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

Shutting EVERYTHING Down

Last week, the county library system announced that all eleven branches were keeping their regular hours. Monday it and every other library, bar, restaurant, gym, and the like were closed. Although I knew my library card-carrying students can check out e-books and other electronic materials, I still felt sorry for anyone finishing up a book in a series.

Today while I was getting ready to purchase an Easter dress* online, there was a sudden hiccough and the entire website was unavailable. I reloaded and it routed me to a message from the CEO: the website and all brick-and-mortar stores are closed until  at least April 5.  So it’s time to take needle and thread to an old dress.**

I went for a drive to pick up potting soil for the seed germination I’m starting Saturday. Odd shops here and there were open; an auto glass repair shop,  a fabric store, and a candle-and-soap emporium, among others.  An electronics store had a very busy parking lot; techies have to tech.

The home improvement store manager assured me that they’ll be open tomorrow at 6 am, as usual.  However, I’m not sure I believe her!


* Made in the US, so I was certain it would be available.

**I have enough experience with sewing to be afraid of using scissors for anything except cutting thread. Mistakes are permanent!

Keep Going

My goodness! The only social medium I use regularly has blown up over the last three days.* Two news sites I read also went from being information-based to semi-hysterical.

But the teachers are still teaching, albeit at a distance. Today workers and bosses at The Young Human Factory gathered to pack meals and figure out deliveries. It was great to see coworkers, but also to see the parents of former students who were volunteering.

Creative writers are no different. I’ve been encouraged by those who are staying the course through the storm.  I particularly liked The Write Practice’s offering of a 14-Day Coronavirus Quarantine Writing Challenge.

The environmental stress weighs heavily on everyone, presenting unique challenges. One of my home-bound acquaintances wrote plaintively, “My coworkers keep putting their naked asses on my papers.”  I can’t imagine the horror. (Note: I HOPE he meant cats, not his children.)

The veteran writer, David Farland, canceled workshops but continues sending his newsletter. He suggested that fiction writers focus on the problems of the characters in their stories:

As you consider those, your subconscious mind will become more and more grounded in your tale, and you’ll find it easier to write with each coming day. As you think about upcoming scenes to write in the evening, they’ll populate your imagination while you sleep, and you’ll often awake ready to write.

I think it’s good advice and I’m going to follow it tomorrow. Today I’m still doing quality-control via the Internet and correcting essays.


*People sometimes tell me to abandon FB, but it’s the best place to keep in touch across four continents, five languages (only two of which I speak), and several time zones.  This weekend, my newlywed American cousin made a suggestion for helping avoid the coronavirus, which our octogenarian Mexican cousin translated to Spanish and reposted – and it was picked up by other Spanish-speakers.

Memories like an Action Film

I tend to dislike social media because of their time-wasting, click-baiting aspects. However, they make it a lot easier to share information among widespread family (eight countries!). And sometimes they bring back good memories, like that of January 2014.

I recorded it thus:

I wish there was enough room to tell the Epic Story of My Dad. Here’s the highlight version. Last night I decided to finish grading papers and re-doing lesson plans, but my backpack was missing! Could I have left it at M&D’s? I called Dad; he arranged a drop-off point. Despite weather, Operation Students-Need-Exams was ON. A blizzard descended, my route was blocked, a new drop-off was arranged closer to where I was stuck in traffic (over an hour), a tanker exploded, a bladder nearly exploded, there was a pregnant woman… a rendevous… and coffee… and when I tried to thank him, all he said was “That’s what Dads are for.” Cut. Roll credits. (Dad was played by shaved-head Chuck Norris AND Jason Statham, sometimes simultaneously because Awesome.)

And yes, there really was an explosion following the rollover of a tanker carrying dangerous chemicals!

Hell on Wheels!

The Middle School Mafia has taken to the roads. Motorbikes and 4-wheelers are flying down the street from mid-morning until dusk. I had to go onto the porch yesterday to evil-eye them as they decided to pull up onto the neighbor’s lawn (strategically, the section with a stand of trees blocking the neighbor’s view).

Several years ago a similar band of mobile middle schoolers ran the blacktop. However, I don’t think this group has the audacity to come up to me and boldly request gasoline when their tanks run dry. (Not a joke; the previous gang had wretched ideas about what complete strangers owed them.)

I suspect the road-running will wane when the summer gas prices rise and parents need to budget for their weekend boating. In the meantime, vroom! Vroom!

Losing my drive…

…in winter, that is!

It takes a practice to drive in snow, sleet, and ice. This winter being so mild, I’ve been out of practice. I didn’t realize how much until Friday, when I drove to my parents’ house. Snow was coming down lightly, but the roads were clear.

As usual, I was using the Driving Like an Old Lady Technique, a skill that has made me a favorite among designated drivers and owners of sports cars.* Not to disclose all the secrets of this mysterious art, but suffice to say that it involves sticking to the left lanes. I get to my destination in a timely manner, but with 1/3 the road rage. Continue reading