AGAWRITER's SparkPeople Blog AGAWRITER's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Making progress Sorry for the long gap. It isn't because I have n't been thinking about you, I just have been busy. <BR> Let's see, we moved into a third floor apartment (no elevator) at the end of last month. I'm still finding it a bit of a challenge to walk up-- it's been a while. Last night, walked three miles with a friend. Didn't go very fast, but we had a nice conversation. <BR> Today, I'm going to have the port taken out. Mixed feelings-- it is the end of my treatment, but I'm worried that they... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:51:56 EST Good morning Didn't realize how long it has been since I posted. We have been super busy. Sold our house, and are now moving, so that we can build one out where I work. I know that by December, it will have made this all worthwhile, but right now our house is a shambles and we can't find anything. <BR> Now, must go off to work. Look for good morning, part 2, coming soon to a blog near you. <BR> Tue, 14 May 2013 07:33:21 EST Over the adrenolin Just realized that I haven't posted here in a while. I finished the radiation treatments last week, and the exhaustion finally hit me. Also, we decided to sell our house and move to a new one. I keep telling myself that the short term pain is worth it, but hard to believe when you are in the middle of it. Anyway, all of the tiredness I didn't have during treatments seems to have hit me now. :( And I have a full day of babysitting seniors while the other grades test, again. This is the ... Wed, 24 Apr 2013 07:28:24 EST Just kidding Turns out that the resident who wrote me off for the rest of the year was making up her own protocol. Saw infectious diseases, and they sent me back to work. (Actually, they could barely contain their laughter, I swear the nurse was giggling, and then sent me back to work.) Which is a good thing, except that today I am feeling so burnt and sore I wish I were still in bed. Oh, well. Three more days of radiation, and then things should start healing. Just wish I had something that actuall... Wed, 17 Apr 2013 07:25:10 EST Another setback Another quick turn around. My doctor's nurse came in to the radiation room to tell me to come to their clinic when I was done. I thought it was because they changed their mind about the pain meds. It was actually because a culture they did to clear me after the MRSA eye infection came back positive for a respiratory infection, and I am not allowed to go to work for at least a month. Which, for a teacher, and the way my disability works, means not this school year. So I need to go in tom... Fri, 12 Apr 2013 22:44:46 EST Quick radiation question I posted this somewhere else, but am hoping that someone has some wise words. <BR> I am in my fifth week of radiation, and just last night started having a severe pain in the area being radiated. Not the skin, which is nice and burnt, but more of a muscle/ nerve pain whenever there is pressure on the area-- lying in bed, or just a hand touching the area. Anyone else have this? Wed, 10 Apr 2013 19:33:54 EST Radiation, Week 5 I have now got to the point where parts of me look really nice and burnt-- including the part of my neck where the seatbelt rubs. Now, have a moleskin covering. The doctor says it doesn't look like it will blister this week, so we are good to go. Next week's treatment doesn't include most of the burnt areas, so just more days. It is still a puzzling thing. First, because I was originally there as a melanoma patient 12 years ago, so doing anything that burns just goes against everything e... Tue, 9 Apr 2013 07:30:42 EST Seriously... Today may actually have been a new low for me in my teaching career, at least in terms of hating students. Today, we had to entertain our seniors while other grades were testing (this is one of the completely ridiculous ways in which we stop educating people to measure their education). Someone decided they should take a practice SAT. I already knew this was a bad idea, as I had to get them to register, and they quite rightly pointed out that they had already taken it, and been admitted to... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 22:12:51 EST Ups and downs I realize that it has been a while since I've posted. Last week definitely started as a down. Huge fight with my husband that he just doesn't see cancer treatment as debilitating, so I should be doing what I normally do. Considered dropping out of treatment. rest of the week was not necessarily up, just not as far down. Now I am just chomping at the bit to be finished. Work was not much better. Someone had a clever idea about what the seniors could do during testing (doesn't it seem ob... Tue, 2 Apr 2013 07:31:25 EST Sunday Update Had a lot of fun with a friend yesterday. She moved to Texas from another state, so I took her to some small towns, and an antique rose store, and a small town restaurant. Lots of normal life. Tomorrow, back to work. Check in with my doctor in the afternoon before radiation. I am having lots of back pain that I hope he can help with. It is bothering me a lot more than the other side effects. <BR> And, a thank you to all of you who are reading this. I just love looking at my e-mail and ... Sun, 24 Mar 2013 21:00:17 EST Radiation, week 2 Finished week 2 of radiation. Four more to go. It seems to be