Monday, August 31, 2009

four times great

In yet another stroke of amazing math luck (I only say that because I'm trying to keep math at the forefront of my brain so I can absorb it by something scientific like osmosis), where was I?

Oh yes. Just imagine this.

Number 1. Last night, while riding our wonderful bikes, Jr told me that a client came in to his work and said she had seen him out riding his bike with his girlfriend and they seemed to be having a great time, laughing and riding and talking. And Jr asked her if the girl had short dark hair and was riding a wonderful pink bike and she said yes. And that's when Jr told her he was riding his bike with his mom.

Number 2. Jack and I headed south tonight to visit the southern girlies, who were delighted to see us, in fact, so delighted that the absolute moment I exited the truck, I was greeted by the sound of a delightful three-year-old's happy voice, squealing, "Gamma, Gamma, I'm so happy to see you!"

Number 3. Jack and I and the girlies and their parents headed over to Five Guys Burgers and Fries where we had the best not homemade burgers that tasted like homemade burgers without the cleanup mess.

Number 4. While driving up our street, Jack asked me what I thought was the story behind the two pieces of exercise equipment in front of the house we passed and I said what exercise equipment and he turned around the truck and pulled up in front of a commercial grade exercise bike and elliptical machine and when I went to the front door to ask what the story was, the woman said the local charity was supposed to come pick them up but never showed up and in a streak of sheer genius--or perhaps tightwadishness--I asked if she wanted me to haul them off for her and she paused for just a second and said, yes, please, let me get you the cord and Jack and the boys loaded the equipment into the truck and brought them home and now I will have some exercise equipment to use during the winter months when my bike doesn't want to go out in the snow and I don't have time to ski all day, day after day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

i'm bobbing

The sore lip is almost completely healed.

Made contact with all three teachers/classes. Semester will be good.

Finished massive amounts, copious amounts, incredibly amazing amounts of work in the past three days.

Breathing normally again.

Very good at keeping my head above water.

Time today will be spent cleaning, cooking, gardening, spackling, sanding, shopping.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a quick update because i am feeling the water closing over my head

1. The sore on my lip from my dental visit last Tuesday (yes, that was over one week ago), is almost, almost healed. But it has hurt every single day since then. I think it will be healed by next week.
2. I am at that stage of school (the first week) when I am pretty much sure I will not be able to get all of the work done and simultaneously feel certain I will be fine as soon as I can start crossing off some of the assignments. This confusing state of feeling is what happens when my teachers present the entire semester with all of its required assignments, tests, quizzes, homework, projects, and on and on and on in the syllabus that contains all of the code words for the class that have special meaning to the teacher, because he or she uses those words every semester, but have no meaning to me because even though the words are in English, we've only just met and I don't speak the language yet.
3. Work is overwhelming right now--several major assignments that could each by itself be enough to keep me busy all day for days, that could be overwhelming if it were my only project right now, that thinks it is the most important and indeed the only project I could possibly be focused on at this given time, and then there's my usual work that wants me to focus, focus, focus and pay attention to it in my usual way as well.

This may be what it feels like to give birth to septuplets.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

last try

1. Stu is the biggest math nerd I know. And proud of it. As am I.
2. I got into the Math class I wanted to get into--Math 1050.
3. Let's all keep our erasers handy, please.

Monday, August 24, 2009

uh, good thing I'm not an english major

Apparently I've confused you, dear readers, about the status of math classes and me.

1. The class I wanted to take is Math 1050 (er, wanted is used loosely here; I am required to take either it or 1090).
2. The class I took and passed two years ago is Math 1010.
3. To get into Math 1050, I either needed at least a C in Math 1010 in the last year OR at least a 69 on the Math Placement Test.
4. I GOT A FREAKIN' 88 ON THE MATH PLACEMENT TEST!!! !!!, which is totally deserving of all caps and three + three exclamation marks. (Just a bit of math there, or really just a bit of arithmetic. Math, as in algebra math would be more like 3!!! + 3!!! = 6!!!)

