Archive for April 2020


April 13, 2020

Well this is getting old. Two more weeks until May 1 and even then probably unlikely that we will be set free.

This morning was our day to have our cleaning lady (Alicia) come to clean for us. We struggled with the decision of should we cancel. Alicia is a Mexican lady who cleans for us every other Monday. She has been cleaning for us since we arrived here in San Pedro in 2012. She was originally hired by Mary before we arrived.

We decided to not cancel. She probably needs the money and we could use her to clean our bathrooms and kitchen. She comes every other Monday at 8 AM. Cleans for about 2.5 hours.

Next topic: Blizzard of 1978. Paula found these pictures of the day after the blizzard. Pictures have already been posted on Facebook. This is the story behind the pictures.

In February 1978, I was working for Digital Equipment Corp in the Mill in Maynard, MA. My job was to code disk diagnostics for VAX computers. On the day of the storm, I was work at 8 AM. Then at 9 AM, my boss told everyone to go home lest we get stuck for the next few days.

My job was in Maynard, MA. Paula was living with two roommates in an apartment in Brookline. And I was living in a house in Newton.

So just before I left my office, I called my then girl friend Paula. (At that point in our relationship, we had been dating for about four months.) Paula’s roommate Joan answered and told me that Paula had worked night shift and was sleeping. Wake her up I told Joan. Tell her that if she wants to see me for the next few days…

I told Paula that I would be in front of her apartment building in about 30 minutes to pick her up. And so it was, I picked her up and spent the next few days happily snowed in. Paula didn’t need to go to work for about 3-4 days.

The pictures are of us digging out my car from 3-4 feet of snow.


April 12, 2020

Another day, another…Just more crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles and reading. We watched the Easter Service for Oceanview Baptist online and talked with our son Neil and his wife on the phone. That’s about it.

Cloudy today but no rain so far.

So I thought I would write about the books that I am reading. I have 3 or 4 that I am working on.

I was reading a book by Paul Klugman. Paul is a columnist for the New York Times and usually writes about Economics. The book is titled “Arguing with Zombies“. I got the book for free from the LA Public Library. Libraries have started lending ebooks now. They download the book to your Kindle reader. You get the book for three weeks before it gets deleted.

If the book is on a best seller list, you will have to wait. The app puts you on the hold list. Just like a conventional library.

So I got about half way through the book before the time ran out. I was having trouble remembering stuff about various things like monetary policy and the like.

At the same time, I have been reading a book titled, “The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For” by Charlotte Alter. This is a book about a new generation of political leaders that are up and coming in US Congress. I bought this book, not from the library.

Next up is a book titled, “Thinking Inside the Box” by Adrienne Raphel. This is a history of crossword puzzles. Also, it includes an interview with Will Shortz, the editor for the NY Times crossword. Lots of interesting history.

That’s enough for now. Stay safe and hang in there. This won’t last forever (I hope)




April 11, 2020

No recipes today. Not my turn.

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. Still, a bit chilly (57F). But, that doesn’t matter much, because we’re not going anywhere today.

It’s painful to see the gas prices under $3 a gallon knowing full well that you’re not going anywhere. I don’t remember when I last bought gas. Maybe a month ago.

One of the effects of the pandemic is clean air and empty freeways. Here is a picture of downtown Los Angeles taken yesterday.

Los Angeles 4-11-2020

Paula is continuing her deep dive into the picture archives. Here are a couple of pictures from a 1987ish visit to Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.

All Aboard!


April 10, 2020

Here we sit in our lockdown. Not going anywhere. Today is my turn to cook. So I decided to do beef stew. We’re getting lazy. It was almost 9 am when we got out of bed.

Luckily for us we thought of this when we last went shopping. Bought the stew beef, carrots, potatoes, celery and beef stock. Paula dug out the crock pot and I began work.

Our crockpot is over forty years old. We received it as a wedding present. Still works.

Not long ago, we discovered a product called crockpot liners made by Reynolds. You can find them in the supermarket food storage section. Makes clean up easier.

Every time I do this, I make it a bit different. Today’s version has carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and beef. Well it wouldn’t be beef stew without the beef. If you want details on the recipe, drop me A line.

Peel and cut up the carrots. Dice the onion and celery. Add to pot. I like to cut the beef down to smaller pieces than the butcher provides. Add to zip lock bag along with 1/2 c of flour. Brown in frying pan. Add the flour. Add to the pot. Add some beef stock. Turn it on and forget about it.

I can’t emphasize the last step enough. There have been times that I did all the prep work and forgot to turn it on. Oh crap.

In other news, we decided to watch a movie tonight. We decided on an oldie. “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner.

