Recent self-portrait when i came out of my den to check which way the wind’s blowing.
Ok, so I’m not currently completely drowning and indeed have had a couple of productive days, so I’m going to quick document them for future reference on the days when there’s (theoretically) nowhere to go but up.
I can’t find my three-hole punch right now and that’s frustrating because I have made Kepler a “Daily Learning Notebook” that I found on a homeschooling blog and so I’m hole-punching papers one at a time with one of the old-timey punches that break your hand and stick in the papers so you have to force the handles apart. I still have lots of stuff that hasn’t found a permanent home from our move last year and apparently my three-hole punch is one of those things.
I was always secretly critical and judgmental of my dad for buying another widget when he couldn’t find the one he already had, but nowadays I can definitely see the wisdom in that. I love the idea of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but I definitely have not been able to achieve that with any consistency. So I shall continue to hand punch until the three-holer shows its face again. (Haha unless I find myself in an office supply store in the hole-punch aisle!)
Some kids like visual schedules, but Kepler prefers LISTS. Lists that he can complete and check off. Here’s tomorrow’s list:
Sometimes Kepler struggles with doing a task he doesn’t want to do. He can be pretty stubborn and hard to talk into something. Sometimes bribery works. Sometimes “first this, then that” will motivate him. I decided to create something to help him get through those rough times. I modified the “serenity prayer” and then added some “I can” statements, with the culmination “I can and I will.” He uses this tool pretty often, and it’s neat to see him taking responsibility for himself. He took it upon himself to write the tips down in his own handwriting.
Kepler is a hard worker and is definitely being a trouper during this crazy time. If I weren’t such a grump bunny so often, we would probably just laugh and giggle our way through the days, but as it is, we do a lot of smiling. Until next time, take good care and I wish you well!
Our heroine was in the dark of the tunnel, the dark before the dawn, lost in the forest. I suppose you’ve all been wondering what happened next.
Yes, finding out the password and being able to log in was the best thing that happened this week because our heroine suddenly remembered that she is a natural teacher, and has the best student ever.
There is a small problem with pizza here. As in, I’m going to be Jabba the Hutt when this quarantine is over. But I’m trying to take things one day at a time. And as far as homeschooling Kepler goes, we are doing ok now.
We even had Saturday school today and it was a pleasure. So I have at least adjusted to the fact that we probably will not have school for the remainder of the year. School is only closed until May 4 right now, but I anticipate that will be extended through the remainder of the year.
That’s all for now. Still sighing, but not about school and passwords anymore.
I haven’t blogged in forever. There is so much content out there; I’ve decided my blogs aren’t adding much value to the world, but I am writing today because I need to.
So, like the rest of the world, we are schooling from home. I’m an old hand at homeschooling, aren’t I, then? I homeschooled pretty much non-stop from January 27, 1993 until around 2012, 2014? Something like that. I tried and used many different curricula, schools of thought, and original creative ideas on educating my kiddos.
With Kepler, I believed (rightly so) that the public school system would be the best set-up for him. So, the day after he turned 3, he started pre-school. That was 11 years ago. He has been lovingly guided by capable teachers now for many years. These are people who love what they do, love the kids, and do an amazing job with them.
My issue with the schools is that I have not been able to be hands-on with what he was learning and doing, which makes it quite difficult for me to reinforce what they are doing, let alone supplement it in a one-on-one context. Of course, there have been plenty of other issues which have impacted my ability to do more than the bare bones of living, chief of which has been long bouts with depression.
Well, now it’s time for me to step up and guide his learning at home, whether or not I want to.
And OMG this is complicated. The main complication is that all the assignments are online, but one aspect of the login information I was given has not yet worked. That’s the first issue. Secondly, the information is listed in Place A and Place B, and you can also access it through Place C, but make sure you click the icon in the address bar (I didn’t find that out for several days).
Kepler is actually quite adept at using his Chromebook. He can really navigate to email and google classroom and knows how to join google hangouts, etc. But he doesn’t have the executive functioning to be able to put everything together — plan what to do today, what to do next, etc.