keep these things in mind

1. Just because the website lets you register for a class, does not mean you have completed the prerequisites.
2. Just because the teacher sends you an email that you think is in response to your heartfelt begging for her to excuse you from the prerequisites does not mean you have been granted access into the class.
3. Just because you get another email immediately following the first email from the teacher that says the grade you earned two years ago is too old and you need to hurry and take the math placement test to see if you remember any algebra, does not mean you are no good at composing superbly written begging emails.
4. Just because you take the math placement test and score 88 out of 100 after two years without algebra class does not mean you should believe the test center employee when she says you will be allowed into nothing higher than the algebra class that you passed two years ago.
5. Just because you are seriously irritated with the whole algebra class/math placement test/blahblahblah, doesn't mean that when you email your score to the teacher and she emails back to thank you for taking the test that she doesn't mean instead that you are now officially in the math class.

If I were still feeling irritated, I might be tempted to ask why do I have to work so hard to get into a stinkin' math class?

But because I am trying to get past that irritation, I am instead thinking, dude, you scored 88 on an algebra test that you didn't even study for!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

back to school

A few weeks back I registered for three classes--Math 1050, Human Anatomy, and Environmental Economics.

The economics class is for my major and is an online class.

The anatomy class is to cover my biology requirement and is a Saturday morning class.

The math class is required and even though it's college algebra, seriously, the number is only 1050, so how hard can it be, right? It's an online class, which may sound like not a good idea for a math class, but it's a true online class where there are videos of this really nice, slow-speaking southern woman who calmly explains every concept over and over as often as I need to replay the video until I understand. Then there are practice homework assignments online that I can do as many times as I want until I understand. Unfortunately I will have to go in to the testing center at the school to take three tests--two midterms and a final. (I'm not a math major, but how can there be two midterms?)

Late last night I realized the professor had sent me an email telling me I couldn't be in her class because I didn't meet the prerequisites. My response to that? HUH? The college catalog shows I needed at least a C in Math 1010, which I took in Summer 2007.

So I did what any overachieving gramma in my position would do. I emailed back my best effort at begging the professor to allow me to stay in her math class.

I told her I had completed Math 1010 with a C+ just before I had to leave school for an extended illness from which I recently recovered allowing me to start back in school for the Summer 2009 semester.

And that's when she sent me the links for the class and said she hoped I'd had a good summer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

modern pharmaceuticals

Okay, so Dr Kid did numb my mouth this time.

He also worked really really really hard on replacing my two broken fillings. I probably should have considered how hard he was working when he broke either four or five drill bits while working on those two molars. But the gas made it seem like we were all having such a swell time, especially after he confirmed that the first snapping sound in my mouth was that of a bit breaking, not my tooth.

Typically after dental work, my head hurts a bit but swallowing a couple of ibuprofen and some food settles things down and I feel all better by the next morning. Early this morning, I think sometime around 2:30, I realized the Kid had worked harder than I had noticed. So hard, in fact, that my jaw and my cheek and my eye socket and maybe even my right brain hurt. All day.

And ibuprofen just wasn't fixing it, so all I can say is that even though I don't have any of the novacaine or the gas or any of the other drugs suggested by you thoughtful readers, I did have some leftover lortab from that nasty gum surgery experience from almost a year ago and that lortab was gloriously still effectively wonderfully pain-relieving.

Another thing I'm delighted to note is the amazing healing property of lip and mouth tissue. I think that in just another day or two the scab on my lip that looks like a big fat cold sore, but isn't because I don't get cold sores, but is instead the place where apparently the top two layers of lip tissue were pealed off because they were attached to his dental gloves that were in my mouth for lip should be healed by the weekend too.

I'm beginning to understand why visits to the dentist and anxiety are closely related in some part of my mind.

Posts like this are not convincing Jack that he should make an appointment for that new crown Dr Kid recommended for him the other day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

modern dentistry

I went to the dentist last night for a cleaning and a checkup.

