* Get a flu shot?

It’s too late for me to change my mind, and my doctor is convinced this was the right decision, but I wish I hadn’t gotten a flu shot. I’ve had flu shots regularly for years and they almost always make me sick. And I still get the flu. Last year, H2N3 leveled me for a couple of months.

This time, my reaction to the shot was unusual. First, I was sort of manic and lost my already-thin social cognition. I laughed wildly about very personal topics with two receptionists at a radiology clinic. I also went shopping for school stuff after that, which could have been a financial disaster. Thankfully, a growing sense of fatigue cut my journey short. When I got home, I told my dearest teaching widower that I felt odd and he nodded kindly. Of course.

By that afternoon, I had severe chills and went to bed. My widower covered me in layers of down comforters and fetched a heating pad. I could not feel any warmth from the pad, even on its highest setting. I insisted that it was broken, but he put his hand under the covers and said, “No! It’s very hot!”

Of course, I was burning hot when I woke the next day and could not cool down. I felt feverish and achy. That evening, I started itching and felt like I’d been nibbled all over by ticks. After a few doses of Benadryl, I finally slept. I’m still itchy but overall, this wasn’t the worst experience I’ve had with the flu shot. Still….

This won’t hurt a bit!

What do you think? Are flu shots worth it? Have you experienced strange side effects or am I just weird? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

* My kingdom for an editor

I will not break my self-imposed rule about publically reviewing a book I cannot give 5 stars.

I’m currently reading a detective series that has a lot going for it. The plots are quite clever, they all have happy endings (4.999 stars right there), and the characters are believable. If only I could edit them for the author! Argh! My brain won’t let me glide past numerous incredible errors, perhaps because some are quite humorous. Here’s a sentence I’ve created using a few of my favorites:

As I rode into the town with its population of $7000, I gave up the reigns of my horse because I was Busched.

What? Were the books written on an iPhone? I’ve had some seriously awkward word substitutions with Siri, so I sympathize. Sort of. I was trying to find the key to our storeroom (shed) while my dear teaching widower was out of town. He has this unhappy habit of popping keys in his jacket pockets and driving off into the sunset. And yeah, I was dictating this while dr*****, too.

Me: Do you have the sh#! key?

Him: What?

Me: The sh*@ key.

Him: What?

Me: Did you put it in your pocket?

Him: What?

Me: The sh@! key! I need to spray the deer.

Him: WHAT?

* Unintended reproduction

In yesterday’s post, I referred to my science unit on plant reproduction.  In the terrific Earthbox Junior, our plants grew at a phenomenal rate.  I used nutrient-rich Happy Frog potting soil from a boutique plant store to avoid introducing any unwanted bacteria or critters into the planter.  The plants also came from that same pricy store.  So far, so good, as long as my dearest teaching widower didn’t ask how much it all cost.

Alas, I forgot to add moss, which has a nice spore method of reproduction.  At that point, I decided to try a novel approach and go frugal.  Our yard has a growing mass of moss, since the deer have eaten everything else.  I culled a nice sample and watched it die in the planter.  But to our surprise, the “dead” ornamental moss around our bonsai ficus tree sprang to life!  All was good and we kept a close watch for the spore cycle of the moss.

We examined the planter daily with a digital microscope and I nearly fell over when some giant legs and antennae shot past the screen.  I’ve seen too many alien movies.  The creature eluded us until it grew into a recognizable poisonous spider!  What are the odds that a small sample of soil from my yard would yield a brown widow spider?  The worst was yet to come.

Aphids appeared next, all over our nerve plant, so I doused them with soapy water and waited a day before examining their carcasses.  As I carried the planter to our viewing location (AKA insect morgue), a sharp-eyed kiddo spotted tiny brown dots running around the planter.  I had carried the Earthbox against my chest, so those dots also ran up and down my body.  Further exciting microscopic investigation revealed dog tick nymphs.  Hundreds of them, springing into life in my arms.   Yes, I was bitten on my head, face, and ankle.  No students were bitten, which was miraculous.

Dermacentor_variabilis

Check out TickEncounter’s resources or ask to see my videos of these critters!

* Happy New Year!

Although this isn’t the REAL new year, the 2018-2019 school year, it’s still a great time for taking stock of where you’ve been and where you are going with your students.  Bless you if you live and die by pacing guides and a district that emphasizes teaching to the test.  Ignoring that major speed bump for now, my best advice is to love your students each day.

