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deleted

My iPhone is running out of space. I don't know how the physics of the Apple universe work since I have very few apps and I pay $1.05/month for additional storage. It's true that I had photos dating from early 2019 onward. Last night I finished up December 2019. I transferred photos to Evernote and videos to Google Drive, and documents to Dropbox. (I'm sure I will regret having multiple platforms.) And then deleted the visual record of 2019 from iCloud and from my phone.

I am a little apprehensive about editing down the 2020 photos. Casually scrolling through my photo roll from January to March is like watching...a slow-onset humanitarian emergency. Per my iPhone the last public event we attended as a family was the DC Jewish Community Center's Purim Carnival on March 8, 2020. Looking at the photos with a COVID lens I shudder to see the crowds inside the building. Z's last activities were Archaeology Club and violin class. My last public professional activity was speaking on a panel at DACOR-Bacon House for Women’s Roundtable: Corporate Transformation & Responsible Leadership. Our last visit to a museum was to see Joseph Smith at the National Portrait Gallery. All those places are still closed, more than a year later.
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wallpaper of sound

When Z started violin lessons we learned all about the Suzuki method. (like learning about Montessori when he was a toddler) One suggestion was to maintain "the wallpaper of sound" i.e. classical music on all the time. Since we're home all the time, the classical music station is the soundtrack. Sometimes, especially during PBS Newshour, I switch to the local jazz and justice station, or one of the French online stations. I donate to the local station, and we've always taken Z to performances, and now with violin his exposure is even more, so I hope the familiarity will always stay with him.

Over the weekend I tried on all my suits. Surprisingly most of the jackets still fit. I still ended up with several sets in the donate pile. I have one skirt suit, otherwise it's all jackets. I'm at the stage now where I can wear an unmatched suit or a jacket over an executive dress. Not that I'm going anywhere that requires a suit.

Z had a big birthday weekend over the Easter holiday, with an online Pokemon party, the neighborhood egg hunt, and cupcakes at the school playground.


We went to see the tulips at Burnside Farms. Well worth the one-hour drive from DC.
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2nd round of COVID birthdays

MB's birthday was on Monday. He's not a big birthday person but we still got gifts (hiking boots and a biography of Malcolm X) and cards made with love if not skill.

Thankfully with the weather improving and people getting vaccinated and wearing masks more consistently, life is slowly but surely opening up, at least in our corner. We are seeing a lot more of the 2019 activities (because 2020 was a total wash) re-jiggered for COVID reality. Last year we had an online Easter egg hunt and now we're planning an in-person one, based on the success of our outdoor Halloween party. I was happy to see that the Firefly Festival is now the Firefly Prowl with timed entry and a route throught the park.

I will forever be grateful for the incentive to spend more time outdoors. We have visited every place on this list of the best parks with natural play areas near D.C. and working our way through the list of best playgrounds. Also for the time for long weekend naps.
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one year

Yesterday was the 365th of whatever pandemic year. Hard to believe. We are healthy and generally OK. I guess? We are very lucky indeed. I started the countdown based on March 16th which is the first day of mandatory telework/unschooling. But FB memories also tells me that my count is off. *shrugs* Anyway I haven't decided yet if I will continue the count or start at 1, or at what point the countdown will end.


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300+ days of WFH

Today I am wearing a pair of jeans with a blouse that buttons up. It has been so long that I've worn anything structured with fastenings. One time I put on a full face of makeup "just to see" and (1) Z asked me what was wrong with my face and (2) my face felt itchy. In a professional group I belong to on Facebook we had the most fascinating (and long) discussion about our sartorial habits have changed in the age of Zoom. A lot of people talked about how changing clothes and potentially wearing makeup signaled the start (and end) of the work day. Quite a few do as I do, which is take a walk every morning for a "commute." I still wake up early to get in as much in the morning as I can as by 5pm my brain is totally fried and the most I can manage is mundane physical household tasks like folding laundry.

