songspinner: (Default)
Posting here as well, since I'm in the process of switching over.

The journey to Mayo Clinic was what we'd hoped - some answers and some pending for our daughter. One thing that has a possibly simple fix for at least part of it, and one very complicated thing (a dysautonomia syndrome) that explains a hell of a lot about the last 5-7 years. That doesn't have a cure, but it has treatments and things that will ease the symptoms and maybe give her part of her life back that she's missed. And more possibilities for the future. The rest is pending because there are more test results and interpretations to come. There were a lot of tests - 4-5 appointments a day. And she got to see the inside of her heart. (she loved that, little science nerd that I've raised) Mayo Clinic is absolutely amazing - it's a medical city, literally. The main hospital is attached to a few big hotels (including the one where we were staying) by skyways and tunnels. It has its own food court, mall, pharmacies, patient education centers with classes when you get a diagnosis, free shuttles to satellite facilities, and a TON of help while you're there. So ridiculously organized! She had no bad experiences, and in fact had several doctors reassure her that no, her pain and other symptoms were not in her head, that the other doctors who said that were just plain wrong, and that they were glad she came to them.

We're exhausted, happy to have the beginnings of answers, a little scared at what this will now all entail, but hopeful for the first time in a long time.
songspinner: (triskelion)
I spent an hour standing on a beach today watching grey whales swim around and humpback whales feed on anchovies in the harbor mouth, along with harbor seals, sea lions, pelicans, two types of gulls, cormorants, and terns. Seeing these huge backs, fins, and tails break the surface in what seems like slow motion is just awe inspiring, and then when the whales were lunge feeding and you'd see these huge mouths open and then sink back down...also, it was adorable to see the mother/calf pairs, with one big spout and then one littler spout, one big back and then one smaller one just next to it. SO glad we tried to do this today, along with all the other excited people out on the beach and jetty. And SO glad that I live near the Monterey Bay.
songspinner: (triskelion)
Open House is done. *thud*. Watching my kids finish their projects this afternoon in my history classes was sort of fun...lots of shrieking, giggling, and problem solving. Only a little whining...

Daughter is sick and trying not to hack up a lung (inhalers are helpful). So no getting to see grandparents this weekend while grandfather is only done with one chemo treatment. Hopefully, she will get well quickly, with no drastic physical response to this virus. (She and I can actually have allergic reactions to viruses)
Immunologist blew us off in an INCREDIBLY rude fashion, even cutting me off while I was asking a question. Sigh. Switching doctors for that, now. At least daughter's pediatrician is really good. On the bright side, a brilliant doctor who's been helping my sister back East will do a phone conference with me soon and refer me to someone not too far away who has lots of experience in diagnosing genetic immune disorders. So back to square one, but at least moving toward square two?
songspinner: (triskelion)

My daughter on the right there is steampunk, female classic-Hawkeye from Marvel Comics and I am a steampunk, female Coulson from the Avengers. And that is Phil(ippa)'s "finger of doom" from the new S.H.I.E.L.D. show...if the angle was better here, you would see all the stuff hanging from my belt and the purple H on her can, however, see her quiver of trick arrows and the antique copy of Sherlock Holmes I'm apparently checking...We're not sure what Hawkeye did to get in trouble this time, but I'm reasonable sure Philippa is used to it. :)
songspinner: (owl family)
The first week of the school year is done and we survived. Whew. And tomorrow
will be two weeks. Some very cool kids so far, and a lot less of the antagonism
and stress compared to last year, and I have been enjoying the good questions they
ask. I already had to do some quick research to answer one..."well, did they have
messenger pigeons in ancient Rome?" The answer, btw, was yes.

My daughter is off to her first day of high school on Tuesday. Enough said.

And a very happy, joyful birthday to [ profile] piratesorka! I hope it was a good one, full of music, friends, and giggles. :)
songspinner: (triskelion)
Just sort of stunned here in Santa Cruz, and yet resigned and angry, too. Not how I want my city to be on CNN. This is the second gun-related deadly crime within several blocks of my house in a year, roughly, and both gunmen had a record of violence and sexual assault. This time, because records are not shared between states in the US, our police force did not know that this man had three guns on the property and that violent history. Would it have prevented the deaths of the two police detectives? I do not know. But we spent the late afternoon and evening behind locked doors, listening to the helicopters circling from our house and watching the news updates. Scary stuff. Our local sheriff's department is being very cool and taking over local patrols while while the SCPD mourns and tries to begin ghte process of recovry.

