Saturday, August 25, 2012

spanner in the works

My laptop somehow forgot how to access the internet in the time between 11:30PM last night and 10AM this morning.  I've spent the majority of the last 4 hours trying various things to get it to work, including Microsoft automated fixes and manual registry editing.  So far, no go.*sigh*

The laptop is antique, by laptop standards -- checking the blog here, I bought it March 1, 2008.   Four years, 6 months is nothing to sneeze at.  I've replaced the battery a couple of times, and the power cable died as well, but overall, it has been a solid little machine and I like it.  It works for me, and I have everything on there that I need, and nothing that I don't. 

Honestly, I'm hoping if I leave it turned off for a while, when I boot it up again it will decide to work.  I'm not expecting it, but it sure would be nice.  There's no point in sending it for diagnosis and repair, that would cost more than the thing is worth. 

So I maybe getting a new laptop soon.  I really can't function without one.

Meanwhile, I have about 5lbs worth of papers to grade, lesson planning, and all sorts of other school-related work I need to clear this weekend.  The grading I can do on any computer with a web browser, but the rest of the stuff I need to do on my laptop, and fortunately not much of that requires network access.  I'll be bouncing between computers until this issue is resolved one way or another.

Friday, August 24, 2012

well, that didn't work very well

It was one of those days.  Nothing went spectacularly wrong, just a series of little "off" things that stack up into a general feeling of psychological dislocation.

The day started with my desk -- and all the student desks -- absolutely caked with dust.  I don't know what's going on (bad air filters?), but I don't have 15 minutes every morning to clean my room.  Really all I can do is dust, and that just pushes a lot of it onto the floor, which was also filthy.  The students complain, but short of mopping it myself, there's nothing I can do about it.  They don't pay me nearly enough to get me to mop on top of everything else.

Then, my 8th grade lab was such a disaster that I called it off only moments in and converted it into a hasty demonstration instead.  The students were not following directions (you don't measure flour in a beaker, dear) and there was too much chaos.  It's my biggest class and I'm going to have think carefully how to manage them.  Usually I have 10 extra minutes with them, but on block days, they've got the same time as every other class, and that nets out to less time for teaching because I have to spend so much time dealing with distractions.

[On that front: I've heard, and followed, the advice to just answer off-topic questions quickly and efficiently, to minimize time loss... but I'm done with that.  If every time a kid raises his hand it's to ask something like, "Can I go to the bathroom?" or "When do we get out of this class?" it tends to get on one's nerves.]

At any rate, it's not working with that class and I'm stuck as to what to do about it. 

It didn't help that 4th hour's lab went off, apparently, without a hitch -- they even had time to clean up.  I'm not exactly sure how that happened, since it's the class I don't teach.  I did find flour in a lot of beakers, though, so I'm suspicious.   If the other teacher can do it, why can't I?  There are about a million reasons, the chief reasons being he's male, and new at our school, and has a lot of teaching experience... but I worry about him going too fast, that the students aren't getting it but are too apathetic to speak up about it.

8th hour intervention was a serious of minor screw ups, with many students not knowing where they were going.  Everyone eventually got settled but then we realized that my students (in my colleague's intervention classroom) didn't have anything to do because I'd sent their work to study hall, figuring that's where they would be.  I'm teaching a writing intervention for the next 4 weeks which works much better for me than last year's math.

Stayed after until 4PM because an old colleague dropped by to visit.  It was nice to see her, but by the time I got home with the kids I was exhausted, and DS1's curriculum night was tonight.  Since I was literally falling asleep, I made myself a cup of instant coffee, and drank it cafe-au-lait style with coconut milk.  I miss the creamy mouthfeel of half-and-half, but I'm not willing to go there yet.  I was taking a risk with the caffeine anyway.   It tasted pretty good, considering it was instant coffee. And it woke me up, and continues to keep me awake, since I drank it at 6:30PM. 

Curriculum night itself is both delightful and somewhat depressing.  I'm so happy my kids are going to a school with such a fantastic curriculum, but then I get a little sad about where I'm teaching and the general bad attitude that many (if not most) of my students have towards learning.  I feel so starved for that kind of intellectual stimulation that I always end up talking the teachers' ears off, and then I feel embarrassed because I talk too much.  They are uniformly kind and intelligent and have never given me the impression that they want me to shut up and go away, but looking back I always think, "Was that too much? That was too much."

Got home and speed-cleaned DS1's room, much to his irritation.  He didn't mind when I picked up his laundry but got piqued when I started moving some other stuff around.  I don't blame him for being annoyed.  I blame me for drinking caffeine and being both physically and mentally wired.  Too much stimulation all around.

