Pitchers and Catchers Report

February 21, 2021

Spring is in the air.

Spring Training is in the offing. It has been just under a year since Carl and his baseball buddies were soaking up the sun and ambiance in the Phoenix area. A few days after they left, everything shut down.

The wall is still relentless. May get to throw with real masked people on Wednesday

Apparently they are going to allow a modest number of fans (16% capacity) into the stands at the Spring Training venues. More than one person has asked Carl if he is going. The answer is a resounding, “NO.” How many risk points would be included in that venture. He is still 2 tiers away from being able to try to schedule an appointment for the vaccine.

We’re more interested in what’s going to happen with the Mariners, although it’s doubtful we will have the vaccine before the season starts, if they are allowing fans to attend.

Closer to reality, the iris survived the snow in really good shape.

We did manage 2 long walks this weekend, making the 10,000 step per day. There was birdsong everywhere. We had a socially distanced visit with a friend on the deck yesterday afternoon, and it was just abuzz with birds large and small flitting about. The smallest was some sort of wren, and the largest was either a Stellars Jay or a flicker. I am not counting crows, they are more like people.

Tomorrow will be a different day. It has potential to be one of those days that you work a lot to get to, and then the real work begins. I have been here before, and I predict the next 90 days are going to be nonstop.

Valentine

February 14, 2021

It’s still snowing

Valentine’s breakfast

The snow is bigger flakes today. They stick together better, including on our TV satellite dish. Which means someone limited viewing, on a day when we will be spending most inside. But I have work to do, and we will get out at least once into the white.

First morning view- my weather check
The iris pot is still barely visible
Tiny icicle
Snowman, day 2

Lots of rabbit tracks in the front yard this morning. And we finally made tracks in the afternoon for a few miles. We focused on neighborhood roads, looking for other snowmen. The sidewalks mostly had a narrow compacted path. Shoveling was intermittent at best. It was not actively snowing by mid afternoon, but I pulled up my hood to keep the snow falling off branches from going down my back.

Our sidewalk is shoveled edge to edge. It’s not dry, but easy walking. Our shovel is left on the front porch for neighborhood sharing. At least two borrowed it, and one left a tulip, from their valentine bouquet.

The temperature is in the mid thirties, so even with an overnight dip, the snow will soon start to disappear.

Little Snow

February 13, 2021

Big snow – little snow. Little snow – big snow.

This means big flakes often result in a small amount of snow, that doesn’t last. Small flakes take their time, but pile up and last. The flake difference reflects the temperature and water content. It is cold today and there is no sign of the snow slowing yet.

4-6 inches at 7 am, based on the apparent amount piled on the back deck railing.

7 AM

Carl shoveled. It was 6 inches, but light snow. Not good enough for snowmen, so a small mountain appeared instead.

I wanted to make chili, so we set out on a 1.5 mile walk to the grocery store for a jalapeno pepper and some other ingredients. Then 1.5 miles back. A bit harder walking than usual due to very uneven surfaces.

On returning, the temperature had warmed enough that we thought a snowman might be feasible. Here is our result. It was a delicate building process because it was still not good packing.

With neighbors, yes it’s still snowing

Our across the street neighbor named her effort Abstract.

A Kardashian? From across the street the eyes looked like eyelashes
Pigzilla, if you are up close

It is quite pretty.

Looking for my iris, in the pot.

Chili is burbling.

For tomorrow’s comfort food

Taxes are well underway. Still waiting for one more form to arrive. It’s not on their website yet either …

And it’s still snowing.

One more errand, supporting the local Indian restaurant at the end of our block. Pick up for dinner tonight.

Winter Cold

February 12, 2021

We got snow last night, but just a bit. It was a cold dry snow, but it stuck to the little surfaces.

The snow from last night started disappearing. Not melting so much, but almost sublimating into the air. Cold.

It’s been colder in the house too. My work space is next to our non-functional fireplace. It has a vent to the base of the fireplace, as well as the chimney itself. A bit of a draft.

This morning I took action! Well, I suggested, and Carl took action. He found a large box that just fit in the firebox. We filled it with three sleeping bags. Then we draped a blanket over the 2 wood panels that block the entrance to the firebox. They are just propped against the opening, so don’t have a tight seal. The blanket kind of sits more closely against the opening. I do think it helped. I did not turn on our little space heater at all today, and had the last few days.

