The Corona Diaries Week 26 - Darkness

Darkness covered everything. The sky, the news, my heart.

I had a tough week. I've been working on better physical fitness in a variety of ways this summer with very little to measurably show for it and it was frustrating as hell, culminating in me tripping, (while jogging which I'm adding back into my routine) and scraping up my knee and the palm of one hand. (I posted a picture at the bottom of my skinned knee - be warned if you don't like to see a bit of blood.)

It's hard not to feel punished for trying to do all the right things. Especially when it was on day 2 of getting Harper out and moving before school. I had been looking for a way to get her more physically active and one way is to get out before school and do a walk or a bike ride. Tuesday she had suggested jogging down to the bagel store to get bagels for her and Kurt. Cool! So she and I did and when we were almost to the bagel store, I tripped on the curb while crossing the street.

A lot of self loathing seems to just pop right out when something like that happens. And I let myself feel shitty for a few days. It happened on Tuesday and I finally came out of that gloom on Friday. Some of you know I'm a starry eyed optimist and I mostly am, though it's been extra challenging to be so in these last six months.

Oh yeah, it's been six months since our lock down.

So did I find a silver lining to me falling on my proverbial ass? Yes. I found I was hardly sore at all from falling. I braced with my left arm so those shoulder muscles were sore the next afternoon, but that was it. Maybe my extra efforts in physical fitness did pay off. Fine. But did the universe have to make me TRIP AND FALL to discover this?

There is a metaphor for "bringing me down to earth" somewhere in there, but I can't make it work. You tell me.

The physical world exacerbated my interior world's gloom with smoky yellow skies all week. Either Tuesday or Wednesday was the day that was most oppressive. I couldn't ever tell what time it was, and while not nearly as dramatic as Northern California with its Blade Runner skies, it was enough to feel smothered. This is from Monday morning, when you could see the sun. It got worse before it got slightly better by Sunday when there was an actual bit of sunshine, but it's still bad.

IMG_4278

I felt shitty this week, but at least we are not under evacuation warnings like friends closer to the fires burning east of Pasadena.

So what did I do to distract myself? Over the holiday weekend (Labor Day) the texting group I work with was closed. So I wrote postcards for Amy McGrath in Kentucky. During the week I worked a whole bunch of shifts as moderator with the group and that makes me feel good, feel useful, feel busy.

IMG_4296

This message on my walk path bolsters my resolve to keep working hard for positive change.

IMG_4308

School continued to build momentum, becoming a routine that Harper is getting used to (and me too). I made school lunches more fun by going old school with cafeteria trays.

IMG_4282

Harper was so excited to make her own lunch the day they came. Animal crackers, cucumbers, green juice, cereal and smoked trout. Not sure if it's a well balanced meal, but hey, she ate it!
IMG_4282

I had a hot dog with apples. Water to drink.
IMG_4282

I made lunch one day for her and found a little more balance. I think.

IMG_4309

I don't have a picture of it, but during the 1/2 hour for lunch they get, Harper likes to sit on the couch, coffee table pulled close to her, lunch tray at hand, knees up, book on lap. Reading and eating. Fantastic.

Harper and Kurt did some chemistry experiments from the kit Harper got the week before. Safety goggles and apron in place.

IMG_3955

IMG_4297

Harper also drew a picture in the thank you card to Kelly, sender of the chemistry kit. (Picture is of the box the kit came in)

IMG_4287

The day before my fall, Harper and I went out for a bike ride.

IMG_4290

We rode to school and visited Arnie, the best dog. He lives a block from school and we would always stop to pet him on our way in on regular school days. We miss Arnie. Then I made us ride around the school block three times for an extra bit of cycling.
IMG_4290

On our way back, Harper had to stop and rest. Which cracks me up as it's really not that far.
IMG_4290

School. (with cat in box)

62146131978__DD92D646-F0B8-4C37-B358-108305883C1C

Other artwork this week included this waterwork.

IMG_3961

This image she drew of her playing Roblox via Zoom with her friend Violet last weekend. (Harper is allowed to play Roblox once a week with friends.) I like the wheels on the chair.

IMG_4304

But my favorite was from her after school art class on Thursdays. They are learning about Magritte and doing paintings after his. Here is Harper's:

IMG_4314

Based on Magritte's Sky Birds.

Magritte3997 Magrittebird

I put her painting in a spot where I can see it from my desk.

Last year she did a painting based on Picasso that blew our minds. And yes we had it framed.

IMG_4332

I'm going to keep on encouraging (and signing her up for) art classes.

Harper found more money in her room and promptly bought a new toy. "I guess I still like dolls." She said.

