Pandemic Journal, Day 449

The last time I visited the ENT, he recommended endoscopic sinus and turbinate reduction surgery to try to improve my sense of smell – he described it as “putting a Roto-Rooter up your nose”. That seemed drastic.

Since he’d also talked about allergies as being a probable cause of the sinusitis and nasal polyps he saw, I asked for a referral to an allergist before making a decision on surgery, and I visited him today.

I probably could have chosen a better day – the practice had just started using a new system for electronic medical records yesterday, and EVERY person I interacted with greeted me with “sorry, it’s our second day on the new system.” But we persevered and the session was worth the effort. It turns out that I am VERY allergic to dust mites and feathers (the doctor described it as “off the charts”), so we will be taking steps to reduce my exposure to them at home. They gave me a brochure about dust mites with lots of useful information on what steps to take – I was not surprised to find that it also had ads for allergen-proof pillow cases and the like!

The doctor wants me to get some bloodwork and imaging done before suggesting any other treatment. My next appointment is a couple of weeks away – by that time, I hope they’ve figured out how to use their new system!

Of course, Diane and I also took a couple of walks today – on the walk this morning, we saw a hummingbird enjoying some lantana.

If I’d had the big camera, I would have been able to zoom in more…but I might well have missed the hummingbird completely. Life is a series of compromises!

Pandemic Journal, Day 448

One year ago today I set a new personal record for a continuous span of days with blog entries. That day, I wrote about buying 3 kilos of coffee from Doka Estate in Costa Rica and wondering if I’d still be blogging every day when I finished it. I finished that 3 kilos a long time ago – these days, I’m buying 5 half-kilo bags from them every few weeks, and I’m still blogging every day.

There’s only one week left until California discontinues its “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” and relaxes almost all of the restrictions on businesses and masks – when that happens, I guess I’m going to need a new name for the daily entry! And who knows…I might even miss some days!

Pandemic Journal, Day 447

When I awoke this morning, I was in the middle of a dream. I was back at IBM – in a meeting, of course – trying to get funding for a project. I wasn’t having a lot of success – the person I was trying to convince went on and on about why it couldn’t be done (a far too-familiar occurrence).

I was happy when the alarm went off.

I culled, edited, and titled all of the photos we took in 2020 after returning from the Panama Canal. I started with 78 photos and kept 34 of them; I found one I hadn’t already put in the blog, showing a jacaranda that was blossoming last June (it is just starting to blossom again now).

A jacaranda

And Apple announced the next version of their operating systems for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, but didn’t announce any new hardware, so I won’t need any new funding…for now.

Pandemic Journal, Day 446

We had a very quiet day today – a quick trip to the Farmers’ Market, then Diane chaired the Shir Hadash Book Group while I read the newspapers.

After lunch, we watched an episode of All Creatures Great and Small and the last 30 seconds of CBS Sunday Morning, which was a video of Muir Woods that was created by Lance Milbrand from my Toastmasters club (you can find a longer version here).

We also participated in the talkback for Shylock – they did a good job of including both the in-theatre and on-Zoom audiences in the Q&A. Those of us on Zoom were having a lively discussion before the in-theatre session was ready for us!

Muir Woods was a regular stop when we were coming out here for visits, but we haven’t been very often since moving to the Bay Area – the last time seems to have been in 2009! We need to go back soon!

Forest Floor

Pandemic Journal, Day 445

Last year, I celebrated our anniversary by figuring out a better way to handle the laundry. I had high hopes of doing better this year.

Fortunately, we had more options this year. We started, as usual for a Saturday, with a walk and services at Shir Hadash (still on Zoom, though we expect to attend next Friday night’s service in person).

In the afternoon, we saw Shylock from Tabard Theatre (co-produced by Silicon Valley Shakespeare). We could have attended in person, but we chose to stay home and watch their livestream. It’s an interesting play – one actor, Doug Brook, performing as a Jewish actor playing Shylock in Merchant of Venice as an utter villain and defending his work in a talkback after the rest of the run was cancelled due to protests. It was a very interesting performance and play, and I’m looking forward to joining the talkback online tomorrow afternoon. The play continues until June 20.