All I can say is this is stretching my ability to cope. Do you know what it’s like to try to login to something and be told you have the wrong password? Of course you do. It’s a part of life for every single one of us who must navigate a thousand passwords. But add onto that the responsibility of overseeing a child’s education and this situation is asking for way more patience than I seem to have.
Finally, today, after many attempts, I was able to contact the correct person who was able to unlock something so I could do the fix. When did we start this schooling from home thing? I guess it’s technically only the second week, but I spent time the first two weeks seeing if I could acquaint myself with the system, so I’ve been at this for nearly four weeks.
Add into this the unique learning style, and pace of learning with Kepler, both of which are relatively foreign to me, as my experience with my older four was quite different, and didn’t include forty thousand different logins and passwords and terms and apps I was unfamiliar with. I need things simple and I’m not getting to have that.
So, I’m feeling sad. And angry. And frustrated. I’m attempting to give myself compassion but boy oh boy this is hard. I listened to a Brene Brown podcast yesterday and she said this isn’t a time for comparing how hard things are with how hard they are for anyone else. And I have been doing that. Yeah, maybe I have some difficulties, but what about the people who …. [fill in the blank]. And I appreciate what Brene said, because whatever anyone else is going through, this situation for me is difficult.
I can also see that it is an opportunity, but I have to first feel all the emotions that come with the challenge. I just can’t do anything perfectly, or even close to really well these days. So, I guess I’ll just do the best I can with the information I have and remember that there is such a thing as good enough even when something isn’t perfect.
Kyle is a former stand-up comedian who now does transformational events and speaking and I love him!
A couple weeks ago, my sister sent me a video about him and invited me to join her in watching a video series she had purchased. I’d never heard of the guy but I was in a bit of a stagnant place and knew I was ripe to hear some good input.
Well, it changed my life. Yeah. Really. I had struggled for many years being in an ongoing war with my brain, and Kyle’s teaching helped me befriend my little brain by understanding that it is going to create a story about everything and I am not the story!
I am not the story.
I am the space where the story happens.
And that’s about the most exciting thing I have learned in quite some time. The video series is called “The Limitation Game.” It can be found here. I spent $40 on lunch today. The video series costs $20. I own it and am enjoying watching it via Skype with one of my daughters. There are exercises and interaction that happen which continue to inspire me to living from my heart.
Kyle Cease on YouTube. This is a little snippet of the things he teaches. It’s about five minutes long. I dare you to watch it and see what moves in you.
The other day I was in the grocery store and I was craving this one thing that I often crave. Ok, it was a fried chicken breast from the deli. I really like chicken. Reallllly like it. And I eat it often in many different ways, but boy do I love those fried chicken breasts. However, this day I was aware of the craving and I decided to go inward to see what would happen.
My story was that I HAD to have a fried chicken breast or I would die. It was just a story. But then I remembered: I am not the story. I am the space where the story happens. When I realized I am the space, the tension and the tightness and the craving all released. Spoiler alert: I didn’t eat and chicken and I didn’t die.
Kyle is sharing what he shares because his calling is to inspire others to help change our world by stepping out of our stories and living from our hearts. I’m in. Join us!
Yes, I know it has been a long time, so I assure you this is me intentionally typing, not wordpress desperately putting up a post to indicate this website is still alive. Good day.
I discovered today that I am allergic to cherries. Cherries! A food I have eaten and loved since childhood.
I had been missing cherries on keto, and finally decided in my second summer of keto to go ahead and have some. And I discovered I am allergic. Now I don’t have to miss them anymore because the only thing I’m missing is allergy symptoms!
Since I last wrote, I have started using a lot! of exclamation points! I think that came about because ending a sentence with a period seems like I’m mad. Where did I get this idea?
Finally, if you remember the last post wherein I wrote about prioritizing speech practice for Kepler this summer, I thought I’d add an update.
Today we did our 47th day in a row of speech practice.
And also finally, more finally, is that yesterday as I was going about my day, I found two working inkpens at two different places, lying on the ground beside my car. I took it as a sign to write.
