Live, Teach

Really Random Thoughts: Bacon Cheeseburgers and Blue Bell

Some things I’ve been thinking about this weekend:

1. School: I’ve had a great first week and a half of school! It’s been a relatively smooth beginning, so smooth that it feels like we’ve been in school for longer than a week and a half, which can actually backfire on me because I expect the kids to know everything about “how we do it,” but in fact, I haven’t taught them everything they need to know yet, so I have to be very patient and understanding which is usually not too hard for me but can sometimes be tough on a Friday afternoon.

2. Tinnitus update: after approximately eight months of utter hell, I am ecstatic to report that my ringing is 99% better! One of the “cures” for tinnitus is to wear hearing aids to amplify ambient noise, which causes the brain to pay attention to the sounds in the “atmosphere” instead of the ones in your head. Well, since I already wear hearing aids, I didn’t really need to investigate that cure, right? Except for the fact that one of them was broken. I had begun to feel that the ringing was only in my right ear most of the time; that was the hearing aid that didn’t work. I discussed with my audiologist the possibility of getting hearing aids with ambient noise built in, but I decided to see if the right hearing aid could be repaired and if wearing it would eliminate or suppress the ringing. I took the hearing aid in sometime in July or maybe early August, but I didn’t get it back until last week.

Hallelujah!!!  At first, it felt that the ringing was about 1/10 as loud as it has been, which was fantastic. A week later, the ringing is still present, but usually it feels 1/100 as loud! When I take out both of my hearing aids before I go to bed, the ringing intensifies. I did have a little trouble falling asleep last night because of it, but at least during the day, it’s almost  nonissue. I cannot express how fabulous it is not to hear ringing as loud as a jet engine or a freight train in my head all day long, every day. I do still hear it, but it is so faint, I am usually not bothered by it. I have tried to notice that and appreciate it every day. Oh, how I adore the sound of (relative) silence!

3. Cancer/Mom: I am still camped out at my mom’s house. She is feeling pretty well, but she does like having someone around to help out with Coco and to bring her breakfast/lunch/dinner in bed, which I am happy to do. I think I will move back home next weekend, though. I love being able to hang out with my mom and to help her when she needs me, but I am craving my own space again!

Mom went to a doctor at MD Anderson in the Supportive Care department, Dr. Bruera. He is the chief of this department and widely published and respected in the field. When we first saw him about a month ago, he prescribed a daily dose of sunlight (45 minutes without sunglasses) and a 30 minute walk. In Houston. In August. Yeah, Mom’s gonna get  right on that! On Thursday, Mom talked to him about her throat/mouth pain and some of her other symptoms. She talked about how hard it is for her to eat and how she often eats just a few bites of whatever is served. So Dr. Bruera prescribed fast food and hydrocodone. Lots of it.

I’m not kidding.

He told her that “fast food is your friend.” What the heck??? He said if she’s only going to eat a few bites of something, it might as well be a McDonald’s Angus Bacon & Cheese Burger instead of a salad. He told her to eat fast food as often as she can. She needs the calories, fat, and protein! Unfortunately, I’m the one who brings it to her and I do not need the calories or fat (the protein is negotiable.) Mom loves a good burger, milkshake, and onion rings – and so do I. Only one of us actually needs to eat it, though.

So today I’m going to My Fit Foods to get my meals for the week, and I’m going to limit my fast food ordering to what Mom wants. And I absolutely, positively will not help her drink the milkshakes. Well, maybe only absolutely, not positively.

As for the hydrocodone, Dr. Bruera told her to take at least 3 a day, 4 if she wants to. He is not worried about her becoming addicted, so he gave her 360 pills. Apparently, he is also not worried that she will “take all she can and sell the rest” (paraphrase of an old Blue Bell Ice Cream ad, for those of you who aren’t native Texans, in which case, I feel sorry for you.) So the hydrocodone should help her pain and some of her other symptoms, and so far, it seems to be working. She is a little sleepy in between milkshakes, but she feels pretty darn good!

