Blogosphere

Physical Distancing on Campus

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Mon, 09/14/2020 - 4:41pm

With the return of students to campus last week and the start of classes today (finally!), signs about masks, about hand washing, about COVID symptoms, and about physical distancing* have flowered everywhere: walls, doors, windows, bathroom stalls, floors, pillars… I guess I haven’t seen any on trees or ceilings, but maybe those will show up tomorrow.

And anywhere two people can queue up, the floor is marked with traffic-flow arrows, spacing dots or x’s, reminders about the magical six feet (“2M,” if you’re metric)…

The post Physical Distancing on Campus appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Covid Riding

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 09/13/2020 - 10:41am

I had a fun little gravel ride today with two friends.

We kept pretty good distance between us, not that it matters that much in the open air when we’re mostly moving at 15 mph. A couple times, I thought about other rides on these particular roads – at least once, with one of today’s riders – and struggled to remember, at first, why we could have every ridden in a pack, or clustered around the guy who had a flat, or camped in a tiny little cabin in a county park.

This resetting of older memories is getting more and more frequent for me, a phenomenon that I’ve talked about with many people. Masking and distancing have permeated public life so deeply that it’s hard to remember that they’ve only been around for us since February, and only really common in Minnesota since late July (when the governor mandated masks in public places).

I guess it’s a nice demarcation in our shared personal histories: things we did before the pandemic, things we are doing in it. I suppose there will be a whole set of things that we’ll do after the pandemic, too (ubiquitous masking in health-care settings?) – or not (salad bars are over, right?). For now it’s enough of a challenge to remember that we weren’t being foolhardy eight years ago when ten of us rode in a tight paceline down a rutted, muddy road – we just didn’t have to worry about COVID.

The post Covid Riding appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Fi-Mask-co

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 09/11/2020 - 4:43pm

I have, I think, eleven masks. I have one stashed in each car, two hanging from a hook in my office, one or two on the hat rack at home, and the rest… Uh… Most of them are in my backpack, I think, but maybe a couple are stuffed in handlebar bags on my bikes.

Today, I headed off to the coffeeshop before work without one around my neck. “No problem,” I thought as I rode along, “I’ll dig one out of my backpack before I go inside.” Nope. Nothing there. I zipped my jacket up as high as I could, just under my nose, and went in. “Do you have any spare masks?” I asked. Luckily, they did, and the barista slid one over the counter to me. Crisis averted. When I got to work, I found the two on the hook, one on the cabinet where I leave my bike helmet, and one on my desk. They both went into my backpack for Monday.

The post Fi-Mask-co appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

The Fast and Furious Elm

Are you in a hurry for a big shade tree but you have a tough site? Consider an elm. Elms are one of the fastest growing trees we carry, and after a few years you will have a nice sized tree standing proudly in your landscape. Super tough and not picky about soil, elms are an excellent choice for difficult areas where establishing other trees presents a challenge.

Elms do well with fall planting, so now is a great time to get them in and enjoy the soft yellow fall color. Adding a ring of mulch 2-4” deep around your new tree will even further increase its vigor and protect the root zone over winter. As always, make sure mulch isn’t piled up against the bark- keeping it about 2 inches away from the trunk is ideal to avoid bark rot.      

What about Dutch Elm Disease? The varieties we carry all display high resistance to the disease, so you can feel confident in planting these classic trees! 

The fast-growing nature of elms is great, but it does mean that they need regular pruning in their youth to maintain good branch structure.  Prune elms annually in their dormancy, winter to early spring.

Tips on pruning:

Remove branches that are at an extremely acute angle

Remove spindly or weakly attached branches

Branches that are crossing or rubbing will become an issue, prune so that branches do not touch

Dense groups of branches should be thinned- pick one large healthy branch and remove the rest

Avoid cutting into the collar, the swollen ring at the base of each branch

As always, use a sterile, sharp cutting tool

The post The Fast and Furious Elm appeared first on Knecht's Nurseries & Landscaping.

Categories: Businesses

Who was that masked student?

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 2:45pm

I had my individual meetings with my four first-year advisees today – nice young men and women,* all suburbanites, all student-athletes, all excited about college. None of them took me up on my offer to have our meetings by video call, and each of them commented in one way or another about being “Zoomed out” after a disrupted senior year of high school, a summer spent looking at a screen, and now orientation that includes a lot of activities on Zoom.

So I enjoyed talking face to face with them, or mask to mask, eight feet apart. I found it taxing to listen to someone that far away whose mouth is hidden by the masks they all dutifully wore. Nonetheless we had some great conversations that covered a lot of ground I’d expected and needed to cover (general education requirements, Carleton as an institution, Northfield as a place) as well some topics that gave me a better sense of them as people – G, who worries about finding enough time to pursue all of his interests; I, who wants to know the best restaurants in town; B, who has already planned out her major; and S, who wants to meet more people already!

All in all, the meetings were refreshing reminders of what Carleton is all about and that the kids are going to do pretty well despite the world we’ve forced them to live in.

But sill: it’s insane to me that everyone – today, literally every person on campus! – is wearing a mask. Disposable ones, Carleton-branded ones, fancy ones, plain ones, pattered ones, solid-colored ones. 2020: the year we couldn’t see anyone’s mouth, and learned to recognize each other by eyebrows and noses.

