Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Surgery Cancelled, Last Second

I had on the cute gown, knee hi white socks and some very funny red socks with grippers on top and bottom. If you fall on your face they can't drag you down the hall because your socks would hold you still. We literally sat in the outpatient room for at least 2 hours if not more, surgery was nearly there, the surgeon was in and said things looked good, two previous surgeries needed their gallbladders out so that took a bit longer.

I inquired about the stress test as I had had no information from any of the tests, everything seemed OK, but there was this one thing. Hmmm. get the anesthesiologist. He reads carefully, again things look Ok but for one phrase. He said this should have caused a conference with a cardiologist and that he would rather err on the side of caution and have a cardiologist see me, no surgery for me. He also said that the second day after surgery is the most stressful day for the heart and he wouldn't want to do the surgery and then me have a heart attack in two days. Me neither. I was disappointed, but I also have to be relieved. Safety first. Now I am home. No appointment yet, already been through my last times of having a blizzard, or a pizza or whatever, drinking the diet coke that is to be a no no for at least a year, maybe forever. Anticlimactic, and yet faced with mortality once again. There is a spot on my heart where blood does not flow under stress, does flow as stress is relieved. It is called ischemia something. I googled it, it may be a blockage, it may be the site of a silent heart attack. Kinda scary. My sister reminded me that, although I never smoked I lived with smokers for a long time. Parents, Husband. I have figured 36 years at least in a house with smoke.

When Mom had her knee replacement, she passed whatever heart tests she was given, then two days later after the surgery, she needed a quadruple bypass. A sharp eyed nurse saw her lightly wave her hand over her chest and said "why did you do that?" Very soon, Mom was recovering from knee surgery and bypass surgery. I have seen the two day thing with my own eyes so I don't doubt it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

14 Hours on Ice and not Dead

My pre-op meeting was rushed as they tried to cram in the info as fast as they could before the weather hit. I was out on the icy sidewalk and parking lot, gently trying to get to my car without landing on my head again.By 2p.m. I was scraped clean and on the road. It was obvious for several blocks that I-465 was already at a standstill, so I made a decision to try to wend my way through the west side of Indy to get to SR40. I took a left on High School Road, a road I am familiar with that crosses 40 at some point, but I came to a fork in the road and forked right, which was wrong. Without intending to, I found myself on an interstate headed northwest and no way to get off. Unmarked, icy, cars already in the ditch, semi's sliding this way and that. I crept/crawled for quite some time until I saw another familiar road name, Unknown to me, this road was not complete. I eased my way up the ramp keeping two wheels on the gravel. When I got close enough to the sideways semi, I crossed behind him and once again crept along with 2 wheels in gravel. The top of the ramp appeared to be sending cars sideways and backwards so I turned right and went down a hill until it looked clean enough to do a u-turn to go the direction I needed to go. Traffic began to build up in front of me, I saw an unknown road bumper to bumper t-ing into another road, bumper to bumper. I slowly and tenderly kept far enough to the right to keep two wheels on gravel and grass for traction, this eventually put me on the inside of another traveller who thought I was being a smart ass, really I wasn't, we were all going 3 MPH or less, I was just a bit more stable. at some point I merged onto the solid ice with everyone else. I was able to get on the next road which was 136, once again I am headed for champaign instead of Terre Haute. I see a 4 way stop up ahead, bumper to bumper and at this crossroad was a gas station with the area of the pumps under cover, a blessing. I stopped, filled up the tank and got some directions from the cashier whose goal was to keep me out of the mess on 136 and on to 40, she sent me through a subdivision and as I turned onto the road she sent me to I saw another wreck ahead. I tried to find another way, I tried to come back and got lost in a subdivision of culdesacs deadends, I was trying to get back to the station to just sit and rest. It is still daylight. I have been on the road for hours. I have made it to Brownsburg, a place I have heard of but never been. Eventually, slowly and carefully staying at about 2mph I came to a road the cashier had indicated, I had somehow, with my horrible sense of directions, gotten around the wreck that had been blocking my way and I headed east. I wish I had thought to count cars and trucks in ditches along my way, but I had to concentrate on my own wheels, the times I slid, no one else was near, whew. I try to time stop signs to not come to a complete stop and rarely ever hit the accelerator. All the while, it is 32* and freezing rain. I slowly arrive at a brightly lit town, I think it is Plainfield and join the traffic on the highway, I quickly realize this is not plainfield and I am headed in the wrong direction. I scout the sidelines and make my way into a nearly empty parking lot with at least one traffic light exit, no cars on the lot, one restaurant open, but too icy to try to go in, it is nearing dark, I called home to tell Larry where I was so he could tell me where I was! and how to get out of there. I turned right on the highway then left into another mall lot and to another light and back in the direction from which I had come. I got to good old Dan Jones Road! Hooray. it was a lot farther to Plainfield than I thought at 2, 3 or 4 MPH but at last I am at highway 40, familiar ground and I know where I am. I head west, after very few mile and two more hours, a police car came down the eastbound lane yelling at us in the westbound to go back and take shelter. OK, I did, It was a lot easier going back than it was heading west, the roads were definitely clearing as the temp had risen to 41*. I went to a Denny's near I-70 ordered a breakfast, rested, then went to find a room, wrong strategy. no rooms, all those other people heading back with me got there first.
Nothing else left to do but head on home. I made god time for at least 15 miles until I hit the stopped traffic and from then on it was stop for an hour move 20 feet. After about 3 hours I began to wonder how an overweight 61 year old woman with very bad knees was going to go to the bathroom.....shouldn't have had that refill at Denny's. Possibly 12 hours into this stupid trip, I made it to the Greencastle intersection, bathroom, bad coffee, 2a.m. From then on the road was clear enough to do 2o and sometimes even 30mph, but that felt very frightening. I rolled in and flopped on the couch at 4:07a.m. after leaving on a normally 2 hour drive 14 hours earlier. I slept and the next day I was on the ragged edge of tears most of the day. We had a two hour 15 minute drive ahead of us to join our daughters for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. DH drove, bless him. There were possibly more than a hundred cars and trucks in various ditches on my way home and I am grateful to have not ended up one of those people. I wrote this detailed and certainly boring rendition of this trip before the details faded from my exhausted memory, and I am sitting in front of an open door letting the warm breezes of December 27 blow through my living room.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Cardiolite Stress Test

I had my cardiolite stress test today, chemical stress, not treadmill. The facility, the techs, the nurses were great and the experience was all good. I do keep sighing right now and maybe I'd like a little nap. That is not any different than usual. This is my last physical hurdle between me and the bariatric surgery. Pre-op classes are tomorrow and that is all day. Here is how it goes, you get a needle put in the back of your hand to send medications through and receive a little something. Painless needle stick, great job. You lie on what appears to be an awfully narrow, slightly-curved table. They have a really nice pyramid pillow to go under your knees that is great for 6 footers, set the timer, and the first set of nuclear images are taken. That takes 12 minutes, return to waiting room. Go back later to get an injection that contains isotopes. Enter another room with a bigger table, a couple of treadmills and 2 super nice nurses who watch the EKG and inject you with whatever it is that stresses your heart, little by little. My scalp tingled, eventually my stomach hurt a bit, and I felt like I had really worked out, then they let off of that, put in the reversal meds, gently get you up and let you go get a sip of coffee! Again you lie down on the narrow table that really fits just right, have another set of pictures taken for 8 minutes. and then you are released and you feel like nothing happened to you at all.

The coincidence part that was so good for me was that when the nurse verified that this was pre-op I said yes, I am getting bariatric surgery. I (as it happens) am having the same surgeon and hospital as her husband. He was well over 400 pounds with horrible sleep apnea and knees that were set for replacement they were so bad.
He is 4 years out from his surgery, followed the post op directions to the letter and has lost over half his body weight. He still has his original knees and is doing great. If I hadn't said what kind of surgery I was having, I wouldn't have heard that story and I am glad I heard it.

Now I really want to know how my heart checked out because of Mom and my youngest sister. I would also like to have a little nap.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's a Cold and Icy Day

Our corporation did something unheard of, it cancelled at 7:30a.m. Usually if it isn't done by 6a.m. it won't be done. We were on a two hour delay and the roads in town are pretty horrible. The only reason I wasn't already out the door (we are expected to be on time) is that I was going to wait for a bit of daylight so I could see where I was sliding. Do you think the airbag in a 99 still works? Now I am sitting her dressed for school but shoeless and my jammies are calling me. Even hot chocolate is calling me. I don't have that much but it may also be my last.

Things are going swimmingly for my roux n Y coming up in a couple of weeks, my physical life is going to change. I am looking forward to rejoining my exercise class, to having less and less pain in my knees and to having certain numbers drop, like BP, cholesterol, and the blood sugar that has been creeping up slowly for a few years.

