Sunday, March 29, 2020

#SOL20 Day 29 Words That Are Speaking To Me


Let Me Grow Lovely

Let me grow lovely, growing old--
So many fine things do:
Laces, and ivory, and gold,
And silks need not be new; 
And there is healing in old trees, 
Old streets a glamour hold;
Why may not I, as well as these,
Grow lovely, growing old?
                                                        
Karle Wilson Baker

These words found me earlier this winter and I keep returning to them time after time. That first line, "Let me grow lovely, growing old--"
has become almost a mantra in the last couple of months. I repeat it often when I feel the grumpy old lady creeping into my brain when I gripe about the weather or the quarantine. I'm working daily on 
"Grow lovely, growing old"

I'm trying to be more patient than when I was younger. I know everything happens in its own time and place.

I move slower than I did when I was younger, but in my slower moves, I notice more--buds on the trees, tulips poking through the ground, people's actions and reactions.

I appreciate the world around me a little more--quiet moments, really good food, time spent with family and friends, handwritten notes.

I try to put myself in other's shoes before judging them. And that can be tough at times

I let things go easier now. Things that really don't matter.  If it doesn't matter a year from now...

I'm trying, really trying to "grow lovely, growing old."





Saturday, March 28, 2020

#SOL20 Day 28. If This Isn't Nice...





Uffda. It's been a week, hasn't it?
Cases of coronavirus increase daily. I think in lots of places, tensions are running high and spirits are running low. I've been working really hard keeping track of all those little moments that bring me JOY.



This week, I'm just going to make a list:

1. Last Saturday was a day of music and joy. We watched a couple of friends play and share their music. Then we found out that the Grand Ole Opry was live-streaming a show, so I hooked my computer up to the TV so we could watch. And because we wanted to end the night with music, we watched the last episode of Ken Burn's country music series that we recorded.

2. My weekly outing to the grocery store yielded TOILET PAPER! I don't think I've ever been so excited to buy a package of toilet paper, but after the empty shelves of a week ago, this was really nice to see. The shelves were stocked well in all areas. Our grocery store is doing an amazing job throughout this whole thing.

3. Video chatting is becoming my favorite thing. We can't be together, but it sure is nice visiting with family this way!

4. Our little town has also started a Bear Hunt. If you haven't heard about it, people in the community put bears of all shapes and sizes in their windows and yards. Then when people are out walking with their kids or dogs, they can "hunt" for the bears. Plans are to switch out bears for eggs on April 1st.

5. Daily walks with Chloe are so good for my soul. She's as happy as we are to get outside and move. I check for bears and signs of spring. She sniffs everything in her path for the mile we walk. I've also started carrying an extra bag when we walk. I slip one on my hand and I can pick up trash while we walk. Might as well do something good for the world while I'm out enjoying it!

6. The stimulus package passed through Congress. Deposits or checks will be coming soon they tell us. In my family, I know this money will be a big help as we live through this pandemic.

Well, those are the big things this week. I think next week I'm going to start writing them in my notebook each day. I want to be more intentional in this habit.


Friday, March 27, 2020

#SOL20 Day 27 Let's (not) Get Physical


One of my favorite Facebook friends is a former student who I had in class several times during her time in our district. I love her because she is so upbeat most of the time. She makes the world a better place just by being in it.

The other day, she posted this:


I've been thinking about it a lot since she posted it. And, she is right!

Physically, my husband and I are distancing all the time. We are careful when we have to buy groceries. We make sure we get everything we need in one trip, we avoid busy times, we keep our distance in the aisles. Other than walking the dog, we don't go anywhere else.

But we haven't quit being social. In fact, in some ways, we're more social than ever. We keep in touch with family almost daily. And now, instead of just talking on the phone, we are video chatting with those we love (well, except my mom in the land of the internetless). We saw one son and his family last weekend. Had a glass of wine with the other. Tonight we are waiting to visit with my sister-in-law and her husband. We talk with all of these family members more than ever before!

When Chloe and I walk, we wave and shout hello to anyone we see out and about. We keep our physical distance, but we can still be social! It brightens our day and theirs too. I've met more neighbors in the last couple of weeks than ever before. And all it takes is a "Hi. How ya doin'?" and a conversation starts.