* After 14 years at Carleton, I feel like I can almost start calling them “kids,” but I remember feeling So Grown Up at 18…

The post Who was that masked student? appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Pandemic Restrooms

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Wed, 09/09/2020 - 5:34pm

Every day, more signs, posters, flyers, reminders about pandemic health and safety appear around campus. At this rate, the restrooms in our office building will be wallpapered in signage by Halloween. Today’s addition to the door into the two-stall men’s room:

The commodes are new-ish, and there’s a touchless paper towel dispenser, but pretty much everything else appears to be original to the building. This wooden stalls create a look and feel that’s very Hogwarts – but the building went up in 1915, just before the Spanish flu pandemic. I wonder if the college put up posters to exhort masking and washing hands.

The post Pandemic Restrooms appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Covid Move-In Day

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Tue, 09/08/2020 - 5:08pm

Today was arrival day for first-year students at Carleton – the Class of 2024! I felt a touch of melancholy all day at the atmosphere: dreary weather, parents and freshmen moving into the dorms on strict shifts, everyone wearing masks and maintaining distance, small quiet groups instead of the big boisterous crowds… It’s just not right! But it’s also reality. More happily, I got in touch with my four FY advisees today. We’ll meet tomorrow morning at 10, which is going to be a nice moment.

The post Covid Move-In Day appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Falldemic

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Mon, 09/07/2020 - 6:12pm

Today, the weather turned dramatically, shaving off 30º F and turning from windy sun to overcast rain. Not only did this mean that I had to scotch plans for a ride, but also that fall has started, at least in the practical sense that I needed an extra layer when I went outside to today.

And if fall has started, then the pandemic has now touched – harmed! – all four seasons. We joked in April about how difficult lockdown would be during the winter, and thanks to Trump’s ineptitude, we might now get a chance to see. At the least, we’re going to have to read the dismal news on the pandemic while enduring the dismal autumnal drizzle. And today, students started coming back to Carleton, which means that those poor first-years are always going to remember literal and figurative clouds hanging over their first days of college.

The post Falldemic appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Bike riding in a pandemic

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sun, 09/06/2020 - 12:21pm

Today marks the thirteenth straight weekend that I’ve gone for a longish bike ride with one or more friends.

Till this summer, I’d gone years without riding with anyone, ever since getting out of the habit of the Tuesday-night gravel rides that the club here in town organizes (or used to, in the Before Times). Pressures at home made me stop, but now with teenagers instead of elementary school kids, it’s easier – if not painless – to get out the house on a weekend morning for a long ride – 30 up to 60 or so miles so far.

It’s been absolutely great to do these rides – physically, socially, emotionally. I have not amassed this many bike miles in many, many years, which can only pay off when or if I can race this winter. And I’ve turned a corner with my riding, where going for a ride, even a short one (like the 20-ish miler yesterday evening with Pete), feels wonderful – but where a 60-miler feels even better.

The pandemic has constricted almost everyone’s social life; mine is largely now messaging with a few friends, talk at work (which isn’t really a real social life), workouts with one other guy a few evenings a week, and the occasional evening beer with a couple people at most. Plus the bike rides, which have been 3-5 hours of conversation about politics, the pandemic, work, Carleton, etc. etc. It’s wonderful. I love the rhythms of these bike-ride conversations, which appeal both in being Guy Talk and in being chats with like-minded friends – and which are thus very emotionally satisfying without being soul-searches. I always end the rides feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally satisfied – and maybe spiritually too, since it’s hard not to like scenes like this:

But. Given the constant talk about physical distancing, about masking, about washing hands and such, it’s a bit weird to spend so long in relatively close proximity to several other humans. It feels wrong, even if we’re pretty far apart from each other. I have to keep reminding myself that this is normal and relatively healthy, that riding bikes was a perfectly ordinary thing to do this time last year, that not too long from now it’ll be normal again. I hope. In the meantime, we’ll ride a few arms’ lengths apart and bring masks so one of us can get beer at the brewery afterwards.

The post Bike riding in a pandemic appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Saturday Activities

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 09/05/2020 - 4:56pm

Today was an ordinary day, but the pandemic shot through aspect of it.

In the morning, I went driving with Julia so she could practice on the freeway; she’s had her permit for 14 months and won’t have her behind-the-wheel exam for another three weeks because the exams are backlogged after having been suspended for months in the spring due to the pandemic.

In the afternoon I went riding with Pete and wound up as usual at Imminent, where they can only allow about half as many customers as usual due to physical distancing, and where everyone has to wear a mask unless they’re seated at their table. Awkward but also so normal.

And all day, I saw homemade Trump signs, emblems of the cult that has only hardened as the pandemic has wound on. Beyond the run-of-the-mill handmade ones and the obnoxious campaign ones with the “Keep America Great” slogan, the capper was a massive two-sided “TRUMP 2020” sign on a flatbed trailer along US 52 – entirely ringed with barbed wire. Never has there been a more apt metaphor for Trump.

The post Saturday Activities appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

Navigating Empathetic Marketing

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 5:23pm

Welcome to our new normal. Every single day, we are bombarded with updates, statistics, and stay-at-home orders. Emotions are running high, and everyone is feeling a little stuck. This adjustment has been nothing short of difficult, and it’s especially tricky...

The post Navigating Empathetic Marketing appeared first on Brand Yourself Consulting.

Categories: Businesses
Syndicate content