Sunday, March 29, 2020

A puzzle a day keeps the doctor away.

Pic of the week 


For months I've been meaning to put together a little plant stand for these guys.  This is not what my original idea/plan was, but I actually like this version better. I think they turned out rull cute. 


Quote of the week

"I think this is at least two months, and be prepared for longer."
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti on the lock-down in our fair city.  We're apparently on lock-down until at least May.  So.

What's going on?

Lots of cookies.  Lots of walks.  Lots of puzzling.  Lots of movie parties with friends.

Just finding fun things to keep me occupied during the day, ya know?

I went to a farmer's market that is still open as a way for people to get food and a way for small farmers and vendors to stay in business.  And while I am all about supporting local businesses at the moment there were too many people there and most people were not doing much to try and keep 6 ft apart.  So, I think that's my last trip to the ol' farmer's market for the time being.  I think I'll be sticking to local ethnic and neighborhood markets for food.  I've also been doing a produce delivery service for a couple of years and I think that should keep me just fine.

They closed the beaches and parks in LA this week.  Those will remain closed until further notice.  That means no more running the stairs for me - which is a bummer.  Luckily the bike path by my house is still open, though who knows how long it'll stay that way.

What I'm watching



Gotta love a British period drama.  And looking at Richard Armitage for 4 hours straight isn't the worst.  Farrah and I played a game of monopoly while watching this.  I destroyed her - mostly because she landed on "Go to Jail" about 12 times, no exaggeration.

What I'm puzzling

This is harder than it looks.  It's really fun though! Goodwill for the win!

What I'm cooking


Jack's Cookie Num Nums.  Pixar put this recipe on their official Instagram Account, so I thought I'd try it out.  Apparently they have an in-house pastry chef. They turned out pretty good.  I kind of want to try them again and see if I can make them even better, but I'm not disappointed.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Love in the time of Corona

Pic of the week 


This is a screenshot of the LA freeways during the typical morning rush hour on Tuesday.  LA freeways NEVER look like this.  Typically they'd be a solid web of red.  It's a brave new world, my friends.

Quote of the week

"The world is coming to an end; I started a puzzle."
- Me.  Nothin' but the truth around here.  I also finished that puzzle. So.

What's going on?

Howdy everyone!  How's everyone doing?  This was our first full week of the global pandemic and boy what a ride.  Story Pirates is working on some digital offerings and video shows for schools is part of that.  So I had a couple of rehearsals this week to stage some new stories, which were then passed on to the folks in NY to film and put together.  It's an interesting time and I think we're in a great place to offer some cool things to families and schools.  In fact, I think we're going to make some big announcements this week about everything we've got going on, but if you want a little sneak peak, you can head over to https://www.storypirates.com/creatorclub to see what we've got cookin' up.

It seems every educational company in the world is offering their services for free at the moment - and not just for kids - which is GREAT!  I got 3 free months of guitar lessons from Fender, 1 month of free access to the Great Course Plus, Beach Body has all of their workouts free for two weeks, not to mention all of the content available on Instagram and YouTube (at-home workouts, free lessons in cooking, music, art, etc.)  AND there are tons of apps popping up to help stay connected.  Netflix Party has been fun this week - though spotty in its effectiveness.  I've also used Kastapp for a movie party or two.  Anything I missed that I should check out?  I know there are several gaming websites helping people come together as well.

Is it just me or do sirens sound especially ominous in this social environment?

What a truly unprecedented time we're all living in.  Can't wait to get back to a time when I can just hug the crap out of everyone.

What I'm downloading

  


What I'm watching


Movie party with some friends this weekend watching this ol' gem.  A bit dated, but still a fun watch.

What I'm listening to

The advice of medical and scientific professionals to stay home.
Also, the latest episode of The Happiness Lab titled "Coronavirus BONUS: Coach Yourself Through A Crisis."  Good information for dealing with the overwhelming amount of info coming at us on a daily basis.

What I'm cooking


Eggs en cocotte.  Discovered this gem at an Irish-themed pub at Disney Springs in Florida.  So so good.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

And so it begins

Pic of the week 


Along with the apocalypse, we've had quite a bit of rain this week, and there's a hike to a waterfall close by that is quite lovely after some rain. I haven't been there in a while, so I decided to get out and make it happen.  The trail was muddy, the people were few, the hike was perfect.

