Friday, March 31, 2017

Day 31 SOL #2017 Art Show

For more than a year, I've been a part of a small group of ladies who meet weekly just to paint. While the subjects have varied, the media has not; we use acrylic paints. We follow instructional videos of various artists. Sometimes we need 2 sessions to complete a painting. Other times we complete a painting in one session. Each week we peruse the offerings and make suggestions for the next week's lesson. Sometimes during class we are so entranced by the task at hand that we don't even talk. Other times we chat and have a snack.

I've learned so much through these sessions. I've grown in skills and confidence. I appreciate having others to share the experience. But I didn't really think I would have my art on display. It's happening. Tomorrow. Our local museum has a month long art show scheduled for April. They invited us to bring some of our art for display. I took some paintings by today and am excited to visit and see all our paintings on display. I know it's just a local venue but it is focusing attention on our work. Who knows where this could lead!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 30 SOL #2017 Where I'm From

This format comes from two places today
1. Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon
2. Ms. G's Slice

I'm from the cotton fields of the Missouri Bootheel
From chopping the cotton in the summer
I'm from accidentally cutting down a cotton stalk
When a Hog Nose snake appeared
I'm from greedily drinking from the water jar at the end of the row
Ice water put in a fruit jar and wrapped with newspaper earlier that morning
I'm from a 6 week cotton vacation for picking the cotton with my family
Dragging the canvas sack on my aching shoulder,
The sack gaining weight as I went down the row
I'm from tromping the cotton
Mashing the fluffy, white cotton after we dumped our sacks into the trailer
I'm from using the money made from picking cotton to buy school clothes
With help from Grandma and Grandps stuffing cotton into my sack

I'm from the one room school
Where I began my educational journey
I'm from a pitcher pump for water, a cellar door for sliding
And the outhouse behind the school
I'm from moving school to school to school
From knowing how to work math problems to being placed in the low reading group
I'm from report cards saying, "Patricia must work harder"
From one teacher telling me, "You are as smart as those other girls"
I'm from settling in the Ozark foothills
From not moving any more
I'm from life-long learning, education is important
From elementary education degree to counseling degree, to educational leadership degree
I'm from teaching in the district I graduated
From counseling to being an administrator in that district

I'm from nature walks inhaling the scents
From eyeing nature's bounty
I'm from writing in handmade journals
From a family of 5 kids so I resorted to hiding them under my bed
I'm from fishing with cottonseed cakes
From catching a few catfish for dinner
I'm from red cowgirl boots
From going to the rodeo and cotton carnival
I'm from applying skills and passion to an occupation
From conservation education as a consultant

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 29 SOL # 2017 six word memoir

I've wanted to write a 6 word memoir but it seemed too difficult. I finally tried one today:
 "Retired educator transforming into whimsical life"

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 28 SOL #2017 Math Matches

Do you remember math matches? Every Friday afternoon our 5th grade class would put away our books, pencils and paper and clean off our desks. Our teacher would call up two students to the blackboard. One student was given the opportunity to select which math operation would be used to compete. One boy who was quickest in subtraction always chose that. The teacher would call out the problem. Each student had to remember it until the teacher gave the go ahead. Then both students would turn toward the blackboard and begin furiously writing the problem, then work to solve it. When done the students put the chalk down and turned toward the class. Answers were checked. The student who answered the problem first was the winner and stayed up for the next challenger.

That student selected the operation and the match began again. Some students might have a long run of winning. Sometimes the operation chosen made all the difference in which student won. It was an exciting way to spend a Friday afternoon in 5th Grade.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 27 SOL #2017 Typing Class

Typing class
Freshman year
The Underwood typewriter
Gregg typing book open on the right
Insert two pages of typing paper at once
Save time to access a new page

Use lever to release pages to straighten
Set margins, Clear tabs
Check ribbon
Set to black, not red
So much to remember

Qwerty keyboard
Practice home keys
Asdf for the left hand, jkl; for the right
Pointer fingers reach over, up & down
Ring fingers reach up & down
Middle fingers reach up and down
Thumbs use space bar between words
Pinky uses Shift key for capitals
Use right lever to doub le space

Dual Eraser pencil
Sharpen the eraser end
Use to erase mistakes
Smudge or rub a hole in the paper
Small plastic bristles on one end
Use to wipe away the eraser crumbles
Not successful at this task

