October Update

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Stats Forum for Keller-plan Course : One Thread

I continue to hear from many former students and friends and have been promising them an update on Louise's and my news. Here's the update; now at last I can clear out many messages in my inbox by referring people to the forum. I've also been surprised (1.5 years after retirement!) to get e-mail requests from several students for reference letters, usually phrased in a paragraph starting "by the way". (Really. But I am very happy that I haven't been forgotten.)

The most frequent recent contributor to the forum has been Debbie Buehler. As I have noted before, she regularly writes an e-mail, called "Panama Chronicles", to her friends. Now she is spending a month in Ecuador but has very limited access to the Internet so all we've heard is that she's having a fabulous and exciting time. She promises a lengthy chronicle when she returns to Panama. That will be worth waiting for.

The biggest event for me in the last few months was buying a new set of hearing aids. They are a big step-up from what I had before, even though the previous aids were excellent. Besides the basic increased quality of the aids, they have the additional feature of an FM receiver in each aid. I have a separate microphone unit with an FM transmitter. When I'm in a group (or even just talking to one person), I hear better when I place the microphone in the centre of the group and switch on the FM. This is particularly effective in the German classes.

I can also connect the transmitter to a phone and then I hear much better; I even hear in both ears! Similarly the unit can be used for stereo or TV reception. If I set up the hearing aids for FM reception but don't turn on the transmitter unit, then the aids are in effect muted, which has its uses, for example in the subway.

There was a two-month break in the German classes during the summer, but I had some practice with weekly visits to a German couple I have got to know. I had hoped also to work intensively on the approximately 1000 flash cards I created during the course last year. However, I have to admit that I did very little work on that. I know that lack of vocabulary is my main weakness at the moment.

The German class I was enrolled in this fall was larger than I liked and, even with the new aids, I found it difficult to hear everything. So I inquired about private lessons. The net result is that two other students and I have one joint private lesson for two hours a week with our favorite teacher. I'm certain that we can make at least as fast progress in this setting as we would in the larger class which meets for a total of five hours each week (in two meetings). And the cost per week turns out to be the same!

The biography of my mother has not made any significant progress in the last few months. There have just been too many other things going on. I feel like a student with a course dominating my time!

Louise's health continues to be unsatisfactory. She is always fatigued. Two months ago, we saw the surgeon who will probably do the heart operation, but there is still some debate among the cardiologists about the diagnosis. Next week, Louise will have another test done (a trans-esophageal echocardiogram--essentially an ultra-sound of the heart taken from the stomach) and, we hope, this test will clarify the diagnosis and from that the plan for the surgery. It doesn't look likely that the surgery will be before the new year. It's been a long wait, what with SARS delaying all the tests and visits earlier this year.

We have just returned from a five-day trip to Montreal. It was a shopping trip to get Louise a very warm coat from a company called Kanuk. You can't buy such coats in Toronto. Two years ago I bought, by mail order, my winter coat from Kanuk and have been very happy with it. Unfortunately, the coat we ordered for Louise was unsatisfactory and had to be returned. They allowed that and arranged for us to be served last week by one of the senior people in the company. Louise is now ecstatic and looking forward to winter! She's especially ecstatic because I convinced her that the coat would be cheaper if we bought some other coats and clothing (because of the travel costs). It didn't take much to convince her and now she has an array of winter clothing.

I hope I haven't gone on too long. I wish everyone a good fall and hope to hear again about what you are doing.


-- Anonymous, October 09, 2003

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