Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Swimming Along

Well, we are down a hamster. This one died quietly in its bed, rather than sneaking out of the cage and dying on the road to adventure. I think this will be the last one --I think we're past the hamster phase. And they were cute, but I can handle the less-mess.

Tomorrow is my one-month follow-up appointment with my surgeon, although because of scheduling issues, it's actually been two months. I am still having pain in my leg, but wouldn't you know that today it felt better? That's how it is with doctors. The day of the appointment it's never as bad, then the day after it'll get worse again. I'm actually looking forward to the x-ray because I'd like to know for certain that this pain is not an actual problem with the implant.

First day of school for Emma was yesterday --yes, I took no photos and I fed her a donut for breakfast. Because I'm a lazy mom in that way. Taking first-day-of-school-photos just isn't in my genes, and I've decided not to force it anymore.  She was anxious about returning to the chaos of all those kids, but I knew that she'd be fine once she was actually there. And she was.

We are having our first school year ever without anyone teaching evening classes. Both parents home, all week nights! It's kind of cool and relaxing, somehow. For many years, Rob chose to teach a couple of evening classes so he could teach the higher-level classes like Calculus. He did this because presumably students taking Calculus are taking it because they need/want it for their academic goals, and you could expect them to be somewhat motivated to learn. Not so lately. The attrition rate in the higher-level classes is now as bad as that in College Algebra --something that has really perplexed us. If you hate math so much, why would you go into a field that required you to use it? But anyway, he gave up teaching those classes and chose all lower-level classes which allowed him to have a days-only schedule.

One nice side benefit to this is that he now picks Emma up from school every day (well, M through Th. Neither of us has to be on campus on Fridays, so we'll probably divvy that day up). I drop her off, and he picks her up. This means my afternoons are a bit more relaxed. One of the things I'm looking into is joining the local Y, so I can swim in the afternoons, after I'm done teaching. It's kind of nice to have that afternoon freedom :-)

So this will be me in the next week or so:

Now doesn't that look peaceful? :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This Is Untitled :-) Because sometimes I just can't.

The tomatoes have come in. All of them at the same time. I may have to freeze some --I can't believe how great these turned out. None of them have ended up being all wonky or having any problems. And the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are just like eating candy, they're so sweet. (I've tried lots of yellow cherries that say they're like Sun Gold, but none has had this incredibly sweet flavor. This is all because of my mother's Mother's Day gift-certificate to me --White Flower Farm is very expensive, but their plants are consistently good.) So, today for lunch I cut up a tomato, doused it in some basalmic vinegar, and chopped up fresh mozzarella cheese. Yum! Although I should've planted basil and never got around to it.

It's hotter and more humid today than it has been all summer. It's supposed to hit 94 on Friday. Of course! Because the college semester has started, so I have to get all gussied-up and go in and teach. Emma is still off this week, and is in the pool with a friend as I write. And has two other friends coming tomorrow afternoon to swim. But she starts school next week, and the evenings are already significantly shorter, so pool time is rapidly shrinking. So sad.

I have two tiny scabs left on my incision, but my Physical Therapist okayed me for aquatic therapy this Friday. I'm taking that as an okay to swim in our pool this weekend too! So there.

I've made it through the first two days of the semester. Which means I've met each of my on-campus classes once. I tend to take it easy the first day of class --I like to get a feel for the class, just talk to them about what we're going to be doing, rather than jumping right in with a lecture. The MW class is small --just 15 students. They felt a bit awkward. The class today (a TTh class) is full, at 30 students, and had a much better vibe. It might be the time difference. The TTh class is at 10:30 am. Better students tend to sign up for classes sooner, and get the best (morning) time slots. The MW class is at noon, and afternoon classes tend to have a larger percentage of slackers.

I've been playing with a zentangle. It's not finished yet --there is still one petal to go. I'm not thrilled with all the petals, but I really like the more organic patterned ones :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2014


So, a few weeks after surgery I bought a Fitbit Flex. At the time I was able to walk around the house without a cane, so I figured I'd be walking miles in no time :-) I might have been a tiny teeny little bit impatient?

I went for the lighter blue. It's almost a non-color, so I figure it won't clash with most things.
Whether it was connected to that tooth infection or not, I am still having some pain when I put my weight on my new hip, so I still need the cane and some pain meds to walk. I can walk around the house, stores, across parking lots, but only with the support of the cane. So, no 10,000 steps a day yet for me. Instead I've been averaging about 3500 steps a day. It's about 3000 if I stay home, and up around 4000 if I run an errand. Starting Monday I will be teaching four days a week. In addition to an hour of lecturing each day, I'll be walking around the lab, and around the building in order to make copies and get my mail, etc. I'll be interested to see if that adds significant steps. 

Even though I haven't been able to go out and walk just for exercise, I have still found that wearing the Fitbit does have an encouraging effect. In the back of my mind, I think about how getting up out of my chair and walking to the kitchen rather than asking Emma to retrieve an item is going to add steps to my daily total. Given both the slight physical pain and the frustration of doing everything one-handed (because of the cane), it's very helpful to have that added encouraging effect.

