Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
October 2020
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12 of 12, May 2020

The moderately strict “lockdown” that we have been in for the past several weeks — only going out when it is essential, no visits with people except for care and support if required, and exercising only in your local environs — is just starting to ease, as Australia’s new case rate seems to be at a manageable level and Tasmania, after having to deal with a major cluster on the NW coast, has had no new cases in the last five days. However, most people are trying to be cautious about things opening up, as no one wants a flare up, both because we don’t want people to be infected with COVID-19 but also because we don’t want to go back into lockdown. So, this month’s 12 of 12 mostly documents some lockdown things.

Since I haven’t been going down to uni to work, I admit that sometimes I don’t rush to get up … and so this morning I was putting up some on-line materials for one of my uni classes while still in bed.

I also spent some time drawing a good version of a diagram for one of my PhD students (after several attempts, because the copy that he had sent for me to use as a basis for the illustration was not at all like what the diagram was meant to look like).

I had a meeting today, and had the opportunity to attend in person (with appropriate physical distancing protocols in place). Given how sick I am of doing things by screen, I decided to go (the car park at this particular location is not quite as steep as it appears here).

My parents live close to this venue and so I called in on them (I’ve been limiting my visits, but they are permitted). It was nice to have a chat and, so that my mother didn’t have to venture out into the shopping centre, I gave her a hair cut. I think it turned out okay; but, just in case it didn’t, my Dad reminded me that the difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is about three days!


I returned home, where I had a Zoom meeting with another of my PhD students … only my computer and Zoom and my wifi were all misbehaving (my computer stopped playing sound and then the internet dropped out/Zoom glitched) and so I missed most of the meeting.

My Mum actually gave me some flowers for Mother’s Day (I did the same for her); and here they are. I’m pretty sure they’re from her garden. In contrast, the ones I gave her weren’t from my garden, since my garden doesn’t stretch to much in the way of flowers.

In the evening I had a TSO Chorus rehearsal. There were about 60 of us in attendance via Zoom, although singing together with all microphones unmuted does not work (their rendition of “happy birthday” which they sang for me, which I know would ordinarily sound quite harmonious, actually resembled one of our traditional family performances in which everyone sings out of tune and at various speeds). When we rehearse we sing alone to something pre-recorded on YouTube, and do our best to start at the same time. We’ve also been sending in recordings of ourselves which have been compiled into a virtual choir.

Most of our virtual choir work has involved working on Verdi’s La Traviata (quite a contrast to the Requiem we did last year), and our purpose has solely been for rehearsal and so we can hear what we sound like. However, one of our altos, Sally Crosby, passed away a couple of weeks ago, and we are going to put together a virtual performance of Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, which is a beautiful piece of music. I’d tried recording this on the weekend, but although I ended up with a tolerably reasonable take I wanted to try for a better version. I think my best version — at least for all but the final 10 seconds — was the one in which I got a tickle in my throat three bars from the end (and so it had to be deleted), but I did manage to produce one that I didn’t totally hate. I’m not especially happy with my voice or breath control and it was hard to judge dynamics … and I just hope the guru who is assembling the “performance” can use what I sent.

Following the rehearsal I continued my recent daily tradition of uploading a TYMOUT photo to Facebook, a tradition now reaching the end of week 8. Since we’re not out of the woods yet as far as restrictions and risk are concerned, and since I still have plenty of suitable photos, this tradition may continue for a while yet.

The other little social media hobby I have is to contribute to a “Maths Shots” page that a colleague and friend of mine set up. The idea is to post a maths photo  and pose some interesting questions. I thought that I might post a page from my petrol log book for the Mazda. There are all sorts of interesting questions, including about fuel economy, what might have been recorded in the spot that got left out (you have no idea how much that missing line irks me! (ahhh, I’ve realised what it was: one of my sisters-in-law had borrowed the car for a week, and didn’t fill in the book when she filled the car)), and what happened between the second last entry and the last.

I’ve been meaning to write to a friend of mine; so far I have made the card, and I was going to write in it tonight but I fell asleep. Ooops.

And because I was running short of 12 photos, and because I wanted to show a bit of what the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown has looked like, here is the graph of my step-count from my Fitbit over the past four weeks. I’ve been trying to get out for regular walks, but I haven’t always been succeeding and, of course, the incidental accumulation of steps has diminished from what it was when life was wider-ranging.

(This is 12 of 12 collection number 129. As a stimulus for documenting the mundane in amongst the momentous, it seems to be serving a purpose.)

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