walkitout: (Default)
I've been on LJ since 2004. Recent events have caused several people to ask me whether I was going to continue on LJ. I figure that might be some kind of sign. That and the fact that the DW to LJ importer has apparently been stable and really good for a few years now.
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They are not posts I've had sitting around written -- they are posts I've been thinking about for a while, and they are on a to do list. I'm in the mood to clear the to do list, so I'm going to just grind some of these out. I wish that I were in the mood to do a thorough job on each of these, but it is increasingly clear that isn't going to happen -- and I'd rather have the possibility of hearing what my friends think about these things than no.
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As I'm sure my regular readers have figured out, we were Away. I will update the blog in the New Year with postdated entries for our recent trip to the DC area to spend the holidays with family from both sides of the family (mine and R.'s). Traffic on the 22nd and on the 31st (today) was a lubricated dream compared to T-weekend's horror show. Also, we had a really good time.

I know a lot of people are happy to see the end of 2016. I think it would be wrong to believe that 2017 will not bring sad moments and losses of the sort that characterized 2016. But here is what I wish for all of us. Let us use the still-new day-to-day connectedness of social media to share our joys and sorrows, our ups and downs, and feel all that burning intensity, while recognizing that all that pain and all that euphoria is actually the same pain and euphoria of the Ancient World before social media. It's just that we are recording it and sharing it.

May we come to feel our increasing connectedness through a lens of acceptance, and find a way to surf through the joys and sadness that are with us every day of our lives.

Also, perhaps dial back on the outrage.

Just a bit.

In favor of meaningful actions in support of our hopes and dreams.

ETA: T. would like me to add that we stopped at McDonald's for lunch. We stopped at Applebee's in Hudson for dinner.
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I'll do trip reports (backdated) hopefully later today or tomorrow. I'm also planning on doing a hopefully short but probably longer than I want it to be post about the electoral college, the decennial census and redistricting. This intersecting set of complicated aspects of our democracy is apparently completely opaque to many if not most voters, and has powerful, lasting effects on elections. The 2020 census is close enough that it affects planning for where we direct our energies (state legislature races in the next cycle(s) especially), and I am concerned that even though the 2010 redistricting was disastrous for Democrats and continues to deliver elections to Republicans, Democrats in general remain unaware of the importance of state legislature races in the years leading up to a census year and the associated redistricting. And we wind up blaming the wrong people when we lose elections.

But first, trip reports! Because there is a lot more to life than politics.
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We went to the Cape for a week, Aug 20-27. I'll try to get those posts in, but that might take a little while because A. doesn't start school until Wednesday and T. not till next week. But the sitters are back at work at the schools, leaving me with Actual Responsibilities.

In the meantime, I read my email this morning, and ran into this:


While I certainly love that Dutch medical care for chronic conditions that have a crisis (say, diabetes and the possibility of amputation) lead to actual, in person conferences including the patient, patient's spouse or other family member/advocate, and involved health care professionals, we don't really do that here. We should, but we don't. The patient in the description is, basically, the person managing her care, unless she is unable to, and then someone else is responsible and if she wants to control who that is, that's what Living Will/Health Care Directives accomplish in our system.

I recall some years ago TV news coverage of a woman who called an ambulance to pick her up at the waiting room for the emergency department of a hospital. She had been there for some time, waited for hours, and was, according to the news report, suffering from an asthma attack and in need of immediate care.

While is is certainly very exciting to read about things like an asthma patient waiting for hours in the emergency department, it calls into question the meaning of a word like "asthma". Our general sense of the condition is either not critical (like the kind I, my husband and our son have), manifesting largely as a variety of terrifying sounding coughs that never actually result in breathing stopping or even being all that impaired (they didn't call it asthma when I was a kid, then they called it asthma for a while, and then they were back to not being asthma but maybe being some kind of reactive airway or who the hell knows. But if is very manageable without meds or anything else other than Don't Stop Exercising Suddenly and keep up with your allergy maintenance regime) or rapidly deteriorating. If you have the not critical kind, then calling for an ambulance to pick you up in the waiting room of the emergency department to find a more cooperative hospital no longer sounds like We Need to Fix Our Health Care System and now sounds more like, okay, who exactly is paying for this, anyway.

The story at MedPage made me think of the asthma story. So I thought about that for a while, and I thought about what I knew about POTS and I looked up Ehlers-Danlos, where I saw that it typically has minimal impact on life expectancy and yet this young woman had already died. I know, it is terrifying to see things like tachycardia and a rare medical condition one has never heard of, but lots of things (including some kinds of tachycardia and many rare medical conditions) have much, much, much scarier names than health outcomes. Also, there is a flavor of Ehlers-Danlos with no genetic test.

