To Census Takers

As we begin the Labor Day Weekend, I want to honor Census Takers out in the field. They work hard getting mainly uncooperative people to do the Census. There’s a lot of walking and often the sun is hot so they’re roasting. For lots of reasons from forgetfulness to cranky obstinacy to fear of the government, people haven’t done their Census in the US. These folks see the importance of this data and have signed up to face lots of rejection to see that this project is completed as best as it can be.

A tough customer

Census Response Representatives are out in the community at grocery stores, food pantries, farmers’ markets, concerts, train stations, etc. They’re asking people to do the Census and few people, who haven’t done it yet, agree to. Some are nice about their choice and others are rude or mean. Nonetheless these Census workers keep smiling and asking people to complete the questionnaire.

These folks are unsung heroes. Working outside, sometimes in the rain, often without restrooms nearby with little support from the office.

Yesterday the Census sent out an email thanking essential workers for all they’ve done. For some reason they left out their own Census Takers from the list. Just an oversight and we all make them, but boy do these folks deserve some praise.

Weekend Coffee Share

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’ve had a break in the high temperatures. I’m not designed for 90° weather so I’m delighted with the 80°s which is where it’s supposed to stay this week.

On Thursday, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. My brothers and their wives and I went out for a nice dinner with my parents. My mother wanted to go to Ruth Chris, but as we had 7 and the county’s COVID limit is 6 in a room, we couldn’t go there. Instead we went to a restaurant called Wildfire, which had a large patio area for outdoor dining. The food was great and it was nice to celebrate.

I watched Hitchkok’s thriller Topaz, which plodded along. I keep getting sleepy so it took me a week to get through it. Not a good sign.

The Republican Convention was last week and I was surprised with how well it was produced. The speakers from all walks of life were particularly inspiring.

Work was uneventful this week. No threats! We went to a higher end organic grocery store two days. Another day we were at an Arabic bakery. There we only got one person to respond, but as luck would have it we met a man who works for the Illinois Complete Count Committee and he gave us T-shirts, a couple bags of masks we can hand out and a good poster.

It’s hard to get people to do the census. One man said he was “too old.” Of course that makes no sense. He didn’t want to listen so I don’t think that was his real reason.

School has started around here. Each one is handling COVID differently. My nephew’s high school started back with students rotating on campus once every 4 days. After a couple days, some students tested positive so everyone’s back online.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d say I’m still frustrated with getting forced to blog using the new block editor which has change posting for the worse. For example in the past I could just copy an old post for my Weekend Coffee Shares and have the introduction and image where I want them. No more. I’ve wasted a couple minutes trying to get the image where I want it and can’t. I don’t have time to do tutorials on tasks I’ve done with ease for years.

I worked bot Saturday and Sunday by choice. Saturday began with a Shred-a-thon sponsored by the alderman of the 33rd ward of Chicago one of several where we need people to do their Census. Most people reported doing it. One was obstinate about not doing it and wouldn’t say why. We got to meet the alderman and the district county commissioner and I was impressed that they both were so young. I’d guess under 35.

From their I went to an H-Mart to work with a different team member. At both events in total we got 4 people to do the Census. I hope for more but that’s typical. The most unusual response this weekend was one guy refusing our pleas by saying, “No, I don’t do that. I’m neutral.” Obviously, he still doesn’t know what a Census is.

Sunday I went to Lindo Michoacán to work and boy was it hopping. We got 5 censuses done along with the usual people who just walk by or refuse.

I’d crop this image, but with the new @#$@ editor, I don’t know how.

I began watching Hitchcock’s Cold War Thriller Topaz starring John Forsythe as a CIA spy.

I’m finishing up Swann’s Way the first book in the Remembrance of Things Past series (or is it a collection?) opus by Proust. It’s building to a beautiful, though surprising end. It’s my second reading of it so I’m ready for the surprise, but anticipating the how.

The weather’s been hot, which has curtailed my usual afternoon walks. I just don’t like to be out in the intense sun when it’s over 90 degrees.

Friday I went to a family barbecue where one of the guests teaches in a suburb nearby. That school will be completely in class when it opens. Parents are volunteering to monitor how many kids are in the bathroom (only one at a time) and will be required to get substitute teacher licenses because if there’s a need they’ll be the subs. This teacher has room for 14 students in her third grade class, though there are 17 students in the class. The three new students will have to learn remotely. I wish all who’re starting school again the patience and fortitude the changes demand.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, we’d be on our patio so we can enjoy the warm weather, the blue sky and the quiet as the roof is completely finished.

