Grant’s point of view

Grant asked if he could take some photos on my phone yesterday, so he cruised around for quite awhile, taking photos (and showing me after each one he took). I hear “mom” a thousand times a day, if you couldn’t tell. It’s really interesting to see what he’s interested in, although not very surprising.

Snow

I just recently started following a twitter account that posts photos of Canadian paintings. It’s called CanadianPaintings. The reason I started following it is because it’s posting some amazing paintings of snow in particular. We can all stand to better appreciate Canadian art in general, but right now I’m in it for the snow paintings.

Here are some of the ones that I find particularly intriguing, in no particular order (reverse chronological):

I find the different depictions of the snow very interesting. It helps highlight how variable different types of snow are, from the very bitter, bitingly cold drifting sand-like snow to the slightly melty packable mound snow, to the light dustings and the spring thaws. Seeing how the different artists chose to color the shadows is instructive and illuminating. The white of the snow is different in every single one as well. The light at different times of day makes a difference to what kinds of light and shadow you’d see (not just the direction of the light source, but the yellow-ness of the light). Monet famously went to paint his haystacks with many canvases, and sat there all day to capture them faithfully at different times, moving from canvas to canvas so that the light was always properly captured. The light at 5 am is not the light at noon is not the light at 5pm, and the shadows are all quite different as well in depth and color. The reflection from the sky, whether the sky bleeds into the horizon or not, overcast or not, it all matters to the colors and shadows, the light and the dark. And that’s just the snow.

What is… summer?

This morning over breakfast, my 9-year-old daughter asked me, “mom, what is … summer? Like, will we have … school? Still?” She looked genuinely puzzled. She’s been on a system of school/summer for four years now (she didn’t get summer breaks in daycare), except the past year has been such a weird, oily mix of days off, days on, remote school, school-school, that she’s lost her orientation. Haven’t we all.

The kids started back at school last week (they only went Tuesday because of how the cohorts work, and MLK day), for the first time since before Thanksgiving. While preparing Grant for the idea of being in school, I asked if he was excited to play with his friends. He looked at me for a second then said, “we don’t play together mom.” The lost pre-k year.

This morning when Grant woke up, he cuddled up to me and said “mom, I was doing a dream where Yoshi took me and threw me at the beach and it was so much fun.” I love that he calls dreaming “doing a dream,” first of all, and second, he is so solidly who he is. He loves playing Yoshi on the Switch, and he loves talking about going to the beach, and when he’s at the beach, he’s living his best life.

I think we have the makings of a pretty good plan for the next couple weeks (kids in school two days, then the nanny 3 days a week) so I can work a mostly normal schedule, and after that, in March, we’re probably going to send Grant to daycare for those 3 days. The twins are old enough to stay home with me while I work, and get their own school work done, but Grant is really struggling without socialization. He’s going feral, and I’m really worried about the long-term implications for him. Plus, I’m going bonkers myself. I don’t want us to go backwards to what we all used to think of as “normal,” but I do want some sense of predictability in our lives again. Right now, I am constantly waiting for the phone to ring because school is shutting down, or my kids randomly have a fever, or the nanny is sick (that happened last week and threw the entire week into disarray), or something happened to mom, or something else in my small orbit happens. Never mind the national and global problems that influence our world but it feels I can barely influence in return.

I wonder if, when summer does arrive — traditionally a time of relaxation and slowing down, filled with friends and family — we will recognize it, if we’ll remember what it is.

Ok, 2021

I don’t think I’ve personally ever had such a rotten first couple weeks of January. Obviously, we’re all living through some things at the same time (the ongoing pandemic, the coup that is dragging out, remote schooling), but it’s been worse than that. I’m not just talking about Grant’s ongoing, flat-out refusal to poop in the potty, unfortunately. We found out that my mom’s cancer is back. The week before Christmas she had a routine check-up, and the results came back Jan 7th. So, it’s been hard to focus, make sure the kids are on their calls, make sure they’re doing their homework, pay attention to the things that need my attention, and also do things like exercise and eat right.

There was never really any question that 2021 would be much like 2020. It was nice to pretend that all bad things would end in 2020, because we’re wired to look for endings and beginnings. But so much of the terrible things going on right now are directly rooted in centuries of racism and a national movement away from education and science. They’re not going to change because the date changes. We’re going to have to drag ourselves forward, through all the terrible things if we want things to actually get better.

I think things will get better. I think there will be pockets of joy in 2021. I don’t think things will be fixed in 2021. I don’t think things will be “back to normal” ever, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s going to be a long(er), hard fight to eradicate racism and the white supremacy that reaches into the highest seat of government. We need to outlaw white supremacy and its symbolism, then follow-through on those laws. We have so many caring dedicated educators, and we need to pay them fairly and actually value their work as highly as it deserves and not nickel and dime it away. We need to rebuild our education system so our public schools are well-funded and the best schools in the nation for every kid. It’s ridiculous that any kid goes to bed hungry. We can fix that, and we should. We can’t do it all in one year, and I think large portions of this year are going to be really, really hard, particularly with all the COVID deaths still to come. It would also be nice if we could cure cancer this year, but maybe that’s asking a little too much. We really aren’t able to gain any kind of distance or remove from the problems before us (or we won’t fix them), so it’s going to be a grind.

We just have to put one foot in front of the other, for as long as it takes. So, ok, 2021, let’s get a move on.

Increasing Our Happiness with Cats and Dogs in the Office

PETS!

Happiness Everywhere

Working from home doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, many Automattician’s have pets to keep them company during the work day. Supporting customers gets a little easier when you have furry companions like these to make you smile during the most unexpected moments. This month we invited our Happiness Engineers to share how having pets around improves their work day.

“Mostly my pets ignore me – but on occasion it’s nice to have Mojo (our dog) curl up under the desk.”

– Jayden, Happiness Engineer in Australia, WordPress.com

Working for a distributed company comes with the added benefit of creating your very own “corner office” outfitted with all the things you enjoy and make a workday better – yes, even having a dog taking a nap under your desk! Talk about the perfect coworkers!

White Pomeranian puppy named Snow.
Snow – His first day at home.

I have a fluffy Pomeranian that is 4…

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