Day 1 – Alarms

As I walked in the door after work today, an alarm on my phone started going off. “What in the world is that for?” I wondered to myself, juggling my phone, computer, purse, lesson plan notebook, and empty cup from this morning’s Diet Coke. After dropping everything on the kitchen table, I finally looked at my phone to see what I was forgetting: SOL. Aha! Slice of Life, Day 1. I know this morning I would not have time during the day to blog, so I set the alarm to remind myself to bare my soul every day! 😉 So here I stand, at my kitchen island typing away, while ground beef browns on the stove for tonight’s dinner.

Does anyone else set alarms to remind them to do things throughout the day? Maybe it’s (ahem) my age – (cough) – over 50, that necessitates my obsessive alarm setting. Am I stretched too thin? Am I stressed out? Answers: I don’t think so, and definitely! Most teachers are stressed, that is for sure!

The alarms though, definitely help me. I currently have 37 alarms in my phone, starting at 4:40 a.m., and the last at 8:30 p.m. Of course they are not all set at the moment, but I leave them in there because I use them to remind me to do many things over and over. 6:00 a.m.: certify 8th grader, 6:15 a.m.: grab computer, Mondays at 3:10 p.m.: son’s saxophone lesson, call chiropractor, plug in lunch, read aloud, the list goes on and on. If I did not set them, I know I would forget to do something. Even with the alarms set, I still have forgotten things! One morning not too long ago, I forgot my computer at home. It’s a little difficult to teach these days without it! Luckily, the LRC Director had a spare I could use. But that little misstep made me take the extra step of putting my computer by the door as soon as that 6:15 a.m. alarm goes off! So… I will continue my habit… and count the days until I can erase many of them for two and a half glorious months of summer!

Day 31 – Thank You

This was my second year doing the SOL Challenge. Both this year and last, there were days when I struggled to write, as I’m sure we all did. As this Challenge draws to a close, I want to thank you all. Thank you for opening up your minds, your hearts, your feelings, and your homes. I learned things about a few colleagues, and I learned about people in faraway places. Thank you for the inspiration for my own slices. Most of all, thank you for being a place where I felt safe during a month that feels anything but safe and secure. Stay well, everyone!

Day 30 – Currently…

LOVE this format of writing! I have seen a couple other posts like it, I am not stealing, I am…. emulating!

Thinking – about all the projects I could get done. Closets, floors, garage.

Wondering – how my students are doing, if they are just on screens all day.

Loving – being able to sleep past 4:30 a.m.

Watching – movies, Tiger King, want to start Little Fires Everywhere.

Hoping – we are actually able to return to “normal” after April 30.

Worrying – about my own family catching the virus (of course!), but also about those on the front lines of this pandemic.

Wanting – to go sit on a beach somewhere.

ReadingEndangered by C.J. Box.

Planning – a trip to Northern Wisconsin this summer with great friends.

Procrastinating – all the cleaning. I really dislike cleaning.

Thankful – for fast internet, stacks of books to read, a stocked freezer and fridge, and a healthy family.

Day 29 – Cooking

I wish I enjoyed cooking. This would be the perfect time to cook up a storm! Baking, prepping, tasting? Nah. It’s a struggle for me to come up with ideas for dinner every night. Now, with the pandemic, I actually have to come up with something for dinner EVERY NIGHT! Pre-pandemic, I planned and prepared 4-5 meals per week. The other days, hubby grills, we eat leftovers, or perhaps go out to eat or order pizza.

Mid-pandemic, I am at a loss. I went to the grocery store today without planning what we would have for meals each day. I usually sit down and plan out each evening’s meal, trying to use what we have in the house already. I didn’t do that. So I stood there, trying to figure out what to get. It’s a good thing I wasn’t hungry at the time! Plus, I really wanted to get out of there quickly! Safer at home!

So, I have some ideas for this week… we will order from a local restaurant tonight. Each delivery comes with a song! The delivery driver is bringing a gentleman along who will play guitar and serenade you from the sidewalk. I think I’m looking forward to that more than the food! Pork chops, chicken, pasta. Our staples. It will work.

Am I cooking more? Definitely. Am I enjoying it? Not really. I might enlist some help and make some chocolate chip cookies today, though. Need to get the boy off the Xbox! Stay safe everyone!

Day 28 – It’s getting bad…

I did not sleep well last night. I “went upstairs to read” (code for watch Friends) when hubby decided to play Xbox last evening. Not an uncommon thing around here, no biggie. I did read a chapter, but then turned on the news – perhaps a mistake. We have been so inundated with information the past couple of weeks, it really is quite overwhelming. Watched Jimmy Fallon and his band sing, then fell asleep.