up and down. Computer crashed in the middle of my session yesterday, so I spent an extra 30 minutes on the table. Really sore today. Also overdoing at work, but the kids get excited, and then I get excited, and suddenly it is the end of the day and I'm worn out. Decided to give myself some time out, and made them read. Fortunately, the fact that I have come back feeling better has reinforced to them that I expect particular ... Sat, 23 Mar 2013 00:39:07 EST Update 2 Rainy morning here. Tomatoes should be happy. <BR> Came home from treatment really sore and burned feeling. Tylenol seemed to work. Not looking forward to today, as it is the one that is focused more on skin. <BR> Work was complete shambles yesterday. We have a teacher who was on administrative leave for months, who finally came back in January. Anyway, she told the department head, with a lot of curse words, that she would not be coming back next year. Now she is angry because she wa... Wed, 20 Mar 2013 07:25:32 EST Quick Update Weekly with the radiation oncologist yesterday. He said everything looks 'as expected," then surprised me by saying the radiation is drying my skin, but he doesn't want me to put any cream on it yet. I was so surprised I forgot to ask why. And apparently an issue with my eye is back. I developed an eye infection at Christmas, but the oncology people punted to my GP, I think because they were all going on vacation. By the time I got up there and they looked at it three weeks later, it ha... Tue, 19 Mar 2013 07:15:54 EST Radiation week 1 The radiation part went well, the spring break was a dieting disaster. My husband and I were both off, along with the children, and my nieces were in town. so we had a diet disaster. I'm trying to decide if I should redefine my goals-- get through radiation first, then try to lose weight. <BR> Off to my in-laws for the night tonight. This gets me in trouble with my parents, because I forgot we have play tickets. However, might change play to a single, and let my husband go-- it is somethi... Sat, 16 Mar 2013 11:05:52 EST Spring Break, radiation Back to work wasn't too bad. unfortunately, in my absence, one of the other teachers set the due date for our research paper-- the Friday before Spring Break. Who does that? We aren't even planning on reading them for two weeks. Now, about a third of the students haven't turned them in, and I have no way of contacting them. They were told that they would lose 50% of their grade if it weren't in, which is in complete violation of school policy. Now I'm trying to work something out, and I... Mon, 11 Mar 2013 11:51:26 EST Back to work, the prequel Went in today just to set up-- make copies, check lesson plans, talk to my team. Ended up staying for 2 hours. Sat with the lunch group, called some parents, sent out parent e-mails about extra credit. All of my copies are set. Need to figure out things like what to wear, and I need to remember to check that all of the neat new marker points on my chest don't show-- watch the neckline. However, I think that I am more than ready for them, and, I have already explained to two parents that ... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 21:08:21 EST Meltdown Had a meltdown yesterday after incredibly long appointment at the doctor's. It is bad enough to have to wear one of those stupid gowns, without being kept waiting two hours. Didn't get most of what I wanted done, and came home and ate everything that couldn't run. Went back today to get the markings for my radiation treatment. Found out that they lied to me about being able to take a bath. Was really wanting one, as my hip hurts. Anyway, just completely stressed, with everything and sta... Tue, 5 Mar 2013 22:00:08 EST Unsettled It seems to have been a perfectly good Friday, and yet I am finishing it up really uneasy. Went shopping and to lunch with a friend, drove children, got teenager to clean her room. Had a strange conversation with my daughter. She said that one of her friends said that everyone with cancer on TV spends all of their time crying, does your mother do that? Daughter replied: No, she mostly watches TV or parties with people. TV is too melodramatic. <BR> <BR> And I just don't know. <BR> Fri, 1 Mar 2013 21:47:20 EST Tomatoes, I'm going back, husband is losing job Went out and bought tomato plants today. We might still have a light freeze down here, but for the most part, we seem to be into spring. Now, if I can just win back the tomato bed from the dogs, we should be in business. <BR> In other good news, HR has said I can plan on going back to work next week, although they are still seeking clarification for some paperwork. Now, I just have to get excited about back to work. <BR> And, my husband found out yesterday that his grant won't continue, ... Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:57:01 EST Breast cancer, back to work I am (if HR gets the paperwork right), going back to school next week after being out for chemo all semester. My students knew I was sick last semester, so it wasn't a surprise to them. I am planning on working the two days before spring break, sort out some serious grade issues with them, and then send them off with make-up work so we might have a graduating class. I am, however, nervous. I've never been gone from class more than 3 days, and I hear that there was absolute chaos when I first ... