Stay-At-Home Sanity Strategies


This post got much longer than I originally thought, so I wanted to provide a quick table of contents/summary for navigating. You know it’s serious when my post needs navigation — but, doggone it, if I can’t write too many words on my own blog, where CAN I write too many words?!

Here’s the sections you’ll find in this post:


On March 4, I picked Benji up from school in the middle of the day after a parent volunteer tested positive for COVID-19. We blithely walked home, talking about how different the day had turned out than we expected and speculating about when Benji would go back to school. How little we knew the marathon that awaited us. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: The Reading Tent

At this point, starting our 921st day in isolation, we, like all families, are getting creative with how to shake things up while not leaving home. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated and allowed us to spend time in the yard. Last week we pulled out the tent, a complete novelty to Benji. (As an aside, clearly we’re not parenting right if he doesn’t know how to set up a tent at age 7.)

Mostly we’ve used it as a reading tent:

Reading Tent 1
Notice that Benji has followed the rules and left his shoes outside the tent.
Reading Tent 2
The problem is if you’re barefoot, you can’t leave your feet outside the tent.

Actually, the biggest challenge has been keeping the tent free of sticky pods released by a nearby tree. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Sunset Bike Ride

As a person who thrives on routine, I’ve worked hard to keep biking as usual during this long unsettled period. It’s my escape from the house, my sanity reset, and my insurance against gaining 50 lbs from too darn many snacks.

This evening, I went for a very pleasant, and at times somewhat challenging, long hill ride.

Sunset S-Works
I caught the sunset just as I came down into the Sammamish Valley.
Empty Sixty Acres
Sixty Acres normally hosts soccer players, amateur rocket launches, parachute practice, and more. Now it’s completely empty, with parking lots blocked off.

Benji in a Podcast Interview

A few weeks ago, my uncle put us in touch with a friend of his, Gill Frank, a postdoc at UVA. During this pandemic, Gill has started a podcast where he talks with kids about their experience of coronavirus. He interviewed Benji a couple weeks ago. (Remember the ice cream sandwich for breakfast incident? That bribery was for his cooperation with this interview.)

I was very interested to hear Benji talking with a different adult about his experience and thoughts — it reminded me that there’s a lot more going on inside his head than we, his parents, sometimes see. (Of course, since he narrates aloud 99% of his activities, there’s also a lot going on that we do see.) Continue Reading >>

Bike Poetry

I’m definitely not a poet
With these verses I will show it
I have no gift for verse or rhyme
No chance at all with meter or time
So when a verse comes to my head
It’s best I bury it deep and dead.

Unfortunately I didn’t do that on today’s ride, which proved much, much wetter than I expected. In fact, I didn’t expect any wetness, but out of extreme caution I put a fender on my fast bike and a rain jacket over my jersey. Good thing, because at about mile 45, the slightly damp roads and extremely light mist transitioned to honest-to-goodness rain and wet, puddled roads. Continue Reading >>