Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mini-Post: Stephen Hawking Ranted At Fat People Today. So I Ranted Back.

Stephen Hawking ranted at fat people today. So I ranted back.
Dear Mr. Hawking: 
Lots of obese people eat normally and take regular exercise. I swim 7 miles a week and eat about 1700 calories a day, on the average. Has that helped me lose weight? No, and I don't expect it ever will. It happens I just got my numbers back from the doctor. My total cholesterol is 143, my blood pressure is 120/80, my blood glucose is 106 and my A1C is 6.3.When I swim my heart rate goes up to about 135 and then settles down to a perfectly normal 70 beats per minute. So why do I weigh over 300 pounds instead of 150 or so? Put your amazing brain to that little puzzle, why don't you.
It's OK to be fat!!
Some people just are.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I've Got Nothing to Say, So--

--I'll let these fine folks say it instead.

"BRITAIN:  Brexit is the stupidest, most self-destructive act a country could undertake.
USA: Here. Hold my beer."

"As someone who spent 15 months researching Trump's past statements, if anyone says they know what a President Trump will do they're lying."

"White people want to die. They want to eliminate all of the things they need to survive. Yo. Let them. Step out of the way. Let them go."

"Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht. As someone who lost ancestors in the Holocaust, that shit is not lost on me."

"It is interesting how Trump says he's going to drain the swamp but is bringing with him alligators like Christie, Giuliani & Gingrich."

"If you think folks who elected Trump would've been more amenable to Bernie being first Jewish US president, you missed what happened tonight."

"White supremacy isn't just voting for Trump. It's voting against him, then attributing his victory to reasons other than White supremacy."

"Fahrenheit 11/9."

"I find it fascinating how your first reaction is to blame *liberals* for conservatives electing a fascist."

"look if you tell me to hug a trump supporter--
I am not gonna hug someone who voted my country into fascism.
I'm not gonna hug someone who thinks racism, misogyny, & xenophobia are good and/or passable.
Fuck that and fuck you."

"Great Day to be a #Racist #Misogynist #Xenophobe #FASCIST   #WhiteTrash
Sad day to be someone true to our ideals."

"One day we'll look back at the Dubya administration as the good ol' days when we were only fightin' 2 wars and losin' 800,000 jobs a month."

"No matter how horrifically violent and terrible the action, white people desperately argue that their own "isn't evil/racist/etc.""

"Trump supporters get to have the president they wanted. They don't get to have my good opinion of them as people, too."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Update - And The News Is...

...not that good, I'm afraid.  Joan saw the neuro-ophthalmologist  (who is quite the character -and the character I'd use is "officious prick", but no one asked me), and his conclusion is that the same thing happened to Joan's right eye that long ago happened to her left eye. That is, she had what was in effect a small stroke behind her optic nerve, which caused her optic nerve to swell up.  I don't know why your optic nerve would swell up if you lost blood, but then, I'm not a neuro-opthalmologist. Nor an officious prick.  Anyway, the swelling of the nerve is causing the loss of the visual field, and if they can get the swelling down, they might restore some sight. Maybe.  So Joan is taking huge doses of steroids to get the swelling down. Thank you and come back in three weeks.

But what caused all this, you are no doubt asking. How does a fifty-something person end up with a condition that normally only affects very elderly diabetics?  Well: It turns out there are a number of prerequisites for getting this, and Joan has every one of them.  The biggest and most important, though, is sleep apnea.

If you don't know what that is, relax. I'm going to tell you. Sleep apnea is where you stop breathing in your sleep.  You can stop for anywhere from a few seconds to almost a minute before your brain realizes it's not getting any oxygen and forces you to gasp for breath. This may wake you up, or not. The most common symptom is snoring, especially loud snoring. Another symptom is dreaming that you can't breathe, or startling awake breathing hard.  A lot of people have it and don't know it.  Older white males (50+) and black men under the age of 35 are the most likely to have it, especially if they're overweight, have a thick neck, smoke or have allergies/chronic nasal congestion.  Besides possibly causing you to go blind, sleep apnea can cause or make worse high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, asthma and--get this--car accidents.  (That falling asleep at the wheel thing.)  So if your sweetie tells you you snore like a buzz saw, or if you wake up gasping for breath on a regular basis and there isn't a cat on your chest when this happens, please talk to your doc.  You may not have sleep apnea, but then again you might.

