Let’s blog a parade 2019!

All right: I’ve got one of my mom’s pumpkin muffins, a bottle of Mountain Dew, holiday spirit, and a full tank of snark. I think I’m ready to go. As every year, this is a live-blog of the Macy’s parade, so keep refreshing and I’ll keep updating. Let’s get started!

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Christmas memories

In my last post I thought it’d be fun to look back on all the things I loved most about Christmases past, so I feel like diving in with a long post. If you want some good old-fashioned seasonal joy, here’s the place. I’d love to hear your own take on the season as well.

(If you’re not down for a trip down memory lane, just come back Thursday morning for the live blog of the parade.)

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T minus 2(ish)

Since physical therapy ended (provisionally) Thursday I’ve had a few odd twinges. Friday night my second toe on my left foot was killing me, and I think it was because one of the bones in the foot was out of place again—something the therapist caught right away on my first visit. Could be that the exercises I did Thursday inflamed things a bit. Since then I’ve kind of felt like I was on the edge of something worse on and off, but it hasn’t gotten serious and I very much hope it won’t. I suspect the orthopedist was right all along that this is primarily a mechanical issue. So I keep up with my stretches and exercises, although I think I ought to be stretching more often.

It’s crazy to think that Thanksgiving is a little over 48 hours away. As usual I’ll be live-blogging the Macy’s parade because I enjoy doing so—and from time to time I read the old blogs to remember parades past, just for fun.

Sometime soon I need to put the tree up. I have a sneaky thought that maybe I should try to do it tomorrow (Tuesday) because waiting till the weekend is just way too late considering Thanksgiving comes late this year, and besides which the tree-raising ends up eating the weekend somehow. I think I can work that in around my work schedule. Instead of putting on a movie (usually White Christmas, because a lot of it makes for good background viewing) I might just put on some music.

The other day I was reminiscing about some of the Christmases I’ve enjoyed so much in the past, what I really loved about the holiday and the season, and it occurred to me that while the day itself has always been special, it’s really the season that pulls my heartstrings. I think I’ll run through a list of favorite memories and aspects of the season sometime soon, because that’ll be a fun post—and a long one. I have a lot of memories to be grateful for.

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Update and planning ahead for Black Friday

Things have been going pretty well with the whole foot/ankle pain issue. Walking long distances still sucks, so a trip to Wegmans or Walmart can wear me out, but it’s at least doable. I’ve been doing physical therapy, which began with stretches for my Achilles tendons but now also includes some strengthening and balance exercises. My stretches are asymmetrical, focusing different ones more on different legs, because of the two calf muscles that connect to the Achilles, different muscles are tight on different legs.

The new exercises are tiring, but I’ve kept at them. I’m supposed to work up to twice a day but so far have stuck to once. A lot of this is because of the time everything takes and my weird nocturnal schedule, but I do want to get to the point where I’m doing this twice a day.

I won’t be baking pumpkin bread this year; my mom will do all the baking. While I can stand to cook, I’d still prefer to take it easy on my feet and not stress things out unduly. This also means some of the experiments I conceived of over the summer are still on hold as well. Anyway I should be supplied with fresh muffins soon and stocked up for next week when I do my annual parade live blog. (I don’t really know if anyone reads those. But I enjoy writing them, so there’s that.)

In writing, I’m still trying to spin back up on The Pembroke Engine. I’m really happy with everything I wrote so far, but I still need a good idea of where things are going and that hasn’t come to me yet. I think the only solution is to really focus and sit down and hammer stuff out.

That however is harder now because I just had another birthday, and since everyone’s always pressuring me to put more stuff on my wish list once November comes around, I loaded up with a bunch of games I had been meaning to check out. So far I’ve received one such game, a title from a few years ago, and it’s amazing. Incidentally this same game is part of a PS4 bundle coming up for Black Friday, and it’s an insanely good deal: from what I’m seeing, you can get the PS4 and three great games for $200. If you don’t have a PS4 yet, this is your excuse to buy one.

Speaking of Black Friday, the full shopping experience just isn’t gonna happen. I can’t do that much sustained walking. Normally I go out with my mom in the mid-to-late morning and we hit up Macy’s, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble (that one’s not in the mall, because there hasn’t really been a steady bookstore in the mall since my beloved Borders closed) and a few other places. This year we’ll still do Best Buy, but maybe not Macy’s, definitely not much else in the mall, and we’ll probably still check out Barnes & Noble. (The nice thing about my sister being a bibliophile is she often has a decent wish list, and I try to get her shopping done early because if I don’t her husband buys everything else first.)