Just peaked out the window, the snow has started again. This round is expected to be more than yesterday. This alert literally just arrived.

Alert Seattle: Winter Storm Warning issued for Seattle area. Heavy snow, high winds expected. Avoid travel. Safety info: http://www.seattle.gov/winterweather

Thankfully, we have nothing on our schedule. I only hope we don’t lose power at work.

Spring or Winter

February 8, 2021

Just yesterday we noticed signs of spring.

I like these iris, but they bloom so early that we don’t get a lot of chances to enjoy them.
Garlic, for later

And this morning there were snow flurries in the air.

After getting knocked for a loop by the shingles vaccine, we attempted a rebound walk. It was a walk that we have done before, with a hardware store as our goal. Car fob battery, kitchen sink drainer, litter picker. The walk is uphill all the way there, maybe 1-3/4 miles, and downhill all the way back. I was breathing hard almost immediately. After a bit I took off my kn95 mask, and kept the cloth mask on. We double mask when we are going into businesses. That helped, but after a mile I was exhausted. We stopped at a park near our destination to rest and have a bit of something. This park is the second highest point in Seattle. Like I said, uphill. That was enough to get us to the hardware store, and the walk back down home was easier.

The Super Bowl was a reasonable reason to just sit for a while after we returned. We didn’t watch the entire game. We broke about halftime to pickup our dinner, crispy chicken from a local Thai restaurant. And after we got back, we just didn’t get into the game. Perhaps if it had been a bit more competitive.

Back to the grindstone, but we learned that our grandson is now a walker!

Trust me there are steps here.

Vaccines

February 6, 2021

We got vaccinated today. Dose 1 of 2. But not the vaccine in hot demand. Shingrix for shingles. I had the other less effective version several years ago. Carl has not had any. We have been trying to schedule this in amongst the other medical things, blood donations and the desire for the Covid-19 vaccine. I gave blood yesterday and the Covid-19 vaccines are a distant hope, so now is the time.

That was now yesterday. Today we are both feeling the vaccine effects, as predicted by the pharmacist. Carl had a great deal of trouble sleeping last night so has been napping today. I slept okay, but have the slightly achy feeling now. I told him to do the shot in my left arm, because I have some rotator cuff issues in the right shoulder. Bad decision. I’m not supposed to sleep on my right arm, and now the left arm hurts.

Not major league issues, and the weather is making it easy to stay curled up inside. I caught up on some family arithmetic, and put notes together for a presentation I am giving Monday. The presentation was done, but now I have references, a crutch I may or may not need.

The bloodletting of now 2 days ago was slightly below average. First, I couldn’t figure out how to get into the building. It is next to a construction site, and not very populated at this time. Office tower for UW. I just kept walking around until I found an open door, and security to point us in the right direction. The phlebotomist assigned to me was a pro, but my tiny vein of choice was being difficult. He finally got things aligned and flowing. Except when it slowed way down. I started squeezing the ball almost continuously and was able to finish without further adjustments. Time for the bandage, and now the tiny vein won’t stop flowing. They added a wrap and sent me to the cookie table. When I was getting ready for bed I removed the bandaid, and it started leaking, slowly. We re-wrapped and went to bed.

Bloodletting Viewpoint

Going further back, and probably forward too, it’s all work. I see this continuing for at least a month. Doesn’t it always? Instead of just needing to complete a project, the current focus is on a problem that has a several year solution. I can’t tell where this will go, but I’m along for the ride.

And tomorrow is another day.

I’m Free

January 30, 2021

Of Covid that is, and not me, but Carl. This is one of those times when being Negative is a positive.

I will find out if I have been negative late in this week. They are providing antibody tests when you donate blood. They call it a perk, but they are really trolling for potential donors of blood with antibodies to treat those who are sick. I would love to help, but don’t want to pay the price.

The next item on our medical agenda is to get the shingles vaccine. We need to get it at least 3 weeks before any other vaccine, like the Covid vaccine. I think we are safely a few months away. Unless there continue to be freezer failures or snowstorms that suddenly provide vaccines that must be used or lost. We obviously were not in the line of cars stranded by a storm with 6 doses. Car to car to dispense. But the few hundred doses at the UW medical center was close enough to consider getting in line, if we had been aware.

