Saturday, February 27, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Hanging In Edition

Back when my kids were in the baby and toddler years, I had a rule: No major life-altering decisions could be made while I was sleep deprived. I had to at least get a weekend of good naps in before I could make a decision.

I think I need a similar rule now. No major life-altering decisions can be made while... and here's the problem. I don't know what the second half of that rule should be. Until we get at least a weekend away somewhere to try to really relax? Until I'm vaccinated? I don't know. I am tired and burned out but I know that a lot of the reason for that is due to things that I cannot change and so making any decisions to change other things is unlikely to either help or be the right long term move.

But still, I am tired and burned out and it will probably be at least a couple of months before I can be vaccinated... so I need to figure something out. 

I am trying to focus on the good things: We have started vaccinating teachers here, and if our case count continues to go down our schools will reopen on April 12. Petunia is oscillating between being super excited about that and being so worried we'll mess up, case counts will go back up, and it won't happen that she can't sleep. 

Our weather has been beautiful lately, so hammock time is a possibility again.

The next Annorlunda Books release comes out Wednesday! Early reviews of Lagoonfire, by Francesca Forrest, have all been good, and I am excited for release day.

So, there are good things! But pandemic fatigue is real. The Germans apparently have a word for it: coronamรผde

Even New Zealanders, who have been dealing with fewer restrictions than we have, are feeling it, I think. They are having a hard time getting everyone to follow the rules in their latest cluster, and so Auckland has had to go back to their Level 3 lockdown. Reading the pandemic news from New Zealand is a good reminder that even with a government who handled it well and circumstances that allow for fairly normal life to continue, the pandemic is exhausting. I hope they get this latest cluster stamped out soon. Vaccinations have started there, but are currently focused on border workers and the staff at the managed isolation hotels

On climate change... I wish everyone would really understand this:

Ezra Klein's interview with Leah Stokes and David Wallace-Wells had another way of looking at this that really struck me: we can choose to avoid climate change, adapt to it, or to suffer. It is really upsetting that we seem mostly to be choosing to suffer. That suffering is not evenly distributed, and so I think a lot of well-off, comfortable people think it won't eventually come to them. But they are wrong, and by the time they realize that it will be largely too late to avoid climate change (although we can always make choices to stop it from getting worse!) and the costs to adapt will be much higher.

The entire interview is really good, and I recommend it.

Josh Marshall had a really good essay on why we need a commission to investigate the events of January 6 and why we can't let Republicans derail it. (I just discovered I can get shareable links for the members-only articles at TPM and am trying it out...)

And here are some things that made me smile this week:

Musical tourism (sitting on the sofa watching music videos from around the world) continues to be something we enjoy. Over at Adjusted Latitudes, I wrote about one of my favorite of our recent stops: Latvia.

Every time one of Xavi Bou's photos of bird flight comes across my feed, I am struck by how beautiful it is. Here is an article about how he makes these pictures.

This cat!

This adorable hamster!

Here's your bunny of the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Weekend Reading: Just a Few Links Edition

I stayed up too late last night watching the final three episodes of Picard. So I am tired today, but have no one to blame but myself. I enjoyed the series, but it didn't quite do what The Mandalorian did for me, which is give me something I genuinely looked forward to each week. I can't really say why The Mandalorian did that and Picard didn't. I think it might just have been baby yoda.

Anyway, it is going to be a beautiful weekend here, so nice that it may be warm enough for some hammock time tomorrow. It feels weird to be looking forward to hammock time when so much of the country is still freezing, and Texas is recovering from a catastrophe. I am heartbroken by the stories of people who have died due to the winter storm and failure of the electric grid. 

As I read the news from Texas, I found myself thinking of the opening scenes from Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future, in which a terrible heat wave kills hundreds of thousands of people in India. We aren't to that level of climate catastrophe yet, but we will get there if we don't take action - both to reduce carbon emissions to slow down climate change and to prepare our public and private infrastructure for the coming disasters. 

We need to elect better leaders who will take the threat seriously and take action to prepare us instead of just trolling their political opponents on social media.  Much has been written about what Ted Cruz could or could not have done to help in Texas instead of flying to Cancun (here's a straight writeup on that), but to me the biggest tell in that incident was the fact that Cruz didn't want to go learn first hand what had gone wrong so that he could try to write legislation to prevent future catastrophes. I am not sure what he thinks his job as US Senator is, but apparently he does not think it involves working on legislation to help his state and the country prepare for the challenges ahead.

OK, let's get to the links. I don't have many this week, but here's what I have:

Here is an interesting interview about why (and how) we should make our cities bird-friendly.

This is a very succinct statement of why we need to keep up our efforts to stop transmission of SARS-CoV2 right now:

In recommend listening: Krista Tippet's interview with Ariel Burger and Ezra Klein's interview with George Saunders both touched on the theme of what it means to live a good life, and gave me a lot to think about

And in things that made me smile:

This thread reminded me of my Nana's receipes which were also often quite sparse on the instructions:

I wouldn't say this made me smile... but it was interesting: Blue dogs in Russia.

Here's your bunny for the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Short Post for a Long Weekend Edition

I'm in the middle of a four day weekend. My kids get a four day weekend for President's Day, and we decided to make it a family affair. We had thought we might find a house with a pool to rent in Palm Springs or Anza Borrego, but when we looked into options there was nothing for less than $500/night, and we decided that was a lot of money to pay to go sit in a different house for a few days, swimming pool or no.

