covid19 Reflection

Wellness Check

Sometimes it feels looking back on my growing up years that if you were to weigh the cacophonous memories of childhood against the moments you could tell for sure you were loved and cared for the former side would be maxed out and sunk into the table. 

But I do have memories of my Dad looking at me with pride or small moments where he was able to express that love. They feel small but they exist and I hold them close. I will say even with the hard stuff rising to the surface like oil on water – I’m still able to talk to my Dad. I think because he always showed up.

Yesterday I called him up and said, “Wellness check!” It’s something we trade off saying during these Covid-times when it’s been a few weeks between calls. 

Over the years it’s often been 6+ months between conversations, so to have a period in March, April, and May of this year where we’ve talked weekly if not more, it’s been nice. Those conversations have been good and easy.

Wellness check! I say, but behind my words I’m wondering if he’s okay. 

We’ve been thinking about you today, I say.

We talk and he tells me how Joey (Cowboy Joey), one of my hometown’s “walkers”, died. Joey was in a local rest home and died from complications to Covid. 

Is it weird to feel sadness for a loss when you probably only interacted a handful of times but were also always reassured when you saw him or one of the other town “walkers” go by while running an errand on Wilson St? Reassuring because the fabric of your town was in its rightful position. 

It was also sad hearing of another rest home-Covid casualty from a building inspector I used to work with. He was a gruff barrel on stilts of legs and when he retired his parting gift to the City was a City vehicle “filled” with empty alcohol bottles he had unceremoniously left in the car. 🙃

But neither of us mentioned her specifically.

I have her on my calendar as “Terri died” but I’m changing that to Terri’s Anniversary, because the reminder feels too garish as written when June 18th rolls around and it’s been 7 years. 

And I think back, did I show up treating her with enough kindness? Did I not take her serious enough because of my Dad’s penchant for red flag relationships? Could I have been better? I could have.

I understand what you had to do but I also know my Dad misses you in all the ways that were and might have been.

Wellness check.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline • 1-800-273-8255

Donate in memory of Cowboy Joey to Valley Sheltered Workshop, a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities to individuals with disabilities.


Read in the Moment or Delete Forever

Somehow I’ve managed to accumulate more than 10,095 emails in my personal inbox.


Inspired by Jeremy’s recent post I thought I’d use this post-Christmas cleaning opportunity to catalog what I’m unsubscribing from.

In Order of Deletion

  1. Pinterest; Covering explore.pinterest and inspire.pinterest. I don’t really use Pinterest that much so ????
  2. Goodreads
  3. Indeed; It was a good reminder to unsubscribe from Portland/Vancouver/Newport job listings – we’ll at least be in Pullman at least another year.
  4. Zillow; Wow! Huge offender. ????
  5. Deal of the Day; Ugh online impulse shopping.
  6. Wyndham Rewards
  7. Choice Privileges
  8. The Family
  9.; I really only want phone notifications for new news on directors/actors/movies I’ve decided to follow. I don’t think this exists though because I get everything but.
  11. The Vegg
  12. Brain Pickings Weekly; I’ve actually been unsubscribed for some time. Any time you think you’ll go back and read something, just know that you won’t. Read in the moment or delete forever.
  13. Google Local Guides
  14. If It Fits Your Macros; 12 Hours Left • Our Final Sale • 90% Off Now • It’s Not Too Late • Are you serious? • Massive Sale Starts Now • This is for you –If someone wanted to know how boring marketing is I’d refer to these. It’s a shame because I feel like they were emailing interesting content until September-ish of last year.
    down to 8,997
  15. Kiva
    down to 7,129
  17. Big 5 Sporting Goods
  18. Vegan Cuts
  19. Google Alerts; vegan • cruelty-free • plant-based • carmina burana 
    down to 6,359
  20. Skillshare; an example of staying subscribed to something just I remember I’ve paid for a service and I should use it. Terrible strategy for me.
    down to 6,124
  21. Stacksocial/Skillwise
    down to 5,636 
  22. Wacom
  23. Creative Market
  24. Picture Correct
  25. PETA
  26. FedEx Office
  27. 100% Pure
  28. PictureCorrect (older/different from #24)
    down to 4,930
  29. NW Veg
    down to 3,593
  30. Lana Del Ray; sorry sometimes I forget Twitter exists
  31. The Oatmeal; same as above
  32. Happify

What Happened to Rainbow Honey?

I was going through old emails and saw I had earned some rewards maybe from 2016? Yikes. And thought I’d check it out. The link led to an unsecure page. Ruh oh! After a lot of google stalking it appears they did the same thing I did and just evaporated from social media altogether. Not sure if they did a few final goodbye posts on any of their social media, but IG and facebook are deleted as is their website. Twitter is still up, but hasn’t been used since 2014. RIP Rainbow Honey. ???? ????

Old Eating Habits

Thinking back on high school eating and exercise habits.

I never realized how daily calisthenics in gym class and a few other key factors really affected my ‘natural’ slimness in high school.

I took it for granted.

Looking back I think part of it is that someone else had control of that. They told me I had to go to gym class. And with a few eye rolls I had to do jumping jacks, situps, pushups, burpees, go to the weight room (Tuesdays and Thursdays), or run a certain number of laps.

Is that why people have such success with trainers? Because someone is telling them what to do?

My eating habits and height also contributed.

I know I had poor body image, but I don’t ever think I had an eating disorder in high school. For breakfast I usually had a banana or nothing at all. It’s not that I was limiting calories, it was more, I didn’t want to go poop. Especially at school.

Eating meant possible gas, stomach pains, embarrassment. I would need to leave class and announce it to the world. Would the teacher even let me leave?

