hell.

The gyms here were finally allowed to open in a limited capacity.  (Last week, but I waited a few days to jump back in.)) Luckily, one location has an outdoor area setup. They basically took over one of their fenced-in parking lots and put a tent over it. I digress, back to the dying. Lawd, I am sore. Like, “ouch, I can barely bend my arm” sore.

I swear I didn’t over-do it. I did biceps the first day back because I figured1 everyone else would be doing chest. It has been over 5 months since I sat foot in the gym. If we flashback you will remember I was very happy with myself after surviving a lack of carbs in my diet.2  I was reaching a nice definition phase on the old physique. Of course, BAM! Pandemic hit. Now me and my pudgy squishy belly need to get back into it. So I start super light on the weight. Literally, I was doing less than half my normal curl weight. The next day and the day after I could bare bend my damn forearms! I was almost worried I had somehow torn them without realizing it.3  It was excruciating. I know, “poor me” with my first world problems. I’m not unawares. Anyway, I followed up with chest and then legs over my 3-day weekend. I went even lower on chest and legs as a result of my ‘arms on fire’ routine. Right on queue, they are extra sore too. They weren’t as bad as the forearms, so maybe it was good I got freaked out a little. Today, I am still sore all over, but the forearms are a dull ache now, thankfully.

It sucks getting old. I’ll be the big 5-0 this next year so I know my body isn’t as spry as it used to be, but come on! Good Lawd! lol  I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in the gym. It might seem trivial, but it is more than just a vain desire to look good. Working out as long as I have, it is big part of my daily life. I go thru phases where I sort of rebel but those are days and weeks, not months! If I ever bitch about dragging my ass to the gym again, point me back to this post. I honestly did not expect to miss it so much. It weighed on me (pun intended) and brought down my mood. Beyond the vanity and health benefits, I don’t think I properly valued how much it affects my mental well-being. Speaking of well-being, I have a sad news post but I’m saving it for later.

And if you fuckers ruin this for me, there will be hell to pay! I will summon the mega of all Mega-Karens to track each and every one of you down and staple that damn mask to your face! /sarcasm. Seriously though, after Labor day I’m worried a new jump in cases is coming. We were doing so well here in the bay area in the beginning. Then we got complacent and ruined it. We are finally back to a point where we can take more risks and get out there a bit more. I don’t care what your feelings are on the subject of masks, but if you want our favorite places to open, wear your mask and maintain distance! Do it for the gym! lol

I was a wee bit nervous, even with knowing it was outdoors. Fitness SF came thru though. While sparse, the setup was spacious and well regulated. You are given a bottle of disinfectant with your towel. There are signs everywhere reminding folks to clean the equipment before and after use. You get an hour sign up and they boot everyone out at the end of each hour. Indoor areas are allowed to open this week with limited capacity, but I’m not there yet. While the daily new cases are dropping, I’m just not trusting the indoor setup. Thankfully, the gym plans to keep outdoor area going for at least another couple months!

*stretching arms* Ouch! It hurts! heeheee

  1. rightly so after arriving []
  2. The struggle was real! []
  3. For some reason, I am always sorest the 2nd day after a workout. []

Replaced

Today in first world problems, my XOne X died a few months ago. I figured I can rant about something tedious and boring for a change instead of the crisis crisises we are all facing right now. So grab your joe and let’s go!

The hard drive was failing and it finally crashed. I tried replacing it and everything went smoothly until the reinstallation. For whatever reason the damn OS would not reinstall no matter how hard I tried. I finally gave up and re-signed myself to wait for the Series X. That didn’t work out so well. Lol

Originally, I opted to drop it off for repair. Unfortunately, MS (Microsoft) repair was closed due to the pandemic so I couldn’t even offer to ship it in. Of course, the warranty was expired years prior. After MS was finally open and able to offer shipping, the cheapest estimate for repair was around $275 without shipping costs. Screw that! I was like, “I’ll just do it myself!