So I'm going to start using the phrase physical distancing from now on. Because I never quit being social.

    We're picking up trash as we walk too. Might as well do something good for the world while we       walk!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

#SOL20 Day 26 My Favorite Lie


"Mamacita! Who are you today?"

A student stops, turns, and asks, "Wait. She's your mom?"

And so begins,

My Favorite Lie

Libby and I shared a classroom for several years. She went half time after the birth of her oldest daughter and I split my time between junior high and high school. It made sense for us to share a room. 

We are both early-to-school teachers and mornings could be crazy with students dropping in for one reason or another. We'd laugh and cry over bagels and coffee (or orange juice for Libby) many, many mornings. We'd joke about the youngest teacher and the oldest teacher sharing a room, she called me "old but fun", we'd share stories about her daughter and my grandkids. 

At some point, she began calling my mom.

Of course, a student heard that. 

I got an email during class one day telling me what she'd done. "Go along with it", she said. And I did. But I never thought it would go on as long as it has. I mean, kids would figure it out, right?

Most didn't though. Or maybe they chose to believe us. But we always stuck to our story. 

There would be the smart one who asked why we didn't have the same last name.
Duh. She got married.
Or the really smart one who noticed that Libby's maiden name wasn't Day.
Well, Mrs. Day doesn't really like to talk about her past.

Last year was the best, though, when we pulled another person into our story -- Libby's oldest daughter. 

I was doing a long term sub for Libby's team teacher and was in her room every day for freshmen English. This class also included a few gifted and talented 8th graders. They returned to the junior high one day and asked Libby's daughter if I was really her grandma. 

"Well, yea," she told them. 

"Story confirmed" they came back and told the class the next day.

Another group of believers.

Hey, Grandma!

Wait! She's your grandma?

And so it continues.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

#SOL20 Day 25. 2 Minute Journal


Every once in a while, you need a fall-back post. Something quick to write while you think of a better post for tomorrow. Today is one of those days (although I'm sure I'll need more than two minutes!)


Something I am grateful for today: We've talked to most of our families in the last few days and everyone is doing what they are supposed to do and are staying healthy. My 85-year old mom is even staying home and that is something.

We're becoming more proficient with Facetime and Facebook Messenger calls, although some of the grandkids got a chuckle when we talked the other night. But at least we get to see them and chat!

The best thing that happened today: We got some mail from one of our grandsons, which brought a smile to our faces.

AND, there was toilet paper at the grocery store! Who would have thought we'd be so excited to buy a package of toilet paper!

Something I did well today: I have a great pot of soup on the stove.
I remembered to thank the grocery store workers as I saw them in the aisles.

How I could have made today better: I need to get out and exercise more during this time. It's dark and dreary here this week, raining off and on, and it's just hard to get motivated. Hopefully, we'll get some sunshine and I'll find the energy to get up and go!

How I'll make the rest of today great: I'm going to spend some time tonight reading slices and commenting on as many as I can.  I'm also going to make myself a plan for tomorrow and try to accomplish a little more!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#SOL20 Day 24. The Lady in Gray


She sits in her 
White Plastic Lawn Chair
on the front stoop.

Wearing her
Gray Star Dotted PJ Pants
and gray polka-dotted socks
(with the hole in the heel)
and drinking
Red Wine.

Watching
The World Walk By
as she follows
The Orders
to stay home
BUT
Get fresh air.

Monday, March 23, 2020

#SOL20 Day 23 Fine. Whatever.



Fine. 
I'll get dressed.
I don't really want to, but
Whatever.
Really I just want is to stay in my robe
All Day.

But I'll get dressed
(comfortably, I might add)

And, fine. 
I'll join the pop-up
Writing Group
on Zoom. 

I don't really want to.
I can't think of a 
Damn Thing 
to say.

Whatever.
I'll write.
Because if I don't
Do It Now
I might not do it
At All.

And then
I won't get my notebook pages written
and forget about
A Blog Post. 
Really. 
I probably won't 
Get Anything Done.

Whatever.
Does it even matter?

Yes. Yes, it does!
Because through this whole mess, 
I've been writing and 
Being Pretty Positive. 
Today it is just hard to get motivated. 

