Feeling a bit more up to things again

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:10 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
To the point where when friends offer to take me places, I can go. I tire really easily, but we've found ways around that. Up to and including my friend Judy, who has a conversion van I can sleep in the back of while she takes me places, so that I have the actual energy to enjoy them when I get there. Is that a wonderful friend or what?

And that last post was the first blog post I've written since I got sick. So yay, me!

I'm settled into my new place, and I feel safe and comfortable here. Also, not having to figure out what kind of food I can eat and just having it there for me has made all the difference. I've stopped losing weight, for one thing [g].

The symptoms are starting to gradually get worse (whatever Power That Be who decided the main symptom of the endometrial part of this would be the equivalent of really bad menstrual cramps all the time needs to be shot in the kneecaps and left to die), but that's just the way it is. It would be nice to have a working internal thermostat again, too, but hey. At least I still have a brain.

I am so grateful to my local friends, who have bent over backwards to help me out. You have no idea. Seriously. And my long distance friends, too, who have done all sorts of things to keep my spirits up. I have the best friends on the planet. Period.

Karin’s sewing machine

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:06 pm
mmegaera: (Much Ado in Montana)
[personal profile] mmegaera

Tonight my friend Tina and I went to a program/exhibit at the Lacey library.  It was put on by the Pacific Northwest Vintage Sewing machine organization.  It was fascinating.  All kinds of antique and vintage sewing machines, as well as a program where several people spoke about them.  Some folks there own more than a hundred sewing machines!

There were also quilts up on the library’s walls from a couple of local guilds, which was nice.

And I got to try a sewing machine about the right age to have been Karin’s sewing machine from True Gold, which was truly cool.

Here are some of the photos I took.

One of the oddest sewing machines I’ve ever seen. 1930s vintage.
I’ve never seen a white Featherweight in person before.
This one’s about the same vintage (if not the same maker) as my old sewing machine.
Some of the quilts on display.
This one looks a lot like the one my mother had.
A 1914 Scottish Singer machine .
Not a very good photo, but this machine could be the one Karin carried over Chilkoot Pass and the Golden Staircase in True Gold.  It’s a vintage 1895-1905 Singer portable.
And the carrying case for Karin’s machine.

Oh, and by the way, this is a photo of the Golden Staircase up to the top of Chilkoot Pass that Karin carried her sewing machine over, and the conditions in which she would have done it.

Mirrored from M.M. Justus -- adventures in the supernatural Old West.

The Hardest Lesson

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:54 pm
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Someone on Facebook posted a quote from Stephen Hawking on the nature of intelligence, and it brought to mind something I tell my math students, prior to the first test in each class. I tell them that I test for three things: factual knowledge (in this context, the statements of definitions and theorems - and I tell them which they need to know), skills (and I tell them which skills I expect them to display), and understanding. Then I tell them that I can't tell them what I expect them to understand, because to display understanding is to deal with situations you haven't seen before. That generally involves word problems (at lower levels) and proofs (at higher).

Understanding is the hardest thing to teach. It may not be teachable at all.

Winter is over

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:01 am
ironed_orchid: "axial tilt is the reason for the season" (axial tilt)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
At least until next time.

This winter really kicked my arse. I had colds and flu three times (April, July, and August). And generally struggled with energy and motivation.

As of today I am taking a week of annual leave, and the only thing I need to do today is be awake and at home during the hour my groceries are scheduled to get delivered. This is a good amount of responsibility to have.

Over the next 9 days I want to do the following 3 things:

1. Take laptop in for repairs
2. Book and have an appointment with osteopath
3. Spend a night at my dad's.

Also do some chores around the house, but not to spend more than 2 hours a day on them.

Also finish The Stone Sky and start on The Shepard's Crown.

Also some Ingressing if the weather is nice.

Also lots of naps.

Final loading dose... DONE!

Sep. 21st, 2017 04:45 pm
stonebender: (Default)
[personal profile] stonebender
I’ve had trouble writing the last two posts. I’m a slow correspondent, what can I say? I’m not sure this post gets to what I wanted to talk about, but it’s close. I may work on it some more, but I thought letting people know what’s going on was more important than perfect communication.

On September 5th, I received my last loading dose of Spinraza (Huzzah!). After six tries and four successful injections, it seems that I have learned how to advocate the best circumstances for success. Pain meds help in allowing me to stay on the table longer and the longer I can stay there, the more chances for a successful lumbar puncture. The pain meds also help with recovery. The first few times we tried an LP, successful or not, it took several days for me to stop feeling sore. I also make sure I’m not put on the table until the radiologist and doctor are ready to go. That way they have the most time to get the needle where it’s supposed to go with as little pain as possible. So although the last loading dose took a couple hours before it was successful. It was successful!