We have a Lego store now too. If they have Black Friday deals that’s a very very dangerous thing for me.

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No NaNo for me

After the success I had in 2017, last year I ambitiously thought I was going to do NaNoWriMo every year and pump out a new Paranormal Curio novel each time.

Unfortunately, last year I got stuck. The Pembroke Engine remains in progress, unfinished, although I did succeed in hitting my word count goal. I was planning to try to get back to it this summer when illness/injury intervened, and here we are. But I want to return to it shortly and finish it properly. That means this year, I’m laying off NaNoWriMo and I’ll try to get to proper writing as I can. Of course I also have major work stuff going on, so we’ll see how that goes. Not that I wasn’t crazy busy when I wrote The Affix, but that took a toll of its own.

In the meantime, I also need to get a decent cover for Gray Area, which is ready to go. I honestly have no idea how that book will be received, because it’s the sort of book intended to elicit questions about right and wrong and make the reader a little uncomfortable doing so. But it’s going to need a better cover than the one I had for it, regardless.

And to catch you up on my health issues, I saw an orthopedist last week who told me my Achilles tendons are extremely tight, and he believes that’s a large part of why I developed (literally) crippling pain in the first place; if there’s an autoimmune component, or if low potassium and magnesium were contributing factors, those are separate questions. But he thinks with a little physical therapy to teach me how to exercise them, followed by me doing said exercises three times a day for three months, I should be able to loosen them up. We’ll see; I’m determined to do what I need to do. And I’m now officially done with the diuretic I was taking, so hopefully my electrolytes will stabilize properly.

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Back in the woods (a little)

Rewalkening was going pretty well through most of September and early October, but it hit a snag again recently. About three weeks ago now I noticed pain was starting to return, including that “Holy crap something got hyperextended and now it’s murder to move the foot that way” feeling. I was worried this was going to progress into another full-blown attack where I couldn’t walk, and I finally went to see my doctor. He put me on a new anti-inflammatory that takes some time to build up, and since the very next day my pain was worse, I went back on another short course of prednisone.

Third time’s the charm, right? Well no. While the prednisone helped, it didn’t feel as effective as before. I don’t know if that’s because I was on the edge of something nasty and just avoided going over, or what.

My potassium is back in range, so that’s not the whole answer to this as I was hoping; it might be only part of the answer. I’ve since discovered that low magnesium can also be a problem, also caused by the diuretic I’ve been on (and will hopefully quit a week from now). Low magnesium can also be a cause of low potassium. I’ve had problems with leg cramps for quite some time, much longer than this foot and ankle pain has been going on, and was at best kind of spotty about supplementing magnesium for a long time. When I had my first attack (of this year) back in July, it came with a lot of sudden spasms in my legs and feet, so I made sure to go back on magnesium—but admittedly there were long stretches even since then where I didn’t take it.

From what I’ve discovered since, the magnesium I’ve been taking is crap. It’s magnesium oxide, which is one of the least absorbable forms. Well gosh, that would have been nice to know!

For a while I also thought hypercalcemia was a possibility based on symptoms, but my calcium levels did show up in my blood work and are in range. Magnesium however was not included in the test.

Also on the weird symptom parade: An issue with extremely persistent post-nasal drip or silent reflux came back. Same thing happened in early 2018 before my first foot “sprain”. I have to believe that this, the foot pain, and the low potassium and likely low magnesium, are all tied together somehow. But I have no clue how.

Where do we go from here? Well, I’m still taking the new anti-inflammatory, but it’ll probably take another week to really kick in properly. I just ordered a better magnesium supplement that might help. (Bonus: apparently magnesium can help with anxiety. I’d say I have anxiety only sometimes, but it does happen.) Beyond that it’s all a guessing game, same as ever. But I’m hoping I can make a discovery that will help me sooner rather than later. To that end I think I’ll likely start a food journal soon to see if I can correlate anything in my diet with symptoms.

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Christine must pay

While I was on an important phone call, I got a text message from an opinion research group—for Christine, the moron who put the wrong number on some political form in New Hampshire back in 2016. I can’t call back the text number (it’s always busy) and the link they gave me leads to a survey where I can’t skip ahead and give them the correct feedback. Hopefully my reply to the text will at least be enough to get me off their list.

But realistically, I think Christine screwed up her voter registration and I’m gonna be in this mess till New Hampshire cleans up its voter rolls. Without knowing her last name there’s no way to know how to get off the list, assuming that’s where it is.

What I’m saying right now is, I really hate Christine.

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