Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10:48, now

The clock caught my eye at 10:47(pm).

I have to write up math notes for (at least) 2 lessons, put together a science power point, and design a bulletin board for math.  And it's nearly 11PM.  How did that happen?

Well: I stayed at work until about 4:15, mostly in a meeting and then in meeting post-mortem and organizing.  Then I picked up the kids, got home, and went out to my physical therapy session.  Then I came home and unwound for about 20 minutes and then took the kids to their piano lessons.  On the way home, we stopped and got Chik-fil-A, and we had a nice dinner together talking about different bands.  Then DD and, to a much lesser extent, I helped DS2 with his math homework, just  a little. By then it was after 9 and I settled down to work, but didn't.

You know how it is when you get on the computer.  Anyway, I checked my work email and there was a message from a parent that required crafting a very careful response, which took me forever.  And now I'm procrastinating even more by writing this blog post. (Ha!)

I did finish my paper for my "zoo class," as I call it in real life. It's good that's over, but know I have to put together the display board and think about my presentation for Saturday.  I am so looking forward to being done with that class!

Off to work now, finally, very grateful I have already done the algebra notes for the rest of this week!

closing in

About 5 minutes ago, I uploaded my final draft of the research paper for my last content course.  Our last course meeting is this upcoming Saturday, and all I have to do now to prepare is make a poster board so I can present my research.  Yes, I am doing a science fair project!  I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this class, and it was fine.

Except the APA formatting, which makes me want to rip my hair out.  It's just so fussy. I admit, in the early days, it seemed completely arbitrary and non-intuitive, but I've been working with it for a few years now and it really isn't as arbitrary as I thought it was.  It's actually pretty consistent, and there's something nice about that.  I wish my students used it, but we are inexplicably using MLA format at school.  Still, reformatting my tables and putting appropriate captions on all my graphs (not to mention taking the titles off the graphs, they are including in the caption, so you don't put a title on the graph itself!) was tedious.  Glad it's over.

School is OK, too.  I have a huge stack of grades to put in, but I will whittle them down during the day tomorrow.  I brought them all home with me today, hoping I would get to them, but I decided to finish the paper first.  It wasn't due until Thursday but there was no point in putting it off, and now I have the sense of having a bit of a breather.  *whew*

End-of-term is rushing up to meet us.  I can't wait to be free of this feeling that I have 6 things pending at any given time.  I'll be happy if I can whittle it down to 4.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

old & new, off & on

I resolved to scale back Thanksgiving baking this year and only sort-of succeeded.  Five pies is too many for a household of 5 people, even 5 pie-loving people.  I would invariably finish off the pumpkin and pecan long after my splurge window had closed.

This year, only two pies: from scratch apple, and blueberry  But two desserts isn't enough -- this is the one day a year when I actually, you know, plan, and consequently am able to make dessert. It does pay off.  So along with the apple and blueberry pies, this year we have pecan pie bars (easier to make than another pie, and very tasty) and a pumpkin jelly-roll style cake with cream cheese filling.

Yesterday began with me oversleeping -- typical, since DH didn't have to bring the kids to school today, his alarm was not set -- and didn't improve much from there until I got home.  Various fires kept springing up at school which had to be dealt with.  The one clear take-away from the day is how great my team is.  I am seasonally appropriate and very thankful.

Even though I was officially OK to leave school at 12;30, I didn't get out of there until after 2pm -- first there my team  and I met with our admin team about an ongoing concern we all share, and then, just as I was starting to pack up, I realized that it was last day of the week!  I had been focused so much on Thanksgiving at home that I had completely ignored the fact that I would be back in school on Monday.  So I did my end-of-week planning for the following week, and then wasted about half an hour trying to print something which inexplicably would not print.  The system kept telling me that the page printed, but it was disappearing into the ether somewhere.  And since the printer is at the other end of the building, finding this out necessitated a lot of running back and forth.  I finally gave up -- I'll deal with it on Monday.

