Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Things Thursday & Friday

My four day weekend has begun and I've already gotten lazy!

Thursday's good things:
  • Music that made me smile. I heard Red Red Wine on the radio while driving to work. Back when I was thirteen, that song was my definition of sexy. Totally my jam.
  • A mostly cooperative grade nine class.
  • A beautifully done, moving presentation of the Stations of the Cross during our Holy Thursday liturgy (I teach at a Catholic school). Our school was without a drama teacher for the first month of the semester and the person who ended up volunteering to take over has done a fantastic job. 
  • Getting the grocery shopping done without getting stressed. The store was packed, as it always is when a holiday weekend is approaching, but I didn't let it get to me.
  • Pomegranate margaritas!
Today's good things:
  • Sleeping in
  • Spending most of the day on the couch. I will probably regret this, though, since I didn't get any school work done at all.
  • Finished DH's taxes. Both of ours are now done, just have to verify the numbers and send them off.
  • Blueberry-banana pancakes with strawberry sauce for dinner.
  • Knowing that I have three more days off.
That brings me to the end of my Good Things project. Has it made a difference? Yes. Nothing Earth-shattering but I think it has been helpful. For many of the positives I listed throughout the week, I could have listed just as many negatives. There were things that were stressful and frustrating but making this list every day helped to shift my focus away from those things. I didn't end up dwelling on them and that made them easier to deal with. I also noticed that I have a tendency to expect the worst, which gives me something I can work on. Ultimately, I needed a change of perspective and got it so I'd say the idea paid off.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Things Wednesday

A successful Lock Down drill this morning. Last time I had to do one of those, a kid popped a balloon in the middle of it. Not good! This was much better.

The junior boys' hockey team had a tournament at the arena next door so after our lesson in the grade ten class, they went to watch hockey and I got a break.

Also thanks to the tournament, the most disruptive kids in my grade nine class were all absent (they're on the team). It was the most mellow and productive class we've had yet.

Time to eat my lunch two days in a row!

Time to do everything I needed to in my split class. For once, I didn't feel like a chicken with my head cut off. They're still a month behind where they should be but it's starting to feel salvageable.

Shiny new hair dryer! Looking forward to trying it out tonight.

The Daily Show and Colbert are back on this week and I finally had time after work today to start catching up.

Just one more day to go until a four day weekend.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Things Tuesday

My travel hair dryer. My normal dryer blew out on Sunday while I was only halfway through drying my hair. I thought I'd have to make an emergency shopping trip after work on Monday but then remembered that I have a travel one lying around. My bangs look like crap but it saved me some time.

My awesome grade ten class. They make me like what I do. It's the one class I look forward to every day and those kids give me the least grief. If it wasn't for them, this semester would be miserable.

Actually having time to eat my lunch today.

Parent interviews went more smoothly than expected. The one parent I was particularly nervous about, because she kind of laid into me a year and a half ago when I taught another one of her sons, didn't even remember meeting me before. She was lovely.

It was still light out when I drove home after 7:30.

I don't have too much planning to do tonight. It was hard enough to stay awake at 9 AM today, even harder now!

The email I got today with the subject line, "Your cruise countdown begins today!" We've got summer vacation plans (booked last week) and I can't wait!

    Monday, March 25, 2013

    Good Things Monday

    DH and I have been catching up on Mad Men and in one of the last episodes of season 4, Peggy reminds Don of one of his advertising philosophies: if you don't like what people are saying about you, change the conversation. That resonated with me. It's time to change MY conversation. I need to refocus my thinking and my energy into positive things. I need to start being proactive about the things I'm unhappy with that I can change.

    To that end, I decided to try a little experiment on the blog this week. Every day, I'm going to list at least five good things that have happened. My hope is that by the end of the week, I'll be paying more attention to those than to all the other junk that is going on that just drags me down. And maybe it'll motivate me to keep seeking out positive change.

