Vaccinated and Now I Wait

On Friday, April 2nd, I ended up being the farthest from my house in over a year to get my Johnson and Johnson vaccine. It was only two and a half miles but was the longest walk in one direction to go somewhere.

Vaccine Location and How I Got There

The vaccine location was the old Pier 1 Imports on Route  1 (Potomac Yard Center) near the old Shoppers.

I took the back way there along the walking path near the train and metro tracks. It is a nice, fairly quiet walk, even on a windy day, at least with the wind in my face.

Stopped to Shop Before

I got near the location with about 25 minutes to go. So I stopped at Target to see if they had Kewpie Mayo. I went to the condiments section looking for it and could not find it. I did find some dijon mustard and honey mustard to use as part of a salad dressing.

Start the Process

Once done shopping at Target, I walked over to sign in for my vaccine. They asked first if I had an appointment which I did. After that asked if I had a QR code application on my phone to get to the sign-in forms. Because I didn’t, so I had to use their iPad with the heavy-duty cases and a double battery. Attempting to fill out the form holding it with one hand while using the stylus. This combination made it heavy and to hold while working through many form screens.

The other hard part was it was cold out, and my glasses kept fogging up and making it hard to read the options.

After filling out the four-plus screens’ worth of information, I had to wait for the acceptance to send me an e-mail. Once the e-mail showed up, I showed it to the person near the door. They checked it and had me move along the line, following the dots on the ground, which were at least six feet apart.

Entering the Building

When I go to the door, they took my temperature. I told them my temperature might be high because of walking there. The person told me it would be between 92 F and 93 F. My temperature ended being 91.3 F. Which the person said I should be dead. I also thought my temperature was to be 98.6 F. At least they know their temperature device was off by so many degrees.

Next, I followed the dots until I got the registration table. After finding my name on the list, they gave me a post-it note to give to the person giving me the vaccine.

Time for My Vaccine

Then it was more following the person in front of me until there was a person available to give me my vaccine. The person had me fill out my card with my name, etc., while asking which arm I wanted my shot in.

I told them I would like it in my right arm since I sleep on my left side, which they thought was good thinking on my part.

I told them once I got done after my 15-minute waiting period I was going to stop at Staples to get my vaccine card laminated. I wanted to protect it because the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one and done.

15-Minute Wait

The person giving me my vaccine informed me that Staples was laminating cards for free. So after my 15 minutes of sitting and waiting to make sure I did not have an adverse reaction to the shot.

So I walked down to Staples and waited until it was my turn in line. I then handed the person by the counter my vaccine card to get laminated. They took my card and looked at me like they had done so many already. On their way to laminate my card, they stopped to do a few other things. Once they got back with my card, I asked how much it was, and they said it was free. So I left them a five-dollar bill on the counter, which seemed to make them a bit happier.

More Grocery Shopping on My Way Home

After leaving Staples, I stopped at the Giant to see if they had Kewpie Mayo there too. They did not but picked up a few other items since I hadn’t been to a Giant in a few years.

Then I continued walking home and stopped for my typical Aldi’s trip for groceries. I figured I should do my shopping if I didn’t feel well later that day or the following few days.

Made It Home

Once I got home, I put away my groceries then had a large lunch before I could take a nap. I attempted to lay in bed to nap for about 40 minutes before hearing the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball in the street. So I at least got to rest some.

I had another large dinner, watched some videos, etc., and went to bed early to get some extra sleep.

So now, a few days later, I’m feeling fine and didn’t even get any superpowers.

Here is to the Future

Here’s to everyone getting vaccinated, and things can get back to a bit more normal.

My plan is, after the four-week waiting period to have the vaccine take full effect, to look at rental car prices. The plan is to drive to no particular place but get out of the house and into the country.

I also looked into AirBnB places in the country within an hour of my house. I found a few log cabins, another cabin or two, one place that had both a hot tub and a sauna, etc. All of them I looked at had wifi so I could at least watch movies, videos, etc. if I wanted to.

So here’s to waiting a few more weeks to get out of town for a few days.

My Curry Coconut Goat Stew

Last weekend I realized I had some goat in my freezer from over a year ago.

So figured I should get it out and thaw. While seeing if there was any freezer burn, which there was some. So once it was thawed, I cut any of it away and made it into small pieces.

When you have a frozen goat or lamb leg, cut it into smaller pieces for stew. Make sure you have them cut it into one-inch square pieces. Otherwise, they will make them like two inches or bigger. Which makes the stewing/cooking process more manageable, along with eating afterward.
White bowl with spoon in it along with small pieces of goat, heirloom large white Lima beans from Rancho Gordo, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, half a chopped up squash, curry, Spanish Smoked Paprika, Cayenne, Ancho chili powder, farro, salt, pepper

Asked Rancho Gordo for Bean Recommendation

The day before, I asked Rancho Gordo on Twitter ( @RanchoGordo ) which of their beans I should use. I have many Rancho Gordo beans with being part of the Bean club. I wanted to know which he thought would work best with a coconut milk goat curry. Steve’s (owner) response was to go with one of their white beans. Because of all the other strong curry and goat flavors.