Most of the staff were new to me. I started explaining what needed to be done and the staff were paying attention. After a bit my morning worker started taking over just by saying things like, “Wasn’t Guy’s wheelchair parked over there and you brought the lift over here?” Basically, asking questions that clarified my instructions. After a bit it was fascinating to watch. She knew me and she has been through this dance with me several times now. She knew what had worked. So I let her take over the logistics. As usual, the staff followed directions and were concerned with my comfort.

I have been paying attention to any physical changes since the treatments began. I didn’t feel much at first. Except that my breathing is easier. I’m worried that the improvement is just a placebo effect. I want to feel like all this effort amounts to something. Seems like the beneficial effects of the treatment are so subtle. [personal profile] loracs and I will be the only ones to notice.

I’m really looking forward to the next pulmonologist appointment. Then I will have some objective evidence that I’m actually improving. Until then I keep racking up observations. Along with stronger lungs, [personal profile] loracs has noticed the grip strength in my left hand is stronger. I feel some strength in my arms, but it’s not like I can suddenly raise my arm above my head. It seems like I can gesture a little more. I think I have a little bit more motion in my right hand when I use my trackball. Nothing I couldn’t do before, but it seems like I can do it longer and with less fatigue.

After the third dose, I noticed that my neck seems to be stronger. Driving in the car is always a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I can’t hold my head very well, so it flops around a bit. I try to ride in the car in a reclined position, but that cuts into the sightseeing. I usually alternate between reclining and sitting straight up. Still, my head flops around more than I like. I’m noticing now that I can keep my head up most of the time. I also noticed that I can lift my head off the bed if it is at a little angle. I can’t lift it from completely prone. I don’t think I could lift it at all before the Spinraza.

On the possible negative side, I’ve noticed some tension headaches since the fourth dose. They don’t last long and they could just be hay-fever. The pain is similar, but I notice it when I’m being impatient or a little pissed. I am not at all sure if this is related to the drug. That’s about all I’ve noticed at this point. I think I’ll be getting a follow-up appointment in the future. So they can see where I’m at and decide what to do. I may get some physical therapy. (So I can look buff.)

On the reimbursement front, I received one of those “this is not a bill” statements from Medicare. It seems to say that all the hospital stuff is covered, but it doesn’t specifically say anything about whether the Spinraza has been covered. It even says that Connie’s services are covered but nothing about the drug. Connie seems optimistic they will get reimbursed. I’m disconcerted, but I’ll cope. Thanks everyone. I’ll keep you in the loop.
submarine_bells: jellyfish from "Aquaria" game (Default)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
After her night spent schmoozing at the local diner, Melanoma returns home and notices that Tangerine is up and awake (finally!). She immediately collapses, exhausted, onto the couch.
Screenshot-107

Meanwhile Tangerine, still hungry, orders some pizza. He heads out the front door in the hope of intercepting the pizza before anyone else (Melanoma, say) can get to it. There he encounters Oliver the Paper Boy dropping off another newspaper to add to the growing mound of papers composting on the front porch. Sensing a potential audience, Tango begins a tirade on the virtues of whiteness. Oliver is not delighted by this.
Screenshot-109

Oliver is still quite young, but he's old enough to recognise bullshit when he hears it. He responds with a counter-argument as the pizza delivery person arrives with Tangerine's breakfast.
Screenshot-110

"Hey matey, do you want this pizza, or would you rather just stand there arguing with the paper boy?"
Screenshot-112

All of a sudden, the pizza is forgotten as Tangerine, Oliver and the pizza chick are overcome by an irresistable urge to perform The Dance Of Horrified Greeting for... a repair person?
Screenshot-114

Screenshot-115

Startled awake, Melanoma concedes that yes, maybe the TV could do with a tune-up or something...
Screenshot-117

Wait, what? That's not a TV repair tool!
Screenshot-118

WOOOP WOOOP WOOOP!
Screenshot-123

WOOOP SCHLOOOP SCHLUUURRRP! There goes the TV...
Screenshot-125

Tangerine bawls his eyes out, weeping for his lost TV, his lost innocence, his missing personality. Without a TV, how will he pass the time now?
Screenshot-128

He recalls his breakfast, still sitting out on the front porch.
Screenshot-130

Melanoma's response to the TV being reposessed is withering. "You idiot! You haven't got the brains God gave a pickled onion. I TOLD you to pay those bills. This is YOUR fault."
Screenshot-132

"Ah well. We'll always have Paris pizza!"
Screenshot-131
submarine_bells: (hahaha)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
The story so far: Tangerine and Melanoma Hitler are doing their best to survive in a house with no lavatory, beds or fridge... which is a challenge, since they themselves have no charm, intelligence or life-skills.


