Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One Year Anniversary

I'm tired, really, really tired. I'd planned to write more tonight and include pix, etc. It won't happen tonight. But today has to be marked as the one year anniversary of my bilateral mastectomies. I was bald as a baby's butt, and went into the hospital this date with boobs and came home a few days later without them. Rather than being sad, I like to focus on the fact that I'm ALIVE and apparently healthy. I have high cholesterol, but who doesn't? I'll work on it.

Blessings upon my surgeon, all the doctors that have treated me so kindly and with such respect over this past year. (Well all but the plastic surgeon who treated me like a number on an assembly line, but his resident did excellent work on my scar revision.) Blessings to all the nurses, the staff and especially my daughter who treated me so kindly and gently during my recovery. Blessings to my son-in-law and daughter for hosting me during several recoveries this past year -- allowing my poor assaulted body to live with them in their house while they had a new baby and everything. I'm thankful to all my cyberfriends, my colleagues, my friends, my family and my parish who honored me in so many ways, but particularly by supporting me in raising funds for the 3-day Walk, keeping God reminded of my peril and sending food, love and positive energy, cards and cards, and more cards. All that love has left a permanent imprint onmy heart. Thank you all. My survival is due to a whole host of people and I'm grateful to all who did anything to support me. Thank you. Thank you so very much.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

People of the Book

It's literacy month at Haralson County High School, and teachers are supposed to be putting up posters for students to see what we're reading. My main accomplishment of this weekend is reading. I bought this book at the Richmond Airport after finishing the book I was reading on my way up there. The book by Geradline Brooks is just a tad confusing (at least to me) with the back-and-forth from historical past to contemporary times. However, this is totally worth the mild irritation because this Pulitizer Prize winning author weaves a wonderful story based in truth with the tiny embelishment of some historical fiction. She does it with fabulous verbage that makes someone who appreciates vocabulary, giddy. It's a rich embroidery of religious intersections in the name of art. It's a lovely book that makes me want to read more by this author.

The other thing I've done is to make my spring break time a planned reality. It's a real thing. I'm definitely going to Ireland. After researching, and researching, I've decided to fly into Shannon rather than London and commute from within the country as opposed to commuting across all of England and then crossing the Irish Sea. Too many changes of travel. Surprisingly the cost of going from here to JFK in NYC is rather more expensive than I'd imagined. I can now spend time figuring out what I want to go see, and when and how. I will be exhausted when I return, and have planned a whole day to collapse and sleep, but I suspect my butt will be draging the following week. I have it on good authority that (1) the Irish like Americans (always a plus when traveling in Europe), (2) they speak English (way better than flailing around with phrase books and sounding like a truly IGNORANTE and REDNECK American (PAR LAY VU ANG LASE? That was the UGLY American in France let me tell you!) and (3) the economic troubles of America are an infection that has spread around the globe and so the Euro / Dollar exchagne is better than it's been in a long time. Given my willingness to rough it in youth hostels and eat pub grub, I think I can get through the week without dropping too much money. So, I have my next adventure to dream about.

All thouse with travel advice on what to see in Ireland, are welcome to send me suggestions!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


OK, so I was hokey and wore red, white and blue today, and my scarf that is inspired by the American flag. Some students were so gauche as to laugh. The ironic thing is that the ones making fun of me, were African American.

Third block is the block that has lunch and the inaugeration. I was able to borrow a classroom with a smartboard, and was not able to get in the que to get on CNN, nor could I get a stream from 11Alive. Finally I could get a streaming video from Students had to stay in the classroom until JUST before Obama took the oath. I didn't know about the performance by Itzak Perlman and YoYo Ma, et al. so I was surprised by that, but happy to get to hear it. I thought at first that Obama had messed up the oath, but it turned out it was the CHIEF JUSTICE that screwed up and Obama waited for him to correct himself. Wow, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court choaked at the crucial moment. That'll be a moment in history to live down! I'm grateful to the content teacher who also wanted our students to see history being made. The rest of the school IF their teacher considered it important, was only able to watch the delayed feed at 2:30. There were no announcements today, and not one word of official focus on the history being made today. Apparently there are just too many dissatisfied Republicans or apathetic "citizens" or folks who prefer to ignore the specifics of today for other reasons I don't like to think about. I feel strongly it was an opportunity in Civics lost forever.

