halavana: (lancelot)
lately I've become very troubled at the way mideast Christians are treated by islamist regimes.  granted, christian regimes at one time weren't much better, but that was 500 years ago.  time they got over the Crusades they still seem to be fighting.  it's not exactly a safe thing to post ones annoyance at such people, but here goes my version of the muslim statement of faith.

There is not god but God and Jesus is His Son.

or

There is no God but YHWH and Jesus is His Son.

Either way works for me.  I won't be replacing God with allah any time soon unless I start studying Arabic and need to use the word for god.
halavana: (lancelot)
As usually happens, some things are just too personal for facebook.  Here goes another epistle of that nature...

Considering how 2013 started out, maybe it's best not to judge a year by its beginning.  No major crises.  Family's health had settled into a relatively good place.  Spring & Fall semesters flowed along like the waves they usually are.  Then, November hit.  Veterans Day in the past has been my normal day to go in for the yearly screening.  For 12 years they came out and told me, "See ya next year!"  Not what happened this year.  Within 3 hours  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the other side.

Granted, Mom and Grandma had cancer on the left, so when I was diagnosed on the right the first time, I suspected I wasn't done yet.  Had even been thinking of contacting my surgeon and having prophylactic surgery done.  Just thinking about it.  Not in any big hurry.  Not until the lab tech came out and said, "we need to try that again. make sure the x-ray didn't jiggle or you didn't move."  Alert code orange.  Lab tech came back.  "we need to try one more time."  Alert code red.  Lab tech came back.  "we need to do a sonogram."  Red light & siren.

Within 2 weeks, I'd visited with my surgeon and had the second mastectomy.  Suffice it to say that now I'm really flat chested.  Looked into reconstruction the first time and decided against it.

One of the procedures they did was to inject a radioactive dye to see if the lymph nodes had been affected.  Again, the lab tech was patient and personable.  She said I could swear at her if I wanted to.  In Spanish.  We had a nice little conversation waiting for the resident.  He was a cute kid.  One of the benefits of being old is that I can now tease cute kids and think nothing of it.  The procedure wasn't as painful as they warned me it could be.  Like being stung by a wasp 4 times or plucking hairs.  The dread of it was worse than the procedure itself.  Sort of describes mastectomies in general.  We dread them, but once they're done, it's a bit of a relief.

They told me at first that the nodes were clear, after surgery.  Then they put them under a microscope.  Found micro-matastasis in 2 of 5, which changed the stage from 1 to 2a.  Still early, and very treatable, but not so easily as stage 0.  Off to visit an oncologist, who sent me off to visit a radiologist.  My surgeon said radiation wasn't called for, but the oncologist said it  might be, so I agreed to an appointment.  Doctors who have to give bad news to patients on a daily basis are a very unusual breed.  They're used to all kids of reactions.  The radiologist and his resident took the time to explain to me the pros and cons of radiation therapy and then we got down to the business of deciding if it was called for in my case.  He agreed with my surgeon.  At this point, it probably would be more harmful than beneficial.  My tumor was small, with "light year" sized clear margins.  Those 2 lymph nodes were a concern though.  We decided to wait until the oncotype test results came back.  We're still waiting on that.

This has been more difficult for family and friends then it has for me, in some ways.  I'm just dealing with it, finding out things and deciding what to share and what to keep to myself.  We'll see what 2014 brings.  Maybe I'll get to teach an ESOL Introduction to Speech and Drama class.  Last year I'd visited with the principal about what might be required and he said write up a proposal.  I wrote up the proposal, and it was accepted.  Very cool.  Now to see if any of our newcomers are willing to try it.

Well, anyway, here's hoping 2014 is a bit less interesting than the last 2 months of 2013.
halavana: (lancelot)
The death of a former student at the age of 23 got me thinking about that age.  When my dad was 23, his first child was born.  I was studying at WSU.  Mom was in college at OBU.  My brothers were either working at a warehouse or a grocery store.  23 is supposed to be a chapter in the middle, not the end of the book.

Tan Tran was killed when his car hit a pillar of a highway overpass.  He was speeding and had been drinking, but I guess he didn't think he was impaired.

So, for anyone who reads this, where were you, what were you doing at the age of 23?  Share if you would.
Thanks.
halavana: (Default)
Been exercising at Curves for several years and for the most part it's been a positive experience.  But lately, or at least since my hearing has deteriorated, I've had to ask the staff to raise the volume of the voice prompt to move to the next station.  The speakers aren't well placed, aiming at then center of the room instead of the circuit of exercise stations.  Maybe it's just the newbie on staff, but today I had to ask 3 times, and it still wasn't loud enough.  Turns out, she was raising it, then lowering it again.  I realize that the voice becomes annoying after having to listen to it for several hours, but if the staff remains this reticent to turn it up just for the half hour I'm there, maybe it's time for me to look for some other means of exercise that doesn't require voice cues.  Today I walked out before losing my temper, came home and took a walk around the block.  Big blocks where I live.  1 mile trip each time around.  Not very feasible during the winter, but for now it's just enough to work off a little steam.
Thanks for letting me vent. 
halavana: (Default)
the father of one of my students was killed in a car accident this morning. please pray for her and her family.
halavana: (Default)
(take off on a credit card commercial)
11 pair of work gloves - $11.00
helping out with bus fare when we found it had gone up - $10.00
bottled water - $2.97
3 Papa John's pizzas - $23
Watching my ubercool high school kids play bingo with US veterans from WW2, Korea & Vietnam - priceless
halavana: (Default)
irrelevant ponderings:

