Stay young!

Showing posts with label #bloggingmylife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #bloggingmylife. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 16

Snow and more snow

We got another 4-6” of snow last night on top of the piles that were already out there. In our small yard some of the drifts are more than 18” high. I went out with Mike and helped clear the driveway and walks. Thankfully I have my super warm long quilted coat and tall fur-lined boots for times like this. It’s actually not as wickedly cold out today as it has been recently so at least that’s good. I don’t think I’m going out anywhere today. After Mike gets done with work tonight we’ll drive the one mile to Beef Shack for their $1.00 hot dogs Tuesday special. They’re pretty good fully-loaded Chicago style dogs. 

Saturday, February 6


It’s Saturday afternoon. It’s overcast and treacherously icy outside. I’ve been outside four times today with Bitzi and slipped every time. Thank goodness I didn’t fall clear down and bash anything. It makes me not want to go out. But with a dog you have to. 

I made a vanilla Bundt cake to take over to Casey & Jackie’s tomorrow. We’re going to meet and watch the new baby for a bit to give them a break. We entered a Sun City contest for the Super Bowl winner and the point total. I picked Tampa Bay. 

I feel like an armadillo rolled up into my shell today. I’ve got stretchy yoga pants, a big Green Lake Wisconsin hoodie, alpaca socks and my fuzzy slippers on-super cozy and warm. 

It’s snowing again! Gaaah

I did get an appointment to get my first Moderna Covid vaccine this Tuesday morning in Elgin through my school district so I’m relieved by that. Onward and upward!

Monday, January 18

Inauguration Day fear of violence

It’s mid morning on MLK day. I just sent another email to one of my attorneys at the miller firm in Virginia about my lymphoma lawsuit. I am completely not expecting anything to come of this and it is what it is. But just in case it might turn out to be something I’m going along with it. No one else in my family history that I know of had any type of blood cancer. It’s not like lymphoma was common in our family. It had to come from somewhere. I’ve been exposed to RoundUP for as long as I can remember helping run our family farm, spraying weeds around the yard and along fence rows. No, I was not a commercial landscaper or anything but I have used it a lot. No I cannot say that on June 17 of 1994 I used it and “caught” lymphoma. That’s not how it works. It causes lymphoma by the long term exposure and also probably drinking well water in farming areas. I opted out of the large group class action lawsuit to pursue my own individual case on the recommendation of the firm, so we shall see. What have I got to lose?

Mike overslept this morning and got up around 8:20 and was scrambling around to get ready and go online to work. He’s up prowling around all night most of the time with his shoulder pain and doesn’t sleep well. I have stopped nagging him about going to the doctor. It does zero good. It is what it is and when he’s ready he’ll go. Live with it.

I’m feeling somewhat guilty not working, not subbing, but I have resolved not to work in schools again until a couple weeks have passed after I’ve had both doses of the vaccine. I think that’s sensible and safe. I am getting my pension checks anyway. Wasn’t that the purpose of retiring? If it wasn’t for all the germs, bullshit and hoops to jump through I wouldn’t have retired. But I did. So be it.

I’m going over to the Jewel grocery store and getting a roast and barley to make some soup this week. We have been finishing up my last two batches of soup. We eat it for a day or two and then I stash it in the freezer for a few weeks. It’s hard to make just a little soup.

My gut has not been right since I went to Lewistown last week. I don’t really know what’s going on with it. It’s probably just my nerves because of the ongoing stuff with my kids. My mother and grandmother both had nervous stomach issues.

I took Bitzi out for a little half mile walk this morning. It’s not too unpleasantly cold but it is a bit tricky with all the patches of ice and snow. I’ve been walking in the street because most of the sidewalks arent’t clear but there are lots of slick patches on the streets too. I fell down and hurt myself on a slick ice-covered parking lot last week. I fell clear down to the ground and bashed the shit out of my knee, hurt my wrist and bashed my right lower abdomen so now I’m a bit leery about walking on streets with icy patches. After I fell down last Tuesday it hurt so bad and I was so stunned that I just laid there on the ground breathing slowly trying to assess the damage and get the strength to get back up. Later that night my right knee was aching and all swollen up. It’s been somewhat swollen since then and turned a mild black and blue but wasn’t at all as bad as I’d initially feared. So I haven’t been walking that much the last couple days.

