Be Concise

The Boss figured out that we need regular “office hours” every day, rather than compulsory check-ins multiple times throughout the day. He also set a class schedule for our young humans, so they know when lessons become available and when they’re due.

I’m grateful.

Too bad we can’t figure out a platform, or how to get me access to my locked Google account (which was locked 6 years ago and I’ve been using another school account). Another day, another vexation.

Last week I started getting blinding headaches, the kind in which water seems to be streaming down in the corners of my eyes and slowly moves forward until my vision blurs completely. Something similar happened a few years ago and I was told it was a migraine.

Why now? I have work to do! Continue reading

Out, but not About

Yesterday I cleaned fallen limbs from the front yard. Last weekend’s windstorm broke dead sections from the treetops; they exploded on impact. It took quite a while to gather all the finger-length pieces (the perfect size for jamming the mower’s belt).

Eight people passed by during that time, including a family on a motley assortment of bikes and foot-operated scooters. Continue reading

School’s out… sort of.

A little while ago, I watched the governor of Michigan’s press conference. Schools are closed until the fall. All classes will be moved online, even though the Michigan Department of Education refuses to count online classes toward the “seat hours” requirement.

This is, as President Obama once said, “above my paygrade.”

I’m going to spend my last days of vacation (official) finding materials that I can retype into Google Classrooms. Teaching another novel is out! So is, unfortunately, the back-and-forth conversations and the eureka! moments when struggling students finally “got” the material.

Well-meaning friends have already forwarded me links to companies that would be only too happy to have my contact information (as well as my students’).*  However, any useful links would be appreciated. I can always sort the chafe.


*My boss sent me a Google Classroom training session (Free!), for which I registered. When the time came to “attend,” it directed me that I wasn’t going to see the video feed but could listen in by calling a number and using the code. Thus, the educational consultant company has my personal cellphone number.

And the “training” was 5 minutes of introduction to the presenter and company, 15 minutes of verbal explanation, and another 15 minutes or so of FAQs interspersed in a salespitch.

 

Shutdown: Shut it ALL down…

My state’s governor is working on the final wording of the order to completely shut down schools, from public to parochial. Although it’s my vacation week, the depression has set in.

I became a teacher because I love teaching students, helping them, and watching them grow. The only thing I dislike about teaching is the paperwork. Now it’s all paperwork.

Rockin’ Robin

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This mutant robin has territory on a main drag in the nearby town. Because the roads are mostly traffic-free, I managed to snap its picture after several attempts. Its condition is leucism, a lack of pigment in feathers.

North American robins – aka Turdus migratorius aka Wandering pooper* – have returned en masse to Michigan.  They boldly hop across the deck while I’m lunching, They investigate the sod I’ve overturned – while I’m in the middle of planting hostas. They scold me as I refill the birdbath.

Of course, they make up for it by being harbingers of warmer weather. They also sing, “chuckle” and chirp: three sounds for the price of one!

They will, no doubt, return to their milder manners after they’ve finished fighting each other over territory and started building nests.

Or I am doomed to be bossed around by birdbrains!


*Not the real translation of the Latin scientific name, although it CERTAINLY is “in the vulgar.”

Things taken for granted…

…in no particular order.

  •  Seeing people regularly. We never bothered to get each other’s contact information because See you at work! See you at church! See you around!
  •  Restaurants. I’m surrounded by wonderful eateries,  all of which are closed. I hope they survive the shutdown.
  •  Cold medicine.
  •  Charity shops. With the arrival of warm weather, I put on last summer’s wardrobe. Everything is too big; I just have to deal with it for now.
  • The public library. E-books and online services are still available, but it’s not as satisfying as walking between the shelves and perusing titles.
  •  Walk-in hair salons.

Survival

I have a favorite little squirrel. It’s rather ugly. This winter it looked so scrawny and its fur so patchy that I thought it was diseased. There’s a big, bald knob on its spine.

It fattened up over the winter – a rare occurrence when most animals are living on their reserves.

Eventually it lingered on the maple tree long enough for me to get a good look. A parchment-colored scar runs along its neck. The fur along its back is thin where other scars run like seams on a badly-patched stuffed animal.

I think it’s the young squirrel that a neighborhood cat attacked and carried off. The cat must have kept it alive to play with it.

It’s still more skittish than other squirrels, but occasionally it feels safe enough to hang by its back feet from the feeder. Or explore the deck, as in the hastily-snapped photo below.

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