So Joan still can't see very well, and I'm still driving her around.  And we're still taking it day by day. I'm managing to get to the pool on a regular basis, mainly by taking Joan with me (she sits in the lobby and does cross stitch).  We're working on that whole public transportation thing, if only so she doesn't have to get up with me at five in the morning. And I guess that life is going on, mostly.

Therefore, it's time for me to say something about The Election.  Yes, I know: A couple of blog posts ago, I said I wasn't going to talk about The Election.  Further, I actively avoid news coverage of just basically anything, on the advice of my doc; it doesn't help my anxiety level, and generally it only takes about ninety seconds to find something that pisses me off.  However, because of recent events, I sort of have to say something.  I heard about these recent events on Twitter (where, if you want, you can follow me around @jenstrikesagain).  And look.  I don't care what sex you are, what species, what color or how long your ear tufts are: Donald Trump has said a ridiculously large number of things, both recently and ten years ago, that have revealed his true character and ruled him out of contention as someone who's fit to be President.

Now, I know some of you are Republicans.  (There's therapy for that now.  Just saying.)  And I'm not saying everybody should vote for Hillary, although I will be.  If I were a Republican (and I would be, if the Republicans of the Lincoln era or even the Theodore Roosevelt era were still around), I'd be freaking out right about now.  I'd be trying to decide if I should be voting for nobody (always an option), or writing in Lindsay Graham because, let's face it, it can't possibly hurt. I'd also be consoling myself that Trump was never really a Republican to begin with; like most cowards, he chose the gang he thought was deluded enough to let him in, and then he fought every person in it until he was the leader.  And I'd be apoplectic that my party was falling apart, but then I'd remember that political parties have split up many times throughout history, and the results were always new parties that were stronger and better than the original.  In fact, this might be an opportunity for the real Republicans to form their own gang, while the Christofascist do-what-we-tell-you-and-not-what-we're-doing demagogues get together in another sandbox and plot their own takeover of the free airwaves, the Supreme Court, the stock exchange and women's bodies.  But one thing I would definitely not be doing is voting for Trump.  I don't care if he's the nominee (our bad, for not nominating somebody like, say, Lindsay Graham again.  Or Colin Powell.  Or heck, even Janet Napolitano.)  When you're talking about the leader of the free world, you don't put someone in the job who lies compulsively, hires white supremacists as his advisers, is obviously utterly confused by this Constitution thing and advocates waterboarding.

Having said all that, I will finally get to my point.  Which is:  If you're still going to vote for Donald Trump, as is your right, I'd greatly appreciate it if you just didn't tell me.  Heck, I like you.  And I don't want to lose all the respect I have for you.

Friday, September 16, 2016

New and Exciting Medical Saga!

And here I thought this post would be about how I sent all the contributions to Heifer and they sent a nice letter back and named the water buffalo "Jim" and sent him to Southeast Asia.  Well, that's still going to happen (this week, I swear) but in the interim, Joan's having a new and exciting medical saga.  For anybody who doesn't know what's going on, Joan woke up about a week ago mostly unable to see out of her "good" eye.  She has a "bad" eye, too, where the visual field is limited, so to have the "good" eye poop out on her like this is not a good thing.  Obviously this is causing all kinds of problems, like you would expect if you were suddenly struck about half blind.  We've spent days in doctors' waiting rooms and testing facilities, and while we were at it, we hit Joan's out of pocket maximum. So at least everything's free from here.  

