Today we saw the neurologist our primary care physician recommended. She was a bit chillier than I would have liked, but she did seem to listen. The issues are several, according to her. Biggest is that neurology no longer recommends any narcotics for migraine pain. Which is, imo, stupid as shit, but hey. My doctorate is in literature so what do I know. Anyway, she has referred Webster to a pain management specialist (he used to be a surgeon according to his bio), whom she says will write the Rx for pain meds. She repeated several times that she does not believe he will refuse Webster the demerol, because he has used it successfully for almost twenty years now.
However -- and we have no issue with this -- her goal is to find a prophylactic that will prevent the migraines and therefore obviate any need for pain meds. Unfortunately the very first choice is something Webster tried years ago and hated (Topomax). She still wrote him a Rx for it because it's now time-released, but he has decided not to even try it. I'm a little hesitant about that decision, but it's his life and his health so I'll support him.
It turns out she is a big believer in Botox for migraines. Has anyone tried that? She says most insurance companies are hesitant to approve it because it's expensive, but she is going to start working on them. Webster is interested in trying it, so that's good. We have another appointment with her in about three weeks so he'll tell her about his decision then, and we should hear about our insurance company's decision at the same time.
Best of all she says something new is coming out in January that she is really excited about. I knew immediately what she was referring to: Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP). I've been reading about it for years. So even if the Botox doesn't work (and apparently it takes nine months before you know if it does) there's something new to try.
Theoretically the pain management people will call us in a day or two to set up an appointment. We are both very very nervous about that. We've had so many bad experiences with doctors over the years. Kaiser Permanente was a god-send and leaving it was the hardest thing about moving here. Why the shit Kaiser isn't everywhere I cannot understand, but it isn't so we're stuck for a while. The stories I could tell you about our pre-Kaiser doctor experiences would, I assure you, freak. You. Out. So I won't because I don't like remembering them.
The best thing about today was that it rained! Really rained, a nice steady rain. The air smells wonderful. No more rain in the forecast for a while, so I'm glad we were driving around in it.
In a few minutes I'm going to pour myself a small glass of pinot grigio and listen to the latest My Favorite Murder podcast. I don't feel ready for another Mother's day tomorrow so I need to get some rest.
Links! I have two today. First, via Jason Kottke, a ten hour (TEN HOUR!) Youtube of wonderful nature sounds -- I'm listening to the ocean. God, I miss the ocean. There are others, too; you can read about them here.
Also via Kottke, a series of very short stories concerning how you knew you'd found your person. I found some of them charming, some of them sad. And of course they made me think about my relationship with Webster, which is, I think, a good solid relationship but I'm not sure I believe in having a person in the sense the author meant. Do you?
Finally, not a link but thoughts I've been having a lot lately: how much I miss home. I love our house and I love being so close to Mother, but I miss the west coast. Achingly so. I miss the ocean. I miss how near Yosemite was. I miss our vacations in the eastern Sierra. I miss my friends. I miss the fog. I miss the wine country rituals. I miss Kaiser. I miss how Democrat it is! I miss it all so so much.
And while thinking that I realized that I also miss my mother. The woman I spend so much time with is of course my mother, but she's not the woman I grew up with, who owned two business and traveled the world and played golf and cards and had parties. She's gone forever.
Okay, now I've made myself cry. I think I better get that wine. You all have a good night, okay?
2: Woke up around 8am, and could not get back to sleep. Alarm went off at 10. Blah.
3: Took car over to the car place. Yay, she started! ...barely.
4: Spouse brought me back, then dropped me and kid off for doctor appointment while he went off to dental appointment.
5: Doctor appointment. I was poked, prodded, heart-beat-listened-to, and sent down for a blood draw to make sure that my blood is doing the right thing. Waved at waitress friend who was in for foot x-ray. I hope her foot is okay.
6: Grabbed a snack at the cafe in the place, for me and kid. Ate outside.
7: Had way more time to kill whilst spouse was doing dental thing and then returning.
8: Went over to nearby restaurant. It is, I note, drizzling. Turns out that the restaurant closes the dining room during lunch hours and funnels everyone into the bar area. Which was WAY TOO CROWDED. I'm not sure there were actually any free tables at all, in fact, and with the kid... nope. So we went and hung out in the hotel lobby next door, where the gal was really nice about it. (They have this huge dining area for when they serve breakfast and they aren't using it for anything, so...)
