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Wed, Dec. 9th, 2015, 08:48 pm
Rehearsal

The brass parts for Rutter's Gloria went much better today, but I still wish the bass trombone was a little quicker on the draw. He always seems to be 1/2 a beat behind (if not 1/2 a measure).

Went to a birthday gathering for a friend and had some cocktails and Thai appetizers before rehearsal. That always seems to be a good thing for me. LOL!

Wed, Dec. 9th, 2015, 09:11 am
End of the semester

It's always nice when the end of the semester arrives. I gave fourth tests on Monday and Tuesday, and they're all graded. Students get those back today and tomorrow, and then will have time to ask questions and study old tests to get ready for finals next week.

The Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus is performing Rutter's Gloria at their concerts this weekend, and I'm playing tuba for that. We had rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday, and have upcoming ones tonight and tomorrow, with performances Saturday and Sunday. This is part of my 18-day run during which I have 14 days of rehearsals and/or performances!

My mom and dad came down from Las Vegas last weekend for the Desert Winds Freedom Band holiday concert. It's always nice seeing them, and John and I will be hosting them along with my sister Peggy for Christmas.

Life is good. It's hard to believe this is my 7th year at Mt. San Jacinto College, and that 7 years ago we were just getting ready to move John out here. John has recently received his California LCSW license and is providing therapy services for Jewish Family Services as an independent contractor. It's been a perfect fit for him.

Mon, Aug. 8th, 2011, 03:05 pm
Time keeps rolling

It's been a good year. We've met some fun people in Palm Springs and had a lot of visitors from Illinois. Along the way we've discovered that our house is a great party house. Teaching has continued to go well, and I finished taking the online graduate classes I needed to maximize my salary.

Both John and I are playing piano once or twice per month in church, me at the Center for Spiritual Living in Palm Springs, and him at Bloom in the Desert Ministries. He's also played for a couple of parties and gallery openings, so I hope he can get more of that type of work.

We just got back from a two-week trip back to the midwest. It was fun staying at my brother's place in northern Wisconsin and then taking the ferry across Lake Michigan to Saugatuck. We stayed with our friends Bob and Harry in Rockford and emjoyed reconnecting with our Rockford friends.

As nice as our visit was, we were glad to get back "home" to Palm Springs. Our trip helped us realize that it's nice to have somewhere to go back to, but that we are both still very glad we made the move.

School starts again soon, with all-day meetings this Friday and classes starting next Monday.

I've missed writing about what has been going on in my life. Facebook just doesn't work that well for this kind of thing, and I like being able to look back on what I was thinking 4 years ago.

Wed, Oct. 27th, 2010, 12:17 am
Wow. Long time huh?

I know. I'm bad.

My dad is doing well. Although he fell into a FIRE after recovering from the kidney failure, and then needed SKIN GRAFTS, they finally made it back to Las Vegas about a week ago. They're coming here to Palm Springs to see us over the weekend.

Our friend Bill who was the witness at our wedding is coming this Thursday to stay with us for 3 weeks. We're very excited, but not as excited as he is. I'm sure he's been packed for 2 weeks.

We're going to have a fun party at our house on Saturday. It will be a combination Halloween/2-year legal wedding anniversary/1-year close on the house anniversary party. We hope for about 25 people here. Since my parents are going to be here, I don't think we'll be as clothing-optional as usual.

We just bought a cool modern-ish kitchen/dining room table from Design Within Reach. We feel so grown up.

We bought the table ignoring the slight financial strain we're in. I try not to think about it. When I finish this online class I'm taking this fall, and the 2 I will take in the spring, I will get a $7500 raise for next year. And only 11 years until I start getting my $4500 per month IL pension...

John getting a job would help. He did play a party a few weeks ago (on piano). If he could do more of those, or play once a week somewhere, that would be great.

Overall, life is good. I just had my 2-year evaluation team meeting today. They love me. My student evaluations were incredible, much better than I could have ever hoped for. The dean joked about how much I must have paid them to write the comments they wrote. He even said they never get as many written comments as they do on my evals. I feel very very lucky to have a job where I love what I do and I seem so able to reach my students.

