pandemic diaries: week 24

Air quality last week improved here and there (although there were still a couple of days we were stuck inside) so that was nice. 

Palos Colorados Trail hike on a moderate AQI kind of day.

As I mentioned in my last update, I realized with the bad air quality that the thing getting me through many (most?) days over the past six months is the ability to go outside for a walk, hike, or run. Whether solely because of that or not, the last couple of weeks have been incredibly challenging on many levels. 

7yo is suddenly obsessed with basketball. Unfortunately, we've noticed a ghost town like trend of first the nets and then the entire baskets being removed, to dissuade groups I assume. Sigh.

In distance learning news, the 7th grader finally got his mini-mester schedule so every weekday he now has three classes, plus advisory and Jazz Lab two days a week. So far, so good. It's nice (for me) for him to have more to do. It was a tough week for the 2nd grader, who had to do an online reading assessment that took her four sessions to complete. Not fun. I'm hoping the customized program it generates will be worth the frustration. Her schedule will receive a little shake-up next week when elementary schools (or, at least, her's) transition from the district-wide "strong start" plan to more curriculum coming specifically from her teacher, the school "specials" (e.g. PE, art, music), etc. Distance learning is good in that it gives them something to do and I don't have to homeschool from scratch, but it makes for a rather choppy morning full of interruptions for me. Not exactly the best work from home environment but for now it'll have to do. For a minute there in the spring I thought I might be able to parlay my part-time contract position into regular, full-time employment but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon and honestly it's probably for the best. (For some comic relief, this is a hilarious take on academic pods.)

I discovered pokeweed growing (or being grown) in our neighbor's back yard, poking through and over the fence into our yard. Every part of the pokeweed plant is poisonous, so this discovery is very on-brand for 2020.

As soon as I went public with my intention to focus exclusively on finishing my screenplay during any free/studio time I might have moving forward (typically a couple of hours on the weekend, at best), I suddenly feel even less capable than usual of writing words (as evidenced by this long, awkward sentence), and somehow more motivated to just, y'know, make stuff. So that's what I did over the weekend. 

The project I've been working on for over a year now, collectively titled 100 Days in the Dollhouse, has started to incorporate remnants of an earlier, mostly failed project called 'Heavenly', and has also, of course, taken on new meaning during this pandemic, 100 days turning into many more.

Speaking of kids and art, this tweet about (female) artists successfully juggling their art careers with family life sent me into a bit of a spiral. In a nutshell, it feels like an oversimplified art world equivalent of the stock photo of a working mom with toddler in tow (you've no doubt seen some variation of this) and I resent it so much, especially seeing that kind of "you can have it all" mythology applied to the pursuit of a creative livelihood, which is very different (though not necessarily harder) than a more linear career path. I'm cheating a bit and skipping ahead to this week, but Buffy Wicks driving from Oakland to Sacramento with her newborn so she could vote is a perfect example of how this country penalizes working parents, in particular mothers of newborns and toddlers.

Finally, RIP Chadwick Boseman. I've seen and enjoyed immensely most of his work, most recently his role in Da 5 Bloods. This is a really lovely art tribute by Senegalese artist Bou Bou Design and this is the moving written tribute from 'Black Panther' director (and Oakland native) Ryan Coogler.  

Fuck cancer. Fuck 2020.

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