IMG_4318

Willoughby has been very affectionate lately. Not sure if she's forgiven us for Mr. Biscuit or if she's just softening me up to make it easier to murder me in my sleep.

IMG_4302
IMG_4302

More outside time for Mr. B and Willoughby. He discovered her in the tree but has not figured out how to climb it.

IMG_4317
IMG_4317
IMG_4317

We went to the bike park on Saturday, just the three of us, just to get out of the house after being kept in by smoky apocalyptic skies for so long. No pics, but we had a nice time playing petanque (or bocce, whichever language you prefer). We were invited to a kid's birthday party for this coming weekend, but said no as it was going to be too many kids/parents. Even with the invite saying "masks and social distancing." Couldn't do it. Not going to tell Harper she missed it. Ugh. So tough, but after the last get together with some of the kids/parents and us being the only mask wearers, we just have to say no.

I also spent the weekend working very hard on sending texts out with the text group. We did a huge program on vote by mail education in Florida and Georgia. I also did a lot of hours working in the slack texting group, moderating and helping other volunteers. That felt good. Lots more of that this week as well.

I am healing myself with lots of houseplants. (The ones in the far background are fake, but make a lovely splash of green nonetheless.) I'm going to ask Kurt to get me another little plant (like the one in front here) today when he goes to TJs. They make me so happy and the peace Lily has TWO flowers on it now!

62119343166__02110414-B786-4708-BCFB-09DE90119E2A

P E A C E.

 

Warning....slightly scraped and bloody kneed image below. Not as gruesome as you imagine.

x

x

x

x

x

 

IMG_4306


The Corona Diaries Week 25 - It's About Patience

I hate being patient.

Yes, I am also an 8 year old kid this week. And jeez, what was I JUST saying last week? This too shall pass. Well. I was in no mood for that this past week. I tortured myself looking at fantasy real estate I can't afford and vacation rentals I can't go to. Ugh. Why did I torture myself so?

Anyway.

Big excitement last week was that Kurt and I got a new mattress for our bed. The old one was lumpy and needed the heave ho. So we got a mattress in a box from Amazon Basics. We've slept on it for three nights now and it's fine. Not wildly different, but much more even!

IMG_4226
IMG_4226

Harper didn't realize she was mimicking Mr. Biscuit behind her.
IMG_4226

We left it in the living room to air out and fluff up. The cats were ON IT instantly.
IMG_4226
IMG_4226

Then it came time to switch the old mattress out - which we did. And the cats WERE OBSESSED with the box spring underneath. They would not MOVE.

IMG_3940

I was waiting for the all clear.
IMG_3940

Even after we put down the dust ruffle, the cats were right back on it.
IMG_3940

Cats are so weird. They finally moved and we got the bed back together and made.

Last weekend Harper got some park bike play time and a nice visit with our friend's very very very wonderful dog.

62051982598__9BE7B341-05F4-4E43-8715-4F2491BAFA9A

She came prepared with snacks to give the other girls in a bag that she added handles to. Nice girl.

IMG_4206

Harper is a very very very lucky person. She got two, count them TWO gift boxes this week! One from my friend Kelly who is the Co-Founder of Yellow Scope Science Kits for Girls. I totally dig the kid size safety goggles!

62104462956__935F862E-666E-4FD2-A98D-3B6F225A3286

62104462956__935F862E-666E-4FD2-A98D-3B6F225A3286

We have yet to do the experiment in that one yet. Harper also has an amazing grandma - Gammo - who sent a new subscription book box. It also came with an experiment - making a battery out of lemons to light up a little LED light.

IMG_4230

IMG_4239

Apparently the lemons we had on hand had run out of juice...No light.
IMG_4239

Harper made a new mocktail creation this week: Rainbow Palooza!

IMG_4247

On Friday afternoon, Kurt and Harper rode bikes over to a friend's house who has a tree with a ton of oranges. They picked so many oranges that it made about a quart of juice! And all of it has been drunk already. But apparently the tree is overloaded so they can go back and get more.

IMG_4250
IMG_4250

I did a thing last week. Twice I put on my roller skates and skated back and forth on our little front patio for five minute at a time. I thought I might do this a few times and get my wheels under me and then advance out to the bike path. But you know what? I found I was really not comfortable. Even four years ago when I took lessons every Saturday for a few months, outside the rink, I was not comfortable. The roller skating muscle memory from small kid time just never kicked back in (like it did with tennis). So I tried again and then decided, yup, I'm okay with not roller skating.

IMG_4200

Mr. Biscuit got more outdoor time. He's still cautious and not relaxed out there yet, maybe because we added the Willoughby factor into his outdoor excursions.

