2 weeks has become 6 months

Two weeks to flatten the curve. That’s what they told us. Two weeks, we just had to stay apart and wash our hands till the skin fell off and everything would be fine.

And we did it. And it worked. Two weeks, and the curve was flattening.

And then it became a month. That month became another. And another.

My college shut down over Spring Break. We spent two weeks frantically trying to figure out how to teach subjects online that were never meant to be taught that way to students who don’t know how to learn that way.

We did our best, praying that Summer session would be back to normal.

Nope, this, we’re told is the “New Normal.” I suppose if you had diarrhea every day for 6 months you would consider it normal to poop 8 times a day, but it’s not something I would like to see happen. (Had that for two weeks, I know, TMI) (Thank goodness it was after the toilet paper panic)

Hey, if you can’t learn online, take a semester off! Not a big deal, right? Well, yeah, it kinda is but you’re being a hero here, and saving Grandma. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. So your kids can’t learn because the internet sucks where you live, or you don’t have a computer to start with (seriously, this is a thing), it’s not a problem because you’re saving a life!

Your kid’s life may be ruined for a few months, maybe years, maybe forever, but what the hell, you SAVED A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m pissed. We’ve been mostly living the same way we always have, except for the stupid face diapers that we tie on when we have to – and “have to” always brings out the rebel in me. I tend to forget that this shit is going on. (Stay off social media and turn off the news and life is a lot better, trust me on that one.) And then I get an email that my college is now going to remain closed through next May.

Let that sink in. Next May will be over a year since the initial closure. A year of our lives that we can’t get back. A year of our lives that was taken for a disease with a less than 1% chance of killing most people. Don’t tell me that this sacrifice was worth it. It wasn’t.

Posted in Corona virus, home, learning, my life, politics, teaching | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Murphy hates me

And yet another roadblock to my trip has appeared. My sister thinks she has the virus and went to be tested. If it comes back positive, I can’t go. No question, I can’t be quarantined for two weeks up there. If it comes back negative, that would be nice.

And yesterday my hip decided to act up. This would not normally be a big deal but my chiropractor was with someone who tested positive and she’s out of commission for two weeks herself.

I’m about to give up and reschedule the whole damned thing for the next full moon that falls on a Friday in October. (I don’t know if there is one. Probably not.)

I am seriously pissed and tired of this shit. I want normal back, and not this stupid “new normal” crap where people are scared all the time.

My husband told me it will all be over after the election. Really? Because if Biden wins, we’ll all be miraculously cured? And if Trump wins, the same people who wailed and carried on for the past four years will suddenly pick up their toys and go home?

I’m tired.

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Google is not your friend

Well, not mine, anyway. I’m a hypochondriac. I get a pain, and I know I’m dying. Seriously, I’ve been at death’s door so many times that Death is probably ready to just boot my ass through to get it over with.

I know better, but I do it anyway. I google my symptoms. You know, there’s not a single thing that is not a symptom of cancer? I swear! Cough once at 3:00 pm and you’ve got cancer. That little toe hurts? You’ve got cancer.

It might be Covid

Nope, it’s cancer.

Maybe it’s Covid. Hell, even if it’s cancer, they’ll put it down as Covid.

I’m screwed, either way.

I digress. There is a point to this. Well, there usually is, but I like to take the scenic route, okay?

I go to NY every summer to visit family. There was a period where I didn’t go – about 6 years passed – because family stuff gets stupid, especially with my family. But since the family members I like are all aging, I’ve been trying to go every year for the past 10 years or so. Last year, I made three trips. Technically, two trips were in 2018 and two in 2019, but one of those was in December so it felt like three in one year. I usually go in June or July, depending on when I have to teach. This summer everything was online because we were all going to die of Covid, or cancer, or both. And everything was shut down because we were all gonna die, which was kinda stupid because since we were all gonna die, why not make our last few days one hell of a good time?

I digressed again. I put off my trip because of all this stuff. (Didn’t want to die stuck in a motel room in Upstate NY because of quarantining and stuff) I finally said screw it. No, I said far worse than that but you all think I’m a princess and I don’t want to spoil your vision of me. Stop laughing now.

I decided I was going, come hell or high water, as my sainted mother would say. (She had a million sayings and I wish I could remember them all.) It’s been a huge hassle, Bear works for the school and first couldn’t get the time off, which is necessary because we won’t leave Maverick alone all day – that’s not fair to him and I won’t do it – and then he got the time off and I made plans and then they decided to change the day that school starts, so he can’t get the time off, so I had to change my plans (I may punch someone, let the kids go back to school, dammit) And then they changed it again on us.