Quote of the week

"It's been like this all day."
-Guy working the cash register at Whole Foods on Friday when I stopped in to grab some lunch.  He said the lines of people shopping were pretty constant.  That particular store wasn't actually too bad on Friday afternoon.  Went to the Trader Joe's by my house later that night for some cheese and the place was cleaned out.  The entire freezer aisle was empty (except for the desserts).  Nary a canned good or loaf of bread to be found.  There was, however, plenty of ice cream and wine.  So. People are going bonkers.

What's going on?

That is the question.  Hope everyone is staying safe and clean.  Here are two things I found to be informative and helpful:

This rather long Facebook post goes into some of the math behind what's coming and reasons we should all be taking steps now to help slow to roll of the virus rather than continuing with business as usual.

This article from the Washington Post has some handy simulations of different scenarios and advocates again for social distancing.

So what I'm saying is yes, this is a big deal, and yes we should be hunkering down so it doesn't become a catastrophic deal.  Also, consider donating to food banks, buying gift cards from local mom and pop restaurants, checking in on the families of healthcare workers, tipping generously, buying pizza for the staff of the grocery store, etc. etc. etc.  There are lots of people out there with a "me first" attitude in this situation, let's spread a little more love and generosity.

Other than the slow decline of civilization as we know it, it was actually a pretty normal week.  I did a bunch of work as a standardized patient this week helping doctors learn how to gain consent for a blood transfusion. I did a little bit of tutoring, a little bit of Kidville, and a whole lot of reading.

I also started practicing the guitar.  I'd like to be semi-proficient at guitar, but just haven't had the motivation to really pick it up.  Somehow this keto kick I've been on, and the requisite discipline to stay at it has bled over into other areas of my life - which is awesome!  So I'm not doing a ton of practicing, but a little bit every day.  And it's already made a difference!  I'm excited to keep going.

Speaking of keto, as of today I have officially completed one month and the results are in - literally nothing has changed.  *sigh*  I had some high hopes, but I think my body is just very resistant to change.  So.  I had a goal of doing keto for a full 6 weeks.  I'm gonna keep it up for another two weeks - should be fine food-wise for the next week at least, who knows what the following week will bring what with grocery stores being emptied as soon as they're stocked, but I'm going to do my best - and then see where we're at.  I have some fitness goals I'd like to reach, but it's looking like there may be zero quick-fix elements to this.  Just a few months of discipline and hard work.  But I think I'm ready for it.

What I'm reading

So many things about the importance of social distancing to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spread.  Seriously everyone, stay home.

And also this:


Fascinating look at the secondhand industry - the global view, the impacts, the stats.  Another one to make you go, "Huh.  Maybe I probably don't need so much of the stuff."  Or at the very least, it might make you think about the longer picture of the stuff you do buy.  Also, I learned where the word "shoddy" comes from.  Turns out it's a kind of recycled wool fabric.  

What I'm watching



This was very good. I love the direction Disney and Pixar are both taking in terms of highlighting the role of love in more than just a romantic way, and showing the impact that all kinds of relationships can have in positive ways.

What I'm listening to

This cool website where you can pick a country and a decade and it will play music that you were likely to hear on the radio at the time.

What I'm cooking


Zuppa Toscana.  Don't let the "keto" part turn you off.  This soup was delicious.  Perfect for the cool, rainy weather we've been having.  A couple of modifications due to low supplies at the grocery store and vegetables I happened to have on hand:
Instead of Italian sausage, I used some breakfast sausages.  I used some cubed squash instead of radishes and shaved Brussels sprouts instead of kale.  It was a hearty, creamy, delicious bowl of warmth.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Rough waters ahead.

Pic of the week 


So this picture doesn't really do it justice because you really just get a bunch of trail and sky, but that's the deal with the panoramic setting.  Anyway, this is the view from a local hiking spot.  The real view is more of that kind of thin strip in the middle - which is the city and the ocean.  It's been a while since I've been hiking and I had some time yesterday, so I went.  It was great!  I want to start going more.  There are some great hikes around here and it always feels so refreshing to be outside.

Quote of the week

"J/K".  More of a paraphrase than a quote, but that's essentially the sentiment felt by the LGBT+ Mormon community at BYU and elsewhere as The Church™ clarified its position on the honor code update, once again causing a lot of pain and signaling that church is not the safest place for those in this community.  Want to clarify that I have a lot of respect for The Church™ as an organization and know plenty of people who find great value in being a part of it.  But I think a church run primarily by octogenarian white men - inspired though they may be - is gonna make some mistakes.  And I think, generally speaking, the way they approach and interact with the LGBT+ community leaves room for improvement.  Especially at an institution of higher learning that is supposed to prepare its members to enter a larger society prepared to interact in healthy and appropriate ways with that larger society.  Like it or not, doctrines aside, homophobia has no place in the larger society.