IMG_4223
IMG_4223

There are birds up there...
IMG_4223
IMG_4223
IMG_4223

He's just a big galoot.
IMG_4223

Grace recently turned me on to one of my now favorite memes:

Rangoon mother

Then I caught this scene in the dining room and it made me laugh, thinking of the above.

IMG_4215

The rangoon, mother.
IMG_4223

Back to his favorite spot.
IMG_4223

And when all the bedding was washed and dried and waiting for us to switch out mattresses, well, someone had to lie in it.IMG_4223
IMG_4223

We ordered in sushi again last week, this time with one extra roll which turned out to be about three pieces too many. Crazy, I know. Sushi is SO GOOD.

IMG_4252

And this last weekend (Labor Day weekend) has been a major heat wave on the West Coast. So of course Harper put on her long sleeved/long panted PJs and made hot tea. ???

IMG_4260

But the next day she made this bathing suit/wet suit combo...
IMG_4260

...and splashed about in the pool (after removing 2/3 of the combo)
IMG_4260

Hot day, cool water, frozen treat.
IMG_4260

We rigged up curtains to block the full west afternoon sun in preparation for an outdoor visit from a friend. I'm not sure if it really helped at all, but shade was much better than full sun. Ooof it was hot. Thank the gods we got AC four years ago.
IMG_4260

School is going along, ramping up to full speed. This was one sweet afternoon as Harper did her grammar/language school work. I look forward to more times spent like this. It gives me the warm/fuzzies.

IMG_4221

 

Patience.

 


These Pandemic Times

I sent this as a comment on a friend's blog post and wanted to copy it here. It seemed to fit. 
 
We've had a crash course in surviving a pandemic, then to be sent back to "real life" from the before times must be so stressful. I had a zoom call with an old friend from high school. We've seen each other in recent years once or twice. But we had such a lovely relaxed zoom call that later I half panicked about not wearing a mask when I spoke to her. It happened a few times! Which tells me 3 things:
1) zoom is super normal now, so normal that a one on one call can feel "real"
2) mask wearing is a good habit I have now
3) it was such a nice engaging conversation I had with my friend that I felt like we were together. Thanks Courtney!
 
Pandemic life is weird.
 
As an addendum to that above comment, as I was writing this I thought about my blogger friends. I know I've been focused on documenting Covid Life every week, but what more have they been writing about. Is there more to blog about? Uh no. Because:
 
 
Yes, my GenX brain did just spit out lyrics from the Thompson Twins. Things are completely different from top to bottom and normal will not be what it once was.
 
401ee12a40a248af9150858755289c41.1000x965x1

The Corona Diaries Week 24 - Getting Into A School Groove

With school getting rolling (and the teachers and students are taking our time getting rolling which is a good thing) I realize that what Harper (and the entire world of 8 year olds) is missing by not going to actual school is the autonomy and independence she would be building on from last year. This is part of the whole socialization thing, I realize, but sharing an office with her made me realize it even more. She has to be in school with me being in the room most of the time. I've arrange the desks so she can't see me at least and hopefully that helps somewhat. Plus just getting used to it will help as well. At least that's what I remember from being in shared work spaces - you just tune out all the people around you.

IMG_4124

The week was momentous for the whole Frey family as we got our hair cut! First Harper washed her hair and I helped her comb it out, then stick it in a bun as she she had an after school zoom class while Kurt and I got our hairs cut.

IMG_4168

It was an outside, all masks affair.
IMG_4168
IMG_4168

I even got a little bit of a blow out!
IMG_4168

Harper and I haven't had our hair cut since December. Kurt not since I cut his in April (was it April?). Our stylist does a fantastic job of having super clean/sterilized capes and scissors and etc. She constantly wiped down the stuff she used and cut our hair as much as she could without being in our face. Tough with Kurt's hair though, but she kept it as minimum as possible. Overall it was just refreshing to have tidy hair again!

School lunches are interesting around here. Harper made her own one day. I promise she also ate green things for breakfast and a snack! Her favorite thing right now is edamame. (not pictured)

IMG_4195

I made a super lettuce-y sammich for myself with garbanzo bean salad (like tuna salad but with beans.) It was yummy!
IMG_4195

One night we made snacks for dinner and Harper did her own plate complete with a monster eating cheddar bunnies.
IMG_4195

Another night was pizza roll ups which Harper was so happy to help with and seemed excited about! I thought they came out yummy! But she ate half of one, Kurt ate one and then no one ate the leftovers except me during the week. So okay fine.
IMG_4195
IMG_4195
IMG_4195

We made up for it by having damn good sushi delivered. I could have eaten all of this myself, but held back. I hope we get to do it again this week. What a treat!
IMG_4195

Mr. Biscuit got a lot more time outdoors as his training continues (not pictured). As does the yowling when he gets put back indoors (not recorded). We did catch Mr. B and Willoughby hanging out as though they get a long... but these sessions don't last too long.

