Friday, April 03, 2020

And Then There Was Snow....Again.

I had an 0800 clicklist pick up...I intended to hop in the van....but Mother Nature...had other plans.

Even my brave, silk daffodils couldn't brighten this situation. 

I picked up our clicklist  groceries. I picked up a tea and sat in the library parking lot and drank it. I tried to pick up dad's meds - not ready - again.  I drove to the post office and was there an hour before they opened. I waited in my car. We needed to mail a package and I truly hope NOT to have to go back to another crowded spot like that until this is over. I was surprised they didn't have the temporary plexiglass dividers up for their employees.  The only place I may have come into contact with "people" was at the post office...and I was careful. I came home and did the whole disinfecting/shower/launder clothes thing.

I found Stacia involved in dissecting a frog. She wasn't loving it. 
It's a rite of passage. 

I was NO help. at. all. Everything is better when Dad gets involved. 
Ah gloves - I could have supplied those. 

Krista had USAF training and a zoom birthday party.  Michael and Alex went to have their Bible study and to deliver masks to Joann's.  Stacia seemed to want to be alone. Dad was napping. Nolan was working. I spent a couple of hours in my room - and it was fine.

Our state has issued a new "health alert."  I know it's not a mandate... a step up from a good idea, but below an order.  ::snort:: The public is to wear cloth face masks when grocery shopping, or picking up meds...the only two things we are allowed to do outside our home.  This is in addition to social distancing. The previous links explains the reasoning and gives patterns for a no sew and an easy sew mask.

I played around with scrap material and the no sew mask idea....this worked better than the napkin. I made the starting square MUCH smaller. Instead of 18x18...I did 9x12. LOL

Michael came home with ANOTHER BOLT of fabric from Joann's. Free. We now have 8 yards of fabric to turn into masks. I doubt I will get around to making a quarantine quilt...but I sure know how to make simple face masks.  I think I like this better than the flamingos they gave us earlier.

We plan to make masks for Nolan and his co-workers FIRST...and Cory if he needs or wants some...then we may keep some for us and take the remaining zillion back to Joann's. They are fine with us giving them out in the community...We will use more masculine fabric for Nolan. LOL

Alex had to write an email explaining why he is not reporting to work...I began to question if we are wrong to ask him not to work...but then I remember...we have high risk in our home. This is a nasty virus if you catch it.

Dad and Michael 

Our moose was back...she's so ready to calve. 

Michael spent some time talking with John's social worker today. Please continue to pray for John and Mary and add our niece Sierra to your prayer lists as well. One is in CA and one is in CO.

Pandemic Stats: 
Alaska seems to have a slow, steady increase of cases. They reported 11 new cases from yesterday...15 in the hospital (up 3)…no new deaths....a total of 157 confirmed cases.  I believe our state team informing and implementing alerts and mandates early is leading to a "flattened curve." Everyone is cautiously optimistic.

Sadly - there were a 1000 deaths in the US yesterday.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Busy Day

Today, Covid19 hits home. Our brother in law, John, is in the hospital. Mary is isolated and scared. John is in an isolation room and there are no phones.  They usually have care-givers and a social worker in their home. All of these "helpers"  are also in isolation due to John's testing.  This is truly an overwhelming situation for Mary. She's worried for John and without all those who make their lives work. They are in the state of CA and they are not testing Mary or the care-givers....they simply told them all to isolate. We appreciate your prayers on their behalf. Prayers for health, for John's body to fight the virus, for peace, for understanding and comprehension for Mary as she communicates with the doctors. She was happy to hear Michael will call the hospital's social worker tomorrow and try to find out a bit more info for her.

The photos today are weighted heavily towards Stacia and I. Hmm.....

Nolan worked.

Alex schooled.

Krista drilled (USAF Reserves) - at home.

Dad (G Dog, GG, Grandpa) read.

Michael gave Stacia a piano lesson and worked on sermon prep.

Stacia and I grabbed a picnic breakfast and found a spot beside the Matanuska River for our Bible study. When we arrived we could see a mountain...but the fog rolled in thick, and the snow began...it was incredibly beautiful and peaceful.

Today we discussed, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God." It was a good discussion. I covered these passages a couple of weeks ago with our online study group. We were studying them just as the first case of the virus hit in Alaska. Amazing timing....We spent a lot of time talking about the peace of Christ, this gift Jesus left with believers...inner peace, relational peace and situational peace.




