What counts as cold?

I took this photo several years ago when I lived in San Francisco

The photo features a bus passing by the Embarcadero neighborhood. At the time of taking the photo I thought it was incredibly cold. I wore gloves and a hat and couldn’t warm up. I was not quite miserable, but approaching. It was windy.

Now that I live in the Boston area I have a completely different attitude about cold. Do I need to wear the thick puffy long coat, or the thicker and even warmer puffy long coat? Do I need to wear the slush-proof boots, or will regular boots suffice? Will the subway station be flooded? Will the sidewalks be passable? Will I be stuck in a blizzard if I go into the office? Checking weather has more significant implications on my routine.

Since moving to Boston I have developed a winter uniform

When I first moved here I wanted to be fashionable in the winter. I thought puffy coats were silly-looking and made everyone look shapeless. Now, I think they are fantastic. The technology for keeping out the cold is amazing.

My winter uniform:

  • Standard long black puffy coat (what everyone wears)
  • Blazer and scarf
  • Fleece leggings and skirt
  • Knee-high boots (or sometimes Uggs)
  • Leather gloves
  • No hat unless it’s really cold, because my headphones double as earmuffs and I keep the hood up
  • A hat and a hood if it’s really cold

It’s a tricky balance to wear something outside that will be suitable for the office. I tried wearing pants because I thought they’d be more suitable for snowy weather, but they required a belt and were generally uncomfortable. I have been a no-pants person for many years now and I can’t go back.

What’s your winter uniform?

Convergence Insufficiency

Self portrait of Kristen squinting in the sun

After several months of unexplained eye pain and a gazillion eye exams, I finally got a diagnosis: Convergence Insufficiency. My eyes diverge a little and I get pain and headaches when I try to focus on a computer or anything close up. I must have looked up a million articles about “pain on reading” or “it hurts to read”. I’m pretty confident all those people are having binocular vision problems just like me.

I went to another optometrist to sign up for “vision therapy” to train my eyes to focus up close, and he prescribed me prism glasses. The prism glasses shift the images I see so that they line up correctly without forcing my eyes to do so much work. The pain I was experiencing was muscle pain from eyes trying really hard to line themselves up.

The glasses do the trick! It’s magical!

This is all really good news. I’m incredibly glad to have a diagnosis and solution for my problem, because let me tell you, “avoid computers” was bumming me out, big time. I thought my days of computering were over. I had just started writing a novel and it killed me to not be able to work on it.

The lesson I learned is: Doctors grasp at answers and are often ignorant outside of their specialty. A headache specialist will assume you have headaches.

Still, someone should have done a binocular workup. My problem was easily diagnosed with a short, non-invasive, inexpensive test. I had had thousands of dollars worth of tests, including a CT scan and a neuro-opthalmology exam, before anyone thought to do the binocular test. I’m a little peeved at that, but, there’s no point in hanging onto irritation. I’m grateful for good health insurance. Onward and upward, with a life filled with reading.

In conclusion: Get your eyes examined yearly. Get a binocular workup if you have mysterious unexplained eye strain. If you work on a computer, follow the 20–20–20 rule: Look away, every minutes or so, at something in the distance, for about 20 seconds. I am going to get software to remind me to do this. Don’t forget to blink!

The secret to feet happiness

So lately I’ve been running more and more frequently, most often with a coworker (Edwina) but also with a friend (@shoutingboy) who runs with Team in Training. In order to get past three miles without blisters, I needed a better set of socks/shoes/inserts.

Here’s the new formula:

  • WrightSock Anti Blister Double Layer Coolmesh Quarter Sock
  • Tuli’s Heavy Duty Heel Cup (great if you have flat feet or fallen arches)
  • New Balance 587B sneakers (designed for flat feet/pronating feet)
  • Russel Athletic sweatpants (this doesn’t help the feet, but they do make good jogging pants)

So far so good!

Last Saturday I ran 3.6 miles with no issues, 3 again on Monday, 3 again on Tuesday.

Robert Crumb butts

You may know of a comic Robert Crumb. He came out of the drug and free love era of the hip 1960’s. His politics are evident in his comics:  the character “Mr. Natural”, the comics “Weirdo”, “Snatch”. He’s a visionary who has been in trouble with the American government for his drawn opinions. He was a woman-chaser, for at least part of his life. His relationships with women were complex. Because of his openness and willingness to express all of this, we have a lovely body of work, in which he works out his demons, his desires, his fetishes, and his lusts.

What I want to talk to you about is how he draws butts.


Source: Amazon.com

Strong… muscular… tank-like. Able to give a grown man a piggy-back ride. With a bit of a shelf. Is it culturally inappropriate to call this a badonkadonk? I don’t know. All I know is, I have one. And it’s growing. Talk to me, ladies. Do you have a shelf? Can you rest things on it? Do you show it off? Do your partners appreciate it? Have you seen this Robert Crumb fetish? My ex-boyfriend did in fact ask me to give him piggy-back rides. Because I do have load-bearing lower body. Pants never have enough “bucket” for my shape.

Nowadays, women are pressured to be built extra skinny, with no calf muscles, and butts of no consequence. Thighs that can’t carry anything. Women toil at the gym to achieve this goal even if it is not their natural disposition.

Now I will not disparage the natural Twiggies of the world – everyone’s got a style and there’s beauty in every body. My point is that we should not forget the Robert Crumb bums either. Be proud of your shelf. Be proud of your powerful thunder thighs. GIVE someone a piggy-back ride. Climb those stairs! I live on a fifth floor walkup. I need those powerful legs! Don’t give into media pressure. There’s a place in the world for every type of butt, and I am here to celebrate the shelf-butt.

Let’s have a party for big strong Robert Crumb butts!