Going in a public bathroom where the mean bitches could be mean (I don’t even know what would happen, but I had a good enough imagination).

Lunch was almost always less than $1. Growing up my Dad was very very frugal. I was not the kid with lunchables, pacific suns, hot lunches, or anything similar.

If it was fun we probably got it at Aldi so the off color, off branding, off flavor was nothing to be proud of. Oh you have Gushers?? I have these grey oozers that barely have any fruity corn syrup in them.

So, I never asked my Dad for money and there wasn’t always school appropriate things to take for lunch or I didn’t want to.

I grew up putting half of my money into savings and the freedom to spend the rest. It wasn’t much, but the ‘fun’ half went towards school lunches, and anything else. Daily lunches averaged around $1.  75¢ for a bagel with cream cheese and 25¢ for a milk.

Hardly any calories. Certainly no nutrition.

Day in. Day out.

Dinner was probably the best meal of the day, but first there was post school snacking—which I only realize while typing this that, that was more likely my lunch. I would make a sandwich, have chips, or eat leftover coffee cake on the counter. Interesting.

Dinner was usually a meat of some sort and a frozen vegetable. Our freezer, we had three of them, were filled with ice cream, bags of Aldi frozen vegetables, and meat.

The best meals my Dad made were crockpot chickens with carrots and potatoes. Sometimes even celery. They were pretty well rounded and always tasty.

And I always had cottage cheese. Good old cottage cheese.

So, I think I naturally fluctuated between restricting and binging, but I don’t think in a completely unhealthy way?? But I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to have perspective on.

Any binging I did was usually in the summer when my friend and I would walk from our East side homes the 2+ miles across town to Kiss the Sky and somewhere along that journey we would stop at a 7-11, White Hen Pantry, or gas station and pick up a Squirt or Cheetos—both if I was lucky.

I was and am still proud of my ability to put away a bigger bag of Cheetos. The crunch sensation, the cheese, the SALT, the leftover coating on my fingers. I still haven’t found a vegan snack as satisfying. But I gave up Cheetos long before I was vegan.

There was often a big snack after school and that’s probably because my lunches weren’t big.

I wonder how many calories I consumed back then on average??


The Addictive Nature of Espresso Making

A dream came true this week. Jeremy has been pining after an espresso maker for years. It’s just never really made sense, but then one day it did and he ordered a refurbished Breville.

Happy coincidence it arrived on Christmas Eve. A nice little self-gift that doesn’t take up as much counter space as I once thought.

For the record I’ve never been a coffee drinker. I can take it or leave it. Much how I was about smoking when I considered myself a non-smoker that smoked occasionally usually socially.

When I started my first office job I would take coffee, but then quickly counteract the dark brew with milk and sugar. About 50-50.

Fast forward a few years to when I started seeing Jeremy. I practiced taking coffee black. I forget the purist reasoning behind it, but it seemed like the thing to do. Really appreciate something for what it was not what you turn it into.

My cycle with coffee goes something like this. I drink it black. I drink it with a little almond or soy milk. I drink it with a little hazelnut agave. For two or three days. Then I stop. I’m just over it.

On the fourth or fifth day I get a caffeine withdrawal headache, I take an Excedrin, and don’t touch a cup of coffee for several months.

Then I’ll have this thought that a cup of coffee sounds really good and I’ll have some again. Repeats cycle.

The headache is what really weirds me out. A physical dependance. That then turns into needing coffee to function. Isn’t it strange that some truly need it in order to feel alive and happy? Or to push a headache off to the edges?

I myself feel more cheery when I drink it.

But, I don’t like something to have that level of control over me.

A legal drug. So strange.

But what I’ve noticed in the last week since we have this gleaming caffeine machine, is that I’ve drank more ‘coffee’ than I ever have. Ever.

It’s not just the addictive nature of the coffee bean. Making and consuming espresso combines with any OCD tendencies you might have.

Have you ever made an espresso? It’s a very scientific process for something with only one ingredient. More scientific than baking.

The beans must be ground just right. Too fine or too coarse and the water won’t flow right.

Once you have the grind there’s the weight of the grind. We’ve been making double shots, because why would you waste time with a single?

We’ve figured out 14 -14.2 grams (or .3) is what we need to achieve a close to perfect shot of espresso.

Now that there’s a mound of coffee–you have to tamper it into a puck. Supposedly using 30 pounds of pressure.

What does it feel like to push 30 pounds? I’m still not sure. I know what lifting 30 pounds feels like.

I would rather know the coffee is pressed 2 cm into the portafilter.

Too much pressure and the coffee could be too compacted and again the water won’t run through. Too loose and it won’t reach pressure?? That’s a guess. I’m not really sure.

Then as if all those things weren’t enough to figure out, there’s this little gauge that tells you you failed. Try again. Soon. Like right this second. Weee! ☕️

All the scientific measuring of grams and if the pressure goes outside of the dial’s grey zone you will get 1/16th of the espresso that you should have.

Breville Espresso RangeI just brewed one where the dial shot up, started pouring right before the first screw, then pushed to the second screw almost in the danger zone. Holds breath. It stopped just past the second screw before backing up and settling between the two screws.

I wahood! Loudly.

I did it! A ‘perfect’ cup.

For me. Relatively speaking.

What did I do differently than yesterday when I got 1/16th of a cup? Did I tamper better?

The OCD drive to achieve a perfect cup means you want to make another one even though you wouldn’t normally drink another cup of coffee.

You want to see if you can win the game and make another perfect cup.

Refining the process while mentally keeping track of each step.

Chasing perfection.