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:02:16 EST Breast cancer Now that I have written that title, I am not sure what to say. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. Since then, I have lost a breast, had chemo, taken off work, stressed over finances, and gained weight. Who knew that chemo could cause weight gain? Now I am done with chemo, and about to start radiation. And I'm back on here as a way to try to get my life back. I have erased all of my previous goals, and don't know what to put in their place, other than get back to work, if I can ... Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:07:36 EST Out sick I had something last week, which made me run down, with sinus problems and headaches. That finally went away last weekend,only to be replaced by a low grade fever, and the feeling that I've been run over by a bus. Took today off, and then spent the part of the day when I felt alive grading papers online. Then realized that a bunch of students hadn't turned in the papers electronically, so went up to school after it was out to call parents and make sure my room is ready for a sub tomorrow. ... Wed, 11 Apr 2012 18:29:12 EST Saturday It was a very long end of the week. Lots of meetings on Thursday, and then I was back to not feeling good on Friday. I took my walk on Friday, but not Thursday. Took two days off the videos-- too sore and achy in the mornings. Will try again tomorrow. <BR> Off to the cabin tomorrow. This should be a good thing, but it's as usual made difficult by my family, and all the other things they want to do. And, of course, they are all mad at me when I respond to their requests to leave late a... Sat, 31 Mar 2012 09:00:16 EST Wednesday (feel like it needs a check mark) Well, it was a hard fought Wednesday, but I made it through, and took my walk even though I was too tired and too sore. Also finished updating a power point for a presentation I'm giving tomorrow-- my National Certification is offering new opportunities/ responsibilities. Unfortunately, what I really want is my mentor's job, but I can't have it, because, well, she has it. But I think I would really like to go into teacher support and development. Anyway, tomorrow, I will be trying to talk... Wed, 28 Mar 2012 22:12:33 EST Tuesday Let's see. Spent most of the day with those sinusy, too sick to work feelings, only to realize at the end of the day that I'm also not sick enough to call in. Oh, well. Here's to antihistamines.... At least tomorrow I have an off period. And Thursday I have a presentation and can't be sick, and Friday nobody can get a sub, so being sick is illegal. Illness cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. :) <BR> Did make myself do another video (yeah), and took a 30 minute walk, so can check thos... Tue, 27 Mar 2012 21:18:45 EST Monday I think I did some good tracking today, and tried to eat within our budget (i.e. out of the pantry). It's been an expensive few weeks. My oldest did a workout video with me for bootcamp, got me started. And I seem to be over whatever the sinus stuff was yesterday. Isn't it amazing how that happens in time for work. Just had one incident where I lost my voice. Still, trying to decide if I should go to bed at 7.30. or go for a walk. (Lot's of good books on my kindle.) Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:31:13 EST Sunday I know I've been avoiding writing, because things haven't been going my way, and I hate dealing with that. I always say that it is amazing that my daughters are competitive athletes, because I always preferred a book to sports, but the competitive they definitely get from me. I hate it when things don't go my way, and not meeting my realistic goals, not to mention the unrealistic ones, is just hard for me to deal with. (In fact, one very ugly week, the scales said I gained 4 pounds. Real... Sun, 25 Mar 2012 17:51:31 EST Can we tell them it's what they eat Spent today testing a bunch of flatulent ninth graders. Would love to explain to them that part of the reason for that is because of their diet-- many of them brought lunches that consisted of chips (red hot cheetos) and red Gatorade. I'm torn from feeling sorry for the mother whose school lunch was deemed unacceptable, and the fact that every teacher I know hates their lunchtime class, probably because they are on a sugar/ salt/ food coloring high. And we all try to get that period off so... Wed, 7 Mar 2012 19:38:49 EST I wanted to jump ahead, and call it Wednesday... Today is the day that I teach all day, without a break, except lunch. It is my least favorite thing about my school, and makes me wish sometimes for a different job. Tomorrow I am supposed to have a double off period, except that I'm testing, so I don't actually have an off period until Friday. So, what are the chances I'm going to yell at some poor, unwitting student on Thursday? I love it when failure is planned into the system. <BR> Which reminds me of another student, who is writing ... Tue, 6 Mar 2012 21:04:00 EST Progress Drove the children all over, got stuck in traffic (trying to decide if I'm nosy enough to look up the accident), and still came home and cooked. Progress for the calories and the pocketbook. And then I went for a walk. Also, one of the children who is usually a pain walked out, because I told her I was tired of the backtalk, and later walked in, made a peace sign, and behaved for the