Book recs

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:44 pm
My niece is 14, queer, closeted, and deeply depressed. We're all working on getting her treatment, but in the meanwhile, I think that about the only thing she's mustering the energy for is reading. I've sent her a variety of books and graphic novels over the years (and she's read my brother's extensive graphic novel collection), and I'm running out of ideas.

She's a geek with a wide range of interests - superheroes, fantasy, minecraft, star wars... and a deep seated fear and anger around the Catholic church and the current administration. If you were her, what would you want to read that was fun, queer friendly (or at least not un-friendly), feminist (or at least not misogynist) and not too painful?
It's not like I post here much these days, but I do still read what ya'll post. So I made a dreamwidth account and will be spending my time over there rather than on LJ. If your user name on dreamwidth isn't the same as it is here, let me know? I'm "ajohns" over there, since "woobat" as already taken.


Dec. 8th, 2010 03:40 pm
Nathaniel Johns Warren, 8lb, 9 ounces, 20 inches. Born 10:50pm December 7th. We'll have pictures at some point, but we forgot the cord for connecting the camera to the laptop.

Holy moly, but we had a labor of beyond normal difficulty. We're both fine, relatively speaking, but Nathaniel and I are both pretty bruised and sore. I lost track at the time, but I'm told that pushing went on for six hours - he's a relatively big kid, and was really not in a great position. And it turns out he had the umbilical cord around his neck - not tight enough to cause serious problems, but enough that he wasn't tolerating some positions that would have been really nice to take during labor - at a certain point he basically demanded that I lie on my one side and not move, which was just about the worst position as far as I was concerned for pain.

What an alien, endearing, totally dependent, brand new person.

Tag Sale!

Jul. 9th, 2009 03:58 pm
After much waffling, we've decided to brave the weather and have our tag sale on Saturday (July 11) from 9 to 2. We'll be selling furniture (book cases, desks, a rocking chair...), lots of books, some crafting supplies (knitting needles, anybody?), my previous generation of camping gear (cheap, but still in good shape) and other various odds and ends. Come say hi, or tell folks you know who might be interested.


Apr. 19th, 2007 03:28 pm
Oh my god! I think it's actually spring. I can see blue sky, and the sun is shining, and my little weather widget claims that it's above sixty outside.

I want to play hooky. Anybody else want to come?
Yey! The happiest of birthdays to you. (I'm planning a cake. You can't stop me. Bwahahahaha. Ahem.)


Jan. 9th, 2007 09:57 am
Sylvantechie and I purchased a 25 gallon aquarium on Saturday, along with some aquatic plants and an embarrassing number of rocks. Sylvantechie did nearly all of the work of putting it together that night, as my arms aren't really long enough to comfortably reach the bottom of the tank. We were going to wait until next weekend to get fish at the Swank Petstore in the big town to the south, but then we got all impatient and bought a few wee fishies at the local less swank petstore. While the tank is going through the initial nitrogen cycle (a process that can take 6-8 weeks), we just have a few small fishies (3 zebra danios tentatively named "daryl, daryl and daryl" and two Von Rio Tetras). But then later we can add more. Weeee! Fishies!
A lot of people asked me over the New Year's festivities how my knee is doing, and it prompted me to realize that I haven't really said boo on the subject for a while.

First, my brother and I named it "Imanhotep". It has displayed no desires to take over the world, but my surgeon says that it takes a full six months for the graft to be completely integrated in to the knee, so perhaps Imanhotep is just biding its time. It has not yet demanded brains, though there were a few days a while back where it demanded more protein than I normally eat. Luckily, it was satisfied with tofu. It may be the first tofu eating zombie ever.

I'm more sick of stationary biking than words can fully express, since that's currently the only form of cardio that I can do. In about another month, I should get to start jogging. Woo hoo! I did purchase myself some new music, including the Hamster Dance, which is actually totally workout appropriate. Bouncy. Insidious. Cheerful. Between that and the mixes that I have received from some of you, I'm keeping as entertained while biking as possible.