IMG_4154
IMG_4154

Willoughby seems so small now!
IMG_4154

Biscuit has found a new sleep spot - on Kurt's jeans in the closet. He's pretty damn cute.

IMG_3916
IMG_3916

I had to go to the Post Office to mail off a baby gift to friends and HAD to buy these GORGEOUS stamps.

IMG_4182

Kurt introduced Harper and me to one of his favorite games as a kid. A game he played with his brother. There might be a name for it, but basically it's States Darts or something. You throw handmade darts (they grew up on the pioneer days) at a big map of the US and whoever hits 25 states first wins. Oh my god it takes forever! But Harper had a good time. I kept score. Biscuit kept players on their toes by grabbing them by the leg from time to time.

IMG_4191
IMG_4191
IMG_4191
IMG_4191

Okay yes, secretly it's a great educational tool!

Harper also got some more VR time in.

IMG_4153

Her dolls got settled in.
IMG_4153

I checked on Harper one night before I went to bed and found everyone tucked in and snug. SO cute.
IMG_4153

And then I was talking to my mom and Harper handed me this note. She wanted to chat with Gammo and they did!
IMG_4153

One of her first assignments at school was to talk about PE and what your favorite exercise is and why then draw a picture of it. Harper wrote (and I'll fix the spelling for you):

Go Noodle is my favorite exercise 'cause you get to jump, dance and wiggle around. Also there is lots of channels you can choose. The people who do it are very funny. Good Noodle is amazing!

But the best part is the picture she drew. I just love it. She captured herself from behind, drew the monitor image to be truly behind her and included the zoom gallery of other classmates doing Go Noodle. So good!

IMG_4196

One night before dinner Harper and took a walk around the neighborhood.

IMG_4196

And stopped to smell the roses.
IMG_4196

 


Today I Kicked Ass And It's Only Monday

And I wanted to document it! (Though now it's taken me until Wednesday to finish this!) It was a day where I felt I accomplished a lot of good things that made me feel proud. I ended the day on a high and felt a lot of joy.

*Did my shift at Open Progress Text Out as Leader/Moderator and got TWO AMAZING compliments by two separate people there that just made my whole pandemic.

*Texted a bunch of potential voters as well.

*Exercised

*Picked up books at the library

*Picked up stuff at Target

*Came home and Harper wanted to watch tv (school day so, no). Instead I had her help me make a snack station and two big calendars as she said she didn't know how to read a calendar. She made an August and September calendar.

IMG_4157
IMG_4157

*I made a new log in just for her on the desktop mac and shifted her minecraft account with lots of online search and help from a tech savvy friend. But I DID IT. (there were specific files you had to copy and paste over and it was not so straightforward.)

*I also did revisions on a story and am starting a new story.

*I'm ready for bed!

 


The Corona Diaries Week 23 Part 2 - First Day of School (and more)

Last week I didn't realize how anxious I was about school starting until the second day and I could feel myself getting really impatient and short tempered. Then I realized, oh, right, yes. Crazy Distance Learning Pandemic Third Grade is starting and it's new and weird and nobody is super clear on how it all works yet. And that's okay. I'm allowed, we are all allowed to be flummoxed. New systems to learn, new teachers, new classmates. Whenever I couldn't figure something out, I would start getting really really annoyed, especially with some extremely non-intuitive online school systems that we have to use (OMG SO MANY CLICKS!) then I would just remind myself to let it all go. It's a marathon, not a sprint. A marathon we started in March. I also worked hard to stay positive and calm with Harper so she could ease into school without any of my crap piling on to whatever she might be feeling.

We have talked about how we feel about school still being from home and how frustrating and angry it makes us both. I try to have those "check in" conversations every now and then when we are in a relaxed mood. I hope it helps. I guess none of us will know what has helped or worked until we are years in the future.

By the end of the week I had started thinking - this will be over before we know it, much the same way I feel "the holidays will be here before know it." Maybe it sounds stupid to say it, but it made me feel better that "this too shall pass." I don't believe things will be exactly the same as before, by any means. But when there is a vaccine and standard treatments for Covid-19 then schools and businesses can really open up again and that will feel more normal. We all look forward to that day.

There's an election in November which will be critical to how soon this shall all pass. But let's not even talk about that now. (Though it will be here much sooner than you think!)

Let's talk instead about how Harper invented her own Mocktail. She was pouring herself some watermelon/cucumber juice while there slices of watermelon on the counter. She cut a paper straw in half, garnished with the watermelon and VOILA!