When I was a kid, I always had cavities. I also had a dentist who didn't believe in novacaine for kids, so going to the dentist was truly a nightmare for me. Even the three sticks of crappy sugar-free gum he handed me as I leapt from the chair after his tortures wasn't enough to make me forget the horrors of the drill.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I broke a filling and went to the dentist for the first time in the seven years I'd been married. (Once officially a grownup, I determined I would never see Dr. Crazydrill again, so I went to Jack's dentist who did believe in novacaine, at least for adults.)

About a year ago, that dentist announced he was retiring and introduced us to his hand-picked replacement, who though very young, seemed like a nice kid who was excited to be our new dentist. Everything went well at that first visit. Then six months ago, Dr. Kid found a small cavity on the outside of one of my molars near the gumline. He assured me it was no big deal and we scheduled a time for the repair.

I suppose if any one of the three shots of novacaine he injected into the back of my mouth had in fact numbed the spot that he was planning to drill into, the filling wouldn't have been any big deal. Unfortunately (mostly for me, I suppose) the nerve in my mouth that is associated with that lower molar is not in the place identified in the dental textbooks, and even if you inject three times into that spot in my mouth, my molar will still not be numb and I will, in fact, feel when you drill, even if it's only for a few minutes.

The drilling may have lasted only a few minutes, but the horror of it has stayed with me for six months. Well, that horror and the feeling that I might at anytime during the procedure have swallowed my own tongue because it was definitely numb. For hours and hours after, perhaps three times longer than usual.

I suspect you can imagine my hesitation to return to Dr. Kid's office after the last visit. But somehow, Jack and I were talked into scheduling our next cleaning when we left after the last cleaning, and that scheduled appointment was last night.

I suspect you can also imagine my horror last night when Dr. Kid, after poking and jabbing around in my mouth, announced that both my furthest back top and bottom molars had huge, old fillings that were breaking apart, loosening up, and could actually put me at risk of breaking those teeth which would necessitate much drilling and paying for two crowns--unless I had the fillings replaced in the near future.

I could never have imagined that the near future would be this morning at 8:30. They had a cancellation. Imagine that.

So this morning, I bustled around the gardens, tidying, stalling, putting off my visit back to the chair. I even did my weightlifting exercises before I left.

Eventually, I had to face the chair and the needle. When I arrived, I told the Kid that if he didn't get me numb this time, he would simply have to put me under. He laughed. I said I was serious. He said not to worry, he had a new way to ensure I would be numb.

That is when the assistant asked if I wanted the gas. [Can I just interject here and say, why, why, why would anybody ever not want the gas? Is there any better, legal way to become as completely relaxed as possible while in a dental chair and awake? Is there a legal way to add some of that stuff to my breakfast everyday? I love the gas. My insurance doesn't pay for it, but it's only $20 and seriously, I would pay a lot more than that for the feeling of relaxation it gives. I think I actually asked the Kid if everything that people say in the chair is as funny to him as it is to the person in the chair on the gas and he didn't hesitate for a second before agreeing that things in the dental office are often funny. And I wondered if maybe he somehow gets the gas that leaks around the little nose mask and maybe that's why dentists enjoy their work so much? But thanks to the wondrous gas, my mind moved onto a different topic before I had the chance to ask him about that.]

So, I got the gas. Then the assistant applied the topical stuff. And Dr. Kid asked for the blahblahblah, something that I thought was a funny name for something that was going into my mouth, so I repeated it and said I loved the blahblahblah and they both laughed and gave me the blahblahblah, which, it turns out, is the magical new method of numbing the lower back molar, which, I am delighted to report, is indeed completely successful at numbing the lower back molar.

After my hour in the chair, Dr. Kid said my fillings were done and asked me how I was doing. I gave him my best Dale Earnhardt thumbs up and told him he had restored my faith in modern dentistry. And both he and the assistant laughed and then she turned off the gas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

jr in the kitchen

Jr told me yesterday he wanted to make Thanksgiving dinner today for the family.

Yesterday, we shopped. This morning he rose early, began with the pies, moved on to the turkey, is now making rolls, and soon will be candying yams and mashing potatoes and fluffing up stuffing and browning the drippings for gravy.

