Friday, June 08, 2018


Morning: I may have broken my right big toe.  It's possible it's just badly bruised, but I won't find out until later when I go to the doctor to get it checked out.

Foot injuries are the worst.

Night: Yeah, its' broken.

 What happened? Basically, late hour + a few glasses of wine + bare feet + moving furniture = bad idea.  But I bet you knew that already.

We're updating the flooring in the remaining downstairs room to match what we put everywhere else last summer, and the guys came to start the installation came today -- so that meant moving all the stuff out of those spaces: guest room, closet, family room.  There's stuff stacked everywhere, and I'd moved just about everything except the last few big pieces from the family room because DD and I wanted to finish watching the Pride and Prejudice mini-series after dinner. 

No big deal, just should've left the wine in the kitchen... anyway, DD and I were moving one of the desks and our communication wasn't the best, she was pushing and I was pulling... it had kind of sunk into the area rug and didn't want to move, until it did, right into my right big toe.  It hurt quite a bit, but I limped around on it and helped finish up with the room. 

So then the pain wakes me up at 5:30, and it's this lovely purple color.   I call the BCBS nurse on call for an opinion, and she says, you don't need the ER, but do see your doctor.  So I got an appointment with my doctor after lunch, and he sends me for an x-ray, "stat" reading ordered.  That was actually pretty cool, because about 20 minutes after I got home they called me to tell me, yes, it's broken, and please stay off it ("Do you have crutches?") and refer me to a podiatrist.

So then the afternoon was calling around to those doctors to see if anyone could work me in, but of course not, because it's FRIDAY and they all close early.  Specialists! I decided not to go to urgent care mostly because I'm too cheap (the copay is like $250!) and I'll get in to see a doctor on Monday.

I'm not dying, but it isn't any fun, that's for sure.  The real bummer is that I was planning on going to Boston tomorrow to hang out with my sisters and my Massachusetts friends whom I have not seen in like 3 years... canceled.  The thought of being in an airport with this injury is frankly terrifying.  I picked DS1 up at work this evening and just driving there and back -- about 30 minutes total -- wiped me out.  Then again, having been up since 5:30AM probably contributed to the exhaustion.  Driving is... interesting. Possible, and not painful if I pay attention, but I'm also kind of scared of moving my foot the wrong way.  So, kind of like torture.

Other bummer things: I'll be fairly useless in putting the house back together when the floors are done (with any luck they will finish tomorrow).   Grocery shopping? Hmmm not the best idea.   I don't know how long it will take to feel better, but it will probably be at least a few weeks... and I'm hoping I'll be better by the time we head to Connecticut, because it would be a bummer if I can't hike while we are there.  We also wanted to take at least one day trip to Mt. Lemmon this summer, but that's going to have to wait, as well.  I'm hoping I can still tackle my next summer project without too much bother: painting DS2's room. 

I'm not on crutches and won't be if I have anything to say about it.  The vast majority of the foot is fine, so I can walk without hurting the toe.  I just have to be careful about it, so I'm slow, but that's not so bad.  And I need to mostly keep it up, and not stand around or walk too much, but so far that's do-able.   I usually heal really slowly, but thankfully it's summer so I can take it easy, and perhaps that will help with a speedy recovery.

Foot injuries really are the worst.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

truly summer

Started Thursday.  No grad school classes, no job search, just... time off.

So of course I'm bouncing around at loose ends, more or less, getting things done that I've been putting off, and enjoying sleeping a little bit later.  Somehow I'm still awake by 7:30 most mornings!  I know that's not early for a lot of people, but when you literally have no reason to get out of bed, it seems kind of silly.

So my job for the summer is feeding my family, and arranging (if not providing) transportation for all the offspring.  DS2 has a senior thesis summer camp the next two weeks, and DS1 is starting his first-ever job.  DD?  She has a job for the summer at one of the big box home improvement stores and is loving every minute.  She likes having something to do, and the income. 

Last week, I fixed the laser printer that we haven't been able to use for months and... not much else.   Well, I had work on Tuesday (I gave a presentation on the new science standards to my colleagues), and Wednesday (fantastic session on Theology of the Body).  So I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself for not accomplishing much. 

But I am dedicated to having very good food at home this summer, because eating out has become so very expensive, and, well, we can almost always do just as well if not better at home.  OK, not for sushi... DD and I went to the farmer's market today and came home with an intoxicating collection of fresh produce for this week's menu. 

I have medical appointments on Monday, but then after that, I'll get started on painting DS2's room (at least the taping).  Plus, scheduling the final flooring installation... those are the 2 big projects for the summer, but who knows what mischief I could get into, if I find myself at loose ends?

Monday, April 30, 2018

I read a book.

Well, a PDF of a book. It's not that shocking, really.  I did the same thing a few weeks ago, reading 1984 over a day and a half, because DS2 had recently read it and may be using it in his senior thesis.  That book is even more grim than I remembered, and not exactly a fun read.

