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[We interrupt the previously scheduled rant for another rant.]

At some point, if you are so lucky, you will be old. You may already be old. Somebody you love may already be old. Old people, being people, require medical care, and are often treated – because this is basically what primary care in our society consists of – with medications.

Thing is, old bodies handle medicine differently than young ones.

Take the liver... [3,340 Words] )

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(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:29 am
carmenbeaudry: (Default)
[personal profile] carmenbeaudry
Exercise has slowed down until my leg is better. I had a follow up visit with the Dr. and there's no complications, but it's still swollen and hurts, so I'm not walking long distances and doing the wall sit portion of the exercise challenge is right out. I'm still doing the tricep dips, although they're done in stages instead of all at once.

Food is going better. I made a huge batch of beef stew, which lasted us most of last week, and took some to my dad and stepmom. He's been having problems with his appetite, and he ate a whole bowl of stew, so I felt good about that. We also made oatmeal cookies and lemon pudding, but before anyone thinks this will set me back dietwise, I've found that if I allow myself treats, I don't tend to overeat. I haven't lost any more weight, but that's not really the point, and I haven't gained any.

I've had more energy and the depression/anxiety has been better this week. Work is going, and I don't feel like I'm getting too far behind, even with having one day a week going to see Dad, and the day after recovering.

I'm calling it a win.
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[personal profile] freckles_and_doubt
I am apparently at a stage in my personal and professional development where I can, calmly and quietly, spent the better part of half an hour gently talking down the angry student protest leader who has come into my office to discuss his options in dropping a course. Not that he was overtly angry, it's more a sort of subliminal, simmering rage and outrage, but even with no voices raised and no overt threats I am still shaking gently in a startled-deer-trembling-in-the-bushes sort of manner, and it's half an hour after his departure. There is something a little troubling about presenting the rules as they apply to a particular curriculum decision, and being told flatly that he will not accept that, the rule is unfair to black students and will therefore be ignored. Also, that if the VC's office doesn't rule favourable on a particular outstanding issue tangentially related to the query, said angry student protest leader will be referring it back to the student body for action. I suppose I misspoke when I said there were no overt threats, actually.

The problem wasn't even the anger and denial of the rules, really. The problem was the half hour, which was the length of time it took me to get into his head the actual implications of the request he was making. It's as if the political bubble insulates him so absolutely from the world (or at least from the ideologically suspect upper echelons of the illegitimate institution) that the actual logic of the response can't permeate. I am also by this stage very good at reining in my somewhat characteristic high-speed polysyllabic babble, and I don't think it was me. It's just that my explanations were occurring in counterpoint to the polyphonic political debate going on in his own head.

I am very tired and have a headache, but he left enlightened and actually smiling, so score one for me. My subject line is from the Magnetic Fields, "I Die", but I promise it's not at that stage yet.

possible topics for that 2nd PhD

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:51 am
kareina: (BSE garnet)
[personal profile] kareina
In an attempt to narrow down my choices, I have gone through all of the emails my potential supervisor and I have exchanged, and taken notes. I think this is everything we have discussed:

* We are looking at doing some sort of Provenance study using Laser-Ablation ICP-MS plus or minus other analytical techniques, plus or minus experimental archaeology.

* We have narrowed down the area of interest to be Scandinavia, with a possible emphasis on Swedish objects, plus or minus Faroe Islands, Island, and/or Greenland.

* We have narrowed down the time period to be Viking age (or earlier) (though Medieval has also been mentioned).

* We have mentioned the following types of objects, and I should choose only one as the focus of the project:

* Lead spindle whorls
* Steatite spindle whorls
* Steatite cooking vessels
* Glass vessels
* Glass in Viking beads
* Garnet in Viking beads
* Garnet in other jewelry

Being Positive

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:17 pm
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[personal profile] hlmauera
September 18, 2017

Well then, let me try to get back on track. I woke up to the sound of rain in the middle of the night. It's been so long, it took me a minute to identify it. Then this morning the fire danger had been reset to low. Thank goodness! I hope it helps to put out the fires raging around the state.
I chatted with Jaymie again this morning and we are looking forward to getting together next week for dinner and company. I'm planning another open house on National Card Making day- October 7th. That will also be fun.

I had a lovely lunch with Jana today. Then we went directly into the all college meeting. Our new dean hit exactly the right note between doom and gloom deficit picture and the potential opportunities. She made it a collaborative challenge and sang glowing praises for the innovative programs we have. It was very well done! When I got back to my desk I found a 25% off coupon for the Eugene Ballet's performance of Mowgli. So I bought my ticket and I'm super excited to go (It premiered in Eugene in 2013 so I was excited to see it come back) . After work I talked to Jay and discovered that I'll get to see him in October. I did some grocery shopping and laundry tonight. I also made a couple of cards for the SoM.

Oh and mom and dad visited an alpaca farm and mom's bringing me yarn!

