Pandemic Journal, Day 410

I finished the Almaniac and sent in my answers this afternoon; I have hopes of having done well, but I’ve been fooled before. I’ll find out next week.

We started seriously looking at flights for our upcoming trip to Iceland and ordered Rick Steves’ Iceland book. The tour doesn’t include a lot of time in Reykjavik (we do go out to the Golden Circle for a full day), so we’re thinking of staying two or three days after the tour and exploring the city. After that, we’ll fly to Boston to visit our son – this is all, of course, assuming that the COVID-19 situation remains good in the US and Iceland. The horrifying news from India makes me wonder, but I can hope.

Pandemic Journal, Day 409

I like trivia, but there are days when it can get a bit out of control, and today was one of them.

I’m currently in three Learned League mini-leagues: 21st Century Literature (which started today), LGBT, and General Knowledge Puzzle League. I am in no danger of winning any of them – but I’m trying my best, which meant attempting to answer 18 questions between the three mini-leagues today.

I also look at every day’s One Day Specials – today, there were four: Curves, Lewis and Clark, Spiders, and Trees in Literature. Each one has twelve questions. I didn’t enter any of today’s contests, but I did read the questions carefully.

My pub trivia group meets every Thursday evening on Zoom – some weeks, we just talk, but today, we actually tried answering questions that the organizer of the trivia had used…in 2011. It was fun, but some of the questions had aged badly.

And finally, I’m doing the 2021 Spring Almaniac. There are 81 questions, which you answer by doing research in the World Almanac. The question packet and Almanac arrived in late March, and I answered the first few questions right away. I brought it with me last week on our vacation – and never looked at it. Today, I looked at the packet and discovered that the deadline is Monday, so I spent three hours on it this afternoon and answered 35 or so questions – I still have 23 to go.

Fun, fun, fun!

Pandemic Journal, Day 408

It was virtual Monday today, so we went to the JCC for our weekly Monday session with our trainer. The JCC is moving slightly closer to normality – they no longer take temperatures before allowing you to enter, but they have started checking membership cards again.

”¨After being worked out, we decided it would be better to walk early before it got any hotter; we followed the CDC’s new guidance and left our masks at home! It felt weird. I guess that’s the new normal!

Pandemic Journal, Day 407

We left the Residence Inn Goleta a little after 10; again, we were in no hurry and stopped frequently along the way, mostly to stretch our legs and make sure Diane’s Fitbit was happy.

Lunch was at the Urbane Cafe in Santa Maria – both of us had tri-tip sandwiches, of course. We got there about one minute before the lunch rush hit – the line built quickly behind us!

I had thought about stopping in Paso Robles for wine tasting, but decided that it’d be better to go there when we had room in the car for lots of wine. But we did stop at Scheid Vineyards in Greenfield to enjoy their garden (Diane took lots of flower photos!) and a tasting – we brought six bottles home – there was enough room in the car for that!

Pandemic Journal, Day 406

We left Palm Desert at 10:30am; we weren’t in a rush because we only planned to go halfway home tonight, staying overnight at the Residence Inn Goleta.

We almost stopped for date shakes one last time at Hadley Fruit Orchards but there was major construction on I-10 at the Morongo Trail exit and I couldn’t get into the right lane quickly enough to get off the highway!

Lunch was at Zait Bistro in Fontana, chosen by looking at Yelp after we’d gotten off the highway to stretch our legs. Diane had Chicken Kebab and I had Chicken Shawarma – we ordered the small plates and had plenty of food. It was good, not great, but I’d go back if I were in the area.

Our next stop was a quick stop at Griffith Park in LA, which was supposed to be just long enough for Diane to meet her Fitbit’s demand for 250 steps per hour from 8am-5pm. Of course, I also checked my email as long as I was stopped – and there was an email from the travel agent handling our Iceland trip asking for us to fill out one more form – so I downloaded it, marked it up, and emailed it back to them. That took long enough for the next hour to start, so Diane got those steps in, too.

We stopped again to look at the beach near Ventura (and so Diane could get her 3pm steps). It was brisk, but very pretty.

After checking into the hotel, we drove to Goleta Beach – it was very brisk (we had to hold onto our hats), but that didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves, like these two:

There were flowers and birds, too, of course.

We got takeout from Kyle’s Kitchen – Diane had a very nice Ahi salad, while I went for a burger, fries, and a side Kale and Cranberry salad to be slightly healthful. The burger and fries were OK; the salad was very good.

Tomorrow, we go home!