We got our 10,000 steps in this morning. Moving slightly south of our more frequent route we happened on a street that is “closed”, except for local traffic. I don’t know how it works on weekdays, but it was very quiet on this weekend morning. We were ambling along when I was startled by a critter. A chicken to be exact. Not sure which house she was associated with, but she seemed quite content.

Why did that chicken cross the sidewalk? Because she was practicing social distancing.

Even before the fowl encounter, we had noticed quite a bit of bird song and activity. Maybe the light rain, following a wet night, set the table, so to speak.

We’re now in recovery mode. A little lunch, and maybe some work or bills or taxes. So many choices.

January 29, 2021

Work, work, work, work, work, work, work. That was my week.

There were some lunch walks, a Covid test for Carl, an online Dr appointment for me, and a new neighborhood block watch being formed virtually.

The Covid test is precautionary only, for a medical procedure on Monday. It was fine. Not much different than the test we each got in October. It does mean that we are locked down until Monday. Well not quite, we will still walk the neighborhood, but no entering businesses. Or seeing friends. But it’s only for the weekend.

My video visit was for a sore shoulder. Actually painful when moved in certain directions, and it’s been well over a month. After the “examination”, it seems like a rotator cuff injury. So I have another video appointment with a physical therapist in a week and a half.

The block watch is the result, at least in part, due to Covid. The homeless population in the city has really increased, with tent encampments showing up along the freeway and in parks, which all surround the neighborhood. These are not the working poor. These are folks with drug habits, and mental challenges. The encampments have significant sanitation issues, resulting in some rat infestations. And there’s a lot of theft, drug use, etc. And the “massage” parlor at the end of the block. It was busted as part of a sting a few years ago. This sounds bad, but we do still enjoy our neighborhood, and especially our neighbors. The takeaway is let people know you’re all aware of what is going on. And call to keep the cops and council members aware, even if they can’t respond to all calls.

So that sounded dark. The key is the current situation is not sustainable, especially after people get out and about again. It’s not as dark as all that. And the days are getting longer.

Among all of my work and non-work meetings, Carl is continuing to be a great caregiver. Clean clothes, witty repartee, and good food.

Mmmm, meatloaf

What she said

January 23, 2021

The frost was on the neighbor’s roof this morning. Based on that, long underwear made its 2021 debut. Our long morning walk was fairly comfortable. We shared our outdoor space with a friend, so the conversations were more wide ranging than usual. That’s a good thing. Talking and walking is usually okay, but we live, and walk near a freeway. There are locations where it gets decidedly difficult to hear each other. If it’s just the two of us, we may just pause for a bit. When we are sharing time with others nowadays you don’t want to waste a moment, because they are so few and far between.

Of course, we can mess up conversations within our home, with no outside noise intruding.

This afternoon I was reading an article regarding the 17-year return of insects that Carl watched as a youth. I was trying to impart a snippet to Carl, and said, “Brood cicadas.” He went off on some tangent. When we circled back to try and figure out what each other was trying to say, it came out that Carl thought I said, “bruised potatoes.”

On more mundane notes, the taxes have been started. And the next puzzle.

What you say matters

January 20, 2021

I do know I was told as I was growing up, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Pence apparently subscribes to that rule as he did not mention the outgoing liar-in chief in his farewell address.

I don’t normally what TV during the day. Because, work. But it is on now – pre-work hours, and it will go on and off as I go in and out of meetings. By my schedule I should be able to watch the actual swearing in. Don’t worry, I have plenty of extra hours to use. Work will get the minimum 40 hours per week.

I was able to tune in for some of the inauguration, the early parts mostly on mute, but then able to turn up the volume. I sang, I clapped and cheered. This would have been nice to do with others, but such is our time.  Amanda Gorman. Wow, and such poise.

One of the failures of the outgoing person, now citizen, was his reaction to the pandemic. That will continue to haunt the country for the remainder of this year, and for many the lingering health effects will last their lifetime. One of our friends is a funeral director in the area, and needless to say, the past year has been busy and difficult. She is in this USA Today article about the past year, when the US story started right in our area. (If you see the print version, apparently Lisa’s picture is on the front page! It may be yesterday’s paper, Biden got today’s pic.)

She had been busy all year, but her workload increased significantly last month.

And today, the last president, Washington, of our presidential advent calendar is removed. And our flag flies.