Day 20: Music

So I went out to mow the lawn this afternoon, and sweet baby Kahless was it ever windy. I had so much grass and dirt in my eyes that it was absolutely ridiculous. On the bright side, I had some great tunes to keep me company, thanks to Pandora. (Also, I really love my wireless earbuds.)

I’ve been listening to a lot of world music lately; I find it gets my creative juices flowing because it transports me to a completely different world, which helps me get in the proper mindset for writing a completely different world. In no particular order, some of the artists that accompanied me yesterday on my four-hour trip around the yard include:

There is so much amazing music out there that it’s hard for me to choose a favorite artist or song or genre or album without producing a ridiculously extensive list. How about you – what are some of your favorites?

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Day 19: Three

Today’s prompt is supposed to be about things that come in three parts. Since I’ve spent the past two days marathoning Voyager, the first thing that popped into my head was Captain Proton. It’s a very silly holodeck program that Tom Paris runs as part of a historical study on how ancient people thought about the future. The Captain Program features in three episodes: “Night,” as mentioned yesterday; “Bride of Chaotica!,” which I watched this afternoon and which is among my favorite episodes; and “Shattered,” which at this rate, I’ll be watching sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Captain Proton, Protector of Earth

Honestly, it’s been so long since I saw “Shattered” last that I only vaguely remember what it’s about, and even then…

Day 18: New

Not much is new here, except that the news keeps getting worse, which is why I’ve been avoiding it. In the meantime, I’ve been continuing my rewatch of Star Trek: Voyager. I’d put it on for background noise when I was working from home, and it kept me awake through forty long hours of assembling my annual family photo album, and I had hoped it would have a somewhat comforting effect. This show got me through my particularly turbulent teen years, and given that this particular moment in time is nothing if not turbulent, I had hoped…

Day 17: Distance

Everything is at a distance these days, isn’t it? I just finished watching a press conference from earlier this morning in which our governor cancelled in-person classes for the rest of the school year. For my older two, that means they’ll be continuing with their required distance learning through the end of next month. For my younger two, that means the optional schoolwork they’ve received from their teachers is going to be much more important.

I’m sure Cricket will love that.

Two days ago, he had a hissy fit about…

Day 16: Slow

Slow. That’s what life has become: slow.

This week in particular has been slow; each minute of each day seems to drag on into eternity. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been very productive this week. Maybe it’s because I worked myself up into a right wicked migraine yesterday. The kids are sick of being at home. I’m sick of being at home.

Today I successfully digitized the musical from my senior year of high school. But of course, it recorded in separate clips, so I’ve had to merge them into a single file. It’s slow going. The file is an hour and forty-three minutes long, but I have a feeling it’s going to take that long, if not longer, to merge the clips. I’d been hoping to watch it tonight after supper, but at this rate, I don’t think it’ll happen.

At least I have Star Trek to keep me occupied in the meantime. How are you passing the time these days?

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Day 15: Scent

You know what I miss? I miss the smell of fresh-cut grass. You don’t get that scent in the winter, and by my count, Iowa’s on at least its third winter.

I’m tired of winter. I want the grass to grow faster, I want it to be greener, and I want there to be flowers. I miss seeing flowers in the ditch on my way to work (I miss going to work, too, but that’s another post). I miss leaves on trees and the smell of rain in the air. I miss rain that doesn’t freeze when it hits the ground.

I miss the smell of barbecues, and the attendant guests.

I know I’ll experience all these sights and sounds and smells again in due time, but I’m not a patient person and I’m tired of waiting. I’m ready for the sun to shine again, both literally and figuratively. How about you?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 14: Book

It’s no secret that I love books. I love reading them and I love writing them and I love reviewing them. I love thinking about them and how they relate to my life and the world around me. Books are my life.

And yet, I’m just not feeling super bookish lately.

Maybe it’s the quarantine getting me down. Maybe it’s refereeing one too many fights over inconsequential things between my boys. Maybe it’s having a to-do list a mile long and not really knowing where to start. I don’t know.

I had planned to read a bunch and write a bunch while I’m at home because this is the perfect time for catching up on such activities, but I’ve hardly done any writing or reading. I mostly feel like imitating a bump on a log. It’s not a very productive way to spend my days, but when they all blur together, what else is there to do?

I guess it all comes down to Yoda’s wise words:

Do, or do not. There is no try.

I need to keep my brain active, or it will atrophy. I can do that by reading books. And hopefully by reading more, I’ll be inspired to write more.

But after spending my day fighting with one of my kids, I think I’m going to veg out in front of the TV tonight and start in on the brain exercise tomorrow.

How are you handling the current need for social distancing and isolation? What are some of your favorite books?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 13: Teach

This is a somewhat ironic topic for me as my kids are preparing to start distance learning tomorrow. For my older two, the work is required, but for the younger ones, it’s optional. I’m glad of that because I am not cut out to be a teacher.

I tried to teach Miss Tadpole how to play the flute one time. It didn’t go well. I tried to teach the boys how to sign their names in cursive last week. That didn’t work out quite so well, either, but it went better than the flute instruction. My problems with teaching lie in the fact that I don’t know how to break things down so that kids understand. When I tried to teach Miss Tadpole how to play the flute, part of the problem was that the flute is second nature to me now, and when she’d ask a question about something, I couldn’t answer it because it was something that I just did.

That said, when Thumper came up to me and asked me what a closed syllable was, I was awfully glad I’d held onto my textbook from the Structure of English class I took in college. Page 47 was very, very helpful.

If you’re a teacher, do you have any helpful hints for parents who don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to teaching their kids? If you’re a teacher who is also a parent, how are you handling distance learning?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 12: Light

Light has become particularly important to me lately, especially good light. My house has a vaulted ceiling with recessed lights, which is great for atmosphere but hell for scanning photos. If I had an actual photo scanner, the quality of my light sources might not be such a big deal, but since that’s not in the budget right now, I have to make do with my phone and my CamScanner app (which I love, by the way).

I’ve been working on this project at my dining room table, which is surrounded by windows on one end, owing to the extra-large bay window on the front of the house. We get a lot of really nice light through that window most of the time, and I’ve found that indirect natural light seems to work best for trying to scan all of my many, many photos. Any time I turn on the overhead lights in the dining room, I get crazy glare off the top of the table. And whenever I turn on the living room lights, I get ridiculous shadows because then I’m backlit.

If I had a longer cord on my lamp, it might enable me to work longer into the night, which would be kind of nice, but then again, by the time I get finished with an afternoon of photo scanning, my neck is killing me. Again, an actual photo scanner would probably help with this (and it would have to be faster), but it’s just not in my budget right now.

How about you – do you have lots of old photos? What do you do with them all?

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Day 11: Bite

Quarantines bite. Pandemics bite. Not having a cure for a silly little virus really, really bites.

Death bites. Illness bites. Cabin fever really, really bites.

Fighting bites. Refereeing bites. Being stuck at home really, really bites.

Working bites. Not working bites. Needing a paycheck and not having one really, really bites.

This post kinda bites.

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