I hope this finds law daughter safe at home with the soon to be 4 year old tucked away from ice as I believe they had more than we did, they are really on the plains where the cold winds blow. brr, a chill to think of it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Figured It Out

Last spring I had a diagnosis on my foot and the surgery was too extreme for me to do right then. Yesterday, when I was talking about volunteering at a therapeutic riding program for a couple of summers, I suddenly realized why it was my left foot, which I thought was injury free, that is so smushed. I was a sidewalker and the guy riding was a young adult who had been hit head on by a truck as he was riding a motorcycle and his recovery was unexpected. Riding therapy was helping him regain some physical abilities. As I stood ready to help him off the horse, he simply slid?fell from the horse onto my left arch with the full force of his 200lbs. Ouch. As I was retelling this story, I suddenly understood the damage in my left foot. Oh, how could I have forgotten the pain of that day? Now the need for screws, grafts, and what not comes clear, it isn't just limping from an old injury and being too heavy, there was a direct assault on the foot.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dog Wrestling is not My Sport

The dog wrapped herself around a little tree and I was hoping DH would get home to extricate her. She wrapped tighter and tighter. I did not want to save her, she is rough and untrained and I knew it would be hell. It was, but I got it done, it took 25 minutes, creeping across the dark yard wondering when I would step in a dog pothole and break my ankle. I made it though, and spent the rest of the time trying to unwind her while she was trying to play with me. I put her on her side a couple of times and that worked temporarily. I made it in scratched, toothed, clawed, but unbroken. Well, OK, there's a little tiny bit of blood, but I have had worse. Suffice it to say I am not a happy camper. Some of you may remember I made a little pledge to myself that Yoshi would be the last pet. Even a live mouse on the kitchen stove has not changed that. That mouse, slowed a little, I am sure, by ingestion of poison, is sitting under a cup on the kitchen floor awaiting its fate. Did you know even a slightly groggy mouse can jump pretty far off the stove, but the jump must have stunned it a little as I set a cup on top of it and there it stays. I'd let the dog take care of it, but I am afraid the mouse poison would upset her tummy. OOH I really stink now, smell a lot like a dog. Can't stand myself so as soon as the dishwasher stops, it is into the shower for me. While I was out there, I could see the headline, woman draped over dwarf crab apple tree, dead. I have imagined worse for myself!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Knitting Rampage

Hats are falling off my needles for a little art and craft sale in Chicago, I had yarn to make the preschooler a sweater in his Mom's school colors, but she is long graduated and into the work force, so the colors are for Chicago Bears. Think that would sell in Chicago? Next I am going to see how many little newborn soft fuzzy hats I can make and call it a day. I have hatted all but two of the babies to be born to teachers in my building this year, including a set of twins coming in a month so I am getting pretty good at that. It helps that I have a student teacher right now and she is getting ready to be totally in charge as of tomorrow and has taken 4 of the six classes over in the past two weeks. I have made my closet/office more orderly so I started knitting, covered one on-site, oooh how I hate covering on-site. By the way, the preschooler requested a purple hate so I did that and put a red stripe in it.

I am now going to recommend a therapeutic sock. My doc told me to trek to a small southern town to a mom and pop drugstore to get Truform therapeutic stocking as my feet and ankles have been swelling during the work day, and, by god, they work like a charm. the are compression socks that look great. Thanks to my great feet, I am in a men's sock, nothing new to me, and it goes right up to my knee, for a six footer that almost requires getting out the culottes and calling them knee socks and really going back to 1969! Maybe next year,

Twittering has really cut into this forum for me, not used to writing lots any more, too much fun twittering. I am thinking this may turn into a post-bariatric surgery and weight loss blog for a while. I am scheduled for surgery and very happy about it, already looking forward to a May event in Chicago and walking briskly down the street instead of whining and looking for benches on which to sit and bend my knees. More about that later, in the new year.

It Meant Something

My vote counted this year, my state was not thrown into the trash heap, and I am very very happy about that. Now to see if one man and his team can repair and move this country forward.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Voted Today

And I sure as hell hope it means something.

Remember the Time

Remember the time Bob got a birthday present for MY birthday?
no one does
Remember the time I lost my tooth in the truck and the tooth fairy found it anyway?
no one does
Remember the time we all went on that ice and didn't fall through and freeze or drown?
maybe someone does
Remember the time we had measles, the stinky kind and stayed in town in a dark room at mamaws?
no one does
Remember Dad picking us up in a semi and Bob pushing that curious little button?
someone does
Remember how the truck jumped forward?
I do
Remember how we cut saplings and built a cabin about two feet tall in the woods?
someone does
Remember Mammie lining us up to be switched as we came through the gate?
someone does
Remember taking care of the new baby sister when mom was so sick?
I do
Remember that it was two weeks with a 12 year old caring for a sick mom and 5 siblings?
no one does, not even me
Remember Rick having a siezure that went on for hours?
I do
Remember the layout of Lewis's General Store?
I do
Remember all the elementary schools I went to?
no one does
Remember the time we took a shortcut through the woods and were lost for hours with a toddler?
two do
but not the toddler
Remember taking little baby corn with its silks and making them dolls?
two do
Remember how bad our chicken pox was?
no one does
Well, I remember everything but the chicken pox and the elementary schools, I lost track

Sunday, September 21, 2008


By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008
Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Photos: Sarah Palin, north starJoin the reader discussion on Gloria Steinem's Op-Ed article
Sarah Palin as Alaska National Guard commander
Palin appears to disagree with McCain on sex education
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

TESTING 1, 2, 3

I am at school strangely early. I used to get here this early all the time, but since I am teaching art instead of science, I have tried this year to arrive between 7 and 7:30. This morning I was full of energy and read my twitters and my e-mails at home, gathered my things and off I went to school. I was here by 6:30a.m. The repairman is in my room fixing my phone.We are having our high stakes testing and my classroom phone will not call out, I can receive but not send. There was a boy in my class who was wanting to use his breathing machine between two tests that were scheduled without a break. That gave me a scare, he was moved to a room with a working phone and now it is getting fixed! Hooray! The phone hasn't worked all year and part of last year.

Testing week is always weird. We don't want to make too much of the academic time we have, so after a whole morning of testing and we are having classes meet one day each day of the week. Friday we will be testing all day and they should be pretty much fried at the end of that. I have a really great group of SpEd kids who are taking the test seriously and working at it very intently. I took a peek at their essays and I was impressed. Their teachers have been hitting the writing really hard and it shows. Even the ones who appeared to not be writing much did a decent job. I look forward to seeing their scores.

Last weekend I took care of the H-bomb and his new dog, Ruby. She is a rescue red boned hound, just like Little Ann in "Where the Red Fern Grows". BUT she has been abused in her previous life, and although she is a sweet,laid back, very calm animal in many ways, she is afraid of EVERYTHING. Skittish, a flutter a crackle, she flinches. That does not compute with the sweet and laid back part, but it's true.I lured her downstairs from her closet with tiny morsels of chicken, ala, "It's either me or the dog", I tried everything I have gleaned from my reading lately to try to get her to relax and be comfortable. It worked somewhat and she AND the H-bomb slept with me that night-- Ruby on the floor and H in bed, like an angel. Then Ruby decided to gnaw on her great big crackling bone. (Sleep deprived Nonnie.)
It was pouring rain, buckets of rain at 6.a.m. When H awoke and said he was hungry. The night before, I decided we would venture over to the truck stop for pancakes and we did go. By the time I got on the road I was so drenched from my unsuccessful attempts to wrest the booster seat from the pickup truck, belt the boy in, and try to open a brand new umbrella, that I looked as if someone had soaked me with a garden hose. Unsuspecting, I ordered the blueberry and banana pancakes for the preschooler, he has a good appetite, but this plate would have served two if not three adults. He barely made a dent in it, and he tried! A great time was had by all, including the two star wars characters who accompanied us. We went back to our pirate ship and played until mommy got home. When I got to my home, I was sure I wasn't tired, but it took me about two seconds on the sofa to conk out.

more later--just don't post as much now that I twitter-- oh I saw a list of books on Jen Lancaster's blog this morning that look like really good reads. Not only does the girl write, but she writes a good review of what she has been reading. I am going to go back over there and copy that list!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I just finished the third Jen Lancaster book at my nearby local coffee shop. I may have frightened some of the patrons with my laughter, I tried to contain myself, but tears were rolling down my cheeks. If you are easily offended she is not for you, but I have read all three of her books this summer and she has gotten my serotonin from laughing at their highest level. That, combined with Barack finally settling on a running mate has me feeling elated. I certainly hope I got the link right this time as I have had some bad luck trying to link to things, so now I am going to take a look. Oh itisn't there dammit, I am leaving out one last step, I see it here. Leah, help me.

I see the link twice, but you don't. grrr. so the title, "Such a Pretty Fat..."

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I pass a small billboard on my way to work that says hope and supports Barack Obama, but I haven't felt the hope until today. Now I can unclench my jaws, they are aching from 8 years of dread of what more can go wrong with GWB. Now I can tell you that a glimmer of hope is an actual physical feeling, a tingle, relief. I have despised GWB since before he was elected and he proved me right, then another election to him, how could it have happened. Now we can take a breath, and if we are smart, we won't vote for another four years of george w bush. I feel giddy with hope.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Week One

Three days with students, 6th and 7th graders are into their projects already and 8th graders are doing contour drawings. I have enjoyed every day, but my ankle and knees have made the end of the day quite exhausting. Today I felt really good, little pain so I did a couple of errands before I came home and did not do my exercise. That part is bad, but I have not felt like doing what needs to be done all week. I can tell you one thing for sure, you can swim 4 or five days a week and other exercise 3 hours a week, and when you get back on cement floors, they are still cement and it is like you never left. I do have my classroom back in order and I seem to have a great group of kids in at least 4 out of 6 classes.
We have had two team meetiongs/lunch and laughed and laughed, our team is really workin the serotonin. That makes the rest of the day fly by.The morning flies by,
then there is lunch plan where we laugh so loud then the last half of the day zooms. WE have 6 new teachers in the building, all experienced teachers who tried to get into our building. New ideas, new energy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I am showered, spritzed and rolled on--well, gelled. I have a workshop on boys in crisis today and I am not going swimming. A sure sign my summer vacation is over. I do get to do this fun thing though, I am going after the workshop later today to give my grandson a day at "home". I finished my first paint pen painting with the birthday pens after the style of surfboard artist DH got the video for his b-day and we both loved it-- so simple and fun. My students are going to be wowed! I shall have to figure out a way to do this with some of my students, an expensive project. Maybe I will write a grant.

