If We Were Having Coffee 10/10/20: Pumpkins and Hay Bales

Happy Saturday morning, Friends! I’ve been absent for a bit taking care of life but I’m so happy we have time for a quick cup of coffee and a catch-up. I’m having a nice strong up of Italian Roast (periodically reheated in the microwave ’cause I like my Java hot!) but there is also tea and lemonade. Unfortunately we have no homemade baked goods today but I’m hoping Miss Dee will whip up some sugar cookies later today.

Let’s chat

If we were having coffee… I would tell you about my first week of hybrid school and all the challenges it entails. Whew! What a crazy teaching experience that is. We have half the students on Monday and Tuesday from 8:20 to 12:20 then the other half at the same time on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is fully virtual. The teachers have to plan lessons for the children at this time plus have something planned for the other group in during the time they are at home. Basically, they are doing twice the lesson plans all while managing to fit in hand washing, mask breaks, technical help and actually learning during a 4 hour day! As a classroom aide, I can help with some of these things but I really wish there was more I could do to take some of the workload off the teacher I’m with. I give all the teachers out there immense credit for their patience and dedication to the students.

How are the schools in your area handling this crazy academic year?

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that we welcomed a new family member this week. On Thursday morning, my niece’s wife gave birth to their second daughter. Her name is Emily Claire and she weighed in at a generous 9lb 8oz! We all can’t wait to meet her.

Any exciting family news to share?

If we were having coffee…I tell you that my brother, who lives out in Oklahoma, finally retired this Friday. He works as an automobile mechanic and has been talking about retiring for years but just wasn’t able to financially till he was the right age. It’s a pretty physical job and his aches and pains were telling him it was time to relax some. I’m so happy he finally can. My two sisters and I were able to have a surprise video chat with him during his retirement party at his daughter’s house. She had texted me with the idea earlier in the week so I coordinated with my technically challenged sisters and Miss Dee and I were able to get us all on board at the right time. Luckily I’ve had lots of experience with Zoom and Google Meet since school went virtual in March!

Jim, my brother, was very surprised to “see” us and we had a nice chat. We were also able to meet his grandchildren and great granddaughter thanks to the magic of technology. What a great way for families far apart to keep in touch. I don’t always love all the technical advances around today but this was a time I did truly appreciate it.

Are you a technical person? Is the internet your friend or your enemy? 🙂

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I’ve been feeling “Fall-ish” now that our area is finally having some cooler weather. Miss Dee put up some Autumn decorations around the house and D-man added some ghosts and pumpkins to the porch. The folks in our town really get into the whole decorating thing so it’s fun to walk around and see what they’ve come up with. Down the street there is a lawn with a skeleton holding a fishing pole dangling a skeleton fish in front of a group of skeleton cats! Further down the block is a skeleton unicorn being ridden by a skeleton princess complete with a ball gown and tiara! There are also plenty of giant spiders, Hay bales and pumpkins. It makes our after dinner walks so much more enjoyable. My latest watercolor even reflect my Fall-ish state of mind…

Are you experiencing Autumn weather where you live? Do you and your neighbors decorate for the season?

If we were having coffee…it would be time to rinse the cups and say our goodbyes. The day here in New Jersey is cloudy and cool but no rain is expected so there are several outdoor jobs calling my name. I’m so glad you could stop by. Please visit our host Eclectic Ali to enjoy the rest of the Coffee Share Post.

Have a great week!

If We Were Having Coffee…Back From Nowhere Special

Hello! Here we are on a beautiful Saturday in June. I realize I basically skipped the month of May in the blogsphere (and part of April and June if we’re being precise) but to be honest, there wasn’t much to report. Been no place, not done much, about sums it up. I have had one project going on and that has taken up much of my time. Sit and have some coffee and we can share our news.

If we were having coffee…we would be sitting on the deck enjoying this beautiul humidity free day, a rare occasion here in Southern New Jersey. We could have coffee, lemonade or juice, whatever you prefer and maybe a muffin from the local bakery, which I’m happy to report is now doing carry out.

The first thing I would ask you is how things are going, pandemic wise, in your corner of the world? Everyone is at such different places. Even those of us in the same place are in different places as far as our mind sets go. Some are ready to get back to normal and others, myself included, are inclined to take things slow. I’ll admit that I have the luxury to do that, whereas some people don’t. Are things opening up where you live? Are you no longer taken aback by the site of people in masks? I realized at the supermarket the other day that I wasn’t all that surprised to see cars with masks hanging on their rearview mirrors. I guess they are the new “fuzzy dice.” Weird.

(Of course in the past few weeks there have been many other scary, historic and challenging things taking place in our world and I have given them much attention and consideration in other parts of my life but here on my blog is my happy place so for now I’ll take a pass on all that except to say my hope is that we find our way through this to a place where compassion and kindness come out on top.)

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that yesterday was the official last day of the school year. This is my 13th year working as an instructional aide in the same neighborhood elementary school but as you might imagine, it was the strangest last day ever. I can’t imagine what the last few months of this school year would have been like without the internet and the advanced technology we now have. Even my third graders were comfortable and familiar with the world of virtual learning. They took to it pretty easily but I was happy to hear, during one of our Friday Google Chat sessions, that they all missed “real school” and seeing their friend’s and teachers in person. Fingers crossed for September. Did you know anyone learning or teaching remotely over the past months? How did it go for them?

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that the project that has taken most of my time over the past month was creating art. I have been learning all about watercolor painting, a medium that is comparatively new to me. I started painting in oils and acrylics when I was just 14 but watercolor was not something I tried until a few years back, I never realized how many techniques and styles there really were. I’ll admit, having that to focus on, having something to create and help me feel productive during this quarantine has kept me from going crazy. Even as an introvert all the time at home would have been too much without something else to focus on.

The result of all this time spent painting was that I had a lot of paintings!! A few Coffee Shares back I mentioned that I was thinking about opening an Etsy shop in order to sell some of my pieces. Well, I finally took the plunge and opened “The Curious Kat” a place to display and sell my artwork. It’s going pretty well. I’ve already sold about 8 pieces but those were mostly to friends and family who were happy to support my enterprise. I don’t really need to sell a lot though since I am creating everything by hand (not prints or reproductions) I can only work so fast!! It’s a lot of fun to share my artwork and I enjoy thinking of them becoming part of someone else’s home. Here is the link if you are interested: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CuriousKatStudio?ref=search_shop_redirect

Have you developed any new hobbies or skills to help you pass the time during the Shelter in Place?

If we were having coffee… I would tell you how much I’ve enjoyed our visit. I would also wish you and your family good health and happiness during this unusual time. Be well, my friends and don’t forget to visit our host Eclectic Alli where you can find the rest of the Coffee Share posts.