QOTD

From a profile of author Octavia Butler, regarding her death:

“What happened with Octavia didn’t need to happen,” [Leslie] Howle continued. “Despite being the incredibly powerful person she was, she did not assert herself with her doctor. Even today, doctors discount women of a certain age and women of color. Some of it’s racism, some of it’s ageism, some of it’s sexism — but all the ‘isms’ conspired against her in the end is what I feel. She needed more people who were protective of her.”

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving yesterday was turkey roasted in a bag; stuffing with mushrooms, water chestnuts, and cashews; green bean casserole; followed by apple crisp. Fridge is full, but it’s not like we emptied it beforehand.

Today I had a blueberry muffin with coffee. Around 11 I heated a bowl of leftover veggie curry, then around 2 a bowl of stuffing mixed with bites of turkey. Later I had some cheese and crackers.

Mentioning what I eat tends to cause all sorts of reactions in others. Some are aghast that I eat meat, veggies, fruit, or carbs. Others are aghast that I don’t eat more meat, veggies, fruit, or carbs. Weighing 400lbs means that a lot of people assume it’s something I eat or don’t eat.

You know what?

FUCK THAT

It took me a long time to let go of my most noticeable food hang-ups.

I don’t claim I have to have exorcised them all.

But the point is, I eat when I’m hungry. I stop when I’m full. Approval of random people is not required.

Medical Crap

Nothing like a call from the service-that-provides-CPAP-supplies saying “Hey, your insurance said you’re not covered” on a Monday.

I have checked websites and made calls; yes we have insurance for the next year. Then called back about CPAP supplies and also sleep doc appointment.

I wish the US didn’t insist on letting everyone involved in patient care extract their executive bonuses. I’m happy to pay for my doc to live, it’s the millions for the executives that get on my nerves.

Books I’ve been enjoying

The Unkept Woman and A Rogue’s Company, by Allison Montclair. A mystery series set in post-WWII London, featuring two women who opened a matchmaking service. (First book is actually The Right Sort.)

Lilith’s Brood aka the Xenogenesis trilogy, by Octavia Butler. Lilth awakens after the war that destroyed most of humanity. Someone has rescued Lilth and other survivors. Why? If finding the books separately, look for Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago.

The Labors Of Hercules by Agatha Christie. Short story collection. Sometime in the 1930s Agatha Christie decided to give Hercule Poirot modern versions of the Labors. The book is all 12 stories with a framing chapter at the start.

What Moves The Dead by T Kingfisher. 1890s horror. A new version of The Fall Of The House Of Usher complete with new characters.

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, who describes it as “The Thin Man in space.” Like The Thin Man, it’s mystery. Instead of Manhattan it’s set on a space liner headed to Mars. There’s an author’s note that talks about going on a book event on a cruise and how over-the-top ocean cruise ships are here on earth, and why a spacegoing cruise ship would be similar.

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. I’d seen the movie but not actually read Hammett, and naturally the county library has a copy. A bit grim, but does have it’s share of smiles. Very much the urban, hard-drinking, hard-boiled detective story.

Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie. It reads a bit like she wrote down her favorite memories of her archeology trips to Syria with her second husband, Max Mallowan, so that she could hand the book to friends and tell them which chapter to read. If you go to Google Max, you’ll find he later became Sir Max in recognition of his archeology contributions. Because he was Sir Max, Mrs Mallowan became also Lady Mallowan. Eventually she became Dame Agatha in her own right. (Being a Dame didn’t give Max a bonus title.) Anyway, the author credit for Come, Tell Me How You Live was originally Agatha Christie Mallowan. So if you look for it at the library, be aware it may be under “Mallowan” instead of “Christie” depending on how you look.

Also: I didn’t decide to read through all of Christie until I had setup ebook borrowing on my phone. My county library uses the Libby app for search, checkout, and reading, so that’s on my Android phone. I can often send the book to my Android Kindle app as well.

Hello Tuesday!

If you’re in the US, please vote if you’re eligible. Living in all-mail-voting Washington State, I was able to return my ballot last week and confirm my ballot was accepted without a problem.

Non-US folks, hopefully US folks will become less obsessed with our own politics soon.