I’d tell you that I finished reading Swann’s Way, the first book in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. It’s a challenging, beautiful book. I savored it and didn’t want to finish reading it. I had read it in 2008 and a friend suggested be both read and discuss it. I enjoy reading and discussing this sort of book with my wise, well read friend. Proust jams so much observation in every page so I didn’t want to finish the story (even though I can read the next one anytime).

On Friday I went with a group of women to bring lunch to the police at a station in Chicago. It was great to show them some support and to let them know that people are grateful and know that not all cops are rotten. Most are brave and professional.

We had more protests cum riots in Chicago yesterday. When will this stop? This weekend (and Sunday isn’t even over) 50 people have been shot and 4 of those were killed. The riots yesterday resulted in 17 police injured and 24 people arrested for aggravated assault.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you what the schools are doing in your town vis-a-vis reopening. Every school seems to have a different approach even in areas with the same CCP Virus statistics. Then they form a plan and change it. Some people think the schools require special ventilation even if they have windows that open, i.e. the system used throughout the world and advocated by healthcare professionals. Now some schools and offices don’t have windows that open, which is a shame.

I’d tell you that work is proceeding along. It’s hard to get people who don’t want to do the census to do it, but there you are. Many think that although the Census did get a two month extension it’s not enough time to complete it. They seem to not know that we’ve already got higher response rates in much of the country compared to 2010. If people have seen thousands of ads and received mailings that they throw out, another month isn’t going to help.

easyliving16

Easy Living 1937

I would recommend you see Easy Living with Jean Arthur from 1937. It’s a fun screwball comedy and I’ll soon post a review.

I’m learning a lot about Albany Park, the Chicago neighborhood where I’m working almost every day. It’s a neighborhood with lots of diversity. I’ve come across a lot of people from Korea, Syria, Latin America and Mexico.

I’d tell you that we had a fun barbecue last night to honor my niece’s departure for her sophomore year of college. She leaves this morning for University of South Carolina. I hope she gets a full semester there. She’ll have 5 of 7 classes online. This year she’s in an apartment so if they do close down, she can stay down there.

Last week we had roofers installing a new roof. Every home in this subdivision has to get one. Ugh. It’s been quite a controversy for 3 years as many people don’t need new roofs but everyone’s got to have the same look. The workers from Apex roofing were terrific, but it’s a hell of a lot of noise from early morning till about 6pm. I am working in the field much of the day, but not all day. I tried to escape the noise, but there’s no seating in the library, the nearest Starbucks only has outdoor seating and across the parking lot is a fitness center that’s moved outside and the exercise music and coach’s yelling are not the same as the usual café music so that wasn’t a good spot to work. I wound up taking my conference call in my car in another parking lot.

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d invite you for tea or coffee on my patio. There’s a lot of greenery and we could watch the chipmunks and the occasional rabbit hop by. We might be lucky enough to see a crane that visits every so often.

I’d tell you that I just finished Getting the Best Care: Rescue your loved one from the healthcare conveyor belt. I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s got aging relatives or who is thinking of their own wishes for healthcare in case they get dementia or other debilitating conditions. It’s full of know-how about the hospital and the medical system and how you won’t be run over dominated or confused.

I’d tell you that I attended an absorbing Zoom meeting about the opening of high schools here. An ER doctor began by presenting the situation in her hospital. She teaches on the South Side of Chicago. She told us that the big spike in CCP Virus was in March and April. Now the virus is like “background noise.” Most of her patients have the same sort of maladies as they had this time last year. She updated us on how doctors in other specialities (i.e. not ER) were afraid to return to the hospital, but after two weeks acclimated.

I saw the 1964 version of The Killers with Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and Ronald Reagan. Boy, is that a compelling film!

I finished two graphic novels in the Hereville series, How Mirka Caught a Fish and How Mirka Met a Meteorite. Both were fun, clever storie of a girl with lots of spirit.

The other speaker was a statistician who noted that in the local high school 67% of teachers were under age 50. The data showed that in this area 8 people have died of Corona and that no children have. In essence these experts advocate for school in the classroom in the fall with reasonable accommodations. He had a lot of data on the effects of the virus on kids and how it’s rare for a child to transmit it to a teacher.

daisy

It’s summer!

(Note: a friend told me that in Israel there was a case of a child infecting a student, and I found this article about an Israeli kindergarten teacher who believes she was infected by a student. It hasn’t been conclusively confirmed. Perhaps there’s another incident.)

