Nostalgic values

Peanut lost another tooth today, the upper front right. He told me to write it down so that we can go back to check in case he forgets exactly when he had this tooth taken out. It’s his 5th one.

Mr. O was constantly on the phone and Zoom meetings from 7:30 a.m. until he logged off and checked out at 5:30 p.m. Today was not a good day for him. Before, when he worked in the office and I didn’t get to see the kind of stress he gets daily working in a high-energy and fast-paced environment. I feel helpless now that I see daily of how much and how hard he works. He crashed right after dinner in his armchair and is now immobile, watching Different Strokes with the boys.

I tried to keep the kids occupied and keep their voices down throughout the day so they won’t disturb his work. Our small apartment isn’t an ideal home office as well as a home classroom. The containment isn’t helping the boys much as they need to burn energy.

I made three meals today with one extra dessert. For the morning I made French crepes and turkey bacon. Crab and shrimp fried rice for lunch, and beef meatballs in marinara sauce and penne pasta for dinner. For dessert after dinner I made a nostalgic one to bring back some childhood memory — sweet black bean soup with coconut cream — chè đậu đen.

On a scale of 10, this chè is probably up there on the top at 10 for nostalgic values. My mom used to make this chè for a living as our livelihood depended on the volume of sale she sold at the end of the day. She soaked the dried beans for 24 hours and woke up at 4 a.m. everyday to set up the wood fire stove and started preparing to cook it in a big cauldron of about 40 liters or so.

So I made it today and had a chance to tell the boys of my nostalgic moment that connected through food.

03-31-20 — a prank on self

Actually, at the time I am typing this post on my Iphone, it’s already more than half way through the first of April. I went to bed early last night (3/31/20) and thought that it was April 1st and that I just finished a one month of daily blogging so I didn’t have to write anymore.

I guess I pull a prank on myself a day early.

It’s been more than three days since we are secluded ourselves in the apartment. Today (4/1) I woke up and made a concerted effort to not put on my pajamas, and changed into jeans. I wanted to feel normal, however normal I want to feel these days.

And I tend to forget about days and dates; everything is the same nowadays. At a time like this, I miss living in my house in Northern California. This apartment is poorly situated and we don’t get that much of direct sunlight coming in so it’s always dark if we don’t turn on the lights. At least in that house we bought we could go our to the backyard and sit under the shade of our oak tree for some fresh air.

There are roughly 800 cases in San Diego county, and 26 cases in my zip code. I quickly googled some information about the volume of hospital beds available in our county and realized that there aren’t that many if the pandemic comes to an explosion in San Diego.

Sometimes, I feel despaired but am grateful that there are so many people working in the front lines fighting for us to stay home.

To all the medical staff and employees, nurses and doctors, medical tech, ambulance drivers, ambulance tech, and many more…thank you!

I think I will continue with my daily blogging just to keep my mind a bit sane with an outlet to vent and jot down little things, even if it’s quite boring to note.

03-30-20 — seclusion

Somewhere during the month of March, I forgot that winter has changed to spring.

It’s officially Spring Break for the kids, and unfortunately we didn’t go anywhere, not even taking one step outside of the apartment.

There are more than 500 cases of coronavirus in San Diego County. It’s getting close to home and we want to avoid going outside as much as possible. Mr. O has some underlying medical conditions so we are not taking any chances

PP’s teacher sent a message to the class yesterday, encouraging parents to go easy on the kids and easy on ourselves since it is Spring Break. so I did; the boys had more free time today.

Nonetheless, I started my writing workshop this morning. It took Peanut a little bit to warm up with the idea that I am his teacher. But then I made it fun and relevant so they eventually took it seriously. When gave them 20-minutes of straight writing time, they really came through with some creative writing pieces. I hope they will maintain the momentum. I really want them to write well.

Anyway, without going outside today, I have nothing much to write.

03-29-20 — what to do with hair?

Here we are…getting ready for the third week of isolation. How long will this last? I don’t really know the answer. Mr. O said it might take another month to flatten the curve, and like what Dr. Fauci has advised, the coronavirus set the timeline, we have to depend on it.