And this on the heels of a whole series of local, very serious crimes during the past few weeks. And one of our students had a relative killed by a gun last week just after a local teenager was also killed at a local high school event. The phrase "enough already" seems too mild. And for irony, this was at the same time an anti-gun violence rally was about to start downtown...
songspinner: (Default)
So today was the culmination for my daughter of two weeks of Celtic Music Camp. They had a concert, and the kids had a sort of orchestra playing all together and some of the older kids, including mine, had solos and duets. She went as a voice student originally, but the teacher in charge wasn't having any of her insecurity and said she was good enough to play basic guitar as well, so she did that class. And for the concert, she played the Bodhran drum for the first time...she's watched me play it her whole life, and got REALLY excited. Figure out all the basics in less than a week and kept near-perfect time in the big pieces, which made me really proud. Guess I know what she's getting for her birthday. :) She also sang a solo in Scots Gaelic! The silly part was that this year, the camp's theme was Vikings, so a lot of the kids and teachers had costumes. One girl I saw even disguised her fiddle bow as a sword! There were sword fights with weapons my friend's boys had made with PVC pipe, foam, duct tape, and paint, and this was a good place for it as it was at a site run by a former physics teacher who built a castle with water cannons and such for kids to play in and around (with catacombs) and a guillotine that was used after the concert to behead a poor watermelon.

A long and pretty good day. 24 hours from now I'll be getting ready for the first day of school.
songspinner: (Default)
Ugh. Alarms and all again and back to school on Monday. I spent today trying to get my classroom ready, and still have to do some stuff at home this weekend before Monday morning. Sigh. An of course it's my classroom tech that's not working properly today, so part of my weekend will be rearranging lesson plans for the first day in case I don't figure it out by then. Excited to meet my kids for this year, though! I sometimes wonder about my school district, classroom budget turned out to be $303...and 3?! How on earth did they get that extra $3?

My daughter's Celtic Music Camp concert to end the two weeks of classes is tomorrow, so that'll be fun. I have to cobble together a Viking costume tonight, as apparently that's the theme for this year's camp. :) And since it's my kid, she wants close to historically accurate.
songspinner: (Default)
And a happy Pesach to those who are going to seders this weekend! We're at my childhood home just now, and there is a lot of prep in the kitchen at the moment...charoset, soup, desserts...Gluten-free matzah for my daughter and for me arrived yesterday, just in time. :)

And a good Easter to those who are celebrating it...
songspinner: (menorah)
I got cards! Thank you to [ profile] piplover and [ profile] least one of the cards was cute enough that it was promptly claimed by my daughter to post on her bedroom wall.
We're sending out cards out this week, I promise! (a bit slow this year, sorry 'bout that...our rule is that if we get them in the mail before New Years, then we're doing pretty well ;)

It's nice having family nearby for a few days - went shopping with my little sister for a bit
today downtown, which was fun. And while we did that, my husband and dad got to watch the football game with someone who actually cared about it.

Off to get some gluten and dairy-free pizza started in the kitchen...and then the episodes of Sanctuary and Eureka that we taped last night.
songspinner: (pomegranate)
A three-day weekend. Huh. Far too much to do, and I spent the day off I had curled up reading or watching scifi.

Some days, certain parts of the last three tracks of the original cast soundtrack to "Into the Woods" are frighteningly applicable.

My child is definitely turning into a pre-teen. "But the other girls will all be wearing..." Uh-oh. Definitely a seventh grader.

My sister posted this last night:
"Insomnia + giant freaky spider in the bathroom=unhappy K. On the bright side, took the spider out by myself. ("took out" as in outside, not, like, with an AK.) Girl power." *giggle*
songspinner: (giggling)
Fun yesterday - Free Comic Books Day! So my daughter and I went downtown and got autographs by comics/graphic novel artists at two Marvel artist and a team of guys from Italy who did a great children's series. The funny part was that some of my students were doing a math competition yesterday and ran into us with their teacher downtown. They all had that "woah- a teacher in her natural habitat" expression, otherwise known as "my teacher has a family and a life?!". Heh...
The boys didn't care about the free comics, but the girls sure did!

Spent the morning gardening, which I can feel in every muscle today. There's a great plant sale every Mothers' Day weekend at a local college, and so we picked up some nice native plants...
songspinner: (grumpy owl)
Whew. Long day.

