BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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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?


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Confessions of a Cooped Up Teacher

Day One: March 16, 2020

I don’t want to stay home, and yet I want nothing more than to stay home.

I’ve been home for a week. It was spring break, and five glorious days off school were mine! No big plans for me, just some work and some r & r and some time with Mom, doing the mother daughter things: lunch, shopping, movies. The week started off just fine. Yes, there was some rain, but that only made staying in doing nothing that much better. Then it cleared up some, and Mom & I got together and did our thing. It was great. That was last Saturday. On Tuesday we got together again, this time we went to the movies. We had a terrific time and planned to get together again on Thursday. Then all hell broke loose.

1200px-Pandemiclogo.svgWatching the news and reading articles left me with a sense of dread and doom. I did not want to be a part of that, so I switched off my social media and got off my behind. My sweetheart and I did some grocery shopping, made sure we had tp, and planned to lay low. I called Mom to see how she was doing and if she needed anything. She was fine, and said she did not need a thing. Then I told her our plans Thursday were going to have to be delayed. I was not willing to take my eighty-something year old mother into a crowded place just so we could have a nice lunch. She was disappointed, but claimed to understand my reasoning. I think she was just trying to be agreeable.

Since then schools have been shut down in several states, my own included. It was a weight off my chest when the announcement was made last Thursday that our district would close. The entire state is now closed at least until March 27, but between you and me I don’t think schools will be ready to reopen that soon. I keep getting snippets of information, like everyone else. One friend in New York has told me what her district is doing, another friend, who has a daughter in Seattle, has shared some of her experiences. Getting these first and secondhand accounts is powerful. These are REAL people, not alarmists.

Each day I recommit to staying away from people, but it’s so difficult. When my 21 year old called me and asked if we could go to the grocery store together (clearly he was low on funds) I, of course, said yes. And when my brother, mother, and niece asked me to join them for a family St. Patrick’s meal, well, I said yes to that too. But that’s it. I’m not going anywhere after that. Unless I have to.

As of right now, I don’t really know what I have to do. I’ve been gathering some resources for teachers and parents, but honestly, there’s simply too much to sort through. I’m so grateful to all the children’s presses, publishers, authors, bookstores, and curriculum websites. You’ve been so generous with your time and resources. The only issue is that there’s SO much that it’s overwhelming, even for someone like me, who is familiar with much of it (unlike parents). How are we going to pare this down to its most impactful elements and share it equally? How are we going to reach and engage our students when we’re all living in a shared state of disbelief?

I’m sure some guidance will be forthcoming, at least in regard to work. For now I’m grateful that my loved ones are all healthy, and we have what we need. I hope you can say the same.

 


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Alone, At Last

Being alone is a strange thing. We are welcomed into the world with at least our mother near us, and for those of us born in hospitals, many other people as well. We spend much of our early years in the company of others, aside from our sleeping hours, and for many infants and young children, those hours are spent with others too.

When my son was about four he pointed out to me that it wasn’t fair that he had to sleep alone when his dad and I got to sleep together. I wasn’t a family bed proponent, and I still contend that none of use would have ever gotten a decent night’s sleep had he been with us, but he made a point. Why do the most vulnerable among us sleep alone? glacier-national-park---robert-glusic----photodisc-na008587We humans are generally pretty social beings, even the anti-social among us. Complete solitude gets old quickly, even in the most beautiful of surroundings.

My sweetheart used to work for the park service. He had many lonely nights and solitary days in some of the most beautiful country on the planet, but alone is alone. When there’s nobody to share the experience with, it somehow loses some of its meaning. Certainly I would prefer isolation in the beauty of nature, provided I was safe, than in a solitary holding cell, but even solitude in comfortable surroundings would become a burden after a short while.

I’m not talking about that kind of alone. I don’t mean the alone that seeps into your bones and leaves you cold and hungry; the kind of alone that stretches in front of you without an end in sight. I’ve never known that kind of alone. I hope I never do. That kind of alone frightens me. I’m not afraid to be with myself, in fact I think I’m pretty good company, it’s just that I’m afraid to never have anyone to share experiences with. I’m afraid I would stagnate and begin to rot from the inside out.

The kind of alone I’m talking about is a break. A short separation from those I love dearly. After three days cooped up in close quarters with limited diversions, I’m glad that today we’re back to a somewhat normal schedule. After dropping my son off at his volunteer work, I ran a few errands and returned home to an entirely peaceful house. As I released the dog from her kennel I looked around and felt a sense of peace settle over me. She and I have a few hours before anyone returns home, and we’re going to make it count. DSC00002She has already begun her work on a new nap, and I’ve taken to the keyboard. We are both using our talents in ways that we find satisfying. We are sharing the afternoon in companionable silence, aside from the occasional passing comment. We are alone, together.

I don’t feel the need to do the laundry or vacuum or make the beds. I’m okay with letting things slide a little bit today. Today I need to recharge my battery. Tomorrow it’s a trip to the dentist, then a long overdue lunch date with a friend. After that the laundry can have its turn, but not today. Today it can sit in the hamper and just be still. I have peace and quiet to catch up on, and I’m going to make it count.