Monday, August 31, 2009

Crisp Air, Delicious Flavors

Fresh raspberries and peaches were on sale at the grocery (sorry, didn't make it to the farmer's market this week). Don't they look delicious? Let me tell you - they are! I topped these babies with some shortcake batter and baked it all for about 50 minutes. Cobblery goodness, I tell ya!

Now, I know I was out of commission for a while with the brain leak, but how did it get to be Fall already? I don't just mean school starting, I mean the weather! We had our windows and doors open yesterday (and honestly, didn't everyone?) and I actually got COLD! It's still August! I'm having a hard time believing in Global Warming this Summer - anyone else?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another New Year

Time can be measured in so many ways. As Jonathan Larson said in his lyrics for Rent,
525,600 minutes
how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes -
how do you measure a year in the life?
For many of us, especially those who work with children and students, we measure the passing of time according to the school year. When Fall is nearing and the first day of a new school year arrives, we once again go on pilgrimage to our office supply stores for unsharpened pencils, undefiled spirals, fresh erasers we futilely hope we'll never need. (Yea, that picture is me in my Freshman year in HS - it was 1978. Note the bolo tie, the corduroy vest, and the curling iron skill.)

When I was young, I remember being anxious about what to wear the first day and what kinds of folders and notebooks I had. I remember those folders that were like intricate coloring pages, and using study halls (and probably actual class time, truth be told) to color them in). Fall is when the marching band would take over our lives, filling our house with practicing, keeping track of uniform pieces and memorizing music. Fall was cold nights on rickety-feeling bleachers watching football games with my best friends, laughing at the trombone and tuba players and their antics, and wondering who was going to ask whom out.

I'm not sure what Si uses to measure time. Would it be Boy Scout trips? Badges earned? Birthdays? School years? Boxes of Cheezits? I know he's not really anxious about clothing, but he does like to look "geeky cool".

He has started High School this week. I seem to be incapable of taking a decent picture in the morning, but here he is, on his second day of HS. The molecular thingy on his Tshirt is caffeine - fitting, somehow, for my coffee-drinking teen.

He's maturing so quickly now. He cooks, he actually spent time cleaning his room yesterday (after I threatened to ground him from all activities, though), and he's been so helpful all year while I've been recovering. I feel so blessed to have him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Great Woman

I had many great professors at GCC throughout my years there, but Barb Akin held a special place in my heart. She was my adviser, and I admired and respected her greatly. I went to her ordination (instead of the Homecoming parade), I learned many great lessons from her (not the least of which was the art of skimming a book for salient points w/o reading every word), and I enjoyed her lectures immensely. Even her tests, when given, were admirable - always really and truly testing to see what you learned, not to try to trip you up on something you might have missed.

Just the other day I was talking about Barb, and telling someone, I forget who, how she'd kept me from taking certain "easy A" classes because she had higher expectations for me. She was brassy, strong, brilliantly smart and fun to hang out with. I remember her smoking in class, cussing sometimes, too (which at GCC was shocking!), and basically being her amazing self. She was like a cross between Prof. McGonagall and Mae West, and, although we didn't keep in touch, I did love her.

I look forward to learning from you again someday, Barb, on the other side.

in my email today:
Retired Faculty Member Dr. M. Barbara Akin Passes Away August 14, 2009


Dear Catherine,

We are sorry to report that retired faculty member Dr. M. Barbara Akin passed away on Friday, August 14, 2009 at her home.

Dr. Akin taught at Grove City College from 1970 to 1999 and chaired the history department during that time. She had also served as vicar of the Church of the Epiphany Episcopal in Grove City from 1985 through her retirement in 2008.

The funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 19, at the Church of the Epiphany Episcopal, 870 Liberty Street Extension, with Bishop Sean Rowe ’97 officiating.

The College offers sincere condolences to Dr. Akin's family, friends and her former students.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Drip Is Gone!

Ahhhh - sweet relief! My nose no longer drips! I had most of the packing removed yesterday morning, and I feel GREAT! My energy is still very low, and I am getting tired very easily, and I"m still not supposed to do much . . . but boy, do I feel loads better! That packing up my nose sucked!

I am going back to work - again! I'll be starting back to work part time next Wednesday, Aug 19, and I'll be on "light duty" until Sept 1. I'm going to get the rest of the nose packing (nasal bolstering? snotton cotton?) taken out Tuesday morning, and Tuesday night I'm having a sleep test, so that we can figure out what the heck is going on. But I'm going back to work, dammit! I am going CRAZY being home! OK, truth be told, I'm sleeping most of the time, but still . . . it's the idea of the thing.

So - just to amuse myself, I want to post a few pics of Si (my 14, nearly 15 yo son) on the Appalachian Trail. He was there with his Boy Scout Troop - 3 leaders and a passel of boys. They hiked over 50 miles, 5 days. These are my favorite shots. He didn't take a camera, but others had them, obviously. I love this pic of him looking out from Black Rock. So bold and strong!

