wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
Electrical brain stimulation v. Alzheimer's. First a cure for depression, and now this...it makes you wonder what else might be accomplished by a gentle prodding of other neurons, as opposed to electroshock. (Via [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar's LJ )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Doc says I don't have cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration and my vision is just as good as it was two years ago. Also, while waiting for the atropine to dilate my pupils, I wandered down to the PX in the basement of the VA medical center and found one of these Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker on sale for $29.99. Of course I bought it*. :) Unfortunately, the rain that's been dripping on Washington disappeared while I was having my eye exam and the sun emerged to fry my rods & cones on the drive home, since I hadn't brought my sunglasses; fortunately, for once the traffic on 395 South didn't suck and I was home quickly.

Other than that it's been a pretty dull week so far. I've been doing linkagery and smacking trolls at The Other McCain, successfully getting my diet and schedule back under control, and waiting for a job offer to come along.

While waiting, I have of course been playing EVE, and also rediscovering the dubious joys of Graduation, which I am every bit as bad at as I am at EVE. Actually, worse, since I haven't played Graduation in, what, ten years? Anyway, it's not a dating sim and not at all hentai, but it's pretty damn hard to figure out. It was on sale for $1.99, and I've already had at least that much fun out of it.

I've also been getting some reading done; nothing new except for Do the Work, which is available for free for your Kindle. This is a useful guide on how to kick your own ass and get it in gear, and if you're having problems getting a project done, maybe you should take the time to read this. It seems to me that the book is primarily aimed at writers, but I think the lessons it has to offer apply equally well to starting businesses and other, more small-scale things. Recommended.

Also recently acquired: Ladytron's Best Of 00-10, which is an excellent collection of music by one of the odder electronic/dance bands out there, and Wings Greatest, which I admit to buying just for "Jet", "Junior's Farm". and the original "Live And Let Die", which latter song I frankly like better than the Guns N' Roses remake.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Eleven-plus hours in the tax mines yesterday, and I'm scheduled for another twelve tomorrow. And that'll be it for this tax season. I was invited to apply for off-season work, but since I'd only be getting 15-20 hours a week at (probably) my existing hourly wage, it makes more sense for me to head down to Accountemps on Tuesday, reactivate my file, and maybe take advantage of some of these accounting classes I've been slaving over this past year. The worst of the jobs listed on the site yesterday pays $3 more per hour than what Block is paying me as a first-year tax preparer, so even if commuting expense goes up I'll come out ahead. Best case, I nail down an assignment at $20/hour or better. We'll see how that works out.

Speaking of school, I am two courses away from finishing my accounting career studies certificate at NVCC. Both courses are being offered over the summer, but unfortunately both of them are only offered online, and I have learned the hard way that I do not do well at those. So I'm just going to take Intermediate Accounting II this summer, lugging Cowzilla to the campus a couple times a week to work on it away from the distractions of home, and then take Advanced Accounting this fall along with whatever business classes I need to meet the requirements for the CPA exam, which I'll be taking next January - or April, depending on how the Becker classes are scheduled over the winter.

All the school & work stress this week has made the weight and BG get a bit out of hand. My weight has rebounded to 350, and my BG has been stubbornly in the low hundreds. On the other hand, I got a clean bill of health from the vascular clinic this week. My legs are both healed up nicely, and you can be sure I'll be hitting the pool hard this summer. Just need to bear down on the diet to get the BG and weight back where they belong.

