I’m Natalie Luhrs and this is my website.

I am a two-time Hugo Award finalist, most recently for my essay, “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun,” about last year’s complete and total shitshow of a Hugo Awards ceremony. It’s a bit inside baseball, but I think it’s a cathartic read for anyone who is tired of old white men bloviating.

I’m also a survivor of necrotizing pancreatitis, which left me with about 20% of my pancreas. I have Type 3c diabetes, portal hypertension, and refractory ascites. The ascites requires an outpatient surgical procedure every two weeks or so.  This is all exactly as fun as it sounds. But I did get a cool insulin pump out of the whole deal and that, my friends, is a total game-changer when it comes to managing diabetes.

I’m an avid knitter and watercolorist.

I read a lot. Mostly science fiction/fantasy and romance; I’ve been going to the library more frequently, so my reading has definitely been more eclectic than usual.

I’m also learning how to code. It’s fun and I really enjoy being able to make cool things, especially with data. You should see the graphs I’ve made to track some of my treatments.

A not so brief digression…

I’m going to be vulnerable and honest here for a bit.

I was laid off from my job of 18 years in January 2021, in part because my manager was unwilling to make accommodations for me and therefore was able to ding me on my performance review for being “unreliable” when I was actually in the hospital with sepsis (three times!). Since my first 13 years were as a contractor, I only received three months of severance pay.

Because my job was literally killing me and after consulting with my many doctors, I’ve decided that applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is what I need to do, but as with all safety net programs in the United States, there are fiscally punitive aspects to it–but nowhere near as bad those for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The main difference between the programs is that SSDI is based on your contributions to Social Security over the course of your life and SSI is for people who haven’t ever really been able to work because of their disabilities. While you often hear about the asset cap for SSI, it’s important to note that there’s isn’t one for SSDI. It’s really important to not confuse the two programs.

All that said, I have had no income since I was laid off because there is a requirement that you go five months without income and in the future my earnings will be limited to about $1,300 per month on a pre-tax basis.

If you feel moved by my plight, there are two ways you can help.

Hire me

You can hire me for some coding work. I am fluent in HTML and CSS, am conversant with JavaScript and Python, and know just enough about React to stay the hell away from it. I can also build you a custom website using WordPress as a platform. If you’d like to see some of the coding work I’ve done, you can check out my GitHub page.

I’m also extremely good at data analysis–that was, after all, my job for 18 years. I can clean up incredibly messy datasets efficiently, design spreadsheets and charts that reduce friction, and write macros to make the whole thing seamless. My previous work was done primarily in Excel, but I’m also familiar with both Tableau and Microsoft BI.

If you think you have something that might be a good fit for my skills, drop me a note via this form and we can chat.

Make a donation

Or you can just simply throw some money in the tip jar. I use Ko-Fi and it ends up in my PayPal account. I usually use those funds to pay my hosting bill or other expenses I incur online.

I’m contemplating adding some low dollar memberships which would provide access to members only blog posts and possibly a Discord server. When I do decide, I’ll update here.

I am so very grateful to every single person who finds value in the work I do on my blog and helps me to pay for a virtual fancy coffee drink.

On the Blog…