And the Internet Won…

See? It’s already up? However, this morning, just before 8 am EST, just as I clicked the button to start my Class (with a new student), I had no internet. The student was there. I had said “Hello,” and…Crash! It was my fault, Admiral Obvious told me many many times:

“You have no internet.” “Your student is waiting.” “Try another classroom line.” “You have no connection.” “This is another line, and you do not have internet.”

By this time I am frantic, and Yes I know “I Have No Internet!” What I do have is three minutes, now two, to get online somehow. If I cannot connect in time, the class will be canceled. Wait! I have my phone. I press the button the use it as temporary WiFi, but just as I get it loaded, time’s up! .

I am a new teacher to this learning platform, and I have spent weeks learning how to teach from a little square box on the screen. It took over ten trials until I passed the internet test. Am I getting out of hand here? Probably, but now I will worry for a while as the seconds count down to another class.

People, (you know, they) say it’s good for you to work outside of the box. I am working inside a little box.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Magnets on Ducks and a New Classroom

Now do not skip to the end of this blog post, not yet. It’s true I have been unemployed, but no longer.

I’m still am ESL teacher! And I teach students one-on-one. I began working toward my certification last November and met the qualification in late January. Today, I have seven bookings with Chinese children, 5-7 years old, and I don’t make up the lesson plans but I do get to play–a lot! Below is a photo of my classroom, minus my laptop and headphones, and toys, and, well you get the idea. If you notice on the lower left, there is a stuffed pig in the basket, and he is named Mr. Pig. (overly creative, right?) It is the Chinese Year of the Pig.   Keep checking. The ducks are coming.

Why yes, the owl is wearing a tiara, but I will put it on if one of my girls likes it. I also have a baseball cap.

Please Vote

I was a freshman in college when Watergate finally took Richard Nixon down. I listened to his resignation speech on the radio at my part-time job. In fact, I became a political science major because of what was going on in Washington, D.C., although my family always encouraged me to read the news and keep up with what was going on in the world.

I was in one of the first groups of 18-year-olds to vote for the first time!

And now, when the world seems to be in constant turmoil, the one thing we can positively do as American citizens is vote! Please do not think your vote doesn’t matter because it does. Every vote matters.

I will not use my blog to promote politics, because we each have a right to our own opinions, and I am not judging anyone’s free speech. However, I do think we have a responsibility as citizens to go to the polls. Today is the last day of September. The days are moving quickly.

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 6 and vote.

 

Forget About It

There isn’t anything special about today. It’s Sunday which is a nice rest day for many people, but since my unemployment kicked in, I have been struggling to remember what day it is. After all those years of Monday, waiting for Friday, I’m lost.

I am a control person, meaning of course, I like to have everything neatly piled on my desk and ready to go. I do not line up my pencils; I stick them in a cup, but even with my classes and the book I’m trying to write, no I should say writing because it passed through as a grad thesis from two professors who liked it. Prof Ulrich told me to “shape the dissonance into a dance,” and so I did, but it’s only 114 pages, and there is more.

Much more.

And I think the piece that has stymied my is writing about the effect of depression for the last few years. I feel empty and it’s a lot easier to stuff bad thoughts and bad things from the past deep deep down. In fact, I throw them down the well, the dark part of my mind.

I thought, after my suicide attempt I had sunk as far down as possible. But no, there is more, like a cave ledge. You throw a small stone over the side, and listen to it fall, water dripping all around you, and after a few moments, you realize the stone is still falling and you will, too, if you jump. I wonder what’s at the very bottom of an endless chasm. Is it only endless to us because we can’t hear the stone falling anymore? But imagine, it must stop somewhere! The only way to find out is to jump, and I’m not ready to do that. I’m not brave enough.

adult adventure blue jeans boots
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

All I Can Do is Write

I hate Cancer. I had it and got lucky. I beat it, just in time.

I hear about it so much on social media that I just get angry. Dammit! It’s not fair. I have lost friends and relatives. I read about children who have it. It’s not fair. The treatments are getting better (as mine was), but there is always someone else who can’t beat it even though they try with every ounce of strength in their bodies.

Later, we read, this person lost their battle with cancer. Just wait a darn minute! How do we fight something inside our body that we can’t see? Advantage, cancer. Not fair!