We weren't quite ready to go home so we drove up to Lazy Mountain Trail...we did not come in contact with ANYONE who does not live in our home. Our governor encourages us to get out - in fact the parking fees at our trailheads have been waived during lock down.
That would be Lazy Mountain Trail 
 It was ICY and we both ended up putting $1 in the fall jar when we got home.  

We got home to a family focused on reading, drilling and schooling. I found a couple of YouTube videos on how to make a no sew "face covering." Here and this one uses a filter.  I heard one expert say the general public are not to have "masks," but may benefit from face coverings. I need to find some thinner material I think - but it worked....and it's easy to launder...and grab another as needed.

After my little experiment, I worked out - a lot. I spent time on the tread mill and time on the elliptical...a total of 112 minutes....

I threw together a meal with pantry items - a quarantine meal - which turned out yummy. We served it over pasta, but it could have been served over rice, or a sandwich or  pot pie filling. I threw 3 pints of canned chicken and their juices into the crock pot (recipe said to use 1-2 lbs of chicken breast), I topped it with 2 blocks of cream cheese, and ranch dressing mix. I turned it on high for 4 hours. Before serving I adjusted seasoning - herbs, garlic and adobo....and added some mixed vegetables.

While it was cooking, Stacia asked if I wanted to go for a walk with her. We headed down to the mailbox and back (1.33 miles). Stacia asked if I wanted to go further - I knew she wanted to. We did a loop around our block....run keeper says it is .78 miles. That added another 40 minutes of movement to the day - 2.11 miles.
Getting the mail.
One fun thing we are noting about lock down is that there are more people out walking in the afternoon/evening. We have been trying to make neighbor contact for over 2 years and people seemed to run from us. Now, folks wave, stop and talk (from the other side of the road) and always laugh and call a greeting. I like this trend.

We watched Cory and Arielle's April Fool's joke on Benny up on the big screen so Dad could enjoy it. At the end he says, "I wanna go GG." Priceless.

We watched a few funny clips and the kids and GG headed to bed.

I prayed with a dear friend on the phone. I helped Michael a bit with this set up....our own recording studio. He's working on filming a video clip for Sunday.  Hmmm....getting that sign straight is on "the list."

I'm going to call it a day.

Pandemic facts....taken from the Alaska Coronavirus Site. 
There are 245,559 confirmed cases in America. 6,057 deaths. We seem to have jumped to a spot where there are 1,000 deaths a day. Alaska has 8 new cases today; a total of 147 cases; 13 are in the hospital and 3 have died. Honestly, Alaska is rocking social distancing.  We won't know for sure for a couple of weeks, but it looks like we may be "flattening the curve."

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day - but it seems this ISN'T all a fool's day joke!  Stacia had PLANS for today - we lost track of the date. For a great April Fool's Day joke from folks who REMEMBERED to plan ahead,  check out the video clip I share of Cory and Benny on the Courageous Joy Facebook Page.

The highlight of my day was picking up meds for dad and running by the kids' homes.  We dropped off a letter for Izaak on their doorstep. The door flew open and we got to yell,  "Hello," to Bella and Gideon (and Bre). We went next door and delivered eggs and such to Cory, Arielle, and Benny. We cannot drop things off to Jamin and Josiah because it would involve commuting to another community. We keep dreaming of flying to Juneau to see JaRissa, but that is COMPLETELY away from our community.

 A month in to this "social distancing" and we are REALLY missing our adult kids.  I guess it has only been 3 weeks since we moved home...though Dad began his seclusion in earnest on 8 March. As I left things on the step, I heard Arielle say she was behind the door. There she WAS...and I instinctively reached to TOUCH her...though she is behind the glass. Odd, but it was exciting to be that close. Mamas just want their babes close during crisis - even though we KNOW they are perfectly safe where God has placed them.

I saw the photo and it reminded me of the scene in the book, "I'll Love You Forever," where the Mama drives across town, sneak into her boys room, and rocks him to sleep.  I sent Arielle the photo and told her it was sort of creepy...but I liked it.

How else did we fill our time in this day 988 of social isolation?  O.k. it's been 17 days. 

Church staff meeting - really need to figure out why I can't take screen shots on the new laptop. 
Pursuing new skills in ministry

Michael continues to talk about the YouTube channel. I finally got bored enough I began taking clips today....not sure I'll ever get them edited and posted to You Tube.....but bugging everyone and asking my "Quarantine Questions of the Day," did speed my day right along. I also wasted time looking back to see when the last video was published. The last "real" video was July 2018...though there is a clip of fireworks from Colony Christmas 2018. 