Today I decided to cancel the trip. Then he came home and said he got things worked out and I should go. I’m gonna pack and hope for the best and if I have to cancel, I’m gonna cry a lot and scream a lot and probably kick something and hurt my toes – and then I’ll google toe pain and know I have foot cancer.

Or maybe Covid.

Posted in Corona virus, family, home, my life, vacation | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Masks

I spent a few hours the past couple of days making masks. I honestly hate them. I’m not really sure they do a bit of good, but they’re “required” in some places and I have friends and family who will always follow rules, even if the rules don’t make sense (I’m the rebel who says, when told that something is going to save lives, “prove it” because I do not like to be inconvenienced in any way. ). I’m the one who inherited the crafty gene – if something needs to be made, they look to me. We all inherited the gene that says if you can do something to help, you do it, and you don’t ask for accolades – actually, you do it and shut up about it.

So I’m not going to tell you about the number of masks I’ve made, or to brag that I won’t take money for them. I’m not about to profit from a pandemic.

I’m also not going to tell you that I think the whole mask thing is a blatant attempt to control the masses. Wait, I think I just told you that I think that. Oh well, never mind, I didn’t sleep last night and I’m drinking a beer so I can be excused.

Tonight one of my friends commented that her two year old wears a mask – and actually asks for it when they go out. I nearly cried. A two year old. He’s way too young to be masked. Yes, I know the CDC says he should be. I trust the CDC about as much as I trust Maverick to not beg at the table when it’s time for dinner. (Maverick begs every time I sit down even though I never – okay, hardly ever – okay, nearly always – give him something. )

A two year old. A child is being raised to socially distance himself from others. A child is being raised to not see the smiles of friendly strangers in a grocery store checkout line. (One of my favorite things to do before this bullshit hit was to make a baby giggle while waiting in line at the grocery store. I can be incredibly silly with children. I know, hard to believe) A child is being raised to never smile at a stranger, or a loved one, because he can’t see their face and they can’t see his. And when he looks at people as less than human, will it be because he was never allowed to see their smiles?

It breaks my heart.

And I go back to my sewing and I use the cutest fabric I can find – puppies and baby animals, butterflies and flowers. Perhaps they’ll smile inside when they see the puppies. I can only hope so.

Posted in Corona virus, family, home, my life | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Who’s walking who?

Maverick pulls. He pulls on leash like he’s the lead dog and I’m the sled. We work on this little quirk every single freakin day. We go to the park, and we practice “Mommah doesn’t move when you try to pull her arm out of the socket.” Every single day.

We are apparently notorious at the park because sometimes Mommah loses patience with “I’ll sit here till you take a step and then it’s on, bitch!” and says, rather loudly, ‘Jesus H Christopher Christ on a pogo stick, that’s enough!” (H stands for Harry, according to my sainted mother)

Dog training is a fascinating subject. I read dog training books like some people read Harlequin romances. The best piece of advice I’ve gotten from my books is this – the hardest dog to train is your own. I can teach dogs to sit, stay, roll over, take a treat nicely from my hand, and a whole lot of other stuff. I can even take stuff from my BFF’s dog, who was abused as a pup and doesn’t trust many people.

I fail miserably with Maverick. I love that kid so much, just thinking about him makes me smile. He is so smart and so funny and so frustrating all at the same time. He’s indulged and spoiled and he blows me off when he doesn’t feel like doing what I ask. I would never accept that from another dog but this kid – I’m putty in his hands.

I don’t mind so much except that his bad behavior is making me look bad. My friends call me the Dog Whisperer – don’t get me started on Cesar Milan, k? – and I can’t even get my own silly pup to walk on leash nicely. And I probably wouldn’t even mind all that much that I look bad if it weren’t for the totally wonderful people at the park who find it necessary to comment – every. single. day.

“wow, I guess you know who’s in charge here!” No, seriously, who is in charge? I had no clue that being dragged into the bushes meant I was not in charge! Thank you for making me aware!

“He’s taking YOU for a walk!” Wow, how original! I haven’t heard that one since, oh, yesterday?

“Have you considered a prong collar?” Well, no, because I’ve considered the damage they do to a dog’s neck. (Nothing that works by causing discomfort is going to actually work – take it off and he’s gonna pull just as hard as he did before.)

“Maybe you should get a shock collar for him.” Maybe you should get one for yourself, asshole.

“Have you tried treats?” No, this bag on my hip is just for decoration.

“He needs a drink.” Apparently he doesn’t think so because water is anathema to him at the park. But yeah, since you’re worried, I’ll make sure I once again attempt to get him to drink.