Instead of finding a polling place, today I picked up my new glasses! New lenses, at least – I reused old frames I had. This is not recommended if the frames are beat-up, but mine were fine. Both are titanium alloy for lightweight strength. I have one pair for “progressives”, which are like bifocals without the line, and one pair for computer/other close work. I also have found heavy glasses make sinus discomfort worse, so I paid extra for lighter weight “high-index” lens material. It’s worth it to me.

None of this is about being fat, of course, except that when I arrived to pick up my glasses I was breathing hard from going from dry cold air to warm inside air and had the manager immediately ask if I was OK, I should have a seat, did I want tea or water or coffee? And I initially panicked that I was the fat lady freaking people out. But, outward I stayed calm. I explained my asthma was upset, I was there to pick up glasses. After sitting for few minutes my breathing did calm down, even with my face mask (still required in medical settings here, so we all were masking) adding to my personal humidity.

Oh, and I can SEE better.

Still around.

Still fat. Still married. Still in the Seattle area. Still doing treadmill 3 days a week, usually, despite general bleahs. Starting another round of seeing doctors – I ended up with yearly visits to a couple specialists in the fall, so every year it’s oh right I have to deal with that.

If you follow my Twitter you may be aware I’ve been reading most of the Agatha Christie mysteries and thrillers this year. And watching the Poirot TV series.

Speaking of Twitter: the recent ownership change has people wondering about where else to go for their social lives media. I had been intending to post here more, so I’m going to do more of that. Some thoughts about “on what”?

  • Rewriting the “Day In The Life” series from 2008, because my life is different now.
  • Write about books I’m reading, and not just the mysteries.

The original focus of this blog was about my life as a superfat person, and that hasn’t changed. But I am open to other ideas if people want to chime in with them.

Exercise & Such

When I last posted about this, I had switched from trying to do 10+ minutes on the treadmill 3 times a week to 2 or 3 5-minute sessions. That was in July. Since then

  • I have changed to 6, 7, and now 8 minute sessions.
  • Continue to do 2 or 3 sessions, 3 days a week.
  • Slowed my treadmill down to the absurdly slow 0.5 miles per hour. My back and thighs do not like walking this slow; OTOH, my cardiovascular system likes it since I’m down in the aerobic range.
  • I’m stretching my back and quads between treadmill sessions.

And…I am almost afraid to jinx things…but I am now finding it easier to move around in general? I don’t walk so slowly if I’m just (for example) going to the laundry room, but it’s still easier.

It’s progress. I am very pleased by this.

Check the manufacturer’s info

When I got my compression stockings I thought I did a good job learning about them. We went over measuring for them, finding ones that would stay up (silicone “beads” on the tops help) and hand wash only.

Then I read the manufacturer’s Frequently Asked Questions and found they ARE machine-washable! D’oh….

I will be experimenting on some of my older stockings first, but yes, this may make life simpler.

I don’t care about gas prices

The more the news mentions gas prices, the more I realize I’m weird because I don’t. Why?

I used to commute about 15 miles a day to the office. My minivan is modified with a ramp and space for my mobility scooter, but it’s also a plug-in hybrid. On a full charge I get 33 miles (if the trip isn’t all uphill and I use HVAC sparingly). Once I’ve drained that battery, it’s still a hybrid minivan, so I still get 40mpg. In mild weather I could go straight to work and back all-electric.

You know how long a tank of gas can last when you don’t use the gas engine? Months.

Meanwhile the man of the house as an EV. Zero gas. Zero fumes. We have a level 2 charger installed in our garage, using a 220 outlet we had installed. The EV was being charged twice a week because of commuting. Now in the work from home times, it’s rarer. My minivan, having a much smaller battery, gets plugged in after each trip.

Now, of course, I’m often just spending my days at home. Not quite the usual retirement dream, but neither was the global pandemic. Going out as a family the question is usually “Do I need my scooter”? If so, we use the minivan, if not, the EV. I do restaurants with my cane; IKEA trips or Sounders games, though, I want my scooter.

Are you still mostly at home for the pandemic, or back to commuting? How’s that working?

Bonus picture of a Sounders Scarf. Major League Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) has scarves. It’s a Football thing.

Why Do I Need To Eat Every Day?

Yes, I know it’s because I’m human and we operate best if we eat with a certain amount of “eat multiple times a day” and “eat a variety of foods”. But it’s frustrating me at the moment, and I’m venting, so deal.