I had to give my kids a "benchmark" test in history (from the district), which covers material we still have 5 weeks to cover. Riiiiiight... That was a really big waste of a class period. I KNOW they don't know that stuff yet. I haven't finished teaching it.

On the brighter side, the first of the monarch butterflies we are raising emerged from its chrysalis today (in the middle of an assignment, of course...."BUTTERFLY!!!!") and so the class and I went outside after school to release it. It's a boy. (yes, there is a way to tell the difference by looking at the wing patterns) You're never too old to be fascinated by metamorphosis.

Also, I had to take a baby goldfinch (about 2 inches long) to the native wildlife rescue center for birds. Sigh. I keep a kit in my classroom because I'm sort of in charge of that sort of things now, so I hope this one survives. Nature day, apparently.

And a nice sushi dinner with my mom who is in town overnight for a meeting. Sweet.
songspinner: (pomegranate)
Wandered (as usual when I get to Whole Foods) to the Goodwill bookstore and discovered that someone had brought in boxes of comic books. :) So I called my daughter and suggested she and her father wander by on the way home and meet me...and she ended up with 9 Doctor Who comics. :) 6 from us and she paid us back for 3. Nice.

Had a marvelous time today with this year's history classes doing a "tea party" to review for the test on ancient Japan. Watching some of them follow the directions for proper bowing, try chopsticks for the first time with their classmates' help to pic up edamame (soy) beans, and try green tea (decaf, 'cause I'm not an idiot!) was fun, and then a few of them showed off their origami skills. I think one of the boys just totally impressed a whole passel of girls today!

And it's a good thing some of them volunteered for set up and clean up because my back is a mess and there's no way I could lift things or get down on the floor and then back up. Sigh. X-rays of that shoulder yesterday, so I'll see what happens. And I finally found an anti-inflammatory I can probably take, so it's on its way by mail, darn it. Because this hurts. If x-rays don't show anything, I think I'll ask about MRI's of both shoulders, since I'm pretty sure they shouldn't make those noises. If something's up with joints, I need to know. So it's cold packs, NCIS and White Collar, and entering grades into the computer tonight...
songspinner: (Default)
To blatantly copy [ profile] magickalmolly today: three good things about week and three bad things.

3 Annoying things about this Week:

1. Wishing a thousand messy deaths to the mosquitoes from hell that have invaded this week.
My daughter (who apparently inherited by bad reactions and by that I mean 5 inch diameter welts) and I didn't get a lot of sleep over the past week.

2. Bills. 'Nuff said, I think.

3. Being disappointed today that a couple of my former students, who had improved their behavior this year, blew it this week by stealing a remote control for some of the new tech and going around turning people's smartboards on and off during classes (during bathroom breaks, I assume). Sigh.

3 Better things about this week:

1. It's colder now, and I think it's killing the mosquitoes. *pumps fist in triumph* Finally got two nights of fairly decent sleep without being awakened by sharp pain and needing ice packs.

2. Glee last night. Rocky Horror.

3. New Zealand gets to keep "Hobbit". :)
songspinner: (pomegranate)
I chose that icon 'cause it's what I'm being sure to buy at Farmers' Market this week... :)

Back in our house again after a week of staying at my parents' place...our hot water heater died spectacularly and we had no hot water, so we needed a place to stay where we could take showers, etc. So now it's been replaced and things fixed (including the problem with the pressure valve that made things worse = $500 more...yikes). Glad to be in my own bed again at night.

My daughter went to her first middle school dance (a friend who is a boy asked her to come to his school dance and she got to go see all her friends from that school). There was *slow dancing* according to her, which was funny, apparently, when you're almost 11, and doubly so as the person she danced slowly with was really tall and she had to stand on tiptoe. :) That brought back some memories... They had a lot of fun and mostly just hung out and dance in big groups. It's just hard to believe she's old enough to go to dances!