In baby steps it goes forward

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:03 pm
kareina: (BSE garnet)
[personal profile] kareina
I am making tiny progress on preparing my application for a 2nd PhD through the University of Durham. Today I actually started filling in the on-line application form, so that the basics are ready when I finally have my project proposal and budget ready to attach. I have exchanged a number of letters with my potential advisor, who has written to various people in her network and forwarded me their replies. She sent me a copy of a very interesting PhD thesis by one of her colleagues who studied "war booty" from the Roman Iron Age, using LA-ICP-MS to study the weapons that had been deposited in a heap in a lake. What really amazed me about his thesis is that he did his data processing by hand, in a spreadsheet, since his department didn't have a licence for a program like iolite, which is what I use for my LA-ICP-MS data processing.

I also looked at the web page for the Swedish student financial aid people. It looks like it is possible for me to get a stipend from them to study in the UK, but only until I am 57, so I had better do it now and not wait. The stipend isn't huge, but it will make a difference in paying for lab work and possibly even getting to Durham now and then to actually see my advisor in person.

The only reason I don't already have a project proposal is that there are too many cool project ideas that we have been tossing back and forth at one another. The good news is that I will enjoy whatever project we settle on, the bad news is that I can only pick one. garnets? glass? soapstone? beads? cooking toys? Something Viking Age, anyway, and using Swedish artifacts. That much we know.

Some of you who have been reading this since I first got hired to run the LA-ICP-MS lab might remember that while waiting for the delivery of the machines I had contacted some archaeologists in Uppsala wondering if they might be interested in doing some collaborative research on some garnet-bearing sword hilts etc. It turns out that my potential advisor knows them, and is good friends with one of them.

The more letters we exchange, the more convinced I am that this is a chance of a lifetime, and I should go for it.

And, to make things even better, AMT was fun tonight, as always! I love the gymnastics training. Never mind that I am the worst kid in the class, I am showing improvement every week, and enjoying it.

I stopped by an open house today--one of the houses in our neighbourhood is for sale--the third since we bought our place (if you count ours). That house is slightly older than ours (1964 vs '66), not as big, weirdly laid out (who sets it up so that one has to go through the kitchen into and then through a bedroom to get to the garage and laundry area? Why did they take off the back door? They also have much, much, much less land than we have--just a small yard suitable for little kids to play in. I am so happy we got the house we did. The highlight of the house was a wall mounted can-opener in the kitchen, that, from the look of it, must have been put up when the house was brand new. but probably hasn't been used in years, since most "canned" food in Sweden comes in cardboard boxes, and those few items that are in metal cans have a self-opening lid.


Sep. 18th, 2017 09:28 am
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[personal profile] hlmauera
This is the post I posted Saturday night when I got home.  I was so tired and discouraged.

"I also quite clearly realized that once Durin and Ceridwen step down, there really isn't anyone who will care much if I'm there. I have no meaningful role to fill- I can't work hard enough to be anything special. Some people already look at me like I'm something they scraped off their shoe. I used to think I was a good attendant but today I realized that's not really true. I don't have the youthful energy and enthusiasm to put on the show with all it's pomp and circumstance. I was shoved out of my role several times by people who wanted to do it better and I let them. As an introvert with no particular skill and very little time to devote to learning a new one, I'm just dead weight. The SCA will be fine without me."

I thought on it quite a bit yesterday and posted:

"I was very tired and discouraged yesterday. I don't intend to completely leave the SCA yet but life requires more attention, so time I can give the SCA will be limited. This limit makes it less satisfying because I also can't give the time needed to become expert in any art. Being a generalist is not very respected in the SCA- I don't make flashy garb, paint beautiful images, weave lovely trim, make weapons or other obviously noticeable items. What I do is make well fitted, sturdy, useable period garments and give my time and resources as best I can to support events and people. I know how to do many things but don't have the time to devote a lot of time to things that are not strictly practical.
I also am not very good at being social or gregarious. So I tend to fade to the background, which makes me easy to ignore or overlook. While I understand the why, it's still incredibly hard to feel alone in such a crowd. Hence the discouragement."

Jonna replied to this:

"I suppose the question becomes, why are you there? To get noticed? To be in the foreground? To socialize and enjoy stepping out of the real world for a bit? To serve because you like to serve? To have a chance to make pretty things? It seems maybe you need to assess the "why" of the SCA for you, and what you want out of it. I liked doing the pretty things, and I had a talent for dealing with the mechanics of the admin...but ultimately found that I enjoyed doing that more (and for more satisfaction from) doing it in the real world. Thinking about the "why" may help you decide if the SCA is the place to find that satisfaction. Interestingly enough, you were doing quite well with positive posts....right up until you went to an event."

A reply to my original from Godwyn/Forrest helped me to focus a bit:

"There were several times throughout the day yesterday that I would wonder for a second if their highnesses were being taken care of and then I remembered you were there and didn't worry about them anymore because I knew you would be taking care of anything that came up."

This struck such a happy cord that I realized that it hit a the crux of the issue.

