Author Archives: jenijen

Shelter-in-place: Day, um, five?

 

Yes. Day five confirmed.

Thanks to market saturation and personal anxiety, there’s no original commentary I can come up with during these unprecedented days. I started to write a fairly detailed post on Facebook about what’s going on at our house and then remembered I actually have a blog for that, so, Heeeeeeey, there. I’ve missed you. Lots. 

I’ve been working from home full-time for years. More than five for sure, but I don’t remember exactly how many. You’d think that would mean living under a mandatory shelter-in-place order wouldn’t really be so different. Or maybe *you* wouldn’t, and it was just me that thought that at first and then was surprised by how uphill both ways this work week was. Lemme be clear: we have all we need, more than we need, honestly. We’re fed, housed, and have health insurance , internet access, and cable tv. We are lucky to live in California where our local and state government took quick action to reduce the fallout of Covid-19 by ordering everyone to stay home. Scuba and I are both working, the kids are not, thankfully, since they work with the public, but they’ve all got some cash stashed away to keep them in art supplies and snacks for the time being. I’m grateful and giving back as I’m able.

The last time this happened, 102 years ago, my mom’s parents weren’t born yet, but my dad’s father was small, about 5 when it began, and my dad’s mother was born in August of that second year, 1919. This means their mothers, my great-grandmothers, were experiencing the same anxious worry I am now, minus the cursed blessing of the 24-hour news cycle. I’m feeling extra connected to them, and since I’m sold on epigenetics, I know some of my programming on how to care for and love my own is thanks to them. I acknowledge that I’m weird. I’m confident hopeful my kids will stay healthy through this. They’re the opposite of the ignorant, murderously selfish college kids insisting on packing the beaches and bars of Florida for spring break. Instead they’re home, glued to their phones for companionship and information, cooking and eating together, sharing memes, playing video games, getting enough sleep for once, and offering to lend support and resources to their peers, which includes turning down invitations to hang out (even though I know they *really* would love nothing more). I grew some fine humans.

Next week, Willow (omg, you guys, she’s the only one still in high school now) will have some classes start back up online. I wanted to share this amazing response from her school (it made me cry, I was so grateful. Don’t get too excited, tho, I’m always crying):

Good morning,

I know you have been bombarded by emails, updates and information so I am hoping I can provide important information in one email. This was sent to students and parents through School Loop and will also be posted on the page we created for our website. There Is a pop up on the main page and it can be found under About Us. We will continue to add to it as we gather more information and resources. And thank you all for being such an amazing community.

What we don’t have answers for:

How long we will be closed: This will be something fluid until it’s not. There is much conjecture about how long schools will be closed. If we get word that it will be longer than the current time, there will be adjustments made to how we approach instruction. Our district cannot make this decision, it will be made by the state.

Grading: The current work is supplemental and meant to sharpen skills and keep students academically focused. The work will not be graded. Students who were absent or have a D or F can work with their teacher(s) on turning in missing assignments, taking assessments or other things that can improve your grade. We will determine how the six weeks grades will be addressed during discussions next week.

CAASPP/SBAC:The State Superintendent held a press conference regarding the possible cancellation of the standardized testing for this year. We will know more soon.

SAT/ACT: Tests for this spring have either been cancelled or rescheduled to the summer. We don’t know if that practice will continue.

Sports: CIF is taking a “wait and see” approach at this time.

Senior Awards: We will reschedule to a later date if that is necessary.

Graduation: It is too early to know if this will be impacted.

AP Testing: We are waiting for an update from the College Board.

Things being offered or will be offered:

Hangout with an Admin: Your Admin team wants to do whatever we can to stay connected to our students so we will offer several Google Meet opportunities to answer questions and provide support. Here is the LINK for Friday at 2:00pm.(Really it’s because we’re going through withdrawals and miss being around the kids.)

Videos on “How To” be an adult, college and career readiness and information: We are working with parents to help us put together some “Adulting” learning opportunities around cooking, sewing, finances, mindfulness, and college/career readiness.

Resources for mental health support: We will be sharing/sending/posting ways to take care of yourself and build good habits for coping with stress/anxiety during any time that is challenging. Here’s a short article with suggestions. If you find yourself struggling emotionally, please reach out to your parents, your counselor or your AP. We have access to our CASSY and Uplift counselors and we can connect you to them.

