Good News/Bad News at Doctor Appointment

I was supposed to visit the doctor for my annual physical in February, but the doctor was going to be out of town during my date. It was rescheduled for yesterday. Last Friday I had to have blood taken for my appointment. It was a challenge to get to the lab when it opened at 7:00 (joining the throng of others there), blood taken, grab some breakfast (a fasting lab so no eating before), and drive 30 minutes to arrive by 8:15. I made it happen.

Good news started when I got to my appointment. There was no co-pay since this was an annual. That surprised me because I have always paid in the past. I figure they will send me a bill later.

I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment, just like they asked me to be. The receptionist said, “Don’t sit down, I think she is coming to get you.” I have never gotten in early! Apparently the 10:20 appointment was late, so I got her spot.

More good news when the doctor came in and said my blood work looked good. I was feeling pretty good until she said, “But I have some bad news.” My stomach dropped with those words. “It seems that the lab didn’t do the screening for your cholesterol. I need you to do another fasting and come back for them to draw blood again.” Oh well, I guess that’s not the worst news ever.

Then she said, “And you will need to do a Pap test next year.” I thought she did one last year and I would have two years off. It seems that I didn’t do one last year, so I will be due for another next year. Ugh!

All in all, it was a good visit. I was out in no time because I got in early. Now I’m thinking that to reward myself for doing the blood again I might have to try out a newly opened restaurant, First Watch, after they draw blood. So I guess that news wasn’t as bad as I first thought.


Teaching Writing or Writers?

To some, writing workshop is a frightening leap off a cliff into unknown waters. It takes a lot of faith making that transition from teaching writing to teaching writers.

Some teachers are happy with their status quo. They do the same kind of writing year after year. Everyone writes the same story. In October it might be the voice of a pumpkin. In November it will inevitably be the turkey begging to be saved, and December could be a wish list to Santa. Pencil to paper, that’s writing , right? Students learn about punctuation, sentence formation, capitalization, and spacing, That’s writing, right? That is not my definition of writing.

When I go to a school and work with the teachers on writing, I want them to teach the writers in the room, not writing. I try to help them understand the difference.

Last week, I completed my second year in a school. Our focus was writing workshop. I asked the teachers to jump into the pool of teaching writers instead writing. Some started paddling, but lost stamina and reverted back to teaching writing just like before, but they are thinking about how to do it differently next year. Some were treading water, barely keeping their head above the waterline, but they stayed afloat. Next year, they will be stronger.

One teacher said, “I thought I knew how to teach writing. I thought I was pretty good. I was wrong. I didn’t know how. Now I know my kids as writers.”

“I used to hate to teach writing. Now, this is my favorite thing to teach in my day. I feel like I am actually teaching my kids how to write, ” said another teacher.

These comments fill my heart with joy.  It’s been a good year and I look forward to another year with these teachers.

Every Day

Sometimes I step away from the old tried and true recipes and try new foods for dinner. Chickpea and cauliflower curry was one adventure that we will have again. But there are some things that never change at dinnertime.

At the top, ingredients for the dish at the bottom.

Every day I make my husband a salad for dinner:

  • It begins with lettuce, It might be : red leaf or green leaf or romaine or arugula or spinach, but never iceberg.
  • Now the add-ons: shredded carrots, radish, celery, red pepper, olives (sometimes black, sometimes green), green onion,  avocado, feta, last of all, roasted sunflower seeds, but never tomatoes.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dress the salad, but never bottled dressing.

Every day this salad is prepared. Occasionally I will have one too. If I don’t have salad, I have a small bowl of fresh fruit. The bowl might be filled with: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, or peaches from my backyard tree. Or perhaps a combination of two of the fruits. Every day salad for one and fruit for another are part of our dinner.

What do you have every day?

Once There Was . . .

Once there was a new house with a lush green carpet in the backyard.

Soft blades tickled bare feet.

As the years passed,  trees grew and grew.

Shadow fingers caressed the green carpet.

However that carpet longed for the sun not the shade.

Over time, many blades gave up the fight.

New seedlings sprouted, but they too, yearned for sunshine.

Bare patches appeared, lush no longer.

Shadows won this battle.

A man worked all winter to extend the landscape bed.

The withered sparse grass removed.

A mountain of rock arrived to erase the bare patches.

Shadows claim victory over the grass,.

Only time will tell who is the victor:  man or shadows.



No Chips?!

I am a rule follower (most of the time). I know that these rules are in place for good reasons. So when I am handed a sheet labeled  Oral Surgery Post-Operative Instructions, I will read it. Of course the assistant went over a few pertinent details before I left, but she knew I might have questions later. Hence the need for the printed instructions.

I spent the afternoon biting on gauze and not eating much. When my stomach started to grumble that it had not seen any food since before the extraction, I thought I should check my printed list of do’s and don’t’s.

Do eat soft food, such as gelatin, soup, well-cooked vegetables, and ground meat. That sentence sent me to the fridge to grab a peach-mango applesauce and a cup of tapioca. I have the soup category covered. I actually like my vegetables well-cooked. My husband hates soft broccoli, but I prefer it soft. So no problem there. We don’t eat a lot of ground meat, so I’ll have to think about that one.

Do not suck on a straw for at least five days. I prefer to drink with a straw. I hate the way ice bonds together, then splashes in your face when you tip the glass to drink. I don’t like it, but I will do it.