Sorry I haven't posted more. Promises to do so aren't worth much, but I'll try!

Fri, Jun. 25th, 2010, 09:09 pm
Summer Friday

It was a pretty nice day today.

I woke up and worked on a couple of sections from the latest solutions manual I have to do (fractions, converting between mixed numerals and improper fractions, and simplifying). I also did 2/3 assignments for the first week of my summer online class (MEGAIMPS ) . I talked about my expectations for the course (1) and then made a nonlinear PowerPoint presentation giving a brief biography of me including some specific information. It's mainly crap, but it's 1/4 of the way to my final pay raise.

We went to Chaps Inn for a while. It was fun, and there a few furry guys there. One of the couples might even still be stopping by our house, but I would place the probability pretty low.

Dad is doing better. They discovered that at least one of the stents was blocked, and they pumped CO2 through to clear it. There is some concern about his cardiac function, but it seems that it is still at the same level it has been at for years, so I voted for waiting until Dad can see his regular cardiologist before doing anything.

My mom is hoping that they will be able to be at my brother's cabin in northern WI next weekend with the whole family, and then actually return to my sister's place in Milwaukee until they know Dad is well enough to drive to their home in Albany, IL, (near Clinton, IA, just north of the Quad Cities).

Part of me wishes I had been there this whole time, and another part is happy that I didn't need to be, and that my siblings were able to experience some of the care-giving I have done in the past.

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010, 10:20 pm
A Roomie

Our good (and long-lasting) friend Jim has moved in with us. He lost his husband tragically (and incredibly quickly) to pancreatic cancer last November. He tried moving in with some friends (who were more accurately friends of his late husband) in Seattle to find work (he had been unemployed for some time). He discovered that Seattle's climate did not agree with him, and that the friends with whom he was staying had a rocky relationship at best. This put him in an awkward situation, and, more importantly, made it hard for him to really grieve his husband.

We were happy to offer him a place to stay. He got here shortly before his birthday on June 5, and has settled in well. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving he received notification that his unemployment would run out before scheduled, so his job search has become a bit more frantic.

Jim is quite the bondage bear. His nickname is Gagbear, and he has bondage videos available (one website is for BD Bear Studiios and another is Gagbear's World). I don't want to link, because they make my Norton uneasy, but I don't really think there's a problem with them.

Anyway, we first met Jim during a bear camping weekend at Campit Resort, near Saugatuck, MI, in May of 1993. He was living near Detroit (where he grew up), but was moving to Chicago within a week or so. We ended up staying at his apartment at the end of Big and Bear Weekend (the precursor of Bear Pride) that Memorial Day. His new job near Chicago did not last long, and he was laid off later that year. Amazingly, he got a job in Rockford, and moved there, where we became close friends. We have lots of pictures of him helping us move in to our Rockford house in April 1994.

Eventually, he moved to Madison, WI, and then to California (first San Jose, then Sacramento). We've kept in touch all these years, and it's great having him near again!

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010, 09:57 pm
Dad's health crisis

I'm making this posting mainly so I have a record of the last few weeks, so I'm putting it behind a cut. Of course, you're welcome to read it, but it may not be very exciting!

The detailsCollapse )

I'm glad he's doing better now. Still, I have the feeling that things have entered a new phase with my dad. I can't help but think that his circulation and heart issues, in addition to his diabetes, are going to impact his life, and my mom's, more and more as time goes on. I guess I would be surprised if he lives another 5 years. I'm not really sad to think this, instead I realize that I need to be sure to spend as much time as reasonable with him and my mom.

Tue, Jun. 1st, 2010, 08:43 pm
Finals week

I gave my second final today, and was able to grade my first final while giving it. My last THREE finals are tomorrow, starting at 8 a.m. (for which I need to leave the house by 7 a.m. - maybe 7:15 but 7 for me to feel safe). Graduation is Thursday evening.