Impact Driving Webinars: The CHP is offering two webinars for current and future drivers. This is a great opportunity for some different learning. Click the link for the date that works for you and register. I highly recommend parents join their students.

Monday March 23

Thursday March 26

Things not to worry about:

Getting a diploma: If you are a senior passing your classes and are on track with your credits, you will get a diploma. We will not have a class of seniors who leave high school without a diploma.

Colleges rescinding acceptances: Colleges are very aware of what is happening around the world and as long as you work to maintain your academic standing based on whatever we are offering as far as your academic learning, your college acceptance will be fine.

Things to focus on:

Doing the assignments provided by teachers diligently: Stay connected, even though assignments will not be graded. Learning is a muscle and habit that you have to maintain during this time. Participate in the Google Meet Tutorial time and complete the assignments.

Maintaining a schedule: Follow the schedule HERE to maintain habits and routines in your day.

Having “no screen” time during the day: You have got to step away from your screens for at least a few hours in your day. Take a walk, bike ride or hike, read a book, listen to music, cook, meditate…whatever shifts your brain and your eyes from staring at a screen. (Yes, I realize the irony of staring at my screen while I type this.)

Exercising: You need endorphins to help elevate your mood and to stay healthy. Exercise helps your body stay healthy and fight off illness.

Maintaining social distancing: While doing all of these activities, be sure to practice social distancing. We all have to work together and do our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19

Updates and Clarifications:

Schedule with new language: The schedule linked above has some changes to the language to help make it more clear. Students will have access to and start work on Monday March 23rd. The first “Tutorials” will be on Tuesday, March 24th.

How to use a Google Meet: You can use Google Meet on your laptop or your phone but you must download the Google Meet app not Hangout. It is better on a computer. Your teachers will send you a link in email or post it in School Loop, Google Classroom or Canvas depending on what they use. This will be used for the “tutorial” times in the schedule to get help or ask questions.

How to behave on a Google Meet: Google Meet is a forum where multiple people will be communicating. There are expected behaviors and rules to make the time safe and productive.

Keep your microphone on mute unless you are speaking

Use the Chat to the side for attendance and to ask questions of the teacher

Chat is not used for student conversations and any inappropriate language or comments which will be followed with removal from the Meet and a referral sent to APs

Focus your questions on schoolwork

Be respectful of airtime to give everyone an opportunity to speak and get help

Schedule for Schoolwork and Support

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thurs

Morning

9:00-11:00

Staff Collaboration, Department & Teacher Team Meetings

Tutorial

(All teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

VAPA/Physical Education Classes

(VAPA/PE teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

Tutorial

(All teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

CTE/Special Programs + ASB + AVID Classes

(CTE/ ASB/Special Prog. teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

11:00-1:00

Lunch

Food Distribution 11:30-1:00

Lunch

Food Distribution 11:30-1:00

Lunch

Food Distribution 11:30-1:00

Lunch

Food Distribution 11:30-1:00

Lunch

Food Distribution 11:30-1:00

Afternoon 

1:00-3:00

Science Classes

Tutorial

(Science teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

Math Classes

Tutorial

(Math teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

English Classes

 Tutorial

(English teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

Social Science Classes

Tutorial

(SS teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

World Lang.Classes

Tutorial

(World Language teachers available through Google Meet for 45 minutes)

Note: Teachers who teach in multiple departments may select their afternoon “tutorial” time based on which department makes up the majority of their classes. Example: An AVID teacher who teaches primarily English will host “Tutorial” times for both their English and AVID students on Tuesday/Thursday morning and Wednesday afternoon during the English time.

Students should be adhering to this schedule as much as possible to provide structure within their days. The times noted for subjects should be when students are completing assignments, making up work, and connecting with their teacher(s).

Students who do not have a particular class (9th graders don’t have Social Studies…) should be working on other aspects of their learning or taking a break from screen time and participating in activities that build skills (ie cooking, reading, gardening, meditation) and support you.

Thank you for all you are doing to support your student(s). We will continue to provide information as we get it and resources as we identify them.

