My dreams turn odd every spring. Chinese medicine says this is because Wood Qi becomes active, and Wood Qi rules the Liver, and the Liver houses the Hun, or the part of the soul that wanders through the dream world during sleep. Here are a few things my Hun has been doing while I slumber.
I'm sitting on the couch at my parents' house with one of my shiatsu teachers. We are philosophizing about life. Luna Cat joins us and her eyes glow blue. White curtains billow in a breeze. Sun shines through a skylight.
I'm on my college campus. I need to meet my friend for our Weight Watchers meeting. (In real life, I do drive with a friend to WW. I did not know this friend during college.) We walk across the green campus, past the red brick campus center, to the meeting. The scale says I gained back all the 15 pounds I'd lost. I'm upset. I drink a lemonade, but I don't know whether it was before or after the meeting.
There were more dreams, jumbles of languages and colors and events, but their threads dissolved with morning. Have you had any dreams lately?
P.S. I just remembered another one. I was having an affair with L.L. Cool J. We went to lots of clubs together.
Oh, my head hurts. Water, ibuprofen, antihistamine, steroid nasal spray, and caffeine have all been powerless to help. A friend proposed that the sudden low-pressure front might be the culprit. Hey, that WOULD explain why I've always hated low-pressure days.
I'm here. How are you? I'm sorry I've been out of touch lately. The spring weather pulls me out of doors, or keeps me spring cleaning when I'm within walls. My husband defends his PhD tomorrow--5 years' work distilled into 1 hours' talk. My main mission in life has been ensuring that he eats enough during these last few chaotic weeks. The cats are well. The backyard birds (and lone squirrel) are scarfing up the black oil sunflower seed. My thesis...Well, it's as neglected as my blog. I've been brewing Papua New Guinea coffee in my fancy new French press, and this morning I'm enjoying it with just sugar, no cream. I like my coffee smooth. I've also been reading a lot of novels.
So that's the non-news news from here. What's going on with you?
A whole mess of birds has found the feeder: tufted titmice, chirpy little chickadees, and two smaller birds who might be sparrows. Some of them look almost skinny, which makes me very glad we set out food.
I was looking more closely at the two little sparrows just now, wondering at their burnished, golden color. Usually sparrows are just drab. Then I suddenly recognized the pair, like you might recognize a friend wearing an exceptionally good Halloween costume. They are goldfinches, dull without their mating plumage. I hope that they stick around and we get a good highlighter-yellow show out our window this spring.
UPDATE: A nuthatch arrived today! He's shy and tends to perch on the side of the feeder that faces away from the house. The chickadees are not so modest.
UPDATE 2: A male house finch has joined in the feasting! He's very handsome with his rosy breast and throat.
It's been a busy week. I'm very caffeinated and slightly sleep-deprived and definitely under-exercised and fantastically over-sugared, all of which conspire to make me slightly edgier than usual. Not in a cool, Grrrrrl with tattoos way, unfortunately; I'm simply more irritable. When I'm more irritable, I'm more likely to think judgmental thoughts. Thoughts such as...
High school boys are such odd creatures. What's with those teachers you hear about who have affairs with their students? There is something SERIOUSLY OFF about those teachers. Sitting here as the substitute, looking at the sea of pimply, slouchy young men dressed sloppily in various shades of Dreary (faded navy, gray, and black tee shirts abound), I can't help but think, "Wow, these are half-formed human beings."
The kids were overall quite well-behaved and conscientious, but I reckon I don't much care for teenage boys. They seem to believe that 1. they know everything, and 2. everyone else is stoopid. The self-righteousness, oh the self-righteousness!
Of course, many of the boys were fine. It's partly that I saw a lot of Rich Hippie Indignation (super-mellow persona below which lies a super-rigid, self-righteous personality), and I had more than my fill of that in college and shiatsu school.
As you know, my blog friends, I've been honing my substitute teaching skills in a rather tough, inner-city school, a school where I must play the Bad Cop often and with feeling. It's like prison: Shank the first kid you see or you become their bitch. Never waver for a microsecond. Do not pause during class. Set up your authority at the door, before they even enter the classroom.
On Tuesday, I substituted for an inclusion SPED (special ed) teacher at the middle school in a nice, affluent, disturbingly lily-white, suburb. This meant that--for the morning, before I got pulled in to cover, what else, 7th grade ELA--I went to other teachers' classrooms and helped out a few kids while the classroom teacher taught.
In the first class, I found another substitute covering for the classroom teacher. The soft-spoken woman has been subbing for nine years while she figures out what else to do. Got news for you, honey--after nine years, you're no longer deciding. You're a lifetime substitute teacher.
She did not assert any control over the classroom as the students entered. A deep feeling of anxiety swelled in my gut. She repeatedly paused for minutes at a time to decipher the neatly typed lesson plans. Once she actually sat back down at the desk to reread the plans. I was panicking internally, scanning the room for signs of revolution. They are going to crucify her, I thought. Her head will be on a stick within two minutes! I began plotting my own escape or ascension to control for when the pandemonium broke out. My course of action would depend on my proximity to the door when the riot began.
But then? Nothing. The kids took their seats and they waited to hear the instructions. They listened and then began working. And then! And then--the teacher simply plopped down at the big desk for an hour while the kids silently worked on their vocabulary, and I occasionally circled the classroom, offering help.
Later that day, when the 7th grade ELA teacher was thanking me profusely for taking over her classes so she could pick up her feverish toddlers, she kept assuring me that I didn't have to teach the lesson. I was like, why am I here if not to teach? She seemed gratefully surprised.