Intellectually, I have always loved the learning and making part of our game. I also love the connection with people that I've created. But emotionally, I think Godwyn hit it on the head for me. I want to be a person that people know they can rely on. I want have a place and be important, not in a "look at me" kind of way, but in the way of a pillar of support. I think that's why feeling pushed aside and feeling like I had no place made me so discouraged.

Jonna reminded me that to be that type of pillar takes a time commitment which is a conundrum with where I currently am in life.   I just don't have a lot of time to spend.  I have to be realistic in my expectations when that is the case.  She told me to "be kind" to myself.  I'm not so good at that.  I have such high expectations of myself, I think I should be able to do it all- but really, it's not possible.  There will be more pondering and cogitating on this matter I think.

Being Positive (multi-day post)

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:51 am
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[personal profile] hlmauera
September 11, 2017

I had a blood draw this morning in preparation for my annual doctor's visit next week. I got to spend a little extra time in reading and quiet meditation. The technician did a marvelous job. She got me in one stick in my elbow...I don't remember the last time I didn't have to have a butterfly in my hand to give blood. People are trickling back from summer vacations and it's nice to see more friendly faces again.

Hmmm... maybe two Thai ice teas was a bit too much caffeine. I feel jittery. I'm keeping my mouth shut though because last time I had too much caffeine I was quite verbose in a Squirrel on coffee kind of way (Hoodwinked).

Noon time positives....I got into the HEDA Salesforce sandbox at least temporarily and have been able to work on some training today. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the scope of this project but this does help some. People are amusing: Air quality observation from Alan Roberts: Looks ok today. Tomorrow, it will reach "3 packs of unfiltered camel cigarettes a day" level. By the weekend, it will probably be back at "assisted suicide" levels. Also I got a lovely affirmation from an unexpected place person today and it was a real mood lifter. My boss lit into me this morning about not telling her I was going to be late and then had to do a little back pedaling when she realized that she hadn't checked where she'd told us to post our leave. There was no apology but I'll take my satisfaction where I can get it.

I enjoyed a quiet night. I spent some time making cards using the new Christmas Quilt bundle. I made three cards total, all of which I like. I also finished all the HEDA training. It has been a sober day of remembrance as well. There have been lots of posts of Sept 11, 2001,  that day we never want to forget but don't really like to remember either.

September 12, 2017

I am so thankful for a sweet friend who has been offering advice and encouragement and who checks in with me almost daily. I hope I am as encouraging to her as she is to me.
I have a meeting with my Salesforce advisor in a few minutes to discuss the project in the terms my dean needs to see. I'm overwhelmed and having trouble figuring out how to get started. I'm hopeful that he can give me some direction and he was super about getting back to me as soon as he knew I was drowning.
I'm glad I have a coworker who is willing to listen to me trying to figure out what to do next.

I spent a good portion of the day working on a work flow diagram recommended by my Salesforce advisor. It's progress anyway. It's also amazingly complex. So far the people I've run it by think it makes sense. Yeah me! So many issues have been sorted out today that I wasn't originally involved in but had to solve. I'm good at that. I'm irritated about some things but I'm chosing to address it with humor instead of anger. This has lead to some fun exchanges with coworkers who understand.

Tonight we made jerky for Trudi Trudchen Stuber and calculated whether the lowest lottery would be enough to pay off the mortgage and live off of (no). Of course we'd have to buy tickets first. Barring a lottery win we comforted each other on the difficulties inherent in each other's jobs. It doesn't fix anything but it's nice to have sympathy given. Then I dropped off some snail adhesive refills with my mom and helped her set up her new Charge 2 Fitbit. When I came home I worked on cards for a couple of cousins. Doing for others helps take my mind off my own worries.

September 13, 2017

Good morning, I woke up with a hymn in my heart and that always makes the day start well. It's Wednesday and we are halfway through the week. I decided last night just to let this job stuff roll. I have a job, I will continue to have a job in all likelihood. I have no idea what all it will consist of but I know I'll be working on Salesforce and otherwise filling in with other tasks I've probably done before. All the angst and anxiety about my PD just isn't worth it. If, when I get done with the big push on Salesforce, my other duties are not what I want, I can look for another job. Or maybe things will sort themselves out in the mean time. There is no sense borrowing trouble or stealing joy from today by worrying about tomorrow. I realize that this is easy to say and not so easy to do but I'm working on it.
I was blessed by yet another sweet, short, text conversation with Jaymie who keeps helping me put things in perspective. I look forward to our morning "chats" so much now.

I tried a new shampoo and conditioner today. My hair feels great and looks good but I'm not very happy with the smell.  I'm going to try mixing essential oils with it to see if I can make the fragrance more likeable.

I had a lovely luncheon sitting on the patio by myself. It was quiet and refreshing. I've done a little more workflow mapping today and have talked to several people who have confirmed that it works so far for them. I've had lots of email requests but so far it's been a pretty low stress day.

The afternoon was busy and productive. I left on time and had plenty of time to make and eat dinner and walk to meeting. It was a wonderful meeting, as usual. I remembered to start the water when I got home from work so the front flowerbeds and the garden got watered. I finished all the seams on Ceridwen's tunic and the hems at the wrist. I only need to do the hem and attach the trim.