4. Blogs: Last night, Mom and I watched It’s Complicated, which has its moments but is not a great movie. Mom really doesn’t like Alec Baldwin; she thinks he’s smarmy. The character he plays in this movie is trying to insinuate himself back into his ex-wife’s life but fails. The reason I wanted to watch the movie, though, was for the house. Yes, the house, which was actually a set on a Brooklyn sound-stage, though the exteriors were shot at a house in Santa Barbara. The movie was directed by Nancy Myers, who is somewhat of a goddess in the blogging world for the incredible houses in her movies. Julia at Hooked on Houses wrote several great posts about the It’s Complicated set. Read them here and here. I’ve mentioned Julia’s Bad MLS Photos before on this blog, and her TV/Movie Houses posts are just as fabulous (although considerably less freaky!)

5. More blogs: I read a post on The Pioneer Woman by one of her contributors, Heather, who blogs at Oh My Stinkin’ Heck. Heather homeschools her three children, and the post is about a really unique math manipulative/game thingy. Yes, thingy is a mathematical term. Heather wrote a great, detailed post, complete with pictures and instructions, about how to use the Zillio Mini Mountain. From the review on Amazon:

Award Winning Zillio Mini Mountain. Children fall in love with Zillio at first sight. The large colorful rotating structure is not only beautiful and exciting but it is a powerful model of math based on two critical math concepts: times tables and number lines. Combined these concepts create the foundation for 10 essential skills. Zillio Mini Mountain games and lessons combine visual tactile and kinesthetic elements to meet the learning styles of most children. The educational games and lessons are a perfect balance of fun and powerful learning. Progressively challenging activities are based on standards for grades Pre-K through 6 plus including counting addition subtraction multiplication division fractions number lines ratios equivalency and algebra. Its the learning that makes playing math really fun for everyone.

You kind of have to see it in action, so go read Heather’s post here if you have children ages 4 to 94. I would love to have this for my classroom, but, since space is so limited, I don’t have anywhere to set it up. I am going to recommend it to my parents, though!

Heather also wrote a post about a sentence building game here. I love her posts because they show the games in action, and Heather provides step-by-step instructions on how to play them, which is superb for a visual learner like me! You can buy the Cooking Up Sentences! game here.

I do so love the internet!

[And FYI, I don’t receive compensation for recommending the aforementioned games, nor have I actually used them with my students, but I think they’re cool!]

6. On my to-do list:

  • write the last three posts in my Nurture Shock series
  • go back-to-school shopping
  • finish furnishing my office (thinking about using this ghost chair with the desk)
  • activate my new Droid (if it ever arrives!!!) and restore my ability to text!
  • get my car inspected (only two more days before the sticker expires!)
  • put together a design plan for Mom’s kitchen/breakfast room/den
  • exercise, eat right, and lose weight (a perpetual bullet – or peace-loving dot, as RM says – on my list)

6 thoughts on “Really Random Thoughts: Bacon Cheeseburgers and Blue Bell

  1. And I now desperately WANT the math mountain thingy! Great update, by the way. Missed you in church, but I will be in touch…with or without your ability to text!:)

    1. I feel like such a loser without my phone! I had my calls forwarded to my mom’s phone, but I didn’t realize (uh, duh!) that they would go to her voicemail, not mine.

  2. Congrats on the good classes and tintinnitis relief! I’m empathizing with your diet and caregiving challenges, looking forward to the Nurture Shock posts, and burning with envy about the Droid!

    I personally have lost 10 pounds in the past month due to horrific crazy stressful situation making me forget to eat for much of two weeks and then destroying my appetite, so I don’t recommend that route to weight loss! But maybe we can motivate each other about the exercise and healthy eating, because I still need to lose the weight, just without destroying my health in the process. 🙂

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