My parents relocated from their Las Vegas home to their IL home Mother's Day weekend. Sometime after, my dad started having "back pains" of some sort - pains near his hip, but not really his hip. His doctor in Clinton, IA, diagnosed a pinched nerve, for which he was prescribed muscle relaxants and ibuprofin. My parents decided it might be the waterbed after not sleeping on it for a while, so they bought an air mattress.

I guess he was getting better, but this weekend they went with my sister to my brother's cabin in N WI. My dad mowed the lawn on Saturday, and Sunday his back started getting bad.

My sister returned to Milwaukee on Monday, to be back for work on Tuesday, even though there was discussion of her driving Mom and Dad back for a medical consult.

Today, she drove up to get them, since my dad's situation had become even worse, and since my mom cannot now drive (a relatively recent development in a long-lasting progression of eye problems).

I think that, right now, they are at some Milwaukee hospital, waiting for news of what might be going on with my dad.

An issue for me, which really ISN"T an issue for me right now, is that if I were in IL, I would have been the one to drive up to get them and take care of the situation. John asked me earlier if I felt guilty about this, and I answered, immediately, no.

Awaiting more information now. This should encourage my parents to lower their price on their IL home!

Mon, May. 10th, 2010, 04:48 pm
STEM

My new college, MSJC, was awarded a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) grant from the US Department of Education in 2008 for the purpose of helping Latino students earn degrees in technical fields.

I just received an e-mail from the dean today (sent to all math/science teachers) indicating that we can apply for a workshop in Reno, NV, to learn how to apply for NSF grants in the same area. The workshop will accept a total of 25 two-person teams and pay for all travel, lodging, and meals, as well as a stipend of up to $1500.

It could be pretty interesting to get a proposal together. The conversation I had with students liking the applications of conic sections I introduced in College Algebra has piqued my interest. If students who have a marginal interest in something like College Algebra could be more motivated by actually completing real applications, perhaps they would be more likely to pursue a degree in a field such as mathematics or engineering.

The only problem is that the application deadline is May 15, so I would need to get something together THIS WEEK. Plus, I would need a partner to make the 2-person team. I sent an e-mail to the dean to see if he knew of any other interest, but have not heard back yet (I think he was out for the afternoon).

It could be a very cool thing.

Sun, May. 9th, 2010, 07:39 pm
Catching Up

The sucking vortex of Facebook has been relentlessly drawing my attention lately. Not that I've ever posted a lot anyway, but much of the time I would have spent on LiveJournal has gone to Facebook instead.

John and I are more sure than ever that this move was the right decision. It's certainly not been perfect. He has been struggling with what to do with himself. We CAN live on my salary and publishing money alone, but the higher mortgage payment here makes that more difficult than it was in Rockford.

Along those lines, I just completed an online graduate education class - Teaching Through Learning Channels. My credit is from Rockford College, where I have completed a similar face-to-face class. The class was interesting, exploring research on how people learn and organize information and then creating lesson plans that take advantage of this research. The 3 credit hours should move me to the Masters +36 salary lane, with an accompanying raise for Fall 2010. I need to take 4 more classes in the next year so that I can get one more (and final) such raise for Fall 2011.

Teaching has been going well, although I have had more student drops this semester. That seems fairly typical for spring semesters in my experience. I covered conic sections in College Algebra last week, teaching about the parabola on Friday. We had already discussed parabolas earlier in the semester, but now we introduced the concept of the focus of a parabola. This is cool because you can talk about applications since as car headlight design, satellite dishes, and parabolic solar collectors. A couple of my students stayed after class to talk about a couple of things, and one commented how great he thought it was that I actually talked about real applications. He seemed to think I was an expert on all of them, which isn't really true, but it was nice to get some positive feedback.

I have another solutions manual to work on this summer, which is good. I'm not going to teach any summer classes, so I'll have time. I'm going to take another online class. This one is about developing interactive multimedia projects that can be used in or out of class for student learning.

We're planning to have our first pool party on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Come on over!

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