lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)

Garter snakes and Flemish Beauties. Also, some health stuff, so: warning for mention of bodily fluids. )

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
A friend of a friend wrote this in ninth grade and I've treasured it up in my head ever since:

Keats and Yeats
on roller skates
went rolling through a wood

Said Yeats to Keats:
"Amazing feats!
Your poetry is good."


So, speaking of amazing feats of genius, there is this astonishing (and only sort of credible) news. Those wacky jokers at CERN, what will they think of next? No but really, this is (as one of the scientists interviewed in the Times says) world-changing news, if true.


And I've been meaning to whine publicly about my health, but it boils down to this: I have an annoying, occasionally very painful, and time-consuming constellation of ailments which are preventing me from doing much of anything. But I have medical leave from my job as long as I need it, I have insurance like you wouldn't believe, I have lots of good friends around (including Fishwhistle) keeping my spirits up, it's not remotely life-endangering, and probably almost all of it will go away as soon as I have a minor operation, in about a month. So if I'm not around much that is why, but you know, it's always something, right?

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
I am supposed to be getting a replacement computer from Spork very soon. I have been in the state of supposed to be getting a replacement computer for some months now. There has already been the ritual grovel at the IT office, and a lengthy discussion of voice recognition software. There has been no communication from the IT office at all, though, for about six weeks. Time for more grovelling, probably.

Meanwhile, this computer on which I am now typing, which is my own and not Spork's, and is elderly but has a newish hard drive, is not getting any younger. It has taken to crashing, but only the screen crashes; sounds continue to come out. Today this happened in the middle of a YouTube video of Chumbawumba playing Tubthumping at Glastonbury, which I had clicked on by mistake. Tubthumping continued to play from the speakers for some minutes even after I had closed the computer, and when I turned the computer back on, it had deleted four Word files I had been working on. I blame the anarchists. Seriously, I had better go grovel some more at the IT office.

Also on YouTube today I learned that at some point in the last presidential administration, Billy Bragg had rewritten most of "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward" in ways that I found unfortunate. Not much rhymes with Rumsfeld, it turns out. So.

Yesterday in the parking lot of the Staples where I park when I am going to the acupuncturist, I found a couple of cds - a compilation of music from New Orleans, and some random Christian rock. I was going to play them, but now I'm wondering if they were put there by anarchists, to crash my computer. What? It could happen!

I am very gradually getting better from my shoulder injury (a combination of bursitis, tendonitis, torn muscle, frayed muscle, and arthritis in both shoulder joints and the elbow, aren't you sorry you asked? martial artists, don't spend too much time with the punching bag, the end) but still taking a lot of drugs, which make me loopy and unable to work well some of the time, so I am on sick leave, which leaves me lots of time for random poking around on YouTube for Billy Bragg videos. But also! I have been reading. And so I say:

Everybody should go read The City & the City right away. And then tell me what you think! I loved it immoderately, much more even than I loved the Perdido Street trilogy, which I loved, but maybe that's just the drugs talking?

Also, [personal profile] twotoedsloth sent me a link to an article from this journal, which looks pretty interesting for you fan studies people out there - -
in that it seems to position its contents as empirically based in opposition to the overly abstract cinema studies and fan studies schools. Which is to say that there's a whole scholarly wank out there of which I have been unaware up to now. But they seem to agree with me that there are no spectators, as in flesh and blood people watching a movie, in the spectatorship literature and that this is a bad thing, so ... well, anyway, potentially interesting journal, is all.

I've been too crippled to do much gardening this year, but the tomatoes are doing all right anyway. I put them in pots instead of in the ground, so far fewer problems with blight, but we are getting fewer of them so far and they're smaller. Tigerella tomatoes are my new favorite, though.

Hey! I updated my LJ/DW! Whoo!
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
So, okay, my back is really, really bad.

The medical details, which are dull: )Anyway, moderate pain sustained over a long period, plus forced reduction in exercise, plus occasional days of complete immobility or severely curtailed immobility, are making me insane. It doesn't help that it is winter and hard to move around anyway, and also dark. My massage therapist recommends - and by recommends I mean that she is actually yelling, with the waving-around arms and everything - that I try an Aquafit class, which they offer at my gym. I am aquafit-averse for several reasons, including that it looks so dorky. But the main thing is, I can't figure out how I could take a class in the pool without wearing my glasses, and I can't wear my glasses in the pool, can I? On the other hand, so far the RMT has been totally, completely right about everything else, so maybe she's right about this?

