The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Tuesday, April 20, 2010]

A Long Battle


Today I had my last regular visit to the dermatologist. That seems unreal to me, because I've seen him every month for 16 months now. And in honor of the occasion, my veins decided they would prefer to keep their blood, thanks very much. Well, they were willing to let go under the skin and out around the needle, but not actually through the needle. Sigh.

But the good news is that I've been off Accutane for a month, and so far, so good! Dr. D said it best: It's been a long battle. So glad it's over (knock wood).

Nice Meeting


I was at the speech meeting last Friday, which is a meeting where all (well, most) of the SLPs in the county get together to learn and share. This meeting happened to be a good one, discussing workload vs. caseload (one of my pet peeves is "Average caseload of 30 kids? That must be nice!" no, because we give each kid tons of service and we plan with educators--I work just as much with my 30 kids here as with my 80 kids in Utah, but the kids here make more progress) and Response to Intervention (RTI--working with kids who do not qualify for special education, to remediate small delays before they turn into big ones). These are "hot topics" in my field. The best topic brought up was 3 to 1, which means 3 weeks of direct service (working with the child) followed by 1 week of indirect service (working with the teachers, doing paperwork, planning therapy, etc.). This has been shown to result in better progress for the kids AND reduce burnout for the SLPs. Apparently nearby Anne Arundel county has done this and loved it. Loved it enough to roll it out countywide for the special educators. I was so pleased to see my boss's boss taking notes. :) :) :)

As I was sitting there, looking at the ladies around my table, I realized that this was the first meeting where I knew everyone at my table! Just randomly. She worked with my deaf kiddos last year... Went out to support her with a new hard of hearing kiddo... She shares a room with a gal I supported with a phonology kiddo... Covered for her on maternity leave two years ago... Worked with her at the same school last year... Met her at a non-tenured meeting... It was fun to chat during the "discuss this with your table" times and catch up.

Somehow, just knowing everyone at the table felt like a milestone. Felt like home.

[Saturday, April 17, 2010]

Phone Conversation


My phone rang as I was finishing up at work on Thursday. Laynie!

Me: Hello?
Laynie: Hi!
Me: Hi.
Laynie: syajtioepntoishatpoeiaf.
Me: What?
Laynie: Check email.
Me: Okay.
Laynie: Okay.
Me: Bye.
Laynie: Bye.

It's a start. :)

[Tuesday, April 13, 2010]

Oh, and the sky is blue


Yesterday morning, I saw that I had missed a call while I was in the shower, and I had a voice message... from Laynie. When I listened to it, I had to laugh: "Annie, I'm calling you!"

Haha.. turned out she had forgotten something and needed me to bring it to her on my way to work.

[Monday, April 5, 2010]

Conference Blanket


When I watch General Conference, I always work on my conference blanket. It helps me to remain focused on the speakers, instead of letting my mind wander--helps me to be "available to learn," in educator lingo. Keeping my hands busy and my mind half busy does wonders for my attention.

I've been working on this blanket for eight years now, mostly just while listening to General Conference. Since Laynie was taking pictures of her project, I decided to take pictures of mine.

These designs are by a person who is not LDS, so all of the quotes are from the Bible. But I enjoyed the colors and the general feel of the designs, especially how they go together so harmoniously. When I saw the booklet, I knew the designs would be perfect for a blanket.

Modified this angel into a girl--off with her wings and halo.

Removed the halo.

Changed the cross to a steeple. It looks crooked in this picture, but it's really straight. ;)

The one I began yesterday is a girl watering flowers, and it says,
"By works was faith made perfect."

I still have a lot more work to do. I wonder how many more years it will take me... Hm. And what to do with the middle of the blanket? Leave it or find something to put there? Or design something to put there? I wonder if it would look good to fill it with verses of scripture, in backstitch. I'll bet a whole chapter would fit there! Well, I have plenty of time to consider it.

[Saturday, April 3, 2010]



I have been thinking a lot lately about opposition, and how it helps me feel grateful. The principle of opposition is one that confused me when I was younger--I remember reading Second Nephi and thinking Huh?? But once I got it, I loved it. A few weeks ago, this was part of the lesson I was teaching my class of 8-10-year-olds at church. They were learning about the Fall, and Eve's comment that she was grateful for opposition, because passing through sorrow would allow them to feel joy. This was hard for the kids to understand, but one activity was helpful. The manual suggested using a flashlight with the lights on and then off, pointing out to the children that the light from the flashlight was more apparent when the lights were off. We need darkness in order to see light. We need contrast.

Many people's favorite color is blue. If the whole world were blue, everything in the world, then no one would like blue. It would just be what everything was. If another color were introduced, only then would you be able to say, "Oh, I prefer blue than this other thing."

Opposition helps me to feel gratitude. Because of that nasty experience with bed bugs, I am so grateful for a clean home, where I don't need to be scared to fall asleep. Honestly, I think about this at least once a week. Because of my pain, I can really appreciate the times when my body is pain-free. In fact, the best I've ever felt has been directly after a time of severe pain. When the pain subsides, a combination of joy, relief, and gratitude rushes into its place.

If I never had any pain, I don't think I could truly appreciate having a body that doesn't hurt. I never find myself grateful for my vision, probably because I've never been without it. Vision is such a wonderful thing, when you consider it. But my appreciation for my vision is more cognitive than emotional. I don't know any other way to be.

I guess the important thing is to recognize the opposite of the bad things we experience and remember the bad things when their opposites occur. Bad experiences are not pleasant. But without them, good experiences are not pleasant either.

[Friday, April 2, 2010]

Farewell, Old Friend


My Aquahpor addiction began last summer, as the Accutane medicine made my lips into dessicated shells of their former selves. They were so, so sensitive; they would blister if I ate anything salty, and they seemed to be trying to grow together. I tried a variety of lip products, which I had to use several times each minute and STILL was in excruciating pain. Lips apparently have a lot of nerve endings. After a week of torture, I hit on Aquaphor, and I have not looked back.

At first I only had to use the stuff every couple of hours, but as my skin started to clear up (hooray!), my lips became worse (boo). If I didn't have Aquaphor on, my lips would stick together within seconds, ripping skin off when they parted. This was not enjoyable. Eventually, I was up to a half-tube-a-day habit: I used the ointment about once an hour, plus every time I took a drink, and every 2-3 seconds while eating. I am not exaggerating. This is how it felt: 

More Aquaphor NOW!

I have two tubs at home, a large tube in my purse, and, conservatively, about five million small tubes of Aquaphor in my house, car, purse, laptop bag, church bag, and desk. If I suddenly found myself without Aquaphor, I would immediately get myself to the nearest CVS. I cannot live without it. While I have a love-hate relationship with Accutane, and I have LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE relationship with Aquaphor.

I stopped using Accutane about three weeks ago, after 10 months on it. My derm says I was a pretty tough case, because people are usually on it for six months. My skin was just starting to clear after six months, but it's great now. I am nervous about whether it will stay that way, but that's another story.

Just now my lips became sore and I put on some Aquaphor.. then realized that I had not used it in two hours! Not since I woke up. And I ate breakfast! This is unprecedented in my peri-Accutane existence.

While I will be happy to live like a normal person again, I will always have a soft spot on my heart for Aquaphor.