What is Working for you at Home during the Pandemic?
I’m up early today feeling quite reflective over this past month and especially over the past few days. I am learning a lot about myself in the this quiet pause and have some fun things to share from this week.
I held my first Google Meet, like a group zoom meeting, with my kindergarten students this week on Earth Day. Originally we had been discouraged from going live with our students because there was concern about everyone having access to technology. Our school district was able to give chrome books to families that need them so I was able to hold our first meeting and it was a lot of fun!
Taking under advisement from colleagues, I set rules in place for the children before we started and requested that parents stand nearby to assist when muting was called for. Then I asked for the children to prepare to share with us something they had done this past month and tell us how they were going to help the Earth for Earth Day.
It was wonderful. Some were well prepared with rehearsed speeches and crafts or objects to share. Others were shy and cuddled on mom’s lap. Either way, it was a joy to see them all and interact with the children.
We did have some technical difficulties getting everyone logged in. I am not a master of technology so I am not sure why but luckily after some time, all the children were able to get online. We will definitely be doing this again.
I am loving my new kitchen and it is certainly getting a workout this week. My son and his girlfriend and her dog moved back in. So now with 5 adults in the house we are filling the dishwasher daily and going through quite a bit of food.
In fact, this week one dinner was the huge package of ribs I scored last week at Costco. I had a bag of potatoes and considered making the potatoes the way my mom has done for years from a recipe she got on Weight Watchers. The one where you cut the potatoes into small pieces, toss them in olive oil with some herbs and bake until done.
But then I remembered my college years.
I had a roommate who’s mom was I believe from England, or Ireland. We moved off campus into an apartment and I remember her making french fries on the stove in a pot of oil. I recall it being messy but it was one of our favorite late night snacks, if we missed the chance to get a slice of pizza with cold cheese on top which was a favorite in my college town.
I decided to give homemade fries a try to go with the ribs. I cut the potatoes into wedges like steak fries. Seasoned with some salt and then placed in about an inch of hot vegetable oil in a stove top pot, tossing once in about 10 minutes time. I did two batches and then put them all into the oven to stay warm with the ribs. They were a big hit. Not too greasy but yummy with a bit of crisp to them.
Reading through blogs last week my friend from Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 wrote about her life changing experience with a rice cooker. My son is working in an office with many Chinese employees. He says there is a rice cooker in the office and people use it every day.
Well, after one more meal where it seemed half my rice stayed glued to the bottom of the pot, I decided to spend the $20 and see just how good this rice cooker is. I am shocked! It really is as good as they say. The rice was perfect. Preparation was simple and no oil or butter needed. With one of us eating gluten free meals, I do believe we may be cooking a batch of rice everyday from now on.
This time is ideal for catching up with long lost friends which I did a few days ago. I have a dear friend who I met on my first teaching job the summer of 1989 before I got married to Mike. It was a summer enrichment program and I landed the position of Poetry Teacher. My mom was a published author and poet who visited schools in New York so I used all of her great lessons in my program teaching kids in San Diego, California. My friend and her husband were originally from Virginia so with no family in California we became fast friends and spent the next 6 years celebrating holidays together and the birth of her first child before we both eventually moved back to the East coast.
This week our conversation revolved around the challenges of teaching distance learning, she has first grade and I have kindergarteners. Then we discussed the prospect of retiring in the not too far future. Since we both have houses full with our 20 something year olds, she shared with me a game they are enjoying called Smart Ass. I instantly bought one for our house and must say we are having a ball with the game. It is quick and challenging, no drawing or writing needed, and laughs are inevitable. Glad we have that game and our new White Mountain puzzle to challenge our brains and of course 4 TV sets and 5 lap tops to keep us amused.
I’ve also discovered that I have not worn pants with a button or zipper in about a month and I am not sure they would fit if I tried, so something should be done about that.
Since I am writing once a week, my goal for this week is to get 12,000 steps each day on my fit bit. That will take some effort but I think if I am not going to be moving around my classroom and the school I need to make an effort move each day. Keeping good health is important for our immune systems especially with this dangerous virus still lurking out there. I’ll let you know how that goes next week!
I am happy to report the numbers of hospitalizations in New York have started to decline. People still need an appointment and to show symptoms to be tested for COVID-19 in my state. Still almost 500 people per day are dying in hospitals without being around family members, except through goodbyes spoken over tablets or phones. This is not over yet.
Please continue to follow smart safety guidelines like staying home, wearing masks in public, respecting social distancing, washing hands often and reaching out to help others if you can.
If you can’t make it out shopping, you can order from Amazon pantry items and have them delivered to a local food pantry, church or volunteer in your neighborhood. The lines distributing free food is huge as the need for people who have lost their incomes and whose children are no longer getting meals at school are struggling to feed their families. Anything you can do would be appreciated I am sure.
This won’t last forever so continue to look for that silver lining in each day and stay well my friends.