a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: April 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Hotel COVID-19

SUMMARY: Best topical adulterated lyrics from K-Taj MuttHall.
Posted on Facebook: 4/24/20

Welcome to the COVID-19 lockdown
Such a lonely place (Such a lonely place)
Such a covered face
Plenty of gloom at the COVID-19 lockdown
Any time of year (Any time of year)
I'll have gloves on here....
Last thing I remember, I was
Pounding at the door
I had to keep some six feet back
At the place we shopped before
"We're out", said the night man
"We need TP to receive
You can checkout any time you like
But paper never leaves"

... ran out of energy before the end there. And it's pretty lame. Anyone want to improve or add to it? (If you google "welcome to the hotel california covid parody", some people, unlike moi, actually sing their versions. Like this one.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How I Have Drastically Altered My Wardrobe During Lockdown

SUMMARY: Just a summary...
From Facebook 4/11/20, in response to a friend, who said: "Someone on Twitter remarked that it’s going to be very difficult to go back to wearing “hard pants” after this is all over. Couldn’t agree more, as I haul on my (in)active wear for yet another day."

I wear jeans no matter what.
Work at a high tech company? Jeans.
Agility? Jeans.
Dickens Faire? Jeans.
Hiking? Jeans.
Disneyland in CA or Disneyworld in FL? Jeans.
Camping? Jeans.
Basic exercises? Jeans.
Travel? Jeans.
Going to the movies? Jeans.
Gardening? Jeans?
Meeting people in person for the first time?
Photo editing? Jeans.
Museums? Jeans.
Walking the dogs? Jeans.
Training the dogs? Jeans.
Out to dinner? Jeans.
When it's really cold? Jeans.
Warm enough so everyone else is wearing shorts?  Jeans.
Everyone else is in their jogging/sports pants for class?  Jeans.
Going out in the driveway in the morning to get the paper? Jea... well, sometimes bathrobe. But then I change into jeans because my legs get cold.
While recovering from hip surgery and knee surgery, when I was spending a lot of time in bed and/or icing my knee and/or physical therapy, I wore "leggings" regularly (don't tell anyone that was really long underwear), and it was kind of nice but, yes, my legs got cold. So--it's jeans.

COVID-19 quarantine where people see my body only above the chest for weeks on end and only because of WebEx? Yep, jeans.

How about the rest of you?

Saturday, April 11, 2020

And We'll Have Fun Fun Fun...

SUMMARY: No TBird, but a few other vehicles
Backfill: date

That I can recall, I've fallen in love with only two cars in my entire life. One I was lucky enough to eventually own, and the other, never did.

But, kiddies, let's talk about the actual four-wheelers with whom I've shared my life. See Human Mom, see Human Mom drive. Drive fast, Human Mom! Not too fast!


In college, the ads for Le Cat Black caught my heart like almost no other car ever had. I mean, boys and girls I knew would talk about 'Vettes or Sting Rays (also a Corvette, but at the time, who cared?)  or TBirds or Lamborghinis.  But this car--its secret identity being a Mercury Capri--was all black with gold gold GOLD accents! The wheels, the pin striping, the fabric on the seats. Dunno, I just really wanted that car.

When I left college for a full-time job, I found a used one for sale in the paper by a young man in the military who was transferring to Germany, and it eventually came home with me! My heart filled with joy!  (Thanks to the Financial Bank of Dad, whom I paid off over a couple of years.) I washed and waxed that car by hand often, and used vinyl protectant inside. Everything was shiny! And it felt so good to drive, too. Standard (manual) transmission, on the freeway I felt like I could drive anywhere. Probably 1976 model.

This was the only photo I've found of my car. Was sure I had more.
Look closely for the gold and black and chrome in the rims.
Pinstriping starting to fade. [sad face]


Dragons live forever, but not so little cars...  Memory is blank on why it was time to replace Le Cat Black, but it clearly was, and income was good enough to afford payments on a NEW, yes NEW, car.  Looked at several similar cars by different makers--the Mitsubishi (model?) we liked but the salesman was so obnoxious that we left (with him yelling after us what idiots we were to pass up the deal and we'd never get that deal again) (you can see why we left). At Toyota, we could drive this one off the lot or we could order a black one and wait for a few months.  Opted to take this one.