So we're home in San Diego. Yesterday, Mr. Snarky and I took a long walk on the beach. The beach was fairly empty and it was a very relaxing walk. We've decided to do a couple of things from our Family Fun List, so today we're all playing Roblox, and tomorrow we're going to go on a hike. 

The kids also want to make Valentine's cookies today. They're getting old enough that they can mostly bake things without my help, but they like me to be nearby in case they need me. The nice thing about have a four day weekend is that it doesn't feel quite so much like I have to trade off between what they want to do and what I want or need to do. I feel like I have time to make it all happen, which is nice.

Anyway, on to the links. I don't have many, because the price of the four day weekend was a really, really busy week at work. But here's what I have:

Senator Patty Murray's story about hiding from the insurrectionists on January 6 is harrowing. 

There's more good news on the COVID-19 treatment front:

The CDC is issuing new guidance right and left, and it is good to see them off the sidelines under the new administration. They issued new mask guidance this week. This NPR article about the latest info on masks pre-dates that guidance but I think it largely mirrors it and is a nice, clear explanation of the options.

I am glad people are stepping up to help seniors get vaccination appointments, but it shouldn't be this hard. It is a symptom of our fragmented healthcare system and honestly, a failure. 

I have a bunch of podcasts to recommend because I keep forgetting to do that:

Krista Tippet's interview with Katherine May about her new book Wintering was so good that I bought and read the book. I enjoyed the book, too.

Vox has taken the old Ezra Klein show feed and made it a general interviews feed. I liked both Sean Illing's interview with Jason Stanley about fascism in America and Anne Helen Petersen's interview with Rachel Sherman about being a "good" rich person. I will keep the new podcast in my feed!

I will keep the new Ezra Klein show in my feed, too. I recently listened to his interview with Yuval Levin about the future of the Republican Party, and am looking forward to listening to his interview with Adam Jentelson on the filibuster.

And things that made me smile this week:

A woman rescued a koala from a road and it posed for some adorable pictures while she waited for the wildlife rescue people to arrive.

Speaking of wildlife encounters... over at Adjusted Latitudes, I wrote about my favorite encounters from my travels. Nothing as exciting as a koala rescue, but it still made me happy to revisit them.

This video from the Oregon Zoo:

TV news theme song choreography:

And here's your bunny for the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Family Fun List Pandemic Edition

Every year on New Year's Eve, my family writes a "Family Fun List" for the next year. Each person gets to pick three activities for the list. It has been a tradition since 2013. 

Last year, I posted our list here like usual. Little did I know, that two months later, a pandemic would scramble all of our plans for the year!

In July, we talked about revising our list for 2020, since the pandemic had ruled out so many of the items on our list. We decided not to do that, but as you'll see, we made more pandemic-friendly picks for 2021!

So... here's our list from last year:

  • Go to a movie in a movie theater (Petunia) - This did not happen. However, in the early days of the pandemic, when we were under a stay at home order, I started a weekly family movie night to cheer up Petunia. The first movie we watched was Frozen 2. I did not expect to have to watch quite so many movies... but on the plus side, it was fun rediscovering the Back to the Future series, and I thought Bill and Ted Face the Music was absolutely perfect pandemic entertainment.
  • Walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights (Pumpkin) - DONE!
  • Go to a musical (Mr Snarky) - Nope. We had tickets to go see Fly at the La Jolla Playhouse for the first week of the stay at home order. Oh well....
  • Visit Bunnyhenge (Me) - Nope. We discussed maybe driving up to see it, but Orange County's numbers were higher than ours at that point and so we didn't do it.
  • Go to [an indoor playground in my parents' town] (Petunia) - We didn't even get to visit my parents' in their city last year. They were here the week before the stay at home order, and we all quarantined so we could do Thanksgiving here, but that was it.
  • Go to Open Gym at the Y (Pumpkin) - Nope. The Y was shut for a lot of the year, and even when it was open we weren't in a hurry to visit
  • Hike a peak in Mission Trails park (Mr. Snarky) - We did this one! It was our Father's Day outing.
  • Walk across the Spruce Street bridge (Me) - DONE! This is one we could have done during the pandemic, but actually chose to do earlier.
  • Go to the Fleet Science Museum (Petunia) - Nope.
  • Go for a surrey bike ride (Pumpkin) - Nope. Technically possible, but not something that seemed like a good idea.
  • Go to Mexico (Mr. Snarky) - Nope. Mr. Snarky and I went to Mexico for my sister's birthday celebration at the end of February, but we did not get to make a trip as a family.
  • Go to the Museum of Making Music (Me) - Nope.
  • Bonus: Go to a cultural festival (e.g., the Viking festival a friend told us about) (Mr. Snarky) - Nope.
Here's the view from the Spruce Street bridge:

The hike we did:

And some pretty flowers seen along the way:

And here's this year's list:
  • Stay up until at least midnight (Petunia. And no, she doesn't count New Year's Eve!)
  • Do a hike from the Hidden San Diego site (Pumpkin)
  • Take a night away out of town (Mr. Snarky)
  • Visit the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park (me)
  • Make a book as a family (Petunia)
  • Go camping (Pumpkin)
  • Circumnavigate Mission Bay by bicycle (Mr. Snarky)
  • Visit Bunnyhenge (Me. Damn it, we're going this year!)
  • Family Roblox session (Petunia)
  • Explore a new neighborhood on foot (Pumpkin. We're hoping to save this one for when we can go into restaurants and things again.)
  • Go fishing (Mr. Snarky)
  • Try a new ice cream shop (Me. I do love my ice cream.)
  • Bonus: Build a fancy cage for our pet hamster
Here's hoping that circumstances cooperate and we can make it through our list this year!