I have done most of my odds and ends jobs around here now, so not much to do. I suppose I could go thin out my closet.I no longer need the dressier concert attire clothing it seems. Just hangin’ there with nowhere to go. I should thin that stuff out and take some to Goodwill. I have assessed my freezer and decided not to make the beef & barley soup. There are too many leftovers in there already. Nope.......

Only about 60 more days until spring....I have to keep reminding myself. I hate this end of winter period- one big gray bucket of shit. Speaking of that I’ve had two dog clean ups so far this morning. The second was a puke. Not sure what’s going on with her. She’s supposed to go to the groomer tomorrow.

Last night I watched the latest episode of The Circus on Showtime and then we watched Good Fellas.I had seen the first part of it a long time ago. A lot of people in it that ended up being the Sopranos. I think the Sopranos was way better but them I’m biased.

I’m sitting in the spare bedroom typing on my IPad keyboard in the silence. Mike is in the back office typing and editing stories for his job. It’s weird how life is now during the pandemic. I see that there are a few restaurants and bars remaining open despite the governors order and some of my relatives are frequenting one of the restaurants and even have taken my 82-year old mother-in-law there a few times. Those are the Trumpers doing that believing that Corona virus is all just a democratic hoax to disparage the current POS president.Ah well.......whatever. You cannot change anyone. You have to just take care of yourself. These are very difficult times we are going through.

I shall survive.

I’m going to take Bitzi up to walk in front of the main lodge here in Sun City because it’s usually cleared better up there and fewer icy patches. I’ll do that in a bit when I finish my coffee. I didn’t feel very well yesterday and did very little. I rode along with Mike last night but waited in the car while he went in two stores.I should have gone to get steps in but I just did not feel like it. I guess I’ve got the blahs or something like that. I need to count my blessings. I haven’t done that today nor read positive affirmations or Buddha quotes. Those usually help raise my spirits. 

Watching the news yesterday was surreal. I can’t believe how many troops and barriers and fences have been put up in Washington DC in preparation for the inauguration. I cannot believe that Trump is making a big splashy departure from the White House on the morning of Biden’s inauguration. I cannot even believe he still has not even admitted he lost and Joe Biden will be our president. I cannot believe that creep albino bitch Mike Pence would not agree to invoke the 25th amendment and remove that dangerous insane monster from power. The whole Trump cult needs to be dropped into a flaming volcano. 
We cannot take anything for granted.

I can hear Mike’s booming voice in the back office on the other side of the house talking to someone at work over the phone or on Zoom. I think the sound is carrying through the heating ducts as it’s sounding a little tinny and has some slight metallic vibration to it. Weird. I just ate some leftover sausage-scrambled eggs-riced cauliflower-Frank’s Red Hot sauce stuff I cooked up the other day and then put the rest in the fridge. Mike refused to eat it. It wasn’t too bad. 

In the last few days I’ve deleted all the old photos off my phone and IPad (they get saved in Google photos and Amazon photos anyway) and deleted and organized apps. I’ve cleaned out my diffusers with white vinegar and scrubbed the with a brush so they work much much better now. Because of all the family stress I’m trying to stay home, keep my mouth shut, keep busy, try not to stress eat and not spend money. It sounds easy but really it’s not when you’re me.........My youngest son was texting me Saturday and said some pretty painful things. I’m not sure if he intentionally meant to hurt me but he did. There are a lot of things I could say to him but I won’t. That’s how I am. I try to be quiet and take the high road. A lot of the time you’re alone up there though.......anyway it’s still hurting me even after a couple days along with everything else.