What does it look like to love your kiddos?  Believing in each one.  Knowing their strengths and challenges.  Smiling and laughing.  Connecting with families.  Being patient with them and yourself.  Buying a daily calendar with pages that can be ripped off and torn into shreds if it was THAT kind of day, never to be held against anyone.

On the topic of daily calendars, I bought us the 2019 New Yorker cartoon version and am most disappointed.  You can even buy the cover cartoon as a poster, if you lack a sense of humor and have a bare wall in your shed.  My dearest teaching widower had to google it before we understood the “joke.”  You know what they say about explaining jokes….*  Of course, we may hold the minority opinion on that.  No one has asked me to publish anything anywhere.

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I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the blogosphere but I am not making any resolutions.  You could make it a resolution to read my blog every day, knowing full well that there won’t be daily posts.  That will give you time to follow up on other resolutions, such as reading current brain research, hunting for new teaching technologies, and using that new gym membership or exercise app.  Right.

  • Ding dong

* Sharing my world, one nut at a time

I love Cee’s weekly challenges and enjoy reading her responses, too!  Did you know she’s been trained by her cats?  Check out her post to see how clever those rascals are.  Another special treat on her blog: Cee has posted “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” because they’ve had a drought for TWO months but it just rained!  Whoa.  I think we got all their rain and someone else’s too.  So here we go:

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts?  I am a nutty person.  Nuts used to upset my tummy but now I enjoy them all the time.  Even as a “milk.”  As I have dropped dairy and gluten, nuts have moved up my food chain.  In fact, it seems that nuts are everywhere.  On the road, at work, in stores- and yeah, in the mirror.

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?  Anyone who has had nightmares about monsters or nutty stuff knows you must keep the closet doors shut.  If I wake up, I don’t want to see a shadow over there.  I’d go nuttier if I didn’t secure those closet doors.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?  Yikes.  I am going to be late for school because I am blogging!  I am often late because I haven’t planned my exit carefully enough, so I’m running up and down looking for my phone or car keys or sweater or lunch or something!  I do plan my exits somewhat but nutty things happen.  Must be my diet.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  I appreciate my dearest teaching widower for putting up with me at my worst, like when I lost it after my car blew up, our house keys were stolen, our kitchen floor was wrecked, a hole remained where a dishwasher should go, our insurance company sent a letter denying our claim, and the stacks of laminate in the hallway almost reach the ceiling.  So glad we went to the beach!

beach 4

* On our vacay

My dearest teaching widower and I are actually spending quality time together!  So nice to leave the ruined kitchen floor, piles of laminate for upstairs, boxes, missing car, and general debris.  We are also both “working” and loving it.  I mean, if you have a passion for something, it’s pure joy to do it.  The first day of school is next Monday and I can’t wait!

In the meantime, we’re together all day, which is awesome.  I’ve been sending daily videos to a student of mine and asked my widower to join is.  He has now become the star, the celeb of the beach.  He is clever and funny!  Just one of the many reasons I love him so.  We go out when the sun is setting, the crowds have disappeared, and the temp is perfect. beach 2 2018

* R.I.P. Silver

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The kiddos made a prophetic movie of Silver using the ActionMovie FX app.

Silver‘s engine blew up two days ago.  That Subaru meant a lot to me, mostly because of how I got it.  I was at a back-to-school event and of course, still there long after it was over.  My dearest teaching widower called to ask when I was coming home.  He also asked if I had expected a package from UPS.  I said a DVD was on the way and he said the package didn’t look like that.  I drove home immediately and there was a huge brown package in the driveway.

I was puzzled but saw the UPS markings, etc. and my dearest widower said since it was addressed to me, I should open it up.  As I pulled on the “box,” I realized it was heavy brown paper, not cardboard.  I started unrolling it and saw the bottom edges of tires! I was totally flummoxed (obviously my blood sugar was low!) and the next-door neighbors, who were hanging out of their upstairs window, yelled at me, “Open it up!  Keep going!”

I kept unraveling the wrapping paper and realized it truly was a vehicle!  “Did you wrap a car from the state pool?” I asked my widower, who was looking less thrilled by the moment.  (Since he traveled for the state, he often used a state car when driving a long distance. )

“No!  This is not a state car!” he exclaimed.

“Did you steal a car?”  (I am still not sure why that was in question….)

The neighbors laughed and my dearest widower, ever patient, said calmly, “No, I didn’t steal it.”  I actually repeated that question numerous times as I ripped off the final shreds of wrapping paper.

