Category Archives: The world and my place in it

Foggy Saturday

It’s the third Saturday in December, the beginning of winter break for the schools. The local districts take three weeks, have for years, due to many of our students returning to Mexico for the holidays and staying beyond New Year’s. My grandkids who live in the Bay Area will get two weeks, returning the day after New Year’s.

I was grateful for those three weeks when teaching, and even in retirement, I am loving a three-week break away from routine. Do I have any plans? Absolutely not. I’m taking it one day at a time. Sort of a “what do you want to do today?” plan.

As for today, the first Saturday, we slept in until 6:30 because we were tired! Terry came along with me to Columbia on Friday to deliver 90 bears to first graders in three classrooms. Three Fresno Police Department officers also showed up to help with the project. I had been told at our meeting last week that the police chief wanted his officers to be involved with what we do in the schools and would put a priority on this event. I was amazed to have THREE officers, and the students were immensely pleased to. get so much attention.

One of the patrol officers for the area brought a roll of star stickers to hand out. These look like a police badge. The kids were beyond pleased to receive a few along with their teddy bear which made them very happy. They hugged their bears. We took group photos that I will have printed and give one to each child. Terry was the photographer just as he was for me all those years at the high school.

After wrapping up that event, Terry and I went to have lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant and realized that we had never eaten lunch there, always going for dinner. They have a different menu for lunch so I ordered street tacos instead of my usual carnitas burrito. Although I expected a smaller amount of food, due to it being lunch, I was surprised with all of the trimmings–beans and rice along with two tacos. We both took leftovers home.

I never ate dinner as I was still full from lunch. Terry had some previous leftovers and we called it a good day.


One of those days

When teaching I would come home some days exhausted, hungry, a bit irritable. Those days became more frequent in the last couple of years. I attributed this feeling to getting older and knowing retirement was coming. It all seemed to be harder and harder.

Today, the next to last day before Christmas break, has been one of those after-school days. All went very well with the three second grade classes. The kids are excited for their holiday break and in a good mood. The teachers are weary but happy to anticipate their winter break. But when I got home, I was tired. I was hungry. And I’m really not finished. Tomorrow, Friday, is the day for the first grade teddy bear delivery. My mind is busy figuring out the final details for that event.

I changed clothes, trying to find something warm to wear. It’s cold this afternoon even though the sun is shining. Our mornings are in the low 30s and the afternoons barely break into the 50s. Maybe warm for some places, but remember, I love those 90 degree summer days.

I got tomorrow’s clothes ready. Then I started snacking. Probably too many sweets–two kinds of cookies, a brownie, a cup of tea, a small piece of chocolate candy. Then I sat and read a new library book, but it’s not very good and I fell asleep. I awoke to Terry asking me if pizza was alright for dinner. Sure, I’m not very hungry…of course not after all that snacking.

Just like those teaching days so many years ago, I only wanted to go to bed and sleep. Tomorrow will be a new day.

It’s only Wednesday…

…and my to-do list for the week is almost complete.

This week’s list started with 11 items as of Saturday evening. Now, on Wednesday, I have crossed off 9 of them

The big one, though, is still there–DELIVER BEARS to COLUMBIA

That will happen on Friday when Terry helps me, and takes pictures, of the delivery of 90 bears to the first graders. The other item on the list is also a Friday event–pick up dinners at the neighborhood bakery/cafe. All good stuff.

Shocking start to the day

The day started with a shower and washing my hair. I also changed the towels and cleaned the shower and both toilets. To plug in the hair dryer, I had to unplug the nightlight in the electric socket at the vanity and in doing so, something I do about three times a week, every time I wash my hair, I got a terrible shock. So much so that I had to sit down.

I also let out a very loud shout as it not only shocked me but hurt something fierce. Terry, who was still in bed, got up to see what was going on and decided I had gotten by finger between the light’s prong and the electrical outlet. Could be. I did it like I usually do, but I am using my right index finger that is mangled with arthritis. It might have slipped or moved the light differently than I usually do. That finger is giving me more and more trouble.

It’s been about six hours since my shocking start to the day, and I must say, there is no pain in the finger. It looks fine and it seems to be doing better than usual. Could be only in my head. I’ll see how it feels and works tomorrow.

