“Hello, I’m sorry, I lost myself”
blue jay perched on a branch

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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June 22, 2020

So, um, hello!

I know, it’s been a while. Life happened. This got long, so the update is under the cut.

In quasi-chronological order:

  • I was hospitalized for most of a week in February and was out of work for a week.
  • I was on disability for the entire month of March. This is a long and complicated story and I don’t feel like repeating it here for the ten millionth time. Also I’m not stupid.
  • I was cleared to return to work in April, working from home full time (with accommodations in place, which I haven’t had to use). My employer’s local office is closed to all but seven people and will be closed until mid-July at the earliest. They’re going to return employees to the office in phases, I am in phase 3 (the last phase) and my manager has me down for being in the office 60% of the time. No idea on the timing of phase 3.
  • I’ve been working full time since and I’ve been getting things done and taking on new projects and most importantly, I have not been hospitalized in four months. But I do have a permanent handicap placard now which is necessary but weird.
  • Just before everything shut down in mid-March, we went to an amazing concert–Wesley Stace’s Tribute to John Wesley Harding ft. Robert Lloyd at the Arden Gild Hall here in Delaware. It was probably the single best Wes show I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot. You can listen to it here. I had requested three songs and all of them were played: “Cupid and Psycho,” “Ordinary Weekend,” and “Peeling Bark.” Wes maaaay have dedicated “Peeling Bark” to me–it is a ridiculous song from very very very early in his career and this was the first time I’d seen it live. Also check out “My Least Favorite Things,” it will make you bust a gut, I mean, I almost did (hahaha hernia humor). The shaggy dog story really makes it.
  • Although at the end of February, we went to a house concert at a friend’s house in Maryland and Wes played “When the Sun Comes Out” and it was heart-achingly gorgeous.
  • I’ve read a shit ton of books so far this year. Lots of SFF, but I’m currently taking a detour into “women’s fiction” and cozy mysteries. Everything I’ve read is tracked on GoodReads, so track me down there (username: eilatan) if you’re interested.
  • Animal Crossing New Horizons is the best.
  • I dyed my hair purple and I feel like myself again at least when it comes to my hair.
  • My husband had emergency gallbladder surgery in May. He’s fine, and I’m very salty.
  • I had a paracentesis in mid-March and didn’t need another until early June. This was awesome, but it’s been less than a month and I need another and I’m a bit upset at this turn of events. But my hepatologist just increased one of my diuretics so I’m hoping that if I get another tap, the increased dosage will keep things in check.
  • The number of doctors’ appointments I have has dropped considerably since February, but I have biweekly bloodwork to keep an eye on my kidney function because of the diuretics. I have a bruise on my arm that is six weeks old from a phlebotomist trying to use a butterfly needle in one of the small veins in my arm, so that’s great. And I have a reputation at the LabCorp I go to–they all know I can be a hard stick sometimes.
  • I’m teaching myself tapestry weaving. I really, really, really like it.
  • I’ve had a bunch of video calls with dear friends from all the different parts of my life; last week featured a call with three friends from high school–two of whom I reconnected with a few years back, and one who I hadn’t spoken to since 1992. So very good to catch up is what I’m saying.
  • I’ve made some changes to how I’m managing my work tasks, not sure if folks would be interested in a blog post or not.

My cactus children are ALIVE:

extremely tiny cactus seedlings in a cactus-shaped planter

I’ve been thinking a lot about this space and what I’m using it for–obviously, I’m not really writing book reviews or doing a lot of deep dives into various issues. I’m thinking about doing more personal posts like this one (but more frequently!), but I’m also thinking about retiring this domain and moving everything over to eilatan.net, my first and oldest website. I don’t know. I’m not willing to give up on this space, but its shape may need to change, as I am changing. I may do more with password protected posts, I don’t know. As I am a work in progress, so is this space.

I’m also experimenting with saving links in a way that folks can access via RSS. I have two public feeds, one a general “things Natalie is finding interesting” feed and a second for some of the reading I’ve been doing on anti-racism (I am 100% not capturing everything I’m reading on anti-racism on this feed, but this is some of the stuff I’m finding resonant/useful and maybe my fellow white people will, too).

Post title from R.E.M.’s “Pop Song 89”–be aware that there are bare breasts in the below video, so you might want to keep that in mind before pressing play. There was a censored version that was played on MTV back in the day, but that’s kind of missing the point in a pretty obvious way.

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  1. Karen

    I deleted my blog entirely late last year, and since COVID, I’ve really been thinking about blogging again, but possibly privately. So I know how you feel with the whole “wanting to blog yet not” thing.

    Also, I’m now listening to REM’s Green album on Spotify because of your post. God, that album was good.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      “World Leader Pretend” is eerily prescient. EERILY.

  2. Sunita

    Natalie! It is so great to see a post from you. I checked into Twitter a couple of times and got updates but have not been online much outside work (so much online for work). Thank goodness things are going somewhat better and that you are finding a way to deal with your work environment.

    I’ve been blogging pretty regularly (I blogged at LOT at the beginning of the shutdown), but I’ve been having similar questions about how much I want to blog. Very few people read it so that’s fine, I don’t need to go private I don’t think, but I am not reviewing every book I read and my posts range across all kinds of things. I haven’t blogged about politics even though I’m doing relevant research. We’ll see.

    To repeat: SO GLAD to see you!

    • Natalie Luhrs

      You have my email! You can always email me! Things are getting better, it is just a long, slow process. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since I got sick. I’ve been keeping up with your blog and I am blaming you for the two Sarah Morgan books I just read, as you mentioned one of them and it sounded interesting (Family for Beginners).

      I am full of words, but am not sure how I want to share them. Argh.

  3. Mary Robinette Kowal

    2020 feels like it has it in for you personally.

    I’ve also been wrestling with whether or not to blog.

    • Natalie Luhrs

      2020 is FIRED, Mary Robinette. FIRED.


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