Finally the Covid vaccine is available for all adults. Stories of snagging one have involved some hustle and savvy amongst my peers. Neither of which I seem to have. Mostly because I’m a black-belt at social distancing with zero dependents, so what’s the rush? Still, I’m grateful I got an email from our local county government so now I have an appointment too! I had been mildly hoping to get the Johnson & Johnson one but this beggar is not choosy. At this point, as long as I get a concert ticket, I don’t care where I sit.
I’m already daydreaming about all the things I want to do post vaccine:
- Prophylactic dental care
A whole new world.
There’s no room for frivolous decorative plants. We’re in an apocalypse! Here’s what’s going on in my garden: edibles! Specifically, I’m growing seeds I foraged around the neighborhood. One, someone’s front yard Thai chili pepper plant that had a sign inviting passersby to pick, with a warning that they’re super hot. The seeds I shook out of one pepper was more than enough to yield some seedlings. And two, a traffic circle that was chock full of garlic chives, grown as a decorative grass. I harvested the dried blossom seeds. I might check that circle in the warmer months and just forage me some dinner there. Although I wonder if the constant barrage of exhaust and brake dust make for good eating. At any rate, the chive seeds are in the soil and I’m hoping to see some action in a few weeks.
Another plant I’d love to seed-forage this year is the perilla, aka shiso. They’re often grown decoratively, but I like eating them with rice.
RBC stands for Rice, Beans, Carrots. Or is that Cabbage? Whatever. Both.
In a continuation of my tracking how much it costs to eat a whole foods plant based diet, here’s my 2020 update.
My total 2020 food costs:
- Grocery: $6,357
- Dining out: $145
- Net: $6,502
This is a decrease from 2019 of $373.
Assuming 365 days, 3 meals per day, the per meal cost is $2.97. It was $3.15 in 2019.
If you think I devoted a lot of time to cooking that you don’t have, you are incorrect. I cook once a week. I am, however, willing to eat boiled just about anything.
Can I whittle it down even further in 2021? It remains to be seen. Judging by the way we’re handling the pandemic, all signs point to yes.
One year into lockdown. I can barely remember “normal” life. What is normal? I read some old entries where I was striving to cut back on buying cleaning supplies to declutter. This past year, I went through them because there is no room in my grocery cart for cleaning supplies. I was reigning in buying exercise equipment. Now, I’m looking for more. I was even trying to whittle down my dried beans stash. I’ve buzzed through them and then some. A lot more some. Two people have chowed through more than a hundred fifty pounds of rice and beans in less than a year. What are work pants? What are pajamas? Denim is now dressing up.
What is time? I’ve usually given a nod to Groundhog Day because it was the start of this blog. Now, every day is Groundhog Day. I’ve usually acknowledged the Lunar New Year. Happy Year of the Ox. Every day is a new start. As Belle crooned, “Everyday like the one before.”
So in short, how am I doing? I don’t know. Does not compute. I’m grateful to be where I am; to have what I have; and to just be. But if I’d had a choice about this, if my parents had asked me, I would rather not be.
I started out this year thinking, this is my year of sleep. I’m guarding my sleep this year. And conveniently(?) this weird hermiting all year thing is definitely allowing me to sleep in later. But I’ve been getting the weirdest dreams. They trigger my sympathetic nervous system and in my mad flight mode (I never choose to fight, why?!), I startle awake. Last night, I couldn’t go back to sleep. The startling dream kept replaying in my head. I laid about for a while then got up at 3:30am.
My coworker said waking up at that hour means the universe is trying to tell me something. More chaos? Is there another shoe about to drop? Is this a shoe storm?
Two weeks into the lockdown, I said I was doing just fine. We are almost three months in now and I take it back. I am not fine. I don’t know what I am, but fine isn’t it. Resigned? Bummed? But mostly I just feel sad. What am I even saying? I don’t know. I’m not a writer. I’ll let a writer say it.
“You are hierarchical. That’s the older and more entrenched characteristic. We saw it in your closest animal relatives and in your most distant ones. It’s a terrestrial characteristic. When human intelligence served it instead of guiding it, when human intelligence did not even acknowledge it as a problem, but took pride in it or did not notice it at all… That was like ignoring cancer.” Octavia E. Butler, Xenogenesis Trilogy
I watched this adorable video of a dad preparing his daughter for her first day of kindergarten. In front of the mirror, they spoke some affirmations.
- I am strong
- I am smart
- I work hard
- I am beautiful
- I am respectful
- I’m not better than anyone
- Nobody’s better than me
I hear those last two lines in my head often. One time, when I was home by myself, I walked to a mirror and said them out loud.
