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IDEAS, THOUGHTS AND THINGS TO INSPIRE US

Thursday, April 2, 2020

by Michele L. Mueller on 04/02/20

Yep. Stress level super high. It takes a lot less energy to do what your supposed to do when you're supposed to do it then it does to argue about why you shouldn't have to do it, get in trouble and then end up having to do it anyway. Am I right? 

It wears me OUT. 

On another note, I have to venture out to the grocery store. I'm happy to get out but...I keep going over in my mind how I'm going to approach this: do I bring Lysol into the store? Will they think I stole it?! Do I bring a disinfectant wipe(s)? Will they be out at the store entrance by the carts? Do I spray myself down after I leave the store before I get into my car? If I get 3 gallons of milk (which we usually always get, 2 or 3) are people going to think I'm hoarding? How do I stand at the check out - back 6 ft? then how do pay? Will I look weird that I'm wiping down the credit card thingy before I touch it? Ugh! It's all too much. Hard to remember the days when we didn't give any of this a second thought. 

I switched from CNN to FoxNews from now on. CNN started limiting their daily briefing coverage (cutting out the beginning Trump spiel). I don't like them choosing for me. If I wanna watch it then I want the option and they eliminated that option for me so I switched...plus...they are so anti-Trump that all their commentary is so one-sided. This coming from a non-Trump supporter so...  It's like they felt the viewer wasn't smart enough to decide on their own what to take into consideration and what to ignore. I know Trump add a lot of fluff to his talks - I know he's self absorbed - I can filter through that and still hear the words that mean something. CNN gets so hung up on the fluff and self absorption that they miss the couple of good things he did say. I'd rather just listen to Fox News where they seem to be a little bit more down the middle.

Anyway...back to helping this kid FOCUS and quietly planning my store approach. Stay safe and healthy.

-MM

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

by Michele L. Mueller on 04/01/20

Yep, it's a trying morning already. Oh...and Happy April. ;)  Here's what it boils down to...I could care less what my mood is..it's when the kiddo's mood sucks is when it all goes downhill like cement in a wagon. FOCUS. I have said that word at least 400 times since last week...over and over and over. ugh! When he gets with it...it's great. It's getting him to that point that tries my patience. And if I have to ask him one more time...WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS SAY; I CAN'T READ IT; WHAT IS THIS WORD? I'm going to stab myself in the eye with a pencil. Lol  WRITE SLOWER, TAKE YOUR TIME, USE YOUR BEST HAND-WRITING. I think I might just make a crap load of signage and hold each up at the appropriate time. It would be easier on my nerves. ;)  Thank goodness I love that kid with all that I have...


Hubby is working today. At least that's one less obstacle I have to deal with. It's like having 2 kids home..."Babe, what's the eat? Babe, where my..... Babe, smell this..is it any good?" Can you PLEASE stop interrupting so I can stop telling our kiddo to FOCUS every 5 seconds? Lol 

On a brighter note, I have a very large bottle of Fireball and that my friends is always in the back of my mind giving me peace...like a small light at the end of the day's tunnel. ;) 

More good news...we are all healthy and well fed. I'm super thankful that my family are hunters and we have all the meat in the freezer we could hope for. Today I have wild turkey breast in the crock-pot, even. 

I also have a wonderful customer from Colorado who ordered a window so that will be a nice creative distraction. I have a half painted window here for a niece that I need to complete. She loves Jack Skeleton so it's only black and white...but I plan to add black sparkles to all the black. It should be pretty cool once I finish it. I'll post it on my Facebook page. :)

Well...time for migraine meds. Everyday lately. I need to revisit my chiropractor. I'm just not sure if now is the time to do that or not. I suppose I should at least call and see if they are even in the office anymore during this virus. 

I hope you are all happy and healthy and at the very least...coping and healthy. :)   -MM

Monday, March 30, 2020

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/30/20

So yesterday the President extended the orders to stay away from each other and hang out at home until April 30th. That means a whole month ahead of this learning at home. I guess it doesn't seem as bad as NOT having a date. I know...that doesn't mean that April 30th is written in stone and can't be updated. But...it does give me a SENSE (or false hope!) of...a light at the end of the tunnel.


So Thursday was kiddo's birthday so I let him have a school work free day - same as Friday so he could enjoy his new gifts. Of course, Saturday and Sunday are school work free and we're back at it this Monday morning. I thought there would be less resistance if we started out with something fun on one of his "Choice Board" that his Teen Leadership teacher sent us - so he is building a structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks. From what I can gather from my inconspicuous side-glance...he's making a skeleton...well...and petting the cat. 