This is the whole group the first morning of hiking. See how chipper they look? Si is in the middle of the front row looking strangely demonic - no idea why he has that look on his face! LOL

But this one captures the spirit of the boys best of all. They're at the Civil War Correspondents Memorial near Harper's Ferry.

Go Bucks!

SHAMELESS PLUG: If you live in the Central Ohio area, you'll want to check out the HUGE Boy Scout Garage Sale this Saturday, Aug 15 at Overbrook Presby Church, 4131 N High St, just north of Whetstone Park, 9 am - 3 pm. They've been collecting donations all summer long, and it's going to be HUGE! This is a great place to find cheap housewares, school clothes, toys, collectibles, books, yard stuff, and there is even a boat! All money collected goes directly to support the boys and their camping (like going on the AT). Our troop does this one fundraiser each year, and does not sell popcorn or anything else, so this is it! Thanks for supporting the Boy Scouts, troop 474!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Seriously? Another one?

Yea, well, I'm on medical leave again. I know, I know - when will it end? I have no idea, and frankly, I'd love it if I were doing anything but this - trust me!

I've been complaining of this drippy nose - these sinus issues - for months. Months and months and months. Well, turns out, it wasn't mucus of any kind, it was actually spinal fluid. Leaking out my nose. Yea, you read it right. It is a spontaneous CSF leak. How weird is that? Pretty darn weird, let me tell you! And scary, too, because if stuff can leak out, other stuff can get in, which put me at great risk for . . . oh . . . menenghitis, etc. Sounds lovely, eh? How does this happen, you ask? Is it my wild lifestyle, the fall I took in January? what? Well, we're still trying to figure that out (me and my new Doctor pals), but it is most likely from long-undiagnosed sleep apnea. No kidding! Again - how freaky is that!?!?!!?

Ok - so one day I'm working and dripping and getting a few minor headaches, and the next day I'm fearing for my life and wondering what will happen and knowing that I might need to have brain surgery. Then they got it all figured out and realized that they could do the surgery through the nose, which means no cool scars (not even black eyes - sorry - nothing cool to photograph at all, really, except the bags under my eyes, but honestly, they're usually there anyway).

Basically, the Dr had told me Thursday, July 23, to await his call Monday morning to get another CT scan and an endoscopy (up my nose with a rubber hose, or summat). They were going to get me in Friday the 24th, but the Dr was busy, as was I (heading North for my brother's wedding)

So Monday found me calling off and waiting a bit, and then getting scoped and scanned, and then Tuesday found me in the hospital, and there you have it. That Thursday - hmm - July 30, they did the surgery (had to do more tests first, of course, including lumbar puncture, and then they put in a lumbar drain, an experience I would only wish on people who are cruel to small children). The surgeon took some bone tissue from my left sinus area and used it to patch the holes he found. Instead of small holes, actually, he found a thinned area - like a very worn cover of a book - or a sieve (my sister always said I have a memory like a steel sieve), and he patched it, then stuffed that side of my facial parts with . . . well . . . I have no idea what is in there, but I can tell you I'm sick of it! It's helping to hold the patch in place when I cough, though, or when I sneeze, which I do occassionally. Blah. I'm not allowed to blow my nose, or bend over forward, or pick up anything heavy (pity - no laundry for me, still!)

I have no idea when I'll be able to go back to work. I keep thinking it'll just be a bit more, but I am getting the feeling this week that this is all a much bigger deal than I was letting myself believe.

Signs that this is harder on my body than I'd like to admit:
  • I don't feel like being social at all - have even asked for fewer phone calls
  • I'm tired all the time, and have headaches a lot
  • Sleeping often makes my headaches worse - figure THAT out!
  • I don't feel much like knitting (don't be scared - yesterday I knit about 3 rounds on a hat I'm making)
  • I was light-sensitive for about 4 days after surgery, and couldn't really focus my eyes for at least that long - longer, actually, I think
  • My memory is fuzzy
  • I have odd tingling sometimes - like the palms of my hands, my baby toes, or my left buttock - go figure
  • I don't feel like eating, and when I do, nothing seems to taste good (ok - that sweet corn from the farm market yesterday was awesome - and at lunch I could still barely finish one ear)
So - I'm trying to find ways to cheer myself up. Will you help? There are a lot of idioms that we use in our language that would be very funny if used by me in this situation . I've got a few here, but please share any you think of, and give me an example of how I can use it in conversation! I'm looking for humor here - tasteless is definitely in bounds!
  • I needed this like I needed a hole in my head.
  • This has given me a whole new meaning for "brain drain" and I'm not sure I like it!
  • Look, it's not exactly brain surgery, right? Just do it!