It’s Official: No In-Person School in the Fall

In a characteristically epic message, yesterday evening our school district’s Superintendent has confirmed what we all suspected: Schools will open in the fall with only online learning. Students will not attend in-person classes for the foreseeable future.

A couple weeks ago, Dad asked, “What would you change if you knew you’d have to keep doing this for another year?” I’ve pondered this question ever since, because it makes a good point: We all kind of stumbled into this routine. There was no plan. We can all tolerate a lot of mild inconvenience for a while, but when “a while” turns from six months to nine months to a year, those mild inconveniences may become serious irritants that we need to deal with before they get worse. Continue Reading >>


Brain complexity fascinates me. I like how different senses trigger different memories. For example, whenever I eat cinnamon rolls, I think of my Grandpa Archie, the first person I ever saw make cinnamon rolls from scratch — and he was blind, so he did it all by feel and from memory. When I listen to Hampton String Quartet, I’m transported back to the table, strewn with flash cards, textbooks, and notebooks, where I spent hours studying for calculus finals in the basement apartment we lived in my sophomore year in college. Continue Reading >>

Parenting and Working from Home

I just read “This Isn’t Sustainable for Working Parents” in The Atlantic and it very much reflected some of what I’ve been thinking about lately. This quote (I know it’s long-ish, hang with me) resonated deeply with me:

During the pandemic, working parents with young children “are fundamentally not going to be able to be as productive as someone who’s been on their computer for eight hours at home with grown kids or without kids,” she [Melissa Mazmanian] told me. “Who’s going to get promoted two years from now? Or who’s going to lose their job two months from now?” Continue Reading >>

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.

Ian Gets a New Job

In this installment of “Change is hard but healthy,” I present Exhibit 1: After 10.5 years at his current job, Ian landed an exciting new job at a company he’s had his eye on for a long time: ArenaNet, the company behind GuildWars and GuildWars 2. Who knew that the 2,000 hours of GuildWars gameplay he put in would turn into a coverletter selling point?!

This caps about a month of extra stress and anxiety as he worked his way through the many hoops of the interview process. At the beginning of the process, the recruiter laid out the different steps where, essentially, Ian could be eliminated. As he passed each one, Ian would comment, “That’s one hurdle done.” Each one brought him one step closer to the job, until finally he received an offer, accepted, and cleared the last hurdle: turning in his resignation letter and telling his current boss he was leaving. Continue Reading >>

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 >>