A good night message

Here it is, past pumpkin time for me. I usually become one by 10, 11 at the latest, and it’s after that now. I said I’d come back. Here I am. My new keyboard is charging, has been all day. Why can’t people do that?
After marking for the better part of 6 hours, my right hand is pretty much dead. To top it off, I’ve also had some dizzies today. Now I have the worst of both worlds! Balance of a sort, I guess. Anyway, can’t do too much more, so this will be short.
A rant about students who cheat. They aren’t the good ones, of course, and why they think copying from another not-so-good student will be beneficial, I’ll never know. Do they think we, as markers, are total idiots? Can’t they see that if they both make the same stupid mistakes, and unique ones at that, we’re bound to notice Most importantly, why don’t they get that they will be the big losers at exam time? And you wonder why I won’t do this again!!
Good night, my friends. See you tomorrow. Maybe. After hockey.



A morning note

The sun is shining and I have decided to stop worrying about why I am in this funk. Experience tells me that it will go away in its own time. Nothing I can do will speed it up or change its course. Nothing except getting on with life. Celebrating, as Doug notes so wisely, what I can do.
By the way, hair is cut, keyboard exchanged (my old one was defective) and tea drunk. Did gain a pound last week but after almost two years of this, I know exactly why and I refuse to beat myself up about it. Next week will be better, or not. One more Christmas event on Sunday, then being vigilant for the rest of the week..
And now, on with marking….more later

Another not-quite-right day

So I took a day off from here, no class to teach, great lunch with Michael and Doug.  Came home after some shopping (groceries, not Christmas) and finished marking the quiz that the kids wrote during class.  It should be a wake-up call for them. 

But I still feel totally out of sorts.  Like nothing is right with the world.  The annoying thing is that I can’t figure out what is going on, why I feel this way.  I suppose I am having that constant battle that has plagued me forever – my need to be in control.  And right now, I’m not.  I can’t manage the frustration that comes from not being able to make my simple technology work.  Sure, it may be defective, but I don’t know that.  All I know is that it won’t work.  I am no longer able to deal with students who won’t try; my patience is non-existence.  I used to be able to …

And maybe that’s the whole thing.  Maybe I used to be able to but now I can’t.  Here I go again, trying to figure out what’s normal and what’s not as one journeys along the road to where this one ends.  It takes longer to prepare a meal; OK, I got that.  I need a nap many days; I got that too.  It’s harder to read the fine print; that will be fixed when my developing cataracts actually “mature” enough to justify surgery.  Etc., etc., etc.,

This feeling I have today, and have had for a couple of days, is not fun.  It is clearly made worse by the continuing dizziness and vision problems (blurring and shimmering problems, not fine print problems) and the ongoing search for balance between drug negative effects and benefits.  I feel like all I have to hang on to is routine and Doug (and Michael in his context).  If I let go of any of them, I’m convinced my world will spin completely out of control. 

Which it won’t, of course.  But tomorrow, after I do my weight loss report in the morning, I am going to get my hair cut, then take the keyboard back to the store and get a replacement.  Then I am going to take some of the marking load off Michael’s plate, since he has a great deal of it, and a lot of other stuff to do as well (he is a PhD student after all).  Doug is cooking lunch, supper is in the fridge, just waiting.  I won’t do more blogging unless something good happens.  Saturday will be good: coffee with my brother and then with a friend who has just had cataract surgery.  After lunch, we’re off to watch a hockey game.  Seven-year olds, including Adam, our great-nephew.  I’ll tell you all about it.

Sunday morning, we are going to church.  We are blessed with a wonderful church family, and on this Sunday, we are honoured to be able to help with the serving of Communion.  While this may not mean much to some of you, it does to me, and I know it will go a long way toward helping me over this life bump-in-the-road.  We’ll have to talk more about that faith thing as the days of school wind down and the days of freedom loom excitingly ahead.

For now, good night.  Marking calls.



nothing good to say

Remember when your mother used to tell you that if you had nothing good to say, keep your mouth shut (or words to that effect).  Today is like that.  I’m brimming over with frustration, at technology that doesn’t work, at continued dizzy spells, at blurry vision, at overdone pork tenderloin, at my inability to do simple math anymore, at typos in an already printed final exam.  Among other things.  Note, by the way, that the blurry vision has not become a major health crisis requiring immediate intervention.  I guess that’s progress on the journey.  And the other stuff may be part of the journey too, but I really haven’t the emotional resources to deal with that tonight.  Maybe tomorrow.

