Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting into the swing of things

So I've been working at my new school for about three weeks.  It's both better and worse than I expected.  The school itself is better - the kids are terrific and the staff is doing some really neat things, curriculum wise.  In this school I'll be able to work together with other teachers, which I wasn't able to do before.

Being by myself in the apartment completely stinks.  I am afraid of the dark so every night I have to sleep in a position that allows me to see the door and also see my nightlight.  I had to move the nightlight three times to get it in a place that lights the room without keeping me awake.  Every noise wakes me up, and sleeping alone is ... well, it's lonely.  I am so much more at peace with Bear around.  I worry constantly about whether my locks are locked and if someone is trying to look in my window.  I have no tv and no internet (internet comes on Thursday) so I have nothing to distract me from my neuroses.  I can dye fiber and yarn for the business, but there's only so much I can do in a day.  Hopefully once I have the web I can skype with Bear and my friends, but until then I'm just completely isolated.  It's not what I wanted, for sure.

It sounds like I'm having a miserable time and I'm really not - like I said, there are good things happening here.  But my emotions are up and down and all over the place because I miss Bear so much it hurts.  I live for the weekends, when I can go home and just hang out.  Just *be* there, next to him, where I feel most at home.

Is it summer yet?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


One of the main reasons I'm leaving the school district I've been in for the last five years is because I was tired of being screwed over (and around). I had had enough of being told one thing and another thing happening. It was constant and it was draining. Exhausting, really.

I thought this new district would be different.

I received my contract in the mail on Wednesday. In it were two papers - one saying that I needed to return it by Thursday, the other saying that they misquoted my salary and they were sorry. The new amount? Almost two THOUSAND dollars less.

I emailed the HR lady (who is very nice) and asked that I be given until Friday to get the contract signed and returned, as I am teaching summer school and needed time to look it over. She agreed and this morning I took some time to look it over.

I ended up with four pretty big issues/questions about the contract. Not the least of which is that the pay scale in the contract is different from the single page pay scale they are using to quote me my salary. I'd like to THINK that this was just a mistake, but I'm worried that they are pulling an East Millinocket tactic - the old bait-and-switch.

I'm sick to my stomach that this place may in fact be no better than the last place. I'm trying to hard to keep from making any snap judgments, but I've got a bad feeling about this.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting On With It

This week and last I have been teaching summer school at my new district. I'm driving there and back each day (two hour drives both ways), but it's good money and good weather so I don't mind so much. The kids have actually been pretty excellent, with one exception. That exception broke her tailbone last weekend, so perhaps Karma helped me out a bit there.

Now that I'm down here every day, I've begun the search for living accommodations. I have a picture in my head of what life will be like down here and I'm hoping to find something that resembles that picture at least a little bit.

Ideally I'd like something in the actual town the school is in, thus making my commute short. The shorter the better, in my opinion. I don't want to be away from home AND have a big gas bill anyway. And since we're speaking of ideal, I'd like to rent a house instead of an apartment - I really like my quiet time.

I do, however, own a dog and have a husband, both of whom will be visiting me a couple of weekends a month. This is proving complicating since many of the places that are available say no pets. I'm hoping my wit and charm will grant me an exception.

I have all of August to myself as far as summer vacation goes. I'll be doing a lot of work for the fiber and yarn business so that I can give myself a couple of weeks to get situated down here. I will also be snorgling the hubs, cats, and dog to store up for the weeks I'll be away from home. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about how this situation will turn out. I'm hoping that it will be better than expected, rather than worse.

Wish me luck. I'll post pics of the place I'll be renting once I have them.

Friday, July 01, 2011


The last time I posted, there were changes coming and decisions to be made. Well, change came - and Bear and I did make some decisions. They haven't been announced to everyone yet, but the blog is a pretty safe place to start since like three people read it.

I have accepted a teaching position in a coastal high school. It is just about two hours away from home, so I will be looking for a place to rent down there. I will stay down there during the week, and come home on weekends and vacations. Some weekends, Bear and Jackson will be coming down to see me so we can all explore the coast and Bear can get out of town.