9: Picked up by spouse. Go to get car. Spouse does paperwork whilst I and kid go to Lunch Place that closes in like 30 minutes. Discover that the car is "stuttering" at really low speeds, and occasionally flashing AWD/Check Oil lights briefly. Get spouse -- who has gone home -- to call the dealership and ask if this is something concerning. They say that they want to see it after we eat. Food is had, and on the way back, at first traffic-light, car dies. Restart works fine. We make it the rest of the way just fine.
10: Waiting room is packed. Message spouse to come get kid. I hang out, do some editing. (People visiting from Pennsylvania had a tire pop off the rim and wound up at this dealership. I eventually chat with them some, plus reassure them that it's a good place.) Eventually the dealership mechanics get to my car and decide that they need a New Sensor Thingie, which will show up Wednesday. They are out of loaner cars till... at least Wednesday. (He hopes he can scare up something for the PA people if their car can't have a tire popped back on properly.)
So that's the state of the world. *SIGH*
I__ says, “You can't set up emotional arcs that DON'T GO ANYWHERE.”
I__ says, “Well. I mean. You can.”
I__ says, “But then this happens and now the entire story has been ruined by this terrible ending.”
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )
— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.
Today's question: Do you post any of your writing anonymously? (Goodness knows I do.)
Superb cut-paper art.
Roman roads in Britain as if they were the Tube -- a map. Thanks to nineweaving.
A 19-year-old memo, buried in stuff since Ken Starr stopped hassling Clinton, states that it is possible for "a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties..." Send in the clowns!
And, btw, I am so grateful for those new gutters. The old ones dripped, and it would wake me at any hour, and I would lie there trying to hear directionally and figure out if the drip was outside the house or under the roof. I can sleep now!
I get to chuckle at the irony that during rush hours, the highway is slower than city streets with the lights. (Yes, destruction of neighborhoods, Robert Moses, Justin Herman, but divided highways were not really intended to be in cities; they were intended to bypass cities.)
I have three Diamond albums. Two of them - Beautiful Noise and I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight - are from the late seventies, early eighties; they're good albums (I love "Dry Your Eyes" in particular) but they're not the Diamond I grew up with. The third is The Neil Diamond Collection, mostly from the early seventies, and it has some great stuff ("Sweet Caroline", "Holly Holy", "Brother Love's Travellin' Salvation Show"), but it's also not the Diamond I grew up with. It does have one song from that era, "Cherry Cherry", but - no. That song was written for and by someone a decade younger, and hearing it sung live, by the older Diamond, complete with grunting... just no.
The songs that introduced me to Diamond were on one album, belonging to one of my sisters. (I have no way of knowing which; they themselves sometimes disagree on the issue.) It was very early, mid-sixties Diamond: "Kentucky Woman", "Red Red Wine", "You Got to Me", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", "Solitary Man"... Yeah, some of them have probably been visited by one of the Suck Fairies (probably the Sexism Fairy), but that's what teen heart-throb albums were like back then, and I still remember them fondly. One of these days I'll have to get the CD.
 I can't decide whether the period goes inside the parenthesis or outside, when the parenthetical is a sentence and a half long. My rule of thumb - if the parenthetical is entirely part of the sentence, then outside; if it's a sentence, or more than one, in its own right, then inside - doesn't handle fractions well. Probably parentheses should be avoided then, but quod scripsi scripsi. :grmph:
We had a bad thunderstorm, with much wind, the last night of the heat warning, and I suspect that wind was the final blow to an already weakened system. This morning I noticed my trash bin (about 4'x1'x1') had fallen over; there was only one bagful of garbage in it. The recycling bin, of the same size and right next to it, was still upright. It was also about half full. (I seem to generate recyclables more quickly than I do garbage.)
Reynaud's is a very fussy thing, I like to refer to it as "Goldilocks Disease" because its so damn limiting. Not too hot, not too cold.. which leaves such a narrow window of comfort. With the temps here in the 80s or higher, I just cant function very well. Or its just slow and sweaty... and I dont sweat.
Friday I got errands run, and things collected. But it was late when I got home,and barely got stuff in the fridge.