It’s likely school won’t resume till August, which is when Willow’s senior year is due to begin. But, maybe they’ll go back in May or June. We’re ’till further notice’d on our whole lives right now.

Okay, so, specific to our house and today: For the last three days Willow’s had a mildly elevated temp. Up to 99.8 at the highest, and 99.3 or so pretty frequently. Then hours of normal, then back slightly up. At the start of all this we kept hearing that kids can have very mild symptoms, so we worried that maybe she was exposed and had a light case? Maybe. Poor kid was understandably shaken, still is. Today, though, we were able to have a video chat with her smart, lovely pediatrician who is 100% sure that she’s fine. I feel better. So much so, that John and I ventured out to Trader Joe’s to stock up on groceries (not gonna lie, we bought lots of beer and potato chips). TJ’s is running a tight ship, with a monitored , Personal 6 Foot Bubble Rule line to get in, a limit of 2 each on all items except flowers, and a cap on the number of shoppers inside at one time. We used our own grocery bags rather than a cart and paid via Apple Pay to reduce exposure, and I still basically held my breath the entire time inside, just taking shallow sips. My brain knows I’m okay. My body hasn’t gotten the message, and I feel as tense as I did in the days following the 2016 election.

I’m planning to capture as much as I can. See you soon. Stay safe.

 

Hello Love

I’ve had the best earworm for the last couple days.

****

I miss this space (she said, echoing a bunch of other lapsed bloggers figuring out how to log back into their dashboards and start writing in their own spaces again like Facebook never was a thing). I notice that I’m frequently drafting blog posts in my brain while I’m doing dishes or driving or showering. Sometimes I am even kind of funny? Then I get here and [cartoon car brakes screeching to a halt, smell of burnt rubber, quiet] start to type and my very-well-fed inner critic suggests that I am, at best, pret-ty bor-ing, at worst, a self-absorbed whiner so shut up shut up, nooobody caaarrrressss.

I’m a little more than halfway through my third 20-week course of DBT. I would love to attend weekly for the rest of my life. One of the many useful things we practice in DBT is non-judgement. I’ve noticed, ahem, that I am getting pretty good at not judging others (judgement! lol), and that the more I practice that, the more slack I tend to cut myself. (Right now, though, feeling SUPER JUDGY toward myself.) I think I know the why of it, at least for me: Rejection is torture, so if I can just beat everyone else to the punch and put myself in my place before anyone else has a chance, that is far better than being taken down a notch when I’m struttin around feeling like I’ve got a pretty solid B- at life.

When I started blogging in 2002, I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and no one that I knew, knew. Not all of the old blog is still around, and there are huge chunks of things I wrote that make me cringe. Rightfully — I was an oblivious jerk sometimes. Also in there are stories that I completely forgot until I reread them years later. Life=stories, and that’s a fantastic gift to myself that I’d like to start giving again. I am a-ok with being boring or dumb or accidentally self-absorbed much of the time in exchange for capturing things.

So, then, maybe a quickish catchup? Youngest to eldest:

Ace: Ace is 9 now, and we’ve been loving on him for 5+ years. We got him from Golden Gate Lab Rescue on my Poppa’s birthday, December 15th, in 2013, about six months after we bought our house. Last spring he had pretty major surgery to remove a sharp bone growth (like a scythe that stabbed him every time he straightened his leg, the orthopedic surgeon vet said SAD FACE EMOJI)  in his back left tarsal joint (his dog knee, basically) which also has an apricot-sized lump of calcium/ bone material stuff (?) from arthritis and maybe an injury before he came to us, AND also to stabilize his lower lumbar spine, which was messed up (from him walking off kilter due to his leg stuff) and giving him a lot of pain that would have turned to paralysis and incontinence later. I made that a huge run-on sentence intentionally, because it was stressful and it FELT like living in a run-on sentence. My poor pup. So, you know, spring for the dog insurance. We love Healthy Paws (not #sponsored).

Now, though, he’s doing great! I paid a crazy amount of money to get him some fugly plastic and carpeted stairs that lead up to our bed, and I think car stairs are probably in his near future, but he’s doing two or three short walks a day and he’s dropped a few pounds (vet’s orders, to reduce stress on his joints) and he’s happy and we feed him like a king. He also gets a lot of car rides and beach time and sleeps 18 hours a day. Usually on my pillow. Not that I’m jelus.

