Alex changed jobs, so we took the opportunity to take some trips now that we’re vaccinated.
We started with a week out in Hawaii, just to chill and see one of Alex’s oldest friends and his family.
Then we took a just-over-two week road trip hitting: SF to Big Sur to Santa Barbara to Joshua Tree and Mohave to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon back through Las Vegas to Death Valley and then on to Independance (to visit Hawaii friend’s mum’s ice-cream shop - v good), Mammoth Lake and South Lake Tahoe (dropping in on Monica), ending in Calistoga for a long weekend at Indian Springs with some friends. It was great!
Most of the trip was basically a lesson to someone like me who grew up on a little island exactly how vast and empty most of North America is. Have some holiday snaps for explanation (mostly taken by Alex).
I restarted Japanese lessons a couple of months ago, so I kept those up while I travelled along with some work commitments because that’s all still online. A bit of an experiment in digital nomadism, where I’ve largely learned how crap most hotel WiFi is for video meetings (and how surprisingly decent Google Fi is for hotspots!).
I’ve also found a 1:1 Japanese tutor to help with speaking practice. I meet with her once a week on zoom, not because of COVID, but because she’s in Japan! こんにちはあゆ先生！
Now we’re back, ikebana class started again in person! So nice to be back with my coven. Here’s my first rikka since February 2020.
And then we’ve rounded off this re-entry into the world with a trip to the ER this weekend for a mystery trunk pain for Alex - suspect kidney stones but they couldn’t spot one? Not appendix, since that was the great wedding anniversary gift of 2014. Anyway, an exciting mystery that had me up at 4.30AM on a Saturday morning.
Andrew Hyder died. A truly a wonderful man. I'm not sure what to say about it other than he was young and healthy and his body still betrayed him, and I feel very lucky that I was able to work with him when I did (at CfA) and get to know him and his wife. Life is short and unpredictable, so make the most of it while you can.
He's not the only death we've had - we've lost other people during the pandemic (all young, smart, men, for varying reasons). It's been really hard and sad for a lot of people.
Alex and I are doing some living for a while, so we're on the road for a bit. Will report back later!
Considered fully vaccinated as of this Friday just passed. Which, honestly, is a bit anticclimactic since it doens't suddenly change a lot of things. But, it does bring a new peace of mind that I'm very unlikely to get sick and more importantly even less likely to get someone else sick.
Pre-vaccination, we'd be extremely conservative - we haven't been doing even outdoor dining or anything that would have us maskless around others nearby. Now we're vaccinated, we've relaxed enough that we went out to dinner! At a restaurant! With friends (from the bubble, but still)! Still outdoor dining, distanced tables and masks, but still. Very exciting and an excellent excuse to not wear a lycra-blended outfit for once.
Finishing up a couple more paintings for Deadpan Studio. I also cleaned up my pig painting and I'm waiting for the proof to come back for that one.
iRiver project seems to no longer need my services, which I take as a win for my ability to teach certain others some basic git/github skills. Teach a man to merge to upstream and he'll eat fish for a lifetime something, something.
Two other pieces of on-going work are more or less settling into the same focus area - namely product management coaching.
I'm reading a book called Switch by Chip and Dan Heath that someone recommended to me once in a pub (so definitely in the before times) which I impulse bought and has languished on my kindle since. Basically, it explains how to change minds and get people to change behaviour, mostly by starting small and hitting folks in the feels. It reads like an American explaining all the little tricks we played at GDS. Anyway, it's very pop sci, but sensible.
I'm half way through my 12 week Zwift training plan and they're actually starting to hurt a little bit. Progress will be made!
The only thing worth mentioning this week is that today I was vaccinated for COVID-19!
Alex and I were able to get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine today at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, who opened up vaccination for anyone over 16 earlier this week, ahead of the State-wide 16+ eligibility opening on the 15th April.
We switched to stay-home mode 56 weeks ago, and honestly, I cannot truly believe I'm vaccinated so soon. Go science!
Huge amounts of anxiety around vaccinations. They're opening it up for anyone over 16 to get them from the 15th April here in California, and I'm so impatient and I just want this done and over now. Preparing to spend a lot of time refreshing appointment websites and swearing.
Alex said 2 weeks ago that he thought we'd either have had our first vaccine or have an appointment for it within the next 12 weeks, so I'm now mentally operating my life within that timeline.
Signed up for a beginner-friendly 12 week structured fitness programme on Zwift. Just finished week 2 and feeling good about it. I did the ramp test to see what my FTP is and it works out that my power-to-weight ratio is, like, 2, which appears to be the very definition of noob. That's fine. Can only go up, right?
Took a fondue class with Gwen on zoom with the SF cheese school. I had this impression that making fondue was difficult, but it absolutely isn't, so that'll be a large portion of my diet going forward.
Dana gave me a shashiko making set. It's very easy looking, being that it's just a running stitch, but the trickiness is in making thousands of little stitches that are equally sized, spaced and straight. Good for doing while watching TV, though. I've nearly finished a tea towel.
Within this new 12 week window of life, and with the said addition of shashiko projects, I'm planning to do a frog or finish on all of the craft projects loafing around the house. There's probably a good dozen - knitting, sewing, embroidery, model making, etc. - that need to either get completed or go away forever.
Work has been a bit busier, including one new project that's actually let me touch some code for the first time in a long time. Nice change of pace.