September 14, 2017

I posted some information about the biology of sex and engaged with some people in a respectful conversation about how that translates to biblical scripture.  It was informational really- because I've heard too many of my religious friends say disparagingly that sex is obvious at birth.  I wanted to make the point that it's really, really not.

Oh man. This day could die a fiery death so I'm hunting for positives while I try to breathe on my lunch break.
I guess I'm glad I'm needed. I'm not a 98 lb weakling so that emergency furniture move that has to happen immediately is something I can handle (not sure about the 500 lb table top but I'll figure it out- breathe!).
This morning I had a hymn on my mind again (337, Counted in, if you are curious). Anxiety levels are high today but at least I am aware and can address it more rationally.

I am tired- physically and mentally but I got almost all of the furniture moved and I got the help lined up to disassemble the one piece I couldn't manage. My new helper was impressed I was able to empty it out so quickly. I'm glad someone appreciates the work I do- really, not sarcastic. It's not my first rodeo here. I got to get a nice hug from a friend and catch up for a few minutes. It's good to remember that Tam is back on campus- we used to take walks together during the day when we worked together. Maybe we can do that again once in a while. She had some solid advice that I will work on. Now I'm debating whether I should go get sushi before I go home and sew or whether I should just go home and have a cheese quesadilla for dinner. Sushi sounds good but it's definitely more expensive. I can afford it right now.

Well it's a little late but I just finished Ceridwen's tunic a day early! I discovered today how great a support network I have. They can't fix things but they support me through them. It's seriously larger than I imagine especially when I'm down I really appreciate all of them. I got to see my mighty hunters at work. Simon brought in a huge moth from the garage and, of course let it get away. Have no fear though, after much romping, stalking, and caterwauling by both cats, Helix successfully caught, and ate it.

September 15, 2017

Well, today I find out what my job is going to be. I've decided to try to not stress about it. As Tam Belknap told me yesterday- there will be something about the job I like. I just have to find it. It should all be fairly familiar as well unless something dramatic happens which I'm not expecting. I do have butterflies. I'm going to be fairly busy between now and my meeting though so no dwelling on it. Yeah for the end of ambiguity.

It's Friday, anyway! Since I finished my sewing last night, I have time tonight to do whatever I want after I get my stuff together for the event.
That may mean mowing, but you know- I like the look of a fresh mowed lawn and it doesn't take too long.

Yeesh! That was a lot of angst for a whole lot of nothing. My position really hasn't changed that dramatically but they actually have added some decision making responsibility, just in different ways. There is a lot of streamlining so somethings I won't be doing, just because they don't need doing any more. More later, I have to go move furniture again.  OUCH! I just got my fingers stuck underneath three table tops. I don't think anything is seriously damaged but I may lose a fingernail and have some good bruises. I currently have lines across my fingers in two places.  But all the furniture has been moved.

I had a nice lunch with a coworker today. We got all the furniture moved and I got the attic space organized. My meeting with my supervisor went fine. There were no major changes, not even the ones I expected. She did encourage my input and will continue to work on it with the feedback I've given her. She also wants me to continue to think on it and we'll meet again in a couple of weeks. She also assured me that everyone is feeling the strain of the ambiguity and change. I think it was her way of telling me to toughen up but it worked all the same.

September 16, 2017

I got out the door on the dot of 6:30 which was exactly when I wanted to leave.  Then I got to have Chai to speed my on my way.  The event is 2 hrs and 54 minutes away and I want to be there no later than 9:30.  It's a fairly easy drive down i-5.  I've packed a lunch but don't have much else.  I'll be busy so I won't be posting mid day.

Such an interesting and mixed day today.
I was watching Sverre on the field as marshal interacting with the fighters and the royalty and I realized quite clearly, he's ready. Apparently the counsel and crown agreed because he's on vigil for knighthood now.

The impromptu bardic circle was lovely to listen to. I didn't know the music so I couldn't really sing along but it was fun.

I appreciate Vestia Antonia Aurelia popping by several times with hugs and kind words today. I have met some wonderful people in the SCA.

There are emotional and touching moments at these events, like Durin cutting off pieces of his belt today to give to fighters in the list (He's assuming it's his last reign- five is about enough) and awards given that thrill and surprise the hearts of the recipients. Beautiful moments!

I am struggling to figure out what to do with the SCA in my life.  I don't have enough time for everything and I don't know that the SCA needs me.  I posted a whole angsty post about it which doesn't fall into the being positive posts but I may post in a separate post.

September 17, 2017

It's raining finally!  They are expecting a drencher of a system to be here in the PNW for the next 1-2 weeks.  I'm so glad, we need it to put out all the fires and clear the air.

