Teacher’s Corner: Covid lurking around the corner

I’ve mentioned it a few times, Germany has decided to sacrifice its teachers on the altar of keeping businesses open. Bavaria’s prime minister explicitly said that schools and daycares must be kept open so parents can go to work.

This also means we’re not going back to a hybrid system like before the summer holidays with two days at school, in small, distanced groups, and Homeschooling for the rest of the week.

This also means we’re combining the 3Cs in an unholy trinity : closed space, crowded settings, close contact. By now we’re all convinced that it isn’t a question of we’ll catch Covid, but when.

It was kind of a wonder that we escaped our first case for so long. This week it happened and now guess who covered for a colleague in that class on Thursday. But for some reason that was the day I decided it was time to break out one of the 5 KN95 masks the Ministry so kindly provided. Haha. So I should be safe, and I don’t have to go into quarantine.

Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising – The Grand Finale

I’ve saved a few spooky photos to celebrate that it’s finally Halloween! Be sure to check out all the things happening at the Freethought Blogs Halloween Fundraiser today. There are readings, a story chain and a quiz show that’s planned for later today that I’m going to be a part of. Most of the photos are below the fold – beware there are spiders there.


The First is this skeleton leaf from Giliell.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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I could not get it done, but maybe you can help

A bit of a mess.©voyager, all rights reserved

I had agreed to read The Masque of The Red Death for Hallowe’en, but I’ve never worked with audio or video files and got myself in over my head. By the time I realized I needed better equipment, and way more knowledge (way, way more knowledge) it was too late. I simply can’t get it done for tomorrow.

I’m not giving up, though. I believe I can do it. I have a better mic on order (not much is getting through the border right now) and I’ve downloaded editing software. I tried using it today, but everything still sounded raw and echoey, and it was terrible. Rather than limp along with bad audio and then adding to it bad video or a photo still, I’m ceding defeat.

There are other bloggers here, though, who are better at these things than me and they will be reading stories, so please tune in to hear them. PZ at Pharyngula, The Bolingbrook Babbler and Abbey from Impossible Me will all be reading for you. Plus there’s the story chain and the quiz show scheduled for tomorrow evening. Why do all these things? Because we love you. And we need money. Nasty ass lawsuits are expensive and we want to get out from under the Richard Carrier nonsense. We really do love you though, and if you’re able, you can help us by donating to our Paypal account.

I’ve been wanting to try a small video before this, in order to share a bit of Jack and I singing for you. I’ll make you a deal. Jack and I will sing for you in November and if that isn’t a total disaster, I may try reading you a fairy story for Christmas. Or, I could still read the Masque of The Red Death. I’ll leave it up to you. Let me know in the comments. And if you’re able, even a small donation to our Paypal is helpful.

Thanks. For everything.




Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising

Today’s beautiful fall photos come from Freethought Blog’s very own Iris Vander Pluym, whose blog Death to Squirrels is much beloved by all. The photos were taken last weekend during Iris’ outing to her local market.

(FYI – There is an alternate version of the first photo that I’ll be posting on Halloween Day. You’ll want to check in for that. I promise it will be worth it.)

Halloween Greetings! Abingdon Square Park, New York City, October 2020. © Iris Vander Pluym 2020. All rights reserved

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Soap Opera Part 4: Season 1 Finale

I made the last batches or this year. Now they need 6 to 8 weeks to dry and cure, and if I want them to be Christmas presents that means I need to stop now.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

On top is a mix of pine, rosemary, niaouli (myrtle variety) and a bit of lemon grass and it came out smelling very fresh. Very lemony, actually even more so than the pure lemongrass (I love lemongrass) at the bottom. There I tried to experiment a bit with colour, but it turned out more looking like blue cheese than artful soap, but who cares. If I do it again next year I’ll have to get some mica powders. This year my focus was mainly on getting the chemistry right, we’ll go for pretty next time.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The very final two are all about the smell again. The lighter ones at the top are honey and oatmilk. I used the oatmilk instead of water here and I think it worked quite well. The smell is very subtle.I think I’d use more fragrance oil next time, but I also like it when soaps don#t leave your hands smelling for days to come. I got those fragrance oils and essential oils from a British seller off Etsy, I hope the current British trainwreck of a  no deal Brexit won’t make it unfeasible to order there in the future. It would be a shame for the seller.

The bottom is cinnamon and orange. There I added some colour, but it seems to have vanished. The smell is surprisingly marzipan-y and just the right thing for a Christmas Soap.

Let#s see if next year brings more soap. It surely has been great fun this time.

Tummy Thursday: Espeon for the Win

I recently read the following on Twitter:

My 2020 diet tip: If you want a snack, think about whether you’re really hungry, or whether you just want a snack to compensate for the horrors we live through. Then have a snack, it’s the only joy we have left.

And, yeah. We couldn’t celebrate the little one’s birthday as planned, but she got her cake nevertheless.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Two layers of vanilla cake with added lime zest, a filling of lemon and lime curd in an Italian meringue buttercream ring with added blueberries. I can tell you, it’s a combination to die for. The sweet buttercream offsets the tartness of the curd, and the blueberries add flavour.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

If your husband tells you that this surface of the moon crater landscape of a cake looks perfect, he either:

a) loves you very much

b) has no clue about cakes

c) both

©Giliell, all rights reserved

With a fondant espeon, glitter, sugar pearls  and silver stars. I’m quite proud of my Pokemon cakes by now.

Degupdate Getting Snuggly.

It’s rare for me to like pics of myself. There are hardly any anyway, because I’m usually the camera person, but Candy has gotten me to take selfies. Also, the light in the degu run is pretty flattering, I think, and the degus make me happy, so who cares for the double chin when you got happiness?

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Estelle is definitely getting more trusting. She comes out almost immediately now, puts her tiny feetses on me and takes treats. Oh, and tries whether my thumb is edible… She is also clearly the clumsy one. Where Candy has added the top of the side track to her territory, Estelle just makes it on top of the box next to it, doesn’t manage to get up and then does a half climb, half jump, half fall off it again. Yes, three halves, that’s how clumsy she is.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

They still make me think of Caine and her kingdom of rats a lot. She would be absolutely delighted with the degus.

Hallowe’en Photo Festival of Fun and Fundraising

Today’s photo is a teaser. It’s a plant bedecked with webs and I’m not putting it below the fold because you have to search to see the spider. It was sent in by Avalus and it’s the teaser because he also sent 2 close-ups of the spider that I’m saving to put up on Hallowe’en day. Those are the truly terrifying photos – so arachnophobes beware! The spiders are coming soon.

©Avalus, all rights reserved