Day 21 – Musical thoughts

We had some friends over for dinner Friday night. Michele & Jerry are driving to Colorado for spring break with their two kids, ages 16 & 14. We all enjoy music, so we were trying to decide what to listen to as we were prepping dinner and enjoying appetizers. Jerry suggested some John Denver, since they were headed to Colorado – “Rocky Mountain High” was the first request.

Hearing that song and several other John Denver songs immediately brought me back to my childhood. I was flooded with memories of my mom, who passed away in December. I can vividly remember sitting in the living room while Mom played John Denver songs on the guitar.

It’s amazing how hearing certain songs can immediately transport you back in time. The memories, good and heartbreaking at times, come rushing in like a flood.

“Forever Young” by Rod Stewart – reminds me of driving home from Wisconsin after a middle of the night phone call informing us that my sister had been in a car accident, and her boyfriend had been killed.

“Rio” by Duran Duran – reminds me of junior year in high school when my parents wouldn’t let me go to the Duran Duran concert.

Anything off the “Cuts Like a Knife” cassette, by Bryan Adams – brings me back to a summer of great friends and showing horses all over the Midwest.

“Everybody, Everybody” by Black Box – a summer spent in the dorms at NIU my senior year in college.

“Finally” by CeCe Peniston – my first apartment and my first teaching job in Southern Illinois.

These days, I listen to country music 95% of the time. I am grateful I was able to convert my husband to country music. Music is on constantly at our house. Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion, Brothers Osbourne, Eric Church. Many country songs hold memories for me, as well. Even as I type this slice, Keith Urban is crooning about finding “Somebody Like You”. What songs bring back memories for you?

Day 20 – I don’t get it

Saturday morning. I am sitting at the dining room table working my side hustle. My 14-year-old comes down with the crazy dog, lets him out, feeds him, complains about the chores list I gave him, and gets himself some breakfast. He sits down in the family room and turns on the TV. What is he watching? YouTube videos of other people playing video games. I know this is a popular thing with “the kids these days”, but I seriously don’t get it. I think he is watching grown adults playing Sea of Thieves. Why? Why does he enjoy this? I decided to ask him just now. He smiled & chuckled. “Does watching these videos help you play the game better?” “Sometimes,” he replies. “It’s entertaining to watch and sometimes I get tips.” Okay, son. Technically, it’s spring break for him, so I’m in a “Whatever” kind of mood. He’s not getting into trouble, so no biggie, right? Right. “Hey Matt?” I call. “Yes, Mom?” “Go do your chores.” “Got it!” And, he’s off to clean his bathroom, change the sheets on his bed, and clean up after two big dogs. At least he’s off the YouTube. For a little while, anyway!

Day 19 – Weekend

Sprint out, sunglasses on, open sunroof, music turned up

Driving, singing along, smiling

Planning, cleaning, prepping, drinking

Welcoming, smiling, laughing, talking

Eating, drinking, laughing




Relaxing, reading



Driving, riding, smiling


Laundering, prepping, planning

Eating, contemplating



…and it’s Monday again.

Day 18 – Impatient

Why is it that when I’m running into the grocery store for one or two things, everybody seems to be moving in slow motion? Add to that the personal shoppers with their big carts in the middle of the aisle? I just need tea and milk! Please let me through! Murphy’s Law, I suppose!

That is all.

Day 17 – Roller coaster

What a roller coaster of a day. Stayed in bed far longer than I should have. My 14-year-old son did the same. I am a bit slower to get out of bed on Wednesdays, since we don’t have students in the building. Today though, not only was it Wednesday, but I was dreading going in. A decision had not been made on whether or not my class of twenty-seven third graders would be split in half when we return to full face-to-face learning after spring break. I was pretty stressed out.

My son got up late, I told him I would drive him to school. Then the dog had an accident on the stairs. Things were just not going well.

When I got to school, I saw the principal, but he had no new information. My morning was filled with meetings. Open Meet with students who need help (no one showed), Instructional Coach, Google Meet with students for SEL, PLC, canceled meeting with second instructional coach.

As I was leaving my PLC, the principal finally gave me the news I had been hoping for: my class (and the fourth grade class) would be splitting! I actually shed tears of relief and happiness. This news made the day a WHOLE lot better! Of course, this made the rest of the day much busier, but in a different way!

After work, I had an excellent ride on the little horse I am working with, and chatted with my trainer about taking her on a “field trip” to a horse show in late April. I got home to a crock-pot filled with delicious corned beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Cooked the cabbage, and enjoyed an excellent meal. What started out as a bummer of a day, definitely ended on a good note!

