Monday, November 03, 2008

General notes

I find my nerves are raw over the upcoming election. I am not reassured that Obama will win. I am sure that 4 more years of the rebublican agenda is probably not going to be easy to deal with. Just the medical industry alone needs overhaul but not just deregulation. I have lost count at the doctors I know that are having a hard time making a living. Handing the industry completely to an out-of-control insurance or pharma industry is just going to make it worse. More republican restrictions on doctors, like their inability to negotiate fair compensation rates for themselves is not helping. I am certain that plowing more of the budget into pointless wars and more handouts to the ultra-rich are going to leave the great majority of us still struggling. A man who makes millions of dollars a year and calls himself a "poor republican" is so out of touch, that the truly poor and middle class would be screwed. Do the rich spend their windfall here in our economy? No, of course not, they spend it at their offshore shelters and their vacation islands in Dubai.

I should probably be working, but instead I am going to take a moment out to write an update. I left this blog behind with an emotional post.

It was a summer of upheaval. Arguments resolved, I am the sadder but wiser girl. I've come to learn that perhaps I ought to show more emotion around people I am close to, so that they have a clue when they are being destructive and I have a clue when a relationship is approaching unhealthy. I am by nature an analyst and by no means a cold person, but I guess I try to logically analyze too much.

Health challenges from the April smoke inhalation were amazing, progressing through kidney infections, anemia, a broken patella (fell while weak) and of course wheezing. I was diagnosed with "potentially fatal asthma." Despite all of it, here I am feeling whole and well again. New treatment plans have me stabilized.

Work has been challenging, with more medical writing projects than I probably should have accepted. They range from truly disturbing analysis of parasite treatment markets to new drug applications for biologics. Some are interesting, including innovative potential therapies for treating stroke and refractory cancer.

Fi is seven now. She is happily moving right along in school although we are faced with the same asynchrony. I am still home schooling, and I employed more help. The only gifted school that could handle her is over an hour away (probably two in traffic). The cost to take her there and back as well as the tuition makes it unlikely that we would send her there as a grade-schooler. I estimated the cost at more than $40k a year to us. With our son already in college (probably about 4 years to go), the cost is a bit prohibitive. The 9- or 10-hour day for her (not including homework) also seems a bit much for a little girl. Still, it is not cheap to homeschool, but I am able to work rather than drive 4 to 8 hours a day. Moving is not an option right now either.

Fi can easily read and understand books at the 4th to 5th grade level. At this point, her ability to comprehend has far exceeded her overall experience level and giving her books that might be somewhat simple is just a matter of filling in her knowledge gaps. Her developmental level is now ranging between ages 10 and 14. Her vocabulary is stunning and her science comprehension is almost frightening. She regularly uses words like "bilateral symmetry." Her writing and grammar are good, but once again we are trapped with her thinking 20 words ahead of her ability to legibly hand write each word.

On one occasion when we began employing an algebraic equation to help her understand how to visualize a story problem, she looked dismayed when I gave an unknown variable a "letter." She said, "If we use letters, we can only solve for 26 variables at a time." After pausing to digest her comment, I told her not to worry as we tend to try to break a problem down into segments, so we limit the number of unknown quantities. I did not go into symbols...

The local library donated a complete set of Brittanica encyclopedias to our home school, after a conversation with the librarian where she assured them about understanding about vetting the content of the books for accuracy (more than a little data is old by the time the book is published). I think she enjoys finding the Latin names of things more than anything else. The librarians are tickled with her and call her the 1,000-year-old child.

We are still in brownies and she is still able to socialize well with just about any age group. I also employed the moms and another troop leader to help me more this year, so I am not getting overwhelmed with hosting and organizing. We put off ballet and tae kwon do until January, as we took more time off to travel. We'll be in Aruba to stay with friends in a couple of weeks (she is enthusiastically learning Papamiento). All in all, she is well adjusted, with other moms calling her "confident and secure." I am always checking that we're still managing to do the right thing for her but these days her progress has me much more confident in our plans.

Life goes on. I should have some fun stuff to talk about post-election and with the Aruba trip.


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