I get pretty bummed out about the whole thing every now and then, and nervous about how ugly the going back to TKD process is going to be. But I'm trying to follow the very simple advise of Mr. M, one of our TKD instructors whose health issues make my knee pale in comparison: Focus on what you can do, not on what you can't.
I'm off crutches, and have been since this weekend. I can walk almost without a limp, as long as I concentrate on it. I'm feeling fidgety and restless, and feeling a bit like it's never going to be better, but then I have to remind myself that it's only been three weeks, and it's actually healing quite rapidly.

Zombie Knee (I need a better name for it) actually made its first demands last week. Right around when I went down to one crutch and started putting more weight on it I had some mad protein cravings. Thankfully, they were non-specific protein cravings, so they were easily satisfied with some tofu and bean chili. *whew*, no brains necessary yet.

In other news, I dreamed of kittens last night. No, seriously, I dreamed about warm, fluffy, adorable long haired kittens. I really wanted to bring one home. Is there a word for the opposite of a nightmare? Because it really was just that.
I'm so proud of my state of origin. They finally maybe woke up to the fact that Rick Santorum is a crazy person and an embarrassment to the state and threw him out of office. Three cheers! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

And Deval Patrick! No more freaking Mitt Romney (okay, that was happening anyway)! It's been a long time coming. Deval is inheriting a mess, especially w/r/t the Big Dig and the fiscal fallout therefrom, but I really do think he'll work through things in a civilized, consensus-ish kind of way. Though he could feel free to kick just a little complacent, corrupt Beacon Hill ass if he really wants to, too. I'm just saying.
So, I'm still on crutches, and will be until next week sometime (bleah). But I'm off the narcotic painkillers, and have been for a while, and I got most of my bouncy-bouncy back yesterday. I had been missing it, so that's a fine thing, though it means that I'm feeling more antsy and fidgety than when I was so worn out that all I wanted to do was lie around and watch tv.

I really dig the fact that my doctor shows me my xrays and mris and pictures from surgery, and outlines various things so that they make sense. They took some xrays today to make sure that the bone tunnels look good, so I got to see the vague outlines of where the tunnels and screws (made of calcium, so not easy to see on an xray) are. Neat! Science geeks unite.
Things went remarkably well yesterday, all things considered. I just finally managed to eat some sort of real food (if applesauce and a popsicle count) for lunch today. Prior to that, I was subsisting on saltines and ginger ale, but aside from the barfiness, I did pretty well yesterday.

The local numbing meds that the surgeon injected in to my knee (on top of the general anesthesia, mind) wore off sometime last night, so the pain has kicked up a bit more, but even now, it's not too bad. I'm only taking half-doses of the pain killer (a full dose makes me very dizzy), and I'm doing all right. And the surgeon changed the dressing today, so I got to see the various incisions, and it's not as gruesome looking as I thought. Oh, and he gave me pictures from the surgery. I'm a geek (and evidently not terribly squeamish), so I think the details are pretty cool, but others (like Sylvantechie) take one glance at the pictures and go a little pale. My doctor is plenty enough of a geek to label the pictures and draw a quick diagram of the inside of a knee for me, which was fun.

So yeah. Things are progressing. I'm sore, but mobile in a limited way, and very alert (I'm not as drugged out as I was afraid I was going to be). My books are entertaining, Angel is entertaining (I bought myself the first two seasons in preparation for this), and the cat is feeling very snuggly. She keeps returning to my lap even when I get up every hour or so to switch discs or take meds or whatnot. Awwwwww.

I think I may even be brave and try to eat an egg for dinner. Woo hoo!
Surgery tomorrow at a bright and cheery 6:15 a.m. Ugh. My mum pointed out that it's better to be early rather than later in the day, since I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight tonight.