Then I read the MedPage piece for a third time, and I thought to myself, Self, you have read books about personality disorders. When Jess says:

"But as a human I know that "Tears = Bad" and anyone that cries for twelve hours while begging someone, anyone, to call their physician of record isn't faking it. She didn't stop crying until a doctor with some humanity sedated her following shift change. The complete disregard for her pain stripped her of her dignity and brought me to tears.""

I start immediately thinking of all kinds of stories I have read in these books about personality disorders and other mental health conditions. Jess is right: when someone cries for twelve hours, they are not "faking" it. And I don't doubt that knocking her out stopped the crying. But I also start thinking about the phrase, "personality disorder". But I was having a really hard time thinking which one. I could think of several this _could not possibly be_, and I know you've already figured it out, because the record keeping pretty much is a dead giveaway, but what I did was give up on the thinking and went back to what I do best.

I typed, no quotes: hypermobility ehlers danlos syndrome personality disorder

This is the top result:


Perhaps, some day, we will have a genetic test to explain why so many people in my extended family have agoraphobia, or something that looks sorta like it (I always think of it as Won't Leave the House Syndrome, and over time it degenerates into Won't Talk On the Phone and, in the last decade of life, Won't Actually Talk At All Syndrome). I would not be surprised one teeny tiny bit that virtually all mental health issues have at least a partial genetic/physical underpinning. Nor would I be surprised to learn that there were immune system, nervous system, autonomic system, joint system implications (the joint pain in my family alone is epic).

But until that Shining Day in the Future when All Has Been Debugged, we are stuck working with what we know. Plenty of sleep at a consistent time. Good food in the right amounts. Clean water. Appropriate physical activity. Supportive friends and family. Meaningful work. Etc. If you have a medical condition that doctors can't help you with, more time in the hospital trying to make them fix you isn't going to actually change the fact they can't help you with it. It is tragic. It is wrong. We should collectively work to fix it.

I sure felt sorry for the nurses, and I'm a little surprised that it didn't occur to Jess that maybe that "broken" call button had been intentionally disabled. I mean, it's damn easy to do (happened accidentally to A. when we were in for her appendectomy; when the bed call button didn't work, I found the staff call button on the wall and hit that. We sure got action then! And the people who showed up made for damn sure the bed alarm was hooked up after that. I, of course, apologized profusely for hitting the wrong button. "By accident." The staff call button cannot be disabled. Why Jess didn't just hammer on that puppy is beyond me. *shrug*).

Anyway. I hope to hell someone makes progress on Ehlers-Danlos. Things like this look interesting:


This description is a nearly perfect description of one of my cousins:


I'm pretty selective about how I access the medical system, but I see a lot of positives in the primary care model where a patient has a relationship with a professional who then supports access to the rest of the system. However, I have also become increasingly clear on how ill-prepared primary care physicians often are when they encounter that complex nexus of mental and physical health problems with no adequate solution within allopathy.
walkitout: (Default)
I don't have a good explanation. I'm behind on book blogging, so it isn't that I haven't been reading. It's that I haven't been getting around to blogging reviews. I'm going to make an effort to catch up the next few days. In the meantime, I apologize for the very intermittent updates and will make an effort to do better.
walkitout: (Default)
Dunno when it will come back up. Gmail account still works, as do other methods of reaching me.
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As you may have noticed, I backdated the Kona Cafe trip report; the date is the date we ate there. I may be doing that with some of the other trip reports (so I'll be posting trip reports _after_ this but they may wind up with dates _before_ this). I have this plan to start assembling Flickr, my personal website, LJ, FB and other online crap into One Gigantic Timeline, and I feel like connecting trip reports to the date of the activity might be helpful. I am not usually very organized about trip reports -- that is, I don't try to be comprehensive. I mention the stuff that I'm thinking about and just let everything else slide. But if you have questions or want more detail on a particular topic, and it's something I did, post requests in the comments.
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I failed to blog at all for 133 days in 2014, about a third of the days.
For comparison, I failed to block for 130 days in 2013. I miss a lot of days in December, with November and June being weak as well. I know why: vacation, school holidays. The news cycle goes into abeyance and I am often busy traveling as well.

The average and median number of posts in a month in 2014 are very, very close: 38, give or take, for both of them. The average and median in 2013 were also very close, a little over 43.

