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Sunday, May 31, 2020

May Reading

I'm a little swamped tonight so I'm going to fly through this post. Here'smy May reading- summarized:
The Little Shop of Found Things (Found Things, #1)
I chose this as my Book Hive Book Club book for this year. It is a historical fiction book with an added paranormal twist. It was a light read for me but I liked the characters, was interested in the plot, it was creative and I learned a few new things. Gave it 4 stars.

The Warden's Daughter
I have heard a lot of good things about Spinelli. I have a signed version of this book that I bought for Tim, I think. He read it many years back and thought it was sad. I think there were sad and slightly hopeless themes in here, but I didn't necessarily think the book was sad. It was hard for me to relate to though. 3/5
Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl's Autobiography, #1)
Autobiography of Roald Dahl's childhood. I love his writing and I laughed a lot through this book. I was happy to hear that he was a letter writer. I was disappointed to learn about some of his personal beliefs  later in life (Apparently he was extremely Anti-Semitic) from a friend while we were discussing this book. 

The Lost Pianos of Siberia
This one was interesting to me, but not for the right reasons. I received this book from NetGalley. I thought I be reading a lot about the history of pianos in Siberia, more from a musical standpoint. I ended up reading a lot about Siberia, with the musical bits and pieces sprinkled in. So, in one way I disliked it because I was wanting to learn about music and influences within that time period. On the other hand, I learned a lot about the history of Siberia, Russian culture and politics and some interesting personal narratives. So, I'll give it a 3.  
The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1)
This book was recommended to my by my good friend, who is our school librarian. She thought one of the boys might like it. Tim wasn't interested, but David read it after I did and thought it was good too. I guess that this is loosely based on Welsh mythology. The way the story was told and the names of the characters were a little foreign to me, but it was interesting. 3/5
Private Eyes (Alex Delaware, #6)
Part of the Alex Delaware series. This had a few plot twists I was not expecting so I liked it a lot.  4/5

Goodreads Reading Challenge:35/60

Keyword Reading Challenge: 5/12

Friday, May 1, 2020

Hobbies and social distancing

      It's been a while since I've just checked in so I thought I'd pop in to say hi. How are all of you doing with social distancing and all of the Covid-19 issues?    We're doing alright. My husband is still working since where he works is considered a restaurant. Chocolate is essential, no? (I'm very grateful to be the recipient of his candy treats.) The boys have multiple opinions about being home. Since mid-March they've been doing school online.
      Tim is fairly disappointed. 8th grade is a big year. Their Washington DC trip was canceled. I doubt there will be an 8th grade graduation. He is super upset about missing his last concert in middle school. With that being said, he understands that realistically, this is only 8th grade and it would be more painful if he were a high school senior. He is happy in our new house and we are enjoying being home together.  He misses his friends.
     David is actually loving being home. Ironically, he's really struggling with his art lessons through school. The lessons are great, he would just prefer someone bossed him around and gave him directions on what to do rather than asking him to think for himself. (I love educators that ask kids to think! Yeah!) So, I've been doing a lot of those lessons with him. He LOVES being out of school. He's self-motivated with his work and has found freedom in riding his bike around the neighborhood. He is growing into a new little person. I'm seeing sides of his personality that I haven't seen before- I don't know if it's because I'm home with him more or if he's just developing more confidence (and a little pre-teen snark, but it's manageable.) He does not miss school at all, which makes me a little sad, but I'm appreciative to see that my kids are happy at home.
      I am surprised that I can actually handle free time. I kind of hate teaching online. I thrive on relationships with the students and on checking in with how they're doing on their work in class. This is very impersonal and live music making online just doesn't work. I'm working really hard to make it accessible (and not awful) for everybody, but some kids have just checked out with all of the online learning. (In all classes, not just mine.) I deeply miss interacting with all of my students in person. With that being said, I'm getting a lot of kids sending me e-mails just to check in to say hi or to catch up. I'm going to start having a Monday lunch with all my chorus kids since quite a few have told me they're starting to struggle with loneliness. I have been feeling sick over the past few days- full of aches, not sleeping and massive headaches. I've started to realize it's from being on screens all day. Trying to combat that.
       In terms of my time when I'm not working, I'm loving the extra family time. I'm reading and writing a ton. I read 9 books in April. April was National Letter Writing Month and I wrote 80 letters! I love being able to catch up with people in this way. It's a total blessing to me to be able to connect with people across the world in this way. Oh, speaking of that- have you seen the View From My Window group on Facebook? Super cool. Go check it out. This time at home has given me a lot more time to do some things I actually enjoy doing, so I don't feel completely trapped like some others I know. I'm struggling a little bit with empathy. I am worried about my students, my friends (or families of students) who work in health care, people who are alone, etc. I am very grateful for our new home and really see how truly blessed we are right now to be healthy and secure. So many things can be taken away so quickly. If you haven't talked to me recently, let me know how you're doing.