Summer is Officially Over

Hey y’all!  Good morning!  While it’s not officially the end of summer, but it’s the end of summer in my household.  As I’m typing this, my daughter is in a virtual classroom with her homeroom teacher, preparing to take her first MAP test of the school year… tenth grade.  Where has the time gone, right?

Since school is back in session, I’m back to fully working.  I’m teaching in the early morning, then after my daughter starts school, I’m cracking into creating new bookmarks to promote my upcoming book, brainstorming and creating fliers to promote my free library, communicating with my editor and preparing images to include in my upcoming book, and of course, keeping up with my daughter’s school agenda.

I’m actually glad school is back in session, because my daughter’s attitude, being a teenager and all, has been, per say, through the roof.  She’s at that age where she wants to believe she already knows everything, and as a teacher, I’m trying to educate her about the real world, but she just rolls her eyes or walks away; goes to her room.  I don’t remember ever showing as much attitude when I was her age, but we all say that, don’t we?  All in all, I can say she is generally a good kid.  Like any teenager, she needs an attitude adjustment every now and then.

My tomato garden is still coming along.  I’ve been able to pick three from the original I call ‘Mater’.  My roma, which I call ‘Roma’ has finally blossomed enough to develop a few tomatoes, and the larger of the three different tomato plants I have, I call ‘Allyn’ because she was given to me by my neighbor, an older gentleman.  His front yard is full of potted tomato plants nearly as tall as he is.

Here are some before photos of my tomato plants.

 

Here is what my tomatoes look now.

I’ll be able to pick the two in the single picture soon.  My ‘bae’ and I are looking forward to eating them on tomato sandwiches; my favorite simple summer sandwich.

I also wanted to share with y’all a photo of some ‘Elephant Ears’ growing on their own in my yard.  They aren’t as big or tall as the ones growing in my neighbors yard, but I still think they are a unique plant.

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Aren’t they cool?  I think so.

Well y’all, I’m going to conclude this post for now.  The good news is, with school back in session, as I mentioned before, I’m ‘in office’ more full time now.  Not that I ever left.

I hope y’all are maintaining a safe and healthy ‘in-home’ lifestyle.  I hope y’all are wearing your masks when going into public, and I hope y’all are practicing the health safety of social distancing.  Remember, we’ll get through this.

Thanks for reading y’all!

Busy, Busy, Busy, But Writing

Hey y’all!  I’m a so sorry I have not posted.  Until yesterday, Valentine’s Day, I have been so busy.  Between teaching 2-3 classes literally everyday, assisting my daughter when she’s in virtual class, and writing, I’ve been swamped, and tired.

The good news is that I’ve been creating as well as revising.  I’ve nearly finished all the rewriting I had to start on, now I’m creating new stuff, and digging into files for stuff I started when I first ‘officially’ picked up a pen and wrote my first sentence with a topic in mind.

I’m working on a rough draft of a piece I titled ’17 to 35′.  One day, probably a month ago, I was sitting in my bedroom in front of my mirror.  I was doing something, not looking in the mirror, but I did stop to look.  However, instead of looking at myself, I looked at the stuff I could see in the mirror behind me.  There are pictures of me sitting on our windowsill, when I was 17.  I’m 35 now.  Life has greatly changed.

I also wrote a new piece titled ‘The Text Message’.  It’s about a text message I received from a friend, and our entire conversation, that ended our friendship.  I felt used by this person because he had the audacity to slam me an unfaithful friend when I didn’t help him do something.  More details to come when you buy my book after it’s published.

Finally, I came up with an idea to write a piece which I will dedicate to my mother.  ‘A Dedication to My Mother’ will be about the good my mother did do for me though I considered her a terrible mother when I was younger.  Not only do I write about my feelings towards the things she did or didn’t do, I’m thanking her for all that she did do without realizing it.  She was a good person, just mislead.

