Monday, May 31, 2010


I have my arm in a sling right now.  My shoulder has not been happy for a while.

Last night while sleeping on Diana's futon-done-into-a-couch, I think I figured out what happened.

Back in the beginning of March, my teacher & I were sans students for a couple of days, so we decided to box up & move books & extra computers back to the warehouse for the ESD.  We did use a hand-truck to bring the stuff to & from the car, and we used good body mechanics & worked together.  However, we were loading into my van, and at one point, I overextended my reach.  The teacher is an avid swimmer and has much stronger arms than mine :/

I didn't really notice much at the time, other than a little discomfort in my shoulder.  Over the next few weeks though, I stopped wearing my watch, because my wrist would start to hurt.  I thought maybe it was stress.  My life has been a little stressful lately what with all this nebulous stuff about where I'm supposed to work next year (as they laid off my teacher & I'm supposed to be at a new site in the fall), plus knowing Lee is being cut in hours soon (although he's working very hard to find something else - it's just really super tough right now).

Anyway - as I kept feeling discomfort and aches in my arm, I decided to try acupuncture, because I'd heard good things about relieving stress that way.  I did 4 weeks of treatment, using various Chinese herbs.  I did have some relief, but then it would come back.

Last week I decided to visit a chiropractor & get a massage & an adjustment.  He noted a lot of tightness around my shoulder & did an adjustment, which also helped a while.  I also got a pretty strong massage - actually too strong for me.  I was sore the next four days :(  I'm supposed to get a lighter masseuse next time...

Toward the end of last week, I began wearing an arm sling.  I am taking ibuprofen & acetametaphin pretty regularly when the throbbing won't stop, and when it wakes me up.

After all this, I think I really damaged something in my shoulder from back in March.  No matter what I've done till now, it's not getting better.  I've been babying my shoulder more & more, and it's still not getting better.  I've readjusted my seat in the van, changed my keyboard on my desk to have a 45-degree angle at the elbows, and basically stopped using my left arm whenever possible.

Tomorrow I will go in to work, and make sure the teacher is covered before I ask to leave to go to the doctor.  I will also email HR and let them know I'm going to put in for worker's compensation.  I'm really really hoping something can be done to help, as I'm supposed to work in my old classroom for Summer School in July, and that will involve lifting students again!

Wish me luck & prayers are always appreciated!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Connie's website

Connie has been doing mosaics from tile, stained glass & beads, etc., for a while now.  She's really good at it & has a great eye.

I've posted photos of the things she's made for me before :)

Here's the link:  Sharp Art Kelowna

Check it out!!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Connor's Quilt

This is the quilt Connor sewed at school. His teacher said he really enjoyed it, and was pretty darn good at it. His lines were very straight, and they didn't need to guide him too much once he figured out what he was supposed to do.

Doesn't he look proud?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Super close now...

In TOPS, every year there's a state convention.  All the winners of the different divisions are honored, and a King & Queen are crowned to represent the state.

This happens in every state in the union, as well as the provinces in Canada, and various other countries where TOPS chapters exist.  The Kings and Queens are all invited to the International convention, and from those folks, the International King & Queen are chosen.

Division winners are recognized for their weight lost in the year prior to the convention (so, for this one, the weight lost in 2009, only).  A person is placed in a division every year according to their first weigh-in of the year.  Divisions are separated by 50 lbs, with separate divisions for children, teens and people who have had surgery to lose weight.

Kings and Queens are the people who have gotten to their goal in the prior year - but it can take however long it takes.  Our current Queen for Oregon took 16 years to get there.  People who have had surgery are not eligible for Royalty.

Any state division winner or royalty will be recognized at the annual state convention for as long as they 1) keep the weight off and 2) attend the convention.

As you can see, Lee was a state division winner (2nd place is a winner, too), and henceforth, he will be able to inspire those TOPS members at any convention he attends.

He is currently 4 lbs from his goal weight...  GO LEE!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garden Update for May

My baby rhody in bloom.
The calla lilies apparently don't die no matter what.
Double peony doubling over from rain.

New growth on the transplanted little Douglas Fir.
Hydrangeas in their cage.
Snowball bush in full bloom.

The very messy rosebush after a strong wind with rain.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oregon State Recognition Days in Seaside

At the site where Lewis & Clark reached the Pacific Ocean (according to the plaque). Seaside is a couple of hours to the west of Portland. These are my roomies as well as a couple of other ladies from our club.
Seaside is a great convention town.
On the balcony of my room just before the KOPS alumni go to inspire all the TOPS. I knitted the purple wrap during the convention because it gets too cold for me with the air conditioning!

With our area captain, Arlene.
Grilled salmon! Yay!
Lots of people were out crabbing this weekend :)
On our way home - we were so high up above Tillamook Bay, it felt like being in a plane!
This is me with last year's Oregon State King, Ryan. He has Down's Syndrome and just spent the last year visiting chapters all over Oregon, as well as going to the International conference in Florida last summer to represent our state with all the other states & Canadian provences. Pretty cool!!

