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2020-03-31

Social distancing, month one.

I stopped going into the office at the end of Februrary. Fortunately, I was already set up to work from home, and I like working from home, as it is much easier for me to reduce my walking and manage my pain levels at home than in the office. But it has been a far from typical month at work, between everyone else adjusting to working from home, the busyness of ensuring business continuity and supporting the increasing use of many Google services globally, and generally adjusting to these new and scary times.

As for home life, we already had a pretty thorough disaster preparedness kit, including N95 masks that we got for fires a year+ ago, and we ordered more cleaning and disinfectant supplies early. The biggest adjustment has been having to make all of our meals, especially as it is has become impossible to get Amazon delivery. Karl is still going to one of our farmers markets, and we signed up for a CSA, so we've been avoiding supermarkets. Fortunately, we also had ripe tangerines and mesclun on our balconies, and we now have the first peas on our pea plants. We ventured out to the garden store a few weeks ago and bought more seedlings than we have room for, and we've been slowly transplanting tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, leafy greens, and herbs.

I hardly went out before, so there's not all that much change there. Italian class was cancelled, but I'd been doing most of my Italian on my own, and have kept up Duo Lingo and some other materials, albeit at a slower pace. My biggest concern was pools closing, since swimming/water exercise is a big part of my physical therapy and pain reduction. (Usual pool chemicals kill coronaviruses, but that doesn't help with shared changing facilities.) I got in some longer swims in anticipation of pool closures, and then imposed on a friend who has his own pool. I feel ridiculously privileged to be able to have a pool all to myself (especially an outdoor pool that I'm paying to heat in the cool rainy weather we've had most of the month), but this is definitely not the time I want a major pain flare. Other than swimming, I haven't been out of the apartment in weeks. I'm trying to spend more time reading books or watching movies and less time reading the news and worrying, though it's hard. And I'm trying to be better at keeping in touch with people.

2020-02-29

Happy Leap Day.

I've had far fewer swims than usual this month, on account of the primary pool I use being closed for a week and the secondary pool I use being closed for a month. But I have been trying to get in longer swims when I do swim.

Since I've been swimming less, I've had more time for weekend farmers markets (and lunches and bookstores and garden stores) or for sleeping in. A few coworkers visited for a week, and we went out one evening. Karl and I went out another evening. I went to a party V had in San Francisco. Mostly though, I've been studying Italian.

At work, performance review season has started, and I am attempting to get through it without increasing my hours. We'll see how that goes.

2020-02-08

Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland.

I went to the Seattle area for a summit. It was an exhausting week of long days, endless clouds and rain (and even a bit of snow), and a lot of wheelchairing. I also taught a session of my course, made significant progress on a work project, had Ethiopian food with some of my coworkers, and briefly stopped by Ada's Books.

I went up the weekend before so I could catch up with several friends, including two of my former housemates who now live there. Saturday I spent a long afternoon/evening catching up with S, who I hadn't seen in almost 15 years! Sunday I had lunch with L & N, and their son showed me his cool computing games. It was wonderful to catch up with them all, and I wish I saw them more often. Finally, I had lots of time to catch up with D, who I stayed with for part of my trip, and since our former teammate R was also in town, we went out for tea.

Seattle photos.

2020-01-30

New Years Resolutions.

One of my resolutions is to get out more on weekends, and I started out the year well, going to the farmers market and lunch one weekend and then to Santa Cruz and Capitola the next weekend.

Another resolution is to take a language class again, and I went to my first session of the Italian class I signed up for. The class seems to be mostly conversational, which is by far the part where I need the most practice. (Reading and grammar is pretty easy, since I've studied Spanish and linguistics and read a lot of scientific Latin.) I've also been spending a lot of time doing Italian on my own.

In between, I got back in the groove at work, went to a bunch of doctors, posted old photos, swam, and read.

Recent photos.

2020-01-18

Island time.

Karl and I flew down to my parents for New Year's Day, and I quickly fell into my swim routine, going to Magens once or twice a day to swim, do exercises, and watch turtles. Ocean swimming is so much more interesting and varied than swimming pool swimming. We went to Coral World one day to swim with dolphins. It was wonderful watching and interacting with the dolphins, but it seems like their area (a fenced off portion of the ocean) is pretty small. I went to a few other beaches: quick stops at Lindbergh and Brewers when we happened to be out that way, Mandahl for birdwatching, and Coki, Lindquist, and Sapphire for rougher, choppier swim. It was the first time I'd swam at Coki since the storms, and it was really sad to see the destroyed reef.

Otherwise, it was a quiet trip. We ate a lot and got together with the usual people for dinners and lunches, I typed up a few more of my old writings and found (what I think are) the last few photos I hadn't scanned. I attempted to identify various frogs (several kinds of coquis and the Cuban treefrog). I also did some Italian cramming because I signed up for an Italian class, having done very little Italian in the last 9 years. And slept a lot of course.

St Thomas photos.