So, y’all see, I’m writing, but I’ve also been booked nearly solid for classes, I’ve been preparing my daughter for her Interim Assessments, my husband and I had a court hearing to appear for about his current disability, and I’ve simply needed to take time for myself.  The court hearing about his disability, really put my nerves on edge.  Not knowing which way they were going to go.  The good news is, everything is just fine, and things are back to normal.

My husband and I enjoyed a nice, quiet Valentine’s Day.  We haven’t been able to for several years.  Either he was working at a restaurant, I was working, we didn’t have money, or we didn’t care.  We’ve experienced a couple Valentine’s Day’s when our moods were soured by a situation and we ignored it like it was a Tuesday.  Last night we cooked a flavorful dinner for two of salmon filets, fresh asparagus spears wrapped in bacon and roasted in the oven, sauteed fresh mushrooms, diced onion, and diced fresh garlic, cooked in white wine, and Long Grain Wild Rice.  It was a box of Rice-A-Roni.  The dinner was absolutely delicious.  Salmon is my favorite fish, but I love seafood in general.  After dinner, we played a couple quiet games of scrabble while drinking a couple beers.  Neither one of us kept score.  I had a lot of fun.  How was your Valentine’s Day with you Valentine?

Well, for now, I’m going to close, but look for my next post to be around or after St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m getting ready for cooking up some corned beef and cabbage and getting my Guinness on.  Maybe I’ll share a picture of my St. Patrick’s Day outfit, complete with a leprechaun hat.  It’s so cute!  Anyway, until next time.  Thanks for reading y’all!

It’s Manuscript Mania!

Hey y’all!  I thought I’d touch base again, and talk more about my manuscript.  It’s really coming along!  I started working on it daily and diligently just before the start of the new year, making it a strong habit to write daily, even if I’m only writing into a random journal.  My husband helps with the editing process on the more serious pieces.  I write, or lately, rewrite, give it to my husband for an opinion, and depending on his opinion of the piece, I reread it for revisions.  It’s a process, but we’re a great team.  My husband and I.

I’ve been pushing myself so much, I have a few pieces in limbo.  For example, I’m rereading to rewrite one, and my husband has three different ones in his email inbox waiting for him.  They either need a directional opinion, or a final proofread for grammatical mistakes.  A couple of them are pieces I’ll be submitting to Chicken Soup for the Soul!  The others, are my book.

I just finished with “Not Quite Nestle”, a story about my mother’s Christmas cookie disaster, and what exactly happened.

I spent some time revising a story I titled “What’s That Smell?”, about the birth of my daughter and a visitor I never expected.

Another story I’ve been working on, I titled “A Little R to R (Rest to Recuperate)”, a story I wrote about finding time for myself.  With all the stress in life, everyone needs a moment to themselves, to take a deep breath, to shake your shoulders, to meditate, or whatever you have to do to gain a better grip.  Finding time for myself came one step at a time.

I wrote a funnier story about Christmas awhile back, and decided it needed revising.  “Merlyn’s Christmas Cat’astrophe” is about our oldest cat and her first Christmas.  Kittens will be kittens.

That isn’t all.  There are more, but these are the more recent pieces.  I’ve spent all this time working on them, since just before the turn of the new year.  I’m up before the sun every morning because I teach English classes in a virtual classroom in China.  When I don’t have a class scheduled, I use that time to write and revise because the house is super quiet, peaceful, and still.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I can’t wait to see it finished in April when I submit it for publication!

 

 

Moving Out, Moving Forward, Moving Up, and Moving On

Greetings and good morning y’all!  It has certainly been some time since my last post, but like all things in life, there has been a lot of things going on.

For instance, moving is never easy an easy task.  Packing, sorting, cleaning, loading, unloading, unpacking, and setting up.  It’s stressful, time consuming, hard work, expensive, and above all, physically draining.  After living under my parent’s roof for four years, seeing to and helping them around the house because they’re only getting older, they decided they’re ready to live on their own and don’t need my help as much.  I should have expected this, but I was busy, caught up in my own endeavors.  So, when they told me they were moving, that they found a place, nearly everything I was working on, screeched to an unexpected halt.  If it wasn’t for my amazing husband, I might have experienced emotional turmoil in epic proportions because there wasn’t any foresight, only a tight aftermath.