Peter, before you tell me, I know the blog is a place to let it out, to really let go, but I’m afraid if I do that tonight, I’ll end up sitting here crying.  So not tonight.

Doug, this is not about you.  You were my rock today, always there with a hug when I needed one, or even when I didn’t realize I needed one, eating the overdone pork and telling me how good it was, feeding me great cups of tea.  I love you so much.

Tomorrow, thankfully, is an easy day.  Instructor and course evaluation, done by Michael and quiz done by kiddies.  Then lunch with Michael and Doug, then errands, finally home to burrow under the covers.  Maybe alone for a while.  I feel badly in some ways that the course is almost over.  It is generally the best class I have had in years, with the best TA ever.  A good note to leave with.  On the other hand, I can hardly wait until I  do leave.  I never want to set foot in a classroom again, at least as an instructor.  I probably should look at why I feel so strongly about this.  Sometime.  Not tonight.



I spoke too soon….

So I spoke too soon yesterday. The maintenance guys (and gals) did the sidewalk and the strip in front of the garage door but not the driveways. And I kept thinking they would show up during the night like they did several times last year. But they didn’t so Doug and I shovelled my half of the driveway at 6:45 this morning. Only took us 15 minutes to shift what seemed like 2 feet of snow. My dear old Mazda will handle pretty much anything but deep snow. It has a pretty low profile unlike the car of the lady across the road from us. She cleaned off the windows (sort of) of her Lincoln Navigator and simply blasted out of her driveway. Of course when I left for work, she had returned home with whichever of her grandchildren she had gone to fetch and parked in the road, likely perhaps because she couldn’t get into her driveway or perhaps because she too has to be somewhere this morning.

And now a brief rant. The city has done a pretty good job of plowing at our end of town, at least for cars. Driving is fine but walking sucks. Most drivers were sensible, but the idiot behind me as I was turning on to Fanshawe Road needs to go for a long walk on city sidewalks this morning. Some poor young man was trying to get to the corner so he could cross the Fanshawe (heading north). The driver in front of me was waiting for him, which was not only a nice thing to do, but once the light turned green and the kid was in the intersection, waiting for him is the law. The guy behind me leaned on his horn! I was wearing my olympic mitts from last year so he couldn’t read the gesture I made. I mean, really! And interestingly, his new Lexus is the model without turn signals! Gotta go to work now that I got that out of my system — more later.

12:20 pm…waiting for a student to see me at 12:30….back twinges and hand numbness…should know better than to exercise

I got home about 1:15 and the driveway was still not plowed, but the part we shovelled was still clear and me and the intrepid Mazda just aimed and backed in as we normally do. Piece of cake. Now, at 8 pm, they have arrived to plow. Some equipment malfunction, apparently.

The other “spoke-too-soon” thing was the dizziness from Sunday. It’s still here, only from changing vertical position (tying shoes, picking stuff up, lying down in bed, etc.). Over-the-shoulder is OK so driving wasn’t affected. Nearly had a bout in class (sorry, Michael, I didn’t tell you, and I think I faked it pretty well), but managed to lean on something in time. So tomorrow is a day to not do too much. Cooking some stuff and working on the final exam marking scheme.

By the way, finished much of the course material today. Review time!!

I’m going to watch TV now, so good night all.


This is ridiculous!!

2013-11-24 16.07.48

I mean really! This is the last week of November not mid-January! The birds were terribly upset with us. The mountain next to the feeder is a squirrel baffle which today could have been a squirrel ski hill. The condo outdoor maintenance folks managed to get here about 3 but until then, we were definitely snowed in. Lots of opportunity to work since there was no way we were getting to church. That is until I reached down to pick up something I had dropped and nearly fell over. Took me a while to recover from the dizzy spell. I realize now that I changed two positions in a hurry, getting up from my chair and then bending down. Not bright. Had a nap and then went back to work. PROBLEM SET DONE!!! ANSWERS FOR PROBLEM SET DONE!! OVERHEAD PAGES PREPARED FOR DOING PROBLEMS IN REVIEW CLASS!! Tomorrow I’ll make the transparencies and then all I have left to do is the marking scheme for the final. I will be FREE!!
No more typing for today (except for answering emails from kiddies about their assignment). Go enjoy the snow if that’s your thing. Otherwise, grab your favourite beverage and watch the Grey Cup, even if that’s not your thing.


