Posts Tagged ‘life’

What I learned in Math 116

In December, I finished 100-level math survey course called Introduction to Technical Mathematics. It went through basic algebra, geometry, functions, trigonometry, and logarithms. It’s one of the prerequisites to a science course I want to take as I consider applying for a graduate program, so I reluctantly took it.

Here’s some of the things I learned:

• It was much easier for me at age 35 to learn and refresh myself on mathematical concepts than it was in high school. The last time I fully learned these concepts was when I was 15-17, where I was also dealing with other classes, social intricacies as well as everything else that comes with being a teenager. So perhaps I was more distracted then, and perhaps my life experience has helped me be in a better space for learning math now.

• That said, I was really grateful for my main high school math teacher, who I took Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II with. She had a way of making math fun, and she helped me catch up where I was behind my freshman year. While I might have been somewhat distracted at times by being a teenager, she gave me a good foundation in math that served me well in the more recent class.

• I used to think that I wasn’t a “natural” at math. It might be closer to the truth to say instead that I am more natural in other subjects (English, languages, art) than I am at math. I am certainly more right-brained than left-brained, and it takes a different kind of thinking and sometimes more time for me to get into math mode. But after watching other students struggle, where explanations that made sense to me didn’t make sense to them, I realized I’m more natural at it than I previously thought. It’s also that math isn’t my favorite subject; perhaps I’d feel like more of a natural if it was something I felt more naturally drawn to.

• I might actually enjoy doing math more if I didn’t get so anxious taking the quizzes and exams. I enjoy figuring out how to make sense of problems. I do not necessarily trust that I know enough to be able to master them during a timed quiz. The truth is, in the end, I often *do* know the material well enough.

• In high school and college, I was very quiet in my classes. It was hard for me to speak up in class, even when I wanted to (I now think that it was primarily sensory-related and I kept shutting down). In this math class, I was actually one of the more vocal ones when the teacher asked for answers to problems. Now that I know more about myself and don’t put so much pressure on myself to speak, I actually say more.

It was good to review the mathematical concepts and be reminded of the practical applications. While I don’t use all of the concepts in my daily life, I do use some and I can also see where else they would be useful. That’s one of the things about having more life experience – practical applications often make more sense.

I’m planning on taking the first biology course that I’ve taken since sixth grade this semester. I’m curious to see what I learn there!

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Clinging to the in-between time

Sometimes it feels that there is a like a quieter, almost suspended piece of time in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Perhaps it lasts a few days more.

It’s January 6th. I find myself wanting, as I often do this time of year, to hold onto that feeling of quiet. Tomorrow, many activities start again at their regular pace. My husband’s first full week of work, uninterrupted by any holidays, begins tomorrow. I’ll put up a few ads for more proofreading work, resume my Nia classes, and send some e-mails out. As a freelance proofreader, January can be slow sometimes, so perhaps I will have time to clean and organize things. I’m planning on taking a class at the community college this semester, but that doesn’t start for another two weeks.

Since Winter Solstice, the days have grown longer, slowly, minute by minute. But they still feel long. There is currently snow on the mountains above Las Vegas, and sometimes the temperatures dip to freezing in town. It’s not wintry weather by some people and place’s standards, but it is wintry for us.

I often feel like slowing down this time of year. I’m generally more tired; my moods have a tendency to dip lower. Hibernation sometimes sounds appealing.

I’ve seen so many messages over the past week about starting the new year “right,” to make lists, clean up, work out more, make plans. All of these things require direct action and the energy to do them. For me, this time of year isn’t necessarily about renewal; it’s about slowing down and listening deeply. This doesn’t mean I won’t make goals or won’t start new things, but it means I might do so less energetically – or at least with more consideration of my energy level – than I might in another season.

So, as much as I sometimes wish there was a way to “pause” time just for a little bit, my hope is to honor where I’m at and how I feel, take care of my obligations, and take small steps towards my goals. Right now, I have no specific deadlines; that may change tomorrow or another day soon. I will savor the stretches quiet time when I can, and find the quiet moments between things when life gets busier.

Intentions for 2019

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do like setting intentions that are open, can be revisited, modified, or even scrapped if need be.

Here are a few of mine for 2019:

To continue practicing self-care and self-love. To have compassion for myself in the times that this is more challenging.

To find a place to teach at least one more regular Nia class.

To continue to find time to dance Nia for myself. This might be more challenging if I add another Nia class because my prep time might increase. But I want to still make time to dance on my own for no reason other than I love doing it.

To take more hikes/spend more time in nature. Sometimes even taking a walk outside around the neighborhood can fulfill this to some extent. Being outside in the sunlight does wonders for me. Being out in nature does even more.

