Day 13-Self Imposed Quarantine-On the Seventh Day God Rested

Today is Sunday. I have to remind myself of that. Last week I lost a day and celebrated Friday on Thursday. That means I didn’t eat meat at any meal before I realized my mistake, and then had to abstain again the next day. Not that fish is bad for me it is because I don’t have a stock pile of it my freezer. I have peanut butter, but my KETO diet keeps me from eating bread, and I love peanut butter sandwiches. Does that make sense?

After posting my rant about the stupidity of car companies offering to make medical devices I finally got underway filling the day with more productive activities. By then I developed enough courage to go outside and attack another flower bed clean up. I must have slept through some heavy rain because the leaves were soaking and the soil muddy. I wound up cleaning mud off my heavy shoes several times. I completed another one hour baby step toward a burgeoning upcoming floral season. I photographed the first blooms of spring to make my heart leap with joy. The next project was to strip naked in front of the washing machine to wash my muddy clothes.

After a quick shower and clean clothes I proceeded to cook a batch of KETO stroganoff. Actually, it is the same as regular stroganoff but without any flour as gravy thickener. When it was finished I thought the gravy a mite too runny, so I added some Xanthan gum to thicken it, and it worked. I didn’t have a zucchini to make zucchini noodles, so I decided KETO go to hell for this meal, and cooked up some wide egg noodles. I am not sorry I did that because the stroganoff was great! Today, I’ll have left overs, except I’ll substitute leftover cauliflower mash for the noodles and be totally KETO compliant.

After supper, I went to the TV and found a stupid movie called “Thirteen Going On Thirty”.  It starred Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffallo, since they were in it I thought it would be good. I endured it to the end. I’d give it about a half star. The plot grants a thirteen year old girl’s wish to be thirty. The overnight transition from a thirteen year old to a thirty year old was too much to believe.

There was still an hour and a half before my usual bedtime so I turned to watch episodes of my latest series “Homeland.”  Three episodes later and long after my bedtime I shut the TV off and forced myself to sleep. There is so much action in this series that my mind continues processing throughout the night. The sleep is not restful and I find  myself dragging in the morning. My dreams are all wild with people from the series running and shooting and plotting.  The Homeland series is several years old and there are over ninety episodes, and I have watched only thirteen. Either I slow down, watch in the daytime, or ration my watching to one episode per week. As tired as I was from the yard work, which usually makes me sleep like a baby, I woke up with my blanket bunched up and twisted in a roll. I was rockin’ and rollin’ all night long.

Day 11-Another Day in the Garden

I woke up this morning to another cloudy day with a promise of a warm temperature. My KETO breakfast consisted of egg salad loaded with chopped scallions, onions, celery, and green pepper. Lunch was some very old freezer burned Groton fish sticks with cheese and a few green grapes. Supper will be fried Tilapia, cauliflower mash, and a mixed vegetable medley of brussel sprouts, green beens, and onions. I weighed this morning and I have not lost any weight for a couple of weeks now. That’s what I get for falling off the diet and overdosing on carbohydrates. I am about ten pounds away from my goal which is to weigh what I did when I was in the prime of life. Not that this isn’t the prime, but at the point when I was a serious bicycle rider, overly horny, and had energy to spare. Some of those prime qualities are beginning to reappear since my weight loss and I don’t have the carb sluggishness. But none of this has anything to do with what I began to write about.

I have just a few more days remaining before I completely clean my gardens from winter detritus. By then more plants will be pushing their way through the ground and buds will begin to appear on shrubs and trees. That is when I begin the Monet Vision 2020 overhaul. My goal this year is to minimize the amount of work I do ever year to create a new vision. Instead large spreads of colorful annuals I want to use existing perennials to turn the garden into a lower maintenance picture. I also intend to do better at vegetables by adding a salad garden. Big dreams, not really, but that is what day-eleven of self imposed exile is doing to keep my mind occupied.

