Escape to Boise

In my last post, I mentioned how bad the air quality was due to the fires – I had no idea how much worse things would get. I woke up yesterday morning to dark skies and smoke-filled air. When I checked the AirVisual app on my phone, this is what came up for Bend:

Yes, that would be a gas mask. Scary stuff. I took Juno for a quick walk and even though I was wearing a cloth mask, I found that my nose started running. And when I came back, my clothes smelled like smoke. After checking the local news and the wildfire map, I decided it would be in my best interest to leave town. With wildfires to the north, west and south of Bend, my only real option was to head east. Boise is a five-hour drive from Bend so I booked a room at the Hyatt, packed a bag, downloaded a audiobook (A Man Called Ove), grabbed Juno’s kibble and we were on the road before 10am.

The drive was uneventful – I was on Hwy 20 almost the entire time and there really isn’t much to see along the way. It took about two hours before the air cleared up and the sky was blue. One thing I didn’t realize was that I would be crossing into the Mountain time zone during the drive. Yep – part of eastern Oregon is in MST. That just shows how wide the state is. I mean – it’s not as crazy as Texas but still.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who decided to leave town for Boise. When I checked in at the hotel, one of the front desk guys told me that they went from 60% occupancy to 100% in under a day. And when I took Juno for a walk around the block before we went to bed, I noticed that the parking lot was filled with cars with Oregon, Washington and California license plates.

Because we arrived fairly late in the afternoon, all I wanted to do was to take a walk and find some food. Juno and I ended up at the Boise Fry Co for a late lunch/early dinner. The bison burger was rather tasty and of course the fry options were plentiful- russet, gold, red, purple, sweet potato and yam. I went with red homestyle fries with garlic aioli on the side.

I remember when I was in Boise on my road-trip in 2016 that there was incredible street art. Sure enough, on the walk back to the hotel, I found the Freak Alley Gallery. This place is just incredible and I could have spent a couple of hours on this single block. Here are a few shots for your viewing pleasure:

Last night was rough. I was reading an article about a 13-year old boy who died in one of the Oregon fires – he died holding his dog in his arms. Needless to say, I started crying. And I couldn’t stop. Because it’s tragic. And horrible. And heart-breaking. And I hoped that the boy and his dog gave each other some comfort during their last moments together. While I was crying, Juno was lying next to me in bed and I just kept my hand on his body while he slept. It took me a long time to fall asleep.

Waking up this morning, it is overcast and the current AQI is 125. Not great but much better than Bend where the AQI is 444. As soon as I finish this post, Juno and I will head out and spend the day walking around downtown. There are a several art galleries that I want to check out. And then I’ll be camped out in front the tv later watching the Lakers play.

I’m going to sign off with pictures of a sign I saw yesterday while Juno and I walked around – they put a smile on my face and in times like these, that’s saying a lot.

Taco Time!

Juno and I are hunkered down with all the doors and windows closed because there are fires nearby and the air quality is really bad right now. It should get better in the next hour or so but until then, we’re laying low. The good news is that this is the perfect time to update y’all on everything that’s been going on.

Last week brought my first visitors to Bend – my sister Joelle, my niece Bridgette and their three dogs (the turtle stayed behind in Los Angeles). It was sort of a last minute decision to come up but the timing was perfect since school hadn’t started yet. I lured them up with the promise of floating on the Deschutes and ocean rolls from Sparrow Bakery. ‘Nuff said.

Floating on the Deschutes was awesome and definitely my favorite part of the visit. I didn’t even mind when I popped out of my inner tube on one of the “rapids” and into the river – meanwhile my sister’s hair stayed perfectly dry the entire time. My niece and I decided that next time we need to tether our tubes together so we could float next to each other. We also decided that we needed inner tubes with built-in cup holders and possibly stereo speakers. I will investigate options for next year. In the interim, here are a couple of pix showing my sis and niece on the river…

Having four dogs here was a little crazy but after Juno settled down, everyone got along famously. Here are my fave shots of all the pups – the other two Bedlington Terriers are Scooby and Penny and Dr. Baxter is the adorable Pumi:

