Day 31 – see ya in about 11 months!

Day 1, looking back, remembering the words in my head as I finished my first post for the 2021 SOL, “One down, thirty to go!”  Then visioning into the future, the long, yes, very long road ahead, or so it seemed at that moment.  Will I make it 31 days?  Will I have enough to write about? 30 more days seemed quite the challenge back on March 1.  

And then the morning ritual, more like my new routine, arrive at work, turn on my computers, get situated and then begin writing.  Some mornings the process went pretty quickly, and I would think to myself, “I got this!” Those thoughts then would jinx myself because the following morning, it would be the sheer nothingness in my head, and I would sit for long spans of time, when I could have been working on the day’s lessons.  Instead, I would continue to sit and think until a small moment would eventually make its way to my computer screen.  In all though, it was my routine, with latte at hand to complement the process.

Now, what to do? It’s almost as if a morning partner, that would stimulate my thinking, and sometimes my conversations, is bidding farewell.  I just got used to this routine, and just like that, it’s gone.  Funny how something that I initially looked at like a task, chore, extra work, became part of my morning, something that I made time for, something that could bring smiles, laughter, insight into others’ worlds.  Goodbye Day 1, … Goodbye Day 31, see ya in about 11 months!

Day 30 – bring my best to Day 31

I have been staring at this keyboard for at least half an hour, trying to think of something to write about.  I have been going through the events of my yesterday, trying to find something SOL worthy.  My day wasn’t boring but it didn’t really consist of anything fun to blog about either.  

When my students come to the personal narrative writing unit, the curriculum spends about three days just on generating lists of things from their own lives that could be used as small moment writing ideas.  And here I am, their teacher, and I can’t even come up with one small moment idea from yesterday that would be a solid small moment writing idea.  In the past 29 days, I’ve written about the weather, food, covid, work, morning sun, early morning wake ups, being grateful, spring, and more.  This morning, I’m at a loss.  

I guess my small moment is sitting here at my computer, spending too much time thinking of something original to write about and coming up empty.  So now I am taking these, “I don’t know what to write about” thoughts and putting them into today’s SOL.  I have a small light plugged into my laptop so I can see the keyboard since it is dark in the early morning and I did not turn on any lights.  I am sitting on the floor, near the vent, warming up to the furnace heat while pouring out my empty thoughts onto the letters on this keyboard.  I am promising myself to have a greater awareness of today’s small moments so that tomorrow, Day 31, I can write my final SOL joyfully, with intention and enthusiasm.  So today, my writing job is not yet done, I will make a mental list of all of my small moments and bring my best to Day 31.

Day 29 – I’m getting up early, and I’m liking it!

Sleeping in, at least a couple of mornings during Spring Break sounds nice.  If I stay up a little bit later than usual, I can make up for it in the morning, right?  Wrong! 

When I was younger, there was a true feeling of pain if I had to get up before 6:30 or 7:00.  In a past job of mine that required some travel, there were times where I would have to be up by 5:00, or I would be sent out east for a few weeks of training, meaning Eastern Time, having to get up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. every day, OUCH!  And the occasional rising super early for a morning flight, brutal!  My head would hurt and there would be that weird feeling in my stomach, the kind where you can’t tell if you’re hungry, a stomach ache is coming on or the just got up way too early stomach feeling.  Yes, it eventually goes away, but it would certainly torture me for a while.

Now here I am.  I wake up at 5:00, or sometimes 4:30, and I can barely make myself stay in bed.  I tell myself to just lie there a little longer, enjoy it; I’ll fall back asleep.  Nope! Wrong, I lay there and I’m awake.  There is no falling back asleep.  I think I  sound like I’m complaining, and I probably am a little bit.  But honestly, I kind of like it.  I have definitely  become a morning person.  I like being the first one up.  I like seeing the sky go from dark to some early morning pinks and oranges.  I like the quiet time to myself.  This Spring Break, I’m getting up early, and I’m liking it!

Day 28 – it’s crazy how quickly the time flew by.

It’s pretty crazy how quickly time flies by.  I’m thinking back to this time last year, the first weekend of Spring Break.  The pandemic was just settling in and no one had any idea what was to come in the future.  If I remember correctly, I think my school shut down completely for one week followed by the week off for break.  I know I was afraid to go anywhere.  When I would make a trip to the grocery store, I remember wearing a mask and gloves and practically holding my breath when I would pass someone in the aisle for fear of contracting the deadly virus.  

