Wednesday, April 8, 2020


I've been thinking about this Bible verse a lot recently: "And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!" (Did you think when I said I was thinking about a Bible verse a lot that it was an inspirational one? Surely you don't come here for your memes with pretty flowers and Bible verses?!)

I'm not saying it's the end of the world. However, I feel like the overall attitude of workplaces is much like this verse--"It sucks to be you! Sorry about that!" 

A couple of colleagues have offered to help with my workload, but in general, people listen sympathetically and then invite me to more pointless zoom meetings that are not really how I should be spending my time right now. As someone who is only on the track to stability and does not yet have it, it's really hard to ask for more accommodations. And I am not yet drowning, but drowning is always a possibility! (metaphorically, not literally)

Workplaces need to recognize that we are all multi-dimensional human beings, not just employees. And these trying times bring new challenges to all of us in different ways. These challenges should be recognized and accommodated. 


A snapshot of part of my day:

Make lunch for the boys
Teach a class
Nurse the baby to sleep while replying to emails and approving advisee's courses
Zoom meeting
Babysitter arrives: Cram a workday into three hours

Monday, April 6, 2020


I've been fairly laid up with various aches and pains for the past several days (exhaustion? stress? I slept wrong?).

One of Francisco's aunts sent a kid's charades game (with pictures so a kid who can't read can still play), and we've been having some happy family times with it. Once Francisco was acting out "suspenders" and it made me really laugh. Today, the kid acted out "chair" by tracing the shape of the chair and then freezing. When we told him to keep moving and keep acting, he said, "But the thing doesn't move!" and persisted in being still. The baby laughed at the game and tried to imitate whatever we were doing.

Sunday, April 5, 2020


Today we processed around the house with leftover palms, singing "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." (I always give Francisco a hard time for holding on to the palms, but he's been holding on to them for years and they sure came in handy this year.) Doing the readings with the boys--and stopping to explain the confusing parts--sure helps them. (I know, I know, this is just the sort of thing we should do in addition to going to mass, but--time!)

Now the boys are all outside gardening while I cook.

Friday, April 3, 2020

A Hidden Life

What a perfect film to watch during lent--the whole thing was a depiction of the way of the cross. The church artist in the film tells us he was never brave enough to paint the real Christ on the cross--not sentimentalized, but suffering. Malick takes up the challenge in the film. Franz, like Christ, stands before his accusers, saying nothing. He is beaten. He suffers and prays at Golgotha.

The film is maybe too overt in highlighting the irony of a temptation that Franz suffers that what he does doesn't matter--no one will know of his choices, and they will change nothing. Two tempters say this same thing. And of course the viewer, watching, is being changed by seeing and responding to this depiction of Franz's life. His actions mean everything to the world, even though in a way they were small and hidden.

What this whole film made me think of was Socrates: Is it worse to do evil or to suffer it? If you are simply a good person, you will have no skills to protect yourself and the ones you love when evil tries to take over, Callicles tells us. Socrates replies--the most important thing is to be virtuous and if you are a good person, you will have the power to teach your friends how to be good, which is the most important protection and defense you can offer them.

And only the good man is even capable of having friends, Socrates says. Those who are evil are not. This idea is woven through the whole film: Franz and Fani's love and care for each other is strong. They are capable of love and friendship and deep connection in a way that the soldiers are not. Franz can share his food with another inmate, take joy from being reunited with an old friend in prison, and comfort someone who is being killed just before him (flashback to Christ being killed between two thieves). His relationship with Fani gives him strength. His mother cruelly blames Franz's actions on Fani, but in some sense she is right--Franz wouldn't have done this without Fani. They are practicing goodness together, spurring each other to more goodness.

Just as Socrates stays to receive his punishment from the city, so Franz stays. Fani sees someone in the woods who has run away--he is like an animal. Before Franz is killed by the Nazis, the community eschews them, though when he is killed, they seem to recognize what they have done.

And I haven't even mentioned the incredibly beautiful mountain setting, as well as Malick's beautiful filming--even the shots of the prison are gorgeous. So much light and dark, so much visual play on freedom.

Thursday, April 2, 2020


Today, I blew bubbles with the boys--so much fun. The baby could blow them and chase after them, yelling, "bubba!" The kid could jump and throw things at them to pop them. It was a delight in the sunshine.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


It was a treat to discover that the kid tucked a flower he picked for me in our office by this poem that Ilana sent.

Also the reason that one of my students missed our meeting is because he was separating the cows (?) when he dislocated his shoulder. To avoid the ER (good idea), his aunt popped it back in for him and his father is dosing him with horse medicine (probably not such a good idea). #ruraleducation

Francisco and I celebrated today that we made it to Wednesday. I never really sympathized with the idea that you have to make it through the week until now.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


So much anger--at students late for and/or unprepared for their meetings, at colleagues' choices, at this stupid reading assignment that I didn't choose, at my kid bumping his head. This is how I always react to stress. Francisco says I need to find time to do something fun. Not sure that I can think of anything fun, nor that I have time to do it.

I anticipate this being the hardest week work-wise, but I guess there's plenty of time for extra work to arise in the future...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Coronavirus diaries, Day 15

Some more phone pics from our evening walk. So glad for some lovely weather.

If there's a silver lining to this whole business, it's that I have less laundry.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Coronavirus diaries, day 14

"I'm hungry, scared, and I have to go to the bathroom." --the kid at 9 pm; this is what we get for sleeping in this morning

Weekend photos:

Our yard. The sign is a stop sign.

Crocuses are still growing.

Some beautiful weather and walks.

But the general state of things around here is ... tenuous. Thank goodness for a forgiving and patient husband.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus, Day 12

Our supplies are beginning to arrive.

This is not going to be an easy time. BUT one thing I failed to think about as I was struggling to mentally adjust to this new reality was that I like my kids and there are lots of fun times in being with them.

ALSO I am totally exhausted. Only five weeks of class to go--that sounds eminently doable, right?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronavirus diaries, Day 11

Our art project today, which the baby got unexpectedly into. He really loves to draw.

This was our first day home as a whole family (with just three hours of babysitter). We'll try it again tomorrow and then, who knows? I'm trying to figure out ways to make my job take less time. But "do a bad job at everything" doesn't come easy. That's not a humble brag--I just like feeling well ordered and on top of things. I hate feeling like I could have prepared more for class and taught my students better. It really kills me.

Here's some reading for these times:

What Our Contagion Fables are Really About (I still really need to read Blindness).

We Should All Be More Like the Nuns of 1918.

The Saint Who Stopped an Epidemic is on Lockdown at the Met. We need more saints and more art. (I guess the kind above counts.)