The other super fun part of the trip was taking all the dogs to Shevlin Park. One of the trails runs along the creek and we spent an hour throwing the ball to Dr Baxter. Even Scooby wandered into the water a few times. Juno got close but declined to dip his toes in:

Meal times were really easy because we had street tacos pretty much every day… at Spork, Worthy Brewing Taps & Tacos, El Sancho Taco Shop and … El Sancho Taco Shop. Let me just say that the Barbacoa (brisket) taco at El Sancho is delectable. This taco is one of the reasons why I can never give up eating red meat. Even thinking about this taco makes my mouth water. That’s how good it is. And now I may have to go there tonight and pick up a couple. I didn’t take any pictures of the tacos because I was too busy eating them!

In addition to the myriad of tacos that we consumed, there were also the amazingly delicious boba drinks that my niece made. And we also started to make Tom Douglas’s triple coconut cream pie but we started too late and since there were so many steps, we decided to abandon the pie and simply eat the uncooked pie crust. Good times…

Everyone left Thursday morning and the house has been super quiet. It was so nice having everyone here. Poor Juno – he sat outside the garage for almost two days waiting for everyone to come back. So sad!

Truth be told, I’m looking forward to the day when I can have people over on a (semi) regular basis. I really enjoy entertaining and if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have all my neighbors over for a little cocktail social. My friend Sarah (Scares!) sent me the best housewarming gift – a Star Wars “Death Star” cheese board as well as a “Darth Baker” apron and I really want to bust them all out. I’m not afraid to fly my nerd flag… I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Star Wars. My cell phone ring tone is the Darth Vader walk, my house key has Imperial Stormtroopers and in case that wasn’t enough, here’s a pic of the stickers on my laptop. Yeah I know, I’m obsessed.

Okay! Just checked my Air Visual app and the air quality has improved a bit so I’m going to get Juno out for a little stroll and then it’s off to my neighbor’s place for a gin n tonic. Have a great long weekend and stay safe!

Deja View?

I’m sitting here on the couch with an ice bag on my right calf… I took a little tumble this morning while trail running out at Shevlin Park. Shevlin Park is about a 10-minute drive from my house and my new favorite place to run, despite the fact that I fell. There’s a 4.6 mile loop that I have started doing there and my goal is to be able to run the entire loop without stopping by the end of September. I can run most of it (at least 4 miles) but I do tend to walk up the steep sections.

Juno is finally at a point where I can leave him alone for a few hours at a time which means I can start exploring the area, going for runs, hikes and the occasional personal grooming appointment. Juno does NOT like to hike (he doesn’t even like getting his feet wet!) and trying to run with him just isn’t possible. So after I take him for his morning stroll, he curls up by the back door and waits for me to come home.

This past weekend, my friend Ashley and I ventured out to Tumalo Falls to do some hiking. As soon as you get to the trailhead, you see the falls. But as I stood there looking at the beautiful scenery, I mentioned to Ashley that it looked familiar and I wondered whether I had been here on my road trip back in 2016. The short answer is yes, I was there four years ago – I consulted my blog when I got home and found pretty much the identical picture to the first picture in the group below (deja view!) But back in 2016, I only saw the falls and didn’t hike since I had Juno with me. This time, Ashley and I did a brisk 2-hour hike where we passed several other waterfalls and some other picturesque spots. We turned around at the bridge and came back out. Next time, we’ll go all the way up to Happy Meadow. Note: Ashley is smiling under her mask. Good times…

I’m going to take tomorrow off and let my leg heal up before I venture back out again since there are so many amazing places to explore that I haven’t been to yet (again, I referenced my old blog post). Truth be told, Bend might be the most outdoors-y place I’ve ever been. Hiking, trail running, mountain biking, road biking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, fly fishing – and those are just the summer sports. I’ll eventually get a mountain bike and probably a paddle-board too but not until next year.