After going through my stockpile of Rancho Gordo beans. I found I had two one-pound bags of their “Large White Lima Bean.” So that’s the one I chose.

I soaked a pound of those in a pot with water with a good pinch of salt and a tablespoon of curry powder for two or three hours. At this point, I have forgotten how long I soaked them. I think that helped make the dish by letting the salt and the curry powder work its way into the beans.

While eating the Lima beans, I noticed that the yellow color of the curry had penetrated the flesh of the beans.

Toward the end of the bean soaking while preparing the vegetables, etc. I put the beans on the stove to start cooking by getting the water to a rolling boil for about ten minutes. Once there, I turned them down to a low simmer.

Vegetable Preparation

Then I diced up three small onions because it was all I had.

Next, I chopped up a head of garlic. It wasn’t the extra flavorful farmers’ market garlic. But store-bought garlic, so I used the whole head to add the right amount of flavor. You can add more or else, depending on how you like it.

Once the onion and garlic were chopped. I added them to my cast iron pan to soften up a bit with some Spanish olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I added them to the pot of Large White Lima beans that I had simmering on the back of the stove.

After the garlic and onions were added to the simmering beans. I chopped up three small carrots and two stalks of celery. They were cut up into nice uniform pieces, so they cooked at the same rate. I then added them to the pot next.

I then moved on to taking the skin of a small squash. I used only half of it because the one I chose had more skin than squash flesh. I found it was becoming more work than I thought to get a little squash to add to the stew.

Adding Meat and Spices

Once the pot of beans, veggies were at a nice simmer. I added the goat meat pieces into my cast iron pan with more Spanish Olive oil. I did this to give it a good sear and caramelize the outside. Once done added that to the pot next.

NOTE – If you don’t eat meat, you can substitute tofu. If you wanted a milder meat, you could add chicken, beef, pork, and even fish. Or you could skip the meat altogether, and it still would be an excellent meal.

The next thing I needed to do was add the following spices.

  • Curry powder (2 Tbsp)
  • Cayenne chili powder (1 Tbsp)
  • Smoked Spanish Paprika (1 Tbsp)
  • Ancho chili powered (1 Tbsp)

Then some salt and fresh ground pepper. I also added a tablespoon or two of dried basil, oregano, and thyme.

Time to Let Simmer

Finally, I sat back and let it simmer for a few hours. Doing so, let the beans cook and soften along with the meat to more tender.

Of course, about every 20 or 30 minutes, I would get up and check it to make sure it wasn’t bubbling away too much. Added more water when needed, so everything was covered. I tend to leave the lid to my pot off open a bit to let the water evaporate.

Towards the end, I checked the spice and flavor levels to make sure they were where I wanted them. Knowing that as the sauce reduce down, it would get spicier.

Yes, you could use a veggie, chicken, etc., stock instead of water to add more flavor if you wanted. But I didn’t have any at the time.

Adding in Coconut Milk and Farro

Towards the end, I added a 13.5 oz can of coconut milk to let it blend in with everything. Once that was done, I then added 8 oz. of farro to help soak up some of the liquid to become a thicker, more stew-like consistency.

Once it was all done, I ladled some into a small bowl and had the perfect dinner. The only thing missing was a nice slice or two of toasted sourdough to crunch and dip into it.

Ingredients

Below is a general outline of the amounts of all the ingredients I used. Some might have been a bit more, and others a bit less. I tend not to measure and go by taste.

Vegetables

  • 1 head of garlic – finely chopped
  • 3 small onions – chopped
  • 3 small carrots – chopped in small pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery – chopped finely small pieces
  • Half a small squash – chopped, small pieces
  • 1 lb. – Rancho Gordo Large white Lima beans

Meat or other Protein

  • Goat cut into bite-size pieces

Spices, Etc.

  • 3 Tbsp – Curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp – Cayenne chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp – Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp – Ancho chili powered
  • 1 Tbps -Salt (more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp -Pepper – fresh ground
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Basil
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Oregano
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp – Dried Thyme

Miscellaneous

  • 1 13.5 oz can – Coconut milk
  • 8 oz – Farro

Conclusion

Hope all this was helpful.

If you make it please tell me what you think in the comments. Or even leave me suggestions for other dishes to make or you have made.

Here’s to more home cooking.

It’s Been a Year

As of March 16th, 2021, I have not eaten at a restaurant or gotten take-out food, if you don’t count the half a dozen bagels, I ordered eight or ten months ago in the last year.

I have not been in a vehicle such as a metro (commuter) train, a bus, a car, etc., in a year.

It’s been over a year since I had a drink of alcohol or driven a car.

I have not been farther than a mile and or half to two miles from my house this last year.

It’s been a year since I last was in the office.