Fodder for a blog post

If you have been a reader here very long you have figured out that I don’t do a whole lot nor do I go many places. I don’t buy much, either, unless as my mother used to say when I would ask her for gift suggestions, it’s something to eat or to wear.

Most of the furniture in our house has been here since we moved in 42 years ago. The only room that has been completely redone is the family room. It was empty, and used as a playroom for our 2-year old, when we moved in. Along the way, through the years, it has become a legitimate family room with furniture and room to spread out to do hobbies. It even got used as a recording studio when I did storytelling via Teams.

I bought a 3-piece rattan set for the room way back when Montgomery Wards was doing well. Loveseat, barrel chair, glass top table. The barrel chair fell to pieces, literally, about two years ago and got hauled away. The loveseat is slowly disintegrating and needs to be replaced, but I cannot find anything I like. The glass top table is as good as the day it was delivered by Montgomery Wards’ own delivery truck. It will probably be here when we are gone.

As for that loveseat, I put out a plea on Facebook to my friends that should they see something similar to a photo I also posted, I would like to know. I figured that no one makes this rattan furniture any more so it would have to be used, but perhaps not used as much as the one we own.

Well, today a local friend tagged me in a notice for an estate sale that had rattan furniture shown in its photos. The posting came just 15 minutes before the sale was to start, and the location of the house was just a couple of miles away in a neighborhood I know well. It seemed fortuitous. Until I realized that, between Terry and me, I could only scrape up $120 in cash. Would this estate sale company take credit cards? Could I leave a deposit on an item and go get additional cash? See, I have never been to an estate sale. I don’t do garage sales either. I have no idea how you do this.

I threw on some shabby clothes, combed my hair, but no makeup, and off I went, arriving on the half mile block where the house was located. That half mile block was parked from one end to the other. People walking in the streets. When I passed the house, I noticed lots of people in the yards, garage, and two box trucks backed into the driveway. This was much more serious business than I would have guessed.

Now, back to that opening paragraph…going someplace and buying stuff isn’t my thing. Having to deal with way over a hundred people in someone’s house (someone who I am pretty sure has died) gave me the creeps. So, I slowly drove through that neighborhood, came to the intersection, turned right, and went back home.

Life in retirement

Last week and this week and next week–three weeks of BUSY. So much so that Terry’s birthday luncheon was four days after his birthday. It was the first day we both had time to go out for a leisurely lunch.

Our favorite Asian restaurant, Jimy Wen’s, was recently featured on one of the local station’s newscast and the response was overwhelming, which made me very happy for the family who owns the restaurant as they could use the business, but the crowds that came were sometimes disappointed at the long wait. The restaurant is very small. There are only three employees. Each dish is cooked as it’s ordered.

We’ve waited a month or so before trying to go, even for lunch when there are usually fewer people. Tuesday was quiet and we sat at a back table were it was very quiet, and had a lovely lunch and conversation. And, best of all, there are leftovers for today’s lunch.

Today I am off to Columbia to read to first graders. Let’s Go Hugo is about a small bird who is afraid to fly until he meets a new friend, an adventurous female bird who wants to show him the Eiffel Tower. My grandson built a LEGO model of Paris for me to use with the book.

This week’s schedule for both first and second grade classes will be “off,” as the classes are having ZOOM art lessons all week at the same time I normally come to read to the students. One teacher has made special arrangements so I won’t miss her students, but I’ve heard nothing from the first grade teachers so, I will go and see what happens.

More rain with a side of bears

It is a dark, rainy Saturday morning here in the San Joaquin Valley. Just three weeks till Christmas. Four weeks of 2022 left on the calendar. Yet, I feel a lot must still be accomplished before turning that last month’s page and starting anew.

Today, on rain soaked roads, we will travel across the city to what feels like another city or state or world. The teddy bears for the first graders have arrived at the home of the man in charge of the school resiliency coaches so we will congregate there to pick up our students’ bears. In my case, 90 bears.

