BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Scatterbrained

Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble focusing lately?

I came on the computer to view a video for an online course I’m taking. Great. The link is in my email. Fine. I view the video, download the materials that go with it, and find myself deep into a different document shared by my employer. Well, that wasn’t too much of a jump, but I shake myself off, close up that document, and head back to my original task.

Now, with the video watched and the download complete (along with searching for a binder, and some page protectors, and refilling the printer paper), I’m ready to post on the accompanying Facebook group. But wait, that’s interesting… twenty minutes later, I’m back in my email, following a link to renew a subscription I’ve held for the past year (and didn’t get as much out of as I should have – my fault, not theirs). But hold on, the links that are supposed to be live aren’t. Reload. Nope. Restart. And that’s where we are now.

Also, somewhere along the way I managed to check on my voter registration, and see that while I’m registered, the update to my party affiliation hasn’t been recorded. So now I have to go change my registration. But where? The website tells me WHEN I need to update, but not where. I’ll go back to that. And I’m also supposed to email someone about a financial transaction. But who? More email digging, which is likely to end in more distractions.

I feel like this is how my brain operates lately. Either I have a million things half-going, or I barely manage to do anything at all. I’m like a computer with 57 windows open at once, or just a blank screen with a flashing cursor, not sure what to do. I blame not having a regular routine, although my dog – bless her- makes sure I’m up early every morning to face the day. Of course she’s napping now, but hey, she deserves it.

The uncertainty of the times is disorienting. I know I’m not the only one. I know many people have much worse circumstances than I do. I’m not complaining, just noting and reflecting. I’m worried about the start of the school year, and what it will mean to kids, families, and teachers and staff. There are so many unknowns, and so many really awful potential outcomes that I sometimes choose to shut myself off from the outside world. I can only digest so many news conferences and graphs and testimonials per day. This pandemic is an awful thing. I don’t understand how that can’t be a universally agreed upon truth. I worry about the world outside my door, but even as I say that, I plan to stay inside for as long as possible. Now, what was I doing again?


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Busting My Brain

For some reason, I figured a Pandemic was a good time to pursue additional learning opportunities. Yes, I’m working on becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, but that didn’t seem like enough. No, let me rephrase that. It didn’t seem possible this year with the mayhem we’re experiencing.

There are four parts to that particular certification, and three of those parts were not possible for me to finish without returning to the classroom for the final quarter of the school year. Fortunately, I was able to defer those sections, and move forward with the fourth. The section I’m (hopefully) completing this school year is a test. I say hopefully, because I have to actually pass the test. It’s on Saturday. This Saturday.

Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? I didn’t think so, so when I got the opportunity to register for two online graduate courses for free, I jumped at it. One was three weeks, the other four, and they overlapped by a week. That overlap week was last week. That was a little tricky. I did the final project for one, the first week project (that took a lot of time… it felt more like another final project) for the second class, and I did some test preparation in between. That’s when the email from my district came in offering an online class for salary credit. For free. Yes, I did that one too.

Back to the exam, though. It’s a strange type of a test, because there isn’t exactly a study guide for it. You have to know your subject (in my case all content areas for students ages 7-12) and you have to know your students. You have to understand child development, curriculum, pedagogy, and how to write short essays. There are three of those essays, in addition to multiple choice questions. Piece of cake. Maybe. I generally do ok on tests, and I’m hopeful this pattern will hold up here.

Salary credit is not that easy to come by, at least not for free. As a teacher, I have to re-certify every few years (the rules keep changing). To do that I have to submit a copy of all my professional development hours. Sometimes, though, that professional development time can be used toward increasing your salary. Those hours are generally hours earned, for credit, at a university. Which generally means university credit hours costs. In my school district it takes fifteen credit hours to earn an increase in pay. That’s five graduate level courses, give or take. Some are worth more, some are worth less. It’s a big commitment of time and money. Usually.

Apparently the shut-down was the catalyst to offering these free courses. For me the timing was just right. I had endless hours to spend at home and a mind that was itching for some stimulation. I also participated in two webinars (no credit for those, just some good information I can put to use), and I have an online conference coming up (7 recertification hours for that one). In the mean time, I have an assignment due Monday, an exam to prepare for on Saturday, and a few more facemasks to sew before the weekend. In between I’m watching the news and counting down the days until the presidential election. I don’t know what the future holds, but hopefully I’ll be prepared to meet the challenges head on.


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Shut Down Checklist

When I was an undergrad, my university had a poster listing “100 things to do before you graduate.” It was fun to fill in the tiny boxes, and when there was nothing to do (other than study, of course) that poster provided some ideas. I was reminded of that poster as I stood in my kitchen the other morning thinking about my upcoming day. There were two online meetings, a pan of brownies to be baked, and some laundry to finish up. Throw in a mid-morning dog walk, and an afternoon swim, plus some grading, professional reading, and a webinar, and you have a full day. Three months ago I could not have imagined that a regular Friday would look like this, but things are anything but regular.

Without further fanfare I present my checklist. During the shut down have you…

baked banana bread

spent more time on social media than ever

completed a jigsaw puzzle

ordered online groceries

cut your own hair

dyed your own hair

binge watched Tiger King

cleaned out your pantry and threw away expired products

rediscovered a show you used to watch

cleaned out a closet

participated in a virtual happy hour

reached out to an old friend

scrubbed something gross that you hadn’t realized was that gross

alphabetized your spices

finished a long unfinished household project

made one or more facemasks

ordered something online that you couldn’t just go pick up

participated in a car parade

reorganized a bookshelf

bought a thermometer

noticed the teddy bears in your neighbors’ windows

washed your hands until they cracked

attempted to bake bread (bonus if it’s sourdough)

chalked a sidewalk with a positive message

participated in a group challenge/project

bought more toilet paper than usual

tried a new recipe

got take out from a local restaurant

overtipped delivery people

gotten crafty

used up a whole container of hand cream

rode your bike through your neighborhood

cried for a stranger

looked through old photo albums

learned to use Zoom

played board games

unfriended/unfollowed anyone on social media

stayed in pajamas all day

spent more time playing with your pet

ordered something from a small business to help keep them afloat

read a novel

made homemade soup

tried to teach your kids

done an errand for a friend/neighbor

stayed up too late

been grateful for your health

sang as your washed your hands

planted a garden

learned to use Tik Tok

participated in an online course/class

gone for a hike

gone online “live” in your pajamas

worn a mask in public

thought to yourself, “hey, that person should be wearing a mask…”

wiped down groceries

painted a wall

done a dance challenge

rediscovered an old app like Candy Crush

updated your resume

spent more time watching/reading news

worked out in your living room

spent less time watching/reading news

carved out a home workspace

planted flowers

worried about paying your bills

cleaned out your freezer

volunteered in your community

wrote in a journal

used curbside pick-up

started a project you have no intention of finishing

told essential workers “thank you”

participated in an online birthday party/baby shower/bridal shower

rearranged your linen closet

learned your neighbors’ schedules

thrown away leftovers

updated your life insurance policy

avoided pants with a button

given yourself a manicure/pedicure

realized you spend way too much time on social media

actually missed going to work/school

weeded your yard

gained newfound appreciation for your loved ones

tried to get your pet to do that cute/funny thing that you saw on YouTube

learned how to do a home improvement chore

slept too much

cancelled travel plans

created meaningless lists

And that’s where I think I’ll stop. No, I haven’t done all of those, but maybe more than I’d care to admit. How about you? How is your lockdown going?