2;29 I’m now in the middle of a huge master bedroom closet purge. Despite purging tuff a couple times since we moved into this house about two years ago I still appear to have waaaay too much stuff and I have most of it thrown out of the closet and strewn around the bedroom and on the floor now. I did sort and hang some stuff up. Now I’m taking a breather and having some lemonade. Six pound and ten-month-old Bitzi is very curious and wants to follow me everywhere and smell and eat everything. NOT GOOD when you’re cleaning closets.  I have a pile started for Goodwill. I know giving away some of this stuff will hurt, probably mostly because I was dumb enough to buy it when I didn’t really need it though...........

3:55 I’ve got most of my purging done and I’m taking Bitzi out for another walk before it gets dark. I got rid of LOTS of stuff!

6:02 all completely done. I had to go back and check linen sizes and reclaim three dressed from the Goodwill bag but now I’m done. It feels good to be finished. Tomorrow I’ll take a load of stuff to Goodwill and get it out of here. 

Thursday, January 14

Hunkered down in the bunker

It’s Thursday morning and I am trying to pick myself up and get going. I deactivated my Facebook account last night. My brother-in-law, who never communicates with me in any way, posted a smartassed, nasty comment to my FB page in support of Trump and all the ugliness with the Republican Party last night. He and his wife have been big pro-Trump supporters for years and I have managed to sidestep any arguments or ugliness until last night. Fuck him and all of them. I just deactivated my account and blocked him. I don’t care what he or the rest of his ilk say. The last several months I’ve been unfollowing and paring down my social media feeds anyway. I did continue to post relevant newspaper articles but that’s about it. I have had it and the gloves are off as far as that shit is concerned.

I’m also going through a lot o worry and emotional stress due to my kids and shit that’s going on, I can’t really tell my husband because he has blabbed to his asshole relatives in the past when I’ve confided in him. I don’t need that shit. So I don’t tell him much of what’s going on. I keep it to myself but it makes me on edge. Oh well I’ve fought tougher dragons than this. Bring it on...........

The sun is shining but the snow is still covering most things outside. Yesterday I went on four walks and noticed the ice was starting to melt a little. The days are starting to get longer and it’s no longer pitch dark at 4:30 now. There is hope. Just keep swimming. I have to watch my caffeine intake and try to stay busy and calm. I’m going to take the dog for another walk and then clean out my dressers and closet. I can’t let things eat at my brain and rattle me. That will never work. It never goes well when that happens.

Tuesday, January 5


 So I’m up early and dressed, trying to read the news and wake up. At 7:00 I have to drive over to the elementary school in Carpentersville to work online teaching to get the staff used to coming back in to work. Next week the students will be back so we’ll be teaching kids in person while also teaching the kids at home online. I will only have four days of that luckily. I’m not going to worry about it. It’s only a few days. It is what it is. I just have to get it done. 

Mike will have to be tending the dog until I get home this week and next week. He isn’t as good about walking her as I am. I’ll walk her when I get home. I’ve been offered a building sub position at my old school district and could work every day of the rest of the school year but what’s the point in being retired if I do that? Plus it will be in person assigned to various classes around a middle school. I’m sure a lot of retirees don’t want to sub during the pandemic. I’m sure subs are in short supply. 

Monday, January 4

Hi Hi Hi Ho it’s back to work I go

It’s 6:42am Monday. I have two more weeks of my sub job. It was a bad decision to do this but I’m fulfilling my agreement. I’m teaching from home today but going in to the school Tuesday through Friday. This Thursday and Friday the students will be asynchronous while we teachers have training on how to teach in person while simultaneously teaching online the kids whose parents chose to keep them home. 

 Next week Monday through Thursday I’ll be teaching kids in person while also teaching kids online and going between ten classrooms in order to keep the kids inside all their classrooms. There is no time gap between scheduled classes so no clue how the fuck that will work..... On Friday they will be at home and asynchronous. I am NOT looking forward to going from classroom to classroom teaching in person and online at the same time. It sounds completely nuts to me. That’s only four days of it. I keep reminding myself.

