Category Archives: Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day is coming

This is the week I will read a book for Valentine’s Day to first and second graders. I gave them a heads-up last week before leaving. I asked what they thought a book for Valentine’s should have. All six classes had answers like hearts, love, gifts, Valentines, red. One second grade girl had a most excellent answer–relationships. She is “right on” for the book I have to read–The Hating Book.

It’s a story of two friends who have a terrible misunderstanding and stop speaking to each other and doing some mean things to one another. Neither of them knows what the other is thinking. The narrator girl (neither girls have names) keeps saying, after each unkind event, “I hate, hate, hated my friend.” I point out, as I read the story, that she keeps calling her “my friend,” so I think we can say she still likes her.

This is another book about giving students words to express their feelings. Much like the girl in the book, Don’t Touch My Hair, who didn’t realize she had the power to stop people touching her hair if she just spoke up. Or the little bird in Let’s Go Hugo who was afraid to fly but had never told anyone of his fear. It’s a theme in many of the books: speak up, stand up, let people know what you are feeling, thinking, needing.

The Hating Book has a happy ending (you knew it would), but not before the girls have to confront their feelings and speak to one another. It reminds me of a situation when I was teaching high school seniors. I had a class of 12th graders right after lunch, students I knew really well, and one day a girl came in, a bit late, and very sad and dejected looking. I asked what was wrong.

Her boyfriend had not asked her to go out to lunch, off-campus.

“Did you tell him you wanted to go out for lunch,” I asked.

“No, but he should know I wanted to go out. He went with his friends instead.” Friends being a group of other guys.

I proceeded to explain to her that most people, and especially guys, can’t read your mind. You have to tell them what you want. That’s the lesson with The Hating Book. You must tell people what you are feeling and what you want.

A story about a wonderful Thursday

We slept in until 7 o’clock on this Friday morning. I guess I was more tired than thought. Although sad to miss the art hop event downtown, I was glad I stayed in Thursday afternoon after getting back from school. There is another story I wanted to share with you about my walk across campus yesterday.

There were many children who saw me come out the door of the main building to walk across campus to my first class for the day. Lunch for third and fourth graders was just finishing and they had some recess time before returning to their rooms for the afternoon’s learning session.

One fourth grade girl came running as soon as I stepped out of the door, with my cart filled with boxes and my two bags of tricks. It was to be a busy story day as I had different stories for each grade. I had art supplies to give to the second grade classes. I had project pages for the first graders to turn into dragons. There were many packages of 100-days-of-school stickers to hand out everywhere. I was heavily loaded.

My fourth grade friend wanted to know where I was going and what story I would be telling. Of course, others joined in and I started handing out those 100-day stickers. They all wanted to tell me things and many remembered the stickers from previous years. They would have been second graders the last time we celebrated the day on campus. I was amazed as they rattled off their favorite story or what they remembered from the story I usually tell for 100-days–Jake’s 100th Day of School. I didn’t read that book this year because I wanted to celebrate Lunar New Year and creativity so I had different books to share.

As time ticked on, my fourth grade friend started getting my cart ready to move; she informed me she would be taking it to my first classroom. She started telling the others that I had to get to class. They, of course, wanted to know whose class that was. Many of them knew the teacher and wanted to tell me stories about her. We started walking, and my fourth grader tried to shoo the others away. “Mrs. Zody, you’ll never get to class on time if you keep talking.”

I put the stickers away in one of the bags and we started on our way. “Oh, no,” said the fourth grader, “here come more.” Students were still coming out of the cafeteria.

“Remember me,” one of the boys called out. “Yes, I do.” But my cart-pulling young friend would have none of it. “Mrs. Zody has to get to class, you go play.” I pulled out an eraser that said TERRIFIC on it and handed it to the boy, and said, “You are terrific for taking time to say HI to me today, thank you.”

We finally got to the appointed classroom. There was a substitute as the regular teacher had been in contact with a COVID-positive person and had to be in quarantine. My fourth grade sherpa knew the substitute as he is on permanent assignment to the school. He knew me from the days of virtual school as I would come in, on-screen, once a week for stories with the class where he was a long-term sub. He had already seen me on campus this year and told me how special those days were.

The class was coloring 100-day-of-school crowns, using their creativity to make them colorful. I said it was fine if they stayed seated and continued to work while I told the story. The fourth grader said she had to get to class now, lunch break was over. I thanked her for her help and I took the storybook out of one of my “bags of tricks.” It was all so wonderful.

I made plans…

…but I’m backing out of them. It’s almost 4:30, late Thursday afternoon, and I should be making ready to leave the house after arriving home about 90 minutes ago from my storytelling sessions with first and second graders. I made plans to attend our city’s Art Hop, held the first Thursday of every month, in the downtown area of our city. Very close to where I was telling stories to first and second graders. I put it on my calendar, which in times past would have made it a done-deal.

