redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Apr. 21st, 2019 07:52 pm)
I saw the movie Apollo 11 this afternoon, at the Somerville Theatre, and enjoyed it. This film is very much what it says on the tin, a documentary of the Apollo 11 flight put together entirely from archival footage, and works well.

I recommend seeing this on a large screen (in a movie theatre, or maybe on a large flat-screen television, rather than something like an iPad).

I had meant to go sooner, but I've been dealing with a lingering cough; there were a few days when I wasn't exactly sick, but was still coughing enough that it seemed unkind to go to the movies. By this afternoon, I sat for more than an hour and a half without coughing at all, aided only by a single medicated cough drop.
After a night's sleep, I can see better with the left (operated-on) eye without glasses than with the right eye with them on. I spent a bit of time last night with the glasses on over the eye shield, so I could read a little, but took it off after the morning dose of eye drops (except that I wore it in the shower, to help remind me to keep water well away from my eye).

The interesting colored halos I was seeing yesterday seem to have gone away. I had trouble falling asleep last night because my eye hurt, but then actually slept through the night, and it didn't hurt when I woke up. When I see the doctor this afternoon, in addition to whatever he wants to cover, I'm going to ask what "heavy lifting" means in this context, and whether it makes sense to try on drugstore reading glasses now, or whether I should wait a couple of days, or even until I've had the second eye operated on.

My eye isn't really happy looking at the bright screen right now, so I am going to go sit down with a paper book.
I was walking forward on a moving bus yesterday, stumbled, and landed on/across a bench seat. I don't think I'm seriously hurt, but this left me with several bruises. I iced the ones on my calves as soon as I got home, but that was ten or fifteen minutes later. I tried soaking in a hot bath, which did help, but first I discovered that the stopper in our bathtub no longer works, and had to improvise something with a plastic bag and a ceramic rice bowl. medical details )

A night's sleep helped some, enough that I walked down to Davis Square with [personal profile] cattitude this afternoon, because walking and daylight are good for me, it was sunny and mild (for Massachusetts in February, 5°C/42°F), and the forecast for the next few days isn't promising.

I had been vaguely considering going to the Women's March on Boston Common tomorrow, despite the cold, but decided against that almost immediately after getting hurt. I probably will go to the Winter Farmers Market tomorrow morning and see about more vegetables, smoked fish, and maybe some interesting bread and/or cheese. (That market is one of the best things about living in this bit of Somerville.)

The cortisone shot I wrote about Monday ( has done my hand a lot of good. By last night, I think it was back to how it had been six months ago, which is far from perfect—I still have arthritis and need to not overuse my hands, and still have difficulty not doing so—but it is a vast improvement, and as much as I was hoping for.

I will probably continue to ice my right hand now and then, because it might help, and go back to only taking naproxen (or other NSAIDs) when I feel a specific need (including for my knee or hips), rather than 200 mg twice a day, whether I have a specific reason to or not.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Nov. 27th, 2018 09:54 pm)
I saw my eye doctor two weeks ago, expecting to get a new eyeglass prescription (I've had the current ones since early 2016, before I left Seattle). Instead, he told me I should schedule cataract surgery for some time in the next year.

I have had a couple of conversations with his surgical coordinator, and am probably going to schedule the surgery for late February and early March. They do one eye at a time, but prefer to do them fairly close together, so the patient doesn't spend too long in an in-between state when the glasses that are appropriate for the not-yet-treated eye are no longer right for the one where the cataract has been removed.

In those conversations, I found out that the "don't look down while you're healing" part of the aftercare instructions applies to things like looking under the sink; I should be fine brushing my teeth or looking at a book or my keyboard. (I may stay close to home, though, because while looking at the ground while walking should be okay, retying a loose shoelace sounds problematic, and I'm not going out in sandals in winter.

I'll have to go out to Lexington or Concord to have measurements done before the surgery, and then Waltham and Chelmsford for the surgery. For reasons that they didn't explain, he does cataract surgery in Waltham on the second Tuesday of each month, and in Chelmsford on the third Wednesdays, so having both eyes done in the same place means a longer wait between operations.

