Pandemic in Pictures: Still at Home

Working from Home
Working from home.

I don’t want to minimize the challenges of staying home — those remain. But, looking on the bright side, I’ve been able to take advantage of the occasional nice weather by working outside a bit. It lets me keep Benji company while getting a little bit of work done.

Laundry Line
Taking advantage of sunny weather.

I also took advantage of the sunny, breezy weather and being home all day to hang our sheets out to dry in the back yard. I love the sunshiny smell and feel of sheets hung to dry.

Pandemic in Pictures: Camp in a Box

Back in May, Ian and I made the difficult decision to not send Benji to in-person YMCA camp this summer. At the time, COVID cases were slowly but steadily trending downward and things looked better all the time. Even so, we opted for safety (in retrospect, a very good idea) and signed up for the YMCA’s new “Camp in a Box” day camp option.

Now, for six weeks starting this week, the YMCA provides us with a box of supplies and activity instructions. Twice a day Monday through Friday, Benji participates in a Zoom call with camp counselors, who play games and do activities pertaining to the week’s theme. The rest of the day he can choose what activities from the box he wants to complete. Most require little adult intervention after he gets started. There are usually two main activities per day: One thematic activity, like making a superhero cape; the other just fun and interesting, like making a straw rocket. Continue Reading >>

I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed

Today when Benji and I went to our neighborhood park for a little bicycle riding practice, we both compliantly masked up, despite being outside and nowhere near anyone else. We saw a group of a dozen or more 20-somethings having a nice little BBQ all crowded together in a nice intimate circle, not a mask among them. The mom in me wanted to go over and tell them, “I’m so sad to see you risking the health and lives of our community like this. I’m not mad at you; I’m just disappointed.” Continue Reading >>

Blacklist that Black Hat Hacker Black Sheep

With the groundswell of support for Black Lives Matter and racial justice, my company — like many corporations — has decided it wants to jump on the bandwagon. To this end, my boss delegated my coworker to draft some writing standards to ensure our documentation is appropriately inclusive.

I agree with this plan. For example, when I write, “An advisor generates a report. When he reviews it…” I really should stop to think about whether I need to write “he.” Could I say “she” or “they,” or should I just rewrite it to avoid gendering “advisor” in the first place? We don’t want to implicitly assume advisors are all cis-gender men preferring the “he” pronoun. Most of the time we can write around it, and I think we should do so. Continue Reading >>



Everyone’s talking about them these days, even if not everyone wears them. Thanks in large part to the President’s astonishingly consistent leadership, a significant segment of the population now sees wearing masks as “unmanly,” suitable only for weaklings and liberals. In some places, people see wearing a mask as a political statement: only Democrats wear masks. 

I’m not here to debate the politics of mask-wearing. I’m not even here to debate the science of it. Health experts have provided evolving advice as the situation changed, an understandable response in a fluid situation. Initially, they recommended against masks not because masks were ineffective, but because we didn’t have enough of them. And initially it appeared that homemade masks did less to protect the wearer than N-95 masks or surgical masks, so people saw homemade masks as less desirable. Continue Reading >>

A New View

Needing corrective lenses while doing athletic endeavors poses all sorts of problems. If, like me, you’re squeamish about poking contact lenses directly onto your eyeball, you find yourself with fairly limited choices. When I started biking, I iterated through several different solutions:

  • Regular glasses (not enough coverage, not good in the sun)
  • Regular glasses with clip-on sunglasses (dorky, heavy, prone to falling off, still not enough coverage)
  • Regular glasses with transition lenses (too slow to respond to changing light conditions, not enough coverage)
  • Prescription sunglasses (too dark for wintertime riding and varied light conditions)

Finally I came to standard sunglasses with prescription inserts. Almost 10 years ago, I bought a pair of Smith Optics Pivloc sunglasses with Rx adaptors and had a local optometrist fill the lens prescription. That solution has served me steadily for nearly the last decade, despite its drawbacks (mostly miscellaneous items, including fog, condensation, water, bugs, sweat, and dirt getting between the prescription lenses and the sunglass lenses). Continue Reading >>