At this point there is no news, except that things are not getting better.  Nobody seems to be able to tell us if the eyesight will come back once they figure out what's causing the problem and start treating it.  Oh, and what could be the problem ranges from papilloedema, a condition caused by diabetes but usually on a much older person (don't Google it, it's scary) to a brain tumor, which is--well, I'm not gonna say anything more about that.  And all of that is incredibly sucky, but what I'm having the most trouble with now is just the sheer logistics of this thing.  

By that I mean, how to cope with the world when you can't see most of it.  I dunno if you've ever thought of that before, but it's a lot.  I mean, for example I've had to go through the house, and will have to do it again on a regular basis because we have a kitten, looking for trip hazards and things below radar that Joan could get hung up on. (And our house is an OSHA nightmare in that respect.  We're working on it, though.) There are some chores I've more or less taken over because I just don't think she can do them.  And of course there's driving.  When you can't see, you can't drive.  So now, instead of just driving myself around, I actually need to think about it, sit down and make a schedule; where Joan has to be when, when I need to pick her up, how long it'll take to get to here from there, and therefore, what time I can expect to, say, arrive at work.  Bonus, though; We're spending a lot of time together.  Kristen was right; that part is actually pretty cool.

(And just incidentally, my work has been great about all this.  No complaints about my lateitude or about my being gone on a semi-regular basis to take Joan someplace or other.  Essentially, they don't have to pay me while I'm not here, but that aside, they've been really nice.  And this may be coincidental, but one of the Downstairs Guys came upstairs to tell me he was running low on work and did I have anything for him.  Oh, honey.  Do I ever.)

And me? you ask.  Has my head exploded from the stress yet?  Well, actually no.  This is very Buddhist-y of me, but I've just been taking it one day at a time.  Say today is Thursday.  What time do we both need to be at work?  Any doctor's appointments? What time do I need to be at the library to pick Joan up?  What's for dinner?  And that's all I can really think about.  I don't deal with the long term possibilities because they're just flat-out beyond me. We'll have news when we have news.  It'll get better if it's going to get better.

(Of course, I can say that, right?  It's not like it's my eyes, after all.)  

But, seriously, this is a marriage.  And in a marriage, things change all the time.  You might not notice it, but if you take a look at yourself you'll realize you aren't the person you were ten years ago.  Everything's different now.  You're different now.  If you're married, you're in a different marriage than you were in ten years ago, even if you're still married to the same person.  You've plainly found a way, and many people don't, to navigate those changes with your partner.  Now, this is a particularly sucky change, and it's a big ugly nasty one, but still, it's a change.  The only way to handle change is to handle it together.

That's all I've got for now.  Sorry, but I've been really tired. Those of you that are in good with any particular deity, if you  wouldn't mind dropping him or her a line about Joan's eyes getting better, that would be great. And the checks go to Heifer tomorrow.  All I need is an envelope.  And a really good picture of a water buffalo.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Elizabeth Jane Vrabel, 1969-2016

Beth, heavily armed (as she generally was)
"Anyway, my sister called yesterday and it's not going to be that simple."
Beth rolled her eyes at me.  "You know perfectly well you don't have a sister."
"Dead?" Joan asked.
"Extradited.  It's a messy story, complete with a hooker, a chicken, 25 lengths of copper tubing, Lydia and a rubber llama suit."
--from The Great Cucumber Heist, by Jen, for Beth

Beth and Tera.
Beth and Tera and Jen and Joan were all friends in San Diego for a very long period of time.  Beth was the bridesmaid at Jen and Joan's wedding almost 20 years ago, to give you a time frame.  There were adventures too numerous to mention, but let's just say balloons were stolen, Zambonis were cheered for and the entire line at CVS Pharmacy was treated to some incredibly silly street theater, among other things.  Then Beth and Tera moved to Portland, OR and Jen and Joan moved to Dallas, TX, and they didn't see as much of each other, but still thought fondly of each other all the time and kept things silly on Facebook.

Beth died Sunday night of unknown but probably natural causes. We miss her terribly and probably always will.  