Practice at home using what we could afford
Baby Hermes portable
Accuracy stressed initially
Add carbon between pages
Like secretaries use to make copies
Not easy to erase mistakes
Start the process over

Timed trials to increase speed
Learn to use all keys quickly
Practice phrases
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their county
Just not developmentally ready

After 62 years
I remember the emotions
Stressfully inadequate & loathing
I remember the process
Those phrases return automatically
Computers changed most everything
Single space lines
Use printer to copy
Finger pressure not required
Easily edit mistakes
Accuracy & speed achieved

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 26 SOL #2017 Spring has arrived

Sun rays shining
Turtles balancing

Red Wing Blackbirds screeching
Dandelions shooting

Lawn mowers whirring
Leaves sprouting

Young children playing
Flowers blooming

People and dogs walking
Gardeners digging

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 25 SOL #2017 Visit to the AT&T store

On Thursday, my son texted with news of super new internet availability my rural area. I was pretty pumped.

Over the years I've gone from dial-up to wi-fi USB Connect to a newer version to an internet dish. Each has its own problems. Sometimes when I used up all the allowable data before the time period was over, I shut off the gadget. I'd get messages to use wi-fi elsewhere. Remember I live in a rural area. There is no wi-if access within 30 minutes.

I've heard of communities that have vans park in the locale to provide internet access to community members. I've heard of concerns about internet access for 3rd world countries. I've experienced the push by companies to order medicines, update information, or watch a video on line.

Currently I have internet by two providers, just so I can pay bills online, watch painting videos on you tube, or get email on my phone without going over the allowable data.

It's frustrating to have limited access to internet. So today I headed to the AT & T store to speak with a representative. She just happened to be a former student. She was so helpful! She said calling would have been difficult because most representatives would not be aware of the new test area. Two other former students worked there too. They were all smiles! The experience was nothing like waiting on the phone or trying to order online!

The order was placed, I should have the device in 3 weeks. I'm excited.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Day 24 SOL #2017 A girls' night out

When my niece texted me with an invitation for a girls night out to celebrate her sister's birthday, I was all in. It involved a surprise dinner at a Mexican restaurant and personal shopping at Maurice's all arranged by the birthday girl's husband. Lots of young women attended. The conversations were fun, food delicious and shopping was great! Maurice's promo was a 25% discount if you tried on a pair of jeans. After dinner wasn't the perfect time for trying on jeans, but I persevered. The dressing rooms were filled with friends and family. It was really an exciting evening. We got nice cloth bags for our purchases, a 25% coupon for another visit and the birthday girl received an extra discount.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Day 23 SOL #2017 A visit to Kindergarten

After 3 weeks of retirement, I'm still coming to terms. I'm still trying to figure out a schedule. I want to be productive, by accomplishing something each day. Yesterday I had friends over and we painted for a couple of hours. This morning, I finished one painting and completed another. That was after my routine of exercise, take the dog out for a walk, shower, laundry and breakfast. So I texted my sister who teaches kindergarten. She' d asked me to volunteer in her classroom to listen to her students read. I ask if today would be a good day. She readily agreed so I changed clothes and headed to her classroom.

I took a book by Mem Fox to read to the class, then I sat and listened as children read their AR books to me. The children wanted to know if I knew their family and some of their parents, I did remember when I taught at this district. It seems a lifetime ago.

I quickly noted the sight words on the board so I could remind them about that. Some children were already strong readers. Some did not want my help. They all had new AR books and had not spent much time with them. One young boy wanted to take the test right away, I told him he needed to practice reading his book a little more and the person giving the AR tests was gone for the day. A couple students were quick to share their AR stories with me. Some of the AR books were not too interesting. The activity going on with the other students was more interesting to them. I could not help but think,  if the student could focus on the book, the reading skill would come much faster.

I spent one hour and listened to only 6 students read. But that completed her list of students who had read the day before, so I accomplished a great deal. My sister asked me if I would be back next Thursday and I was non committal. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Day 22 SOL # 2017 Dependence on coffee

Gramps added a little shake of salt to his coffee every morning. I didn't ask why. I didn't enjoy coffee back then. My love for coffee began around age 17, after graduation when I started working full time. Everyone working in the office had to take their turn at making the 55 cup pot of coffee. I didn't mind and working with all those coffee drinkers, I soon began drinking my share. 