I wish I had taken pictures of my old cube. When we started mandatory telework we had no idea how long it would last or that our move back to the mother ship would take place during that time. I went in last April (after multiple approvals) to get my plants. And someone else packed up my stuff and it's sitting in boxes in another office without me.
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snowmelt

The warming days after a good, cold spell of snow is my least favorite time of winter. There are just blobs of dirty snow or puddles everywhere.

Even though the weekend was so cold we did attend the s'mores campfire sing-a-long at a park about an hour away. I'd brought some spray bottles filled with water mixed with food color so Z and the two little girls from the other family played in the snow a bit before the s'mores got serious.



It's distressing to think that we have surpassed 500,000 deaths - the entire population of Atlanta - and coming up on a year of enforced life at home. I've been posting a numbered photo a day on Facebook dating from March 14, 2020. Today is day #345. We've taken photos for "milestone" days like #100 and six months. People are already asking what we'll do for #365 and I can't really think of anything in addition to a photo.






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cold

I usually enjoy Facebook memories when they pop up especially to see photos of Z at different stages but since pandemic times started I'm just reminded of all the fun activities we did that are either cancelled or virtual. Although I have to say that going virtual means more opportunities for events that we normally we wouldn't attend. For example, we did a crafting activity for MLKJ Day with a museum that'd I'd never heard of in the Bronx. I found out through Red Tricycle I think and we were the only ones from outside NYC.

Still, I always felt January and February were pretty gloomy because of the weather and post-holiday slump but with FB "on this day" I now see that they were still pretty action-packed. Like all the Lunar New Year festivities, or the annual Valentine open house at City Wildlife, which rehabilitates urban critters. Right now our current weekend plan is to visit a new-to-us playground. Now that Z has stopped Saturday French school and is doing tutoring on Wednesdays and Fridays our weekends are totally free.
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snow, etc.

Now that we are in February we have reached the peak (or nadir?) of winter weather. It's been snowy and windy and hoving around 32F/OC. We all try to go out every day but sometimes it's just nicer to snuggle indoors. Z's pod is pretty robust - even if it's mildly inclement weather they go out in rainboots and ski pants.

We are definitely gearing up for the next administration. It is dizzying but in a good way. But the normal work continues in addition. For the past couple of weeks I've been working closely with an overseas office and another sector team, and I really enjoyed both experiences. It is relatively rare for me to do purely technical work these days. I learn so much from my colleagues. The overseas office is in a country that I have never been to and have always been interested in visiting and now I am more motivated to visit.

Z's schedule has changed to a hybrid classroom but his teachers have organized themselves so that they don't have to teach in-person and virtual students at the same time. Overall Z seems to be doing OK but he has his moments. The other night I was on a call for an organization I volunteer with and as I was saying goodbye he was upset because he didn't get to see the other participants. Normally he likes to hover nearby and I hadn't realized that he was hoping to glimpse the people I was talking to.
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four years in the loyal opposition

I started the Trump Administration by requesting from the ward (congregation) clerk a certificate showing that Zacky is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in case he and Mohamed got caught up in the Muslim ban. Today it ended with a more active Twitter account because I follow the @HelicoptersofDC account and all the angry tweets I've sent.

One big change over the past four years is that I have become so much more politically active, within the constraint of my status as a federal employee and disenfranchised DC resident:
* volunteering with Diversity Matters and Mormon Women for Ethical Government
* volunteering for the first time ever for a presidential campaign (on the Biden policy advisory committee for women and girls)
* trying to learn more about anti-blackness and racism within the Filipinx community and in the Mormon Church, and decolonizing international development/foreign policy
* trying to impart these principles to Zacky, by talking about our friends and our community, and taking him to a BLM rally in our neighborhood
* SO MANY POSTCARDS

Soundtrack for the past four years:
Blowin' Up the Death Star Galactic Fempire Mega Mix

Visuals for today, the last day: