Need to take care of elderly

I keep hearing about how vulnerable are the elderly and how they need extra help and all.  On the one hand I'm in complete agreement and ready to help.

On the other hand, turns out they are talking about me.  WTF??

I've had more people (including those across the street and a female Marine I helped down the street a couple of months ago) contact us to be sure we're OK.

We are that old couple who might need help that lived down the street.  

How incredibly weird that is.

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."  Lennon


I've been sitting at home watching all this on the television and on the Internet (ok.. actually big monitor and small monitor — same source).  Walks and biking has been within our community but for a week I've been pretty insular.

Yesterday I finally had a long enough shopping list to make a trip worth that exposure to people.  I went just shy of 6PM which is typically the quiet time and it was just that, fortunately.  So I went up and down the isles getting more junk food than was absolutely necessary but we now have enough to last a couple of more weeks.  I pork roast that will be used a bunch of different ways and some ribs to practice slow cooking inside.  And a couple of steaks.  And lots of staples BUT no flour.  That is starting to bother me.  I probably should have bought some bread.

Now I wait to see if I managed to get in and out without contracting anything.  Three days.  

I'm not a nervous person and have always been invincible (as evidenced by my continued existence) but this has me a little rattled.   It is a new feeling for me and one I'm fighting against.  

Jim Morrison had it down — 'Strange days indeed'.

Meanwhile I remembered this album cut from 1967.  Erik Burton and The Animals.  Even stranger:

My daily walk is pretty this time of year

I walk Zoe, the not so brave, nearly every day.  Ok, truth, she sits by my desk in the morning while I'm drinking coffee and stares at me until I take her on her walk.  We do about a mile and a half in 30 minutes on a mostly crushed granite path (for which my knee and hip are grateful).  It is so good for both of us.  I let her off the leash as she is the most polite and obedient dog.  If she sees anyone else on the path she stops and looks back to me as if to say "back on the leash?".  And I call her and she comes back and gets on the leash until we are past them then back off again.  She knows the rules and is really the best about it.  

This time of year we have some especially lovely views.  This on a fence lining the dog park:

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I listen to Hacks On Tap Podcast.  It is David Axelrod and Mike Murphy talking about the elections from the perspective who have run candidates before.  They are both great guys and don't yell at each other.  I've learned a lot while walking Zoe.  

Today they have a new sponsor and I HAD to buy:

It is Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, and Cocoa Puffs but good for you.

I bought one of each.  They are WAY too expensive but, really, life is short and it has been too long since I've had any of the three, much less any of the three without guilt.

Review to follow.

I want to ride my bicycle

It is too hot and a little windy but there is nothing I more enjoy than riding my bike by myself with Pink Floyd in my head phones and nothing but time on my hands in these hills.  It is rolling meditation that feeds my titanium hip, my titanium knee, and my soul (still original issue).

Back to work?

I've given some thought to Trump's increased approval rating, read a ton of news, and avoided as much as I can looking or listening to him.  His incoherent daily ramblings leave his mouth and enter my ear but are changed between the two nodes.  

All I hear is "I'm losing money, my hotels are closed, I'm losing money, my people can't come see me in their huge wonderful crowds, I'm losing money, Biden is doing better, I'm....  " and it drones on and on.  It appears that he's saying other things but that is all I hear.

People are generally more afraid of running out of food than contracting a virus that will likely (80%!!) end up being no big deal.  I suspect that given the choice a majority would opt for 'give me the virus now so I can be immune and get back to work'.  I can empathize.  I'm not in that position now but I'd be terrified were I still to own my business.  

By Easter the $1200 will have been long gone, people with families will be way beyond stir crazy, and Trump will start to make sense.  He will start to look like the Great Leader that he thinks he is.

I've got my fingers crossed that Cuomo's will continue his rise as the sane leader in this part of the world but I'm not completely confident it will hold.

On a very bright side, nearly everyone I know locally has checked in with me over the past week to be sure we are OK.  Weird to be the 'old person' that people need to check on.  They don't, actually, but it is really nice that they did.

Daily bread

There was no bakery where we lived in Texas and I really wanted some good bread.  So, thinking I was being smart, I bought a bread machine.   The only good thing about a bread machine is it makes bread in the middle of the night and you can wake up to the smell of fresh bread for breakfast.  Other than that the stuff is not really all that good.

When we separated, my wife kept the bread machine.  I suspect she never used it.  I was annoyed at first but determined to have good bread so I bought two books.  One I still have but the other was entitled something like the Village Baker.  It was all about Italian and French baking and started from the beginning.  "This is wheat....".  

Take six cups (properly measured, no dipping) of flour.  Dump it in a pile on the counter.  Make a dent in the middle and start adding water.  Throw some salt on it and some yeast (although eventually I made the yeast also in a 10 day yield of home made sour dough starter) in and stir with your finger.  Keep adding water as you stir until you are working the dough into a ball.  Then knead.

It was absolutely the basic of all basics of baking.  Pan Ordinaire.  I loved it.  I had a huge wooden bowl and used it frequently.

Finally I let myself graduate to my mom's old Kitchenaid mixer.  It is now probably 60 or so years old and still going strong.  I'm lazy now and only knead a bit towards the end but I still use the same two books I got 20 years ago and still love the bread:

Oatmeal sunflower bread
Oatmeal sunflower bread
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When times get tough, the tough bake

I used to bake two or three loaves of bread a week.  Two or three depended on the recipe output and bread pans or a lump on the baking stone.  I fell out of the habit when we were living in a space that boasted a toaster oven as the primary baking equipment.  I've returned to baking some but not every week.

But I find it comforting to have a home baked loaf of bread sitting on the counter waiting for butter whenever I feel like adding some.  I've got some wonderful sunflower seed semi-whole wheat rising now.  It is my go to bread as I've made it so many times it never fails and always makes the best toast in the world.

And I discovered I had some long shelf life cream that needed to be whipped so I threw together a batch of brownies which are cooking while the bread rises.

I discovered a web site put together by a couple of University of Texas students that finds specific items you might be looking for and tells you how much is in stock in a list of stores.  So I found some flour.  Not what I normally get but it will do and it is on the shelf.  Of Walgreens of all places.  Also where my distilled water for my CPAP can be found.  Here is the site.  I'll be verifying their info but they are right about what is missing on the Walmart shelves I'm hopeful.  This helps me target shop for specifics keeping me from wandering isles.

Walmart curmudgeon fail

Our Walmart has a 'special' time for people over 60.  It is becoming a thing in the country and while I think it might be a good idea it was a wast of my time this morning.  The Walmart hour is 6AM.  

Waiting in line at 5:45
Waiting in line at 5:45
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