Sunday, August 28, 2016

wish I had a photo...

DS2 made garam masala while I prepped chicken for chicken masala tonight.  The herbs and spices looked and smelled heavenly while toasting in the pan on the stove, and I swear I asked him to take a photo but we didn't get one.  Next time, then -- although we have enough garam masala to last quite a while now. Cooking was a nice break from the planning I had been doing all day, and am now returning to after a little break.

I'm trying to balance work and life better this year.  In past years, whenever I've had any outstanding task, I've just willed my way through it at the expense of everything else.  This year I'm purposely looking at everything and saying, "That can wait," and so far, it has been OK.

That said, today I planned out all 3 of my math classes for the rest of the quarter, and barring surprises, I shouldn't need to touch those again.  I'm about to tackle my science classes and try for at least another few weeks out, but with the new textbooks, it's not as easy.  I love the complete lack of ambiguity in math, how the lessons follow one after the other, with predictable interval for tests and quizzes.  All I have to do is match it up against our calendar (and shuffle it around again when I lose instructional days to unexpected events...)  It's a fussy process but not difficult, and I suppose I could include less detail to make it easier if it has to change.  But the details help me stay on track in the classroom, so I kept them in.  Now with q1 planning done, the rest of the quarters will be easier, too.

Now I'm left pondering how best to make my suggestions and comments about those new science textbooks.  I have a bit of an edge after last year's failed proposal, but I'll try.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

very quickly --

I should be showering, or making a Power Point, but I'll just post this little update.  So far I am so impressed with my students.   One of my concerns was what kind of kids we would get, but it is such a great group.  Obviously we're still at the beginning of the year and I'm sure various ugly things will raise their heads from time to time, but overall, they are the "motivated students" our mission statement talks about.

The registrar from my old campus was at our school today for the district registrars' meeting, and she popped in to visit me.  I told her without really even thinking about it that I love my new school and things are going very well (because they are!)  She said that they're very full back at the old campus -- all the classes have 35 students!  The thought of it makes me cringe.  I just don't have the energy for that.

Ironically, I'm doing about five times the prep work I had to at the old campus, but because we have so few students, it's OK.  I'm not trying to prep all those classes and grade 200 students' worth of work.  I actually love the planning and curriculum development part, so it's actually kind of a bonus.  And I love teaching the higher math classes, but the 7th grade math is a bit of a snooze.  (For me, not them.)  We'll see how this goes, but we're off to really great start.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

definitely swimming in the deep end now...

Yikes, I have a lot of work!

Prepping for five different classes a day is a new experience for me.  Content-wise I'm fine, but process wise?  I can't do it without my notes & power points, and that's what's keeping me busy.

I'm a few lessons ahead in math, and I'm going to try to do some every day so I work up a reasonable buffer.  My class starts in a couple of weeks and I'm going to need to carve out some time for that!

Today I thought, why did I do this to myself?  But I do love the new school, the team is great there, and so far - one week in - the students are great, too.  Of course we'll see how it goes as we all become accustomed to each other, but so far so good, and I'm not looking for trouble.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


First day of school!

It was a great day, but I'm exhausted and praying I don't get sick.  I worked frantically the last 5 days to get both my classrooms ready, with success... but of course nothing is organized.

Fortunately I don't have to teach content this week, because my planning is not done (that's for this weekend); we're just doing policies, procedures, and practice this week.  I'm looking forward to getting back into a groove.

Meanwhile, I jumped through all the hoops and will be taking the course at the zoo, beginning in just a couple of weeks.

Off to revise last year's power point to make it relevant to the new school...

Thursday, August 04, 2016


How did that happen?

I have no idea where all that time went.   I certainly don't feel any older.

Today I started back to work, my pre-service days for the new school I'm helping open.   I'm starting to think I'm crazy: I'm teaching 5 subjects and I'm team lead.  On the other hand, I'll have roughly 55 students total, and that will surely help with the grading and give me time to prep all those classes.  Two aren't completely new, they're just different versions of the same material (that would be the science classes) and three are new to me, but the content is beautifully laid out for me already (that would be the math classes).

