Hey – hey! Guess what day it is?

You know what day it is – it’s Pepper Day! Woo!

And that’s about all the excitement I can muster right now. Because it’s also Hump Day and, well, I’m awfully glad we’re on the downhill slope of the week.

See, my job was another victim of Covid, but I was super fortunate to find a new job in only a couple of weeks. Fourteen years of experience, plus my pretty new(ish) English degree, landed me a job in another law firm, and I started on Monday. While it feels good to be working and having days filled with adult conversation again, and while I’m glad that my younger kids are getting some social interaction with other kids (and trust me, the kids are just as happy about that as I am), it’s been three days of hard mornings. It’s hard enough to go back to work – even at a job you love – after having a couple days off, but after having four months off? Let’s just say I wasn’t sure I’d be equal to the task.

But everything is going well so far, and everyone has been super welcoming, which is wonderful. It’s been a great three days.

And I really don’t know what I was going to say just now. After months of late nights followed by late mornings, I’m exhausted, and I’m pretty sure my brain stopped working for the day somewhere around 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. But I guess this qualifies as a peppery post, because it is, in fact a post that I have drafted, even if it really isn’t very good. But that’s okay because it means there’s room to grow, and if you’re looking for something worth reading, then click here to find some great reads by writers who are more with it today than I am.

And if you’d rather be chatting than reading, then tell me – are you working? Not working? Somewhere in between? Let’s catch up!

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

If 2020 was a sound…

Hello, all! What’s new with you? Anything?

No?

That’s okay. Maybe right now, we don’t need new. Maybe right now, we all just need a good laugh. Lord knows I could use one. So with that in mind, I’ve got some memes to share with you today because that’s just about all the brain power I’m able to muster right now.

I hope they make you smile…

Day 28: Focus

It’s really hard to focus on anything other than zoning out in front of the TV right now. I have photos to scan, videos to fix, poems and stories to write, and an anthology to edit, and I can’t seem to focus on any of it. Sunday I had a movie marathon with the kids, and yesterday morning it continued, and that was all I could summon the mental energy for.

I want to know when I’ll be able to go back to work. I want to know when my kids will be able to go back to school (not this school year, but the beginning of the coming school year is up in the air at this point). I want to know when things will return to some semblance of normal.

But the answers to those questions are…

Day 22: Tempo

When you have four kids and a job, life moves at a pretty fast tempo. That tempo usually looks a little something like this:

Picture, if you will, a bumblebee as you’re listening. Or even a hummingbird. Actually, a hummingbird might work better. Especially when I was in college and working and dealing with all the kids’ stuff, I kinda felt like this melody line. Even without the added pressure of college coursework, though, there are times where my life feels like I have to move at warp speed in order to keep up.

Or, you know, at ludicrous speed. Whatever.

But lately…

Day 19: Three

Today’s prompt is supposed to be about things that come in three parts. Since I’ve spent the past two days marathoning Voyager, the first thing that popped into my head was Captain Proton. It’s a very silly holodeck program that Tom Paris runs as part of a historical study on how ancient people thought about the future. The Captain Program features in three episodes: “Night,” as mentioned yesterday; “Bride of Chaotica!,” which I watched this afternoon and which is among my favorite episodes; and “Shattered,” which at this rate, I’ll be watching sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Captain Proton, Protector of Earth

Honestly, it’s been so long since I saw “Shattered” last that I only vaguely remember what it’s about, and even then…

Day 17: Distance

Everything is at a distance these days, isn’t it? I just finished watching a press conference from earlier this morning in which our governor cancelled in-person classes for the rest of the school year. For my older two, that means they’ll be continuing with their required distance learning through the end of next month. For my younger two, that means the optional schoolwork they’ve received from their teachers is going to be much more important.

I’m sure Cricket will love that.

Two days ago, he had a hissy fit about…

Day 14: Book

It’s no secret that I love books. I love reading them and I love writing them and I love reviewing them. I love thinking about them and how they relate to my life and the world around me. Books are my life.

And yet, I’m just not feeling super bookish lately.

Maybe it’s the quarantine getting me down. Maybe it’s refereeing one too many fights over inconsequential things between my boys. Maybe it’s having a to-do list a mile long and not really knowing where to start. I don’t know.

I had planned to read a bunch and write a bunch while I’m at home because this is the perfect time for catching up on such activities, but I’ve hardly done any writing or reading. I mostly feel like imitating a bump on a log. It’s not a very productive way to spend my days, but when they all blur together, what else is there to do?

I guess it all comes down to Yoda’s wise words:

Do, or do not. There is no try.

I need to keep my brain active, or it will atrophy. I can do that by reading books. And hopefully by reading more, I’ll be inspired to write more.

But after spending my day fighting with one of my kids, I think I’m going to veg out in front of the TV tonight and start in on the brain exercise tomorrow.

How are you handling the current need for social distancing and isolation? What are some of your favorite books?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 13: Teach

This is a somewhat ironic topic for me as my kids are preparing to start distance learning tomorrow. For my older two, the work is required, but for the younger ones, it’s optional. I’m glad of that because I am not cut out to be a teacher.

I tried to teach Miss Tadpole how to play the flute one time. It didn’t go well. I tried to teach the boys how to sign their names in cursive last week. That didn’t work out quite so well, either, but it went better than the flute instruction. My problems with teaching lie in the fact that I don’t know how to break things down so that kids understand. When I tried to teach Miss Tadpole how to play the flute, part of the problem was that the flute is second nature to me now, and when she’d ask a question about something, I couldn’t answer it because it was something that I just did.

That said, when Thumper came up to me and asked me what a closed syllable was, I was awfully glad I’d held onto my textbook from the Structure of English class I took in college. Page 47 was very, very helpful.

If you’re a teacher, do you have any helpful hints for parents who don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to teaching their kids? If you’re a teacher who is also a parent, how are you handling distance learning?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 9: Pair

I have two pairs of kids. The first pair will soon be doing required distance learning. Navigating all of that is going to be…interesting. The second pair will soon be doing optional distance learning, which I suspect is going to be even more interesting. Between internet issues and computer availability issues, I suspect I’ll be ready to pull my hair out by the end of the month, which is when everyone is hoping they’ll be able to return to school.

I know we’re all in this together and that everyone is dealing with the same inconveniences, but I’m worried. I was not meant to be a teacher. How is this gonna work?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.

Day 4: Street

Come September, this picture will be three years old:

We have a different driveway now, and the kids no longer ride the bus together. Two kids now go to school in one district and two kids go to school in another district, or at least they did up until last month. But we still have two black cats, and one is rather fluffy, so there’s that.

I wonder what things will be like come September. Will the kids be back in school? What will school look like for them? What will the world look like?

(c) 2020. All rights reserved.