March 2010 - Nancy Pelosi on Health Care: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

March 2012 - Supreme Court Justice Scalia on reading the healthcare bill: "What happened to the Eighth Amendment? You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages? And do you really expect the Court to do that? Or do you expect us to -- to give this function to our law clerks? Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"

Wonder if anyone but me found Judge Scalia's comment on reading all 2700 pages of the Obamacare bill somewhat ironic. Wonder if he intended it that way...
halavana: (Default)
Several months ago I drove by the corner up the road from my house and saw my neighbors loading up several pickup trucks. Considering that I was on the way somewhere I just thought that the son who'd lost his job and moved in with his parents was now moving out. Maybe he found a new job! Cool! Didn't think anything else about it until the place was sitting empty for a few weeks. Not a soul around for a long time. Turns out, as Dad discovered from the mailman, the house had been condemned as unfit for habitation because the sheriff noticed they were draining their wash water out on the ground and not into a washpit or septic tank. Things went downhill from there. Apparently the situation was repaired because a "for sale/rent to own" sign was put in the yard. Workmen came and went so we assumed the place was being improved.

This morning Dad went out to get the paper and saw flashing lights at this corner. He then saw the house on fire. The place is maybe half a football field away from us and there was a crosswind, so we'd have never noticed it until the next time driving by. By 7:30 the house was nothing but a pile of ash and twisted metal. Firemen stayed around sifting through the ash and I'm sure I passed the fire inspector on my way to church.

On the way home, drove by and paused a moment to contemplate the change made on that corner. A propane tank, central heating unit charred hot water heater on a cement slab replaced the former bungalow. They were good neighbors. Kept to themselves, but visited with Mom & Dad occasionally. People who live in this area usually moved here to find a place where they would be left alone, so most of us don't do more than smile and wave in passing. They left no forwarding address so we have no reliable way to contact them. It's like they wanted to disappear. Where ever they are, I wish them well.
halavana: (Default)
Finished reading The Help, the book upon which the movie was based. Some things I like better about the movie. Other things I like better from the book. Overall, however, both are good reading and good viewing. There's a section by the author in the back about her experience with her family maid, which got me thinking about an experience on the bus with my Mom when I was really little, about 4 years old. We were riding in the back because the front was full and all these black ladies were sitting back there. A seat was empty next to one of them and Mom asked if she minded if we sat there. I don't remember exactly how it came about, but we sat down and Mom and this lady started talking. Again, I wish I could remember that conversation but the question came up about riding in the front of the bus and this lady had to ride in the back of the bus because she was black. "That's not fair," I said. "No, it's not," said Mom. I don't remember anything else, but boy could I write a story from that little snippet of a memory.
halavana: (Default)
Now that Apple has discontinued its iDisk and Homepage services, it's time to go looking for a place to store my online library. This might be it. Not sure. My site called "halavana's library" is still up and running but with limitations and after June 2012, all things shut down as Mobileme becomes iCloud. So, Primula, if you're reading this, I have followed your advice.
Thanks for the info.
halavana: (Default)
Caught a student plagiarizing this week. He said he was using his ipod as a dictionary and I guess he thinks I'm stupid. Little did he realize that there is a such thing as www.duplicheck.com. The boy is busted. Will be using this little site more frequently in the future and insisting that my students hand in all work electronically. They must really think I'm stupid if they think I can't figure this stuff out. Just what I wanted. More work...
halavana: (Default)
Every morning when I go to work, if the sky is clear, I get to watch the sun rise in my rearview mirror. Pretty cool. Kansas is not known for its hills, but the road to work goes up and down several gentle slopes, rises just enough to block out the sun momentarily. At the summit of the next rise, I get to watch the sunrise again. The process repeats 3 or 4 times until the sun is well up and stops playing. Getting to watch the sunrise 3 times is a good way to start the day. Pretty cool.
halavana: (Default)
*sigh* It's good to be home, but it was also a wonderful trip and an excellent way to celebrate turning a half century. Spending 2 weeks with a former roommate, and my current roommate, in Montreal was a blast. We visited Quebec City, leaving on the day that Will and Kate arrived, saw a free performance of Cirque du Soleil and a light show of the history of Quebec City. Shopped until the credit card said "enough! are you trying to wear off my numbers?!"

Back in Montreal, we roamed the city by metro, bus and on foot. My Quebecois friend has her own radio show, one of which I "helped" her prerecord. It's a very small Christian radio station that is only on a Jewish radio station for 24 hours during Shabat. Louise was very kind to let me ruin her show. Hee hee hee. Even the station manager was having difficulty keeping a straight face with all our silliness.

