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December 29, 2008


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Please do avail yourself of modern health care if your toux persists.

I had Whooping Cough as a small child and the noise was not vaguely pleasant. Some of my doctors think Whooping Cough was the cause of my nosebleeds (mostly stopped now after 20 years of sneezing blood every hayfever season); others disagree.

I note that it doesn't actually say how you should take Dragancia to destroy the coughe. Also on show is the foresight and annual cycle in pre-modern periods - coughes, the rewme and to a lesser extent the akynge of eeres generally occur in winter, but you have to gather it in Iune and Iuly.

Dragancia, also Dragaunce or Serpentyne sounds like it has escapd a fantasy roleplaying game; gathring is undoubtdly more hazardouse as it grows only in aireas noorished by the dropings of the greate wyrm.

And finally: Get well soon!

The cough itself isn't the whoop, according to that article. The whoop is the attempt to draw in air at the end of the bout of coughing. I actually get bouts like that, right to the edge of actually vomiting, and make that desperate inhalation. But it doesn't sound like a whoop to me, nor do I turn blue. And most importantly, this is how a typical chest cold runs for me; whooping cough you only have to get once for immunity.

I still get nosebleeds occasionally, despite having such unstoppable ones as a child that eventually they hauled me off to the hospital and cauterized my nose.

Googling Dragancia produces some interesting results:

DRagancia feminea is an herb þt men clept dragans~ femall
this herb hath leues lyke to yuy bote they hauyth white pleckes
& he hath an euen~ stok of the lenght of ij cubites as it were in maner
of a croked staffe lyke to a snake / & hure seed berith aboue as it
were a clostre of grapes and when the seed is ripe it is yolow
this herb groweth in derke places & wete . The vertu of þ[is] herb
is þt the seed þerof y-powned & y-medled wt oyle & y-put in-to
a mannys yeren~ helit the akyng~ of þe eren@ Also the Juys of hur~
wt a litel wol yput in-to a+mannes nostrell clanseth the noose
fro al foule . Also the more of this herb y-powned wt a litel white
whyne~ & wt hony helith al woundes þt the cancr~ is arise in-ne Also
he helith þe sore ere frote the hondes wt the Juys ˆ[of þe rote] of þ[is] herb he
may wt-out eny perel take adders Also the Juys of þe rote of þ[is] herb
destrueth the derkenesse of a mannes dyen~ yf þey be anoynted þer-wt
Also yf þ[is] herb be y-droncke wt wyn@ he sterith a man to lecherye .

I also had whooping cough as a child. If I recall correctly (it was in 1953) I definitely sounded like a whoop of a crane, and it was because the forcible exhalation of the cough was much more prolonged than that of a normal cough. Sort of an uncontrollable wheeze/sigh. Gasping to inhale afterwards was comparatively silent.

I still owe you an email. Sorry.

I didn't have whooping cough, but I do get nosebleeds in the winter and it's just from the dry air. The same reason I have 11 cracks in my skin on my right hand and three on my left. I really need to set the new impeller up indoors. I usually use just some dishes to get a good height and collection basin, plus a couple to run/splash out of on the way down because that puts more water in the air.

How is your health, Susan? Should I misquote Alexandre Dumas's musketeers?

Tousse pour un, et un pour tousse!

Well, the Dragancia may work, but I have an easier suggestion that doesn't require suffering until Iune or Iuly.

Send your vet-student house guest to the store in search of lemon ginger tea (Stash is one brand that I know for sure makes it, but I bet plenty of others do). Brew said tea for several minutes, then add lots of honey. Drink it as hot as you comfortably can. It won't miraculously cure your tussiculation, but it will make you feel better and soothe any irritation in your throat. I practically live off of this stuff when I'm sick.

I hope you're feeling better soon!

I bow to the superior experience of everyone who has had whooping cough. If you were here I would cough at you and you could tell me if I were whooping or just coughing.

