Garage in the afternoon sun, doors mostly open

The garage in the afternoon.

A cool morning, but not too bad. Some ice on the bird bath and in the chicken yard waterer.

I imposed a photography moratorium for a good part of the day, since we’re having a grandchild visit, and cameras will be off. Mom and Dad should have control over whether their child has an online presence, and thus far they don’t want that. I think that’s wise. And it’s actually nice not to feel I have to carry the phone around. Surveillance–even self-surveillance–has the feel of an obsession, which Arlene has humorously called to my attention. It’s a topic for some thought.

Since the visit was to begin around 8:00 am, we didn’t lounge that long with our morning reading. Some vacuuming and a bit of straightening (moving boxes out to position them for the fire pit trek), and then I fired up the stove to get bacon going before the kitchen became Grand Central Station. One thing I’ve noticed: I am quite happy cooking or doing things in the kitchen, especially when it’s a family affair. That time is well used, and when the working world pressed on my schedule, such leisure with the stove, the oven, the cutting board, the table and counters wasn’t really possible. Leisure requires its own kind of attention, and I have discovered the work stole that. The contortions of time in the pandemic only made the leisurely attention that much rarer.

We did have time for reading, though, as I mentioned.

At 6:56 am I sent myself an email with the link to an article in The New Yorker: “Is It Really Too Late to Learn New Skills?” by Margaret Talbot. It’s one of those delightfully expansive reviews that regularly appear in The New Yorker. Thank God for The New Yorker, especially over the past months! I skimmed this one enough to learn that a deeper look was needed, and I noted that it was to appear in the January 18, 2021, print issue under the nicer title “Starting Fresh.” Study is easier in print. The question of the article’s title is particularly pertinent to this month-long project, and the skimming I did really ties in nicely with its consideration of Nell Painter’s Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over. Painter took on art school in her sixties, earning a BFA and an MFA. She’s got chops, of course, as a professor of history at Princeton. Might be a good book to pick up.

Another piece that made it to email was “Social-Media Algorithms Rule How We See the World. Good Luck Trying to Stop Them” by Joanna Stern in The Wall Street Journal. I’m beginning to be on the lookout for readings for the fall 2021 class, and this one made it into the pile. The whole Section 230 issue will probably be churning even more actively this fall than it was last fall, so I think a theme will be around that topic, too. The role of media in shaping culture and minds is fascinating, and particularly important now with the immediacy and pervasiveness of social media. I read the WSJ, but I don’t thank God for it. It’s definitely not The New Yorker. The WSJ always infuriates somewhere on the home page.

We had a great time with Kathleen, Derek, and Holden. The little boy is walking, and life has sped up. During the morning and into the afternoon, I spent time between garage and house, since Derek was working on his fancy truck. A transmission filter and fluid change, oil, air filters, and sundry stuff.

Mid-afternoon, Arlene and I were alone at home again. I puttered around and began working a bit more on the chair, which by the evening was well along to the final parts of the restoration. I attached batting to shape and pad the cushion foam on the seat, and I attached webbing to the back. Good progress on the piece, and the batting worked nicely. I bought two types: a polyester fill-like stuff that tears apart easily and cotton batting which is thin but seems more durable than the fine polyester. It turns out the polyester worked nicely on the seat, since I used several layers.

I think the rest of the cushion on the chair back can be done tomorrow. I think I’ll need to make a run to Lowes to pick up some more tacks, though. I’ll also need to figure out exactly what I’ll use to tack the upholstery cloth. The steel tacks I’m using are a bit crude, I think. That’s fine for work that’s not visible, but might be a little crude in areas that are visible.