So. Fine. Whatever.
I wrote.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

#SOL20 Day 22 I'm Going to a Party!

If you want to join in on Leigh Anne's Spring Fling, check it out here

Dear Leigh Anne,
I'm so happy you invited me to your Spring Fling this year. This whole quarantine thing can be kind of confining, a pain in the rear, hard,  lonely, so getting together with friends, even virtually, is a great way to brighten up your day!

I've been thinking a lot about self-care since I got your invitation. Everyone has different ways to take care of themselves, but here's what I'm bringing:

Check out Moon River

Music  Since this whole quarantining thing began, I've rediscovered music I love. And some new music too. I've been watching live stream concerts, DVD's that we have, specials on TV and our old albums and CDs. The music brings such JOY when I listen to it, that I just have to share. Let me know what kind of music you like. I'm sure we have it. I know for sure I'm going to bring James Taylor's new album, American Standard. It's full of old tunes sung like only James Taylor could.









Chloe.  I'm bringing Chloe because she makes everyone happy. She's silly and energetic. Chloe loves people and wants them to love her too. She's up for cuddling and being petted. She loves to go for walks or play games of fetch. I just know that she is going to get us all up and moving, with a little laughter thrown in for good measure.






Wine and Chocolate. What's a party without one or the other? You can pick your poison, so to speak. As we sit and visit, we can share a small indulgence and spoil ourselves a bit. Some days, you just have to do that. If my husband was coming, he'd bring pie. One of my besties would bring really good coffee. We all have little things like this that make a moment special. It's important for us all to do this now.


I'm going to bring one more thing if that's OK Leigh Anne. And that is forgiveness. 
Forgive yourself for not being the perfect spouse, child, sibling, teacher, parent, etc.
Forgive yourself for your anger at the situation.
Forgive yourself for not getting your lists completed.
Forgive others for not calling, for calling, for taking all the toilet paper.
Forgive your boss for not knowing exactly what to do.
Forgive the government for the same thing.

Forgiveness doesn't make you weak. It doesn't mean you don't care anymore. Forgiveness is for healing. And that's the best self-care I know.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

#SOL20 Day 21. If This Isn't Nice...


I've been celebrating those moments in my life for a few years now. It's the little things that make me happy. And it's those little things I want to remember. So I've resurrected my Friday Favorites, Celebrations, Gratitudes, in my new writing life. 



"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." 


1. The sun is shining today and that is a wonderful mood lifter. After a couple of days of dark and dreary rain, topped off with an inch and a half of snow, sunshine is just what we need.

2. A simple trip to a Target about an hour from us (everything is an hour from us, to be fair), was also a mood lifter. It was nice to get out of the house even if we did feel rebellious doing it. We found some things that weren't in stock at our hometown grocery and felt like we won the lottery. No toilet paper, but we are OK for now!

3. We took Chloe in the car with us when we went to Target. She was as excited as we were to get out of the house. Really. I should have recorded her smiling in the car!

4. Charged up my Fitbit again, so it would remind me to get up and move every hour. It gets to easy to just snuggle in my chair.

5. I'm loving the concerts that are popping up on social media. I've started adding them to my calendar with an alert so I don't forget to watch them. Today, a couple of friends are playing since their gig got canceled. It will be good to see them!

6. We've been very intentional about keeping in touch with family and friends. Working on getting most of us on Facetime, Zoom, Skype, something so that it seems like we are together. Last night we had a glass of wine with my sister-in-law and her husband.

7. On Thursday, I wrote with the TeachWrite group via Zoom. It felt like sitting in a room with friends (and I was). The social connection a great side-benefit. Just chatting for a few minutes about the world we live in now. I honestly can't wait for the next one.

I hope you are finding your way in this "new normal" we are all experiencing. Take time every day to find your JOY.

Friday, March 20, 2020

#SOL20 Day 20. Chloe Writes: The New Normal


Whaaaattt? 
They're home again? All day?
Especially Mom. It's been a long time since she's been gone all day. Even Dad doesn't leave every day.

I'm missing my naps.