I do not like tea, although since I wasn't able to taste anything at all for several days it probably wouldn't have mattered much. It's very interesting to only sense texture and temperature of food and to react to spices without actually tasting any of it.

Today my tussication is significantly reduced and my senses of taste and smell are returning. I'm cutting back to just painkillers for the headache so I'm a lot less muzzy. I'm still sniffling.

Over the past two days I've even managed to do some serious sewing: I've done all the structural work on a circa 1820s corset for my friend Keira. Note that this took precedence over my own sewing projects, which are still piling up unfinished everywhere, because it was a debt of honor. Keira is the one who was responsible for the fabulous planets we used in the masquerade at Denvention, including all those cool continents on Earth that she drew freehand just from looking at the stills from the video and the nifty rings of Saturn. So I promised her that I would make her a Regency corset. She came for two days during vet school recess and made me lots of French toast while I sewed madly.

The corset looks like the second through fourth ones on this page. It was plain, like the third one, since I don't feel any special need to cover the thing with embroidery no one is ever going to see, and has a nice wooden busk down the center front (made from a paint stirrer from Home Depot). It's not heavily boned, since corsets of that period were not meant for serious waist shaping, but it really gives the "lift and separate" look needed to make empire waist gowns look good instead of dumpy on someone with a curvy figure. I'm still meditating on whether I will add a couple of extra bones to it; they aren't required for either accuracy or shaping, but they'd make it less prone to wrinkle at the back waist.

I am highly satisfied by how well it went together, especially considering how sick/medicated I was for much of the sewing time. Now, if I could just get my own projects in gear...

While I'm bragging, I should also note that since I couldn't find my pattern, I drafted the whole thing freehand. I've made this style several times in the past with extremely dubious results, but I thought up a new method of constructing and fitting it which worked like a charm. I can't wait to try making a new one for myself now that I have a way to make the fitting process less exasperating.

Susan, the tea I recommended is herbal, I don't know if that makes any difference... but I understand. I didn't like tea for years.

When I'm sick, I'm lucky if I can get enough energy to get off of the couch. I'm very impressed that you could sew a corset!

Susan, good job making the corset and great job drafting it by hand! I have a top that laces like that and it's fine until it gets to my hips. But I think, seeing those corsets, that I'll reverse the lacing so the tie is at the bottom and see how that goes.

I'm glad you're getting better!

I spent two entire days and parts of two others in bed. Time to get up and do things! I am even doing laundry!

Lacing should tie off at wherever you want the most tension to be; they will generally pull apart (if physically possible) at the point furthest from the tie. Normally in a corset the tension point is the waistline, so Victorian corsets often use two separate laces which go from top-to-middle and bottom-to-middle, so you can maximize the pull at the waist. For Regency, you want the maximum pull at the ribcage just below the breasts, but I don't generally go to the trouble of putting a short second lace at the top just to get a little extra pull there.

And I am now extremely ticked off. I need to reenroll in my health FSA by midnight to get it for 2009, and the benefits website is refusing to recognize my existence, so I can't do it online. That leaves me with the utterly unappealing option of going to the office on New Year's Eve in a GREAT BLOODY SNOWSTORM to print the stupid form out and fax it in, since I don't have either a working printer or a fax machine at home.

Can I just scream now? I don't want to lose my FSA money allotment, but going to the office in a snowstorm is right up on the top of the list of things I am not interested in doing tonight.

Susan... What did you wind up doing? Snow is nice to look at, but travelling thru it, not so much.

I kludged successfully. I found the PDF of the form online. Converted it to Word. Filled in the relevant bits. Used a paint program to scrawl a fake signature and make an image file of it (fortunately my signature is illegible anyway.) Stuck the image in the Word file. Converted it back to PDF. Used a web fax service to send the PDF to the benefits office fax machine. For good measure, I emailed the PDF to them as well with an annoyed note about their website.

It probably would have taken less time to walk to the office and do it from there, but at least I didn't have to go out in the cold.

