Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31: Walking Habits

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31: 
Walking Habits

Since the Covid-19 epidemic began, I've been trying to adapt to all kinds of things: digital learning/teaching, social distancing, and making peace with all of the cancellations. At times it has been a bit jarring and overwhelming. 

However, there hasn't been a day that I have not gone for at least one walk, especially during my lunch hour. Although I often walked before or after school, I didn't walk during my lunch break. Now it's one of my favorite times of the day. I get a break from my computer. I get some time outdoors. I get to spend time either in solitude or chatting with my neighbor/friend, Dave. 

On today's lunchtime walk, I ran into one of my administrators running during her lunch break. In addition, I saw two families out for a walk. My neighbor, Rae, was out on her lunch break and walking with her friend. It makes me happy to see so many people outside.

Generally, I feel better after I walk. I feel less overwhelmed and often less cranky. I'm not sure why I didn't do it when I was physically at school.

Walking during my lunch break is something I want to continue after this pandemic is over. 



Lunch time stroll relieves/
anxiety, tension. Now/
welcome habit change. 



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Monday, March 30, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 30/31: Sidewalk Poetry

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 30/31: 
Sidewalk Poetry

On Wednesday the month of March ends and April begins, ushering in National Poetry Month

This April, in the midst of the social distancing Covid-19 Epidemic, I need to celebrate poetry and do better in sharing how it has impacted me.

On a walk yesterday afternoon, my friend/neighbor, Dave, and I walked past this piece of sidewalk poetry: 
"I call myself poet...
comfortably, happily.
My life is filled with writing...
articles, essays, fiction, history.
But poetry is what delights me,
sustains me, is my strongest need.
As long as I write,
the rest of my life falls into place."
I was stunned. Dave and I were walking in my old neighborhood. I must have walked over that sidewalk poem so many times, but Sunday was the first time that I actually took the time to read it.

Indeed, "my life is filled with writing...but poetry is what delights me, sustains me, is my strongest need..." 

I adore this sidewalk poem. 

After reading this piece and reflecting on it, I cannot help but wonder what I can do to better help celebrate poetry this April, both at home and in my distance-learning classroom.

Fellow readers, I would love your ideas. What will you do to celebrate National Poetry Month this April? 



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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 29/31: Signs of Growth

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 29/31: 
Signs of Growth 

From darkness, despair,/
and mess of barren season:/
fresh growth emerges. 




Spring reminds me that somehow growth and beauty prevail after long, difficult seasons of dormancy. 



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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 28/31: What I Have Learned So Far

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 28/31: 
What I Have Learned So Far

It's hard not to think about COVID-19 without worry. Trust me, I have. However, this morning I found myself reflecting of what I have learned about myself (and confirmed what I already knew about myself) in the midst of this pandemic:
  • I am a people person. I would not do well in a job where I didn't have much contact with people. I think that it is FAR more challenging delivering school via distance learning than traditional teaching face-to-face. I haven't figured out a good routine for myself yet. I have also realized that it takes me much longer to help a student virtually. Of course I have digital tools, like Google Meet, but my students aren't really familiar with this technology yet and many do not have access to Internet beyond their cell phone. I miss so many things about face-to-face learning. I cannot wait until I get to see students in person again. 
  • I need hugs. Yes, I am a hugger and crave physical contact. There are many staff members/friends who give me hugs when I see them at school and when we get together. Usually, I attend church on Sundays and see my church family there, providing ample opportunities for hugs. During our official "Stay-At-Home Order," I have missed hugs, especially when my kids are not with me. Unfortunately my daughter's guinea pigs only provide me with so much comfort. (Side note: I really need a dog or a cat.)
  • I need meaningful connection. Prior to about a month ago, with the exception of my parents and sometimes my aunt or grandma, I rarely talked to anyone on the telephone or via video chat. I only exchanged streams of text messages. In the last few weeks, my friend, S., and I have been talking on the phone daily. Hearing his voice (and the voice of others on the phone) makes a huge difference. I feel so much more connected to people when I hear their voice. 
  • I need daily time outside. I like to walk and move and explore, even on rainy and cold days like today. My connection to nature has been particularly lifesaving on days I've felt lonely and unsettled. I always seem to handle challenges with more clarity upon return from a walk. 
  • I need daily time to read and write. Reading and writing continue to be my most welcome companions - healthy, essential outlets. Both keep me sane - a refuge for anxiety-ridden thoughts.  
  • I can only control so much. I was under the illusion that I was in control of so much, yet daily I am reminded that I only have control over my actions, my words, and my response. I keep realizing that things that seemed to be in my control never really were. 
I wonder what else I will learn from this time and what my own children, my students, and my friends and family will teach me. I am convinced that I still have so much to learn. 