The silver Forester sparkled, brand new with with shiny black hooves tires.  I thought of the old TV show, The Lone Ranger, and immediately named it Silver.  Sadly, I was still asking my husband if he stole the car as we went in the house.  Poor guy.  Seriously, we never bought something that big without doing it together.  And no, my dearest teaching widower has never stolen ANYTHING, except my heart.

* Bureaucracy “at work”

Question:  What would happen if schools were run this way?  Are they run this way?

After years of putting it off, my dearest teaching widower (DTW) and I decided to refloor the upstairs.  That was over 2 months ago.  We got 2 estimates from Big Box home improvement stores.  We went with the $500 cheaper quote, but it turned out their offer was cheaper because they didn’t order enough laminate.  For over a month, people at various levels in the Box world assured us that the delivery would be made “on Monday.”  My DTW called and emailed and went in person to sort this out.  The laminate finally arrived, but we were still short those 11 boxes.  After another month of reassurances and many more “Mondays,” we were told by a multitude of folks that indeed our order was there, waiting for us to pick it up.  Seriously?  We had paid for them to deliver it.  My endlessly patient DTW told the last person who called, “I don’t believe you, but I’ll wait.”  As a rule, DTW’s become quite patient waiting for their wives to return home.

hallway

There are even more boxes in our kitchen- but still missing 11!

This experience is not unlike having a leak fixed in my classroom.  No one was ever responsible, the only person who knew how to fix it had retired, and there were multiple “fixes” that never worked.  It became just about as difficult to identify and serve a student with special needs once the Box Response to Intervention model was instituted.  I am 100% in support of providing modifications and accommodations to ensure that kiddos don’t get placed unnecessarily.  But when you have a kid who can’t read 3 letter words in second grade, you don’t need months of new strategies.  You need your 11 boxes of laminate OR specialized instruction, whichever comes first.

 

* Sharing my world

I adore Cee’s challenges- and her photography is incredible!  I’m hoping to be back on the blogging track for good and this week’s Share Your World challenge is another  restart!

In regards to puzzles, what’s your choice: jigsaw, crossword, word search, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?  I like all of those but have probably done more jigsaw puzzles than anything else.  I’d most likely have one set up all the time, but with the kiddos visiting this summer and our small groups every week, there’s no good place to keep a puzzle waiting.  Getting older has crimped my style, too.  With my wretched knees, I can’t kneel or squat comfortably.

List at least five favorite treats and it doesn’t necessarily have to be food.   Yum!  This will be fun!

  1. My dearest teaching widower, who gets cuddlier and funnier every day
  2. Worshipping with Christian rock and new fave, Francesca Battistelli
  3. Chocolate, now in the form of almond & cashew, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free “milk”
  4. Teaching, teaching, and more teaching
  5. Reading and reading

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)  OK, I saw this Australian Shepherd (I think that’s what s/he is) in a grandinroad catalog.  I want this dog!!  And I wouldn’t mind the house that goes with it.

border collie

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  The grace of God for peace and forgiveness and life and love.  Answered and unanswered prayers.  Hope.  That I am a child of God.

* Dord and sharing my world

Oh, what a joy to rejoin Cee and her Share Your World blogging challenge!  Check out the adorable Miss Mackenzie in Cee’s photo!

A piece of clothing from my childhood that I still remember:  This one is easy because I remember lots of my clothes, probably from photographs.  I do recall that my sister and I were often dressed as twins and my mother would even sew herself a matching dress.  For this photo, my curly hair had been pasted into place, giving me temporary bangs and braids that were hanging almost vertically.  I probably remember more about the agonies of getting my hair braided than any clothing!

1956 visiting Jeanette PA on way to Germany_0005

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.  I have long pursued my desire to do a cartwheel.  I could run and jump but never managed a cartwheel.  When I took a gymnastic class at college, my instructor was thrilled with my passion and told me she would make it happen.  I was a bit anxious, having had a number of falls in previous attempts (seriously, how do you fall while doing a cartwheel?).  She lined up all the participants on both sides of me, placed a lane of mats in between, and said she would also spot me.  After watching my first attempt, she encouraged me to start with more “spring.”  I sprang and flew over the line of spotters, landing with a crash on the hard gym floor.  On my ambulance ride to the ER, I decided I would never attempt another cartwheel.  Maybe in heaven….

In a car, would you rather drive or be a passenger?  Having “conquered” my driving phobia (thanks to the Lord), it is hard for my dearest teaching widower to wrest the steering wheel away from me.  It’s a sign of how far I’ve come that I do let him drive us occasionally, no longer needing to practice and practice.

And dord?  This is a ghost word that made it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary for a surprisingly long period of time.  What do you think it means?