I just left Richmond, and I have to tell you it's COLD up there. Poor Barak has big 'ol ears that poke out. I have to wonder if the poor man's ears are about to freeze off, flappin' in the wind on such a cold day!? It was nice to see how tenderly and kindly everyone was to the little girls. I suspect that Michelle will have windburn on those legs. Did she look pretty or what!?

Courtesy of Getty photos is this very nice image.

Quite honestly, I'm surprised they walked ANY of the route back to the White House. I am afraid beyond belief that there is a big 'ol target on that man, and that some idiot will change history before we get a chance to see what this man can do. I'm glad beyond measure that GWB is gone. Whatever BHO does, it has to be an improvement! I'm so excited to hear that he wants to open up Science and that gives me hope because I take that to mean that stem cell research is about to crank up. People with cancer can benefit a lot from that research. It's nice to have a man with a intellect in the White House.

A lot of the old folks where my friend Lucille lives, went to a prayer service at 10:30 this morning to pray for President-elect Obama. I hope people continue to pray for his health, safety and discernment over his Presidency.

If there was a moment that I almost cried, it was when Aretha Franklin sang the old school song, "My County Tis of Thee." I loved her hat! I loved her presentation. I thought that was a classy moment, but I thought too of how far this country has come in her generation. I couldn't help but wonder what thoughts were going through John Lewis' brain right then. More than anything, I hope this man is the President to ALL of the people in America. He has 26 chromosomes from his dad that make his skin dark, but his mom gave him 26 chromosomes that are lily white, and he grew up in suburban white America. I believe as a common person that doesn't come from fabulous riches, but clearly has altruism and service in his soul, he can more accurately represent and identify with people like ME. And maybe you too. Let's celebrate with hope today, in the belief that tomorrow and many more tomorrows will be better because of his wisdom.

Believe..........believe in good. Hope for good. Hope upon hope that he hasn't had to sell his soul in order to get where he is.

(No matter what, I bet BHO never, ever thought he'd be on a blog that began about boobs!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Atlanta to Richmond and Return

OK, it was COLD on Saturday morning when I left for Richmond. It was something like 10 degrees. And it was about the same in Richmond. Brrrrrr.

Everything went well, except that the door to the airplane on the way up, wouldn't close. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty partial to flying with all doors closed. They sent for mechanics and after about 30 minutes of giving it some adjustments, it was decided we could go.

I rented a car and Lucille and I went places she seldom gets to go. Very low key, mostly just shopping that would be hard for her to do with the transportation from her place.

She lives at Westminister - Canterbury in Richmond and it's pretty awesome. Always some lecture, or a class, or some sort of activity going on. There are about 1000 residents there in their variousfacilities, and it's amazingly beautiful and the food is quite something. All the folks there are very excited about the inaugeration tomorrow, no matter if they voted for Obama or not.

I have to be up and out early tomorrow for "Read with Me," so I have to get myself ready for bed, and it's not looking good for me to clean before the the cleaning diva tomorrow. Fish and water pipes are fine.

Must run and start the washing machine!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Provisional Compliments on Tune Up

Went in for my annual tune up and got nice comments from the doc, who I admire and respect. I think, mostly, he was just glad to see I'd survived treatments last year.

Am heading out early in the am in the hope that my pipes will not freeze while I'm away, and that the "wintery mix" will miss my return back on Monday. Brrrrrrr. Cold, cold, cold, and I'm not sure, but I think it's colder in Richmond. I heard today that it was colder here in Atlanta than it was in Ankorage. There's something REAL wrong about that.

I'm a bit worried about the fish if I lose power. There are three people on the planet that worry about their fish, and it appears I'm one of them.

Stay warm and let the faucet drip tonight!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Compound Inequalities

Yup. I now know what they are. Graphing them is a whole nuther thing. Class today was a bit of a challenge. OK, it was a HUGE challenge.

Today during "Read with Me," I had a student come! We started the story and he LIKED it. The media specialist is actually going to order some adapted texts of the novels/plays and other readings for the various grades. I think I may have started something that is going to grow, grow, grow. But it's cool that students that have a hard time reading won't have to read Nathanial Hawthorne and his convoluted and vocabulary-rich _The Scarlet Letter_ in the long form. The adapted texts are a bit like getting the old, "Reader's Digest Condensed Books." I'm excited, and I haven't been excited about school stuff in a while. THIS helps students survive.

Another cool thing: I let a teacher know about an offer for art replica's. He applied to get the works, and we won. So we're getting a bunch of replicas of art across American history. FREE!