I'm off to rehearsal now...time to sing...
songspinner: (oak)
My daughter is now the proud "mama" of two leopard geckos. A boy and a girl. We got them, and their tank and lights and all for free from someone who wanted to find a good home for them locally, so this solved the money problem in getting her the first real pet she's had. She is now upstairs alternately reading for her homework and sitting in front of the tank staring rapturously at the lizards. :)
songspinner: (oak)
Well, the marathon is over. Two days, three shows. The gig with the Celtic band was awesome, more fun than I've had in ages - I've really missed playing with those guys, and it was definitely in both senses of the word playing. :) Our vocal group had a lot of people comment to us that we had tight harmonies and great balance of sound and voices, so we're feeling like all the hard work we did paid off. Of course, we'll see what we think in several days when it airs on television... *YIKES* We'll be getting video of the Celtic gig as well, which will be fun to watch - wall to wall, standing-room only pub performance. We got the audience singing with us at the end, so that was fun, too. Singing with one of my vocal teachers was a little intimidating, especially following her solo work with a solo of my own, but she complimented me about my technique, so I feel really good about that. I'll put the word out if we get any clips up on youtube or anywhere else...

Now that it's done, my body is definitely demanding a couple of days of relaxation, though. My hands are really stiff and my calf muscles are noticing now much stress I put on them, so I think a visit to my mom's hot-tub is in order today if I can find my swimsuit. And at least I waited until Sunday morning to have a reaction to something - I managed to stop being doubled over in pain on the drive to the family thing, and seem to be well enough to bake something sweet and eat the results today.

My niece was totally adorable yesterday evening, and it was fun to get down on the floor and play with her dinosaurs (her current obsession).

And now I can actually start my vacation.
songspinner: (menorah)
Staff lunch was fun today, as we got to share goodies and find out who our "secret pixie pal" was for the last week. It's been nice at this stressful time of year for teachers to get little surprises in one's box each day. And tomorrow, I get to give away hundreds of books to students at my school who've worked hard on their reading - I got donations from four people (myself, the public library sale - free books for teachers, an anonymous person who kindly gave me three bags of books from Freecycle, and books that were being cleared from our school library). I'll be getting a little help from a few kids who want to set it up in exchange for first pick, of course... :)

My darling daughter does not, thank goodness, have strep throat, just an irritated throat from sinus stuff. I got her a berry shake at the juice bar that's at our favorite health food store on the way home from the doctor's office, and she and I had pancakes for dinner. Soft, gluten and dairy free pancakes with carrot and zuchini grated into them.

I was sort of freaking out there for a bit - between it being the last week of school and having three performances in 48 hours this weekend. Our director got back from Ireland several days ago and I was panicking in the back of my head - what if she didn't like the bodhran drum lines I'd come up with for the concert? What if I wasn't as good as the guy we had last year? But she loved what I did, so that made me feel WAY better. Now, everyone send health vibes my way at least until Sunday morning. In what is probably girly TMI, at least I have cramps now and not during the concerts!
songspinner: (pomegranate)
This is officially the day-to-get-things-done. After I've had my coffee and breakfast and checked my email and stuff, though. We'll need to get our family portrait taken (or at least our daughter's, so that grandparents and aunts will not fuss) - she had one taken at school, which just looked goofy, and not in a good way, so off to the mall photographer it is and cross your fingers! Haircuts before that and lots and lots of housework. Baking bread. Baking cookies. Sorting through stuff and donating it to our favorite charity thrift store. And grading of papers. And tonight is the celidh (that's Irish Gaelic for music/dancing party), and since I'm in the band, off we'll go for the evening.

I ended up using the incident at Fort Hood as a teaching moment yesterday, as we're studying the history of ancient Islam and the basics of that religion in my history class. I pointed out that CNN and other news agencies got yelled at by (?!) a senator from Texas (a Republican, no less) for spreading rumours and cultural misinformation. We all sat there in class and analyzed it all for bias in news reporting, and noted that the other incident that happened in Florida was "a former employee" and did not say "he is of Christian descent". The kids were sort of appalled that news reporters were suggesting by their methods that the religion of Islam had something to do with what happened, or that the man's reading a Qu'ran was a bad thing or wearing traditional Muslim dress was a bad thing. One raised her hand and asked if the reporters understood that Allah is just a translation in Arabic of "God", the same one Christians believe in and that the clothes the guy wore off duty were for modesty, and I answered, well, I wasn't sure based on the way the reports had gone. Glad CNN changed their reports by midday. And glad to know my students are starting to be able to recognize bias in the media. I really, really wish that the military would get better at recognizing PTSD and other related disorders. I've enough kids with that particular problem who are in my classes, never mind having dealt with it myself, to know how devastatingly out of control it can get in a person's life. I'm glad the president made a respectful and sensitive speech this morning...
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