Gave music lessons to a Baptist church day camp for kids who can't afford day camp. Saw a performance of the Inocenti family and their horses. Am thinking I need to go back to Montreal every summer. Now that I know how to get around better, and have figured out how to use the Opus bus card, maybe my friend can have a little break from being a tour guide.

Oh, yeah. Must be sure to go during the Montreal Jazz Fest where even the free shows are out of this world. Laila Biali was fabulous.
halavana: (Default)
Found this quote by James McAvoy on some news site, somewhere:

"We make loads of movies to try and hit in America, and yet it's never the ones aimed at America that do well. We dumb our movies down because we want Americans to understand them. Then Americans watch it and go, 'This is a really unsophisticated, dumbed-down movie. Why would we buy this? Why do we like this? We don't.' It's like we're patronizing them and short-changing ourselves."

Wouldn't you know that half the comments were only about the first 2 sentences! They apparently didn't even bother to read the rest of the quotation!!!!!!!! Don't it just figure. A Brit tries to give us a complement, and half of us think it's an insult.

Grrrrrrrrr.
halavana: (Default)
We took Mom in today for a procedure to repair her back. Took a total of 4 hours, including prep, OP and recovery. Things have sure changed since my back was crunched in 1993. Mom is now home, resting comfortably, or more so than before.
halavana: (Default)
When I started reading Blacklisted by History, by M. Stanton Evans, I wasn't sure what to expect. Having only read the received version of Sen. Joe McCarthy and his attempt to weed out potential security threats in the State Department, I was expecting more of the same. Not so. Mr. Evans doesn't make McCarthy out to be a hero, but he does show him to be much more human than the usual demonization heaped upon him would suggest. The gentleman certainly did his research, sifting through FBI files and State Dept. records for whatever could be found to substantiate the accepted version, and finding just the opposite. The worst I can say is that because of Mr. Evans' book, I no longer enjoy the movie "Good Night and Good Luck" as I once did. Seems the 20th century's number 1 scapegoater was really one of the century's prime scapegoats.

This may not change the way I teach The Crucible, but will certainly adjust my attitude toward Arthur Miller even further away from the hero he tries to portray himself.
halavana: (Default)
Although I have no intention of reading Lolita, the above named book has attracted my curiosity since I first heard of it. So far the author has briefly explained the plot of Lolita, a selection for her book study class, but what I find fascinating is her insight into everyday life inside Iran. From her description, no organization in the U.S. comes close to "The Committee" that controls even the minutest details of women's lives.

Update: Done with Lolita, but still disturbed by synopses of movies that make Humbert out to be a victim. Not impressed.

RLiT has moved on to Gatsby. Azar Nafisi has a way of applying the books of her study group to her culture and country at the time. I knew that not all Iranians consider America to be inherently evil, but it's intriguing to read her perspective as a student in the US during the 70's and a professor in Iran during the 90's.

Update 2: Very intriguing way to write a memoir. Nafisi's book club read and discussed not only Lolita and Gatsby, but also Henry James and Jane Austin, among others noted briefly. I am confirmed in my belief that as a woman, I'm better off in the USA.
halavana: (Default)
Today we celebrated Mom's 80th birthday. Quietly, but celebrated none the same. When we first moved out to this place in the middle of nowhere, Mom said she'd like one of those ornamental windmills that dot the area. We finally got her one to replace the useless satellite dish that has been an eyesore since the tornado disconnected it from the house in 1990. Mom's happy now. And we're all in cahoots with the orneriness that kept it secret until today when Dad and Dan planted it in the backyard right outside the kitchen window. Heee hee hee hee...
halavana: (Default)
Due to snow with a windchill of -12 or such, the school district has decided to let everyone stay home today. Suits me. Always stuff to do around the homestead.

I don't remember getting that many snow days off when I was in school. There was a storm the virtually closed Kansas for about 3 days and we had those 3 days off only to have to make up one of them on a Saturday. The district in its wisdom schedules enough extra days in the school year that we don't have to extend it any further except in extreme cases. Here's hoping this year isn't one of those cases.
halavana: (Default)
The Lion Dance Club doesn't have many performances this year, but the group from the church many of them attend will be performing almost nonstop. Yesterday afternoon they had a rehearsal at 2:30 on the far eastern side of town, at 4:00 a party request on the south side where they stayed and played soccer or shot hoops until 5:30 after performing twice, at 7:20 they were the opening act at the same place they rehearsed earlier, then had to rush off to the northeast to wait for their time to perform by 8:00, after which they went to a community activities center to perform for a Lunar New Year party.

The only performance officially for the LDC I sponsor was the one at 7:20 with the rehearsal. Seems I was enlisted as transportation. Had no reason to refuse and it turned out to be kind of fun. Even took over for the drummer for about half a minute to give his arms a rest. At the last performance, someone came up to me and said he'd been my student TEN YEARS AGO!!!!! And remembered me. Well, fortunately. It's always encouraging to meet students who have done well, but it sure makes me feel old, even though they say I haven't changed a bit. I think they're being nice, wearing the proverbial rose colored glasses about hight school. Of course, that's not all bad. Makes me look good in retrospect.
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