Thursday, January 12, 2017

(not) funny

I took one of those online quiz things to see what percent OCD I am.  No surprise (to me)... 100%.

In my every day life, I don't obsess over things to the point where I become non-functional, but I've noticed just lately I do act compulsively about a few things: my lesson materials, and my daily online reading.  While engaged with those activities, I've definitely sensed "I should stop," but then kept going.  Even to the point where I'm up till 3AM, like yesterday, typing up the lab for my new Integrated Science class.

That was a bit crazy.  The only reason I'm still up now is I've had a couple of little naps here and there this evening, but I'm taking myself off to bed soon.  As soon as I finish this?  No, of course not, there are a few more websites I want to check...

I've never really thought of myself as OCD, just a control freak, and those are not the same thing, I think -- but I do think there's a very small something there.  Just something to think about.

Also: Last night when I was driving home from physical therapy, I could really tell that the peripheral vision in my left eye is not as good as in my right.  It may have been a circumstantial event, but I noticed it.  Orders for an MRI should be coming around within the next month, but I'm thinking about asking to move that up.

Friday, January 06, 2017

(self?) sabotage

I had a vision field test this morning.  This is a test that checks your peripheral vision.  I scheduled it 6 months ago.  At the time, I was blissfully unaware of how slammed I would be over this vacation.  I probably thought I would be all done with any work I had to do, therefore it was OK to make this appointment for the first thing in the morning.

The problem, of course, is I'm not at all close to being ready for school on Monday, and they never do just the visual field test.  They do a dilated eye exam and actually look at the optic nerve, too.  So: eyes dilated at about 8:30AM, finally able to read comfortably?  2:30PM, on a day I had specifically designated as my stay-home-and-write day.  Oops.

I did a lot of running-around type errands (4 dropping off, 1 picking up) because I could see well enough to drive -- it's always the close vision that suffers with the dilation.  DH met DS1 and I for a nice lunch, and then I brought DS1 up to campus so he could check in to his building (the key cards have to be reactivated each semester.)  Home for just a bit before having to pick up the two younger kids from school, and then home again.

Exhausted!  Did some reading.  Answered an email using this process:  honestly answer every question and provide all relevant information; walk away for 10 minutes; come back and ruthlessly edit so the reply is only a third of its original size and contains no potentially surprising or upsetting statements.

I'm trying to focus my attention on the must-do's since I can't possibly accomplish everything I put on my school to-do list.  I should just make a new list. Yesterday I productively avoided both the lesson plans and the lesson materials by creating my bulletin boards. Today I've run out of other, more fun, productive tasks. *sigh*

Oh, right, the test: A "slight change" in the left eye, but the doctor is not worried about it.  He literally said those words, but then asked about whether I was being followed with imaging scans, specifically an MRI.  I told him I was due for an MRI, and he was happy about that.  (I'm not.)  So another thing I accomplished was calling my endo to find out what's going on with that, and it turns out it won't get scheduled until sometime in February, so I have that delightful experience coming up.  I'm glad I'm doing it, because it will either confirm or refute the eye doctor's opinion pretty definitively.   I emphatically don't want to have sort-of-brain surgery, but I would also like to not have to go through this routine every six months.  Actually, in spite of the "slight change", the eye doctor is graduating me to only once a year with the vision field test, we'll do that in June, and then in the winter do the rest of the exam -- assuming everything stays the same.

Fortunately my vision is holding steady at only slightly impaired, and my lowest-power cheaters are totally up to the task of making small text readable for me.  I so appreciate not having to wear glasses, most of the time!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Spent all day today mostly spinning my wheels with not much to show for it. Suddenly, around 11PM, I finally feel as if I can focus and I get some things done.  This will never do, though -- I can't stay on this flipped schedule!  High hopes for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

little things

Someone asked me what I got for Christmas, and I basically shrugged the question off -- Oh, you know, I have so much stuff!  DH has planned a get-away night for us...

Of course that's true.  What's also true is that when I shopped for everyone else, I picked up things here and there for myself, taking advantage of the end-of-year sales.  All in all, though, my stack of Christmas stuff is small but delightful, and the things I'm enjoying the most were a couple of "house" buys! Not presents, just a couple of things we picked up in the past month or so:

Instant Pot!
DH got us a pressure cooker.  I really want to end that sentence with several exclamation points: !!!!
I have the impression not too many people use these things, and I had literally zero experience with a pressure cooker before last month, but this thing is awesome if you like slow-cooked foods and don't want to wait hours for the slow-cooking to happen.  I can make Greek chicken (stewed with cinnamon, onion, and tomato paste) in about an hour, and it tastes as if it had been simmering for three. So far I have used it to make chicken and beef dishes, and also, just yesterday, chili.  It is totally awesome to be able to cook food that we really love and have it ready at a semi-reasonable time for dinner.  By the time we get home most week days, it's nearly 5PM, but I can still make basically anything I want, now.  It also helps tremendously that it's electric, so it doesn't heat up the whole house the way using the oven does.  (This particular model also slow cooks, makes yogurt, can be a rice cooker, and also, wonderfully, has a saute setting, so I can brown the meat, deglaze the pot, then put everything back in to cook.  Less cleanup = extra awesomeness.)