Yesterday, I dredged the pond and removed about six cubic feet of heavy decayed leaves. It took an hour and a half to wear me out. Today, I attacked the backside of the pond and cleaned it out, but I only lasted for forty-five minutes. At least I now have the entire garden encircling the pond cleared. Next, will be the north garden defining the the property line between neighbors. After that, is the garden that provides the background for the pond. Eventually, I’ll get to the frontside of the house. I take a philosophical view of the front side. I don’t look at the front, but I spend a lot of time looking at the back garden. Sorry, folks, but I have the Italian approach to my gardens, i.e. why should I expend effort on making things look good for strangers. I learned from my friend Marco with whom I spent a whole day in Italy at our manufacturing plant. We went to lunch at a deli which looked like a dive from the outside, but once inside it was magnificent; paneled in mahogany, with granite countertops, sparkling glass show cases, chandeliers, mirrors, and tons of delicious foods to please our palates. I commented on the surprise of seeing such a dump externally, but at the beauty of the interior. Marco then told me the Italian custom to spend money living elegantly inside your home, and not spending money to show off to your neighbors. Made sense to me.

 

 

 

 

I am also hooked on watching mini-series TV programs, the latest is “Homeland.”  First I watch regular TV if any of my favorite shows are on, if no regular tv I watch a movie from On Demand, and if the movie ends early I will switch to a series.  A typical series consists of six to twelve episodes of a continuous story, each episode is one hour long without commercials. So far, I have completed “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel,” three-seasons, “Jack Ryan”, two-seasons and now  I’m nearly finished with”Homeland” season one. I love watching spy movies and both Homeland and Jack Ryan are based on CIA type plots. All I can say is if only ten percent of what I am watching is true I can understand why the world hates the USA and the CIA. We do a lot of bad things in the name of protecting our country from bad guys. Bad things happen both ways. The atrocities committed by our enemies are worse than those we commit against them. Two of the series have been about Muslim terrorist plots and nothing in the stories has convinced me that the muslims are poor good-guys that we are picking on.

Day 9-Of Self Imposed Quarantine

It occurred to me today that this quarantine has not changed my life pattern much at all. Living alone is basically a quarantine. The only things I have given up are meeting my friends on Tuesday evenings at a bar for drinks, and going to the library. Instead a couple of us just have a virtual happy hour. We text and drink together. In some ways it is more fun than sitting within arms reach of someone at the bar. Because we are not face to face, the double entendres can fly back and forth without any fear of being smacked. Other than that my life is the same.

On my daily walk I encountered several couples walking dogs or running. We gave each other plenty of space as we passed, and now I am back in the sterility of my home enjoying quiet. In about an hour, I will descend to my shop and make some noise with my grinders. I am ensconced with my three roses. Each one is a new project. I learned what not to do, or how not to do, on the first and changed my methodology for the second and learned some more. Now I am using a totally new process on number three. On each rose the amount of effort and time has decreased.  I am also answering a question I asked myself awhile ago , i.e. why don’t I try making miniature intarsia? The answer, small pieces take extreme effort to hold and shape with machines. These roses have the smallest pieces I have ever cut for intarsia art work. That doesn’t mean, however, that I will not give up on making miniatures, it just means I have to undertake a lot of training and and develop new skills to do so.

 

I am also taking these quiet moments to teach myself new cooking skills. Being on a KETO diet means giving up many of the comfort foods I love so much. Yesterday I learned to make a cauliflower mash as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Believe it or not, it was good. I have eaten pre-made cauliflower mash in frozen dinners and I rated it a minus ten on a zero to ten scale. I never had runny mashed potatoes, and the watery cauliflower mash I experienced in some frozen dinners is a total turnoff.

YouTube is my teacher for cooking. There are thousands of people making videos of their favorite recipes. Finding KETO versions of favorite dishes is easy. Today, I researched KETO Stroganoff and found five videos by five different cooks and five different ways to make stroganoff. All of them were composed of the same ingredients. Only the spices were different. Saturday, I will make KETO Stroganoff.