I’ve felt unwell the last few days but my symptoms have been mild and I’ve had no fever. I’ll get mandatory Covid19 testing at school this and next Wednesday. My pay rate doesn’t bump up and double until I complete the day this Friday and then it will be retroactive to day 1. That will help make it worthwhile. 
I have to take Bitzi out for a walk in a few minutes so I can get back inside and prep to teach at 8:00. It’s still dark outside. 


7:45 I took Bitzi out for a little walk and got my computer logged on and set up and my lessons laid out for the day. I’m not going to worry and move forward with calm confidence. Attitude is everything. Let’s do this. I’m wearing my tight yoga pants, tiger print top and fuzzy slippers. It’s going to be a good day. 

Friday, January 1

A new year with new hope

2:34 pm

It’s new year’s day. It snow-raining. I’ve had Bitzi out a couple time walking. You have to be really careful with the ice.

I’ve been putting stuff back in the kitchen drawers and cabinets, sorting, organizing and throwing things away. I’ve also been disco dancing and singing on the microphone with my big Bluetooth speaker. 

Now I’m resting a bit with Bitzi asleep on my nap. It’s quiet in here now except for the dishwasher whooshing and the faint window rain spatter. Mike has been in his office all day working. The windows are covered with icy drizzle. 

Last night I made king crab legs, garlic butter shrimp & cod, stuffed mushrooms, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, corn and lemon cheesecake. It was pretty good but too much for the two of us. We have leftovers from a couple different meals in the fridge. It’s hard to cook for two. If I lived alone I’d probably just make a big pot of oatmeal and live off it all week. I still feel like I have a bit of a cold or something. I haven’t had a Covid test. I have no fever just mild cold symptoms, faint wheezing.... probably nothing. It isn’t always the boogie man. 

Tuesday, December 29

Winter storm coming tonight

I got up late this morning. I took a Benadryl last night and slept like a log. The cabinet guys will be here soon. The cabinets are starting to look good with a coat of paint on the boxes and some of the crown molding installed. I’m so excited! I’ve been wanting to re-do this kitchen since we bought this house. Mike really loved it and I thought it was okay except for the kitchen. 

I’m starving and feeling hollow inside. I went over my carbs limit a couple days and now am back to my fasting. I’ll eat a little between noon and four today. My mission is to slowly get rid of my excess weight so my immune system and joints have less to take care of assuming I’m going to continue living. So very many health issues are associated with obesity and sugar and poor diet. There have been millions of dollars to date spent on my medical care. My diet is the least I can do to be healthy. I’ve been eating a lot of raw spinach and chia seeds lately. 

There’s a winter storm coming tonight with snow and ice. Mike is going to try to fire up the snow blower. I might run over to Costco and get a couple things. I need to take Bitzi for a walk. I did a bunch of sub prep work yesterday. I think we’re going to go buy me a new comfie recliner for the bedroom today. We got rid of the old one but I really miss it. 

I just took a nice walk around Wildflower Lake with Bitzi. It’s very cold out and no one else was walking. It’s going to get a lot nastier later today.

In the past several months I’ve gotten a lot more phones phishing emails and texts. I usually block the sender and delete it. This morning I got an Amazon phishing email and text on my cell phone. I blocked them both and just checked my account and changed the password. Bastards!

Monday, December 28


3:15 pm Monday

The two men are here working on the kitchen. They sanded the cabinet boxes Saturday and are painting today. The main guy said his paint sprayer at home isn’t working right so the doors that he took home aren’t done yet. I hope to hell they hurry up. This is all, of course, a giant pain in the ass.

I have been working on my schedule and plans for the remaining days of my current sub job. My old school district HR called me this morning wanting to know if I would be a daily building sub for one of their middle schools and work every day for the rest of the school year. I told them maybe depending on what building. I told them I won’t be done with my current job until the 15th I don’t really want to but it would help pay for some of this remodeling we’re doing. We also need to put in new flooring and buy some new furniture so every bit helps. The sub jobs are now going to be in person at least most of the time. Schools are going back no matter what. 