Willow: You guys. Willow will be SIXTEEN next month. She’s taking guitar lessons and has a wonderful singing voice. She’s got a fantastic sense of humor, the kind where she is not always cracking jokes, she waits for the right moment to line up and then, BOOM! She’s a great writer. She’s empathetic and sensitive and beautiful and curious. She makes A+ grilled cheese sandwiches and I never leave the house when she’s here without her telling me she loves me, even if I’m just popping out to get the mail. I don’t have a recent photo of her on my phone (teenagers) so I stole from her Instagram (fake nose ring, btw):

Sophie: Sophie will graduate and turn 18 in the first few days of June of this year. Her nose ring (a stud in this photo) is real, a 17th birthday present from me last summer after several years of her petitioning me, including writing persuasive essays on the subject for school projects. (Yes, plural. Persistent and determined redefined, that kid.) She’s working at the coolest of the local coffee shops and kicking some serious ass at school this year. She’s thinking about a career in social justice, which would be such a great use of her compassion and fight. Here’s where I need to say that she, too, is a beautiful young woman, because a) it’s the truth, and b) I said it about her sister and don’t wanna hear about it if she ever reads this. Love you, Soph. xo

Nate: Nate just turned 20. He’s been working at the same job for almost three years (I think?) and is in school, still living with us. He’s in a serious relationship with his BMW, his cameras (the analog are his favorites), crypto, and the perfect omelettes he makes for breakfast. I love that I still work from home and am often in the kitchen at the same time as him (me making lunch, him, breakfast). We recommend songs to each other, and movies. Talk about film (photos, not fancy movies) and driving, what he’s been doing to his car, his professors. I don’t feel like I can take credit, exactly, but I feel like he’s nearly grown and I did an alright job with him. His insta is all of his car, mostly, but I stole this from someone else’s. Shhhhhhhh.

Alex (Lex / Lexy): It’s been nearly two years since he moved out. I’m thankful he’s local and wish that I saw him more often. (Edited to add: He randomly stopped by after I wrote this but before I finished. Wish granted!) I feel like he’s a pretty private person, so I’ll only say that he’s 22, working (with Nate), in school, an excellent human, and brilliant. I miss seeing his face every day. Here’s hoping our plans for Sunday afternoon solidify. I’ll ask him if I can share a recent photo. I may be just imagining his reluctance here.

Me: I’m 48, IN THEORY. My body thinks it’s 88. [Redacted paragraph about my ailments. I’m fine, and also a little bit worn out.]

I have a happy brain, though! Well, happy mixed with some permanent sad and tired bits that will always need to be worked around, just like everyone else. I still go to pottery every week, and my knitting has improved. I made a sweater that is not terrible. In the kitchen, I’m Team Instant Pot, cook a lot of foodie and vegan stuff lately, and am trying to wear out the cold press juicer I got a couple months ago. I started a new job in August that I’m not going to blog about. It’s with an awesome company that supports women,  and I work with several of my former coworkers from the BlogHer days, which I love. Life is good.

John (Scuba / SG): John is pretty private, too. Like, he looks at Facebook to see how the diving is in Monterey Bay if he’s thinking about going over there, but dude does not generally post about what he’s up to. In the spirit of that sane and smart way of being in the world, I’ll keep it brief: We had our tenth anniversary in September, and I’m still crazy about him and I think that most days he’d probably still choose me, too. He’s happiest in the water, or maybe when he’s with Ace. Not that there needs to be a clear favorite.

The other day we were walking Ace along the creek trail near our house and walked past a man and a woman, maybe in their 30s, I dunno, but definitely not teenagers, who were staging an Instagram photo. He had the phone, and she was smashing/holding a big ball of dead leaves between her hands, and was giving him direction on EXACTLY WHEN he needed to take the photo of her throwing the leaves up into the air. There was a lot of complicated directing. She clearly did not want to recollect and rethrow her leaves. We got about 50 yards down the trail, and looked at each other and cracked up. I think I said something like, OMG that poor Instagram Boyfriend. So – short story long, I’m glad he’s got healthier sharing boundaries than I do, because I don’t really want to be that leaf lady, bless her filtered heart. I do want to save some of the things I pay attention to so I can read them later. I miss telling stories here.

