Staycation 2020 #2

Summer of 2020. With school starting in a few weeks, George and I are trying to cram in days by the pool or at the beach, kayaking local waterways, and completing summer projects.

We had to have a “bee man” remove a swarm from a birdhouse too close to our window. I had no idea that birdhouse infestation was a common occurrence!

Our kitchen table was sanded and refinished. Sad to see years of memories erased (writing indentations from nightly schoolwork, wild “spoon” card game scratches, puppy chew marks…) but, the table was splintering in places. We quietly celebrated 40 years of marriage at our favorite dockside watering hole. Next week we’re ‘glamping’ for a few days with our daughter and nieces.

The local percentage of positive COVID-19 tests are starting to uptick and most of the area public schools are leaning towards virtual learning. As my school is private, has less than 200 students, has extra classrooms for distancing, does not offer transportation, nor participates in the federal breakfast/lunch programs; we are offering in-school instruction, Monday-Friday for all. Evidently, our enrollment has sky-rocketed. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Of course, our governor could declare a state-wide mandate for ALL schools.

Chaotic times. Have a good week and stay healthy! – – Joanne

No One Asked Me

My area is seeing a low (but steady) rise in new COVID-19 diagnoses (mostly in the 20-40 year old demographic). School starts back in four weeks. I enjoy my work as a technology resource teacher. But, no one has asked me what I thought about teaching remotely or face-to-face.

Forget politicians and health advisors. How am I to mitigate between parents who vociferously pontificate their opinions regarding distance learning vs. face-to-face learning, temperature checks and wearing a mask, political hoax vs. science, and, and . . ? Let’s not forget class disruption as students defend their parents’ viewpoints.

I am not an economist, health care, nor sanitizing professional. I realize the economy is in the tank. Parents need to get back to work. I’m aware that the young are less susceptible and have fewer complications. Will I have ample time to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect (two very different things) EVERYTHING between classes? Will I be held liable if a child in my class tests positive for COVID-19? In addition to wearing a mask; should I wear gloves? a face shield? a gown? I’ve read the “suggestion” for those educators who’ve voiced concerns . . . However, I do not want to take an early retirement. I also don’t want to unknowingly jeopardize my at-risk love ones.

No doubt about it; our students received an emotionally stressful, equitably questionable education the past few months. There is worry of falling “behind” (but honestly, are we not all in the same boat worldwide?). Learning centers all over the world are struggling how to proceed between the science, politics, and threats.

Will educators be considered “essential” and receive hazard duty pay? Will teachers be paid overtime if the district decides to split the day into AM/PM hours? Will the district pay a teacher’s medical or funeral bills for an at-risk family member?

No one asked me. But if they did; I would ask in return, “Which is more important: face-to-face/5-days-week education or a teacher’s emotional and physical health?” Or, is the economy the only barometer?

Have a great week! — Joanne

Staycation 2020 #1

During the global 2007-2008 financial crisis, our family spent the summer exploring nearby localities in what was quaintly coined as a “staycation.” Flash forward 13 years and here we are again. Many venues are closed; either for social distancing or financial ripple effect. Right. Staycation 2020, it is.

There’s always a silver lining. Backyards have never looked nicer. Recycling or updating is in again. People are creating or building at astounding rates (just check the local hardware store) and revisiting nature to satisfy the restless soul.

We’ve replaced fencing, built a kayak rack, sanded and repainted outdoor furniture, weeded and planted, pressure-washed…you name it. Now that school is officially out for the summer, it’s time to have some outdoor fun!

More than anything, I look forward to the time when my WHOLE family and friends can safely gather together once again. Until then, it’s sprucing up, positive thoughts πŸ˜€ and staycation jaunts!