I loved my 1983(? or 2) Toyota Supra! My dad used to joke (time and again, when boats came up in conversation) that if he had a sloop, he'd name it Chicken Noodle Sloop.   So now I had a  Supra. What else could I do?  License:  CKN NUDL.

New Supra! We got all the paraphenalia--bra, car cover, blah de blah.
I believe the bra ended up in the garage after maybe 2-3 years.
Difficult to put on, couldn't leave it on for washing.
Car cover probably lasted my patience less than that.

Supra (note CKN NUDL) at Yosemite.


I loved my sporty cars. Again, I don't recall any more what was going on with CKN NUDL that it was time to replace it, but a co-worker just happened to be moving to Singapore and was selling his cherry (excellent condition) Acura Legend.  A luxurious four-door sedan. My Adult Car.  At a reasonable price; financed it, and it came home with me in 1991.

Same colors as my Supra! And... now I don't remember whether it was standard transmission! How could I forget?

My luxurious adult car, right after I got it, before the custom MYOWNTM license plates
(Legend--(in) My Own Time, get it?  Most people thought it was My Own Trademark)
In front of my fabulous driveway gate--always wanted one like that, and had this one custom made from a drawing!
(Note "F", my last initial, in the middle. So cool! Loved that gate!)
The Legend was nice, did a lot of traveling, but getting to overnight agility events with 2 dogs was crowded enough (once at the end of the weekend I attracted a crowd of other agility folks wanting to see how in bejeesus I'd get all the things stacked around CKN NUDL in there. Had to pack the trunk like a jigsaw puzzle, with each piece having its specific place. Dogs on seatbelts on seats, other items packed on floors in front of seats. 


But, yep, it had a lot of miles and was showing it, PLUS I had just gotten a THIRD DOG (Tika)! No was gone fit.  So, time for another used one, bought thru Toyota dealer and financed again.  My 2000 Toyota Sienna.

The quintessential agility and traveling car!  See what I said about The Quintessential Agility Car.

Automatic transmission; couldn't get it in standard, they didn't make 'em!

Tried to come up with a pun for Toyota Sienna or Van or Minivan
but, perhaps for the good of the world, I didn't.
Came up with about 30 possible dog and/or agility related ones.
Mutt Mover was way down in he list, but it was available.

MUTT MVR got around. This, at a dog agility trial at sunset,  about to go home.
Poor old MUTT MVR was slowly decaying--one speaker didn't work, the automatic door didn't work, the rear windows wouldn't open, things were falling off inside and outside, and then when the catalytic converter failed, I desperately wanted to get rid of it before my next smog check.  Turns out that a 17-year-old Sienna with nearly 250,000 miles on it was worth virtually nothing. I donated it to a local animal shelter (for whatever money they could get).


But first, I needed a replacement.  Looked at things other than minivans. Looked at other brands of minivans.  I had been carrying 2-3 dogs and gear around with me for nearly 20 years by then and it was perfectly sized for that; I had traveled on my own and slept in it and it was the perfect size for that; and it had been remarkably reliable, which was good for my pocketbook AND for the long distances I traveled to sometimes remote places.  So I got--  SAME car, BRAND NEW model. Paid cash! (And there went THAT stash.)

2017 Toyota Sienna: Came in only boring colors.  The least boring was this blue.  (See Meet MUTT MVR II for details.)

Put 15,000 miles on MUTT MVR the 2nd in the first year. So much fun to drive!
Here, near Las Vegas.


1970s Pontiac Firebird Trans Am , yes with the big firebird across the hood. So sleek! Could probably go 400 miles an hour and 0 to 60 in 2 seconds!  (I dreamed big.)  In sparkly blue or black.


Seen in parking lots.  Might have gone home with either one of these! Because of the color! (Well, the old Chevy because it's awesome, too.) I think the colors would've been hard to maintain, though.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

This is the World In Which We Live Now

SUMMARY: COVID-19? Normal reality? Somewhere in between?

Just a day in the life of... during lockdown... Monday, April 6, 2020

UPDATES APRIL 9, 11:30AM PDT: Added a bit more to the puzzle-doing and a related photo.

