Sunday, March 24, 2019

Some Days

Some days are better than others.

On some days, the ideas come. They are loaded in my mind waiting to come out through my fingertips.

Then, there are the other days.

On these days there is an idea or two or three. There is not much information in my brain and those words don't flow out of my fingers like they do on some days.

Today is one of those other days. I could write about my first lacrosse practice with my U10 team. Or I could write about studying French with my 13 year old. But I don't want to write just to get this written. I want to write to write.

I might have to wait until tomorrow. A day I hope to be a some day.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Power of Music

I am not musically inclined.

When I was younger I took lessons on the clarinet, trombone, piano, and guitar. I play none of those instruments today and struggled through those lessons 35 years ago.

I love music though. I love listening to choirs sing, bands perform, and orchestras serenade.

I love musicals too, Annie being my favorite. When I hear the orphans sing "It's a hard knock life," I am brought back to the beginning of my teaching career when a student of mine at the time, Stephanie, was cast in the role of Molly in the local production of the show. I remember sitting in the audience and listening to her belt out her parts. I can still picture her eight year old self.

Today while I was out and about, the Counting Crows came on the radio. Instantly I was back in college, sophomore year to be exact. Sitting in my dorm room. I remember it distinctly. I then got to thinking. What is it about music that elicits memories?

I don't really have an answer.

Because I am not musically inclined.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Dede, Pronounced (Dee Dee)

When my daughter, Sophie, was about eight months old, we went camping in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. We were about an hour into the trip when I realized that we forgot Dede at home. I quickly alerted my husband and requested that we stop at the closest Target to get another one. She'll be fine. He said. She won't even notice. He said.

Let's just say that Sophie barely slept the entire time we were gone. She didn't have Dede. Dede has been a constant in her life since she was born. I would often find Dede over Sophie's face while she slept. When Sophie was awake, Dede was there on whatever adventure Sophie took her on. If Sophie was hurt, Dede was who Sophie went to before me.

Dede has been with Sophie for nine years. But last night something happened. I went to tuck Sophie in, and she tossed Dede to the end of her bed.

"Soph, what are you doing?"

"I need to work on not sleeping with Dede."

I didn't even ask why.

I was upset. Upset that my youngest is no longer little. Upset that her lovey might not be the most important thing in her life anymore. Upset that I was reacting this way.

Maybe Dede isn't just important to Sophie but to me as well. Because Dede reminds me of Soph's childhood. And she is growing up, and I am not ready.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Not Quite Ready

All day today I was noticing little things that I could use to write about this evening, but I am not quite ready.

There was the student I work with one on one who got it today, but I am not quite ready.

There was the one boy in my first STEAM class who made a connection to Iggy's love of architecture and the bridge falling in the book we read, but I am not quite ready.

There was my DK class that was so engaged and quiet today that I wondered if I should do more activities like the one today, but I am not quite ready.

There was the first grade group that was challenged to go unplugged after school, but I am not quite ready.

Then, there was my daughter and a friend leading 100 other third graders in sign language for a song they sang, but I am not quite ready.

Maybe tomorrow.

When I can focus more.

Maybe then, I will be ready.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Kindgergarten Cuteness

My kindergarten STEAM students are currently working on part two of their mixed media art project. During this part, we learned about architects, looked at various buildings around the world, observed different skylines, and listened to Iggy Peck, Architect. I then gave the students a choice of which skyline template they wanted to use. They had three to choose from. Next, they needed to color their buildings. Not boring colors but bright, bold ones, that would stand out.

If you have ever been around kindergartners, then you know that some of them are scribblers. They just want that picture colored in and don't care how it is going to get done. It is just going to get done and fast. So I pulled out my skinny magical color neatly like an artist does markers for students to use. They worked for a few minutes, then I stopped them.

"Oh my goodness! Do I have fifth graders in here?"

"No. We are in kindergarten."

"Well you are doing such an amazing job coloring that I thought you were fifth graders. Why don't you stop what you are doing and walk around? Look at the bright colors your friends are using. Notice how neat they are."

As students walked around, I walked around, listening to their conversations.

A little boy said, "Sophia, you are doing a really nice job coloring. Usually you just scribble but look how nice and neat your picture is. And you are staying in the lines. I really like your picture."