To make more art for the sake of creating, not just for sale. Making arts and crafts to sell at vendor fairs is great, and it definitely motivates me to continue to make art. But sometimes I just want to sit down and let my creativity go and be in the process and not be focused on what I want to create.

To do more activities that might help make Vegas feel more like home. In some ways, it feels very much like home, especially now that we’ve moved into our own condo. I like it here. And yet, it’s been over two years since I moved here and sometimes I don’t feel quite settled. I’m leaving this open-ended.

To maintain my current client load for proofreading and add one more regular client. Doing enough backup proofreading can satisfy this requirement as well, but that’s less predictable (to be fair, freelancing is not exactly predictable).

Happy New Year! What are your intentions for this year?


2018 highlights

I don’t write here as much anymore, and not as much as I’d like to. Life has been busy.

Perhaps more on that later.

But now, I am reflecting on this past year. 2018 has generally been a good year for me.

Here are some highlights:

  • In March, I visited my mom in Bellingham, Washington, and we also spent time in Langley on Whidbey Island. We spent our time walking around on the beach and through the town. We spent a fair bit of time browsing local shops. We also sorted through her photo albums for the photos we’d like to keep in the long-term, so we revisited a lot of memories together.
  • In June, we bought our first home, a beautiful condo in a quiet neighborhood. I sometimes forget it’s in the middle of the city. We are continuing to make it more homey. I’ve been feeling much more settled here since we moved into our new place.
  • In August, I took the Nia Blue Belt training in Portland, Oregon. There’s something about Nia trainings and events that resonates with me deeply and makes me feel more at home in community with others and within myself. Blue Belt is all about relationships, communication, and intimacy. I’ve noticed the most difference in my relationship to myself: I’ve been more kind towards myself since taking the training. I also feel more connected to my learning process and practice of Nia.
  • In October, my husband and I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary. Our relationship continues to grow and deepen and we enjoy being our quirky and silly selves around each other. 🙂
  • In December, we took our fourth annual holiday trip to the Sedona area in Arizona. It’s become a sweet tradition of us meeting my father in the relative midpoint between Las Vegas and Albuquerque and spending time hiking, dining, and enjoying each other’s company. Also, it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous place.
  • Several trips to my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Having quality time with my father, Nia friends, and family friends. Enjoying being in the high desert. Feeling the sense of home that lingers with me even as I feel more at home where I currently live.
  • I completed two college courses (Spring and Fall Semester 2018): one English and one math. They are prerequisites for a program I’m considering applying to in the future. Taking classes reminds me of how much I love learning.
  • It was my first full year of proofreading legal transcripts! It’s become a good source of supplemental income, and I have a few regular clients. I also enjoy it.
  • First full year of consistently teaching a Nia class! I also started teaching private Moving to Heal sessions. In December, I taught a one-time class at a studio in Boulder City in December and got to experience teaching a group of people who were completely new to Nia.
  • Various explorations of local places: the mountains, Red Rock Canyon, Fashion Show Mall, Caesar’s Palace (I prefer exploring out in nature on a hike, but the sights and sounds of the Strip are interesting in their own way too).

Thank you, 2018, for the blessings you have brought me and the lessons you have taught me.

Now, on to the next…

Five years since my surgery

What I wrote on my Facebook status on Sunday, November 25, 2018, and wanted to share here as well:

It’s now been five years. On November 25, 2013, I had open abdominal surgery for what turned out to be a borderline ovarian tumor. At a doctor’s appointment less than two weeks earlier, my doctor had expedited my surgery and told me that the tumor on my right ovary had grown and that it was either cancerous or borderline.

For me, this date is a marker of not only the surgery but also of change. I consider the surgery and the events surrounding it to be a turning point in my life. It’s been a very full five years. If you had told me in October 2013 where I would be now, I may not have believed you. Post-surgery, as I found emotional and physical healing, I left dreams behind and gradually accepted that what I wanted – and needed – was changing. I walked through a deep depression and made it out the other side. I discovered Nia. I found out I had sensory processing disorder, and it was a revelation that changed the way I see myself and my experience of the world. My love and I renewed our relationship and became closer than ever.
…and much more.

I don’t really believe that everything happens for a reason. Some things in life just happen. I do know that I am grateful for what I have now.

My surgery story, parts I and II.

Poem from one year after surgery.

While in Portland, I…

On August 17, I caught a flight to Portland, Oregon. Here are a few of the things I did while there:

Satisfied childhood nostalgia:  My mom moved to the greater Portland area when I was eight years old. I finished up my second grade year in New Mexico and joined her that summer. I lived there for a year, and then returned to New Mexico to live with my dad. My mom lived there for two more years (three in all), and I spent my breaks from school with her. So I have some attachment from my childhood to that area. I have only been there a few times as a teenager and young adult, so it was nice to go back there and experience it.