rest of the period. Sadly, then turned in a dreadful paper. Oh, well. <BR> Mon, 5 Mar 2012 21:11:45 EST Does this need a title That's one of my favorite questions from my students. I try to tell them a title indicates that they have narrowed their focus down to a couple of word summary, but they are unimpressed. And this doesn't seem to have a summary. <BR> Didn't log food for the last couple of days, and the scales this week showed it. Want to go into immediate panic mode about goals, and what I want, etc. I did track yesterday. Went over a little bit, but made better choices than I otherwise would have. (Did ... Sun, 4 Mar 2012 09:51:06 EST Things done, things left undone I read the motivational blogs from Sparkpeople, and they are so beautiful, it makes me feel absolutely witchy. I remember a description of a writer, with a beautiful lady at her ear, whispering, you can't say that, change it, that's too mean. I'm at the point where I would really like to do a reality check with my students, and say, "So, you want to be an ob/gyn, but you were in my remedial science class because you can't pass the science test, you aren't taking a core science your senior y... Sat, 25 Feb 2012 09:18:52 EST Need to get started I am going to try not to beat myself up about not having started working on the novel yet, and instead am envisioning sitting in bed in a little bit and working on it. It has been that kind of day, starting with forgetting my lunch, but running to the store to get something in my ranges, rather than trying to figure school lunch calories. Had a meeting in which both parents of a student cried (he of course wasn't there), but decided to have a snack of pita chips and bean dip instead of the ... Wed, 22 Feb 2012 20:40:29 EST Mardi gras Not everything is ready for tomorrow, but I guess it could be worse. And, a week into tracking I'm staying in my ranges, mostly. I just wish the days didn't go by so slowly, and the weeks so fast. It is already the end of February, and I find myself confronting the most unmotivated group of students I have ever encountered. I give them extra credit, they don't do it. I offer extra credit if they all bring back their homework, and they don't. (One class had one person turn it in.) And th... Tue, 21 Feb 2012 22:35:53 EST Other people (just venting) For some reason, my mother has made it her recent mission to drive me crazy. Dropped by with my sister today, so my sister's children could see our new rabbits. I told them I was doing housework, but they could come. My mother then starts folding my laundry, and tells me that she would be embarassed to have people over while folding. Then, she finds a pair of my daughter's shorts, and lectures me on how inappropriately small they are. At least, until I pointed out that she bought them. ... Mon, 20 Feb 2012 12:17:55 EST Getting ready for Lent This time last year, I was completely, absolutely, focused on a goal-- getting my National Board Certification for teaching. I went to meetings, 2 hours a week, wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again my entries, did more hours of videotaping and editing than I thought possible, just to decide that it wasn't write and start over. Now, I want to put that same dedication into finishing the middle part of my novel this Lent. I've taken back my desk, liberating it from all the things that don't go a... Sun, 19 Feb 2012 10:24:39 EST Saturday detention I am sitting here teaching Saturday detention, thinking of all the changes that have happened in the last year. My husband has changed jobs several times, and never for the better. My elementary baby has started middle school, and not without hipcups. And I continue to be in charge of scheduling, planning, budgeting and chauffeering. In the meantime, I gained back all the weight I have lost, and then some, and have avoided coming back here because of acts of responsibility like I don't wa... Sat, 22 Oct 2011 12:31:57 EST Back again I guess this is a several month summary entry. <BR> <BR> this year at school has been horrible. We are understaffed, undersupported, and morale is down the toilet. I work with people who I cannot begin to figure out, and, at this point, don't really care to. I feel my blood pressure going up as I write this, and that has been another problem-- I've gone from always having good blood pressure to having it go through the roof. So, for Advent, it is time to start taking care of all of it.... Sun, 28 Nov 2010 22:07:08 EST First day of school tomorrow Hopefully, I'll get back to a routine. This last month has been wonderful, but I haven't even been aboe to guess at the calories. Now, there will be many fewer choices. <BR> Of course, school also takes up most of the day. Spent today gettingthings ready-- cleaning, laundry, etc. I guess I'm ready to go. Sun, 22 Aug 2010 20:44:57 EST Back, again After a series of interuptions-- a friend's mother died, a visitor from the Czech Republic. But mostly, being tired of not seeing anything budge, not to mention missing a lot of my goals. Some things I have managed to do-- private skating lessons are awesome, progress on the novel is not. Losing the next ten pounds, not even started. In fact, I'm sure I have gained some of the last 10 back. (DId I mention fried cheese? My friend from the Czech Republic made it. You take a wedge, flou... Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:21:55 EST Students, former and future My teenager got me on facebook this week, and I have been catching up with former students. A lot of them are from an urban school with a bad reputation, soI am pleased to report lots of college degrees, international travel, and not too many children, yet. and some of them even have English degrees. <BR> Private lesson today was fun. When I got to the rink, a group approached me from my school, to make sure that I was who they thought. I should have them in class in 2 years. First thing... Fri, 30 Jul 2010 19:44:49 EST Quick blog Five minutes until the driving children part starts. Okay, child-- one of them has gone off with a friend for a few days, leaving me with an only child. However, today we are going to skate, have lunch with friends, and their new baby, and then maybe make a diet buster for dinner. (Gordon Ramsey's mac and cheese-- she and I are huge fans.) <BR> And somewhere in there, will look for some writing time. Had caffeine too late yesterday, and now am very groggy. I guess I should have been writ... Wed, 28 Jul 2010 08:59:36 EST Almost month end The problem with months ending, is that there are so many things left undone. My book, which is always on the goals, never seems to make it on the prioroties. And then dinner tonight was ata Chinese buffet, as we had a surprise dinner with my sister before she returned to Austin. I love my sister, but writing all of those calories hurt. Going when I usually go skating hurt. But tomorrow, skating is in the morning. Don't know when writing is. The problem is, I'm not sure exactly how my ... Sun, 25 Jul 2010 22:37:41 EST home again Northern Arkansas is one of my favorite places-- the river, streams to explore, and so many houses just begging tfor people to peer inside (metaphorically, of course), and tell their stories. It is hard to get excited about ranches houses, 1956-1960, built with lax building codes, such as we have in my neighbourhood. Lots of hummingbirds, butterflies, deer, and our first wild turkey. And so much fried food I'm afraid to step on the scale. <BR> Then home, and immediately fighting with DH.... Sun, 25 Jul 2010 01:20:57 EST Back, and leaving again Spent this last week at an AP workshop. I think that my next goal is to become a consultant. The one that I had was very knowledgable, but not very exciting. I found it interesting that she despises the technique of having students' hook the reader at the beginning. Now, I'll admit that for most timed essays its not a very efficient use of time, and that until they learn to do it, it can be very cliched, but never to do it? Not sure about that. However, the information she had was very ... Fri, 16 Jul 2010 09:05:12 EST Cleaning day Going to the cabin to clean. The problem with not living somewhere is it does tend to not get as cleaned as it should-- time to go after all the hidden bugs. Saw a friend of mine without children, who said she was bored this summer because she finished all of her house cleaning the first week after school let out. Clearly does not have children. I have finished two rooms, and need to get to two more. <BR> <BR> Still at the same wieght, even though I've been increasing my workouts. It ... Sat, 10 Jul 2010 11:05:49 EST Lapsang souchang This was my favorite tea when we lived in Scotland. It is a bit strong for me to drink regularly now, but today I am out of my regular teabags, so it is brewing in a pot. It smell like woodfires burning, and I am instantly transported back to a tearoom in Saint Andrew's, eating salty ham sandwiches ata table with the other women on my course. I was the only one drinking from my pot, as most people don't like this tea. I should be good and awake today. <BR> My big event for today is callin... Fri, 9 Jul 2010 10:02:48 EST A bit down Had a really good weekend away. Since my parents were with us, there were some bad choices-- fried chicken, etc. Eating out on adaily basis-- my mother no longer believes in cooking. But the holiday was nice. The local fire department does a barbecue, and has fireworks later. Didn't enter anything all weekend, and then didn't enter anything when we came back. So, no nutrition since last Friday. Added to a bit of not feeling myself. Fighting with DH about money, and his lack of job-hun... Thu, 8 Jul 2010 11:24:11 EST Taking my troubles for a weekend away Dogs, DH, children, parents... packing them all up for a weekend at the cabin. It's nice-- there is a community fireworks, set up by the fire department, who will probably sell barbecue. And, after the rain we got yesterday, there shouldn't be a burn ban. However, my mother needs a lot of entertaining. I'm surprised I haven't heard her complain yet about not being able to swim with her arm. Oh, well. I am also taking a bunch of stuff from work. Finally went through the syllabus for ne... Sat, 3 Jul 2010 09:47:38 EST Cathedrals and stories <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Whenever I think of cathedrals, I think of Durham (northern England). It was built almost 900 years ago, and is just amazing. Unlike other cathedrals, like York, there were few burials inside, so it doesn't have all of the ornate tombs. (A few though, and a cemetery outside.) Most of the ornamentation is hidden behind the altar, where there is a shrine to St. Cuthbert. (Always remember to look behind the main ... Thu, 1 Jul 2010 10:03:06 EST