Hey! Long-time, no see! That’s my obligatory “sorry I haven’t been blogging” intro. First, a lot of things happen and there isn’t time to blog. Then, life gets a little overwhelming and I don’t want to blog. And then exciting things happen but I think, “oh, I can’t just jump back in with *this!*”
However, onward and upward.
Today was the last day of sixth grade for Kepler. Now it’s time to plan our summer. The highest priority for us this summer is to work on Kepler’s articulation so that everyone can understand him and appreciate his humor and sweet spirit like we do.
So I’m recruiting a village. I want people who want to help me be faithful to practice speech exercises with Kepler every day this summer. The challenge for me is two-fold. First, having a system in place that ensures I get it done without having to make a big decision about it every day. Second, persevering when progress is slow and when Kepler resists.
I’m people who are willing to receive a quick text message from me on predetermined days so I can tell someone I completed today’s practice. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything. It’s my job and I want to do it. I just need some help.
The ideal situation is for me to spend thirty minutes every day practicing the exercises together. Are you up to be part of the cheering section? Leave a comment, send me a text, send me a facebook message, whatever works for you!
I’ve been thinking about this post from July 2013 because I’m back in retail, although not stocking the band-aid shelves any longer. Now my job is to select the band-aids (and the cereal, and the water, and the canned tomatoes, and the bread) that the ecommerce customer has asked for.
Did you ever play store when you were a kid? We did. We would climb up onto the stove top and pull canned goods, oatmeal, teabags, cereal, and more out of that upper cabinet. Then we would go get some paper bags out of the closet, and carry it all into the living room to set up our store. There were three of us kids so we had a bagger, a cashier, and a customer. Sometimes we would strain the cashier’s capabilities and have TWO customers in line. Ah, it made for hours of fun.
I remember how fun it was to set up the store. When I started mulling over the possibility of getting a job in retail, my local grocery clerk actually asked me out of the blue if I would like a job, so I pursued it. There are some fun things about stocking shelves. Making everything look nice, filling in empty spots. The best part is being able to direct a customer to the product they are seeking.
And then the band aids happened.
Let’s just look at Johnson&Johnson, a popular brand of band-aid. The line that my local store carries includes comfort-flex plastic (60 count), medium comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), large comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), comfort-flex sheer (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (60 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (80 count), comfort-flex extra large (10count), comfort-flex clear (30 count). And so on to the tune of over 40 varieties of type, size, and use.
Ah, but we would be remiss if we only offered 40 types of one company’s product. So we also offer another 40 or so similar products of the generic house brand.
Even if you skipped those last two paragraphs, that means EIGHTY types and varieties of band aids. And band aids don’t come in those sturdy metal canisters anymore. No, indeed. They come in paper boxes.
Paper band-aid boxes fall over at the whisper of a touch. So, the poor sod who gets the job of restocking the band-aid shelves — it’s like playing that children’s game “Operation” where the buzzer sounds if you touch the sides of the “incision.” But in this case, the boxes fall over, mix themselves up, turn their backs on me, slide, fall off the shelf, stand on their head, and turn on an angle. Anything but stay where they are PUT.
Of course people need band aids. And no doubt the magic Market Research has shown that people need band aids to come in all one size, and assorted, and waterproof, and extra large, and medium, and sheer, and clear, and flexible, and sport, and pre-treated with antibiotic ointment, and shaped for fingers, and shaped for toes, and extra-sticky, and less sticky, and the all-important travel pack.
But I don’t need to be the one who messes with the incredibly tedious job of straightening and
restocking the band-aid shelves. I felt the sand of my life descending into the bottom of the hourglass as I conscientiously did this job. NOT enough sand in the top to make this job worth me doing.
Not only band-aids, but allergy medicine, shaving cream, lotions, shampoos, vitamins, diapers, chocolate bars, hairspray, feminine products, toothpaste. They all come in MULTIPLE multiple sizes.
Not enough sand, my friends, NOT ENOUGH SAND.