The news is just getting more depressing each and every day. I reduced going on twitter and news app like I used to. I get my news from the sisters in our chatroom and from Mr. O. They will keep me informed. Although I do read a few articles here and there from NPR just to stay in the loop. I don’t watch news clips either, trying to stay away from having depressing images to be imprinted in my mind. And I still hate the orange shitface who is not even worth being considered as a human being. Hate with a passion!

I guess you can say that I am a bit jaded of the news.

On a different, but yet important note, I washed my hair today after four days of putting it up in a bun. It makes me feel human again with freshly washed and dry hair. Nowadays I put off my care of shaving, plucking eyebrows, and hair wash. My Turkish friend sent us international-mama group a text telling us she put on make-up today and it helped her getting out of a funk. She encouraged us to do so. Then I told her about my hair…and the other mamas chimed in with the same situation. I guess I am not the only one who is lazy about washing hair.

Mr. O’s hair is getting out of hand. He used to get it cut every two weeks, and now with the lock-down he can’t go to his barber. His hair is becoming an Afro. He asked me a day or two ago to cut his hair but I fervently refused because I know my strengths and weaknesses, and cutting hair isn’t one of my strong suit.

I went to Trader Joe’s this morning. The store was scheduled to open at 9 a.m., I got there at 8:30 a.m. and the line was already forming around the block. It took me an hour standing in line for my turn to get eggs and milk. They have restocked Jasmine rice on the shelves so I grabbed two 3-lb bags as I am running low on rice as well.

The line was not as cheery as the one I stood last week. People were somber, most of us stuck our face down to our phones, no chit-chatting, no greetings. I just looked at the person standing before me and moved up as I saw he moved up the line.

This, too, is also the new normal.

03/28/20 — an off-off day when plans were just…plans!

Today was a bit off.

And plans were just…organized thoughts that were not put into actions.

I planned to get up early to do two things — hiking and grocery run for eggs and milk — but then we woke up, had breakfast, and Mr. O sat at his arm chair telling me he needed a nap after eating a sumptuous first meal of the day. I was also tired so I changed out of my jeans and into my PJ and went back to bed.

I didn’t sleep well last night. I had things on my mind that kept me occupied and restless. I sent PP’s teacher a message at 1 a.m. because I had some questions for her and needed to get it out there and then. I hope she didn’t look at the time stamp and thought of me strangely.

My heart was still palpitating from the caffeine doses I had in the morning. Fortunately I had one of my favorite shows on to keep me entertained and stayed away from the restless mind.

So this morning I jumped into bed again at 10 a.m., caught up with some more news about coronavirus and this pandemic then took a nap until 2 p.m. Mr. O had to order a pizza from our neighborhood’s famous pizza parlor for lunch because I couldn’t get up to make a meal for them. They did it just fine without me.

Mr. O took care of the boys. They had no homework today as we decided to go light with homework load since this is the beginning of their official Spring Break. Without homework they crafted their own trading cards and watched TV. Mr. O cleaned the kitchen, put away clean dishes and cleaned the dirty ones. He took off a few chores that belong to me today. I am thankful for that!

I laid in bed some more chatting with my friends in our group chat. They shared photos of dishes and food that I like but too lazy to make. Mr. O had to beg me to get out of bed and go for a walk. The weather was perfect — sunny and warm. I finally dragged myself out of bed, but strangely I felt depleted, and still restless. But I got out of bed anyway at his insistence, changed into my jeans, and we walked from the apartment, go through the mall, and hooked our ways to the park. The kids rode their scooters and we walked, hands in hands. It took us an hour and 30 minutes to make the entire loop.

Dinner was half fancy and half left-over. I steamed some Japanese sweet potatoes (the ones from Trader Joe’s!) in the Instant Pot, marinated yellowtail tuna fillet in miso and sake then broiled them in the oven, then blanched some French green beans. The left over were the basmati rice and salad from last night.

Now they are watching Home Alone 2 while I am retreating in the bedroom for the “self-care” hour.

P.S. I talked to my friend in Korea today. Her family is still self-quarantined since they returned in mid-February. The kids have been forced-hibernated at home because she does not think the virus is truly contained where she is. Schools will resume in April but she has decided to homeschool the kids for the rest of the year.

It seems like we are in the same situation.