Stacia did another fascinating biology lab....she is maintaining her accelerated school pace. 
This is not Corona fashion - It's homeschool fashion

Michael works on sermon, or sermonette prep. He's up this Sunday with, Blameless, in the "Saved" Series....Belong, Blessed, Bought...

I kept hearing Dad laugh...I checked in and he is into a new Patrick McManus book. 

I did not get outside for a walk today....I am appreciating the home gym gifted to us by Darshia. 

Stacia's bunny, Dash, enjoys the home gym too. 
Alex continues to progress towards finishing his senior year strong.

Nolan worked all day and then quarantined in the royal blue cave (known as his room).

Another day purposely lived during Quarantine.  I still haven't found all the quiet, reading time I envisioned...but I am finding things to love about this time.

Pandemic Fact - American went from 4000 to over 5000 deaths in one day. Alaska seems to have flattened the curve....we hope.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Another Day at Home

This day was odd - everyone woke up earlier than their normal time. I applaud the trend...but it threw off my daily rhythm. Its a challenge to adjust to the new norm...as far as my morning routine. LOL

We homeschool under a state charter school.  I haven't turned in a single receipt all year. Today, I got them ALL in...two Sonlight orders,  two Rainbow orders, nine months of Internet, and eight months of Japanese lessons for two students. I didn't procrastinate - I was saving up that money for a quarantine.  rainy day. It will be nice to have it hit our account in a month or so.

Krista made three more videos for her class.  Stacia served as the cameraman as I was determined to get a work out in.

Michael worked on a sermon.

I plodded away on the elliptical during President Trump's press briefing on Covid19.  I started rice in the Instant Pot and the girls and I walked down to get the mail. I came inside at the house - 1 1/3 miles...they continued on while I got dinner in the oven.  The dirty snow on the side of the road, the clear pavement and the snow everywhere clearly mean - it's SPRING.
Krista, Stacia, Me
We  discussed the boys' situation as employees at an "essential business." We have two high risk members in our home. The spread rate is 80% if it enters a family. There are 3 documented cases in our town. I really find it hard to believe my son should risk his health and ours at minimum wage so that another can have a drive through burger or coffee. Seriously, I KNOW why they are deemed essential...I am JUST SAYING...Alex had asked to cut back hours until May. This would allow him to finish high school strong. He was cut back to 26 hours. As of today, he's been removed from the schedule. He will focus on finishing all his work by May 1st.  This allows him to focus on school AND cuts the chances of covid entering through the front door.

Nolan is a manager and will continue to work - as it IS deemed essential and he doesn't feel right leaving the other managers to pick up the slack when they are already down so many employees and managers.  He comes home and IMMEDIATELY showers, changes clothes, and douses self with sanitizer. He stays downstairs in his room. We will sanitize all surfaces a couple of times a day. He skipped dinner last night...but we told him if he makes sure to do all that....He and Alex will eat at the counter so that they are more than 6 ft from Dad and Michael. He'll be mindful of social distancing INSIDE our home.  We KNOW Alex may already be exposed. We REALIZE Nolan could be exposed before we know it - but it's where we are now. It's the best we can do.
The new dinner time look 

The girls and I are talking about making masks for the crew....at least the drive through crew.


We had our first Zoom Bible Study tonight. I miss my peeps! We didn't all make it - but eleven of us did. I miss the natural flow of a discussion without mute buttons, though I suppose the power of the mute button could be handy. ::snort::


Dad and Michael are watching Football. No, there aren't any new games...but evidently this one is worth re-watching. Fans will be fans.


Everyone else is in bed - we all work or have school in the morning.

There are 14 new Covid cases in Alaska tonight. Our total sits at 133.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Barely Normal - A Year Later

I know this seems frivolous in the midst of a pandemic. However, I've worked hard for a full year now - and I want to document the progress...yes, I AM talking about my health journey today.

My Doc insisted I come in yesterday. She had new labs to discuss with me.   Here's the health side of thing.... I'll post all the photos at the end of the post.