While Tangerine (who has, you may recall, claimed the only couch in the house) sleeps, Melanoma is overcome by hunger pangs and visits the local diner.
Screenshot-7

But wait! What light through yonder window breaks? Is it Juliet? No, it's a Zombie-American rising up through the footpath while Melanoma dines inside.
Screenshot-8

She finishes her meal and emerges from the diner, only to be accosted by the zombie. She is not in the mood for this shit.
Screenshot-75

"Arrrghh, mmbblgggghhhrrrr! Hey lady, those are awfully tasty looking thighs you have there!"
Screenshot-76

Melanoma snorts disdainfully, spins on her heels and heads straight back into the diner for another cuppa. Clearly it's gonna be one of those days...
Screenshot-80

It seems that the Zombie-American is still waiting for her when she's done with her second coffee. Impressed by her unbelievable body odor, the zombie tries to make friends with her. This is not easy when one's first language is groaning.
Screenshot-104

Zombie: "Okay, arrgghh, mumbbllerrggh, seeya round!"
Melanoma: "I hate my life."
Screenshot-105

Mel decides that this unpleasant encounter might as well be useful for something, so she grabs a pic of the Zombie-American as she departs, with the idea that she may post it on the blog that she's just starting up.
Screenshot-105a

Unfortunately, Melanoma's photography skills are at approximately the same level as the zombie's hygiene skills. Her blog's certainly not gonna go viral this week.

The Sims 3 as Therapy

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
submarine_bells: (hahaha)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
It's been a rather frustrating week or two, what with one thing and another. So I decided to vent some of my frustrations via The Sims. Using a fairly high profile couple as inspiration, I attempted to create more-or-less lookalike sims, and then picked traits that I deemed appropriate to them. His traits were fairly straightforward to come up with; but for her I had to guess a bit more, since the person she's based on maintains a fairly enigmatic public facade. And so I give you:

The Travails of Tangerine Hitler and Melanoma Hitler

Tangerine & Melanoma Hitler

Since this supposed to be a cathartic exercise, it wouldn't do to have things go too smoothly for Mr & Mrs Hitler. I've set them up in a basic starter home, but removed a few, um, optional extras. For example, their house has no lavatory. It also lacks a fridge and has no beds. But they have a couch and a TV, so surely they'll cope, right? Lets find out!

My self-imposed rules are this: the sims themselves set the pace. Most of what they do is entirely generated by them. If they have wishes, then I'll attempt to fulfill them (or at least, the wishes that appeal to my sense of whimsy). If they seem to develop an interest, I may nudge them further in that direction; and I'll occasionally push them into going outside and saying hello to other sims in the neighbourhood. The rest is up to them. Lets see what happens.

As soon as they arrive in their new abode, Tangerine makes a beeline for the bathroom mirror for a nice inspiring round of pose-a-rama, while Melanoma chats up the local Furry then checks out the offerings on TV:
Screenshot-6

Screenshot-4

Screenshot-5
This seems to be a bit of a theme for Tangerine. Whenever he's bored or unhappy, he immediately decamps to the bathroom to admire himself in the mirror. When he's within eyeshot of it there is no dragging him away from its magnetic allure. Who needs cocaine when you can admire your own reflection for hours on end?

Eventually the thrill wears off a little and he rejoins Melanoma on the couch. She's starting to feel a bit tired and cranky by this time. "Whyever did it seem a good idea to buy a house without beds?" she wails. "All we have is this crummy old couch!" Tangerine rudely ignores her.
Screenshot-20

Before long Tangerine is feeling a bit sleepy as well. Being a caring, sharing sort he tells Melanoma "This is MY couch! Off you go. I wanna get some sleep now."
Screenshot-26

This is not received well:
Screenshot-27

"You're a charmless, mannerless peasant!"
Screenshot-45

"...And your genitalia are charmless, too!"
Screenshot-44

Overcome with fatigue and humiliation, Tangerine proceeds to wet himself...
Screenshot-66

...And then fall asleep in the puddle on the floor.
Screenshot-61

Does Melanoma succumb to temptation and give him a good swift kick? Does their relationship survive this contre-temps? Tune in for the next thrilling episode and find out!
submarine_bells: jellyfish from "Aquaria" game (Default)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
Remember my grumble last Friday about having a kidney infection? Well, they sent a sample of my pee off to the lab last week to culture it and find out what my kidney's been colonised by, and it came back showing Klebsiella. Yuk. So I've been on antibiotics since then, and while I'm no longer peeing in distubing shades of apricot and orange, I'm still in as much pain as I was when all this started. Since it hasn't shown much sign of clearing up, I had an ultrasound done of my infected kidney yesterday arvo, which showed nothing particular of note. When I discussed the ultrasound results with my GP this morning he was a bit surprised that I'm still in such strong pain after nearly completing a course of antibiotics, and thinks it's possible (though by no means certain) that there might be something else going on, such as a kidneystone that isn't showing up on the ultrasound. So the current plan is this: when I finish the current course of antibiotics (today) we'll switch up to something stronger, and if there's no clear improvement in my pain levels by the end of the week I'll have a CAT scan to see what is going on (which should hopefully show up anything that the ultrasound missed).