And my favorite – “why isn’t your dog neutered?” What I want to say – “why are you looking at my dog’s ass?” What I do say – “because I’ve researched and learned that early neutering increases the chances of cancer in Goldens by a very large percentage and also affects their hips and knees and having lost one Golden to hemangio, I will move Heaven and Earth to keep it from happening again.” And what I also don’t say – “it’s none of your freakin business.”

I’m going to start telling people I’m training him to be a sled dog. (That was suggested by a friend and I like it.)

I think I’ve become a complete curmudgeon. Also, get off my lawn.

Posted in dogs, learning, Maverick, my life, puppies, training | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

It seemed like a good idea at the time

Back when the world was normal – and don’t ever say “new normal” in my presence, or I will cast you out of my life so fast your new normal will be to spend every day in tears of sorrow at my absence – my department chair decided to change the accounting curriculum. We’ll be going from one 16 week class to two 8 week classes, essentially breaking Accounting 101 in half. It’s worked well for math classes, where students did well for the first half of the semester, fell hopelessly behind the second half and failed the entire course miserably. Breaking it in half allowed them to still fail miserably the second half but only have to repeat that half and not the first part, which saves them money and makes them more willing to give it another shot.

Great idea. Since it’s such a great idea, let’s also change the text! Well, the one we were using was a pretty good book but the website was a nightmare that gave us issues every single semester, to the point where I opened my classes a week early to give the students time to get registered before the inevitable overwhelming of the system the first week of school.

The IIC (Idiots In Charge) decided to go with an OER (Open Educational Resource.) Didn’t know that academia has as many alphabet thingies as the Feds, did you? Well, we do. We like to think it makes us special when no one knows what the heck we mean. We also like to tell people to “just effin google it!”

This lovely text has only been made available within the last couple of weeks, and then only as an e-text. I am not 21. My body feels like I’m 91, especially on days like today when Maverick has felt it necessary to drag me to every bush at the park. And under trees. But I digress. I love to read on my Kindle, I am not averse to electronic books at all, but when it’s a text book, I need to hold it in my hands, mark it up, highlight it, stick cute little sticky notes on the pages, and just totally make it my bitch*.

I asked for a physical copy. Nope, sorry, can’t do it, not happening. Yeah, I don’t think so. I don’t do well with being told no. I found a website that will print OER’s for a reasonable price so I ordered a copy and a week later, had it in my hands.

Building an online class is not something that happens overnight. I have one month before classes start. I’ve read the book and started creating slides and I am totally overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done to get this in any form that will actually be beneficial to the students.

And I don’t have any motivation. I would much rather be quilting. Sigh. Back to the grindstone. Pray for me.

*(The last time I heard that expression was from a student who was telling me about her little dog making her big dog its bitch. She regretted telling me that when she dragged me before the Dean later. Long story, perhaps I’ll share it sometime)

Posted in my life, teaching | Tagged | 15 Comments

Memories are like sticky boogies

When I met my Bear, he had one grandchild. She’s now 20 years old and while she was a truly horrible child, she’s become a rather nice young woman. She calls, well, she did before the beer virus, or rather, she would text, because after all, she’s 20, and say, “hey, Grams!” Until about 2 years ago, that meant she wanted something. It kinda still does, but now it’s more often, “wanna have lunch?”

I never wanted kids. I knew from an early age that I just wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I’ve never been convinced that I made the wrong choice. Yet I married a man who had a son and by the time we married, two grandchildren.

It’s very easy to love grandchildren. They go home after a period of time. If they cry, you can hand them back to their parents. If they eat too much candy and throw up, you can hand them back to their parents. You can pretty much always hand them back to their parents.

At one point in time, we didn’t have the luxury of handing them back to their parents. Their parents split up and we became almost full time caregivers. Now we had not two, but three, the youngest being only 6 months old.

Dear sweet baby Jesus, THAT was joyful.

In all the chaos, there were good, sweet, joyful times. I stopped at the local thrift store one day and bought a variety of clothes – sizes were unsure so I did my best. We had the girls that night – Dad worked till 11 so they were often with us, sleeping in our bed till he came to pick them up. Grandpa was working, so it was just us girls, and we had a fashion show.

I loved that thrift store. I bought a Baby Gap red velvet dress for the little one for Christmas – she was 2 months old – for a dime. And on the day of the fashion show, I bought a sweet little white dress, with a ribbon woven through the bodice and puffy little sleeves and a peter pan collar. I took her picture wearing it, all smiles and baby sweetness.

A few years ago, I shared that picture on Facebook – the baby is now 15 and it’s my job to embarrass the grandchildren as often as possible. They tell me I do it well. I tell them everyone needs to be good at something.