Snow squalls!

OK, I am going to complain about the weather despite knowing full well that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  I simply hate this weather.  When I was  21, living and working in Timmins, I expected it.  Golly, I even thought I would learn to ski — that was a disaster.   I fell in the parking lot, in fact never got out of the parking lot despite the urging of my friends who were planning to teach me to fall properly.  Too late!  When I moved to London, still young and foolish, I thought I would try cross-county skiing.  Fell in the parking lot.  Snowshoes didn’t pan out either. So I hate the snow.  And the cold.  Want to move somewhere warm, someday.  Perhaps I should become a bear and hibernate.  Perhaps this thought explains my love of teddy bears!

After coffee with my brother this morning, I got caught in the first of the squalls, driving in near-zero visibility.  At least, most drivers were being sane.  Then home with the tea from Tim’s and then spent time working on the legendary problem set.  It’s coming, slowly.  And tomorrow, it should be finished.  I hope.

I find it somewhat amusing the I haven’t even mentioned the hand thing or the finger thing for a bit.  It may be because the transformation process is working (!)  Or because I’m getting used to them.  Or because they are actually better.  The truth is that the splint on my pinky is driving me nuts.  It gets caught on stuff and gets pulled off several times a day.  It comes off on Thursday.  The thumb is another matter.  It’s still numb and gets worse as the day wears on, especially if I write, type or do stats problems.  I can hardly wait for marking!  The dizziness and grogginess are somewhat better, most of the time.  Have I reached the balance?  I don’t know.  I don’ think I can manage to do the writing I want to do with the right hand the way it is.  At the same time, I am not ready to risk more dizziness.  So I guess I’ll hang on for another couple of weeks at the current meds dose to see what happens.  I have been trying to convince myself that it is a bit better, but that’s hard to do right now.  I’ve been writing or typing or playing with my tablet for too long.

One more neat thing.  A phone call from an old friend who is facing his own set of demons allowed a 20-minute break from my own world and an opportunity to reminisce and plan our future adventures together.  Both of us know, I think, that the adventures are dreams, but we both also buy into them when we talk.  Who knows.  Maybe the history of mental health services in Ontario will emerge, thinly veiled, from our shared experiences.

But now, good night.  Thanks for your continued love and support.


Weight loss report ….

As of today, I have lost 53 pounds over the past two years.  Actually I lost most of it last year, butI’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve kept it off for a year.  Now that I am movng from maintenance back to loss, I am happy to report that  I lost 2 pound last week.  And I’m still not doing formal exercise.  Unless running around the classroom and then running around doing errands and then doing some stuff around the house counts.  It’s only some stuff around the house because Doug does so much!  I guess, as classes come to an end, I really will have to bite the bullet and go ride my bike in the basement.  

The day was satisfying in lots of ways.  The biggest thing was getting things sorted out for the student with the concussion.  I also managed to finish a draft of the practise problems for the class.  Now for the solutions….Things are beginning to settle down and I can almost accept that I may make it to the end of this semester.  I’m not saying it will be easy or that there won’t be times when I come close to losing hope again, but at least I can see the first glimpses of the tunnel that people tell ends in light.

My computer is defragmenting its hard drive as we speak.  There is laundry to fold and Scrabble to play again (perhaps it’s my turn to win).  So I had better quit this now and move on to other things.  In many ways, I feel kind of silly posting this stuff.  There is nothing earthshaking or even interesting in it.  Prosaic comes to mind (I think).  But if I’m going to write every day, there will be lots of days like this one. So get used to it, my friends.

And since you’ve read this far, please remember that I value your friendship more than you’ll likely ever know.