March 2019 
  • Cholesterol was near 200
  • Triglycerides were way, way, way over normal
  • Kidneys and liver were showing signs of taxing
  • My A1C was 7 (Type 2 diabetic)
  • BMI was 34.3
  • Weighed 199.8 

March 30 2020
  • Cholesterol is 98 (LDL is a few points down, HDL went up a lot!)
  • Triglycerides are normal - low normal 
  • Kidney and liver function completely normal 
  • My A1c is 5.6 - 3 months ago she told me I had gone from diabetic to pre-diabetic....today she said I'm, "barely normal" but normal. She cautioned me to consider to think of myself as diabetic if I want to control this via lifestyle...otherwise I WILL be diabetic again and the next time I will have to begin meds. 
  • BMI is now 26.9
  • Weigh 156.8 - a loss of 43 lbs this year
  • SURPRISE my thyroid is out of kilter...I am now hyper thyroid. She said we should have thought of this as I've lost 23% of my body weight and so it would impact how much levothyroxine I should take. I haven't been able to sleep so.....as soon as express script arrives I will be taking a lower dose. 
Sustainable Changes
  • Had been a vegan for 9 years; fairly high complex carb diet
  • Changed to Mediterranean/Blue Zone at Shelly's recommendation 
    • Added lean protein (Salmon, Chicken Breast, eggs, Greek yogurt and feta cheese)
    • Kept carbs under 100g a day - usually around 30 - 40 which makes me low carb by the doc definition but not by "keto" low carb definitions. 
  • I eat NO sugar - I use stevia 95% of the time and use a blend of stevia/erythitol or monkfruit when I can't use stevia.  
    • With that said - Shelly said I could have sugar once a month and so I do that from time to time...like the day after an A1C (back in July) or birthdays. 
  • Intentional to add meaningful movement to my days 
    • Gardening, walks, hikes
    • Shelly started by recommended 30 min of cardio "most days of the week" 
    • 3 months ago she suggested adding some strength training 
    • Today she suggested training for a 5K run because I messed up and told her I'd started jogging a "tiny bit" on the tread mill. 
  • I track it all with the WW ap (blue plan) as that plan mirrors and encourages the choices my doc told me to make. I would have used itrackbites - carb plan if I'd seen it first. 

The loss has been slow....an average of 3.58 lbs a month. I had a 3 month period where I lost nothing.....I'm seeing this seems to happen for a few weeks every 10 - 15 lbs. 

I DO feel the changes are sustainable. I have not given anything up (other than simple sugar) for LIFE....I'm learning how to occasionally add a treat into my plan, track it and keep going....

Health, improvement, appearance and a good relationship with food were my goals a year ago...I'm making progress in all areas. 

My Goals

I visited the military nutritionist and she suggested 130 lbs; BMI of 22.  I had been thinking 138 - BMI of  23.7...this is not a 20's weight for me....this is the weight I weighed during our Air Force life.

Photo is from 2013 
My Goal? 138
Shelly asked how I felt at this one year mark. I told her I really wanted to reach goal in a year...but I'm learning to celebrate progress. She said my health is great now...but, she would be happy if I go down to a BMI of 25; 145 lbs.  My current thought is I want to be a BMI of 24 so if I fluctuate I'm still in the healthy range. That would be 140.....basically the 138 I instinctively aimed for before being told to aim for 130. Hoorah!

I plan to continue with the changes I have made; eating well, moving daily, tracking daily.....keep my health numbers normal. 

My Goal - no idea what number on the scale that will be
  • Healthy Labs
  • BMI of 24
  • Size 8 pants
  • Guessing somewhere between 135-145
March 2019
Ugh - 199.8

March 2020
156.8

March 2019
YIKES - still can't bowl

March 2020
156

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Second Sequestered Sunday

Sunday mornings are for sermons and popcorn. Church on the couch felt a bit more natural this morning. 

This morning was another great day "with" Matanuska AG - though we are distanced from Matanuska AG.  It was tough for Krista to get her topic down to 10 minutes - she nailed it! 

Pastor posted a play list for today...a greeting from Him, a message from Krista, a Kids video clip and a worship Clip. Krista was aided by the hens in getting her message across. ::snort:: 

Krista remarked it was odd to "go to church" and watch oneself preach. LOL

Michael and I are enjoying our family discussions after the messages. Today we talked about what gives our lives value...we talked about what it means to have God with us in the midst of a pandemic. We discussed anxiety and how each of us were doing...well the plan was to discuss how we each were doing but we got to Dad, Alex, and Nolan - then got derailed.

The girls headed downstairs to work on projects. Krista has all her quilt squares done already. She is playing around with the arrangement and will sew the rest of the top together. 

Stacia finished a secret sewing project, finished the masks, and today she cut out and began making quilt blocks for her own quarantine quilt.

Michael cleaned out a clogged drain. The boys and Michael played Snowboard Kids.

