Sunday, October 2, 2022


October has always been one of my favorite months. The heat of summer is gradually cooling. Mom called this Sweater Weather, and I love the sweaters, sweatshirts, and light jackets of fall. I love the autumn leaves--and even raking them into piles. Pumpkins show up on doorsteps in October, and mums fill flower pots. Pumpkin patches are popular outings for families. While many people dislike pumpkin spice anything, I love pumpkin muffins and pumpkin lattes. Hot cider and crisp apples top my list of things to enjoy this month, too. I am ready for soups again: corn chowder, chili, vegetable, and chicken noodle. Yes, October is full of a lot of my favorite things. (Did I mention Candy Corn is in the stores again? Definite perk.)

Today, I switched my shoes from sandals to boots. I drug out the flannel pajama pants and sweatshirts. The flannel sheets are in the dryer. I won't put them on yet, but I want to be ready. So, if the temperature takes a nose dive one way or the other this next week--you can blame me. 

Photo: Girls weekend in the Ozarks 5 years ago. (Still one of my favorite fall photos.)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Retirement and the 1st Nine Weeks of School

I began the 22-23 school year in the Ozarks on a girls weekend with two high school friends. We went on a boat ride, had drinks at a lakeside bar, and spent a lot of time catching up. I caught up with the grandkids on the phone to find out how their days had gone. I didn't miss my classroom or teaching at all. I think my replacement (former student) summed it up best: "I had no idea teaching was such hard work. My teachers made it look so easy. I am exhausted every night." So true. It is nice not to be exhausted.

The rest of that trip involved a winery with a pool, tons of games of scrabble, and lots of '70's music. It was relaxing and so much fun. Now, I am ready for a trip with the Mr. (Plans are in the works.)

Once I was home again with school in session, I found I missed my colleagues and former students. It is always good to run into one of them and catch up. 

After teaching 2 1/2 years during Covid and never having it, I was stunned when the Mr. came down with Covid on Labor Day and I got it a few days later. It wasn't much fun, though mainly like a bad cold. Sometimes, I don't have much stamina, and I wonder if it is a lingering symptom of the disease. It is finally getting a little better. 

I have loved having time to spend with grandkids. When K and CT both came down with Covid, we kept the two girls a couple of nights, took them to school and picked them up after, and were able to make a few runs for things they needed. I spent Friday with L and E. E's school was out for Parent/Teacher conferences, so we met halfway and walked at a lake, shopped for books, and enjoyed lunch. I was also able to help out with the little girls on an inservice day and helped them make an anniversary present for their parents. I know if I had been teaching, none of these things would have happened. 

So what else have I been doing? Thursday morning coffees with other retired women in town, reading, and subbing. I am NOT subbing in classrooms, but for the librarian and the library aide. I hated when the library was closed when they were absent, so I told them to let me know and I would fill in. I have spent a few days in the high school library in the morning and the middle school library in the afternoon. I check books in and out and re-shelve them. Quite a few former students and colleagues will stop in to see me. It is good to catch up. Mainly, I find myself reading. Shocker! Now, that Covid seems to be over in our corner of Tiny Town, I plan to spend a few days with Dad. Again, none of these things would have happened if I had been teaching. 

Oh, and the Mr. and I have started swimming at the YMCA five mornings a week. He water walks, and I tread water. (My shoulders are shot, and I can mainly use my legs for treading water.) 

So far, retirement is quite enjoyable. 

                                                                         Girls Weekend     

Our view in the Ozarks.

We were fairly competitive and had a ton of laughs.

We made grandparents day with the girls. 
Notice the masks in hand. (This was shortly after Covid.)
Walking partners while E's little sis was in school. 

I think it is safe to say that I was ready for retirement. I am finally feeling relaxed and rested. After 40+ years, I'd say it is time. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Latest Favorites

I haven't done a list of favorites in a long time, so here is the list of what I am loving:

*Diet Pepsi in the 7 ounce can. I am trying to cut back, and these little gems sure do help. (I wish Quick Stops and Caseys sold soda in these little cans.)

*Frozen drinks in those little ice pop packages: Bahama Mamas, Margaritas, and Hurricanes. On these miserably hot days, they just hit the spot. 

*Hey Dudes. These slip on, casual shoes are comfy and can be tossed into the washer, too. The biggest problem? Choosing the color or fabric for the next pair I will buy. There are too many choices!

*Five year journals. The one I am using is called the Line A Day 5 year journal. I am on year three in this journal, and it is fun to see what was happening on this date in the last couple of years. I started this journal  in 2020 before the pandemic hit. I had forgotten everything we had gone through for the last two years in education. I'm so glad I documented all of that. This also made a great retirement gift for my sweet SIL. (By the way, since there is only room to write 4 or 5 sentences, it is easy to write in it every day. When I'm on vacation I keep notes on my phone to add when I return.)