In other news, my new range was delivered last week so I’m having fun getting to know all the different settings. I tried doing a loaf of sourdough but it was still undercooked, though not as bad as last time. I tried using the auto-convection setting for baked goods but it lowered my temperature by 25 degrees. Clearly that didn’t work. Next time I’ll just do the manual convection setting and see if I can get it right. The good news is I was fairly successful with my rainbow bread which I made yesterday. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love rainbows and my friend Monica sent me a pinterest pic of rainbow bread which inspired me to try making it myself. The only real issue was I had a hard time getting the food coloring even distributed in each dough ball. So the result is more of a marbled-rainbow. But I’m pretty pleased. And next time I’ll get better food coloring.

And for those of you who want to try making this at home, here’s a link to the YouTube video that I followed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9XDwTRE1dE&t=368s

Because there is no better way to start your day than with buttered rainbow toast with and a pot of hot green tea.

Until next time!

Sparrows and Wasps

Today is a Red Flag Warning Day. I didn’t know what this was until I moved to Bend. Basically it means thunder and lightning without rain. No rain equals the potential for fires. Gusty winds are also likely to feature in the forecast though currently there’s only a light breeze. But it’s hot. And muggy. It’s 90 degrees right now and guess what? My fan and A/C decided to stop working yesterday. The A/C unit is turning on but no air is coming through the vents. Juno and I ended up sleeping downstairs in the guest room last night and I had a damp washcloth to keep us cool. Ugh. The joys of moving to a new house.

Of course you expect that you will have “issues” when you move into a new place and so far, the things I’ve found up to now have been minor. A few sticky windows, a lame shower head, an oven that runs cold, old weather-stripping on the doors… All of these things have been/ will be addressed. And of course I’ll be calling the HVAC peeps first thing tomorrow. But one thing that I did NOT expect were wasps. I was sitting outside the other week and noticed a couple of wasps flying around. The next morning, I found a nest under the eaves of the roof off the balcony. I looked up wasp removal online and decided quickly that this was something I did NOT want to do on my own. So I called an “all natural” pest removal company. Turns out there were five nests total – three dormant and two that were active. So yay, problem solved. Except now I’ve found that the wasps are rebuilding in the same spot. The pest peeps will be back tomorrow to retreat the area. And while I like the ideal of going all-natural, I’m kinda thinking that after the nest is removed, I might get my Clorox spray with bleach and give the area a few good squirts. Bleach is the best – and I think would be a good wasp deterrent.

In happier news, I just consumed my first Ocean Roll from Sparrow Bakery. I heard about Sparrow a few days ago while walking Juno… I was talking to a neighbor and she asked if I had heard about Ocean Rolls yet. I told her I hadn’t. Then again last night, another neighbor brought up Sparrow. Clearly this is a “thing” in Bend. So Juno and I just took a short drive up to Northwest Crossing, had a quick stroll and then waited patiently in line for about 15 minutes. I got one Ocean Roll. I managed to wait until we got home before diving in and OMG, it was amaze-balls. Imagine a fresh morning bun made with croissant dough filled with cardamom and vanilla. That is the Ocean Roll…

On our walkabout in Northwest Crossing, Juno and I also stopped into a local bookstore called Roundabout Books where I picked up Midnight Sun (part of the Twilight saga) by Stephanie Meyer. Catchy name (the bookstore, not the book) since it is located off one of Bend’s infamous roundabouts. I was also pleased to see that they host eight(!!) book clubs and so I immediately signed up for their newsletter so I can figure out which one(s) I want to join. Yay for book clubs!

That’s it for now. It’s 79 degrees in the house and I think Juno and I are going to lay low this afternoon. I will drink lots of water and read my new YA book and Juno will probably take a nap. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon…

Love at First Bite

I am covered in mosquito bites. They are on my arms, legs, hands and feet. The worst one is on my stomach – it is itching like crazy right now and I’m trying not to scratch. The mosquito bites are my fault since I keep the doors open when I’m at home. The downside is when I get into bed at night… I can hear them buzzing around in my room. Of course the doors are closed by then but it’s too late. Occasionally I get lucky and I can smack one while he (she?) is feasting on my blood but I still end up with a bite.

