Tuesday, September 01, 2020

August - the Coronavirus Diaries

Saturday, August 1

Anthony left this morning on a hike adventure, with plans to stay overnight. Day to myself! Parade of Homes kicked off this weekend, and I made plans with Cher to go see a bunch of houses.

Let's go see what strange choices people and builders make.

First off, a super custom home with a Cinderella room. I guess I'd do this if I had young kids, but thinking about them outgrowing it and having to re-do in a short amount of time does not seem fun.
This house also had a Star War kitchen and a big light up mural thing. Plus a huge theater room playing the movies.
I really liked the backsplash here. Solid kitchen.
This house had a fun basement. Lots of treats.
And this made me laugh. The She Shed is a big gardening shed that's really lovely inside. Sorry, dudes.
Loved this bedroom. Neutral wood tones, great wallpaper, love the sconce.
And not a fan of this two-tone cabinet thing happening. The white and black and tan don't blend at all. Feels like they did one half and not the other.
It was 102 degrees outside, so we found some cold treats. Strawberry kiwi something with popping boba. Yum.
Some bold choices here.
These neutral woods are so dreamy to me. I'm into it.

Also I love these windows. The wood and the black just got me.
Anthony ended up coming home from his adventure early, and I was glad to have him back.

Sunday, August 2
 
Message I remember from church readings this morning: Take courage. 

I accomplished a lot of little things around the house today, which felt good. I put new sheets on the bed, we vacuumed everywhere, laundry, mopping, re-arranged furniture, finally hung up artwork! And watered plants and got in a solid run with Peloton in the evening. Feeling accomplished today. 

The new sheets.
And cats taking over new chairs.
Getting one of these laptop tables has been a game changer. I need to snag another one from Home Goods. We no longer have to sit at the desk or kitchen table - we've got softer options on the new chairs or couch.
Bratwursts and pasta salad for dinner. Thanks, Harmons.
Some strong opinions coming in from my Parade of Homes sharing on Instagram. I personally am over the farmhouse doors and would not install one in my house.
And I like this tile. Although not everyone shares my opinion.
Our new set up, finally! I hung the art and got pillows, and we're working on bringing in orange, yellow and pinks to this room. Which seems crazy, but our online Modsy designer really made it work.


It was another hot afternoon, so I mixed up some blackberry and mint with gingerbeer for a refreshing beverage. Really delicious. 
A long day of getting things done and feeling good. And then Miriam came to sleep with me for the night. Can never just lay on the bed, she has to be actually on me. It's cute until I can't move.
Monday, August 3
 
Started week three of work. Still fairly quiet, but I'm starting to feel like I can see where I fit in and can help.
After work I went on a furniture browsing spree. Hit up Home Goods and found a cat stroller. I really am tempted! When we adopted our kitties, the contract with the shelter said that we would keep them as indoor cats. Safer in lots of ways and we agreed. But they'd love to sneak out and we could do it in a stroller.
Mom mailed me a mask, and I think it's pretty great.
Also tried out At Home. Nothing in the furniture realm that I like, but the Halloween decor is strong.

Tuesday, August 4
 
I did not sleep well. Didn't even have caffeine yesterday! Didn't fall asleep til 2-something. Ugh. 

Did a day of work with those folks around, trying to steal my cereal.
I met up with Cher and Sabra after work for more Parade of Homes. This time in actual Salt Lake, and mostly renovation homes instead of new builder models. Much more interesting. These floors below have me swooning!
This house had some bold design.
A very cool things to hold all your knickknacks.
This house committed and I loved that.
Like, I probably would not pick that wallpaper but I love that they did!
But I would pick a dark and moody basement room as my music spot.
And those copper gutters are so dreamy! I've never seen that before and I love that touch.
This house had incredible views and I kept scheming how I could buy it.
Came home and had a late night bowl of cereal. And once again, these two little creatures thought they need to have some.

Wednesday, August 5

I spent a good part of the work day finishing up an accounting training. Takes me right back to college, sorting out debits and credits, assets and liabilities and equity. 
Got a package from J Crew. I haven't shopped in ages!

After work I went to the IFA store to get help with our lawn. It's just so sad. They're super helpful, and I came away with stuff to kill all the dandelions that have popped up (even though I did a treatment earlier in the year), and stuff to help the soil hold water and summer fertilizer. Fingers crossed that something works. It's so bad. 

Came home and did a quick run, then made a very late dinner. It sometimes sucks to eat dinner at 9pm but also I am so tired of picking things to eat, so that's what happens.


