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.


16
Mar 20

Happy Monday

And how was your weekend? Ours was fine. We’re doing just fine. We hope you are, too.

We’ve gotten settled in to the new routine, hoping it is temporary, trying to think and plan as though it may not be. We went out for a brief time on Saturday, probably the last time in a while.

Loved the sign:

There just aren’t enough marquees with attitude anymore, and we should remedy that problem. I’m sure that’s a corporate concern for corporate types, but a good local sign adds a great deal to a place, if you ask me. And in a social media world, you’d think there’s an unending vein of material from which to draw.

Things are changing at restaurants. This is just the beginning:

People suddenly have a lot of toilet needs:

I hope you have your groceries in order. We did pretty well this weekend. The Yankee made us pie for Pi Day Saturday night. It was as tasty as it looks:

Our relationship really started with pie. OK, it actually started with a bad professor, but the second step was pie and that’s a much better story. I invited her to a barbecue place while we’d been carpooling an errand or two and said we should go try the pie. She said nah. I said, “Come on, it’s Friday. Friday’s Pie Day.” That worked. We shared a slice of lemon ice box.

A server at another barbecue joint had said the same thing to me the week before, trying to upsell the dessert. She did. I got the pie that day and a week later I used her line.

To great success, I must say. That was 15-plus years ago. For the next 11 years, until we moved where there is no pie, apparently, every Friday was pie day.

We had a beautiful day for our run on Sunday afternoon:

Happily everyone was off doing something else:

The regular Monday checkin with cats? They’re doing great, too. Poseidon is eager to see all the new things that the coming spring has to offer him:

And I caught Phoebe as she was getting ready for an office nap:

And that was the weekend. Hope yours was equally fine, and brought you some peace and cheer and rest and lovely memories. Take it slow. Be safe and well. Have a little grace and patience.


13
Mar 20

To the fruits ahead

My first full work-from-home day in several years, it turns out. I used to do this quite frequently at a previous stop. Once you are in the right groove, it can be quite productive.

I remember I found that the advice to keep a schedule was something that worked well for me. So I set the alarm, get home, have a breakfast snack, do the morning read of news, cringe at what I’m reading in the news, and then remember I have saved 20 minutes of commute here, plus the time ironing slacks and that sort of thing.

It is important, for some reason, to address the mop on top of my head. And it is important, for some reason, to wear some sort of shoes.

So give that a try, if this sort of thing is new for you. And remember, grace and patience. Even with yourself. Perhaps especially with yourself.

We went to the grocery store this evening, which is basically just a morbid fascination I have now. Even though we’re now ready to cut way back. Today I discovered a new thing in the produce section. This is a jack fruit. You can pick it up for $1.99, but lift with your legs and not your knees. These ran about 20 pounds each. Why, yes, I did weigh them.

Jackfruit, I’ve just learned, is a unique tropical fruit native to South India.

It has a distinctive sweet flavor and can be used to make a wide variety of dishes. It’s also very nutritious and may have several health benefits.

Just once, I want a site like this to say, “The flavor is meh. And you can only use it in one or two things anyway. If you don’t already have a natural taste for it, or if it doesn’t remind you of home, don’t worry about it.”

The description I just read, however, sounds interesting, and I’d like to try it sometime soon.

Got in the third bike ride of the year this evening. Hopefully the weather will soon warm up to the point where we stop picking our spots for rides, and I stop counting the progression.

No photos, because those don’t come until after the first few rides, when I remember how to do this properly. A little more fitness would help, too. Also, I need it to warm up for photos, since my full-length gloves discourage photos.

But it was a nice, easy, 20-miler. And as soon as I stop counting the progression of bike rides I can start counting the addition of extra miles. That’s a goal for this year. More miles, more miles.


12
Mar 20

Tonight’s shoot

I worked from home today, which we’ll all be saying a lot in the weeks to come. I did go in this evening for a television taping. The sports crew was up tonight. They wandered in, wondering if this was the end of their year on campus. Our last in-person classes are tomorrow, and then there’s spring break and at least a few weeks of virtual classrooms.

Students are being encouraged to return home. We’re now well into the plans of how we work with 46,000 students on this campus, the 100,000-plus at all of the statewide IU institutions and the countless projects that go on at each and every one of them. Unprecedented is a word you’ll hear a lot. We’re making this work as we go, or some variation, is a theme everyone will hear a lot.

Grace and patience is something I imagine I’ll be saying a lot.

Sports kept it simple tonight. This was a sink in moment for a lot of us.

Michael Tilka, a senior, and IUSTV’s sports director for 2019-2020 signed off. It is surprisingly typical that he was talking about everyone else. That’s what he’s done throughout. He was, this semester, the longest-serving member at IUSTV. I hope that wasn’t the final sign off of his four-year run at IUSTV, where he’s won awards and helped others win awards. I hope it wasn’t the last time, because I would miss his demeanor and what he’s still capable of doing here.

What he saw his freshman year and what he’s leaving his senior year are remarkably different things. He, and the sports directors that came just before him, righted the ship. They developed the right kind of culture in the sports department. It is one of those things I’m always telling the student leaders will come up in a job interview. One of those questions that will give them an advantage, if they distill these experiences into an anecdote.

I sat in a post-production meeting with all the younger sports students tonight. I wanted to thank and congratulate them, as I so often want to do. They each went around the room and shared their favorite moment of the year — and I hope this is not the end of their year together, but it has that feeling. Some of the stories I knew. Some I heard for the first time. All of the memories got laughed at. They had a great time with it. Real bonding is taking place there. Michael, I think, realizes it’s a lasting culture he’s helped establish. Along the way, most importantly, he’s found his own mature voice.

I’m glad they didn’t ask me to take part in that favorite moment exercise. It’s hard to explain my favorite moment of a year when my favorite moment, each year, is always the same. It is gratifying to see the progress the students make, collectively and individually. Sometimes it is downright tangible.

I am proud of my friend Michael Tilka. I hope this wasn’t his last time on air at IUSTV, but if we don’t get these last few weeks back for him, and all of our other seniors, I am excited to see him go out into the world and continue his success.

#LEO


11
Mar 20

The drawdown

More meetings today. Meetings about meetings. Meetings which begat other meetings. A fair amount of time canceling meetings. Meetings about canceled meetings. And oh so many emails and rapidly evolving and newly created policies. Our employer, Indiana University, is taking it seriously, which is nice.

My dean, in fact, told everyone at a meeting this morning to not be in the office after today unless it was essential that we be there. I have to go in for a brief while, tomorrow, but today is the last full day of on-campus work until April as we duck Covid-19. These are not off days. We’ll just be working from somewhere else. I’ll be in the home office.

It’ll sink in eventually.

We went for a run this evening. It was a quick three-and-a-half-miles of progressions, where you continue to build up speed as you go. This was just as we got int the third mile, which means she was going pretty fast, which meant the photo was blurry:

Earlier in the run I saw this, the second green things of the season. The tulips of February are false advertising. The longer days are a signal, next week’s spring break is a clue. March is a mirage, but there are now, suddenly, a few green things:

The next warm-ish day we have I’m going to take a walk through the woods behind the house. I have to find more green things.