I'm not sure the Nationals' present precarious perch in third is due as much to their improved pitching and defense as it is to how awful the Mets are and how long it's taking the Braves to get their act together. Unlike last spring, when the pitching and defense stunk while the bats were going nuts, the p&d are tight and the hitters aren't hitting. So far the defense is keeping us in the games, but we'll see if that lasts. Hopefully it'll last long enough for a sweep of the Brewers.
wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
I suppose I shouldn't be so flip in referring to the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, but that's the kind of guy I am. The whole story starts last Wednesday night (although technically, this has probably been going on for most of the month, if not longer) after my exam in Government & Nonprofit Accounting, when I was struck by fever & chills of such intensity that I wasn't sure I'd be able to drive home. I managed to do this, fire off an apologetic e-mail to Stacy regarding Thursday's linkagery, and then collapsed into bed with water and Tylenols. I slept for about thirteen hours, woke up still feeling like crap, drank breakfast, took meds, and went back to bed after informing my Auditing professor I'd have to make up that night's exam on account of illness1.

Friday morning came, and I felt somewhat less crappy, but noticed that while the general whole-body achiness had subsided, my lower left leg was swollen, noticeably warmer than the rest of me, and painful to the touch. I was chatting with P at the time I noticed this, and we agreed it was time for a visit to the VA. Now, I thought this would be a simple matter of dropping by the ER, waiting a few hours, and then going home with a Z-pack, so I didn't bring anything but my Pixi and the Kindle. So of course, after spending about seven hours hanging around the ER waiting to be seen, they wound up sticking some Vancomycin into my arm, doing an ultrasound on my leg to look for clots2 and admitting me to a bed in one of the medical wards.

And that's where I stayed until late Sunday afternoon when they turned me loose to go home with a fistful of Bactrim and some antifungal cream to deal with the athlete's foot that had served as breaching charge for this particular bacterial attack. In the meantime, lots of reading, sleeping, watching the NCAA womens' hoops tournament, sleeping, and more sleeping while the staff dripped more vancomycin and saline into my arm. Not so much eating, though, since the VA still adhere's to the ADA's "balanced diet" stupidity, and I wasn't having any of that. Managed to keep my blood sugar in the normal range without my regular meds and without insulin for the weekend.

1He scheduled the makeup for this Wednesday night during the Government & Nonprofit Accounting class I have with him. This ought to be interesting.
2The radiologist didn't find any. I was almost disappointed. Almost.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Fortunately, the snow is melting off, and we didn't get as much as we did during last year's Snowpocalypse, but there's enough there to stir up some unpleasant memories.

Once again we started the year in the tax mines with what looked like enough CSPs, but since one of them can't work nights and another won't be available until Saturday, I'm having to pick up some of the slack and work late during the week. I've already got 29 hours on the clock for this week, and will be working today and tomorrow as well, so that's good for my paycheck even if it crimps my class time this week. Meh. I can study accounting just as well at home, and maybe better. In the meantime, since we do have another CSP who can work days, I've been splitting my time between tax work and driving the front desk, which is doing my paycheck good. Kinda hoping the boss will go out to one of the local high schools and recruit us some help, but I'm not holding my breath.

One big change from last year, of course, is that I'm in a lot better health. Weight was up a bit at 355.8 this morning, but still, the trend is mostly down, and I fully expect to be at 350 or below by the end of the month. I've also been experiencing a string of very low morning blood sugar readings, low as in the 50s and 60, so starting today I've cut my glipizide dose in half on my doctor's advice. We'll see how that works out. Right leg continues to heal; maybe by summer it'll have healed over and I can hit the pool. Either that or I'll finally remember to take in my support stockings in and get the zipper fixed.

In three weeks, it'll have been a full year since I spent any time in the hospital.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
Well, indolence, anyway. Tomorrow it's back to the tax mines for me, and on Saturday the spring semester at NoVa starts. I have a somewhat grandiose essay on last year's win and fail, and what I need to do to secure more win and less fail as I move toward my several goals, and I'm going to post that tomorrow after work, I think.

One of those things is making a more consistent effort to get to Mass at Holy Trinity more often. I didn't make it there today, partially because my sleep cycle got badly screwed up over this past week, but I did at least make it to the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine, which is not too far from the VA and right down the block from the Latin Rite Basilica of the National Shrine, which both my parents were enthusiastic patrons of, even after they couldn't make it to Mass there any more. Anyhow, the UCNS is a humongous structure on the outside, but seems more cozy and not so barn-like on the inside. Maybe it's the gigantic icon of the Blessed Mother and her Son on the ceiling over the iconostasis and altar. I suspect that I'll be stopping in for Mass more often there as the business in the tax mines approaches April 15, since it's half as far away as Holy Trinity, but we shall see.