Mike’s employers computers system was attacked by ransom ware a couple months ago and a lot of sensitive information was stolen. He now has had someone apply for unemployment insurance with his name and social security number so now he has to make a bunch of calls and do a whole bunch to make sure nothing else gets screwed up. Mike Smith is a super common name as you know.Bastard hackers!

So I bagged up all the Christmas stuff this morning and am waiting for the painting guys to leave so I can put the stuff out in the garage. We have all our extra kitchen stuff from the drawers and cabinets placed here in the spare bedroom where I’m typing now. It’s a mess......but it will be worth it eventually.

Sunday, December 27

The unknown

6:40am Sunday

I’ve been awake for a while. Lately I’ve been waking up in the dark early morning thinking about things. Last year at this time I kept having this feeling inside me that something big and bad was coming. I had this uncomfortable feeling like some huge slow-moving tidal wave of doom was coming. I had no idea it would be as bad as it has been but it does still continue on and on. I don’t know what this latest waking up early means but now I’m a little scared for what’s coming next.

Yesterday morning I drove Hennessy down to Lacon to meet her parents. She had stayed with us since Monday and we had a good time. She’s six years old and a very good girl. 

 Yesterday the guys came back and worked on the kitchen cabinets. They put up hanging plastic and drop cloths and sanded all the cabinet boxes. Supposedly Monday they’re painting the boxes and reattaching the newly- painted doors. We shall see. There have been many delays so I’m not getting my hopes up. 

I got a new Cuisinart coffee maker. I’m tired of the Keurig pods. This coffee maker has a bunch of programmable settings so I’m going to have to read the manual to set the clock. Usually I just figure it out on my own. 

Tuesday, December 22

You can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself

 It’s 5:22 and I’ve been awake way over an hour. I just woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I guess I have a lot of family issues on my mind. I try to tell myself that things will work out but that little troll inside my brain wants to worry about everyone. I can’t really even talk about it. Things will have to work out on their own. I have to give it to the universe and let it be. I am not the fixer of all things. 

The man fixing and painting our kitchen cabinets is coming to start this morning so I have to get things ready to facilitate his work and stay out of his way. Hennessy ( six) is here so we’ll go for a walk and shopping or something to stay out of the way.

Monday, December 21

Sleigh ride 2020


Good morning!  I’m up and dressed and sipping my coffee before I drive down to Canton and back to deliver family Christmas presents. My daughter and sister are meeting me and they will distribute packages for me. I’m trying to be safe but do a little something for Christmas, plus I needed the nice long drive alone after being cooped up in the house with my husband for months. He has to work today. My six year old granddaughter Hennessy is coming back home with me. I haven’t seen her in months. I am happy for my blessings! We have a dinky tabletop tree and a few lights up. It will be a modest Christmas this year but that’s okay as long as we’re safe. You have to be grateful for the blessings you’re given. Bitzi is riding along with me so I’ll take her out to pee at sunrise before I take off. She is very good in the car.

Wednesday, December 16

The light at the end of a tunnel

5:58am I’m up early again because of work. I like to rise early, get myself dressed, drink my coffee, read my news and emails and get myself set. Before I start teaching at 8 I have to take the dog out for her walk and log on the my laptop and get everything set up. It’s still difficult for me with all these classes being back to back. You have to hustle. I use a kitchen timer to keep track of time. I have two more weeks in January for this job. The first week I have to go in to the school for meetings and to teach remotely, the second week to teach in person ( some students returning) while teaching online ( some students still from home). It’s going to be nuts but it will only be 5 days...... SO we shall see...I’m not going to worry about it now. I’ll do my best. Things always work out. 