I do not want to discuss the surgery itself, because I would rather not think about it. I am going to think about logistics (like whether [personal profile] cattitude, [personal profile] adrian_turtle, or both will be there at the surgery to be the competent adult of my choosing (as Cattitude's oral surgeon put it) to get me safely home after the operation. I will also need to make an (extra) appointment with my GP, for her to check/confirm that it's okay for me to have the surgery, which has to be done no more than 30 days before the surgery.

I know this is very routine outpatient surgery, and I go home the same day. I'm still nervous, which is an argument for having the surgery relatively soon. "Relatively" because he's booked up through January, and I want to go to Boskone, and don't think scheduling surgery for the Tuesday before the con would be sensible. I think the nervousness is because surgery, because eyes, and because it will be a change, though hopefully a very good one. I don't expect not to need glasses, but am hoping that I will have a simpler prescription—and even if I still have near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism, I won't have the cataracts blocking areas of my vision. (It doesn't matter how carefully I clean my glasses, that's not where the spots are.)

(Back in Seattle, my eye doctor said I had "incipient" cataracts. When I first saw Dr. Lazarra, he said they weren't "incipient" (I think partly he thought it was an unhelpful term in general), but that the appropriate thing to do at the time was to wait. So I knew this was in my future, but wasn't expecting it this soon.)
Even if I don't do anything else political in the next few days, I have done quite a bit in the past week, and every bit counts. It's easier to tell other people "take care of yourself, you're not expendable" than to apply that to myself.

My plans for today involved either the Solidarity Shabbat, canvassing for Yes on 3, or both; the timing would have worked, but I didn't think I had the spoons.

But my hands have been hurting the last couple of days, so I decided not to go to services this morning but save energy for the afternoon canvassing. Then I started having (low-level, but still) hip and balance problems, so reluctantly threw away the plan to take the bus to Davis, and see if I was up to taking the subway to Cambridge and canvassing, because not only am I not expendable, but I am not sure my presence would be a net benefit to a canvassing team right now. I may try some more get-out-the-vote calling later, hands allowing; [personal profile] cattitude has offered to lend me headphones that would save me having to hold the phone. (The Yes on 3 website link for calling from home dead-ends at an outside page that lists no actual times or sign-up information; I may make more calls for Yes on 4 (voting rights restoration) in Florida because I'm already signed up for that.)

ETA: After posting the above, I contacted someone at Yes on 3. By the time she got back to me, I was on the phone with Alan; that was a very good conversation, but after 45 minutes of that I noticed my throat is a little sore, so no, I'm not going to be phone banking right now despite having watched the training for this. Feh. Texting would be bad for my hands.
I signed up to be part of a "street team" for Yes on 3, to recruit more people to make get-out-the-vote calls next week. I'd been going to do this yesterday, in Davis Square, but my building elevator was out of service, so I went to Downtown Crossing today.

That was uncomfortable--both because of the cold and because my knee hurt--and I didn't actually recruit anyone, or get through even part of a conversation with any of the passers-by I approached. I bailed after about half an hour of training and half an hour in the cold, and wound up walking down too many stairs because I got turned around (again) in Downtown Crossing, walked blocks out of my way, and decided I wanted to be in the T more than I wanted to find the elevator to the red line.

My current plan is to look at my calendar, compare with [personal profile] cattitude and [personal profile] adrian_turtle, and sign up for one or possibly two get-out-the-vote phone banks in Cambridge or Arlington, either next week or the weekend right before Election Day. But right now I am going to drink herb tea and make no plans beyond dinner tonight.
I decided to take advantage of the combination of my improved hips and knee, and a warm (for October) day, and wander around outside, and asked [personal profile] cattitude to join me. He happily agreed, so we got lunch in Davis Square, took the train to Alewife, and walked around Alewife Brook Reservation.

We spent a lot of time looking at plants; I photographed things and uploaded the pictures to iNaturalist in the hopes of identifying them later, or of someone else identifying them for me. I also took a few photos of things I did recognize: a monarch butterfly, a sumac tree whose leaves have turned bright red.

Cattitude spotted one frog (which just looked like a dark lump when he pointed it out to me), a wood duck (too distant for me to tell from a mallard), and a muskrat or two (we might have been looking at the same animal twice); the muskrat was a pleasant surprise. Plus some less surprising animals, including mallards and robins.

I may have overdone things slightly, but got home okay by walking slowly and carefully for the last bit of the trip, and found enough energy a couple of hours later for some PT exercises.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2018 08:31 pm)
[personal profile] cattitude and I got back from Montreal a couple of hours ago; we were there for Scintillation, a small science fiction convention organized by Jo Walton.

I mostly had a good time, despite some bits where I was having trouble connecting/finding people to hang out with, and some down moods that I suspect were due either to physiological stuff (I bruised my left thumb badly, and pain interferes with sleep) or the state of the world outside the convention. I did a lot of walking, at least by my recent standards; if this doesn't leave me miserable in the next day or two, I'm going to treat it as hip strengthening PT and increase my goal for that. health/exercise details )

I went to a few program item and enjoyed all of them: Friday evening Jon Singer and Teresa Nielsen Hayden talke about medieval recipes, and Sunday morning Jon and Emmet O'Brien talked about lasers, odd corners of biology (endosymbiosis is more complex than I'd realized), and the possibility of using Bose-Einstein condensates to explore how event horizons work. (They told us that it's possible to slow light down to a few meters per second in a BEC; the suggestion is to see what happens if you move said concentrate at several meters per second, i.e. faster than the speed of light inside the BEC. As far as either of them knew, this hasn't yet been tried.)

As a tribute to Ursula Le Guin, Jo decided to have an hour of people reading Le Guin's work aloud. The pre-con description had said that it would be good if other people read, but Jo was prepared to read Le Guin aloud for an hour. I emailed her last week to say I wanted to read, and mentioning a couple of specific things I was thinking of. Yesterday morning, when I walked into the Jon Singer/Emmet O'Brien mutual interview, Emmet asked if I'd be willing to be organizer for the Le Guin panel an hour later, because Jo might be dealing with other things. I said yes, of course. I decided to read "Coming of Age in Karhide," which worked well: if I'd practiced and known how long it was, I might have picked something shorter, but people enjoyed it, and I got comments afterwards from people who were pleased because they hadn't already read that story. Someone else then read "The First Report of the Shipwrecked Foreigner to the Kadahn of Derb," a delightful piece that is partly about Venice. We then got a couple of excerpts from Malafrena about what it means to work for freedom, and a few poems. (The person who read the poems wanted to read from Le Guin's version of the Tao te ching; I don't think Jo owns that.)
The first day and a half that I had this haircut I was noticing that my head felt weird. Literally, not meaning I had a headache or balance issues, but my head was enough lighter for me to notice the difference, and I had not expected that.

By yesterday morning, I was used to it except when lying down; that may take a little longer. (It's not a bad "feels weird," just noticing change.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Aug. 8th, 2018 09:16 pm)
I got my hair cut today. It's very short, shorter than I've ever had it before.

I had been thinking in terms of something a bit edgier, more likely to be read as queer rather than just "practical older woman," but when i talked to the stylist it turned out that all those interesting-looking hairstyles involve hair product, blow drying, and other things that I doubted I'd follow through on.

What I have is short enough that combing is redundant. It shows off the white hair I inherited from my maternal grandmother, and makes me look a lot like my aunt Lea—not so much the hairstyle as the way it frames my face. I like my aunt Lea.

If I want to keep it this short, the stylist said I'll need it cut again in 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast it grows. At that point, I may try a more interesting but higher-maintenance style.

I'm also considering unnatural colors, but I want to give myself time to get used to rocking the white before I cover it.

(Photo posted separately.)
Our cat Molly is recovering quite well; I've been putting a chair next to my desk so she can jump up easily, after seeing her leap from the floor once. (She succeeded, but leaping could be bad for healing, given that the incision was in her abdomen.) We have finished with the liquid medications (an opioid pain-killer and an anti-inflammatory) and are just giving her antibiotic pills, much easier on the humans and the cat.

