"What is it?" I asked, suddenly nervous. The cardiologist who saw me in the hospital, remember, declared after a dozen tests that my heart was fine, but ultimately wrote "abnormal EKG" on my chart, and I haven't had a chance to call his office about it.
"It's . . . giving me some messages here," she evaded. "The doctor will talk to you about it."
This made me nervous. Was this another abnormal EKG? Whenever the staff won't tell you, it's bad.
After an interminable wait, the doctor himself finally came in, and I asked about the EKG.
"It's just the machine," he said. "There's nothing to worry about."
I also asked about my low heart rate, and he confirmed it was because I run, and that my rate was normal for me.
I saw a new doctor today. Dr. S--- replaces Dr. J---, who gave me a prescription that creates kidney stones in people prone to them. Dr. S--- and his staff gave me a thorough going over that included an extensive back-and-forth interview in his office. Unlike my previous doctor, Dr. S---'s communication was careful and extensive.
So we'll stay with this practice.
Last week I had the pneumococcal vaccine, courtesy of what is still, mostly, a beneficient National Health Service.
Unlike the flu shot, it is a one-off and should, as they say, See Me Out.
However, while I tend not to have any repercussions from the flu shot, this one gave me a sore arm, like, really sore for 2-3 days and still quite tender after that, as well a day or two feeling Vaguely Crap, that well-known unspecific medical condition.
Thought this was All Over, but this morning, discovered I had a Sore Armpit. Don't know whether this is a final repercussion, a muscle I pulled and didn't realise, or, since partner had something yesterday that might have been a virus and involved various aches and pains, whether it is that, though on the whole I would say I feel a good deal less Vaguely Crap than a few days ago.
A general condition of Slob-Out was declared and has not yet quite terminated.
On Thursday I had a big day out with my dyebuddy, J. We rendezvoused on the first off-peak Chiltern line train to London and made our way (not by the most efficient route) to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. A free shuttle bus turned up just as we stepped out of the railway station, which was jolly good of it, and I loved the view we got on the short drive, especially the last, elevated section where you're looking down across London.
The first thing we needed to do when we arrived was to eat. And oh my, the catering at Ally Pally is like taking a step back to the 1970s. We could only find windowless, underground eating places -with black tablecloths adding to the gloom - where the options made little concession to people with allergies and a preference for not eating meat.
The show itself was disappointing. For ages we genuinely thought that we were wandering around the edges and failing to find the main event, but no, that was the main event. It was just vastly smaller than the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, and vastly less imaginative, passionate or cutting edge than the fabulous Fibre East.
The one thing that made show itself worthwhile was a substantial display of work by Diana Harrison. I've seen a little of her work before (at BMAG's Lost in Lace exhibition a few years ago) and found it interesting. Last week, seeing a lot of the work together, and with the benefit of having done rather more printing and stitching myself, it made a huge impact. J loved it too. We enthused at the artist, signed her comments book, and I bought her catalogue from a previous exhibition.
The great thing is, even though the show didn't live up to expectations, we had a lovely day. We don't often get chance to hang out like that, the sun was shining, everyone is friendly and comfortable at these events, and I was on my feet all day (walked about 8km) without trouble from the tendons.
On the way home, looking at the trainline app, I noticed that at Banbury the train behind us was going to overtake the train I was on, so I could switch and arrive 20 minutes earlier than expected. It all happened on adjacent platforms, with no rush, and I was so proud of myself because trains and platforms and timings all tend to induce stress and panic. I love living in the future where I have so many tools to make life easier and minimise the fear.
On Thursday my new gardener worked some more magic in the back garden and it's now looking like a place one might want to spend time, even though his work is very much at the beginning. (This week he has been attacking the front and letting in the light - very exciting.)
On Friday I discovered The Good Place and didn't really stop until Saturday evening when I had run out of episodes to inhale. It's lovely. And smart. And darkly charming. And contains many actors I was delighted to find on my screen. I am more than a little in love with Janet.
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.
Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.
Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.
But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!
Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.
How to save the world:
1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.
2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.
3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.
Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.
How do I contact my representatives?
1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.
2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.
I've contacted everyone. What now?
Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.
What do I say?
Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.
Democrats to contact:
Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.
Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.
Republicans to contact:
The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.
Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.
Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.
Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.
Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)
I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.
Thank you for reading this far! Please share the post before you go.
1. Laundry! Two loads.
2. Attended two concerts, one Friday night, one Sunday afternoon.
3. Finished watching Defenders and helped a friend out with some stuff.
4. Bought a new black rayon shirt for choir, and hand-washed it in preparation for Wednesday night's concert.
5. Laid out clothes and chose makeup and packed my bag with choir folder and such for Tuesday and Wednesday, so I wouldn't have to do it in the mornings.
Dress rehearsal tonight; am currently eating oatmeal, and hoping this stomach unpleasantness has fully gone away.
. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.
The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.
It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.
Here's as far as I got before I stopped:
( picture )
(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)
I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.
So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )
Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
My mother is a retired nurse and is very wise in the way of hospitals. She pointed out a number of motivations to some of the hospital's actions, and was shocked when I said the hospital tried to put me on Heparin, which is a blood thinner administered to prevent blood clots.
"Were you on bed rest?" she asked. "Were you told not to get out of bed at all? Were you barred from walking around the room?"
To each of these, I said, "No."
"You weren't at risk for blood clots," she said. "They shouldn't have been giving you Heparin for two and a half days when you were getting up and walking anyway."
