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August 2017

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Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD). Right now I am fine; my blood pressure is high (but under control thanks to medication) and the filtration rate of my kidneys is not ideal but functioning. At this point, it is a matter of waiting and monitoring the change in function over time to determine and prepare for end-stage kidney failure. Ranging out to the future will be about finding a live donor or going on a kidney dialysis machine and waiting for a traditional donor. But I have to stress that right now I am doing well with the bits and pieces I was given at birth with the assistance of medication.

I am not sure what the future holds in terms of my career. There is a good chance that I will never head to sea in any sort of an operational capacity but also a chance that a transplant will be successful and I can carry on. In the meantime, the RCN has been very supportive and I am very grateful for that-- I can't imagine going through this with any other employer to be honest.

So yeah this started up around the time that I thought I had a hernia. Turns out it was an infection that was related to the kidneys starting to fail. Hence my absence. I will be posting updates here as this has always been my journal for more personal things.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask away. I am open just not willing to share unsolicited information.

Not Dead

Thursday, 18 May 2017 09:53 am
penlessej: (Joffre Lakes One)
...I swear I am still alive. Barely however. I pulled my back out over the weekend helping Meganne set-up the new garden plot. Something about using the right shovel for the right job in the future. At any rate, I was out of work for two days and virtually our of commission entirely until yesterday. And I've been playing catch up since then.

Apologies to everyone. I'll try and get out an I'm Reading post shortly for the week and get back to PM and messages that I have yet to (how rude!) respond to.

Something Wrong

Tuesday, 9 May 2017 01:23 pm
penlessej: (Centre of Canada)
Lately, I have the feeling that I have done something terribly wrong and although that I am not sure what it is or how it came to pass, I still have the persistant feeling. Now everything I read, has this lense of "is this about me/did I offend this person." It is shitty to say the least. Well, good thing we are sea so I have work to take my mind away from wandering (because really I know that this really is the problem here). Do you ever get feelings like that?

In other news (somewhat related because it sucks too), I am pretty sure that I have developed a hernia on my left side. I would go to the base hospital but they almost always hand out unfit for sea chits for any sort of medical complication, and I can't have that right now (and neither can the ship). So I cannot sit for too long or it starts to hurt (laying down feels much better, especially with my legs elevated). I will have to get this taken care of next week once I am done sailing. I just hope it does not become more complicated because of my intentional avoidance of medical attention.
Third update for the Fitbit (and the third week of owning the device). Things are going well. This week's data gives a good baseline for fitness and activity while I am at sea. As you can see, a little bit less activity (it is hard to cover 8 km per day on a 55 m ship) and a lot less sleep. The numbers are indeed interesting. After next week, and once I have a month's worth of data including some time ashore and some time at sea, I am going to compile the data and develop a baseline of fitness and activity. From there I can set real tangible goals for myself.
Date Cals Burned Steps Dist (km) Floors Fairly Active (m) Very Active (m) Activity Cals
2017-04-23 3,313 12,971 5.69 39 67 79 1,828
2017-04-24 3,198 12,062 5.29 39 16 4 1,821
2017-04-25 2,855 8,529 3.74 27 0 0 1,424
2017-04-26 2,928 9,499 4.17 36 7 0 1,469
2017-04-27 2,938 8,416 3.69 28 0 0 1,495
2017-04-28 3,609 12,103 5.31 27 53 21 2,259
2017-04-29 3,624 16,273 7.14 33 80 76 2,248
Wk Average 3,209 11,408 5 33 32 26 1,792
Total Average 3,162 10,875 5 28 32 17 1,714

Sleep has always been a luxury at sea. I am not standing bridge watches as the Executive Officer, so these numbers are actually much better than they would be if I was a watchkeeping. That being said, the lack of sleep and the effect on performance during the day is certainly something that needs to be looked at by a professional pan-Navy. Here is what is happening in my little corner of the world.
Date Asleep (m) Awake (m) Awakenings Time in Bed
2017-04-23 707 44 4 751
2017-04-24 362 29 1 396
2017-04-25 324 16 1 341
2017-04-26 330 25 1 355
2017-04-27 208 12 1 220
2017-04-28 303 12 0 315
2017-04-29 641 36 1 678
WK Average 411 25 1 437
Total Average 398 34 3 439

How much sleep do you get in a night? Do you get as much as you need? How much sleep do you think you need each night in order to feel refreshed the next day? Do you find that if you get too much sleep that you are just as tired during the day as if you got little or no sleep?