    So, good things that happpened today:
    1. No surprise on-call during my prep, allowing me to finish what I needed to before I had to start teaching. I try not to leave much work that needs to be done for the same day's classes, just in case, but I really needed that time today.
    2. One of my most obstinate grade ten students assigned himself a new seat today, did more work and participated more than he has been all semester. Progress reports went home on Friday and it looks like he actually gives a damn, despite his attitude to the contrary all this time.
    3. I survived my grade nine class.
    4. I didn't have to stay too long after school. Tomorrow will be a late day; we have parent-teacher interviews from 3:30 to 7:30 so this made me happy.
    5. Dinner was not what I originally planned but it turned out really good.
    I found this while looking for a good image to go with this post and I think it's perfect:

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    TTC Friday: Sunday Edition

    Alternate title: Unremarkable.

    It's been a while since I posted anything of substance (The Virgin Suicides review is coming, I promise!) and a longer while since the last TTC Friday update. I reached a point where I needed a break from thinking/talking/writing/reading about it. The stress and frustration has started to affect other areas of my life, including work, and I needed to take a step back.

    Over the break, I went for a pelvic ultrasound to check for cysts. The clinic said that my doctor's office would have the results within two days. Not so much. After sweating it out for a full week, all I got was "unremarkable." My insides are unremarkable. No cysts, or anything else out of the ordinary. Great. Then WTF, body?

    This is exactly what I was afraid would happen, that I'd end up back at square one. I don't really even know what to do anymore beyond continuing what we're already doing and waiting. After a full year, I can try to get referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist, who may be able to give me more insight. Or maybe I need to accept that this is my "normal" now. I don't know. Tomorrow begins month #9. Cycle 6 started just over a week ago. I'm over this whole thing.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Reality Bites

    Back to reality this week! Sadly, March Break is over. This is progress report week at school so things are even more hectic than usual. I won`t be back to my regular blogging schedule until Friday, most likely.

    A few random things:
    • As usual, I didn`t accomplish the vast majority of what I`d hoped to during the break. Laziness and procrastination won out. Now I`m paying the price! I actually meant to start on the progress reports during the break and completely forgot about them until the weekend.
    • Not pregnant. My luteal phase this past cycle was so weird, though, that I was convinced I was pregnant until 11dpo, when the test told me otherwise. Like clockwork, my temps dropped the next day and that was that.
    • No ultrasound results yet. This is really bothering me because they said that it should only take two days to get the results back to my doctor`s office. That would have been last Friday. I called them yesterday after work and they had nothing.
    • Work sucks. I`ll elaborate on this, and what I`m trying to do to make it not suck so much, in an upcoming blog.
    • I`m currently reading Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and it is not going well. My brain is too tired to follow something that complex right now.
    Until Friday...

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Review: Little Princes

    Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, Conor Grennan
    Rating: 4.5/5.0

    Little Princes was a case of love at first listen. I'd been putting it off for a while because the description made me think it would be very similar to Three Cups of Tea, which I liked but didn't want to rehash. I'm glad gave it a shot because it's one of my favourites of the year so far.

    Conor Grennan decides to travel around the world for a year, beginning with a three month stint volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal. He readily admits that it wasn't the actual volunteering or the orphans that motivated him, rather the idea of it and of being able to impress people by saying that he did it (here's an article he wrote for the Huffington Post about whether or not one's initial motivation really matters). Once in Nepal, though, he establishes a connection to the kids and when he learns the truth of their circumstances, he is compelled to help.

    Grennan reads the audiobook himself, which is great because his enthusiasm and passion really shine through in his reading. He clearly loves Nepal and all of the kids that he's worked with. I loved all of the sections where he talked about the kids because of that enthusiasm.

    Grennan is a very engaging narrator. It's easy to like him and get completely drawn into his story. And the story has a little bit of everything: memoir, travelogue, history, adventure, love story. Grennan's efforts to start his own organization and to find the childrens' families are compelling, though the story did drag a bit when he was away from the kids (why I gave the book a 4.5 instead of a perfect 5.0). His long-distance courtship of Liz was sweet and fun to follow; I couldn't help but root for them to get together. Grennan is also a great descriptive writer; I'm a visual person and prefer the written word but I could easily picture everything he was talking about.