Day 16 – On Duty

As I sit here once again, struggling to write my slice, I mention to my husband that I think maybe the dog needs to go out. We have two dogs, and the dog in question has only been with us since December. He is not totally house trained yet, so I am trying to keep a close eye on him to avoid the accidents. Normally, my son is in charge of taking him out, but he’s at baseball practice.

“I think Cody needs to go out.” I am hoping hubby will take him out. Cody is sitting at the back sliding door. Hubby says, “He really likes to just sit and look outside. It’s like he’s on guard duty. He just looks back and forth, back and forth.” I look over and there he is, behind the blinds, checking out the yard. I wonder what he’s thinking?

Day 15 – Venting

I am venting. If you don’t want to read, I am not offended.

I teach third grade hybrid. Group A, two days, Group B, two days, no students on Wednesday for meetings and planning. I have 12 students in each group. They are not balanced very well, behaviorally. I definitely enjoy my B days more than my A days.

We go back to full face to face, 5 days a week on April 7. I will have 27 students. Three are coming back from remote learning. I have been told I will be teaching in the LRC so students can be at least three feet apart. “According to the architects,” we can fit 17 or 18 students in a regular classroom while social distancing. I now have 27 students. Now, logic would say, “split the class in half”. Bring in another teacher. I believe that’s what was supposed to happen. Apparently it is not going to happen. For me anyway.

The fourth grade hybrid teacher will also have 27 students. She was told by the principal today that they will probably split her class in half. Bring in another teacher (I know you are probably reading this, T., and I know you know none of this is your fault).

In a normal year, third grade would split into two classes when enrollment reaches 29 students. Fourth grade would split when enrollment reaches 31 students. But fourth grade gets to split. “Because they are bigger kids. They wouldn’t all fit in the LRC.” I do not agree with this logic.

I don’t think there is anything I can do to change any of this. And it is freaking me out.

Sorry… venting

Day 14 – Adjusting

I have a habit. A McDonald’s Diet Coke in the morning habit. I have tried to quit… and actually have been successful, but then went back to it. It’s JUST. SO. GOOD. Anyway, there’s a McDonalds’ just one minute from my house, which makes it easy to stop every morning on my way to work.

Pre-COVID, as I pulled into the drive-through, I would notice many pick-up trucks in the parking lot, and see many “older” gentlemen sitting inside, drinking coffee and, I assume, solving all the world’s problems. “How cool,” I would think. I love that these men have this ritual.

Then, COVID. For a couple weeks, the McDonald’s was actually closed. I had to get my fix from a can or a two-liter bottle (NOT the same). I wondered what those farmers did, now that they couldn’t meet inside the McDonald’s.

Fast forward a few weeks into COVID, and McDonald’s is open. I go get my long-awaited beverage, and notice several trucks parked in the lot. “Well, that’s weird,” I think. I know the indoor dining is closed and I’m sure those aren’t all employee vehicles, what’s the deal? Then I notice that every other vehicle has backed in to the parking spot instead of pulling in, nose first. Windows are down. Elbows sticking out the windows. Familiar brown and yellow coffee cups clutched in hands. The farmers have adjusted. They are still having their coffee together. They figured out a way to still have those important conversations.

I still stop for my Diet Coke almost every morning, and the men are still showing up, as the dining room still is closed. And I always think, “How cool!”. I find it fascinating how we have all adjusted to a different way of “doing” life.

Day 13 – Wish I had a rewind button…

Day: Thursday afternoon @ dismissal

Scene: Hybrid Group A students lined up to go home – “Johnny” is first in line (so I can keep a close eye on him)

Johnny: Why do we have to come to school and learn this stuff? (not spoken in a cute, innocent way)

Me: Um, so you don’t end up homeless living in a cardboard box! (it had been a rough day!)

Johnny: That would be kinda cool!

Me: Oh, you think living outside in the cold with no food would be cool?! (like I said, rough day with this one!)

Johnny: Yeah!

Me: *eye roll* Have a nice weekend, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Yeah, some days are like that in third grade!

Day 12 – Currently…

Thinking – about weekend plans

Wondering – how crazy will my class be when I have 26?

Loving – the sunshine today

Watching – “Below Deck – Mediterranean”

Hoping – to get a big tax return!

Worrying – my dad is lonely (my mom passed away in December)

Wanting – one million dollars (LOL)

ReadingThe Highway, by C.J. Box

Planning – a trip to Cabo in June

Procrastinating – cleaning out my closet

Thankful – for the health of my family and that my dad got his vaccine