Taking Stock: April

It’s ‘Roid Week

A few months ago I broke my blog. Not the published bit, but the editing part. It was weird — I could type into the text editing box, and if I previewed a draft, or published it, I could see the words. But in draft form nothing stuck and all that showed was a blank box. I guess I triggered some secret <invisibleink> html. Many thanks to Christina for figuring out to </invisibleink> me again so I can finally copy Pip’s Taking Stock list idea.

Making : Lots of pottery and knitting projects going.
Cooking : Muffins! To stock up in the freezer for quick breakfasts. Banana with chocolate chunks; zucchini; blueberry. Good morning!
Drinking : Water with cranberry juice and liquid silica. Little pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Keeps Sophie from stealing my water in the car, if nothing else.
Reading: A Little Life. Am wrecked. Send jokes and candy.
Wanting: Sleep. More sleep.
Looking: At Monterey real estate. Someday.
Playing: Solitaire on my phone. Awhile back I had over 500K points from playing for nearly ten years, and then one day while my phone was in my pocket, I accidentally deleted the app with my butt and lost all my points. Current point level: 211396
Deciding: Um. Must I?
Enjoying: Yoga. Been going more after a long while off from having various body ailments that needed to rest.
Waiting: For school to wrap up so I can have more peaceful mornings.
Liking: Acorn TV. Don’t have much time to watch, but knowing that Detectorists is just a click away is lovely.
Wondering: When I met Sam Irby (briefly) last week, exactly how terrible a job did I do with speaking like a smart, human, grown person? She was lovely. I’ve been reading her blog for ages, but hadn’t heard her speak before and she’s got the best voice. I think maybe I was doing alright, but said something like, Keep up the good work! Everyone loves you! on my way out the door. Like, uh, she super didn’t need ME to point that out. o_O
Loving: The new(ish) Polaroid SX-70 film. Just started on my first pack and I want to go someplace good soon. I’ve run out of things to photograph in my yard.
Pondering: Writing a YA novel. Or a short story? A thing?
Considering: Going vegetarian. Again.
Watching: The new season of Westworld. Mostly with one eyeball and from behind both my hands. So.Violent. 
Hoping: That Ace’s surgery next month to help with his arthritic leg joint issues goes well and he feels up to walking more after. I feel so badly for him. Poor buddy.
Marvelling: About this cool tidbit my cousin James shared with me.
Needing: Acupuncture. To fix my too-tiredness now that anemia and vitamin deficiencies have been ruled out. I was *certain* I was going to have to get a blood transfusion or B12 shots…
Smelling: This rosehip hair lotion. I don’t generally like rose-scented anything, but I huff this regularly. Divine.
Wearing: These socks. They fit my baby sized feet while not being too tight on my legs! The sock heel sits on my actual heel. It’s a miracle! I luff them. Ill fitting socks make me so crabby.
Following: The Bhagwan! Not really, but that Wild, Wild Country documentary was INTENSE.
Noticing: I brought my nice camera to a family reunion and then found I couldn’t take photos because I was too sad about the people missing from them.
Knowing: I know that I know nothing, basically.
Thinking: Looking at this list is kind of illustrating my shallowness.
Feeling: I really love my new car. Thank you, Scuba.
Admiring: Kate’s new house. Srsly.
Sorting: I must clean out the pantry. Immediately.
Buying: Natural deodorant. My long-lost hippyness is making a comeback.
Getting: Healthier? I hope.
Bookmarking: For the boys’ for Christmas if they ever come back in stock.
Disliking: I’ve got some kind of weird nerve issue that is making it feel like I’ve got warm liquid being poured on the inside of the bottom of my left foot. All I know is it’s not from diabetes or a vitamin deficiency, since I had about a quart of blood tested for various things last week. (See: “Needing:” above.)
Opening: Washer, dryer, dishwasher. Constantly. I don’t mind, tho. I like those chores.
Giggling: Not super current, but still.
Feeling: Sad, but not all the time, and not in a bad way. Good sad, I suppose.
Snacking: THIS ICE CREAM OH MY GOD
Coveting: Those Jesse Kamm Sailor Pants. Will never buy, since they cost more than my first car.
Wishing: Big scale: May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering. Selfishly: I’d really like a pair of perfectly broken in and faded 501s.
Helping: I’m behind on helping, other than donations here and there and doing stuff for my immediate family.
Hearing: Am on (another) Mountain Goats kick lately. Shocker!

