30 January 2013

How I feel most of the time when someone asks me to do something:

I just can't walk away quite as adorably.


27 January 2013

All right, I'm starting to take this whole thing about my gadgets not registering everything personally.

I've taken three very short bike rides in the last couple of days; I rode to Starbucks and back, and I've gone out just to go out. I have an odometer on the bike, but for the hell of it I downloaded the Map My Ride app to my phone so that I'd have a little more data to peek at.

Now, I've walked the route to Starbucks dozens of times. I know that measured on sidewalks, it's 1.6 miles. But the app had me at .78 miles on the bicycle, and even less on the way home. And I felt kind of crappy about that, because it took me over 10 minutes to ride those short distances.

Then today I went out for a short for-the-hell-of-it ride. I went a route I know well on foot, about a mile and a half. I turned the app on jsut before I started, turned it off when I got home, and it read only .56 miles in almost 10 minutes.

I'm slow, but I'm not that slow. And I know it's a lot further than that. My bike's odometer read more than that.

So I fired up the computer and went to the website to look at the maps...and damned if it didn't stop recording about halfway each time. I don't blame the app for that; I blame Dixon, where getting a good cell or satellite signal is like getting a surprise gift.

I edited the maps, adding in the parts the app missed, and felt a whole lot better about it. Today's sub-10 minute ride was actually 1.45 miles. The ride and back to Starbucks was a little over 3 miles, not the just under 1.5 the app read.

But really...I'm starting to think I'm just some weird gadget killer.

And I've got to take longer rides, because so far, it's just been pathetic.


25 January 2013

No, I'm not itching to get a treadmill bike. I'm trying to figure out why anyone would, though... Let's take the thing that lets us walk indoors, slap wheels on it, and then we can walk outdoors! How novel!

I love my toys, but this one just baffles me.

This is how I felt I looked
Today, instead of the car or the motorcycle, I rode my bike to Starbucks. It's all a part of the whole getting into better shape; why waste the gas when I have a perfectly good bike?

I'll tell you why.

Because the road to Starbucks is uphill, both ways. In blasting wind. With snow and ice and a a sharp, sharp 35 degree grade.

Hey. Would I exaggerate?

It's only a mile and a half--or probably only a mile since I'm not on the sidewalks and not looping around the park partway--but I haven't been on it since the Great Colitis Debacle in July. I didn't feel like my heart rate was getting too high, but holy fritos, my legs were burning before I was even halfway there.

I survived. And I'll do it again.

I haven't been slamming myself trying to get into shape RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE. I figure I'll be more likely to stick with it if I ease into things. I'm not obsessive about my diet yet, though I need to be fairly soon; I've noticed that the days I don't eat a lot of processed carbs that my gut does better. I'm moving a bit more; there's a DYI 10K coming up in March benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I'm walking it. I can walk 10K easy.

Worn at the same time; that's a huge difference
My big complaint with it is that, because it's a Nike event, you have to use a Nike device to upload your data after completing the 10K. I bought a Nike FuelBand, but it is so inaccurate I would have to walk an 18K for it to register all my steps. Seriously. I contacted Nike support, and after having me do a soft reset and then a hard reset, the answer was "Well, they're only 80% accurate. We're working on that."

Really? Why the frak wouldn't they work on that before taking peoples' money? You know, like FitBit and Body Media and a bunch of others got mostly right from the moment they launched.

Yeah, not happy. But they also allow the use of the Nike phone app, so I'll wind up using that for the 10K.

I'm only doing it for the t-shirt. If not for the t-shirt, phfft. 10K, 4K, whatever...


Fine, don't believe me...


21 January 2013

Wherein I bang my head on my desk...

This from the writer who blew me off when we were in Vegas in November. The one who blew me off once before that. We're going for our son's 30th birthday in April, not to wait on someone I know will "lose" her phone or "write down the wrong date" on the calendar.

I get points for not saying OH HELL NO, right?

I better.


18 January 2013

Things I don't care about right now.

I don't care one way or the other that Lance Armstrong is now admitting that he doped and lied about it. Partly I don't care because it's a part of the sport culture and he was by far not the only one doing it; he was simply better at it and lied harder and longer about it. Partly I don't care the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter. Mostly I don't care because I just can't be bothered to work up enough giveadamn about the whole thing.