Paula is continuing her deep dive into our picture archive. She has been putting the best pictures into albums and tossing the junk. I will be scanning some of my favorites to post on social media (blog, Facebook, etc,)

Stay safe




April 9, 2020

Well here we are on Thursday. Just sitting at home trying to keep busy and not go stark-raving mad. I’m trying to do a blog post every day. First to keep myself busy and not get sick by heading out to shop or something.

It is raining here today in SoCal. It is a pleasant light, soaking rain. As I have said before, the seasons here in Cal are rain, mud, fire and earthquake. We are in the rainy season.

Rain in the planter outside our door.

The more it rains, the less likely their will be fires next summer.

So yesterday we had our Zoom Bible Study. One of our members offered to share face masks that she was making for free. So later in the day Bonnie dropped off a couple of masks for us.

We are feeling incredibly lucky here. We don’t have jobs to lose. We don’t have to go out to work in a grocery store or drive a truck.

Our Social Security payment arrived on Wednesday. It’s scheduled for the second Wednesday of every month. And in April, the 2nd Wednesday fell on April 8th, the earliest we could possibly receive it. May won’t be quite as early. And the stock market seems to be climbing out of the deep hole that it was in. (My retirement fund is in the market.)

We are both reasonably healthy. All of our major surgeries were done last year. I would hate to be looking at to reschedule something like knee surgery. Some of our minor medical appointments have been pushed back until May or June. Dentist is only doing emergencies. I was scheduled for optometry visit to get new eye glass prescription. That won’t happen until June, maybe. And, optometry department at Costco is closed until whenever.

One last thing. Regency Palms is on lock-down so no visits to see Mary. So far, there have no covel-19 incidents at RP. Some other nursing homes haven’t been so lucky. We’ve done FaceTime a couple of times with Mary. She doesn’t have a clue what FaceTime is. But we say hi and wave.




April 8, 2020

So a couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about wanting to get to the barber for a hair cut. I showed a picture of me taken at my wedding in 1978.

Paula found a couple of older pictures of me taken in 1973 at my brother Rich’s wedding. The first picture was taken at the wedding reception on board the Peter Stuyvesant at Anthony’s Pier Four in Boston. The Peter Stuyvesant was used by Anthony’s for receptions and the like. In sank during the Blizzard of 1978.

(L-R) Brother Stan, Tricia, Me

I call your attention to the hair and beard.

The second was taken at the after party at my Mom’s house in West Roxbury. The picture was my mother and her three sons.

(L-R) Me, Mom, Rich, Stan

In other news, the rain has finally stopped, but it is a bit chilly. That doesn’t matter much, because we’re not going anywhere.

We had our weekly Senior Bible study this morning on Zoom. It was nice to talk to some other human beings.




April 7, 2020

So everyone was saying “stay home”. Well it’s been six days since we last went to the supermarket. We were out of milk, cream and white wine. Getting critical. Got to get out of this place.

So we through caution to the wind and headed out to the store. Filled up with fruits and vegetables, meat and chicken. First off though we headed to the Starbucks.

We still aren’t allowed to sit and discuss shopping lists or other important stuff. So we just got our drinks and headed off to shop.

Albertson’s supply chain is catching up. They’re not at 100% but moving in that direction. Dan told us that they didn’t sell out of toilet paper until about 1:30 pm.

We talked with our friend Dan in the dairy aisle. He had planned to travel to Boston to see a Red Sox game and a Celtics game. Alas, it was not to be. Trip cancelled. He got us a quart container of half/half and slapped a 50% off label on the carton. It’s good to have friends in high places.

So news people are trying to tell everyone to shop for two weeks worth of groceries. Are you kidding me? I haven’t a clue where we would put all of that stuff or how to pay for it. As it was, our grocery bill was about $275.

Part of the cost was for a bottle of gin and a box of Pinot Giorgio. But still, it wasn’t top shelf gin.

Canned goods are slowly getting restocked including soups. I am happy to say that there is still no run on martini olives. Toilet paper is still in short supply.

What else? We’re still healthy. We will be hanging here at home until next Monday or so. We’ll be zooming with our senior Bible study group tomorrow. It will be good to talk with everyone. We will be having broiled salmon filets and asparagus for dinner tonight.

So on the way to the market the classical station on SiriusXM was playing Beethoven’s 6th symphony. I almost stayed until it was done. When we came out of the market they were playing Beethoven’s 9th. Woo-Hoo!!

We’ve got to take a trip over to Long Beach to drop of a package of adult underwear for Mary

Stay safe everyone. Wash your hands. I don’t want to hear about any of our friends getting sick.