  • 2 AM -- Poof! Awake! Why why why?  Don't need to visit the Little Human Mom's Room. No extraneous noises that I can  hear. Suddenly the sheets are scratchy, the pillow is lumpy. My shoulder hurts when I roll over. I roll back.

    This is not abnormal for me. I wish it were. Should not have stayed awake past 11, reading the Captive Prince books for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, where I dozed off twice with the Kindle and light still on, then slept for real--for a little while. Until 2.
  • 7 AM -- Oh! Apparently sleep returned at some point! But NOW why awake?  I feel a little chilly: Darn it, electric mattress pad turned off at some point.

    It's nice that it does that after a certain number of hours, because I'd prefer that neither it nor my bedroom furniture catch fire. BUT if I turn it on early to prewarm my flannel-clad bed, then if I forget to reset it when I snuggle into bed, this happens sometime during the night or early morning.   No choice now: I rise and release the boys from their crates.
  • 7:15ish -- Neither dog dashed downstairs immediately; instead, THEY are now  curled up on my body-warmed section of bedding. THEY don't care that it's Monday. So I have made my daily weigh-in and recorded it in my FitBit, chosen clothing (turtleneck and  warm fleece. And jeans, because always jeans), dressed, and taken care of The Usual Related Activities.
  • 7:30ish -- Down to the kitchen, open the door to the back porch for the dogs. Gray skies and rain. I remind Zorro that he needs to get off the porch to Go Pee. Chip is self-monitored
    • (Except yesterday afternoon when I heard this weird noise like Chip chewing softly on something unusual. Dashed around the corner of my desk and somedog had marked one of the cardboard boxes sitting there with Things To Do in it.  I still don't know for sure who it was  who Done the Deed, because he licks to clean it up so I have no way of knowing who left it there to be cleaned up, and I never catch either of them actually Doing It, and so I don't know whether I heard him peeing or licking. So there was some time mopping the carpet and box, applying Nature's Miracle, and so on. )
    • Put the doggie door in: The door is clean and dry, unlike yesterday morning when it was covered with rainwater, on both sides, go figure, as it's resting closer to horizontal than vertical, but it gave me an excuse to clean the glass then.
    • Stride confidently but carefully on my new-ish knee to the driveway in the rain to fetch the daily paper. 
    • I always wonder--it's covered in plastic, which supposedly can hold COVID virus for up to 3 days, and moisture and chill encourage it, so how much decontamination must I do on the bag if it has been sitting in the rain for probably 3 hours?  This is the world in which we live now.
  •  7:45ish -- What for breakfast? The Chef personally selects a prime cut of whole wheat sourdough from her personal freezer, places it into the high-tech defrosting/warming/browning device (yes! all in one device!), carefully spreads choice fruit puree from the cooling box, and pours a chilled glass of milk from only Happy Cows in California. Served at a private table. And A Baby's Arm Holding an Apple. Or, actually, only the apple.

    Eat breakfast, read some of the paper, start scrolling through Facebook on my Portable Time-Wasting Device, catch myself after not too long, and set it down.
  • 8:30ish -- I have a 9:15 phone meeting w/client manager; I've been anticipating for the last couple of weeks that, despite earlier reassurances about renewing me, they don't have the work for me that they thought they did. So, anyway, for the client: download, read, and distribute emails or respond to them, check Slack for everyone's work statuses on the teams there, do a wee bit of work.
  • 9:15 -- Meeting. Yep. 2 week's notice that contract is ending. One manager thinks there might be work there somewhere else, but nothing so far. My company is also looking for something for me. I REALLY wouldn't mind a couple of weeks off, even if it's unpaid.  But I also really need the income. With my company and my position, this is complicated. Might address in another post.
    • With the current employment environment--higher than during the Great Depression in some places, and unemployment organization overwhelmed with applications, no idea whether a job exists anywhere for me.  This is the world in which we live now. 
  • 9:25-11: Read client team's agenda for 11:00 meeting, more email, phone call, start this blog post, I dunno, work & leisure intertwined.
  • 11:00-11:35 -- WebEx team video meeting. Status, what we're working on, what our plans are, and so on. Actually well organized and efficient, with 2 or 3 instances where some funny comment got us all laughing. Important in these not-really-end times.
    • 11:10 -- OMD forgot to feed the dogs around 10! Chip gives me a gentle nudge, I pet him for a bit while continuing in the meeting.
  • 11:35 to 1:15 -- Who the heck knows? Chat w/some people at client or at my company via Slack or email.  Feed the poor patient dogs.
    • Start reviewing a website with a free How To Become An API Writer course, in writing, not dumb videos, which is exactly the kind of document that I wanted to write for my last project for the client but it turned into something else. This is billable in some form or other, because that's what I'm working on for the client AND for my company.