Of course I could avoid all of this by keeping the doors closed but that would be far worse. I like having fresh air blowing through the house – it’s much more preferable to having the A/C on all the time. In addition, Juno can go outside anytime he wants. There is a doggie door already installed but Juno has shown very little interest in it thus far. But once things start to cool down, he’s not going to have much say in the matter. Here’s a picture of Juno relaxing in the bay window that looks out to the front yard:

Truth be told, the mosquitos are a small price to pay for getting to live in Bend. It’s been nearly two weeks since I moved in and I absolutely love it. My agent Shelley dropped by an amazing goodie basket last week and I’ve been slowly making my way through all the treats:

I would like to specifically call out the Parmesan Jalapeño Artichoke dip… this stuff is just lethal and I mean that in the best way. I’m already on my second container since I’ve been eating it for lunch, dinner and the occasional snack. And the Central Oregon tea towel is right next to my Oakland towel:

The house is slowly coming together and with the pandemic, the timing couldn’t be better for “nesting.” The guest bedroom is ready, as is the music room (my piano was delivered last weekend!). It turns out the range is total garbage and the temperature was off by 40 degrees so that’s being replaced. Until then, I have to buy bread (ugh). I have ordered dining room furniture as well as bedroom furniture but it’ll be a couple of months before it all shows up. Until then, I’m using a little bistro set in my dining room and I’ve got plastic bins with my clothes scattered around the bedroom. It’s all fine.

But the thing that has made settling in here so easy has without a doubt been the people. I’ve met a few of my neighbors and they are all so friendly. I’ve had several tradespeople over – locksmith, plumber, internet installation, handyman, etc etc – and all of them could not have been nicer. I had a guy over yesterday to look at one of my casement windows that looks like a rabid raccoon attacked it and when he told me he couldn’t repair it, I apologized for wasting his time. His response was “That’s okay – I like helping people.” So yeah, the people here are awesome. Maybe this will rub off on me and I’ll be nicer. Only time will tell…

Oh! And a quick update on the deer from my previous post. It turns out that there’s a little family that hangs out on around here. Three adults and two fawns. When Juno and I were out for our evening stroll the other night, two of the adults were hanging out across the street. I held Juno in my arms and one of the deer approached us – at one point, he was about three feet away from us. But Juno got excited and the deer backed off. It was pretty awesome though – just one more reason why I love Bend.

My next post will be about the Bend logo and my adventures in finding a landscaper. Until then, stay safe!

I Moved to B(ag)-End

Apologies for the radio silence the last month or so but I’ve been a very busy bee. Back in early May when things started opening up in Oregon, Juno and I took a little road trip up to Bend, Oregon for a few days. I had visited Bend on my cross-country road trip back in 2016 and totally loved the town. The plan was to check out the different neighborhoods, get a sense of what I could afford, meet up with my friend Ashley, etc etc. Assuming that I was still digging Bend, I figured I’d make a couple more visits over the next six months and then start looking to buy a place next spring.

Long story short, I saw three houses while I was in town and ended up making an offer on the third house. The offer was accepted and that’s when I kicked things into overdrive. Through all the insanity, the phone calls with both of my agents, packing up boxes, and moving things into storage while juggling two escrows, I knew with 100% certainty that I was doing the right thing. Juno was less certain about everything but I reassured him on a daily basis that he was coming with me – and that part of the reason I was doing this was so he had a bigger yard where he could run around.

The pandemic played a big part in my decision. Over the last few months, I came to realize that working full-time was something that I no longer wanted to do. I have gotten used to baking bread, going on socially distant hikes/walks, reading, taking naps and even having the time to have long talks with friends on the phone. And while I don’t mind working from home here and there, I knew that wouldn’t last forever. And as anyone who lives in the Bay Area knows, there’s no way to live there without working full time. Unless you are someone like Mark Zuckerberg. But I get the sense that despite his billions, Mark works pretty hard. Mark also seems to be going through a tough time right now. So yeah, I wouldn’t trade places with Mark, even with his billions.

