Monday, March 30, 2009


You might have noticed a few changes to the blog and its format. I decided that it's time for it to be "Welcome to the Latest News" and not the "Welcome to the Latest News of the Boobs" anymore. With any luck, I will never need it to revert back.

I'm living in faith that I'm recovering and that with the aggressiveness of my treatment, that the cancer will not return. I'll always have to be vigilant, but I have to live, not live like I'm dying. I've seen the gastroenterologist (last week) and my mysterious pain is probably due to losing and gaining back some weight between last summer and now. Not to mention that my liver was under incredible stress with steroids and poison going through it last year. So it's not sure if I've got scaring on my liver or if I have an issue with too much fat in my liver, but I really don't want to have a liver biopsy to find out! So I'm willing to live with the ambiguity and work on trying to lose weight slowly so I don't over stress my liver. As different as I eat now, compared to before treatment, I really don't understand why I'm not losing weight. It just doesn't make sense to me, but clearly I'm maintaining my weight quite well.

I have my Breast Cancer Support Group tomorrow night, and a couple other meetings this weekend, so I'm going to be a busy girl for the next few weeks. Be patient with me. I'm running as fast as I can.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3-Day Info

Several people have asked about 3-Day and it's efficiency. I just got an informational report at:

The several walks in America raised a NET investment of almost $80M for breast cancer research. 3% of their budget goes to costs for running the events. That's amazing given the kinds of resources (buses, portable toilets, portable showers, and traffic control and who knows what else). 25% goes to advertising, and while I admit that seems really excessive, if it wasn't for that advertising, how would be ever get the cooperation of so many thousands of people who raised that money?

So many charities work so hard just to get a few million. The fact that mostly women, have raised nearly $80M for research just this year, is amazing. Every dollar is a dollar closer to knowing more about what causes and treats this terrible disease.

I also encourage all women healthy or effected to join the Army of Women an initiative of Dr. Susan Love. This effort is pretty amazing by getting the participation of all kinds of women for various studies, many of which don't require much effort at all from a participant. Please consider being a part of this effort.

And for those wondering why the heck I haven't been posting much lately, let me just say, Georgia High School Graduation Testing is all-absorbing! I also have some interesting developments going on in my life that I can't really post about just yet, but it's all good.

Ireland is about two weeks away, and I'm quite excited about the prospects. I spent a considerable part of today researching what to do and how, while in New York City on the 11th of April. I'm thinking very likely that I'll go visit Trinity Church in Manhattan. I'd like to visit the grave of Alexander Hamilton and some other famous folks there. This is the church that George Washington retired to after his inauguration for worship and guidance. There's a cool museum close by, Federal Hall, that I might be able to visit as well. I have about a 12 hour layover between arriving at LaGuardia and leaving from JFK. NYC scares me a just a tad, but I can do it!

I'm very uncertain about my energy levels when traveling my first big trip after treatment. I don't know how much I'll be able to do in any one day or how the jet lag will effect me. At this point, I'm planning to ZONK myself out with very legal, prescribed to ME drugs and see if I can sleep on the flight. I've never been able to do that before, but I've never thought about using major drugs to put me out before either! I'm hoping if I can genuinely rest on the flight and not sit next to the screaming baby or the woman with leg cramps that has to walk the aisle every three minutes, that I can rest some and arrive refreshed. So much more likely too, if I wear myself out in NYC!

Life is busy. Good but busy. It's hard teaching all day and trying to get things done for my one-half of my special education caseload. It's a tense time of the year for those of us doing Special Ed. It's always a RACE to see if we can actually finish the paperwork before the end of the school year. No different this year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I just finished a good book. Not a great book, but a good one. It made me want to find other books by Patrick Taylor and read them. I just finished An Irish Country Village. I was attracted to the book initially by the title, since I knew I'd be going to Ireland soon. I was really happy that it was set in Northern Ireland (part of the UK) because that's where my mom was from, and I hope to visit her little village, and maybe even find the street she lived on. But the North is different from The Republic and so I found myself "hearing" words and phrases that I found familiar. It was nostalgic for me in the sense that it evoked memories of my mom's colloquialism's that were not common to this country.

