photo


24
Mar 20

Spri — nope, not yet

We’re just a week or so away from the visual clues being unavoidable. And then it’ll quickly turn to all-green, all-the-time, which takes a few days to get used to. And then, when you think back on it, you can spend a few days marveling at how you get used to it so quickly.

But first, this little budding stage of things:

These photos were all taken on our Monday evening walk, which was beautiful and delightful in most every way. Today was not picturesque. It was cold and gray and damp and that’s not frustrating at all. The clouds move so slowly. I looked at them during this evening’s slogging run of just under four miles with no inspiration, no legs or anything resembling pace, and I was again mystified how there were no clouds, but but the always terribly exciting white gray. You can’t see any of the defining characteristics that allow you to distinguish one large collection of very tiny droplets of water or ice crystals from the next. It all just … is.

I’m ready for spring.

It’s been a very mild winter.

This tree is ready, too. And that bloom isn’t the only thing around here excited for something to happen, and waiting for it to do so:

I got photobombed.

It was pretty much the highlight of the walk, which was already a fine part of a nice day.

I’m just showing off the non-macro lens on my phone, now.

On these nice walks, I should take my real camera. As I was taking that photograph, on my phone, this skein of Canada geese flew over.

They’re heading west, in the direction of several nameless ponds. They should go back north. But I guess they know something I do not.


23
Mar 20

A weekend in 243 words and seven photos

Saturday, we hit the drive-thru, where things are still so fast they can’t be troubled to add the extra letters to the sign. It was our trip out for the week. Three young people who we usually see working inside were bundled up and pretending to be the menu signs. And then another person midway through the line was taking your money. At the window they were just giving you your food. And a message:

And I thought: Little things like that are going to mean a lot for people.

This means a lot to me, signs of spring!

I wouldn’t have seen that if we haven’t gone for a run, in the cold.

Do you see that little bit of blue? That’s all of the sky we saw through the clouds during our quick four-miler today.

When we got home, and I mean almost immediately — I was still walking up the stairs to the shower — the sun came out:

Phoebe and I might be having a breakthrough this weekend. I got four cuddles yesterday, which is a new record:

This guy, meanwhile:

On Saturday night, I heard a distinctive crashing sound. Someone, I have my suspicions, knocked this bag of their treats off the windowsill, from the counter and onto the floor:

By the time I got there they’d somehow defeated the Not-A-Ziploc seal. So now we have to had the treats.

We’re running out of room to hide things in, honestly.


19
Mar 20

How are you settling in?

Everyone is getting a little more adjusted to their current realities. More people are staying indoors and at home, such as they can. And there are adjustments we’re all learning to make. It’s interesting to see and hear about. In between the many work emails and such.

Not everyone can, of course. Some people’s work requires them to be physically present. And some people just don’t get it. (But they’re liable to, if they keep that up, and they’re going to give it to others.)

And, it turns out, we don’t have the power of bulletproof young people we thought we did, either. Yes, Young People Are Falling Seriously Ill From Covid-19:

New evidence from Europe and the U.S. suggests that younger adults aren’t as impervious to the novel coronavirus that’s circulating worldwide as originally thought.

Despite initial data from China that showed elderly people and those with other health conditions were most vulnerable, young people — from twenty-somethings to those in their early forties — are falling seriously ill. Many require intensive care, according to reports from Italy and France. The risk is particularly dire for those with ailments that haven’t yet been diagnosed.

I wonder when the stigmatization of the people living their social lives really begins. You’ll have to somehow distinguish between the folks going to work to pay their bills or venturing out to take care of the vital necessities of life. But places that haven’t shut down their venues, or had their events shut down for them by executive power, the people there are going to get judged, I’m sure.

Even our cats get it; stay home.

We had to open a box late last evening and boxes, as cat owners know, may as well be C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe. So I thought I would turn it upside down. Defeat the cat! He can’t get in. No, he couldn’t. He got on. So, I thought, maybe I’ll just make you a little cat house.

He liked it immediately.

Because they don’t have enough things to climb on or in around here.

I shared that picture with a fellow cat owner, and she sent me this video and urged me to build …

I will not. Because I have another idea.

On the dual subject of pets and finding things to break up your days just now …

Don’t watch that one while walking up steps, that’s what I learned.

This one is quite interesting, for different reasons:

These sound interesting to me.

Experiments: Now is a great time to learn science by doing science. In this series, we take kids through real scientific research projects, showing them how to apply the scientific method to develop their own experiments. Check out the full collection of experiments — and give one a try!

Explainers: We have explainers on many topics, from how to read brain activity to the greenhouse effect. Each is designed to take a deeper dive into the concepts that underlie science news and research.

Technically Fiction: These stories look into the science behind fiction, from Harry Potter to bigfoot to what it would take to make an elephant fly. These can be a great place to start if your child doesn’t think they like science.

I started a musical conversation this evening. Some of the good ones that came through …

And this is aimed at marketers, but we’re all doing a bit of that these days, if you think about it. So think about it.

Be mindful. That’s terrific outreach advice. Grace and patience, friends. Grace and patience.


18
Mar 20

Hello, hello, hello

The best time, I told Instagram, for a run in the early age of social distancing? Obviously on a day when it is in the mid-40s. The preferred time would be when it isn’t raining, but the forecast was not a reality today.

Aside from the wind, and the rain, and the cold, it was a nice little three-and-a-half miles around the neighborhood. In a few weeks, if and when it warms up, I’ll have to think adding a few more miles back into the routine.