I blogged the least in December 2014. I blogged the most in March 2014. In 2013, the least was December and the most was February. There was a big snowstorm in February and we did not travel that school break so I was sitting around blogging.

I'm debating doing some word count analysis, and balking at the idea. None of this counts comments, and it is LJ specific (so if I posted over on FB, it isn't part of this).

I had expected the travel effect to be stronger, but in practice, I tend to do a lot of catch-up posts after at trip, so travel shows up in no-blogging days, but not really in the monthly total.
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I realized that I was so grumpy, and so annoyed with everything and everyone around me, that I should quit blogging about what was annoying me, and maybe avoid thinking as much as possible, or I wasn't going to have any friends left at all. (Please feel sorry for my poor husband and children. They were still stuck listening to me.) In the last couple days, my perspective has mostly returned. So there will be some catching up to do.
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Nate over at The Digital Reader reposted my Somebody Saw This Day Coming post, and the Passive Voice picked it up as well. I'm carefully sitting on my desire to post in the comments thread in either case (author referred to as "he". Am not a "he"!), because authors stepping into comments threads are annoying and I don't want to be That Person.

But I'm happy that what I had to say is reaching a wider audience while not inviting a bunch of randoms over here to interfere with my review-trashy-books-and-talk-about-my-life fun, which is otherwise dominating my blogging today and for the next two days as I catch up from being away from a keyboard for a week.


walkitout: (Default)
We're baaaaccck! We had a good time. Trip reports will ensue, but here are some highlights.

(1) Turns out security doesn't actually notice a 2ish inch lockback buried in a purse consistently, if you have been foolish enough to leave one there. I would have been horribly embarrassed and thrown it away on the spot if it had been noticed, but in the event, I didn't realize what had happened until much later, so I don't have to replace it. Yay.

(2) JetBlue's Fly-Fi is awesome.

(3) WDW has implemented the We Know Who You Are Don't Bother to Stop to Buy a Ride Photo feature. I haven't checked yet to see if all the ride photos really are connected. I will expand upon this later. They do not yet appear to have implemented a Find My Kid Feature, yet, at least not based on what happened when A. and I went different directions in a shop at Hollywood Studios. I'd love to have a Find My Kid feature.

(4) Seven Dwarfs is definitely not worth the current long waits but it is probably the single best Kiddie Coaster I have ever been on.

(5) The Domaine at Citrico's is amazing. (Got it by accident, so didn't have to meet the minimum ticket. We were only about $100 short, tho, so another bottle of wine would have done it.)

(6) The stepsisters and step mum of Cinderella were hilarious at Park Fare and visible more generally in the park. I Approve.

(7) Grand Floridian Villas are very comfy.

(8) I'm reading Liaden universe books; spoiler-ridden reviews to follow, along with Milan's _Unraveled_ and Cindy Spencer Pape's _Moonlight & Mechanicals_.

And we all have colds or really bad allergies or both. Ah, well.
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My regular readers have already moved on to the next post, or are bracing themselves. Whenever I say, "A Few Remarks", think that guy in the trench coat, back repeatedly with, "Just one more ..."

I have posted in the past about my decluttering efforts. Because R. and I were Mature when we married, we each had fully developed homes: furniture, decorations, kitchen equipment, linens, etc. We also moved across country a couple times, and we didn't completely empty either original household for a while. But when we moved here, we both cleared out our original spaces, and after we'd been here for a couple years, I had the contents of a storage space shipped out as well (<-- that's not completely accurate, but let's pretend it's close enough). Fortunately, we have an unfinished basement that is large. We whittled it down over time, and I read a bunch more decluttering, personal and home organization books, time management, etc., including David Allen's _Getting Things Done_. Eventually, all the rooms in the house were painted, the photos collected in albums, furniture rearranged and replaced, things framed and put on walls, home gym filled out with some additional items, my CDs ripped and moved along, my library drastically reduced, etc. Old electronics were recycled. Things were moved up to the cloud. Backup processes were instituted, blah, blah, bleeping blah. I set up a home office with a desk and a lovely chair and a big monitor and decent keyboard and trackpad to plug my laptop into.

My latest project has involved developing packing lists for different lengths and types of travel and adjusting some of the things that I travel with, with the goal of forgetting fewer things when I travel, and being able to pack lighter while still having everything with me to make me and my family comfortable wherever we go. The current project is figuring out how to do a short trip using only carry-on luggage, a skill I once had when I was single, but let me tell you this is a whole different world with two small children (I never once contemplated this while the kids were in diapers/strollers).