The little girl didn't say anything back. She just sat a little straighter, smiled, and continued coloring. That compliment changed her for the moment. When she was done, she came up to me and said, "Mrs. Waugh. This is the neatest I have ever colored."

"You did a nice job. Do you like your picture?"

"Yes. Can you help me cut it out?"

I guess I should have also brought with me my super slow I can cut scissors.

Maybe next time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Due to Old Age, I Guess

"Mom, do you know how old Grandpa is?" my daughter Kate asked from the back seat this evening as I was driving her to lacrosse practice.

"Yes, he is 78."

"I know. Can you believe it? I thought he was in his sixties."

This was the defining conversation that I knew today's slice would be about my father.

My father is in amazing health for a 78 year old man. He is very active. Walks five miles a day, seven days a week. He is not sure when the last time he took a day off was.

I have memories of my father growing up. Running. Running shoes. Lots of running shoes. At one time, I remember ten pairs lined up by the door. Who uses ten pairs of running shoes? And then there were the road races. Lots of road races.

But about eight years ago, my father had a health scare. I couldn't remember all the details, so I called him tonight and talked to him about it. This is what he had to say...

"I began running in 1979 when I was 38 years old in order to lose weight and get in shape. I ran until I was 65 years old (27 years) when I ran my last two marathons, The Big Sur in California, and the Rome Marathon in Italy on a trip with Judy. I ran a total of at least ten marathons in those 27 years.

Diet, exercise and medication kept my health balance. I graphed my cholesterol in those years to keep things under control. I never had any problems with high blood pressure, ever, as it was always under control thru exercise. I have been on cholesterol medication all those years thanks to my mother and the heart disease of my dad when he died of a heart attack at age of 62.

On August 26, 2011 when I was 70, I had a central retinal artery occlusion, mini stroke. I went to emergency to find out what it was and permanently lost vision in the center of my right eye. Today, I see about 60 % thru that eye. I have my eyes checked once a year at the Kellogg Eye Center.

Between August and October of the same year was when I started to have angina pains in my back and went to to a stress test and for first time in my life flunked it. I went in and had a catheter test and four blockages were identified. Fortunately, my heart was good.

On Columbus Day, Monday of 2011 I had open heart surgery, a quadruple bypass.
I had to walk next day with all my IV's and was home that Friday. I asked the doctor how did my heart start after being on ice? He said it started back up by itself once it was defrosted.

In seven years life has been good. I do everything I ever did before open heart surgery. I took about a year of rehabilitation at U of M in a variety of exercises. I try to keep active everyday by walking now more than jogging and watching my weight. Since my operation, also due to old age I guess, I do take a minimal of blood pressure medication daily, along with my cholesterol medication and have a physical and blood test once a year.

I keep a minimum of ten thousand steps daily to stay active."

My daughter spent the last weekend with my father and step-mother. If it wasn't for his love of being healthy and active, he never would have been able to keep up with her. She kept them busy. And by the sounds of it, they kept her busy too.

Kate and her grandpa, 78 years young. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Emperor Penguin Home Run Hitter

I see my developmental kindergarten (DK) classes once every other day for 3o minutes. I am a STEAM teacher, so we do all kinds of things. Currently, I am working in collaboration with both of their teachers on a huge animal project they are doing in their classrooms. Each student has an animal he or she is researching. This project includes many components, and the students are excited about it.

The other day I was reading a book to them called The Ice-Cream Cone Coot and Other Rare Birds. It is an older picture book and the students loved it!

As I was reading, I thought that I needed to capitalize on this excitement. I decided that each student was going to use their animal and create an invention that could make life easier for them or someone they know. We talked about inventions. We talked about what was hard for them, their parents, and their friends.

I then gave them a planning sheet. In their plan they needed to include their animal and some parts for their new invention. These are turning out amazing. My favorite part is just talking to the students and listening to how much they have to say.

Below you will find a little boy's plan. He had a vision in mind and told me all about it.

"Mrs. Waugh, this is called The Emperor Penguin Home Run Hitter."

"Tell me about it."

"I have a hard time hitting home runs. So here is my Emperor Penguin and he has this extra long arm over here so he can hit the balls really far."

"This sounds like a great invention."

"It is!"