Rlab in the time of covid I (Carl)


Man, I’m lucky. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, I’m not allowed to go to work but I have a job and it’s unlikely that I’ll lose it in the near future; I’m still getting paid. My biggest challenges seem to be trying to entertain a newly-minted two-year-old, preferably outside of the walls of our tiny house (periods of extraordinary cuteness are interspersed with periods of infuriating willful two-year-old-ness), lining up at Trader Joe’s for the biweekly grocery expedition, and/or avoiding sniping with my spouse about random household tasks. Yet everything is hard in a weird way, especially the amazingly privileged stress of not being able to get work done—why can’t I be more productive? The curse of academics. And parenting is a lot, turns out (cue most of the world, including my mom, rolling their eyes). Then there’s the jarring dissonance of a world in crisis, of extraordinary suffering, while here the sun is shining, and I just watched the squirrels get thwarted by my birdfeeder again (squirrel-proof birdfeeder—best present ever). Still, there are reminders—the Zoom this morning with a colleague whose highly intelligent but foolhardy father, with underlying health issues, was just diagnosed with covid, or the elderly man weeping by himself in a quiet corner of the supermarket.

So it’s walks with the Bean I go! That, and, while he’s playing in his sandbox, documenting the weeds in the backyard on iNaturalist. If nothing else, at the end of this I should have my local species of Geranium dialed in.

Bryologists! What is this growing on the bricks in my backyard?


A very nice angiosperm in a genus that I didn’t know existed (Taraxia) until two days ago.


The Bean and I in the Richmond Hills, our local haunt lately–social distancing is quite easy in large hillsides full of thistles. The Bean is very proud of his binoculars.




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