Thursday, August 6

Little H's 7th birthday was this week! I can't believe she is 7. I came up and stayed with my brother for the month that she was born, and then pretty soon after I made the move to Utah, so I've pretty much been around her whole life. Aunt life is the best. Anthony and I drove down so we could bring her a birthday present.

Little Q is a climber and a gymnast and a dancer.

And little Arch is growing fast. He finally warmed up to stranger Anthony. It's been awhile since we were all together.



Friday, August 7

Had some good success at work, taking a good first step into a project. Felt good. And Leo felt good getting a rub down on his back.

I had some blackberries left after Sunday's mocktails, and I decided to make a syrup. My favorite drink at all these soda shops around here is a Dr Pepper with blackberry and coconut syrups. But somehow my homemade syrup just didn't quite do the trick. Oh well.

After work Meghan and I did a short hike/walk through Memory Grove, then we grabbed dinner and parked at the Garden Park ward to eat. Which is exactly what I did a few weeks ago with Carol. Same restaurant, same order, ate in the same spot.





Saturday, August 8

We had a few errands to do today, so we made an adventure out of going back to our old neighborhood. An online vintage rug shop that's run from Utah had a little pop-up store around 9th and 9th. All sorts of rugs, vintage pillow cases and cool blankets. Give me all the textiles! Except I'd also rather buy a plane ticket and go pick them out myself. Anthony got his glasses adjusted at Warby Parker (I know, so fancy) and I poked around some other cute shops that have popped up since we moved out of the 'hood.

Lunch stop - Normal's lab truck! They have a mascarpone ice cream with homemade tomato jam concoction that Anthony wanted to try. Always with the savory.

Also he won't open his eyes. But whatever, the ice cream was good. I had an Oreo ice cream with cookie butter drizzle and some crushed potato chips on top. Next time we gotta roll by their store location to try the raspberry sour cream ice cream.

Came home to Miriam being a weirdo in a box.

For the afternoon, I took off for more parade homes. With my great new mask that I picked up!

Nothing particularly inspiring today, as most homes are new builds out in Daybreak. But they did the backwards book trend again here and hmm....


These two love our new chairs.

Anthony met up with some friends in the park in the evening, and I went on a walk. This dump of a house is a couple streets over and nearly sold for what we paid for ours. That broken down van has been there for months. And someone hauled out tons of junk into huge dumpsters. Curious to see who's buying and what they'll do with this place. Likely flip it.



Sunday, August 9

I went to church again this morning, which was nice. About 25 people again, all spread out and no singing. I'm glad to go again.

I caught up with a former colleague who's still on the job hunt since our big layoff. We chatted interview tips, and hopefully something I said will help. 

Mostly lazy day, then an evening walk where I found these amazing flowers. I should maybe plan out a new spot to grow things next year in our yard. We did try some lawn helper stuff today too, so I'm crossing my fingers it will make a difference.



Monday, August 10

Woke up to some Leo snuggles. I feel like the cats are generally less snuggly as they get older, but Leo still hangs out with me regularly. 

I'm making my way through How to Be An Antiracist.

I did a quick evening run with Peloton and I never regret it. And then played with these two on the stairs, per evening ritual.



Tuesday, August 11

It's our 3rd anniversary! It's been a bit of a ride, but we're settled in now and it feels good. We booked a weekend up at Snowbird resort for later this month to celebrate.



Today at work we played a penny game to learn about double entry accounting. Yep, refresher from college days. 

We grabbed some takeout from a new Carolina BBQ spot near our house and took it to a nearby park. I'd give that restaurant a pretty solid review. The cornbread was excellent, as was the meat.




Wednesday, August 12

Another regular day in the books. I ran to the store for a handful of things after work since our Hello Fresh box once again did not show up. We were pretty much out of everything and depending on that food box to get us to the weekend!  Then I met up with a neighbor from church to figure out how to resume activities for all the teen girls. We're going to attempt something every other week, since we've been on a pause from summer and covid.

 
These two. Always climbing on everything.


Thursday, August 13

I've still been sharing photos on Insta from the Parade of Homes. Lots of split decisions in the polls. I love seeing what people like or don't!

Anthony hasn't cut his hair in nearly a year and it's wildly, wonderfully curly.
 
Someone knocked on our door during the day and asked if we lost a parakeet. Nope! That set off some conversations with neighbors about trying to trap it and get it somewhere safe until we could find its home. It hung around our house for awhile but sadly it flew up and away, and I don't know where it went.

 
Clean Simple Eats BBQ bowls to the rescue to help me use up leftover, dried out chicken. And then a long walk. The days are getting shorter and I don't like it.


Friday, August 14

I grabbed these beauties on the walk last night after a neighbor put them out for grabs. Someday I'll attempt a garden, but I'll take anyone's leftovers until that day comes. 

 
Made a solid Greek salad with them. Anything to use feta. Mmmm.

 
I've been at new job for nearly a month and haven't met anyone, but we ventured down to the company summer party, held at a huge park with social distancing and masks. It felt alright to be there. Lots of food trucks, some performances by fire dancers and a Native American group, prizes given away, and our favorite, the petting zoo. 

As people won raffle prizes and ran up to to get them, all the company leadership doing the handing out of prizes called out - yeah, Jason! hooray, Kelly! - and I realized if I won something it might be super awkward because no one knows me. I would've loved that inflatable paddle board, but also I'm glad I didn't have to be the strange stranger walking up to claim something.




All in all a good night. I did manage to meet 3 people I work with in person, so that's helpful.

Saturday, August 15

Anthony was gone for most of the day, hiking around old mines with his buddy, Sam. I spent the day cooking and shopping. Hello Fresh showed up a day late, so I got to work on one of those meals. It's pricey, but it really does help break up the food monotony.

 
I'm still on the hunt for furniture pieces. We need a pouf or some sort of foot stool. I don't think these are quite it, though. I stopped by the mall and went into Crate and Barrel for a minute, then I saw how crowded the rest of the mall was, and I hightailed it outta there. Everyone was masked up, but still. Way crowded. And who wants to wait in line for half an hour in order to get into Lululemon?

 
After Anthony got home we made a trip up to Normal. Had to try their raspberry sour cream flavor for the month! Really solid. Came drizzled with raspberry jam and dark chocolate. My dream combo.


Sunday, August 16

Little baby Rosie had a baby blessing, and we were invited to attend with a small group of family and friends at Lacey and Ian's place. She's a very cute and chill baby. Everyone did mask up inside and they had some brunch goodies packed up in individual servings. It was nice to be able to celebrate with them and it felt mostly safe to do so.

 
As part of my Sunday reading, I finally got around to reading this, which was posted a few months ago. Worth a read if you have not done so already. 

 
For the evening, we had plans to meet up with Chris and Sabra and their kiddos for a little fire pit hang out. We ventured up into Millcreek Canyon with a ton of other people. We ended up driving all the way up to the top of the canyon in search of an open fire pit, with no luck. As we turned around to probably head back to our house to grill, I pulled off the side of the road and back into a picnic spot were we found not one, but three open spots. Hooray! I was getting hungry. I had a hot dog or two and then ate way too many marshmallows. We stayed til dark and I felt a little tiny crisp of air sneak in. Winter is coming. Eeeek.




 
Also, since I can't go to the Stans as planned for my big birthday next month, I settled on Yellowstone. Which is more crowded and crazy this year than ever, with stir crazy folks trying to get out and a lot of things closed up in the park. I searched and searched for a place to sleep - all campgrounds are closed or booked for our dates or the lodge is $400+ a night - but finally we found a rustic cabin to sleep in. Now to figure out what to do!



Monday, August 17

Welp, another Monday trying to figure out work. Leo came and snuggled with me to start the day. 

 
Anthony's dad just went to Alaska to fish, and we celebrated his birthday by eating all the fish he caught. I don't have any photos of the fish, but sitting outside looking at the tree was nice.

 
We came and played on the stairs with the kitties before bed, per usual. 


I surveyed friends on Instagram to try and find a better frozen pizza option. We always like to have 1 or 2 around, just for times we don't want to cook, and none of them are that great. And since I asked in a public space, now I get these ads. Boo. 


Tuesday, August 18








Wednesday, August 19

We had a back to school night activity for the young women in the ward, and it was nice to see people since we haven't really gathered at all this summer. We put together a little present for each of the girls, and I picked out notebooks. I loved them all so I bought one for myself, even though I need to find a reason to write in it. 


Leo curls up in this little sun spot in the afternoons under my desk. It's adorable. 



Trying out some of the pizza recommendations! This is a Screaming Sicilian. Pretty good, but I didn't love the crust. 



Thursday, August 20

My first day back at OrangeTheory! The gym opened at the end of May, I think, but I was not ready to go back. I kept my membership on hold a little longer, and 90 days later, I came back. It feels pretty good and the classes are really small. 14 people (normally a max of 52). I'm glad to be back to a routine with actual equipment, since I gave away my weights in January!


Then I came home and made zucchini fries with ranch, because it's summer and zucchini abounds. Thanks, neighbors with gardens. 


Miriam always find a little perch. She's the best. 

Friday, August 21

Anthony and I planned an anniversary celebration staycation up at Snowbird for the weekend. We're lucky to have such great scenery in our backyard. We left late afternoon to head up the canyon. 


Hello, Cliff Lodge! I've only ever been to the spa on a day pass, so I was glad to stay and check out everything else. 


Masks all inside and even outside in common areas. And lots of hand sanitizer everywhere. 


We had dinner reservations Friday night, where I was seated next to a spider on the patio. It was our first time eating at a restaurant since the 'rona, and while we were outside and spaced out with servers wearing masks, I don't think I'll make that a regular occurrence. 


I went with a burger and Anthony got friend chicken. Pretty good, but nothing mind blowing. I always forget how expensive hotel dining is, but whatever, we're celebrating and glad to have time away. 



Do you see the little deer across the way? We watched him for awhile as we ate. 

There was a chocolate malt on the menu, so Anthony had to get it. He always wants extra malt. 


Saturday, August 22

We slept in and then decided to take the tram up to the top of the mountain and hike around the backside. The tram was full of people, but masks on and still spread out, so I'm guessing it was fine for the 8 minute ride. 


I always think it's going to be fun to ride in a tram, and then I get in and I hate it. It was a little scary being up high, and then when you go over the towers, there's some swing. Eeeek. 



We hiked all around Mineral Basin. And no one was back there. Hooray! Anthony always fears crowds in these canyons, and with good reason. Great surprise to find no one around. 




There was a steep rocky part that we came down, and we had to find ways to not fall down. My legs got scraped up going through brush, but it was better than slipping. We found a couple at the bottom, and when I first saw them sitting in chairs, I thought they were just hanging out. Turns out the woman sprained her ankle on the trail we just went through, and she couldn't move. They couldn't get ahold of ski patrol for help either. 

Anthony had a first aid kit (and EMT training) so he got her some Advil, an ice pack that you can activate when you need it, and he wrapped up her ankle. We were able to help them get down to the maintenance road and they were able to get picked up and taken back. Hooray for a chance to help someone. 


I ate lunch under here. No idea what all these little tires are for. 


Since we hiked down into the basin, we had to hike up and out. Took longer than I thought. Then we got to the tunnel, which I had not gone through before. It's pretty cool. 


We could either take the big tram back down or hop on the lift. I voted lift and then quickly regretted my decision. I don't know what I got so scared of heights. Parts of this were steep and very high up. I gripped the back of the chairs, closed my eyes for a lot of it, and tried to breathe. Whoa. 





Back at the room, I gave my legs some TLC since they were a mess. And my shoes were full of stickers. 

Hadn't taken a bath in ages! That is a nice thing about hotels. 

We ventured out for Tram Pizza for dinner and had a chill evening. 


Sunday, August 23

I couldn't leave Snowbird without hanging out at the spa. And yes, they have a regular hotel pool and hot tub, but not one with this view. They're doing reservation only, limited capacity, so I made sure to grab a spot a couple weeks before. We go there in the morning and pretty much had the space to ourselves. Then it rained for a few minutes, but thankfully cleared up. It did fill up with people in the afternoon, but we headed out for food and home. 



After burgers and pizza, we needed some fruit and healthy stuff. Acai bowls to the rescue. 

We got home and said hello to our kitties that missed up. Then Cher came over with some of her extra hand pies, which I tried for the first time. So so good! She's starting up a business and I may help her out with some little things here and there. The blueberry pie with lemon curd was outstanding. 


Monday, August 24

Back in his afternoon sunspot next to my workspace. 


Yes. I applaud this so much. 

Little sun cats. 

Tuesday, August 25

I know, so many cat photos, but they're just the best. Leo is my little tiger boy. 


And Miriam is my little beggar girl. 


Lately they've been disappearing and I will find them downstairs getting into mischief. 

A random hodge podge dinner where we took cheap packets of ramen and threw in leftovers from the fridge with sesame oil and soy sauce. It worked. 

Then I went on a walk with a neighbor and her two boys, which was nice. I feel like I was just started to get to know people at church and was about to invite people over for a BBQ in March when everything got shut down. I just need to text people and get out invites for walks and things. We had a nice walk, and I followed up with cookie dough at home. So yum.  



Wednesday, August 26

We have a proper desk/office area in our house, but the room is kinda dark and it's painted yellow, which I've been meaning to change. I bought two of these laptop tables that are so easy to move around to more comfy chairs, and we love working from them. And now Leo loves hanging off of them. The blanket hanging off the couch serves as Miriam's fort. She burrows under there for hours, and while I want to clean things up, I can't deprive her of a cozy spot. 


Pepper panzanalla time! I love a good panz. That slightly cripsy but chewy bread and all the yummy stuff inside. It's so good. 



