Friday, August 14, 2020

We did it! We went Kayak diving - twice

Mini Season

August 6 to March 31 is lobster season in Florida. To give scuba divers a head start on the commercial operations, there is a 2-day mini-season on July 29-30.
July 29 came around and the weather was decent, so we went. The seas were not as calm as I like, but they weren't bad. I felt so out of shape, Jim had to drag my kayak to the water for me, I just couldn't do it. Paddling on the ocean in the sunshine was gorgeous. It did feel good to get outside in a socially distant, safe way.


I hate current. I am holding on to the down line for the kayaks when we're underwater so Jim can be free to hunt for lobster. The current was taking the kayaks one way and I needed to go another. Kick as hard as I might, I could not make any headway. We're usually down for at least an hour, but I sucked down my air in only 40 minutes. 




Jim did catch a few lobster - yay! And we made it back to shore just fine. It was still wonderful to get out on the ocean on a beautiful day, and I felt good for getting a bunch of exercise, but I told Jim I may be getting too old for this. 

The next week

August 6 is the first day of the real lobster season, and it was a gorgeous day. The kayaks were still on top of the car from last week so that was one less job to do. 
What a difference conditions make! I'm so glad we went again this week. The seas were flat calm, no current. I was in heaven. We stayed underwater for over an hour and I still had 1200 psi of air when we got back on the kayaks. YES! This is the kayak diving that that I know and love. And, I spotted a lot of lobster too! Jim bagged 7 of them. Limit is 6 each.




People always ask, how do you get back on the kayaks after coming up from the dive? So I took this little video of Jim.

And, oh yea, we ate a nice dinner too.


So, that was all Good News. And, I'm making real progress on my book. I think it's going to be a good one. 
Then there's the 

Bad News

As of today, August 14, the Covid-19 numbers in the United States according to the Google aggregate data.
Cases: 5.35 million
Deaths: 170,000

The Alzheimers facility where Mom lives has been on lockdown since the end of March with no reported cases. I have not been able to visit. Worse than that, her wonderful aide Vilma has not been able to visit. Vilma is much better with her than I am at this stage, she would always get her to walk and take her outside. I'm sure Mom hasn't walked since the lockdown started. The staff at the facility are fine also. Sofia, her main caretaker at the facility texts me a photo now and then.
Here's one from June 30. I won't post the one from August 8, it's just too sad. I got a call from Hospice today that she has stopped eating. The nurse will be with her over the weekend. I hate this disease.



 

Monday, July 27, 2020

The new normal

It's been a while since I posted - more than 2 weeks. You can tell that we're settling in to this new normal. I keep filling my time with more projects - book, Youtube shows, making videos, holding meetings, presenting classes using Zoom, giving Toastmasters speeches using Zoom. I've gotten so busy, that when Jim suggests we could take one day and go kayak diving, I say "I'm too busy!" Saturday we participated in a Toastmaster Zoom meeting with nearly 200 people to learn how to combine online attendance with real life meetings. Yesterday, we did Episode 195 of our YouTube show. Today we're giving a Google Photos presentation, via Zoom, to the Golden Gate Computer Society in San Francisco - 7pm their time, 10pm our time :-(  Tomorrow, we're giving a presentation on using Chromebooks to edit photos. This one is for the Dayton Ohio computer club. 

Jim has been spending time improving his room. A while back, he completely took over the guest bedroom, getting rid of the futon/couch that we used as a bed when we did have guests. We decided that a wall bed, aka Murphy Bed, would be the right way to go so that Jim had the most amount of room and we still had a guest bedroom. He researched and finally came up with his choice. It arrives in pieces, so he asked Devon to come over and help assemble it. It turned out to be a full day job.
This is how the murphy bed was delivered
They attached the frame to the wall

Jim supervises

The finished project

How it looks with the bed down. Too bad nobody is allowed to visit now 😞

The complete Studio/Guest bedroom. Jim is very happy with his new room



Bad News

July 27, 2020 Day 131 since we cancelled all travel plans to just stay home.
Covid 19 numbers: U.S. Cases = 4.31 million, U.S. Deaths = 149,000
Florida is a hotspot with 424,000 cases and 5,853 Deaths
Broward County opened up a bit, then cases started spiking, so we're back to some level of lock-down. See the screenshot below from Actually, Jim and I haven't been paying that much attention to the rules. As long as the virus is a problem, we just stay home - period. We get our groceries delivered, Jim does most all the cooking except for once each week to 10 days, we order ribs to go from Flanigans, or chicken wings from Wings Plus, then Jim goes to pick them up - wearing his mask. I sometimes get in the car with him just to go for a ride.


Good News

We're getting about 1 month to the gallon these days.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Life, Google photos, and weeks 14-15 of the pandemic

Back in 2004 I wrote in this blog that 
the RV lifestyle gives you a lot of practice with "Letting Go." It may sound a little painful ... lots of goodbyes.
 ... but as my favorite philosopher says, "By letting go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go." Now it's Google that is teaching me about letting go! I had to let go of Picasa to fully embrace Google Photos. I had to let go of Google Plus to move on. Now I'm having to let go of the Google Photos logo and the menus that I've been teaching since it's release in 2015. I knew this change was coming. Actually, I've been anxiously awaiting it. The last printing of my book was mid 2018. I started working on a new edition in the second half of 2019 with hopes of getting it out by the end of the year. Then I attended the product expert conference and learned about the major changes planned for 2020. Not wanting my book to be obsolete immediately after printing, I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, June 25 the redesign was released.
So, what do I think of it? It's not my job to have an opinion, it's my job to explain. I do have an opinion, but it doesn't matter. The quicker I can let go, the quicker I can adapt. I covered it all in episode 194 of our YouTube show. 