In a nutshell, the thinking is that other professions have come to grips with working in new ways during the CCP Virus Pandemic and schools can to. It was a mistake to have closed them in the spring, but no one knew that. We thought millions would die.

This work week had some ups and downs. The high point was attending a summer concert in a park in Evanston to get people to do the Census. There was a good crowd, but everyone was distanced and wore masks when moving around. The band played hits from Motown, Prince and Koko Taylor. The weather was nice and we got 2 people to do the Census, which wasn’t great, but was something.

On Friday we had a lot of challenge. We were assigned to a train station in the city at the end of the Brown line. Three of us set up our table, and had our devices ready. Soon a homeless man told us we were in his living room, i.e. outside the station. Clearly, the man needed help. He had no shoes. His ranting and later constant heckling showed that he wasn’t of sound mind, but at the same time, we did have work to do. I contemplated moving our table but then thought no one would see us.

There were other homeless people there, but only one who misunderstood something a coworker said, left us alone. That guy who thought he’d been insulted turned back and threatened to harm my colleague. As the day wore on, first guy drank more and more vodka (no doubt to self-medicate) so he got more belligerent and told us off. He did not like us there. Then a young man, probably in his 20s, came by to protect us. He got a bit loud and told the first man he was going to kick his ass if he didn’t leave us alone. It looked like things were going to get worse.

I saw a police car across the street and went to talk about our options. We didn’t want the man arrested, but we did want to be left alone. They knew all the people at the station and we discussed if having them walk over would make matters worse. There was no way to know. In the end, we wound up leaving early. We certainly earned our money on Friday.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some timely catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, we might actually be out. Now it’s week 18 of the lockdown.

I mentioned having some big news last week. A week ago Wednesday the head honcho called me and offered me a promotion. Woohoo! I was told to immediately send my resume to his boss and that woman’s boss and I did. Then I waited patiently. I didn’t want to bother anyone and I had faith that they’d contact me.

By last Tuesday, I wanted to hear. I sent a message to the head honcho, who replied a few hours later that they changed their mind. They didn’t need another manager after all. How capricious.

Friday we went to a barbecue at my brother’s house to celebrate my nephew’s 21st birthday. My other nephew came in from Minnesota so it extra nice to see him.

My sister-in-law teaches 3rd grade. We asked her how she felt about returning to school and what her school plans to do. She said she’s not crazy about starting the year with such young kids online. It was one thing to teach online with kids she knew, but this seemed harder. On the other hand, she didn’t see how kids could learn if they couldn’t work in groups in the class room. The school board is making a plan and this week sometime they’ll share the plan with the teachers and ask for input.

I had a great time talking over lunch with my cousin. We haven’t gotten together since February due to the CCP Virus. We had a lot of catching up to do at a proper distance.

I’ve started the Hillsdale College online course on Children’s Literature. I recommend it already. The emphasis is on classics and I must admit I need to read more classic children’s literature.

 

Exaspérant

despaired-2261021_1920

J’ai prié pour une semaine de travail simple où mon équipe pourrait simplement se concentrer sur le recrutement. Pas de drame comme les semaines passées. Quelqu’un était absent pour des raisons médicales pendant quelques jours, alors j’ai pensé que c’était faisable.

J’avais tort. Mercredi, nous avons été chargés de faire une analyse SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) en trente minutes. Une analyse réfléchie d’une opération prend beaucoup plus de temps. En outre, ce travail dépasse largement notre niveau de rémunération. (Je déteste le cliché, mais ici c’est vrai.) Nous avons donc suspendu le recrutement de notre journée, nous sommes séparés en groupes et avons réussi cet exploit majeur.

Oh, que ce serait la seule tâche ultra-exigeante de la semaine.

Ce matin, nous avons reçu un e-mail avec beaucoup de jargon et des slogans militaires inappropriés qui nous ont demandé de prouver en quelque sorte comment les médias sociaux sont un moyen efficace de recrutement. Hein?

Nous n’avons aucun outil pour le faire.

Continue reading

Tips for Online Meetings

Laptop computer isolated on white

I’ve been meeting online a lot lately, just like many people. I’ve got a few tips for people. Some of these you’d think you wouldn’t have to say.

  • Don’t scratch yourself or put your finger in your ear when your camera’s on.
  • Mute when you’re not talking because when your mic’s on it picks up background noise that makes it hard to hear what the speaker is saying.
  • Don’t have your camera on while you’re eating. Sipping a drink seems fine, but if you’re eating and crumbs are falling from your mouth, that’s not pleasant to witness.