And then there was the thought of no end in sight.  Since the medical field was just starting to learn about covid, no one could really predict what the future would bring.  Sometimes on the weekend we would hop in the car and pick a direction and just drive, something to do besides hanging out in the house.  At first these mini road trips offered some sense of excitement.  After a few weekends of driving to really nowhere, this began to lose its luster.  The thing is, half the fun of a road trip is finding a cool place to grab food, a unique little shop or a scenic hiking place, and with the covid shutdown, there were not many gems to be discovered.

At the time, looking into the future, there was no end in sight to be seen.  Every morning, each night, all days looked and felt alike.  When would it end?  Yet, here I sit now, thinking about a year ago, and I really can’t believe it was a year ago.  As long and very slow as it all seemed, the one year mark has come and gone and there is a bright light in the future and actually there are times now where I need to put on my shades because the bright light is too much for my eyes.  Yes, it was a year ago, and for how very slow it seemed, it’s crazy how quickly the time flew by. 

Day 27 – I think I’ll just celebrate my salmon victory!

It’s been proven, if one repeatedly tries a new food, one can acquire a taste for it.  Can this also be true for foods we don’t like?

So, a while back, I thought I would, once again, give salmon a try.  I have never been a salmon fan.  I have never cared for the taste, the texture, nor its pink color.  I have always preferred more of a mild, white and flaky type of fish.  But knowing that salmon is on practically every menu at every restaurant, available at basically all seafood counters,and packed with Omega 3s, I thought it was time to grow up and see if I could train myself to like it.  It began by piling a lot of sauces on it to camouflage it’s flavor (and color).  Then slowly, the sauces and condiments diminished. Last night, we picked up some salmon for the grill, and it was delicious!  I did it!  I conquered salmon!  So it works, at least sometimes, for foods we don’t like!

My next food challenge, I don’t think this will be nearly as easy … raisins.  I have hated raisins since I was a kid.  And I know they have slipped into my mouth many times, hidden in baked goods and other dark corners!  They have ruined muffins, cookies and even broccoli salad!  Ewww, just the thought of raisins and broccoli together, someone must have had a twisted state of mind to pair raisins with broccoli. I’m not so sure I can exhibit the bravery I did for salmon.  Perhaps I’m better off just sticking with their younger, plumper version, the grape!  Baby steps, for now, I think I’ll just celebrate my salmon victory!

Day 26 – Today I am going to genuinely be present and be happy and be grateful …

A friend just received some unexpected news, needed to leave work early yesterday and today as well, will need to take the day off.  I was thinking about this, this morning, while driving to work.  Thinking how ready I am for spring break, thinking how I just need to make it through one more day.  Thinking how rough it’s going to be giving this ridiculously hard math test to kids that haven’t been in school enough days to be well enough prepared to take the test.

But then I think about my friend.  As much as we are all ready for some days off, I only want those days off when they’re planned or on the school calendar.  After thinking about my friend, I have nothing to complain about.  In fact, I’m happy and grateful to be here.  It’s funny how it takes another’s situation to wake oneself up and see the better side of things.

I’m sure my friend would much rather be at work today than dealing with unfortunate family member situations, having to make decisions on a loved one’s behalf and consumed with worry about the well being of those so close to one’s heart.  Yes, a day away always sounds amazing until we are gifted with that unexpected day off and then it sets one’s perspective in a new focus.  I’m sure there’s  no place more my friend would rather be right now than her job, way more than this day off, dealing with things with much greater pain and emotional ties.  Today, I am not going to be focused on 2:55.  Today I am going to genuinely be present and be happy and be grateful …

Day 25 – “How Lucky,” thank you Johnny Prine

Music, just like the first rays of the sun, birds singing early on a spring morning, and warmer temps before dawn, brings me joy on my drive to school.  This morning, I changed the station at ‘a meant to be moment’. There was a brief pause and then the light strumming of a guitar and the voice of Kurt Vile. “How Lucky,” such a sweet sounding tune by Johnny Prine.  

