SOL Day 23- Oddly Silent

slice-of-life_individual Today I had the chance to go to my classroom and get any materials  might need to deliver online instruction.  I didn’t know what to grab….so I got brought home a lot of books.  While I was there my room was so oddly silent (even though I was with my student teacher and grade level partners and we had to talk loudly because we were all 6 feet apart).

 

No backpacks spilling out of cubbies

No paper footballs flying through the air

No chapter books clutched in tiny hands

No signs of life seen anywhere.

The classroom oddly silent

No pencils scribbling ‘cross the page

No giggling, noisy chatter

No high fives or hugs in this quarantine age

We’re lucky to be healthy

To have homes; to be okay.

But that doesn’t mean I miss them less

I miss them more each passing day.

I long to read, to play, to write

To gather in one place.

I even long to yell “Stop talking!”

If it means I’d see each face.

We’ll meet online in Flips and Zooms

We’ll do our distance learning

But I await the day we can go back

For our normal routine I’m yearning.
classroom

SOL Day 22- March of the Penguins

slice-of-life_individualThe increased amount of time at home has also increased my use of social media.  That’s not necessarily the healthiest choice, so I’m trying to keep it under control.  But one amazing thing that’s come from my hours of screen time….the discovery of my new best friend, Wellington.

If you are not following the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, you need to be.  They are shut down, because who isn’t at this point, and they’re letting the penguins and other animals at the aquarium out to play.  And videotaping it.  And I am here for it!

They are @Shedd_Aquarium on Twitter and just search Shedd Aquarium on Facebook.  The website is sheddaquarium.org

First they posted a video of two penguin mates- Annie and Edward- just wandering through the aquarium on a casual date night.  Then they showed us Wellington.  I feel like Wellington is a real-life Captain Cook from Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  He’s looking at the tanks filled with beautiful fish and all he sees is a delicious dinner.  He flaps and squawks and looks at the aquarium staff like he can’t quite believe that they aren’t letting him have at that tank.  He apparently is 32 years old and has lived double the life expectancy of a Rockhopper penguin. So he’s a penguin rockstar.

This is not Wellington, just a cute Rockhopper penguin so you can imagine someone like this guy strolling around, taking in the scenery.

Image result for rockhopper penguin

I didn’t know that videos of penguins touring the aquarium was something I needed in my life, but I can tell you that it’s brought so much joy to these monotonous, uncertain days. Do yourself a favor and check out the Shedd Aquarium videos.

 

*And since I live nowhere near Chicago, I do believe that as soon as I’m allowed out of my house again, I’m taking a field trip to see my penguin pals!

SOL Day 21- World Poetry Day

slice-of-life_individualIt’s World Poetry Day, so today’s slice is in the form of a poem.  All week I’ve been taking full advantage of authors who are so generously giving their time through videos, webinars, and Facebook Live sessions.  This poem was inspired by Ralph Fletcher’s “Writing with Ralph” which he hosted via Facebook on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Sometimes I remember the good old days

when there were only a few channels and no Internet

So no constant barrage of scary news coverage to make us panic

We played outside all day long, running from house to house

All over the neighborhood.

The streetlights glowing to life our only timepiece.

Not worried about dirt-streaked faces and skinned knees….definitely not concerned about washing the hands that dug up worms and braided strands of grass.

We weren’t practicing social distance

We were daring Red Rover to send someone else over.

We were running relay races, not running to be the first one to get all the toilet paper in the store.

We were too busy to be afraid

we were just playing

building forts

climbing trees

riding bikes

We had nothing to fear because life was good. We were good.

I still can’t imagine anything better than that.

SOL Day 20- The Power of Chalk

slice-of-life_individualI usually slice in the morning.  I usually have an idea.  Today I didn’t want to get out of bed or move or do anything except cry and eat flavor-blasted goldfish crackers. It was raining outside and inside.

My mood picked up a little bit when I watched videos that my students posted on Flipgrid.  Man do I miss those little buggers.

The sun finally game out and I dragged myself up and forced myself to talk a walk.  It’s 75 degrees out right now.  I pulled up a podcast and started walking.  This is what I saw.

img_4107

I kept walking.  More pictures.

The kids in my neighborhood had chalked the sidewalks to brighten up everyone’s day.

img_4109

That was definitely the rainbow I needed to cheer up my rainy day.

SOL Day 19- Guest Post from the Dog

slice-of-life_individualToday’s slice is brought to by my dog, Murphy.  He is not sure what’s up with this abundance of “humans being home” that’s happening, but he’s definitely here for it.  One positive is that he is getting a lot more frequent and longer walks as a result of this.  He’s quite a poet, and this is a variation of a poem he wrote once before.

Here is Murphy’s guest post:

WALK!

I know it is time to go

When the human puts down the mug

that holds the stuff that makes her eyes stay open in the morning

When she’s done typing on that rectangle and watching the news and heaving a heavy sigh and shaking her head and wiping a tear.

Then it is my time!  To cheer her up and to get all the attention!

I run to the woods to sniff and snort and snarffle.

Reading the newspaper of smells written on each leave and tree and telephone pole.

The news is good- lots of dogs have stopped by these very leaves.  With their humans who  are also home all the time.

None of know why the humans don’t go to work anymore, but we think it is because we are being such good boys and girls.

I just still don’t understand why though…

The human insists on picking up the calling card I leave

After I spent so much time carefully selecting just the right spot to leave it.

5285916d-fb2e-441b-b84c-24a837f4b265

SOL Day 18- Rainbow Walks

slice-of-life_individualOne thing that I do appreciate about the time off is that I can take multiple walks throughout the day.  My dog appreciates this as well.  I used to do a poetry activity with my students where we’d take a rainbow walk around the school campus.