    My favourite thing about Little Princes is how genuine Grennan appears to be. The book was written several years after the experiences that he details, and Grennan has obviously used that time to reflect on his motivations and his experiences. He is honest and self-aware, which is refreshing. He seemed to be a bit of a douchebag before his trip (the friend he meets in Bangkok reflects that) but he freely admits to it. Later in the book, when he starts interviewing the families of the children, he admits that his initial approach was not the best way to go and that he had, in fact, acted like a jerk.  He just seems very human and while I wouldn't have the cojones to do what he has done, I felt like I could still relate to him.

    I highly recommend this book. It's entertaining, it's informative, and it's thought-provoking. If you liked Three Cups of Tea, this one is even better.

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    March Break Retail Therapy

    Happy March Break!

    Things have stalled a bit as far as reading goes. I have about an hour left of Little Princes so I am hoping to get that reviewed by the end of this week. I'm also about 2/3 of the way through The Virgin Suicides. I was hoping to pick up the pace during the break but am finding that I'm just not in the mood.

    Instead of reading, I've been working on getting some of my March Break goals accomplished. Mission #1: shopping! I spent yesterday with my mom, wandering the mall. I have a stockpile of Christmas gift cards to use so I tried to make a dent in them. It wasn't as successful as I'd hoped but I did end up with some good finds.

    From Ricki's, this top...
    I also wanted this one but the store didn't have my size. I'll be going to another location later this week, hopefully I can find it there:

    We had some fun playing with the make-up at Sephora. I ended up with some $5 nail polish and a reminder that I'm not getting any younger:

    Last but not least,  DH and I have been looking for a new car. The DH's car is 11 years old and it's been one issue after another for the last year or so. We've reached the point where it's easier to just replace it and last night, we did exactly that! Meet the latest addition to our household, a 2013 Chevy Equinox:

    We'll be picking it up on Thursday evening.

    Not a bad start to the break so far! Now, I have to motivate myself to get some work done both for school and around the house. I'd like to play in the kitchen a bit too. One week just isn't enough!

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    TTC Friday: We Have Lift-off!

    First of all, it's finally March Break! Hallelujah!

    Second, get a load of this beauty:

    That last portion makes me very happy. See those crosshairs? And the steadily rising temperatures? My body finally managed to get its act together and drop an egg a week ago, so all of the estrogen-related nonsense has disappeared. I'm still waiting but this time, there's a very clear end in sight. By next week's TTC Friday update, I'll know if this was our cycle or not.

    The time right around ovulation and this first week afterward is my favourite part of this whole thing. This is the part that we have some control over and the part when I feel the most hopeful. It's too early for any symptoms (or lack thereof) to mean anything and anything is still possible.

    In past cycles, I was really curious and desperate to know right away whether we were successful or not. This time, I've been pretty mellow about it. I think I've made my peace with the amount of time that's passed and the fact that it may take even more. I'm not expecting anything and I'm not testing early. I know that my temperature will start to drop at 12 DPO if I'm not pregnant and my period will show up either the next day or the one after that. This time, I'm going to trust the temps and wait it out. My husband has been this mellow from the beginning. He's always had the attitude that he'll get excited when he see those two pink lines. Until then, he's not going to worry about it. I think it's easier for him because it's not his body that's being put through the wringer. At least, not in the same way. But now, I think I get where he's coming from and I'm starting to lean that way too.

    Next Wednesday, I have my pelvic ultrasound to check my left ovary. I'm curious and a bit worried about whether or not they'll be able to see anything since the pain is always before I ovulate. That will have been done with for almost two weeks by then. I'm afraid I'll end up back at square one but I'm trying not to think about that. We'll cross that bridge if/when we get there. I'm also curious if they'll be able to check the endometrium and tell me if it looks like an impending period or...not. I'd like to know about the thickness of the lining because of my super-light periods and the spotting I had this cycle. I'm wondering if it is shedding properly each time.

    In any case, regardless of what next week brings, for right now, life is feeling pretty good.

    [In case you are curious, the temps right now don't really tell me much one way or another. They are consistent with my pattern from previous cycles. Same with the CM. My symptoms are not, but I'm trying not to read too much into anything.]

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    To The Left, To The Left

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my fitness goals and tried to come up with a plan. I haven't really followed up on that post because, unfortunately, there is nothing to follow up. No progress has been made yet at all.