This situation isn't ideal. Since we became a couple, Bear and I haven't spent a night apart. We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary yesterday, and have been together almost six years. That's a long time, and that change will be the hardest to handle. It's already affecting us, and I haven't even left yet. I know that Bear, especially, will feel this separation, as he won't have things to keep him busy at night (I have the yarn business to occupy the hours between school and sleep). We will have Skype and cell phones, of course, but that's really not the same. I know Bear will worry about me - it's what he does - and I've never been one to handle being on my own very well.

However, there are some really good things coming from this change. The district I'm joining is ridiculously excited to have me. They offered me the position about five hours after my interview, which is a record for me. I joined the staff yesterday for a professional development day so I could meet with the staff coaches and English chair, and everyone was *SO* nice. I think I can be happy there, professionally. They are a staff that is willing to work and change and collaborate; these are traits that I have not had in co-workers before. There are also opportunities to make extra money. I was in the building about five minutes before they offered me a summer school position that pays $27.50 an HOUR and I'd get paid for five hours a day and work only four. Even if I drive two hours both ways I'm still making good money. I haven't made up my mind, but I am thinking about it.

The best thing about this job is the knowledge that I'll be making a step towards our dreams. We've wanted to be on the coast for a long time. There has never been any forward progress on that dream. By making the tough choice we are actually going to move in the direction of our dreams. And that, is a very cool thing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ch-Ch-Change ...

Big changes are potentially afoot here at CFB Central. I have no idea what this change will look like, but the goal is to make some major changes to our lives in order to gain ground on our dreams.

The elementary school that I work at is closing after this school year. Many, many cuts have been made (and continue to be made). While I am reasonably "safe," this could change at any moment. In fact, last week I was laid off and then un-laid off less than 24 hours later.

The time has come. I need to move on.

Due to our state's tough economic situation, changes are being made to Maine State Retirement, which all Maine Teachers pay into. In order to escape those changes, many teachers are retiring *now.* There are more high school English Teacher positions open now than there have been in the last three years combined. It's a good time to be looking for an English job.

Problem: most of these jobs require a move from where we are now.
Problem: Bear cannot move right now, as he needs to have major surgery next year and gets short term disability where he is now. It's a secure job, and one he should keep.

So what does that mean? It means if I can find a decent teaching job, I'm going to be moving.

By myself.

While our relationship is strong and we will continue to be together, the truth of the matter is that if we ever want to move out of Brownville and to the coast, I'm going to have to get a job down there and work. I hope to find a position, an efficiency apartment or cheap house to rent, and live down there during the week. I will come home on weekends and vacations. It's not ideal (or even easy), but we think it is what's best for us. I will be making 10-15k more a year teaching and not commuting than I will ed teching at a district that is 41 miles away. Gas alone is more than $300 a month. I imagine that I'm a desirable tenant to most landlords - professional woman with no kids or pets who works at the local school sounds pretty good. If I'm incredibly lucky I will find someone who owns a house but doesn't want it to sit empty and will let me live there and just pay utilities. Sounds impossible, but it DOES happen.

So now it's a matter of finding the right job. I had one interview already and another is scheduled for Wednesday. The first job is about 50/50 on the pro/con list. I'm hoping for better results from the next interview. Either of the two applications I sent out today would be fantastic places to live.

Problem: What if a so-so district makes an offer before I hear from one of my first choices? GAH. This is so much harder to decide on than I thought. What I really need is for a clear path to be laid out in front of me. That's not too much to ask, is it?

I will keep you all up-to-date on what's happening. Cross your fingers for me, won't you?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

'Tis the Season

Every year it's a big question mark as to whether or not I'll suffer seasonal allergies. Some years I have no real symptoms at all, and others I'm in hell. May has been a *very* rainy month, and the rain keeps my allergy symptoms to a minimum. However yesterday we had a single day full of sunshine, clear skies, and warm temperatures (70s).

I think I'm dying.