President GWB is saying "goodbye." My thoughts: Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

Weird thing at school. I thought it only right that at least the Social Studies classes watch the swearing in of the new President. Guess what? We can't watch it in "real" time. We can see it on a delayed feed, but not as it happens. THAT is the result of the contract with have with our signal provider. Stuck between Birmingham and Atlanta signals, there is no signal via "air" that we can pick up, so we are at the mercy of Channel One.

I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow since I'm going for my annual "tune up" with my doc in Atlanta. Praying that my water doesn't freeze up tonight. All I can do is run my water in the hopes that will be enough to keep it from freezing. There is NO WAY (!) to cut off the outside faucets. How strange is that! Supposed to be 10 here tonight. Brrrrrrr.

NEWS FLASH! Because it's going to be cold enough to freeze the bus diesel fuel, AND because temps are anticipated to be between zero and five degrees tomorrow (temperatures low enough to cause flesh to freeze very quickly), school has been cancelled for the kiddies so they can stay home and stay warm. Teachers are to report, but I'm still keeping my appointment. That'll be a day we'll have to make up later, and I'm going to be peeved if they take it out of my spring break. Sigh. I got to tell you, zero to five degrees in Georgia is pretty extreme.

Hope wherever you are, you're warm, and loved, and that you're safe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Read With Me

Yes, tomorrow will be "Read with me" Thursday morning. Gotta go to bed soon so I can be sure to get there in time. The school media center specialist is nervous that I'll get more students than I have copies of books. I'm not THAT optimistic.

Today I got pulled from the Algebra IA class and have been put in the Algebra IB class. Supposedly because I'm better at being a collaborative teacher. It sure isn't because of my great math ability. Yeah, let's put the inadequate one into the more advanced class. Yush.

These kinds of things make me think I really, really want to teach something static each year. Just teach Biology or Environmental Science until I'm dead or 65, whichever comes first.

Tomorrow is "Friday" for me at work though, because I have a doc appointment in Atlanta on Friday, so I've taken the day off from work. When I get home from the doc, I pack, hope like heck that the temperatures don't drop so low my pipes burst, and Saturday in the early morning I buzz up to Richmond. I'm looking forward to seeing my friend Lucille. I looked into events going on in Richmond. Garrison Keillor is there with Prairie Home Companion and tix are still available. We will not be going however, because they are a mere $133 EACH. Yikes!

Must sleep now. 5:30 comes fast.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Yes, they did exactly what is most crazy. They put me in an Algebra class. My "excitement" is only rivaled by the many "fans" I have in this class. Two students wanted to get up and walk out the minute I walked in. It's generates a warm feeling. NOT!

I'm finishing up copying some files to a thumb drive to show on Wednesday about Jamestown. I have to be up early to get to school early enough to read for some non-readers who have to "read" at least three books in this class. So I'm going in at 7:30 on Tues and Thurs so the low readers can following along with me. Betcha that the goofballs don't bother and that I end up by myself tomorrow. But if they don't "read" three books, they'll fail the class. Sigh.

Tired. Must sleep. Night all. ALGEBRA!!!! Holy crap!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

If it's in, take it out; if it's out, put it in.

That's Jewel's developmental goal at this point in time. She had fun taking yarn out of my basket, and then walking around flapping the skeins around and then going back over and putting them back into the basket. She found all kinds of things that can be taking out, then put back in.

Misty, rainy, cool and overcast all day. My big score for the day was finding some pretty pillow shams at a consignment store.

Still pondering where I might go to for vacation during spring break. Where in the world is the best exchange rate for US Dollars? I don't know. I think I want to go somewhere I haven't been before and the Euro is definitely not a favorable comparison to the dollar. Hummmm. Where? I need something fun to look forward to.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Little Pink Bunting

My one-year-old sweet granddaughter is snoozing right beside me. She ate a whole container of vanilla yogurt like a little bird. She'd look up at me and open her mouth, just waiting for the next spoonful to come down from where I was standing. A shower and a bottle later and she's zonked out beside me. It's a sweet feeling to have her snuggle up to me.

Came home tired today. It's been a race to get through the week. The teacher I'm teaching with 1st block is going to be gone all next week. That's a Literature class. They have to assign me to another class either 2nd or 4th block. Third I'm with a US History teacher. My boss is looking at numbers of enrollment and she called me today to ask if I was highly qualified (it's a teacher thing) in Science. So, I'm guessing I'll be in with at least one Science class. We'll see next week.