April 6, 2020

What to do. I’ve just finished my second cup of coffee. Done two crossword puzzles, finished a jigsaw puzzle with 256 pieces, read three newspapers (LA Times, Boston Globe, and Torrance Daily Breeze) Saving The NY Times for later. As it is, I’ve dropped a few other subscriptions from my daily list.

My email is filling up with more and more alerts from the governor, mayor and other assorted officials about COVID-19. Blah, blah, blah.

We’re going to go grocery shopping tomorrow. In the past we would shop every 3 or 4 days. This time it will have been 6 days. I heard one official say shop for two weeks. I doubt that the person has ever shopped for two weeks. We’ve finished up most of our meals in the freezer.

We don’t have enough shelf space in our cupboard or space in our freezer/fridge to put all that stuff. Besides milk and half/half don’t last that long.

Paula has been diving into pictures that we brought with us when we moved to LA in 2012. Found some interesting pictures. She found a few pictures from out wedding in 1978. Wow.

Eventually, after this is over with we hope to show the photo albums to Jonathan and Sarah about what life was like back in the day.

Joe & Paula 1978

We’re feeling blessed/lucky. We had some friends from Mass. come visit us just before pandemic hit. Thus, we were able to go to all of the touristy places that are now shuttered. If they had come in mid March, it would have been very ugly.

We also have excellent high speed internet service and laptop, iPad’s and iPhones. When Paula needs technical support, she comes to me. The questions is usually, “How do I do …. ?” We have been Zooming and FaceTiming with our friends and relations.


April 4, 2020

So, here are dome of the things that I’m doing during our home confinement. I have about three books that I am reading on Kindle. When I get tired of reading, I head for these apps.

Crossword Puzzles

I seem to be doing about three or four puzzles every day. First up is the New York Times daily puzzle. NYT has an app for iPad/iPhone. One can get a subscription for the daily puzzle and/or download puzzle packs.

Daily puzzles are easiest on Monday’s and become more difficult as the week goes on. Saturday is the most difficult. The Sunday puzzle is “thursdayish” in difficulty. I can usually do the Monday puzzle in about 7-8 minutes. Later day puzzles are not so fast or easy.

I use another crossword puzzle app that I use is called “Crossword Classic” by Stand Alone, Inc. It provides automatic daily download of puzzles. You set up a subscription list of the puzzles that you want to do. Some of them are free, some are for purchase.

Jig Saw Puzzles

Next up is “Jig Saw Puzzles”. There are several jig saw puzzles available on the App Store. My favorite is Jigsaw by MobilityWare. There are many free puzzles and you can buy puzzle packs with different themes. One can adjust the number of pieces from as little as 4 to the incredibly difficult with 512 pieces. I usually stick to the 64, 81 or 100 piece puzzles.

I usually only do jigsaw’s on my iPad. iPhone is little but too small for my use.

That’s enough for now. Keep on keeping on.




April 1, 2020

We decided to go grocery shopping today. First though, we did our Wednesday Senior Bible study on Zoom. We’re getting the hang of Zoom. I set up a background of the Arizona desert. Amused. Once we were done with that it was off to Albertsons. We were running low in milk and half/half. Besides, that was one of the legal things we could do during our confinement.

I read that some of the mega-churches are defying the stay-at-home orders. Just spreading their germs and putting their tithes in bucket. Maybe they should just throw those pastors in Jail or maybe turn of the power and water. Just not right. They seem to think that it is another Left-wing-liberal-hoax.

First thing that we noticed was they has new signs pasted to the floor reminding everyone to keep your distance.

Last week they just had red tape stuck to the floor. They also has a staff person disinfecting the shopping carts before taken by shoppers to start their shopping.

They are starting to get back to normal with stocking of shelves. Produce was pretty much fully stocked. The meat department also pretty well complete.

Canned goods is still pretty much hit and miss. Some soups were restocked but not all. Paper goods not so much.

I had to go to the liquor section to get some tonic water for our gin & tonics. Got a fresh lime in the fruit section. Got some milk & half/half. Also, heard that the Cannabis stores are open during the lock-down. We do have our priorities.

Then it was time to get into the check out line. Once again they had one queue feeding all of the registers. The line was moving pretty quickly. They have put up “spit guards” at all of the registers. Sigh. The checkout line started halfway down the paper goods aisle, turned the corner to the main aisle by the liquor section. One can see the lack of paper goods.

Paula will be heading over to Long Beach to drop off a package of adult diapers. She won’t get to see her Mother. They are still on lock-down and are expected to be that way for the foreseeable future.

I tried to make an appointment to gets my eyes checked to get new glasses. Kaiser isn’t doing any optometry appointments until June (at the earliest). I tried Costco too. No luck there either.

That’s enough for now.