Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Where Have You Been?

Well, I haven't been to London to visit the Queen. But I have been to the Las Vegas airport (three times), soccer practice, a baby shower, a wedding shower, lunch with my friend, dinner with my son's family, and church with them too, back to the Salt Lake airport, to my school, to a "training for trainers" writing seminar and, whew...home to blog.

This weekend I took a whirlwind trip to Utah to do some of those afore mentioned things. A couple of glitches occured on the trip:
The flight on Friday was delayed by 5-- no--51/2, no--now it will be six hours I waited at the desk and we agreed that they would just put me on the first flight out in the morning instead. So, Cool Guy came back to the airport and took me home for a (very) short night in my own bed before we tried the flying-to-Utah thing again.

As I waited in the security line, I realized, with a sudden lurch of my heart dropping into my stomach, that my driver's license was in the back pocket of the pants from the night before, now lying in a chair in my room at home. The only picture ID I had was my cheerful Elementary School Teacher badge. That (and a thorough searching, wanding, poofing of air, wiping my luggage with the little pads, and two trips through the metal detector) got me on the flight finally.

When I landed in SLC, before I'd left the secure zone, I stopped to ask some officials what would be the best recourse for my return trip--since I really, really wanted to be able to return the next day. [My last experience at their security, several months earlier, had been with Sgt. Anal-Retentive who objected to my careless packing of 3.5 ounces semi-liquids...] They said that there were a number of ID alternatives, work badges, passport, driver's lic-----PASSPORT???? DUH!!! I have a passport. It's in my purse. The one that was wanded and swiped and poofed and x-rayed. So, I just flashed that on my return trip and voila--no questions.

While on my 36 hour adventure, I did all those other things too. It was very fun, and is the reason why I made the big move from East to West--family milestones, and fun weekends with the grandchildren participating in their ordinary lives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Child, Right or Wrong

We had another one of those incidents at school yesterday and today when I wonder about parents who don't realize that this child is their kid for the rest of their lives, and decisions they make about misdeeds have long-term consequences. I'm not going to be involved ever again in 29 more days. Thank goodness.

This has happened to me before, years ago. A child yells obscenities at some other kid, or tells a huge lie that gets other people in big trouble (some adults in this event). Then the child gets ratted out by a whole variety of other children who are astounded or frightened or offended. The perpetrator is called on the carpet, evidence presented, the child--no longer credible---tearfully confesses, writes apologies, tells everyone they are sorry. But the situation requires parental notification because part of the consequence involves some loss of privileges at school and, well, it was horrible behavior and parents should be involved.

Then, the student goes home and--incredibly--convinces the parents that he/she didn't really do it at all. Everyone else lied, the teacher, the kids, the principal--everyone! And the parents come back to school and defend the child and insist that the child does not deserve the consequences, why are people always lying about their kid, what is the consequence for the other kids who lied, how can this teacher continue to be maligning my child only...etc.

It blows my mind. It isn't just poverty kids, either. If parents do this enough times, then what do they expect when this child is a teenager and the results of the misdeeds are far more than lost recesses? Do they realize that sometimes their child makes bad choices? It's normal. Dealing with it at nine years old is so much easier than when it involves the police and lawyers or unwed parenthood or expulsion. Sigh...I've raised kids. It isn't easy. But when your child is wrong, it's okay to support the learning process of natural consequences. And any child can be wrong sometimes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Odd Maladies

I found a new, unusual malady this weekend. In the process, I realized that I have completely rejected my well-meaning doctor's advice. But part of this is because perhaps I chose the wrong specialist to go to with my complaint.

On Sunday, a week ago, I began to experience pain in my left knee. It was aching, and especially so when I got down on the floor where I often sit and do school work, or put together photo albums, or other projects where I like to spread out. By Monday evening, my leg hurt very badly, but only if I crouched down, or climbed stairs. It didn't hurt to stand, or walk on flat ground. By Wednesday at noon, my leg was swollen tight in my slacks. It was obvious to my co-workers, and the school nurse nearly forced me out the door to the doctor. But I waited until after school to go. Again, the pain was mostly from blood constriction and so was really only painful when I knelt, crouched or any other activity that bent my knee with weight on it.

The doctor at the walk-in clinic listened to me, checked it out, called ahead and sent me straight to the ER for a sonogram to check for bloodclots. That was my thought too. However, no bloodclots! I hobbled through the day Thursday, then Friday I left school early for an appointment at the ortho clinic.

No, it didn't hurt when he did this, or that, or that thing either. An x-ray pronounced my joints to totally free of arthritis ("They are the knees of an 18 year old." I'm glad Trish can't read this--she'd have been jealous.) So, I think he felt compelled to make a diagnosis, and it was iliotibial band syndrome. He prescribed PT for 6 weeks and ice and ibuprofen.

That night I looked it up and read all about it. Hey! It is something that almost exclusively affects long-distance runners or other faithful joggers/runners. Well, that's definitely NOT me. So I kept researching knee pain all the while my stupid knee is feeling better and better.

On Saturday, I had a job at Primary Activity Day, and I spent part of my time sitting on the floor working with my little groups in the rotation. Up and down, scrunched all up--no knee pain at all! The knee is fine, no swelling, no pain. Hmmm.

