BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Somehow May Got Away

So many times I’ve wanted to sit down and write a quick blog post, but not done it. Either something else grabs my attention, or I think I don’t have enough time to do it correctly, or the idea of WordPress giving me more errors about not having permission to post keeps me from writing. That last one is truly irritating, as I haven’t had much help in getting this recurring problem resolved, but that’s not your issue, dear reader, it is mine and I’ve been avoiding it, because frankly, it’s no fun to deal with tech issues. At least not for me. I know there are people who love it, and make a career out of it, but for me? No fun.

The month of May seemed to fly by, maybe because our school year was extended, so I worked until the last week of the month. I know, it still sounds very early to those teachers who are still teaching, but we start really early, so there’s that. It took me a while to get used to it, being from New York originally, where kids go back to school after Labor Day, like nature intended. I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that there is no time off in August. None. On the flip side, though, here I sit in June, happily on summer break.

I’m not being a slacker, though. Far from it. I’m in the home stretch of completing one of the 4 components to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). I finished one part last year, just before the testing center shut down, and I’ve got two more parts to do next year, which I postponed due to the pandemic. The board’s term for it is deferred. I like the sound of that much better. Of course just completing the components isn’t all it takes. No, they have to be scored, and then the scores go into a formula that considers all four parts to see whether you have earned the certification or not. The good news is that you can redo parts that fell short. The bad news is, it’s a ton of work. I compare it to earning another university degree. Everyone hopes to score well the first time, of course, so there’s a ton of scrutiny and revision, revision, revision. I really am almost ready to submit this part, which is good, because the deadline is looming.

In other positive news, I’ve been using my pool every day since school let out. I got in for the first time this season after school on the last day (May 27). It was a little chilly at first, but not awful. I’ve been in and exercising every day since then. I’m kind of impressed with myself. I challenged myself to see how many days in a row I could do it, which is silly, since I love being in the pool. Still, some seasons I use it a lot, and some seasons I don’t use it much at all. I find that if I wait until late afternoon the water is warmer from soaking up the heat all day, and the pool is in the shade, so it’s easier on my eyes and skin. I jog in the water for about 30 minutes, and I use that time to just enjoy my surroundings. Yesterday there were incredible cloud formations, and every afternoon I’m joined by doves, sparrows, finches, dragonflies, and the occasional hummingbird. Wasps like to stop by for drinks too, but I try to steer clear of them. I also have my beautiful dog in the yard with me, who enjoys laying in a shady spot on the lawn and sniffing the air while I exercise. Frequently the neighbors put something on the grill for dinner, and it smells delicious.

I’ve also gotten some visits from my son. He’s working at a new job, and it’s not too far from my house. He has strange hours, so sometimes he stops over in the afternoon on his way to work. It makes my momma heart happy to see him, especially after spending so much time apart due to the pandemic. I mean, yes, we did drive cross country and back together, and that was great, but I still don’t see enough of him. I mean does any mom? I suppose if your kid lives with you, but even then they have their own lives and things to do. I’m just happy he makes time for me, and not just on Mother’s Day.

The Kiss

Speaking of Mother’s Day… brunch was out this year. In fact we never go on Mother’s Day because it’s always too busy. So what my kid did instead was spend the day with me before he had to go to work. He brought over a puzzle of Gustav Klimt’s painting The Kiss and we worked on it. 1000 pieces. All brown and gold. Well, almost all brown and gold. Oh, and every piece has basically the same shape. Oh. My. Gawd. This was the hardest puzzle either of us had ever attempted. It took several sessions working on it together, and a few hours of me working on it alone, for it all to come together. In the end, though, it did. After we took it apart, I did a quick 500 piece puzzle with a pretty simple design as a “palate cleanser” to take the taste of that monstrous puzzle out of my mind.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an online book study guide I have to download, then some more national board work to do. This is what I do every summer: independent professional development, pleasure reading, puzzles, and pool time. Oh, and I finally saw Disney’s Moana. What was I waiting for?? I will definitely be watching that one again soon. The songs keep going through my head, which is remarkable because with all the k pop girl groups that currently reside there, I didn’t think there would be room for more music. Yes, k pop. Aespa, Itzy, Everglow, Momoland, Blackpink… they all have sections of my brain at their disposal. I’m on the next level…yeah.


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Is it Over? I Don’t Think So

I’m talking about the Pandemic, of course (I think the capital letter is warranted, don’t you?). Yes, the number of infections and the number of deaths has declined, at least here in the United States, and for that I’m grateful. And yes, many people have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, which is also excellent news. But over? Far from it.

Our world has become so interconnected that I think it’s naive to believe that what happens in one part of the globe doesn’t affect other parts. It’s true of climate change, and it’s true of this horrific disease and its myriad mutations. People aren’t static, they move, and they take their viruses with them.

I have to admit, I’m not feeling as stressed out about Covid-19 as I was a year ago. Back then I was terrified. I’m an overweight individual with some underlying health concerns that made me an excellent candidate for the grave, if I were to become positive with the virus. I still have stuff to do in this life, so I didn’t take any chances. I became a virtual shut-in. I worked from home, shopped at home, and communicated with others from my home. I became hyper-vigilant about being outside, always wearing my mask. The only place I didn’t wear it was my own backyard, and even then I had one in my hand, should one of my neighbors pop up on the other side of the wall.

As time went by various groups of people began pushing for a “return to normal.” As if that was even a possibility. But still, their voices were loud, and in some circles their wishes became the next new reality. Things started opening up, and people started abandoning their masks, at least in my area. Just when I was feeling like I might start to venture out, the rules changed, making “out” so much more dangerous. I waited. I’m still waiting.

So here we are, still living with this horrible virus, but pretending like it doesn’t really exist anymore. Unless you have it. Or your loved one has it. Or you work in a hospital with people who have it. When the whole thing first got rolling, I believed that we would all either get it or know someone who did. So far, I’ve been lucky and managed not to contract this virus, but I know several people who were not as lucky. Even the people with”mild” cases don’t wish it on anyone. It’s that awful.

Here’s my suggestion: let’s stop pretending this thing is gone, and start treating each other with respect and decency. Wear your mask, keep your distance, and avoid crowded places. Is going to a baseball game or concert really worth the risk? I don’t think so. Do we really need to celebrate at a crowded restaurant? Maybe not this year. Let’s be cautious, and plan for brighter days, not live like they’re already here, or they may be short lived indeed.


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Going Hybrid

Tomorrow starts the beginning of a new phase of the school year. Tomorrow is the day when I begin to teach kids online and in person simultaneously. For many teachers this has been their reality all year, but for me, it’s brand new. As more kids are returning to school, the in-person classes were getting too big, and the online only classes were shrinking. Most grade levels didn’t really have an issue with this, but our grade level was set up a little differently, so we had to make some adjustments.

Rereading my previous blog post at this time was a good reminder of why we do the things we do. Am I stressed out about this new way of teaching? You bet. But do I think it will be in the best interest of the most kids? Yes, I do. I’m sure I’m going to fumble around a little at first. I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes. I’m sure there will be times when things don’t go according to plan. But I’m also sure that I can figure it out, with the help of my students, teammates, and colleagues. If a teacher can’t embrace learning something new, it would be hypocritical of them to expect their students to rise to new challenges.

I will rise. I will do my best. I will model how to handle coping with things that may be confusing or frustrating. I will muddle through. And through it all, I will be delighted to have actual human children right there in the room with me, as well as those tiny digital people online cheering me on. Here’s to a new challenge for this old teacher. It’s going to be great.