*Bible app on my phone. Besides having daily reading plans on all kinds of subjects, they also have daily scripture and of course, the entire Bible at my fingertips. 

*Wordle and Quordle. I admit. I am hooked on these online games. I play The NY Times wordle every morning with my coffee. I'm sure is it good for my brain, and it is just fun.

*Backyard Birds. Cardinals, Robins, Blue Jays, Finches, and Orioles are my favorites. And of course, I have to feed the squirrels to keep them out of the bird feeders, though they are such little pigs that they eat their food and still bother my feeders. 

And there is my July 2022 list of favorites. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Rest of the Story

After diving into retirement, I hit a bit of a snag.

Dad has been in the hospital for the past few weeks. They moved him to the swing bed, and we are now looking into Assisted Living. At 93 years of age, it is amazing that he has been able to live at the farm by himself until this time, but he needs the regular meals and regular doses of medicine. 

I've made quite a few trips to the home town to see him--sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. So any other projects and even quite a bit of reading have been put on hold. 

I think we'll all rest easier knowing that he is being looked after, and yet still has a place of his own. I'll still run down a couple of times a week, but I should have time to start on some of the major cleaning that needs to be done. 

My main accomplishment so far was clearing the dining room table, which sounds like no big deal, but this is where I dumped everything when I cleaned out my classroom. Progress. Yea me!

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Retired Reading #1

 I was going to call this Summer Reading. I sometimes forget that I am retired, and that this can be year-round reading from now on. (Though if it is, the house may fall down around me.) Going forward, I might have to limit myself to a book a week, so I have time for some other activities. That being said, I really needed this "drowning" myself in books. 

Seven weeks into retirement and I am reading book #19. 

Here are the books that stand out or that I have loved:

The Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

The People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmes

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Fire Keeper's Daughter by Angeline Boully

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin

I am working on The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles which will probably make this list, too. There are a few other books that I have read, but didn't necessarily love. I even tried a re-read of a 2006 book that has been mentioned quite a bit lately. I couldn't make it through it this time, and I'm not sure how I muddled through it to begin with. She might be a popular author, but that book was ridiculously wordy and full of random, somewhat unimportant details that signified nothing. 

My reading will slow down for awhile, as I feel like I am ready to accomplish a few other things. That being said, my Kindle will always be in my purse, and I'll keep a few holds in the eLibrary. 

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Summer of Ugly Feet

Yes, that is the official name of this summer at our house. 

I love pedicures. I love purple, blue, and mauve colored toes. I love soaking my feet in a pedicure tub, while a massage chair goes to work on my back. 

But... then this summer, I have a toenail fungus that needs to be treated with a topical solution that can't penetrate polish. Ugh. There will be 48 weeks of daily application. 48 weeks. I'm on week two and already mourning pretty toes. 

The Mr., in his infinite wisdom, says one foot looks worse that the other, so just cross your feet at the ankle and keep the ugly toe back. He's so helpful.

Let's hope this prescription does the trick. I know the topical solution works better if you take the prescription pill, too--but I am electing not to take the pill. (My entire toenail isn't affected, just the tips of my two big toes.) I figure between blood pressure medicine, shingles shots, and Covid and flu vaccines, this body has enough medicine in it for one year.

So now I have ugly feet. I don't care how cute the sandals are, they aren't all that cute with unpolished toes. I keep telling myself that 48 weeks will be worth it if I get rid of this stuff. I've got to change that "IF" to a "WHEN" I get rid of this stuff. 

We shall see. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Teachings of Covid

 I've learned a lot in the last couple of years. Covid was the teacher, and I was the student. These are the things that I've learned:

1. I still have the same introverted qualities that I had at age 4 where I'd hide behind my mom's long skirts and pretend like I couldn't see people. I spent years trying to be more outgoing, and I succeeded for 50 years, but the introvert is still there. I like being at home. 

2. I love not going inside stores to shop. Online grocery shopping and on-site pickup have been one of the best perks of Covid. I don't miss changing rooms or crowded stores. I order online and send it back if it isn't what I was looking for. 

3. Watching the wildlife in our backyard has brought me so much enjoyment. I feed orioles, hummingbirds, cardinals, robins, blue jays, and even swarms of finches. Squirrels drive me crazy, but I love watching these little pests, too. Foxes, rabbits, and deer all visit the backyard. There is always something to see out our back windows.

4. Slippers and pj pants are my favorite clothes. Oh, I still love jeans and flip flops, but I have a new appreciation for "home" clothes.

5. Faces are important. I wore masks, and I still do occasionally. (Sometimes, I feel anxiety without one.) Teaching, when everyone was in a mask, was challenging. I relied on smiles and smirks to sell a point or understand how my kids were feeling. I became an expert at reading eyes, but I still prefer the smiles, smirks, and even grimaces of teenagers. 