Here's what I've self-diagnosed: pseudogout. Yes, it fits everything. It is similar to my annoying hip, and I have all the right symptoms. The cure/treatment? None...But next time my knee swells up ridiculously for NO REASON AT ALL, and I limp on it for a few days, I will relax because I know that it will also resolve itself after a while, just like that.

I'm not disrepecting my ortho doctor at all in ignoring his diagnosis, but I'm also not going to blow six weeks on PT for a condition that doesn't exist. So, I'll just find an immunologist, get a blood test for the calcium and check my parathyroid and we'll see what's up. Weird body...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Torture by Tedium

We had an "inservice" day today: teachers come to school for training, students stay at home. I just don't know where principals find these people. Actually, I think the woman "training" us today works for the district. She's come to our school a number of times. It is excruciating to sit through her presentations. I'm sure she means well, and I'm sure she's highly educated, and I'm confidant that her data and research are all spot on. However...her speaking style and presentation style is deeply irritating, and not just to me. The only thing that saved us is that she was only responsible for 90 minutes of our time today. But it brought home to me something one of my co-workers said earlier.

She told me how, when finding out she was a teacher, people would ask her why we had several of these days each year when the students stayed home and the teachers came to the school. (It was asked because they were peeved about having to provide other arrangements for their children since the free babysitting by college graduates wasn't available.) My colleague replied, "It is so we teachers can be reminded periodically how it is EVERYDAY for our students: trapped in a chair, forced to listen to someone drone on, no choice in the matter."

I thought that was very astute, and I was especially struck by it today when we came back from a bathroom break to find that lady setting up her presentation--utter dismay, uggh-how long will it last? Blah. So, I'll try harder than ever to make my classroom a place where students don't come in the door thinking, "Blah, her long will this last?"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Long Time--No See

I guess one main reason I haven't been bloggging is that my right hand is still very sore, and it hurts to type. My palm wound is irritated by the edge of the keyboard. Also, I've just had so little free time that I didn't use it blogging--I read the paper or slept. So here are some random thoughts:

We put up chicken wire fences (or cercas de gallinero) along the rows of peas in the garden yesterday. This morning I went out to look how things were doing, and, just as planned, the pea tendrils were curling around the wire for support as they grow up higher and higher. What struck me was: how do the faceless, eyeless pea plants know there is a fence there for them to curl their stringy tendrils around for support? Do they have nerve endings? Do they have some sort of primitive nervous system that senses the proximity of the fencing? Does this mean that they scream (silently of course, since they also don't have mouths) when you pick the pea pods? Maybe I'll just stick to tomatoes and beets in the future.

"La mano derecha me deule, la mano izquierda no me duele. " See what I've learned in my Reality Spanish class? I can tell you that the hand on the right hurts me, but the hand on the left does not hurt me. It was a thrill for my ELL students to hear me discuss my health with them en Espanol. This class ends on Tuesday and it will be a relief, because I've had an obligation every M-T-W since January because of this class (other things are sucking off my M & W) so I'll be glad to be finished with it. I have learned an amazing amount of things, however, and I'm really glad I took it. I must work on it regularly so I can retain what's there.

The weather here has become fantastic. Everyday it is just the right amount of warm--80 degrees. It cools off pleasantly at night. The pool water is warming daily. The sky is clear, and sunset and sunrise are simply exotic with the deep indigo sky illuminated around the edge with gold, hightlighting the black silhouettes of the palm trees and jagged mountains in relief on all sides. Wow. Spring in the desert.

We had a delightful visit from two of the grandchildren for a few days. We played in sand, splashed in the "little pool", and repotted plants. We went for a walk in the desert and looked at ants and spiders with the magnifying glass. We just lived the routine of a 2 and 4 year old for five days. I realize now why humans should be young when we reproduce---it is only then that we enough energy to keep up with tiny people.

I am booked for a trip to SLC in two weeks. While there for a day, I will attend a bridal shower, a baby shower, and a folk dance program in which our other grandchild is participating. Fun Times!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

First Swim

Today, I jumped in the pool. It was 69 degrees, but entirely tolerable. I think the ocean at Port Hueneme was colder than that most of the time when we'd take our early morning swim.

We have two of the grandchildren visiting this week, and the "little" pool is a popular place. Cool Guy heats up the hot tub to around 97 and gets in with S-Boogie and they play until they're both pruned. Today, I took one of my personal days off from school and so I was home all day to join them. We wanted an object that was floating in the "big" pool, so I just jumped in to retrieve it. I hadn't actually been in the "little" pool long enough to be all warmed up and the water in the "big" pool wasn't that bad. I swam laps for about 10 minutes and then got back into the spa. Which felt very nice in contrast. But, I'll swim again tomorrow, because each day, it just keeps getting a degree or two closer to fabulous. The secret is the amount of time the sun shines on the masonry around the pool warming it up. Also, the fact that it no longer cools off much at night. Our temperatures travel between 50 and 75 these days, so the warmth in the ground keeps the pool water warm. This winter I checked the pool temperature after I'd been circulating the filters and it was 47, brrrrrrrrrrrr.
Summer is a'commin'.