I had a quiet day. When my alarm went off it made me cry, literally. I had a headache, my stomach hurt and I ached all over. So I called and let people know I would be staying home, took some anti inflammatories, and went back to sleep for 3.5 hours. When I woke again my head felt a little better and my stomach issue resolved itself. I still ache tonight but I'm guessing that it's the weather change causing that. I decided to slice up the pile of tomatoes and get them on the dehydrator. Then I worked on finishing the tunic I had carried with me yesterday. When I finished it, I did my dishes and made up some food for the week. Then I was able to sit and knit. I maybe should have made some cards but my brain isn't working creatively today. Now I'm going to put the clean clothes away and go to bed.

I sure missed meeting this morning.  I needed to sleep off the headache and other issues but I could have used the uplifting of the spirit.  I'm glad I feel that way.  I'd worry about my own spirit if I didn't.

a nice, easy day

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:21 pm
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[personal profile] kareina
Didn't get as much done as I had planed, due to an unexpected 2.5 hour nap after lunch (and thus didn't manage to get out the door on time to go to folk music), but I made some progress on my great colour-coding of sheet music to make it easier to learn to play the songs on the dulcimer project.

I had much fun at folk dance class tonight. A couple of my friends who normal play folk music and don't dance have decided to start dancing with us, and I am delighted that they did. Then I came home and checked registrations for Norrskensfesten, and we had two new sign up since yesterday--one is a friend from the Helsinki area of Finland, who is pretty much always playing music at events, so he will be a delightful addition to the event.

Does anyone know where to find "saved drafts" on Dreamwidth? When I pushed the "post" button a bit ago the page asked me "would you like to restore from a saved draft?" and gave me the title of yesterday's post (plenty of newcomers), and I was confused, as I remember actually posting that. I went to another tab, checked, and the post doesn't show, so I returned to the first tab, intending to click "yes" to the question, but it had vanished, and I can't find any buttons anywhere to find the draft...

[sci hist] A Most Remarkable Week

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:52 am
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
(h/t Metafilter)

This link should take you to the audio player for The Moth, cued to a story, "Who Can You Trust", 12 minutes long.

The Moth, if you didn't know, is an organization that supports storytelling – solo spoken word prose – true stories. This story is told by Dr. Mary-Clare King, the discoverer of BRC1. It concerns a most extraordinary week in her life, when pretty much everything went absurdly wrong and right at all once. It is by turns appalling and amazing and touching and throughout hilarious.

It's worth hearing her tell herself before the live audience. But if you prefer transcript, that's here – but even the link is a spoiler.


I love Fridays!

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:54 pm
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[personal profile] kareina
The best part about working half-time is that I get Fridays off (why work five 4-hour days, when I can work four 5-hour days?). This means that I get an extra day on the weekend to accomplish whatever needs doing. Today I:

*washed my bed sheets and underwear
*cleaned out the gutters on the house (boy, did that need doing)
*put the deck furniture into the shed for the winter (we are into rainy autumn weather now, we probably won't need it again before the snow flies)
*cooked a yummy lunch for myself (kale, broccoli, zucchini, broad beans, carrot, garlic, alfalfa sprouts, almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, eggs, butter, and a hint of curry spices)
*made a bread dough to bake tomorrow for the Frostheim picnic
*read an amazing short story (if you haven't read it yet, read the prequil first)
*cooked 7 liters of black currants down to 3.5 liters of jam
*finished the painting on the bridges of my hammer dulcimer

By the time I was done with that it was 17:00 and David was home from work, so we carried the extra desk downstairs, where it will have its top replaced with Caroline's nice table top before it is taken to the apartment so they will have a pretty table, with raise-lower legs. Then our friends Birger and Siv from the Luleå Hembygdsgille dropped by for a visit, and I showed her some of the wool fabric I have left after having used some for costumes for me, and she liked both the brown/indigo wool and the light blue/grey wool twill enough that she bought both. She plans to make a viking dress before Norrskensfesten to go with the broaches she bought at the Lofotr viking museum in Lofoten this summer. (I really need to go back there!)

After they left and David went to the other house took the time to clean up, package up the jam into plastic containers for the freezer, and then sat down to the computer to tell the world (via FB) how wonderful the story I read today was. Seriously, while I love all of [personal profile] hrj's writing, Hyddwen (and Hoywverch, which I read on Wednesday) were even more my cup of tea than usual. I think it was the delightful blend of very traditional story telling and classic tropes with a powerful loving relationship of a sort which might have been unexpected in such a time period, but instead felt totally natural, normal, and right. I wish I had read this story while still in high school. Sadly, she hadn't gotten around to writing it that long ago.

After that I updated the Norrskensfesten spreadsheet to show the latest registrations, and worried for a bit because we have only 22 people registered so far. Then I checked last year's spreadsheet, and as of 15 September we had only 21 people registered, but by the time the event happened that had grown to 100 people, so perhaps we will yet get enough to cover the cost of the hall (not that it truly matters--Frostheim can afford the site if we don't, but it is nice if an event doesn't lose money). Of course, the fact that this year the event is two weeks earlier than last year means that I can't really compare the same date, but I am trying to let these numbers comfort me anyway, since worry never helps.