When faced with a challenge…

I started out today with fairly modest expectations. Laundry, tea with a good friend, get lunch on the table, have a break, do some work, get another meal on the table. You know the kid of day. Well, I’m pleased to note that I have gone two days without a nap, and for me, that’s an accomplishment, and that I actually got everything done that was on my list. While that may not seem significant to all of you, those who have heard countless times that pacing is the key to success (you know who you are), will appreciate that I have actually done something special. Mostly, it means that tomorrow I can actually get my stats problems typed out, maybe even finish checking them over and typing the solutions. Then, Monday I can get them up on the student portal so that any students who actually want to do some review problems can have at ’em! Once that’s done, all that remains is marking a little quiz, finishing the marking scheme for the final, holding three tutorial sessions, proctoring and marking the final. Thankfully, Michael will be around to help me through the last stages of it all.

At least that’s what I thought. Until I got the email from the student who has a concussion and can’t come to class or do any schoolwork until further notice. She wants to meet tomorrow as does her roommate. “But I’m not supposed to be there on Fridays,” I whine. Grumble, grumble, grumble. The roommate at 9:30, the concussion at 10, and then Wendy’s apple pecan salads for lunch. Typing problems after lunch….just might make it.

Yesterday, I was challenged by Peter (you can read his comment somewhere on this page I think) I said that I was going to “try” to post something every day. He said he was going to hold me to that commitment or haunt me for the rest of my life. Thankfully, he gave me 24 hours to think about it. So, here’s what I decided. The public accountability thing is really important to me, but I am also reasonably realistic about my capacity to function. Until I get through school and into the habit of writing every morning (my best time), all I can say is that I will do my best to post every day. What I will promise is to let you know my weight loss progress every Friday. At least every Friday that I can access the internet (thinking ahead to sea days in the Caribbean). I will write when we’re away and may even check my weight at the gym and record that in my journal. I really admire Peter who is training for a big raise and posts his workout every day. My workout of 12 minutes on the recumbent cycle is not worth recording, but another promise: that will change. And then I will record that progress as well.

So for now, I am off to spend some quality time with Doug. Who, incidentally, went shopping this morning and got our stuff from Costco, including our Christmas present to each other… or was that our cruise. No matter, we now own a super-duper, blend-anything, shiny stainless machine. Winter soup-making just got a whole lot easier!

‘night all,

In case you missed me …

I have been over my head with stuff for school, so I apologize for my absence. I know at least one person actually noticed that I had not been around. It’s funny; I was working on a set of practise problems for my students and finding myself unable to get the right answer. At least I had the right answer from last year so that I could check it before I posted it for all of the class to see. But I couldn’t get my solution to match last year’s, which I know was correct. Frustration is a nice was of describing how I felt. Inadequate, stupid, brain-dead and simply too old were some of the others that filled my head. BUT, I managed to avoid creating an illness episode, apart from the headache I got from pounding my head against the wall.

Of course, the full solutions to the problems that I laboured over this time last year are nowhere to be found in my files. Michael comes to my rescue yet again as he produces the neatly printed solutions that he had at home because he was the last guy to use them in tutorial last year! Now all I have to do is go home and figure out what I was doing wrong! Without making myself sick. I will do that, I promise.

One of my friends who reads this stuff but prefers to comment privately mentioned the public accountability that is inherent in sharing this journey. She said that it would be a valuable help in keeping me on track. I have wise friends. When Doug and I undertook our major weight loss plan last year, he posted our progress on Facebook every week. It was an incredible motivator. Since we stopped the “official program,” we have struggled to maintain our success. Although we have both managed to do so pretty much, we both want to lose more. And I have a lot more to lose than he does! Maybe we need to return to that public accountability.

Now that I am over the hump, so to speak, with my course stuff, I can try again to write something here every day. I’m sure I’ve said before that the best training for a writer (would-be-writer) is to write. So here’s the plan: write something every day, even if it is mostly stream of unconsciousness stuff (no, that it not a typo). I also want to get back to our ‘gym’ in the basement and ride my recumbent bike. After all, the cruise is coming! That may have to wait until after classes are done because I have to be honest; I am just too tired.

Right now, my right hand is starting to hurt again, and I have to do a bunch of hand written stuff this afternoon, so I better stop. Good news: physio is done and the splint come off my baby finger next week!