Saturday, the sister creature and I picked up the Kidlet for her belated birthday trip to Powells and dinner of her choice. We had great parking karma.. in the shade even. Kidlet got some graphic novels, more Percy Jackson, Amulet, Firewings, and I tossed in a couple of books, a Pinkwater... we got a thing on the upcoming solar event with glasses... and of course, we got her book shopping done, and we did a bit for ourselves, I found more books in series for our Wicked Evil Stepmom, and we then went to dinner at Saylors. I got a great parking spot there too, without having to circle the parkinglot. My prime rib had more fat on it than I cared for, but it was still a good meal. We were to take the Kidlet to her Uncle's house in Canby, her parents were off being solo adults. We had to stop at the sisters apt on the way there, she had to use the bathroom ... lets just say, we were delayed, and when it was time to leave, due to a misscommunication between the sister and myself, she got locked out of her place. I didnt have the spare keys with me, but we would deal with it later.
Neither one of us had the address in Canby, but the Kidlet kinda remembered how to get there, and we did. I recognized the nicely groomed shrubberies first. It was her Aunt's birthday, so we hung out there until Eldest Nephew and his wife showed up. Transferred over her book loot and we went to my place where I got the spare keys and then took the sister home to her apt where i let her in.
Sunday, got up before I was completely rested, made dip for the family party, put the sprinkler on in the garden and did some serious hand watering out front.. still have a lot to do though. Picked the sister up and we went to Brothers house for our Wicked Evil Stepmom's 80th birthday party. It was just immediate family. We had a nice time visiting, telling stories, bbq dinner, and then cards presents mini bundt cakes and more. I will give a little grumble that my sister in law is hogging all the time with our stepmom while she is down here, but, I can give her that. I can always drive up to Longview to see her and do stuff. So, I wont see her before they take her back to Longview tomorrow.
Today, dont know, its going to be 90. Ick. Slept in late and really dont feel like doing squat. My sister in law made a suggestion where to find someone to do my little paver patio out front, but I am thinking that can wait for a cooler day.
2a. STAR TREK DISCO NEW TRAILER AHHHHH WHAT IF IT'S GOOD
2b. I saw Star Trek Beyond a year ago yesterday, so have now been at Peak Star Trek Joy for a whole year and it's been amazing.
3. THIRTEEN. I didn't really know who Jodie Whittaker was, so it took a moment to sink in, but then I watched the teaser and suddenly had all these emotions in my eyes. And she looks so Doctorish! A little weird and otherworldly and mischievous. I can't wait. It's a shame that we still have a white actor playing the Doctor (my top picks for Fourteen: Meera Syal, Indira Varma, Josette Simon), but this means so much to me even so, not least because I was so sure it was going to be yet another white dude. Also, I watched a few episodes last season for Bill, who is wonderful, and I'm crossing my fingers that she'll be Thirteen's companion, whilst also resigning myself to the likelihood that we'll get a solo boy companion instead.
4. Character announcements for Young Justice season three! I've always found Young Justice a bit hit and miss (I still haven't seen the last three episodes), but with enough hits to keep me more or less on board. ALSO. ( don't think this is really a spoiler, but just to be on the safe side ) I'm also holding out a teeny tiny bit of hope that now they're free of the constraints of whatever network they were on before, they might be able to include queer characters, as originally planned.
Got up early to make the trek to Skowhegan and Steve's eye doctor. Matters have stabilized, on that front, so -- yay! stabilization!
Came home via the post office -- whereby hangs a tale, which I will now tell to you.
My Formal White Tiger pen was listed as Out for Delivery by the USPS on Saturday, but did not arrive. It is not, I will note here, Completely Unusual for the Saturday delivery-person to fail deliver packages. She simply leaves them for the regular weekday guy, because -- I have no idea. Packages hard, I guess.
So, this morning, I looked back to the site to see if indeed my pen was listed as "out for delivery" with the guy who actually does his job, but found instead a note that delivery had been attempted on Saturday, late afternoon, but nobody was home, so a note was left.
Which was...pure, unadulterated mud. First, we were home all day Saturday. Second, we got our mail 'way early, as we tend to do on Saturday. Three, nobody from the post office came by the house during the late afternoon. Four, no note was left. Five, it wouldn't have mattered if there was anyone at home anyway, because the package didn't require a signature.