I only got to spend a couple of hours at [personal profile] adrian_turtle's place last week, because dosing the cat is a two-human job, so I couldn't be out overnight. Instead, Adrian came over here for dinner Thursday night, and kindly offered to make chicken and turmeric soup because I was finding the prospect of making the curry I had planned rather daunting.

Being less stressed, and needing to spend less time and energy on cat care, I am caught up on my own exercises. I didn't walk very far today, because my hips started to hurt soon after I stepped out the front door. My recovery is going a lot more slowly than Molly's.

I am likely to be busier than usual with freelance work this coming week. The latest chapter of the book I'm editing is more than twice as long as the one before it. Despite that, I asked my newish client for another chapter to proofread, and my contact thee sent a longer one than any I've done for them before.

I got an excellent yellow watermelon at the farmers' market in Copley Square on Tuesday (along with lots of berries, a cucumber, and some smoked fish pate). This afternoon, [personal profile] cattitude went to Shaw's (Star Market) for groceries, and bought another watermelon, which I should cut into soon, before the next farmers' market trip.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 24th, 2018 07:16 pm)
Our cat Molly was pissing on the bed some weeks ago. We took advice [personal profile] cattitude found online, and put a shower curtain on the bed when we weren't in it.

That worked, for a few weeks (after a time or two of having to wash the shower curtain, which is easier than washing the sheets, and a lot cheaper than replacing pillows). Then she did it again (and I no longer have a feather pillow). A couple of days after that, possible TMI ) That got us to call the vet.

Last Thursday, we took Molly to the vet for an exam. They said it was probably either stress or a urinary tract infection, and we should get a urine sample. The sample showed blood in the urine, but no infection. The next step was an X-ray, yesterday.

The X-ray showed a bladder stone (which I gather is somewhat similar, chemically, to a kidney stone); the vet recommended surgery to remove it. That was this morning.

Molly is now home, without a "large, jagged" stone in her bladder. She is wearing one of those cones to stop her from licking the incision (which was closed with glue, so no sutures for her to pick out). We have just offered her water (now that it's long enough after surgery); the plan involves waiting a bit, then offering food, and once she has kept something down, an assortment of medications; some are liquid but the antibiotics are pills.

I really hope this doesn't mean I have to stay up late again to get the cat medicated before we sleep. (We stayed up a bit late last night, because the instructions included "no food after midnight" and we didn't want them hungry longer than necessary—especially Kaja, who isn't sick. And got up a little early, to have Molly at the vet at 7:30.)

If Molly hadn't been having surgery, this would have been a rest day. As is, I went to Boston to return an overdue library book and get stuff at the Copley farmers market; I may not leave the house tomorrow, which implies that I won't be going to the Davis Square or Arlington market tomorrow afternoon. I came home with three kinds of berries, plums, a cucumber, a yellow watermelon, and smoked salmon pate. Between the trips to the vet and to Copley, I probably walked too much, despite taking the bus for the parts of the vet trips when we weren't carrying the cat.

tl;dr: My cat had surgery this morning and is now recovering, and I hope all will be well.

ETA: We have gotten her to eat a bit of canned food, and then some turkey with pills wrapped in it. In a bit, the liquid medicine, and then I can go to bed. (er prescription for the antibiotic is 1.5 pills at a time. Fortunately, I already own a pill cutter (the vet tech didn't ask), but the pills aren't designed for splitting, and she actually got more like 1.8 pills as her first dose.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Jul. 4th, 2018 02:09 pm)
It's July, which means JP Licks has cucumber ice cream. I bought a quart over the weekend, and will get more when I eat that. (This year I will try to remember to buy another quart around July 25, rather than going back on the 31st and hoping they have some left.) In general, I prefer Toscanini's, but AFAIK they don't make cucumber ice cream, and they change their flavors more frequently and less predictably.