Speaking of sloth, or more accurately of gluttony, I've been slacking off on the diet lately and unsurprisingly have put on weight - weighed in this morning at 362.8, for those of you scoring at home. December is the first month that I didn't lose weight since going hardcore on the low-carb trip, and it's purely due to not watching what I eat in terms of quantity. Well, tomorrow I am back to work, and will have more structure in my life, and that will make it easier to stay on the diet horse. Also, walking up and down Jordan Street to Foxchase will help flog the metabolism along with doing the legs some good.

The legs are improving. The left leg's wound is almost completely healed, and the right leg is coming along nicely, in spite of the whinging by one of the residents I saw this past Thursday at the VA. Said resident wanted to send me home with a Profore bandage and got snippy when I demurred on the grounds that I had to work and stumping around with clown shoes was not going to fly in the tax office. I told her I was going to stick with the Ace wraps and compression sleeves; we'll see who's right when I come back in six weeks.

Well, time for me to hit the rack. 0700 comes damned early in these parts, and I need to be in the office at 0900.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
I could have been attending school in Pyongyang.

*sigh* I passed the H&R Block tax preparation class, but failed the final by two points, mostly on questions about best filing status/dependents/EIC that the tax prep software answers for you. So...I dunno. I gather there's another exam I can take which is actually harder, or I can just pack it in, resign myself to spending this tax season as a CSP, and do the tax course again in the fall. Long term, it doesn't matter that much since it doesn't count towards my CPA, but I was looking forward to doing some taxes at Block for several people, which is now very unlikely. Welp.
More academic FAIL after the cut )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
Or maybe the reverse, I 'm not sure. Anyway...because I had somehow gotten it into my head that the 7th of November was yesterday and not today, I was very surprised to show up for Mass 45 minutes late and find a bunch of people standing around outside, traffic cones all over the place, and a table set up on the porch of the church. I asked one of the people standing around if there was a wedding or something going on, and he looked at me strangely and answered that no, the church was celebrating it's 30th anniversary today and there would be a reconsecration starting at 1 PM followed by a Mass and a celebratory banquet. "But I thought that was yesterday," I replied. He shook his head. "No, the seventh is very definitely today." So, well, that threw a monkey wrench into the day's plans. P and I were planning to head up to Baltimore to see [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye and hopefully talk to him a little, and our plan had been to meet up in Laurel at 1330 or so, which would allow me to attend Mass and also require that we'd only have to take one truck up to the hospital. Having a consecration ceremony starting at 1300 would be Awkward.

Well, there was nothing for it but to hang out and wait for P's call, and meanwhile take lots of pictures of a procession of cute Ukrainian girls in traditional costumes, hunky Ukrainian guys (ditto), icons, gonfalons, and bringing up the rear, our pastor and the Metropolitan, both of whom were decked out in liturgical regalia that would have made Elvis slack-jawed with amazement. I'm not sure even the Pope has vestments this flashy. Makes me wish I'd brought a real camera, but then if I'd remembered to bring that...ah, never mind. P didn't call until after the Metropolitan had blessed the cornerstone, so I got to see that, at least. (Pics posted on Facebook because this totally happened.)

And so I motored over to Laurel, met up with P in the parking lot across the street from [livejournal.com profile] digex' office and Warehouse of Holding, and proceeded up 95 to Baltimore with her. We were somewhat surprised to find about a dozen of Richard's friends from gaming and other fandoms/businesses there along with his father; introductions were made, and redone shortly afterward when [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye's hosts Tad and Carrie showed up. Eventually P and I went in to visit, along with his father, but unfortunately [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye was unconscious. Not too surprising, given that they had been at him with tubes and hoses for a good part of the morning. I'd like to think he knew that we were there for him.