The story line is well constructed, and is reflective of real life. It's not up there with Water for Elephants or Three Cups of Tea, but it was like comfort food. Just satisfying. It's worth the $14.95 I paid for the paperback, and I don't always feel I've gotten my money's worth.
We are in South America in World Geography. I have been SPEEDING things along like crazy because we'd fallen so far behind. I'd like to spend a day doing some kind of fun, hand's-0n project though. I like to stop now and then and do something like that. I may have to run by Wally world in the early, early AM, because I'm thinking it would be fun to have the students make one of THESE. I'm sure that some students will slap something together, but others will make it a special thing and it'll be meaningful to a few. We've had to zip past the Maya and the Aztec, I'd like to spend a little time with the Inca. They're going to get to see a movie about the Inca tomorrow too. I don't show many movies, so that'll make it even more cool. Today we talked about the tidal bore that occurs on the Amazon. I think that's a very interesting phenomena, that only happens on about 100 rivers around the world. However, it's especially fantastical on the Amazon because the bore can get up to 20 mph and reach heights of 30-feet. They can go as far inland as 180 miles! It's fun sometimes to have this little known and useless knowledge to share with the students. I learned about this in Geology class back in college. It was fun to share it with the students today. Now 85 more people know about this phenomena than did before!

In the mean time, if you're looking for a satisfying read, that is the maccaroni and cheese of the book world, I recommend An Irish Country Village.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Made a Movie!

OK, I was TOLD to make a 15-minute movie of the one hour, 800-year history review. I stayed after work on Friday and managed to fumble my way through recording 16 minutes. After editing out some gaffs, it was 10 minutes. I'm happy that I managed to approximate some kind of movie to be shown while the students are eating the breakfast the morning of the Social Studies exam. It's not great, it's not fabulous, it's not 60-minutes quality, but somehow, someway I managed (with some help) to get the dang thing done. I was very intimidated by the necessity of having to make the movie. I felt WAY better about the whole thing when I found out that my tutor, and me were the only two departments to get the task accomplished.

I didn't do my shopping or lesson plans today, but I had a lovely time at the local park with family for a spontaneous picnic. The sunshine was fabulous. The kids had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun. I've read half a book today (well, actually yesterday now), and should be fast asleep. The alarm will come too early. But, I enjoyed the book the sunshine and the time with loved ones very much. I'll be a responsible adult tomorrow (well, actually today). ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Georgia High School Graduation Test

We're doing some free reviews for the GHSGT. Anything we can do to help students pass is so important to our achieving AYP. We made AYP last year by something like 1/2 a point -- the slimest of margins. So any little thing that can be done to help even one kid pass a GHSGT is important. In some ways it's kind of fun because the students actually listen to you. After talking for three straight hours, though, I had laryngitis and was really, really tired. I came home and took a nap. I'll do it again next Saturday too. Each review might mean just a point or two on someone's test so that they are a little more likely to pass the tests. Next week is all about preparing our Juniors for testing.

I will be teaching about Latin America, however. Wonder what we're going to do? I might need to think about some lesson plans soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mexican Culture and Food

Well I brought Burritos and made them at school. There were at least one or two students per class that either brought something like nacho chips and salsa, and at least one per period that brought something spectacular. I had some orange Mexican soda. I taught them to sing a song in Spanish. We learned about the history of the Mexican Flag, and Our Lady of Guadalupe (a mix of Aztec and Roman Catholic imagery), and I inflicted all three blocks of students with pictures of the Mayan ruins I saw on my vacation this past summer. It was total CHAOS and fun and exhausting, and I think there were some educational moments in there. Lord I don't care to do this very often, but I think it's a multi-sensory experience that excites and gets students very involved -- for the most part.

Lots of homework for me tonight as I get ready to do a review for the Georgia HS Graduation test in Social Studies tomorrow morning. Tired. Going to SLEEP.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Last Mid-term today, Food Day Tomorrow

$45 BUX! I bought enough flour tortillias and refried beans and cheese to make some simple burritos, and some orange-flavored Mexican soda. Nothing fancy. I hope the students bring something too, because if they don't it's going to be a very spare Mexican food day.