I made an old-fashioned Sunday Dinner. I baked a 6 lb chicken, made stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and carrots, a huge salad, gravy, and asparagus.  While the chicken was baking I worked on a few kitchen projects. I am over-hearing consistent comments about that You Tube channel. ::wink::

I got a new batch of Kombucha started.

I boiled 14 eggs in the instant pot. 

I made a double batch of Chai Tea Mix. 

Nolan helped me set the table and get a few things done in the kitchen. He also brought in the groceries I bought yesterday. I figured they'd had 24 hours for germs to die...I know the virus can stay up to 72 hours on some surfaces....in any event I needed some of the groceries for lunch. Sadly, my aloe vera plant froze in the car over-night. Ooops. 

I started a bit of broth after dinner...not as much as I would have liked to have made...but it's a chicken and not a turkey.

We have begun watching season 2 of "Lost in Space." We were in the middle of an episode when the power went out. We moved over to the table and played Farkle.

Nolan and Krista went down to bed after the game. Both work tomorrow...one from home and one in town.

The rest of us finished the interrupted episode of Lost in Space.

Alex and Michael brought in wood.

Michael and I had a nice talk.

I'm blogging...

Pandemic Thoughts: 

  • Alaska's first positive case of Covid19 was March 12th. We now have 114 cases, and 3 Alaskans have passed away. 
  • Josiah and Jamin usually came out on Sundays. We miss them. 
  •  Arielle and Benny usually visit if Cory is working. We miss them. 
  • We are thankful for all the work pastors are putting in to have online messages.  We miss church family too. I sound like a broken record?
  • We have two more friends with Covid19 (not local). 
  • President Trump announced  his guidelines will remain in place another 30 days. Most states are currently under stricter restrictions than those guidelines, at least Alaska is. His briefing gives us a sense of how long this may go on. I'd better deliver those Easter baskets to the grands now so they can sit in the garage and de-germ a good long time before Easter Sunday. 
  • Our April schedule has just changed drastically; maybe I WILL have time to get new content on the YouTube channel....and to teach Michael how to take over the editing and publishing of said channel. ::snort:: Two weeks wasn't enough time with all my other goals...but a month.....
  • Day 13 of our Isolation....

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Sequestered Saturday

 Without a doubt, the hardest thing, hands-down, about this quarantine stuff is not spending time with the grand-blessings....but here are some shots of them sequestering like pros!

Benny illustrates Alaskans getting out - with those who reside with them. 
Via CoRielle's camera 

Bella and Gideon show us how to tackle projects at home. 
Via Bre's camera

I HAVE driven by their homes while out and waved. LOL 

Krista and I were out of the house at 6 a.m. Our mission was to make it to Lowes and buy seed and soil before the travel restriction went into effect. 

The only person we came into "contact" with would be the cashier and even then there was a plastic shield up. They told us they will continue to be open as they are an essential business.
 I keep wondering how this will work...because the travel ban clearly states that "I" am not to travel unless I am getting groceries or going to the doctor or dealing with child custody....so if it is essential for you to be open, but not for me to travel....not sure there will be the business for drive throughs and such to remain open.

I had put in a big clickit order - but there were some essentials we needed which were out of stock at Freddies. Since we were out - and it was VERY early - we stopped by Walmart. Check out this shelf. Alaskans are inside working puzzles. LOL

On our way home we dropped a few gooodies on a couple of doorsteps. They KNOW to sanitize or leave in the garage for a bit of time.

Back at home we worked on projects. Stacia and I sewed masks.


Dad keeps us up to date with news from ADN...we don't get a Saturday paper - so he re-read the Friday paper. 

Michael! Yep - Patrick is in the room. 
 Michael has expressed an interest in re-activating our YouTube channel. We're brainstorming. It always sounds fun - but seriously - there are only so many hours in a day.

I made sugar free - cinnamon "sugar" pecans

 I also made some chick peas in the air fryer and Alex helped me bottle this batch of kombucha. 

Alex worked and he, Nolan and Stacia went outside for a bit....did some banking and grabbed  lunch at a drive through...

Pandemic Facts...there are  200 ventilators in the state of Alaska and only 160 ICU beds.  THIS is why we should stay home. IF all 160 beds are being used for Covid19 patients there can be no heart attacks or emergencies in the state.... Our state officials and health care workers are doing all they can to beef up their capacity - we can help by trying to slow the spread of the virus.

There are 100 confirmed cases of Covid19 in Alaska.

Saturday shows there are over 2000 covid deaths in America.  That count has doubled in 2 days.

We left groceries and all purchased at Lowes in the car all day....we ARE being cautious.