I’m not a religious person, but praying for guidance, strength, and some peace of mind is not beneath me.  I did this everyday until the day we moved into the trailer I now call my home.  A rustic two bedroom, single bathroom mobile home, settled in a quietly quaint mobile home park, managed by a couple, like ourselves.  I personally have several things in common with our landlady, not including her name reflecting that of my late great-grandmother.  As I mentioned, moving is expensive, and we used every penny to make it happen in record time.  We have a couple small debts to pay off, but nothing to lose precious sleep over.  Before finding this place, if it wasn’t for being genuinely exhausted every night, I would have lost sleep, caught between a rock and a hard place just trying to find a place to live.  However, when every thing else fell through, this place became the light at the end of the long, dark, questionable tunnel.  My prayers were answered.

It’s not quite been a week yet since we moved, but I was forced to take a week off from home-school and teaching.  I’ve missed my Chinese students, but my daughter rather enjoyed the full week away.  Unfortunately, now we’re facing Interim Assessments head on our first week back.  We’ll be spending this week and the weekend catching up on missed assignments and such, but she’s a trooper and with me for a mother/learning coach, there’s nothing she can’t successfully accomplish.  This morning, I taught my first class in our new place and it was awesome!  It truly feels great to be back in my online classroom.  I’ve missed my students with their smiling faces and energetic personalities.

We’re still settling in; down to a couple boxes left to unpack of bookshelf dust collectors, a pile of framed photos to hang, five full bookcases of books to reorganize, and a washer to replace a sensor in, but we’re happy.  My parents are happier as well, living as just the two of them- something they have been striving close to 30 years for.  They had to learn to live life separately before they could live life together.  Now they’re embracing their golden years, living their happily ever after.

As for us, hubby and I are also embracing our separate solitude.  Career oriented in our field of English literature and writing.  Creating our heart’s desire, stories and art with added educational attributes.  It’s our world.

A Little Business ‘Reading’

Hey Y’all!

This is just a little something I wanted to share with y’all.  I’m working on creating a link so you can print out your own copy, but these things take time.

Business Bookmark for BLOG

As always, thanks y’all, for reading and following me.  Your support means everything!

Monday of Mondays

Hey y’all!  I don’t know about you, but today feels like the Monday of all Mondays.  I was halfway through my shower this morning when I remembered that it is Monday which means my daughter had school.

Where did the weekend go?  One day it was here, and the next, it’s gone and now here we have Monday.  Normally, daylight savings time doesn’t affect me.  One year, I set my alarm for the time change, waking up just so I could experience gaining the hour back.  This year I experienced losing that hour.  It was strange to watch and witness the time on my personal computer flip from 1:59am to 3:00am.  One thing is for sure, thanks to daylight savings time, I’ll never forget my first VIPKid class.

Though I’m tired, I can’t complain about the work pile.  I literally ‘paced’ my way through first class Math, drank a fresh cup of dark roast coffee for the caffeinated perk during English/Language Arts, and I still yawned my way through Science and Social Studies.  It felt like the longest day of school ever, but because of my weekend turn out, it’s worth it.

I keep thinking about the class I taught and the student I was working with.  She wore a deep purple, long-sleeved shirt, and just before I began class, she was eating a banana while the guy, appearing to be her dad, was trying to work the kinks out of their end of the virtual classroom.  Their background noise was fascinating.  I didn’t understand anything I was hearing, but I was next to tears, embracing the biggest opportunity of my lifetime, working with authentic ethnicity.  I’m eager to teach my next class/student!

The only work I did manage to find the motivation and energy for was completing my 5-star reward system.  I hot glued the magnets on this evening, after dinner, so I can use it this weekend.

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Thanks for reading y’all!

Weekend Fulfilled

 

Hey y’all!  How is your weekend kicking off?  Did you remember to reset your clocks before you went to bed Saturday night, for daylight savings time?