On a very momentous note...last night kiddo tried something new...stuffed shells I made for dinner. He loved it! "That was a great meal, mom. May I have more ?!" Like...WHAT?! That's a big deal for a picky eater - at least MY picky eater! And he said he can't wait to have more today for lunch. :)  

Anyway...here we are...another week of learning at home. Fingers crossed and prayers sent up for patience and good vibes. More importantly, for our nation and all those affected in so many ways by the Coronavirus.

-MM

Just over a week into this...

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/27/20

So Tuesday went good; it marked a full week of our new normal of learning at home. Wednesday was also good and I think kiddo and I both enjoyed it. Yesterday was his 12th birthday so I have him the day off of school learning. However, last night all of his teachers and a bunch of classmates had their first group chat on Zoom. It was so awesome that he was able to actually see everyone - they were ALL smiles and it was such a positive vibe. They all just visited and kind of got used to how Zoom works and just caught up a little bit. Today is Friday, our second Friday, and because it's supposed to be so nice outside and dad is home...I'm giving him today off of school learning, too. Plus, he's done all his work for today ahead of time. Although, at 1pm CST he does have another online chat with a group to play a social studies games called Grade Bowl. 


Yesterday was the first day that it was reported that we have 1 case of Coronavirus here in Marinette County. I have to admit that part of the news story included some projected number of deaths for our county and that did scare me. Now more than ever it's important for us to just stay home and stay safe. I do worry about my hubby who, in his off season of his charter fishing business (Renegade Sport Fishing Charters out of Port Washington, WI), drives a food delivery truck for a distribution center and goes all over the county to different restaurants and bars...places that are still allowed to cook food for take out or delivery, that is. His hours have gone down but at least he still have a few hours but...I make sure he has his hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with him. The drivers have also been instructed to have minimal conversation and time inside each delivery location.

Trump is talking about getting the country back up and running sooner rather than later. We'll see how that all plays out. No mention of school opening back up. Thus far we know we're off until the end of April. Funny...that doesn't even make me hyperventilate anymore. :)  I guess it's like being tossed into the lake when you've never swam. At first I panicked and felt like I was going to drown. There were moments when I could hardly breath. Then, you learn to tread water a little bit and finally you realize...after a bit...that you either need to figure it out or sink...and paddle by paddle and kick by kick you start to swim. I'm far from a great "swimmer" but we are surely swimming now. I don't know where we'll end up but we are headed forward to whatever is there. :)  I wish I could have told my earlier self that hey...it's okay to freak out now but know once you lighten up, breath and get organized...it will all work out. 

-MM

Week 1 - Monday late afternoon

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/23/20

Well...I'm grateful to report that after a time-out was had and picking up his bedroom, the kiddo came around and apologized. Even the hubby cleaned up his mess. Of course, this was AFTER I broke down into tears. But...the point is that all got better shortly after and calm and fun were restored.


Right now they are outside enjoying the fresh air and partly sunny skies and we are all smiling again.  I'll tell you...there are moments when I my anxiety is at such a high level that I can feel it in my chest.  That's when I just have to walk away calmly and let it out and just...breath. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to the basement today which is where I normally can have a short meltdown inconspicuously. ;)

This is real life. This is every day stress and the virus coverage and worries from it on top of THAT stress. I'll be glad when this whole ordeal is over and we can get back to life like it was before this. When I'm not expected to know what the skeletal bones are and which ones make blood cells and which ones are for protection, etc. Thank you Google. 

Although we are running into a few potholes on this new path our family is on....we are at least forging ahead and doing our best not to break down on the side of the road. Yes, sometimes the engine stalls a bit but the point is...it always starts back up and we travel down the road together as a family and to be honest...I would have it no other way. I love my family and looking back will always cherish this hectic, crazy time when the world shut down and all we had were each other. Well...and electronics...  (and a little Fireball now and again)

God bless.

