If you had three wishes, what would they be? (Do not ask for three more wishes)

I’m writing as I listen to Walk-Ins Welcome with guest Melissa Chen I will try to keep that from affecting my writing here.

That said, it is redirecting my thoughts, here.

One: I could easily find three individual things health-wise that I’d like to be cured of. *quick STFW* Okay. Found this. Numbers 1-7, 9, 11-15 are all symptoms I deal with. So, my first wish would be, if not a cure, significant relief from those. MS is terrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, even the worst person in the world. With Halloween on Thursday, there was a lot of attention to this guy who has a haunted house for which you have to sign a waiver, and if you actually make it through, you’d get something like $20,000. My thought about it was that I might be able to actually be able to make it through because of the things that are physical discomfort. No, I couldn’t. After listening more to the description, I doubt I’d pass the initial physical. So much for that. Waterboarding? Yeah, try a medical test where you actually pass out from pain.

Two: Though this is really an outgrowth from the first, I really want to find something I desire again. At this point, there’s very little I want or value. There’s things that I’d be upset about if I lost, but, at the same time, I’ve lost I could delve more in to something in my personal life, here, but I won’t. The Gen X in me comes back with a feeble, “whatever.” Ultimately, I’m going to do what allows me to look at myself in the mirror (well, for as long as I’ve got a bit of vision left), but I’m not doing it out of some desire. I want to want something.

And, here, I’m drawing a blank for what I’d want for number three.

So, yeah, this prompt was a big failure. Maybe number three is better writing tomorrow.


Introduction, etc..

November is here. Time to write. Time to cease shaving my upper lip.

I first did this write every day in November for the first time in 2010. This was something that’d been going on on The Open Diary, somewhere I’d been writing since 1999.

I’d kind of fallen off writing for a while after I really started getting serious with the woman I’d marry. (I met her in 2006, and was pretty light on writing in 2007 and 2008. When I was diagnosed with MS in early 2010, I started writing in earnest again.) I’d see people doing this, and decided to give it a shot.

When I finished, I felt a bit of accomplishment.

(Here’s where I had a bunch more stuff I’d written, but I deleted it.)

OD went away for awhile, and I kept things going on my own personal blog. OD is now back, and I thank them for honoring my subscription from years ago.

Suffice it to say that this is National Journal Writers’ Month, “NoJoMo” number ten. My psychologist (yes, I’m seeing one after being referral by my neurologist) has identified my writing stretches as compulsive behavior.

When I was at my lowest point, I started writing daily in the month leading up to my birthday. This year, I managed not to do that. I credit Dr. V. for this, along with my lack of dedication to it last year. When I was doing it last year, I found it not as fulfilling as it’d been when I was shivering away in my eighth of a cubicle in an antiquated data center with the thermostat set at 65 degrees. (Those solid state electronics last so much longer when they’re operated at below their vendor-specified range….)

Even if writing like this is a compulsion, I do think I still get something out of it. It kind of sets my mind in the holiday mood. November this year is going to be incredibly busy.

First up? Sunday my brother, his wife, and I head off to the Land Mass for my grandfather’s 90th birthday celebration. I’ve not flown since my diagnosis, and am really worried about how the flights are going to affect me. Thankfully, the airlines were actually helpful in getting me set up with assistance getting through security, and a wheelchair for going through the airports.

Second is moving. My wife and I have rented a place inside the Beltway. This will serve as our first permanent home outside Tidewater. I could go on for hours about my relief about being away from there, but I won’t. Let’s just say that things have gone incredibly well for me, just because I’m not there anymore.

Third will be health issues, and getting settled. I have set up my prove-you’re-disabled meeting with WMATA so I can take the short bus to and from my doctors’ appointments, work, etc.. I also have an appointment with an ENT at Georgetown to address some longstanding issues revealed when I was tyring to get my dental issues resolved. I also plan to switch my PCP to one of the providers in Alexandria. I will also be finding a new dentist there; I do really like the guy I’m seeing out here, but it’s going to be too much of a trek to get out here to see him.

Fourth, of course, is Thanksgiving week, and all the fun that goes along with it. I still have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing, or where I’ll be.

But I will be writing. Hopefully, with all the craziness, I’ll be able to stick with it without interruption this year. (I forgot one day last year; just completely slipped my scarred mind….)

And we’re off and running in year ten.

NoJoMo 2019

Hat-tip to this, which is providing some of my prompts for this year. Obviously, they’re intended for a much younger audience, but it provides a bit to work with.