We have had an unusual run of beautiful weather, more like Colorado than the midwest I am waiting for the high 90's and equal humidity, and I expect it next week after we get back to school. It is wonderful and since my air conditioning has been struggling all summer, I have been able to give it a break.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Spent all afternoon with my BFF cousin, her 4 grandchildren, and one daughter-- the park is more fabulous than I remember from 4-H and church parties. They have moved the pool and added a lot of area to the park. There are nice playgrounds, a nature center, family cabins that look really great, and trees trees trees trees. Today was cool, dry and breezy, not the usual humid 100* we often have this time of year. Must be global warming.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Last Monday before school starts, last Monday in the pool with my release from the laws of gravity. The pool certainly always makes me feel like a kid and I was hoping my breast stroke would have magically improved by watching some Olympic swimming, at least I don't kick myself on my shoulders any more and I can move forward. I am sure the butterfly is my true calling, but....well, there's learning it.

I have a Lizz Wright cd playing in the kitchen and she has a beautiful voice, not as deep as Joan Armatrading, but it can go low. My students would hate it, I need the top twenty on XM for them, but there are bad words in those. About cd's, as I was poised with my paring knife trying to open the damned thing, I noticed I had the knife pointed right at my heart--oops, cd's are becoming passe and I still can't open them easily. My vinyl is upstairs, too. You know, big round black things you play with a needle on a stereo. I would love to blast my old Donna Summers through the house on a perfect day like today--all the windows open, the doors open,we never have days like this in August. I expect it will get up to a hundred once school starts

Saw a photo of my sister-in-law with her new incision where they replaced her skull in her head. It is at least as big as a saucer if not a bread plate. I never imagined such a large incision. There is a reason I am not in the medical field and bless those who are. I don't know how long it will be before she reaches a state of stasis-- my understanding is that the great plastic brain can do amazing things, so I will hold out hope that she will be able to cuddle her grandson once again and take care of herself. There is a great string of sadness here mixed in with the joy of each new step forward, and I don't mean steps on foot, let's be clear here, I mean progress back to some kind of independence.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Blogger

I have just added my niece to my sidebar, I think I have drug her kicking and screaming into blogging! I just kept asking and asking-- she is now here. Now if I can get some other people to twitter, that would be just fine. I will be going back to school in one week and will have to stop twittering a few times each day...I will probably be shaky and have a little headache. It must be my version of smoking. I must say though, she posted a photo on her very first entry and I have yet to do that, sorry Rick.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


My sister-in-law survived surgery today. She suffered a massive stroke on May 9 following open heart surgery. She has been in ICU or rehab ever since. They had to remove a section of skull over the affected area and today they put it back. The surgery took about 4 hours. I had no idea it was such a time consuming surgery. At this point she is in recovery and in another 45 minutes or so her husband will get to go up to see her. He has been with her every single day since this happened, fortunately he works in education and was just coming close to his big break of the year, summer. I don't know when we will be able to breathe a complete sigh of relief, but she made it through this day's surgery. Now her brain is safely covered with bone instead of a helmet. whew.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Something Beautiful

I was stopped by a train on Friday, something interesting and kind of striking was going by --I finally realized the gigantic sculptural forms were blades for wind turbines. Each one lay on one and a half extra long flat cars, car after car after car. When they are mounted in the distance, they just don't look that big.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1

The countdown really begins today, on my birthday. One from eighteen equals seventeen days until the first day of school. We get a really nice invitation to a mandatory teacher meeting on the first day. Then we spend the afternoon at our own building having a faculty meeting then some time in our classroom. I always find the invitation somewhat hilarious. I signed up for a workshop on "boys in Crisis" pm the 14from 9 until noon, I can still swim before that, so my summer isn't ruined! I think the topic is very improtant, even critical.

I got home from my swim and a little stop at panera's to read and have a late breakfast, followed by the tiniest little bit of shopping at TJ MAXX. I found Henry a new set of extra long sheets for his bed, they're covered with tiny alligators or crocodiles and of course they are blue to go with his decor.

The dog had wrapped her cable around the tree and so could not come back to her water. I stupidly went out without another leash to loop around her neck and ended up tightly trapped against the tree myself with the cable cutting into my bare ankles as she was determined to knock me down and probably lick me to death. In her great happiness, she clawed my arm and it is quite the bloody mess. I am considering keeping it that way until the dog's daddy comes home, but I can't stand the smell of dog on me so I am going to have to wash up. My brand new white T is also splattered, I buy these t's to splatter at WORK! and not feel badly about it.
I will probably be able to get the blood out. Walmart special.

My arms and shoulders are so tired from last night's workout, but in a very good way. I didn't even know with the beta blockers I take that I could even get my heart rate up into an aerobic zone, but I can. I guess that is what I need every week. I wear myself out on the elliptical, but with my knees, I don't really raise the heart rate, though I do sweat plenty and need lots of water afterwards. I have a book around here on aerobic weight training, and I had a sample last night, I liked it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I was the only person who showed up for class tonight. So for my $20 a month, I had a true personal trainer. I always come in early and do a half hour on the elliptical and tonight I really raised the resistance for me and worked those legs. Then the weights were mostly for the back, I literally worked to failure on every one of them, my heart was definitely in aerobic space, I can barely lift my fingers to type now. whew, now that was the end of what I call my movie star day. You know how they workout all the time? I swam for two hours this morning, had a haircut, followed by a massage, then home for a bit and off to my evening workout. I don't feel like a starlet right now, I feel like some one who is going to be 61 tomorrow, but her arms are getting more muscular in there. I almost didn't go, I told myself if I could get my swede-o brace on my ankle and my shoes on, by 4:30, I'd go. Lacing that thing up takes time, but I made it and am I ever glad I did!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just my opinion

TV has really done enough saving power, how long have they been shooting dramas in the dark? Courtrooms, police stations, operating rooms, really. I am watching The Cleaner, what I can make out visually, all dark, dark, dark and not just metaphors. Sometimes there is some of that golden yellow light outside bathing the scene of addicts outdoors--golden light, as per CSI Miami, the rest is chiaroscuro. I have actually been in some operating rooms waiting for the two second trip from awake to total blackout--there is a bright 1000 watt light right over you and even the ER is very very lit up. So give me a break, turn on a couple of lights. OK, one place where they could turn out the lights, the news, the annual flu shot news stories--do you have to show a needle into the arm every damn year? I can't take it. I don't look at my own shots, let alone want to see somebody else's, and I give bood, that's a whopping big needle, but I don't want to LOOK at it. That goes for any vaccination story-- I don't want to see the needle going into an arm, a spindly starving arm, a plump baby arm.

an addendum days later, The John Adams series on HBO, shot darkly--that was good, it certainly pointed out how people lived in those days before electricity. By the way, that is an amazing series, I almost said asesome, but I am tired of that word.


Writing has really fallen off this summer, having fallen under the spell of twitter where short mundane sentences are just right. I just went out and ran the mower over the dog's park, it used to be a yard, now it is an obstacle course of sticks, holes and bowling balls stuffed under the fence to keep her in. That is no longer necessary as she can now sail blissfully over the fence without having to excavate. She is so sweet and loving that all kinds of neighbors return her home and one even put her in the kennel after she leaped over the fence. That is how we know she can jump the fence. I think one girl even has our phone number memorized by now.

I have been reading Jen Lancaster, hilarious, Joyce Carol Oates, Amy Guth, and believe me, after Amy, Joyce is no longer the most out there writer I have ever read! Go Amy. I am waiting with bated breath for the next Guth.

oh my gosh, I was just thinking of going to Menard's and maybe checking out a fire pit for the dogs sticks, that's legal--in the city, burning sticks in a fire pit, just not on the ground, but Barack is going to be on Meet the Press for a full hour....hmmm. Too bad Tim isn't around to do this.

I was down at my favorite local cafe this week and one of the nephews, aged 29, not fat, but a smoker, had a heart attack and a 100% blocked artery. His little brother, 6ft64 lanky Jon, had a collapsed lung from smoking last winter, come on boys, --things are happening to the very young that oughtn't to be happening.

Just consider this a very long twitter, but I have to fight the urge to take a lawn chair and go sit in the yard at Sister's, missing home the most in the summer time. The swimmin' hole filled in over time with silt, and I am sure modern farm chemicals have really ruined it anyway, but still, I miss it.