By then it was about 1500, and we escaped just in time to miss most of the traffic from the Ravens' game. Not early enough to stop by the fabulous Laurel Meat Market, though, which was disappointing; we wound up doing dinner at the Japanese Steak House off Route 1 instead, being very careful to inquire about sauces and to decline the rice. Very good food! Got home ~1900 and have been putzing around on the internet since.
wombat_socho: Wombat (unhappy)
This is going to be 99.5% meaningless to most of my Anime Detour/Convergence peeps, and people
who didn't have much to do with Balticon.
But I want to get it out of the way now. )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Finally finished the Granite Ridge project and turned it in today; p. confident I got it right. I'll find out for sure next Tuesday.
Quarterly visit with Dr. B went well, except for my blood pressure being up. I guess that's not too surprising, considering the load I'm carrying. She's happy with the BG readings over the past two months, the vast majority of which of which are under 120, and said not to worry too much about the weight. BG control is the main thing, and if the weight comes off, that's bonus.

Visited [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye in the hospital, where he languishes while the docs try to figure out why his BP is as ridiculously low as it is, considering the amount of water he's retaining. He's in quarantine while they work on that question, so I had to don a mask, gloves & gown in order to visit. Turns out the anthology Melody loaned him is the same one I was reading back in February while immured in the VAMC, so we had a lot to talk about.

Left about 1800 since I was getting a tad hungry; dropped off some books and chatted with the Dunhams until their pizza arrived, and then headed home. I thought about stopping and getting food on the way home, since I hadn't had anything since lunch ~1400, but I was really tired and headachy and decided to just go on home. Imagine my surprise when my evening BG was 107! I checked it a couple more times with different meters, but the numbers were all in the same ballpark. I dunno WTF.

After 38 years, I've decided it's time to forgive the Rangers, There's nobody left on that team or its ownership who was with the team in 1972, and laying down a grudge is a good thing, right? I'm hoping they can whip the Giants for their first ever championship. It's been a long time with a lot of bad years and bad decisions since they left, and this year, they seem to have overcome their history and become crushing. Here's hoping.
wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
No, not me; I'm in -well, not disgustingly good, but decent- health at the moment. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of [livejournal.com profile] therevdrnye, whose water retention problem got way out of hand over the weekend and is now in the ICU at Washington Adventist Hospital. I daresay he'll make it out of there, but he's got some serious medical issues and no good way of dealing with them on his own. They had him strapped into a CPAP mask when I got there, and he wasn't tracking real well, but after they took that off, sat him up, and put an O2 cannula up his nose, he sharpened up pretty quick. The nurse complained to me that he hadn't said hardly a word to anyone until I showed up, at which point we had a rather lengthy conversation, mostly about medical stuff.

I left a little before 1800 and fought my home from Takoma Park through DC; traffic wasn't quite as bad as GoogleMaps would have had me believe, but it wasn't much fun, either. Time to slap some dinner together and work on some accounting stuff.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Very seldom do I come across a book that so enrages me that I have to put it down and go do something else for a while because I'm SO FILLED WITH RAGE that reading further at that time would be a Very Bad Idea. Usually when I come across a book like that, the rage comes from reading something so mind-bendingly stupid that it's hard to believe that any sensible person could believe crap like the book is trying to sell. On the other hand, there's Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories.
Cut for spoilers )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Big news of the day is that the Toaster passed its emission control test today, which means that not only could I renew the tags, but I don't need to replace the exhaust system. W00t! Almost as important, Financial Aid at NVCC finally approved my file for processing, which means I ought to get my tuition bills paid sometime in September and get the rest of the money in October, if this summer was any guide. Maybe it'll be faster because this is fall semester and they have all hands on deck. We'll see how that goes.

