I’m in this class,
Covid 19, I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
I have to take it to graduate;
I guess it’s a universal class for everyone right now.
I’ve never had a class
that meets every frickin’ day!
And it’s the most complex course –
a constantly changing syllabus,
mixed media, no reading or writing required.
Sometimes I’m in a big lecture hall,
sometimes I’m in a break-out discussion.
There’s tons of self-reflection work.
I can wear sweats and slippers to class without shame,
and get this! the class involves happy hours,
often multiple nights in row!
But it also begins the minute I get up in the morning.
The best thing about this class is there is no grade;
it’s kind of a pass/fail, but not really.
I get credit just by living.
I’m about to head into week 7 of working from home, social distancing, shopping on-line or at least, limiting my trips to the store. And gas is $1.75. I wish I could go on a road trip!
I walk into my closet each morning – well, sometimes every other morning – and pull out fresh underwear and socks. I’ve been wearing the same jeans since the beginning – they were the ones I was wearing on March 15th and so I see no need to pick different pants. I’ve washed them – while wearing sweats or pj’s but for the most part, I’m in them at least 12-14 hours a day. I rotate between a few shirts, sometimes I put on something on top that I really love, but mostly it’s a choice of 3 basic dress tees.
And that pile of shoes in my closet? including the cute new boots and red loafers I purchased in March? I just can’t even imagine when I’ll wear them next. I’m living in my slippers all day long and only use my runners for outside shoes.
I know a lot of people are enjoying cooking right now, trying out different recipes. Heck, I hate to cook so I’ve gone back to my early marriage days eating tuna, peanut butter toast, spaghetti and mac n cheese. We occasionally do take-out at our favorite Mexican restaurant and order pizza. My parents like food from Olive Garden so we’ll piggy back on an order for them that we deliver. It’s a sad diet, I know.
People ask about my creative endeavors because they know I like to knit and do crafty stuff. I have been knitting – but I get bored with my projects. I’ve been doing some Zentangling – that is fun and calming.
I decided to create a scavenger hunt with my sister because I need motivation to get out and walk every day. She and her husband are birders so they go out and send me pics of where they are. I try to guess. So today they suggested that they leave a painted rock for me to find when they are on a walk. I went out and left a rock on one of their favorite walks and sent a pic from where I was standing when I tucked it away. Hopefully this little game will get me outside and moving more.
The silliest fun that I have every weekend comes from creating a new Baby at Home scenario. This weekend it was to record Baby (me) finishing the episodes of “Making the Cut.” Who did you think was going to win?
My sister sent out a Zoom invite to everyone in the family inviting us to do some egg decorating together on Saturday afternoon.
I didn’t really want to color and decorate eggs. So I boiled eggs and made egg salad to eat during the event and then decided to play around doing Zentangle in an egg outline. Definitely fun for me and I loved seeing all the kids and grown ups coloring eggs together.
I put on the mask my mom made the other day and a set of gloves and head into the grocery store. I hate the way the mask feels, so steamy, my glasses fogging up.
I’ve never liked stuff on my face. Even on the coldest nights when we were camping, I kept my face out of my sleeping bag.
Milk, ice cream, half n half, New York Times: a dairy-heavy grocery list today. Back in the car I pull the mask down to my chin and head over to my parent’s place. I walk down the driveway and around to the front deck and knock on the window. My 87 year old mom puts on her coat and comes out to sit at one end of the picnic table with me at the opposite end. My dad sits on the other side of the glass eating apple pie at the dining room table. He doesn’t understand why I don’t come in anymore, he never will.
This is how it is.
This is how it will be until there’s a vaccine.
His fingernails hold the edge of the newspaper,
long nail beds with tiny ridges, neatly trimmed.
They are the fingernails I remember on his mother,
holding her morning banana
as she sliced it into a bowl of milk.
Brownie Camp Bus Ride
It was so “white privilege” of me
but my 7-year-old self didn’t know that,
to think this brown girl on the camp bus
would want my company on the seat beside her.
I did know it was not the usual thing to do,
white to sit with brown,
because that’s the little bit of “education” I was gleaning
from growing up in Virginia in the 50’s,
a classmate of a child named Robert Lee,
direct descendant of THE ROBERT E. LEE.
Every summer my Northerner parents
sent my siblings and I to Scout day camp.
We rode on the camp bus
to “meet other children” beyond our cul-de-sac.
Every night at dinner
they checked in with us
wanting to hear stories
of girls being girls and boys being boys.
And we didn’t really talk more deeply about it
until 50 years later.
And so it was in the TIME OF COVID…..
Most lovely team members – if you are fans of Narnia, The Hobbit or Harry Potter – we seemed to have slipped into a world beyond the wardrobe, embarked on an impossible journey and are endeavoring to become wizards – without the help of talking fauns, elves or magic wands.