There have been plenty of good tributes on Facebook, from which I stole these pictures, but I thought it would be fitting to have one here, too.  Beth may no longer be with us, but her smile, her infectious spirit and most particularly her laugh will never be forgotten. Here's hoping she finds peace in the next world, or life, whichever it may be. 

 Incidentally, if anyone wants a cat, please comment below.  Beth had 3 and they are now homeless.  And that's about all I can say at this time.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mini-Post: FINITO!!

Oh thank God, it's August 1.  The last few days of July there I thought I was gonna die. Sore arms, sore shoulders and just plain tired from all the swimming.  I capped off July 31 with a 2-hour swim, 3200 meters, and subsequently overslept this morning and missed my first August swim entirely.  But that's okay.  The point is, SWIM FOR DISTANCE MONTH IS OVER!! and here are the results:

22.4 miles
32 km

That's not bad at all.  I aimed for 23 miles and did not miss it by much. Yay!  

So, if you were sponsoring me by the mile or the kilometer, or even if you weren't and you just want to contribute something, this would be a great time to send me a check.  Make it out to Heifer International, which is a charity that can be deducted from your taxes and all that.  I have not moved in 12 years so if you know my address, send it there. and if you don't, you can send it here:

attn. Jennifer Jonsson
Law Office of John M. Lozano
9900 Starlight Road
Dallas, TX 75220

And if you want to be anonymous, make the check out to me, instead, and I'll include it with my check.  Hey, I sponsored myself, too.  Only a fool wouldn't.  

Anyway, please get it in the mail by the 10th of August, if you can, and on the 15th I'll total everything up and see if Team Water Buffalo really managed to raise enough money for a water buffalo ($250.00.)  If not, no harm no foul; we can also buy goats, chicks, ducks and other aminals that cost less but will still bring great benefit to needy families all over the world.  I'm going to write a letter to Heifer and list everyone who contributed, so if you don't want to be included on that list, let me know. And of course I'll send you a copy of the letter, which I think works as well as a receipt for tax purposes.  

So thank you, everybody, for joining Team Water Buffalo and raising a little money to help poor families this year.  You are all awesome!! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mini-Post: Mileage Report

Hello all.  Just wanted to let you know I clocked in at nineteen (count them: 19) miles this morning for our Swim for Distance Month, still with half a week to go.  I should easily hit 20 on Friday, there's still Saturday and if I manage a long swim on Sunday, I could even hit the fabled 23.  Either way, I'd say I've earned my t-shirt.  But will I have enough sponsor dough to buy a water buffalo
from Heifer International?  Or at least a goat, some chicks and a hive of bees or two or three?  Well, that all depends on you.  If I haven't hit you up yet, it's just because I haven't personally run into you.  By all means, consider yourself hit up.  Sponsor me by the mile or the kilometer (31.4 so far) and help some poor family in Nepal (or someplace in Asia--you can find the range of a water buffalo here) improve their situation.

So what's it like to swim 23 miles in a month's time, you ask.  Well, it involves swimming just about every day, weather permitting, and frankly, I am TIRED.  I've noticed when I lift heavy things, my arms are sore.  These back to back swims, where I swim one evening and then again eight hours later the following morning, are the worst.  There's just not enough muscle recovery time and the it's like swimming through peanut butter.  I'll be glad to go back to my usual 4-5 times a week.  Yeah, you'd think if you're swimming almost every day, anyway, what's so hard about throwing in two more days and staying in the water longer, but somehow it makes a big difference.  Like the big difference it would make for a poor family to have a water buffalo, and--nah, I already talked about that.

One thing I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned is how nice it is to be upside down in the water (doing a flip turn) and be listening to Beethoven at the same time. In case y'all missed it, my awesome sister Kristen bought me an underwater iPod last Christmas and it's just been the best gift ever.  I think classical music works best for long sets and rock is best for speed sets, but the important thing is giving my brain something to do besides count laps. I'm already plotting out what I'm going to listen to for the Really Long Swim in September. So thank you, Kristen! and cheers, all.