Alright, kids. Until next time. xo

Everybody needs a hobby.

At the end of 2015 I had to use up a bunch of accumulated PTO hours, but work was too busy for me to disappear for a couple of weeks. Instead, I took ten or twelve Tuesdays in a row off, and I went to pottery classes and yoga and Philz Coffee while the kids were in school.

Dude. 10/10. Highly recommend! Would again! Two thumbs up! #weekdayGOALZ

In January of 2016 when I had to start working full weeks again, I moved my pottery classes to Wednesday nights. Not because I was very good at it, but because I really liked all the parts of it. The mess and the focus and the patience and especially the part where you’re centering a lump of clay and you can feel when it gets into place. It’s sort of this eerie, in a good way, sudden absence of pressure against the heel of your hand. For me, centering takes all my attention, so my peripheral vision fades out along with the background noises. You spin the wheel on the fastest setting when you’re centering, and at first it’s uneven and kind of smacking around all over and maybe makes your arms and elbows wobble. Then, as you anchor in and gain ground, things steady out. Finally it’s like the clay has disappeared but at the same time, you can still see it there, spinning but not interacting with you at all anymore. And your arms and hands are totally still.

 

 

janone17

The very first thing I did this morning was finish up the dinner dishes from last night. If that means anything about the coming year, I’ll take it, as my aim for 2017 is to clean up a whole bunch of stuff. Like, cosmically. Or whatever. Literally, too, though. Broad-based cleanup of All The Things, commencing now.

Last year, man. I didn’t check in here. There was so much sadness, and I wasn’t able to share it because that doesn’t synch with keeping things distant and compartmentalized. But once or twice in 2016 I looked back in the archives to try and remember something or figure out dates of things, and it was clear to me that I’d like to be able to do the same for this time after it’s gone.

So today. Today was downtime (the kids were away), and nachos and beer for lunch with Scuba on our last hedonistic day for a little while. Then home and our parents over for dinner for lobster tails and ribeyes and risotto and black-eyed peas (I made this and it was pretty awesome) and a really good salad my mom brought and delicious panne cotta that Scuba’s mom made and champagne. Then cuddling with Ace on the couch and a movie that made me cry and also really disappointed me, because Asian jokes? Really? Ugh. Even if it was sort of making fun of the white guy being an idiot, NOPE. And now tomorrow we’re back to eating right and getting up before the sun comes up and getting back on the no booze no sugar wagon. This was the year that we got that extra Monday after New Year’s Day off, so you know, things are starting off okay.

Notes

subwaythumbsup

I had to catch a 7:55 p.m. flight from JFK to SFO, and since I didn’t want to sit in a cab for hours on end to get there, I took the A train. In the end, it probably took longer, and I’m still not sure that I was on the correct A train, but I got a crash course in subwaying. (I was also warned by a coworker not to ever say I was going to the subway place outside of the closed elevator I said it in.) I’m glad I took the train. It was an exercise in calmly letting go, since I still wasn’t to the airport an hour before my flight was supposed to take off. I met people who helped me, and a couple I helped, and had tiny, abbreviated friendships with them.

HELP IS ON THE WAY

helpisontheway

The #1 thing i love about the hotel I’m staying in is the view, but #1.5 is this button in the elevator. If I’ve ever seen one like it before, I wasn’t paying attention. Usually something in all caps is kind of shouty, but here it’s reassuring. It’s got some authority. I believe it.

I’m going to pack up my stuff and head to Penn Station with my suitcase and get on a plane at JFK and then hopefully find my car in the long term parking at SFO and drive home and sleep and sleep and sleep. And maybe in two days, I’ll blog again. Could this be the start of an even-day’d NaBloPoMo? Maybe.