The art teachers are getting together at the first local coffee shop in town, we have been going there since the girls were 15 or 16, so it isn't new anymore. It came under new management and they managed to improve it so much and yet retain the true coffee shop feel of the place. Better chairs and better coffee machine, and better supply of baked goods baked on site by the owner/wife. This get together is a big blaring signal that a teacher's summer is coming to a close, we go back to school August 18-- OMG-- did we ever really wait until labor day? 43 years ago I graduated on May 17-- My son's birthday used to fall outside the school year on May 25, and now we start mid august and go until at least June 1-

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Class Down

I have completed my 6 hours for relicensing and my license is up in one year. It was a grueling week, and not because of the work, the work was interesting, fun and helpful, but I am not made to sit for 8 hours with few walks...I am not a big walker, but in my own classroom, I do not have to sit still, and I don't. I didn't realize how much freedom I have in my little kingdom. Even the young teachers were in pain, backs, necks, we were practically head down on Friday from the sitting. I felt vindicated cause it wasn't just me. I cannot wait to jump in the pool in the morning. We went to the prairie yesterday to help the children with a drywall problem, well, DH did that, I just got to play with the 3.5 year old. He has an imagination on full throttle and it is more fun than ever. We can pretend, pretend, pretend. We took the dog and she played well, though she did some of her landscaping under the neighbor's fence. Not appreciated. I hope when she goes to live there, the great increase in attention and exercise will help her overcome that problem. She and the preschooler can run in great looping circles like a team--it is a sight to see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer School

I took an intense, 8-hour a day class for five days and will receive 3 hours of graduate credit. I got all of my work completed and handed in on that day. I am pleased with the class and that I do not have to worry about mailing in my portfolio. I will take another one in mid July so my teaching license will be taken care of for the next renewal, nearly painlessly, except the back of my legs are covered with bruises from the library chairs and 8 hours a day sitting. Maybe the princess should take a cushion to the next class! I am thankful I can move around and walk and stand whenever I want to on my real job, cause sitting all day every day actually causes injury! It was kind of fun to present my project to such a wide range of teachers, from K through 12, higher maths, special education, language arts, and math math math. There were two art teachers. I don't like to take classes during the school year as my energy goes to my classroom, so these are ideal.

Amish Fireworks

Those Amish know how to throw a party and we met our law-daughter, her husband and three year old for his first big fireworks. We sat in a lovely park with a great playground full of small running children. H's eyes sparkled with the joy of so many other people in his age group to run and climb with. Fortunately for H or unfortunately for us, we were slightly behind some trees for the lower part of the show. The show was so exciting and noisy for H that the screen was a good thing for him. He would sometimes curl behind a parent when he couldn't take anymore or hug in my lap, and at one point he was so tired from being up so late, that he said his eyes would not stay open. He and I slow-poked our way to our cars, me for my knees, him to be with me and we separated and tried to leave town, we were forced in the wrong direction, then were in a long line of traffic. Interesting in a thousand horse town, but finally on my way home and I forgot there was a speed trap, sudden and very enforced so for the first time in my 60 years, 45 of them driving, I got a speeding ticket in a place I know for what it is. Damn, did I feel stupid. I was thinking when he saw my spotless record he would merely warn me, but that is not why he sits there hours and hours a day raking in the money for the county. Oh well, I was speeding. It was way past midnight on a big Amish party night and I am sure the coffers are groaning with the money of tired folks trying to get home WAY PAST THEIR BEDTIME, but stone cold sober anyway. It was really fun except for the ticket.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Worst Thing About Teaching

The worst thing about teaching is opening the daily paper and seeing a 15 year old former student in the obituaries.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dog Days

The dog is gone again.. She left on Friday, was gone and in the shelter two days last week, and leaves every chance she gets. She had a great weekend playing with grandson and running with him until her tongue drug on the ground and actually slept on a cable in the yard without complaining, she was so tired. If Dh doesn't get her her country home soon, we will be picking up her body off the side of the road and it won't be her fault. Just so you know, I have no cartilage in my knees, it isn't just meanness that I think this dog needs a more suitable home, as the dog whisperer says, the energy does not match. She needs a couple of athletic teenagers who run--not two crippled up 60 somethings. She needs vigorous walking two or three times a day AND a companion. Siberians are pack animals and need a pack.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I went to an orthopaedic guy at a renowned ortho place-- he told me my knees are trashed, no cartilage on the inner knee, the rheumatologist said I was no where near knee replacement....ortho guy scoffed. He also told me I do not have severe over-pronation at all, but that the birks do hold the arthritic smushed ankle in place. The ankle is pretty much destroyed. I can get an orthotic with a very high arch to hold all that in place, I can wear a brace, or I can have a surgery to fuse things together and screw things together and have a 4 month recovery, two in non-weight bearing cast and two in weight bearing cast....I thought I was going to have an easy decision to clean out spurs and cysts and go about my merry way. And, of course, size does matter. So back to family doc who has recommended bariatric surgery. I feel slightly depressed. oh, and the surgery will leave me with up and down movement of the foot but not a flexing side to side. At any rate, that explains what makes me such a bad Chicago mom.
Please dear daughters, NEVER jump rope on the front porch in bare feet, never take aerobics classes with bad shoes, and never be overweight for 30 years. Add that to my
always wear good shoes" advice. Your grandma MJ believed in that for her kids and they have great feet. and ankles.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

trying a book meme

The original list was created, but here's what LibraryThing was showing as the top 100 "unread" books as of 7:45am edt today. 23 May 2008:

For my part, I have tried to italicize the ones I have read, whether for schoolor for personal reading.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (236/9195)
Anna Karenina (211/9152)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Crime and Punishment (176/10899)
Wuthering Heights (162/12388)
Catch-22 (158/11121)
The Silmarillion (155/8980)
Don Quixote (152/6835)
The Odyssey (136/11183)
The Brothers Karamazov (136/7309)
Ulysses (135/6385)
War and Peace (132/6123)
Madame Bovary (132/6396)
A Tale of Two Cities (124/7600)
Jane Eyre (124/14044)
The Name of the Rose (120/7876)
cMoby Dick (119/7879)
Emma (117/9347)
The Iliad (117/8902)
Vanity Fair (115/3885)
Love in the Time of Cholera (114/7312)
The Blind Assassin (110/4938)
Pride and Prejudice (108/18747)
The Historian: A Novel (108/6596)
The Canterbury Tales (108/6298)
The Kite Runner (106/13964)
Great Expectations (106/8790)
Life of Pi (105/12940)
The Time Traveler's Wife (105/11628)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (104/7638)
Atlas Shrugged (102/6103)
Foucault's Pendulum (101/5730)
Dracula (100/7076)
The Grapes of Wrath (99/7967)
Frankenstein (97/9327)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (97/6549)
Mrs. Dalloway (97/5684)
Sense and Sensibility (96/8798)
Middlemarch (96/4239)
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books (96/4491)
The Count of Monte Cristo (95/5295)
The Sound and The Fury (94/5141)
Memoirs of a Geisha (94/11834)
Brave New World (93/12677)
Quicksilver (92/4107)
American Gods (92/10560)
Middlesex (91/9084)
The Poisonwood Bible (91/7609)
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (90/9089)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (89/7338)
Dune (89/9416)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (89/6766)
The Satanic Verses (88/3305)
Mansfield Park (88/5483)
Gulliver's Travels (88/4967)
The Three Musketeers (87/4221)
The Inferno (84/5988)
The Corrections (84/5146)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (83/6091)
The Fountainhead (83/5925)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (83/4825)
Oliver Twist (83/4488)
To the Lighthouse (83/4711)
A Clockwork Orange (83/6890)
Robinson Crusoe (82/4528)
Persuasion (82/6634)
The Scarlet Letter (82/7927)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (82/6014)
The Once and Future King (81/4375)
Anansi Boys (81/6665)
Atonement (80/7193)
The God of Small Things (80/5615)
A Short History of Nearly Everything (79/6433)
Cryptonomicon (78/6203)
Dubliners (78/5643)
Oryx and Crake (78/4069)
Angela's Ashes (77/6498)
Beloved (77/5651)
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (76/3914)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (75/2570)
In Cold Blood (75/5603)
Lady Chatterley's Lover (73/3246)
A Confederacy of Dunces (73/6186)
Les Misérables (73/4799)
The Amber Spyglass (72/6819)
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (72/6483)
Watership Down (72/6362)
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (72/6470)
The Aeneid (71/5154)
A Farewell to Arms (71/5219)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (71/5658)
Treasure Island (69/4736)
David Copperfield (69/4408)
Sons and Lovers (69/2617)
Possession (67/4211)
The Book Thief (67/3743)
The history of Tom Jones (67/2171)
The Road (67/5323)
Tender is the Night (66/3204)
The War of the Worlds (66/3131)

The numbers in parenthesis are first, the number of times the book has been tagged "unread," and second, the number of times the book appears in the LibraryThing catalog. The weighted list -- the one that ranks the books by percentage of copies tagged "unread" -- is reasonably different, in ranking if not content. The number one "unread" book on the weighted list is The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (which should be bolded, because I have read it).

Most LibraryThing members do not use the "unread" tag -- only 4,555 members out of 416,142 total, or one percent. I doubt that that one percent is a representative sample, either -- there must be correlations between the types of people who would take the time to tag their books "unread" and the books they would inventory on LibraryThing.

May 23, 2008 in Books, Metablog | Permalink | Comments (4) | T

Friday, May 23, 2008


Writing a list that long gets old pretty quick, so I fizzled out and who can read it. The news is Trudi gets better in tiny increments and I understand if there is a recovery it will be slow but may be possible. I am very encouraged by Jill Bolte Taylor but I can't remember the last step to making a link. damn.