  1. Introduction, etc..
  2. If you had three wishes, what would they be? (Do not ask for three more wishes)
  3. Football
  4. Start of the birthday bits
  5. Birthday Deux
  6. Travel recap.
  7. Describe how you would manage your own radio or TV station.
  8. Birthday Tres
  9. The saying goes, “Money cannot buy happiness.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  10. Write about what you think you will be like and what you will be doing 10 years or 20 years from now.
  11. Veterans’ Day
  12. Free-write
  13. Two men or women have it easier in our culture? If so, why do you think so?
  14. Write about your biggest fears (reach-back to 2010).
  15. Halftime free-write
  16. if you could change one thing in your life what would it be and why? (reach-back to 2010)
  17. Christmas Shopping
  18. How would you describe yourself? How would your best friend describe you? (reach-back to 2012)
  19. What was the most creative excuse you’ve come up with to get out of a date, an appointment, or doing a task? (reach-back to 2013)
  20. Write about an experience that changed a long held belief you had. (reach-back to 2013)
  21. Thanksgiving Plans
  22. Write a letter to your 13 year old {sic} self. (reach-back to 2013)
  23. Describe your most recent doctor visit. I’m specifically looking for the one(s) you see most often. (reach-back to 2016)
  24. Write about three things you did for the first time in the past year. (reach-back to 2016)
  25. Recap of your year month-by-month.
  26. Healthcare situation (reach-back to 2016, trip to Georgetown.)
  27. Write about social media. What are your accounts? What have you set aside?
  28. Thanksgiving
  29. Shopping/Free-write
  30. Wrap-up


Write about three things you did for the first time in the past year.

Okay, so three things I’ve done this year that I’d never done before.  Please excuse the odd organization;  i started with bullets, and I’m not sure if that was the correct way to go.  There’s multiple paragraphs for each.  Of course, if I was writing a DoD PowerPoint presentation, they’d be awesome.

Anyway, on to it….

  • Ate a raw oyster. A few, actually. They were listed as a specialty at my friend’s restaurant. I’d been considering doing it. The opportunity presented itself, so I went for it. Reaction? Not bad. Probably something I wouldn’t go for often, but it was good. If you want an example of what a nerd I am, in the months leading up to that time, I actually googled how to eat them. Do you chew them? Swallow whole? What? Obviously, roasted or fried you chew, but what of the raw variety. The answers I found said, essentially, take a few bites, let the flavor circulate around your mouth, then swallow. Yes, this is a pretty lukewarm reaction, but I’ve found months later that I have a craving again. It’s the oddest damned thing.
  • Spent a night in the hospital. This one didn’t happen until it was oyster season again. Obviously, they don’t serve those there. Both times were terribly unpleasant. One night the first time, two the second. The second instance was one day shy of a month later. Both were due to infections. Both of different bacteria. Both, ultimately, of the same cause. Protip: when you’re killing your immune system every four weeks, inserting foreign bodies into your body is a really bad idea(TM). Ultimately, I place the blame on one medical provider. I won’t write much about this here because I’m still considering all options (and, yes, that includes whatever legal remedies might be available). But, in my current job, I have no leave at all. None. I don’t even get paid holidays. If I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. I was also completely out-of-control. When I was younger, I prided myself in my ability to put up with nearly anything. Since I got sick, I’ve had to get over that. There’s things that I just can’t control anymore. My body is included in that growing list. That includes my emotions. I’m tempted to go back to some of what I wrote in about 2005 where I felt like I was completely numb to everything. Things have certainly changed. There’ve been high highs, and low lows. Sarah and I chuckle at one of our animated sons, Butters from “South Park,” (And if you know either of us, you can see how that’s our boy….) who was sitting on a curb crying after his girlfriend (a waitress at a place modeled after Hooters) dumped him. Stan was sitting nearby despairing about getting blown out by his new circle of friends. “I’d rather be a crying little pussy than a faggy goth kid.”
  • Walked away from a terrible work situation. Here, I’m talking about my last job. I don’t even try to miss it, knowing I won’t be able to. I’m still on decent terms with a few of the people I encountered, but there’s others I hope I never speak to again. Aside from the last two jobs, I’ve never felt that way before. Again, there’s a lot more I could say on this one, but won’t. I was used. I hope the people responsible have memories so short that they can look themselves in the mirror again someday.

I could write for hours about these, but I think I’ve said enough.  The last one is a bit of a cop-out;  I could have written about the sheer volume of whining about the election.  Oh, you’re going to have a peaceful protest?  Yeah, I give that about half an hour.  Also, nobody cares.  The Commonwealth of Virginia supported a loser.  Again.  This has been true many times in the past.  So, too, that I voted for whoever lost.

But I get it.  I’m a bigot because I didn’t vote for the party of historic racism.  Hmmmm…okay.

Feeding My Compulsions

Yesterday, I pretty much wrote my prompts for next month.

Yes, my doctor says it’s a compulsion, but I think it’s okay. I did resist doing it over the summer this year, so that’s a start.

I plucked a few entries from my past I’m going to revisit for this year.

Below is one of them.

One of the things I am surprised by, however, is that some of this stuff isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.