Susan... at least I didn't have to go out in the cold

Glad to hear it. Speaking of weird online forms... Until recently, the Montreal worldcon didn't have an online way to get a membership. They had a form that one would print then, after filling up the details by hand, it'd have to be scanned in and emailed as an attachment to the con. Luckily, they recently set up the online registration. Why that wasn't done from the very beginning, I don't know. Anyway, as soon as we get out of our tight financial situation, I'll be buying my membership, and will reserve a hotel room. My wife isn't attending, which means I'll probably ask if someone wants to share the room with me, the understanding being that, on one evening, there will be a Rixosous soirée.

I've never done online reg for a worldcon, so I didn't notice. I always vote and generally convert my membership instantly to attending right at the worldcon so I get the cheapest rates.

And, um, I know I've been sick, but I don't think I actually committed to running a party of any sort in Montreal, let alone a Rixo one, which would probably not work very well as the only Rixo regulars in attendance would be you and I, as far as I know, though probably a few of the folks who drop by now and then will be at the con. Not enough for a party; we could just go out for lunch.

Corsets? Speaking of Susan and her costuming endeavors... I read the following yesterday in The Bulletin of the SFWA's worldcon report...

Highlights included a "Schoolhouse Rock" skit that examined the reclasification of Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet.

This reminded me that I should look into purchasing a DVD of the masquerade, but I must have waited too long because I saw nothing about that on the con's site. Last time I looked on YouTube, there wasn't anthing either. (Yes, Susan, that is a very subtle hint.)

We were in the SFWA Bulletin?!?! Did they list our names? Who wrote the report?

I really don't want it on YouTube, Serge, and if it comes up there I will ask to have it taken down.

Susan... Alas, no names. I don't feel too lighted because the writer, one John Helfers, only gave the names of the "Best in Show" winners. Still, it's really neat. By the way, I still have to get a frame in which to put the con's newsletter that mentionned us, but I will.

Best wishes to all for 2009!

I'm still thinking about going to Worldcon this year. Like my attendance at Kalamazoo, it will probably depend on my school schedule (the dates overlap with the end of summer classes and the start of exams, so it may not work out if I decide to take something), with the newly-added bonus of whether or not my body is willing to cooperate.

Susan... Not enough for a party; we could just go out for lunch.

True, but I'll keep the possibility of a party in mind. Let's just see how things go.

Carol Witt... Let's hope things work out and that you'll make it to the worldcon.

Denvention masquerade DVD here. It was on the Denvention site when it first became available. I found it again just now by googling.

I myself have had a tussicula for a while now. Nice to finally have a word for it, now if I could just get rid of it...

Susan, this is just a top, I don't think it's meant to hold anything in. I've also thought about just not lacing below the waist and leaving that part open.

Susan, I'm glad you got the form in without having to go outside! If they answer your email about their website, suggest that they make the PDFs with textboxes people can fill out, like the IRS ones. That way you just fill it out, save it, and email.

I'm not going to Montreal, but I'm going to get a supporting membership and vote for Seattle. I probably won't have money by then, either, but if there's one I want to go to, that's it.

I think I have now evolved from a full-scale tussis to a mere tussicula, just in time to go back to the office tomorrow, the office being full of phisitions who will not help at all with my assorted ills.

What a sad waste of my holiday time. Mary Aileen, I hope your tussicula goes away quickly.

Normally I don't need the pdf at all -- I just go to the self-service website, click "yes" and fill in the amount. I've no idea why that isn't working this week.

And I just got an email confirmation from the benefits office that they have put in my FSA election for 2009. Hurrah!

What's up that your body might be uncooperative?

If you make it, we can have a three-person luncheon!

I'll be at Kalamazoo again, with a paper on the saltarello, woo woo!

Susan: It may be four people should my husband go. He is kind of curious about attending an SF con (he was at apc 9 in Boston, but I don't believe he attended your dance).

