Sunday, September 24, 2023

Weighing in on: Division in our country

 I know that I started this as a weight loss/health blog, but I think it's just going to become my blog. Just me and my random-ass thoughts that I want to put out there.  Maybe you, dear reader, will agree with them. Maybe you won't. I try not to judge. (There are enough people in the world to do that for me, thank you.)

So, I recently had what was probably food poisoning, but it kept me at home for the last three days, making sure I didn't get too far from the bathroom.  I seem to be recovering. (I lost 13 pounds this week, but will probably get it back when I stop shitting my brains out...Hey! I need those brains!!)

What brought me here, drear reader, is that in my ick addled phase, I didn't want to think very hard, so I turned on a movie that I used to use to teach genocide and the Holocaust: Hotel Rwanda.  I haven't seen it in years, but when I was finished watching it, I was sobbing at the end - and not for all the dead Rwandans, although that was sad as well. 

(Side note: Do you ever get that feeling that everything is just kind of better if you've had a good cry.  Sometimes I put on REALLY sad movies just to make myself cry. I love those movies, and I do have a good cry, and then I feel a bit emotionally better.  Yeah... Catharsis. Love that.... anyway, back to the show).

So, if you haven't seen Hotel Rwanda, here's the plot in a very small nutshell. Rwanda is in political turmoil, some political mucky muck dies, a band of one group of people blame another group of people and decide to kill everybody who they think is responsible because of... some arbitrary bullshit thing that a  group of white Europeans put on them. As this band of people goes around trying to kill everybody (thus the genocide bits), one brave dude is like "not in my hotel" and sort of accidentally ends up turning a hotel into a refugee camp, which gets attacked and threatened and nearly loses his family and his life and... lots of people die. In the end, enough of his guests are important (read: rich) enough to call in some favors and get the UN to help them out. Lots of people die, but hotel dude saves like.. a bit over 1000 people or so. (Kinda like African Schindler's list in the 90's).

Now, that's all sad and stuff. People die. They show a lot of dead people. They show bands of people with machetes and machine guns just murdering swaths of people. It's awful. But that's not the part that got me right in the feels the hardest.

There is a scene where Joaquin Phoenix (as this American camera man) is hitting on one of the young women at a bar, and he asks them which group they belong to. They admit to being on opposites sides (but still friends.. yay!) JP comments that "they could be twins", and that's where I kind of got all chilled up weepy... and scared. Mostly because I see so many parallels to our current political situation and that scares me.

Because- Democrats look just like Republicans. Like the Civil War in the 1860's, people take up arms to  fight against brothers and sisters, cousins and parents, because of a stupid belief, and I worry so much that someone on the internet may just put out the call to "Cut down the tall trees" like they did in Rwanda to signal the time to kill, and then that will be that and we will have blood on our streets again.

No matter what side you are on of the political debate, you have to admit that the internet and everything is kind of making things crazy, and there are people on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum who look like normal people, but when they open their mouth the crazy just pours out.  And that's scary, because on the fringes of "normal people" who are just trying to make a living and get by, are the crazies, and it was the crazies in Rwanda who started taking over and killing people, who took up machetes and machine guns. What's to stop them from doing that here? 

I know, there are a lot of fail-safes and systems in place here to stop that from happening. National Guard, military, normal sane people. But it's still scary when you start seeing the little bits of common sense that you thought people have just sort of leaking away.

Do have I have solution? No. Just fear.  And hope. And hope is stronger. 

We must learn from the past.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Back on the Wagon

 I'm working on getting back on track with my life.  I feel like everything has been so hectic since 2020, and the pandemic and everything else that has just gone crazy in my. life.

I haven't really been trying since 2015, which is when I got the kittens, so I am 8 years behind, and two cats short. Jellybean is still awesome, and sends her love.

So, here's me, trying to get back on track, limiting myself to between 1200 and 1500 calories. I didn't lose any weight last week, but that's okay.  I've been eating a 110 calorie drumstick ice cream every day, so I'm not trying too hard yet.  The ice creams will be gone soon, and I'm not buying any more. I have been eating a lot of sunflower seeds. 

The reason for this change is that I got approved for weight-loss surgery.  I want to try to do this on my own though without starving myself or feeling awful, so I'm trying to do it this way.  I should go to the gym more often, but with the heat and getting heat sickness, I haven't been full of energy enough to go to the gym. I need to fix that.

Anyway, life is life. I'm still working on getting lesson plans done so I'm not working on them the morning of, and grading and getting by.

Hope everything is great with all of you.


Sunday, December 11, 2022

What I've been going through- lots of gross Lady Stuff :)

 It's been a while since I've updated. I've been sick. I was lucky that I had Thanksgiving Break off, and the last two weeks have been... not fun. Incredibly not fun. (warning, there is gross stuff.)