As is my wont, I am questioning how I am spending my time. For a long time, i wanted to have my own business, and dabbled in a couple of ideas, but i just never felt like having my own business was a good fit. I am good at support, at following, at editing, at improving. Not quite as good at facing rejection, setting boundaries, pursuing self-care in the face of the needs of others, persevering through the difficulties, waiting for the business to grow, dealing with the paperwork, and making money through having a business.
And yet, in retail, there’s this disconnect between corporate and store-level employees. Store-level employees are paid very little and are there to advance the bottom line of the company. I’m sure I can’t solve the many management/labor issues that plague our society, but I can certainly observe that they are there. So even a store-level employee who loves their job is faced over and over with ever-increasing demands from corporate. And me being the frog that I am, I was quite comfortable in the pot of cold water I started in and didn’t really notice the heat being turned up and up and up until finally my physical self started to rebel. Even then, I ignored the symptoms in the name of doing a good job at my work.
So, now, here I am, questioning. Is what I am doing worth spending the limited sand in the hourglass? In some ways, I still say yes. In other ways, I say, not a chance. If I believed there was really a chance to be successful, that is, to provide excellent customer service, then the answer is yes. But I don’t know how to lead a team to provide excellent customer service, at least not in the petri dish of my employment. Talk about sacrificing the important on the altar of the urgent.
Everything is urgent in my job. Time deadlines from morning to night. Some are reasonable, and some are not. And when they are not, mistakes are made, customers are dissatisfied, and metrics are not adequately reached. In my very, very humble opinion, the ENTIRE reason for my job is customer satisfaction. But that is a slippery, slippery slope.
Customers have learned to express their dissatisfaction. They have learned that they will receive monetary benefit if they don’t like something. There are customers who exhibit an attitude of entitlement. I love providing excellent customer service, but I also recognize that the greater good isn’t necessarily being served in the job that i do. That’s kind of a hard thing to acknowledge.
I believe in accepting what comes my way. There are plenty of times when I have to work hard to get to a place of acceptance (note: several issues occurring as I write today), but I believe with all my heart that acceptance is what brings healing, and health, and unity, and hope, and peace.
The Universe seems to be offering me another opportunity to accept things as they are. I’m not sure yet what the ultimate outcome is going to be, but I recognize at least that I want to be true to the deepest values that I hold, and that could mean making some different choices about how I spend my time. I’m thinking …
or how I lost and found my car and what happened in between.
I don’t know how these things happen. I guess I’m usually looking ahead to the next step and I miss some of the details of the step I’m on right now. Anyway …
after driving around the entire parking garage twice, because “parking ➡️“ apparently means “we have parking spaces but NONE FOR YOU,” I finally espied a spot and backed in, as my UPS driver taught me when I was a driver helper. Hopped out and didn’t look back, although I was pretty sure I knew where I’d parked.
An hour and a quart of water later, I re-emerged into the parking garage and strode purposefully forth. Hmm. No car. Kept walking. Suddenly realized I REALLY should *not* have passed by the restroom in the office without stopping. Definitely should have stopped. Seriously definitely adamantly urgently should have. And also, dude, where’s my car.
My thoughts bounced from bathroom, should have stopped, and car, where the heck is it, back to how far is the nearest bathroom to where did I park my stupid car. Well, all that bouncing about meant we were going to have to abandon the idea of an *actual* bathroom and just look for a secluded corner.
Yes, that’s right.
I did an emergency pee of the floor of a parking garage. Crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t hear the clip clop of high heels bringing someone closer and closer, I found that sweet relief.
With that need finally met and one last review of how I really should have stopped in the bathroom in the office, I could focus on where my silly car was.
As I walked away from the scene, I reached for my phone. Hmm. Not in coat pockets, even after checking three times. Hmm. Not in my jean pockets. Still not in coat pockets. Not in jeans pockets. Not in coat pockets. No matter how many times I checked, it wasn’t in my coat pockets and it wasn’t in my jeans pockets.
Retraced my steps and yep, you guessed it, picked up my phone from the ground I had just rained on. Phone kind enough to land on case so no damage.
Now finally I could find my car! Walked and walked. And there it was, right where I left it.