What's going on?

Ya know, with Coronavirus, and Climate Change, and the very real possibility of another 4 years with a misogynistic criminal (And that's really not even liberal hyperbole.  He's a demonstrated misogynist and criminal.in the White House all looming darkly on the horizon, it's been a bit of a heavy week for yours truly.  Oddly enough, this all seemed to coalesce when I was hiking - which is generally a time when I clear my head.  Probably listening to too many podcasts.  Also, saw a post on the ol' FB (which I really should spend less time on) that Utah passed abortion bans, but rejected free lunch for pre-schoolers, so how about that for standing on moral high ground.  Reminds me of when the good Members™ of Draper rejected a shelter for women and children because, "Not in my backyard!"  I think maybe we have forgotten in our individualistic society the importance of the community, and that the community doesn't just mean the other white people in your same tax bracket.

Sorry to get so political on y'all this week, there's just a lot going on and it's been on my mind.  Facebook really is heating up with political content - which I try to avoid because it raises my blood pressure - but the few very conservative people I actually follow keep posting things that are shocking to me - not because they are surprising, but because they seem to exist in a reality with which I am not familiar.  But I guess that's how it goes.

Other than the weight of partisanship, it's been a VERY chill week.  I had a followup with my doctor and it seems my cholesterol is a tad high.  And this was from blood work they did the day I started keto, so I wasn't even doing a high-fat thing at that moment.  My doc all but recommended I go vegan - which I thought was interesting for a health-care professional.  I do miss eating a more plant-based diet. I guess once keto's over I'll need to keep a better eye on what I'm eating - which I've known for some time, I just have a really hard time saying no to dessert.  More black bean brownies and less buttercream frosting.

What I'm reading

Just want to give a second plug to my book from a couple of weeks ago - Destiny Disrupted.  I finished it this week and it was such a fascinating look at the world.  I think it's always helpful to look at things from different perspectives and going through world history from a Muslim perspective was so interesting.  I think it'd be very helpful to a lot of people to see that perspective.  So.  If you're a reader, HIGHLY recommend a look. And if you're not a reader, HIGHLY recommend the audio book.

This week I also read:

Great (and quick!) little read about the author's journey of a year of no shopping.  Meaning no buying things she didn't actually need.  I think it's good to think about that every once in a while.  We all have too much stuff so it's probably good to ask "What do I really need?" Ya know?

What I'm watching


Finally got around to watching this and it was really cute!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Resistance is Futile - unless you get there early enough.

Pic of the week 


My dear friends Tara and Mariah came to town for a mom getaway and I fully crashed the party.  We had a blast.  I love these two humans the most.  Also, finding keto-friendly food at Disneyland - not that hard.  Avoiding eating all the treats at Disneyland, especially with your best treat friends - very very hard.

Quote of the week

"Wahoo!!!" - everyone at approximately 9:00:30 in the morning when they were rewarded for their diligence with a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. It was funny to hear.  (Also, we definitely got a boarding group - 45.)

What's going on?

And just like that, February is over.  Saw this today, and it made me laugh:


What a year it's been already.
Is everyone gearing up and ready for the primary on Tuesday?  I know for many of you it's a foregone conclusion as the Republican candidate is essentially already decided (Heaven help us all).  But for those of us on the right side of history 😜, we've got quite a competition happening.  I'm interested to see how things shake down after Super Tuesday - especially now that ol' Mayor Pete has dropped out of the race.  Lots of love coming to everyone from your favorite left-leaning, feminist, gay artist. (That's me!)

In other news, I went down to Disneyland once a week in February!  It was bonkers!  And so much fun.  The new Star Wars ride is one of the coolest rides I've ever been on and I'm excited to go back!  Also, I just love being there.

What I'm reading

I realize the recent changes to BYU's honor code may not be on everyone's radar, but there's been celebration and pearl-clutching in equal measure.  The changes affect my people, so I've been keeping a casual eye on the happenings.  I thought this was a really interesting take on it, and he shares some thoughts I've been having for quite some time.  It seems that in the church, and especially in the culture of the church, the important things often get pushed to the back-burner because they're not visible.  I hope we can all bring them to the forefront a little more.    

