PCM: Where are you sheltering in place and what does a typical day look like for you right now?
LS: After commuting from Santa Monica to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens for 24 years, I finally moved to Pasadena a year ago, so I’m happily sheltering in my sweet little house. I have a small bubble of friends with whom I take distanced walks and enjoy BYO picnics. My house came with a peach tree which bore me about 200 peaches, all ripe in one weekend! So I quickly acquired some new (old/traditional) skills like canning, freezing and making jam—thank heavens for YouTube! On a more typical day, I spend a fair number of hours on zoom meetings with colleagues at the California Science Center, planning for a day when we might welcome guests again to see the space shuttle Endeavour and our amazing animals.
PCM: How are you feeling and how have you adjusted to this time?
LS: Up and down, like everyone else, I suspect. Occasionally I am tempted to pull the covers over my head and ignore the sunrise. But mostly I’m pretty content (“situation adjusted” as a friend of mine would say!). I’m so lucky to have productive work I believe in, a little garden I enjoy, friends close by, and wonderful PCM committees to participate in.
PCM: How are you engaging with music right now?
LS: A million years ago, I was a professional pianist and vocal coach. I was thrilled to get back into choral singing by joining PCM’s Cantare Chamber Choir a year or so ago. Now alas, singing is a high-risk activity—who’d have guessed? So I decided to start virtual classical guitar lessons with PCM’s wonderful Brian Barany. It’s humbling to be trying to play a simple C major scale on those strings—buzz, click, thump! Brian is much more patient with me than I am with myself.
PCM: In what ways (large and small) has the current situation impacted your everyday life? Any new hobbies?
LS: I really enjoy my work at the Science Center, and go to the office a couple times a week to see colleagues. But I found I needed something else to focus on—other than binge-watching Outlander and Killing Eve! So a pal from Cantare and I took an online writing course, I dove into the guitar, and I enjoy PCM’s wonderful online offerings, and Salastina’s Tuesday night virtual musical happy hours.
PCM: What are you most looking forward to when everyone returns to campus? What, if anything, will you miss?
LS: Don’t tell my boss, but I really enjoy the flexibility to pick up the guitar for 10 minutes in the middle of the day, to mix up some bread over lunch, pop in a load of laundry—things that are possible when working from home. But I dearly miss popping into the office of colleagues for a chat, and I truly miss hugging my friends! It’s so weird to greet people you love and not be able to hug or get too close. And I miss hearing live music in Barrett Hall and cooking for people. I’m not that great, don’t get your hopes up, but I love having friends around my table.