Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Time off
My working-from-home saga began on March 18. I took my first time off the afternoon of 4/21. I had a sore throat and ear ache and felt sad and low energy. Napping, soup and an early bedtime was a good use of my time. I felt better  the next day if not all the way to shiny. Weird to take sick leave (at home) from my job (working at home).

Surges past
I read this on twitter: 'in 1918 the second wave of the Spanish Flu reportedly killed 20-50 million. The first wave only killed 3-5 million' and wondered about the accuracy and the cause and effect. This page gave me more on the initial emergence of the illness in the spring and then the hammer down wave in the fall of 1918. It helped to have a war and troops traveling internationally. There's still a lot that we don't know about that disease. Viruses are so small they could not be perceived before the 1930s when a microscope powerful enough was developed. This CDC page has a nice graphic on the three waves - there was a third spike in late winter/early spring before the disease went away. More history links on the left menu of the CDC page.

Predicting the future
We are trying to help our oldest daughter decide between a college in Chicago and one in Los Angeles. She is an absolute hard-working star and is able to choose between two excellent scholarships to quality schools. My priorities are my own and I'm trying not to play devil's advocate at her too much. I think she's leaning toward Chicago which pleases my parental radius of control - we could drive out and go get her in less than a day if needed. But the school in LA is offering a January start which seems more reasonable to me than having to 'attend' remote 'classes' in the fall. Fall in-person classes would be a risk to the faculty and staff as well as students. In my opinion the state of CA has its shit together more than IL (healthcare, public welfare). 

I decided that I like referring to the divine as the Infinite. I use 'gods' sometimes but can't say that I am drawn to polytheism transactions - what a lot of work keeping track of who needs supplication now! I can't warm up to the Void and thinking of the Universe has worked for me in the past but it conjures a star field image for me in a distracting way. The word 'infinite' sidesteps my brain's picture-generating labeler and leaves me contemplative. The Infinite accepts my love and allows me to believe that it loves me back. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Salty licorice supplies. A Metafilter thread on edible alkali metals besides NaCl included a link to this clip from Travel Man: Richard Ayoade and Paul Rudd "enjoy" some Finnish salty licorice. Now I'm safely enjoying these descriptions from Scandinavian Kitchen of their top ten salty licorice varieties. I learned to like sweet black licorice as an adult (this is my fave) after only eating red licorice as a kid. I suppose it's not impossible I could learn to like salty licorice. But so far I can't think of a plausible chain of events that would cause that to happen.

After feeling absurdly healthy for a month in quarantine I have tender neck nodes and a sore throat and feel very sorry for myself. Wondering what the vector was. Restaurant food? Daughter's boyfriend? Husband's clients? I think I'll take this afternoon off to rest. Weird to contemplate taking sick leave (in my house) from work (in my house).

The Danish sailed in with a couple of winner recommendations for us on nflx. Feel Good is my kind of lesbian/standup/ addiction romcom. It's also short - episodes about 25 min. The Stranger keeps making me say 'that was improbable' but I still want to see what happens and spouse is totally hooked. 

I finished a book that I started during quarantine! It took an effort of will but it helped that it was Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Sunday morning was quiet and peaceful and a perfect time to listen to the rain and cruise through the end. I was surprised by the outcome and just as moved and won over by the language as all the reviews said I would be.

Local bookstore staff dropped off My Sister The Serial Killer on my doorstep yesterday. Yay!!! I thought it would have to be shipped and take a week but they must have had it in the store. Their website https://www.ravenbookstore.com/ is creaky but they are extremely good eggs and can hook you up!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Generosity of Others

Other bloggers are giving of their time and talents while I faff about. Here are a couple of foodies:

See Erica's excellent recipe for Triple Shot Espresso (not really a recipe, nor shots, nor espresso)

Belly up to Catherine Newman's post that has info on games and taking care of college students and a recipe for curried chickpeas.

We're well and stressed in spots and wondering about when we can get out of this phase. April 25 is the predicted local peak. But I think distancing is helping here and elsewhere. So maybe that makes it later and lesser. Let's hope. Although later til when?

Work is weird and was busy and then not and then picked up again. Our management structure is changing which is a bland way to say that one manager is out and one has had the number of teams they oversee reduced. My team thinks we're needed but don't want to be flung too far out of our accustomed rounds.

Our japanese maple in the back has its new red leaves out and I am determined to prune back all the shrubby stuff that is crowding it. I have visions of laying a blanket down underneath it next fall and watching the sky through the red leaves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


I was going to add it to the last one but this really deserves its own entry so I can find it again. Bonanza Buster Keaton thread at metafilter. I watched two clips this morning and then cut myself off so I could work. One was the railroad tie tiddly winks! The other a clip from The Blacksmith that I'd never heard of before. I lol'd!

Much more to look at including a 1980s documentary in 3 parts on yewtoob:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Out in a little boat

Dandelions are out in force, I even saw a bee on one. Our cool rainy spell is over and the midwest spring flower parade is on. It's fun to see what blooms in this neighborhood. I'm pleased that I got some of the ivy cut back on the east side plum tree. It's blossoming now. I will go after the remaining ivy with a clear conscience. In the neighbor's yard it festoons shrubs and trees. I was trying to get some grocery store mint scraps to root in water on the windowsill. It put out a cheerful bunch of leaves but no roots that I could see. I've plunked it into some dirt and hope I can get it to grow.

Proved that I can make both Awesome Sauce (2Ts each miso/tahini/rice vinegar, 1T each grated ginger root/honey, one small squashed clove garlic) and the bowl ingredients (quinoa, parboiled broccoli and microwaved sweet potato) and eat a generous serving during a one hour lunch break. But I'm going to make some more ahead of time so I can do more leisurely lunching and less scrambling in the future. K and I enjoyed our vegan bounty. She had vegetarian Pho from our local Thai place last night. She asked me if it was vegan and I said I had a hard time believing they didn't use chicken broth. We agreed that it would be really hard to ask the restaurant if their vegetarian Pho was vegan without being taken for persnicketty wypipo. We'll live with the mystery.

Entertainment Listening
Samin Nosrat is doing a podcast! With Hrishikesh Hirway who is new to me. Here's ep 1 with plenty of Beans.

Entertainment Watching
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? with Cate Blanchette, Billy Crudup and lots of other good actors. I watched it last weekend and liked it a lot. I mostly loved the book. The husband is more sympathetically drawn in the film. Hm, BC is still very pretty. Actually everyone is adorable in the film, probably too far in the likable direction. I think Bernadette should have been even weirder before her break. I cried at the Antarctic ice panoramas. Wow, now I'm looking at the critical consensus which is that it was a missed opportunity. I do not regret those two hours.   

As an example of the pointy elbows of Maria Semple's book that did not make it into the movie, here's a quote that made NPR-loving me laugh: 
“The war in Congo rages on with no end in sight,” the announcer said. “And now comes word of a new campaign by the soldiers, to find the women they have already raped and re-rape them.” “Holy Christ on a cross!” Mom said. “I draw the line at re-raping.” And she turned off NPR.”

Entertainment Reading
Finished Leckie's The Raven Tower. I got drawn in and finished the last third of the book in a rush. Now I'm back on my heels wondering if I was sold a bill of goods. I think it was a big of a shaggy dog but I did like the ride.

I've received the copy of Robinson's Housekeeping that I ordered from our local bookstore. It came in the mail yesterday. Online book group is set for early May which feels very far off.