Hello, all! I've missed you! 💗
I finally got caught up reading all of everyone's posts I've missed for the past good while (though I did not read all of the comments yet). I'm sorry I haven't been around; I just have pandemic-brain or something and am having a hard time getting motivated do do much of anything.
I haven't posted here at all... so it's not like I've been writing stuff and keeping it private. Just haven't really had anything to report.
What I Did On My OPW Vacation, in Eight Parts by Jill Knapp, Age 49
1) Family Update
Things are pretty good right now, considering, y'know, the world and stuff. My folks are doing well-- Dad is a brand-new guy since getting his heart fixed up in July, and Mom's dementia doesn't seem to be getting worse, thankfully. A home health aide comes to their house 3x/week for 4 hours, and her job is to keep an eye on Mom so Dad can get a little mental break; and he'll also schedule his doctor appointments for those windows so Mom won't be alone while he's out. I'm very grateful their health has been stable, and that my folks take the virus seriously.
2) Hot Breakfast! (our band)
Matt and I are still doing our 2x-weekly afternoon Coffee Break Concerts -- we just played our 89th one on Friday. We played a NYE show from 8-10pm which was fun. We still hate that we feel forced into using FB for these performances, but we know we have to meet people where they are. The good news is that we were able to set all the shows to Public, so anti-FBers can still attend even without an account.
We tried broadcasting on Zoom and YouTube and they just don't work well given our current gear limitations, so I'm investing in a bunch of gear upgrades (thank you, Delaware Dept of Small Business/CARES Act!). These equipment upgrades are primarily to benefit my main company to help me stream my classes and provide a better learning experience online for my students, but this new equipment is absolutely perfect also for Hot Breakfast, too. The money just hit my account two days ago, so let the Small Business Upgrades begin!
I have been so, so, so grateful for our afternoon concerts and the truly lovely community that has sprung up around them. The in-jokes, the little rituals ("Yo!"), the recurring dumb gags, the title card artwork-- they all fill my heart so much. All of my job-related work has pretty much vanished, so if we didn't have these Coffee Break Concerts happening every Wednesday and Friday, I would generally have no reason to get out of bed.
Since March, we have pretty much only cooked at home, with only 5 exceptions:
(1) Over the summer we did one outdoor dinner with another couple at a verrrrrry long picnic table-- despite all safety protocols it just was not worth the stress. (2) We did one outdoor brunch with Matt's folks at a place with outdoor seating. It was... fine. (3) We had pizza at my folks' house in NJ twice. (4) We ordered our very first take-out meal on Christmas Eve (we got Chinese). It was tasty. As much as I want to support our local restaurants, I don't think this is something we'll do again soon. We haven't even done Door Dash or anything like that. We're very lucky that Matt loves to cook and he's really good at it, so we just don't really have a good enough reason to spend the money. (Also, since I only worked 4 days (four!) in 2020, spending money for someone else to cook seems extravagant.)
Since the pandemic started, our night-owl ways have only solidified. We wake up around 12:30/1PM each day, but we don't go to sleep until Jenn Abrevaya is already in her first meeting. 😀 (Seriously though, we usually hit the hay around 4-5am.) I am happiest and most functional like this, believe it or not.
I installed a few bird feeders in our front yard two clear lucite bird feeders and attached them to our bedroom window because we're almost always in the bedroom. I do not have sufficient vocabulary to express the pure joy this has brought us. I love learning about the different birds, which species get along and will share a perch and which ones won't, their calls, their colors, their nests, who feeds on the ground, who feeds at the feeders, etc. So far we've seen a lot of sparrows, we have a mated pair of titmice, a mated cardinal pair, a bunch of mourning doves, a pileated woodpecker, a Coopers Hawk (he killed and ate a mourning dove in front of everyone last week-- it was awful), a blue jay or two (the males and females look so similar that I can't tell if it's just one bird or two birds visiting separately). I'm probably forgetting some. Oh-- we had a bunch of crows, too, but they haven't been around in a while. But maaaaan, do I love my birdies. :)
I've never been much of a book reader, which I never liked about myself... especially because I have such book-loving friends. I devour magazines and newspapers (The New Yorker, the NY Times, Wired, The Smithsonian), but books just seem to stack up without getting read, which only reminds/taunts me with how much I suck.