I was in a bad place there for a few years.

Certainly I’d be justified in pointing fingers, but it’s over now.

Describe your most recent doctor visit. I’m specifically looking for the one(s) you see most often.

I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I wrote this prompt. Maybe I should have consulted my calendar before i wrote.

My two most-recent visits were with specialists. One to replace the folks likely responsible for my two hospital stays this month. The other was to see what’s going on with something else in my messed-up body.

I guess my most recent medical visit was with my longtime dentist. I’ve been seeing the guy pretty much continuously since I was in high school. My medical issues have definitely included attack on my teeth; he’s been helping keep me sort of functioning. Yesterday’s visit was for a cleaning. I have to get an extra one each year because my disease modifying drug affects my oral bacteria. That said, no cavities!

As for regular medical stuff, I’ve been seen at Ghent Family Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School since the day that I had the MRIs that led to my diagnosis.

I should probably write a counter to this lousy Yelp review. They’ve been great for me, especially last year when my oh-so-wonderful plan wasn’t accepted by the two specialists I’d been seeing.

Dr. Robert Newman is my primary care physician. He helped find new specialists, including my new neurologist, Dr. Kuczma. I also have to tip my hat to Dr. Thomas Grant, who has looked after me for several years at EVMS.

My last visit was with a resident at EVMS (who I’d link, but I can’t find her bio right now….Dr. Jodi Newcombe). I was there to follow up with them after my second hospitalization, and to get a prescription refilled. She was one of the residents I recommended to my wife after the one she’d been seeing left. My wife ended up with the other one, who’s since left for a fellowship, but she went with me to my last visit with Dr. Newcombe. “I like her!”

I do normally end up seeing a resident when I’m there; that’s what the clinic is for. At the same time, part of the reason I decided to go there is that when I was looking for regular medical care, I had no idea what the fuck was wrong with me. At a medical school, there should always be more than one opinion.

Sometimes, though, I do think the professors take some sick sadistic pleasure in sticking a rookie resident with me.
“Do you have x or y?”
“Well, which one?!”
“Both. Depends on the hour. Check my record; I have multiple sclerosis.” “Oh.” brow furrow“OHHHHH.”

As I said, I went as a followup after my hospital stay in October.

It was also an opportunity to get my flu shot. I don’t know if there’s some academic group that gives them brownie points for handing them out, but I’ve gotten the flu shot every year since I’ve been going there. Magically, I’ve not gotten the flu. It’s like it works or something.

My wife did get the flu last year, so she got hers on the last trip, too.

But the way the clinic works, you’re seen by a resident, then normally the supervising faculty member, like Grant or Newman, comes in to check over whatever the resident did.

Occasionally, they’ll change things. This past spring, I managed to fall getting off the bus. Validating gravity’s function – it’s one of the things those of us with perpetually-numb feet and vertigo issues do. The resident wanted to send me for a bunch of X-Rays; the faculty supervisor came and checked me out, and decided against it.

Yes, I was sore for a long time, but I’ve recovered. Lasting soreness implies I’m getting old or something.

Monday, I’m going up to see if I might be an appropriate candidate for studies at Georgetown.

I did a study on some thing that didn’t work, previously. This failure pretty much made me swear off serving as a test subject, but I am intrigued by this, and think Georgetown might be one of the places on the East Coast where they might try it. I also have zero reservations about using my own cultured stem cells.

We’ll see how it goes.



The Saints lost to the Cowboys last night.  I don’t know if anyone could have, to be honest.  For the game, I’d give the Cowboys a D+, the Saints an D-, and the officials an F.  In the disgusting hypothetical of being a Cowboys’ fan, a win’s a win.

Somehow I’ve misplaced some of my entries.  More.  Again.  It’s as if I really suck at managing things.  But two wrap-ups — 2012, and 2013.

I don’t really know if the separation between the mood of the two entries is evident.  Though I was a bit discontented in 2012, things really sucked in 2013.  In 2012, my future was really uncertain after there’d been a big change to the contract I was working on had been substantially modified.  In 2013, I was fully suffering the effects of that.  I got laid off towards the end of January 2013, and signed on with the four-letter company for roughly 80% of what I’d been earning previously.  Since I wasn’t able to travel, either, my salary had really been flat since 2010.  2009 was the year I earned the most money, but I spent probably eight of those twelve months working 60-hour weeks.

In no time at all, that was all gone.  I didn’t help matters by drinking away my discomfort.

I haven’t, and there’s a good chance never will, recovered.

What’s weird, though, is despite my conversion to cleaner living, I still lack time and energy to do things really enjoyable.

Or maybe I don’t care about that because I am actually busy doing things I find interesting.

But I do need a break.  And a shave.  And a haircut.


What are your holiday plans for Christmas?

To quote Jeff Spicoli, “I don’t know.”