      Glad that I pointed it out to my client's writing team, because there are a couple of experienced writers who don't know the first thing about APIs or programming or documentation for such, and w/out my specifically suggesting it to them, they've already started working their way through it. I expect that they and my client will be enriched by it. So, I'm not the one who wrote it, but I am the one who typed the  link to it (big win for me! Yay! Gold star! Not real gold, though--).
    • My mail-order fudge arrived! As did a mail order prescription in a plastic bag. 
    • Mailman delivered to my front porch barehanded (well, gloves wouldn't have mattered), but did he disinfect his hands before handling it here or at the PO? Fudge is in a cardboard box, and I have my little spray bottle of alcohol ready; spray the whole  thing down, cardboard as well as the plastic tape holding it closed, because cardboard can hold the virus for possibly 3 hours or longer.   This is the world in which we live now. 
    • Had lunch. Half can of spicy bean soup, hot for a cold wet day, combined with a big mug of hot chocolate. Hit the appropriate spot. Down side: Now I want a nap.

  • 1:15 -- Fudge package has been sitting now for about an hour and alcohol has dried.  I extract my 4 containers with different flavors of fudge (these folks do a PHENOMENAL job!). My order included a free flavor-of-the month, peanut butter banana, which I'd have never chosen on  my own, so I pull it out for a taste test... quarter of a pound later, yep, it's as phenomenal as all the other flavors! Shouldn't be reading paper & eating fudge at the same time.

  • 1:31 -- Call vet to give him status of the lump on Chip's shoulder from a week ago. Looking good to me (so far diagnosis is simply a fluid-filled bruise, which he aspirated, tested blood & checked for cancer indications, and it all looks fine).
  • 1:32 -- Bring this blog up to this hour.

  • 1:45 -- OMG I really need a nap. Guess I'd better let work know that I'm taking another break. The day is gray and rainy; I try to survive by turning on every light in sight, but it's just not working for me today. 
  • thru 4:00 -- oops, lost track of my time, so the rest of the day  is rough guesses. In bed, reading some, napping some, occasionally getting checked by the dogs, which wakes me some each time. Still, it's relaxing. I know that I'm really ready for sleep when I slip under the covers, put my head down, and everything immediately seems perfectly comfortable and safely enclosing.

    Fitbit tells me afterwards that I slept 1 hr 41 mins during that time, which is great, because last night I slept less than 5 hours.
  • Thru 10:00 PM -- Some things that happened--
    • I thought the yard guy wasn't going to be coming during the COVID lockdown after I paid him through May and said he should stay home if he felt more comfortable doing that; he skipped 2 weeks but showed up today with one or 2 assistants. So, while he was working out front, I went out back and started scooping poops. Seems like only a day or 2since I was out there, BUT there were little deposits everywhere! So my time sense was failing me again. It has been raining for a couple of days, so most of them were wet and heavy and partially melted into the grass, so it took a while. (I know you wanted to know all this.)  Finished just as he came through the gate. 
    • We said hi, how are you, I'm good, from across the yard, and I went back inside. This is the world in which we live now.\
    • After he left, I decided to go for a walk. (Walked yesterday in the rain with my brolly and barely a soul to be seen.)  Rain stopped much earlier, and things had started to dry out. It's about 6:30 and joggers are everywhere! My side of the street, the other side of the street, the middle of the street--   and I start wondering: 
    • If  virus is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols (exhales), then is it safe for me to walk back to the house at all? Well, I'm not going to wait 3 hours, and anyway more people would be coming-- and there is a slight breeze for dispersal. So I go back home, a shorter walk than planned.  This is the world in which we live now.
    • I did take a few photos while out. Posted a couple on Facebook. Probably spent a bunch of time on Facebook, too. 
    • Ate more fudge. Way more fudge. It is really really really good, and so smooth! Until very recent years, I could eat sugar with impunity--that is, with no detectable symptoms--but in the last, I dunno, 3-4 years, my body starts feeling wonky. Can't describe it exactly, but it happens when I've had too much sugar. So: My body starts feeling wonky.
    • I manage to have something small (because not that hungry now) vaguely healthy for supper--finish the rest of the soup, and some nuts?-- with a glass of cold milk, and now the milk is gone! 
    • So am I going to go to the store? Scary! Am I going to order & pay extra to have it delivered? Expensive, plus will still have to clean things as they come into the house! How long do I want to go w/out milk? That means no oatmeal or other cereals in the  morning. And nothing to drink with fudge! Crisis!  This is the world in which we live now.
    • Did a bunch of puzzles in the paper. Every other Sunday, they have the usual puzzles plus a bonus entire section with more puzzles. Crosswords are my main thing. For years I avoided cryptograms--did them as a kid but then they seemed like too much work. But a year or so ago, I did one out of desperation, and Lo! it wasn't too hard and didn't take too long. (The ones in the paper aren't all that challenging and give one letter for you. I typically finish them in 5-8 minutes, with maybe a max of 15 on occasion. If it's more than that, I do quit because it then *does* feel like work.)