I don't care if the dancing toddler in Starbucks bothers you. She's not hurting anyone or anything; she's not being loud. She's just dancing to the music. I don't care if my not caring bothers you, too. She's cute, and you suck.

I don't care if you're in a "huge hurry." I was there first, in line before you, and therefore am ordering before you. If you're in that big of a hurry, don't come into an almost always busy Starbucks during the lunch rush. Go across the street to Burger King to get some coffee. They're never busy. Or the Starbucks inside the Safeway across the street. But I am not buying your excuse for poor behavior that you're in a huge hurry...I don't give a damn today.

I don't care if some football player had a pretend girlfriend who pretend died, whether or not he knew she wasn't real or not. People create relationships online. Some are very real. People get fooled by some. Sucky people lie. Sometimes people meet up, sometimes they just talk online for years and never meet face to face. It's not new, and it's not especially newsworthy. It's just...gossip.

I don't care if that chocolate cinnamon bread I tried today has a bazillion calories. It was damned good and totally worth it. But I'm always going to know how good it is, and will have to restrain myself from buying more tomorrow.



12 January 2013

I didn't feel especially spiffy today, but headed over to Starbucks anyway; even with a gurgling gut I figured I could sit there and work on rewrites, and thought the change of scenery might do me some good.

There was a group of kids in line ahead of me, ranging in ages from 17 or so on down to about 11, and I was behind the youngest of the two. The kids all seemed to be making orders in pairs, and the two ahead of me were ordering together.

The guys at the registers took them seriously, which gets them bonus points from me. I've been behind kids trying to order in fast food places before, and the teens at the registers often look right over them to the next adult, even when the kids are obviously trying to put in an order of their own. looked really good...
These two kids ordered the same thing, some giant strawberry concoction that would probably give me diabetes, and then the boy asked how he would know when their drinks were ready.

"We'll call your name," the guy answered, cup and pen in hand. "What is it?"

"Sponge Bobeesha," he said with a straight face.

His companion, a girl about 12, piped up, "Mine is Fried Chickeniqua."

The two guys behind the counter lost was a full minute before they could stop laughing enough to take my order.

Now the kids...they were smart. Instead of hovering around the counter to wait like everyone else, they went to the other side of the store and sat down. When their drinks were ready the barista looked at the cup and muttered,"Sponge Bobeesha?"

"You have to call it out," one of the guys that had been on register told her.

The place was busy; all the Mac people were lined up on one wall, their little apples glowing, and there were several people hanging near the counter waiting for their drinks. She obviously did not want to, but she took a deep breath and called them out.

"Sponge Bobeesha! Fried Chickeniqua!"

I have never seen so many adults so close to synchronized spittakes nor heard as much abrupt laughter as I did then.

And now...I so totally need a really good Starbucks name...


11 January 2013


Last year I was going to participate in the SF Bay Area Avon Walk, and y'all funded it and I was all set to go...until I wound up in the ER and spent the entire weekend of that walk--and beyond--sicker than I've ever been. I've attempted 3 times, I think, to go to SF and spend a couple of days making up those miles, but either weather or real life has intruded, so it has not yet happened.


Unless something big happens, I'll be walking them on January 23rd and 24th. Since the beginning of the year I've been peeking in at, waiting for a decent room rate, and connected with one tonight, so I grabbed it. Funny enough, last night when I looked, I couldn't find a room for under $250. Tonight...nice hotel right near Union Square.

I love walking around San Francisco. You get to see the most interesting people and tons of funky and funny things.

Like this.

There are some things you just don't do in SF, and a stretch limo in most parts of the city is one of them.

'Course, you're just as liable to see stuff like these guys. An until recently the guy with his pants down wasn't breaking the law.

Public nudity was allowed in San Francisco until late last year, when they decided enough was enough, because a few guys who could control their own freaky little impulses ruined it for those who were going about it quite quietly and mostly tastefully.

But...I digress.

I like walking in the Bay Area, and am looking forward to getting these miles behind me.

I've heard from more than one person that I don't have to do this; it's not like I intentionally bailed on the Avon Walk. It certainly wasn't by choice.