I called the post office and explained the situation. As it happened, the allegation that a note had been left meant that the package was not out for delivery, but was waiting at the post office, until I called with instructions. Which I would have never known -- because no note -- if I hadn't looked at the website and discovered this, um, deceit.
So, anyway, Deirdre, who was on the desk when I called, was as helpful as one woman could possibly be. She listened to the problem, said she would go find the package now, if I would let her put me on hold. It took her twelve minutes to find it, but find it she did, and, at my instruction put it at the front desk so when I came to pick it up, it would be easy for whoever was then on to find.
That part went according to plan.
So! Eye doctor, post office, grocery store, and so to home, eagerly anticipating the meal Steve had started in the slow cooker before we left home, except!
There had been a minor power outage while we were gone. Too short for the generator to take note of and kick in, but more than long enough to reboot the slow cooker, which started a count-down-to-cooking, which meant that?
Yes -- you in the back? Yes; thank you. Exactly that.
Dinner wasn't ready when we got home, starving.
Today's dinner plans were therefore amended to hot dogs on French onion rolls, and leftover macaroni/veggie salad. We'll have today's dinner tomorrow.
Speaking of the weather...today at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory it is 64F and raining. The plants I put in yesterday are significantly perkier than they were at planting, so I'd say that timing was just about right.
As I mentioned in another venue, yesterday's writing session produced! a True Epiphany (or as a friend says, with a bow in the direction of his spellchecker -- an Apostrophe). Epiphanies often require a lot of frogging, rearranging of scenes, re-assessing motivations, and just what seems to be a whole lot of backward motion when all instincts are screaming, "I have to make words, dammit!"
Experience teaches us that True Epiphanies almost always deliver a stronger, better story, if the writer is willing to bite her tongue and do the work. Also, if the writer decides not to do the work? The Epiphany has a way of forcing its point, later, when the amount of necessary frogging leaps from a few pages to a hundred, and sleepless nights and alcohol abuse enter the equation.
So, I've got some unwriting to do today -- not much, happily, because we caught this in plenty too much time. I may even get a start on rewriting.
And the roads, they roll.
Oh, and the new pen is gorgeous. I'm really going to enjoy having it with me at Confluence.
Here, have a picture of both fountain pens, all snug in their traveling wallet:
I know a lot of writers. Really a lot. Really really. And we all have different process, and that’s great, that’s wonderful. In person I have been known to chirp “we are all a beautiful rainbow,” but it’s really hard to get my total lack of sarcasm on that point through on the internet. (We are, though! We are all a beautiful rainbow! Yay!) In this case, I have spotted what looks like a consistent red flag for burnout, and I’m having a hard time phrasing it so that it’s clear that I don’t mean to exclude some kinds of inspiration.
Here’s the red flag. Writers with a few novels or a ton of short stories under their belt who get into a place where they only want to talk about being sick of tropes and wanting to deconstruct them. I know that deconstruction is a major creative inspiration in some writers’ processes (all a beautiful rainbow!). But the larger percentage of conversation about other people’s work gets to be about deconstruction and frustration, the more I watch for other signs of burnout.
Because–squee is not just good publicity. Squee is important for your own work. If you’re not honestly feeling like squeeing about other work you’re encountering, that’s a bad sign. And it’s probably not a bad sign about what’s out there in the world, because there is a lot of stuff out there in the world. If none of it is pressing your buttons, really none? that’s a bad sign about your buttons and where you are in terms of energy levels, taking criticism, getting enough recharge, all those things.
This is not a red flag of you being (or a friend being!) a bad person, or a worthless artist, or someone who will never recover, or anything like that. I’ve seen many people come out of this kind of burnout. But just as it’s easier to talk about how to begin a story than how to deal with the middle and ending that grow out of it, it’s a lot easier to talk about early-career things than all the paths that can grow out of them. And yet it feels to me like there are a lot of mid-career/developing writer paths and pitfalls that it would be really useful to talk about more, so…I’m going to try to do some of that, and I appreciate the other people who are doing that too.
(One of my favorite roads out of this is to cast my net very, very wide and look at things that are way outside my usual so that badly handled tropes and obvious choices are less grating. But other solutions for jolting out of this kind of deconstruction/negativity trap welcome.)
This one is a good book.
Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.
In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.
And it works.
But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)
Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.
Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.
Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand