Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time Is Not On My Side

My sister is on my case for not writing in a while. There's good reason for this.

We had a one day turnover between terms. That means 13 students depart on Friday, and 33 new ones arrive on Saturday and Sunday. That's rough. Way too many 4:00am airport runs followed by 11pm airport arrivals. I'm getting too old for this. Speaking of which...and this will likely be the proverbial TMI for many of you (you know who you are - and you can stop right here if you'd like), but I think I'm perimenopausal. Do I have an official diagnosis? Of course not! Who needs those in the days of WebMD and Wikipedia?? Seriously...it's on my list of Things To Do Once I Get Paid. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate my insurance that charges outrageous premiums and co-pays? HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW! And fuck that Republican in disguise Blanche Lincoln. So much for the sisterhood. But anyway, back to my dwindling periods and biological clock that is ticking more like a time bomb than a clock inside my uterus. No one warns you that as you enter into your mid-30s that a fresh kind of panic sets in...the "you only have so many child-bearing years left" panic. Even if you don't necessarily want children right away, the knowledge that you probably won't be able to have them much longer makes you (and by "you," I mean "me") want one so badly you can't see straight. BABIES!!!!! My body craves one like a physical addiction.

Speaking of uteri...one of my new students called me the other night in a lot of pain and freaking out. She kept saying she had pain in her "womb." I assumed she must have some sort of endometriosis-type ailment. After a long wait at the ER and no doctor in sight, we decided to dose her with Ibuprofen and go home for the night. The next day I took her to the women's clinic on campus where it was determined that no, her womb was not involved at all - she had acute appendicitis. So it was back to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Never a dull moment, y'all.

The one evening in the past two weeks that I had free, I spent in Eureka Springs at the Auditorium watching one of my favorite bands, The Maybelles. I am totally biased, as each one of the members is a good friend. Their new songs are really great and I look forward to seeing them all year long. I was worried how these photos would turn out, considering that I don't have a zoom lens and the lighting and stage had a minimal look. But I really like how it looks like they might be playing in a void. The focus was just on the three of them, their beautiful music, and incredible voices.



Jan Bell's beautiful smile and Katy Rose taking a picture of me taking a picture of her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Plans

It's been a long time since I've posted a new installment of my 100 Things I Want to Do Before I Die.

And there's no time like the present. So without further ado, here are Numbers 21 - 30:

21.) Set up a scholarship for single parents. A full scholarship - all tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. When I was in college I received a small scholarship from the Single Parent Scholarship Fund. It was definitely helpful, but very small. What a difference a full scholarship would have made in my life...

22.) Do a headstand in yoga.

23.) Be on a Habitat for Humanity team that builds a house, preferably an all-female team.

24.) Make jewelry with gemstones that I've mined myself!

25.) Own and renovate my own home.

26.) Have a month (at least!) in which I go to sleep and wake up according to my own, natural Circadian rhythm. That would be the closest I could ever come to Utopia.

27.) Learn to bake bread...without fail. Different kinds, regularly. There's nothing better than the smell of fresh bread in your kitchen.

28.) Have a picnic with friends on a perfect Spring day. Sunshine, blankets, good food, wine, good company, nature. Okay - that would be Utopian.

29.) Attend a Cherry Blossom Festival, either the national one in Washington, D.C. or (even better) one in Japan.

30.) Learn to dance, starting with the basics and moving on to salsa or possibly even tango!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Genocide!

What did we do before Amazon customer reviews?

We battle ants every spring but because it's been raining for the past 45 days straight (or at least feels like it), the ants have come back! Worse than ever! Last weekend some friends recommended an ant bait called Terro that you can get at Walgreen's. At first I was skeptical because it's so low tech - a bottle of sugary poison and some perforated cardboard strips on to which you dab the liquid. Within minutes the ants SWARM those drops. I was freaking out. It was an ant party out of control (see below), and it was all I could do not to get out my spray and wipe them all away. But I took a deep breath, logged on to Amazon and read many, many accounts similar to mine. I knew I had to patiently wait for the ants to take the boric acid back to their compound in order to get to the whole nest.

I woke up this morning to significantly fewer ants. I'm hoping this works for good. Then I will write my own testimonial. You certainly can't beat the price of Terro.