I wish you a good week! — Joanne

Scrap Happy Hot Glue Stand

My sew/craft room has become Distance Learning Central (it’s a mess). I was tired of dripping and stringy strands of hot glue stick getting everywhere. So, my husband’s thoughtfulness is the star of May’s Scrap Happy project. Ingenuity, pine scraps, nails from the garage and wood glue later: tada! A Hot Glue Gun Stand.

Mind you, this isn’t perfection; but it certainly is sparing my nerves and work space. This little project gave him something to do (Mr. Wanderer is going batty πŸ˜‰ with ‘shelter in place’).

I’m sure you’ve seen multiple images like the one below. But what harm just one more? Sharing a little positivity created by fellow faculty members. πŸ™‚

Scrap Happy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything and is hosted monthly by Kate and Gun. Check out some of the projects others have create for Scrap Happy:

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

Have a good week and stay well! β€” Joanne

Scrap Happy Face Covers

So, how are you doing? I hope you are well and hanging in there. I hope you have a fair share of food, drink, and paper products. I hope you are getting enough exercise, fresh air, and emotional support. But mostly, I hope this cray-cray time ends as quickly as possible. Weeks into this mess, I now realize the need to step outside for little breaks to rejuvenate. I read somewhere that when “…planning for distance learning, teachers need to cut their plans in half; then in half again.” Thankfully, I have a great Admin who understands and promotes this.

I decided to QAYG (first timer) my Scrap Happy quilt. So far I’ve sewn twelve 18″ (45cm) blocks. I’ve made a few mistakes and I wish I used a softer color backing; but, it’s all good. However, this project is side-lined as I construct face covers.

I am making face covers for my at risk family members. Something is better than nothing, right? My nieces requested “kitties.” My sister asked if she should order fabric and I replied, “Nooo! Scraps I have!” πŸ˜‰ I used a never-worn T-shirt as “elastic.” I had to laugh when my mom asked, “Isn’t that the shirt I gave you?” Why, yes it is. πŸ˜€

Scrap Happy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything and is hosted monthly by Kate and Gun. Check out some of the projects others have create for Scrap Happy:

KateGun, TittiHelΓ©neEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny and Kjerstin

Have a good week and stay well! β€” Joanne

Strange Days Ahead – Staying Connected

These are not normal times. #understatementoftheyear  In prior times of crisis, most communities were comforted by gathering together collectively. Now, we are socially distancing ourselves. Schools have closed, indefinitely. Bars, restaurants, libraries, travel, museums, public events; they too are falling victim in order to “flatten the curve.” With the closures; how do we pay our rent, balance work commitments, homeschool and entertain our children, take care of the vulnerable?

When “social distancing” was first coined, I wasn’t too concerned. I do quite well by myself puttering in paints or textiles or reading. Then, on Day #3 of my school’s closure it sank in. As the technical resource teacher at my school, trying to prepare for and navigate remote learning this week, I haven’t worked so hard in a long time.

I read a sad local newspaper article today. A family is unable to visit their dying 90-year-old father who is in a hospice home. With the new *CDC rules; he must be in the latter stage of dying before they can visit — when he is unresponsive. Puts my petty complaints into perspective.

What about the socially challenged among us (not to mention that many already don’t trust the institutions that govern us, the ones we rely upon for support). How will this new “experience” affect them? Technology started social decline twenty years ago as more people now tend to socialize online instead of face-to-face. But, maybe, during this confusing time time, technology can now help us to reach out to each other. Whether it is via online video calling, telephoning, sharing photos or videos… it really doesn’t matter. As long as we make connections.

So, back to my remote learning experience. In just three days we’ve learned some things about communication and isolation. We need to connect. We have encouraged families to share with each other via our school’s intranet drive. We have received images of lost teeth, measuring length with shells, study spaces, teachers at work, and virtual playdates — just to name a few. I leave you with remote learning images. πŸ˜€

Have a good week! Stay connected! Stay well! – – Joanne

* CDC = U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

#bettertogether #stayconnected #wevegotthis — p.s. the beach scene is in a private backyard