IMG_3993

Sunday before beach day, Mr. Biscuit got more outside training.
IMG_3993
IMG_3993

Willoughby is annoyed she can't supervise from outside.
IMG_3993
IMG_3993

But Willoughby did get some comfy towel drawer time.
IMG_3993

Then Tuesday was the big day! We took our traditional First Day of School picture outside the front door, which of course was kind of a joke this year. Harper got some new t-shirts for Back to School. She chose this one for Day 1.

IMG_4084 2
IMG_4084 2

Then we marched into the "classroom" and took another one.
IMG_4084 2

There she goes. Third Grader starting school.

IMG_4081 2

She started the day with a good breakfast and a pretty one if I do say so myself.

IMG_4078 2

Lunch was also visually stunning.
IMG_4078 2

We rearranged the room a bit to make space for two of us working in the same room. This used to be the guest room, and some day will be again, but for now it's a dual office and so we needed a bit more floor space.

IMG_4083
IMG_4083

Day two included another new Back to School shirt.

IMG_4105 2
IMG_4105 2

And a new spot for food/drinks at her desk.
IMG_4105 2

I had avocado toast with my own cherry tomatoes for lunch!
IMG_4105 2

Late she got to play some VR just for fun.
IMG_4105 2

I got some actual mail! So exciting. The top one was a lovely long letter from a friend in Seattle.

IMG_4096 2
The second was a gift from a friend near Boston! We've known each other for ages and bond over love of donuts. So kind of her!!
IMG_4096 2

Tuesday was Mr. Biscuit's first birthday! What a Big Boy Biscuit! Harper made him a "Cake" which was... uh.... super gross looking! But we split it in two so Willoughby could have some as well and they both loved it.

IMG_4100 2
IMG_4100 2

What do you mean I have to share??
IMG_4100 2

Not as much outside time this week (aside from the big beach day!) as the fires that are burning Southern California are making the air smoky and not good. Also it's h o t so no fun to be out there with heat and smoky air. But, a sprinkler did provide some fun again. (the weather image was from 7am)

IMG_4129 2
IMG_4129 2

We had fun making treats. Had a leftover box of jello so we tried flat jello and cookie cutters. Alas, there must have been too much water as the jello didn't set well. But it make a yummy "drink".

IMG_4118 2

On Saturday we made a chocolate cake - kinda. I had to futz around with the recipe a bit and it came out too dry. But it's still yummy.

IMG_4132 2
Especially when you add whipped cream!
IMG_4118 2

Harper gave me a hairdo!
IMG_4118 2

Biscuit helped clean out under the deck again on one of his training runs. Good boy, Biscuit!

IMG_4118 2
IMG_4118 2

Harper, with a BIG boost from Gammo, was able to save up and buy LOL doll #2! (The blue hair one). It arrived today! I wonder how long those buns will last...(UPDATE: they lasted about 90 minutes.)
IMG_4118 2

I try to get my walk in before it gets too hot and am please when I am rewarded by a visit to this gardenia bush.

61958294801__DC109ADB-2A23-49D6-9F7B-156DFD3DC493 2

Sweet.

Until next week!

OMG I have a third grader!

 

 

 

 


The Corona Diaries Week 23 Part 1 - Last Day of Summer

Last Monday was the Last Day of Summer! We told Harper we would finally go to the beach and she got up and made an important list of what we needed to take:

Umbrela and Shade (not sure if she meant an actual thing that provides shade or snarky asides)

Snaks (food or reptiles?)

plastik cups (Russian?)

bech towel ("like, OMG she's such a bech!")

shvel (It took me a WHILE to figure this one out)

Clearly in third grade we need to work on spelling. And that's okay!

IMG_4038

We went our favorite Santa Monica beach spot in front of the Casa Del Mar Hotel and set up our shade area. It was very cloudy to start and not a ton of people.

IMG_4038

IMG_4038

IMG_4038

IMG_4038

IMG_4038

IMG_4038
The sun started coming out and so did the people, but mostly keeping their distance and mostly wearing masks when walking.

IMG_4038
IMG_4038

The police flew over pretty low a couple of times.

IMG_4072
IMG_4072

A girl's favorite toy at the beach is a shovel! (shvel)
IMG_4072
IMG_4072

I helped her dig a hole with walls.
IMG_4072
IMG_4072

And it all went great for a while, but inevitably at the beach, the ocean takes over.
IMG_4072
IMG_4072

It was a lovely last day of summer to hang out before school started.
IMG_4072

 


The Corona Diaries Week 22 - Third Grade Prep Camp Part 2

That was it.