Now it's Friday, I have about 5 pounds of papers to grade, lesson planning to do, and it's nearly 1AM.  Tomorrow will be here way too soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


It's not even 8:30PM and I've already finished my lesson plans for the week.  Of course I still have a huge stack of grading to do, but grading is easier.   I've been thinking about what's really important to me, and therefore what I should be giving my time to -- it helps me limit the amount of time I spin my wheels, doing nothing and then getting annoyed with myself.  Here's my list in no particular order:

Sleep.  This hit the top of the list last weekend when I was up until 1AM finishing up last week's lesson plans.  No more of that, not when I'm getting up earlier to try to fit in all these new priorities.

Cooking.  It's therapeutic for me.  At least one great meal during the week, and at least one really great meal on the weekend.  Plus Sunday breakfast, and pancakes for the kids during the week, and stuff for me to bring to work to eat (like hard-boiled eggs).  I made a blueberry pie today -- 20 minutes from walking into the kitchen to putting the pie in the oven.  It's not hard, I just have to do it.

Spanish: I missed three or four days last week -- we had something scheduled every night.  It's the same this week, but there's no reason I can't put in 10 minutes here or there.

Distant Friends:  Every summer I get together with my East Coast friends and then it seems as if we retire to separate planets.  Every year we say, "We have to keep in touch better!" But then we don't.  So this year, I'm writing more -- just little updates when there's news. It's another thing that only takes 10 minutes here or there... easy, and so lovely to hear from them.

Down Time: Whether it's watching a show or two with DH or the kids, reading, or just brushing the cat, I need some time to myself every day.

That's the list for now, but DH put together the new Total Gym he bought last week, and I will learn how to use that.  Exercise is probably the best therapy for RA, and even though mine has settled back down, I'd like to keep it at bay.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

6 steps forward, 1 step back, repeat

Sticking, mostly, to the new diet: no grain, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine, no chocolate, no alcohol.  I splurge a little from time to time but overall eat well.  I take DGL three times a day and I'm about to take my third D-limonene capsule, so it's too early to tell if that's working.

Results: very little heartburn.  RA still gone (miraculously).  Weight: dropped a little more, so now I actually weigh what it says on my license, or maybe a pound less.  My throat is sore, though, and I don't know whether that's from silent reflux (reflux when no symptoms of heartburn are felt), or because I started teaching and spend all day talking.  The lumpy-throat feeling comes and goes (not-good sign) but I'm having only minor problems singing (very good sign).  I don't know.

Ginger root in warm water before bed, still, too.  I like it.   And my digestion has finally slowed down again, so maybe I did just catch a little bug.  It's nice when all the systems work the way they are supposed to.

Today I wanted a coffee, but the desire for coffee was outweighed by the thought of having to deal with heartburn, so I had just a sip of DD's and settled for that.  I would like to be able to eat like a normal person again some day, but I'm not ready for that yet: my occasional splurges don't unwind all the progress I've made, but they do push me back a little. A step back now and then is OK as long as the general momentum is forward.

Thursday, August 09, 2012


With the exception of a major splurge on my birthday (more about that later), I have changed my diet drastically: no dairy, no grains, no sugar.  I stopped taking the omeprazole, it wasn't helping anyway.  I'm not drinking ginger tea any more (unless I feel like a cup of tea), I'm grating fresh ginger into warm water and drinking that before bed.  I'm also doing a nifty little exercise from Dr. David Williams that he describes in his article on Natural Treatments and Remedies for Acid Reflux to reposition a hiatal hernia -- it seems to help.

Things that are better:
* my weight is down to its lowest point in probably 2 years.  I'm still not at the official weight listed on my driver's license, but I'm not sure I weighed that much when the license was issued.
* my RA appears to be back in remission (yay!)
* heartburn-ish feelings are much rarer than they used to be at the beginning of the month, when I didn't want to go anywhere without some Tums

Things that are worse:
* sore throat with that lumpy feeling: there's still reflux going on even though I don't feel any heartburn.  Earlier this week it actually felt better, but starting school again has set it back.
* completely out of whack digestion -- I've gone from gastroparesis back to the rapid transit problem I had years ago when I had my gallbladder removed.  I've backed off my Vitamin C completely to see if that helps, and today it does seems a little better.

My DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract) arrived today, and I have some D-limonene arriving soon.  Both of these are supposed to help support the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines (DGL) and the esophagus (D-limonene).  The D-limonene is a 20-day regimin, which will bring me right up to my appointment with my g/e doctor, and we'll see what he says.

So far my voice (after 2 talk-heavy days of instruction) is holding out OK, but talking so much on a throat that is already sore from reflux isn't good.  I'm working on giving myself more vocal rest in class and plan on being quiet this weekend.

I wanted to feel better by the time school started and I do -- not perfect, but definitely moving in the right direction.  Here's hoping it continues.