1. It’s starting to feel more like fall here, with crisper nights and earlier sunsets. I like autumn – it feels like new beginnings and old things coming to an end, it has far more civilized weather than the summer, and it’s not quite as cold as the winter my old bones are starting to feel more than they used to and not as muddy as spring.
2. We dropped Oliver off at Small Liberal Arts College on Friday and he was just so happy to be with his friends again. I hope that his college lasts longer than most are doing this pandemic season – if any school is going to make a run of things it would be a small residential college in a fairly out of the way town, after all. But as someone said recently, all of the plans people have made have the science mostly right but not the psychology – students are going to gather and things will get called off. But for the moment the center holds and we press on.
3. My classes are all remote this semester anyway – one because that’s the way it’s been taught since 2012 and I’m just ahead of the curve that way, and three sections of the other because my parents raised no fools and it doesn’t take a whole lot of psychic power to see where things are going and I wanted to beat the rush. So far, so good. Between the first class and my summer course, I think I’ve got this remote teaching thing pretty much down by now. You’ll have to ask my students if they agree.
4. It’s very hard to be an American these days, what with der Sturmtrumper and his minions in full Fascist authoritarian mode, doing everything they can to destroy my country and turn it into some cheap racist fantasy of blood and soil. The mere fact that his approval rating isn’t zero is a damning indictment of American morals and culture. It will take generations to undo the damage he and his supporters have done to this country, if it can be undone at all. And we start now.
5. Not that I can write much about it. I’ve tried. It all degenerates into rants so vitriolic that even I don’t want to read them. You cannot support this tyrant and be a good American, and once you start getting into the specifics of that things deteriorate quickly.
6. One thing I’m glad for is online games, which has been my big discovery over the last couple of months. Old school games. I found a site that lets me play Yahtzee against the computer, for example, and this has been a pleasantly mindless way to divert my attention from … all this. It reminds me of my childhood, when we would always go down the shore for our summer vacations on a week where it rained at least a couple of days while we were there and my parents would have us play games, and one year they taught us how to play Yahtzee and it still smells like salt water to me.
7. I’ve also managed to read more this year to date than I did all of last year. Lockdown FTW, I suppose.
8. The genealogy project proceeds apace, and it is nice that there are people in my family who share the interest with me. I got a really fascinating document from my cousin this week, for example – one that dealt with his mother’s side of the family, which I know next to nothing about – and my mom and I have had fun poring over Ancestry.com pages together. When the present is what it is, the past is a nice place to spend time.
9. Living in Wisconsin means you can buy soda that is simply described as “Sour.” It’s surprisingly tasty.
10. We set up the corner of the basement as a hangout space, much to Lauren’s satisfaction. It’s got some of those interlocking square foam pads for flooring and we replaced the old futon mattress with one that you can actually sit on. Lauren and Oliver painted the two basement walls in the corner a nice shade of blue and there are curtain walls for the other two walls to divide the space from the rest of the basement. We just finished hanging the old television from our bedroom from the ceiling down there – we never watched it, and Lauren has already hooked up the PS4 to it. My role in this has been pretty minimal, which is what you want if a household project is to go well, but I’ve done a few things here and there. Mostly it’s been Kim and Lauren. It looks nice.