Saturday, April 24, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Weird Week Edition

This hasn't been a great week. Sunday night, I started feeling really, really tired. But that's how this year has been right? We're all exhausted. So I assumed I just needed to get more sleep and trudged through my work days. Tuesday, I was so tired that I wanted to go back to bed by 10 a.m. I thought I was a little better on Wednesday, but by the evening I was wiped out again. Thursday, I didn't have any early meetings so I thought I'd try going back to bed for a couple of hours after helping my kids get ready for school. I woke up two hours later feeling even worse, and knew I had to call the doctor.

The virtual urgent care line told me to go to the actual urgent care. I got there to discover that if you have any sort of cough (and I always do - that is my main asthma symptom) you will be routed to the pulmonary clinic and you will wait longer. And then they will insist on a covid test (it came back negative the next day) and a chest x-ray (all clear) before, two hours after you came to urgent care, they have you pee in a cup and discover that you have a UTI.

Now, you may be wondering how I didn't already KNOW I had a UTI. For most people, the symptoms are unmistakeable. But ever since I had Pumpkin, I don't get the usual symptoms. Fatigue is my primary symptom. Once I figured out what was going on, it was obvious in retrospect - I'd had some weird pain in my upper thigh and my lower back hurt. I'd put that down to having been less active than normal because my asthma was flaring (allergy season!) and trying to exercise triggers my cough and being out in public with a cough right now is not fun. But lower back pain is where I feel a UTI these days. Also, since my asthma had been so bad, I'd added a second allergy medicine into my daily routine and that has in the past led to a UTI. So, all the signs were there if I'd been willing to receive them, but I assumed it was pandemic fatigue or a weird late side effect of the vaccine (by the way, I'm fully vaccinated now! Woo hoo!) and didn't take my symptoms seriously.

Anyway, antibiotics are clearing up the infection and I feel better now.  I am posting these details in part as a PSA to remind people that (1) not everything is just pandemic fatigue, and (2) giving birth can rewire your nerve pathways and your UTI symptoms might be different! Before I understood this I once let a UTI go untreated for so long that I ended up with a fever of 104 before I went to urgent care.

Thursday was also my wedding anniversary. It was so romantic to spend it in urgent care! Ha. We postponed celebrations because I was still not feeling great Thursday night so my husband gave me my anniversary gift last night. It is a bejeweled Baby Yoda necklace in a light up box and it is both ridiculous and the perfect gift for this year, when watching the Mandalorian was part of what helped me through.

OK, so on to the links. 

This essay on Republican's delicate feelings by Paul Waldman is a good expression of the situation we are in now. We are at the point of our vaccination campaign where we need to start reaching the less enthusiastic. Some of that will be about making access easier (i.e., moving to walk in clinics instead of appointments), but some of that is going to involve figuring out how to reach those among the "vaccine hesitant" who can be reached, and as Waldman says, we will need reach more Republican men, even if it seems ridiculous to have to beg people to take a vaccine that can save their life.

I haven't been reading the slew of articles on whether or not we can do away with outdoor masks. We probably can, but the framing has been annoying me. There are still a lot of unvaccinated people out there - including ALL children under the age of 16. Kids are less likely to get severely ill, but some do get quite sick and some die. And we don't have any idea if kids are likely to end up with long covid symptoms. I am not interested in rolling the dice on this for my kids and could we all, just once in this pandemic, make a decision that actually considers our children? 

Until the vaccine is available to children or enough adults get vaccinated to drive our case numbers way down, I want adults to be willing to make some small sacrifices to keep the kids safe - like wearing masks.

Moving on...

This is a very good piece on the status of the Novavax vaccine, but also on why "just release the vaccines from patent protection" won't actually help. You need tech transfer to bring new manufacturing sites online and if it has been hard for Novavax it will be even harder for the mRNA vaccines which use novel technology. I very much want the US to start helping get vaccines to the rest of the world but we need to be realistic about what that means and what can actually be done quickly.

This thread of fake New Yorker covers is beautiful.

Read Monica Hesse on the scandal with the Phillip Roth biography and biographer. I am so tired of being told to appreciate the genius of terrible men and I wish we'd think a little more about the damage it does to hold misogynistic books up as examples of great writing. Can it really be great writing if the author so completely fails to understand the humanity of half of humans?

This article about a young woman's struggle to get her physical symptoms taken seriously is heartbreaking.

Don't "wischcycle."

Here's a nice piece from David Roberts about some good news on the reducing carbon emissions front.

And now for things that made me smile:

Quokkas. Quokkas make me smile every time I see a picture of one. 

This picture.

OMG this would be amazing to see. I'd be jumping up and down, too.

And here's your bunny for the week

Happy weekend, everyone! 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Weekend Reading: Another Two Week Edition

So... another two weeks in one edition. Once again, I didn't mean to skip last week's post, I just didn't get to it.  Work has been super busy, and the kids started back to school this week. They go on campus for about 5.5 hours four days per week. There is a form to fill out every morning and we had to get back in the routine of packing lunches. There was one pleasant surprise, though. In the year at home, the kids have gotten a bit more self-sufficient and now they mostly pack their own lunches. Still, our morning routines needed to change a bit.