I was so frazzled by all that by the time I got home I didn't want to do anything.  DD came out with me to get a quick lunch and that helped, and then I let myself decompress for a while.  Marathon cooking (and cleaning-as-we-go) ensued from 4:30 and the two pies went into the oven at 10:30.  Various children helped with different tasks, which was awesome -- DD has completely taken over making the stuffing, which really saves me a lot of time.

Notes from this year's baking: 3 T of tapioca starch is not enough to set the blueberry filling.  Blueberry soup, again this year -- not that anyone's complaining, it really tastes good.  There is  a sweet spot between glue and soup and I have yet to find it.  We'll keep trying.   We're trying a whole turkey plus extra turkey breast this year, and it did all fit on the pans, (whew) The only other thing is to buy more than one package of  celery because I'm out and I'd like to have some for the soup stock that will go on the stove later.

With any luck everything will taste good.  It's just about time for me to go start working on the potatoes.  Other than making the gravy, that's the last significant cooking task of the day.  The other side dishes will go in the oven to warm when the turkey comes out, and we'll be good to go.  I looked up the schedule I posted here years ago to double-check when everything should happen, and I was shocked to see it was from 2006.  That was a fast ten  years!  But here we all are, and it's a beautiful day, and we are happy and thankful to be together.



Monday, November 21, 2016

There, there! It's OK...

It's a week and a half later, and the left is still throwing fits.  If anything, some of them are ratcheting up the volume, as if shouting louder can change events to suit them better.

It's embarrassing, really.

I remember when Obama won, 4 years ago, and DS1 was upset because he was worried about the direction the country would take. I was, too, but I told him: in the long run, it's not going to matter so much.  We'll get up, we'll go to work, we'll live our lives as best we can.  That's what we do.

And that's what we did, and we can see that some things really were pretty awful, but the country is still here in spite of everything, and we are still living our lives.

I understand that some on the left really do believe that Trump is the second coming of Hitler, but that's because they actually believe the press, which has been completely derelict in this election cycle.  I don't believe Hitler could run so many successful businesses in this day and age.

Anyway, I want to ask them, what kind of example are you setting for your children? You're a bunch of sore losers.  I suppose you think that you're in some sort of existential struggle for justice, but you're not.  You're just whining about an outcome  you don't like.  If you really want to change it, the next election's in 2 years, see if you can win back Congress.  Then 2 years after that, there's another presidential election.  Maybe by that time, they'll understand that the president is not the emperor of the world, and that the checks and balances written into the our constitution mean something.  The most recent President Bush and President Obama after him wielded far too much power -- the presidency should not be an imperial position.  If Trump's election means that gets scaled back a dozen or so notches, that will be a good thing.

***

In the meantime: caught up with my grad school work.  Am prepped for this week's teaching, still have a ton of grades to put in.  So very, very excited that this will be super short week!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

coming down

The election is over, thank God.  Really, I do.  I hope we can move away from constant demonization of "the other" in this country and go back to society in which disagreement just means you have a different opinion, not that you're evil.

So after yesterday I feel as if I can finally unwind a bit.  I have a deep, deep sense of exhaustion that will take a solid week of sleep to work out.  I'm not likely to get that any time soon.

Teaching continues apace with various little fires that spring up, demanding attention and acting like emotional vampires because they suck the enjoyment right out of the job, sometimes. I taught a 45 minute lesson today on circumference and wanted to shoot myself because the students were just not paying attention.  There are only so many ways you can say "circumference equals 2 pi R" before you feel like throwing something (a fit, mostly).

Graduate school: still haven't written about controversies in evolution and that was due last Thursday.  Oops.  But did go out on Sunday with DH and measured all my trees, so I've got my data and can crunch it to finish up my report.  I haven't looked at my to-do list Saturday at the zoo.  Only one more zoo day left!  It's so hard to believe.  I'm going to be profoundly relieved when this class is over.  I just hope I get a decent grade because I will be screwed if I don't!  (Of course it would help if I would turn my assignments in on time, but my impression is that they are cutting us slack because they know we all have real lives and full time jobs.  Right now, being a full time student sounds so appealing to me!)