I'm up late because I finally started to hammer out my final project for my History of Science class, and I have a solid outline and a believable activity to present tomorrow in class.  I may even have time to write it up before the end of the evening.  We'll be having surf & turf at home with desserts from our favorite, Euro Cafe.  (I don't have time to bake this year, and that's OK.)

Bad news today: the PT referral I got from my urologist will not work at all for me, they are too far away and their hours are too restrictive.  I called the office to see if they could recommend anyone else.  In the meantime, I'm trying to ease back into some sort of exercise routine.  Part of me thinks if I just start doing squats and stretches again I'll be OK.  For the most part, I am.  I felt weirdly dizzy this afternoon for a little while, but it didn't last too long and hasn't returned.  The pelvic pain comes and goes but stretching does seem to help with the radiating pain, so that's good.

We'll see how it goes.

Friday, July 29, 2016

not cancer!

Of course this is great news.  I spent the last 2 weeks trying not to spin myself up into a frantic mess over this and did a pretty good job.  It helped that yesterday the kids and I went to an early matinee of Star Trek Beyond and then out for a nice lunch at Nico Heirloom Kitchen, the new restaurant in Gilbert's downtown area.  But I was still pretty nervous about this one.

The diagnosis itself surprised me, because I don't think it ever came up in any of the symptom checkers: interstitial cystitis.  I had always thought symptoms associated with IC were like those of a urinary tract infection, and that's not what's going on with me at all.   The doctor said this is usually a diagnosis of exclusion, what you get stuck with when all the tests come back negative and you're still in pain.  However, in my case, my bladder actually demonstrated the hallmark "weepy" behavior when she hyper-inflated it while I was under anesthesia, so this is not one of those "we don't know what else to say, so we'll say this," situations.

Treatment, for now, is physical therapy, just once a week for six weeks to try and strengthen my pelvic floor muscles (which are operating well from my perspective, but once again, I don't know what I don't know here.)  I've had great results with physical therapy in the past, so I'm hopeful.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Yes, I know the title is redundant.

I'm up now because I had a little nap, and I had a little nap because I was exhausted.  I've worked the last 3 days at my old school, even though my new school in-service doesn't start until next week.

The junior high has grown so much at my old school that they have hired more teachers, and the person they hired to teach the overflow math and science classes bailed just days before school started.  Since I will be teaching those subjects at my new school, I offered to help out.  A new teacher was hired almost immediately, and she started on Monday, but there was so much district-specific orientation to go through that the administration had me come in and teach her classes Monday through Wednesday.

This was cool for a number of reasons, the first being it was really nice to see everyone again.  It really is a great team there, and the new people they've brought on board fit right in and have the right spirit.  Since I will be team lead at the new school, it was good to get a preview of what to expect in terms of new requirements from the administration, etc, too.

It was especially cool to get some practice in teaching math.  I haven't done it before, but compared to teaching science, it's a pip: every class has the same format.  I don't have to go scrounging around the web looking for content or songs or labs, I just deliver the curriculum.  I can see how it could get boring, but I'm surprised by how much I'm looking forward to it.  It was really good to be able to practice with my old colleague right there across the hall to pester whenever I had a question.  She was very patient with me, and I really appreciated that.

Of course I am thoroughly exhausted now, and the only reason I'm up is the aforementioned nap.  I wasn't bothered by pains while at school, mostly because I was too busy, but by the time I got home in the afternoon I felt horrible.  I'm still bleeding a tiny bit, too, but not as much, and the bladder pain has almost completely subsided.  I'm glad to have had the distraction these past three days.  Now I just have to keep busy until my appointment on Friday when I find out (I hope!) what's going on with me.  I think it's ridiculous, having to wait two whole weeks for the results, but not everyone can give one-day turn-around the way they do at M. D. Anderson.  (Some part of me believes I'll be back there soon for treatment, but the rest of me is just carrying on as if that's ridiculous.  It's not quite ridiculous, or even really unlikely, but I like to think it is.)

I have that good sense of exhaustion that comes from having done good work.  Tomorrow I start (again) my last week of vacation, and I have to make calls to arrange my last content class, plus I have plans with the kids.  This is a good way to end the summer.