Cloister Commentary, Day 26: “What is a Project?”

Every Zoom class is weird in a different way. Most of my students showed up, but they were all sans video–understandable, as it’s an 8 a.m. class (I was looking a bit grizzled myself). I checked to see if they could hear me; they ALL used the chat function to affirm. I asked if they were doing ok, if they had any questions about the research paper they’re writing, if they had anything interesting to report. Five count. Nothing. So I proceeded with a stimulating discussion of (drum roll!) MLA style, pausing every five minutes to check for comprehension–and to check the participants. They remained “in the Zoom room” for the whole mini-lecture, but other than affirming again later that they could indeed hear me, they made no comment. I wished them well and encouraged them to reach out anytime for help, waited a five count, then said goodbye. Ghostly.

The Boone County Historical Society is encouraging its citizens to contribute to their project documenting the COVID-19 crisis as we’ve experienced it. You can step into the project by completing an on-line questionnaire that’s actually pretty enjoyable. Think about it.

Nicole made 52 peanut butter cookies yesterday. She said she made 52, that is–I counted them myself and there were only 44. In other food news, is there anything wrong with having a grilled cheese sandwich every day? I don’t think so. Has anyone tried putting pickle relish on one? I have done it thrice (Wickle’s Wicked Relish, of course) and I believe it’s for real.

My project was hammering back in some wayward nails on the back deck. I know: I need to raise my game when it comes to projects. I also applied five new bumper stickers to my pickup and ran some old electronics out to recycling, only to find the place was closed. I hadn’t driven for about three weeks, so it felt good to get out, though I discovered there’s no exit south onto Rangeline off of 63 if you’re heading north from the Paris Road exit. (This is more gripping than an MLA citation style mini-lecture.)

I unfortunately had to experience a clip from yesterday’s briefing. Every day a new low. My music-proxy response?

Started some new books in the evening–our rule is, if we’re not putting in physical effort, it’s not a project. Since I’m nearly 60, I read 4-6 books at a time to keep my mind and memory in shape (plus I like to have a choice every day). This batch is going to be great: Sandburg’s Chicago Poems, Don McLeese’s critical bio of Dwight Yoakam, Martin Duberman’s update of his monumental Stonewall. Reading is essential armor when fighting this plague.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

An album by a masterful jazz pianist that lives up to its title.

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