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COVID Vaccine Part 2: This Time It’s Personal

Ok it’s really not all that personal, I just went with the bad sequel joke. So here’s my experience with my second vaccine dose. I don’t remember if I mentioned this on the first post, but I got the Pfizer vaccine.

  • March 2, 2021
    • 2:09 PM – got shot number two
    • 2:24 PM – no issues, left observation area
    • 11:20 PM – Woke up, arm was super sore. Took some Tylenol and went back to bed.
  • March 3, 2021
    • Morning – arm still quite sore, but am otherwise feeling alright
    • Noon – a bit headachey starting late morning. Unsure if allergies, slept weird, or vaccine-related.
    • 5:30 PM – Sudden onset of fatigue, rapidly increasing.
  • March 4, 2021
    • 5:30 AM – tried to go back to sleep after my alarm went off because I was stiff (likely from yesterday’s exercises, not the vaccine) and sluggish (likely from the vaccine) but couldn’t. Got up and did a slow, easy run. Fatigue seems to have abated for the time being.
    • 3:00 PM – Arm feels pretty much normal again. Energy level is normal for a Thursday afternoon.
  • March 5, 2021
    • Woke up feeling good.
    • Afternoon: Starting to feel a bit fatigued again. Not quite 72 hours post-shot.
  • March 8, 2021
    • Energy levels seem to have mostly stabilized over the weekend. Think I’m good.

So, the new CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people have been all over my internets this morning. It’s worth a click through to read the actual guidelines but in a nutshell, the “big news” is that they now consider it safe for fully vaccinated people to:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing

“For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).”

According to that, in just over a week I’ll be able to safely hang out with other vaccinated folks – and even low-risk unvaccinated folks, though that bit makes me squidgy – in small groups without masks or worrying about keeping distance. We could even shake hands. Or hug. (I’m not really a hugger but given the past year, I might make a few exceptions when the time comes.) I do intend to proceed with caution, though. The vaccine isn’t a free pass to do whatever we want whenever we want. It doesn’t guarantee we won’t come down with COVID or that we won’t be able to pass it to someone else, it just greatly reduces those chances. There are still a whole lot of folks out there who want to get vaccinated but haven’t been able to do so for any number of reasons. For that reason I intend to continue to maintain my preventive measures when in public spaces and limit my presence in public spaces for a bit longer.

Stay home when you can. Mask up when you can’t. Wash your filthy paws. Don’t be an asshat.

COVID Vaccine, Part 1

I don’t have much to update, so I figured I’d document my experience with getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

  • January 16, 2021
    • Registered for the opportunity to register for my first shot.
  • January 27, 2021
    • Received my invitation to create a MyChart account in order to sign up for a time to get my first shot, and I did so.
  • January 28-February 8, 2021
    • Every single Zoom meeting (and there are many) starts with coworker stories about their first shots and subsequent side effects ranging from “no worse than a flu shot” to feeling terrible for days. There’s no discernible pattern for who gets hit how. The “no worse than a flu shot” bit is particularly unhelpful. Most years I have a sore arm for a day or so but some years it has knocked me on my ass. There’s just no telling which it’ll be. I have no idea what to actually expect.
  • February 9, 2021
    • 2:10 PM – received Pfizer shot number 1. Doc advised me that I’d have a fairly sore arm tomorrow, said I could take Tylenol – NOT IBUPROFEN – if I needed to, and wished me luck. (That bit gave me pause… I mean… why?) Sat in the observation area for 15 minutes, felt fine, was allowed to leave. Walked back to my office to finish up some work before packing up and heading home.
    • 3:40 PM – arm starting to feel sore at injection site.
  • February 10, 2021
    • 12:45 AM – Rolled over and my arm was so sore it jerked me fully awake. Took some Tylenol and thankfully made it back to sleep. Thought I had some slight nausea, but it could’ve just been fatigue.
    • 5:30 AM – Woke up because alarm went off. Arm was still sore, but not as bad as earlier. Otherwise I feel fine. Was able to work out okay.
    • 2:20 PM – It’s been just over 24 hours since the shot. Arm is tender but haven’t needed more Tylenol. Brain is a little sluggish but the last week and a half at work have been super brain-intense, so it could just be that.
  • February 11, 2021
    • Arm feels pretty much back to normal. I’ll continue to get text message check-ins from the CDC’s V-Check system for several more days, but I think I’m good on this one.

Please remember that even if you’ve already got both of your shots, that doesn’t make you invincible. You could still get some strain of the virus. Or worse, you can still carry it and can still spread it to unvaccinated folks if you relax your precautionary measures.

Stay home when you can. Mask up when you can’t. Wash your filthy paws. Don’t be an asshat.

