pandemic diaries: weeks 8 & 9

Just one more reason to love Werner Herzog, am I right? And hunker down is exactly what we continue to do! As the title of this post suggests, we're about to get into DOUBLE DIGITS! It's been 9 weeks and 2 days since the kids last attended their schools, in person. I guess the vibe of the last couple of weeks can be summarized in one word: anxiety. As we approach summer, I think all parents are feeling pretty anxious about when and how school will resume in the fall and what summer will look like for their children between now and then. While I'm anxious about suddenly having no daily structure in less than two weeks, I'm very ready for distance learning to pause, and I say pause because I'll be shocked if we don't continue this in the fall, at least for a few days a week. Here's how I've been keeping myself too busy to give in to existential dread:

More runs, more walks, more sunrises, more sunsets. And a few new feline friends.

Oakland Slow Streets finally came to our neighborhood, though not yet to our street. I'm a huge fan but it's obviously not perfect. Plenty of drivers ignoring the rules, garbage and delivery trucks moving signage without putting it back (not that I expect them to have the time to do so), and barriers placed pretty inconsistently, not necessarily at every intersection along a designated street, as I think they should be. But it's a welcome reaction to this unique situation (Oakland doing pretty well to become the "silver lining city") and I hope at least some of it will be permanent.

We also snuck in a special pre-Mother's Day excursion to Oakland's Morcom Rose Garden, in full bloom.

The kids aren't really into them, but I've been going on some virtual field trips included in my son's school's special education learning plans every day the last couple of weeks. This series has probably been my favorite so far. Not that we do it super often, but man, I miss traveling.

I continue to practice piano via Yousician most days. I'm on level 4 overall, level 6 for classical specifically. I can play Frère Jacques and Take Me Out To The Ball Game, among other things.

This is a great read about the concept of freedom in America.

Following up on the folding workshop a few weeks ago, I purchased Kelli Anderson's delightful This Book is a Camera. Once I get it, I hope to complete the pinhole photography "assignments" and suggested reading and such. The first workshop was so much fun.

We continue the weekend family movie nights. Last night we watched the very fitting Groundhog Day.

I haven't tried this yet, but I'd like to, cartooning with the Bay Area's own Mark Fiore.

Baking news (get it, like "breaking news" but for baking??): it appears there's no end in sight to pandemic baking as Specialty's announced that after 33 years in business it will permanently close all locations as a result of the impacts of this pandemic. I really hope they figure out a way to spin off some sort of cookie business, baking mixes, cookbook, SOMETHING. So sad.

In related but positive news, Arizmendi, where we've been going for scones since 1999 or so, reopened three days a week. And I made a half cake. A ha'cake!

In closing, to wrap up this post as I began (the anxiety? remember??), we've started to hear back from summer camps. I had about 5 or 6 of the 10 weeks planned (and paid for) before the shelter-in-place order. Most camps still seem to be holding out hope that they can, somehow, have in-person camp while pivoting to virtual plans, just in case. That said, I have nothing planned for the first two weeks of summer break. I could really use a respite from the day job after nearly three months of working from home while juggling distance learning, but where would we go? Is it worth it to take time off work for a staycation when we can't even do much locally? I'm hoping I feel somewhat refreshed after a long, Memorial Day weekend!

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