And so it continues …
September 2020: Six months into COVID-19 Pandemic Isolation / Social Distancing
I am now the very proud grandmother of seven youngsters: six girls and one boy, who, at three years has a personality large enough to dominate all six girls, who range in age from 3 months to 10 years.
I just finished a long-term substitute online teaching job. It seemed as if I lived at my kitchen table with the nearly insurmountable amount of work required to learn the technology along with planning and grading. It felt uncomfortable to not get the facial and body language feedback from the kids and I frequently felt as if I were speaking into a void. I have a deeper empathy for all of the teachers, students, and parents who are struggling through these strange times.
In less than two months, I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Last year, I stared death in the face and decided that I want to LIVE during whatever years I have left on this earth. Because I come alive when I’m out in nature, I’ve decided to solo camp.
I rescued a 7 year-old cockapoo last Thanksgiving; my little girl Maddie has been my navigator and camping buddy on three solo camping trips and we are making plans for an extended camping trip soon.
I had not read my “about me” page in a while…actually, a long while. When I wrote the piece below, I had two grandchildren; now I have six (five girls and one boy). I have been retired from teaching for quite a few years, I have taken a gazillion pictures, returned to China to teach high school students, bought a house, dreamed, planned, and rambled.
Today, I continue to evolve. Sophie is still my constant companion, my family is still my center, and I am blessed.
Many years ago:
Who am I? When I started this blog in January 2012, I hid my identity and took my childhood name of Mona. Since that time, I’ve become more comfortable and have talked about my life in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve shown pictures of my family, especially of my granddaughter Elle (also known as my favorite model). Recently, Elle became Big Sister and I am now snapping pictures of both of my granddaughters.
Family is my center. I share my home with Sophie, my black and white Cocker Spaniel, and I share my heart with my sons, my daughters-in-law, and my granddaughters. I am blessed beyond measure to have them near me.
I picked up a Nikon DSLR three summers ago and immediately felt complete. I am more comfortable with the camera in my hands than without. When I’m at a party or event and my camera is not with me, I feel naked. At other times, if I feel that the “tyranny of the urgent” is pressing in on me, I pick up the camera and practice lighting or DOF or focus, and I eventually clear my mind and can return to the necessary task.
Last summer I sold the Nikon and picked up my Canon, partially because my son, the pro-photog, shoots Canon. When I assist him on jobs, I can now navigate my way around his camera, and (this is the bonus) I can borrow his super-cool lenses and cameras. I was sad to sell the Nikon 85 mm, however. That sweet lens took some nice images.
I have taught for nearly 25 years and am now looking forward to my next adventure: retirement. I will never quit working and I will never be bored; this I know. I will take my Canon, explore the ordinary and extraordinary in the streets and mountains and waters near me and far away.
By the way: Who am I? I’ve gone by three different names throughout my life. I was named Ramona (I thank my parents for that name as I’ve always liked it). As a child, I was called Mona. When I went to high school, I was given the moniker Ramie; that name stayed with me for two decades until I turned 30 and decided that Ramona was a more “professional” sounding name. Since then, I’ve been all three: Ramona, Mona, and Ramie; several years ago, my oldest granddaughter gave me another name, perhaps the best one of all: Grandma Mona.
I welcome you into my ordinary, and at times extraordinary, world.
May you be blessed with peace and joy.