That took up enough of the day after I did lunch with P at Malibu (nothing better for the low-carb diet than massive quantities of MEAT ON SWORDS) that I barely had time to get pork rinds before accounting class; Small Business Accounting so far is pretty much the same as Computerized Accounting from last semester except that this instructor doesn't go step by freaking step through the PowerPoint slides. In fact, he doesn't use PowerPoint, and let us out at 1800 after starting at 1630. I like this guy. :)

Finally, one of the local hospitals sent me a mailer which is mostly about women's health issues and contains an invitation to a "Ladies for Life" event which will include the opportunity to have a breast cancer assessment/screening and schedule a mammogram. Yeeeaaaah. I think I can find something better to do the weekend before my birthday, thanks. :cripes: In other, less hilarious medical news, my blood sugar continues in the good range because I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping carbs out of my piehole. Update on the fat, or lack thereof, on Wednesday when it'll be September.
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
[livejournal.com profile] jordan179 had a review of Stephen Baxter's Ark (over here if you want to take a gander) which, following a PRSFS review of Flood a couple months ago, makes me 99% sure I don't want to read any of Mr. Baxter's work unless I have no alternative reading material, including the nutritional information box on whatever food is closest. Apparently everybody in that novel carries the Idiot Ball from beginning to end, and I really don't like stories like that. Real life has enough idiots in it.

Now, this may seem contradictory to some folks who know I love me some Daniel Leary stories, most recently In the Stormy Red Sky , since in many of these novels, the Deadliest Librarian in the Universe, Signal Officer Adele Mundy, forces Leary's enemies to carry the Idiot Ball by cracking their codes, snooping on their communications (sometimes spoofing them), and often times making them look like idiots. Best of all, David Drake manages to do this in about 500 pages, so it doesn't take you a week to grind through the latest epic. I can't help wondering how Drake manages to write this tightly while David Weber's more recent efforts in the Honorverse are becoming increasingly bloated - is Drake that much better as a writer? Are his first readers and editors better than Weber's? One does wonder.

Did a little grocery shopping today, mostly to take advantage of some BOGO deals Harris Teeter has going this week, and in the process of doing so found that Dannon has quarts of 2% plain yogurt. These don't have the higher protein content of the Chobani/FAGE Greek yogurts, but they also cost less than $3 a quart as opposed to nearly $4 a pint, and that's a Good Thing. It's not like I'm not taking in enough protein from meats & cheeses. Also, I got my bottle of liquid sucralose from Amazon today, and this weekend I intend to try some of the interesting recipes from the somethingawful.com low-carb thread. Probably the cheesecake, maybe the ice cream. We'll see.

On a related topic, I should mention here that the doctor's visit yesterday morning was outstanding. I have lost fifty pounds since starting with the VA last April, and the bulk of that has come since this April. My A1c is down to 5.1, my cholesterol and blood pressure are good, and my doctor says I'm free to tweak my glipizide dosages if I get my weight down some more and start having hypoglycemia issues. Which I fully expect to do. :D
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Hot Air » ObamaCare: The sum of all fears:
Two years ago, Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit were kind enough to allow us to write here on “The Comprehensive Case Against Barack Obama” —a lengthy analysis pitting candidate Obama’s rhetoric against his actual record, past statements and long-time associations. We felt certain at the time, and still do, that his campaign was at its core a savvy marketing machine designed, in part, to deliberately mislead voters about the candidate’s true beliefs and experience. Revisiting our presentation two years later, we take no joy in saying that the administration has largely vindicated our concerns.




All the President's lies about health care "reform" in one foul-tasting package. Between this and the economy, he's not only going to make people forget about Jimmy Carter, he's going to make them look at Nixon as a model of Presidential rectitude.
RTWMFT.
(Instapundit)
wombat_socho: Wombat (dead wombat)
Well, I got a 76 on the first tax test, and tomorrow we'll get the second test.