I’m kind of bound where I am, and there’s nowhere I really want to go.  We’re supposed to go to some friends’ place for a short celebration for St. Nicholas’s Day.

I do still have friends I want to see.  Family, *shrug.*  There’s a variety of reasons for that.  Instead of making an issue with disagreements, I just go away.  It’s how I operate.

I think we’ll probably head in to the District one night to see the National Christmas Tree.  Maybe have dinner somewhere nice.  Day of?  I don’t know.  I’d be okay just spending time with my wife.  We actually had a good time doing that last night, keeping each other warm.  Maybe that’s the way things are supposed to work.

I will say that watching the Christmas special she’d chosen was a bit strange with the emphasis on kids.  We’re not having any.  The make-believe world has one Butters Stotch;  a real world incarnation isn’t needed.

Somewhat-unrelated, though, I do need to rap a bit about work.  It’s been an endless stream of job inquiries lately.  At first, I attributed it to lag from my unemployment in Norfolk in 2017.  Now, though, I’m seeing it as mainly laziness from the recruiting assemblage.

First thing — recruiters really don’t know what to say when you refuse a lucrative contract offer.  If it is contract-to-hire, I counter with something along the lines of, “you will make a full time offer during the first six months, or the contract terminates, and you owe me another six months’ contract pay.”  When unemployment was 8%, maybe you could have gotten away with that shit, but it doesn’t work these days.

Second.  Because of the way your clients are operating, I am no longer adhering to whatever you learned in your point-and-click recruiting seminar.  No, my resume isn’t going to be two pages.  It’s going to be as long as it needs to be to cover my twenty years’ experience.  It’s also putting my few remaining full-time jobs up top, and my contract positions in a subsequent section. Not that I think that matters, as you’re using a fucking automated tool to search for keywords, but when you actually do look at it, you might notice that I do direct to the applicable sections.

At some point you have to be firm on these things.

Maybe one of those contract positions would be more interesting than what I have now, but I doubt it.

But it’s time to stop for the evening.  Go take pills, and grab a nap before the Saints’ game.

One more day of the eighth year of this.  I have a problem, no?


Once again I had a misplaced prompt here as a draft.  The published prompts schedule, however, says that today’s a free-write.

So, what’s up?

Not a lot, really.  One day after another, and make it through.  I know at some point in time I will have a break.  But that won’t be this weekend, where I’m now supposed to work both days, instead of just Saturday.

Perhaps I should be more reflective about what I’ve done so far, but don’t have the energy.

Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment, but at least these time-consuming, frustrating efforts are finished for the week, too.

Saints-Cowboys tomorrow night.  I imagine it’ll be a good game.

Will I have enough spoons to watch it?

We shall see.


What places hold particular allure for you; where might you like to live?

I’ve written a bit before about the allure of NYC.  Is that still there?  Yes.

At the same time, I think I could be interested in just about any city.

Suburbia is so…..sterile isn’t the word.  Uniform, maybe?  Things aren’t as bad as they once were, but I hate that I have to spend 20+ minutes in a car to do just about anything.

If I could still drive, it might not be such an issue.  The ridesharing apps do afford me a bit of freedom (especially since there’s really no paratransit service here), but I like to have, at least, the option to go do what I want to do when I want to do it.

I still might not with my current employment situation, but things like getting to the doctor would certainly be easier.

Would I do more?  Perhaps.

But back to the topic, and New York, I think I could be happy in almost any city that has some of the things that come along with being in a city.

I don’t care about having a yard for kids to play in.  (Though, maybe, there is some temptation in having one to tell kids to get off of….)  I can’t mow one, anyway.

The much-maligned tax bill from 2017 actually eliminates the incentive to rent a house from a bank for the tax benefits, so the push is gone.

It’s difficult to write this without a Budweiser radio commercial running through my scarred brain;  something along the lines of the local deli owner who gets morning coffee.

But, so, while the intrigue is NYC, I think my desires would be fulfilled anywhere where I could find a place to be comfortable.

Even if I don’t have the energy to fully-partake at this point, I’d like to be somewhere that I can participate when it does come.

The goal at this point is DC.  Maybe somewhere else will happen someday.


Thanksgiving leftovers — what do you have, and what are you doing with them?

I had a random thought.  It’s not like there’s turkeys in India, but leftover turkey might lend itself to an Indian arrangement.  I mentioned this to my wife, who also cooked the turkey, and she started looking through the Intertubes.

Turkey Tikka Masala it is.

I think I’m about to go downstairs to get some.  The scent has been wafting up the stairs, now, for about an hour.  Considering I’ve been sitting at this keyboard, pretty much since 8:00 this morning, I’m ready for the break.

Problems with some work stuff.  Ugh.

I stayed up waaaay too late last night, and have been feeling it today.  I actually doubled my typical coffee consumption.  But I’m fading.  So food, and sleep.