Where are we?

March 28, 2020

Now I have to say that this blog resolution is starting on an eerily similar path as many other past resolutions. I’ll run every day! Every other day! Every…week?

Before we get all down on ourselves and to stall while I figure out what I’m going to write about today, how about a little cheer-us-up photo?

This one shows the view from an Air BnB we stayed at on the Kona side on the Big Island of Hawaii. How we got there was a funny story.

It starts way back in graduate school – some of you know that I did my PhD with Peter Vitousek at Stanford. Those of you who didn’t know that (and probably those of you who did as well) are probably like…”Wait…doesn’t he do ecosystem ecology? And doesn’t Lianne represent herself as an epidemiologist?” Yes and yes. Twisty path, friends. Ok, back to the story. I spent much of my PhD on the Big Island studying young lava flows and our lab there was based in Volcano. Have you been there? SO beautiful! And, when it wants to be, SO wet.

A couple of years ago, we went to the Big Island for the kids’ spring break intending to spend 6 days in Volcano. We rented a very quirky little Air BnB – teeny tiny – and it poured down rain 3 days straight. And I just lost it and said, we have to get out of here! Now! We have to get to the dry side! We landed in this sweet spot on the dry side with this gorgeous view. (The owners said “We’ve never had someone book for the next day!”).

Time for another quick photo breather in this stream-of-consciousness post – a cat in a bag!

Ok, back to reality here. This post’s title is in honor of the very odd time in which we find ourselves. We all know where we are physically. At home! (well…most of the time, a little more on this later). But instead of different places so helpfully cueing my different roles, now the mix of Mom, instructor, HB Director, researcher, housekeeper all combusts in the same place. When we’re all trying to work at the same time, a complicated dance takes place in our house. The internet is trash upstairs where my desk and monitor are so when I get too aggravated by multiple appearances of “unstable internet connection” and missing inevitably key points whatever zoom colleague I’m talking with is making I trek downstairs to the couch. Whoops, Jonathan is there on a zoom call. To the lounge, then, where my son is trying to work. Tough tarts, I say, I need to be as close as possible to the router. We all cluster around it, hoping for the reasonable internet speed needed to get us through our tasks.

In the interests of full transparency, I did escape the house twice this past week (don’t tell my Mom) to volunteer at the Stanford barn to help care for the horses since the equestrian team are all now at their homes. Learning outcomes: (1) Being a groom is hard work; (2) Being a groom is really hard work. The reward was all the horse kisses. And getting to see moments like in the video below. It was time for Hemi to go on the walker but he was fast asleep. This horse really conks out. And then wakes up so sweetly:

Those dedicated readers who follow my sporadic tweets are now like…wait a second! That was totally your tweet from yesterday! Double dipping! Completely unique material all of the time is the provenance of those with more interesting lives, friends. And I had to include it now because although I had hoped to keep volunteering at the barn Tues and Thurs, I need to take a 1-2 week break on extra lockdown to be sure everyone at home stays healthy.

So given that I can’t see the horses, who thinks that getting a second dog might be a good idea?

Published by Lianne Kurina

I am an epidemiologist, the proud director of the Program in Human Biology at Stanford University, and a very keen horsewoman.

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