Yay for you at Kalamazoo! I hope I get to your session this year, but you know how it is: either there's nothing of great interest during a time slot, or else there are at least three that you really want to be at, all in buildings at opposite ends of the campus.

As for my stupid body, after years of problems with my back and some osteoarthritis in my hips, I suffered a sudden, ridiculous amount of pain in November that has left me unable to move around (or sit, or stand, or lie down, or...) much. It turns out that I've had a mild deformity in my hip joints since birth, and I guess spending all my life doing things I shouldn't have if this condition had been known finally caught up with me.* My doctor will be sending me to a specialist for more testing, and it's possible surgery will be required. We shall have to see what happens.

*It's either that or the fact that my son turned 18 the day before it happened, thus Mother Nature was ensuring I knew that his reaching adulthood makes me officially old and decrepit.

Mary Aileen... Thanks for the link! I just ordered the DVD.

Susan... What a sad waste of my holiday time.

Hopefully the following will cheer you up. Naomi Novik has something in Ann & Jeff VanderMeer's pirates/fantasy anthology Fast Ships, Black Sails. Her story is titled Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake. From a brief glimpse, I can't tell if it's related the the Téméraire novels, but I thought I should let you know. Speaking of her novels, Peter Jackson had bought the rights to the first three a couple of years ago, and he just acquired the next two novels. I guess that means he is serious about making movies out of them.

Serge... You're welcome!

Susan... Thanks. It's subsiding, but veeeery slowly.

Mary Aileen,
Mine is still coming and going irregularly. I took meds to sleep last night, which I hadn't the night before.

That sounds perfectly awful. I hope they can come up with something short of surgery to mitigate the pain.

I have the same problem at Kalamazoo and, for that matter, at conventions. Usually it causes me to throw up my hands and go to none of them.

I'd be happy to meet your husband. I probably wouldn't remember him from apc9 even if he had been at my dance there, it's been so long. So if the two of you come to Montreal, we will have a slightly larger luncheon!

I bought that anthology at Darkovercon. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet; I sort of forgot that I had it. So many books, so little time.

I'm currently tussiculating in the Apple Store in Manhattan, but soon be offline for the afternoon and evening doing another little theater marathon with a couple of friends.

Susan... Have a good tussiculation-free day.

Susan... So many books, so little time.

That's the problem when the next best thing to reading a book is to buy it. (Especially in a physical-world bookstore.)

Hey, no coughing at the show! I hope everybody feels better!

I hope the cough has gone now. As for the hoarseness, I had two wives snarling at me when I made a perfectly innocent pun about hoarse radish.

Happy 2009.

Fledgist... You'd beet-er not make any more puns.

Ta-daaah! We've hit another milestone!

Comment number 3000 on Rixo was made by

(drum roll)


(what were the odds it would be someone other than the regulars? wow!)

On the comment itself:
Were they both your wives? That makes a difference in evaluating the snarling.

Susan: That sounds perfectly awful. I hope they can come up with something short of surgery to mitigate the pain.

Thanks! The medication I'm on right now does help somewhat, as long as I don't do much of anything. I hope I'll be able to have something stronger prescribed at my next visit, because starting school this week is looking highly undesirable.

Can they address the pain and mobility with meds without making you too fuzzy-headed? (And remind me what you're in school for...?)

Susan: I don't know. We'll have to see what the next round of medication brings. I should be seeing my doctor tomorrow.

I'm taking Mediaeval and Celtic Studies. I'm in my third year, but I now expect I'll have to take a fifth year.

Leading to a PhD? I dream of doing that.

Susuan: I've been told that I absolutely must get my PhD; however, I am a mere undergraduate. It would be rather nice, but right now I just want to be able to get through this!

Eek! Susan, not Susuan.

Usually people misspell my last name. :)

Good luck with the degree. Were you able to get any credit for life experience or did you have some previous college credit, or are you doing the whole thing from scratch? That's quite a project!

Thanks! I did receive a bit of credit, but not enough to make much difference.

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