I am thinking more seriously about taking a Chemistry class this summer to see if I can pass the certification test in the area of Science. If I can, there is the potential for me to teach in that area in a regular education class. People recognize the pressure that special ed teachers are under and I've been told that shifting from special education to science is potentially possible. It would take another school year before it'd be feasible, but at least the present folks would give it some consideration. I'm going to look into it all and give it more thought. Regular ed teachers have their own pressures, but once someone leaves special education for regular ed, they don't ever seem to come back. In fact many feel a lift from a lot of pressure. So, I'm going to follow up and see what develops.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


My feet no longer touch the ground at school, becasue I float. HA! In actuality, floating means I have no spot of my own and so I migrate from one room to the next. So far I'm ending up working with an 11th grade Literature class, and a US History class. It's nice to be with slightly more mature students but it will be difficult to have three preparations. No fun. Technology is my enemy. We had no access to the internet at all today. I like to show students videos and there are some great ones on the web, but (1) I can't figure out how to download any to my thumb drive, though I know there IS a way to do it; and (2) even if I got it figured out there isn't much technology in either classroom to show the video. It's a hassle.

I'm glad tomorrow is Friday. Maybe by next week I'll have my third class assignmnet. Hope it's something I like, with someone I'll like. Not all content teachers are suited to collaborative teaching.

Must sleep. Night all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I bought some cheap seats to Richmond the MLK weekend. I'm going to visit my dear friend Lucille. It's always a little scary when one of your best friends is in their 80's. I haven't been able to see her in a couple years, and she's sounding a bit more frail, so I thought I'd best make a time to go see her soon.

She's already planning our itinerary. It'll be a weekend of blue haired ladies and who knows what kind of adventures, but I'll be glad to connect with Lucille again.

On another front, I've been pulled from World Geography. It appears that I'll likely be supporting students in three separate classes. One is a Literature class, one a US History and one is likely to be Citizenship and Economics. All the classes will be in the main building so at least I won't be zooming back and forth. Spring is the busy, busy time for Speds teachers, so a lot of this semester I'll be writing IEPs and doing casemanagement anyway. My boss told me not to get all wound up about doing a lot of the teaching, but to just help out the content teacher, and help the students that are mine and just manage as best as I can without breaking too much of a sweat, because with three preparations they know, I'd either have a stroke trying to do a good job or work myself into being sick. If they're happy with mediocrity, I'm fine with that too.

I've talked to a couple special ed people about my potential for attempting another certification so I could potentially teach regular education. Someone I really respect suggested that I'd be a lot happier and have less pressure on me if I did that. So, I'm kind of pondering the idea of auditing a Chemistry class this summer in the hope that if I learn the Chemistry I'll be able to pass the Science test for teacher certification. It's a lot of energy to put into a shot in the dark, BUT if we ever relocate anytime in the future, I stand a good chance of getting a job easier as a regular ed Science teacher. I'm ready for less pressure and teaching something I like, and teaching students that aren't always .... difficult. So, I'm not sure about all this, but I think I'm going to give it a go.

Sigh, I really don't want to do more school or take more tests, but I like the idea of more certifications and being more attractive to those seeking teachers.

The really nice part of the new classes that I'll be collaborating in this semester is that every one of them is with students that are at least in the 10th grade or higher, and I'm really kind of tired of the dramatics that the 9th graders seem to enjoy. So, maybe something is working out for me in ways that I hadn't anticipated. Who knows?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Monday at the Salt Mines

Not a bad day. Got ready for tomorrow when the kiddies invade. So far, so good. I'm armed with syllibi, book-sign-out sheets, and a vocabulary worksheet. Wait until they find out they have homework tomorrow night! Ha!

Must hit the hay now, because I have to really get my butt in gear in a timly way tomorrow.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Snuggles and Cuddles

Got to be the Grammy last night and had Liam over. He GRINDS his teeth in his sleep something awful. I mean GRINDS! I never heard a little kid do that. We sometimes talk about how hard it must be to be 3, going on 4, and evidently it has tension for the little guy.

The two cats are always a bit put out when I have a grandchild over. They are not quite sure where to sleep or what to do. Chelsea decided to abandon ship and she slept on the couch. Romeo started the evening on the couch but later braved the full bed. By about four this morning, everyone was in the bed. Two cats, a grandchild and a fat grammy are a full bed, lemme tell ya.