I thought it would be useful to try to summarize some of what I am doing and how I am doing it, as always (because it's all about me!) mostly for myself, but also for any of my friends who might be curious.

Some of this is going to be boring. Good news! I'm going to break it up into a bunch of posts and label them clearly. Forewarned, etc.
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The updates have been minimal because I really dislike posting while on vacation (for a whole lot of reasons, at least some of which should be fairly obvious).

We had a good time. As usual, we went with my sister's family and my mother-in-law. This time, R.B. also came along -- she hasn't joined us since our very first week at the Cape when we stayed at Red Jacket in South Yarmouth. I hope a good time was had by everyone; I know we had a nice time.

Next year, T. wants to go camping, so we'll be trying Cape Cod Campresort's "glamping" cabins and renting an RV to house the group for the week. We'll get to mess around in boats, but we won't be on an inlet, so it's a tradeoff. The house we've rented the last three years in East Falmouth is really lovely, but the owners are trying to sell it and I just don't want the headache of worrying about what-if-they-do.

We had dinner our at C Salt Wine Bar and Grille (R. and I). It was fabulous! Make a reservation. Ours was for 5 p.m. on a Wednesday and I felt like a fool making it, but I'm sure glad I did because it was packed with a line out the door as soon as it opened. Their wine list has good splits so you can go as a couple and not feel like you have to drink a whole bottle or stick to by-the-glass. The tuna tartare was really excellent.

There were outings to the playground, the mall, my sister's family went to Woods Hole (twice), my husband, his mother and T. went out to the bike trail a couple times, we all went for walks and bike rides around the neighborhood and of course we went down to the beach almost every day (right in front of the house, which we're gonna miss I'm sure). As is to be expected, there was an hour plus delay getting over the Bourne bridge, but the return trip was fast. We toured the chips factory (mildly amusing) and went to the coast guard museum (sort of a bust). We mostly ate at the house, but did takeout from Oysters Too, which we do once every year and love, altho if you ate there frequently I'm sure you'd have a heart attack in short order.
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I've been meaning to write something along those lines for months (it is even on my to-do list, which blog stuff rarely makes it onto because I just sit down and write whatever the hell is on my mind), and the basic argument (people haven't upgraded for a long time because Y2K, it was good enough, two recessions) never budged. I did do a bunch of research to make sure that what I was asserting bore some relationship to reality (names of OSes, dates of release, dates of when individuals/schools/companies might have felt the impact of the crash compared to the release date, etc.), and I also did a bunch of research to understand what would be involved in upgrading from XP to Win7 or Win8. Along the way, I learned that Vista, apparently, really did comprehensively suck -- I hadn't known that, altho obvs I couldn't entirely miss the complaints as they rolled by back in the day.

But fundamentally, I'm trying to understand and explain the behavior of a group (people who have been running Windows boxes for years) that I don't actually have any meaningful contact with. One thing I learned as a result is that they don't understand people who _don't_ use Windows. At All. When people understand both groups, they often switch, and Microsoft isn't benefiting from the switching.

When Google first presented Docs to the world, I wanted to upload all my documents to it and then never have to save anything locally again. I really wanted a Cloud. But that didn't work, and I was so discouraged that I ignored DropBox (and a bunch of related services). Customer behavior is driven by what the customer knows, has experienced, has friends who have experienced. This isn't a new idea. It's kind of a duh thing. But working through the evidence to support my thesis really forced me to recognize just how poorly tech companies and tech-people at all levels understand customers. They aren't as bad as publishers (publishers had zero understanding of their end-user for a really long time, and that hurt them as they were disintermediated), but Microsoft is close. I'm not sure how this is going to end, but it looks like Microsoft is, like many other companies before (IBM, DEC) receding to the high/enterprise end of the market.

Ironic that Jill Lepore's piece about disruption came out in this context.

ETA: Oh, and originally, the thrust of the piece was going to be, Why Are Computers in K-12 So Freaking Old? But when I realized the scope of the problem was so much larger, I re-oriented it.
walkitout: (Default)
I have this entry in my calendar that says STOP WATCHING TV NEWS. It's there, because for several years, I kept watching TRMS, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and some Bloomberg, etc., through the summer. I'd focus on it a bit more, even, because other TV shows were on hiatus. And the effects were BAAAADDDD.