I'm getting increasingly nervous about it, mainly about the IV (eeek, needles!) and anesthesia (eeeek, weird unnatural loss of consciousness!). And my knee is finally feeling almost functional in day to day life (though not in hiking or, egad, TKD), so it feels like a step backwards to be on crutches, etc. again. Rationally I know it's a necessary step backwards to go forwards, but geez, being able to walk is really nice, and it's a bummer to give that up again for a while.
I just set up a surgery date for my knee, October 24 (a little over three weeks away). I'm leaning heavily towards using an allograft (cadaver tissue) rather than using a tendon from my own knee. So I'll have a zombie knee, right? And just in time for Halloween. My brother wanted to know if they tossed in a free exorcism for when the knee starts trying to take over the rest of me (and through me, the world), but I told him that wasn't included.

On a more serious note, how mobile I will be and how quickly is anybody's guess. It depends on how much my knee swells up and how much it hurts. Most people are on crutches for a week to ten days, and I may not be doing much besides elevating it, icing it, and doing physical therapy for the first few days. But people can come visit and entertain me (hint, hint).
When I first injuried my knee (about two and a half weeks ago now), my first thought was "Shit, this is bad. I just tore my ACL." The ER doctor said my ligaments were fine, the ortopedist thought they were fine last week, but as it turns out, I was right. The MRI has the very clear indications of a torn ACL.

The ACL is one of the four ligaments in the knee. The jobs of the ligaments is to keep the two bones (three if you count the knee cap) in the places they are supposed to be. Now that I don't have an ACL, the femur and the tibula are moving in ways they aren't supposed to be.

I have two options: live without the ACL, go through rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee so that they learn to compensate for the fact that the ACL doesn't exist. Most people who live without an ACL can walk just fine, and do some sports. Tae Kwon Do, however, is not really one of the sports that one can do without an ACL. I think one of our instructors might be missing a ligament, but he wears a brace all the time, and has to be very careful.

The other option is surgery, and not the happy-fun arthroscopic surgery. We're talking general anesthesia, open-knee surgery. It's a very common one, and one with a very good prognosis (about 95% of people who have the surgery have no problems whatsoever). If I get the surgery, I should be able to do whatever sports and activities I want after a signficant period of physical therapy. The orthopedist said he starts people on a stationary bike a few days after the surgery, but that it would probably be six months before I could do Tae Kwon Do again.

So, this sucks. At best, it'll be six months before I can do Tae Kwon Do again, which makes me really unhappy. But the alternative is to give it up entirely, which I'm not really willing to do. And it's not just about TKD (though it's largely about TKD). I don't want to have to worry about my knee being unstable for other things, either.

Sylvantechie strongly suggests that I should get a second opinion, and while I am awefully impatient (if I'm having surgery, I want to get it done ASAP so I can start recovering), I rationally think that he's correct. Anybody have an orthopedic surgeon in the area that they really like? I like the guy I've been seeing, and I trust his diagnosis, but getting another perspective on the issue may be helpful.

And has anybody had ACL surgery? The TKD instructor who doesn't wear a brace tore his ACL at one point (not at TKD), so I'm going to go talk to him about it just to see how it was.

And I'm going to have to be on crutches for another two weeks after surgery, so if anybody has any brilliant ideas for keeping me entertained and not too depressed, I would welcome them.
I had an appointment with an orthopedist today to follow up on the knee. He was soooooo much more helpful than the ER doctor, but then, he's a specialist, so that makes sense.

Good news: I'm walking again. It doesn't hurt (well, except for muscles grumpy at not being used for two weeks), and he's not worried about walking aggravating the injury.

Bad news: It's very likely a meniscus tear. I have an MRI next week to see how bad. Depending on that, the options range from fairly mild (anti-inflammatories, or an injection to bring the swelling down) to arthroscopic surgery (yikes!). I'm hoping for the former, needless to say. And no TKD until the swelling is down and the injury resolved. :(

But I can walk! And that's all to the good. Though it feels pretty strange right now.

And he cleared me for hot-tubbing, though wants me to keep using ice for the discomfort, not heat.

