Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Beautiful Berkeley Afternoon

Today we took a walk up to North Berkeley for some coffee and a short errand to the grocery store. I couldn't help noticing how lovely everyone's gardens and accent landscaping was looking. It seemed like everything was in bloom. I'm not a gardener but I really appreciate the effort and love people seem to put into their homes –– so much so, I kept forgetting to take pictures.

But here's a couple:

Flowers on Fulton/ near Dwight Way
Along Fulton near Dwight Way.

Flowers on Oxford /near Hurst
Further up Oxford near Haste.

I really liked how the tree looked against the home's chimney.

It was pretty warm and sunny out. A beautiful day as mentioned. It was almost a bit too warm for me. We kept our masks on, and as we walked, I had some trouble breathing. Partly because I've been sitting around the house more than usual for the past 3 months, and partly because of my janky lungs. With the weather so nice, and looser restrictions, maybe more walks are in order.

Saturday, June 06, 2020


The Shelter at Home for Alameda County is easing up.. Masks/face coverings are still mandatory when out and about or in stores, but we're seeing a loosening in restrictions: just in time for the very important global protests! We'll see how it works out, healthwise. For now, we who can't be in crowds because of health can find other ways of giving our support.

This post is mainly a way for me to ease myself back into blogging. Now the semester is over, things aren't slowing down. Summer 2019, I was looking at participating in 2 MA programs, thinking I could enroll part-time in one program, while enrolled fulltime in another! I am rethinking that!

The pandemic didn't have a lot to do with it, as much as things going on in my family life. School and the COVID19 pandemic just made the stress a LOT worse. Dropping the online course I was taking in another program seemed the only choice I had. Sadly it also meant I had to be willing to take an "F" in a Masters program. In the end, because of the pandemic, we were allowed to petition for a 'credit/ no credit' and that saved me. I'm still on probation in that program (having only taken 1 credit Fall 2019 and passed) but I"m not 'in trouble' so much. It's allowing me time to regroup and focus on the things I need to focus on. 

Since then, our furkid of 18 1/2 yrs passed on (3 weeks ago today) from what the vets thought to be intestinal cancer. Prior to that, we were keeping an eye on a thyroid issue, adjusting medications, and taking turns giving him what often amounted to hourly care. And over the last few years, a very close family member of mine has also been very ill, and increasingly worse. The decision to not put my education on hold seemed a practical choice, knowing the need to make long-distance travel never far out of mind. Hopefully one can imagine how stressful that would be when your community, your state, and most of your country is practicing shelter at home. And while I don't want to discuss the details, suffice to say, no one is traveling right now despite the loosening of restrictions. I'm not planning any trips to theme parks any time soon either. No crowds for me. To be honest, another masked trip to COSTCO a couple weeks ago was anxiety-inducing by the time I got home. 

But I'm busy with school. I'm focusing on my history MA at Hayward. We've been (& continue to be) online-only for now. I have my MA project approved and trying to figure out my research strategies and what sources I'll have available once I get the materials I already have organized. This Fall I'm taking a Public History Practicum course and a Graduate Portfolio course (both online for now.) I still need to keep working on my Public History project due in the Spring. Summer is the time to complete as much as possible. 

I'm also reading for pleasure to alternate the Secondary source material I'll read for my research. I'm stepping away from my online MA program for now, and will likely ask to skip the Spring Semester as well. I think had things gone differently, I may have felt doing both were still feasible. There's a programing course I really was looking forward to taking, but that will have to wait until Summer 2021, I think. As of right now, (with the library & archives/ historical associations being closed) I am feeling unsure how much progress on my project I'll make. I know: Think positive!! Whatever. (I'm really starting to equate the phrase with the annoying suggestion certain people make to others to "Smile!")

The thing I would tell myself if I could go back in time, or if someone asked me if enrolling in two MA programs was possible or a good idea: Yes, it's possible.. but, if you have things going on in your life that may impact your ability to focus on your studies or participate in coursework (especially if the courses meet in person), then you need to give it some thought. Had I known now what I was looking at in the next year, I would have kicked myself and said "You know you don't want to, but YOU HAVE TO WAIT on that other program!"

I am an impatient person though, so I did what I thought was right. Maybe I would still be OK if a pandemic hadn't closed the libraries and historical societies. I know some professors might disagree, but it's been my experience that COVID has really impacted graduate research. But it also makes me feel that now more than ever, digital archives are an important asset. If digital archives were given more funding, more staffing; access to important documents and materials wouldn't be such a desperate issue when things like a hundred-year pandemic crop up. But "who knew?!"  you're probably saying/ thinking. Another consideration is the amount of time, money, and travel for researchers who need access to out of state or overseas resources. And speaking of mobility, there's also those that are mobility impaired. Leaving one's residence isn't always an easy option for many, elderly or not. Why should research become difficult or impossible for some? So yeah, I've been rambling but access is important! 

Back to the blog..  creating a blog will be part of my Graduate Portfolio course I've been told by some of my cohorts. While I won't be posting any of that material here, I think I should get back to blogging, so I can be more comfortable with the interface, (regardless where I end up posting my coursework). Practicing some basic HTML, etc., which means I may do some back-log posting. We'll see. This has become a bit of a novel, so ending for now.  Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy as you go about your day.