Mike is still sound asleep in the bedroom. The door is open so I can hear his bear noises. The sunrise is an hour away. I like my morning time to myself. On mornings when Mike does get up early and comes out here and sits on the couch in the living room and falls back asleep with the morning news on I feel somewhat invaded. We have been cooped up in this house together for months now. Alone time is valuable. I’m going to take a drive next week.  And now I’ve jinxed myself and Mike is up watching news. Oh well.... today is garbage day and he has a mission 🤪.
We have nothing planned for Christmas- not going anywhere, not having anyone one, just staying home and safe. This is our cozy nest. Before long the world will open up and things will go back to some version of normal. We’ll have a new president and Vice President and new administration. More people will be getting vaccinated for the virus. Things will improve in 2021. I have faith.

I am continuing to slowly lose weight but I’m not walking as much now that I’m working online. I’m going to try to do two longer walks today. Bitzi loves her walks. They’re good for both of us.

 All four of my children have things going on that concern me but they’re adults and I can’t help. They have to do it themselves. Some times that can be the hardest thing for me to do- stay out of it. Mike’s son and his wife are having their first baby the end of January. The baby boy has some kind of congenital disorder called C-PAM and has a small mass in his chest near the heart and left lung. The mass is shrinking but the baby will need surgery some time soon after birth. It’s good that it’s shrinking and not hampering the baby’s growth. Still that’s a concerning situation until he’s here and gets it fixed. There’s always something going on with a big family.

I still don’t have the presents I’ve bought sorted and bagged. I need to do that. I also need to do an hour or more of school work tonight for Friday and over the break.

2:15pm I’m done with all my classes. I feel wrung out now like a used dish rag.

Tuesday, December 15

Navigating a turbulent world

8:15 pm
I’m lying on the couch in my pajamas. It’s been a pretty good day. I am sincerely grateful for my blessings. There are issues going on with family. I am trying to stay out of things and not worry. I’m trying to trust the universe to take care of things. I have to have faith. I am not the fixer for the world. Things will go as they’re supposed to go. I will take care of my own business. I have to trust. 

Monday, December 14

Electors’ voting day

I’ve been up for over an hour. It’s 6:46 now. In a few minutes I have to take Bitzi out for a walk so I can get ready to sign on the Zoom and start teaching. I have fourth graders this morning and ( I think) first graders after the brief break- fast and furious. I don’t like the limited hours of daylight in the winter but it is what it another week the days will start getting a little longer so there’s that hope.

The electors cast their votes today. I hope and pray it goes smoothly and there’s no bullshit or violence. There’s no telling what shit the predator in chief and his cult of lunatics will try to pull off.

Yesterday I got all my Christmas cards made out and mailed. I got my mugs decorated and now the have to sit for a few days to allow the ink to soak in before I bake them to further seal the designs. They’re cute- just a little homemade something. I’m trying not to make sweets because I know I’ll eat them.

Saturday, December 12

Rain on the roof

It’s dark, chilly and rainy this morning. I’ve been awake for a while because Mike got up with his shoulder pain again and was sitting in the living room with the heating pad on it for a while so I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Then he came back in to bed but I was awake so just got up. It’s noticeably chillier today and I can hear the splatter of the rain against the window and roof. I usually am out walking Bitzi by this time but she’s sleeping now so I’ll wait in hopes of the rain letting up. 
We’re going to St.Charles to see Annette later. I have things to get at the store and things to do at home. Mike has work to do first too.

9:33 I took Bitzi for a short walk with the umbrella. It’s icy rain and wind out there. Winter is here.
I cleaned up some stuff. I’m starving. No pain, no gain. At least my gut never feels bloated any more, so that’s a plus.

Monday, December 7

Getting pumped up

6:24. I’ve been up an hour. I’m subbing for an elementary general music teacher until Jan.15 when she returns from maternity leave. This morning I have five fourth grade Zoom classes back-to-back. This afternoon I have five kindergarten classes. It’s fast and furious for 30- minute classes. When we return from winter break in January the kids are set to return to school my last week working.

I’m just drinking coffee now trying to mentally prepare for the day... Mike is still sleeping. I have to take Bitzi out for a little walk before I get ready to start work online. I’m just going to do my best, try to shine and enjoy the kids as much as I can. On the 19th I’m driving to Canton & Lewistown to deliver Christmas presents. That’s not so far away. I’ll live on that until I go.