I remember waking up several times. I remember tossing and turning to get comfortable. I remember part of a dream. It was apparently about COVID-19. Specifically, about how ibuprofen affects the virus. “DON’T TAKE IBUPROFEN!” I remember someone saying in my dream. I’ve been hearing how ibuprofen jump starts the virus, and actually makes it worse for the patient. I guess I have been worried about catching the virus (aren’t we all), and thinking that I have to remember NOT to take ibuprofen. Hence the dream.

So… after grocery shopping for my family and my parents today, I made one more stop. Walgreen’s. What did I buy? A magazine, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (my fave!), and……….Tylenol. Any guesses as to which shelf was completely stocked? Yup, you guessed it! Ibuprofen!

Day 27 – Busy

When we first were informed we were going to be off school for a period of time, I thought, “I’ll get all these projects done!” I even wrote about my list early on in the SOL Challenge. Clean out closets, donate toys, dig out flower pots…the list goes on. How much have I gotten done? One task. Just one. My son and I went through his closet, finding things he’s outgrown, and made a pile to take to our local thrift shop. Those clothes? Still on his bedroom floor. Those other projects? Still not done.

Looking back on the last two weeks, I am surprised at how busy I’ve been with distance learning. My district supplied learning packets for students, the first of which students took home the week before school closed down. The next packets are available for download or pick up at the school. Other than answering questions from parents via email, we haven’t had to really DO anything else. I have sent video greetings each morning via Class Dojo, and I am also recording myself doing a read aloud on Dojo as well. Not all students have the technology access though, so I know not everyone is seeing these posts. So where is all my time going??!

Day 26 – What’s Your Move?

I was listening to a local Chicago radio station this morning as I brewed my tea and let out the dog. They were asking listeners to call in and answer the question, “Where’s the first place you will go when the stay at home order is lifted?” It got me thinking – where will we go? What will we do? Restaurant? Movies? Mall? (no mall!) My parents’ house? Honestly, I don’t know! Most likely a friend’s house or a local restaurant (with friends). What about you?

Day 24 – Zoom

Well, today I did it! I had my first Zoom meeting with my students. I had a “practice” session with two other teachers last week, and my teaching partner did one yesterday. I felt fairly comfortable with it.

I started the meeting right on time, and immediately, I had three students smiling back at me! Many hellos were said, everyone was good, they said. Then a few more students popped up. Then a few more. Each time a new student joined the room, “Sam” announced their entrance. Loudly. They were all so excited. In all, I had twelve students join the meeting, even if it was only for a short amount of time. It was loud. It was sort of chaotic. They were all trying to talk over each other, they were showing off their pets. Dogs, cats, bunnies, baby brothers!

Then the video feed got sketchy. My audio kept cutting out. I tried ending the meeting and starting a new one. Still the same issues. So… we ended the meeting quicker than I would have wanted. I sent a quick email to students and parents apologizing for the problems and promised we would try again later in the week. Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, I think it was a success. The kids smiled, laughed, and got to chat a bit. And I ended the meeting with a smile on my face.

Day 23 – Eat All The Food

Too much food! I was (again!) struggling with what to write about today, when I went to the fridge for a Bubbl’r (yum!) to pep me up a bit. As I moved last night’s leftovers aside to grab my drink, I saw the almost empty bag of peanut butter cups from Aldi. Suddenly, I had my Slice!

As I opened the zip-top bag to grab 3 small peanut butter cups, my conscience spoke to me, “You JUST ate half a bowl of microwave popcorn, you don’t need anything else to eat right now!” “Oh, shush! I want something sweet!” Yes, I ate those 3 peanut butter cups…

It seems as though all I have done over the last week or so is eat. Eat all the things. Even if I know I won’t feel well afterward. I am gluten and dairy free by choice. I have an autoimmune disorder, and staying away from those things has been quite helpful for my overall well-being. Unfortunately, I have not been as “good” as I normally am, as if I were at school. Normally for me, breakfast consists of a protein shake + a hard-boiled egg. Lunch and snacks at school are “healthy”. I fix dinner for the family, and eat what I can.

Being at home all day, with ALL the snacks in the pantry, has been a challenge. Consequently, eating all the wrong things has caused my Hashimoto’s to flare up, causing joint inflammation. After sitting at the computer or on the couch for any extended period of time causes me to hobble across the room as if I were 90 years old. Hubby keeps asking me if I’m okay. Yeah, I’m okay.

I know I can control this. Here’s how I will do it: tomorrow, I will act as though I am going to school. I will fix my protein shake and have my egg. I will set out my healthy snack and “prepare” my lunch. Tomorrow, I will go out for a walk. Movement should help. Hopefully, this will help get me back on track! Otherwise, I will need a new, larger-sized wardrobe when (if) we go back!