and THEN…

I’m in the middle of reading and evaluating books again, currently books that were submitted electronically. Several actual books on paper will be arriving today. One of the books I evaluated yesterday was an algebra textbook and, considering that Algebra 1 was where I had an intellectual meltdown in high school, my initial reaction was, “How the hell do I do this?” but the answer was clear. Work some problems and see how well the lessons work for the person that would be hardest to reach in the class. Sadly, I tend to solve problems in my head, so the laborious steps in this algebra book (and all the others on the planet) didn’t help me much. As a test, I worked one on paper and, of course, got the answer wrong. In my head I got it right once more proving to the world (comprising my house, Bear and Teddy and now you!) that not every learner learns the same way. Still and all, the book was OK and would work for its intended purpose, an online class done at home.

I remembered Mr. Moeckele, my 6th and 7th grade math teacher, introducing us to this stuff. I saw him — in my mind’s eye — writing frantically on the board and attempting to talk over his shoulder so he wouldn’t lose our attention. I wonder what he would do now? If he’s still around and teaching math, would he find this book useful? Anyway, in my weird little brain 4 still looks like y, 3 like B, g like 6, S like 5 and so on and so forth. At least today a kid like me might be diagnosed with a learning disability and learn some coping strategies and maybe teachers are less relentless about making kids write down every step.

Now for some boring stuff… I guess I’m finished with Physical Therapy I went for a month, and I haven’t heard that I have more sessions approved by my insurance. It’s OK with me. I think it was very useful, but along with the physical help I got was some psychological help (they probably didn’t know) regarding my actual goals. I pulled a groin muscle attempting a side lunge which is OK; it’s healing but I thought, “Do I want to be the goddess of side-lunges or do I want to spend this hour walking my dogs?” The answer is obvious. I have watched some videos that teach falling and I’m practicing falling forward on my bed — just like little kids do! It’s amazing what we do instinctively as children is actually practice for when we’re 70 years old and have arthritis! I’ve also decided that upper body strength is a lot more important than I ever believed in the past and that’s something I can work on easily and well at home. Thinking about the structure of our bodies, it occurred to me that our body kind of “hangs” from our shoulders and spine. Having had to forgo that kind of work after I hurt my shoulder and cracked my rib, I get its importance now AND (most important) I CAN do it.

I’m still corresponding with my elderly penpal in Washington. I sent him the little collection of blog posts I wrote in 2020 and published last year, Finding Refuge. It was just the right book for him which made me very happy. It’s no longer in publication, and Amazon has dropped the price on the 1 remaining volume to $10.25. Please somebody buy it! 😉 It has a lot of dogs and nature in it and reminiscences of the goodle days when we were more-or-less locked down in 2020. My penpal wrote, “I’ve loved all your books, but this one was extra special. I loved it. There were many highlights but what I appreciated most were your philosophy, comments about the outdoors, the San Luis Valley, and the feelings about what you and your dogs were doing.” I think my little book did its job; brightened a dull, rainy winter for him and momentarily lit the darkness of the current moment.

Which brings me to current events about which I have nothing meaningful to say. I deplore the behavior of “my” representative to the House last night at the State of the Union. She’s a piece of work. I hope so much there’s a primary in my state and she doesn’t make it, but I think she will make and has a good chance of winning. As for the war, it’s unspeakable. So many things happening around it — like the UN condemning it — I wonder how that matters materially? I’m intrigued and impressed by the ability of the world to electronically shut down an offending nation. And, most of all, like many of us, I’m lost in admiration for the courage of the Ukrainian people. All my life the future has been uncertain and the end always near (that’s an homage…) so this is just more of the same, though scarier in its way.

There will be a Crane Festival this year, though not quite like the old days (2019). My friend Lois and her developmentally disabled son will be coming down next weekend for the big doings. The cranes are here in pretty large numbers and Bear and I have had a few nice chats with Crane Tourists in our unofficial role as Crane Tourist Welcome Committee.

Please everyone, stay well, and I’ll leave you with this lovely verse from St. Columbanus that he used to encourage the monks who were rowing him from Iona to the European mainland,

Endure and keep yourselves for happy things;
You suffered worse, and these, too, God shall end —

St. Columbanus “the Rowing Song” 600 CE (more or less)



27 thoughts on “and THEN…

  1. Dropped by to read and say hi. I’m with you. I was A plus in English A in math. Can you tell which I preferred? lol. Good to catch up for sure. Walking the dogs is definitely preferable! Glad your doing well and keeping up with pen pals too.