I'm going to subject the poor victims to a discussion of my perceptions of Mexico, AND my vacation pictures of Mexico and the Mayan ruins. Evil. I know.

The school wanted to offer a Saturday review of material prior to the End of Course Tests and Graduation Tests. They couldn't justify hiring a teacher unless they got 15 students to say they'd come. They only had 11. I volunteered to do the reviews those two Saturdays for free. I figure I can do a reasonable job on US History and Biology. Those 11 kids need their review. We need those 11 to pass their tests. We desperately need every single passing student possible if we are to make AYP.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2 down, 1 to go

Two of the mid-terms are done and tomorrow there is one left. Most did pretty good. A few somehow managed to fail, but I've thrown them a lifeline and am allowing them to take the test again.

Keeping things from getting too loud is a big challenge. It grates on me a lot the amount of chatter and background noise, but I think it's unavoidable with teens. I got a THANK YOU LETTER today from one student. Wheeeeeee!!!! One student asked me WHY did she have to do something THIS way (roll eyes, and hear a tisk)? I told her, "Because I am mean, and evil and just want to make life as difficult as pssible for you." She gasped, stopped and then just rolled her eyes again and finally just put her head down and started working.

Ahhhhh the wonderful phermones wafting through a room of 9th graders! It's just a phantasm of emotion every moment.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Scrambled Brain

I'm alive and I really like that. I really shouldn't bitch about things like this, but the trap-door brain I used to have is gone. I checked 45 times; I swear I did. The dates for Spring Break were IN MY BRAIN because I looked them up so many times. Yet, somewhere in the translation, I screwed things up. I realized it with a sick feeling in my stomach today, so I went about fixing things tonight. It changes some plans I had but that is just the way it has to be to get the cheap seats now, just a month before leaving.

I have two cheap seats on Delta for the wrong days that I'm just going to have to toss into the wind. It costs more to change the tix than to just be a no-show. I can't even give them away because they're in my name. Sux. And I never say that. But it does. At least I figured it out a month before rather than a week before!

Learning new things comes a bit harder now. It's really hard to recall certain words. It's frustrating sometimes. I know a lady though, that can't drive anymore or work or even get out of her house much anymore after her chemo, so I should be grateful! I'm alive and have some brain left. I get very frustrated with myself sometimes though.

Midterms are Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is going to be a FOOD day. Kids seemed interested when I announced the multi-cultural, multi-sensory experience of having Mexican. Tomorrow I'll look for some easy crock-pot recipe's. Not a big cook here. And the crockpot doesn't set off the fire alarm. Having set it off in the past, that's a pretty good criterion for me to meet. Gonna take some decongestants and go to bed. Night all.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday - - Bronchitis IV

I'm getting better. Not well, but better. I've turned in next week's lesson plans, and have been resting and drinking plent of fluids. I stopped to read the news tonight and was stunned to read about the Illinois Baptist minister shot dead in his pulpit today, and also of Obama's policy shift toward Cuba.

One of the churches I used to attend had a guy with a knife run right through a service some years ago. I believe he got trapped in the Sacristy and ended up being subdued by the priest and a few police chasing him. That is scary enough, but to be shot dead in the middle of a service ... I suppose you get assumed right into heaven from there. In the Catholic faith it would be instant martyrdom, but this poor Baptist guy is just dead.

Then they are also reporting an IRA shooting of two British soldiers in Antrim, which is approximately where I'm going in April. Of course, you don't have to travel to Ireland to see troubles. It wasn't four years ago we had our own shooting at a mall just down the road. Violence is everywhere. I'll try not to wear anything camo when I'm in Ireland and I'll be fine.

I'm glad that we're going to open up some to Cuba. It's another place where Americans are liked (at least right now). Maybe I can get to go there, a destination that would make dad spin in his grave, except he's ashes so I guess the dust is jumping in there, simply saying such a thing!

My lungs are clearing and I don't wheeze quite so much after a weekend of rest and recovery. I've planned a lesson plan next Friday that includes cooking Mexican food. Since I'm not much of a cook, I'm not sure what we will have, but I'm guessing after mid-terms the students will be glad to have anything to eat and relax a bit. We'll be SPEEDING through Mexico because we have to get moving to get through the rest of the world! I believe Middle America and South America come after Mexico.

