A Successful Day

Today our family went to the dentist. And it was probably the best Z has ever done in her few years’ experience of biannual unpleasant visits to someone who went to school for years to learn how to probe teeth. We were proud of her. But: she has a cavity, and she has another appointment to have it filled. We don’t know how she will handle this. All her other teeth look great, though.

Oh! I also made the bed this morning! And passing by the bedroom a few times today, I looked in and saw a made bed and felt a little less stressed out. It’s also very nice slipping into a bed without having to tug at sheets to make sure my whole body is covered.

Back in December my cabin fever compelled me to cut off all my hair. It’s been slowly growing back, and now it is in the middle of an awkward mullet-like phase. I have two cowlicks at the base of my skull, which keeps the hair from lying flat against my neck. It just sort of half-fluffs out. So I’m sort of in the middle of willing my hair to grow faster so that the mullet-thing will calm down. I’ve pinned and clipped my hair down at the neck. It’s long enough to tie back into a ponytail, if the pony was tiny. Another month, and maybe it won’t be as bad.

Vain, perhaps. But I never said I wasn’t.

Results

I had a mammogram yesterday. It was relatively quick. The process itself lasted maybe five minutes. The results appeared in my health record this morning.

Always a relief with these screenings. I’m going to be 45 tomorrow. It’s important to take care of myself.

Easier said than done for a majority of people who don’t have access to insurance. A medical services system must be in place to provide essential care to everyone.

Get regular mammograms. Get regular colonoscopies. Get maintenance checkups. These shouldn’t be available only to the privileged.

A friend found out some results of a biopsy yesterday. The diagnosis wasn’t great. And I wish that cancer would go eff itself.

This world is hard. Life is hard.

From Today’s Sunday Instagram Post and a Comment Elsewhere

I’ve been fully vaccinated (2 weeks after dose 2) for over a week now. I still wear a mask in public, because I just don’t know who is vulnerable and/or high-risk. The other day I was at a store, and about half of everyone there wore masks. (Honestly I was surprised that many wore them.) This was the day after the CDC announcement, but I still wore my mask because my allergies were acting up, and I didn’t feel like dodging death stares for my symptoms. Anyway, I was paying for my things in a self-checkout corral. One of the masked workers walked up to me as I was heading out with my cart. He solemnly looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank you.”

What a bizarre and interesting year it has been. COVID isn’t over yet; the world at large needs relief.

It’s the middle of spring, so I decided to join Z and wear a dress. We’ll be back to church starting next Sunday. Should be fun.

Happy Sunday, y’all.

Privileges and Joys

I work from home: privilege.

We live in a privileged school district: privilege.

We live in a single family home: privilege.

We’ve come to a point where we don’t worry about whether we can make the mortgage payments: privilege.

The house sits on a plot just under 1/4 acre: privilege.

The back property line happens to adjoin a five-acre farm: joy.

We watch baby farm animals grow up: joy.

I wandered my back yard this morning. Watched the horses. Captured some photos of mid-spring. This afternoon I weeded the front yard for a little while. I like yard work quite a bit, but it does my allergies no favors.

These blossoms dropped from the cherry tree above it. Pink sprinkled in green. I sort of wish I could eat it.

Z loves to scatter dandelion fluff around the yard. For this reason roughly 62 trillion dandelions have popped up in the grass. I honestly don’t mind, because they make our kid happy.

I would suppose not worrying about our dandelion-weeds is also a privilege. Watching our girl play with them is a joy.

P.S. We’re fully vaccinated over here. Go get vaxxed or wear a mask and come hang out with us!

COVID-19 Vaccine, Dose 2 Symptoms

I got my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday night. I ended up feeling a lot of the same symptoms as the first dose, but more intensely.

The aches were a little more pronounced. Thursday night I slept horribly.

Friday I experienced chills, a different experience from the first dose. Took a hot bath. Took a couple of naps with a space heater nearby and under a couple of blankets. As a result of trying to keep my body warm, my Fitbit reported that I burned as many calories as I would on a day of jogging 25-30 minutes on the treadmill. Very interesting.

Even with my Friday naps, I slept really well that night.