Same, same, but different

Yeah, so…. the world and stuff. Am I right?

Still working from home and really enjoying it. I find I’m so much more productive this way. Well, aside from the daily Zoom meetings which I feel are largely unnecessary. Many of my coworkers seem to socially benefit from them, so I suppose there is a benefit. It’s just not one I’m seeing.

I take some joy in being a touch subversive with my Zoom backgrounds.

Monday begins furlough time. I have to take at least one unpaid day off each pay period for the next year, or until I’ve taken all 26 furlough days – whichever happens first. So while not great, it could be so very much worse. (And I’ve no illusions that it could still get worse.)

The garden’s footprint has tripled in size, and I think that’s as far as I’m going to take it. It has expanded to include zucchini, yellow squash, Mexican grey squash, pumpkins, three varieties of tomato, three varieties of peppers, garlic, carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, bunching onions, basil, and chick peas. Yeah…. I think that’s everything.

Still managing to work out six days a week. Running three days, and doing my old Power Half Hour DVDs from Beach Body three days. I’d been training for the Yellowstone Double Bison (back-to-back 5k and half marathon in early June) but that was cancelled earlier this week. I opted to defer to the virtual race version, so I’ll still get some swag plus a $75 credit toward a future race.

While I do miss many of the exercises that I was able to do at the gym, I don’t really miss being at the gym. I’ve got the space in my laundry room. I think I’d like to invest in an adjustable bench (incline/flat/decline) and some weights. I’m hoping that a bit further down the road I’ll be able to score a gonga deal at a yard sale or something as people start trying to clear out the workout gear they panic-bought at the start of all this. But now is not the time for that. Not yet.

My annual physical which had been rescheduled to a phone call was eventually cancelled. (Makes sense, how do you do a physical exam over the phone anyway?) I checked in with my doctor about my blood lab results from March and his response was “Nothing of concern.” So that’s that until in-person appointments can happen safely again.

My weight progress is still maddeningly slow. I credit this largely to getting lazy at times about my calorie logging. Being in the house – where all my food also happens to live – has also made me a bit more likely to snack than when I’m at work and the only food I have is what I brought with me for the day. And there’s the part where I’m not burning quite as many calories as I was before the world stopped. I’m floating between two and five pounds away from Ultimate Goal Weight, depending on the day.

It’s frustrating to be so close and not see marked movement in that direction. Some days I just want to call it “good enough” but I’ve come so far, it would be a shame to give up when I’m so close. I’ll get there. “The body will do what the body will do.” “The less you have to lose, the harder it is to lose.” “Trust the system.” These are all the things I say to friends in my r/loseit challenge team when they’re struggling. I need to take my own advice.

The thing that has ultimately been the most difficult for me in all this is being unable to play music with my friends. Oh, I’ve got a couple of different remote projects going on with different folks, and I’ve been making music on my own to help myself stay grounded. But it’s not the same as that energy that happens when you’re in the same room as other people, playing live. Or even better, at a venue playing music with friends for a bunch of people, everyone’s energy feeding off each other… It’s something special. And I miss it so very much.

This is the playlist I’m keeping of my “Quarantine” music.

Two years…

Two years ago today I got the results of my Worst. Cholesterol test. Ever. My triglyceride level was so high that they couldn’t even calculate my LDL number. Here’s a clip of my numbers and how they’ve progressed since then. (The second column is the ideal range.)

Three years of cholesterol test results.

This was what triggered restarting my journey toward becoming a better, healthier me. While my triglyceride level is a touch higher this year than last year, all the other numbers would seem to indicate that this is okay.

I was supposed to have my annual physical exam last Monday, but it got pushed back a few weeks thanks to COVID-19. My doctor would have discussed these results with me then, so I guess we’ll just have to wait to see what he has to say.

A lot has happened in two years. I ran another half marathon and blew all my old PRs out of the water, including a sub-30:00 5k. I’ve signed up for a half marathon in West Yellowstone this summer (hasn’t been plague-cancelled… yet) and am seriously considering a full in December. I’ve lost over 100 pounds, and was actually within half a pound of my Ultimate Goal Weight one day last week. (It was dehydration loss, but I’m still counting it. As a friend said, if we get bummed about water weight false gains, we can celebrate water weight false losses.)

Oh also, I dug a small veggie patch in my back yard today. Just a little 4 x 6 foot deal with some produce that should fare pretty well here. Here’s a picture of it!

My new veggie patch.

So yeah. Still just plugging along, maintaining good habits and trying some new things as I can fit them in. Stay safe and healthy out there, and thanks for reading. And wash your grubby paws!