Unlike the travelers in The Hobbit, you did not sign up for this and yet, like the children in Narnia, you are being asked to save a world.
And as with the classmates at Hogwarts, there are competing needs, rigorous coursework, its completely unreal and summer vacation isn’t a part of the narrative.
Teams are forced to engage in telepractice while creating new life/work balance. Teams successfully finish a seemingly eternal month of initial IFSP’s, reviews and annuals, evaluations, meetings with school partners. Chapter ends with team members feeling stressed, wondering when this will ever end, not sure of how to keep going, not sure if others are aware of their stress, feeling incapable and lonely.
Chapter 2 —
This is the chapter we get to write this month – what would you like to see be a part of our team’s story in the next few weeks?
This is what I’d like to have happen for myself – continued connection among team and other staff members, celebrations of joy while exploring and reflecting on distinct challenges, kindness.
I only know teensy bits of the roads you all are walking now and I’m working hard to practice empathy and hope that you will too. When the ways we are able to communicate and be with each other are so limited, there are sure to be misunderstandings, leaps to judgement, feelings of not being valued.
The photo journal I have at home had Transition as the theme for March and for April it is Strength:
Let this be part of what we bring to the table in the coming weeks. I hope that if you are taking a break – then you fill your cups, relax and enjoy what you can in our current world. If you are working, then I hope you will let your pace slow a bit.
I will be working bits and pieces – of course I’m not going anywhere! My calendar is up to date with what I am doing and I’m totally up for chats and check ins.
Thanks to Eli and her sharing of her mindfulness coloring page – Look what Baby at Home is up to now:
So many words for this month, this March in this particular year.
I don’t remember if it came in like a lion. Is it going out like a lamb – I have hardly paid attention to the weather. If I was to describe this month in a seasonal way I would say it came in like a dancing pony and is leaving – or rather – slinking away like a slug.
Madness – yes this March was full of madness. The truly crazy Alice in Wonderland kind where I seem to have drunk from the little bottle and fallen down a hole; the Cheshire Cat was my computer screen and I felt like the rabbit, not quite sure what time it was and where I was supposed to be.
Long. March and August are always the longest months of the year for me but of course September bites August’s tale off so it seems shorter than it is. March has nothing to supersede it. It just goes on and on and on until April appears like a random emoji after a long and serious sentence.
This week will just be another part of March to me. Next week I’ll be on break but it won’t seem like it. I have a few clients that I’ll meet with because I hate to halt this Zoom process we just got started. I won’t worry about how I stack the work during my days though. And I will just try not to work my brain, just go outside – a lot – and just wander around. Emoji emoji emoji
I never thought a pandemic would be the way I would practice “retirement.”
First let me say that I am 63, have a job I love, and it is one I’m able to continue during this crisis. But most of my friends are older than me and have retired and so I often get asked about my timeline.
Frankly, I have no plan to retire. Maybe when I can’t sit down on the floor with children, or I lose my hearing and am unable to converse with parents, I might be forced to retire. But right now, the pace of this job and the kind of work I do is okay with this somewhat older body and current level of energy.
However, I have wondered what my life will be like when I reduce my work or don’t work anymore. This pandemic is teaching me that while I don’t mind sleeping in a bit more because I don’t have to do so much prep to get out of the house, I really miss going somewhere each day. And while I enjoy the freedom of going to the kitchen for some more coffee or to make a little snack and using my own bathroom all day long, I’m realizing those little ups and downs are more a diversion than a necessity.
The pandemic is also helping me build a routine around going outside – often! and for longer bits of time than I used to. I’ve been taking a long walk every day – usually by myself, not as a get-together time with a friend. I kind of miss having a dog, but I am loving my jaunts in the neighborhood or to my favorite trails close by.
I created this blog in 2011 and posted entries fairly regularly; my first monthly challenge with Two Writing Teachers was March of 2012. Then a few years ago I created some other blogs for anonymity and just to collect thoughts. But this blog is my baby, my favorite one to post on.
I wasn’t sure I was going to be a part of the March Slice of Life this year; I hadn’t been writing on any of my blogs for over a year and wasn’t sure how committed I felt to writing on a daily basis. I’ve been writing in a journal, but not using my blogs for writing for a long time.
Of course the COVID crisis has created a new filter on everything in my life, daily writing included. It is not that I feel compelled to “record” at this time; I’ve never felt the need to be a memoir writer. But I feel called to put words on paper the way other feel compelled to cook. They go to the pantry and select ingredients for a savory meal, and I sit with a keyboard and select thoughts to string together.
I think I’m ready to engage with my blog again. I’ll still keep up my written journal – something I wasn’t doing when I started blogging. But I do love this medium for putting my thoughts, photos, and art together.