I won't get into zoom classes or online agendas, assignments, and grading. Just thinking about that time makes my head swim, but eventually, it became an important part of in-person classes, too. I learned to shut off the chat feature in zoom meetings unless I wanted to see things like; "I'd tell her she is muted, but this is actually kind of fun." "Anyone want to log out of here and game?" "Are you even wearing pants?" "Dude, turn off your music."  Yeah, it was really fun teaching in zoom rooms. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Retired Teacher

Yes, it has been two and a half years since I have written a thing on this blog.I thought about starting a new blog, or at the very least, renaming this blog "The Really, Really Tired Teacher." 

Seven years ago, I changed job assignments from English II teacher to English II, Speech, Forensics, and Drama teacher. The additional preps and curriculum added quite a bit to my load, but I was ready for something a little different. Then, the English II curriculum was divided into Advanced English II and Regular English II. This was another challenge. Covid hit and online school added additional challenges. Finally, the English Department was asked to stick to our textbooks to align curriculum Grades 6-12. This required quite a few changes, too. So if I was looking for something a little different, boy did I get it. Oh, and throw in that I was still directing one play a year. My brain was on overload. 

With some of the Mr.'s health issues and just wanting a schedule that allowed me the freedom to see grandkids and other family, I knew that the 21-22 school year would be my last. In fact, I started the year by saying, "Welcome to my last year of teaching. Let's celebrate it together." Every time I finished a unit last year, I knew it was the last time I was teaching it. Some of it was bittersweet, but most of it was hallelujah! I sorted and pitched and cleaned Room 502. (We'll talk about how much I carted home and dumped on the dining room table later.)

So...after 40 years in the Tiny Town school system and 43 years in education, I retired this spring. School has taken up so much of my brain, that everyone is worried that I will be lost without it. That might be true, but for the last month, I have enjoyed NOT thinking about school. 

What's ahead? I'm not sure. So far a lot of reading, relaxing, and bird watching. (Thanks to Covid--birdwatching is a new hobby.) Hopefully, there will be time (and money) to travel some. Will I sub? For the librarian--maybe; otherwise, probably not. I could tutor. And I have a couple of ideas that I am batting around.

I have loved my teaching years: amazing colleagues, great students, and lots of great memories. For the last year, K has been my principal. It has been wonderful watching her at the helm of Tiny Town High. She works hard and keeps a positive attitude. She's great at building relationships with staff and students, and she is as proud of this school as I am. I won't be there in person, but I will be there in spirit-- cheering on our school system.

I'm not sure what the future of this blog is. We'll see what develops. For today, I'd love to leave you with the video of the Retirement Speech my daughter-principal gave at the BOE Employee Recognition dinner. (Click on the link that will take you to YouTube.) She did such a nice job.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the return of Easy Street.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 in Review


Well, for one thing, you can tell that this year got a lot busier once school started. Sheesh! I haven't been on this blog since August.

*We began the year celebrating Dad's 90th birthday with a huge family party. It was so much fun. I also applied for and received what I hope will be my last teaching certificate.  (I'm guessing 2-3 years left.)

*In March, we watched the boys basketball team in the State Tournament. We also spent time in Salt Lake City--and actually were snowed in for a day or two.

The rest of the spring brought piano recitals, dance recitals where the Daddy's danced with their little princesses, music concerts, a funeral for our good friend Phil, and May day baskets.

Summer months brought ball games and Bible School, girls weekend in the Ozarks, Hamilton, a trip to Wisconsin (still can't get over their lavender fields), hummingbird feeders and an impromptu Harry Potter birthday party.

Actually, I spent a lot of my summer working on a new class I am teaching this year. And that also explains the lack of blogging. 1st semester was crazy.

The fall was full of football and school. I flew out to Virginia City, Nevada to see niece Em marry. What a pretty wedding and part of the country.

I spent quite a bit of this summer and fall dealing with stomach issues. I had several tests and am now on a new medicine. It seems to be helping. I have had a head cold for several months, and I hate to think what my fall would have been like if I hadn't had a flu shot.

The grandkids are now 2nd grade (8), Kindergarten (6), PreSchool (4), and No School (1). They are so much fun and quite entertaining. The two bonus grandkids are a Junior and a 6th grader.

We took family pictures in September and took a family pre-Christmas trip to Branson in November.

Little Big Brother and I are directing Pride and Predjudice in 2020. We held auditions in early December.

That pretty much sums up 2019.

Hoping you have a healthy, happy 2020.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Guilty Pleasures

Gratitude 365 Day 231

The summer is full of guilty pleasures: lazy days, ice cream for no reason, and summer television. The best summer television guilty pleasure is Big Brother. And now I am into American Ninja Warrior. The Mr. thinks I've lost my mind. He might be right, but it wouldn't be summer without those two. I am grateful that the shows extend into the school year, as it feels like I am hanging on to just a bit of summer.