On the COVID-19 front, I am watching fewer news programs about the disease. I don’t need anymore panic news to upset me. It is what it is and we have to be serious about staying away from each other to keep from getting it passed down. I keep asking myself, what would I do if a beautiful mature woman hit on me? Would I risk the virus, or resist the temptation? At my age the only  option is to resist the temptation. Who can we trust? Even folks living together have risk. All it would take is for one of them to leave the confines of the quarantine to go some place and come back with the bug. If we could see the enemy maybe it would be more simple to move around, but none of us can see where it lurks and we can’t see it coming at us. At this time isolation is the best protection we have.

In the meantime, I have learned to download a book from the internet and am reading from my lap-top. So my excuse of not being able to got to he library has been eliminated.

 

Days 2 & 3 Of My Quarantine

As luck has it something strange always happens when you schedule a large home improvement project. Making breakfast was an adventure because all the cabinets  were sealed off with plastic sheeting. I wound up poking holes through the sheeting in front of cabinet doors and drawers to get stuff I needed. I was stuck in my home quarantined by the floor refinishers. After a breakfast eaten in my bedroom I descended into my shop to get away from the noise and dust.

I was in my shop grinding on a piece of padauk wood forming a rose while the Rumanian floor refinisher was grinding the floors above me. I was attired in  face mask, heavy apron, and shop-hat turned backwards to protect me from the dangers of padauk-dust when I heard someone shouting at me. It was Johnny, the Rumanian. He told me I had until 12:30 p.m. to vacate the house, it was 11:30. He had begun to apply the stain on the floor where the refrigerator and stove sit. He would finish the final sanding while that stain set.

I hustled to pack a bag to get out and headed for a hotel. Thankfully, I thought about it for a few minutes when they first told me I would have to vacate for a day. I picked the hotel where Peggy and I spent our first nite of wedded bliss together. It is six miles from our house. Last night was not even close to that night.

Checking in was not a problem because they had many vacancies. In fact, I think I was one of a dozen people who stayed. The hotel bar and cafe were both closed by government edict which left me to fend for myself. Usually, when I check into a new hotel room, the first thing I check is the condiment bar for goodies. They had one of those new Keurig coffee machines. I followed the instructions and pushed “BREW” the light went on and I proceeded to check out the bathroom. Nice shower and lots of towels, I liked it. I expected a fresh cup of coffee but got nothing. I tried three more times to make it happen, but nothing. I left the room to buy some lunch. On the way out I stopped at the desk to report the Keurig wasn’t working and that someone should come up and check it out and/or teach me how to use it.

It is election day and I wanted to vote for someone who would not win so I drove to the high school which is where I voted the last time. It was a ghost town. I went to the library which is within sight of my house. It was the wrong place, but the nice ladies there looked up my precinct and found the church. Afterwards, I moved to the super-market next to the church and bought a pre-made sub-sandwich and a couple cans of soup. It was enough for lunch and supper. Back in the room a maintenance guy showed up to look at the coffee maker. He also had trouble, but solved the problem by unplugging the unit and replugging it into the adjacent outlet. After breaking my KETO diet with the sub-sandwich I spent a few hours reading until it was time for the soup.

I fully intended to write this diary every day, but I experienced too much trouble getting onto Word Press on my lap top last night. Its been five years since I used the laptop for posting. In those years the world has gone slap-happy with the need for user names and passwords. I tried my best to find the right combination but failed. I could have written a post in Word and then posted it today on my Mac, but I chose to play Solitaire instead. I used up my battery, and my charger was on my desk at home, so I was stuck watching TV. I spent the evening watching a new episode of Life Below Zero about a totally new region of Alaska. I will watch the program religiously again.

Day three(today) my internal clock got me up at seven and I sat on the bed watching the traffic move by. Normally, there are hundreds of cars speeding through that section, but this morning it was relatively empty. I dressed and went to the lobby hoping to find some food, but first I decided to use the Keurig again. It took me three tries, but I finally mastered the combination of latch closing, water addition, and proper button pushing before the damn thing started to drip coffee. The morning food service was suspended as advertised, but the manager left baggies with an orange, cupcake, and a granola bar for departing residents. They also had a pot of coffee available. I picked up the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal for the room.