In this category:

Went to the Saturday Market.

My mom and I used to go when I was younger. I remember it being much smaller. Well, it probably was, but so was I. Still, some of the booths looked familiar. I browsed, got a cool piece of decor for our condo, and grabbed lunch. It was also great to near the Willamette River again.

Went to Powell’s Books, aka the best bookstore in the world. And perhaps one of the more overwhelming ones if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Or most magical. Or a combination. Aside from the online catalog where I could easily find out if they had a book and where to find it, it pretty much looks like I remember it. Last time I was there: around sixteen years ago. First time I was there: age 8.

Also in that category that I did not get to this time: the Rose Garden in Washington Park. Perhaps next time.

Did some quintessential Portland things:

Some of this happened incidentally through walking around and experiencing the city. For example, watching two men play a life-sized chess game in the park, overhearing some of the summer concert series, people-watching at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Washington Park station

The MAX train coming in at Washington Park Station

I took the MAX light-rail train daily, which dropped me off right across the street from my destination. Accessible public transportation rocks.

Grabbed dinner at a food truck. There’s a whole block in Downtown Portland that has a variety of choices. I did this twice and had delicious Thai food.

Had a lavender donut. And a lavender chai. Although my favorite was the house chai (no lavender, nice spice) at Case Study Coffee Roasters.

There are so many places to go in Portland: restaurants, museums, gardens, and so much more. The extra that I did get to see and experience, I did in my spare time. But I wasn’t really there as a tourist. I didn’t have a lot of extra time to explore.

Why was I in Portland, Oregon, for a week? I was taking my Nia Blue Belt training at NiaStudio at Nia Headquarters. It was an amazing experience. Perhaps more on that later in a separate post.

Nia international headquarters

It was also freeing to return to Portland on my own for the first time as an adult. It was wonderful to fulfill some nostalgic longings and to experience a place I once thought of as home through new eyes.

The comfort of home.

I started writing this over a month ago. We’ve now been living in our new place for about six weeks.

These days, I tend to sleep through most of the night. Most mornings, I’ve been waking up for the first time at 5:30 or 6:30 a.m.

I grew up having terrible insomnia. While I’ve developed better sleep patterns throughout the years, sleeping through the night is new to me.

Do I feel more rested? Hard to say. Sometimes I feel more stiff. I sometimes wake up feeling heavy. With the transition to moving to a new place, my nervous system is still in adjustment mode. Yes, the place is better. It’s quieter. And it’s different.

morning light

Morning light coming in through the shutters, 6:40 a.m.

I joked to my husband as we headed to get groceries early on a Sunday morning, “We moved and we completely changed our lives.” I was being light-hearted, but we’ve been doing things differently; our routines are changing. Our bedroom porch door faces east, so even with the shutters down, the summer morning light often wakes us up.

So we’ve been getting up earlier. We even got up this past Saturday to go for a morning hike before it got too hot.

Our apartment where we moved from was on a major street. The sound of traffic was so persistent that the noise mostly became part of everyday life. It was also the source of stress. And that’s not counting the other stressors we experienced there, including burglary, car theft (it was recovered the same day), a SWAT standoff on the other side of our building that prevented us from leaving by car for several hours, and more.

When I put it like that, it makes the place sound awful. But mostly, on a day-to-day basis, it wasn’t bad. And perhaps I am minimizing it. I was really done with living there. Since we didn’t want to break the lease, we made do. There were things I enjoyed: I enjoyed taking walks to the nearby park or chatting with our neighbors. My husband appreciated the convenience of the 5-7 minute drive to work.

And…we only moved a mile west. We still live close to his work. That park is still in walking distance, albeit a little farther away. Instead of living on a busy 6-lane street, we are tucked away in a condo complex in a neighborhood, about two or three blocks in either direction from busy streets. While I can look to the northeast and see the Dunkin’ Donuts sign that borders on a major road, I can also look across the street and just see apartments and trees. It is much, much better to live here now.

This monsoon season has brought a few intense wind and thunderstorms. We can stand and watch them from our porch.

Our office had enough space for our new futon couch, so it can double as a guest room. In the living room, I have enough dance space that I can turn completely in both directions without running into anything. In our old apartment, I could only turn in one direction freely.

Some days, I literally hug the walls. Walls that we chose the colors for, and, with the generous help of my mother-in-law, painted.

There are some inconveniences to new home ownership. Getting appliances with the condo, but discovering that not all of them work, and having to replace or repair them. The incessant ads in the mail for this and that coverage or service that we may or may not need. And so on.

And then there is also the quiet. The quiet I longed for, the quiet that because my first priority when we started seriously looking for places. There is the increased amount of space, the freedom to move from room to room. And there is the greater sense and comfort of home.