Yesterday, I read Treasure Island, somewhat unbelievably, given my wide reading habits, for the first time.  This was occasioned by our 8th grade being on a multi-day trip to Washington D.C., their teachers being gone with them -- and me teaching language arts to the 7th graders while they're gone.  They're just finishing up TI, so I thought I should read it so I could, you know, actually answer some of their questions.

Anyway: I loved it, as unlikely as it was.  It's the kind of story you just go with, because it all happens at such a breathless pace in gorgeous old-fashioned prose.   Perhaps the thing I loved the best is the clear lineage from TI to Pirates of the Caribbean.  I maintain that the PotC The Curse of the Black Pearl is one of the most perfect adventure movies ever made, and I still enjoy it when I catch it from time to time.

By way of giving the substitute language arts teacher a break, the students have been watching the old Disney movie version of TI and I am 100% sure that Geoffrey Rush, who played Capt. Barbossa in PotC, based his performance on Robert Newton's Long John Silver.  His voice is uncannily similar.  Of course, the whole Capt. Sparrow as "pirate, and a good man" conundrum has its origin in the character of Long John Silver, who is clearly a pirate, but also, when possible, and sometimes even when it's not very convenient -- a good man.

I only saw half the movie, since I'm switching off classes with the other 7th grade homeroom teacher, and so today taught social studies (the Kansas-Nebraska Act!).  I may just borrow the DVD later this week to watch the rest of movie, just to see how they treated the material.  Huge chunks of dialog come straight from the book, the film's Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll) looks entirely too young and soft to pull off even half of Jim's exploits from the novel.  Skimming the plot summary just now, though -- I don't think I'll bother.  Silver making off with the treasure in a skiff?  Bah.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

there, and back!

I'm exhausted and sun burnt, but very happy with how things went.

Mt. Lemmon is absolutely gorgeous! In my jeans and hiking boots, with my layered shirts and sweatshirt, traipsing about in Nature at 9000 feet elevation, I was in my happy place. I almost feel as if I've missed my calling...

Not my photo -- I didn't have time to take any of decent quality -- this is just part of the mountain road, near Hoodoo Vista [elevation ~6600 feet], an absolute stunning array of geology in action.  The woods were just as spectacular. (Also not my photo, but we did walk through forest like this at Middle Bear, elevation ~5000(?) feet, and again at the summit, ~9000 feet.)

The students were great, the chaperones super helpful, the staff wonderfully knowledgeable, kind, and enthusiastic.  The bus driver was heroic (would you want to drive a tour bus up there?!).  The only slight disappointment were the cloud cover and extreme winds last night, but we still got a telescope demonstration which was very cool. 

Perhaps the only significant downside to all this is that I didn't sleep well at all, and am thoroughly exhausted now even more than usual.  Post-hike exhaustion is very  similar to the excellently-tired feeling I get after being at the beach all day, maybe that's just the sun burn.  The only real down side now is that I don't want to go back to work tomorrow!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

field trip eve...

I woke up at 4:30 this morning, my brain already going 100 miles an hour.  Lots of little things to do to pull this whole thing off. 

40 students, 15 chaperones, 7 inquiry groups, 16 dorm rooms...

I think we're all set, although I do have paperwork still pending for one student that was a late addition (today!).  Amazingly enough, by the end of Wednesday, everyone had paid, and by Friday morning, I had all the paperwork, too.  There was quite a bit of that.

Yesterday was preparing the material the 8th grade needs for Monday and Tuesday.  Today was administering the pre-program survey (put it online, then emailed it to the students), finding and typing up prayers for the trip, sending reminder emails to the chaperones -- only half of them read it -- and then everyone else who is coming, and about then is when I got the "Hey, can we make this work?" message.  So we did, which of course made extra work.

Then to school, to print everything that needed printing, then shopping for water and snacks with a colleague.  Then driving around looking for name tags and a new expandable file, and ended up getting both at Staples.  Then home to wrestle Word into mail-merging the name tags so they'd have the student's group numbers and dorm rooms on them: best way to avoid having to repeat the information ad infinitum (I hope).

Anyway: still have to do my own paperwork (oops), pack, make a lunch for tomorrow, obsess over every detail yet again, and hopefully get some sleep before this thing kicks off. 

No chance of rain in the forecast, but it's supposed to be cloudy.  It would be disappointing to be at an observatory without getting a chance to use the big telescopes! I'm not giving up hope, though.  We'll see!
St. Albert the Great - St. Francis of Assisi - St. Bernard - St. Dominic pray for me!
(patrons saints of science, environmentalists, mountain climbers, astronomers)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Holy Week

Last Friday, the last Friday of Lent, was my first science symposium (our version of a science fair) at my new school.  It was remarkable for many reasons, but mainly for the fact that the students actually enjoyed doing it.  We had some technology issues, sure, but overall, the process worked well.  Since we had the time, all the students presented to the class, and then to the younger students during the day.  In the evening, their parents came.  I had to send them all home at 8 o'clock, but I was home by 8:15.  I think I put away a single folding chair -- parents and students put all the tables away in no time flat.  It seemed a little unreal at the time, because it was a very long day, starting with getting everything set up in the early hours before our regular Friday morning mass, through school hours and then a staff meeting and then grading all the display boards before the parents came in the evening.  Somehow it all worked. 