Childhood Survey Meme

Friday, 28 April 2017 04:49 pm
penlessej: (Default)
I just got home from sea for the week (back out next week Mon-Fri). I've got Fleetwood Mac on the record deck and a cold beer in my hand, so I am happy. I will post more about my adventures at sea tomorrow, for today you get this meme courtesy of [personal profile] viciousteeth.

Childhood Survey

What was your favorite tv show or cartoon?

When I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada we only had two television channels. One was CBC (the state funded public broadcaster) and the second was MCTV (a small local station for pretty much all of Northern Ontario, yes *that* kind of local). Coming home from school The Simpson's was on, so I grew up on Homer and Bart. When I was younger, I enjoyed Bill Nye the Science Guy and as I got older a cool show for teens on CBC was one of my favourites called Street Sense (it was all about living on your own, growing up, sex issues, etc.).

What was your favorite song?

Tubthumbing by Chumbawamba.

What was your favorite toy?

My favourite toy was not actually mine, it belonged to my brother. We had a toy Andy and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and while I was older I had a guilty pleasure of really enjoying those toys. I thought it was cool how the company made the toys and they were the same from the movie. As I got older I had model ships that I used to enjoy playing in the pool with (morbidly I used to sink the Titanic all of the time). 

What was your favorite game?

Monopoly and still very much is.

What was your biggest fear?

Vampires. I used to have terrible dreams of them where I would wake up very scared and sweaty. These stopped in my teens.

What was your favorite fantasy or daydream?

Becoming an astronaut.

What was your favorite food?


What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut.

What was your favorite book?

10,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Charley and the Chocolate Factory.

What was your favorite movie?

Apollo 13 and Titanic (not for the love story, I was obsessed with the Titanic and loved the visual accuracy of the movie).

Who was your favorite author?

My first favourite author was Lemony Snicket, his books and use of the English language made my head spin in wonderful ways and it was the first time I was ever exposed to that sort of unleashed writing.

What smell instantly brings you back to your childhood?

The smell of the orange soap that my dad washed his hands with to clean the oil off when he came home. We use the same wash in the ship and instantly after someone uses it in the heads (washroom), I am brought back to home and him coming in the house and washing up before supper.

Who was your crush?

Her name was Jesse Overton. I also had a huge crush on my grade 6 health teacher.

What was your favorite subject in school?

English. I also really liked civics and history. This hasn't changed.

Who was your best friend?

Riley Brown, his parents were teachers at the school and he lived two blocks from it and we would go to his place for lunch. We were cool.

Who did you admire?

My garde 5 teacher Mr. Huchabies (we used to call him Mr. Hercules), I can still remember the day he taught about how the House of Commons work and how a bill becomes law. I trace all of my interest in history, civics and politics to this one day. I was fascinated by the idea of seats and a Speaker and the Queen. It was a pivotal moment in my life. He also used to give us sour blasters when we got answers right, which was awesome. But his breath was terrible (probably from eating too much candy now that I think about it).

What's the stupidest thing you can remember doing as a child?

My dad bought me a snow machine on my 12th birthday. That winter, my cousin and I were fooling around in a field with it and we set up a massive jump off of a hay bail. Thinking back now that was extremely dangerous and I could have really hurt myself (I remember flying off of the machine and landing hard on the ground, I could have broke my back or neck in the process).

What's the best summer break of your childhood?