Gah. Not happy Jan. The last time I had a kidney infection (with bonus kidneystones) it wound up with me ambulanced off to hospital, and as a result of the infection my left kidney has so much scarring damage that it looks like the top chunk of it has been gnawed off by a beaver. This new kidney infection is in my right kidney. I will be quite peeved if I wind up with TWO damaged kidneys at the end of all this.

Current Reading

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:03 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Ever since I got my Kindle, I've been making trawls through Project Gutenberg, grabbing whatever looks interesting. It's not always successful; the copy of Pepys' Diary that I downloaded was a Victorian edition, considerably bowdlerized.

One recent pickup was "Bearslayer", an epic poem by the Latvian poet Andrejs Pumpurs. It's kind of a Latvian analogue of "Kalevala"; Pumpurs gathered together a bunch of folk tales about the legendary hero Bearslayer and wove them into a single poem. I finished it the other day. It's rather interesting; the Latvian gods appear, along with devils, witches, ogres, and assorted other monsters. It's set, however, in a fairly recent time-period, during the invasion of the Baltic states by the Teutonic Knights. Bearslayer is a leader in the doomed defense. There's one bit which jarred me, though. As Bearslayer's prophesied doom approaches, it is suddenly revealed that he has bear's ears, and if they are cut off his power will be diminished. No foreshadowing at all; his bride never asks, "Honey, what's wrong with your ears?" Still, it was fun.

My current Kindle reading (I rotate through them):
Lad, a Dog, Albert Payson Terhune. Yes, Terhune was a racist, and it's very explicit when it comes up. Fortunately, it's only come up once in the first 80% of the book. Other than that, they're standard dog stories.
The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe. I think this is one of the books that Jane Austen mocked in Northanger Abbey. Not too much Gothic yet, but I'm still in the early part of the book.
Sir Walter Scott's Journal. It's pretty interesting; we get glimpses of James Fenimore Cooper, the Duke of Wellington, and various other early-nineteenth century figures. There's a story of a man who'd been exiled to Australia and, feeling for some reason indebted to Sir Walter, sent him an emu. Scott accepted it, being under the impression that an emu was a sort of large parrot. He was unpleasantly surprised by the truth. (There's a later entry: "I offered the emu to Lord ####." No indication that the offer was accepted.)
Morphosyntactic Change, by Los, Blom, and Booij. This is a rather technical work on particle verbs in Dutch, German, and English, today and through history, and I'll admit I'm in over my head. But it's interesting to see what questions they're wrestling with, and what kinds of answers they give.

I'm also rereading Peter Hamilton's Judas Unchained. It and the preceding volume, Pandora's Star, are doorstops, but the story is intricate and absorbing.

A Memory

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:19 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I have no particular reason to post this, but it's a memory that keeps popping up in my mind, and I thought I'd share it. It's a scene from the old Get Smart show. After Hymie the robot defected from KAOS, they sent some agents to try to bring him back. One of the agents, talking to Hymie in private, says the following.

(to Hymie): "Hymie, what happened to you? You used to love to kill, and to hellodolly, and..."
(to himself): "Hellodolly? That's not right."
(singing softly): "DUT-dut-DUT-dut-DUT-da-DUT-da-DUT-DUT, Ma-"
(to Hymie): "Maim!"

Still cracks me up, after half a century.

Elevator Incident

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:39 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I'm not good with faces.

Yesterday, a little before six, I headed over to Peck Hall for my Linear Algebra class. On arrival, I went to the elevator and punched the "Up" button. (It's on the third floor, the stairs are kind of steep, and my knees are not in good shape. I'm entitled.) As I waited, a young man joined me. When the car came, I stepped in, pushed the "3" button, and asked him what floor. He replied, "Same as you." This stopped me for a moment. Hmm, evidently this fellow has ridden up in the elevator with me several times this year. Aloud: "I'll try to remember that next time." At that point he informed me that he was one of my Linear Algebra students. I recognized him then, of course.

I'm really not good with faces.

Here we go again...

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:17 pm
submarine_bells: (backlit)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
No flying for me this weekend. I haz a kidney infection. :-(

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 03:18 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Saving to read later, Krebs's take on the Equifax security breach

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/09/breach-at-equifax-may-impact-143m-americans/

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