March means clear blue skies popping wildflowers grass awakening from winter's slumber thick and green twittering birds gentle breezes air perfumed with blooming jasmine March means oak trees doing what oak trees do their spiky little pollen nuggets littering the ground invading my headspace tickling my throat choking me up making my nose drip drip drip postponing that evening walk
It was a good day for a road trip. I didn’t take one, but it was a good day for one. Where would I go? Another book shop? A hike. An hour long drive on a hilly, winding road, dotted with bluebonnets to get to Sweet Berry Farms for strawberry picking and homemade ice cream? Around here, summer already flirts with spring and it’s only been a week. Would I go to a new to me barbecue joint, those that make the best-of lists I tend to ignore? Do I go north or south or east or west?
Instead, I stay put because it’s Sunday. I clean out one corner of the garage, emptying out a box of old books I’m finally able to part with, except for a yearbook. I thumb through it. Do I keep it? The clock reminds me it’s time to pick up my teen from our neighborhood pool. “Can you give K a ride home?”
I take the short drive to drop of the friend. Pull into a tidier garage, shut the door behind me, and get on with my Sunday, because there isn’t much of it left. It was a good day for a road trip if Monday didn’t hover nearby.
I figured out I was a bench warmer as a third grader, before I knew there was a term for it. My parents allowed me to join Little Dribblers, our local kid’s basketball organization. All my friends joined, and they were the cool kids. I don’t remember how I ever got to the practices, I probably walked to most of them, but my parents weren’t always in the stands cheering me on. Usually, they dropped me off, picked me up, and that was that. Typical 80’s kid doing her own thing. Their work schedules often conflicted with extracurricular activities and there were two other younger kids at home. Later it would become three.
During practice I tried to keep up, watching the others with envy as their basketballs obeyed and bounced back to their fingertips for another forceful tap. I spent most of my time chasing my basketball. If a coach intercepted it and passed it back to me, I moved out of the way so it wouldn’t hit me in the head. I like to think I have a metal plate in my head that attracts moving objects. It’s still there and it still works. I was never good at catching.
My dad watched some games, but I rarely played. I learned that you have to be good to play, otherwise you sit and wait for the team to win. Or lose. Sometimes I’d go in and it seemed that just as I got warmed up, a buzzer went off or a whistle blew and there was a switcharoo. Back to the bench. Cheer the team from there.
The following year, the sign up form went home again. I looked at it, but I knew better. I wouldn’t bother. We didn’t have a smooth driveway with a basketball goal for me to practice. I didn’t get any better. I wanted to play because my friend played, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as they did. I preferred to spend my time in different ways. After all, if I was going to sit on a bench, I’d rather sit there reading a book, not wishing to dribble basketball.
I’ve zombified my eyes and my back is hunched. It’s everywhere. Google drive. Work email. My own email. All of my pictures on my camera. Over 7,000 of them. Why so many screenshots? I rarely go back to them. This is ridiculous. This is in addition to the regular clutter I’m constantly working to clear out of my house. I start looking at pictures and start deleting like a champ. Until I start looking at them and reminiscing.
I tried deleting some folder from my Google drive at work. However, I’m afraid I’ll delete something I may have shared or has been shared with me. It appears that I can delete a shortcut to a folder that was shared with me without accidentally deleting the entire folder. See what happens when you start sharing too much? I’m sure that happened frequently. If other people’s Google drives are like mine, they may not notice anything is missing.
With emails, I gave up. No sense in trying. Those bots keep it chock full of junk. I’ve unsubscribed multiple times to the same addresses. Mark it as spam and it still shows up. Can I start with a fresh account? The work account is the one I want to clear out. Every summer I sign up for a decluttering challenge, a letter a day for each letter of the alphabet. I’ve only made it to letter E, I think. It takes about an hour per day and it works great, in theory. I have the directions buried somewhere in the depths of my email. I didn’t delete them. Saving them for, what? A rainy day?
I’m trying to delete as I go. Set aside time to focus on it, even if it’s ten minutes a day. The problem is it’s hard to find those few little minutes. Looks like I’m an e-hoarder.
Allow Me to Introduce You…
Say hi to my Pinkie Toe. We have this thing. It’s attached, of course, but it’s also, electric? Magical? Possessed? Implanted with a microchip put there by an extra-terrestrial being when I was three? It has lots of stories to tell.
Here’s the back story. I have a reputation. Good? Bad? Well, maybe not that kind, but of the kind that breaks things. Specifically, technology type things. Like the Internet. A VCR/DVD combo from back in the day. The school’s network. Electrical wires and power outlets. My laptop. Printers. Cameras. Phones. Important things.