I did all the troubleshooting. I read the sites, watched the videos, and consulted some of the gurus. They all said it would work. I got the instructions, the scripts, and the troubleshooting tips….and of course it failed. Lol And it is probably some minor thing MS did to the OS variant installation I had. It could also be I was a beta tester, dunno. Knowing my luck it was some minor glitch in codes matching up or whatever. Ain’t that how it always goes?

I was rather proud of myself actually. I consider myself a techie and know my way around hardware but it’s been a while. The familiarity had waned a bit. So I paid extra attention to the discussions on how to do it. I ordered a new drive that was the same as the existing one. The script I found to format the drive partitions worked perfectly. Taking the console apart was a bit of a bitch but once open swapping out the drives was painless. Then came the offline reinstallation of the OS. I followed MS’s guidelines to the letter. No matter how many variations I tried the damn OS wouldn’t reinstall so I finally gave up. Leave it to MS to f*CK up the easy part.

Fast forward a few months and I’m desperately missing it.1 Playing on my PS4 is fine but my go-to console has been the Xbox since the 360. To me, games just play better on the Xbox and I love the elite controller. It fits my hands and the weight makes it comfortable. Anyway, I’d put out feelers for a used XOneX but everyone wanted $300+ even for a used one. We are fortunate to have decent finances, but I was hard set on not spending more than a couple hundred bucks tops for a console I’ll be replacing in just a few months anyway.

After exhausting Craigslist and other sites for used consoles I’d sort of given up on finding a used one. On a whim, I checked FB Marketplace. Lo and behold! I found a guy here in SF just over the hill from me. He clearly worked in tech. He had an XOne S. It’s a slight downgrade from the XOne X but close enough. He’d actually gotten it before he got married and afterwards never got to play it so decide to get rid of it.2 We exchanged info, met up, he booted it up to show me it worked fine. Sold! I venmo’ed him the money and split. And yes we did social distance. We all had masks on. I watched from a distance while he booted it up.

It’s setup now and running and I am tickled pink. It was money well spent. For such a small thing, it reminded me how blessed I am during this madness. I’m certainly appreciative. It is weird how such a tedious thing put me in better spirits. The whole day yesterday I just felt less depressed. And considering the shit show that is our daily news, that is saying something. I guess maybe having something to enjoy can ease the frustration.

So there ya have it. My boring story about getting a used Xbox. Hopefully, it was a tedious but pleasant distraction.

  1. Like I said, first world problems. Perspective []
  2. He did not seemed amused about the lack of playing part. Lolol []

Warm Rain

It is rare to get rain in SF this time of year, but even rarer for it to be warm and a thunderstorm! We had one this past weekend. OMG It was amazing1

There aren’t many things I miss about the South, but the warm rain is definitely one of them. Rain here is often cold (and miserable). lol  To get a warm rain and a thunderstorm is a rare treat. Sadly, I slept right through the thunderstorm part. Yup. It was all over by the time I woke up. I did get a nice walk in the rain though. I had to get Miss Daisy settled first. She tolerates it because where daddy goes, she goes, but she hates the rain. Afterwards, I took a leisurely stroll down to Starbucks to get my weekend caffeine fix. I took my sweet-ass time. I missed most of the rain but the tail end was light and just a delight!

I used to love warm rain growing up. I didn’t care if it was ‘stormin’, I like to be in the rain. Anytime it does happen here, I’m always reminded of one weekend playing with my older brother in the rain. We had that game where you run and  standing slide as far as you could without falling. Of course, he always won. But that was never the point. I’m grateful I do have some fond memories of my childhood. Warm rain is definitely one of them. 

It’s funny because people here worry about lightning from thunderstorms like people from the South worry about earthquakes here. And people talk about it for weeks afterwards. Weeks!  

I’m sad I missed the bulk of it, but it was a lovely morning. We’ve been having a mini heat wave so the rain was a nice break from the previous day heat. It reached 96 in the city so I know the burbs were cooking. If nothing else, it put me in a good mood. I momentarily forgot about all the drama in the world right now. It was just me and the drizzling warm rain.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. Even though I missed most of it []