On working from home

Made it to the end of my first Work From Home day of this however-long-it’s-going-to-be span.

Still managed to get an Arm Day in without going to the gym thanks to my old workout DVDs which I thankfully did not get rid of once I quit using them. (I do also have them ripped to a flash drive… somewhere… but this was more efficient for now.) Super excited to run tomorrow since it’s one of my few spots of “normalcy” in all of this. Also super glad that I run so early that no one in their right mind would be out and about, so I’m still technically isolated out there.

As you may have seen from the photo I shared this morning, I got my home workspace set up. The cats are very confused about why I’m spending the whole day at home and none of it on the couch with them.

Without any of my usual on-campus errands, my step count is suffering quite a bit. Though I’ve also taken a couple of short walks in the neighborhood which was nice. Even still, I’m sitting at about 5400 steps as I write this, when I’d normally be pushing 10k steps by now. Maybe I just need to do some jumping jacks or something whenever I get up to use the bathroom.

Anyway, I could totally get used to this.

“Why are these things here, and why are you not on the couch?” – Arthur & Owen

I have a… nice ass?

Okay, it’s Wednesday. Which means it’s my weekly Beer Night, when I meet up with a bunch of other tech folks from the U at a local bar for pool and beers. Now that the sun is setting later, the sun can be a problem when playing at our preferred pool table. So I went out to the patio to pull down the sun shade which directly impacts said table.

Because the tool for pulling down this shade has gone missing, this means standing on a chair to turn a threaded mechanism by hand. So I do so as I’ve done many times before. Then I start sensing an… unusual… vibe from another table out on the patio. I look over to see a couple who now has caught me looking at them. The guy points at his lady friend and says, “She says you have a nice ass!” I smile politely thinking maybe they’re just drunk despite the early hour, then he says “She wants you to get up on you tippy toes!” I decided to play along and stood up on my toes – which resulted in giddy and (I think) slightly embarrassed laughter from both of them.

My friends were aware that something out of the norm had occurred but did not know what. I filled them in on the story, we had a good laugh, and I thought that was that. It was then my shot, so I went to deal with that but noticed one of my friends reacting to something out on the patio. After finishing my turn, I asked what I’d missed.

They said the waitress – who was filling in for our usual waitress – had come over to the couple’s table and commented that someone had figured out how to lower the shade. Apparently their response was something along the lines of “Yeah, that guy with the nice ass over there pulled it down!”

So, yeah. Thank you strange couple for the ego boost. That felt really good and was a lot of fun.

Apparently, this is a nice ass…

LOST: ~20 CHIHUAHUAS

IF FOUND, DO NOT RETURN.

Yesterday I stepped onto the scale and discovered I had zipped right past the 100-pounds-lost mark by about a pound and a half! I would have liked to have written this yesterday but I was stuck in jury duty for the day, and by the time I got home I was too wiped out to bother. So I’m writing it today, having bumped back just above that mark thanks to daily fluctuations. But I’m totally still counting it. It’s taken not quite two years (22.5 months… ish) and it has been quite the journey.

According to this website, I have lost the equivalent of approximately 20 chihuahuas, 1/10th of a grand piano, 30 human brains, 1/45th of a giraffe, 1/60th of a blue whale’s tongue, or 200 hamsters.

It’s taken almost exactly four months to get here from my 95 lb milestone back in October. Of course, there was Halloween, Thanksgiving, a week and a half long Disneyland birthday trip, Christmas, New Year’s Eve/Day, an orchestra cycle, and generally the month of January trying to kill me. (Ok, January wasn’t really trying to kill me. It just felt like it at times.)

That’s not to say my body wasn’t changing during all that time. I just recently bought my first – ever, probably – size 30 jeans. Me! 30! And I’m generally fitting nicely into size medium or small shirts, depending on style and brand.

This also means I’m roughly 5 pounds away from Ultimate Goal Weight. My annual physical exam will be at the end of March, and I’m hoping to be at UGW and starting to learn maintenance by then. Of course, the body will do what the body will do, so we’ll see what we see when we get there. At the very least, I sure hope these last five pounds don’t take another four months!

101.5 pounds down on Feb 13, 2020!!!

Big Birthday Photobarf

This post is incredibly delayed because it includes photos which were gifts to family, but here it finally is.

I’d been planning a birthday trip to Disneyland and other points of interest in the area for, oh, the last year and a half or so. Maybe even two years. That trip happened in early December, and I was thrilled to have my parents join me.

In total we did three days at the California Disney parks, one at Knott’s Berry Farm, and one at Universal Hollywood. Definitely an exhausting – but fully enjoyable – trip.