Sunday, December 6

Trudging through the pandemic

7:29am Sunday morning

I just turned the heat up. My fingers are cold. Mike is comatose on the couch with the TV news chattering away. I’m drinking my coffee ( black with MCT oil) and getting geared up to go walk. I think Bitzi is still sleeping in her fabric igloo in her little kitchen pen. I fed and watered her but she didn’t come out of her igloo. We walked three miles yesterday- quite a lot for her tiny puppy legs. I’m wanting another shihtzu male puppy but haven’t told Mike yet. He grouches over everything. We have room for another one. 

We’re going over to see Annette ( Mike’s mom) in St.Charles later this morning around ten when she’s done watching her mass service on TV. I’m leaving my mask on while we’re in her house because who knows which relatives she’s been around and I could have it and not know. I’m taking no chances. 

I just ordered some gifts through Amazon to be delivered to my sister Vicki ( who is mentally and physically handicapped and 70 and lives in a group handicapped home with three other women in Peoria) because I don’t anticipate being able to see her soon. The company is very careful with the residents.


I’m sitting here on the couch by Mike watching The Bears game. I could care less. I just did some practice lessons to get more comfortable with the technology on my laptop. I’ll try again later. Fairly awkward switching between videos and sharing the Zoom screen. My poor vision doesn’t help.

We went to Mike’s mom’s house. She is obviously depressed again. She refuses to take her prescribed antidepressants. It is what it is.

Friday, December 4

Five ways to cope with life

I’m sixty one and retired. For some odd reason I thought that substitute teaching might be a fun, easy thing to keep me busy, connected and earn some extra money ( we’re remodeling our house and things add up...) so I accepted a long term elementary music sub job in a new neighboring school district. I should have listened to my intuition when I was filling out the application-they asked a crazy amount of information, background, references, a Zoom interview with five administrators....Then I had to undergo an exceptionally thorough health exam, drug screening, fingerprinting and criminal background check. At this point I just want to flipping’ forget about it but figured I’d come that far but then it was the week of Thanksgiving and everything was shit down and I didn’t hear a peep from their HR. Then on Monday Nov.30 at 7am I got a call that all my forms had cleared and they wanted me to start right away. After that it was a crazy whirlwind getting me started. They use a completely different e-learning platform than I was used to. Their Zoom version is different and much more restrictive. Because I’m a sub I do not have access to a lot of the online staff resources. I was panicking very badly Tuesday morning not being able to access my classes until I had a Zoom meeting with a wonderful, patient tech who walked me through stuff to get me up and running. I am not all the caught up with all the latest music education technology and I am not going to attempt to learn a bunch of new programs badly to sub for a couple weeks. I am going to do my best. I actually had fun and enjoyed the five fourth grade classes I had yesterday. I was told that Fridays are asynchronous so I assumed I wouldn’t have classes. This district is also on a different kind of rotating alphabetical schedule I am not accustomed to so I didn’t even really know as this first Friday I’m doing counts toward that schedule (after calling the building secretary and being on hold for ten minutes while she found out what day it was) I learned that Fridays do not count and “specials teachers” do not have students on Fridays we just load stuff online for them to do (which I did manage to do last night.) I am more of a MAC person and not very fluent or comfortable using PCs but now I’m forced to use the building loaner PC which is an older thinkpad with a weird trackpad and clickers that is awkward to use. I had to screw around with it quite a while to adjust the display settings for my low vision. All of this causes me stress and anxiety. There’s so just so many stressful things happening in life now anyway and I have to just mentally slap myself and fix it and snap the hell out of it when I start feeling anxiety, my chest squeezing and my heart starting to feel a bit racy. Below are some things I’ve used successful to settle myself down.