Be well everyone.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Continuing Saga of Bronchitis

It's been a very tough week getting through work. The kids in third block today needed a teacher "thrown down," because otherwise they would have been in control. Technology defeated the best laid plans for 1st and 4th block today. The tour of the US that I wanted to show, was a bit of a flop but they liked the popcorn and were happy to have some of the pressure off for a day. Monday we "go to Canada." Sometime this coming week, we have to have a mid-term. Blaugh.

The crud in my chest is loosening up a bit, and it's easier to breathe but sounds very wheezy and rattly. I've been OUT OF IT all week, and am just starting to have some awareness of what's going on around me. If I wasn't in school, I've been in bed asleep or trying to sleep. I'm turning in soon.

I hear we are due for a dose of sunshine this weekend. I'd like to get a little on my skin just to get some vitamin D and let the sun bake some of this sticky mucus out of me. I've been "out of it" for the last week, so I hope I can rejoin the human race slowly. I miss my family.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bronchitis II

OK, so today I don't feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I can breathe a little easier. I don't sound like a seal barking anymore -- more like a gravel rattling in a tin can now. My students probably don't think it's an improvement, but on my side, it sure feels better. My ribs don't hurt every time I cough now.

I've been working this week in the place of my colleague and friend Jeff, who died two weeks ago. A long-term substitute has been secured to do what I was doing, and now I'm doing what Jeff was doing. It's a regular education job that is possible because I was able to get certified in a few social studies areas some years back. The school has made it perfectly clear that I revert back to special ed as soon as this special circumstance is over. I can, of course, apply for the job if I want to, but since I'm only certified in World and US History and not in all areas of Social Studies, I probably don't stand a chance of winning the job. But at least I'll have three more months of experience than someone straight out of school or something. It's hard for me to know what the possibilities are here. Right now I'm happy to just finish the year out in Jeff's memory.

While I've been sick as a dog, rat or snake this week, I've been trying hard to handle our old classroom. It's hard on the students, and hard on me too. I'm hoping that by next week when I feel better, we can do some more fun activities. I have to feel better before I can do too much fun. I like doing hands-on things though. I wish my first week with them wasn't so overpowered by bronchitis, but one does the best one can.

Right now my best friends are Coricidin HBP and Mucinex and my bed. Tomorrow we're having World Geography movie day with popcorn. The "movie" is of course a streaming video about the geography of the United States. Next week we move on to Canada!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Sickies, sickies, sickies. Sleeping any moment I'm not working. Damn but I feel awful. But I think I'm getting a little, tiny, bitty bit better today than I was yesterday. Just a tiny, tiny bit. Just did the technicolor yawn so I'm not a happy girl. Ready to feel better. NOW.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow Predicted

OK, predicting snow in the Atlanta area is like Johnny Carson playing Karnac the Magnificent. You might think you know the answer (snow) but nature may surely play a trick on you and most of the time the joke is on the forecaster.

Just a few days ago, Jenn, Jewel and I were out shopping and the purchase of a summer sun hat seemed very appropriate. Jewel models it in this pic. She was SO cute running around TJ Max in the hat, giggling while adults ran after her doing the Frankenstein run. We might not be ready for pool time just yet though.

Last week relatives in Vermont sent us pictures of their snow, which was pretty impressive I have to say. This picture, though, is of Georgia snow. It doesn't take much here to get folks excited and to bring the place to a halt. Right now I'm predicting I will work tomorrow. We'll see if that changes or not.

I have acute chronic bronchitis right now. An extra day to rest would be good. Alternatively, you can see the road is not icy (right now) so, I'd rather work tomorrow because if we're off another day, I'm sure we'll have to make it up some other day. We've already lost a day because of the tornado, and one due to really, super cold weather one day, so I don't want them taking back some of my spring break or something (especially since I've already bought tix). We'll just have to wait and see what develops. I'm ready for tomorrow -- if I go to work, or if I get to roll over.

2 - 4 inches Predicted

We'll see. I'll believe it when I see it.