Petunia had two camps, both of which she really liked. They each had about one hour of online meeting time and some things to do on her own. One camp was Small Pet Photography, and the online time was spent building props for taking pictures with small pets. She mostly did that camp on her own, although she needed my help building a lightbox during the camp time on Thursday and making some tiny hamster-safe "pancakes" Wednesday night. We took the pictures on Thursday evening, when Daisy was awake. I shared a bunch of the pictures on Twitter. Here's another one:
Between the camp assisting and being really tired because Petunia's been having nightmares (and who can blame her, really?) I did not have a very productive work day on Thursday. I made up for it yesterday, but only by getting back online after dinner to do some more work.
The other camp was a camp about marine biology. There were some hands-on activities during the online sessions, including one where they made seashells and fossils out of salt clay. There were class discussions, too, which she enjoyed. But for this camp, she asked if someone could sit at the table with her during the online session. She says it is easier for her to concentrate on the online class if she has a grown up at the table with her. I think she's right, and so we try to accommodate this as much as we can. Luckily, this camp's online session was from noon until 1 p.m., so mostly I listened in while I ate lunch and then got my laptop and worked with the sound of five kids discussing marine biology with their teacher in the background. I also routinely work at the table while she does her online art class.
This will probably need to be part of our solution for how to make online schooling work for her, but it presents ergonomic and scheduling problems. Namely, I can't do more than about an hour on the laptop at a time. I have an old repetitive strain injury and need my ergonomic set up at my desk. And my husband and I are both in a lot of meetings during the day. This is just the nature of our jobs: I am a project manager and he is a software team lead, and so we both have jobs that involve a lot of coordinating and communicating. We're thinking about how best to get Petunia the company she needs while still doing our jobs. I think it is going to require a lot of coordinating and communicating. This was the week that really made it clear that it was going to be really important that we figure this out.
And then, on Friday, I received a work announcement of a change in expectations about our timecards. I don't want to go into details, because I don't think it is necessarily a bad policy per se, but the timing is a bit tone deaf. It is a change that would be fine and even good in normal times and is going to be difficult to make while also having to work with my kids at home. I read the email and thought "there is no way I'm going to be able to do that consistently once school starts." I have one suggestion that will make it a little better, which I will make next week. And then I will do my best and see what happens. There are a couple other companies that have reached out and tried to recruit me recently, and a couple more I think might be interested if I contacted them... and our family finances are in really good shape right now for reasons I am also not going to go into. So I'll be fine, no matter what ends up happening with this new policy.
But I am frustrated and tired and could use a break from having to figure things out. Looking ahead, I don't see this improving until we get a new federal government and so I had better figure out how to be OK with being frustrated, tired, and in need of a break because that's not going to change.
So anyway, I am in need of some unwinding this weekend. We'll see if I get it.
We're also looking to make some more donations this weekend (see comment above about our finances being in good shape) but given my current status of "tired of figuring things out" I am not sure where we should send our money. We've already sent to our food bank and our local relief fund multiple times. Anyone have good ideas about where to send our money next? I'm thinking maybe Modest Needs, but if you have ideas put them in the comments.
And now, for some links. Given my hamster photo shoot assistant duties and other activities during the week, I don't have that many for you. Here's what I have:
Joel Anderson's piece on the hypocrisy of people calling John Lewis a hero while also working against voting rights is really good.
I always read Rebecca Traister. Her piece on the reporting on the speech Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez gave this week in response to Ted Yoho's insult and not-really-an-apology is excellent.
I found this article, "American Exceptionalism Was Our Pre-existing Condition" to be really well done. I continue to think about the choices Americans have about what we do next, what we learn from this crisis and our response to it, and how we take that forward into changes we could make to our society. I think a lot is riding on what Americans do next and I have no idea what that will be. The world could really benefit if we choose to use this crisis point to change our approach to climate change, for instance. If we do that, we could truly make a better world, but I want us all to remember we could have made that change without so many lost and altered lives. Our failed pandemic response will never be anything except a tragedy, even if it is what finally causes us to find a way to stand up to the forces of disinformation and find out way through to building a more sustainable society.
This is a good piece on some of the challenges of being a parent right now.
Emily Stewart's piece about the utter failure of our economic response to the pandemic is depressing, but worth your time.
There was a lot of focus on the new CDC guidance about opening schools, and some reports that it was modified by the White House (not good!) but the CDC also put out a more detailed and informative document about school reopening. I think there are still some really good scientists at the CDC doing everything they can to get useful information out. The undermining of the CDC but the political clowns we have in charge is one of the tragedies of this time, because it is going to play out in so many ways as we face future issues.
Jessica Calarco turned her good thread about the "school pods" that some parents are forming into an article, and it is also good. But the most important piece is that class sizes need to be small, whether we are doing online school or trying to get back to in person school. That requires federal funding and honestly I doubt we're going to get it. Don't get me wrong, I will contact my representatives and push for it, but the Republicans in the Senate couldn't even agree on their own plan for extending the extra unemployment insurance and the White House is pushing to making school funding contingent on reopening for on campus classes, so I am not hopeful that we're going to get the funding required to allow for small online class sizes, at least until January.
This is a good thread about why we need to start hedging our bets on our pandemic response:
And this is another good short thread about that:1. I am optimistic about the prospects for an effective Covid vaccine within a reasonable timeframe.— Carl T. Bergstrom (@CT_Bergstrom) July 24, 2020
Through phase 2 of numerous trials, nothing has gone spectacularly wrong.
(I've written about a caveat here: https://t.co/mDrFSZThG0.)
The framing is that we need a Plan B in case a vaccine fails— Ed MD (@notdred) July 24, 2020
But the vaccine is already Plan B. Plan A is supposed to be: control and suppress the spread
Plan C is therapeutics including antibody therapies and small-molecule antivirals
We need good leadership to execute these. https://t.co/vaastcRHng
Here's your weekly bunny:
Have a good weekend, everyone!