pandemic diaries: weeks 43-47

Honestly, I don't even know if I'm doing the math right anymore, this thing is dragging on for so long. But I do know I'm way behind on updating these here pandemic diaries, and I've been at it this long, may as well continue, so here goes. It's been a busy and incredibly stressful five weeks, on both a personal and public level. By public I mean the capitol insurrection, of course, and the ensuing (second) impeachment, all on the heels of the positive political news from Georgia. It's weird to be reflecting back on this during the week the second impeachment trial began.

On a personal level, my mother-in-law has been in the hospital since mid-January. She celebrated her 74th birthday there. I'm not going to pretend like our relationship has always been easy, but the first week she was in the ICU was one of the most agonizing of my life. She's doing much better now, thankfully, recovering from multiple health "events" at a care facility, but the transition and longer-term plan has and will pretty thoroughly upend our lives, at least temporarily. It wasn't COVID, but having to deal with all this on top of the ten months of chronic stress caused by a global pandemic and all that's come with it has taken my anxiety levels and mild depression to a new level. Having a loved one in the hospital during a pandemic, whether COVID-related or not, really sucks. We're officially part of the sandwich generation now, which is a little like winning a really shitty lottery if you know me/us personally and know what our parent configuration is like. But that's how life goes, I guess.

And what to say of the ongoing debate around reopening school campuses for in-person learning? In a nutshell, I think this is a pretty good piece of radio to listen to if you haven't already (Bay Area specific but touches on a lot of the pieces of the debate going on around the country right now).

On a lighter note, and fittingly, the now 8 year old and I have been reading Pollyanna together. I've been trying my hardest to play the glad game every day, really I have.

Speaking of birthdays, with the youngest turning 8, every member of the family has now celebrated a pandemic birthday. She requested all things llama. Last weekend we visited a couple of llamas and a whole lot of alpacas at Menagerie Hill Ranch in Vacaville. I highly recommend hugging a baby alpaca if ever given the chance. This weekend we'll host a virtual paint party with a few of her friends. More about that in the next update.

We're getting kinda bored with our usual jaunts. Fortunately, there's always new stuff to discover around here, like Brooklyn Basin, currently still in development nearish Oakland's Jack London Square. You can explore the old pier and even grab some groceries at Rocky's (we didn't buy anything this time but I love the idea of those $5 produce grab bags and, if you're not vegan, the kitchen was producing some tasty-looking sandwiches and such).

We also explored, for the first time as a family, Muir Woods. What a truly magical place.

Thankfully, outdoor attractions are starting to reopen again, too. 

We were able to reschedule our canceled December 21st Glowfari tickets for this past Friday. It was "epic" and the music was "a vibe," according to the rising teen.

What are we watching? Well, we finished up all three seasons of Cobra Kai and I gotta say, that show kinda peaked for me about 3/4 of the way through Season 1. More recently, we started making our way through Schitt's Creek and it's absolutely delightful. Watching a family share a couple of hotel rooms also makes for a fairly cathartic viewing experience during a pandemic and related lockdown/stay-at-home order. I also really enjoyed the clips I've seen of Dan Levy hosting SNL last weekend, especially this one, since Redfin is my internet drug of choice these days (alas, any kind of move is now on hold due to the sandwich generation situation noted above).

Finally, in honor of National Pizza Day, here's some wholesome, vegan pepperoni pizza content for you. First, video of Neal applying a "sheet" of vegan "mozzarella" to the dough/sauce base. Pretty cool, right?? You can see the final product above, with our house-made vegan pepperoni. Neal's recipe:

In other mostly vegan news, dry Veganuary was a bit of a bust on both fronts, but I did give Just Eggs a try (tasty, but expensive)...

...and I've been pretty consistently avoiding most, some days all dairy, including cheese (except the tiniest sprinkling of Mexican cheese blend in our eggs). I'm also trying to be more consistent about not drinking during the week. It's hard, I ain't gonna lie. Daily life holds so little joy right now, but I continue to try to be as vegan as possible, taking it one day at a time. On a somewhat related note, I signed up for Freeletics to move past the pandemic plateau I hit last spring (still running 2 mornings a week but feeling like my cross/strength training routine could use a little revamping). The first 2-3 weeks were great, but I've felt sluggish again the last week or two. I honestly think I'm just so tired. All the time.

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