I’m not sure when it started, but I made sure our ITS on campus was on-call any time I planned for my students to use the laptops. He knew he’d earn his keep with popping in throughout the day to troubleshoot. These weren’t ordinary troubleshooting issues, either. A brand new cart of computers? There was always something wrong with them.
Yesterday, we were offline due to a broken server. I didn’t do it. Today, I taught a lesson on paraphrasing. Kids used Pear Deck to practice. For the last class, I scheduled my observation and evaluation lesson with my director. She came in, set up, and the students logged in, entered the correct code, and
a light flickered. My ginormous computer panel board shut down. Completely. I had set the Pear Deck to teacher led because, well, I had to teach stuff. There was no way to continue with the lesson. All of the other lights were fine. The other flat panel, where I had my March Madness Tournament of Books presentation going on loop was fine. My computer at my station was fine. This was the same lesson I had to complete at home last night because our server was down yesterday.
Seems Pinkie Toe needs an update, but I don’t know how to submit a tech support ticket. Perhaps watching E.T. will help.
Today, the internet went down for our entire district. I couldn’t work on the lesson I have scheduled for tomorrow. My observation is for this specific lesson. Sigh…
It also happened during one of our busiest times. Most kids pop in to the library not to read books, but to play video games or watch YouTube videos. Got to sites they shouldn’t visit. What must we do to pry the devices out of their hands? We’re 1:1, but I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In theory it works, but there are so many important steps that were missed when the Big C forced it on us.
What did the teachers do? Some turned on a movie. (Yawn.) Some had students read. Others allowed students to play board games. Whip out real paper and writing sticks. What do we do with these?
Our group of regulars who come in every day during lunch skipped their usual comfy spots and made their way to the tables. Instead of taking out their Chromebooks, they sat there and talked. They made eye contact with one another. They spoke about favorite uncles. Not so favorite aunts. Getting in trouble. Bed times. Finishing a journal. I’m actually almost finished writing on every page! Wondering what they’ll do in the next class after the bell rings. Will the bell even ring? Mentioning all types of crafts they like to make.
They spoke with one another. They were smiling. It was glorious.
years ago I wondered why eating dinner made me queasy twenty one years ago we drove around looked at an empty lot paid for it and stared at each other dumbfounded did we just purchase a new home? twenty one years ago we found out there's a baby on the way to help us occupy it so much expectation in those twenty one years growth pain possibilities struggle lucky number seven three times over
“Someday I’m going to be a grown-up like you and I’ll have to use that fork thing when I eat. So let me be a kid and eat my broccoli however I want, even if it’s with my fingers.”
She’s not wrong. I mean, she is eating the broccoli, I observe as she kicks her legs back and forth in her seat at the kitchen table. Her seat since she turned one. Same spot. No one sits there. If they do, she reminds them there are other places to sit.
I’m the one who gave her frozen broccoli florets when she was three. I thought it was odd, but that’s what her home daycare sitter did. She’d give all the kids florets of frozen broccoli on hot afternoons. Any time I took some out to add the obligatory green vegetable side dish to our dinner, she asked for a piece. In my curiosity, I gave her one, expecting her to toss it aside. She ate the whole thing and asked for more. Then she ate more at dinner.
Okay, so broccoli is a thing. She likes it, so why fight it? Now, it only gets eaten with seasoned salt. Small pieces. Warm, not frozen. Sometimes she’ll stab a fork into it, but I still see her occasionally get some with her fingers. I don’t argue anymore, because yes, sooner than I’d like, she’s going to be a grown-up like me and have to use that fork thing when she eats.
Mid-Day Sunday Coffee
Summer Moon my favorite coffee shop oldies on loud espresso machine hisses and steams everyone's orders stair-stepped mini-bleachers hold a single to-go order because Sundays are for sitting and sipping a steaming mid-day cup on a cold, sunny spring day waiting for warm weather to pounce and stay soon warm drinks will be ordered over ice cups dripping with condensation it's noisy people catching up winding down sipping away the weekend, a week-long break, a few more hours until tomorrow where we all wake up and do it all over again, with a quick home-brewed coffee to chase the sleep away
I've perched at the end of the kitchen table in front of the back porch window facing the front door It became my desk grad school homework nonstop for three years. I nested there awaiting my possibilities adding to the space making it as cozy as one can make a kitchen table competing with family meals kids' homework craft projects during down time and breaks junk mail wine glasses coffee mugs papers waiting to be graded Time passed, yet I still perch at the end of the kitchen table in front of the back porch window facing the front door It has become my desk morning pages, three of them every day (mostly) for over four years flanked on the right with a writing cabinet wine glasses and unopened bottles of wine occupy the top shelf waiting to be sipped This morning, I changed my seat and now I perch on the long side of the kitchen table to the right of the back porch window next to my son's favorite seat, occupied only when he visits, leaving the front door behind enjoying a better view