Today I opened Facebook to a notification that the little one had shared that picture. I commented that I had just recently found that dress – while cleaning out a closet – and would she like me to save it for when she had a little girl of her own? A huge YES! and a heart – followed my comment. I’ve been smiling all day.

Things – might just be things to some. To me and my grandbrat – that little dress holds sweet memories. When people say we need to downsize and get rid of stuff – this is why I hold onto things. Because the memories are stuck to them. I think I could lose all my senses, and that little dress would bring back the feel of that child in my arms, and the smell of her hair, and the sound of her giggles when her grandfather made snoring noises on her belly. (We’re weird but we’re fun.)

I miss that little girl, but I love the young women all three are becoming.

Posted in family, home, my life | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Mornings are for the birds

The Bear took a job a year ago working at the school as a custodian. He’s retired, and he was bored, and I was one episode of MASH away from shooting the TV, so this was a very good decision. (I hate Hawkeye. I know that’s not a popular opinion, that this is supposedly an amazingly wonderful classic TV show. Maybe the first hundred times, that would be true. It loses its charm quickly after endless repetition.)

He was off for three months because of the virus. Andy Griffith took the place of MASH. I would like to punch Opie in the face and tell Aunt Bea to stop whining. I think she had an affair with Barney and give birth to Hawkeye.

So now he’s back to work and the TV is mercifully silent. He’s back to work from 6 am till 4 pm. SIX. FREAKIN. A. M.

We are not morning people. He worked second shift for years, and then third shift for seven more before retiring. Our normal hour to arise from the depths of sleep is around 11 am, and we would go to bed about 3 am.

He gets up at 4 now. FOUR A M. That should be illegal. In fact, I think it’s protest worthy. I am offended by four a.m.

He goes to bed at 8. It’s still light outside. I follow a few hours later, usually around midnight. Maverick wakes me up at 8ish. That is not a reasonable hour to be awake.

One would think that this early rising nonsense would mean that I accomplish a great deal more each day. One would be wrong. We have coffee on the patio, Maverick and I. Then we go to the park and walk, because my little weirdo won’t poop at home. If it’s not too hot we go a mile, lately it’s been half that. When we get home, we go back to the patio – I read and write in our journals (yes, Maverick has a journal, put your judgey eyes back in your judgey heads) , he chases butterflies – until lunch.

Most of my day is spent finding ways to amuse Maverick. This is a full time job. My college decided to change the curriculum, make a 16 week course into 2, eight week course, and change the book, all in the midst of switch to everything online, and get it done by August 24th. Getting a print version of this new book was so ridiculously difficult that I ended up having it printed myself because I don’t do well with e-texts. I should be working on this but …………see above sentence about amusing Maverick.

I learned today, and this has nothing to do with getting up early except it probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been at the park at 9 am. (A flippin M), that I am way too concerned about what other people think. A total stranger started off by telling me Maverick needed a drink. I told her I had water for him in the car, and that he wasn’t going to drink it anyway. She then told me I should take him into the bathroom because it was cool in there. I said, no, he won’t go in there. She opened the door, he ran to my side. “Oh, are you breeding him?” she asked. I looked quizzical. “I noticed he’s not neutered.” At this point, I should have said, “why are you looking at my dog’s ass?” but I chose to take it as a teachable moment.

Raise your hand if you hate the term “teachable moment.” ~~Waves hand wildly~~

I explained that Golden Retrievers have a greatly increased chance of getting cancer if neutered early. At this point, Maverick was sniffing her leg and she announced that he was obviously a lover. I said that he likes women but is fussy about men.

It was already weird. It got weirder when she then announced, “well, it’s fine as long as he doesn’t vote for Trump!”

Okay, lady, he’s a dog and he doesn’t vote. But aside from that, I’m furious with myself because I didn’t say, “he doesn’t vote but I do and it’s none of your damned business who either of us supports.” I just stood there in astonishment and listened while she went into a diatribe about the President. (She’s ashamed of him. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care.) I said, when she paused to breathe, “well, you have a nice day,” and took off.

I basically let myself be bullied by a stranger. It won’t happen again.

Posted in dogs, family, home, Maverick, my life, politics, teaching | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Incredibly loud, terribly scary

But I did it anyway.

On Saturday, I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for a few years.

Bear bought me a pistol a few years ago. I applied for, and got, my concealed carry license. I live in the woods. He worked nights. I felt like I wanted to be able to protect myself, just in case.

