I was kind of hoping the New Year would bring a little normalcy. On Sunday, January 3 Beekeeper Brian and I both tested positive for COVID. We only had mild symptoms but were still put in quarantine for 10 days.
My hope of being back in a routine became a struggle to teach music classes from home.
Then on Sunday, January 10 it snowed.
That may not sound like a big deal but in our part of Texas, it hadn’t happened since 2017. This snowstorm produced the 5th largest amount of snow on record.
We measured 4 ½ “.
This may not sound like a lot unless you are a dachshund whose legs are only 4 inches long.
The chickens were not fans either. They sent a scout while the rest stayed in the coop.
Got some interesting pictures I never could have imagined – chicken prints in the snow.
And, of course I built the obligatory snowman. It’s not too bad.
Putting together music programs has always been somewhat of a challenge. This year it is exponentially harder.
We cannot perform before live audiences so we must record all the students in advance. We did this for the Veteran’s Day program then had some technical issues at the last minute, so the classes were unable to see the performances.
The principal is determined to avoid this and asked me to plan the Christmas program before we left for Thanksgiving Break. I gave him an outline of what each class would do and spent the week of Thanksgiving filling in the details.
When we returned, he asked me to have all the recording done before testing started the following week. It was a stretch but I put together a recording schedule and started working with the classes.
I decided to do bucket drumming with the 7th and 8th grade classes. It would reinforce rhythmic concepts and they seem to enjoy hitting on things.
Not having the budget to purchase official buckets, I gathered cat litter buckets and the students spray painted them red and green. This took multiple days, but the result was pretty good, and most of the paint landed on the buckets.
The students also wrapped the drumsticks with red and green electrical tape.
All was well until the school closed for two days. That put the recording behind schedule. There was no one to do the recording due to absences in the office staff. I kept practicing with the classes and put recording on hold.
Then the principal decided to proceed with the recording even though testing was happening in my room. We recorded in the cafeteria.
All was well until the 7th and 8th graders had to switch to remote learning for two days. I adjusted the recording schedule, again, and took the remaining buckets home to finish the painting. Then the decision was made to keep 7th and 8th grade off campus until after Christmas break.
So now we have red and green buckets all ready to go and no one to play them.
I guess we can use them for Cinco de Mayo.
The rest of the program was recorded and is ready to be shown on Friday.
When our oldest daughter was decorating for her first Christmas away from home, she asked if she could have the fabric nativity set I had made when she was a baby. I have collected many more nativity sets and was happy to pass that one to her.
She has since gotten married and this year she and her husband are celebrating with their first child – our first grandchild.
I received this picture from her this week:
She wrote: The nativity set is entrancing a new generation of children.
That thought, as well as the picture make me smile.
I have finally accepted the fact that masks are part of my daily uniform. I even put a clip on my name badge cord to hold my mask while I eat lunch.
What has been a harder adjustment is the additional equipment that wearing a mask requires. For example, my ears are not quite big enough to hold a mask and my glasses securely. I have a glasses cord that I wear when doing yoga so I’ve started wearing it to work. Now I can beat the students at “who can sing head, shoulders, knees and toes faster” without my glasses flying across the room.
The other challenge came with talking and singing through the mask all day. The singing happens outside so I found myself getting a sore throat every day. Beekeeper Brian ordered a headset with a speaker that I can attach to my belt or wear around my neck. It is wonderful. The students can hear me and I don’t strain my voice. One of my students thought I looked like I was working in a fast food drive through window and tried to order French fries. That was a middle school student – pretty clever actually.
So now every morning after I put on my eye make-up I secure my glasses with the cord. When I get to work I put on my name badge and mask. Then, just before my first class, I put on my head set and put the speaker around my neck.
Then at the end of the day, I reverse the process.
When I feed the chickens, however, I do not have to wear a mask, or a cord for my glasses, or a head set. And for a few minutes each day, things seem “normal.”
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