Monday, May 19, 2008

200 things about me

1. oldest of 6
2. went to about 15 elementaries, I have lost count
3. still learned to read
4. read voraciously
5. still read, but elder vision changes the voracious part
6. forgot to say amen at the benediction at high school graduation, left everyone standing until I realized I needed to trot back up to the podium and release them
7. adored living within a mile of 6 matching cousins
8. churched myself in my late childhood and teen years still don't have "The Answers"
9. smashed my front teeth on the monkey bars in third grade, didn't get them repaired until after I graduated from high school
10. lived in California from first grade through fifth grade, that is why I hit
11. 6 feet tall--sunshine vitamin D
12. my sunshine vitamin D brother hit 6'7" that's not really about me is it.
13. my fifth grade teacher read The Jungle Book to us and Wind in the Willows
14. I read them over and over throughout my childhood and teen years
15. She also taught us watercolor and encouraged my love of art
16. I didn't get my bead for coloring in campfire girls because I colored outside the lines, and now
17. I am an art teacher
18. I am 7 years older than my baby brother and I was holding him in my lap when he was new and he gave a great kick and flew off my lap onto his head on the floor.
19. I saw that same brother in flames when he was two when he and my little sister were playing with a cigarette lighter before anyone in the house was up
20. I had to be an adult and a parent to realize that my 4 year old sister was not to blame, sorry Kathy, sometimes it takes a while to learn.
21. we lived in an apartment on stilts on the beach in California where people came galloping down on palominos
22. we went out to the beach to watch the grunions running, silver masses of tiny fish in the moonlight burned in my brain, waves full
23. we would ride around on the weekends and go to open houses for the California dream
24. one week orange groves,next week houses, or so it seemed
25. The air was so bad in the mid fifties that my throat and chest would hurt from the smog
26. there was a horrible heatwave when we lived in Inglewood, we laid out in the yard at night and watched the tv in the back door and vomited in the bushes from the heat
27. my parents would sing and dance and kiss in the kitchen
28. I would stand on a box and wash dishes after all the kids were asleep and Mom and Dad would eat steaks and watch tv
29. carnations in California have a fabulous odor that is tamed out of them now
30. I was nearsighted so I ate two bags of raw carrots to make my eyes better
31. I threw up orange slaw and lost a day
32. I overheard Mom's friends say she wasn't pregnant she just liked those tops
33. I witnessed the castration of the landlord's daughter's horse
34. I petted the landlord's highly trained lion killing hound dog
35. I babysat for JoAnn's kids when I was 8 and they had to break in their kitchen window because I was sound asleep on the couch
36. JoAnn took me to get my first glasses at a clinic because my dad thought poor vision was a government plot to get him to spend money
37. I may have been the only kid in the family to get glasses regularly, every few years, as they wore out
38. most everyone else needed them, but there was no JoAnn to get them started
39. and no clinic
40. JoAnn taught me to knit when I was 10
41. I knit one slipper and by the time I was finished I had grown out of it and swore off knitting for 50 years
42. then I took a class and the rest is hatstory
43. I drew and drew and doodled my way through school
44. I had good grades with little effort
45. that changed in college, country girl with no study skills
46. Ant T's good friend told me when she met me she thought I was beautiful, commanding, smart, and talented,
47. A far cry from the tall, skinny, ugly girl I thought I was
48. I just heard that in our long late night conversation about the hanging on to dear life of my sister-in-law-- I wish I'd felt that
49. she said I had that and that is why my kids are so fabulous, they knew it if I didn't, hmmmm.
50. she gave credit to their dad, too
51. grasshoppers and poinsettias were bigger in California
52. My PaPaw stayed with us for a few months when he had very bad emphysema and then lung cancer
53. He helped me wash dishes and taught me how to wash silverware
54. We would line up in the school cafeteria in Paramount and get our polio shots--I was not a good shot getter
55. jump ahead 50 years--I am having a completely new experience this weekend, moderating a panel at a lit fest in Chicago! Wow! I'm impressed
56. I learned to ride a bike on the landlord's daughter's bike and didn't have a bike of my own until I was married with a child
57. I would ride that sleeping baby to his doctors appointment with his head bobbing in the baby seat.
58. years later I once took the twin girls to a doc's appointment with one in a baby seat and the other in a backpack, I wonder why she didn't fall out over my head
59. back to childhood--we left the land of dreams and came back to Indiana in a car packed to the level of the back seat and the trunk full of mostly Dad's mechanic's tools.
60. by then there were 5 of us one a yearling and another on the way.
61. we never heard of fast food and survived on boiled potatoes and boiled eggs
62. somewhere in the great southwest there was an infestation of locusts or grasshoppers and the road was alive with millions of them covering everything.
63. I remember when someone came to buy what we were leaving behind and the offer was so low that even I, a 10 year-old was outraged and said so, in tears
64. I had to leave my book behind, a real hard back book "Lightfoot the Deer"
65. we had to leave our Christmas decorations
66. Mom had to leave her books
67. we had to leave Toby our parakeet behind
68. the neighbors who came in to take what was left, left the bird to die
69. as we got closer and closer to the Midwest, the world got greener and greener
70. the trees got closer and closer to the road
71. I thought we were in Chicago for some reason, but I just realized it must have been St. Louis, Chicago doesn't make any sense
72. we left so much behind, but I arrived at my favorite and lifelong friend's my cousins in an actual outfit,the newest thing, pedal pushers and a blouse with sailboats on it and a great California tan and white hair, soon to turn brown
73. we had what seemed like a long adventurous summer staying at my cousins
74. it was really two weeks
75. we 5 oldest slept in the barn loft and Neal the dog kept away the beasties in the night
76. that didn't seem the least bit scary
77. this started years of summer swimming all day every day in the creek in the summer
78 we all learned to swim there, some nearly drowned there and all without the watchful eye of adults
79. I got to be a total outsider for 6 years in a country school where you had to have several generations behind you to fit in
80. I don't go to class reunions
81. I have stayed in the city where I graduated from college and met my husband here
82. I don't think I can make it to 200 even parsing it down this small
83. I have three magnificent independent, successful, children
84. I earned a degree in studio art
85. elementary education
86. added art ed to that about 5 years ago
87. now I teach middle school art
88. A high school art teacher told me my students are really producing and I beam
89. this year I am counting the days until the end of school
90. my cousin Rose and I have both said our ashes should be thrown in the swimmin' hole
91. I watch too much tv or at least it is on
92. we did live one year in Florida
93. hated it
94. I had a CT scan last week and it sounded like my efficient washing machine just now
95. I have been listening to the Jill Bolte Taylor interviews on Oprah and friend
96. I am feeling more hopeful for my sister-in-law's recovery
97. I am anxious for dh to get there so he can feel better about this whole thing
98. I have a piece hanging temporarily at the Community Theater
99. I have 4 grandchildren, one I get to see a lot
100 I am grasping at straws here, this is worth a hundred points, I like middle schoolers

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My 200th post

was the one before this--it is my baby sister's birthday and my 43 anniversary of graduating FROM high school. How is that possible? The people at the 50 year table were really old at the alumni banquet and that's not me! I missed noting my 100th post and didn't think my topic on the 200th warranted a mention of 200. My baby sis is 48 today and I have been out of high school for 43 years. harrumph. Walk softly carry a big stick--that ankle needs it! For support. Advice to new graduates, wear really good shoes and take care of those knees.

NayNay Didn't Like This Much

I really am at a crossroads where people I have loved and hated and fought with and shared the most important moments with are sick unto death. My charming, cantankerous, loving, hateful, incredibly thoughtful sister-in-law is having a hell of a time trying to survive an open heart surgery repair of an aortic aneurysm, repair of a botched breastbone followed quickly by a massive stroke in the right hemisphere. She has been getting her affairs in order openly and subtly since she found out about the aneurysm. That particular surgery went well, but her carotid artery threw her for a loop. I am sure that last trip home was a quiet farewell, we had recently repaired our most recent personal break because I could not stand not being able to share the intense joy of her having a grandson with her, but I had reentered the relationship with caution. limits.
One of the most remarkable things she ever did, and it is such a Trudi thing to do, was to join me with my sister when my sister's youngest child had been murdered. Trudi had lost her first born to cancer and she rushed to Elaine's side to be with her and it meant so much to my sister, because, though we can lose nieces, they are not our actual children(though we may feel like they are), so Trudi's loss made her sympathy, empathy, and caring more meaningful.

I am spending this day imagining a golden light around Trudi and Elizabeth whatever the answer is.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

If Cremains Offend You, Stop Now

I was retelling this at school the other day, at lunch and my colleagues said I should write it down. I thought I had, but I have looked through my posts and can't find it.
Burying Mom

It had been well over a year since Mom had passed and my youngest brother convinced me that our youngest sister was never going to be ready to let go. Mom's cremains had been sitting in a tastefully innocuous box on a shelf for all that time, looking like an Encyclopedia Britannica, possibly J.or S. I had sometimes thought of doing a little decorative painting, but the reference book look was really OK for a bookshelf. My sister was not happy with our decision but requested some of the cremains to keep for herself, she actually wanted jewelry, but I will leave that up to her. Rick found out that Papa, our grandfather, had a third spot in the country cemetery where my grandparents, aunt and uncle are buried. Mom's idea had been that I sneak out in the middle of the night, dig a hole and put her with her mother, but, being the oldest child and carrying the burden of rule following that oldest children are bound to, I simply had to be legal! Dh was out of town when I decided to give my sister what she wanted so I had to shop for a small box or container that I thought would have appealed to Mom and to Elaine. I found a suitably antiquie looking box with a small volume so I wouldn't have to put in too many ashes.