So I decided to use one of my tablets as an eReader, and it's been great. With a Kindle account plus a Dropbox folder with Project Guttenberg books easily accessible, I've been reading more. Plus I can read all of these Kindle/Guttenberg books on my phone. When I'm caught on Hour 7 of a doomscrolling marathon, I convince myself to just read one page of a book, and 99% of the time that one page will get me excited enough to bust out the tablet and read a lot more on a more eye-friendly device. Because they're all connected, I never lose my place even when I switch devices. That's handy
Since Spring 2020 I've read:
--"Liberty" which is Liberty DeVitto's autobiography (he was Billy Joel's drummer during Billy's most successful years)
-- "Everything's Bigger in Texas," A biography (with some autobiography) of Kinky Friedman-- it is hilarious.
-- "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," a collection of writings/essays/music reviews by Lester Bangs,
-- "Where I'm Calling From," a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver (WOW),
-- A fabulously fun read called "VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave" which is an oral history of the early days of MTV as told by the original VJs (it is FANTASTIC).
And now I'm working through a few other books:
-- "Harpo Speaks!" by Harpo Marx-- it is an absolute treat! What a gifted writer, especially for a guy who didn't get past 2nd grade. This book is his autobiography, and his description of growing up in the early 20th century in New York is soooooo immersive and tangible; I loved the history lesson. I'm only about 20% of the way through it, but I look forward to reading it all the time.
-- "What Unites Us" by Dan Rather. Dan Rather is a total gem on Twitter, and when he throws shade it is THE BEST. Holy crap, he's a treasure. This book is a balm for this divided country, and he was careful to write it so no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on, you will feel invited and welcome to read it. Obviously Dan leans somewhat left socially, but the righties won't throw the book out, I don't think. I sprung for the extra few bucks for the audio version as well, because sometimes when my eyes are tired and my soul is weary, having Dan Rather read to me in his 89-year-old steady voice is so, so comforting.
-- "So You Want To Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo, because it's important and I want to do better. I'm still on the first chapter.
-- "Disloyal" by Michael Cohen. Haven't started it yet, and I may not ever because I just don't wanna get involved in a story about someone I find so abhorrent and exhausting (Trump). But I do find Michael Cohen fascinating and would like to hear more about his change of alligiance.
-- "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, because I never had to read it in high school, and it's about time. Haven't started it yet.
-- "Animal Farm" and "1984" by George Orwell. See above. It's time to fill in some knowledge gaps. Haven't started these yet either.
-- Matt bought Obama's new book "A Promised Land," and once he's done with it, I'll likely read it.
7) Frozen shoulder
At the end of the summer, I royally screwed up my left shoulder after a few nights of sleeping weird. The pain was absolutely awful, and I had verrrrry limited use of it. I was starting to think it was time to finally see a doctor, but the covid numbers started rapidly increasing in the fall so I didn't wind up going. Thankfully the pain is almost all gone, but I still can't use my left arm for much of anything-- it just doesn't go where it should. Some friends of mine suggest it may be Frozen Shoulder which is a thing that is some peri-menopausal women get. I don't know, but I hate not being able to put my left hand on my hip or in a pocket, or to lift it at all. If it is actually Frozen Shoulder, it usually works itself out in 9-12 months. So I'll watch and wait for another month ot two, and once I've got my two vaccines in me, I'll be ready to maybe go to PT or whatever.
8) That's it for now!
This is already WAY too long, and I promise to update in more reasonably-timed and sized chunks.
Love youse. :)