Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Signature

 My oldest brother Ryan and I were home with my parents during the first part of the pandemic for about five and a half months. During that time, he pushed me to do something productive every day--along with gently pestering me to do more than one thing...which was good for me but I would never admit it at the time. He and my dad kept telling me to read a book...specifically "The Story of a Soul" about St. Therese of Lisieux. I said no multiple times--mind you I did start a book, just not that one. The day before I was leaving to come back to Denison, they were telling me how she would leave roses for people as her signature. Both of them said jokingly (but not so much) that I would see roses all the way back on my drive. You better believe I looked for them roses but didn't see a damn one. I was SO disappointed. 

Last week, was her patron saint day and you better believe both my dad and brother told me about it--my dad twice (good thing too). My dad texted me early that morning and told me about it, my brother had told me the night before, and my dad told me again that afternoon when I was Facetiming him and my mom. I said blah blah blah when he told me again...then...he asked me if I had seen any roses. 

So my hair. My hair is kind of my thing. It has been since high school. It's long; it's pretty, and I love that it's naturally straight--and no, I'm not trying to be vain; I just feel like Samsom but thank god I don't have to cut it off. I decided for the first time in about...oh two years that it was time to get a haircut. I happen to have an old friend who has a hair salon in the area so I made an appointment with her and went to get my haircut on the patron saint day of St. Therese...MISTAKE, just kidding. It was really good to see my old friend and catch up with her. I was sitting there getting my hair cut and noticed a beautiful dozen roses she had sitting in her station. I told her they were pretty and she said her boyfriend had sent them for no reason--just because.

I told my dad no, I hadn't seen any ros...OH SHIT WAIT! YES I DID SEE ROSES OH MY GOD. And her boyfriend sent them for no reason...YUP that's about how my life goes. 

FYI I had started reading the book already (and hate it for the most part) but I guess I'll finish it. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Suntans, Friendship Bracelets, and Guardian Angels

Running the pool in my hometown is my favorite job. I love the summer and everything about the pool. The smell of chlorine and sunscreen is an aroma I will never tire of. People like to think that my job is just getting a nice tan and swimming all day--and it is--but it's not. I know that every kid who is swimming in the pool is a life I potentially will have to save.

I haven't had to save anyone this year (knock on wood) but by the end of the summer it usually happens. If I were just tanning, we all know the child would be in far more danger. Besides watching the water all day, I give swimming lessons.

Swimming lessons are a life survival skill and I really enjoy teaching them. I teach babies all the way through grown adults. Don't get me wrong, I don't do the survival teaching for babies and toddlers--so most of my 1-4 year olds don't come out as Michael Phelps but they learn to embrace the water and basic instinct techniques. Some of my kids are head first, no fear of the water, and are ready to jump off of the diving board within the first five minutes. Once such kid came to the pool today and kept asking me to watch her do her tricks--which I happily obliged when I could. Others are timid and eventually just get in and go. The last of the trio are those that are down right scared. Scared of the water, scared of not touching the ground, scared of having their head go under--the list goes on. I don't ever remember being afraid of water but believe me this fear is real. 

Today I had a kiddo who was scared. We were at the end of our lesson and I was telling him how excited I was to see him tomorrow and he asked his mom what happens if he gets scared again. What she said made more sense than anything I've ever heard about kids and swimming in the pool. She said that tonight they would go home and pray to Jesus that He would send the child's guardian angel with him to protect him while he swam. MAN THAT MAKES SENSE. Because let me tell you I was sitting there today with forty kids in the pool wondering why I hadn't had to jump yet--it's all the guardian angels. I'm sure glad they are professional swimmers. 

There are many great things about the pool but one of the best this year is my crew. They are awesome. The best I have ever had. All of them care about their job and doing it well. They arrive on time, stay late, and are always willing to do anything extra--like vacuum for six hours after a windstorm. During our breaks we sometimes make friendship bracelets. It might seem kind of corny but I love them and am embracing the hippie or 90s life whichever you see it. I see my bracelets and am reminded of how thankful I am to have hardworking guards who care about the pool like I do. 

Now, lets be real, I love my tan, sitting out in the sun all day is my favorite, but after today I'll never look at the pool the same way. Instead of just kids I'll always see the guardian angels floating right behind them. 


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Day 10

Today is Day 10 of my quasi-quarantine. I have been making rosaries everyday and would like to make you one...if you are interested! All I ask is that you donate to my favorite seminarian. Here is a picture of what the rosary looks like:

I hand make them out of string. My mom taught me how to make them and she also makes them as well. They are nice gifts and keep me busy during this time. I started a puzzle last night and if it weren't for my brother, I would have put the puzzle back in the box and started a different one already.

Tomorrow we start our online instruction for the students at Denison ISD. I have my assignment posted already and hopefully they all find it to be simple and not time consuming. I think that during this time, we as teachers, need to be considerate of what our students are going through. I know many of my kids are taking care of their siblings, fixing meals during the day, and doing much more than I am throughout the day. I am NOT trying to put more stress on my students and I am definitely trying to make school something that is not a huge thing to stress about. I think that the last thing that my kids need is one more burden to worry about.

"We Didn't Start the Fire"

I actually thought I had a blog titled this already but I ran through my titles and I don't. I remember in high school, my teacher, Coach Felderhoff, had us do a project where we finished "We Didn't Start the Fire". I remember the project because I had such a good time doing it and it helped me understand how the world would always have problems no matter what age people were. I know there is someone out there who has already added the lyrics to the song featuring COVID-19 so I don't plan on writing my own. However, if I were still in Coach Felderhoff's history class, you can bet I would write some killer lyrics for this decade.