It was a few years later that I began the daily habit of carrying a thermos full of homemade coffee. By then I was taking college classes to be a teacher and driving the 100 mile daily commute. This was long before any McDonalds coffee was available. 

Once I started teaching, wearing dress clothes, I noticed that coffee made me a slob. It seemed I would have a coffee stain nearly every day. I tried using the strong dishwashing liquid the cooks had in the kitchen to take out the stains. Nothing worked, only made the stain larger. Yet, I could not give up the coffee.

Every morning a few of us early arriving teachers would visit with the cooks in the kitchen and drink their coffee. The cooks would scurry around us preparing the noon meal. This was before breakfast was served at school. If the dessert was made, we might enjoy a bite with our coffee. On days we didn't have recess duty, we might stop back in for a coffee refill. Or for a brownie. On days when the food inspectors were present, the cooks would send word for everyone to avoid the kitchen. This could not happen today, for several reasons. Now cooks don't really cook, they prepare the prepackaged foods. Now breakfast is served and no one has time to visit. Now health inspections are much stricter, no one is allowed in the kitchen. 

When I became administrator, I purchased a small single serve coffee pod machine for my office. I thought I would not be wasting time, but now I see the time to visit with others might have been more valuable. And the coffee was not really very good. 

Since then I've worn out many Bunn coffee pots, a couple Keruigs and switched to French Press, Nespresso, or some pour over. The first time my son showed me how to make coffee using a French Press, I was amazed. I don't know why because that is similar to the way coffee was made by campfire before electric coffee pots.  It is very basic, I do love using the French Press. 

When we have time we make pour over coffee. When the Coffee Gods align, pour over makes a great cup of coffee. But you need a lot more than a coffee pot, water and coffee. You need a scale, a burr grinder, a special kettle with a long spout, a timer, a glass carafe, cone filter and freshly roasted coffee. Oh, and precision. 

I'm still searching for the perfect cup of coffee. I live in a rural area where there is no access to coffee shops.  I try on my own. Maybe I should add a dash of salt.

Exercise isn't futile. Day 21 SOL #2017

Exercise keeps me strong.
Why do I resist?
It's easier to opt out.

My joints need movement.
Why do I resist?
The fitness program got deleted.

Daily medication helps.
Why do I resist?
I don't always remember.

Track the exercise habit in your bullet journal.
Put a daily capsule in your favorite coffee cup.
Reward yourself with one Fixer Upper viewing.

After 3 weeks, notice firmer muscles and more stamina.
Jeans fit looser.
Keep up the progress.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 20 SOL #2017 phone poem about a mattress ad

5.   queen size pillow top
7.   a mattress for sleep and dreams
3.   Soft or firm

2.   Now mine
2.   or yours
2.   Or theirs

3.   Select one
4.  Take it away
8.  You'll be completely satisfied!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 18 SOL #2017 where would I travel

Early this morning I observed several sky trails. I wondered where all those jets were heading. Maybe Hawaii to walk in the lava tubes. Or Utah to visit Arches National Park. Or Boston for a tour of the Granery. Or to the blue-green waters of Destin. Or to the Memphis to see the new displays in Graceland. Or to take in the grandeur of Yosemite. Or drop a bit of cash and catch a show in Vegas. Or buy fry bread from the Indians near Tucson. So many interesting places to visit in the USA. I think I need a get-away!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Day 16 SOL #2017 Visiting a friend who had back surgery

Today we visited a friend in the hospital, he had back surgery on Tuesday. Nurse notes on the whiteboard in his room reminded me of my own back surgery 9 years ago. "No feet up, sitting only for 30 minutes, walk every hour, lie flat" and ...

I remembered walking every hour up and down my driveway. 
And I remembered not sitting longer than 30 minutes. 
I remembered that I didn't get in a car for 6 weeks. 

He is twenty years older than I was when I had my surgery. He was doing well, looked great, talked great and complained that he had to buzz the nurses station when he wanted to go to the bathroom. I told him it was because they didn't want him to fall and he nodded.

I remembered going to therapy.
And I remembered going to back school.
I remembered using an expensive blow-up pillow when I rode in a car. 

