SOL2021 – Adding to My Vocabulary

“This website is about a The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. It looks like it’s been updated recently. Let’s see of we can find out who the author is,” I said to my screen of empty Brady Bunch Squares.

Suddenly, I hear a student shout, “That’s cap!”

“What?!” I ask. No only is it unusual for anyone to speak during this period, but I didn’t know what he said.

He repeated for me, “I said, That’s cap!”

“Huhhh?!” I still didn’t know what he was saying. This was about a supposed tree octopus. The earlier period called it “sus” and “not legit,” but I didn’t know what he was saying…

“Cap. C – A – P,” Student 1 spelled out.

And then just as I was about to say, “I have no idea what you’re saying!” Student 2 jumped in.

“She doesn’t know what that means, man,” Student 2 explained to the first student. Then speaking to me, Student 2 explains, “It means fake. He says it’s fake.”

“Oh!” I reply. “Thank you! Yes, it’s a fake website. How do we know that?” I continue, one more word added to my ever expanding vocabulary courtesy of my students.”

Both hands!

“Are your nails painted?”  my sister asked over our Face Time chat.

“Yep,” I replied.  I painted my nails and toenails when I painted Lorelai’s.  (Not sure exactly which day it was, as all the days blur together lately…)

“Both hands?”  she asks, knowing me much too well.  I have a tendency to paint one hand, wait for it to dry, and then never end up painting the other.

“Yes!”  I answer proudly.  “Both hands!”


“3, 2, 1, Duel!”

“3, 2, 1…”. With each number we take a step further from each other.

“Duel!” we say as we spin around to face each other. I release my burrito 🌯 immediately, doing the best I can to hit my son. At the same time, he falls to the ground, expertly avoiding my poorly throw burrito and launching his own burrito.

“Yes!” he shouts. “Take a bruise!”

This duel resulted in my daughter, asleep on the couch, waking up and becoming a new challenge in the game. However, it also resulted in smiles, laughter, and memories between mother and teenage son. Worth having to get her to sleep again!

Highly suggest Throw Throw Burrito: A Dodgeball Card Game!


Laying there

Curled up

But not quite relaxed.


That someone

Might think,


And invade his space.

All he wants

Is to be close,

Without being touched.

Same, Frodo.



Bubbles and Zoom

Sitting at the kitchen table, I had my laptop set up and ready for our first team meeting via Zoom.  My one year old was ready in her high-chair with a bowl of noodles and crayons within my reach – just in case.  Five minutes to go and…

From her perch she spotted the bubbles.  Any hope I had of this going smoothly vanished.

I sat blowing bubbles IN THE KITCHEN while listening to the expectations for teachers during this upcoming distance learning. Multitasking in a way I never imagined before this strange time.  Luckily, Zoom has a mute button and my teenage son came to the rescue – distracting his sister in the living room while I finished the meeting.

There are some things only Ma can make better.

 When my son was young, they brought him to the bus and picked him up after school.  He spent every afternoon with them.  I saw them almost every day of the week.  Now that he’s a teen and my mother-in law watches my daughter, we seem them almost every weekend.   This isn’t enough, but I know that if I need it, I can stop by and feel better.  Sometimes going to Ma’s, sitting in the kitchen, and drinking coffee is all I need to make things better.

Unfortunately, with “shelter in place” in Illinios, we haven’t seen them.  That’s probably the hardest part of this social distancing – being stressed and not being able to go visit Ma.  Luckily, we have Facetime. 

My daughter and I were “visiting” with Ma over Facetime when my daughter fell over one of her toys.  This was followed by crying and her holding her leg – always a drama queen.

“Should I kiss it and make it better?” I’m not sure why this works for kids, but it usually works.

She struggled the foot or so over to me.  I kissed her leg.  The crying didn’t stop as it normally does… It took me a moment to realize the problem…Ma needed to kiss it for it to be better.  My daughter was holding up her leg to the phone – I just didn’t realize what she was doing.

I put the phone to her leg, Ma blew a kiss, and everything was better.  Crying ended.  Playing began again.

There are somethings only Ma can make better.

Pudge Pig’s Counting Book

“Again?”  I ask.  But she brought me the book and now she is looking at me expectantly. img_9298 I know I will be reading it again…now and at least two more times before dinner.

“Two chocolate tarts for two turtles…”  I continue reading, she’s still invested at this point, babbling and pointing to the turtles.

The story of Pudge Pig continues with donuts and ducks, gumdrops and gophers. Pudge, the young pig temporarily in charge of his uncle’s store, manages each alliterative order.  But my daughter?  She’s barely able to contain her anticipation by the time the five hedgehogs order gingerbread houses – and not because the alliteration ends at five.

She acknowledges the ball the hedgehogs have floating above their tango line, but only halfheartedly.

She knows what’s coming next.

I turn the page and her babbling turns higher pitched and faster paced.

This is her favorite page!

“Six cherries in spice for six merry mice!”  And she waits, just barely, for me to count the cherries and mice before the pointing and the chatter commences.

This is her favorite page.

I try to turn to the next page to read about the barrels of butterscotch for the bears, but she stops me and goes back to the cherries.  I know that once again, we will not finish the book.  Once again, we will not read about how Pudge is able to manage elephants’ ice cream sundaes or the cat’s candy canes.  We will not read about how Pudge gets ten treats when his uncle comes back up from the basement.  Because… this… is… her… FAVORITE…page.


One more thing to be grateful for…

Sitting on the counter,

waiting for his dinner

to warm up.


Cookies here

still warm 

from the oven.


Eyes widen and

he jumps off the counter.

Within seconds,

one cookie is gone

another in his hand.

Can I eat all of them?



they’re yours.

Trying to hide

my happiness,

my relief,

my gratitude that


is where we are right now.


Can we have cookies

again tomorrow?

he questions.

No doubts.

No second thoughts.


Of course.


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