Week 1 - Monday

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/23/20

Today starts our first full week of "distant learning". I've read so many varying opinions on how to approach this at home as a parent that it's making my head spin. The thoughts have been from a very regimented classroom like structured day to letting their kids learn what they want when they want. I thought last night that I would find a happy medium somewhere in the middle and make it fun. This morning, I've already failed at that. It's not me. It's him! Lol  I was doing my best and...without that level of discipline...my kid is staring at the computer, doing every thing else but what we planned on! I can't function like that! I can't make it fun if he won't behave and focus just a little bit! So now, instead of starting off on a good foot we've started off on a bad foot. No, I'm not doing your project for you. No, I'm not cutting out your skeleton pieces - you're 11...you can use scissors. And now...he's in a time-out. He doesn't treat his teachers at school like this! I know this because all his teachers say he's a great kid. For real...no wonder I'm stressed out. I thought today I was going to really get this home learning stuff down...that it was going to be a great start to the week. Come to find out...I was wrong. 


I need a vacation. I'm not trained to be a teacher. I haven't got the patience for it. I can parent. I've done THAT for almost 12 years. Yes, I read books and took a parenting class. THIS is another level. No wonder teachers need years of training for it. Now I've gotta figure out how to turn this around so we can try again before noon. 

First Weekend of Schooling at Home

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/22/20

Well Friday sucked. lol  Okay...maybe that's a little drastic...but it DID start out rough. My hubby was home from work so that distracted the kiddo from concentrating. Honestly, it was like having 2 kids at home! "Stop interrupting. Stop goofing around. Let's focus here. The sooner we start the sooner we'll be done." And that was just what I had to tell my husband! lol  


The day ended much better than it started and kiddo and I actually accomplished quite a bit. 

The weekend has been great without any studies to worry about. We went for a nice family ride in the country yesterday. We saw 34 deer, 1 pony, a turkey wing in the road and we waved to some nice people we saw out walking. It was nice to get some sunshine and have the car windows slightly cracked - with the heater on. ;) 

Today we had FB live church service - that was different than usual. Our new pastor is a young female and she's still finding her way, like the rest of us, but she's doing good. She said she was nervous but that didn't translate on screen at all. I was very proud of her.

So the hubby went to the grocery store for a few essentials...yes, Fireball was on the grocery list. lol  He said the bread isle is empty. That includes the frozen bread dough. That's okay. Who needs bread anyway...just extra carbs. I get enough of those from my pasta addiction! Hey...blame it on the Italian in me! 

In a bit I plan to print out a lot of things the kiddos teachers sent on Google Classroom and formulate a plan for us each day. I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of this but it really requires me to be extra organized in order to keep that inner calm feeling. So, I do have stress right now just thinking about this task. But...once I start it I'm sure it will be easy. I do know I want to incorporate a lot more fun. If I've learned anything from  listening to my friends and his teachers...adding the fun factor is essential. And...the second most important thing I've learned from them is...I don't have to be perfect throughout this process. I put a LOT of stress on myself...knowing I'm a stay-at-home mom...there's a pressure of...well...that's my job so I have to be GREAT and PERFECT at it because there's no excuse NOT to be! Plus, the added pressure of once school does start up again, whenever that will be, I don't want all these other kids to be up to THIS level of learning and my kid is back at THIS level because I didn't do a good job. Okay...change subjects. I'm starting to hyperventilate. 

Tomorrow will be our first full week of schooling at home - as it will be Monday. Fingers crossed and prayers sent up that we both don't loose our minds or have a nervous breakdown.  Remember, Michele...add the fun and maybe the sun and if nothing else drink a ton. Just kidding! ;) 

I hope you all are having a great weekend. Stay safe and stay home. 

Day 2 of Schooling at Home

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/19/20

I actually got some good sleep last night. I think the thought of the new norm has started to sink in. This morning I was able to get all of kiddo's school materials organized and set up for him so he can easily access it all. That really helped...getting everything organized...it helped my brain feel less confused and overwhelmed. 


Kiddo knew that our working hours would be from 9:30 am - 1:30 pm and then at 3 pm CST we were gonna have a "zoology class" by watching the Cincinnati Zoo Live Feed where they showcase a zoo animal and teach you all about it then issue an activity at the end for kids to do. Today was a 2-toed sloth...he was SO adorable. ;)  

Kiddo and I joked quite a bit last night and this morning about what we were gonna consider a learning class and what research papers he was going to have to produce so having a sense of humor about it helped lighten the weight of this task for us. 

So I'd say today is about 85% better than yesterday was. I think we are starting to settle in and find our way to finding a groove. Kiddo didn't baulk too much at anything he did today so that was nice. But...it was a big change for me having him here all day! He's so loud sometimes! lol  

I'm hoping that tomorrow we can get outside for some fresh air and physical activity..being cooped up in this house isn't good for either one of us. Today its been raining all day so it was very good to be inside getting work done.