It was Jen's post about her Fitbit that made me decide to get one, and even though I'm not terribly mobile yet, I'm really glad I did. Being in constant pain for several years is a great way to work yourself into a really sedentary lifestyle. I think the Fitbit will help me change those habits and help my overall health.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some Happy Thoughts

A nurse at the orthopedic clinic who can calm my fears over the phone, so I don't have to fit a drive to Madison into my schedule.

A wonderful physical therapist, who's getting a gift card to the best restaurant in town once I'm done with PT.

Liberal, progressive, friends who are compassionate, sane, and willing to work toward a better world for us all.

School prep. Creating new assignments and playing around with Word to make drawings of plate boundaries is so satisfying.

A daughter who is happy to move the car when it's in the way of a contractor. Yay! for teaching your kids to drive.

A daughter who is old enough to know what she needs in the way of school supplies and basically does the shopping for herself (we'll leave out the sky-high price of cheap PE shoes that seem especially worthless to me because PE is basically worthless).

An excellent cantaloupe. 

An almost-red tomato in my garden!

A good friend who picks up the one item on the teacher's classroom list we couldn't find so I don't have to make a second Target run.

So, that's mainly people, plus fruit, vegetables, and a bit of intellectually engaging work. :-)


Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Little Creation

Emma decided to play with clay yesterday.
S'mores were on her mind.
So she put some together.
They became a set of earrings and a charm bracelet. I'm sure she'll wear them when we have our next bonfire.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Not So Great Week

A week ago, I was feeling really good --I could walk around the house without my cane, my exercises were going very well, I had gone grocery shopping (grocery carts make great walkers, so it's a good way to walk with support). Then, last Saturday, I started having pain in my right knee (the same side as the newest hip) that was so sharp my knee wouldn't support me. We all get weird pains like that once in a while (right? right??) so I used my cane and figured it would go away. It was only a problem for walking --I could still do all my PT exercises. Then, on Sunday I developed pain in a tooth that has long had a deep filling and sometimes gets bruised if I crunch down on that side. I figured I'd bruised it again, stopped chewing anything difficult, and waited for it to get better.

On Monday, I was doing my PT exercises, but when I started to stand up from the floor, using a chair and my arms to help, the muscle on the top of my thigh felt like it ripped in half. I rearranged my legs and managed to get myself to a standing position, but I now can't use that muscle to raise my leg. I iced it immediately, but it's going to take a while to heal.

The tooth pain didn't get better. It got so bad that it took pretty amazing amounts of Tylenol (the only pain med I could take) to make it even bearable. Earlier we had decided that Tuesday would work in our schedules for car-shopping, something that was necessary since the Corolla was just too low for me to comfortably drive. So, with half my face throbbing and leaning heavily on my cane because of my knee and thigh muscle, I made it through Tuesday and ended up with a new car. It should have been a fun day, but I was too distracted from the pain.

Weds morning I got in to see my dentist, and an hour later had scheduled an emergency root canal for that afternoon. I also had a prescription for a 7 day dose of antibiotics, plus a prescription for a 4-pill dose before each dental procedure (2 for the root canal and then one more for the crown). 

The dentist who did the root canal said "yeah, you have a pretty good infection going here" as he was working away. He also asked if I'd been experiencing any pain in my hip, since the systemic inflammation associated with the infection could be affecting other joints. Um, what about a knee?

So, even though I am now driving this:
And it has more bells and whistles than I ever dreamed of (it would have been a long wait for my first choice color (alien green) so they offered a slight upgrade for the same price), it was not a good week. Here's hoping that as the infection subsides, the knee pain will also subside and I can get back to working on becoming fully operational again!

Monday, August 4, 2014


I had a conversation with Rob in the car a few days ago about Emma's clothes.

Sometimes I get so incredibly irritated at how women's bodies are just assumed to be sexual objects.

In general I have always supported dressing modestly in situations that call for it, and saving anything more figure-showing for parties or intimate situations. I've often wanted to have talks with my female students about how it would be better to wear less revealing clothing in class, when the focus is supposed to be on learning.

But today, during this conversation, I realized just how similar our society is to those that force women to wear burkas. Why does a woman have to cover her body up? Simply because men in our society can't view a woman's body without assuming it's only a sexual object. Men can run around with just a pair of shorts on, but god forbid a woman should show any cleavage.

Why should the female students in class have to police their clothing? If it was an entirely female class, would it matter what they wore?

Rob was not happy with a shirt Emma wore to her guitar lesson. It's a strappy top, probably intended to be worn without a bra (not that Emma did that: she's a 32C at 13, and feels more comfortable wearing a bra). If Emma's guitar teacher were female, would Rob have worried about it?

And I'm not meaning to bash Rob here --he's a wonderful man and he does not view every woman as a sexual object. But he sees that our society will be viewing his daughter that way, and so quite understandably he's working to protect her. But that protection is just a way of saying "boys will be boys", isn't it? I know there are plenty of men out there who don't view women as only sexual objects, but we all just go on accepting that society does, and we'll just have to conform. And the onus is always on the females. 

Lately I've come across some social media memes that address this --a woman in what Emma calls "booty shorts", with a sentence or two that states that her clothing choices shouldn't be restricted just because men can't control themselves. I've also come across the research that illustrated that men see women as objects rather than subjects when they're shown in bikinis. And in the end, I just find myself conflicted. And still shopping for clothes for Emma that will somehow meet the required standards of modesty. And is that really all that different from insisting that women wear burkas?