Wait! She's getting dressed! Maybe she's going to leave!
Or, maybe she's taking me somewhere. Yippee! I love going in the car. It's always someplace fun when we go. Well, almost always...

Nope.
She's wrapped up in her furry blanket again.
Dang it.

Dad's up. But he's not doing anything either.

Maybe if I grab a ball and look really cute. Or my rope.
Nope. That's not working either.

What the heck are they home for if they're not going to play with me?

I better stay awake just in case.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

#SOL20 Day 19 But You Can Wear Those to the Store!




”Congratulations.”
I’m puzzled. “For what?”
“You wore real clothes all day today!”

I knew that staying in my robe ‘til noon and then changing into pajama pants and a sweatshirt was not going to cut it,

But REALLY! I was wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt.

Not much difference.

“But you can wear those to the store!”

FYI. I DO NOT wear pajama pants out in public—-well maybe at the lake, but that’s different. I always change out of my pajama pants and into jeans when I have to go out.  I just change right back when I get home.

Doesn’t he notice anything?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

#SOL20 Day 18. Birthday to Remember





At 63, I've had my share of memorable birthdays. The first one I remember, I was really young, 3 or 4 maybe. My dad brought home a birthday cake with a doll in the center and the cake formed its dress. I don't remember anything else. I don't know if others were there. I really don't know how old I was. I just remember looking at that cake.

When I was 8 or 9, my grandparents picked me up from school on my birthday. They were going to buy me new shoes for birthday. As I opened the door, my tights flew out onto the street and started rolling up the street. Now, why Grandma had me take my tights off and put on socks, I haven't a clue. All I remember was crying because I lost them and my grandpa racing up the street after them.



When I was 40, my husband threw a surprise party for me. The house was full of family and friends when I came home from speech contest. It was so fun. But the best part of the night was the speech kids who kept showing up at the house trying to TP the trees outside. But several friends smoked and would be outside when the kids showed up. The kids kept getting caught. The last time they showed up, one was roaming around in the backyard. He had lost his cell phone!  To this day, I love to bring that night up to them.





At 60, I threw my own party. Invited anyone who wanted to come to join me at a bar not far from our house and listen to a friend's band. My lake friends showed up with St Pat's wigs, necklaces, lights, etc. It was really one of my more fun birthdays.


And, then, there was yesterday. Really the weirdest birthday I have ever had. Coronavirus Birthday. The concert we were to see was postponed. Our governor ordered all bars and restaurants closed. There really was not anywhere to go or anything to do.

So, we made the best of it. We sat outside in the sunshine a bit and drank a glass of wine. I did have to wear a winter coat and wrap a blanket around my legs. It is March in Iowa. But it was nice to get a little fresh air and see the neighbors out and about. My husband cooked me a steak and we watched our favorite shows on TV.

Not exactly a birthday like the rest. But it was a good one just the same.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

#SOL20 Day 17. Things I Love About My Life


Today I turn 63. I don't feel much different than I did at 40. In fact, a few things have shocked me lately.

  • I am one of the "older Americans" at risk for Covid19
  • I can shop early at some of the stores that are doing special hours for the "elderly"

So I decided today I needed to make a list of the things I love about life right now!
  1. Senior discounts. First Tuesday of the month at the pharmacy, hotel discounts, movie theatre discounts...
  2. Early bird specials!
  3. Being retired. I can plan my days just how I like. And if I don't get my list done? Well, there's always tomorrow.
  4. People think because I'm old, I'm wise. I'm not. They just think I am.
  5. My hubby and I are the "cute" old couple now.
  6. Technology. I grew up with party lines. Now I can Facetime with a friend across the world and my grandkids!
  7. Also, technology--the internet makes connecting to the world so easy. And who doesn't need connections of any kind today!
  8. Plants and flowers of any kind--even fake ones in my windowsill when it's too early for real ones.
  9. Not exchanging presents with my husband anymore and instead, investing in "experiences". Concerts, vacations, plays are all better than more things. 
  10. Now I can go early to shop at many stores!
  11. Buying myself presents.
  12. My kids think I'm really old so they worry about me.
  13. Wine every day is good for me.
  14. Netflix.
  15. Chloe is getting as old as me and doesn't need quite so many walks!
  16. A husband who will cook me a good steak when all the restaurants are closed, even though he can't eat one.
  17. Facebook, Two Writing Teachers, and #100daysofnotebooking. Seriously. these are my connections right now. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, March 16, 2020

#SOL20 Day 16. Signs of Spring


It's dark and dreary here in NE Iowa. Ugh. And it sure doesn't help anyone's mood in this time of "that which will not be named".