So in the vein of learning and self improvement to help me treat my fellow peoples with kindness, I’ve started a book, The Willpower Instinct by Dr. Kelly McGonigal. In the first chapter she explains why humans developed a big prefrontal cortex: to have self control, to exercise judgment, to do the right thing, to delay gratification and not say things in the heat of the moment (I’m working on this one). Basically, it’s the part of the brain that keeps our inner assholes in check so we don’t get kicked out of the community and die alone in the wilderness. So I think it’s related to how I behave. I haven’t finished the book yet, but here are a few things she’s put in my toolbox already to help develop that prefrontal cortex and keep me from being a total asshole. Here’s to hoping some of these things grow my little braincells.
- Breathe long sloooow breaths to increase variable heartrate
- Exercise (I love her definition. Anything you’re doing that doesn’t involve eating and isn’t standing or sitting still, or laying about.)
- Eat plants
I haven’t finished the book yet. I’m hoping there’s more. I need all the help I can get.
Finally I want to end with the wise words of Lizzo. “Why are (hu)men great ’til they gotta be great?” It’s easy to know the right thing to do, hard to do it sometimes.
Since we’ve had close to two months of this, whatever this is, I’ve had time to burn.
GARBAGE TV – A whole lot of YouTube, some Netflix, currently Married at First Sight. Which, I have some thoughts.*
COOKING – A neverending pot of rice. Beans. And greens. Here’s my recent favorite repeat recipe (ingredients only since I don’t measure too much):
- Beans (red, black, cannellini, whatever you have) 1 lb dry (about) – cook it separately with a few bay leaves
- Carrots 3 or 4, grated
- Rough Blitzed together
- Jalapenos (leave the seeds)
- Nutritional yeast 1/2 cup
- Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce/liquid aminos, tomato sauce
- Dry spices: Mustard powder, turmeric, oregano, basil, thyme, paprika, white and black pepper, salt
Add all the ingredients into the pot of cooked beans, including the bean water (but just make sure the bean liquid just covers the beans and it’s not soup. This is great over rice, toast, or just by itself.
SKIN CARE – Mostly, no skincare except lotion for my cryptkeeper hands. I haven’t been wearing daily sunscreen like I usually do on weekdays. I haven’t been leaving the house, what’s the point? BUT! I have been watching dermatology vids on YouTube and learning so much about skin care. Like apply moisturizer or really, a good occlusive (oils) right after a shower while wet. It will seal in the moisture in the skin, a little messily.
*MAFS Thoughts: Netflix only has Season 9 – North Carolina. The general premise is, three “experts” make four couple matches and they get married sight unseen. The first time they meet is at the alter. No name to Google, no photo, nada. If I had to give season 9’s four couples a TL;DR name, they would be: Virgin, WWJD, Drama, and Sport. I got sooo invested early on in Sport. They seemed so sweet, like they really wanted a home and family. So after the third episode, I looked up if they made it. And they didn’t! In fact, I think only WWJD and maybe Drama might still be together. I think what failed for Sport, that broke my heart a little, is one-sided candor. Honesty is so important in building trust.
So grateful for the job that affords me the flexibility to hermit. I’ve left the house twice since the 15th. Once to get some zoomies out. I was going bonkers. And once to grab some fresh produce. Which was about a week ago and I’m mostly out of again. I am eating an inordinate amount of food. Mentally, I’m doing okay? The biggest challenge is probably feeling trapped in a tiny place where I don’t have room to walk without pacing. Because of that, I usually try to do something active daily to help me sleep. Otherwise, I take 5 steps to the kitchen and 5 to the bathroom and that’s about the extent of it. What I would give for a backyard right now! At least then I could go roll around in the yard or something.
Our incompetent administration that has painfully botched the handling of this pandemic has just decided to extend this physical distancing mission another month (4/30). Obviously too late. Frankly, I don’t think things will improve by then. Telling people who get sick to stay in their homes isn’t effective. They will infect their families. They or their family members will go out to get supplies and will infect others. Not testing more people regardless of symptoms is also a failure. Lying about the efficacy of masks rather than admitting the truth of an insufficient supply of them was a failure.
I love finding out the end fast. I skip to the last episode of soaps or dramas. I’ll watch the end of a movie first before deciding if I’m going to commit the next hour or two. So it’s nice to find out, almost right away, that I was entirely wrong about almost everything. The economy is most decidedly not fine and toilet paper is the new currency. Although, I still might be right about the negative interest rates.
Be well. May the odds be ever in your favor.
This isn’t a prediction for 2020, but it’s a prediction made in 2020. It has nothing to do with what I wish. Otherwise, I’d put in winning the lottery on this list. It’s what I think is likely to happen.
- The Republicans will win the Executive Branch for a second term. This will lose the Dems another Supreme Court seat.
- The economy will be fine until late 2024.
- The US Federal Reserve will have to dip into negative interest rates just like in Scandinavia and Japan.
- Don’t buy coastal property or get any coastal timeshares. Actually, avoid timeshares in general. This isn’t a prediction so much as common sense.