health

Keeping Afloat

Today’s world is a bit crazy at times. 7-8 months into Corona and something new comes up each day it seems.

Focusing on your physical and mental health is extremely important during this time. Getting a flu shot may be one way to combat today’s issues. Seeking help for depression or anxiety could be another.

For me I use personal fitness and a healthy eating regimen to keep me balanced. It works for me but that may not be feasible for you. You must invest in yourself to see how to battle today’s craziness.

Just this week I have seen folks self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to get by. I had experience with, one falling into depression. I even had an acquaintance deal with the emotions of a positive test and quarantine restrictions. This is just this week.

Check on your social network. Those working from home are feeling the pains of limited social outlets. Check on the elderly they are struggling with their own limitations. Lack of group services and connections in this age group can be devastating. Check on your kids. Whether digital learners or in-person they both have stress among each scenario.

Some folks are hungry despite food programs expanding. Some are losing housing now that extensions are no more. And we can’t forget our athletes. Whether amateur or professional, they have all had opportunities stripped from them in one way or another. Be compassionate.

This is time to look out for others. Help where you can. Offer resources or referrals in your area to anyone who might need it.

Keeping your mind and body healthy is very important these days. Wishing you the best from afar. Kindness does really matter.

family

Missing You

The last few days I have been missing my dad or the spirit of my dad.

Grief is a funny thing. It creeps up on you at unexpected times. It can be just a flutter in your heart or a vivid memory jerking the tears.

For me I have a night time shirt. An XXXL-type shirt bearing his photo. Not one I would wear out but one that’s comforting for those sleepy days. Maybe the visual on the shirt sparks the memories. Maybe it was the card in the mail from hospice on grief. Maybe it’s just the dust settling. I’m really not sure the nature of its source but it can take your breath away.

No matter the source I miss my dad in all forms. His younger vibrant days as my dad when I was a kid. The middle of the road days where he helped me navigate adulthood. To the end days when he needed help eating his dessert. I just miss him. There is really no replacement.

As life lessons need to be passed to my kids I find myself thinking what would he do. For now I cherish the memories and honor his spirit as I push forward.

I may never say goodbye to grief but I can push through the sadness. He would expect me to. Writing is a great form of therapy for me. If you lost somebody close to you, journaling your thoughts is always a great opportunity to push through the sadness.

I also have a great bestie named Teddie to hang with me as I write and today it was a nice cold glass of almond milk to wash away the woes.

Until next time…

Teddie Aspen

Where is Teddie?

Most of you have read about the adventures of Teddie in the past. The awesomely adorable and super snuggly Teddie. The cute little mini Golden Doodle who lives a spoiled companion life.

Well Teddie went for a long overdue grooming appointment. Teddie is still super soft but got all her baby hair cut or buzzed off. She has ears! I mean we knew she had ears but you can see them now. They were so cute before but now they are even cuter.

She loves having her ears massaged. It’s a calming tool for her crazy. Now the stroking of her ears feels different. In a good way of course. Look at those tiny little baby ears. All nice and freshly groomed.

From floppy moppy looking hair to bold buzzed cut. Is she looking fancy or homely? I happen to like the new do because her hair beard no longer gets caught in her water bowl but on the other hand I miss her curls.

So much change in such a short time. Do our dogs look at humans the same way when we come home from a haircut?

For now she is a little less heavy on the fur so hopefully she will stay cool on these hot summer days. Her coloring seems to have lightened up as well.

Her fur is still super soft and one of my favorite things about this breed. You can see her eyes. Her curious eyes. The groomer left some longer hairs by her nose. They are funny and crazy after a drive in the car. She gets the wind blown look that is similar to met head for humans. The wired, crazy look.

She had some ice cream to celebrate the day of her cut so I think she could care less about what she looks like. She was just happy to be spoiled with a treat. If every human just looked in the mirror and didn’t care about their image, we may live in a better society.

Today’s lesson from Teddie. Staying well groomed is good but overall appearance doesn’t indicate happiness. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. The observer in the distance. No matter the observer’s opinion. Teddie is happy just being Teddie.

Be happy with your image. No matter what your appearance is be content. But be a groomed content. Fresh and clean is always preferred. Don’t we all wish we lived a Teddie life?

 

 

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

IMG_2149 2

I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.

 

 

perspective

Value

I have thought a lot about value in the past few weeks. A few articles I have read, some life experiences and then some other circumstances pushed the value proposition in front of my eyes again. Below is my take on my value perception today.

My first note is relating to essential jobs and the current state of the employment scenario. Many teachers, caregivers, grocery clerks, nurses, among others are female. It appears there is a shift in roles on the employment side that reflect more women in the workplace are noted as essential. How do we value these roles and the dual nature still expected on the home front as teacher and cook and so on? My perception is many overlook this value on the home front. I could be wrong or I should say I hope I am wrong but time will tell.

Next up is the value of independence. My perceived value of independence is off the charts. When it comes to my kids I think they need to be self-reliant when they enter adulthood. They need to independently seek answers to find solutions to problems they didn’t anticipate in life. This is ever so important now because we are in unprecedented times. There is no roadmap. We need to teach our kids to bend and flex so they have value in times like this.

A different example of independence would be relating to getting time to do things on your own. Being able to spend money on your own. Make decisions independently. Whether you you are a homemaker, student, or bread winner in your family having the opportunity to spend independently has value. Limits can be set on amounts but there is a huge value in independence from a financial or recreational perspective.

Moving on, self worth is an area some overlook. The value set on oneself is extremely important. In a household, if one spouse devalues another there is a rippling effect that can take shape amongst the ranks of a family. Each person within a family needs to know their value. Each amount may be different but if one doesn’t articulate their value it could be overlooked.

This has surfaced a few times for me when I look at role reversal during corona. A once male-dominated family may be more reliant on the female spouse income during this turbulent time. That is a big value in that family now, to maybe have health insurance and steady income from the grocery clerk job. That value might have been overlooked in the past or maybe thought of as a hobby. Either way it should be noted even if temporary.

Finally, self care including fitness, friendships, healthy eating and so on. Self care ties into so many aspects of life. One must feel good in their own skin to support others. One must be in good mental, physical and emotional shape to endure critical times such as corona that make one dig deep to navigate troubled waters. Self care has a value that many overlook. Poor decisions in the past may lead to painful times today. Don’t underestimate the value of self care especially in today’s environmental conditions.

Value is everywhere. The examples above are not all-inclusive. Look around your world and define not only your value but those around you. Think about independence, self care, contributions and communicate with your tribe. Set a plan for yourself in the not-so-distant future to grow your personal value. Share your growth with others.

Don’t be a discount coupon in life. Don’t let somebody redeem a lesser value for you. Demand premium value for you. You are always worth top dollar!