It was a beautiful day for a Sunday drive down the coast!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Mean Streak

I'm reading "The Witches" by Roald Dahl to my students at school. It's a kid's book & we'll watch the movie when we're done. But it's kind of freaking them out a bit. I'm using it to teach them differences between real & fiction. I don't know if they're getting it though.

But I'm gonna keep reading it anyway.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's what Diana sent me just after midnight last night :)

I love how she has us wearing our 'real' clothes. Those boots she has on are the ones we bought when we went up to visit for my birthday. I'm wearing the boots, shirt & jeans I got from Macy's when she went shopping with me after Christmas :)

Happy Mother's Day to my Mami - I hope the card made it in time!

Happy Mother's Day to Mom K - I hope that card came in time too!

Happy Mother's Day to my sisters & sisters-in-law. You are all wonderful, inspiring mothers to your children!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all of us - I hope everyone gets a nice day doing things you love with your families!


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Missing it

To help figure out Trevor's way of studying - I'm tutoring him through an online intro to sociology class. This is pretty easy for me - after all, my Bachelor's degree is all connected with Soc & Psych stuff anyway - I took a number of Soc classes for my degree.

I have him set up on a schedule (which he promptly mislaid - so now it's stuck to the wall). He is supposed to read his chapter and the supplemental texts, as well as post something on the online forum & read the lecture notes. The online forum is pretty cool - you can't see anyone else's answer until after you've posted your own :)

I have been skimming the texts, and then sitting in on his quiz at the end of the week.

The quizzes are timed at 30 minutes each. The first one he took in 10 minutes, and then clicked on the 'submit' key before I could stop him. He missed 3 of 20 questions - which isn't BAD - but it didn't have to BE.

The next time, I advised him to answer everything first, and then go back and check his answers, starting with the ones he was least sure about. After all, it's open-book and you can DO THAT. He got 95% on the next test.

The following quiz, he was *sure* about a couple of answers, so he didn't want to double check them. Turns out different theorists have similar theories, but they use their own terminology. He got tripped up on the terms and didn't match the correct theorist, although it WAS the same idea...

This last time around, I skimmed the chapter he had also read, and I didn't read the other texts. If I had - I would have noticed the chapter topic was all about methods of research, whereas the supplemental readings were all about business environments. He was on Unit 5, but the text should have been Chapter 7. He read Chapter 5.

Within a few minutes of looking at the quiz, I recognized the questions were not at all about what had been in what I'd skimmed. Trevor was just confused. He actually insisted he'd read the right chapter. I had him go through the quiz and answer what he could to the best of his ability, while I quickly looked at the next few chapters and figured out it should have been Chapter 7.

I was able to help him find the right terms, but we didn't really have time to check everything. He wound up hitting the "submit" button at 1:26 to go (he kind of freaked when the 5 minute warning came up).

He wound up with 90% - which is pretty decent (especially since he read the wrong chapter - although there are only 10-12 questions for that - the rest are the supplemental readings & lecture notes).

Lesson this week? Don't assume the chapter number matches the unit number. I'm glad I was able to move him past the panic of having read the wrong chapter & get him back on track for the test. It could have been a LOT worse.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


I'm trying it. I have been twice so far for pain in my shoulder. It is most likely a combination of stress & straining. I have had a couple of knots at the base of my neck for at least two years. I've tried various massage therapists, with one gal even using her elbow as hard as she could to try to loosen the knots - it didn't work.

The knots don't bother me so much, but now I have pain radiating to my left shoulder and down my arm. I'm guessing that came from pulling Connor behind me when he first started cross-country skiing. I know I had pain in my pectoral muscles from that, and I think the angle was bad for my shoulder as well.

Anyway - it's gotten to the point where it wakes me at night. I have to take ibuprofen or something to manage the pain, so I decided to give acupuncture a try.

After the first visit I was good until about 4 days later. Today she did a few things different, and we'll see how long it takes to come back again this time. She used a cigar thing this last time to heat the needles until I told her it was too hot. Interesting.

My shoulder is good right now... The knots are still there. It's hard to say if they're any smaller though.

I also have some chinese herbs to use to help things along..

I'll post again next week on how it's going.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Today's work

I wanted to do some stuff to spruce up my front walkway. I have to be aware of what is or isn't 'deer resistant' since otherwise I'm just setting out a buffet :P

These are called Gazania, and they should grow 8 - 10 inches high. I'm not sure if they spread out or not, so I left some room.

This is the whole petunia pony-pack all in one hanging basket. These are the type that are supposed to hang out & over the basket.

Here's my little fence thing so no one goes off the end of the concrete by accident. I put a little birch tree in the large pot on the right. I have managed to keep that Christmas flower plant alive for four years now :) Ta da! Tidied front walk!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

For Rita

Here's the matted composition of family photos I put together for Lee's Mom.

I used different color pens to denote the families of the various siblings. For example, Kraig & Nancy, their kids and the grandkids are all listed in red.

If you click on the photo, it will go to full screen :)