Although I love to see the children’s faces when they receive their bear, and hear their stories over the years of how much the bear has meant to them, it is a huge amount of work. Work that is totally unseen. I know this and feel this to my core, any time I see news of toy drives, food giveaways, meals for the homeless and the hungry. It is a huge amount of work to make that happen. The people who accomplish the task make it look easy, but it is not. So, if you know someone involved in such a project, please do all you can to support their work.

Rain and chuckles

It rained. Officially, over two thirds of an inch. I’m pretty sure we got more on the north side of town, where no one takes an official measure. It only counts if it rains at the airport.

The wind and rain brought down more leaves from our trees. Terry and I have been raking almost every day, knowing the rain is coming and we will have bushels of leaves. I move lots of them to the undersides of the bushes, out near the fences, for mulching. Lots more go into our green recycle bin and the city will use them to make mulch. Leaves are very valuable.

Wednesday at Columbia was a bit disappointing. I only saw one first grade class as all of the first grade teachers were out. One class had been “deployed” as there wasn’t enough substitutes to fill in for all the absent teachers. Another had a substitute who didn’t seem very happy or receptive to see me so I said I’d be back next week. While waiting in the office to see if I would be able to see another class, I encountered paramedics with a gurney, there to pick up a boy who had a seizure during lunch. I decided I needed to move on.

However, one bright spot that day was the first grade class I DID get to see. After reading King of the Playground, one little girl at the back raised her hand and asked, “Mrs. Zody, how did you learn to read books so good?”

“Lots of practice,” was my reply. “First graders for the past nine years have helped me learn how to read books they like. But before I came here to read to first graders, I taught high school students and I didn’t get to read books to them.”

Another little girl raises her hand, “Mr. R (the principal) hired you?” she asked.

“No, another principal before Mr. R said it was okay for me to come here. But, every year Mr. R has to say it’s okay for me to come to read to you.”

“Mr. R is very smart,” she said with a big smile.

On Thursday I relayed the story to Mr. R…he laughed out loud, so pleased to know that the first graders gave him high marks. This is a man who, like me, had only worked in high school until this assignment at Columbia. It’s been good for both of us.

About those Christmas cards

Since I last wrote about Christmas cards two opportunities to give to others came to my attention, and by combining those with the coats I had already purchased for children and See’s chocolate Santas I got for the Columbia staff, I decided there was no money for cards and stamps.

I will not purchase cards or postage stamps, and I will use the time I would have devoted to writing, signing, and addressing to other activities.

We have received one card as of November 26. I’ll let you know if any more show up.

A visit to the dentist to inspire me

Do you see your dentist twice a year? My appointments are in May and November. Been doing that for decades, except I did miss one visit during the pandemic but only because I didn’t feel well and decided to hold off. Didn’t seem to hurt my teeth. Yesterday was the November visit.

Since the November visit always coincides with Thanksgiving, that is the conversation I have with the hygienist. This year, however, the appointment fell after the holiday so we skipped it and went to Christmas plans. She’s going to Florida to see her son. We’re staying home. Neither of us is doing much decorating. A wreath on the door. I put out Christmas mugs and towels. This year I’ve made a batch of fruitcake that is currently aging. Like me.

And like with so many conversations I have with those I’ve known for a long time, there was much laughter. Others in the office come to check on us, we do get a bit loud. Her son is a nurse in a VA hospital in Florida. She is going to check with him to see what the official age is to be called elderly. I used the term to describe myself and she said I wasn’t elderly. Once upon a time, I thought 65 was the age, now I’m not so sure.

After X-rays and cleaning by the hygienist, the dentist came in. He is very young, having just taken over the practice from the dentist who is a bit younger than me, but definitely not elderly. The young dentist has been there for a bit over a year and settling in just fine. He looked at X-rays, looked in my mouth, had me do some gyrations with tongue and lips, proclaimed me very healthy and the bones in my face in good shape. Asking if I had any pains, I showed him my arthritic hands and said I wish they were in as good of shape as the face. He asked about knees, ankles, hips…no, those are just fine, no problems.

“You are very fortunate for that. It appears you are in good health and the hands just a minor issue.”

I hopped out of the chair and got my coat and mask as we continued to chat. My goodness, this dentist is very young was my thought. He was smiling as I was making my way to leave. “Keep doing what you are doing,” were his parting words.