I know my pandemic experience has been a really good one. We have a house in the suburbs. We can go outside without immediately running into other people. The programmer has an office to work in – actually we all have an office. Plus other spaces! And a huge kitchen! Plus my husband likes to cook!

It’s the “not going to restaurants” thing that gets me down. Meal planning and cooking more started as a novelty, but now the “what do we eat today?” question is just … I’m over 50, y’all, and I get tired of trying to figure this out. Left to my own devices I would probably subsist on hummus (in single-serving packs), crackers (to scoop hummus with), bananas, and cheese. Or frozen food. And cookies. It’s a rut that served me fairly well after my pulmonary embolism. But it’s not really enough to thrive on.

I actually feel better when I eat more plants and otherwise have more variety. This week I got some baby spinach with the idea of making at least 2 salads. Instead, I added a salad’s worth of spinach to ramen (along with tuna and green onions.) Today I grabbed a big bowl and put in a few cups of spinach, shredded cheese, bacon bits, and salad dressing. I was a bit impressed with how good it tasted and that I was able to put it together quickly.

What are your food solutions these days?

Zero Fail by Carol Leonnig

Amazon link: Zero Fail

I found this a compelling book that details serious mistakes in Secret Service management and culture. In many ways the failures of described are human failures of the “I haven’t had a day off in weeks, why not go out to the bar? Why not bring a person I’m attracted to back to my hotel room?” It’s a compelling rationale, if you skip the details like “Need to be on duty tomorrow” or “My hotel room has sensitive information that would be really really useful for any wannabe assassins.”

Details matter.

The book reminded me of software teams I have known, and not just in the “We work hard and you can’t tell us how to change.” Like in tech, doing your job as an agent well doesn’t mean you’ll be a good manager. 

We are shown early in the book that consequences happen – if your misdeeds make the news. Everyone else gets a free pass. And, like many cultures, reformers are fighting both inertia AND specific sabotage from within. There aren’t easy answers, but it’s a good look at a problem culture with some amazing stories.

Support hose

Technically support hose is less than 20 mm, aka millimeters of mercury, which is the method of measuring how much they compress the legs. My compression hose is 20mm-30mm. But I still laughed at this, and thought some other folks would like it.

Woman in a skirted suit. Her stocking use word balloons to tell their wearer “C’mon, Tara, you can do it!” and “Yeah, Tara, I believe in you!”. At bottom: “Tara would go on to add her job interview, thanks to her support hose.”

Changing A Few Things

I’ve been struggling to do more than 10 minutes on the treadmill for months. I’ve also been concerned that my pulse was anaerobically high when I’d finish on the treadmill. I’d been toying with going to shorter times and just doing more of them, and then the new endocrinologist suggested the same. I’ve started doing 5 minute sessions, and found that 3 of them is doable. My pulse doesn’t get above aerobic levels; to put it another way, I’m staying in “vigorous”, sometimes even “moderate”. And I’m still feeling the exercise, all right.

I’ve been reading Every Body Yoga and doing six or so asanas, twice a week. I’m also getting on and off the floor twice a week – something that before my pulmonary embolism I didn’t regard as all that remarkable. In my case and my current levels of fitness, I’m using our bedframe (specifically the side rail) as a support in going down and up. I didn’t need that 5 years ago, and I’m working to not need it in the future. Still, like yoga teachers have told me many times, if a prop helps, use it!

Other props I have used to get off the floor are our coffee table and a chair. Do I need to write that I do not trust just any piece of furniture? Because no, I don’t. I also find – while the man of the house is always ready to help – it can be best for him to hold a sturdy chair steady for me, instead of him bending over. This saves his back.

Strength training is the same stuff I’ve been writing about for years, and it’s key to keeping everything else working :)

New Doctor

New doctors tend to result in me being anxious. In this case, it was a new endocrinologist. Reasons include: new insurance doesn’t support the prior endocrinologist and the prior endocrinologist is a sole proprietor leading to delays for anything. New endocrinologist was selected from the group practice at the hospital system where I have everything else. They know how my insurance works and they have support staff.

The prior endocrinologist was also great at pushing my buttons, but I wasn’t sure I’d find a better one.

To my surprise – and after stressing for days – the visit with the new doctor went well. Staff did not show surprise about my arriving on a mobility scooter. They were fine with me “parking” it in the waiting room, and pointed out I could use it the entire time. I explained I’m more comfortable walking in the more closed in offices, but the scooter made it easier to navigate the hospital complex where their office is located. The waiting room had a variety of chair widths; the exam room had a wide chair, exam table, a stool, and another chair. I was able to move comfortably. The blood pressure cuff was appropriate.