I have always had a healthy respect for guns. My father had a shotgun – or a rifle? I think there may be a difference, but it escapes me. I didn’t really want to own one, but I kinda did because when you’re a woman, and alone in the woods, and the nearest house is too far away to hear you scream, you kinda want to feel like you can protect yourself.

So Bear bought me this pistol. It’s a cute little thing, for a gun. It’s a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. I’ve shot it once. Because, for the life of me, I cannot pull that slide thingie back to make the bullet go where it’s supposed to go in the barrel and so it’s pretty much useless – I suppose I could bonk someone on the head with it but that’s about it.

It sat, sad and lonely and unused.

And then riots started and thugs were threatening to come into the rural areas. Fear is a powerful weapon. What some fail to realize is that it’s also a powerful motivator.

I signed up for an intro to firearms class, took my not so trusty pistol and a box of bullets and off I went to learn something about this powerful little thing that fits in my hand.

It was three hours. The teacher was great – and as a teacher, I’m a pretty tough judge of my colleagues. There were 5 students, a young man of about 30, and a family – mom, dad and son, and then me. I was the little old lady in the back. I told the teacher that I have trouble with this slide – he laughed and said, “you and pretty much every woman.” He tried really hard to help me with it, but finally we gave up and he let me use a different pistol that was much easier to work.

He spent an hour talking about safety. I think a lot of that was aimed at the young boy, but it was very informative and it really brought home to me how very dangerous this thing can be, and how much responsibility it is to own one. He also gave us some history and told stories and was really very nice and very informative.

The last thing he showed us was how to load the magazine thingie. (Thingie is a technical term that means, “I can’t remember the technical term.”) We did NOT place that in the guns. He asked how everyone felt, as we were preparing to go to the range, and put all the stuff he’d taught us into practice. How to hold your hands, how to aim, how to stand, how to hold your arms, so much to remember! Everyone replied that they felt great. He said, “how about you? How do you feel?” to me. I said, “TERRIFIED!’ It got a chuckle from everyone, but I guess they realized I really was very nervous about this.

So off we went to the range. It was then that we put the magazine thingie in the gun and it was actually loaded. He took me in first, which was a very good thing – had I had more time to think about it, I think I would have been in the car and headed for home before anyone knew I was gone. He was so patient. We all had ear protection, and eye protection, and a target in front of us – just like you see on TV! He shot first. I jumped like there was a rocket in my butt, but I didn’t run. He shot one more time, then had me get in position, fixed my grip, waited patiently.

I took a deep breath. Then another. Closed my eyes, said a brief “dear God don’t let me pass out!” and pulled that trigger. I actually hit the target! And scared the bejesus out of myself in the process!

And then I took another deep breath and steadied myself and did it again. And again. Until my wrist started aching and I had to stop.

We all went back to the classroom for the final wrap up. My four classmates wrapped me up in “you did great! You really did it! You were so scared and you did it!’ I felt wrapped up in kindness from total strangers, who had seen my fear, gave me gentle encouragement, and shared my feeling that I had conquered that fear, at least a little bit. The teacher gave everyone praise, and then said, “and YOU, you were terrified, and you did it anyway, and you should be so proud. You did good. No, you did great.”

I did it and I’m glad I did it. I will never be completely comfortable with a gun. But I’ve learned a lot in that one class – I learned it’s something I can handle and something I can use if I ever have to, but that I need a LOT more practice. I’ll never lose respect for the power of that weapon, and I’ll never cease to be amazed that anyone can have anything BUT respect for it.

It’s not so much about protection for me. It’s about conquering a fear. I don’t like being afraid – of anything. Fear is a powerful weapon. It’s also a powerful motivator.

Posted in learning, my life, teaching | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Double Irish Chain

I made this quilt for my best friend’s daughter. We went shopping for fabric, my BFF and I. She knows absolutely zero about quilting, so she picked out the fabric for the squares – which has a little pattern that you really can’t see in the pictures – and then the light blue, and a lovely pale, off white print for the second color.

Umm, that won’t work, I told her. She insisted it would be lovely.

I pulled out the dark blue. Wouldn’t this be nice, I said?

Nope, she wanted the white.

Okay, then, got 3 yards of it, shaking my head and going, “it’s not for you, just do what she wants.”

A few hours later, she called me and said, “you know, I think the dark blue would be better, can we take the white back?”

No, we can’t, but off we went to the store again and came home with the dark blue.

The first day, I also bought a batting and fabric for the back and a few other odds and ends ( a 2 1/2 square ruler that has paid for itself many times) and some needle and some thread, and the bill came to about $250. As I expected it would

She nearly passed out, People who don’t craft are odd creatures, I swear. 🙂

Posted in my life, quilting | Tagged | 12 Comments