I know I don't have to. I want to. Y'all paid for those miles, the least I can do is walk them.And as long as I'm walking them, it might as well be in my favorite city.

No, this won't be me...I can't ride a unicycle...
Once I've walked them, I won't feel so squirrely about fundraising for 2013*...because I registered for it again. This year the Avon Walk is in September, so I have tons of time to get extra ready for it. I'm ready now--I have no doubt that I can walk the distance, which is why I'm doing it in a couple pf weeks--but I want to be really ready this year.

2013 is the year I get my personal chit in order. I'm tired of feeling a little off all the time, I'm tired of getting sick so often, and I'm tired of doing something fun and then getting sick because of it. Travel is a problem, because I get sick after. And dammit, I want to go places. I need to do whatever I need to do to change that, and a lot of my free time over the last couple of months has been researching and reading about the various illnesses that have kicked me in the asterisk over the last 15 years, and much of it seems to boil down to diet.

Two of the big ones, FMS and all my digestive disturbances, may be connected, and at the very least there have been some major (albeit anecdotal) successes treating them with a diet rid of most processed foods. FMS in particular, I've been reading about people going Paleo and being pain free within a couple of seems to be a problem with gluten, although it's not celiac related. It's certainly worth trying, and I don't have anything to lose (other than some addictions I'm better off without. I really need to break the diet soda addiction...and make no mistake, I am addicted to it.)

I'm still learning about it...but phase one of this is changing my diet slowly (it would be better for the FMS to just do it, but might be too much of a shock to my gut, so I'll start in bits and pieces) and seeing where it takes me.

To that, I'm hitting the training again; I have the walking thing down pretty well, but I'm getting back on the bicycle--the Spouse Thingy has fit it with nifty baskets so I can take it shopping, even--and the Street Strider, and the Trikke, and working on my cardio.

In March I'm doing a 10K.

In April the Boy turns 30, and we're taking him back to Vegas, where I will walk my asterisk off. [And where he intends to jump out of a plane; this alone will be good cardio for me, since I'll be on the ground with my heart rate at nearly 200 until he hits the ground safely (he has wanted to do this for years, so I will support it. I just don't have the cojones to do it myself...) ]

In May DKM and I are doing a half marathon to benefit the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, which means a lot to me since my mom has had both heart attacks and strokes.

In June DKM and I are crewing for the SGK 3 Day again, chasing walkers around with a van. I might scare them a little, but I promise to not run any over. On purpose.

And in September, the Avon Walk.

By September my goal is to be fit. Losing weight would be nice, but more than anything, I want to be fit.

Well, more than anything I want to win the lottery, but being fit is a much more realistic goal.

*Can't help it, I won't feel right raising funds again until I fulfill my personal obligation to last years' walk.


6 January 2013

I actually feel a little bad for laughing at this.

But just a little...


5 January 2013

This, boys and girls, is a glaring reason why everyone needs health insurance. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s an example of Billing Gone Wild, and why the average Joe can’t even hope to pay off an emergency.

July 2nd, the Spouse Thingy takes me to the ER for what turns out to be a nasty bout of colitis. We were there for about 3 hours, maybe a little bit more. While I had what I consider to be attentive care—I never got to the point where I was in real pain after the first injection of dilaudid and was checked on with reasonable frequency—I saw the ER doc 3 times, perhaps 4. I saw the nurse more frequently, I’m guessing 5 or 6 times. Two different ER techs; one to bring me the contrast solution to drink for a cat scan, the other to actually come get me and take me for the scan and to take me back to my room.

The cat scan: $13,230
Dilaudid, 2 injections: $430.00
Antibiotic injection: $215.00
Physician Fee: $7153.00
Lab Work: $2576.00
IV Bag: $101.00
Office-being checked in: $1000.00
Fees I can’t figure out: $2300

Total: right around $28000.00

Now here’s the kicker. We have insurance, pretty good insurance. We also have military insurance that picks up what the primary company doesn’t. And the military insurance company sends a This Is Not A Bill statement once everything is settled and paid out.

Just under $28,000 was billed to both companies.

Our primary insurance paid $1750.00…that’s not an error. They paid one thousand seven hundred fifty dollars. The military insurance paid. $50.02. Fifty dollars and two cents.