Kolh's is closed now. Florida is closing beaches. U.S State Dept. notified Americans to return home or "shelter in place for duration" if they are out of the country.  I'm struggling with watching the news constantly or not watching it at all. I feel like I might miss something important if I stop watching and when I do watch I feel my stress level heightening. The coverage is overwhelming.

Im hoping tomorrow is just as good of a day for us in the Mueller institute of higher learning as today was. Fingers crossed. 

I hope everyone out there is fairing through this okay. They keep saying it will get worse before it gets better. I don't know if I believe that but I'm all for prepping for the worse and hoping for the best! :)  

Damn You Cornoavirus

by Michele L. Mueller on 03/18/20

Well, I haven't blogged in a long time. I think I decided to start because I need an outlet for venting and sharing. I'll tell you right now so you can decide if you want to continue reading or not...this probably has very little to do with painting and ALL to do with what my family and I are going through in regards to this "pandemic" sweeping our nation. So, read on or switch pages now...your choice.


Before yesterday, none of this seemed to impact my family TOO directly or at least with minimal consequences. Yes, our 11 year old son was going to be home from school until early April but that wasn't overwhelming. It was Monday and he was going back to school for Tuesday and Wednesday and then the "stay home from school" guideline would start. I could handle that.  Then, Governor Evers declared that school was closed indefinitely, etc.  My phone chirped shortly after with a message that school was cancelled for Tuesday, etc.  WHAT? HOW? NOW WHAT? The school posted hours to stop by and pick up materials and belongings. I messaged the post and asked if we were to stop to pick up learning materials and jackets...or were we supposed to clean out lockers. Yep...it was both. Get additional learning materials AND clean out lockers. That's when I went into silent mom panic mode. I literally felt tears welling up in my eyes, I couldn't catch my breath and all I had at that point was questions: Who's gonna teach him? Do I home-school for REAL now? How will this affect his grades and his next year of 7th grade? I'm not smart enough for this! So much to keep organized...how am I gonna do THAT in this small house?! I can't fight with him every time I need him to focus - I'll have a heart attack! Every 2 minutes he gets distracted and talks about butts and farts and pets the cat...this is going to be a chore beyond my patience! And so on and so on...

I snuck away into the bathroom and cried. I was full of questions and self doubt and a sense of being overwhelmed with the new task of holding my child's education in my dumb-a** hands. I eventually tried to talk to my husband while the kiddo was busy but that didn't pan out too well. Little did I know he was having his own little freak out mode on how the cornoavirus could financially really hurt us. He runs a customer based business - he's a charter captain who takes people out on Lake Michigan fishing. Without going into that part more - let's just say we did nothing to ease each other's concerns. Now what? I need wine and have none in the house - rarely do actually. 

Off to the little local store I go...deep breaths and tears in the corner of each eye. "Hold it together, Michele. You don't need the small town store lady to ask...what's the matter with you? Ain't nobody need to push THAT button labeled...OPEN FLOOD GATES! lol  To make my anxiety worse...no good wine! I felt myself about to faint - okay, no I didn't but I'm not saying it wasn't a thought for a split second. I opted for a tiny handheld bottom of Fireball. A little sip of that should calm my nerves, I'm sure. I see people on tv drink it so why can't I? I'll try it - I'm sure it's fine, I thought. Came home, took a sip and no. It did nothing. As I wasn't willing to drink more I just put on my big girl panties and did the best I could for the rest of the evening.

All night I knew we'd be headed to school today to do the dreaded task of severing physical ties with our school building and teachers..."indefinitely".  Did I sleep? Hell no. Well...maybe a little bit but not a good sleep.

My son and I did our morning modified routine and off to school we went. "Please don't let me break down in the hallway in front of this kid." I kept saying to myself. Yep...I failed. As the teachers approached us I could see the same look on their faces but for different reasons. Matthew went on to each classroom to grab all his classroom materials which left us adults time to speak our truths. Mine was tears, fears and questions. I was some what of a hot mess. Even though we are supposed to be practicing "social distancing" we all hugged each other in support. They had their cry the past few days and were trying hard to at least hold it together while us parents watched it shatter as we dropped it on the floor...so to speak. 

Once we all got a grip and the teachers moved on to comfort the next parent...I was left standing in a hallway alone. The weight of the moment hit me like a ton of bricks and I snapped a pic and made a Facebook post of a row of lockers and my kiddo's belongings on the floor in a backpack and garbage bag (thank you, custodian). 