Edited for spelling. Bleah, spelling.
I twisted my knee at TKD on Monday night. I came down badly from a flying kick, and I knew as soon as I landed that something went wrong. I heard/felt a "pop", and that's one of the things that can signify bad, bad things happening in a joint. Oh yeah, and it hurt. I went down, and my very wonderful, responsible, sweet classmates (and their parents, when relevant) started running around getting ice and calling an ambulance and fetching my husband. It turns out it wasn't nearly as bad as I was afraid; when the doctor in the ER tried to make it move in any of the unnatural ways that indicate torn ligaments, it was solid (didn't move), so that's a huge, huge blessing. I'm on crutches currently, but it's probably going to be a matter of a week or two, rather than the months (and likely surgery) that a torn ligament leads to.

So I'm sick to death of the crutches already (my hands hurt), and cranky and fidgety as all get out at being inactive and slow and dependent, but I'm trying to not be too whiney and grumpy, because it could have been much worse. I just have to remind myself of that multiple times every day. ;)
[ profile] sylvantechie and I arrived home today, about twelve hours later than we had planned. Long story short: the hotel we were staying at the night before last didn't give us our lovely 4 am wake up call, so we missed our flight. We rebooked for a red-eye through last night. It wasn't all bad. To pass the day yesterday, we rented a car and drove up to Crater Lake, so that was a nice little bonus to our travels. But now we're exhausted. Sylvantechie is already in bed, and I'm heading there ASAP. I'll report more on our trip later. We had great fun, we visited with family, we hiked, we saw critters, we wore ourselves out, I got injured (during the whitewater kayaking part: bad muscle bruise from being dashed against a rock. It's mostly healed, a lovely mottled yellow and red thing, but it sucked for the two days that I couldn't walk.), we saw much cool stuff. We took lots of pictures, which we will share. But now, bed.
I knew it was going to be rainy for the morning yesterday, so I tried to plan inside things to do. I went to a local diner and had gingerbread pancakes for breakfast (yum) and started my annual re-reading of "The Hero and the Crown." I didn't get very far, but it was a nice thing to read while my pancakes were cooking.

Then I headed north, to one of those outlet-mall towns. The outlets were of not much interest to me, but there's a fantastic independent bookstore, and, as it turns out, a little hole-in-the-wall donut shop that makes pretty darn good donuts. Not as good as the much-lamented local donut shop that closed this year, but pretty good. Anyway, I killed time in the bookstore (and bought books, because that's often what happens when I kill time in bookstores). And then headed further north to the Merck Forest and Farmland, a non-profit farm/environmental education/conservation place. It's a working farm, with cows and sheep and horses and pigs and chickens and fields etc., but the back 100 (or 200, or 300) is woodland that's crisscrossed with roads and trails, and it's all open to the public. Oh, and they have their own wind turbine and solar panels. My kind of place.

It was still drizzling when I said hello to the chickens and the pigs, but later dried up and turned in to a lovely sunny day. Unfortunately, the vegetation was still very wet, and the main road in to the forest was mud the likes of which I haven't seen in quite a while. And some of the trails were only trails in the loosest sense of the word. I could tell where they were, but they were more an indentation in the vegetation than a lack of vegetation. So I got wet, and muddy, but generally had a good time. I almost blundered in to a huge patch of stinging nettle, but [ profile] sylvantechie is as paranoid about stinging nettle as I am about poison ivy, so I've become pretty good at identifying it. I took about one step in to the patch, paused, looked around and saw what I was getting myself in to, got a stick, and waged mighty war on said patch. I won, though not without minor victories on the part of the nettle. Stinging nettle, for the record, stings like a mo-fo if you brush up against it.

I really dug the fact that on the way back, I could tell I was getting close to the trailhead because I could hear the sheep bleating.

Then sylvantechie and I went to dinner, and then later to get ice cream (note to self: most people's idea of a sundae is way to large. And ginger and chocolate is a lovely combination). And then when we got home, my mother, mother-in-law, and brother all called in nearly perfect succession (quite a feat. I got off the phone with one, and about a minute or less later, the next called).

Yey. It was a good birthday.
25 word (or less) review:
Entertaining popcorn movie. Not as clever as the first. Too much giant squid, not enough Captain Jack Sparrow. There's never enough Captain Jack Sparrow.
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