Jeremy’s workplace is forming a union! So now there is a group called the union of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jeremy is not invited to join because he’s technically a supervisor, so he didn’t hear anything about this until the union announced it on twitter.
I have been taking hour-long weekly Spanish lessons for about three months which has been fine and mostly fun. I do no homework for this. Then about a month ago, I found a language exchange friend (both of us beginners) that I talk to nightly for about 30 minutes half in english/half in spanish when I’m not at the hospital. I also do no prep for this. It is clear to me my pal is outpacing me with her improvements in English. This almost no-work effort has resulted in a number of encouraging interaction with patients – I can understand some very, very basic things and we end up being pleased with each other even if I have to eventually use the translator phone (which I always have to use). But then I had an interaction with a Mandarin speaking patient which was interesting to me. My Chinese is pretty bad, but I was pleased with how I could manage to tell her most of the things I needed to tell her. Like instructions for collecting pee, or that she needed to walk in the hall even though all Chinese people know you should rest after surgery, all Americans want you to walk and I could answer questions about eating and farting (turns out I only know the word in Chinese for fart and not “passing gas” which was the one she used and then I was like – oh! you mean fart!). Anyways, it encouraged me to put in some more work into remembering Spanish. I had a terrible (well, not terrible, but completely tongue tied) Spanish lesson earlier this week where my teacher introduced a third verb tense and I’m still struggling with the first verb tense or even remembering any verbs and I’m like – OK, how am I going to remember all these random words? I had started to use regular physical flashcards, but I want a lot of flash cards and they seemed inadequate and the rate at which I need to learn new words should be steady and not take up too much time. Anyways, I stumbled upon the flashcard program of my dreams – Anki – which does spaced repetition of flash cards. It’s designed to be used everyday over a long period of time (years really…) but for a limited amount of time each day (hopefully only 15-20 minutes a day). It’s most popular with med students. It slowly introduces new words and drops the words that you know well. People have decks of over 100,000 cards when learning a language. I’m kind of in love. I love flash cards. This makes me very happy. We’ll see how long I can stick with it or if I’ll improve at all.
We got an email over the past weekend saying that Davis was going to go to singles only for the dorms. We still don’t know if he’s getting a room or if enough people cancelled for them to honor all housing agreements. We are planning on driving across the country to drop him off with driveway visits with friends along the way. If they cancel while we are on the road, we are still driving at least to Montana. Jeremy really wants to bike in Montana.
Edda’s seizures are getting worse. I’m pretty sure we are on this long, well worn Rett road where her seizures will never be well controlled and we will lose all of her spark to the dulling qualities of the anticonvulsants. She had 6 seizures on Monday, we upped her Keppra dose that afternoon.