Saturday morning, outside of a slightly tender injection site, I felt so much better.

So glad to be on the other side of this.

Two weeks, and I’ll have full immunity.

Cool.

80s Basement Lecture Series

In November 2016 we bought a house. We moved in the next month. The idea of having the space to host events or parties crossed my mind. Our basement looked like hasn’t been updated since the 1980s, and this is where we set up the TV for movies and games. In February 2017 we started a quarterly lecture series, and we would hold each lecture in our 80s basement living room. We’d invite people over, we’d eat treats, and speakers would be our friends.

2017

18 February – Satire, by Reilly Ryan

Reilly started of our series with a fun discussion about satire. He provided a few written and video examples; he talked about his thesis, which discussed whether a show like Family Guy (compared to the Simpsons) was satire. (I actually blogged about this lecture here.)

20 May – Poison Control Center, by Amber Johnson

Amber is Reilly’s older sister. She talked about the Utah Poison Control Center, where she works. She provided pointers on keeping our homes safe and what to do in the event of a poisoning. Since this lecture she has been promoted to Director of the UPCC, which now also doubles at the Utah Coronavirus Hotline.

19 August – Horror, by Jonathan Smith

Jon knows a lot about horror movies. He spoke to us about horror films and the commentary they provide about family. We watched a few excerpts from classic scary movies and analyzed them.

11 November – Introduction to Fan Studies, by Melissa Beattie (Skype)

Melissa, a professor, talked to us about the ins and outs of being a fan. We talked about fanfic. She mentioned a lot of pop references and talked about fan events and culture such as Comic Con, as well as the history and basics of fan theory.

2018

17 February – Bali and Gamelan, by Gavin Ryan

Gavin is one of Reilly’s brothers. He presented a lecture about Bali music and culture, and he brought some Gamelan instruments for a performance.

26 May – Immunohistochemistry and Libraries, by May Ryan

I talked about the app that I maintain for work. I also talked about the importance of libraries.

25 August – Semiotics and Tarot, by Bridgette Tuckfield (Skype)

We learned about tarot cards! The history and meanings behind signs. A very cool discussion.

10 November – Nigerian Literature, by Kylie McQuarrie

Kylie presented the work of several African authors, and how important they are in context of war and oppression.

2019

23 February – COLD Podcast, by Dave Cawley

Our biggest crowd. Dave had released his true crime podcast just a couple of months before. We were lucky to have booked him before all the other speaking engagements came along. For us, he told the Susan Powell story and gave background on all the footage and other artifacts that enrich this story.

4 May – Fur Foxen concert and Q&A

My hairstylist happens to play cello and sing in a band. We invited them to give a really nice, chill concert and answer some questions about their process.

24 August – Highway Typefaces, by Marjorie Smith

Very fun lecture about the history of highway typefaces, which includes some surprising drama. Everyone probably now notices the details of freeway signs now.

23 November – Visual Effects, by Ryan Sonderegger

Ryan talked about some of the technical aspects of his work. We discussed some of his more well-known projects. Very fascinating.

2020

22 February – Cheese, by Joseph Peterson

We sampled so many cheeses! Some were awesome; some required an acquired taste. We paired cheeses with crackers and breads and fruits. It’s always fun to discuss food.

We didn’t miss a quarter for three years. All of these lectures were amazing. We learned about so many really interesting things. We gained a deeper understanding of social issues and other cultures. This was also a chance/excuse to get like-minded friends to gather in a safe space, a tiny blue dot in the middle of our obnoxiously red county. We aired our grievances and frustrations with the political climate. (We closed on our house just before the 2016 election.) We loved being able to hang out with such wonderful people.

Lectures went right up to the cusp of pre-pandemic and pandemic times. We haven’t even held a lecture since then. Not even online, though I’ve toyed with the idea. But we’ve all been dealing with isolation and anxiety and everything else that came with the pandemic. We’ve been depressed and cabin-fevered; wanting to break out into society and wanting to keep the blankets over our heads at the same time. These have been difficult times. But with vaccines becoming more accessible and as more people get vaccinated, we’ll be able to gather safely soon. Hopefully.