The drummer cut a piece of the perfectly baked pumpkin pie for himself, so I cut a sliver for myself, and honestly, it is a perfect pie.

I can hardly wait for dinner.

I love this face.

Friday, August 14, 2009

more about that bike riding

I don't think I mentioned two things about yesterday's bike ride to my parents' house.

First, it is one and one third mile to their house and one and one third mile back from their house. That is (yes, I can do the math, but we statswomen like to use approximations) over two and one half miles of bike riding in one day! Can you feel the burn? Advil will help with that.

Second. I forget to tell you about the incident with my bike basket. Yes, my beautiful pearl pink Roxey Schwinn has a lovely white basket that attaches to a bracket on the handlebars. Only, yesterday, Jr and I weren't quite sure about how to connect it firmly. He thought I should leave it home, but I thought it would be okay even if it wasn't firmly attached, since afterall, we weren't going riding in the dirt and I wanted to show off my bike to my parents in all of its bell-ringing, basket-carrying, pink-pearlishness glory. So off we went.

All was fine on the way over, unless you count my sweatiness and heavy breathing.

All went well for half of the journey back, but then, we turned a corner and the asphalt suddenly became bumpy and downright rough, and all of sudden, my basket leapt from my bike and began bouncing on the ground directly in front of my bike and me. Of course, I let out a squeal and a scream and another AAAAHHHH, which got Jr's attention and while I may have been more than a bit nervous about running over the basket and crashing, my feelings about it were nothing compared to Jr's. At least judging from the look on his face, which displayed an equal mix of horror and fear.

For some odd reason, the basket kept bouncing back in front of my tire, then off to the side, then back in front of me, with each bounce eliciting yet another EEK! from me. While it seemed to go on for about five miles, it all lasted less than the length of one yard of one house, because by that time, I came to my senses and used my brakes to slow to a stop, and Jr hastily turned an about face and was back to swoop in and scoop up my basket over his arm, come to a sudden stop next to me, and ask if I was okay.

I was amazed by how quickly slo-motion action happens.

And then, just like that, we were back on our pedals, Jr refusing to put the basket back on my bike, and me waving at everyone we passed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

just two things

1. Jr and I have been riding our bikes almost every day for the past week or so. We go further every day and today, we rode all the way up hill to my mom's house. In the wind. Blowing into our faces. Which was actually a pretty good thing because I was working so hard to ride up the hills that I'd never noticed while driving the car to my mom's house that I needed the breeze to cool me off. And then, coming back to the gardens, I realized that it is almost downhill all of the way to home, except for a small bit of uphill from my mom's street to my gramma's old house. Probably only about three houses in distance, but still, uphill, just the same.

2. Remember that post a few days ago when I said the grades didn't matter? Big. Fat. Lie. I am thrilled to report that I got an A in Physics/Astronomy, an A in Humanities, and

[drumroll, please ~~~~~~~~~~~~]

a well-deserved B in Statistics. With Math in Stats. And scary formulae.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

things are a bloomin'

One of the two--yes only two of about 100 bulbs I planted--gladioli in the gardens

Did I mention we have black-eyed susans, and two clumps of really tall yellow-eyed susans?

What is a garden without coneflowers?

This year's sunflowers--both from seeds from last year's crop, which came from the one seed dropped by a bird the year before...note there are now two varieties?

All varieties of hybiscus...which are clearly following directions:

hybiscus, multiplying and replenishing the earth, if you need a start...

The food crops are producing--yummy, sweet, juicy, warm tomatoes every day.

Even the spent blossoms are glorious.

Monday, August 10, 2009

i'm so torn

Once again I find myself with numerous items to blog about. But I have made my choice.

You've got to see these pics from yesterday. All of the family came over for dinner out back. It was tasty, healthy, funny, and entertaining.

And then I got this great idea to take a picture of all four granddarlings. Silly me.

Janey and Ellie listened intently to the director of the photoshoot...

Janey is thinking about going into dentistry and Ellie understands the importance of early dental hygiene...