One thing I was super excited to do was to take another progress photo in the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. (Sorry Tarzan, it’ll always be their place in my heart.) Here’s that photo. I didn’t take a photo in the treehouse on my second most recent trip because I was ashamed of how much weight I’d gained back, so we’ll have to settle for a photo from my meet & greet with Boba Fett from that trip.

L-R: Feb 2013, Oct 2014, April 2017, Dec 2019

I never want to go back to where I was in those earlier photos. Hopefully I’ll look even healthier in the next one – whenever that happens. And now for the real fun, VACATION SLIDESHOWS!!!!

We spent a grand total of three days at the Disney parks: two at Disneyland and one at California Adventure. I’ve just lumped them all together here because I’m feeling lazy. High points included treating my folks to a birthday lunch at the Blue Bayou, piloting the Millennium Falcon with my dad, and catching part of the candle light processional (even if we weren’t important enough to warrant invitations to the show).

We spent a day at Knott’s Berry Farm, which I hadn’t been to since our first big amusement park vacation back in the early 80s. They’ve got a TON more awesome rollercoasters than they had back then, and I rode most of them. The Silver Bullet did me in. Got in a couple more coasters after that, but then I had to call it quits. This was only day two out of five straight days at theme parks and I didn’t want to burn myself out too fast. Didn’t get a ton of photos, but here’s what I do have.

We also spent a day at Universal Studios Hollywood, which I also hadn’t been to since that same vacation we first went to Knott’s. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the rides were pretty much all screen-based, but I was. And they made me sick. We had a fun day, but I don’t feel the need to go back. This was Day Three of the Five Days of Funn.

If you know me at all, you know that’s a hell of a lot of peopling for me. Once back home, I had to get out on my own and recharge my nature cells. I’d been wanting to get down to the Chiricahuas for weeks, but my schedule just didn’t allow it. I decided to make it work that Saturday after getting back, and it was absolutely worth it. I stopped at The Thing on my way home just for shits and giggles, and to see the “upgrade” to the museum. That was…. an experience. At least I ended up with a souvenir tee shirt that I really like, and which cost a fraction of anything I saw in any of the theme parks and didn’t like nearly as much.

So there’s my bigass photobarf. Hope you enjoyed it.

And because it’s timely, I had a lovely Christmas with family and am looking forward to a most likely quiet New Year’s Eve as a hermit. Unless I change my mind and go out. Then there’s no telling.

Fall Colors

Today I went back up to Mt. Lemmon in hopes of catching some fall leaf colours and it did not disappoint. It was a deliciously chilly 46° F when I got to the trailhead, and only 53°F by the time I was all done and headed back down the highway. I took the Marshall Gulch/Aspen Trail loop – including a little offshoot that I’ve been meaning to check out – then explored the Sunset Trail a little bit while I waited for the General Store to open up so I could buy a box of fudge.

That’s the AllTrails map and elevation recording. And now, a giant photobarf. Click on any photo to embiggen.

So, yeah. Should the day come that I leave Tucson for good, this pretty much cemented that it’ll need to be for a place that actually has four distinct seasons.

Ninety-five…

Things have been kind of crazy for the last bit, but I hit the 95-pounds-lost mark yesterday. I’m down a touch more today, which means I now weigh less than the weight listed on my high school driver’s license.

So what have I been up to since I last wrote? I’ve done more hiking, run a couple more races (the Jim Click Run & Roll 8k and the Great Pumpkin 5k), played an orchestra concert, and generally been keeping myself way busier than I’m generally accustomed to being.

Speaking of the orchestra concert…. I bought a new tux this summer. And by the time last weekend’s concert rolled around, the new pants wouldn’t stay up and I had to go find some suspenders (braces for you Brits) between the dress rehearsal and concert!

Just for giggles, here’s a tux progress photo.

Left to Right: January 2019, April 2019, October 2019

Also, this morning I discovered that my Garmin has calculated my V02 Max to be 47, and says my fitness age is that of an “excellent 20 year old”.

I’m really just excited that the pointer has edged into the blue zone.

And because I can’t figure out whose body my phone shopped my head onto at the gym this morning, today’s photo from my r/loseit challenge team’s “pics or you didn’t gym” channel.

I don’t know who this is any more.

So what’s next? Well, I’m less than eleven pounds from Ultimate Goal Weight now, so I’ll keep plugging away at that. I’ve got a couple of UGW rewards planned which I’m super excited about whenever I get there. I’ll be attempting my second “real” half-marathon on November 2nd, so I’ll keep plugging away at training for that. (I don’t really count the A-Mountain half that I walked a few years back.) I’d like to get in another hike or two in on Mount Lemmon before it gets too cold up there, and hopefully catch some pretty fall leaf colors in the process.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!