In the meantime, I have a breakfast date with [livejournal.com profile] onsenmark and [livejournal.com profile] deathquaker tomorrow, and I really should get my ass in bed. But first, a medical update. My decision to cut out my BP meds caused a lot of excitement when I finally got hold of someone at the VA to tell them about it; apparently the Cozaar can have a backlash effect, and they want me to cut back to half a tablet a day instead of a whole tablet every day. I'm not too thrilled by this, since my BP was a nice normal 120/60 this afternoon at the clinic, even after driving through the leading edge of rush-hour traffic, but we're going to look at it again next Thursday and see how we're going to roll with it in the future.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
I'm kind of in a holding pattern with the weight and the blood sugar, if three days at the same weight and (more or less) the same BG counts for anything. Right now I'm at 375.6 pounds, and the morning BG has been oscillating between 95 and 105 for the most part, mostly in the 90s. Which is okay, I guess; while I'd like to see the BG drop a little further so I can cut down the insulin some more, I can be patient. The same is true of the weight. If I keep my calorie and carb intake down, the weight will come off.

Made two discoveries this weekend: one, I do in fact have the discipline to eat dinner in a Chinese buffet and avoid all the dietary landmines therein; two, Waffle House hash browns (scattered, smothered & chunked) are not much worse for me than an English muffin, which they don't serve there anyway. Waffles, however, are definitely right out.
Cut to protect the squeamish )
wombat_socho: Wombat (DC)
Woke late - around 0900, which is getting to be late for me - and was futzing around online while absorbing coffee when P hit me up on Facebook chat and invited me out to lunch. So I suited up and headed out to Ashburn. We wound up at the Ashburn Buffalo Wing Factory, where it turned out that their wings weren't breaded, so I had some with spicy garlic butter. Yum.

After that, since P is on mids at work, I dropped her off and headed for the Wal-Mart, where I bought some household stuff and allergy medicine, which will hopefully extirpate the sore throat I've had for the last couple of days. Speaking of medical stuff, I got my support stockings from the VA yesterday and tried them on today, but not only were the zippers on the outside of the leg, but they blew out the first time I tried to put them on. Good thing I saved the box. :/

After the shopping I headed down the Fairfax County Parkway, enjoying the day and the metal coming out of the Sportage's speakers, and eventually arrived at the H&R Block District Office on Backlick Road. Here I picked up a copy of my 2009 return (the original seems to have been thrown out accidentally, or maybe just buried around here someplace), got a lead on a possible CSP job starting next month, and a heads-up that they're rearranging the districts so that Foxchase might be shifted to the Arlington district next season. Interesting. We'll see how that works out.

Forgot to stop at the bank, but I can always drop by there in the morning and get a roll of quarters for laundry then. Things are going almost too well. I wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Diabeetus Chef)
Good short visit to the vascular clinic at the VA today. Dr. Rajiv seems happy with the way the leg wounds are coming along, and in truth so long as I remember to do my time in the pressure cuffs they do gradually improve. So I need to keep that up. Next visit in six months, assuming nothing horrible happens in the meantime.

Blood sugar has been mostly down in the 90s with occasional drops into the 80s, but not for long enough to justify another cutback in the insulin. Everything comes with time and persistence. Speaking of which, weight is down to 383, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect it to drop under 380 by the time the Fourth of July rolls around. I note that several of my LJ friends are currently dieting; most of them are enjoying success, which I cheer on when I find out about it. I am more convinced than ever that support from friends and family is important, perhaps the most important thing. Without it, it's way too easy to slack off and/or flake out and then not get back on the (diet) horse. Been there, done that.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
How to Reboot Your Sleep Cycle and Get the Rest You Deserve:
Nothing can stand in for a good night's sleep. Today we're not going to show you how to scrape by with less sleep; instead, we're going to help you reboot your sleeping habits so you get the sleep you need (and deserve).


I know some of the folks in my support group are already aware of the stuff in this article, but for those of you that aren't, this is worth reading. Maybe especially my Anime Detour peeps.

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