I had never seen real ashes, just the ones they show in movies, so I was amazed at the density and weight of the box. I worked on my computer station in the living room, a lovely built-in DH designed and built for me. A very very nice space. I apprehensively opened the bag and tried to undo the ziplock that sealed the heavy duty plastic bag inside the box. I finally pulled out the bag from the box and cut an opening in it. (DO not remove the bag!) While I was dipping Tablespoonfuls of Mom's ashes into another baggy for my sister,, the original bag slowly lost it's shape and sank into another form. I didn't think that was a problem. Again I say (Do not remove the bag)Mentally I was thinking that Mom was getting a kick out of this, finding it funny, and I was past the weirdness and into the humor of the situation. I fixed Elaine's baggie and sealed it in a box with sealing wax. That seemed ceremonial to me. Then I tried to put the ashes back into the original box, no deal. Real cremains are dense and uncooperative as Mom herself could be sometimes, no matter how I pushed, urged and tried, I could not return the bag into the box, they would not accept the shape of the box. I went to the kitchen and got two walmart bags and doubled bagged the ashes into those bags, Mom would have loved that, though she would have preferred Aldi's sacks, if they even have sacks. I had to put the original plastic bag into the box and gently and carefully pour the ashes back into the original containers, I got my own cable tie to retie the bag. For some reason I thought I had broken some federal law by putting the hole in the bag and that the cemetery people would find that unacceptable. That was irrational, but you can excuse me for having some irrational thoughts at that time.

I gave the little wooden box to my sister and went alone one sunny day to meet the cemetery managers at the country cemetery where Mom got her wish to rest with her own mother, but legally, she really would have preferred illegally.(Just so you know, my sister wouldn't go) I do recommend waiting a couple of years to bury the cremains, there is a certain beauty and peace then that you don't have in the heat of the loss, for the first time I was able to look at the farmland gently sloping away from the little hill on which they all lie.
My childhood Sunday school teacher put Mom's box in the ground, my knees were too bad, and she, at least 90, just hopped down and did it and hopped right back up. A high school acquaitance and friend of my oldest cousin had dug the hole and remembered me, tht was so strange. I didn't feel anyone knew me from that school.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Synvisc is the name of the injections I am getting in my knees, I am having a series of five. I really was hoping for improvement right away but I was also trying not to read too much into what I was feeling. By noon, there was not doubt about it, I was better. I was, once again, gliding around my classroom, not looking for reasons to stay put, I was standing taller in the hall and I was able to walk down the hall at a normal speed instead of kind of clenched over doing my imitation of a grumpy bear. I lasted almost all the way through our bizarre afternoon of handling the aftershocks before some of the past two weeks of pain slipped back in. I'd say, without a doubt, I am responding to this medication. I was even talking more from the release from much of my pain. I think all the back stuff was coming from my horrible posture as I tried to keep moving....... Hey, you can really tell I am over the hill with this discussion of aches and pains, but this stuff works, or it is working for me.

Now maybe I can smell the flowers!

Friday, April 18, 2008

First Knee Injections

I was so relieved at the painlessness that my eyes teared up. Giddy with relief.

About 20 minutes ago we had an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude. Something upstairs in Jen's room fell and broke. We have never had anything break and this is the first time I realized what it was before it was over. I heard a rattle, an annoying little rattle and when the couch started to sway, I knew this time, then glass fell and broke. Exciting beginning to the day, Friday, and I am glad it is Friday also.

Our little middle school with a 75% poverty rate raised nearly $4000 dollars for Walkamania, or our school's Walk for Babies, formerly March of Dimes. Wow! I am always impressed with this. Their prize is to be outside all day and yesterday was a near perfect day.

Well, gotta go, it's my weekly pre-school breakfast with friends. We work in the same building, but rarely see each other so we have breakfast on Fridays all school year.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

That Was The Week That Was

This week was a physical struggle-- I had no idea how much it would hurt to stop taking my anti-inflammatory because of my blood pressure and how tired I would be with the tinkering of meds. Yesterday I got a new anti-inflammatory and I had been slowly coming back to normal each day. This week I start the injections in my knees to create or force my cells to produce synovial fluid. As a person who used to weep at the sight of needles, I am so looking forward to those injections beginning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

All About the Pressure

Yesterday I felt like a dishrag all day, a dishrag with aching parts I
didn't even know existed. I am some better today the theBP was better
yesterday, maybe just too much too soon. I skipped exercise and went on
home and cuddled up with some books and a comforter and went to sleep
pretty early to LaurieFeist gently rocking in the living room. This
deal of having nothing for my arthritis really sucks, but that may have
been what spiked the pressure so high in the second place. I must
always put weight in the first place. I opened the kiln and all is
well, the pieces are a little too warm to pick up yet, but at least
they will be complete before the grading period ends.

My bike is ride ready, and yesterday was beautiful, but I literally couldn't get this body in gear for anything after school, so maybe today or tomorrow if the rain takes a break.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The BP was down on Friday

down to 136/76 from 200/110--whew, a bit of a fright, and the frightening part is you really don't feel a thing. Tomorrow it is back to school and, although Idread the cement floors with no daypro-- I am glad to go back as I have been a time waster. Two or three days were docs orders.....We are actually going to have a beautiful day with some lovely temps today, must go out...must go out.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another Cool Gray Day

I just got back from loading the kiln, there was one piece that I couldn't fit in --well, if I unloaded to the very bottom I might be able to get it in.... I am now drying clay at about 200 degrees for a couple of days. I have had a whole week off and yet some of the pieces were still overwrapped and very wet. Rogier Donker taught me how to deal with that so I have never had an explosion yet--of clay.

The medical week in review: well, my medical week in review. You can tell you are getting there when your spring break is used up with your doc's appointments! First the rheumatologist and I am starting the rooster comb injections on the 17th. My family doc had to take me off the daypro cause my blood pressure went sky high-- 200/110.... she gave me a diuretic, doubled my beta blocker changed the calcium channel blocker and today I was already 139/76-- it should ease up more now that I think I am out of stroke range. She did say that she could tell from my low triglycerides that I was doing what I could dietarily-- of course, not to lose weight, there is the crux of the matter. So now it will be a statin, too. deleted expletive here. fill in the one of your choice. This afternoon it is something for me, therapeutic deep muscle massage. Hooray!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It Isn't Beautiful Today Either

However, I was determined to live as if spring has sprung so I wore pedal pushers (you can tell my age from that) t-shirt, light sweater, sandals, no socks to my Docs appointment. After all in was my knees being examined, they should be out there! A winter coat would have been nice. He was a rheumatologist, not an orthopedist. A kinder gentler doctor I have never met. He is sure (but I had about 6 tubes of blood removed to be studied) that is is osteoarthritis mainly in the knees feet, ankles, that the rooster comb stuff will be good for me to try and I am no where near surgery. Once he gets the precert done, I can start getting the injections, and yes family doc, he does them himself, not his nurse. I plan, at the end of the 5 weeks when my knees are well lubed and I can walk more than a block to go to Chicago and visit Chicago daughter. I expect to be able to walk to the coffee shop without whining. Or even to hike half a mile to the parking meter to keep the car legal without whining about that either.

At any rate, I went down to hobby lobby and spent way too much for nothing necessary, but it was 50% off!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And Today is not Beautiful

It is cold, overcast and bleak looking, but I am meeting my yaya cousin at her daughter's for a gathering of cousins and little cousins and baby cousins -- a possible 4 generations and I am the oldest one there! just thought of that. I'm the yaya! From there I am going to give daughter and son-in-law a break from their miserable week of illness to go out like grownups do. Then I think DH and sister-in-law will join us tomorrow. This is happening in the ether, so none of it is set except my part. I know what I'm doing, do you?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Today is Beautiful

Why am I typing instead of lunging? I forgot my shoes. I could have made it, but I didn't, and I knew I wouldn't. I had an exhausting but wonderful day. The 6th graders are up to their elbows in the cloth and white glue portion of their little sculptures and the 8th graders are up to their elbows in clay. The high school teachers came today to judge the 3 piece portfolios that students show to get into the summer art program. Those teachers actually came around to my room for the first time, asked me quite a few questions, took photos of some works, wanted to know how I did some things. I felt I am really doing something. Maybe it is just that they have a new person in charge and she has added visiting with the art teacher to their system. I don't know but I liked it, a lot. Thanks peers. Of course what with all the "up to the elbows projects" the room was an even bigger mess than usual, and some of my readers, all three of you, can tell that is nothing new!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ok, I'm up

Had a nice session of IM'ing with oldest granddaughter last night, she is on her last day of Spring break, but I won the competition of who gets out of school first! She loved To Kill a Mockingbird and also reads Scott Westerfield and is going to get So Yesterday at the library. There Leah. So, Jen, on the strength of your childhood reading, I suggested she try Les Miserables-- she is going to get it, too. A girl after the reader's heart. From this blog dashboard I discovered a blog called peoplereading-- amazing, she photographs and talks to people who are reading in public each day. What a bibliography.