About two months ago, I switched my birth control to Depo. I'm officially done with that! I have, in my past, always had really really bad migraines that come with my cycle. Like.. debilitatingly bad, lay in bed with no lights on and stop existing for the day bad migraines. Sometime in February, they took me off of my estrogen based pills because of fear of blood clots, so I hadn't been on anything for a while. Cue migraines.

In October, I contacted my doctor to see if there was an alternative, so I wouldn't have to worry about the migraines. Depo was suggested. I thought.. 1 shot every three months, and no more periods and no more migraines. Sign me up! I wasn't planning on having kids anyway. So, there I was, October 7th, peeing into a cup and getting a shot. This was going to solve everything, right?


November 18th, I start having back cramps. I know it's coming. I expect my normal cycle.. 2-3 days. Friday, the 19th, not bad, kinda normal. A bit crampy and headachy, but I make it through the day. We have a week off, I can make it through one day of school. 

It really really hit on the 21st, that something might be a little bit... off. Really bad cramps throughout my whole body, mostly centered in my back and abdomen. I start passing little clots of blood, and going through a pad an hour or so. Ok, maybe this is just heavy because it's the last one for a while. I make it through Thanksgiving with a few really bad cramps (AM has been amazing in holding my hand and letting me squeeze until his fingers hurt). I can do this.

I rest on Friday and Saturday, do my normal lesson planning on Sunday. We're going into the last three weeks of school. I'm excited. I have really great plans for the last few weeks. We're going to focus on audience for writing, and we're going to be amazing. I go to school on Monday, and while I don't move around the classroom much, there is movement involved in teaching and being at school in general (the bathrooms are not ten feet away like they are at home), and I learn the more I move the worse it gets. I bleed through everything. It's awful. I called the nurse line, they tell me to call if it gets worse. They schedule another Depo shot for Wednesday morning. I take Tuesday off, and the clots are getting worse.. like.. dime sized. (SOOO GROSS... but still not as bad as it's going to get.)

By Wednesday, I'm resting and things seem to be going okay. I think I can make it back to school, so I decide to go in on Thursday. Thursdays are minimum days. Surely I can make it through one minimum day. I miss my students!

Thursday reminded me of how much I love teaching and how much I love my students. We had a fun day talking about dialects, learning some new vocabulary. My fourth period class was quite lively as we discussed regionalisms in dialect and dialogue.  But all of that moving around reminded me of why I shouldn't have moved around. 

Thursday night and it all gets worse. The cramping, the clotting. They've gone from dimes to quarters. Every time I move, I can feel something falling out of me. I hold out hope that I can make it on Monday to school, but when I end up in the bathroom Sunday night literally passing chunks of my endometrial lining in a way that I can feel them sliding out of me. I wake up and can feel them lodged in my vagina, waiting to be pushed out. (I warned you, it's gross)- I know I'm not going to make it. 

I call in Monday, call the doctor's office and get an actual physical appointment for Monday afternoon. I finally get to see a real doctor. I talk to him, and now it's suddenly urgent. They do a(n incredibly painful) endometrial biopsy and I have to get tested for iron deficiency, and they send me to the pharmacy for new hormones and an iron supplement. I hate sitting in the Kaiser pharmacy. Test results pushed through fast and I'm anemic, though not bad enough that I have to go and get a transfusion. Other numbers are off as well. I am told to take the rest of the week off and rest.

Now it's Sunday. I plan on going back to school tomorrow, but not moving much. Because of the weakness and the tiredness, I haven't done much grading or school work, and we only have a week left of the semester. I'm probably going to be grading and lesson planning through break, but when life throws wrenches at you, you have to find alternate means, I guess. Because of the anemia, I wear out fast and have been eating a lot of beef - steak, triple cheeseburgers, beef tamales, beef tacos.  I should probably add some more vegetables to that, and AM has been great making sure I get squash and zucchini and lots of vitamins. 

The results so far: it's been 24 days. I'm still bleeding, but not hemorrhaging anymore. I'm on at least three new medications for the foreseeable future, and I have a week left with this set of kids. I am going to be at school for this entire week. I know I can do this. I may move a little slower, and take a little more time, but I want to be there for my students. I miss them, and this is my last week with this batch. 

I started off this school year with two weeks out for COVID and end the term with two weeks out for anemia. This has not been a healthy semester. Here's hoping to a much healthier 2023.

Tory :)

Saturday, November 26, 2022

My Schedule-- Where do I find the time?

 I have been... lectured lately on my "priorities".  My husband asked me to pick three things in my life that I have to consider my "priorities", things that I should work on to make my life more fulfilling.

These are the three that I came up with:
1. My job
2. My health
3. Writing

I feel bad that he's not in there, but he asked me to pick three. 

