Zoom birthday party
Monday, April 27 2020
Today was another cold, rainy day, and, because Gretchen got up late and had to go to work at the bookstore, it feel to me to walk the dogs. It was cold enough for me to wear my winter coat. Despite the miserable conditions, the forest is full of flowers. There's a small tree that demonstrates how relatively common it is at this time of year with a dramatic display of white flowers. I suspect it is serviceberry.
Tomorrow Gretchen and I will be driving to Sharon, Connecticut to pick up a 2017 Nissan Leaf we are buying in an effort to become a semi-electrified three-car family (since we will soon have a third person living in our basement). To be able to pay the bulk of what this car will cost, today I drove to the Hurley branch of our credit union (the Mid-Hudson Valley Credit Union) to get a cashier's check for $11,769.86. Gretchen would've done this at the Woodstock branch had it been open, but during the pandemic, MHVCU is only conducting business via drive-thru, which the Woodstock branch lacks.
This evening Gretchen made pasta with a wine-reduction sauce along with a salad and roast cauliflower. After watching a downloaded copy of Friday's Jeopardy!, we joined an online birthday party for Gretchen's mother using the Zoom platform. As many as 14 different feeds joined the party, with usually two people on each one. Zoom worked fairly well, particularly once we downloaded the desktop app. There were occasional dropouts, but it wasn't as bad as Google Hangouts had been on Friday. One thing I noticed with Zoom was that it was easy for one person to dominate the entire conversation. In this case the person doing this wasn't anyone I would've predicted; it was a woman with Sicilian accent who has been friends with Gretchens' parents since their time in Uganda in the early 1970s. There was a fair amount of discussion of lifestyle during the pandemic, and how easy or hard it has been to adapt to doing all social interaction over internet video feeds. Some of the people doing teaching this way reported that they found it more exhausting than normal in-person instruction. The only kids present (our nephew and niece, both in northwest Arkansas) told us about what school has been like during the lockdown. For our niece, there are still tests, though keeping kids from just looking up answers online has been an impossible task. Our nephew attends a different school and says that for him, there will be no more tests for the rest of the year.
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