I took this last one. It captures the true feeling in the gardens when everybody is there together--bright and busy and high speed...lovely all in all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

and just that quick

I survived another semester. My first in almost two years. Three general ed classes--Physics/Astronomy, Business Statistics, and Humanities. Three very different from each other general ed classes. I don't know what the grades will be. I don't know that I'm too worried about them. I feel good about the effort and suspect the grades will be satisfactory. And now I'm only five classes from graduating with an associate's degree in economics.

And, in case you didn't notice, I'm breathing again. My nose is once again above water.

In case I sound, oh, I don't know how I sound, but lately I've been thinking about certain aspects about relationships. Some relationships are complicated--for example, long-term relationships can be very complicated because you have a long time to mess with them, whether it's a couple relationship or a parent-child relationship, or even a relationship with an inanimate object like a job. I mention jobs, because job relationships are not so simple. You can do your best work, but if you have a crappy boss, your work goes unnoticed, your opportunity for advancement declines, and your satisfaction with the relationship dies. Or you can have a good job, find satisfaction in your work, be in the right place at the right time and be recognized or promoted. There's a bit of effort and a bit of chance and maybe some fairy dust.

But then there are those relationships like the one between grammas and their darlings. Kids aren't fake. You always know how they feel about you and they know how you feel about them. You can't make them love you or want to be with you. They'll refuse, turn away, scream out. At least until they get to that age when their parents can teach them to be nice to that crazy gramma.

Dogs are like that too. If a dog likes you, it is immediately apparent--by the wagging tail, the leaps and happy dog sounds that you enjoy everytime the dog greets you.

In a way, school is like that too. In general, I think you get out of it, what you put into it. Oh, I suppose you could cheat your way to good grades, but you get out of it what you put into it. I'd like to think that there are no teacher's pets in college, that the teachers simply enjoy working with students who are engaged and want to be in school to learn.

And that's why I see similarities between a school relationship and the simple, easy relationship I have with those adorable little girls who throw open their arms at the sight of someone they are happy to see.

And that's how I feel about this semester. I got out of it what I put into it. And I was happy to see it and it was happy to see me. And now, we're on separate vacations, that school relationship and me. But we both agreed to it. So it's good.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

random shopping thoughts

I thought it was a good omen when I pulled into Costco's parking lot and found a space right up front. And then I made my way around the outside edges of the store, quickly, yes, quickly! picking up the items on my list, avoiding the crowds around the microwaves and blenders and bowls of who knows what that are handed out to the masses who make entire meals out of the samples they taste at Costco. And whoa nelly, but I found a checkout line with only one guy in front of me and he wasn't having a problem using his debit card and he hadn't picked up a bag of sugar that leaked a trail all around the store thus requiring a wait while somebody picked up a replacement bag for him.

Not surprisingly (at least in my mind by now), my checkout took only moments. But that's when I realized I didn't have my debit card in my purse. And had to wait for Jr to bring it to me because he used it when he went to the store for me the other night and forgot to put it back in my purse when he got home.

That is what I get for having such a helpful, willing to do the shopping for me kind of kid. Who I wouldn't trade for anything. Even if that shopping help occasionally requires a bit of a wait at Costco for the return of said debit card.

After he dropped off the debit card and waited while I paid, Jr took home the Costco groceries while I headed to Smith's to pick up the yogurt Jack and I like these days--Kroger's carb master, which, if you can stand the taste of nonsugar sweeteners, is pretty great because it has only four carbs and 80 calories but something like 12 grams of protein.

There was a grocery cart parked outside in front of the store, so I decided to take it in with me to get my groceries, and that's when I started to wonder if grocery carts are included in that world balance theory. You know that theory that says that when one person loses weight, somebody else gains it? Does that apply to grocery carts? I mean if one person brings a grocery cart into the store, aren't they allowed to leave it outside when they're done with it?

Because if that theory is true, I'm afraid I've messed up the balance. I took in the basket, but my purchase of many cups of yogurt were so lightweight that I parked the cart inside the store and carried my yogurt to the car. Sorry, dude.