I try to reflect this on the way I spend my time...

I wake up at 5am.

After morning human time, I should compress from 5:30-6:30. Compression involves putting on a huge pair of blue space bants, hooking myself up to a machine and sitting still for an hour while my legs are pumped to move around fluids that have built up due to illness and heart problems.

I said should. I usually end up journalling and eating breakfast.

  • 6:30-7:00 I get ready for work. Dress myself and all of that fun stuff.
  • 7 to 7:30, maybe pick up breakfast or make myself something fast that I can eat in the car and get to work. Otherwise, just drive to work.
  • 7:30-8:30- Prep for my day.
  • 8:30-11:45- Teach
  • 11:45-2- Lunch and Prep, which is mostly grading and making handouts and meetings and other fun teacher stuff.
  • 2-3:35- Teach some more.
  • 3:35-4ish- Clean up my classroom and sometimes talk to other teachers who stop by. (less of this since they moved me away from the other teachers).
  • 4-5, run errands.
  • 5-6:30: Make and eat dinner. If it's not my turn, I'll do some reading.
  • 6:30-7:30 Write or crochet, whatever creative endeavors my brain is working on.
  • 7:30-8:30- Compress... again. More sitting still. Mostly I read or watch TV. My current watch is Mythic Quest or Reboot. Both cute shows.
  • 8:30-9:30- Get ready for bed, shower, self care.
  • 9:30- bed. 

My doctor and my husband want me to find at least 30-60 minutes a day for cardio activity and some time for strength training.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Teacher Sick (Warning: Naughty words rant)

 We started Thanksgiving Break on Friday afternoon. I spent Thursday night, some of Friday, some of Saturday and ALL DAY SUNDAY in SO MUCH PAIN! My period, which shows up now about once every three months, showed up with the fucking cavalry, and I want to curl up into a tiny ball and make all of the world just fuck off right now. It's gross, it's painful, I don't like it. One of my good friends is - unfortunately - having a hysterectomy because of reasons, and right now I am so fucking envious of her.

On top of that, and the reason for today's post, I have something akin to a cold, or something. It started Friday night. Now, this is something I'm used to. Nearly every break, I spend the first few days sick. (Yes, I am wishing that Thanksgiving Break was longer.) I'll be fine after a few days, but it almost always happens. 

According to WebMD, I have what is called "leisure sickness."  It's where you have a job that is so stressful that you build up this strange immunity and "put off" being sick until your body can handle being sick, which is when you're "not stressed".  I guess it's like if I am going to have a cold, or the flu or something like that (or, I guess, my period) my body realizes that I am too stressed out to deal with that illness right now and instead files it away for "later" when I'm not as stressed out.  And later comes during holiday breaks. 

Apparently this can happen for emotional distress too, I think. I can deal with emotional stress and not get emotional about it.. until I'm on break. So I not only spend my first few days of nearly every vacation in a ball of pain and phlegm (pretty picture, I know), but I'm also a crying, emotionally wrecked ball of phlegm. So much fun.

Fortunately, Thanksgiving isn't until Thursday. I should be done with all of this (hopefully) by tomorrow and be able to make wonderful pies for my family for Thanksgiving as well as some broccoli in brown butter with cotija (because I can't find mizithra cheese anywhere). 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm going to go drink a Monster, write five thousand words and crochet until all the stress leaves my body.


Monday, September 26, 2022

Witchy Autumn Nights

 The spooky season is upon us. I'm so excited. This is the season where I feel the most powerful.  It's the season I'm most likely to believe in magic and do magic and be magic. It makes me feel amazing. It makes me feel alive.

Maybe I'll write some spells or spell like poems.  I've considered learning how to kitchen witch for my own health as well as my own energy. I think it might help, but I will need to do research on some of the healthier vegetables and what to put in my cauldron.  I have a cauldron... it's adorable.  It was a present from my father-in-law, and AM says that it is proof that my father-in-law likes me better than him. I think I got it because I asked for it.

My cauldron is pumpkin shaped; a cast iron enameled pumpkin in orange. It was a toss up between orange and black, but I decided I want an orange one. It's made by Staub, and the perfect size for my stovetop to sit there, but it is heavy. so moving it from the stove to the sink is difficult.  I don't use it enough because it is difficult to clean, but I love it, and it helps me feel that autumn powerful witchy vibe. The lid makes a delicious scraping noise when I take it off to check if it is bubbling and boiling and toiling. 

I've already changed my journal over to my spooky season notebook, which is a gorgeous black wrap from GameTee (love those girls!) that I have a Kanso Noto notebook from JetPens in.  My pen and ink of choice right now is my Parker Sonnet with Diamine Black Ivy.  I even made a custom bookmark for the journal out of a skull and an anatomically correct heart charm. I joke that the heart was stolen from a fairy- but I would never do that. 

