I started working at home on Monday. Remote Desktop is so neat— the laptop I checked out from work controls my office computer, so I have my desktop, all the files, software, et cetera. Some things still take much longer because of the switching back and forth between windows on the laptop screen instead of spreading out over two monitors.
Work was very busy this week, payroll deadlines and a grant proposal and I’m also filling in for someone in our sister department who’s off having a baby. Sang and I can go for a walk at lunchtime and eat together.
I’m expecting Portland to issue a Shelter in Place order any hour now, but it won’t change my plans or activities, as the grocery store and walks are my only destinations now. Trader Joe’s on Tuesday morning was very cheering. There was a line waiting for the store to open, a very long line, but that was because people were queueing up six or more feet apart. Staff controlled how many people entered the store at once, and seniors got to go first. There was a two-per-item limit on everything but frozen food and fresh single items like bananas (oh, and one-per on toilet paper). As soon as the staff announced that, I felt great relief, because I wasn’t competing with the people around me and decision-making became much easier. And everyone was kind and upbeat. It made me feel really good about my neighborhood.
I registered for another class in the graduate publishing program this spring, Publishing for Young Adults. Unexpectedly taught remotely, of course. I am practicing my Zoom skills. But I think it’s going to be really good for me; look at my coursebooks that I’ll be reading instead of the news.
I am extremely fortunate to be so well set up going into this, and very worried about those who are not. Wishing for health and safety for us all.
Not sure why this fan showed up in my office this morning, but PSU hasn’t been Portland State College since 1969.
Today I reached 100 miles of bike commuting (plus a few short errands) in May. I wouldn’t ordinarily keep track, but May is the bike commute challenge at work.
I am a lazy bike commuter– there’s secure parking in my building, so I ride in, leave the bike overnight and use my bus pass to get home, and ride the bike home the next day. It’s about 50 minutes to work and an hour home (homeward is uphill), and the one-way time commitment is all I really want.
I am loving my new bike, which I sprang for in celebration of completing 100 straight days writing on 750words.com.
Things I love about my bike:
- it has a kickstand
- the lights are pedal-powered and integrated so I never have to decide whether to turn them on
- the gearing is continuous so I don’t have to decide whether it’s worth changing gears or have a gear-shifting strategy
- the belt drive is very quiet and grease-free
- I can wear my normal clothes (hiking pants and running shoes, we have a very lax dress code) to commute
The gearing range is pretty small; I top out and bottom out on my commute. I’m slow, but I’m slow at lots of things so I don’t mind. In general, everything just works.
I like how absorbing riding a bike in the city is. I am busy and don’t have time to mull over something from work or whether I did the right thing six intersections ago. And my commute is on Clinton Street, which I love because the car diverters make it feel like Portland of 20 years ago except bike-centric, and then on the car-free bridge.
Campus errands took me past a belated Holi dance party today.
On the way back, another plaza was strewn with Wilderness First Aid practice subjects, each with two or three people trying to revive them. I tried to take a photo of that too, but it Failed to Save. :-O
I decided to go with office supplies instead of food for end-of-the-year tokens of appreciation for my co-workers. Conveniently, the smallest-sized binder clips are the same width as washi tape. (Not my original observation; I got it from the internet.)
I have also ordered bright orange labels to make some anti-Trump stickers. A mock-up:
I plan to carry them and stick them on whatever images of Donald Trump cross my path. Let me know if you’d like a sheet! Typography suggestions are also welcome. I considered Highway Gothic but haven’t actually seen it much on work-zone kinds of signs.
This morning I had time for coffee at the university library before work. Always nice to hang out with the copper beech. An eraser was also provided. (There was no whiteboard nearby.)
We decided to go to the beach, maybe the river beach. My boss Diane found my orange flip-flops from the dollar store and declared them perfect, she would wear these. The others went out to the car and I was in the kitchen putting my shoes on. The music from the end of Star Wars was playing, the award ceremony part, and I picked up a Star Wars novel on the kitchen table and started reading it.
Diane burst back into the room, going WHY ARE YOU CRYING? I’m not crying, I said, I was reading longer than I thought. Sorry, I know, everybody’s waiting, sorry.
Yesterday my boss and I went out to a rural-ish suburb to conduct a focus group of elementary school teachers and see what they thought of the after-school program. The school draws from a low-income area, and about half the kids speak Spanish at home. Near the end of our session, my boss told the teachers to forget about the grant and its constraints–if the sky’s the limit, what would you ask for to help the kids at your school?
The first answer–and it got a lot of uh-huhs and nods of agreement–was a bus. A dedicated bus, so they wouldn’t have to request one through the district transportation office, which never has them available. They could put the kids on the bus and get them out into the world, go to OMSI, do field trips.
They also told us about how some of the third-graders are getting to partner with an indoor soccer club this year. It’s a huge hit, because the kids are part of the group out there with all the other kids. It brought home to me how hard it is for poor families to get out much or even feel like they’re part of what’s going on.
Yesterday I helped out at a focus group in an elementary school. I’d been looking forward to the cute little chairs and the restrooms labeled Boys and Girls instead of Men and Women, but man, I forgot how much instructional signage there is! There were signs on the wall about how to listen from your seat, how to listen from the rug, and how to enter the library. (Eyes open, feet walking, voice quiet, a couple of other pointers, I forget.) In the cafeteria there were posters about how to fill your plate with the different food groups, how exactly to wash your hands, how to have good lunchroom manners. (If you drop food on the floor, pick it up and throw it away.)
There were instructions on how to respond to bullying and how to address conflicts. There were exhortations to read, but overall hardly any of the writing on the wall was about academics.
It’s a nice homey school, with art all over the place and a spacious library. But all the signage gave me a weird feeling of Cult of Rules, Cult of Written Instruction And Policies. Maybe part of it is knowing that some kids are at school from eight in the morning until quarter to six at night (the after-school program provides dinner before the bus ride home). If I were a student there, I might want to willfully forget how to read.
I replaced my damaged Scarlatti keyboard sonatas CD with one by Dubravka Tomsic. I’ve always liked listening to Scarlatti while I work– I remember a happy snowy morning of geometry homework and Scarlatti when we were doing compass and straight-edge. Yes, trisecting an angle for fame and fortune, I will get right on that! And Scarlatti is in the subset of my writing music that Sanguinity can tolerate when we’re at home writing together. (Russian men’s chorus, no. Enya’s Shepherd Moon definitely no, although it always works because I wrote my whole thesis to it. Cristina Branco yes.) Anyway, I think this version and I will become friends just fine.
Many of our tomatoes were volunteers this year, but they made it and the orange cherry-sized ones are especially nice. Some split skins because of the sudden rains.
Sanguinity took me for pho last night and the restaurant’s TV was showing the Emmys. I hadn’t seen any of the comedies. Remember when the best TV was sit-coms and the Friends cast made more money than any actors ever? When I stayed at a hotel alone this summer and channel-surfed before going to sleep, none of the reruns I clicked through held up to the test of time except Frasier. That surprised me, because I got pretty sick of Frasier when it was being broadcast.
I’m supposed to go to a strike captains’ training tomorrow because my union may go on strike Monday. But even though the union’s good about providing food, I am a very hard sell for meetings that last over an hour. No way 5:30 to 8:30 is going to work for me.