I spent reading and watching President Trump’s press conference on Covid-19. I thought he is doing everything right and he reacts with new action as new facts emerge. He doesn’t wait to cogitate with his advisors before acting because they discuss and brainstorm together and decide on the next course of action. He doesn’t need any more thought about what to do. He reminds me of the man I worked for. When he wanted a problem solved he called his experts and we discussed and brainstormed together. We never left the room without a plan. His only course afterwards was to follow up on our actions. Many times he was following up and looking for results before I arrived back at my office.

Another can of soup and a coffee later I cleaned my debris and packed my pajamas to leave. On the way home I stopped at the bank to deposit a check and then went to Mickey’s for a hot dog to go. Mickey’s is allowed to stay open because it is mainly a carry-out place. The bank doors were locked, and I had to use the drive through window. Traffic seemed normal for the day.

By the time I arrived home there was not sign of Johnny or his partner. My plan was to enter the house through the garage into the laundry room where I would sit on the ceramic tile floor and watch the varnish dry while I ate my hot dog. I touched the floor, it was dry and not sticky, so I took off my shoes and said, “what the heck” go for it.

I stepped on the beautiful newly refinished floor, and was able to negotiate the house. Everything is white with dust. I thought the plastic covering everything and blocking doors would keep things clean, but it didn’t so I spent an hour doing my most favorite housecleaning chore, dusting. I couldn’t sit anywhere looking at all the dusty surfaces. I stopped after I hit all the spots I would be looking at today, and this computer desk was one of the targets. I went for a haircut and now I am at this moment in time thinking what adventure I will undertake next while I sit in isolation waiting for the Covid-19 bug to come out of somewhere to attack me. It is raining and cold, so I will avoid my daily walk to nowhere which usually lifts my spirits. I will restart my KETO diet with my next meal. Darn that sub-sandwich, muffin, and hot dog and tasted good.

 

 

A New Record Set

It has been over a month since I last entered an original post. Why I have taken such a long vacation from writing I cannot explain. Maybe it is because I became deeply involved in clearing clutter from my home. At the same time I jumped head over heels into a new diet to lose my belly. It ain’t easy starving to death. People ask me why I am on a diet and I tell them I am tired of my belly hanging over my belt and bouncing off my knees. That is a slight exaggeration for effect, but my belly is enormous compared to when I rode my bike three thousand miles a year.

Which diet you ask? It is called the Keto diet. I’ve done it before a couple of times with pretty good success when it was simply referred to as a low carb diet. It is the no more bread, no more cakes, donuts, candies, no more potatoes, rice, or anything with carbohydrates diet. Keto tries to keep me below twenty grams of carbs per day.

The trick with this diet is to fill up on proteins and fat. Eggs are a staple and bacon a must. This morning I made a chicken salad for breakfast and was without energy by noon. I used up the chicken breast which doesn’t have any fat. That’ll teach me to skip a rasher of bacon. To cure the problem of no energy, I cheated and had a nice carb loaded peach for lunch with two slices of greasy salami spread with cream cheese to tide me over. Why is a peach not Keto? It has too much natural sugar and takes me over the daily limit of carbs.

Keto is short for ketosis. When your body does not have carbohydrates to use as fuel it automatically goes into ketosis and the mechanism converts stored body fat into energy. Most people on this diet rave about how fast it works. Their biggest problem seems to be finding clothes that fit. The old jeans just slide right off their asses. Not me. It’s been ten weeks and I’m down ten pounds, but my pants are a long way from slipping off. Nonetheless, I am determined to reach my goal to be as slim as I was thirty years ago. That means I have another twenty pounds of myself to abandon.

I am upset that I lost only ten pounds, yet I can feel the effect, it is easier to tie my shoes, I can see my toes again, I can button some of my dress shirts without straining the material, I can pinch several inches now. The goal is to pinch an inch of skin at the waist. When I started, my belly fat was so firm I couldn’t pinch four inches, now I pinch two, ahh progress. Does that make me a progressive?

Maybe my next post will chronicle my experiment with CBD oil.

 

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