March 24, 2020

Baking Bread - Sheltering at Home

My first loaf of bread - made in Oakland.
This is the first loaf of bread I've ever made from scratch. It took me 24 hours to let the dough rise. Normally I wouldn't have the time to venture into baking bread, which I find intimidating. But with time at home I was able to take the baking leap. It is a rustic wholewheat loaf that tasted great with butter and then I used the remainder to make french toast and bread pudding. 
Ida's loaf made in Maryland.

I shared the photo with my family in Maryland and my 8 year-old niece was inspired to use the same recipe (Mark Bittman No Knead Bread) to make her white flour loaf featured in the second photo.

March 20, 2020

Sheltering at Home - Days 3 & 4 - Oakland, CA

What can I say, Day 3 was difficult. I lost momentum. In reflection I think it was that I didn't have any meetings set and I got lost in jumping between emails and to-do lists. Mid-day I gave up, took a bath, a nap and a walk. Then I asked a client for an extension. That was humbling. I pride myself on getting my work done - and at a high level of quality.

Here's Dhalia cat practicing safe social distancing.
The day turned around with the facilitation of my Golden Gate University class. These students inspire me and their engagement rekindled my motivation.

Day 4, today, was a roller coaster. I went from calm to anxiousness, to letting-go, then ennui, followed by motivation, and then energy! Yes, all of that in 10 hours.

What I notice is that people who are anxious on zoom really stand out in calls. Their frenetic, kinetic, energy dominates. I'm learning to sit back and listen, but not absorb. Also learning to get use to my wrinkles. They are very noticeable in the zoom image. Gives me some feedback as my face gets more tired and stressed in calls and as the day moves along.

Went for a walk after "work" and am noticing that aches and pains I've had for years are disappearing. Is it the lack of commute? Internal focus? Bike riding? Even though my work is nearly overwhelming each day, I feel a sense of calm, purpose and clarity that indicates I'm on the right track with my life.

Tomorrow I teach my first online yoga class via zoom. Thank you zoom, you are the hero in this story.

March 18, 2020

Sheltering at Home Day 2 - Oakland, CA

Home Office Executive Suite
Awoke in the wee hours and thought, "I need to put love into the world." A couple of ideas came to mind - putting out care packages along Lake Merritt, creating a giving tree, maybe a wishing tree with messages written on paper, or painting little rocks with messages and mandalas to leave along the lake. 

I gathered up my crafting supplies and I have plenty of options. It was rainy this morning so I didn't create my craft project yet. But there is plenty of time to make it happen. 

Late in the afternoon I transformed my dining room table into my desk. This is my home office setup as I monitor 5 email addresses and manage multiple clients and schools. I barely had time to get work done with all the online meetings. Plenty of time to see and be seen, hear and be heard.

March 17, 2020

Sheltering at Home - Day 1- Notes from Oakland, CA

Practicing Warrior II in my Oakland apartment.
Quiet. That was the first thing I noticed when I awoke this morning. I could hear individual sounds instead of the cacophony of general background humm. Shelter at Home means fewer cars, busses, trains, and planes. Next I heard my cat companion Dhalia purring and felt the warmth of her fur as I reached out to give her a loving touch. This sweet (and sometimes bitchy) creature was sitting on my side, above the covers, as I dozed in bed. The next sound was a garbage truck clunking its gears and then a bird singing its morning song.

In this time of the unknown when everything is so uncertain, I am trying to savor the quiet soundscape, the ease of pace and the time to take care of myself. Without the need to rush into the commute of San Francisco, I am able to take the extra time to...meditate, walk, practice yoga, bike ride, cook. This is in between endless zoom meetings and also getting my work done. 

My job is to hold space for my numerous students at several Bay Area colleges and universities as we meet online for our now virtual, synchronous classes. That means we "see" each other in real time. At first the many faces on the screen, reacting and responding, seemed surreal. But now it is our opportunity to see and be seen, to hear and be heard, to listen and share. Similarly, each student assignment that I grade I am taking more time to write thoughtful comments in the text and students are taking the time to resubmit their work, sharing clearer ideas with more details. Going deep. 

Today's mantra: slow down and notice my surroundings.


Update: Went for a bike ride this morning around Lake Merritt. Virtually no cars on the road. It was glorious. Then practiced yoga at home.