We’d look for something that was every color of the rainbow- flowers, leaves, birds, etc.- and take a picture with the school iPads.  In the old days before we had iPads, we sketched what we saw on paper.  Then we’d write a color poem inspired by what we saw.  The mentor texts we used were Color Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen and If You Want to Find Golden by Eileen Spinelli.

Yesterday I decided to take a rainbow walk around my neighborhood.  I found so many things.  This is that transitional period when winter and spring are arm wrestling and spring is winning.

img_4077

On my walk I saw red berries, orange daffodils, yellow forsythia, green grasses, blue hyacinth, and purple crocuses.  It was surprisingly easy.  I sent this activity to my students via Seesaw and encouraged them to take a rainbow walk around their neighborhoods.  I invite you to do the same.

It’s encouraging to find beauty in the midst of horror and chaos.

SOL Day 17- Not Normal….Yet.

slice-of-life_individualI was finally able to work out everything between my doctor, CVS, and the insurance company and get my prescription filled today.   I’m incredibly lucky that this issue was resolved in under a week, I know many people might be facing similar problems without such a quick fix.

As I pulled up to the drive-through window, I put on plastic gloves so I would avoid contact with the pharmacist.  She was also wearing gloves.  The clipboard and pen used to sign for the prescription were covered in plastic.  The entire transaction was completed without any human contact.

I appreciate the precautions we both took.  But I couldn’t help but wonder how long this will continue.  At some point will this become habit- wearing plastic gloves to avoid touching?  Will this be so normal that I won’t even think twice about it?  These are such uncertain times we are living in…and the uncertainty of “normal” is most troubling of all.

img_4061

SOL Day 16- Art Imitating Life

slice-of-life_individualYesterday I opened a bag of pens to write in my notebook.  I’m participating in #100DaysofNotebooking with Michelle Haseltine (MichelleHaseltine.com).  If you regularly use a notebook, you are probably particular about your pens. I know I am!  I had a color scheme in mind for my page and everything.

As I selected a pen I noticed that there was a lot of orange ink on the barrel. Which was odd because it wasn’t an orange pen.  Then I pulled out another pen and saw the same thing.  I peaked in the bag and it appeared that an orange pen was leaking ink and infecting the rest of the pens in the bag. The problem was that there was more than one orange pen in the bag.  I didn’t know which one was leaking.

In an extreme case of life imitating art, I had to enforce social distancing with the orange pens so I could identify patient zero before any more pens were infected.

img_4006

 

Fortunately, after a modest quarantine I was able to determine which pen was causing the leak and stop the spread.  I cleaned all of the impacted pens with a paper towel (because Clorox wipes are a precious commodity right now) and I think we are okay.

While I do not want to make light of a serious situation, I couldn’t help but find a little humor in this case of art imitating life.  Humor is something we need to help us get through this.

SOL Day 15- Mornings in Maine

slice-of-life_individualSo I still don’t have my meds and in attempt to keep myself calm I’m going to slice about something that for sure lowers my blood pressure.

My father was from Boston.  He had the thickest New England accent which we swear got more pronounced with each brain surgery he endured.  We spent lots of summers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire (where my grandmother lived) growing up.

When my father passed in 2016 we were lost.  My mom wanted to take a vacation and get away for a bit.  We naturally wanted to head to New England to feel close to my dad but we weren’t ready to be inundated with memories yet.  So we decided to go to Maine.

It was still New England. We’d still hear the drawl we love.  We’d make new memories while honoring old ones.  So that’s what we did.  And that’s become a new tradition that we love.

Our favorite spot is Boothbay Harbor.  There are gorgeous views, cute little stores and restaurants, and lots of lighthouses (I have a weird obsession with lighthouses…will likely slice about that later).

We take the dog with us, because Maine is by and large a dog-friendly state.  He loves it.  He wishes we lived on the beach.  I wish we could afford to live on the beach.  We love to spend mornings at this tiny little beach by the Hendrick’s Head lighthouse.  At 6:30am it is totally deserted and we have the whole place to ourselves.  Murphy has the entire beach to run and sniff and splash. I have the entire beach to photograph.

Mornings in Maine are a peaceful time, a reflective time, and a time that I know my dad is somewhere looking down on the same beauty that I am.

SOL Day 14: An Alternative Medicine?

slice-of-life_individualIndependent of this bad 90s action film we find ourselves living in right now, I’m on medication for anxiety and depression.  I have been on this medicine for years.  Because life. Because my serotonin doesn’t like to regulate itself.

In an ironic “it’s the end of the world as we know it” kind of way, I needed to refill my prescription. Not just because it was recommended by the news media, but because the bottle is low.  Periodically my doctor wants me to come in for a wellness check before she will authorize the refill.  I called to see if the practice would waive this requirement as I don’t really want to go to the doctor’s office as a physically healthy person right now.  Did I mention the meds are for anxiety?

The office agreed to call in a 30 day refill and we made an appointment for April, hoping that the planet will not be on lock-down anymore by then.

Later, I got a text from CVS:  “we are contacting your doctor for an alternative to [the medicine]”  Um, what? What does that mean?  Does that mean you are out of my medication and you’re looking for something similar?  That seems irresponsible.  The reason there are different anti-anxiety and anti-depressants are because people react differently to them.  Several friends have tried what I take and didn’t like the way it made them feel.  You can’t just look for an alternative!

Of course calling CVS and trying to find a live human to talk to involves a labyrinth of menus.  All I could get out of the robot voice was that they  were “still working” on filling the prescription and would text when it was ready.  I still haven’t gotten a text.

So today’s mission, in addition to planning for two weeks of online learning for second graders, is to go to CVS and find out where my pills are.  This is NOT a time when you want your anxiety running wild.