The last week of summer vacation. Tomorrow (Monday) will be the last day of summer vacation and I think I'll surprise Harper with a trip to the beach. It's finally hot enough and you can legally go and sit. So we'll give it a shot, take some treats to celebrate.

The week was another pretty summery week of lots of tv and video game playing time.

IMG_3978

I sorta planned our week like this:

IMG_3990

With more third grade prep worksheets. Harper would grumble a bit about doing them, but then really set to work and she finished all six weeks of sheets (it wasn't that much, honestly) in the past two weeks. Her spelling is not great, so that's one thing I know to focus on. She and I played tennis and she won $3 for hitting me with the ball. That's a good thing because it means she aimed and hit her target! I got another solid half hour of hitting against the wall and also serve practice. Now that school is starting, it will be harder to get tennis in but I'll try. Oh also, we didn't bike ride AT ALL. Seriously kind of a lazy week. 

We did turn the tv off, I promise. And she was forced (FORCED!) to figure out stuff to do on her own. One afternoon she asked me to play legos with her, I said, I had work do to, sorry. A while later she showed me this. Nice.

IMG_3947
IMG_3947

We also cleaned out her room a bit. I forgot to take before pics as I was just so ready to clean up! But imagine the messy version of what you see here.

IMG_3929
Not quite sure why she saved this for so long (Since last October) but she did and finally said we could toss it. So we did.
IMG_3929
IMG_3929
IMG_3927

She also wrote a fabulous birthday card for our friend who has a snake. A snake eating a hot dog and a hot dog holding up a rainbow. I love this girl's artistic brain.

IMG_3961
IMG_3961

Harper opened up drawers in the hallway and discovered some antiques. Our old cameras and a box of slides I had done for a photography class in the 90's! Then Kurt dug out a slide projector that was his mom's from the 50's! Harper was intrigued.

IMG_3966
IMG_3966
IMG_3966
IMG_3966
IMG_3966

The smell of hot light bulb in a projector is something that stays with you.

But that doesn't mean we didn't do stuff outside! Bought a cheap/cheerful sprinkler which was a hit and also inspired friends on the east coast to do the same for their 6 and 2 year olds!

IMG_3918

 

And some days it was simply float in the pool and eat a popsicle.

IMG_3918
IMG_3918

And with shade.
IMG_3918

We had a wide open park play date with Harper's school mates, that was fun for us all. H insisted we bring the wagon (which she rediscovered in one of the No TV times.) Kurt kept saying to be careful with the wagon as it could tip over easily. I pointed out that when we were 8 we would do crazy shit with wagons without a parent or a helmet anywhere near us.
IMG_3918

As it was Third Grade Prep Week (part 2), I made a trip to Ikea to buy a new desk for me as Harper got my old desk/table for her (she needed more space as she will have a school provided laptop and the desktop we already had). This was the line waiting to get in 5 minutes before opening. Eesh. Luckily it didn't take toooooo long and 99% of people had a mask on and were distancing.

IMG_3953
IMG_3953

All except this Gucci clad jerk. He had a mask hidden in his hoody so he could get in. The woman that was with him also didn't have her mask on. But no one confronted them in line.
IMG_3953

Here are our new desks. I got a tall one for standing/sitting. The chair isn't ideal, but it's a start. Biscuit likes it.
IMG_3953

Speaking of Biscuit - he got more outside time this week. First it was supervised time.

IMG_3924

Look at that face.
IMG_3924

Then, with Willoughby inside, biscuit got to stroll about on his own. He went under the deck and discovered ALL THE COBWEBS that Willoughby either hasn't found or can't reach. We weren't sure what he would do. Luckily he just slowly explored right around the deck. We'll do more soon.
IMG_3924
IMG_3924

I repotted my Italian garden. Lemon and Olive trees. God I miss Italy.
IMG_3924

Harper sported some looks this week. She was a cat one night.

IMG_3981

Then ready to face the world another day.
IMG_3981

Watermelon came in handy this week. I'll get another one as this heat wave will be continuing.

IMG_3944
IMG_3944

The city is redoing some corner sidewalks and on my walk the other day I saw this stamped into it. Kinda cool.

IMG_3982

The week ended on Saturday night with some homemade pizza and some home made margarita.

IMG_3985

IMG_3986

IMG_3985
IMG_3985

Fortifying myself for the coming week of school ahead. THIRD GRADE VIA ZOOM!

Cheers?

 


The Corona Diaries Week 21 - Third Grade Prep Camp Part 1

Another quiet week of summer. Another week of cool weather, which has been refreshing since LA normally starts to get hot in August/September/October. So far, not too bad, which suits me just fine.

