August 20th, 2008

chaotic, spin

Weird Morning

I'm not feeling entirely well today. I don't think I'm sick (I hope I'm not getting sick!), I think it's mostly just a combination of allergies, a bad night's sleep, and feeling sore from a hard workout last night.

I had all kinds of weird and restless dreams last night. When my alarm went off this morning, it was all mixed up in my dream-brain. I was dreaming that I was at a colo (business trip), and I was oversleeping. When I woke up, bleary but panicked about missing work, I found that almost my whole team was in the hotel eating breakfast, hanging out and chatting: we had all overslept and we were all skipping out on work. I felt bad, but sat down and talked to people anyway. I figured we'd all walk over go to the office together.

One guy (Andy) was eating a really nice-looking piece of fish, and I asked him about it. He started expounding on the fish, the place he got it, and fish-buying in general, in the excitable way he has.

I glanced briefly at my alarm clock, and it said 7:15, which is good. It wasn't scheduled to go off until 7:30. I went back to Andy's fish-talk.

Then I heard music playing downstairs. It was my "daily scrum" alert, indicating that it was 8:13am and I had precisely 2 minutes before I had to be on a conference call participating in our morning status meeting. Oh crap, I was still asleep at home, not eating breakfast in the hotel with the team after all!

I stumbled out of bed and down the stairs, bringing my eyedrops with me (because eyedrops help me wake up in the morning). I was cold and groggy, but had to call into my meeting. I turned off the alarm, turned on my computer, put in my eyedrops, and picked up my cordless phone, and dialed the conference number -- all kind of at the same time.

While listening to other people's status reports on the phone, I tiptoed back upstairs and quietly found some clothes to wear. I was chilly, so I put on jammie pants, a sweatshirt, and warm socks. A rule I have for myself is that I am supposed to wear a bra when working (jammies are okay, but clean underthings are required). I picked up a bra, and experimented with putting it on while keeping the phone on my ear. It didn't seem possible. I carried it downstairs and set it on my desk, to be donned after the call was over.

I went to the kitchen and started to make coffee -- but running the water seemed like it would make too much noise. (I wasn't using my cell phone, which has a mute button and a speaker, but my unsophisticated regular phone.) So I abandoned the coffee half-made and returned to my desk to finish getting my computer booted up.

The call lasted awhile, and it wasn't until 40 minutes or so later that I was able to go finish making coffee. I then stared at my breakfast options, and decided that none of them sounded appealing. Instead I settled in to work.

A little while later, deciding I was still cold, I went back upstairs and put a bathrobe on over my sweatshirt and jammie pants. I also put slippers on over my socks. The fact that my house thermometer said 71 degrees (and it's August) made me question my health a bit, but I'm frequently cold so it's hard to tell.

It now says 74 and I've taken off my bathrobe. That's a start! I might even switch to a t-shirt soon. Oooh, I'm a wild-woman, I tell ya.

Around noon I heated up a nice healthy Seattle Sutton lunch. When I was coming back to my desk with it, I noticed my bra sitting on the desk corner. I started at it in puzzlement. Why had I left lingerie in the middle of my office? Then I remembered that I was supposed to be wearing it. Oh right! I put it on and ate lunch.

The day is improving a bit, and I'm successfully getting stuff accomplished at work. I still don't feel right though. Nothing specific, just feeling kind of shaky and "off". I have a club bike ride tonight, and hopefully some exercise will perk me up. If not, hopefully a good night's sleep will help, so those are my goals for tonight.

Tomorrow I'm going out to dinner with friends, to which I am very much looking forward! I've spent far too little time with my local friends recently, so I'm glad that's going to change.
duke-school

Neat Charity

My new favorite charity is DonorsChoose. It's cool because school teachers submit proposals describing tools they need to make their classrooms better. Then I can search through the proposals and choose where I want my donation to go. Like I can search for schools in Detroit, proposals that need books, or proposals for science classes. I've always felt that education is underfunded, and I've always felt that schools are where the greatest difference can be made in lives. I've always wished there was a way for me to directly support and impact schools in high-risk neighborhoods. Now I've found one!

Just to make it cooler, if you donate enough, the teacher and children send you hand-written thank you notes. I really like knowing what I'm paying for - not to mention seeing the results. I can search for schools in poorer areas of Detroit, which is satisfying knowing I'm helping local educators make a difference.

Late last year I contributed to help buy an internet-compatible computer for an inner-city junior high school classroom. They sent me a thank-you package awhile ago, which I set aside and forgot to open! I found it yesterday, and flipped through it. There were a couple photos, and an envelope filled with handwritten letters on notebook paper. Each is addressed to me personally, written and signed by a kid -- you can tell it was a class project, and they had been given some prompting as to what to say. Still.... how cool!

"This was at the best time since half the computers around where I live don't have working internet. This was also good because now I don't have to dicect a real animal, since I'm an animal lover. I also want to learn about the earth without damaging it. I love to do research as well, But I'm running out of time since I'm a buser, I'd love to say more but, bye. Sincerely, Tyron"

"You realy made me and my class feel very happy to know there is steel good people in the world. We are using the computer to research biology, and earth science. Sincerely Sarah, Thank you."

"We have used the computer to see a model of how gas particles move. Thank you so much. The computer works very good. I used it to look at air, gases, and more. I really appreciated you did something good. Thanks Chelsea"

(Lots of nice letters, but these were some of my favorites. Spelling and punctuation left intact. The last one used little circles on top of her i's, instead of dots! Cute.)

Yesterday I donated to a local elementary school, for some math tools. I'm looking forward to the next thank you package! (Obviously it won't come for awhile since it's summer, but I'll try to be patient.)

I also donated some math stuff to a kindergarten near where my grandmother lives, in honor of her birthday. They'll be sending her the thank you package directly. That seems like a pretty cool gift! If this goes well, I'll probably give my whole family virtual school supplies for Christmas....

The only hard part is how addictive it is. Once I start reading the entries, I want to buy everything! Like I read about this one classroom, and all the teacher was asking for was a case of tennis balls to use as "sleeves" for the bottom of all the chairs and desks to minimize noise when kids move around, because her classroom is in a trailer. Or the teacher who wanted electric pencil sharpeners and pencils. Some requests are bigger, but some requests are so trivial. It's amazing to think about, that something so small can make a difference. Also that something so small could go unfulfilled... but there are lots of needs out there. Each one that makes so much sense, and seems so reasonable, I just want to run over there and give them all shiny new pencils and tennis balls. If only it were that easy!

I can't buy everything, although I'm going to keep contributing. But I can post a link, share my excitement, in case it inspires anybody else.