Stay hopeful.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Day 9

I've been in my own personal quarantine for nine days now. I did drive to my parents' to stay with them so I wouldn't be alone for two more weeks. As my brother told me this morning, we are living history that people will write about and remember for years to come. The things I will remember about this time include not being able to go into stores or come into contact with other people, teaching online classes to my students, how to get through multiple hours in a day without becoming completely bored, and I'm sure much more.

The more news I read, the more I think that the effects of COVID-19 will last much longer that anyone originally anticipated. To pass the time, I have made rosaries, colored, wrote cards, and watched plenty of television. I never thought I would be ready to go back to school but I miss the daily routine, the kids, and the challenges of teaching.

I am also ready for warm weather. If the weather was over forty degrees, I think I would be more content with being at home. There is something about warm weather and a hot sun that bring me peace. I am glad to be out of the rain in Denison but am ready for a sunny day--hopefully tomorrow.

One person I am grateful for during this time is my oldest brother, Ryan. He keeps me on my toes during the day. Granted, he's sometimes a pest, but we have a lot of fun together. It would be great if Reidy was here too but he is in Fort Worth working at the bank he runs. My brothers are two people who are always fun to be around. They are always laughing and have a joke for every moment.

Raider, my dog, is just like the rest of us. He paces back and forth down the hallways, takes naps, eats, and comes around for the occasional pet. He is living his best life.

Today, day nine, is eleven days away from the next announcement that the school will make concerning our return or lack there of to our regular schedule.

Until next time,


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Not that it matters

When will we be on lockdown? That's the latest question I keep asking myself--not that it matters.

Today I drove home to be with my family for a little while instead of holding up in my house alone for the next two weeks. The roads were fairly empty and the drive was easy. When I got to Gruver, it was sunny and windy...I swapped out the rain for the sun and wind--I'm okay with that.

This morning our school met, tomorrow morning they will meet again, to develop a plan for our online learning platform. It is weird for me to think that I will spend the next two weeks, and potentially more time, teaching online. Honestly, to me, it feels like one day I was going about my normal daily life, and the next, everything was turned upside down. Going into my own personal lockdown did not seem gradual. I came home from a softball game last Wednesday and Thursday I had decided I was not leaving the house again.

Being home already feels better. It's nice to be in face to face contact with other humans. Granted, I know that I will still have to find things to do and work on my online classes, but this is better than being at my house alone finishing another season of South Park.

If we were in school, we would beginning to read "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. I'm still going to teach the short story online but it's just not the same as being in a live classroom engaging in meaningful discussion. If you haven't read "The Lottery", I highly suggest doing so--it's a very quick read and a great story. Let me know what you think. I can always use suggestions and thoughts for my lessons.



Monday, March 16, 2020

Write About It

Mom said that kids should write about COVID-19 because of the importance it has during this time in our lives. I figured I should write too--not just the kids. 

I have quarantined since Thursday and our school is closed for this week (at minimum). The five days I have been alone in my house seem like forever. I have cleaned, cooked, got donation bags together of clothes, and watched half of the South Park series. Besides watching South Park, all of the other things I have wanted to get done for quite sometime. Currently, I am watching RAW. Because of COVID-19, RAW is being produced live with no crowd. It's pretty fascinating to see the worlds best entertainers keep a show going without a live audience. Now to some of the questions...

Am I afraid of COVID-19?

Yes and no. I am afraid of getting the virus. My immune system is stronger than it has ever been. For those of you that know me know that if I haven't been in the hospital this year then I'm doing great with my breathing. I can't remember the last year that I haven't gotten bronchitis or pneumonia--knock on wood that I don't get sick with either of those OR the coronavirus. Still, getting the virus is a real fear for me. I'm not afraid of school being closed or that I have to stay in my house (though I might go crazy) but don't come near me unless you're washing your hands--and even then I might still tell you to stay away.

How long do I think the effects of COVID-19 will last? 

Short term, until summer. Long term, at least a year. I'm not sure that we will be able to finish out the school year. Dallas canceled school indefinitely today and we are only an hour from Dallas--there is nothing to say that we aren't next. All the college sports for the year have been canceled, the casinos are all closed around our area, and it seems to me that we are headed towards a lockdown. I think the community and local businesses are being fairly proactive in closing or limiting their interactions with patrons to certain hours or drive-thru only. Regardless, I think we all need to be prepared to hold up in our houses for the long haul.

There are plenty more questions I could answer and much more that I could write, but for now...


Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Puzzle

Over Christmas, our family made a goal--to complete the puzzle my brother gave me before I came back to Denison--which meant we had seven days. I don't know how to explain the puzzle other than it is impossible to complete by matching colors--you can only complete it by matching shapes. It is by far the hardest puzzle I have ever completed. I absolutely could not do it on my own. In fact, I was so frustrated with the puzzle that I put it back in the box. When I did that, Mom told me to bring it home and her, my dad, and Ryan would help me do it when I was home. Her and Ryan stayed up until the late hours the last night completing the final masterpiece and gluing it together (I went to bed early as I had to take an exam the next day). The next day my mom bought a frame for the puzzle, Ryan helped me glue it in (he did most of it) and now it's hanging on my wall at home.

I'm not kidding--this puzzle was extremely hard. Since then, I've moved back into my old puzzle ways--Buffalo brand 500 pieces. What was really neat is that Dad said we should do a puzzle every Christmas. I thought that was also a great idea--maybe next year we won't do one that's so difficult.