Honestly, pre-covid, I had barely heard of Johnny Prine.  Sadly, he became one of the Covid statistics, which is around the time I discovered his amazing talents and creativity and instantly became a fan.  This morning, hearing this melody, the raspy voice of John, the folksy sound of Kurt, and a tune and lyrics I could listen to repeatedly, it brought me so much joy.  I sat in my car, in the parking lot, and listened to every last note before exiting.  

I’m sitting at my desk now, Googled the song and listened to it a few more times and now starting the day with a smile and feeling a little lighter.  I need to pay more attention to these small things that can be transforming.  This morning, I’m feeling “How Lucky,” (I am), thank you Johnny Prine.

Day 24 – shaking things up!

I am in a food rut!  Every day for breakfast and for lunch, it’s the same!  I have no one to blame but myself.  Truly, the only thing that might vary is I might throw in some blueberries with my cutie.  But many days I just grab the cutie because I’m in too much of a hurry or too lazy to grab a handful of blueberries and wash them, so solo cutie it is.  The rest of the food I pack, identical!  

The problem now is, I am in such a food rut that I can’t get out of it.  I can’t see beyond what I bring each day.  I make trips to the grocery store way too many times each week, so that’s not my excuse.  But, when at the store, I walk up and down the aisles and see absolutely nothing that tempts me and so I come home empty handed with foods that steer me out of my food place of boredom.

I know I need to really shake it up, but it’s beyond hard!  I admit, I could eat Jimmy John’s every day for lunch, but that’s not the habit I want to start, because as I know, it’s easy to get into a new rut, and Jimmy John’s truly could be my new go to.  I’m going to push myself over spring break to start something new for breakfast and lunch.  Will I be able to do it?  I don’t know … but sitting here now with the same old, I’m thinking, maybe the time has finally arrived to start shaking things up!

Day 23 – enough with the iphone for one day!

Yesterday was an iPhone day for sure!  My morning started out in the ‘off’ position to begin with.  Not a productive morning, that was for sure.  Just some oddities that needed taking care of.  And I knew I had some lesson planning to do, but I just couldn’t get to it.  And then, I noticed my phone lighting up!  I keep it on silent and just give it an occasional glance.  Yesterday morning though, it suddenly looked like fireworks! I had only stepped out of my room for a few minutes at the most and it was blowing up with missed calls, texts, all before 7:30 a.m.

Text after text, “Do you have my phone?”  And I’m so confused because these crazy messages are coming from my son’s phone, so obviously he has his phone!  Perhaps my husband should have mentioned that he was using my son’s phone to track down his phone.  But still … why would I have his phone, because OBVIOUSLY I have my phone!  Too much for a Monday morning.  But I checked my bag, my purse, oooh, my purse, yes, in my purse, my husband’s phone!!!  That sinking feeling, yes, I grabbed his phone (so why does he set it near my phone anyway … meaning this IS his fault!)  

Quick flash to the ending, was able to come up with a meeting place, leave school and get back before the students arrived.  Other morning problems solved too!  Normal day, driving home, sitting at a red light, reach for my phone, check my purse, check my bag, oooh, my purse, no, not in my purse, that sinking feeling that I left it at school.  Oh well, enough with the iPhone for one day!  

Day 22 – Yes, we’ve got this!

I knew it, we all knew it, the four weeks leading up to spring break would feel like a marathon, and it has.  Perhaps more like two back to back marathons!  But now we’re in the final stretch.  The final week before spring break, a break more needed than ever before!  The changes, the emails, the expectations, the changes to the changes … and four solid weeks for students with no shortened weeks.  I’m not sure if there have been four solid weeks since before winter break.

It’s been a long year for sure, but this stretch in March has seemed longer than any other four weeks in this entire school year.  The students have decided that they don’t need to do their work to learn.  I think they think that as long as we keep teaching, they will learn, even if a book is never opened, an ear is never listening and a pencil is never writing.  I wish my teachers had that kind of magic when I was in school!

I don’t have the heart to remind myself now, that when we return from break, there will still be eight weeks of school to go.  And those eight weeks will have zero days off.  And, the students will be back full time, five days each week!  Perhaps spring break is what we all need.  A time to relax, rejuvenate, and get excited about seeing all of the energy our little friends will bring with them when they return to regular (3’ – 6’ apart with masks on and eating lunch in the classroom kind of regular).  Eight weeks, with the knowledge of summer break waving to us in the distance.  Yes, we’ve got this!