The other innovation? 
KitchenAid Dish Rack
This seems kind of dumb, perhaps, but we've always had one of the small Rubbermaid dish racks because there isn't that much space next to the sink. I never considered a larger one, even though the small one was constantly a problem.  I saw this dish rack at Sam's Club last month for $20 and stopped to look at it.  DD was with me and encouraged me to buy it.  I didn't think it would fit, but it does, and having more space there is such a small thing, but with all the cooking (and eating) we do, it really is lovely.  I mean, I was always having to precariously balance the baking sheets and the platters and the various glasses that were hand-washed... and now I don't.  Everything fits, nothing falls out or falls over or gets broken!  

So, my two favorite new things were not Christmas presents, and that's fine with me. It's funny to me how these two little things make me so happy.

One more thing was a Christmas present, from my "secret Santa" at work: a miniature herb garden! We have all the rosemary we need outside, but the addition of fresh thyme and sage are wonderful!  Now I just have to make sure the cats don't eat it. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

feelin' feline

Yes, I am feeling very cat-like these days.  I sleep late, get up, putter around a bit, eat something... then nap.  For hours -- and then I get up and do the same thing.  I think I've been averaging about 16 hours of sleep a day since Christmas.

The thing is, with that much sleep, I should be feeling great, but every time I wake up I have this vague, getting-over-an-illness feeling.  It's probably correct, but I wasn't really sick, just chronically exhausted.

Anyway, I have to start putting some time in to work or I'll find myself right back on the hamster wheel.  Little things are getting done around the house, so it hasn't been a complete festival of laziness, and we went to see Rogue One (yay!) and a Coyotes game (sigh).  We celebrated our 22nd anniversary (!) by going out for dinner with the kids, and it was lovely.  So, it has been a really nice, vacation-y vacation, so far.  Nine days to go, though, and I better have something to show for it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

a tiny list of accomplishments

Saturday, Christmas Eve: slept late, gloriously, and then spent the day mostly cleaning up and prepping dinner.  I got the presents sorted and DH handled getting everything wrapped, God bless the man.  We went to the 7PM Latin mass which didn't start until 7:15 because the 5:30 Spanish mass was concelebrated by the bishop and was absolutely packed to the rafters.  The Latin mass was not, and the music was spectacular, and I loved it.  We ate dinner after (only slightly later than usual, lol) and watched a Mission Impossible movie and it was fine.

Christmas Day: kids were up about 8AM, the earliest we'd seen them (voluntarily) in a week.  Opened presents first, not such a big deal anymore! Then I made scones and scrambled eggs (the boys made the bacon) and it was lovely.  Lunch was just salamis and cheeses and olives and pickles and the most delicious artichoke hearts, and a glass or two of DH's Christmas scotch-on-the-rocks, which was really delicious. Dinner?  I researched prime rib recipes for far too long but to good end, I think: I used the herb butter recipe that DD had recommended but not that cooking method, and it came out spectacular.  It turns out that poaching enormous lobster tails in butter really only works for the main part. I should have trimmed off all those little weird pieces around the edges because they just turned to rubber.  Still, it was yummy and yes, basically all I did was cook and eat. And talk on the phone -- both days, to various family members around the country, and that was lovely even though I miss everyone fiercely on these days. I see the photos from the big gatherings and remember what they're like -- wonderful and crazy -- and I wonder if there will come a year when we will make the effort to travel back East.  It could happen.

Today? My official day off -- I have too much to do to not-work the rest of the days I'm off school.  But today, my accomplishments include sleeping late (again), emptying the dishwasher, and applying for my transfer credit for my Project Dragonfly class, which involved jumping through several hoops.  I solved another puzzle in WordBrain (Clown level is killing me) and I read the entire internet.  Twice.

Tomorrow (later today, actually); DD has a quick appointment for a sleep study, and then trying to get into some sort of routine where some work gets done.  We'll see. Other plans for this week? Seeing Rogue One with the family on Wednesday morning, and going overnight with DH for a hockey game up in Glendale.  I'm starting to panic a little that I don't have enough time to do everything I'd like to do before I go back, even though I have all of next week off, too - and the kids don't!  First thing to do is make my lists...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

new goal

I'm writing about this as a way to hold myself accountable.

I am often confronted with unwanted student opinions about assignments, directions, rules, or what-have-you.  Typically, my response has been along the lines of, "I don't care if [you don't like it], this is what we're doing."

While factually correct, it's a pretty cold response, and I've always known it's not particularly effective.  It may redirect the student's behavior, but it doesn't do anything to redirect the student's attitude, and that's arguably more important.

I'm so pleased to have finally identified an alternative response that does just that:  "That's not what's important right now," or some variation on that theme.  This response does not invalidate the student's feelings, and even gives me space to acknowledge them: "I know you don't particularly feel like doing this right now, but that's not what's important..."

I've actually remembered to use it two or three times over the past couple of days.  I'm expecting more deployment in the future, especially as break time draws near.  And so far, the students are responding more positively, too.  I'm allowing myself to feel a tiny bit proud of this one.


I packed & shipped our Christmas boxes yesterday, so today, I felt much less pressured, almost buoyant...  which was a mistake, because I'm not done yet!

Well, I did grind through my literature review and make a round of edits before the end of the semester,  and it didn't even require a complete all-nighter. The number of times I've found myself running on 2 or 3 hours of sleep is just way too high this year.  Last night I got 5 hours -- perhaps that explains how good I felt today.

Anyway: I do have some grading to do, but it's not due until January.  I just have this sense that things will take care of themselves, which may or may not be accurate.  I have mental lists of things to accomplish but I can't seem to settle down and get them all crossed off.  I think I need to make an actual physical list for them to start happening...

Christmas in 4 days (3 now, actually...)!!!  Really, really looking forward to vacation.