Now I should do my yoga, gather a few things to bring to the picnic tomorrow (especially wool, as it is likely to rain, at least some), and get some sleep.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I have a recollection of hearing a filk song, I think from a tape, that had a climactic line or repeated like in the refrain, to the effect of "And that's what cities get from trains". I have an impression it was a Leslie Fish song, but I don't know that for sure.

Not having any joy of google. Does anybody recognize it?
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
(h/t Metafilter)

I just heard about Senior House. Goddamn.

Also. I hadn't realized that dealing with the administration in his capacity as Senior House's housemaster is what drove Henry Jenkins from MIT. Goddamn.

I am surprisingly angry and sad about this, given that I'm not a SH affiliate.

The shutdown of Senior House would be bad news, by itself. This is appalling:
The questionnaire, the Healthy Minds Survey, was administered by the University of Michigan. Many schools around the country give it to students as a way to pinpoint problems on campus and decide how best to allocate resources. When MIT administered it in 2015, they told students that it was a confidential survey intended to help them. One of the chancellor’s assistants who had lived in Senior House when she was an undergraduate went to Senior House and specifically requested that the residents take it. They did, in large numbers.

What they didn’t know—and what they couldn’t have known from reading the consent form that accompanied it—was that MIT had embedded metadata that allowed the administration to pinpoint the location of those filling out the questionnaire, enabling them to segment the results by dorm. The only question about dorm type in the survey was vague—“What kind of dorm do you live in? Small, large, off campus?”—but by tracking the metadata, Barnhart and the administration were able to see exactly where respondents lived.

It was this data that enabled Barnhart to see what she called a troubling hot spot of drug use. “If it wasn’t a direct violation, it was at least a violation of the spirit of informed consent,” Johnson says.
In light of that...
As Senior House students spread out across campus this year, former advisers worry that they’ll be at even greater risk. They can reach out to MIT’s mental health services if they need it, the chancellor says.
Is there some reason that MIT students should trust MIT Med to keep their information confidential? When MIT just used the confidential results of a "Healthy Minds Survey", which was advertised as a way of seeing where resources were needed, to eliminate resources from vulnerable populations? And the relevant IRB gave it a pass?

(Dear MIT students, and alums concerned about them: it is apparently hypothetically possible for students on the default MIT student health insurance ("extended" plan) to see therapists unaffiliated with MIT, but it has a pretty punative copay:
If you are covered by the MIT Student Extended Plan, and you see a mental health clinician who participates in the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO, your first 12 visits in a calendar year are covered in full (100%). After that, you will have a $25 copay for each visit.

If you are covered by the MIT Student Extended Plan, and you see a mental health clinician who does NOT participate in the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) PPO, your first 12 visits in a calendar year are covered at 100 percent of the BCBS allowed amount. After that, your insurance will cover 80 percent of the allowed amount, and you will pay the other 20 percent. For all of your visits, your clinician may bill you for the difference between the BCBS allowed amount and his or her charges. This is something you should discuss with your clinician ahead of time.
I don't know for certain what BCBS's "allowed amount" is, but I know they're paying master's level therapists about $85 per therapy session, so I'm guessing that's it. So if a therapist's regular fee is $100, you'd be paying ($85*0.2)+($100-$85)=$32 per session. A lot of therapists are charging rather more that $100/session these days. At $120/session that's $52/session.

That copay/cost-sharing is absurd. Obviously, many students couldn't possibly afford $25/week copay – specially the most vulnerable ones. So that's a hell of an incentive to seek care from MIT Mental Health and Counseling Service directly: as they proudly state, no copay or other fees to see the therapists that work for MIT.

Less obviously, it's not even vaguely in line with the market right now. I see people who have jobs and pay $10 and $15 copays on other insurances. That students would be charged a $25 copay to see a therapist – in-network! – is incredible. Honestly, students being charged any copay is pretty out of line.

Seriously: MIT students, the people who stock the shelves in the Star Market behind Random have better access to mental health care than you do. That grocery store shelf stocker qualifies for a subsidized Medicaid Expansion plan, which covers at least a therapy session per week, with no copay. Also, their plan has hundreds, if not thousands, of therapists to choose from, none of whom report to your landlord cum diploma-granter-maybe cum civil authority cum boss of your local police.

Also, availing yourself of the option of seeing a non-MIT therapist on your MIT student insurance, even though it's through BCBS, requires a "referral" from MIT Med:
If you are already seeing an outside clinician or have a specific outside clinician in mind, you don’t have to make an appointment at MIT Medical to get a referral. Just call the Mental Health and Counseling Service at 617-253-2916, and ask to speak with someone about getting a referral for your outside treatment.
This may be completely pro forma, but the upshot is that MIT is making it a requirement on you that you notify MIT if you're getting psychotherapy, and that you divulge to them from from whom you are getting it. That someone is in therapy and from whom they get that therapy is highly confidential information, that frankly MIT has no business knowing. You should be able to see a therapist on your student insurance without MIT even knowing about it.