If only I could have gone right from the school to the big church where the quilt guild will be exhibiting their work of the last two years. But the exhibit doesn’t open until 5 and I finished at school just before 2:30, so I drove the 10 miles back home, changed out of school clothes into my comfy, soft, warm knits and made a cup of tea. Put my feet up on the couch. I’m tired.

I pour so much energy into the storytelling, the connecting with students both in the classes and the ones I see while going across campus who must stop me and tell me about what they are doing and asking about the story for the day and what they remember and all the things they still have from when they were in first grade and, and, and…It feels just like that–whew.

During the pandemic shutdown, when I was doing virtual storytelling, I realized just how valuable these weekly sessions are to me and the children. I decided then that these days at school would take priority over anything else I am doing. The children and the books get my attention first. My preparation and execution will be of topmost importance in my routine. That means I may be too tired to accomplish the plans I made for afterschool. But I will show up for the children, first and foremost. Those plans won’t change.

Onward into February

It’s February 2, Groundhog Day and my sister’s 87th birthday. I don’t have a groundhog around here, just a bunch of cats who didn’t see their shadow because it was too foggy, and my sister has been gone for three years so no shadow there either.

The dew was frozen solid on the cars sitting in the next-door driveway. Our cars were tucked in, not iced over, but still cold, in our garage. I like garaging the cars. They are old, and have always known a garage. Their paint and inner-workings seem to like being in the garage, safe from really cold and really hot temperatures. Our mechanic says the cars do better, for longer, if garaged. Since our cars are 15 and 30 years old, I’ll believe him.

I get to return to Columbia today. I sat out last week, missing the students and staff something terrible. Terry had been exposed to COVID on Monday at his physical therapy session. Neither of us felt safe being around other people until we could test and have no symptoms. Negative on all counts so we are back out with people this week.

May February, a very short month, be a very good month.

Doing my happy sunshine dance

Here we are, in the last throes of January, probably my least favorite month, and the sun is shining on a cold (34F) Sunday morning. It’s beautiful sunshine, too, melting the frost from the roofs and lawns. As I walked from dining room into the living room, the sun shined its light onto the north wall, lighting up the whole room. And lighting up my face, my mood, and causing me to shout and sing, “the sun is shining, the sun is shining.”

Oh, we desperately need rain, and I would do a happy rain dance, too; but the sun, right now after a very sad week, makes me happy. If you would like to see a picture of that sunny living room wall, click here.

Delaine Zody tries to save the world, and fails miserably

Disclaimer, I know I cannot save the world, but I really try to do my best in my corner of the world with the situations God puts in my path. That said…

When I walked up to Whole Foods this morning, from the parking lot, there was a fella near the front door, wrapped in a large comforter. He asked if I had any spare change, a beggerman, but I don’t carry any money when I go the store. I told him I’d be happy to get him a sandwich if he liked. Yes, “that would be good, thanks m’am.” I told him it might be a bit of a while because I had quite a few things to get. “That’s ok, I’ll be here.”

Sure enough, it did take awhile as I had to get a variety of olives and other bulk fermented veggies from the olive bar. Now, doesn’t that sound pretty lah-di-dah! I’m doing coffee fellowship on Sunday because the deacons and elders are meeting after church and they need to be fed. Sandwiches, nibbles, a bar cookie. Nothing fancy, but nice. I also picked up items for the beggerman’s lunch, things that I would buy for my husband to eat–turkey sandwich, potato salad, cake with berries and cream. Oh, and something I wouldn’t buy for Terry, but figured the stranger would like, a coke.

By the time I got through the store, checked out, and back outside, the man was gone, chased off by the shopping center’s security. I was shattered. I drove around the center’s parking lot, but didn’t get any sight of the man wrapped in a large comforter. I took my groceries, and the sack lunch, home.

Terry is eating the food for lunch. “You got him a really nice meal,” he says through bites of food. “No different from what I would buy for you,” I respond. “I know,” he replied. “I’m sorry he didn’t get it.”

I wanted to scream at the security guard, even though I know she is doing her job. It’s a fancy shopping center with customers who do not like to see the dark underside of their city. They stay north of the street where this center sits, coming only this far in the town because it’s DANGEROUS elsewhere south of this street.

I know better. I drive much farther south each week. I see so many who need help, far more help than I am able to provide. So, yes, I know I can’t save the world, but I keep trying to do my small part. There are days I succeed, and days I fail.

Back to the bone density test

I wrote here about getting up early to have a bone density test and mammogram. The results came within a a day or so, and as I expected, the mammogram was just fine. Because Medicare allows this test every year, and the doctors only get paid when people come to have this test, they told me to come back in one year. No. Maybe three or four years.

The bone density results didn’t surprise me because, as I mentioned to you, I had lost two inches of height so I figured the bones were decreasing. Yes. My spine has an .8 percent decrease from 2019. The left femur has a 2.1 percent decrease in density measurement and the right femur has a 1.1 percent decrease.

Why is my left femur deteriorating more? I’ll try to remember to ask my physician when I see her at the end of February. Her response may be the usual: it’s what happens when you get older. She did send an email about the results saying to keep taking vitamin D and calcium and walk more. Since our weather has been gorgeous this week, I have walked, but I am very much a fair-weather walker.