I figured out that two things happen around the middle to end of June, but are in full swing by July 4th weekend. (1) Boring, bourgie family types are suddenly a lot more busy. As annoying as the regular school schedule is, it's more or less consistent for 9 ish months of the year. The summer schedule is tricky -- day camps, sleep away, baby sitters, goddess only knows, it gets patched together every year and every year it comes unglued somewhere. So the boring, bourgie types in the NEWS are as distracted as all the other upright citizens. (2) Boring and bourgie or not, a lot of people go on vacation this time of year. These two things add up to (3) the work that still needs to be done is now being done by people with less seniority, less experience, less family life (and the stability both required to get family life going and the stability life that families require to function ongoing).

Which is to say, a bunch of newbies, young'uns and all around idiots are in charge. I have a terrible temper. The combination is awful. So I have this entry in my calendar that says STOP WATCHING TV NEWS.

I haven't decided whether I should give up on internet news and blogs for the summer as well. But if you start seeing exclusively book reviews and updates on my family life over the next few weeks/until mid-September, this may be part of why.
walkitout: (A Purple Straw Hat)
I'll have kids incoming, and want to pay attention to them. I should be able to get more out tomorrow, or later in the week/next week. There will be at least one _just_ about rides/ride systems/etc. for Efteling.
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I know, you're thinking, what? I sort of feel that way, too.

Back in 1989/90 or thereabouts, a friend of mine convinced me to start hanging out on a bb at the University of Washington. When I graduated, I mostly switched to hanging out on rec.arts.books and rec.arts.sf.written. Some time in the late (or possibly middle) '90s, the same friend tried to convince me to start blogging, which I did not -- at that time -- do. During the middle 1990s, I had a minimalist website that has accreted ... stuff over time (a cookbook, and advice book, some travel writing, pointers to book reviews on this blog, movie reviews, etc.), once I resurrected it in 1998 or so.

All of that writing (with the exception of Leia at Hazard, which currently lives over on Google Docs and has been erratically available when someone was interested) has been non-fiction (there's another novel that I've never put up on the web, unless I've forgotten having done so at some point). When I do something regularly, even with interruptions, like writing non-fiction, I get better at it. And I don't write fiction regularly. I've done NaNoWriMo twice, once for Leia at Hazard, and once for a memoir-y project, but that's a very time-limited activity. Also, November is a terrible month for me to do a project (Disney trip + T-weekend).

All of which adds up to: hey, I should start a blog where I write fiction, the way I have a blog where I write non-fiction. I thought about doing it here on LJ and just tagging the fiction pieces, but decided that might be enormously confusing and not in a good way. I thought about setting up another account on LJ, but decided that I might try another platform, on the off chance I want to migrate from LJ to elsewhere at some point.

So here it is: http://achlum.wordpress.com/

It's at 4 posts right now: 1 55 word piece, 1 slightly longer piece, both of those too memoir-y to really be fictional, 1 administrivia introductory post, and an introductory scene from a contemporary fantasy universe I've been talking over with my walking partner for a while. She wants it to be set in the South; I'm a little reluctant to do that, so I'm leaving the geography vague at the moment. Shadowsbrook is a town of more than five thousand but fewer than twenty thousand and has a wildly high percentage of not-exactly-human residents compared to the surrounding society; it's a refuge and sanctuary. My walking partner and I have a bunch of very mildly humorous stories we wanted to tell, mostly involving everyday activities going ever so slightly pear shaped because of the nature of the town. I have a longstanding set of stories involving a dentist who specializes in serving vampires/werewolves/other supernatural people and my walking partner is okay with me importing these stories into her universe. We'll see how it goes.

Test post

Mar. 2nd, 2012 03:37 pm
walkitout: (Default)
This is the body of the post.

ETA: One last test of editing the original post to see if it shows up.

I am testing the cross-post feature from LJ to see how it works.

It looks like LJ won't offer the crosspost feature on friends-only posts (which is reasonable). I'd like to restart the mirror that FB used to support, but I want to make sure this looks okay before I proceed. It also looks like crosspost/don't crosspost is a one-shot choice -- you can't NOT cross post, go in to edit and have it crosspost.

This is the edited paragraph of the post. Does it appear on FB? This is the last sentence of the edited paragraph of the post.

Final edit: the appearance on FB is like "any linked media" -- you have to go to LJ in order to read the whole thing. I think that's good, as I prefer the commenting facility on LJ to FB (mostly, it supports longer/more edited commenting, which I think encourages more thoughtful and substantive comments than FB).

This is the end of the body of the post.

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