Seriously. I cannot stop sneezing! And I don't just sneeze once or twice ... oh, no. My sneezes come in fits of up to twenty at a time. Most average in the six to ten range. Do you have any idea how hard it is to drive when you're having a ten-sneeze fit? Not to mention trying to find a tissue before your face explodes all over the place.

And sneezing isn't the worst of it. Whatever it is that I'm allergic to (I think it's a tree pollen, but I don't know which type of tree it is) tends to collect in the back of my throat when I'm sleeping, and I wake up several times a night literally choking because my throat stuck to itself momentarily. It's gross, and probably TMI, but there you have it. My throat is completely swollen and raw. Ugh. This pollen also gets into my lungs, so when I'm not sneezing, snoting, or choking, I'm hacking up a lung. I feel like crap.

Clearly, this is not going to be a good year for me, allergy wise.

I'm headed to the grocery store this afternoon to try to find some allergy meds. They all put me completely to sleep, so I will only be able to take them in the afternoon/evening, but at least I should sleep better. At this point, I'm just trying to hang on until the pollen passes.

Does anyone else have allergies like this?

Monday, May 09, 2011


Holy crap - it's been TWO MONTHS since I last blogged here. It's hard to believe! Well, actually, it's not hard for ME to believe, but if you know me and how much I love to talk, I could see how you might be a little alarmed that I've been so quiet.

You know, Thumper's mother said that if one doesn't have something nice to say, one shouldn't say anything at all. It's advice I try to follow.

So what I have I been doing? Sigh. Lots of feeling sorry for myself, mostly. Let me explain.

I've mentioned before how I've been diagnosed with endometriosis. As far as diseases go it's not a heinous one - it won't disfigure my face, it won't kill me ... it's just really painful. Horribly painful. I understand it isn't painful for everyone, but I'm not one of those lucky few. I have tried over and over again to get the issue resolved - I had a laparascopy in September to remove the endometriosis, which should have given me a few years' of pain free living. I had no relief at all. I went back to my regular doctor (the laparascopy guy was a jerk, although I do think he did a good job with the procedure) and my regular doctor agreed to send me to a different specialist.
I was basically ready to have my uterus removed. I'm not having children so really my uterus is a wasted organ and if it's causing me pain? YANK IT. I went prepared to make my argument to the new doc, to make him see that I was serious.

It's very difficult to explain the pain I feel to someone who doesn't feel this kind of chronic pain. When I'm not in pain, I'm perfectly fine. I can do anything, go anywhere ... I don't suffer at all. When I *am* in pain, I can't function. Sitting, walking, standing, laying ... every position I can put my body in hurts. I have this terrible fear that the pain is coming in the days before it begins (I suffer between 10 and 14 days each month). I worry about going out. I fret that I wont' have meds or that I'll be somewhere I can't take them. I've developed an intolerance to my big pain killers, so all I can take is Ibuprofen which doesn't help. When the pain hits, I cry over and over. I hate living, I hate that I'm going to suffer for several more decades, I hate it. Most of all, I hate that this pain controls my life, not the other way around.

So it was with a huge bundle of nerves that I went to the new doctor. I had heard great things about him and wasn't disappointed. Despite being insanely busy, the new doc went over my surgical notes, notes from my regular doc, everything in my file. He spent more than half an hour with me to explain what I came to realize was the horrible truth: there is no surgical option.

My endometriosis is in an unusual place in my abdominal cavity. The spots sit near my femoral artery, the nerve bundles that control my legs and feet, and several important tendons and tubes. There's simply no way to go in surgically and remove it to alleviate my pain. Removing the uterus will do nothing, unless they take my ovaries too. They won't take my ovaries because I'm too young - I will suffer osteoporosis, among other serious things.

The only option for me to treat my condition was the single worst option I'd heard about - six months of a drug called Depo-Lupron - a drug that puts me into an artificial menopause for six months. Six months of night sweats, hot flashes, bone loss, depression, insomnia, weight gain, facial hair growth, hair loss, and more. And those? Just the COMMON side effects. Slightly less common: headaches, bone pain, sore muscles, nausea, dizziness, etc. Four years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop putting hormones into my body. I was worried about what eleven years of drugs had done to my body and wanted my body to do what it wanted to, what was natural. Now I'm going in the completely opposite direction.

To say I'm not happy is a massive understatment. For two days I was inconsolable. Now the doc did put me on a second drug to reduce the side effects of the first. But it's not perfect and has side effects of its own. I sobbed through the appointment, I sobbed in the parking lot, I sobbed through the rest of the errands I had to run in town. To be told that there's no real solution was not what I wanted. To be told that this wretched drug was my best bet at reducing my pain FOR A WHILE (since it will probably grow back eventually) was not okay. I am still not okay, although I am slowing managing better. For about two weeks, I couldn't function. I'm not sure if I'm dealing with depression as a side effect of the drug or if I was just so upset that I got into a funk I couldn't get out of. I didn't want to get up, go to work, knit, drive ... anything. If I lowered my guard for a single moment, I cried. I cried in the car, in the bathroom, in bed, everywhere.

Thank God for my husband, who let me completely break down last Friday night. Who listened as I cried some more and was terribly negative about my chances for a pain-free life. While I whined about the horrible side effects. As I cried about how this isn't how I want to live my life. Without his support I'd be so much worse off than I am. I don't know how I'd get through it without him. I'm still not sure that I will get through it, but I'm going to try. I'm going to hope that the six months will be over quickly and I'll be okay after that.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Random Wednesday

  • If you haven't read it lately, check out Bear's blog. His medical roller coaster keeps going, each pass making the track more worn out and wobbly. I know we are both tired of the ride.
  • The sun has been shining for two days. It makes me wish for spring even more. Last weekend we were hit with a moderate ice storm - about 12,000 people lost power and roads have been damaged by fallen trees. My commute has gone from awful to rotten. If the sun will just keep shining, maybe spring will get here.
  • Although I love the light late in the day, I'm not a fan of daylight savings time. I hate that it'll be dark again when I get up each morning. I super hate that I'll be losing an hour of sleep.
  • I really need to add some pictures to this blog. It's been too long since I posted pictures of Jax, the cats, my ad0rable Bear ... too long.
  • If it weren't for my friends and husband, I'd never get anywhere in life. They constantly encourage me to reach past my comfort zone into things that are awesome, if slightly scary. Every time I've done this, something awesome has happened.
  • My new computer has this awesome program called "sticky notes". I no longer have to write notes by hand and pray that the Post-it Gods will allow the sticky backs to work long enough to accomplish my to-do lists. These sticky notes stay right on my desktop so I never lose them. I have several all over my desktop, each in different colors. I'm still not doing much off of those lists, but at least I'm not losing them anymore.
  • I'd like to buy a piano. A used upright piano.
  • I have nowhere to put said piano in my house.
  • I still want one.
  • Bear and I are trying to see if we can manage to visit my brother in Nebraska this summer. We've looked at our travel options and if we can manage it financially, we may take the train out and back. I love the sound of an adventure like that.
  • My video podcast has been going for almost a year now. I had no idea last year that I'd be where I am now. Someone said this morning that they want to be me when they grow up. I'm terribly flattered - but I'm still wondering how in the hell I'm anyone's role model. Weird!
  • Does anyone else sing in their car and not stop, even when truck drivers and other commuters give you funny looks? I can't be the only one. I can't be.
How's your Wednesday looking?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Week in Review

This week is a week that all teachers and students have off from school. I love this week. It's a great one for sleeping in, getting home projects done, and cursing the skies for delivering yet more snow.
I'm really tired of snow.
Normally I love each of the seasons - here in Maine we get a full dose of all four with an extra mud season thrown in between winter and spring. But this year spring can't come fast enough. There were two feet of snow on the ground this morning, and it's been snowing all day. I thought the groundhog *didn't* see his shadow this year?
Tomorrow is the annual Gathering of Gardiner Girls - myself and my three best friends from high school will be meeting at a pancake house for breakfast and laughter. One friend has just had a baby, and another just informed us she's expecting her second. I love these girls and don't see them nearly often enough. After that I'll be heading south to Freeport for a knitting event that's hosted each year in February. I've never been but I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to be a vendor at it next year. It is probably strange to a non-knitter how many knitting events there are and how well-attended they are. For me, it's a chance to be among my people. People who get me and who love the very same things I love. That to me makes this time of year a little bit easier to bear.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Yes, I know it's been more than a month since I posted last. Thanks for pointing that out. I would love to catch you all up on my scintillating life ... but honestly? There's absolutely nothing exciting to say. I've become boring.

Except that my husband went to town yesterday to get groceries and returned with a boquet of Gerbera daisies and two novels for me.

Because he knows I love daisies and I'm a sucker for books.

And what's more? One book's a dragon book that's been on my Amazon wish list for YEARS and the other is the sequal to a knitting fiction book I enjoyed two years ago.

The man knows what makes my heart happy.

More next week, I promise.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


So my friend Alice over at Wandering Wonderland says I'm inspirational. That my efforts to lose weight and get healthy inspire her. Last time I lost 40 pounds, I agreed with her. I could see how I was an inspiration (and I was happy to help - she did AWESOME!). I had worked hard, and the changes were obvious. I looked *good*!

This time? Not so much.

That's not to say I'm not busting my ass. I am! I'm riding my Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom for at least 500 calories a day (last night was 550!). I'm drinking between 5 and 8 glasses of water a day, not counting what I have in my coffee and tea. I'm participating in Sparkpeople's 28 Day Bootcamp Challenge, which means I do one ten-minute strength training workout every day. I'm stretching every time I exercise for decreased pain and increased flexibility. I'm tracking everything I eat and drink, even when I go out to eat (last time I cut to 1,275 calories, this time I'm trying to stay under 1,400). I've been doing everything RIGHT for three weeks now ...

... and I've lost 2 pounds. TWO.

That's ridiculous. I don't care if I am adding muscle, I don't care if some of that weight is water, I don't care if my body is in shock. I WANT THIS FUCKING WEIGHT GONE. I'm so so so so frustrated. My darling husband is exercising/dieting too, and in the first week he lost 7.6 pounds!! Yes, I know he has more to lose, yes I know it's easier for men - it's Just. Not. Fair.

Out of desperation this morning I took my measurements. I'm hoping (at this point somewhat dispiritedly) that if I'm not losing pounds, I *am* losing inches. I've posted them below for the entire world to see to keep me motivated to keep working. Because the scale? Not helping at all.

Calves: 16"
Thighs: 25" (this is what my WAIST should be, not one of my THIGHS)
Hips: 42"
Waist: 36"
Arms: 13"

How are you doing" Fox? Alice?

Monday, January 03, 2011

News and non-news.

News: Bear has blogged about his most recent doctor's visit (it's not good, and not for the faint of heart) here. I think that Bear has come to the conclusion that he needs to wait a while to have the surgery. It's not an "if", but a "when", really, but we aren't in a financial place for him to be out of work for at least six months. He has another appointment on March 1st (I will be going to this one with a laundry list of questions), and we may schedule the surgery then. Anything could happen between now and then, of course. He could fall again, it could get worse, we could win the lottery...

In non-news, I've hit the dieting wagon hard (minus one day we went to Olive Garden with friends, but we're not talking about that), going back to tracking my calories and riding the Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom (SSBOD). It sucks. I'm mostly pissed at myself for getting to this point again - how did I let this happen? How did I regain FORTY pounds of fat after working SO HARD to get rid of it? I am kicking myself for being so weak. My punishment? Getting back on the bike (500 calories a day, at least four days a week) and cutting back to eating under 1,300 calories a day. Experience has shown me that it's the only thing that works. Ugh. I am using a new calorie tracker, though that I like. I was using www.mycaloriecounter.com but I've made the switch to www.sparkpeople.com and although still hate tracking calories, this interface is better. I also signed up to do a 28 day bootcamp-style cardio and weight training program to keep things from getting stale.

I made my loving husband go into the kitchen and stay there until I'd completed the first ten-minute cardio video. He does *not* need to see that.

So that's what I've got going on in my world - how about you?