Somerville's Independence Day fireworks were postponed (because of thunderstorms) from June 28th; they are now scheduled for tomorrow, July 5. So far this year, that's two patriotic holiday observances rescheduled (the other being the commemoration of the raising what may have been the first American flag, on January 1, 1776), and one canceled, the Memorial Day parade, which had been scheduled for a week before the holiday.

We're in the middle of a heat wave; I may not leave my air-conditioned apartment today, despite the lure of a farmers market in Davis Square. Yesterday the city email alert system sent out a message about the heat wave, listing places to cool off, including "Family-Friendly Activities": three public pools and one ice skating rink. (many of which it noted are closed today).
I woke up not much after six yesterday morning, and decided to work on a proofreading test. I then sent the (potential) client an email about it. Then [personal profile] cattitude and I had an early lunch and headed into Boston for a protest against the border guards separating refugee children from their parents. I was already feeling tired/unfocused from lack of sleep, but some things need doing.

[personal profile] adrian_turtle met us there, and we listened to speeches, and chanted things, and signed postcards asking Charlie Baker to please, please do the right thing. Cattitude estimated the crowd at about 700, not bad for 1 p.m. on a Thursday, with such little notice. When the gathering ended/dispersed, the three of us went to Harvard Square for ice cream. I went home with Adrian, and rested while she tidied up.

I slept very badly indeed last night: the cough that was bothering me the night before had gotten worse, and my leg muscles were cramping badly. (Adrian also thought I had a fever, but the thermometer showed 98.4 °F.)

I managed to doze a little before lunch, and Adrian then kindly escorted me back to my apartment. We ate strawberries. The basic plan for the remainder of today and tomorrow is to get as much rest as possible, and not to exercise today.
I had physical therapy for my knee this morning, and this may be the last session, depending on how I feel in the next weeks. details, not very exciting )
I decided I wanted one more PT session for the hip, partly so we could discuss what my long-term maintenance/homework is in terms of stretching and exercise at home.

Quick summary: I can reduce the exercise and stretch frequency to three times a week (instead of almost every day), but should do the stretches more often if I'm having trouble. Also, I should start walking more quickly, at least for short stretches. I've been walking much more slowly than had been normal for me, because moving quickly has been the most likely trigger for significant hip pain.

Details cut for discussion of exercise )
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2018 07:17 pm)
I am a bit stiff but don't think there's anything seriously wrong. As I tweeted when I got home, "Good gloves and solid pants warm pants are an important part of winter safety, especially when the sidewalks aren't cleared properly. I'm fine, the clothes are intact. #ice thank you @LLBean for still making jeans out of good denim."

description of the circumstances of a minor injury, how I'm doing, and its effect on my exercises )
I went into Boston today, for a Friends of Captain Awkward meetup, which this time was at one of the cafes at the Boston Public Library. I found the group, put my stuff down, asked where to go to get food, and walked smack-dab into a plate glass door.

As I was catching my breath and getting someone to bring me ice for my head, I learned that someone else had almost done the same thing five minutes earlier—which makes two of us in the fifteen minutes after they closed the door. At that point, the staff put a table in the way, to indicate "this is not open air." Apparently they were required to have it closed because they were serving alcohol, but that's not a reason not to tape up a snowflake decoration, or stencil some drawings of books on the glass, or something.

Then there was coloring and pleasant rambling conversation. After a couple of hours I said my goodbyes, then got a library card. (BPL will give a card to anyone with a current Massachusetts address.) From there, I headed home: before I banged my head on the glass, I'd been thinking of going to Tosci's on the way home, but that would have been significantly more complicated and time-consuming than just taking the green line back to Lechmere.

I had apparently not used up all my social energy, but was chatting cheerfully with a six-year-old about things like the ice cream cake she was going to have later in the afternoon, photos, and libraries: she and her parents very much like the Arlington Library, but hadn't known about the beehive. (The six-year-old asked me where I'd gotten the bees, and I explained that they're not mine, they're the libraries, and I don't know where the librarians got them.)
I've been pleased with my exercise patterns lately, because there have been more weeks when I've done more than what I think of as the minimum.

cut for anyone who would rather not read this. Includes some numbers, and a digression about subways. )

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