The big thing that happened this week was Kurt had a birthday! He usually likes it pretty quiet anyway, so pandemic lock-down rules suit him just fine. We had a nice family celebration. Harper wrapped his three big presents all by herself. She worked so hard and did a great job!

IMG_3867

I was especially impressed with her ampersands!
IMG_3867

She also drew him a new family picture.

IMG_3909

I wrapped the bottle...
IMG_3867
IMG_3867

Kurt has a childhood favorite pie - Strawberry Cream Pie - which Harper and I made for him. The ingredients are SOOOOOOO old school. I maybe have blogged about this before because "Dream Whip" always freaks me out. A package of white powder that you add milk and vanilla and sugar to and whip up with a mixer? Oh and + Jello. Yikes. The amount of sugar in this dessert is mind numbing. BUT! It's Kurt's favorite so we had to make it.

IMG_3887
IMG_3887
IMG_3887
IMG_3887

Et voila.
IMG_3887

Once you cut into it, it's a giant jello-y mess.
IMG_3887

We didn't have any candles so Harper improvised as we sang Happy Birthday.

IMG_3895
IMG_3895

Then the Birthday Boy got to enjoy a Pimm's Cup (the bottle gift was Pimm's.)
IMG_3895
IMG_3895

It was a lovely celebration.

In ten days Harper will start Third Grade. We have an idea of what it will look like as all of LAUSD is starting with distance learning this fall, as it was in the spring. But we don't have exact details about what it will actually be like yet. We will find all that out in the coming week. LAUSD had sent out a booklet of worksheets for over the summer to help keep up with the school work. I decided to have Harper do some prep to get her back into the mindset of math and grammar and reading comprehension. I was going to do more (see the "oral reports") but I got lazy with it and she just did sheets almost every day. This coming week I'll do that as well.

IMG_3910

We did play tennis again and that made me very happy. We have another court booked this coming week as well. I need new tennis balls! We have a giant bag of tennis balls, even some unopened cans of them, but they are all much older than Harper so even the unopened ones are not great. I'll get around to new balls later.

Since putting up bird feeders outside our window I've become obsessed with them. 100% of the birds that came are house finches. BUT THEN! A new bird arrived. I downloaded an app for bird ID (Merlin) and discovered that it is a Black Headed Grosbeak. It came around for a couple of days, but I haven't seen it since. The Merlin app says it is uncommon to see one here. So that's cool!

IMG_3875

This little finch has a funky beak. I've seen it come and go often.

IMG_3875
I put up a hummingbird feeder as well, but all my pictures of it this morning are terrible. Going to wait until the day goes on and retake. The Hummies quickly took advantage!

With all this bird activity, the cats, especially Biscuit, go bananas. He would move from window to window, walking all over our desks and knocking things over. So we put up a little shelf, a catwalk, if you will, so the beast could have his own route.

IMG_3901

BUT HE WON'T WALK ON IT! He took a couple steps and went right back to the desks. Not sure why he's spooked by it. It's pretty solid. We'll give him time to keep trying.
IMG_3901
Willoughby was on it and totally casual. She's a grown up.
IMG_3901

IMG_3877 2

Harper made Biscuit a new box/bed.
IMG_3877 2

He is a box cat through and through.
IMG_3877 2

A neighborhood feline spotted near our driveway. Looks different than the little black and white one I saw last week.
IMG_3877 2

On the schedule above you might have spotted the "Make Butter" item. We made butter! Why? SOMETHING ELSE TO DO. Luckily it was via cuisinart so it didn't take forever. And the instructions I found were great because it made me realize that butter is what happens AFTER whipped cream. The heavy cream becomes whipped then you keep going and blammo! Butter.

IMG_3869
IMG_3869

Then you put iced cold water into it and run it some more, replacing the water until it comes out clear. Then you put the butter in a jar and shake it around to work out the last of the water.
IMG_3869
IMG_3869

THEN YOU EAT IT! mmmm. It takes like butter and also faintly of whipped cream (unsweetened whipped cream). Mmmm butter.
IMG_3869

While it's not blazing hot yet (yay) we enjoy dinner outside more often. Also, I worked to rearrange the lanai for this purpose. However, we did a very last minute dinner outside so the red bucket never got moved. Or the old pez things or the pool toys. Life.

IMG_3897

One more week before school starts. This coming week will be busy with cleaning out drawers, shelves, etc. and also coming up with a new desk set up for Harper. We'll see how it goes!

 

 

 


The Corona Diaries Week 20 - Mom Is Tired Of Camp Camp

Weirdly, time seems to be flying lately. For months it was     S     L     O     W     and now the weeks seem to hum along. Not sure if we are just getting used to it, or if the anticipation for school starting and other fall activities is making time move along again. It's not like "normal" - let's be real about that. But I kind of like it better.