I closed escrow in Oakland on July 13th and closed escrow in Bend on July 24th. Juno and I hung out at my mom’s place in Carmel during the two weeks that I was in between homes. I was even able to get my hair cut and colored before I left which was awesome (my hairdresser Helen actually laughed when she saw the state of my hair). Then we drove up here last week and the movers were here at 7:00am on Friday. I would say that I’m about 85% unpacked at this point and as you can see, all the important stuff is sorted…

Everyone here has been super friendly and a lot of people have commented on how much they love my blue hair – generally yelling to me out of a car window as they drive by. I’ve already met a few people in the ‘hood and did the neighborly thing by posting free boxes on Craigslist and Nextdoor. By this morning, they were all gone. Juno and I also had a close encounter with a deer yesterday morning that was literally across the street from my house. The deer was very interested in Juno and vise versa.

In other news, my internet isn’t going to be set up here until August 4th so I’ve been entertaining myself the last two nights by rewatching Lord of the Rings on DVD. I got through Fellowship of the Ring and am now about halfway through The Two Towers. Listening to Bilbo talk about hobbits and living in The Shire, it occurred to me that my new house is the people version of Bag-End. It is 100 years old and is surrounded by greenery. I have a cute front yard and while my door may not be round and green, it’s pretty special. So yes, I’ve moved to B(ag)-End and both Juno and I are very very happy.

Wind of Change

It’s been three weeks since my last post and to be honest, I just haven’t been in the mood to share. Writing about jigsaw puzzles, baking bread and making donuts seems trivial and a bit insensitive, given what’s going on right now, both at home, around the country and around the world. But a couple of days ago, I started listening to a podcast called ‘Wind of Change’ and feel like I’ve found my voice again.

My friend Sonja happened to mention/recommend ‘Wind of Change’ a few weeks ago when we were out for one of our power walks. And then I saw it mentioned again in a recent issue of The Week magazine under Noteworthy podcasts. So I fired up the first episode when I went walking the other day and was instantly hooked.

For those of you who haven’t heard of ‘Wind of Change’ – it a podcast about how the CIA was (potentially?) responsible for writing this song by The Scorpions back in 1990 as a part of a larger covert operation. Quick history recap – 1990 was when the Berlin wall came down and the USSR was disbanded. I happened to be a big fan of The Scorpions back in those days and have actually seen them in concert twice – at the Monsters of Rock concert at the LA Coliseum and in Sacramento when I was at UC Davis. So of course I knew the song well, as well as how apropos it was, given when it was released. But I didn’t know how massively huge this song was on a global scale (and still is) and the thought that the CIA actually wrote it is just nuts. I’m basically the perfect audience for this podcast and even though I’m only three episodes in, I’ve found myself singing along during the occasional musical interlude to songs like “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”

I’m not going to give anything away for two reasons. First, I have no clue how it ends. Second, it’s way more enjoyable to listen to it than to have me paraphrase. I can assure you that it’s funny, informative and engaging. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s walk so I can listen to episode four. If you have free time or just need a break from the news, give it a whirl.

So why am I writing about a podcast about a heavy metal power ballad? Because this song, albeit written 30 years ago, is just as poignant today as it was back in 1990. Here are the lyrics:

I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change

The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers
The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away (dream away)
In the wind of change

Walking down the street
Distant memories
Are buried in the past forever
I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams (share their dreams)
With you and me
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night…

We are on the precipice of real change. And regardless of who wrote ‘Wind of Change’ – the Scorpions or the CIA – they pretty much nailed it.

#BlackLivesMatter

Trial and Error

My kitchen is a mess, my clothes are covered in flour and my face is totally greasy but it was worth it because I successfully made a batch of apple cider doughnuts (donuts from here on out) this afternoon. This was way more challenging than I thought.

The recipe came from a dessert cookbook I received from Ellyn, my Secret Santa last year. This was an excellent gift and this is the second or third recipe I’ve made from it.

I read the recipe carefully before starting and one of the things that struck me as odd was that there was no mention of the donut hole. It said you should use either a biscuit cutter or mason jar to make the rounds and that the dough should be 3/4″ thick. This all seemed sensible – I opted for a juice glass for making my rounds. The picture of the donuts in the recipe clearly shows a hole so I’m thinking that maybe when you fry the donuts, the center somehow magically dissolves in the oil to create the hole. In retrospect, I realize this is ridiculous but this was my first time making donuts so what the hell do I know? The other challenging thing was keeping the temperature of the oil consistent at 350°.

