pandemic diaries: weeks 4 and 5

Two post-spring break weeks down, six to go. Last week wrapped up week 5 of quarantine/week 4 of distance learning. I feel like we've settled into a sustainable-for-the-foreseeable-future routine of working from home, facilitating distance learning, getting some fresh air every day, and making sure the kids burn off some of their endless energy before 9 p.m. Any anxiety around school being closed through the rest of the school year has morphed into anxiety around summer camp and beyond.

Every day begins with a sort of juggling act of figuring out who has meetings when, which kids have virtual stuff throughout the day, what the various instructional plans for that day look like, and anything extra, like gymnastics or karate (both via Zoom, of course), virtual playdates, virtual scouts in the evening, etc. We've also ended most weekdays with the Oakland Zoo's behind-the-scenes series. Every weekday at 2:30 they go live in a different area of the zoo. It's a nice way to end the "school" day. Kids basically get screen time for a couple of hours after that. Our evening routine is pretty similar to pre-pandemic, with the kids staying up a little later than usual. Otherwise, here are some highlights from two more weeks of staying home:

  • I finished the first (of ??) 5 Hour Crafts video. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen it; if not, you can see the YouTube version here.

I'd like to do more and have one about embroidered constellation flash cards in the works, but it's pretty low pressure (that I'm putting on myself) to get those done.
  • Bought the e-book of 'How To Do Nothing,' if only I had time to explore that topic and, y'know, be bored.
  • Oakland rolled out its "slow streets" initiative, though we've yet to see it in our neighborhood (our street is on the map so I'm really hoping they'll do our area in the next week or so). I was feeling pretty enthusiastic about it initially so I wrote this parody of 'Dancing In The Street'.
  • Speaking of dancing, I learned the choreography to the very short dance scene in Boogie Nights. I even put on a dress! Cameos by Neal and Daphne.
  • Finished Ozark season 3.
  • Made it to Level 3 on Yousician Piano.
  • Did some pandemic baking, recipe here.
  • Made some progress on my ongoing 100 days in the dollhouse project, started exactly one year ago, including this "pandemic pillow." I think I like whatever these are better flat, though, inspired by scenes inside, mostly, and a few outside the home.
  • Listened to the new Fiona Apple album. A couple of times.
  • In our weekly movie night series, we finished the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies, and last night watched Clueless. Lots of talk of sex that I'm hoping went over the 7yo's head :\
  • I've been participating in a local photographer's daily photo challenges for the month of April. Below is my response to the 'Favorite Quarantine Fashion' prompt. See them all here.
  • Oh yeah, and we celebrated Easter.
  • Finally, a friendly reminder that I'm still sending via snail mail a small piece of FREE art to anyone who wants it. Just fill out the form here.
P.S. Let's save USPS!


pandemic diaries: spring break

After three plus weeks of sheltering in place, today marks a return to "distance learning" for the remainder of the school year. That's eight (8) weeks. Welp! It sounds overwhelming - and it is - but I'm trying to remind myself that I survived an entire summer break (that's 10 weeks) with both kids home every day. The downside right now, of course, is that there's nowhere to go, but that's also kind of the upside. In other words, I don't have to dream up some exciting plan or outing for each day. They have their schoolwork, plus, y'know, screen-time; I have work. If we get bored, there are always National Days to celebrate (happy caramel popcorn day!). Assuming we can squeeze in enough exercise and fresh air every day, we've got this!

Before we dive into the rest of the school year, however, let's update the pandemic diaries, spring break edition. What does one do for spring break while sheltering in place, parents still working from home? Not much, but we managed to squeeze in a few things:

I know some people are taking this extremely seriously and literally staying home, all the time, never leaving their homes (or back yards, if they have them). So far, we've been able to walk the neighborhood without feeling like really any area within walking distance is even remotely crowded (unlike our hike attempt early on). So we've gone on A LOT of neighborhood walks and "urban hikes," even making it all the way to the Mormon Temple and back, which is a roughly 4-mile round trip.

That said, one day, bored with all our local walking options, we decided to walk around the Temescal neighborhood instead. We picked up vegan ice cream sandwiches we ordered online from Curbside Creamery and even "ran into" (more accurately, we said hello from 6+ feet away) a teacher from the kids' elementary school.

Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a special, mid-week donut run and later, this past weekend, attempted to make a cake that tasted something like the Erica torte we had at our wedding from the now-closed Katrina Rozelle's.

This wasn't my first, or even second, attempt at recreating our wedding cake.

While I wanted to protest Easter when this all started (everything else is canceled, why shouldn't Easter be??), I've since come around to the idea and, less than a week away now, we're mostly ready for a minimal holiday celebration.

In the meantime, back to #wfhwithkids. Wish me luck and stay well, y'all!