pandemic diaries: weeks 32-38

Breaking my record (which was previously four weeks between updates), it's now been another SIX weeks since I last updated the pandemic diaries. Since air quality has been a consistent theme over the last several updates, why not begin with weather? We're currently in the middle of yet another red flag warning, not because of excessive heat, of course, this being December and all, but because things are still very dry, which makes any kind of wind event potentially dangerous. If you don't think climate change is real, come to California.

Adding to this sense of déjà vu is the new stay-at-home order affecting much of California, including five Bay Area counties, in advance of hospital ICU capacity hitting 85% (Alameda county is currently hovering around 75%). The only change that really affects us is the re-closing of playgrounds, which I frankly think is mostly unnecessary. 

I'm personally pretty bummed about museums, too, and glad we managed to sneak in one more SFMOMA visit before they closed, again.

Halloween came and went. I dressed up as the birth of democracy (it's a TP Parthenon and I'm the golden statue of Athena, duh), accompanied by a witch and a penguin.

I jokingly threatened to leave California if Prop 15 didn't pass. Sadly, it did not pass and here we are, still living in California. That said, like a lot of folks right now, forced by the pandemic to spend every waking (and sleeping) minute in cozy houses with kids and spouses who would normally be at school and work, simultaneously pondering what roots us in a particular place, I've been perusing Redfin way more than I ought to. Leading contenders for a potential relocation include Sacramento and Portland. Or staying in Oakland, of course (ask me again if we're still here for fireworks season which is followed closely these past 3-4 years by wildfire season). On a related note, considering all the reasons why we like living in/near cities in the first place, here's an interesting convo in part with SF mayor London Breed about why cities are (still) so expensive.

I wrote a bit in my last update about how businesses in Oakland are closing one after the other, specifically video game museum The MADE. On a more positive note this time around, Oakland's donut savant, which closed its downtown location before the pandemic because of development and related demolition in the area, recently reopened. And now they're just one neighborhood away, a short 10-minute walk door to door, god help us.

I've been pretty down on distance learning since the beginning (I'm not a teacher and homeschooling my kids was never motivation for motherhood), but there was one silver lining in late October when my 2nd grader got to visit Luvin Arms animal sanctuary in Erie, Colorado, a location my 7 year old reminded me several times is 18 hours away. Pretty cool thing, I suppose, that they wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. But I still hate distance learning (this week, by the way, is week 28 if you include the 11 weeks last spring). And the conversation in Oakland, at least, is a total hot mess, with parents frustrated with the union, teachers frustrated with parents, and kids caught in the middle (and arguably the ones who will suffer most because of this from an educational and social-emotional perspective).

Oh yeah, the election happened too. Interesting to reread this, a brief blog post I wrote five days before the 2016 election. Sadly, I think we find ourselves as a country still very much in the same predicament, but I'm hopeful voting Trump out (and who knows, maybe even McConnell in the Georgia run-offs in January? can you imagine??) is the first step to making some of the many changes we so desperately need to move forward. Leading up to election night, I made a "songs for anxiety" playlist GenXer that I am. The election was finally called on Saturday, while we were driving to SoCal for a pre-Thanksgiving pandemic-friendly visit with my brother and in-laws (all masked, outside, yada yada yada). Trump still has not conceded. But that's okay; Liz Plank did it for him

And it's not just Biden and Harris I'm excited about. Biden's German Shepard Major also makes history as the first adopted rescue dog in the white house (they're also getting a cat!).

Since it was just us for Thanksgiving this year, and still mostly vegan as we are, we decided to celebrate Thanksvegan instead (we even symbolically adopted a turkey by making a donation to the National Audubon Society)! 

Moving right along to the next holiday, 'tis the season for the snack basket for delivery folks, which I remembered to put out early this year (interestingly, the item taken most often is water).

We'll get our tree and put up lights and decorations this weekend, in honor of what would be my Mom's 65th birthday on Friday.

Persimmageddon 2020 was epic. The above picture is the second batch of persimmons we put out for neighbors to enjoy (there are 7-8 persimmons in each of those bags). And there are still easily 100-200 persimmons on the tree to pick this week/weekend.

One of my New Year's resolutions that I plan to get a head start on over winter break is to spend more time on creative projects. I've spent so little time in the studio over the last couple of months. The biggest chunk of time I spent in the studio not on meetings for my day job was spent cleaning and rearranging - again - the 120 square foot space (I think the third time was the charm; pretty pleased with the current configuration). 

In the process, I finally recycled all of the postcards from the various design/print projects I tackled in grad school. It felt good to purge, but didn't open up nearly enough space (postcards are insignificant in size, after all).

But enough about me. For your viewing pleasure I recommend Sex Education. For a little ear candy, following up on this developing story, listen to They Might Be Giants 'The Statue Got Me High.' "And though I once preferred a human being's company, they pale before the monolith that towers over me."

Last but not least, this blog celebrated its 15th blogiversary in true pandemic style (I wrote about the 10th blogiversary here). Which is to say I did very little to mark the occasion other than to acknowledge it on the internet. 15 years of blogging and still no book deal. Sigh.

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