Since I had a little leftover dough after making the rounds, I opted to make a few mini donuts (donettes!) as testers. I’m glad I did this because none of them came out fully cooked – they all had raw dough in the middle:

So then I tried a regular size round – no dice. Still raw in the middle. And to make matters worse, the oil had shot up to 380° so the outside was totally burned. Things were not going well but I was not to be deterred. I lowered the temperature of the oil and while it was cooling down, I got out a rolling pin and a bottle of vanilla. I used the rolling pin to flatten out the rounds a little bit – they were now more like 1/2″ tall, if that. As for the vanilla, I used the cap as a donut hole maker – it was the perfect diameter and height for the dough. You can see the gradual improvement here:

After that, it was like a donut assembly line. The recipe said to fry three donuts at a time but I opted to do each one separately so I could manage the oil temperature. I’d drop the dough into the pot trying not to get burned by the oil, set the timer for one minute, flip the donut, set the timer for one more minute. Remove donut with strainer and drain on paper towels. Then dredge in cinnamon sugar. And after the last donut was finished, I popped all the holes into the oil and made donut holes.

I am extremely proud of today’s baking/cooking accomplishment (see pictures below) but I do not think that donuts will be part of my regular rotation. Having a batch of donuts in my house is just a bad idea and while they are absolutely delicious, I’m already plotting how I can get rid of them. Of course I’ll eat a couple (the donut holes can stay) but the rest of them have to go. So if you wake up tomorrow morning and find some donuts on your front porch, you’re welcome.

I need to go clean up the kitchen now and take a shower but before I go, I’d like to give Roberta a quick shout-out as she figured out that the annoying bird that sits on my roof is the California Towhee. Here’s the link for those that are interested:

https://www.alaboutbirds.org/guide/California_Towhee/sounds

Be sure to click on “Call” to listen to what I hear every damn morning. This morning was particularly bad. He started around 4:30am and because I had my skylight open, I had no choice but to do earplugs and an abbreviated pillow sandwich.

P.s. I’ll be having a nice healthy salad for dinner tonight.

Pillow Sandwich

I’ve been back in rainy-ish Oakland since Monday afternoon and one of the best parts of being at home is sleeping in my own bed. Despite the fact that I live in a somewhat industrial neighborhood, West Oakland is surprisingly quiet at night and it’s rare that I hear traffic or people or gunshots (this is generally limited to 4th of July and NYE). But there is this one bird who annoys the f%$k out of me. He starts chirping around 5am almost every morning. This is NOT a nice sing-songy chirp and it’s not even a warble. No, it’s just a single, intermittent chirp. It reminds me of the sound that the refrigerator makes when you’ve left the door open. And he sits right above my bedroom on the roof. While I may love nature, I don’t like this bird.

Since staying asleep once he gets going is nearly impossible, there are two ways I’ve learned contend with Chirpy McChirptington… The first is digging out the earplugs. Pretty basic and works well. The issue is finding the earplugs. That means fishing around in the drawer in my nightstand (this always takes a minute) or getting up and going to the medicine cabinet (which is what I did this morning). The problem is either way, I’m now kind of awake and it’s challenging to fall back asleep. No bueno.

The other option is what I call a pillow sandwich. This works very well and takes almost no effort. I simply place my head on one pillow (I am a side-sleeper) and then place another pillow on top of the exposed ear. So now my ears are cocooned between the two pillows – a perfect pillow sandwich! All sound is muffled – or non-existent with the case of the annoying bird. This process takes a couple of seconds and I am back asleep immediately.

The pillow sandwich is also effective when sleeping next to someone who snores, though if the snoring is super loud, then I would recommend using earplugs as well as the pillows. Oh – and if your pillows are different weights, the heavier pillow should go on the top ear. If the pillow is too light, it doesn’t block out the snoring/chirping . You’re welcome.