Then I read the writing on the opposite wall. It said, "call, don't fall". I smiled to myself. Not much had changed in 9 years. As we left I told him to do everything they told him because he would not want to go through the surgery a second time.

I still use the pillow when I ride.
I still exercise to strengthen my back.
I still move every 30 minutes or work while standing at a desk.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day14 SOL #2017 no smell of cigarettes.

Yesterday, after the snow stopped falling, I drove to the city to visit my son and his wife. We did a little shopping and ate at a locally owned pasta restaurant. After dinner he showed me how to interact with a virtual reality game. It was so cool, I was diving underwater when a shark attacked!

We watched Moana and the evening ended about midnight.This morning snow covered our vehicles as we visited a coffee shop for some freshly roasted coffee. It felt like a Saturday in the middle of the week. After coffee we bought brushes and paints using a gift card from the local art supply shop. Then we visited the eye glasses shop so I could select prescription sunglasses. It was great to have their help in choosing a pair. 

They took me to IKEA. It was my 3rd time to visit there, there never seems to be enough to time to browse. We picked out a few items the. It was time to leave. I headed home and snow started blowing hard. It stopped about three hours later, the time I reached the small town near my house. I had to stop at the grocery for milk. I immediately noticed the distinct smell of cigarettes. I had not observed this in any of the places we visited in the city. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Day 11 SOL #2017 Five Imaginary Lives

After reading todsy's post on Tammy's Reading/Writing Life Blog, I decided writing this would be fun. The directions are to have fun with this ice breaker and list 1-5 imaginary lives.
Here goes:
1. Pilot
2. Archeologist
3. Photojournalist
4. Clothes designer
5. Coffee shop owner

I could probably write 5 more, it was fun.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Routine or no routine . . .Day 8 SOL #2017

Routine is defined as the customary course or procedure. My job was anything but routine. When you work with a large number of educators, students, parents and community members in a 9 county area,  your encounters aren't routine. That's one of the things I appreciated most about my job. Another part of the job that I loved was always learning about the natural resources and applying the learning to make connections with teaching.

I had two months to prepare myself, I thought I was ready, but lacking a routine has thrown me off course. My routine has changed and I'm trying to acclimate. I'm basically keeping the same sleep schedule. I have a cup of coffee, exercise and walk the dog. Then I try to fill in the blanks. Today I started folding my work uniforms that take up a large part of my closet. I'm not going o miss wearing those!

I think I can accept that my life will no longer be directed by routines.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 7 SOL # 2017 beginning anew

Beginning anew is never easy
Even when it's happened before
Planning, preparing, saving
For the life changing event
Does not account for emotions that surface
Withdrawal, emptiness, elation
Replace an all consuming job
The schedule is now open, ready to flex
Individual choices fill the time
Begin anew, savoring each choice

Monday, March 6, 2017

DAY 6 SOL # 2017 Long drive

Our Monday began with an early morning three hour drive to the opthomologist for a follow-up visit. The one perk was meeting our son and daughter-in-law for lunch. After a long lunch we headed back toward home. I've already fallen asleep trying to read and comment on slices for day 6 so my slice is lacking the thoughtful reflections I have read in so many other interesting posts.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 5 SOL#2017 Birding

Every morning as I take my dog outside for her morning walk I observe the birds around our farm. Lately I've taken the binoculars so I can identify a few more. I seriously began trying to learn bird identification when I started my second career with the state conservation agency 11 years ago. I started by going with experienced birders, early mornings. It's great to be outside with people who can share their knowledge. I've learned to identify some birds by their call, or a particular behavior pattern. I've shared what I've learned with beginning birders, hopefully I've encouraged them to try it on their own. I've enjoyed birding with beginners and experienced birders.

I've shared with teachers how to use bird field guides to teach students how to read nonfiction text, or how to teach students to become citizen scientists as they observe birds and record data about their observations. Birds are a great topic to engage students.