But, it is a good time to spring clean--which I'll do if I can get myself on a schedule!



And of course, we have to look outside for those signs of spring we've been waiting for all winter! So I was pretty happy checking on my tulips today. They are doing pretty well, even though they've been snowed on twice. Maybe they're like the robins and have to be snowed on three times before they'll bloom!







Almost all the "snirt" piles are gone around town. This little one is one of the few we have left in our yard. A few more warmish days and they will be gone. The mud will be here. But the "snirt" will be gone.







And inside the house? The geranium that I saved last fall and brought in has buds on it. It means the sun is getting warmer (when it shines) and the weather is getting nicer!

I will definitely be ready for nicer weather and warmer temps!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

#SOL20 Day 15. If This Isn't Nice...



For all the news of coronavirus and the cancellations because of it, I've still managed to find some pretty nice things in my world. I think it's going to be more important than ever to keep track of joyful moments. 



The best of the week was, of course, our son getting engaged. His fiance is a great addition to our family and she makes my son extremely happy. Which makes my husband and I very happy. I'm not sure I've quit smiling since Thursday!


We left our son's and went to check out the lake. We had to see what the snow situation was. Almost all of it is gone! That means lake time is not far away. We also met with lake friends, fixed dinner together and had a great visit! It was so good to be with them and just have a fun night.

Today I spent fixing chicken and noodles and Amish Friendship bread. Definitely comfort foods, but it seemed liked comfort has been called for!

Our governor has called for schools to be closed for a month. I guess I won't have to worry about subbing and can get to some of those projects I've been putting off. They will definitely keep me busy! 
  • Chloe will get more long walks in
  • I'll use the cleaner I bought for the kitchen cupboards. Maybe I won't paint them!
  • The basement could definitely use cleaning out
  • I still have pictures that need to be put into albums
  • My TBR pile is quite large, so no problems there
  • I have another closet to paint
  • There's still the rest of the month for blogging
  • #100daysofnotebooking will also keep me busy
  • I can get the deck ready for warmer days
I'm sure I'll keep adding to this list and to my list of joyful moments. I hope you are finding your own "If this isn't nice" moments.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

#SOL20 Day 14


I walked around the corner, pushing my cart. There she worked on emptying boxes of their contents. But those contents never made the shelves.

It wasn't gold or the newest iPhone she was unpacking.

It was hand sanitizer.

Now I carry a little bottle of this liquid gold all the time. It's a must in my purse and my school bag. I'm a SUB. I cover classes for sick people! Usually, I can buy a three-pack of purse size bottles at the dollar store when I need them. Not anymore. So I was pretty excited when I saw this poor woman trying to stock the shelves.

There were only three of us. And we all only wanted a bottle apiece. In fact, she handed me this HUGE bottle. I handed it back and told her I really only wanted one of the smaller ones.

It broke my heart when she turned to all of us and thanked us for being polite and not being greedy.

What in the hell has happened to our world?




Friday, March 13, 2020

#SOL20 Day 13 Happy Day

It started with:


It ended with:

Our youngest son proposed last night . And we couldn’t be happier!

I’ll let the wine bar write my post today!



Thursday, March 12, 2020

#SOL20 Day 12


Really. The last 24 hours in this world have been crazy!

With all the cancellations of major events, my husband and I seriously considered cancelling weekend plans. Our sons even called to check and make sure we were comfortable coming out.

Oldest son and family are in the thick of strep and RSV. 40 years old and he has RSV. Definitely not going there. But the youngest. He’s healthy. And has a special event going on. Small, private, important. So we’ll go.

He called to let us know that he checked with everyone invited and told them if they even thought they were sick, to stay home!

We are staying in a hotel with many, many wrestlers and their families, all prepared for a conference tournament this weekend. It was cancelled just as we got on the elevator to go to our room. I‘Be never seen so many sad faces. I feel sorry for them.