So if you wanted to work for the benefit of students' mental health, there's a great target: demand that MIT's insurance for students provides off-campus, unaffiliated psychotherapy with no copay, cost sharing, or balance billing – or radically less than at present, so MIT students can freely avail themselves of treaters not on MIT payroll; and abolish the need for a referral, because info about your utilization of mental health care is prejudicial, privileged information that can be used against you. But be careful to keep a third-party insurance co in the loop, instead of MIT directly paying therapists; whomever pays the therapist is allowed to snoop in your psychotherapy records.

Or, honestly, given some of the crappy-ass general health care friends of mine have gotten through the Med Center, maybe just agitate for all students to just get a regular BCBS PPO membership instead of having to go to the Med Center, at all. Or given how much BCBS sucks, try to get students into the Medicaid Expansion, so students get a choice of providers. That would be harder.

P.S. Disclosure of conflicts of interest: none – I don't take BCBS, so even if the copay/cost-share/balance-billing were eliminated, and students started flocking to off-campus therapists, I still wouldn't benefit by any of that business, unless somehow you managed to get students into Medicaid Expansion, and then only if students were willing to travel all the way to Medford to see me – I just have it in for MIT Med, and MIT MHCS especially.)

Being Positive (multi-day post)

Sep. 11th, 2017 02:52 pm
hlmauera: (Default)
[personal profile] hlmauera
September 8, 2017

I'm a little behind on my posts today- meetings and projects got in the way. I had a lovely conversation with my SIL last night and an email this morning from my brother telling me he's excited to see me in November. I had another RSVP for my open house. I had another encouraging text from Jaymie this morning. I have been busy all day, which makes the day go quickly. There is a new ordering system coming online that looks like it will be really handy for many things. Excel may hate me, but I won in the end. I'm looking forward to the weekend!

This video absolutely cracked me up and made me feel old at the same time.

This evening has been dreadful and I think I turned the air blue a couple of times. However, I stopped, ate some dinner and sat for a while. Then Mom came to help and things smoothed out. I think I'm ready for tomorrow.

September 9, 2017

This was another video that made me smile!

It's been a really awesome day! I struggled a bit to get going but I managed to get out and cut some dahlias for bouquets as well as organize and chorale my scraps by color family before my first guest arrived.

I had four (and a half) people come to my open house and we had fun. I taught the method of making the lighthouse image in about 15 minutes. It might have been a fast demo but the idea was to show you can make awesome art in just a few minutes. The child had so much fun playing with the punches and making drawings with them it was adorable. Her mom ended up ordering some supplies to make Halloween cards with the kids.
My house is looking pretty good, although I need to sweep under the side tables and love seat, I discovered.
My soup turned out well and was quite hardy.
I used 10 4.25" x 5.5" pieces of designer paper and coordinating card stock to make 20 simple cards, which I finished this evening after mom and I had restored the house to its normal order and she had gone home.
I worked on sewing after that while I watched a British building show on Netflix.
Really! Good people, good food, good environment, and fun projects. It was amazing!

September 10, 2017

My friend Marian (blue hair) is at Rose City Comic Con as a vendor.  It's her first really big Con and she was nervous.  I found out my first boss and long ago friend was also there and sent her to see her stuff.  They sent me this picture:


The day was mostly consumed by a nap! I had a lovely meeting and lunch then came home to take a nap. Woke up at 3:30 and couldn't get the fuzz out. I tried working on a card for the Stamp of the Month card but after making the same mistake three times in a row I decided to just finish the card as is and call it a day. But I got one card done and I worked on some hand sewing thereafter.


siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I now have enough levels in crockpottery to recognize that this recipe, "Chicken Leek and Mushroom Casserole", is absurd as written. For one thing, there's absolutely no reason to include any chicken stock at all, unless one wants a soup as a result, given how much fluid 8 chicken thighs will express; given how much fluid winds up in it, there's no way it would ever come out "creamy", or, for that matter, at all like a "casserole". Yeah, I bet you have to thicken the sauce with cornstarch (ew).

But I really wanted a slowcooker meat dish with leeks, and I wasn't finding much, so I decided to adjust for sanity, double it (because I consider 8 servings a bare minimum for the effort), and give it whirl.

Also, I added canned potatoes to obviate later having to come up with a starch to serve it with.

Results seem pretty good! [personal profile] tn3270 seems very taken with it.

Here's my version:

4.5 lbs of chicken thighs, boneless skinless (could handle another lb)
3 cans (~15oz) whole potatoes
2 leeks (the biggest diameter ones on sale), washed really well and sliced
1 lb sliced button mushrooms
4 tsp minced garlic
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
4 bay leaves
3 Tbsp mustard, dijon
1/2 C cream, heavy
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper at the table
slowcooker liner

uses 6qt slowcooker and 4 cup frying pan with lid

0) Melt butter in big frying pan. Sauté the leeks in the butter until they start to soften. Push to sides and add minced garlic; saute abt 90 seconds to golden brown, then mix in with leeks. Add mushrooms, stir a bit to get mushrooms coated with butter, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, till leeks are soft and their scent mellows. (Once this is done, this can be refrigerated, if you want to prep this in advance.)

