Not bad for a fat girl


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?

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When You Aren’t Looking

There was supposed to be a meteor shower the other night. What could be better than a sky full of shooting stars to wish on? Especially right now.

We headed to the backyard, beverages in hand, to wait. The lounge chairs had their comfy cushions on them, and it was the perfect temperature. We reclined and gazed at the sky.

It was nice, being out in nature, even if our present definition of nature was our suburban backyard. We talked and laughed and all the while kept our eyes on the sky.



What we didn’t see

At least nothing that either of us could see. We joked that while we were facing South the light show would be happening behind our backs. Maybe it did.

We were out there for almost two hours. Two hours of reconnecting and relaxing and escaping from the reality of our collective lives right now.

Still, no meteors. Eventually the conversation overtook the sky watching and then, it happened! Or, I think it happened. Maybe.

I’m pretty sure I saw a lone shooting star (meteor, whatever) in my peripheral vision. I realized it was like looking for love. It seems that when you try really hard it eludes you, but when you relax and allow yourself to be present without that singular focus, the world opens up.

I think there’s a lesson there. Be present, count your blessings, and those shooting stars will appear in their own good time.

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Confessions of a Cooped Up Teacher 3

Day 11: March 30, 2020

So I’ve decided to only count the weekdays, although I’m cooped up for all the days, but the weekend days kind of don’t count, do they? I don’t know. I may have to revisit this thinking, but for now they don’t count. I kind of wish they did, though, because truthfully it’s been 24 days since I’ve seen my kiddos and taught in my classroom. So day 11? Not really. The first week was Spring Break, so not seeing the kiddos was planned. So was going back to school. Obviously that didn’t happen.

Our governor announced today that schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year. We still don’t know what that means in terms of distance (i.e. online) learning, expectations of teachers and other staff members, and, well, we don’t know much. We do know that state testing isn’t happening this year. Well, that makes sense. We also know that teachers are supposed to continue to get paid. Well, I hope so. We’re continuing to work, that’s for sure. Not in the way that our healthcare workers, truckers, food supply chain people, police, fire, emt, utility workers, and so on, but we are working.crop635w_4-tips-for-nervous-test-takers.jpg

Parents, I know that this is awful. The disruption to your life is unprecedented. I get it. It’s happening to me too. I didn’t plan for this to happen, and I’m certainly not celebrating it. In fact, I’m pretty scared.

Today the superintendent of public instruction sent out an email to educators in our state offering thanks and encouragement. The email also linked to resources for our mental health. Obviously, my teammates and I aren’t the only ones having a rough time.

I wish we could all take a collective step back, and take a moment to clear our heads. Unfortunately this current reality doesn’t seem to afford that moment, despite the promise that it might. I don’t know about you, but I’m either overwhelmed with all the things I should be doing (lesson plans, family outreach, setting up new accounts for kids with various websites, figuring out how to hold meaningful live online sessions) or I’m inert. There isn’t much in-between for calm and reflection. This moment, right now, as I write, is just that. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been writing as much. Maybe that reflection is too frightening for me to spend too much time with.

This thing. This virus. This disease it causes. This worldwide disruption it causes. This fear and doubt and uncertainty and growing sense of dread. I don’t want it. I don’t want any of it. I’m scared and anxious, so I’ll continue to soldier on and share funny memes and find interesting things for my students to do, and keep on keeping on. At least that’s the plan for now.

Be well, friends.