On the family front, two brothers and one nephew jointly purchased my mother's house from the estate, so that should be closed out soon.  I suppose it will be nice to have it all done and settled, but it all still feels a bit weird.  It's not my house anymore, but I suppose I will get to visit it again at some point. We have no idea what we are doing this summer, except going out to Ohio for a family wedding over Memorial Day weekend.  May is going to be very busy:  I graduate (God willing) on May 13 (booked the hotel rooms already!), then DD graduates two weeks later, and we head out to Ohio pretty much immediately.

Then after that, life will be delightfully boring, because it will be summer and I will not be taking any classes or having to do extra planning or anything.  I think.  I hope!  Perhaps I could... read a book, just for fun? What a delightful idea.

Oh, yeah, I volunteered to teach a STEM elective next semester to give the schedule more flexibility so I could get algebra in their own class room.  So I'll be teaching six different classes with six different preps.

I am officially insane.... but I think it will be fun, and I'm going to be a very good girl over winter break and do as much planning as I can.

Even with all that, I have a sense of things getting better.  One thing that is definitely better is my back, because I finally figured out which particular bad posture was causing my horrible pain, and I've been relatively back pain-free for the last 5 days now.  That's something of a miracle in and of itself.

Friday, October 28, 2016

almost there

I saw my endocrinologist yesterday (well, Wednesday) and got my tumor marker results: stable, or perhaps a tiny uptick (?) to 3.5.  I'll take it, especially with the clean scan.

I discussed with her the possibility of not having a whole body scan every year, and she agreed I don't have to have one next year: Hallelujah!  I will still get Thyrogen but just the two shots and then bloodwork.

That was the good news.  Regarding my pituitary adenoma, she would like me to have another MRI.  *sigh*  I really, really hate MRIs.  It's the noise, I just feel like I'm under attack.  And of course you can't have an "open" MRI of your brain.  We'll see when that gets scheduled.  My ultrasound and follow up with Dr. S are coming up on Monday, and I was hoping that would be the end of this round of testing.

Also: diagnostic mammogram last week since the girls are painful and quite different sizes now.  No indications of anything cancer-related there, so that was good -- just a colossal waste of time doing an ultrasound even though the x-rays were perfectly normal.  That was a completely unnecessary manufactured stress.  They could have just said, your x-rays look fine, but we want to do the ultrasound anyway because of your family history, and that would have helped a lot.  But at least I don't have to do that for another year.

P/T for back and neck are slowly starting to make a difference.  I just have to build muscles again, I let everything fall to pieces last spring when I had that persistent pelvic pain.  I am looking forward to finishing up that treatment and getting back those 3-4 hours each week.  On the other hand, those hours are high-quality "me time" and I'm glad I have them!

School and grad school are holding steady so far.  So glad to be at my new school! I love my team and my students and am finally in a groove, it seems.  I did just tell my thesis adviser that I feel like all heck could break loose at any moment, and I do.  I'm just not going to worry about that until it actually happens.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

good intentions

After dinner, I'm working, and I think, I'll stop at 10, do my puttering around, and get to bed at a decent hour.

What happens is this: I fall asleep before ten, wake up sometime after 11, and suddenly the necessity of going to bed at a decent hour just doesn't exist anymore.   That explains why it's nearly 2AM and I'm still up.

Hey, here's a photo of a leaf I took in Falmouth before we left:

Oak leaves don't usually get this red. 



I love how the hydrangeas morph to purple in the fall.

Friday, October 14, 2016

there & back

Went to Massachusetts, had a splendid time, did lots of work, lots of driving, lots of eating!  Not much sleep, though.

Now I'm confronting a huge amount of stuff to do, and realizing the only way I can do this is if I put myself on a strict schedule.  I'm working on it.

I have a million appointments coming up.  Not particularly happy about any of them.  We'll see how it goes.