I arrived with a list of things to discuss, mostly involving meds. I was treated respectfully. I was not told to diet. I was not asked what I eat, much less lectured on my assumed eating habits. We discussed tests to check on my hypothyroid and other function. I agreed with the recommendations. One prescription was renewed. I was given written directions to the lab for my tests (down the elevator, down the sloping ramp to another building – this is why I brought the scooter).

That afternoon I had email notifying me of an update in the hospital system’s portal. My labs were fine. I was reminded to feel free to reach out in the portal if I have questions or need another prescription.

Overall, I’m relieved.

I’m also a bit frustrated that being relieved is good, and that my expectations were low based on experience.

Importance of Comfort

If you’ve played The Sims, you know each Sim has various needs: Energy, Bladder, Hunger, Social. The one that surprised me was Comfort. Sims want to be physically comfortable, and get grouchy if they’re not. More expensive beds filled the Energy and Comfort needs faster than cheaper ones.

Are you comfortable where you are?

Comfort is something with many meanings. The Sims focuses on physical comfort, including seating and sleep. There’s also being comfortable moving through a space: Is the floor level? Are hallways and openings wide enough? Are stairs at a good climbing height, with a rail? There’s also being comfortable with the people around you, at home, work, or in public. And then there’s money.

Thing is, you deserve a level of comfort. Start with the physical: are you able to move around your home? Maybe some stacks need to be rehomed. Are there comfortable chairs or beds? Ideally you can get some that work for you, but in the meantime, you can do a lot with pillows and even crate foam.

Can you practice your hobbies? One day I realized that I had several physical books I’d bought but hadn’t read. Meanwhile I read ebooks daily on my phone. I realized I didn’t have a comfy spot with good light for reading print on paper. I’ve since moved a few lamps to make a few good reading spots with a side table for water or coffee.

Think about what is comfortable for you.

Year In Review…Kinda

We don’t quite have one “lockdown now” date. View of Seattle Skyline

Hubs went to the Seattle Sounders Opening Day game on March 1, 2020, and the next home game on March 7, 2020.

The programmer (along with Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech employees in the area) started working from home March 4th, 2020.

Our last eating out day was March 8, 2020.

It’s been a long year.


I will preface this with: we had the 10% quarantine experience. Maybe even 5%.  We are doing fine, money-wise.  We have space. We’re in a suburban house, even, so we don’t have to worry about anti-maskers down the hall or sharing an elevator.


In everything else, my life isn’t what I expected. When I left Amazon in the summer of 2019, I figured I’d badger specialists, finish rehabbing from my pulmonary embolism, pitch articles, and be reborn as a freelance writer who doesn’t necessarily need a mobility scooter to go to the mall.

Of course it wasn’t that simple.

I did get some improved diagnosis and meds, which help! I am improving my stamina!  It’s just that 1) everything takes forever, 2) my body is like a Jenga pile at this point.

Going from 2 or 3 minutes on the treadmill to 10? Took months. I’m coming up on the 1-year anniversary of starting on the treadmill. And naturally, starting the treadmill made my back unhappy.  And my knees unhappy. Both of which I’ve whined about before, and know how to manage (other exercises) but it’s still there and not just FIXED.

Oh, and brain fog. When I started the treadmill would physically wipe me out for hours, and mentally I would have trouble playing solitaire after the treadmill. Solitaire!  It’s better now, but I tend to rest until I can complete a word search and not just solitaire.

More recently, I was sometimes getting dizzy when I’d stand up. Checked and my blood pressure was 100/60.  I’m TOLD this isn’t that low, but dizzy is bad, so we dropped one of the blood pressure meds.

In addition to all the physical stuff, I also can’t see friends. Go out to lunch. Browse at the bookstore.  Go to the farmer’s market.  Most festivals and cons are canceled. This is frustrating.

My health has improved over the last year, but slowly.  Walking in general is easier.  Strength training (for knees etc) is making moving around easier in general.  Able to discontinued one of my high blood pressure meds.

And yes, maybe I’ll start sending out pitches for articles again. But not tomorrow.

 

*Wordpress if the 4 periods in a row breaks you I’ll be unhappy.