Thoughts on education

I've been on lj over 20 years now, and I've had lots of thoughts on education [also, I was posting stuff on marypat.org in longer form from 1996 - 2002; I've also written a lot at the Actuarial Outpost on this subject - RIP, Actuarial Outpost [November 2020]]

So this post is simply to amass posts as I find them, and categorize them. I am defining "education" very broadly here. I may be linking to some friends-locked posts, and will note that when I link. Some of these posts may need to be moved around for better organization.

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Pain diaries - left arm

My left arm is in pain... from hand to shoulder. I'm just having my arm hang down like a piece of meat, resting my hand on my leg. Typing one-handed w. right hand.... I got good at 1-handed typing, either hand, when I had the kids. Would be doing work while feeding babies.

I'm gonna try walking outside for a while, see if cardio-ish will help things feel better.

Pain diaries

Today has been bad.

But let me talk about right now.

It feels like my upper right lip is burning, that somebody is stabbing me in a very specific spot above my right ear (before, it was on the back of my head, to the right), and I've got my general right-side of my face pain.

Every so often, a sharp/electrical type of spasm goes through/down the tendon to the middle finger on my right hand (it's just pain, the finger isn't twitching or anything), and I've had these odd fire/electrical pains in my right shin (the other day, it was alternating between my shins)

Ah, one of the shocks to my index finger. ugh.

Just keeping a few notes. I go to the neurologist again in a couple weeks.

Personal vaccine report...with caveats

Thanks to a friend who stays up later than me, I got the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine yesterday. The initial shot hurt similar to a tetanus shot (which I got last year), but other than that, no problems for some hours... but by night, my left arm was hurt.... and it hurt all night.

I put a heating pad on my left shoulder to help with the pain, and after hours in bed, I hurt on the right side of my body (the shot was in my left arm)... but this is where the caveat comes in.

The pain in my right side of my face, shoulder, back of my head, etc. feel like my normal pain problems, and I'm skeptical that the vaccine did that. Anyway, I'm tired and am just chilling in bed.

This the the site my friend used to find an appt for me: https://www.vaccinespotter.org/NY/

Just to remember

I spent all day in bed yesterday (more or less) -- pain/problems on my left side.

Today, the pain is on my right side. I stayed in bed all morning, and didn't get up til 1pm.

I did a few things after eating, but I'm sitting on the couch/bed with Stu... lots of facial pain on my right side.

It was a bad day

Yesterday was pretty bad.

I was able to get stuff done, but while out w/ D, walking in Lasdon Park, I got a bunch of pain on my right side -- mainly my head, face, neck... but also going down my arm & leg. I asked D if it was okay if we just walked in the Dinosaur Garden (a very short walk) and then go back home. He was amenable.

But one thought related to C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which I recently read. Some of what Lewis wrote, I agree with. But I really didn't like one of his explanations: getting the attention of people who are "good enough" but might not be paying attention enough to God. So I decided to look up when Lewis wrote the book. 1940. Lewis would have been 41 at the time -- maybe he hadn't run into the pain of middle age yet, but I bet he had. The thing is, there is a certain amount of pain that comes to us all, not just the acute pain from overdoing it (or having an accident), but the more chronic aches & pains. Obviously, having been through WWI and being at the start of WWII, he definitely knew the emotional/spiritual pain that came from that, and the "malaise" of the 1930s. Yes, he was ensconced in University life, but I am sure he understood some of that.

But I doubt that he had the experience of chronic physical pain. And plenty of people get that pain absent of "deserving" it. That's a tough argument to make. But more that I don't think that he understands the effect of chronic pain on people -- it doesn't turn people to God, necessarily -- it can make one turn inward. All you can pay attention to is the pain itself.

I do try to find meaning in pain -- as a Catholic, I try to "offer it up":

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us the framework within which to understand the theological foundation of the practice of “offering it up.”

That framework, in other words, is the mystery of redemptive suffering. Christ makes us — members of his Mystical Body — participants in that redemptive self-offering of Christ our head.

So I "offer it up" for the souls in Purgatory. As the linked piece indicates, it needs not be chronic pain or anything really serious to offer it up:

In fact, it is possible over time with God’s grace to embrace — even with joy — the unpleasant surprises, setbacks, apparent failures, frustrations, and hurts that come our way precisely because we experience how profoundly God can work in and through them for our good and the good of the Church. By offering these things up, uniting them to the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, we trust that God the Father mysteriously brings about some good somewhere in the Mystical Body as a fruit of our generous offering. Yet we benefit as well, as he simultaneously turns our sufferings, big or small, into opportunities for personal growth and holiness.

Perhaps pain is an opportunity for holiness, and perhaps sometimes it's just a screwup of our nervous system.

In any case, all the stuff I wasn't able to do yesterday (and I went to bed early yesterday, so the hit of Satan's Time (aka DST) was less for me) I have to do today. Already got a couple done already, and now for the grocery shopping...

Bad day(s)

It's been a bad day.

Just as a reminder to me. I was unable to fold the clothes. My left side had the pain earlier, but it's on the right side now.

At various times this morning, my fingers were numb. No, it wasn't because it was cold. The temp was around 30 and it was sunny. Indeed, it was so sunny I had to roll down the van window.

I'm not feeling good. Got the heating pad on.

UPDATE: and a half hour later, I'm in bed .. at 7:15

good night

Trying to get shit done while I'm functional

(no, I don't have any degenerative disease ... well, other than the cervical disc problem, but that's been going on for over ten years now, and it's not exactly killing me. Literally)

Anyway, we're coming up soon on the anniversary when I cleared out my office in Hartford and came back to New York. Unlike others, I had a pretty good inkling that there was going to be a long haul (no, I didn't say anything to anybody about it then, because I didn't need anybody losing their shit on me. There's nothing worse than legit predicting a disaster, having people ridiculing you at the time, and then they resent you afterwards for accurately predicting the disaster. It really is never appreciated, and people's behavior is not changed.)

Because I had a good idea what was coming, I cleared out ALL of my desk, dumping things in bags and boxes, loading them up in my van (I actually used an office chair (wheeled, duh) to transport the boxes), and going. I left nothing behind, except the peripheral monitors, the office phone, and maybe a few post-it notes.

I have finally started emptying some of the bags, and jeez, some of it is just trash. I already fished out all the food last year (that happened first), but I have papers, pictures, books, and so much crap. I don't feel looking at my livejournal entries from last year, but I see from my calendar of entries last year, I had one entry when I got on substack (due to a reader of my blog recommending it -- because then he could get entries emailed to him automatically... and then soon after, stump.marypat.org was munged, so I had to use substack as my main blog for a while), and then starting on March 17... lots of entries.

Anyway, a lot of things got dropped last year, and a lot of things were not dealt with. I started dealing with some of it now.

This morning, I got a rate adjustment on my mortgage which will save me over $60K over the life of the loan (undiscounted). Yeah, I'll take that. I dug out pants I bought that were still in plastic. I hung them up. I packed away the pants I got too fat for, but if I drop 20 pounds, I could probably get back into again (I've been very slowly losing weight these past 5 months). I found a few books I had been missing.

I updated spreadsheets, made some calls, sent some emails, and doing all the high-powered shit I should have been doing last year but did not have the brainspace for.

Anyway, I'm taking advantage of the energy for this while I can. I know how easily my nerve pain can come back and I can't do anything but lie down.