Still Staying Home
Our July 4 anniversary was celebrated by staying home. Some things are opening up, but new cases are climbing. We're fine at home, so that's where we're staying. Jim did go on a shore dive with Devon yesterday.  A friend of Devon's who is a brand new diver was the motiviation. They couldn't go kayak diving because we only have 2 kayaks. They has a perfect day - all went well. They reported seeing 4 sharks, and a large tarpon.  


After giving a speech on 8 Tips for using Zoom at our 7am Toastmasters meeting, I took the rest of the day off. Just sitting on the couch all day while Jim was gone. Watching movies, reading a book. Aaaaaaahhhhh
 

Covid-19  numbers
Day 114 Fri 7/11/20 : Covid-19 Cases in US=3.25 million, Deaths = 136,000

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Our Escape Pod

Members from our USA Dive Club made arrangements for a day trip to the keys to paddle kayaks around the mangroves. Sounds like fun, let's go! We decided to make a trip out of it, put some food, clothes and computers in the camper and took off a couple days before the kayak day. It's only 2 hours from our house to the Tavernier Elks lodge that has RV hookups. We've been there before and loved it.



Mostly, I felt the need for scenery to photograph. I'm getting tired of Iguana photos around our neighborhood, and there's just not that much of interest to photograph around the house. Sunset did not disappoint!







We are just so comfy in our little RV, our Escape Pod. We've missed it. We also worry about it a bit. It's not good for it to sit for months on end, who knows what will stop working during its sequester? We were quite happy to learn that the air conditioning worked great! It's a good thing - I don't think we could have survived the 100 degree heat otherwise. 


The Elks lodge was open for food and drink, so we took advantage. Jim was happy to get a couple nights off from cooking duty. They were requiring masks, and it was not crowded, so we felt quite safe.


They even had decent Wi-Fi, so we sat out in the porch area for our Friday morning zoom meeting.


Saturday was kayaking day. We stopped at Florida Bay Outfitters to check in and pick out our rental kayak. We had reserved a tandem kayak, thinking it would be more relaxing to have both of us in one boat - relaxing for me anyway. I could let Jim paddle while I sat back and took pictures. Well, it didn't work out that way. It was a big, wide, stable kayak with foot peddles as well as paddles. Not the best choice for the kind of kayaking thru the mangroves. It acted more like a barge than a boat. Jim's foot peddles were broken, and it just didn't move well enough to make do with just the paddles, so I was peddling AND paddling most of the time just to barely keep up. Then, we started down a narrow path thru the mangroves that turned out to be a dead end. We had to paddle backwards all the way back to the opening because there was no amount of 3-point, 4-point, or even 5-point turns that could get that barge to go the other way.
Are we having fun yet?!
Oh yeah! We were outside, we were on the water, we were with friends, we were getting exercise. We even had a bit of a challenge. It doesn't get any better. We stopped in the shade for lunch and had lots of conversation and laughs. It was a great day. Thank you Ryan for making this happen!




Thursday, June 25, 2020

#StayHome day 86-95 - week 13 the novelty wears off

It's getting quieter around here. Just not much to talk about. We always used to discuss where were going next and what had to be done to prepare. It's been over 3 months now that we've been shut in. The novelty is wearing off and the reality is weighing me down. 
I'm still eating well though! Jim asks me, what do you want for breakfast and I jokingly say, "French toast with strawberries." Here's what I get.

It's hard to get motivated for my work. I have spent a few days working on my book, and we held 2 workshops on Google Photos over Zoom. The workshops were good. Real teaching - just 6 people in a class. That's what I really love to do. I hope this is just the beginning of a new way for me to do my teaching. 

Feeling low?
Talk to a friend, listen to music. It helped me. Then I got a good night's sleep and I felt better the next day. 

Black Lives Matter too
I love the word that Elliott Masie is using in his Friday zoom concerts - Empathy. I think about it a lot. I grew up in a segregated society. I think there was one black person in my grade school, and not that many more in school or work ever since. I've never had a close black friend. Some acquaintances, sure, but no one close. I know that I don't understand what it's like to be black in our society, but I try to empathize. This video of Amber Ruffin, a black woman on Seth Meyers show, relaying some stories is instructional. We all need to be learning. 
Trevor Noah - in the Daily Show has also been very eloquent. In this episode Black Americans in the Workplace he shows a study: if you have a black sounding name on your resume, you are 50% less likely to get a call back. "Racism never takes a day off."  "Black people are asking for equality, not charity. They're not asking for companies to hire black people just because they're black, they're asking for companies to stop not-hiring black people just because they're black."
All lives matter? Duh, of course all lives matter, but when someone says that, what I hear is that they believe it is unfair to say that Black lives matter when that leaves white people out. Of course All lives matter - that's just the point. When black people are perceived as equally valuable to whites, then ALL lives will matter. Here's a page that explains it more clearly than I can. We need empathy.

Progress is being made. For example, after the George Floyd murder by a police officer kneeling on his neck, Minnesota has banned chokeholds by police. While this is a step in the right direction, even massive policy changes won't fix the problem. The problem is that racism is baked in to our culture and,  "Culture eats Policy for breakfast". Only when we change the culture will we have hope. There are signs of hope these days.

Bad news
Sun 6-14 US cases: 2.13 million Deaths 117,000
Tue 6-16 US cases: 2.18 million Deaths 119,000
Thu 6-18 cases: 2.22 million Deaths 120,000
Fri 6-19 cases: 2.26 million Deaths: 121,000

Wed 6-24 US cases: 2.43 million Deaths: 124,000

Good news
We're getting the RV ready to roll. Just for a couple days. We're going to the keys, renting a kayak and joining a few of our Dive club members to paddle around.