  2. Geometry is where I went off the rails. Angles and spacial theories just made my head spin. Algebra seemed logical. Whatever…I made it through. I’ve also found that Physical Therapy has its limits – glad it has helped you on whichever level worked. Upper arm/body strength is the last frontier for me. It’s almost as if one day I noticed my arms were a fraction of their former (almost) muscular selves.
    Current events continue to be horrendous and I’m also in awe of the Ukrainian people – and all those men returning home to fight. We take so much for granted here in the USA. Enjoy the cranes and you stay well too.
    (I am looking forward to your book 🙂)

  3. I had to giggle about the math phobia. I stutter when I think about doing calculus or trigonometry! I’m also tickled to hear that you are practicing falling on the bed – when I do that Sparky says I’m being melodramatic!

  4. When I was a kid, I used to render myself unconscious and fall backwards on the bed. I guess it was fun. The cliche is true: it’s amazing we survived our youth. 🙂

    • I’m glad you said that because what I saw in this book seemed to me to be more steps and somewhat different (from my experience) explanations for each one. I also remembered that in “my day” we didn’t have calculators.

      • It is like… They come up with three ways to solve a given math problem. Not even in algebra yet, jusr simple math. Each way is a different way of “understanding” the problem.

        Now, originally this was hoping one of these methods would go “ping!” for you and you’d understand how the math function worked. But they want you to do every problem multiple ways and, of course, “show your work.”

        There ought to be an off ramp. I know how to do this and I’m ready to move on. But that would put you ahead of the rest of the class and that isn’t allowed. Very inefficient education and disrespectful of the student.

        • That doesn’t even make sense. Actually, I love math. I even understood that the “show your work” thing was about proving you didn’t just look at the answers in the back, but when the goal of math in real life is the answer it shouldn’t matter how you get there (short of cheating, of course). It was a little hard on me having a mathematician for a dad. He was NOT the guy to help with homework.

  5. I found the perfect algebra book for me. I had to take a math placement test for college – not to be placed in a class, but to graduate without taking a math class. I had done well in algebra 30 years previously, but had no recall of how to solve a quadratic equation. The book was “Forgotten Algebra”, and served as a quick review to retrieve stuff buried deeply in long term memory. It worked! I graduated that spring.

  6. What a pleasure to read this, MAK. I giggled at the Algebra book. When I was in Junior High I asked a question regarding an equation, eluding to the fact I didn’t understand. He called me a “dumb bell” in front of the entire class. I sat there shocked. He followed with, “Are you going to go tell your Dad?” (My Dad was the school superintendent of this small rural school). I might have said something to Dad way later in life. I don’t remember. What I remember the most is that he had a metal plate in his head and left the military with honors during the Vietnam War. I felt sympathy for him. The next day he apologized to me and I told him that I understood. I could take it. I promised that day forward I would NEVER make a student feel bad for asking questions. EVER. I was born a question asker. Your post brought this memory to life; sorry for the long response! I LOVE that P.T. was successful in so many levels. I met my hiking tribe of girls in AR last weekend–ice was still abound making our trek to the cabin. I parked my Subie at the bottom and they had theirs at the “top” next to the cabin. I got out of the car and started to fall. I couldn’t even hold Finley. Like a mature lady, I broke down. “I can’t FALL AGAIN! I think I just need to go home. I can’t hike with all of you because I can’t even walk across this ice!” That was the first breakdown I’ve had with my group. It continued to the cabin. They said, “We’ve got you! No worries. We’ll all do what we can!” We ended up being the only ones to trek to a nearby photographer’s gallery. Sipped drinks by the fire and gave thanks to what we could do. I’ll be writing about it as the last 2 weeks have been all about facing my limitations. I remind myself daily I’m not hiding out in a subway below my city or hearing bombs go off–I’m not at war. So I need to end the war in me. Accept it. Move forward. Just as you. And learn to keep falling better! Hooray for the Crane Festival and visiting friends! I hope you have the most amazing weekend! Finn and I are sending you, Bear, and Teddy lots of love and hugs!!! 🤍

  7. amazon.ca didn’t say your book is out of print, so I placed an order and I’ll see what happens. It’s hard for me to imagine all the cranes you are seeing. I’m still in the midst of winter, another snow storm is happening as I type. I think Bear would like to visit.

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