1) Measure the herbs into a mixing bowl. Add mustard, cream, and lemon juice, mix. (This can also be refrigerated, if you want to prep this in advance.

2) Line slowcooker. Open and drain the potatoes, and put in bottom of slowcooker. Put in half the chicken, half the leek-mushroom mixture, the other half the chicken, and the other half the leek-mushroom mixture. Pour the mustard-cream sauce over it.

3) Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove bay leaves before eating.

ETA: Outstanding mysteries:

1) Is powdered rosemary just not a thing? Little rosemary bits isn't the same thing.

2) How much leek is "one leek"? When I got to the store, I had my choice of: a leek the diameter of my wrist, a leek about 2/3s the diameter of that, and lots of leeks the diameter of my two thumbs put together. The original recipe called for "one leek", and I'm like, "What does that even mean in this context?"

3) Is frozen pre-chopped leeks a thing? I love leeks, I do not love chopping leeks. I don't hate it – at least, being cylinders, they're much easier to chop than onions – but there's something to be said for convenience.

4) Even without the added two cups of fluid, it came out with a thin broth. Maybe next time thicken with tapioca. Or maybe reserve the cream for the end, and only add it in the last half hour? Slow cooking cream just seems to break it down.
kareina: (Default)
[personal profile] kareina
This morning I decided to run some errands, including buying some kitchen toys to replace ones that Caroline had brought with her that I liked, but then she took them with her when she moved to the apartment this month. I also needed to replace our broken staff mixer, which broke right after she moved in, so we have just been using hers ever since. We actually have two broken staff mixers, and both came with some accessories. Standing there in the store I was pretty certain that one of them was a Braun, and so I decided I would pick up one of that brand, but without any accessories, since we had some at home. But they had a variety of different ones in that brand, so after deciding what I wanted I decided to double check the display model to be certain that the one sold on its own still fit the attachments that come with the other. It did. Decision made I grabbed the small box containing just one mixer, on the shelf under the several different Braun mixers, paid, and went to the next stop for the day. Some time later, errands accomplished, I first went downstairs and grabbed the bag of broken mixers and accessories, looked inside, and was pleased to discover that my memory was correct, one of them was, in fact a Braun. Sadly, while my memory is functioning fine, my ability to actually read things in front of me or notice details wasn't, as the box I purchased was some other brand entirely, still starting with a B, but that was where the resemblance ended. I looked in the box, and it didn't fit either set of accessories. I didn't really want to head back out to the store, but decided that it was better to get it over with straight away, so I did.

On the homeward trip I decided that I had better get petrol while I was out, as I was down to a 1/4 tank. As I stood there, in the rain, filling the tank and nice looking young man came up to me and asked (in English) if I were by any chance heading south down the highway next, as he and his friend were trying to return to Germany after several weeks of hiking in the area. I explained that I was just heading home a couple of km away, and he asked if I had any suggestions for a better place to try to get a ride, as they weren't having any luck (indeed, mine was the only car at the station). My first reply was that I couldn't think of anything--none of the stations in the Luleå area are near the highway, and he agreed that they hadn't seen anything good on the map, and turned to walk back through the rain to join his friend, who had stayed with the packs under the overhang near the door. I thought about it a second, and then went after him and suggested that if they just wanted to get out of the rain for a bit, they could follow me home and have some food, and then I could take them with me to the station in Gammalstad a bit later when I went out for folk music and dance. They both thought this was a good idea, so they tossed their packs in the car, and off we went.

I had left over soup in the fridge, which I fed them with some home made bread rolls I pulled from the freezer, and then they helped me eat yesterday's nectarine and apple-walnut cobbler, which they liked so much they both had seconds. Then I packed up my dulcimer, dance shoes, and a sewing project and took them to the petrol station in Gammelstad, where I hope they had better luck finding a ride. They were happy as they were out of the rain for a while and got fed yummy, fresh, home made food (after three weeks of freeze-dried), and I got some pleasant (and cute) company and help eating the desert which was really a bit too big for just me to finish in a reasonable amount of time. And I got out the door early enough to actually attend the folk music session, for the first time in a very long time.

My first 1.5 years in Sweden David and I always went to music at 16:00, followed by dance (in the same room) at 18:30, and I loved it. But after we bought the house (and were thus closer to the site for music and dance) we started being so busy with other projects that we didn't make it on time for music, only dance. More recently David hasn't even had the energy for dance, so I am going to that on my own. But now that he is spending more time at Caroline's place than the house (which may change a bit once they finish getting stuff settled in there) I am free to do whatever I want, and I want to go to both music and dance. If I keep not bringing my dulcimer just because I don't know many songs yet then I won't learn more.

Tomorrow is nyckleharpa night, and this week I will bring the Dulcimer--it is already packed, and was in tune today, so it should be ok tomorrow.


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