Our bathroom. I can't even look at this without getting twitchy and panicky.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thanks For Asking...

My thyroid's fine. My irregular cycles, overwhelming fatigue, and hair loss, however are NOT.

I guess I'm just getting old.


Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Evening Activity

I love commercials!

Otherwise I never would have gotten the idea to jump on the bed in my PJs while balancing my wine glass right next to me.

Thrilling. But totally worth it!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Upgrade Fever

One of the nicest surprises when I was in Washington D.C. for the African students' conference back in August was discovering that they'd put my hotel room on the Concierge Floor. Basically this meant that I had free WiFi and access to the concierge lounge, which had a fully stocked bar, full breakfast buffet, and happy hour appetizer spread every day. I was too busy to take advantage of most of the perks, but it felt so nice to know they were available nonetheless.

I had a similar experience last Friday when I was taking my students on the usual trip to Little Rock. I went to check into my hotel room and at first thought I couldn't find my room. Well that's because the hotel manager very sweetly booked me into the Presidential Suite! I bring students to this hotel every single time we visit, so I guess he was making me feel like a valued customer.

I think I really did gasp when I saw the whirlpool tub in the middle of the room. A bubbly bath was exactly what I needed after driving an 11-passenger van the 3+ hour drive and then visiting various destinations in the city.

Check out my room! I was kind of bummed that D. couldn't come with me on this trip and enjoy it with me.

I snuck away from the students and had a deeelicious and fun dinner with Ai Lien, her boyfriend, and sister. She has completely transformed my work days into something I needn't dread nor despise. We keep an ongoing commentary throughout the day...like a MST3K for our lives. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's saved me on many an occasion. Anyway, it's even more fun when I get to see her in the flesh and share in our favorite activities - eating and talking.

The next morning we went to the Clinton Presidential Museum and Library. I realized this was my 15th visit. I still haven't seen it all and I'm not quite sick of it yet! Amazing!

The students always get a big kick out of this painting of Bill and Hillary Clinton as African nobility. Ha!

After the Clinton Museum we can now just walk over to the new Heifer Village. They have a great interactive set-up inside. If it weren't for the overzealously annoying employee inside (No, I DON'T want to fill out a comment card or take a tour today - trust me...I know my students and I come here all the time!), it would have been a perfect visit.

Sunday, my only full day of the weekend due to the Little Rock trip, was also full. D. and I went to a benefit for Michael Garrett, a very talented singer and songwriter from Eureka, who has massive medical bills from a very unfortunate fall. Can you imagine being a guitar player and carpenter and breaking both arms? Me neither.

Unfortunately, the perfect weather we had in Little Rock didn't stick around and it was cold and rainy all day long. So much for outdoor music starting at 1:00pm! They did manage to still have the cake walk, but I was cold and cranky and starting to come down with something. D. was just happy to drive anywhere in his new vehicle, a Hyandai Santa Fe that looks just like this minus the cool background:

Friday, October 02, 2009

God Help Me...


If this kitten weren't so stinkin' cute I would have gotten rid of him days ago.

He's taken to using my indoor potted plants as litter boxes. Mind you, he still uses the litter box...and goes outside for the same purpose...but he really prefers the soft, fresh dirt of my potted plants!

How can I discourage this from happening? I wrapped the base of the plant, covering the top of the pot, in aluminum foil. I thought that might stop him but really all it does is give an audible clue as to when he gets in there and starts digging. I scream and holler and he runs off, so he knows better...he just can't help himself.

But look at him up there, nestled in D.'s arms! Who can resist???

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hormones Make The World Go Round

In two hours I will have my blood tested for possible hypothyroidism. All my symptoms point to it, but we'll see. I first started thinking about my thyroid when I read an article in the New York Times over the summer (still searching for it so I can link to it). I had nearly all of the same symptoms but hadn't thought that they might be related to one issue. I ignored most of them, as many busy women do. But I got concerned enough to make this appointment.

If I were patient and scientifically smart enough to be a doctor, I would definitely want to be an endocrinologist. The gland system is by far the most interesting and mysterious in the human body. It seems to affect every aspect of our health.

My new past time is online research into glands, hormones, and how they're all inter-related.