I'm looking for other health care options now, thanks to my mother.
Hmmm...last night my Fitbit reported that my heart rate went down to 38. I checked the other data. The previous night it went down to 42. The night before that, 40. In fact, every night I've worn the sensor to bed, it reports my heart rate dropping into the low 40s between about 3 and 6 AM (when I get up). Should I be worried?
When I was in the hospital and they administered morphine, my heart rate dropped into the 40s. The hospital freaked out and put me on a heart monitor for three days and conducted endless tests on my heart, to which the cardiologist said everything was perfectly normal. (Did my heart rate drop that low when I was in the hospital? If it did, no one burst into my room to wake me up.) But my medical records from that day diagnose me with an "abnormal electrocardiogram" with a numerical code for "short QT syndrome."
I'm in the processing of dumping my current GP, the one who put me on the prescription that gave kidney stones, and I'm seeing my new GP for the first time tomorrow. I'll definitely bring this up with him. And I have to call the cardiologist.
There has been the most ominous-looking light over north London for several hours now - a sort of copper colour. The sky is covered by a greyish cloud with wisps of whiter cloud drifting across it.
No rain, a bit of a breeze wafting through the trees in the street, but so far, nothing stronger.
The effect is somewhat John Martin-esque, or possibly requiring figures to run through the pocket park behind the house crying 'Heathcliff!' 'Cathy!'. Or at least, the foreshadowingly brooding overture to such.
I assume this is something to do with Hurricane Ophelia, even if so far this part of England is not supposed to be affected. This morning when I went shopping it was sunny and unusually warm, but I put that down to the Little Summer of St Luke.
This week's bread: the Blake/Collister My Favourite Loaf, white spelt/wholemeal/einkorn flour, made up with the remains of the buttermilk.
Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 white spelt/buckwheat flour, maple sugar, dried blueberries.
Today's lunch: New Zealand venison loin medallions, panfried in butter, served with sweet potato oven fries, cauliflower florets roasted in pumpkin seed oil with cumin seeds (I think these could have done either with being cooked a bit longer, or broken up into smaller pieces), fennel cut into thinnish strips, healthy-grilled in olive oil, and splashed with elderflower vinegar.
1/2 cup oatmeal (regular, not quick oats or instant)
1 cup water
pinch of salt
a spoonful of brown sugar (I use Splenda's brown sugar substitute and don't notice a difference)
a splash of milk
Put first three ingredients into a bowl twice as large as a cereal bowl. Microwave on HIGH for two minutes. (The mixture will boil and puff up temporarily, which is why you need a bigger bowl.) Remove from microwave. Bowl will be hot! Stir in last two ingredients. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, dried fruit, or fresh fruit. Serve.
Today, I noticed the home made cinnamon applesauce in the fridge. It came out smooth, with almost a creamy texture, and it's wonderful. I added a couple spoonfuls to my oatmeal. Fantastic!
I'm flying in the face of the food industry with this recipe. The food industry has successfully worked to convince Americans that food preparation is onerous, difficult, and overly time-consuming. To this problem, they have the solution--instant foods! Heat and serve! Easy, easy, easy! Fast, fast, fast! You can't cook. We'll cook for you!
Instant oatmeal is a prime example. At my grocery store, entire shelves are dedicated to various flavors of instant oatmeal, while the canisters of regular oatmeal are banished to the bottom shelf that few people check. Oatmeal is too hard! Buy instant! Just add hot water, stir, and eat! Give you kids a hot breakfast in plenty of time!
Never mind that all the fiber has been milled out of instant oatmeal, and it's loaded with sugar as well.
Also, in the "old" days, one of the virtues of oatmeal was how easy and fast it was to make. You just add one part oatmeal to two parts lightly-salted, boiling water, let it cook for a minute or two, and you had a meal. You could add any flavoring you liked--sugar, fruit, even bacon. In Europe, they eat it with salt and butter--toast you eat with a spoon. It was the go-to food when you needed a meal quickly, or you burned dinner, or had unexpected company.
Even compared to instant, regular oatmeal is easy and fast to make in a microwave. Hell, the amount of time it takes to heat up the water for instant is about the same as it takes to make the above recipe. And regular oatmeal is high in fiber and low in fat. It's even gluten-free, if you need it.
Making oatmeal is easy. Avoiding the food industry is hard.
Oh, David Mitchell, I normally like and approve of your columns, but this one?
Which made me think of pretty much all societies, 'throughout history', where just because there was a belief in a higher power didn't mean that there wasn't massive conflict over: who was the real higher power and how best to worship that higher power. And even when there was a generally accepted overall belief system, there are differences within between schools of thought and practice (cf persecution of Christians or Muslims who are not of the predominant category within a particular nation). Heretics get persecuted at least as much as infidels.
And you may like to think
I know in my heart that had I been brought up in such a setting – say, in Anglican Victorian England – I wouldn’t have quibbled with those answers and would’ve been comforted by them.
That would Anglican Victorian England which a) pretty much invented the concept of honest doubt and b) within the C of E, massive conflicts between High and Low Church, no? Not so cosy.
Paging Mr Blake and the Ever-Lasting Gospel. Written at the same time that a large number of actual clergymen had gone into that line of work because they were the third son and it was a living, and why would anyone trouble themselves over the 39 Articles? and it gave them plenty of time off for hunting.