On the entertainment front, I’ve been binge watching TV like crazy. After the Daniel Craig as James Bond marathon, I jumped into Season 2 of Dead to Me. It was fantastic (with an awesome surprise guest appearance) and from there, I plowed through Upload (soooooo good!!) Last night was St. Elmo’s Fire followed by The Holiday. I’m annoyed that Showtime is releasing the new season of Billions one week at a time because I hate waiting. Next up is The Outer Banks. The preview looked ridiculous but I read an article this morning by a TV critic who really liked it so why not? Anything is better than the news. And while you might think some of my choices are garbage, I will make no apologies.

It’s nearly time for lunch and I have to make a decision. Do I spend the time to make a nice frittata or should I just eat some pre-made chicken salad with a cut-up apple dipped in honey butter? I’m leaning towards the latter. I can make the frittata tonight. I also want to look into recipes for donuts this afternoon, which is my next baking/cooking challenge. Donuts are dangerous on two levels – first, there’s the potential to get burned since donuts are generally fried in hot oil. Second, donuts are bad for the scale. I’m not worried about the first danger – I’ve been burned lots of time while cooking. The second danger is scarier. Maybe I’ll walk on the treadmill while reading donut recipes?!? That should help balance things out. Yeah, right.

Tune in next time for adventures in donut making!

The End is Nigh?

It finally hit me – I’m bored. I looked at the calendar yesterday and it’s been eight weeks since my last “official” day at work. 56 days. That’s a long time. I remember back in 2001, I got laid off and it took me approximately five months to find a new job. But it was different back then. The world was open, I was able to go to the gym and work out, I was actively interviewing and networking. I should also mention that my rent back then was around $725/month for my one-bedroom apartment in Twin Peaks. So my expenses were practically nothing. Most importantly, I knew it was just a matter of time before I was employed again and everything would be fine. Things are very different right now. I’ve noticed several shops here in town that have gone out of business. And Neiman Marcus has filed for bankruptcy. It’s definitely starting to feel like end of days.

But let’s get back to the boredom. I actually noticed that my mood had started shifting a few days ago. I haven’t done my daily hour-long power walk in three days, haven’t run in a week, and am feeling generally lethargic. I’m also not really interested in cooking and have gotten takeaways the last couple of days. And it seems like the weather has mimicked my mood because the beautiful sunny days stopped two days ago. It’s cool and overcast – the kind of weather where you don’t feel guilty if you don’t get off the couch all day and watch James Bond movies.

It’s not all gloom and doom though. Snug is still getting out for a couple of strolls each day and I’m still making the bed every morning. Sleeping in is never an option with Juno – we were up this morning at 6:05am. And I am brushing my teeth – so that’s something. It’s just I’m ready to get back to normal. And I know that the new normal will be very different from the old normal but I’m okay with that. I think what I miss is having a sense of purpose – having a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning. I’m really tired of wearing sweats. It reminds me of going on a long vacation – no matter how incredible the trip is, there’s always a point when you’re tired and ready to go home.

So yes, I’m going to head back to Oakland in the next day or so. My friend mentioned finding a new steep route on a hike in the Berkeley Hills that I’m anxious to check out. And there are rumors that businesses might be able to start reopening in the Bay Area around May 18th. This isn’t 100% confirmed as the shelter-in-place order isn’t slated to end until the end of May. Of course, it’s scary reading about the uptick in new cases in states that decided to reopen too soon. I guess we’ll see what happens. But I volunteered to help out and get the store ready to reopen, whenever that is. I’m also hoping that a stimulus check might have arrived… but I’m not going to hold my breath.

In more positive news, the new season of Dead to Me just came out on Netflix. I rewatched season one in anticipation and for those of you who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! Christina Applegate is friggin’ fantastic. And I’m looking forward to checking out the new season of Billions on Showtime when I get home. No, I still haven’t watched the new season of Ozark yet but I’ll do it soon. And I haven’t watched Hollywood either.

I’m going to wrap up today’s post with a shout-out to my mom since it’s Mother’s Day… Thanks for being so generous and allowing me to stay in your beautiful home. It’s not nearly as fun being here without you (though I do enjoy watching TV more without closed captioning). And I’m sorry I broke your chicken.