What I don't have, and I am hoping to set up this Fall Break, is an altar.  It's been so long since I've practiced that I have no idea what to put on an altar anymore or how to set one up.  Based on the limited space in my apartment, I think I may have to make it one that I can break down and put up when I want to cast with maybe something I put on the windowsill for protection all of the time.  I'm not sure.  My room is very small, but my desk is very big, but with all of my Horizontal Surface disorder... well... It's messy.

What I look forward to the most is my Autumn dreams. I climb into my warm flannel sheets and it's like being wrapped in warm fuzzy arms of protection, and then I dream of comfort. My dream self is ... much smaller than I am around the waist, and tucks perfectly in the comfortable shoulder and arm of a certain someone. We sit, sip chocolate and read books together and I am happy. The only thing I don't like is waking up, to find myself most often alone, wrapped around my huge stuffed shark. While I appreciate my shark, he's not really what I want to be holding on to. So, I spent the rest of my day sort of sleep walking, wanting to fall into the comfort of my dreams.

Here's to the conjuring season. May you find the comfort and love that you are looking for. The veil grows thin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Lighthouse Keeper

  Lately, I've been thinking about this poem that was written back in college, not by me, but by a good friend of mine, Jaye. I'm going to put it here in its entirety because it matters to know what it's about, and it's good words. (formatting is mine)

I am the Lighthouse Keeper.
I live in the Lighthouse, 
Cold, Alone and Waiting
Waiting for the ships to return.

I am the only one left who remembers
when those ships were in port.

One by one they left
Different destinations
But all away from here

Here I stay Here I stand Waiting

I have the list of the names of those ships
I kept tabs on their destinations

I am proud of those boats
I am proud of their journeys
Some traveled across the sevens seas
And carry the circus to towns
One is now private and hosts parties for
the best of Broadway
Some now show other boats 
how to move
Some still wander searching what to do

Some have been updated
Some have been destroyed
I swear one day they'll all come back
That's why I can not leave
For some one must be here
To make sure they're safe,
they're happy, they're proud

For although this boat doesn't leave
and this boat is now rusted
And all the others don't stop moving
And never get rust

I love each and every one
And I will wait for them
right here
For some are destined for greatness
Some find it by chance
Some help others make it
And one must stay behind
One must keep the light on 
So the others can find their way home

So they can come back
enjoy their time together
remember old times
catch up on what's been happening

And hopefully they won't stay
"That poor guy, stuck here all this time,
all these years"
Hopefully they'll thank me
for keeping the lighthouse on.

For I am the Lighthouse Keeper

I've been thinking a lot about this poem lately, which was written probably close to twenty years ago.  

I've been thinking about this poem lately because I've been in my profession for 20 years. I've been working as an English teacher at Stagg High School for 19 years. I have watched people come and go my entire life, and here I sit, hanging on, hoping others will come back to me someday, just to say hi.

I'm not a favorite teacher very often, but I know that I'm liked. I had a student today tell me that I'm his favorite teacher because I try to relate to my students. I said thank you, and he laughed and said "No, I'm really serious. Like-- you try to listen to us!", and I can't imagine being a teacher who doesn't listen to their students and let them talk to you. But, I am here - being a teacher. 

I've been thinking about this poem lately because I am here in Stockton, and I don't see me really going anywhere. In spite of the moniker of "Most Miserable City" (Thanks Forbes), and "Murder Capitol" (which I don't think we are) I love my city. I love its diversity. The diversity of the people, the diversity of the opinions, but especially the diversity in restaurants. I can go 4 blocks in any direction from where I am and find Indian food, a few sushi places, a poke salad place, a few Italian restaurants, a decent(ish) diner, a mom and pop hot dog store and even a Panera.  On my drive home from work there is quite a diversity of food - even if I need to cook at home more often.

I've been here in this apartment for the last ten years. It's the longest I've ever lived in one place in my entire life, but I've (almost) always lived in Stockton, and the neighborhood I'm in now is wonderful. Maybe not the quietest all the time, but a good apartment, the people are friendly and the noisiest it gets is around the 4th of July. The walk around the complex is a quarter mile track, the leaves are just beginning to turn brown and the sparse lawn between the buildings 

I've been thinking about this poem lately because I feel like the Lighthouse Keeper of the poem, I have watched everybody move away and wander to find their destiny. My students, my friends, my lovers. They all go off to find their fortune in the world, and I watch them, and wish for the best for them in everything, hoping that once in a while they look back with fondness on me and maybe think to say "Hi" once in a while, knowing that I think of them fondly. 

Weighing in on: Division in our country

 I know that I started this as a weight loss/health blog, but I think it's just going to become my blog. Just me and my random-ass thoug...