Work from Home

In previous years I only worked from home a day or two a year. So at first, it was interesting to switch over to always being home. I learned I liked it, especially when I could sleep until closer when I started my workday. Now that I have spent the last year working from home, I’m enjoying it.

I wish I had paid more attention to what I did that last week and weekend before things locked down here in the United States. It would have been nice to have written it down to see what I did those last few days.

Been a More Relaxed Year(?)

Over the last year, it’s been nice not having as much to do on nights and weekends. Sometimes it’s been a pain because most of the days seemed to have blended together. It’s been like a year’s worth of Groundhogs Day in the last 365 days.

A nice thing is being able to go on purposeful walks. Be that at lunchtime and after work instead of only walking when I commuted.

Being home more has allowed me to meet and chat with neighbors. I have found some of the neighbors have tiny houses, offices, pools, etc., in their backyard. Either from walking instead of driving or because I walked down the alleys behind the houses.

Here’s to the Future

So here is to getting back to a more normal way of doing things. While still keeping a slower pace of life to spend time with each other or other things than work.

On the good side of things, I managed to lose 25 lbs. in the last year.

Have Not Driven in a Year

A week or so ago, I realized it had been a year since the last time I drove.

The biggest reason for the lack of driving was because I no longer have a car. The other is because of the pandemic at this point.

Even after my car had trouble and decided not to get it fixed, I could at least rent one. Then the pandemic happened. Which meant I wasn’t going to rent a vehicle, get on the metro (commuter train) or bus. Or I would have to walk almost three miles to the closest rental place.

Not having a vehicle means I have walked everywhere without getting into a vehicle.  Okay, I used my bike twice in 2020. Walking everywhere has helped with my weight loss. When I walk to the grocery store, there is only so much room in my backpack for food. Which means not much room for unhealthy food.

Being able to drive would be nice to be able to at least go for a drive to get out of the house and into the country.

I would drive to somewhere like Shenandoah National Park. Then head back home without getting out of the car except maybe for gas or a quick stretch along the way.

Here’s to getting a vaccination soon and then feeling a bit better renting a car.

During the last year or so, I realized I could do most everything I need to by walking or ordering other things online.

How I Write My Blog Posts

I thought it would be interesting to write a blog post on how I go about writing a blog post. It’s so I can see how it changes over the years, which I know it has over the years.

Where Do I Save My Ideas

The first thing I do is come up with ideas for the blog posts and then write them down. I place them in SimpleNote.

What I Do with My Ideas

For the posts I deem worthy of writing, I then outline them some more in SimpleNote. Some of that is done during my lunchtime or after-work walks. I do some outlining then too. I like thinking through how I want to say something in the post and work through how best to phrase or order my thoughts?

Once that’s done, I tend to throw those parts into something SimpleNote too.

Next’s It’s on to WordPress

Next, I use WordPress to write the first draft of my post. During my writing process, I try not to edit as I go besides maybe fixing some spelling. I want to be able to get the idea out of my head.

Editing Drafts

Once I’m done with the first draft, I then open up the Hemingway application. Usually, I use it, more importantly, to break up my run-on sentences from the first draft. The Hemingway application is useful to me to tell me the following type of things.

  • How many complex and hard-to-read sentences there are.
  • The number of words, sentences, and paragraphs.
  • The reading grade level, etc.

Once I’m done with Hemingway, I paste the text into Grammarly, and then I do more editing. Grammarly does a better job of grammar checking. It even does a better job with spell-checking than the Hemingway application.

I repeat that process once or twice more between the two applications.

Once I feel like I’m done, I then paste my text back to WordPress to read through what I wrote as a whole. More to read through it to make sure it’s understandable and is logical.

When I’m happy with things, I then add categories or tag words in WordPress. Then I will add headings where it needs to be broken up the long sections of text.

Cooling Off Period and More Editing

I let the posts sit for a couple of hours or till the next day before reading it over again. I then reread it and do more editing if necessary.

If I end up changing things, I use both Hemingway and Grammarly to check the updated parts of the post. I tend to want to double-check things.

When the Post is Done

Once all that’s done, it’s time to create any links that need to be added. I don’t want to have to re-add them if I add them too early.

Then it’s time to publish my blog post.

Posting Everyday in January, 2021

In January 2021, I published a post every day. I found people tended to read my posts if I tweeted about them around noon or early afternoon on weekdays. On weekends it depended on what the post’s subject was if there were more readers, according to the Twitter statistics.

No Real Statistics and Future Posts

I don’t have any official numbers on how many people read my posts because I took Google analytics off my website and blog years ago. I did that, so Google wasn’t tracking everybody that would come to my website or blog posts.

Now I looked to post at least once a week and maybe two a week or a total of five or six posts a month.

More Blogging and Any Suggestions

So here’s hoping this was useful to all that red to get a better understanding of my process.

If you have any suggestions for other writing applications that might make writing blog posts easier. Please leave a comment.