 

I had my fingers crossed to book classes for Friday night into Saturday morning, but then our internet was in and out, so I used the time instead to work on other things.  I can’t rely on the internet connection for teaching purposes, but a choppy internet connection gives me enough access to play with clip-art images, to print out classroom props.

 

I don’t go out anymore.  Not like I used to.  Once a week is my average unless there’s other business to do—like a doctor appointment.  Well, I went out with the family for dinner, at my dad’s request because he wanted to get out of the house.  My husband had prescriptions to pick up, so we took care of it all at once, stopping in at the Walmart after for his meds in addition to razor blades, drinking straws, and some after dinner donuts.  Normally I avoid the Walmart but went this time because it’s literally ‘right there’.

I hate shopping in-store, but this in-store experience wasn’t horrible.  My husband even chose to use the self-checkout line to cash our order out.  I personally hate self-checkouts, but I didn’t say anything… I just stood back and watched.

 

I made my way from Friday night into Saturday morning without much issue.  I didn’t book any short notice classes, but I did use the time to prepare for when I would, waiting until the wee hours of the early morning before crawling into bed.  About the time I would have finished submitting the after-class feedback.

Saturday night into Sunday morning is a different story.  Not only did Daylight Savings Time start at 2am, I booked to teach a class at 3am.  China doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time like the United States, so it didn’t make a difference on their end.  On my end, I’m pulling an all-nighter.

Teaching my first class…OMG!  I was nervous, anxious, shocked, and I got a little teary-eyed too.  I didn’t physically cry, but the opportunity to visit China, and observe the Chinese culture through the life of a child I’m teaching how to speak English, was nearly breathtaking.  I was nervous because I’ve never physically taught a class, or someone who wasn’t my child, but I’m so happy I did.  My first class didn’t go as smooth as I imagined it would, and many say it never does as my student was experiencing ‘screen freezing’, but we made it through the lesson, and she pronounced everything perfectly.  I gave her 5 stars!

Now it’s time to close this out.

Y’all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thanks for reading!

“Hurdles To Happy Thoughts”

Hey y’all!  I hope your week went better than mine.  I’m not complaining though because it could have been worse.  I stressed out some, over this and that, but we managed to straighten things out as we went.

The week was full of hurdles; like I’m running, and the hurdles keep coming, keep appearing in front of me.  I fix one thing and something else comes up.  First it was my husband’s disability check.  When it didn’t show up in our account as expected, like it does every month, it stopped us in our financial tracks.  To make the situation a little more worrisome, we had to wait all weekend before we could physically do anything about it.  After that, I spent the week struggling to understand 8th grade mathematics so I could help my daughter with her homework.  I was a struggling math student, in both middle and high school, and you know what, I’m still struggling.  I admit that, but that’s why I sat down with my husband and discussed the problem, to which we decided and agreed, he’s going to begin joining our live Math session with our daughter’s teacher (just like I do every weekday) so he can learn the stuff and help us.  Finally figuring that out, now I’m facing yet another hurdle.  Always, another hurdle.

Like I said, if it’s not one thing, it’s another, and things just keep happening.  The hurdle I’m facing now, I’m forced to wait through a 3-day weekend before I can get in touch with someone to fix paperwork that’s wrong on their end.  Someone messed up somewhere.  However, I am not letting this hurdle stop me from moving on to focus on other project ideas.  I’m focusing instead on my latest narrative, a couple of VIPKid workshops I signed up for, and preparing my classroom for next weekend.

“Feed the areas of your life you want to grow.  Starve the parts that need to go.”  -Bruce Van Horn

I came across this quote on Twitter this morning.  It perfectly sums up my thoughts and feelings during this weekend.

I thought about those I’ve met and known in my past, and how those people judged me.  I let their judgment affect me and I should not have.  While some of them had some good advice, others didn’t, and I took most of it to heart… but not anymore.

I live to help others, because I love to help others.  I wish I had more financial means to help.