Thursday, August 27

It's mom's birthday! We called her via Facetime, which we hadn't done in awhile. I sent her some popcorn from Lammar Marie, and luckily it arrived in time. She said it was great. 

Another day with a solid dinner. Anthony grabbed some salmon from his dad's freezer, with all the fish from Alaska. We'd been meaning to cook it for a few days, but kept having things in the evening. Finally Thursday was open for a proper dinner. I used Half Baked Harvest's Greek recipe, and it was excellent. Lots of feta and lemon with an orzo salad on the side. Great summer dinner. 


I love when these two curl up together. 

A follow-up to our delicious, healthy dinner - another round of raspberry sour cream ice cream at Normal. I'll be so sad when it's gone next month. 


I cleaned out the back of my car do prep for a DI donation drop-off the next day, and found this little thing that's been in there for two years or so. I'm going to plant the seeds and see what happens!


Friday, August 28

We've been stocking some extra food storage in this bar that's in our house, because it might be a long time until we get rid of it. But it's got hefty shelves and lots of space under! So food storage it is. And the kitties have been playing down here more lately. 


We've been having woes with Hello Fresh deliveries but one did show up this week. I made veggies enchiladas for lunch. Pretty good with poblanos and beans. 


I've been following kinggutterbaby and jessicamalatyrivera on Instagram, and they're both doing a great job of talking through covid facts and science and debunking all the misleading info out there. Good sources if you are looking for some!


I love watching Leo squeeze his eyes shut when he sleeps. 


Anthony took off in the afternoon for a solo camping weekend near Fish Spring National Monument, so I made that run to DI and got rid of lots of things (including a great mirror that I've had since LA and never once hung up since I moved to Utah). Felt good. Then I went to Meghan's for pizza grilling. I still need to try grilling a pizza at my house. Then we decided to go to Normal. Two days in a row! Gotta get in that flavor of the month. 


Saturday, August 29

I woke up and went to OTF, resuming my usual Saturday routine. My late-night Instagram scrolling the night before yielded an excellent discovery - another parade of homes! In Park City! Since Anthony was gone and I had zero plans (except for maybe doing yard work, meh) I bought a ticket and drove up. 

Definitely more interesting and unique homes, I thought. Here are a few samples. This first house was very rustic, very Park City. 




Such great views up here. This is a from a main bedroom, where basically one entire wall is a screened in window. 


Really fun ceilings in a kid's wing of the house. 


I came home very hungry and decided to make a strawberry cake, which I've been craving for some reason. Usually I'd want either vanilla or chocolate. These two stayed in close company, all over my cake pans and laptop while I tried to read the recipe. I finished up the baking of layers and decided to do the frosting the next day. 


Sunday, August 30

I woke up and did a little church stuff, then decided to drive over to Midway and Heber for a couple more houses. This parade is not open during the week, and I probably won't make it for the second weekend, so I crammed it into two days. I still have four houses I could see next weekend if the time opens. 

I went to Red Ledges development first, and wow, it has some incredible views. Really desert landscape around the houses with views of the green Heber Valley and mountains. It's so far from anything, but maybe I'd wanna live there in 20 years. 





This street was full of huge European style manors, right next to farmland full of cows. Kind of odd. 



This bathroom was pretty cool - all dark with hidden lighting down one side. I dig it. Would definitely see it more in a restaurant or something though.  


I came home to Miriam waiting to help me frost the cake. Anthony made it home safely from his wilderness adventures, which is great because I couldn't track his dot on Google Maps. 


Totally looks like blood because of the frozen strawberries, but whatever, it tastes awesome! Cream cheese frosting and a great strawberry pink cake. I'll be eating this all week since Anthony won't help. 


I did an evening walk and found some incredible flowers in our neighborhood. These are so pretty. Helps me forget that all the stuff I tried to order from the Nordstrom sale got cancelled. Boo. 



Monday, August 31

Waking up with Miriam. 


Leo is my little work bud. So perfect. 

Today is dad's birthday! Mom decided to get him a Traeger as a surprise, and the kids all pitched in for accessories, so I ordered pellets and a grill cover. She hid it at the neighbor's house for a couple weeks and Tanner rolled it home while Mom and Dad were out of town. Dad was quite surprised. I hope he likes it. There's a bit of a learning curve. We called him tonight and got to hear all about it. 


That's it for August. 

Writing daily is kinda getting old. Maybe I'll switch to weekly recaps?
September actually has some plans, so I think it'll be a good month. It's cooling off, it's my birthday month, we are going to Yellowstone, and Anthony is going to Alaska. 

The 'rona can't totally keep us down!










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