On top of that, I was completely flattened last Sunday with the side effects of my second COVID vaccine, and was still not feeling great on Monday. I had to work on Monday - see the earlier note about work being super busy - and by Tuesday I was back to normal. But it was a rough week.

Anyway, none of that is particularly terrible and in fact much of it is good. I am one week away from full vaccination status! My kids went back to school for the first time in 13 months and they liked it! But it has all just been a lot and my one week vacation seems very far in the past now even though it was only a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know how many links I have for you and I suspect the ones I have aren't particularly on topic for the current news... but I'll go through my lists and see what I find!

This piece about how our apps won't let us forget is really interesting.

In recommended listening: 

Ezra Klein's interview with Tressie McMillan Cottom is excellent and too hard to summarize but so good that I will probably listen to it again.

Krista Tippet's interview with Bryan Doerries about holding conversations with classic Greek plays and modern audiences is really interesting.

In things that made me smile:

Vice President Harris is a crocheter! 

Producer So Wylie's bird beats are fun.

This bird:

This ongoing thread from a reporter who is walking from DC to NYC is really cool.

And that's all I have. I guess it really has been a busy couple of weeks!

Here are your bunnies for the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Weekend Reading: The Two Weeks in One Edition

I didn't intend to skip last week's post, I just didn't get around to writing it. I have been feeling pretty burned out, so I decided to take this week off. My kids were out of school for Spring Break and I decided to join them. Mr. Snarky also took a few days off, and we drove up to Idyllwild for a short getaway. It was a nice change of scene and we all wished we'd booked our rental cabin for a little longer. (I wrote a post about the trip over at Adjusted Latitutdes.)

We drove to Idyllwild on Sunday, and my Saturday filled up with getting ready for the trip. I'll include the few links I'd saved last week in this week's post.

My week off has been reasonably successful. I don't think I can aim for fully rejuvenated right now - I was just aiming for "able to continue on without disintegrating" and I think I got that. We'll see how I feel next week, when I'm back at work!

Anyway, here are the links I have for the past two weeks:

Poet Maggie Smith wrote a beautiful piece about how this spring feels as a parent. We have had the easiest possible pandemic parenting, I think. My kids' school is still fully remote (they head back for in person school 4 days a week starting on April 12), but they are old enough to mostly handle their Zoom classes on their own. We've had to interrupt our work days for some elementary math tutoring but not much else. Still, it has been an exhausting year as a parent for some obvious reasons and some reasons I'm still struggling to fully understand. I am sure this is part of why I've been feeling so burned out.

This Washington Post story about an assistant principal in Indio (a town near Palm Springs) searching for the kids missing from his school is heart-breaking.

And here is a post from a parent whose pandemic parenting has been on a much harder level than mine, with a reminder that grown ups getting their vaccines helps make in person school possible for all kids.

This article by volunteers who have been helping New Yorkers navigate the system for signing up for vaccinations is really worth your time and will help explain why uptake is slower than we'd like in some communities. I have been glad to see San Diego county opening some walk-in vaccination clinics focused on improving equity in vaccine access.

In happier vaccine news, I am so excited by the news that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is going to apply for an EUA for kids 12-15 years old. Petunia won't be 12 until October, but still... the end is in sight. 

You should read R. O. Kwon's letter to Asian-American women.

Here's David Roberts on all the good environment/climate-related stuff in Biden's infrastructure bill. (I can't tell if that is a subscribers only post or not... so sorry if you click through and can't read it!)

Speaking of climate.... California should cover its canals with solar panels. (So should Arizona and other hot, sunny states... the study was just done in California.)

Speaking of California.... I think this is an interesting idea for how to deal with our problem of homes threatened by rising seas.

This is an interesting article about some new research into when the Black Plague first infected a lot of people (spoiler: probably earlier than we thought).

If you've ever wondered how Febreeze works, this article is for you. It also mentions some other options for removing odors from the air.

In recommended listening:

Krista Tippett's interview with Christine Runyan on the impact of the pandemic and the need for distancing on our nervous systems.

Chris Hayes and Alec MacGillis discuss MacGillis' book about the impact of Amazon on our economy and our cities.

Some things that made me smile:

This picture from my new favorite timeline-cleansing account:

The pictures of Uluru in the rain are pretty cool.

As is this seal skin spacesuit made by Inuit artists.

I wanted to watch the TV adaptation of the wonderful China MiΓ©ville  book The City and The City but I do not want another subscription service, so we decided to tolerate ads. Which is how I learned about Brave Robot animal-free dairy ice cream and I am definitely going to find some and try it just because I am curious.

(Also, the TV show was good! Here is the trailer.)

Here is your rabbit for the week:

Have a good weekend, everyone!