2019-12-31

End of year.

I got back from Zurich in time for yet another summit, which fortunately meant I also returned in time to meet up with my college friend E, who was visiting San Francisco; it was great to see him and his wife and to meet their son. My friend P left, so we dropped by to say goodbye, and then ended up with a few things, like a guitar which I've been entertaining myself with.

Mostly it has been a quiet few weeks of end of year work (with visitors and work dinners), doctors, photo editing, reading, fewer swims than usual (due to both holiday schedule and my schedule), and the occasional meal out or farmers market. I slept through a lot of Christmas weekend, which was good since I clearly needed it, and last weekend Karl and I went out to Half Moon Bay.

2019-12-08

Scooter adventures in Lisbon.

Karl and I spent Thanksgiving in Lisbon. I was well aware that Lisbon is very hilly, but I did some research beforehand, and it seemed like it would be accessible enough. And indeed, there was plenty to do; we didn't even get to most of the recommended accessible sites. After some complicated scooter rental drama, I ended up bringing a four-wheel travel scooter, which was a good choice, as there's no way the three-wheel scooter I'd used over the summer would have been stable enough. The terrain could best be described as like San Francisco, but with cobblestone. So it was definitely an adventure! I splurged and booked rooms at Lapa Palace, so that even if we discovered nothing was accessible, we'd at least be trapped in a palace (with a pool, of course).

We spent one day exploring 5 km along the Tagus River. Getting to the riverfront required a daunting 65 meters descent, but after that, the path was flat (and we took a taxi back). For much of the walk, we could see the 25 de Abril Bridge, which looks an awful lot like it could be in San Francisco. Because we were on the river side of the main road, we weren't able to get to the Jeróimos Monastery (other than virtually on Google Arts & Culture), but we did get to the Belém Tower.

Another day we spent exploring 3 km through Parque Eduardo VII down Avenida da Liberdade to Rossio Square, which was also very accessible. And another day we enjoyed the fabulous tile at Museu Nacional do Azulejo. Azulejos adorn nearly every possible surface in Lisbon, adding color to all our random wanderings.

We had large Portuguese breakfasts at our hotel, including Pastéis de nata. In addition to trying the bacalhau, we tried out a few African restaurants: Roda Viva (Mozambican), Tambarina (Cape Verdean/Cabo Verdean, quite similar to some Caribbean food), and Cantinho do Aziz (primarily Mozambican, though Karl had the lamb chacuti, which seems to be more Goan). Getting to the last restaurant turned out to be a comical adventure, because it looked close to where we were on a map, but I hadn't realized the directions had stairs. We ended up circling uphill at least an extra half an hour for the stairs-free route, but it was actually worth it!

After Lisbon I went on to much-flatter Zurich, where I had a full and productive work week. I got one last glimpse of Lisbon on my return flight, and was treated to a spectacular sunrise over the city.

So many photos.

2019-11-24

Turtles and dolphins!

I joined my new team just in time for a (very brief) offsite to Maui! I predictably spent as much time in the water as possible, getting in three ocean swims in less than 48 hours. I also enjoyed a long snorkel/swim with sea turtles off the Mala Wharf, dolphin sightings on the sail afterwards, seeing the Banyan tree in Lahaina at night, and getting to know my coworkers better.

Photos and dolphin videos.

2019-11-17

Accessibility, etc.

Between packed work days more often than not, multiple local summits, and earlier sunsets, I've missed a bunch of swims. The influx of visitors meant I had dinner twice with groups of coworkers and lunches with M and D.

Last month I went to the Abilities Expo, where I checked out a bunch of wheelchairs (including all-terrain wheelchairs) and other adaptive tech. I went shopping for new shoes, which is a non-trivial task, since I have a hypersensitive foot. More recently, I've held several disability-related events at work.

In my remaining spare time, I restocked my earthquake kit, made ice cream, and continued sorting through old photos (some newly-added to my site). I've also been learning a bit of Portuguese, because I decided to combine an upcoming Europe work trip with a vacation in Lisbon.

2019-10-13

New quarter.

I did, in fact, go back to managing. So far, so good, although it has been a busy few weeks of continuing to do some of my old work, while ramping up on something new. It has been some time since I've had this much to learn, and I'm enjoying it. The new group seems friendly and far more relaxed than the last team I managed, which is good since I'm still intending to work part-time.

I went to the farmers market and bookstore one weekend morning, but more recently my weekend schedule has shifted back to swimming in the (warmer) town pool when I actually wake up on weekend mornings. (I've been waking up early three days a week for meetings with Europe, which is definitely an adjustment, and I seem to be making up for lost sleep during the week by literally sleeping most of the weekend.) Other than swimming, I've been reading, watching the new Dark Crystal, and dealing with medical paperwork, and ... not much else. I went out to lunch twice, and I made chocolate ice cream twice and coffee ice cream once, but as it gets colder, I don't expect to make as much ice cream.

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