Wednesday, September 2, 2020

TGUH Monthly Recap - August 2020



At the beginning of 2020, I thought this summer would be one of travel.  I began booking and planning a Florida vacation for June, right after the end of the school year.  We were waiting for confirmation on a date for a family wedding in Virginia and we had hoped to combine that with a quick trip to DC.  Rich and I had also been invited to a wedding in St. Lucia and, before the world fell apart, we were trying to figure out a way to attend because it looked absolutely amazing.  (I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been able to go because - children.)  I also wanted to get over to Kentucky with the girls to visit family.

None of the above happened but we realize how lucky we are to live so close to the ocean.  That has given us a much needed escape this summer.  The girls have asked if we can go to Disney next year, and I just don't know.  I don't know when I'm going to feel comfortable getting on a plane or visiting a theme park, and, honestly, Disney the way that it is now just doesn't seem like fun.



School Update

Last week, we finally received more detailed information regarding the start of school.  Teachers will return this week as planned, but students won't be back until the middle of September.  The first three and a half weeks will be all virtual learning and then we will switch to a hybrid model.  Students will be at school two days a week (either Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday.)  Everyone will be learning online on Wednesdays.

Unlike what we experienced in the spring, the online portion of school will be actual school.  (By the way, I am in no way trashing our school system.  No one ever expected schools to shut down and they had to follow orders from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The main concern was that there are kids out there who would not have the resources available at home in order to move forward with school, so teachers were supposed to keep the kids connected and engaged.  For most of the spring, school wasn't really school.) Now, attendance is mandatory and students will be receiving letter grades.


While there are normally three different teams for each grade at the middle school, that all had to be reconfigured.  There is a new team now for students who signed up to exclusively learn remote (they will not be returning to the building when we switch to hybrid), and an additional team due to reduction of class sizes.  Letters with team assignments are going to be mailed a week before school starts, so there are still some details open right now.  Supposedly, students will be in a smaller group and stay with those kids for all classes.  I think two of the girls may be together because they both take French and are placed in the same math level.  It would be nice if they could all be together but I know that definitely can't happen.

We're going into this with an open mind.  There's nothing we can do to change the way things are so we are accepting of the changes.  



New Minivan

When the girls were born, I was driving a Volvo sedan and Rich had a Volvo station wagon.  I was adamant that I was never going to drive a minivan and we looked into different options but at the end of the day, a minivan is what worked best for us.  I balked at the price of pre-owned minivans with 30,000+ miles, and a dealership near us had a new bare bones/zero upgrades model for not much more than the loaded used ones.  So that's what we got and I drove that sucker for 13 years.

We'd been talking about and planning to replace it for a couple of years now.  It had reached the point where it was going to need some work put into it.  A part had to be replaced over the winter and we knew more repairs were forthcoming.  It was also starting to guzzle gas.  Rich began looking in February and then everything shut down.  We decided to stay with a minivan because it works for us right now, and I really don't care what I'm driving.  I didn't even test drive the new one before we bought it.  Rich basically looked online at inventory of Siennas and Odysseys and we found a good deal on a 2020 Odyssey so we went with that one.  I would have driven the Sienna for longer, but I (or basically Rich) didn't want to deal with any issues, especially on a road trip.

Ankle Update

When I registered the girls for dance classes for the upcoming year, I did not sign myself up for adult tap.  Dance did not go so well for me last year.  All I had to do was land a certain way, and pain would shoot through my ankle.  I'd think I was having a good week and then it would act up.  I had to take it easy during certain warm-ups and there was a part in the dance we were learning that I was never going to be able to do properly because that second Maxie Ford was painful every single time.

So I'm going to take a year off from dance and see what happens.  My ankle is doing much better now.  Back in January, I realized that not exercising for many months had actually not really helped and the muscles needed to support my ankle were now weak.  I began wearing a supportive brace and very slowly walking and then running very short distances at a turtle's pace.  My ankle still clicks but I'm not experiencing pain like before.  The knee I dislocated many, many years ago has been bothering me now instead.  Sometimes getting older is not just fun.


Books I Read

Jaws by Peter Benchley - I'd given thought to reading this for many years.  I've seen the movie more times than I can count and had heard that the book was slightly different with subplots.  Gah.  In a way, I wish I hadn't read it.  This was written in the early '70s so I can see why the sexist commentary is included.  People are still freaking sexist today in 2020.  But I just couldn't deal with the racist remarks.  It really did ruin it for me.

Benchley went above and beyond in researching sharks and that shows in the book.  It's a shame that the cons outweigh the pros, in my opinion.  Also, in a way, it felt like he had this great idea for a book, but it sort of fell flat.  I usually think books are better than their movie adaptations, but in this case, I prefer the movie.

Devolution by Max Brooks   - I actually do not know how this ended up in my library holds, as it doesn't seem like a book I would want to read.  I figured there must have been a reason why I placed a hold on it so I read it and I do not recommend, unless you are really into Bigfoot.  I give the author an A for effort but this was a slightly unrealistic account (via diary entries) of a small community who is attacked by Sasquatch after being cut off from communication after an eruption of Mount Rainier.  If I was working around the clock to keep myself and others alive, I don't think I'd have time to sit down and write a 30 page journal entry.  Maybe that's just me though.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - A journal written by a teenager in Japan who is bullied by her classmates washes up on a remote island on the other side of the Pacific.  The book goes back and forth between journal entries and the life of the woman who finds the diary.  I really liked this one, even though I wish it had a different ending.  Check it out.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - Wow! This was such an amazing book.  A Baptist minister takes his wife and four daughters to Africa (the Belgian Congo to be exact) in 1959 for mission work.  The story is told through his wife and daughters and I have to say that the author really gave each character her own voice.  One of the things I disliked about Daisy Jones & The Six was how each character "sounded" exactly the same to the reader.  In The Poisonwood Bible, it's easy to distinguish the characters' voices.  This is fiction but there are historical references and I learned an incredible amount.  While I highly recommend, note that this is a longer book and the author does go into quite a bit a detail.  Also, it took a few pages for me to get into this book.

Posts in July

Antiquing, storms and nature hikes

July's Monthly Recap

Coming up in September  

Looks like we'll be back into a routine between school and dance.  The school day runs from 7:30 to 2:00 so some people in our home will be up at the crack of dawn.  I will not be one of them.

Here are some of my favorite sunset photos from August:





1 comment:

JEN said...

The Poisonwood Bible is my 2nd favorite book! I like everything by Barbara Kingsolver actually.