But now that it's over, I have to switch gears quickly to planning my 7th grade field trip.  We had scheduled a parent meeting for Monday, so another thing I had to do last week was nail down our transportation so we could figure out how much money we needed to collect from the students to cover costs.  I sent all the information over last week, and still hadn't heard back on Monday, so I sent a "hey, we need a quote!" email, and got back, "Oh, we decided not to do it" -- about 3 hours before the meeting!  Scrambling ensued, the other bus company we work with was contacted, and they were great, and we had a very reasonable quote within an hour.  *whew*

That left me enough time to go home, put together some dinner for the boys, and then sit down and put together a power point for the parent meeting.  Back at school, I notice my computer is off (weird!) and turn it on again, when suddenly the lights go out, and the emergency lights come up, and that's how we ran the meeting.  I mean, it was funny, because mine was the only building with no power, but the parents were all in there, and no one wanted to move.  It was probably a net benefit, because we moved things along pretty quickly -- we had 3 different topics to cover and we still wrapped up in just over an hour.  The parents seem happy about the field trip (UA SkySchool) and I have a lot of parent chaperones already signed up.  So, even though we were literally in the dark, the meeting went well.

Tuesday morning: still no power!  I brought my morning classes to the computer lab so they could see the presentation and videos I had planned for them, and by lunch time the power was back on.  The rest of the day went OK until I started cleaning out the refrigerator while I was prepping dinner, when I clogged the garbage disposal.  I've done this a few times in the past and I do know how to run a disposal.  It cleared a couple of hours later, and fortunately we have a double sink, but it was just gross for the entire time I was prepping dinner. 

Wednesday, my long day: no problems, really, until the end of the day, when I found out that a weird thing that happened in the morning was more concerning than I thought. I had stepped out for a few seconds to grab something off the printer next door, and came back to find one of my students standing at the front of the classroom.  I got a laugh in response to my "What are you doing out of your seat?" question, but I shrugged it off since we were heading down to the science lab to see how far we could drop our shell-less eggs before they'd break (not that far, of course!).  It turns out that the student had done a cartwheel - and whacked her leg on a desk or chair on her way back down.  Another teacher noticed the bruise and asked about it, and found out how she got it.   My heart just dropped when I heard what had happened.  I feel very lucky that the student wasn't seriously hurt!  I ended up pulling her out of class and then calling her mother to let her know what happened.  Fortunately her mother was very supportive, and she apologized to me about it very thoroughly, but still, it was very upsetting. 

Home, finally: a huge pile of grading to do, but I'm exhausted.  DS2's piano is going... better (I don't believe I've mentioned here that his original piano teacher fired him, seemingly out of nowhere but actually quite justified, last month) but his lessons with the new teacher are back to a later hour, and we don't get home until 8:30 the earliest. 

So I'm exhausted and writing this instead of grading.  Last week was intense with all the student presentations and the symposium, but I didn't feel stressed.  This week I feel I've lurched from one crisis to another, but nothing's actually been that upsetting.  I thought, this afternoon, I would be totally justified in feeling overwhelmed and crying over all the stuff that's happened this week, except I don't feel overwhelmed.  Maybe I finally am growing up, or maybe all my extra prayers are reprogramming my brain towards peace, because all these problems pop up but then they get resolved, and no one needs to freak out about anything.  There's a lot to be said for learning how to be flexible, and I'm getting a lot of practice at it this year.

Tomorrow we have a half-day, and then, finally, blessedly, no school on Good Friday, and all of next week off for our very delayed spring break!  (Between now and Sunday: house cleaning, picking up the two college students, shopping for Easter dinner, baking [something - lemon squares?], brining the turkey, etc etc)

After break? Only 6 more weeks of school!  It's going to fly. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

seems like old times...

I sent an email to the ACS about all those strange typos in the Middle School Chemistry curriculum, and it turns out that it's pdf-viewer specific.  After a brief email exchange, I decided to try it in the different PDF viewers I had available, and what do I find?  The PDFs look perfect in Google Chrome and Adobe Acrobat, but are full of errors in Microsoft Edge.

Par for the course, unfortunately.  Microsoft apps are such appalling bloat-ware at this point, and their online versions are so ham-strung you can't even make a table of contents!  I don't even want to talk about the fun I had setting up OneNote Class Notebooks for my students over the weekend...

Anyway, it was fun trying to identify exactly where the problem was, and even better being able to pinpoint something.  And the ACS guys were great to work with, too.