What I'm watching


This one was hard to watch.  Beautifully done piece of cinema, though.
I don't generally follow awards season stuff because I think it's all a bit of a joke, however, now that I've seen it, I don't understand why the lead actor wasn't nominated for anything.  He was incredible.  

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Keto-licious

Pic of the week 



Yup.  Phin got a flat.  Luckily it was basically just at a stop light and then it felt weird when I started driving again rather than blowing out going high speed around a turn - which is something that terrifies me.  After waiting for a two truck, getting him into the shop and getting a Lyft home, it ended up being a 3-hour endeavor.  BUT Phin is back in fighting shape.  Though who knows for how long.  My mechanic said he thinks Phin may not be long for this world and that I just to pay especially careful attention to oil levels.  When I bought Phin, they said scooters usually last about 40,000 miles and he's at about 62,000, so I think that's pretty good.  My mechanic said he wants to keep Phin on the road as long as possible and he'll do what he can.  So we'll see.

Quote of the week

"I was going to say the Coronavirus"
- A kid at a Story Pirates show letting us know what he thought the pineapple named Pineapple should have been afraid of instead of people.

What's going on?

What a week!

I went to the doctor on Monday since I now have insurance and an annual checkup is free.  I'm in pretty good health, so there wasn't much to talk about.  He did a little blood work and I'm going back in a couple of weeks to talk all of that over with him.

I talked to a guy about a potential new job this week.  I know.  I already have plenty, but this is basically an extension of my job as a Standardized Patient, it's just with a different company because it's more invasive stuff - testicular exams and rectal exams and the like.  And I'm all, "Whatever!  It pays so well!" So that'll probably be happening.

Big news this week - I started the Keto diet.  I've been thinking about it for a while, but decided to finally take the plunge.  I'm not generally very good at following through on stuff like this, but I've actually stuck to it this week!  And it's not so bad.  I mean, the diet is basically eat a bunch of meat and cheese and cream and butter, so it's comfort food city.  And there are so many keto-friendly treat recipes out there that though it's not quite like having a warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie, it's close enough that I can do this diet for a couple of months.  I'll let you know how it goes!

What I'm cookin'

Even though I think the name of this website is problematic, this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala was so good.  If you don't have an instant pot, that's okay.  You can just do it in a slow cooker.

What I'm listening to

I thought this episode of Hidden Brain was interesting.  It talks about the idea that the people who are more "political" often treat it as more of a hobby than actually being involved in political change.  Get out there and vote, y'all!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Falling in love with love

Pics of the week 


Happy Valentine's Day!


Got health insurance (finally bit the bullet) and went in to have my foot looked at.  Doc said there are no fractures, and that it's probably just due to my posterior tibial tendon (which runs kind of right behind and under the inside ankle bone) getting tired while training and then because it hadn't fully recovered when I ran the race, my foot took a lot of the stress, so I just need to rest up and take it easy for 3-4 weeks and I should be right as rain.  I'm a little bummed because I genuinely enjoy getting out for a jog, but doctor's orders are doctor's orders.


Some friends and I got up at the crack of dawn to make it down to Disneyland for the new Star Wars ride: Rise of the Resistance.  Because it's new and fancy they're operating it with boarding groups, so you have to get a spot in a boarding group or you don't get to ride the ride.  Most days the boarding groups open right when the park opens and are gone by about one minute later, so you gotta be quick.  But we got a group and got on the ride.  This picture is really only about 10% of the way into the ride and already we were floored.  This is seriously one of the coolest rides I've ever been on. I can't wait to go again. (Also!  Look for that handsome guy in the maroon jacket in a new comedy on NBC coming soon!  I have famous friends!)

What's going on?

I was ostensibly recovering from a cold this week.  I really only started feeling human again on Thursday.  It was a brutal one.  Despite that, it was a very full week.  Disneyland (I know, but I did Disneyland BEFORE the doctor told me to take it easy.), Valentine's Day, doctor's appointments, Story Pirates trainings, two plays (saw What the Constitution Means to Me, and honestly, if you ever get the chance, you should ABSOLUTELY go see it.), and lots and lots of soup.

What I'm reading


Recommended by my good friend Tara and I'm loving it so far.  It goes through a very cursory timeline of the founding of Islam in one chapter, and the parallels to Mormonism are fascinating. 

What I'm watching


This show was fine. It's a fashion design competition show.  I think Tan France is a better fashion consultant than host, but it was still some fun, mindless TV to watch while doing taxes with a cold.  

What I'm puzzling