Weeknotes 3 – 2019-05-06

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.

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May 6, 2019


I’m writing this on a cold and blustery Sunday afternoon. It was beautiful yesterday, but it looks like a lot of rain this week, which’ll be good for my garden–which I’ve finally finished for the year. We’ve doubled the number of plants and it just looks so good. It makes me bounce with happiness to see it. And I see it a lot, so there’s a lot of happiness going on.


I spent a lot of time reading this week.

Still plugging away at Nevala-Lee’s Astounding on my lunch breaks and enjoying it tremendously, especially the bits about Campbell and Heinlein’s bromance.

I also read Ursula Vernon’s unpublished until last year first novel, Black Dogs. Written when she was a teen, it is very much a first novel and I applaud her bravery in publishing it. Because it’s basically a D&D campaign in novel form. At least that’s what it felt like to me. You could see bits of her voice peeking out here and there, but there are a lot of flaws. Thin characterizations, inconsistent pacing, and all sorts of other problems you’d expect to find in a novel written by a teenager. Anyhow, I really don’t want to spend a whole lot of time talking about the problems because of the sort of book it is and anyhow, Ursula’s a friend.

Then I blew my way through Miss Prim’s Greek Island Fling, which I’d bought after reading Miss Bates’s review of it. It was a fun read and I appreciated that the text explicitly acknowledged the absurd amount of privilege both the main characters have–wealthy, white, loving families–while still giving them some real problems to work through. This was exactly the book I needed to read as I dealt with some difficult medical things this week (more on that below).

And finally, I’ve started reading Rachel Held Evans’s Searching for Sunday. I’d read her A Year of Biblical Womanhood several years ago and had been meaning to read her other books for a while and just hadn’t gotten to it. When I read about her untimely death yesterday, I decided to make reading at least one of her other books a priority.

I did a little bit of podcast listening this week, too. I am perpetually behind on podcasts–I keep thinking I should unsubscribe from a bunch–but one I’m almost always caught up on is Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurry Slowly, which is always thoughtful and informative. The most recent episode is a wide-ranging interview with Debbie Millman of Design Matters (another favorite). The most interesting part for me, was the discussion around whether people are sprinter or marathoners when in comes to creative work; Millman is a marathoner and Glei is a sprinter. It’s not a perfect distinction, but I’m finding it a useful framework to use as I think about both my work and my hobbies.


I had a really good week at work! I managed to fall into a flow state a few times and it was a glorious feeling. More, please.


I haven’t been doing much with yarn lately (my main project is a crocheted afghan, it’s going to be great when it’s done), but I have been doing a bit more drawing and painting. And I’ve decided that I am probably not going to share what I’m working on–not because I think what I’m doing is terrible, but because it sets up a lot of comparisons and that puts me in an unhealthy mental place. I’m working on unfollowing all the art Instagrams I follow unless they’re run by people I know or people whose work I find genuinely inspiring. I find the process videos particularly insidious for some reason. I may feel like sharing again at some point in the future, but for now, my art practice needs to be for me.


On Monday, I only had one appointment. By the end of the day on Friday, I’d been to four. And added another Expensive Medication (Eliquis) to the rotation (I have been feeling better since I started on it, I have no idea why).

Nothing new is going on, we’re just making progress on a few things. I had an appointment with my primary care doctor to go over my meds as I’ve been having a lot of low blood pressure readings (this is new and exciting!) and to talk about an old injury that I’d like to get dealt with at some point.

Then I had another paracentesis, where another 4L of fluid was suctioned out of my abdomen. And then on Friday, after my morning therapy appointment, I had a consult with a vascular surgeon about the blood flow situation in my gut which is causing the fluid accumulation. I have a much better understanding of what’s going on now and I am scheduled to go in for a procedure in early June to basically plumb my splenic and portal veins. I will be staying overnight in hospital, mainly because of my history.

But on that note, I just want to mention that the healthcare expenses are mounting. I have about $300 left in my HSA and I have new charges from the hospital for about that amount. I’m still paying off about $2,000 from last year’s hospitalization and I have $2,000 to go before I hit my out of pocket maximum. We’re managing, but high deductible plans are bullshit and my employer should know better. I’m just grateful that I only cover myself on my insurance–otherwise the deductible and out of pocket maximum would be entirely unmanageable.

I’m talking about this not to ask for money, but to just note that worrying about the cost of treatment is not something anyone should ever have to think about. Ever.


Still struggling with executive function and writing things down, but I’m getting everything done that needs to get done. And I do tend to write little notes about how each day is going which helps me to spot patterns. And I get to use my pretty pretty pretty fountain pens, which makes me happy. I’m really aiming to use productivity tools not for the sake of productivity itself but in order to be able to enjoy my life without worrying that I’ve left something undone.

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