Sunday, January 01, 2012


Sunset at Little America, Flagstaff

Somehow all of December passed without a word written here, so again, I resort to an omnibus sort of post, trying to cram all sorts of things in just so they aren't forgotten altogether.

School-wise, second semester coasted to a close after the science fair. My students objected vehemently to getting back to "regular" work, but we managed to get back into some sort of rhythm. I'm working on integrating more video into my lessons as I find more ways to use my projector. Now I just have to remember to retrieve my speakers from the colleague who borrowed them for last days before winter break...

My students were particularly aggrieved that I made them take their second benchmark in the days just before break (which explains why I was willing to loan out those speakers). One reason for that timing: I had my Thyrogen trial in the week before Christmas, and I had to drive up to Phoenix four days out of five -- Monday and Tuesday for injections, Wednesday for dosing, and Friday for the scan. Happily, the scan was negative, but I won't find out my blood work results until the end of January.

After taking a year (or more) off, I've run the whole gauntlet of cancer tests again, getting the all-clear from my dermatologist and my GYN. One test result still pending, though: the BT Test, a new blood test from breast cancer.

In the run-up to Christmas, I remembered how medical issues used to dominate my life. I won't really relax until all the tests are in and I'm clear, but obviously I'm happy about the results so far.

Back at the beginning of December, I took off a day of work to travel with DS1's speech and debate team to the Winter Trophy tournament. It was an exhausting and intense experience, but such a joy to spend so much time with this group of amazing students and dedicated staff and parents. We drove out early Friday morning and returned very late Saturday (or early Sunday morning, depending on how you want to look at it.) Trips like this are like vacations from reality. None of my usual responsibilities weighed on me, because I was completely consumed with a new one: judging. I love the mental workouts these tournaments put me through.

After Winter Trophy, things shifted into high gear, as all the kids had their piano recital, the older two had Fine Arts night, and DS2 had a concert. I took DD and a couple of her school friends up to the Wildlife World Zoo to meet one of their hedgehogs. There was a lot of shopping, some baking, and we even managed to do a Christmas card this year.

DD tolerates this process...barely.

Christmas itself seemed uncharacteristically easy. It was lovely having so many days off to prepare before the holiday itself. I spent most of Christmas in the kitchen, simply because I didn't feel like doing all the cooking the day before, and we had no other plans. I brined the turkey the same way, and paid attention to Thanksgiving's lessons, and dinner was terrific. I admit, I still bailed on making my own rolls: Trader Joe's crescent rolls were much better than the store bought rolls from T-day. DD helped me make an apple pie (at DH's request) and our Christmas Tree cake (blueberry, this year).

After days of lounging around, we booked a room in Flagstaff so we could get some sledding in. We checked the forecast and knew it would be warm, but we didn't realize how warm it really would be, nor did we know how that would affect the snow cover. Wing Mountain trucked in tons of snow but simply gets too much sun to keep it on the slopes, and since we were too lazy to get up at a decent hour, all that was left by the time we got there was slush. Still, the kids and I had a a half-dozen runs or so apiece before we bailed: mud and slush and wandering toddlers combined to take the fun out of it.

Still, Flagstaff wasn't a total loss. After dinner we visited Lowell Observatory and looked back into the earliest days of the universe, as well as the moon, the Pleiades, and Jupiter and four of its moons. The next day we visited Sunset Crater and the Wupatki National Monument, and I was in heaven. It was a perfect geek get-away.

Sunset Crater

Lone tree clinging to the cinder-covered slope at Sunset Crater

at Wupatki National Monument (the fill-in flash on my camera was wholly inadequate to the requirements, here)

What did the kids like the best? My guess: playing in the snow at Sunset Crater.

Off-trail entertainment

1 comment:

nina said...

Happy New Year, Joan. (So pleased to see your blog progress into the once in a while, but nothing frantic stage...)

Ufff, we made it thus far. And you know, things only get better!