After a big meeting today, and thinking of an email and a conversation from the last few days, I pitched an idea which got the approval for further pitches. Up chains it goes. Now it needs a title, apparently. So that was a happy task for much of the afternoon, and perhaps part of the rest of the week and, if it goes well, for some time into the future. More on that then, then.

Let’s look at links.

I’ve come to really admire The Undefeated in it’s short run. It launched in late 2016, but it has covered a lot of ground and its writers manage to have a simultaneous air of authority and attitude that’s not always easy to pull off.

Maybe it is a bit easier in this brief essay, because the whole system has been a farce and the women who have been at the center of it have carried themselves with such poise, none more so than Simone Biles, who does all that while still competing at heretofore unknowable levels, having to maintain a criticism of her sport and constantly being the center of that as a spokesperson while also, you know, at the ripe old age of 23, being amazing:

She knows that it takes a village to raise a predator above reproach, to look the other way when his predations become so far out of hand as to be a well-known secret. She knows, from experience, that true, explicit acknowledgment and real structural change are required.

It’s unforgivable that Biles must use her hard work and success in this way — risking it all to advocate for herself and other gymnasts trapped under the governing body’s irresponsible purview. It’s unfortunate that the other side of her luminescent medal and legacy is dulled by that governing body’s paternalism and neglect. By pressuring an institution that performs in the face of its own inaction and injustice, Biles makes legible the ways our society tucks violence against women under the proverbial floor mat, and the ways in which women continue to materialize the strength necessary to demand the world beyond violence that we deserve and imagine.

This will be something a lot of people find useful, or will otherwise be looking for in the coming weeks. Stuck at home? Enriching activities to do with all ages from the Indiana Young Readers Center:

Looking for extra activities to keep children busy? Explore some of these activities put together for you by the Indiana Young Readers Center, located in the Indiana State Library. Remember, children of all ages can benefit from play and reading. Keep your kids engaged with some of these resources.

Sadly, my age group was not included. I’ll just have to fall back on my experience as an only child.

The apparently innumerate senator is from Wisconsin.

And the 3.4 percent he’s using here in his rhetoric works out to just over twice the population of his state. But, really, it is the rhetoric that’s a problem here. That data point isn’t being used correctly. So he’s using an incorrect data point, incorrectly.

To say nothing of the knock-on effects, and the many other medical cases that will be marginalized as hospitals become forced to triage everything:

These choices could be particularly devastating for the tens of thousands of Americans awaiting new organs, transplant experts said.

The outbreak has already caused serious disruptions. Doctors in some parts of the country say an inability to quickly test potential donors for the coronavirus has led them to decline viable organs, forcing some ailing patients to wait longer. To avert the spread of the virus among vulnerable patients who must take immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of their new organs, doctors have canceled most routine follow-up visits for transplant recipients. And in anticipation of a surge of coronavirus patients requiring beds in intensive care units, some hospitals are now performing transplant operations only for patients who are at the most dire risk of death.

[…]

Without a transplant, Branson said his surgeon told him last week that he might only have about 30 to 45 days to live. But he said the hospital considers the surgery needed to remove part of his uncle’s liver to be elective — and therefore nonessential.

In a statement to NBC News, Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret, the chief of transplant surgery at UCHealth, confirmed that the hospital had suspended some transplant surgeries.

Meanwhile …

Never mind that younger people are also susceptible. But if you’re talking ’bout my generation (and not the one that actually claims that song) …

So, who is taking COVID-19 seriously? Possibly Gen X, who are born between 1965 and 1980 according to Pew Research Center, and are often referred to as the “sandwich generation” because many are caring for children and older parents. On social media this weekend, the hashtag “GenX” trended, with the “latchkey generation” saying that they were the most prepared to live in isolation.

From a psychological perspective, there might be some truth to this argument.

As they tried to explain this — and I stipulate that painting sweeping generalizations over a 20-year cohort, which is nothing more than the thinnest of constructs anyway, is silly — they missed one important potential external factor: MTV.

Now, usually, when I point to MTV, it isn’t in a good way. But it works out this time. We were just ready, because of what we already knew.

Also … is any other group allowed to see itself in this light?

Our little group has always been
And always will until the end


17
Mar 20

There’s a moral in here for all of us

A good thing to do after a few days of working in the home office is to go outside and see some things. It was the sort of weather the universe should provide to you from time to time. And when I say “from time to time” I mean “all the time.”

So that’s where I am, in the acceptance phase of the last month of winter. Sure, sure, spring starts later this week, but it won’t be observed here, in a consistent way at least, until next month. But today, today the sun put on a peak-of-youth sort of performance. An I know not, yet, what I can really do presentation, really. It only hit the 50s, but after damp, or cold, or lots of days of both, and far too many days without seeing the miracle of fusion in the sky first hand, it was perfect.

I didn’t stop to smell the flowers. I should have. But that, I thought, like this joke, would have been a little too on-the-nose. I did take a photo:

I was wearing jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt and a fleece; The Yankee had a sleeved shirt and a vest. Before we’d circled back around we’d dropped the fleece and the vest. It was almost as it should feel. For February. So I got it in mid-March. I’m relieved to receive it.

There are all of the not-so-subtle signs of spring emerging:

Two or three more weeks, we’ll have Spring, The Inevitable. Spring really can be nice here. Just because this winter has been as mild as a thing that is mild beyond real description won’t make it any less picturesque.

Stop and smell the flowers. And stop making the bad joke. Instead, do the things you’d otherwise regret for their omission. That’s an enduring lesson life is going to teach me one way or another. I hope it takes, soon. Just like the grace and patience mantra.