The only real way to fix your financial problems is to do something about it; put yourself out there doing what you like to do.  Through homeschooling my daughter, I found a hidden passion for educating, and now I’m teaching Chinese children English in a ‘one-on-one’ online atmosphere.  I can’t wait to book my first class!

Without ‘starving the parts I need to let go‘, meaning those who’ve  led me in the wrong direction, I can’t ‘feed where I want to grow‘– my future.  As a teacher, I’ll be working with 4 and 5-year old Chinese kids, teaching them the English language.  Children are vibrant, energetic, and they love to have fun.  I have to be professional, but I also have to be on their level.  How do I do this without feeling like a dork?

Well, who said being a dork was a bad thing?

I’m facing every hurdle with patience while figuring them out as I go along.  I know there’s nothing I can do for the next three days so I’m going to spend them thinking happy thoughts.  I’m going to focus on being my professionally-dorky self!

Thanks for reading y’all!

“Two Days”

I’m sorry I didn’t post for the last two days.  I took a couple ‘personal’ days to deal with ‘personal’ things.  I’m feeling better than the last two days, but I’m on the tail end of it now, and that makes the difference.  Until next month.

The last couple of days, while mother-nature was being harsh on my internal organ, class connect was a breeze.  I’m working with my daughter, one-on-one, at all times, and the difference in her efforts are night and day.  She’s staying on task, and while it doesn’t take much to distract her, it doesn’t take much to pull her attention back either.  Even her attitude is changing towards her school work as her grades improve.  She used to sigh heavily with the start of each class, she would rush through her homework, and who cares about failing grades because she didn’t think she could do any better.  She was giving up.  She felt like I did when I couldn’t grasp grade school math.

Sadly, I figured out why she was giving up.  I found myself mentally putting myself in her position; a spot I’m pretty familiar with.

I didn’t think I would enjoy this position as much as I do.  I didn’t think I could possibly enjoy going back to middle school though I’m not actually in middle school.  Everything they’re teaching is just refreshing my memory, but that’s what’s making it easier to help my daughter.  She needs a lot of reminding.  Unfortunately, where she needs a lot of reminders, she hates being reminded, yet she’s always reminding us of whatever or about whatever is on her mind at the time.

When I was growing up I wanted to be a journalist.  I wanted to work for the newspaper.  Then I forgot about writing for a long time.  I rediscovered my love for writing, went back to school, and decided I want to be a published author.  While I’m writing and working towards publishing my first book, I still never even considered dabbling in Education.  It didn’t cross my mind.  However, I have always been the parent to complain behind closed-doors about how things are done in schools today compared to what school was like in my day–the 90’s.  About two-thirds of the way through completing my undergraduate program for my BA in Arts for Writing and English, I started thinking and then saying I could do a better job with my daughter than the in-school staff could.

As it turns out, I can, I am, and I’m glad.

Okay.  I am because here I am, home-schooling my daughter with some help from certified teachers doing their job–teaching–online.  My job is to do the rest, and I believe that’s how I should be doing it, because my daughter does struggle, but as her mother, I can see where her struggle is and help it.  In-school, teachers can’t see that struggle because they must focus on 30-some students at one time.  Not a fair ratio.

I can because I have the patience with my daughter that I have yet to see a teacher display when instructing her during her in-school years.  I don’t consider my daughter to be ‘special needs’, but I do think she does fall into that spectrum medically, and that’s okay, but not all people can, or know how to handle certain higher levels of defiance in a child.

I’m glad because I can see the difference in her now and I’m relieved.  When she was in-school, the school called me everyday, sometimes two and three times a day.  I can’t count the number of times she served detention, both in-school and after-school.  The school doesn’t call me anymore because she’s no longer getting into trouble.  I’m also glad I’m doing this because to be truthful, she wasn’t safe in school.  Not with students in the schools threatening to cause harm to others, school bus crashes, and children abductors stalking neighborhoods.  It’s scary.

On a better note, the last couple days gave me time to stop and think about why I do what I’m doing.