Snippets--Rick, the rags are in the mail. Notice, plural. I decided to crochet some and they just fall off the needle like leaves on a tree in November. I kept one for myself, I haven't tried the texture yet on dishes. Let me know if you get yours wet before I do and you can share with Kathy, too. It was just too much to as of my weak mailing ability to find another envelope and get two items to the PO ;^)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sorry for the Gap

My students are doing so well and working so nicely on their value
studies, torn paper self-portrait in 6 values from white to black, that
I am a little at loose ends for a few minutes.

Brother report, he is still hanging in there, he was supposed to expire in a few days, but somehow his determined holistic
wife has managed to keep him alive. She did say to me that she screams
and yells at him that he is not going to leave her, I don't know if
that is true or not. She is tryingzeolite, juicing, she tried greens, but it
was too much for his system. The veteran's administration has not yet
delivered his hospital bed or gel pad so sleep has been very very
difficult. Are they tryng to out wait him? Hospice only comes once
every two weeks and they brought him some kind of egg crate pad to help
with the lying in bed. The "road" to their house is so bad theycannot come every day.

Last weekend the preschooler accompanied his mom to our house and we all had
a great time. He got the best night of sleep he ever gotten at our house
and even slept in. We went to our fabulous public park playground and had a super time. He was so exhausted by the play that they went straight on home, which is a two hour drive, and he slept most of the way. This is a child who does not sleep easily in the car. He tried out his new skutt balance bike and he is not pleased with it, but I am sure that once he masters it, he will love it.

Monday, February 18, 2008


A couple of years between calls from the mountain top-- my brother did have agressive medical treatment and the later unexpected recurrence they went for the herbal treatments and nutrition. He worked up until last week on his homeplace. He has had a good stretch of living, though, IMHO, still way too short.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Strange Day

My younger brother is a Viet Nam vet and this week it seems, he will be taking his leave of this life via agent orange. I knew this was coming, when he was diagnosed with his cancer a year ago, he thought the treatment was butchery and decided to go an herbal route his wife prefers. He has been strong and done his work of clearing and caring for his off-the-grid solar-powered, self-water-collected homestead in the mountains near Snowflake Arizona. I talked to him this morning and he sounds as strong and cheerful as ever in his hospital bed in a VA hospital 200 miles from his land. I had a hard time connecting this deep hearty voice with his encroaching death. He tells me matter of factly that his organs should start failing soon as he is not going to have anything more done to give him a few hours or days. I have moved back and forth between this was coming and they made this unmedical choice, to deep sadness and tears and memories of childhood. The thing that bothered my aging mother more than anything was losing her siblings and one by one they died until she was the last. I am the oldest and have already lost 2, 3 if you count the one that was kept a secret from us until we were nearly grown, but I have no memory of her at all. She certainly counted to our parents, but we were unaware. I am not even sure if our lives overlapped a bit. My Dh is really fond of Bob, so today is very hard for him, too. I had put that in past tense, but it isn't past tense yet. Everytime the phone rings today I think it is past tense. All I have done today is knit and weep silently. It may be time to knit again. He was still working his land last week, and is not in pain right now. Did you know that unitl they start amputating your body parts, you aren't 100% disabled from agent orange? That is my other news of the day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Hat Knitted for a Colleague

I say I can't price and she says she can't either but she's generous. While I am knitting this soon to be felted hat,(now ready to be felted) I suddenly want to do one in chocolate brown with a turquoise or aqua band knitted in. Yumm. I have worn the red one and want to send it or hand it to Leah. (I love it) Jen has the peacock blue I one and I am sure her eyes glow under it. It is cold enough today I hope she wears it. They are truly warm. I can't look at my blog from school because of weighted phrases and I can't figure out what about knitting, exercising and adoring preschool grandson with no dirty words at all ever can be weighted and denied. Oh well, shouldn't look at it at school anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to prepare food for two of our teachers who are down, one on nearly bedrest with a dicey pregnancy and one with breast cancer and now a procedure to rid her of a great big kidney stone. I decided I was going to grill in the afternoon, I have a courtyard at my room and my husband grills porkloin to perfection. I bought a brand new grill so I wouldn't have to cart the dirty old one from home and a couple of bags of mnatchlight charcoal. Rain, rain, rain. I came home on my lunchbreak to get the meat and a pan and some tongs and DH was home and said he'd grill it for me. He is the master griller anyway so I was grateful.
As it turned out, I was a week early on grilling and the FACS teacher hopped in and prepared some potatoes and a couple of other things and all was well. It was a comedy of errors and weather on my side, but it ended up OK. The gal with BC and kidney stone really needed the hunk of meat that night as she had her 4th chemo and it made the evening so much easier. You can't imagine how typical it is of me to get something so far off, but thanks to friends, it seemed seamless after all!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Visibility Zero

2 hour delay last Friday, ice and snow, mainly ice, today it is warm and there is so much fog we have a two hour delay for fog!
I got to go sit for the preschooler Saturday evening and we had a great time. After a light dinner, we watched the fox and the hound, version 1, when scarey things were about to happen, H would assure me that all was well, that Copper still loves Todd no matter how it looks, and he rushes upstairs to go to the bathroom and to fire his lasers. That is his new way of dealing with "bad". He has gotten invisible lasers from Buzz Lightyear and fires them when he is a bit frightened. Evidently this is getting him in trouble at daycare..invisible lasers. ... ???? He quickly fires those elbows with sound effects, great imagination.

Daughter and SIL went out for an adult dinner with friends, what followed for daughter was food poisoning, she had a miserable night and morning. Clam sauce with fresh clams in central Illinois? maybe not.

It's off to the shower for me. Later.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I've had a little nap, supposed to sleep all night. Waiting, like the kids for the threatening storm to hit and give us a two hour delay but it looks pretty light out there. surrounding schools are closed, I wonder if it is in anticipation, or if the storm really hit there, we were supposed to be covered in ice and snow by now. No Ice please, just some pretty snow that will give us a two hour delay. It would be so nice to go to school in daylight!

My felted hats are dry and they are very cool looking. I can't believe I made them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


48* yesterday, 11* this morning. Yeegads. It is 6.30a.m. and I am ready to go to school, but first a word about my felted hats. We felted them last night and it is kind of magical. After a lot of agitation and hot water and a bit of no rinse wool shampoo, the hat suddenly seizes up into felt from a huge HUGE hat fit for a Bill Cosby Fat Albert character. I am very tall and my pre-felted hat loosely came all the way down and covered my shoulders, Now I am not sure what to call it, not being a hat girl much, but it is a thick pretty roll-brimmed hat. Well, they both are. Too bad they are not yet dry, one of them might feel good to wear this morning. Yesterday I completed a tiny little newborn hat in a variegated fingering yarn and I am swearing off that tiny yarn forever although the hat is adorable.

I certainly hope our walkers cover up this morning, they have a tendency to dress lightly in all weather and this morning we have a dangerous wind chill warning.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Girl's Night Out

Two gals I work with, one just weeks away from her first baby and the other close to the empty nest and I went to see 27 Dresses. What a hoot we laughed so hard so many times. It is a light romantic comedy, quite enjoyable. Mrs J.'s teen daughter and all her friends came in and by coincidence sat right in front of us! So funny because we were very carefully trying not to sit near them if they were there! Oh those teens, can't let us have a minute alone! If you like a delightful chick flick--go see it. I still want to see Juno, but one of us is in the phase of watching "Baby Story" on TLC and weeping, so that was out, we wanted delight, and we got it.

I am a little bit proud of myself this morning, I networked! Hubby of a friend lost his job in the political shakeup around here at an extremely crucial time in their lives, and Chicago daughter has at least half a dozen ideas for contacts for him.. TA DA!

It is still bone shaking cold here, but it is supposed to rise to spring-like temps as early as tomorrow-- from sub zero to fifty-whew, Midwest weather is a roller coaster.

I knitted another hat out of the karaoke yarn yesterday and am making a few cotton dishcloths the dishcloth fairy forgot last year. I am still sitting on the one I made for my brother a couple of weeks ago--hey brother, couldn't find the blue address book the day I was ready! By the way, the free pattern for the hat said two skeins, but each hat took a bit less than one skein. This is a self-striping gaily colored yarn and is it ever nice to handle.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Long Time No Post

Last weekend was the 3-year old's birthday party held in the Children's Discovery Museum in Bloomington Normal IL near or on the campus of ISU. If you have some little ones around and some time, a few hours, in fact, GO. It is the most fun most interactive museum I have ever been in. It is just the right size, not too big, not too small, and has a climber suspended on guy wires that has children playing in it for literally hours. Large farm equipment seems to be imbedded in the floor for easy access into a tractor and a combine. The entire party walked a block to a little pizza joint that had no tv, hence no Sunday evening customers. Daughter had called ahead and the order for about 22 people was ready when we walked in the door, and that was such a good thing for the toddlers and hungry children ranging in age from 18 months to 7, going on 8. It was something like Michael's, and the windows are boarded up for remodeling on the store front so it doesn't catch your attention, but they have a super Chicago style deep dish, I didn't even try the thin crust. I know it was good, there was hardly a bite left.

