Pandemic Journal, Day 400

Why is this night different from all other nights?

We had takeout dinner from a new-to-us restaurant, Coconut Joe’s, and ate it in a new-to-us location, the kitchen of the Residence Inn Bakersfield – we’re on the road for the first time in more than 430 days. Our destination is Palm Desert, using up some of our timeshare points before they meet the same fate as last year’s points – expiration.

The drive down was just like in the old days – lots of trucks on I-5, but it seemed like there were fewer times where there were two trucks side-by-side holding up traffic. We had lunch at home so we were able to skip Harris Ranch for a change, though we did stop at Casa de Fruita.

I saw more unmasked faces at the rest areas than I’ve seen in a year!

Pandemic Journal, Day 399

One of the places we were supposed to go last year was Iceland. Our trainer had been there and it sounded perfectly wonderful, but….

Today, our trainer told us that he will be going to Iceland again in early July of this year, along with his family. It still sounded wonderful, but….

And then when we got home, we had a note from the National Trust for Historic Preservation asking if we were interested in seeing Iceland this year. Yes, we were! (Besides, they still had our deposit from last year!)

Even better, our son is now scheduled for his first COVID-19 vaccination on Friday, so he’ll be fully-vaccinated by the time our trip happens. Icelandair has non-stop service to Boston, so we are planning to visit him on the way home.

Things are looking up!

Pandemic Journal, Day 398

It was Sunday, so we made our usual trip to the Farmers’ Market with a walk through town afterwards. It was a warm morning, and the streets and parks were much busier than they had been a month ago.

The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad was back in operation and there was a long line of people waiting to buy tickets and ride. It was good to see, but I’m glad we weren’t planning to join them.

This afternoon and evening, I finally sat down to work on the Spring Almaniac; I hadn’t done an Almaniac for several years but thought this would be a good year to get back to it. I finished two of the ten chapters today and am pretty confident of most of my answers.

We took a couple of other walks, too, which gives me the excuse I need to share a picture of a Japanese Flowering Cherry in the neighborhood.

Japanese Flowering Cherry

Pandemic Journal, Day 397

Shir Hadash logo

Diane read Torah and I led services (on Zoom) for Shir Shabbat this morning. There was a Bat Mitzvah at the same time, so we couldn’t livestream the service to our BoxCast channel; instead, I had to record it and upload it later.

Recording was easy enough; I just had to push one button. But to make sure I didn’t lose track of what I was doing, I did the recording on a different computer, starting early and ending late. I wanted to trim out the time before and after the service – which I thought would be easy.

I opened the recording in QuickTime and figured out where I wanted to start and finish; then I tried to trim the recording and couldn’t find any way to just enter the time I wanted – or even to drag the trim bars reliably. Then I tried iMovie and had the same problem.

I finally gave up and installed ffmpeg; then it was easy to trim the recording to the exact times I’d found and upload it to BoxCast.

But I don’t think normal people would find it plausible to use ffmpeg and the command line to do the job – I must have missed something in QuickTime and iMovie. Right?

Pandemic Journal, Day 396

Our gardeners arrived bright and early this morning to replace and refresh the soil in our raised beds. They removed the scallions that we’d been growing in the beds; we recovered a few and replanted them – if they don’t recover, we’ll have to buy a bunch at the supermarket and start growing them from the ends again. And we have to decide what else to plant – tomatoes are a sure bet, but it’s still a little too early.

Beyond that, we had a very quiet day; we took a short walk on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, where flowers are blooming.

Shabbat Shalom!