I miss those guys.

COVID-19 Vaccine, Dose 1 Symptoms

The first night of receiving the vaccine, although I’d massaged my arm at the injection site, my shoulder was developing soreness. This soreness persisted through Friday and Saturday, as well as a barely-noticeable undercurrent of a general malaise. Just enough to make itself known.

My body was working on developing some badass immunity.

I didn’t sleep well Thursday night.

But Friday and Saturday night, the sleep was glorious. That feeling of waking up refreshed: nothing like it.

When Sunday morning arrived, I was feeling fantastic.

My second dose is four weeks after the first dose.

I’m totally ready for this week.

From the Instagram Archive: November 12, 2018

I’m exhausted, so I’m recycling content from another social media platform. And maybe because I’m so épuisée, I’m especially emotional. Which is okay to be. But I’m seriously about to fall asleep. Good night.

This is a newer article than the original post. It seems a pretty good general overview of stuff I read for work. This image links to the PDF of the article, if you’re interested in reading.

Helpless.

I read about cancer every day.
It’s my job, curating data for a database for an app that pathologists use to help diagnose cancer.
I hate cancer. I hate what it does to families, friends. I hate how it crushes them. I hate how helpless I feel, when I see friends whose parents have passed on because of it; when Reilly’s mom feels so nauseated and has to stay in bed after a round of chemo. That it has become a new normal over the past two years. But she gets up and lives the best she can. She takes a deep breath and finds the strength to smile despite everything. Nausea. Weakness. Mouth sores. She makes Sunday dinner and we eat together and laugh. And before we head home we ask about the upcoming week’s treatments or tests—another new normal. We make sure to pray for her.

While my job has no direct impact on her situation, I make sure to do my best at it. It’ll help someone.

So, not completely helpless.

Adventures in Potty Training 20160116

Yesterday morning, we watched and waited, waited and watched. Two days ago, Z didn’t poop, and she usually poops at least once a day. We were anxious for the next #2 event to happen. We knew it was going to happen soon.

All the pees throughout the day occurred without accident, except there was one time when she held it for too long and barely trickled in her underwear. Outside of this, we’re pretty confident that she’s confident about going pee.

We’ve been diligent with taking her to the toilet to poop for the past week, but we had no real way of knowing if she was catching on to the concept of pooping in the toilet. We’ve explained to her each time the function of the toilet; we’ve let her do the flushing; we’ve let her splash in the sink while washing her hands after every trip to the potty. We hope she’s grasping the process. She’s still not talking with many words her father and I understand, but I like to think she’s discussing potty training in addition to her opinions of the Pixar movies she’s probably already memorized.

This past week we’ve all managed to catch colds, and Z seems to have recovered the fastest. Yesterday she was playing and running around the apartment as usual, while Reilly and I committed to our plan to stay in our pajamas and watch movies and rest. And breathe through our mouths. And blow our noses every five minutes. I didn’t know if we’d be alert enough to run Z to the toilet to finish a #2.

So yesterday I was washing dishes and I walked out of the kitchen and saw Z going into the bathroom. I followed her and she walked toward the stool by the toilet. She looked at me, and I helped her onto the toilet.

After a few seconds of sitting on the toilet, she began to go. You know, go. The longish nuggets plopped into the toilet water, and I hugged Z and praised her while it was all happening. I called out to Reilly that she was doing it, she had pooped in the toilet without our having to take her there. Yay!

We cleaned up and flushed the toilet and washed our hands. We gave her a treat, and she continued being wonderful for the rest of the day. I can’t describe how proud we were of her in that moment, and we hope this continues, well, forever.

Adventures in Potty Training 20160115

Date: 15 Jan 2016

Trips to the potty: 5

Successful attempts: 5

Poops: 0

Other notes:

She goes when we put her on the potty! Also, she doesn’t go during her naps. So far. This is a big deal. So far.

We’ve been bare-bumming it most of the week, and we decided to try big girl panties the past couple of days. She’s only been a little reluctant. But she hasn’t pooped or peed in them so far.

Z didn’t poop. We waited all day. But she had those two poops in a row the night before. Really nervous about the next day.