Knitting: I completed the basic form of the two hats I am going to felt, but my class was cancelled for this week so next week I will be putting them in proper form. The knit shop provides a washing machine to do this. I have a new super energy efficient washing machine, so I don't think I could do it at home. Maybe I could do it in the dishwasher! I knit a hat in a new yarn, Karaoke soy-silk/wool self striping in very vivid happy colors. I gave it to my team member who is undergoing chemo until spring break and she loved it, her little girls loved it, too. The pattern called for two skeins, and it didn't quite use one skein, so I am making a second one. I started from the center of the yarn this time so maybe the striping will be in a different order. It is just an ordinary little beanie with a knit two purl two rib at the beginning, then knitting in the round for the rest of it. The decreases made a perfect swirl design at the top that looks really cool in this yarn.

My new group of students is working really well already so It is going to be a good 6 weeks with them, and best of all, the 9th hour is charming and willing to work, so I end my day each day on a positive note. I like that. I do not like the last period of the day with myself being crabby it spills over into my evening.

Exercise: We did so much leg work on Monday that I was really walking slowly on Tuesday and crashed very early on Tuesday evening. I wonder what Mike has in store for us tonight? I think it will be continuous motion weights, that's my guess.

Well, gotta go get dressed for school. Later.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I had a very vivid dream of Mom last night, she was young, in her
thirties, she had a beautiful head of hair, which, by the time she
died, most of her hair was gone. She lost hair with every surgery and
every fever she ever had, so her hair became very very thin and was
close to nonexistence in her 70's. She had the pin curl style she and
my aunt used to wear, but softly brushed, she was in her glamorous
phase as those young women of the forties always appeared to be. She
was just getting back from taking my two grandsons on a trip, my two grandsons
were both about 8, in real life one is three today(happy birthday) and the other is 16.
She used to tell about taking my son on a trip to Kentucky about that
age and for the life of me, I cannot remember, I may have been in a
blur of twin exhaustion. At any rate, she always remembered it as a
really good time with a chatty curious boy. And he was a chatty curious
boy. It was a very pleasant and colorful dream, I did some really wacky driving in it--don't have a clue what I was doing, I definitely wasn't watching the road and i certainly wasn't using the proper parts of the bright red sporty truck I was driving. But at any rate, hi Mom.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I now have two hats ready to felt-- I am so excited about it, dear
daughters, If I don't have the nerve to wear them, you will! One is
red, one is peacock, with a little mohair. I will try to make them look
youthful, maybe a little blues-brothery in colorful wool.

Cute preschool story, after my SIL had the misfortune
to hit or be hit by a deer on his way to daycare and work, the
preschooler had a million questions about the poor dead thing, then at
school announced that his Daddy killed Rudolph. Sorry SIL, everyone I tell keels over in laughter.

Tonight is leg and lunge night, and may I say I know I will be staggering out of the building at 5:35 tonight.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Knitting and Exercising

I started the felted hat class on Monday evening and had at least 9
rows done before I got there. As it turned out, though I consider
myself a rank beginner, I was the pro at the table. I have knitted to
the very top of the hat now and it looks like a cozy for the Liberty
Bell. I will be ready to felt on Monday, I am determined to get this
done. I chose a red wool with black or navy flecks in it and now I need
to find a bowl to fit my head. The class discussed going to big box
store together and trying on bowls. funny image. That might possible
include straight(strait? dire straits?) jackets and ambulances!

I got in my hour and a half of exercise, 30 minutes on the elliptical
before class starts. He killed us again with some new ab work and my
lunge steps were consistently 8 steps per half lap down from nine. I
moan and groan, but I am strong everywhere except the knee bones...

back: he has been sleeping and taking muscle relaxants, today is his
regular massage, I expect him to be much much better by the end of
today. It has been a miserable nearly three weeks for him.

And this to my brother cook, I got a jar of Goya Mexican tomato cooking base on sale at Kroger's and added it to my Spanish rice as well as having the usual plain tomato sauce and boy, is it extra yummy. I also added portobellos because I had them and didn't think I was going to get them used.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dh is in Shock

I made breakfast and something yummy is simmering in the crock pot, two meals in one day. no grazing. His back is so out I finally got him into the DR. Ho and I think he is geting some relief. I have never seen it so bad before. It has been at least a full week of misery. I am going back to work tomorrow and he will be calling the doctor, unless Dr Ho fixes him!

Bridge to Terabithia-the movie

I really scoffed at the trailers on this movie, what the hell were they thinking putting monsters in one of the most wonderful books. Today I watched the movie on Starz. begrudgingly at first, then pleased and moved by how true the movie is to the book, then, my jaws were aching with held back sobs, though I have read the book many times, to myself, to my students. I take back my negative thoughts about the imagination made visible from the book and say yes, the movie is really good, and true to the book.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Back Out There

I re-entered the world today-- I went out for a late breakfast, then to the yarn shop next door and signed up for two knitting classes, felted hat and felted bag-- Then I was off to school to grade papers or finish figuring grades. The custodians did such a good job on my room, it looked great, it smelled great, I was only there less than an hour because I wasn't as far behind as I thought! I went to a couple of stores and came home to add on to the lacy alpaca scarf I am making. I am loving that scarf. My goal will be to wear it on Monday. A scarf usually only takes me one day, but I keep getting up and playing with the computer. I also find the lacy pattern takes me a bit of time. I am not a speedy knitter. I may never be a speedy knitter. I am trying to break it up so I don't get a big muscle spasm in my back.

Dh put the charger on my car and got it going again. When I got in the car I realized I had left the radio on as I suspected and that in combination with a few near zero nights and no driving led to my predicament of completely drained battery. All better now.

What I have to do now is get back on my regular sleep schedule. For the first time in several years I have been sleeping until 7:30 or even 8a.m. This has been unheard of for me for a long long time. I have actually gotten enough sleep and feel pretty rested. Hopefully this sleeping all night thing will continue, I like it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


WOW! what a workout--I got in 45 minutes early and did 30 minutes on the elliptical, the one that actually has resistance, then, since I was alone (embarrassment factor) I decided to try 30 seconds or a minute on the stair climber, expecting to not be able to do it. I made it 5 minutes, then it was lunge and leg night. We did some new things on the floor and I could barely get up, I am slow anyway, but tonight my usual giraffe method of getting off the floor was in slow motion..... I pretty much staggered to the bike for the last 30 minutes of cardio and am feeling some soreness already from the new exercises. Let me tell you about myself, when I first started this class, I couldn't lunge three steps, I could barely maintain my balance, and now, though my lunge is not deep, I do three laps, nine long steps down and nine long steps back = one lap. Even that has changed, the same distance used to be 11 steps, and as my steps have lengthened, it has become 9. One night it was even 8. Tonight I used 8 lb weights instead of 5 that I usually use on lunges. We laid on our backs and did the alphabet with our feet together, my abs were screaming and, I bet by Saturday, they will be a complaint choir.

At Last I Have Ventured Out

I went out to check my car and it is dead as a door nail, not even a click. I am thinking the cold combined with the jack for the XM radio was enough to drain the battery. I sure hope DH gets back in tome for me to go to exercise class, or else I shall cry. Not having transportation automatically makes me want to go somewhere and I haven't wanted to "go somewhere" in days. So, a few more inches on my lacy new scarf will have to placate me.

PS: I accidentally forgot to do a knit row and did two rows of K2T yo K2 repeat and fond out I really liked that! so the rest of my scarf is not going to have the row of knit.

4 Times with the Alpaca

Last summer DH sent me 6 skeins of home-grown, home-spun alpaca yarn, and like really fine art supplies, I was intimidated by the yarn. I kept trying to think of something perfect. I knit nothing else until two dishcloths this week to break the knitting block and started with the alpaca at least 4 times. I am on my fifth try and I am doing a simple scarf with a very easy lace stitch I saw on tv--at last, something very pretty, but not perfect, is coming off the needles and I am just going to make myself a long, soft, warm, beautiful scarf and see what else is left.
Here is how I am stitching, cast on to suit my yarn, knit a row, knit two together, yarn over, knit two, repeat to the end. Next row is all knit, then repeat. I am going to make it LONG.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Coldest Night

The weatherman had just announced it was 7* when the power went off. I used my cell phone to find an old energy bill and make the call. A courtesy call came back within 10 minutes. "My two guys are busy right now, they'll be out as soon as they finish." Two guys in such cold? I heard a racket at 3:15 a.m. and, by then I was so very glad to have a down comforter, I looked out back and two big trucks were carrying transformers up and down the pole. AHHHH. Shortly the lights came on and the TV blared. I got that off. Relief, then the power went off again. I called the power company every time I woke up to register the lack of power and received no further courtesy calls. I finally became aware of the furnace running at 7 a.m. Later DH told me that the power came back on about 6a.m. He had slept of the sofa because our fabulous bed has some electric features and he cannot sleep sitting up with his feet slightly raised. The furnace ran without stop until 11a.m. this morning. We hardly ever lose our power in this neighborhood, even in bad storms, but I guess a couple of squirrels threw themselves into transformers last night. cell phones make good flashlights and you can just hit send to redial an 800 number instead of having to read it over and over.

I had just about finished a new knit dish cloth for my brother, just a couple of rows to go, so I finished that this morning and am a third of the way into one for my daughter whose cloth sprung a hole in the middle right away. Not sure how that happened. I do these in cotton and they work really well. One thing I learned is that you don't make them nearly as big as a store bought dishrag or they are too big. They also really scrub. I put a couple of thick bands in my brother's to add scrubbing power.