The lab also included a 10-year fracture risk assessment. I have a 16 percent risk of major osteoporotic fracture. I must remember that means I have 84 percent of not breaking something. My risk for hip fracture is 2.5 percent. That seems to be better odds, but really? Who knows for sure. This lab report says to come back in 2-3 years. That would concur with my plans for another mammogram.

I will never uber lyft you

Terry received our car insurance renewal from AAA. He has been with AAA for his entire driving life and when I married him, I came onboard, too. Before that I had been with Farmer’s because that’s what my dad had, being a farmer. Terry had renter’s insurance with State Farm because that’s what his roommate had when he moved in. After we were married, and I became his roommate, we kept State Farm for our residence, moving it along each time we moved.

At one time State Farm tried to convince us to move our car insurance to their company but upon learning how long Terry had the AAA policy, said it wouldn’t work. They never could give us the rates he had. AAA said something similar when they attempted to get our house insurance. I guess the longer you are with a company, the better your rates.

AAA sent some updates on our policy for our two cars, two old cars, cars too old to be approved by Uber or Lyft for rideshare. But, nonetheless, AAA wanted us to know that if we should decide to use our cars for rideshare that we would need a rider on the policy. I have no idea how much that rider would cost, but I’m pretty sure it would be very costly. Can you imagine the risks you take by putting a stranger in your car and going off across town, or county, or state?

I do not like to drive, so, along with my 15 year old car, I would not be a candidate for a rideshare business. I do not like to drive on the freeways to just go across town. I do not like to have strangers in my car. I do not do well in strange neighborhoods where I don’t know the streets very well. I cannot parallel park. The only qualifications I would have for a rideshare company is that I have an excellent driving record and a very clean car.

More shopping in time of omicron

I needed 32 pound printer paper for a project for next week’s storytelling at Columbia. Office Depot had a nice selection of papers, some even on sale. I got a ream of 500 sheets.

I wanted to get Valentine candy to take to the staff at Columbia next month, and knowing that See’s Candy often sells out of seasonal products, decided to go by there today, just one month until the LOVE day. Sure enough, the single chocolate hearts had already been opened and half of the box was gone. The clerk found an unopened box in the back so I’m pretty well set. I even found a bag of my favorite candy–cashew brittle–which had not been in stock the last two times, Halloween and Christmas, when I shopped at See’s.

After my trip to Whole Foods on Thursday, I wondered what I would find on Friday at our local grocer. This is a local chain with union employees with stores throughout the valley. There are three stores within a 3-mile radius from our house. I went to the one closest and also my regular store.

The last time I was there, the pasta shelves were empty. Today there was a variety. The produce section was robust with all the greens in full force. They even had alfalfa sprouts which I bought for roast beef sandwiches. The bread shelves were still a bit bare, but the in-house bakery had a wide selection and I got a package of chibatta rolls for those sandwiches. Another area that was bare was the Pillsbury cans of dough. I wanted cinnamon rolls, but none. I did notice that the flower shop had more than the Whole Foods flower department. Whole Foods, though, only buys fair-trade plants.

It appears that it’s all about which store and when you shop.

Grocery shopping during omicron

It’s been a busy week, lots to do around here, so I waited until Thursday to go grocery shopping. Would it have been better at the beginning of the week? Who knows. These are strange times in which we live.

I had not been to Whole Foods since December 17, attempting to stay away during the busy holiday rush. Whole Foods had been smart and brought in portable cold boxes in their parking lot before Thanksgiving to give them adequate storage space for all the extra foods people would be wanting. The cold boxes were gone when I pulled into an almost empty parking lot just before 9 this morning.

Usually, on Thursdays, the store is pretty busy, often times with Amazon shoppers. Today I saw three of these paid-to-shop people. And there were few regular shoppers like myself. However, there wasn’t all that much to be buying.

The produce section was bare, especially the greens section. I did get yellow and red bell peppers, pears, apples, tangerines, and white potatoes. Oh, and a bag of carrots that came busting open when I got to the checkout, scattering those baby carrots everywhere. I ran to get a new bag, but didn’t need to hurry as there was no one behind me in the checkout lane.

No butter or eggs. But I did get buttermilk so Terry can make pancakes on Saturday. The cheese section only had those less purchased varieties. The meat counter was full except very little poultry. The baguette I bought, baked in the store, had been cut in half to fit the bags they had in stock. The stock of regular baguette bags was depleted. No plastic produce bags either. I’m assuming they shifted those bags for use in other areas of the store.

Every employee I saw, and there were many, was very cordial, greeting me, asking how I was. I didn’t complain to a one of them, instead thanking them for being there, keeping us supplied. I didn’t get some things I would have, but we aren’t starving or even doing without. As I type this, I’m eating a bagel, purchased at Whole Foods, and peanut butter, purchased weeks ago at another grocer.

Will things get better or worse? Who knows. The pandemic has turned everything upside down in ways we never would have thought possible.