One thing that helps is the volunteering with Open Progress which I mentioned before. I have moved up to Pro level and they asked if I was interested in becoming a volunteer leader to help with training and moderating in the slack support group. I said yes immediately. November is coming fast and it is so important to turn state houses blue, to elect democratic AGs and of course flip the senate and the White House. YOU CAN HELP TOO! Click here to learn more about it and to sign up. There is a lot of work to do and we can do it together!.

After two weeks of Art Camp and Science Camp, my camp fuel tank was empty so we had "Summer" last week. Harper got to watch a bit more tv and play a lot more minecraft. We had bike rides and bike play dates and even tennis a couple times.

IMG_3786

The garden is still growing, I have zucchinis that are started but not ready yet, and cherry tomatoes that are started but not ready yet. The beans are getting tired. And for some stupid reason I had bought/planted bell peppers. But I had remembered doing it years ago and there being ONE pepper that grew. Same thing this time. I think also the bugs LOVE the bell pepper plant which doesn't help. So, one pepper grew and I was waiting for it to turn red because I don't like the green flavor.

And it finally did turn red. And Mr. Grasshopper seems to be enjoying it so that's great. Happy I can feed the world. Ugh.

IMG_3787

Luckily Debra had a gorgeous tomato to share with me which I devoured.
IMG_3787

While there is still much growling and hissing from Willoughby, the cats are getting along better and better. Sleeping near each other on the bed, being in the same room without fighting. It's nice. I know one day I'll catch them snuggling and that will be a banner day.

IMG_3790
IMG_3790

The most exciting day was when Kurt and I were both reading on the big bed and the cats were both there and then this happened:

We thought FOR SURE Willoughby would attack. But no! Progress.

IMG_3790

Careful, there, Willoughby.
IMG_3790

There was some bike riding around the neighborhood. Harper wanted to see the back alleys of Rancho Park. She found them very bumpy.

IMG_3800
IMG_3800

And we played Tennis! It was so nice to get out and do something sporty. Harper had a week of tennis camp last summer and I was looking forward to having her do more this summer, but this will have to do.
IMG_3800
IMG_3800
IMG_3800

She did remember some stuff:

Tennis Tangent:

I was lucky to learn how to play tennis when I was about Harper's age. We lived on Oahu and Punahou had summer camps and I had tennis for probably a week(?). Back in the days when the racquets were made of wood and the kid's racquets had a short handle. I remember vividly being told we were going to learn how to volley. The instructor asked if anyone knew how and one kid raised their hand. The rest of us got behind him. Then we moved to Maui and we could sometimes play at the club. Jen and I would hit balls around. In the summer time when we had to go visit my dad and stepmom and older sisters, Jen and I would go the tennis courts at the Waikoloa clubhouse. I think my Dad and Stepmom were living in the condos there while their house was being built (this part is fuzzy). But I remember so clearly playing with Jen and she liked to play for real, not just rally around.  She loved yelling "Advantage Jen!"

I feel like we played a lot. We watched a lot of tennis too. Someone had a tennis racquet called Miss Chris after Chrissy Everet. (click for bigger)

MissChris

All that to say I'm so grateful to have played so much as a kid (Thanks Mom!) because that muscle memory is STRONG. I might not be fleet of foot or have very good grip strength at my age, but my body knows where to go and I can build those two things again. It feels good and I want to play more - which we will as I've booked two more hours at the courts, one this week and one next. And I got lucky booking the court with one open side and one end has the cement wall that you can play alone against. This is helpful when Kurt and Harper are playing on the other side and I can play against the wall. Tennis makes me happy.

Speaking of Happy: Harper saved and earned money to buy a doll - this one to be exact - and she is sooooooo happy. She did promptly undo the detailed hairdo...as you do when you are eight. Now she's saving up for another one. I'll take pics of the doll this week. She's been playing with it non stop. I love that.

IMG_3846

We had a bike play date with friends from school.
IMG_3846

More backyard blow up pool time.
IMG_3846
IMG_3846
IMG_3846

Then a park play date with masks and bikes and kites. I had to tell the three girls to not sit SO close to each other a couple of times. I apologized to the other moms there, but they were fine with it.
IMG_3846
IMG_3846

And Harper cleaned out her shoes. She still has plenty and then asked for more. Uh. No. If we were actually going back to school, then probably when the other shoes were fully destroyed, but now? Not so much.
IMG_3846

Had some gourmet lunch one day.

IMG_3807
IMG_3807
IMG_3807

I baked a bundt poundcake. OMG
IMG_3807

There was a Saturday Night Gin and Tonic or two. Refreshing.
IMG_3807

And that about sums up the week. xoxo