We all got together for a FANTASTIC breakfast this morning. It was yummy!

I worked on the school website for a while and have done some web research. I keep dreaming of a trip, maybe during spring break. So many places to go, so little time! (and money) I've been wanting to go to Ireland for a long time. It's a mysterious country with very foreign sounding (and spelling) names. I've done coordinated tours where you hop on the bus when the tell you and sleep where they tell you. I've also just gone to the country where I wanted to and based myself in a youth hostel and traveled wherever I wanted each day. I'd get up that day and figure out, "Where do I want to go today?" And then I'd go. Each have their place. But I think I want to research things so I can do the latter kind of trip, but at least know what my options are about tourism. After spending some time researching things, I now know I know nothing!

I also spent a considerable amount of time doing some reflection on a new website that will be coming on-line in the next month or two that is for survivors of cancer locally. I try to give good quality feedback to folks. I hope it's useful in this instance. I appreciate the opportunity to be in on the creative end of things.

This time last year I was recovering from my last chemo treatment. Jenn and Jewel and my friend Marianne came to help me celebrate the end of my chemo. I had kept my eyelashes and eyebrows all the way to this point, but after the last chemo I lost them. That was a little hard after losing so much in other ways. Today I have HAIR. The hair that grew back and bothered me the most: my nose hair! Who would have thought! I hadn't actually realized I didn't have hair there anymore, but when it grew back, I surely did! It grows back curly and it tickles the inside of your nose when you breathe. This was very irritating. I was bald as a billiard cube for a long time, but now have about 4 inches of hair. It's not very cooperative and doesn't yet lend itself to a real style, but I'm very happy to have every millimeter that I have. Another aspect to this is my fear. I am happy to say that I'm one year out from my last chemo and am NED. This is the acronym for No Evidence of Disease. They can't say you're cancer-free. They can say you're NED. This is a good thing with my kind of cancer. A lot of triple negative folks have their cancer return within the first year -- some almost immediately. I've read accounts of people who's disease returned within the one to three month period post treatment. That would have been devastating to me. So, I'm happy to have my petite red blood cells and be here and be relatively healthy! Yes, I still have some enduring concerns post treatment, but I'm here. I'm on this side of the dirt, not a part of it.

Yacked too much. Just happy to be here and happy to have hair, and happy to contemplate the many opportunities available to me. Life is good.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Icky Kitty Sicky Stuff

Chelsea went to the vet this morning and it was a good thing! She does have a really bad kidney infection, needed some kitty glandular maintenance, and got an x-ray to ensure she doesn't have cancer or some other serious problem in addition to the infection. She's on some new prescription cat food that is even more incredible than the prescription cat food she's already been on. She has antibiotics for the next 21 days and is supposed to go back in three weeks. She had lost a good bit of weight, and the vet was very concerned about that. He actually wants her to gain some weight back!

Liam is spending the night with his grammy as a treat. In another few years it's be more of a sentence than a treat so I might as well enjoy him and he me, while it's still possible.

It was rainy, cold and blaugh outside today. Jenn and I took the kids over to the local rec center with a couple balls, and let them case the balls all over the rec center for about an hour and a half today. All that running was good for them.

Jenn got some supplies at Hobby Lobby for her new hobby of embroidery (by machine). I tucked a few things away for next Christmas, and that ws pretty much it. We did have a wonderful meal provided by Eric. He grilled some steaks and they were NUMMY. What a nice finish to a busy day.

OK Chelsea, get well, that's an order!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Santa and Grandchildren

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From what I hear, getting the two kids to this photo session without bloodshed was a big accomplishment. Evidentally this photo was made during the one milisecond that someone wasn't crying. Nice looking Santa, but look at his eyes -- this is a man that believes he is about to be puked on, poohed on, or kicked in the shins.

Chelsea gets to go to the vet tomorrow. She's got a bladder infection. Going to the vet is a long drive too. But I have symathy for her having just gotten over my own recently. She has long term health issues though, enough so that she is on prescription cat food to help her not have as many problems with her kidneys / bladder. Probably means several weeks of antibiotics for the girl.

Jenny showed me the most extrordinary book. It's the process one woman takes toward quilting. The pictures and artistic quilting are just breath-taking. She has a new embroidery machine that is making her look at things with new eyes. This qulter is a real inspiration.

I hope the first day of 2009 was a good one for you.