I remember having my last appointment with my doctor after surgery. There was a woman at the counter who had been successful, and she whooped it up, but I saw another woman in the corner who clearly wasn’t doing so well. I mentally sent her good thoughts, but I wanted to hug her. Of course I couldn’t. I remembered people doing that to me, and although they only meant well, I didn’t want a hug.

I wanted to run after the loud woman and ask her if she know what she had done to the woman in the corner wearing the bright head scarf.

I got lucky, but I tried to leave the doctor’s waiting room as quietly as possible.

To anyone, anyone fighting, I send my love.

 

 

Sports and Other Oddities

Girls were just beginning to be encouraged to play sports in the late 1960s. I had half athletic genes from my Dad, but my mother broke her collar bone trying to execute a forward roll during high school gym class. It was gym class, not P.E., and the teacher was the gym teacher, of course. Today, most athletic teachers hate the term “gym.” I just hate the whole subject. Everything we did was prescribed for us, and thank goodness the sexes were separated in high school.

In the fall, we played softball. I couldn’t figure out if I was a leftie or a rightie, because no one had taught me how to hold the bat until the gym teacher yelled at me to use my dominant hand. (“No, Sonya, the other side of the base!”) The first time my bat connected with the ball, I threw the bat and got tossed out of the game. I didn’t do it on purpose. I was just so surprised I hit something! Being in the outfield was worse. We didn’t have gloves to catch the balls flying everywhere, and I backed away from the falling balls instead of trying to catch them. It must have been hilarious to watch me as I cowered down when a softball started to descend near me.

It’s funny now, but I still stay away from flying softballs and other objects. Even in a room, if someone yells, “Here! Catch!” I hold my hands out uselessly. Sometimes I get lucky enough to catch it with my body. It’s not that I think catching things is a required skill in life. I just remember the hoots of laughter (even the gym teacher) when I couldn’t manage the ball.

Guess who was picked last for gym teams.

I think if I had made up my mind to catch the ball, I could have done it, but my head said, “You idiot! What are you trying to do? Be a baseball player?” It was impossible.

**********

There was something I was good at in gym class: square dancing. I swung my partner and do-si-do’d all over the gym floor. I loved it; as far as I was concerned, we could have done that all year. My secret desire to take dancing lessons had come true! Unfortunately, square dancing lasted only a few short weeks, and then the boys went back to their side of the gym, and the girls to theirs. It would be mid-winter by then, and I knew what was coming next: gymnastics.

In the next gym class, the floor would be outfitted with a balance beam, trampoline, uneven bars, and something the teachers called a “horse.” I had watched the Olympics, so I knew how athletes were supposed to use this equipment. We were beginners, but there were always a few girls in my class every year who were good at everything. Everything. And they knew it.

“Please, Miss Loren, please! Can I show how to do a cartwheel and split?”

“Well, Jenny, you may, but remember girls, not everyone can do this!”

And with that caveat, Jenny would do cartwheels and handsprings and double forward rolls and end in a split that earned her the applause and attention she sought. I cowered in the corner and prayed for my period to start and last for several weeks so I could get out of gymnastics. It never worked.

 

Go Ahead and Cry

I have always considered myself a glass half-empty girl. If someone demanded that I put myself in one space or another, it would have to be introvert. Since I have had depression most of my life, that’s quite natural. I’d rather read than play outside, and I still feel that way.

But since my depression spiraled me down so low in the last five years, and I bounced off the bottom of the well, I have become a crier. I believe that when I was a child, I was told to stuff my feelings  down and not cry.

I remember clearly, the afternoon after my sister had been hit by a car when my grandma Lilly came to my classroom to pick me up. I had no idea what had happened, but one look at my grandmother’s face scared me. As my teacher helped me with my coat, my eyes never left grandma’s face, and finally, as I stepped near to her she whispered, “Deanna was hit by a car. She’s in the hospital.” As my teacher helped me with my coat, I began to tear up, but grandma told me not to cry, and she took my arm as we walked away.

I don’t remember much after that. Deanna had a concussion but wasn’t hurt badly. She got flowers and a lot of cards from her classmates, and I believe she might still have a small scar near her eyebrow.

It was my sister, hurt.

But I wasn’t allowed to cry about it.

So I didn’t.

And now, I am crying about a lot of moments. Yesterday, I cried while I watched John McCain’s daughter speak. I also cried when the military men carried the coffin and gave a slow salute to honor the dead Senator. Maybe I am making up for it. There are a lot of sad things in the universe, and I am crying about them.