I read on, Do not eat hard, crunchy foods like chips, raw carrots, or popcorn for six weeks. What!? Are you kidding me? No crunchy food for SIX weeks? Now I’m not sure I will be able to follow this rule. I can see a couple of weeks, but SIX? I will just have to wait and see how my gums heals.

The one statement that made me laugh was Do not use illegal drugs while you are taking the narcotic medication. I guess they have to say it, but duh!

So here is what my lunch will be for the next couple of weeks:

Good thing I LOVE mac ‘n cheese!


An Evening at the Library

Last night I spent the evening at the library but didn’t look at one book. I was there for another reason. It all began with the newspaper on Monday. . .

On Monday, our local paper is usually rather skimpy. I guess all their effort goes into Sunday’s paper, so there is less paper and news on Monday. Usually I skim through reading a bit here and there, but not doing any deep reading.

However this past Monday I glanced at this page and my heart beat a little quicker. Can you see why? No, it’s not about women postmasters.

If you didn’t spot it in the previous picture, I’ll zoom in for you.

Now do you see the one word that quickened my heart? Author!

Then I calmed down and figured it was some author I’ve never read. But I did have memories of going to hear Kevin Henkes a couple of years ago. I read on, my heart beat a little faster. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley? Oh be still my heart! I loved The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won. If at all possible, I was going!

I arrived at the library thirty minutes before the talk was to begin. They were selling her books outside the room. I resisted the temptation to buy a book. The room filled quickly, mostly students clutching one or more books. Watching the students made me smile.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley talked about her research and decisions she made as she wrote the book (for example: Ada’s disability, location in England). It took about four years to write each book about Ada. It was interesting to learn that she

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley reads from The War That Saved My Life.

rarely gives her books titles. The working title for The War That Saved My Life was Kim’s New Book That Needs a Title. However, she did select the title for The War I Finally Won. She was explaining the book to her daughter and that was the best way to describe the book. That book had nine drafts because she kept rewriting the character Ruth, so she had to move things around as Ruth became more and more interesting to her. Ruth may be a character she develops more in another book. Another interesting tidbit that came out in the discussion was Patricia MacLachlan was Kimberly’s  professor in college.

The evening ended with a long line of students and adults waiting for their copies to be signed. I walked past them thinking of the memory they just made listening to an author talk about writing and wondered if one of them might be a Newbery or Caldecott winner someday.


7:10 – Leave home for the oral surgeon’s office. A mile from home, I realize I forgot my phone on the ottoman, but I did remember a book.  Turn around or keep going? I didn’t turn around.

7:20 – No traffic causing issues, now I’m early. Guess I will read a couple of pages.

7:25 – Someone entered the office, so I decide to go in too. Left my book in the car.

7:30 – I’m surprised to find there are three other people waiting. Hmmm, guess I won’t be going in right away. This waiting room is set up like a coffee shop: couches, small tables with chairs,  even an electric wood stove with a fake fire burning in it. A table lamp and two wall sconces give off soft light, however that is ruined by the bright overhead fluorescent lights. Of course there is a coffee machine and a water cooler. I select a hard back chair so I can stand up quickly when they call my name. Those couches are way too low to the ground. They will be calling my name soon, right?

7:45 – Waiting and wondering if I should go out to get my book. I decide to stay. Since I don’t have my phone, I take out my notepad to jot down my observations and thoughts. Why in the world do they schedule so many people for the same time? Another person arrives. She announces she has an 8:00 appointment. I think, Good luck with that, you aren’t going any time close to eight. She must have come straight from her bed, she’s wearing fleece pajama bottoms (but she didn’t forget her phone).

7:50 – Two of the four waiting are called to the back. I continue to watch. There are magazines in a rack on the wall and a bookcase filled with coffee table types of books. I muse to myself that waiting rooms no longer need to supply reading material. I am the only one here not staring at a screen and using a thumb to scroll. I think, should I go get my book? I want to get my book, I don’t get my book. I consider the offerings on the bookcase. I see an Ansel Adam’s book I’d like to look at, but thinking about flu germs keeps the book out of my hands.

7:55 – Another person is called to the back. When is it my turn?

8:00 – Someone who went back is now coming out, but she continues on to her car. She returns with a jacket. Should I have brought a blanket, is it that cold back there?

8:05 – A teenager is wheeled out, he is wearing the jacket. He must have had wisdom teeth taken out. He is slurring his words and looks pretty loopy.

8:15 – It’s me and pajama girl, waiting. I should have gotten my book from the car.

8:25 – My name is called (finally!). I get the room farthest away. I settle into the chair and now we go through the questions. She takes my blood pressure, it’s a little higher than normal. Not surprised.

8:35 – The oral surgeon comes in, more questions, brief exam of the broken tooth. He leaves and gives his assistant instructions of what to set up. He tells me it will take about five minutes to get the tooth out. Really!?

8:40 – More consent forms to sign and she places the dental bib. Finally we will be starting!

8:50 – Topical numbing of my gums followed by novocaine injection. That’s some strong stuff! The roof of my mouth is numb immediately.

9:00 – Surgeon is back and ready. He warns me of cracking sounds, pressure, more cracking, bite down, we’re done.

Biting down on gauze to stop the bleeding.

9:06 – I’m walking out the door with my instructions.

9:18 – I’m home to find my husband has made a comfy bed on the couch with all necessary items an arms length away. Boy am I lucky!