We all said our goodbyes as we walked towards the door, made a few jokes to lighten the mood, and off to the car we went. Done. Over. 

On the ride home my son asked me why I cried...dang! He saw me! I thought he was in a classroom! I don't remember how I explained it. I was too concerned about the look on his face which was kinda like...he was trying to process what just happened at school and he was feeling some kind of way about it...sad, maybe confused, maybe a little happy that school is done, etc. So we just talked about it all the rest of the 10 minute ride home and more throughout the day.

PLOP...goes the over-stuffed backpack and garbage bag of school materials and belongings right onto the dining room table. Great! Now I've gotta figure out a way to get this all organized, by class, and what about the mess that's ALREADY on the dining room table? Ugh...I need to eat something, I thought. Then, I can think through this and formulate a plan on how to tackle this all so it can be organized and easy to get to, etc. Although our school district isn't implementing a true online classroom learning they ARE supplementing through Google Classroom and the Remind app. So, somehow I have to make new binders and get this all super duper organized so I can feel a sense of control over this out of control feeling I have. 

When we thought he only had a few weeks off of school I set learning hours for him. Today we got home during those hours and kiddo said to me, "Mom. Should I get learning.now? I only have 1 hour left. What should I focus on...wait..I'm gonna see what the teachers posted new on Google Classroom. Then I'll figure it out." "Yep, sounds good.", I replied. He mentioned that part of his "homework" was to practice guitar for his music class. "Should I do that now?" I knew he was asking because he wasn't sure if I'd say no...do some REAL work like Social Studies. lol  I told him that we've already had a somewhat emotional day...go play some instruments if he wanted.  I figured he might was well have an outlet for what ever emotions he was still feeling about this. Plus, he's a great musician and I love hearing him play so selfishly I knew it would be soothing to me, too. 

That's when I decided to reinstate this blog as an outlet for each day forward until things get back to normal around this house and this country. If it can help me and maybe someone else know that they aren't alone in this then it has served it's purpose.

I love that our son will be home but I have self doubt that I can handle staying on top of this "at home learning". I can teach him to make pancakes and be a good friend and a caring person but Social Studies? Science? MATH?! Well...guess what. Again, time for big girl panties and I'm gonna have to just do my best and so will our kiddo. 

The teachers were reassuring at school today and I know they will continue to be involved in their learning and providing support for us all now and into next school year. They have questions just like I do and I now realize that we are all just trying to do our best with what we have.  I'm grateful that I'm a stay-at-home mom who has the time TO figure this out and to be here with our kiddo during it. My hats are off to those moms who don't have that chance right now. I'm thinking...if you all can do it then I should be able to figure it out with minimal whining.  Thus far, I have not implemented that part but will shortly. ;) 

From the parents who now have to implement online learning to the grown kids who have to sit outside their parents nursing home windows to the stock market, to the people who are actually dealing with this virus, and many more...many of us have different stressors but they are all from the same reason...so Cornoavirus...we all say to you...suck it! You might have the upper hand at this moment but not for long.

HAS SPRING SPRUNG YET?

by Michele L. Mueller on 02/10/16

Never fails...this time of year I, and probably many of you, get anxious for those warm spring evenings. The days are getting a little longer now, the sun is shining a little brighter and the air in my house is getting older and older - at least it feels it! Isn't that one of the best parts of warmer weather...being able to finally open up all the windows and exchange that winter blah air for fresh outside air? No, I'm not going to mention all the pollen and allegeries some people have...let's just pretend for now that spring is perfect . ;)

Also, with these thoughts, is the anticipation of the new Gurney's magazine coming in the mail! :)  I hardly ever order from them because we purchase plants and seeds from one of our local greenhouses. But...I do love looking through the pages as I plan for my garden. I get my paper and pencil out and make a list of what I want to plant in each raised vegetable bed, of which I have 6. I also start to remind myself how nice it would be if I had a small green house of my own - made from old windows - hey...I have a FEW of those! ;)

I'm going to see if I can part with a few windows I have and designate them to a project like this. I'm staying hopeful! :)  I would love to see pictures of any greenhouses you have done - or would LIKE to do. Maybe we can inspire each other to get these projects done THIS year. :) 

by Michele Mueller, Artist
Hand Painted Window Panes, Chalkboard Windows, Mirrored Windows, (Photo) Memory Windows, 
Barn Quilts, Sage Bundles, Reflection Chains
Panes of Art
"All that was and all that will be began... with a dream." -Lava Girl
Live life...be inspired and create. -Me