The Cape Girardeau Nature Center has a year long program to encourage birding. I'm planning to join in the challenge. If you are interested, you can read about it here’s-big-year-birding

It might remind you of the book and movie, "The Big Year".  Check out the movie here

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day 3 SOL 2017

I found my slice while reading a SOL from another participant about school field trips. I've experienced field trips from four perspectives. My first field trip I was a second grade student. I remember taking a short bus ride to a presentation in a neighboring school gym. We had to take a dime for admission. I can't remember the presentation, only the trip there and the large crowd of students. That was almost 60 years ago

As a teacher, I remember a field trip during summer school. I taught third & fourth grade students. We spent a great amount of time planning the trip. Everyone wore matching bright gold tee shirts. Small groups of students were divided among the staff. We rode the bus half the way then stopped at a rest stop for a picnic lunch consisting of bologna sandwiches made by the teachers earlier that morning. After three hours travel, we arrived at the zoo. We spent the day taking the students to as many exhibits as possible. At every stop we counted the number of students in each group, making sure we didn't leave behind stragglers. Of course we're exhausted at the end of the day. No parents went on this trip. Later parents were usually invited and given a group to lead. 

My husband and I attended a few field trips with our son during elementary school. We explored with him and his friends, carefully watching them to make sure they stayed together and were safe. It was not nearly as stressful as being the lead. We enjoyed the day, finding little difference in taking him with a group of friends in our personal vehicle. 

More recently I have been responsible for setting up the field trips for school groups. I was responsible for the planning, scheduling, pre-trip details, and presenting to the groups. Evaluations afterward helped with improving the experience for the next time. Some schools have policies that do not allow parents to ride the bus to attend field trips. I have seen an increase in parrent attendance at field trips. 

I value the learning that occurs during field trips. Students are given opportunities to interact and grow in ways they otherwise could not. Successful field trips require much planning that does not end until the trip has ended.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day 2 SOL 2017 day 2 of retirement

Day two of retirement - I exercised, walked the dog, did laundry, painted a picture, took the car to get an oil change, cooked dinner, did dishes, and attended the women's club. It doesn't seem that I accomplished anything. At work, I gauged my progress by checking items off a list of tasks. I don't want to feel as though I am wasting any day. Ok, maybe I need to create a list of things I'd like to complete. We are planning to clean one shed on day 3.That will be one huge accomplishment I can enjoy. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 1 SOL 2017 Retired

The first day of March holds two important firsts for me. It is the first day of writing a daily slice of life sponsored by two Writing Teachers blog. I've participated in this annual event several years. Each year my goal is to participate at 100%. Life events seem to interfere with my plans. Sometimes poor internet caused me to fall short of my performance goal. Other times work obligations hampered my success. This year I thought maybe I shouldn't even try because I haven't achieved my expectations. But I value this writing process, I love feeling connected with teachers, and I relish a challenge. So here I am late in the day creating my first post for the 2017 writing challenge. You can read more about the process here:

The other first for me this March: it is the first day of my second retirement. I taught in a public school for 29 years and retired from that in 2006. Just as soon as that job ended, actually even before I was done with school, I went straight to work as an education consultant for a state agency. Yesterday was my last day working there. I planned to work 10 years, but ended up loving most duties of the job and continued working until yesterday. I wanted to leave on a high, while things were still going smooth, while I could still meet my expectations. But I was getting tired, I was starting to avoid some of the more stressful duties. That was my clue that it was time to make a change so in January, I began the process to retire. I had 2 months to clean out my office, tie up loose ends and prepare for the transition. I cried while in my office on the next to the last day. Yesterday I attended a training and afterward my coworkers gave me a sweet send-off. I was done. 

Today I attempted the transition! I awoke early and began my regular routine: took the dog outside for a walk, gave her a pill, fixed her food, made coffee, exercised, showered, started a load of laundry, washed a few dishes, set out my husband's pills, took the dog outside again, I looked for birds and picked up limbs from the storm while she explored. We went inside and I checked the time, it was almost 9 o'clock! My thought: what am I going to do the rest of the day? 

I applied make-up and headed out to pick up a prescription, pay a bill and check the mail. I was excited to be around other people and eager to talk with old acquaintances. One friend offered me a job helping her with her new venture, wedding venues. It definitely sounded interested. That took 30 minutes so it was still not nearing lunch time. My thought: how am I going to do this?

My husband said I had to learn to pace myself, that I could not do everything in one day. Hmm. I only know how to work full steam, I don't know how to change that pace. I'll try to take one day at a time. 

#SOL 2018 Day 31 Thank you, slicers.