This evening, we tried out a new restaurant near us, La Pesca Blue, which replaced a Mooyah Burgers location which didn’t survive the pandemic. La Pesca Blue is an enormous step up in quality – I had their fish and chips, and Diane had a Pear and Gorgonzola salad with grilled salmon. Both were quite tasty; we had frozen margaritas to go with them, which more than satisfied our dessert needs! We’ll be back.

Pandemic Journal, Day 444

I needed to send a message to Diane this morning – my hands were busy, so I used Siri on my watch to do the job. But I was surprised when I saw its response to my request.

Yes, even though the top of the screen says “OK, I’ll send this”, the only option you can choose is “Don’t Send”! I waited a few seconds and nothing happened. I finally pressed the button on the watch and said “Send it,” and the message got sent. I don’t understand how they came up with this design – it’s confusing.

On a brighter note, we put in a persimmon tree 7 years ago. They told us it would take a few years to start fruiting – today, Diane noticed fruit on it for the first time ever! There are still many months until it’ll be ready to be harvested, but I’m hopeful.

Shabbat Shalom!

Pandemic Journal, Day 443

After my Toastmasters meeting this morning, I spent much of the rest of the day working on photos – I have finished sorting through my 2021 photos and now they’re all geotagged and titled.

I’m now doing a final round of cleanup on the photos from 2000-2009; if you ignore the photos from Jeff’s Bar Mitzvah, all of the photos are geotagged and all but a few from my trip to the Summer Palace in Beijing are titled, and I hope to finish those tomorrow – the one just below is the Long Corridor (perhaps that shouldn’t have taken a lot of research to figure out!).

Long Corridor at Summer Palace, Beijing

I haven’t done the sorting to pick out the photos that I want to keep on my phone yet, though there are so few photos (comparatively) from those years that it may not be worth bothering.

Pandemic Journal, Day 442

I was sitting on the couch watching TV today when my watch buzzed with a message. It was the California Franchise Tax Board (the state IRS) telling me that there was a “new notice or document available in your myFTB account.”

Needless to say, this distracted me, but I decided to finish watching anyway. After the show ended, I logged in – but I couldn’t find any new notices.

I did, though, notice that I hadn’t scheduled estimated tax payments for 2021 – needless to say, I fixed that right away! And I fixed it for the IRS, too. The first payments are due in two weeks, so this was a timely, if inadvertent, reminder.

This evening, I went back to the myFTB site to make sure the payments were truly scheduled (they were) and found a new notice in my account. It wasn’t for anything significant, but I was glad to finally see it!

A rose

Pandemic Journal, Day 441

Apparently the Repels-All has helped with the critter situation in our raised beds – there was no new damage today.

Brilliant Mind Cover

This evening, we saw “A Brilliant Mind” from Marin Theatre Company. The play was mostly filmed in advance, but there was a live actor being seamlessly brought in for certain segments (monologues) via YouTube, and there was a little bit of interaction between the audience and that actor. We couldn’t stick around for the talkback, unfortunately – it would have been interesting to find out how they put it all together.

The play itself was a story of a Palestinian immigrant family coping with the death of their father – there were generational conflicts, issues of gender, and what happens when your family “doesn’t fit”. I enjoyed it – it’s playing through June 13th.

Pandemic Journal, Day 440

The critters munched two more of our tomato plants overnight, though they left a few leaves this time. I sprayed Repels-All around all of the plants in the beds and on the wood, and I hope it works.

We got our first real dose of summer weather today; we stayed inside most of the day and worked. We’d put aside a lot of newspapers, magazines, and other papers for “later” and Diane dealt with many of them. I got most of my 2021 photos into Lightroom and pruned, geotagged, and labeled them up through April 22. Which means that the next time I attack the photos, I’ll have to make decisions about the many pictures I took in Joshua Tree National Park on April 23.

A Joshua Tree