I realized two very important things that day: 1. I've been cutting my teeth at a very tough place to be a substitute, and 2. Apparently other substitutes don't actually teach.
This week, my sinus pressure has come up in conversation a couple times. My blocked left ear, friend of the blocked left sinus, has caused me to ask people to repeat themselves. Sometimes, if I've had to ask for multiple repetitions, I smile apologetically and explain about my ear, and then maybe the sinus comes up.
Just so you don't think I'm yakking about my sinus pain left and right. No, my dear blog friends, I save this special love for you. Yes, I do.
Anyway, two people--people from very different circles, one I met in college and one I just met at WW tonight--have said, "Why don't you just take some antibiotics? You can just call your doctor and ask for them. Your doctor will probably write you a prescription over the phone."
Oh, dear me.
Because, once again, I am more polite to people I see face-to-face than to you, my blog friends, I demure by saying, "My digestion is very sensitive to antibiotics, so I try not to take them." This response seems to cause the other person confusion, which, in turn, causes me confusion. Do people not know/realize/care that antibiotics wreak havoc on digestion?
Given that I have little restraint with you, my blog friends, I now present a list called
Reasons Why kStyle Tries to Avoid Antibiotics:
1. Most antibiotics kill your happy digestive bacteria, a.k.a. gut flora, along with their intended target bacteria. The gut flora live in your gut and help you digest your food. Without them, grave indigestion can result. It can take a long time and a lot of conscious effort to make the gut a happy home again and then recolonize it with gut flora. As an extreme example, many women I've worked with in my shiatsu practice who have IBS report that it developed after a potent round of antibiotics for something like Lyme Disease. (NOTE: Lyme Disease is a disease for which, yes, I would take antibiotics in a heartbeat.)
2. More generally, antibiotics throw your whole microscopic ecosystem off whack. The "good" or "friendly" bacteria--which live in all kinds of places, like your digestive system, nose, skin, vagina--compete with the bad nasty bacteria, viruses, and yeast, thus boosting your immunity. For example, the drug Cipro bypasses digestion and heads straight for the genitourinary tract, making it a valuable drug for UTI infections. However, many, many women taking Cipro also end up with a yeast infection, because Cipro kills the friendly bacteria that keep naturally occurring vaginal yeast in check. The yeast overgrow, the woman becomes very itchy in her privates.
3. Antibiotics are not candy! These are DRUGS. These are drugs that we want to work should we have Lyme, pneumonia, or bubonic plague. I want antibiotics to shock and awe my system should they need to do so. I have no desire to build up a resistance by drugging every bout of sinus pressure--which may or may not have an underlying bacteria infection--or UTI. I want to save the damn drugs for when they really count.
4. Antibiotics, antiseptics, and especially those truly unnecessary antibacterial soaps are incredibly overused. Bacteria in general have plenty of chance to build up resistance. Those little illness-causing dudes reproduce fast. It's a microscopic arms race. Let's not waste our ammo.
5. Even if I were more willing to pop a round of Augmentin, I would first go visit my doctor and let her, the person with the medical degree, diagnose whether my sinuses were infected with bacteria. Drugging viruses is a prime culprit in the problem of antibiotic resistance.
I seem to be slightly "off" this morning. I'm sneezing a lot and there's a weird smell in my nose, like dirt and mushrooms and maybe gym socks. A lot of pressure below the left eye. I really hope it's not a sinus infection, because I will do all I can to avoid visiting my new doctor, up to and perhaps including letting a sinus infection become a brain infection. I don't care for her, but I am on state insurance during my career transition, so what can I do?
I'm also weeping at small frustrations. Maybe one of them is really a larger frustration. See, I chose a teaching specialty, ESL, wherein it's impossible, in the end, to pass the state teacher certification until I've finished all my master's coursework. This is a highly unusual field in that way. So, schools are now posting their job openings for the fall, but I'm not a certified teacher yet. Which means another year, perhaps, of substitute teaching purgatory.
And then there are other small frustrations, like the ridiculous security measures of our Online Bank. These security measures often make doing banking with them a frustrating experience. But the rates are so good.
Earlier, on Weekend Edition, Scott Simon was telling us about a broadcaster who recently died. Peter Harvey might have been his name. I'd never heard of him before, but the touching tribute also made me weep.
Perhaps a lot of this frustration is residual from yesterday. My classmates in my master's program are fucking idiots. A quarter of them arrived 20-30 minutes late. I can understand 10 minutes, but this was a big waste of the time for which I am paying. A quarter of them showed up to class 4 hours late. Yes, the class runs for 8 hours, which is a long time, but it only meets for 7 sessions. In addition, only 2 of us brought the printouts we needed for class. And, my classmates, once they bothered to show up, took so long to grasp concepts that I had to sit there metaphorically twiddling my thumbs while I waited for them to get it. I sensed the other prepared classmate was similarly biding time.
The only consolation is that the professor and I commiserated in hushed tones about the lack of preparedness. Also, she reminded the morons to show up on time and to bring what they needed. I don't know how she did it without losing her mind. She came across as perfectly sweet and even-tempered. Of course, she's the one being paid to waste her time, not the one paying to waste her time. In two weeks (and we only have five left) we've covered only HALF of what we were supposed to.
I wonder if the natural foods store that sold me the concoction that cured my UTI within 24 hours has anything for sinusitis. Or for misanthropy and malaise.