What have you learned? 



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Friday, March 27, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 27/31: Outside Play

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 27/31: 
Outside Play

Perhaps one silver lining of social distancing/Covid-19 is the gift of play. Recently, I have spent a lot of time with my kids outside. My daughter loves to play frisbee. My son loves to kick around the soccer ball. As the mother of a tween and teenager, I am giddy when I get the opportunity to spend time with them, especially when it does not involve any kind of technology. 

Tonight we chased each other. 
Tonight we giggled.
Tonight we stayed outside until it was too dark to see. 

I cannot remember the last time we played so hard we got sweaty. I cannot remember the last time we spent so much time outside. I cannot remember the last time the three of us had so much fun.

All because of social distancing.  



Playing with my kids makes this mama's heart full.  



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 26/31: Haiku Process

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 26/31: 
Haiku Process

Elisabeth Ellington of The Dirigible Plum, commented on one of my recent posts, inquiring about my process of how I write Haiku: "Do you think of your haiku as you're walking and write in your head until you can get home and capture it? I'm curious about your process!" 

So Elisabeth, here you go...

I continue to realize that I'm a creature of habit. Any poem I write, especially a Haiku, is intially composed in my head as I am walking (or working on something). Especially when I walk alone, I always have my phone with me, so I often record the lines of a Haiku in the notes section from my phone.

For example, on my walk this morning I composed this Haiku as a note: 


Dear readers, yesterday (and still a little bit today), I'm struggling with solitude. Currently, my kids are at their dad's house. With the Covid-19 crisis and our Safer at Home Order, I don't have my usual cadre of teacher friends who provide me with endless hugs and laughter. On past Wednesdays after school I typically visit my friend Ellen's house for crochet lessons. I cannot go there either. I am doing fine, but there are times that I feel so lonely. I just don't have the same kinds of distractions. Last night I found myself stuck in the house on a rainy night. I was thinking of this as I walked this morning and wrote this: 

Yesterday's visit:/
unwanted alone time...I'm/
still navigagting. 

One of the first things I like to do when I return from a walk (as soon as coffee is ready, of course) is write. Often I will revise and edit what I composed in a note. For the above Haiku, I haven't done anything to it yet in terms of editing, revising, or even just playing with the words. For me, that's often the best part - arranging and playing with words. 

So, there's my process. It's fairly organic and simple, but it works for me. 

What's your process in writing? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 25/31: Wander with Wonder

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 25/31: 
Wander with Wonder


This morning I marveled in my morning walk. Beyond birdsongs, there was no music. I was not plugged into any podcasts. Instead I allowed my mind and body to wander. It was the perfect way to begin my day. 

Taking regular neighborhood strolls has certainly been one of the best gifts I have given myself. When I returned home, I penned this haiku: 

Take time to wander./
Notice how tree buds appear./
Wonder through sunrise. 




Being outside, taking time to notice my surroundings, and walking makes such a difference in how I approach each day.


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Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31: Walking Habits

Slice of Life #20 Challenge Day 31/31:  Walking Habits Since the Covid-19 epidemic began, I've been trying to adapt to all kinds of thin...