Slices of Life
With a bit more strife.
Many slices in March
And our nerves parch.
Many slices, same feel.
For April, are we able to steal
More moments of joy and grace
To fill our place, our space?
We’ll do it, to be sure.
Oh, when will there be a cure?
Too much Zoom
These days I look for pockets of grace in my stay-at-home life. Here are a few from today:
We took a walk around our parking garage to get our blood flowing.
I baked bread for a nurse who had brought us a loaf of sour dough from San Francisco, and I have another loaf rising on the counter for tomorrow morning. You should try it.
I have two student bloggers now. We are starting gradually because we are stuck at home. I’m making an account for those who ask, and I’ll teach them as we go. Here are their first two posts: The Haunted House and Interview with Sheika Marwa
A student applied figurative language learning at home, and it was beautiful.
This morning I got up, showered and got dressed right away. It’s been five weeks since we’ve met at church. Today the church school leaders and teachers planned to have a Zoom meeting to encourage each other and make some plans for how to reach out to the children. I got dressed like I was going to church, my Formal Friday.
It was great to see friends in our Zoom meeting whom I’ve missed all those weeks. We made plans for how to have our annual Palm Sunday procession with the children. We decided to use the song “We Sing Hosanna” by David Heath-Whyte. I went looking for the full and uninterrupted song on David’s website, and found that he was giving special free permission to use his songs for live-streamed services. Ours would be video recorded, so I wrote to ask for special permission. Literally within three minutes, he answered back with this sweet reply:
Thank you for getting in touch, and thank you for your interest in the songs.
I’m delighted to give you permission to use the song as you suggest – sounds like a great idea. I hope it all goes well.
We will ask the children to wave their palm branches, or house plants, or cilantro, or parsley, or green paper leaves–whatever they have or can create at home and take a video of it. Thank goodness for great connections between the teachers and students on What’s App. They will be able to gather all the video clips in a few days. We will then piece them together and play the song behind. It will be the opening song next Friday’s video worship service.
This year our children will shout their hosannas and wave their branches one-at-a-time, from a distance, but we are still one in Christ.
Why am I writing about herbal tea? It’s getting late, and I don’t have an idea.
It’s bedtime, and I have more work to do before I sleep. (How can I still be so busy!?)
I made myself a cup of tea, and it reminded me of how much my tastes have changed in the last seven years. Before, I very rarely drank herbal tea. Now, it has become a habit. Lately I’ve been using sage and hibiscus for herbal tea.
Who would have thought that sage would be used for more than Thanksgiving dressing? Here I am drinking it as a tea.
This week I wanted my students to play a Kahoot game where they would guess some facts about me. I’m not that experienced with Kahoot, but I thought they would need to see my screen. Yesterday I hosted a Zoom meeting and about 14 people were able to come. Today I learned I can play asynchronously, so I set up another game for those who weren’t able to play the first time.
I love to play games and my husband does not. Today I ventured out to the grocery store because there will be a two-week shut-down of all the shops except for groceries and pharmacies. I’m planning to stay in during that two-week period, so I went out to get a few fresh fruits and vegetables, along with some canned and frozen veggies. (We eat a lot of vegetables.) I also picked up a game. It is called Digital Game, but it’s not a digital game at all. It is actually a Rummikub knockoff. I may have to play alone though because my game-playing friends and I are socially distancing, of course. So, will Digital Game “bring people together” as the package says? We’re going to have to wait and see.
I have herbs and spices and I’m not afraid to use them. Today I made a frittata without a recipe, just diced up some celery, fresh dill, and capsicum. Then I sprinkled in turmeric and zaatar. It was delicious. That was something new for me. I’ve never been a risky cook in any sense of the word, but this at-home stuff is making me learn.
I must have had a really good immune system. I have been washing my hands and using hand-sanitizer, not nearly as often as they tell us we should, but more than before. Back in the day (by back in the day, I mean my whole life except for the past Coronamonth), I have not washed my hands all that much, or used hand sanitizer ever. I guess my immune system has been good because I haven’t been sick in three years. (Knock on wood)
Virtual assignments are best when students have to respond personally. I have some teacher friends who have seen copy-paste of assignments turned in, some students copying wrong answers with the exact same misspelled words. I am happy to say, though, that the vast majority of my lessons have needed sweet answers from the students. They wrote pen pal letters to a class in Arizona, which is also doing virtual learning now. They asked and answered “getting to know you” (or remember you) questions about me and themselves. We’ve had fun with that this week.
Communication is the reason for language. This one goes with the one above. How much reading and writing we are doing this month! Handling this kind of learning is a real-life lesson for my language learners and their parents, who are all building their skills in English.
I learned how to add an end page to a YouTube video. We are trying to figure out the best and safest way to upload videos. Some of our teachers are afraid of YouTube, afraid of the videos that will come up after their students finish watching their video, and afraid of the ads they will see. I had never thought of that, to be honest, but a colleague and I were put on a mission to find the best and safest way to upload videos.
My husband is getting slap happy. Today he called and told me to check the smoking toilet. I went in to find this…
Zoom is a pretty good program. I’ve been in or watched my husband in three Zoom meetings today. I need to keep learning because I’ve made lots of little mistakes with it. It’s embarrassing when you are just learning but there is video and audio evidence of all your foibles.
I miss my students more today than yesterday. I learn this anew every day.
“OK, I got it,” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic and able. At least I only have to do this once in two months.
Today our weekly meeting was in a large classroom, nine of us spread out at a safe distance from each other. The back and forth of Arabic voices bounced off the walls. Fortunately, I was near enough to my English coordinator counterpart from the lower grades.
“Just tell me if there is anything I should write down,” I told her from across our two-meter divide. At a typical meeting, I would have just looked over at her notes.
The meeting was largely in Arabic, as I was the only one of the nine who didn’t understand, but there was enough translation for me to write three pages–some of it with my usual intuitive interpretation and plenty of question marks.
It’s been a few hours since that meeting, so I better get back to typing up the minutes so I can send them back to my sweet partner to read and edit.