      UPDATE April 9: The San Jose Mercury News, because it has hardly enough to fill the daily Sports section, has instead been filling another whole page with just puzzles! Sports have stopped. All sports. Tennis, football, hockey, golf, at high school, college, pro levels. All of it. This is the world in which we live now.
      Doing puzzles to avoid doing actual work or anything here at home that needs doing. Today is a day in which my stress level is high, can't concentrate, can't make even smaller decisions for the most part, feel completely incapable of functioning. 
  • Pondering: It has now been 6 days without driving anywhere (back then, it was to the vet and get a few groceries). It was 9 days before that (groceries and Farmer's Market). And I think 10 days before that. I'd rather have it be more more more days w/out breathing other people's air or touching things that other people touch.  This is the world in which we live now.
  • 10:00 -- Agreed with dogs that it's time for bed. But-- OMG, did I give them dinner?  I struggle to remember and can't, and I see that I didn't give Chip his mealtime medication. So I give them each about 1/3 of a meal and figure it won't kill them to have extra or to have a little too little this evening.
  • 10:20 -- We are all tucked into our beds and crates. I read some but again doze off while reading, then eventually put that away and turn out the light, and it feels like reasonable sleep. Hope so, since the last couple of nights have been iffy. But I did get that nap in the afternoon--.
    • Update next morning: 6 hrs 47 min sleep per Fitbit. Pretty good, for me.

Related images--

Walked in the rain the previous day. No one around.

Zorro with newspaper in its plastic bag

Who just stole my warm spot on my bed??
Chip resenting having his photo taken with the shaved spot from his shoulder-lump work.

UPDATE APR 9: Sports section with normal half page of puzzles plus
a whole 'nother page because there ain't no sports nowhere nohow!

Monday, April 06, 2020

Pooh Bear Joins Distant Cousins in Cheering Up Kids

SUMMARY: The teddy bear hunt project while COVID-19 isolates us

This weekend (April 5, 2020), I pulled out and admired the psychedelic Pooh bear that my friend made for me in 1970, when we were high school freshmen together. Yes, still in touch, emailing with her on Friday. Then I placed him in my front 2nd story window in case any kids come wandering up my lonely little cul de sac.

I have friends in Canada, England, and Australia who are doing the same, and it's happening in my local neighborhood, and many other places as well.  Here's a little more info, but you can search online and find any number of articles about it:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Lockdown day who knows. April 2.

SUMMARY: Brief stats and news.
Source: These are all copied from Facebook's COVID-19 page

Global confirmed cases: 981,221; total deaths: 49,236; total recovered: 204,605 (JHU*)

U.S. confirmed cases: 226,374; total deaths: 5,316; total recovered: 8,826 (JHU)

A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Democrats delay nominating convention until August

Social Security recipients will automatically receive stimulus checks without filing tax returns

... Many secondary sources are quoting from John Hopkins University's data, because CDC's has been so bad...