The most we will owe, if we are ever even billed for it, which experience tells me we won’t be: $30.00

The hospital agreed to this. They accepted less than two thousand dollars for services they value at $28,000.00.

If you don’t have insurance, and you wind up in the ER for the same thing I did, you’re not going to be on the hook for just $2000—you’re going to be on the hook for $28,000.

Something about that is very, very wrong.


4 January 2013

File this under stupid things that make me weirdly happy.

I went into Walmart to look for an insulated lunch bag, because, dammit, I’m going to start taking healthy food with me when I go to Starbucks to write. Shuddup. I am, too.

As soon as I got past the entryway I spotted what appeared to be a couple of aisles of school supplies up front, and school supplies always call to me.

I don’t need anything. I have paper and pens and notebooks and other assorted school-type things in my office. I have a stack of virgin notebooks, and an unopened pack of pens, but went to look anyway, because I use pens a lot, and well…they called to me.

I mostly glanced—no pens—and headed towards the end of the aisle where I would then go lunch bag hunting, when I spotted the stacks of Composition Notebooks.

You already have a STACK of notebooks, I told myself.

But these are different! These are red and yellow and blue, and I don’t have any like THESE! I replied to myself.

I’m about 85% certain I did not say those things out loud.

Okay, maybe 70%.

But, I was strong. I left the aisle and headed towards that which I had gone shopping for, and found it not too far away. And as I picked out a pretty purple insulated bag from the massive color choices (um, purple, and a Disney Cars oriented bag) I realized I needed a small ice pack, because…warm leftover meat, yuck.

My brain then formed an image of where I had just spotted some blue ice packs, and I went back to the aisle where the Composition Notebooks were stacked. The blue ice I needed was right next to them, and as I bent over to pick one up, I spotted the price on the notebooks.

Eighty cents.

You would be an idiot to pass that up, my notebook-loving self pointed out. That’s practically free!

Indeed, agreed my stack-of-notebooks-noting self. They will be quite happy living amongst the Mead notebooks, the Moleskin notebooks, and the stenographer’s pads.

They will.



1 January 2013

2012 wasn't the greatest year; it wasn't horrible, but looking back, it could have been a whole lot better.

This time last year I was sick; not awful sick, but enough that I remember it. It started the day after Christmas and rolled right on through to the first couple of days. I had no way of knowing it, but it was the first salvo, so to speak. I was sick at least twice a month right through to July, when I got sicker than I have ever been in my life.

Given that I have a history of chronic pain issues, all the assorted childhood illnesses, and a damned brain tumor, that's saying quite a bit.

So 2012 was not especially kind to me.

It was also not especially cruel. There was a lot of fun sandwiched between the bouts of ick.

The Boy took us to Reno, where I discovered I really kind of like spiced rum and coke, even if it doesn't like me back.

DKM and I did a walk for MS, where I got a spiffy orange t-shirt and a surprise Hey You Finished medal...and I am an attention whore, so shiny medals make me happy.

Two of my sisters spent some time in SF and the Spouse Thingy and I got to spend a day with them, which was a smidge beyond awesome.

DKM and I drove a sweep van for the SF 3 Day and had an absolute blast, and she never tried to clock me upside the head with a can of Diet Coke, though I expected it at some point, because I can seem like I'm pissed off when I drive, even if I'm not.

The Spouse Thingy and I did a lot of walkign around SF, which always makes me happy.

The three of us went to Las Vegas, the first real family vacation in forever; I was blown away by Cirque du Soleil's LOVE show and laughed so hard at a Lewis Black performance that I damn near peed my pants.

We had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving, and then a Whovian Christmas, which should totally become a tradition.

All in all, the good outweighed the bad. I still got sick a few times after the Bog Horrible in July, and I enjoyed =coughcough= a colonoscopy in September, but considering how bad it could have been and how bad it was for a few friends... I'll take it.

Normally I'd be all HAPPY NEW YEAR, but instead this year I think I'll simply wish for you a warm, wonderful, healthy, quiet, uneventful-unless-it's-spiffily-awesome, light and love-filled 2013.

And that's kind of the same thing.

But, perhaps, a little better.