January 30, 2021 – Progress Report

Before I begin, I just have to ask a simple question. Did anyone else read the recent news report about China testing for Covid-19 using anal swabs? I actually read the article yesterday and then once I got done, I had to read it again. I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me. But, no! This is apparently the ‘latest’ methodology utilized for detecting the virus. Come again? Or as Wayne Campbell would say in Wayne’s World, “Ex-squeeze me?!” How in the world did the testing start at the nose and end ‘there’? I am really beginning to think the end must be near. If my doctor asked me to come in for a Covid-19 test and said, “Drop your drawers and touch your toes,” I’d say, “You’ve got another thing coming, Mister!” And what I also wonder is will these tests be conducted at one of the ‘drive thru’ sites? If they are, I’d be willing to fly to China to see it with my own eyes. Can you imagine the whole scenario? There’d be a whole lot of ‘mooning’, that’s for sure! Certainly more than I could appreciate.

Where was I? Oh, yes! I wanted to provide you with a ‘progress report’. Did you ever get those when you were a kid? The teachers handed them out when I went to school and the purpose of this report was to provide parents or guardians with a pretty good idea as to their child’s ‘current standing’ in the classroom. They were issued mid-quarter or mid-semester to ‘inform’ or ‘warn’, as the case may be. If the child was doing well academically and behaviorally and the report stated as such, it meant no intervention would be required. However, if the child wasn’t doing well academically and/or behaviorally, it gave the parent(s) or guardian(s) an opportunity to intervene and try to help their child improve before it was essentially ‘too late’. And by ‘too late’, I mean once the final, irrevocable, end-of-quarter or end-of-semester report card was issued. As you probably know, once the report card is issued, unless you’re a hacker or you know one, that information is set in stone.

Throughout my ‘grade school’ years, my progress reports stayed pretty consistent. The first ones, issued shortly after school commenced, were usually positive and promising, but as the school year wore on, especially towards the end when summer was approaching, I got a lot of ‘student doesn’t realize full potential’ and/or ‘student talks too much’. What I want to know is, how could they possibly know my ‘full potential’? I don’t even know it. Is there some kind of chart they follow that helps them make this determination? Is it a formula that calculates the sum of your weight plus your height, times the amount of distance between the tear ducts in your eyes (in millimeters), divided by the number of creases in the palm of your right hand, squared? Seriously? How could a single, solitary teacher presiding over a classroom of 30 children decide a child’s ‘full potential’? Pardon me, madam. But I beg to differ.

The book I recently read, “Changes That Heal”, mentioned a number of times the difference between ‘ideal’ and ‘real’. Yes, in an ‘ideal’ world, if everything was perfect, I probably would have ‘realized’ my full potential as a child. However, I didn’t live in an ‘ideal’ world then and I don’t live in one now, I live in a ‘real’ world. And this, my friends, is as good as it gets. When I was in the 10th grade, I endeavored to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy and become an officer. I already had a recommendation letter from a senator and was working on ‘ticking all the boxes’ to ensure all of the requirements were met to get accepted and then I came down with mono and the whole thing went to hell in a handbasket. As an alternative, I joined the regular Air Force. My ambition was to complete my 4-year enlistment, get out, and use my GI Bill to continue my education and become a teacher. In lieu of that, I served just over 2 years in the military, got married, got pregnant, got out, and became a housewife.

I had also hoped to write a ‘best seller’ one day, but so far that has yet to happen. Unless I’m really fortunate, the reality is that this ‘blog’ is probably the only thing I’ll ultimately contribute to my fellow bibliophiles. As much as I enjoy it, it doesn’t pay the bills, and whether I can continue to do it after I complete my one-year goal of writing every single day remains elusive. In addition to writing, I also draw and paint. I always wanted to have my own exhibit in a gallery. I bought tons of paper and nearly every kind of pencil you could fathom (charcoal, regular, colored, pastel, watercolor). I also purchased dozens of frames and canvases, brushes and paint, easels, a special table, and countless other ‘items’ necessary for creating art. I completed several paintings and ultimately joined a gallery. I was a member of the gallery for a year and during that time, no one purchased any of my work, not a single piece. If anything will make you doubt your talent, that certainly will!

Plenty of people commented on what I had painted and told me how lovely my paintings were and how I had a ‘signature style’ but no one was willing to fork over any money. If I want to give them away? That’s another story! I don’t have any trouble ‘giving’ my paintings to people without compensation. You want a painting ‘for free’ that took 95 hours to paint, along with a piece of my soul? Sure! Why not? Here you go! Enjoy! Just be sure to think of me each time you pass it in the hallway. Listen, my friends. I have literally been trying to reach my ‘full’ potential for years but the reality is, life doesn’t always cooperate. There are all kinds of roadblocks and detours along the way. Yes, I can write and I can paint but if it never goes beyond the confines of my home, what’s the point of it other than it just being for my own personal satisfaction? I may just be one of those painters whose entire collection ends up in a thrift store and serves as a source of amusement for shoppers.

You must know what I’m referring to. If you’ve ever been to a thrift store, there’s always an ‘art section’. You likely won’t find any of Rembrandt’s work in the pile. What you will find is lots of bad art that was trending in the 70s and 80s and lots of art by folks that didn’t have any business putting pen to paper or paint to canvas but thought they’d take a stab at it anyway. There’s some really bad stuff out there. I have to admit though, it sure makes for a cheap source of entertainment. I can spend hours in a thrift store just laughing at some of the bizarre ‘stuff’ that lines the shelves and hangs from the walls. Boy, archaeologists are going to have their minds blown when they uncover the hoards of useless crap we humans in the last century have dreamed up. Crap! I think I just went down a rabbit hole. The whole point of my blog today was to provide you with a progress report. I’ve shared a lot of things from my past but nothing from recent days.

I guess a quick summarization will have to suffice since I’ve been talking too much (just like when I was a kid) about sort-of related items but not actually what I intended to talk about. Here’s where things ‘currently stand’ in my life: 1) I’ve put on 5 pounds in the last 2 months, 2) I am a third of the way towards my goal of writing every day for a year, 3) my UTI has cleared up thanks to my doctor getting me on some meds, 4) I actually have had energy two days in a row so I managed to get some much needed and long-overdue cleaning done, 5) of the areas I cleaned, one was my art studio so now I no longer have any excuses for not painting, 6) I’m still walking my dog every other day and my dog only pooped once (on the trail) this afternoon which made me very happy, 7) I made a card for my mom and included a photo collage of my dog in ridiculous poses and she loved it, and 8) despite having all of the ingredients for what appears to be a really delicious chicken and bok choy stir-fry recipe, I have yet to make it.

TMI? Probably. But isn’t it preferable to all the pandemic-related news that is splashed all over the internet and, if you happen to be a newspaper subscriber, dutifully delivered to your doorstep? Gosh, I hope so! Anything has to be better than reading about the mutant strains of the virus that the current vaccine may or may not effectively prevent in addition to the latest ‘death toll’ from the pandemic. It’s all so dreary and worrisome. Anyway, that’s my own personal opinion. You may feel differently. That said, I’d better call it a night. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, and I hope I was able to make you smile, especially if you had a really crappy day. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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