  1. Take a slow deep breath. Oxygen always helps to calm me down. Go for a long walk and concentrate on your breath. Slow inhales, slow exhales are how you calm it down. Sometimes I also do alternate nostril breathing to calm down and sometimes to help me get to sleep at night.
  2. Try to think of the good parts of whatever is bothering you or making you verklempt. There are almost always SOME good parts of anything. Try to focus and lean on those for a while and less on the negative parts. When I was critically ill with my brain and eye cancer I tried to find good things to ponder on every day- whether it was the chocolate milk shakes at Rush hospital in Chicago or my fuzzy stuffed pig chemo buddy.
  3. Journal, blog or talk to a close friend or family member about whatever it is that’s causing your worry. Somehow getting it out, writing it, speaking it, processing it makes everything more manageable and gives the boogie man less power. Get it out and that will help.
  4. Look at the problem or issue from different angles. Try going at it from a different way. Explore all options. Sometimes things look completely different from another side. Take a break and come back at it later. Things may be much clearer later. 
  5. Ask for help from somebody who is informed and experienced with whatever the issue it is. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Everybody needs help at one time or another. Be open to advice. You can’t slay all the dragons in the world yourself. Send up a flag and ask for help when you need it.

Now it’s late morning and I’ve resolved to do some planning over the weekend to feel more prepared and confident in my sub job. I have resolved to stick it out until Jan. 15 when the teacher returns from maternity leave. When I agreed to do this job I was told I could work remotely from home. I went into the school two days last week and got my technology bugaboos worked and felt confident enough to work from home on Thursday but Wednesday evening, to cover me bases, I emailed the elementary school assistant principal that I would be working from home on Thursday just to let them know. Thursday morning then I had 5 Zoom classes all in a row and when I got a break from those and finally checked my email I read what seemed to me to be a bitchy snotty note from the principal saying that he had to have a form from their district signed from me to work at home and I should work from school until I’m confident with the technology and the music curriculum. NO ONE EVER told me there was some kind of contract I needed signed NOR did anyone mention I needed to follow their music curriculum specifically note have I been given it. I was pretty upset and sent the principal back a very polite short note saying I was told when I hired that I would be working remotely and no one ever mentioned a form nor any of the other things and he should find someone else to do the sub job.  He then sent me a note back later apologizing for not being clear. I was ready to quit. I still want to but I’m going to try my best to finish and go until Jan.15 but then I will never work for this particular district again. I get plenty of offers from my old district and my current town. I dont need the BS from this third school district. So that’s that!  PHEW!

I’m listening to Beethoven piano sonata #14.

The spare bedroom has now become my new office. I’m going to rearrange it. The laptop table I had been using doesn’t feel as stable and secure as this other table so now I’m just going to use it for the overflow of stuff.


Monday, November 30

Keeping the ties connected

I’m thinking about the way the world is now and how people come and go from your life. When you get close to someone you form a bound or ties with them. Sometimes those ties are sturdy and tight. Sometimes those ties are just flimsy threads like spider webs that fall apart at the slightest breeze or incident. Sometimes the ties you thought were the strongest and would forever hold fast don't. They either loosen on their own or something breaks them. Sometimes you want and need to tend and tighten the knots but sometimes you undo them on your own. Right now I can feel so many ties on my heart, many of them pulling and slipping away. Sometimes you simply can’t fix them. Sometimes you just have to let things be and give it to the universe to decide. 

It’s gloomy and overcast outside. I think it might snow today. I have a bunch of things to do but don’t feel like doing anything. I may go do a little shopping. A walk will help. Walks always help. Mike is off work again today because he gets two days off for working Thanksgiving. I’m sitting here drinking coffee in the front sitting room facing the window typing on my IPad with one finger, my soft throw blanket on my lap ,still in my soft pajamas and slippers. Mike just got up and turned the living room TV news on in the adjoining room. He doesn’t understand my quiet introvert ways. He’s not that kind of overly-sensitive person -a good thing for the most part. He’s pretty straight forward, even keeled and direct. He’s not overly sensitive and emotional like me. He doesn’t overthink and agonize things. It is what it is with him.

9:04am Bitzi and I just went for a .7 mile walk. It’s just beginning to dust snow out.Mike stayed home. He did actually go for part of a walk with me yesterday. 

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