Category: Changing Times

Jul 14, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Cooking for One

Cooking for One

Single people have long-lamented the challenges of cooking for one. Family-size packaging is the norm. I ain’t gonna lie. A preference for anything but leftovers has meant a lot of perfectly good food ends up in the trash. Not anymore. Shortages, guilt, and a desire to minimize trips to the grocery have changed my wasteful ways. Watching chefs on Chopped deal with mystery baskets helped. As with the TV show, transforming the ingredients is the key to success. Thought my recipe ideas might inspire you as well. Chicken thighs work better than breasts or tenders for leftovers. I season with salt and pepper and bake (375 for 20-25 minute) the whole package (usually six pieces). I eat two with sides …

Jul 05, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Pandemic Shopping

Pandemic Shopping

Some consider shopping to be a fun and enjoyable activity. I’m not one of those people. In the best of circumstances, shopping pushes my crotchety button. Grocery shopping is the worst. Before COVID-19, I ordered everything but perishables online, mostly from Walmart. Convenience, selection, low prices and free shipping keep me coming back. Aside from shipping delays, I didn’t anticipate any problems. Wrong. Almost everything I usually order has been out of stock. Substitutes have been in short supply too. Damn. I checked out pickup and local delivery options. The next available appointments/delivery dates were weeks away. Availability is better now, but I’ll pass. Sooner or later, another person choosing my produce would surely piss me off. Masked and armed …

Jun 22, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety

After more than fifteen weeks at home, leaving my little sanctuary makes me nervous. COVID-19 continues to spread like wild fire. Mixing with others hardly seems worth the risk. Trips to the garden center are my only nonessential outings. I wear a mask, stick to outside areas, and go early enough to avoid long checkout lines. Growing things makes me happy. A haircut isn’t worth the risk. My plan to let my beard and hair grow for a potential appearance on Queer Eye didn’t work. Trimming my beard is easy enough, but the thought of cutting my hair scared me. Previous attempts always required an emergency visit to the barbershop. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I finally used my …

May 20, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Stressed

Stressed

My eleventh straight week at home is wrapping up. The first week I took off from work. Then the coronavirus hit the scene. I’ve been home pretty much ever since. I’m lucky and grateful. I still have a job, a regular paycheck, and everything I need. There’s no homeschooling at my house nor any children to entertain. Nobody I know is sick, incarcerated, or in a nursing home. Despite my good fortune, I’m anxious, stressed and more than a little overwhelmed. The increasing divide between science and politics doesn’t help. Ignorance, misinformation, and stupidity make things worse. The federal government is in shambles. Institutions I’ve trusted and relied on my entire life are under attack. Watch dogs and whistle blowers …

May 01, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on My Online Learning Experience

My Online Learning Experience

The semester I’ll never forget is just about over. Switching from the classroom to the Internet during a two-week hiatus after spring break was a daunting challenge. Except for maybe graduating seniors, students and faculty alike are happy to see the semester end. Teaching online isn’t all bad. I see the potential. How to make it work is the challenge — especially for crotchety old men like me. A greater command of technology would help. I can do what I need to do, barely. Call me incurious, but exploring the capabilities of devices, software, or apps never crosses my mind. The switch to online teaching forced my hand. I’d used our online interface to post lectures, collect assignments, record grades, …

Apr 19, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Garden Update

Garden Update

Few things tickle may fancy more than impulse-shopping at garden centers every spring and fall. I hit several over spring break this year, but it was too early for the kinds of things I want. Staying at home has me chomping at the bit to fill my empty flower beds. Before the pandemic, I picked up a few things for a flower bed outside my front door. The petunias and dianthus I planted have settled in now and look lovely. Begonias planted in the same spot last year are coming back. The big yard at my old house had plenty of room for new additions. Running out of room in the tiny yard I have now is my greatest fear. …

Apr 10, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Creeping Toward the Apex

Creeping Toward the Apex

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost all track of time. Not the date, day, and hour — they’re readily available on various devices. Distinguishing one day from the next is the challenge. Since March 7, I’ve lived in my own little world. My car hasn’t left the garage more than six times. Toodles and I go for short walks two or three times a day, and I’m trying to run three miles three or four times a week. I’m not — twice a week is more like it — but I’m trying. Work keeps me busy. On top of additional demands related to the crisis, everything takes longer. Email exchanges over several hours or days have replaced the …

Apr 04, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Teaching to the Grid

Teaching to the Grid

The two-week suspension of instruction to enable faculty to transition to online teaching ended a week ago Friday. Students returned to class Monday. My first class was Tuesday. It didn’t go well. For starters, students couldn’t hear me. I have to lean in close to see anything on my laptop. Students watched a closeup of my forehead as I frantically scrambled through settings trying to figure out what the hell was wrong. Students tried to help without success. One day, I’ll laugh about it. Ended up dialing in. Had to use my phone to talk and my laptop for everything else. Didn’t help that my first online lecture was new to me from slides used by a guest speaker last …

Mar 27, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Three Down, so Far

Three Down, so Far

I just wrapped up my third straight week at home. So far, so good. How much longer sheltering in place and social distancing will be the norm is anyone’s guess, but I don’t expect to return to business as usual any time soon. For the foreseeable future, staying at home is my new normal. The first week I took off for Spring Break. With my teaching schedule, opportunities to use vacation days are few and far between. After a crazy busy start to the semester, I was ready for some R & R. Other than doctor appointments on two days, my only plans were to get some sun, resume my long-suspended exercise routine, and spruce up the yard for spring. …

Mar 22, 2020
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Best of a Bad Situation

The Best of a Bad Situation

The global corona virus pandemic is the most frightening situation I’ve ever experienced. The virus could but isn’t likely to kill me, but with no one to care for me should I fall ill, avoiding possible contagion is my top priority. Consequently, I’m homebound for the foreseeable future. Were I to get sick, friends would take care of me. Tony and Jesse have looked after me for years and rescued me too many times to count. They’ve drug me along to lots of events since Andy died which has expanded my circle of local friends. I’m grateful, and owe it to them and others who’d help me to minimize my risk of exposure. Staying in the moment is my second …