So, okay, internets, tell me - how do people who need glasses in order to walk from one end of the room to the other manage around swimming pools? And if any of you have any experience of aquafit, in particular, good or bad, I would be glad to hear it. Because otherwise I am going to say fuck it and just get back on the elliptical trainer, hip flexors be damned. And then my RMT will yell at me some more, and I'd prefer to avoid that, thanks.
lolaraincoat: (tomato)
So I have had a migraine on and off for about a week now. It has stubbornly resisted the usual drugs, but last night it went away after I had three bowls of tomato soup for dinner. I don't know if any warm salty liquid would have done the job, or if maybe the migraine just decided to go away temporarily anyhow, or if it was this soup, but just in case ...

here is a recipe for excellent tomato soup if I do say so myself )
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
Most of you know I am a US citizen living in Canada, right? Well, I am. I moved here eight years ago, when I was 38 years old. Before that I lived most of my life in the US, sometimes with health insurance, sometimes without. So I am in a good position to answer questions comparing the US and Canadian health-care systems. Actually, I was going to post a whole long thing here making that comparison, but ... well, as some of you know, there's kind of a lot of other stuff going on in my life right now. But! Since I know there is an ad on TV right now going on, untruthfully, about how awful health care is in Canada, it seemed timely and important to say that you shouldn't believe that ad, and also, if you have any questions, please ask.

eta The discussion has magically aggregated itself on my lj, so if you want to talk about this, go here: .
lolaraincoat: (crappie)
I was driving from campus to the gym on the only highway that cuts through the middle of Our Fair City, just before rush hour. Traffic was heavy enough that I'd just come to a halt, in the perpetual traffic jam that marks the end of the highway as it empties out onto the street in midtown. Suddenly there was a big jolt and a loud noise: I'd been rear-ended.

I pulled over to the very narrow side of the highway and so did the person who rear-ended me. She got out of her car (a nicer and more recently produced Honda than the Honda I was driving) and carefully edged her way along the shoulder, to lean into my window. She turned out to be a small young woman in very large sunglasses. "Hello!" she said, "I'm so sorry! I fell asleep!"

So I called the cops, and then we exchanged information, and then we inspected the damage, of which there wasn't any, and then I insisted that we stay there and wait for the cops anyway, and then we waited some more, and then three tow trucks showed up in quick succession, each with disappointed tow truck drivers who, upon seeing the no real damage, assured us that there was no point in waiting around for the cops and that we should just go away to the accident-reporting site. The last of these was still arguing about it when a cop did finally appear. The nice young woman told him the same story she'd told me, including the crucial words "I fell asleep."

"Ah," said the cop, and the turned to me and began explaining, at some length, how there was no visible damage and I should just go to the accident reporting center. I said that I understood that and in fact had no intention of even bothering with the accident reporting; I just wanted to make sure that this person, who was falling asleep while driving, did not get behind the wheel of her car again today.

The cop said, yes, that was a good point, and turned to the sleepy young woman, and explained to her at great length that the nice tow truck man was going to tow her car to the nearest parking lot, and she was going to leave the keys with the cops. She wasn't very happy about it, but he was adamant. The discussion was still going on as I drove away.

So that was ninety minutes of social awkwardness by the side of the road, in the interests of doing the right thing.

Also I appear to have a relatively mild case of food poisoning. So, all in all, not a happy day.


Jun. 13th, 2007 10:09 am
lolaraincoat: (badger)
Fifteen months ago -- as some of you may recall -- I lost a beloved colleague and friend to ovarian cancer that was detected (as most cases are) too late to save her, but not too late to put her through four torturous years of chemo, fear, pain, weakness and wasting before she died. I miss her every day.

This NY Times article goes into some detail about the results of a new study about the possibility of early detection of ovarian cancer. It says that the symptoms to watch for are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and feeling a frequent or urgent need to urinate. A woman who has any of those problems nearly every day for more than two or three weeks is advised to see a gynecologist, especially if the symptoms are new and quite different from her usual state of health.

It also warns that doctors may try to convince women that it's all in our heads, or that these are menopause symptoms. If you have these symptoms, please, be stubborn: insist on a full pelvic/rectal workup, including transvaginal ultrasound. These are cheap and essentially painless interventions that can save your life. And the difference between early and late detection is a matter of two or three months, so don't dawdle and don't let your doctor dawdle either.

I don't want to have to miss you, too.
lolaraincoat: (where you'll find me)
So I have to have my head examined sometime soon, and this is inspiring a little rant about healthcare in Canada. Here's my story:

I went to the neurologist a few weeks ago, because although my migraines are totally controllable through medication -- yay meds! -- they are much more frequent than they once were, and are also preceded by spells of aphasia, which is a bit unusual. The neurologist told me, bracingly, that it was unlikely that this indicated anything seriously amiss, because if it did, I would have started having grand mal seizures or something a few months after the aphasiac spells kicked in. But because unlikely doesn't mean impossible, she wanted me to go for a MRI all the same.