But I think it’s for the best.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

#SOL20 Day 11 Reasons


Reasons I Put Off Writing Today

  • It was dark this morning when I got up
  • Chloe was still sleeping and I didn't want to wake her up with my typing
  • I couldn't hold on to my coffee cup and type at the same time
  • The sun came out and shone in my eyes
  • I needed a nap
  • I needed a Hallmark movie
  • My husband was home
  • I had laundry to do
  • I couldn't find my favorite pen to notebook
  • Chloe wanted to play outside
  • My blanket and chair were just too comfortable
  • I couldn't think of anything to write about

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

#SOL20 Day 10 Can You Sub Today?


Once in a while, my easy mornings are erased by a phone call...



The Call: My phone rings at about 6:40am. I'm usually awake, not up yet, but awake. All those years of getting up early for school don't just disappear. And old habits are hard to break. It's often a crapshoot. The secretary doesn't always tell me who I'd be covering for until I've said I'm available.

Getting Ready: I can ready myself for the day pretty quickly when I need to. Shower, Chloe outside, one cup of coffee, get dressed, grab my stuff and go. Now it does help that I prepare for the week on Sundays. My bag is packed, I have outfits picked out for the week, and I have some grab and go breakfast items ready. There are mornings, though, when I think, "Why the heck did I say yes?"


School Welcome: Once I get to school, I'm good to go. My attitude changes during the five-block drive. Greetings always make me smile. Kids always ask, "Who are you here for, Mrs. Day?"
My friends always ask, "Who are you today?" Most (not all) are excited to see me. Kids because I'm something new in their day. Staff because we're friends and get a chance to visit.
Sub Plans: These are always a crapshoot too. I like the detailed ones that include an answer key. The more info I have, the better job I do filling in. I know it's not always possible when you are calling in sick. This is just my preference.

I love seating charts made with pictures--or just an alphabetical listing of kids with their pictures (many attendance programs will do this). It's so much easier to learn who kids are when you have their picture right in front of you. It also prevents the age-old sitting in someone else's spot trick that kids love to try with subs!

There's always one (or maybe two): There's always at least one kid during the day that's uncooperative. They lay their head on the desk and are probably sleeping. Or they argue the cell phone rule. They don't pay attention. They are mouthy. "We always do this." is their favorite response. When it comes time for the assignment, they don't want help but will sit and gripe that they don't get it and the teacher "never teaches anything".

I also get plenty of SSB's when subbing. I know they step up their game just for me. Touching each other, wrestling, throwing things. But they are also funny, helpful (when they want to be) and you know just where you stand with them.

I like it when my easy mornings are erased by a phone call...

Monday, March 9, 2020

#SOL20 Day 9


Lazing around on a 
Rainy Monday morning.
Reading, 
Writing,
Dozing.

Taking a shower on a
Rainy Monday morning.
Washing,
Dreaming, 
Planning.

Making breakfast on a 
Rainy Monday morning.
Stirring, 
Chopping,
Eating.

Checking my phone on a 
Rainy Monday morning.
Oh No! It's school. 
Need me to sub. 
Get there as quick as I can!
Drying hair
Putting on make-up
Getting Dressed.
Grab the bag
Don't forget your keys
Crap. 
Forgot to grab the umbrella
On a rainy Monday morning.



And because the song keeps going through my head, check out the Carpenters singing Rainy Days and Mondays


Sunday, March 8, 2020

#SOL20 Day 8 Smonday


Even now, two and a half years retired, I remember Sunday nights.

Weekends seem to stretch out forever on Fridays at 3:30, but Sunday nights come and that schoolbag sits unopened beside your chair, and there is a bare sketch of lesson plans to get you through the week.


My Sundays now are so much more relaxed. I make sure I have at least two presentable outfits in case I get called for subbing. I make sure my schoolbag is packed with essentials and I have some breakfast items ready to grab.

That's it!

No scrambling to get lesson plans done.
No grading.
Nothing.

My husband still usually cooks on Sundays, so I sit back in my chair, read a book, play some games, watch some TV.

That's it!

I love being retired.