    I've complained mentioned frequently that my current semester is kicking my ass. Initially, I only had the one class and for those two weeks of part-time teaching, life was wonderful. After going back to full-time, I kissed that life goodbye again. When I had the time to exercise, I didn't have the energy and vice versa. It is kind of sad, though, that my goal was to do yoga just ONCE a week, I couldn't manage that. Even sadder, now that March Break is coming up (two more days!!) -- when I'll have a week to work on my fitness -- I actually physically can't.

    Those of you who know me offline are probably sick of hearing about that time I was sick over Christmas holidays but, seriously, I was SICK. It was a knock-down, dragout, horrible time. Even after the ear infection cleared up, the remnant sniffles and cough lasted through much of February. The coughing was starting to wear on my muscles near my left rib cage and over this past weekend, one strong sneeze sent those muscles into a spasm that left me laid up on the living room floor for two hours. According to the doctor who checked me out after I was able to get up again, there is likely damage to one of the ligaments in between my left ribs and it may take up to ten weeks to heal. Awesome. And no stretching because it will just aggravate things. So, now that I am finally about to have both the time and the energy to something, I'm not allowed.

    What I'm wondering is, what the hell is up with the left side of my body?! The ear infection was in my left ear. My potential cyst is on the left ovary. And now this. What have I done to make that half of my body hate me so?

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    February Bingo

    Last month, I started tracking my books on the Random House Reading Bingo card (see this post for details). Here's what the card looks like now that February is done:

    The books (continuing the count from January):

    • A book I would have picked up as a teenager
    5. Bossypants, Tina Fey
    • A book written by a celebrity
     6. Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
    • A book with an animal on the cover. I didn't even think about this one until I was updating the bingo card. There were frogs on the cover of my edition.
    I was working on a book by a Canadian author but decided to abandon it for now, so we'll see if that square happens for March or not. Instead, I've picked up The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.

    One more week to go until March Break! I'm looking forward to having time to read more than a few pages before falling asleep.

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    TTC Friday: Validation

    On Monday, I saw my doctor for a pelvic exam to address the issues I've been complaining writing about for the last few weeks. Last weekend was very emotional and I was having a hard time preparing myself for what I may find out. In the end, I felt stupid for getting so worked up about it. I left the exam feeling more relieved than anything else.

    It didn't start out that way. At first, it was frustrating because when I started to tell my doctor that I've been having long, irregular cycles since stopping  birth control, his response was the exact opposite of what I'd expected. He asked when I went off the pill and why. Considering that I made an appointment with him at the time to discuss it and the notes from that session are in my chart, this was a stupid question. Then he started to lecture me about how it's not an instant process when you're 30-ish and when conception occurs, blah blah blah.

     Um, thanks?

    After showing him my charts and describing everything I'd been feeling, he finally got around to the actual pelvic. When he palpated my lower abdomen externally, I didn't feel anything. He started the internal check and on the right side, I still didn't feel anything. I was starting to think this was going to be a bust but when he moved to the left side, yikes. In one of my previous posts, I'd mentioned that the angry combination of sensations has always been on the left. Sure enough, it was the left ovary that was very tender. The doc has requisitioned a pelvic ultrasound to check for/confirm a cyst on that ovary. I'll be going in for that over March Break and we'll go from there.

    The doctor also did bloodwork. I had been planning to ask him to check my thyroid levels, which he did. But he also noted LH and FSH on the form. When I tried to diplomatically suggest that perhaps CD39 wasn't the best day for those (knowing full well that it is not), his response was, "if they're out of whack, they're out of whack." Oy. I haven't heard anything yet, though, so either they haven't gotten the results back or they don't see anything wrong -- which would be interesting since my LH was actually surging at the time, according to my OPKs.

    It would appear that I've surpassed the limits of my doctor's knowledge of women's health that I'd talked up so much before, but aside from that, I actually came away from this appointment feeling more relaxed about things. It's still frustrating to know that something's not right but I feel validated; my instincts told me that something was wrong and that there might be a cyst. It is looking very much like that's the case. A lot of uncertainty has been removed from the equation and so many things that I've noticed on my chart since September are making sense now. If it is in fact a follicular cyst, there's still not really anything I can do but at least I now know why I feel like crap for weeks at a time. That helps. It's not much to go on but it's a start. I'll take it.