Now, here in the Worker's Paradise, we have this (I mean this quite seriously) amazing nationalized health care system that provided me with the glum but well-trained primary care doctor who referred me to the apparently quite competent (if a little rough with the reflex hammer) neurologist who referred me to the medical imaging office of Princess Margaret Hospital, all for free and all relatively quickly -- I mean, it will be six months from when I began complaining to my primary-care doctor about about the migraines to when the neurologist will see the MRI results, but presumably if I'd had a stroke or something everything would move a lot quicker. Well, I wouldn't, I'd move a lot slower, because of the stroke. But the health care system would move more quickly if it were urgent.

(By the way, thanks to the supplementary insurance my union negotiated with my employer, my migraine meds -- which are going to end up costing something like $2000 Canadian per year -- also are free to me. The union can negotiate for this kind of thing because they don't have to negotiate for our basic health care coverage, because we all get that just because we're here.)

The drawback is, a health care system that does not have to respond to marketplace discipline is a healthcare system that is ... can you guess? )

Sometimes I love Canada as much as I love ice cream.
lolaraincoat: drawing of wolf (wolf)
My back hurts like a bastard. This is the worst it's been since 2002. I think I hyperextended it in pilates class on Sunday afternoon. Pilates, which is supposed to make my back strong. Middle age sucks.

On the other hand, I have a physio appointment tomorrow morning first thing, and meanwhile I can just take some codiene, and lie the hell down. My apologies to anyone who was hoping to do anything computerish or desky with me today. You can always call, though.
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
In case you ever needed to know what $500 looks like? It looks like turning on the tap in the downstairs bathroom and having no water come out, because somewhere in the walls, the pipes have frozen.

This has happened twice in ten days. I didn't even bother posting about it the first time, because of the helpful perspective offered to me by all the other worries I was worrying about: a problem you can fix with money is barely a problem at all, as long as you have some money.

Although Fishwhistle is now attempting to fix the problem with spaceheaters instead. Brave, manly Fishwhistle! If no water flows by noon we're calling the plumber all the same.


Which is to say that winter is here at last. We went skiing for the first time in two years on Saturday afternoon. Just doing the easy trail wiped us out, though for me this was after Saturday morning karate class (brave, manly me!) so I had a good excuse. And the woods and fields were lit with that sharp winter light I'd forgotten. It wasn't even terribly cold once we got moving, although every time we stopped I was ... not so much shivering as doing a full-body shudder and panting involuntarily to keep warm. It was great!

Then yesterday I went to pilates class and had half an hour of kata practice before that. Also this weekend featured hanging out with a visiting friend, watching a movie (okay, a DVD, but still) with Fishwhistle, trekking all the way to Waterloo for what turned out to be a so-so concert of sax/piano duos, sleeping for eight hours for two nights in a row, and doing no work at all. Let me repeat: I did no work this weekend.

Now, I know that some of you do no work every weekend, but for me, this is huge. I didn't work! All weekend! Wow! I feel so balanced and healthy! Go me!

Now I did have nightmares all last night about unanswered emails and the job search I'm running, so not entirely sane yet. But still. A weekend! A whole weekend! Maybe I should try it again next year sometime, what do you think?
lolaraincoat: (moomin)
My computer -- the laptop that is -- remains dead or at any rate well past pining for the fjords. It couldn't go into the shop this weekend because the shop is not open on the weekends, and it can't go in tomorrow as I will have to be on campus from 8:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night.

Tomorrow, that is to say, will be a high-energy day. This is a pity as I will have no energy because I have another goddamn cold, the third in three months. What the hell? Is this just a normal part of aging, that one day you have a functional immune system and the next day you do not? I was always a strong and healthy person, physically anyway, and all my ailments were always joint and muscle troubles from too much exercise of the wrong varieties. Now I get colds all the time! and not just mild colds either. This one has me running the opposite of a fever. Seriously, at one point this afternoon my temperature was 96.9. Another possibility, more bracingly, is that I am already dead and just cooling off slowly. Or perhaps I became a vampire at some point and it just slipped my mind? (This is possible. It's been a very busy couple of months.) I'd enjoy that, I think. Grr. Argghh.

On a cheerier note, here's a link to video of William Shatner singing Rocket Man, with a cigarette.

And the cheeriest of all notes: It's the birthday of the Two-Toed Sloth! Happy birthday, [ profile] twotoedsloth, you excellent mammal you!


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