My mother has kidney disease and was on a dialysis machine when I was a child (she has had a transplant now for over 14 years), so we never got to travel much as a family. Plus, we did not have a lot of money until my dad secured better employment while I was in my teens. One summer we went to Muskoka (just north of Toronto, Ontario) for a summer at a camp for people on dialysis. It was a cottage facility on the edge of a lake and it had a pool, games room with pool table, a shed full of canoes and kayaks. I had an amazing two weeks there that summer and met a girl too (we held hands in a boat one night and I was on cloud nine). I can almost remember every moment of that summer. I almost won a pool tournament that my dad put me in (I had never played before) and since then pool has become a bonding thing for me and my dad. Ironically, Meganne was one lake over (and knew of the place growing up) enjoying a similar summer at her family cottage.

Favourite Things Meme

Thursday, 27 April 2017 09:59 pm
penlessej: (Greenman)
Lifted from [personal profile] missangelique999.

Color - Black
Food - Italian, Mexican (all of the Italian and Mexican food)
Smell - BBQ, fresh cut grass, the forrest
Movie - the entire Star Trek series (include reboots), Forrest Gump, Apollo 13
Music genre - all of the music (mainly Canadian indie and classic rock)
Texture - a women's touch
Time of Day - sunset
Day of the week - Sunday
Drink - Earl Grey tea, Coke (recently switched to Coke Life for health reasons), I also enjoy port and gin
Precious Stone - saphire
Animal - elephants
Flower - sunflowers
Sound - waves on a beach
Hobby - writing, gardening (recently), following politics
Fruit - all of the berries, bananas that are mostly green
Vegetable - beans, corn on the cob
Shop - Best Buy, MEC
Boy’s name - Peter
Girl’s name - Margaret
Ice cream flavor - chocolate
Soda - (we say pop in Canada), again, Coke but gingerale is underrated as is Dr. Pepper
Season - Fall
Month - Sep/Oct
Word - fork
Compliment - not picky here, please do, haha
Eye color - colour isn't as important as depth (if you get this you get this, if not I am sorry)
Dessert - New York style cherry cheesecake
Candy - Sour Patch Kids
Restaurant - The Union Club of British Columbia
Thing about myself - I have layers like an onion
Second update for the Fitbit. I've noticed I was slacking in keeping track of calories. I was on duty last Sunday which is why I think my numbers are terrible on that particular day. Tuesday to Friday are days at sea during this week as well, I am still trying to find a baseline of my activity while at sea.

Date Cals Burned Steps Dist (km) Floors Fairly Active (m) Very Active (m) Activity Cals
2017-04-16 2,808 6,881 3.02 12 15 0 1,229
2017-04-17 2,837 10,079 4.74 19 13 17 1,358
2017-04-18 3,308 13,085 5.74 40 33 15 1,965
2017-04-19 3,075 11,252 4.94 35 0 0 1,609
2017-04-20 3,021 8,845 3.88 31 0 0 1,553
2017-04-21 3,723 11,903 5.22 44 94 21 2,449
2017-04-22 2,951 8,175 3.59 8 30 7 1,353
Wk Average 3,103 10,031 4.45 27 26 9 1,645
Total Average 3,138 10,608 5 26 32 13 1,675

Last Friday, my Fitbit died just before bed, so I got no sleep ratings for that night. I did not meet my goals for sleep this week. I recently adjusted my goal from 6 and a half hours of sleep to seven based on what I was getting for sleep last week and what the app recommended as healthy for my activity.

Date Asleep (m) Awake (m) Awakenings Time in Bed
2017-04-16 416 18 1 439
2017-04-17 616 55 4 678
2017-04-18 325 48 7 376
2017-04-19 352 59 4 420
2017-04-20 363 39 4 403
2017-04-21 303 46 3 350
2017-04-22 0 0 0 0
WK Average 339 38 3 381
Total Average 391 39 4 441

Do you have a Fitbit or other type of fitness tracker? How often do you use it, if you do, or how well do you keep track of exercise, calories, etc? Do you find it has had a noticeable effect on your own health? If you do not have a fitness tracker, do you have a trick for keeping track of heath metrics? How does one measure good health and fitness?
This is my first week with my new Fitbit Charge 2. I've decided to take a more proactive approach toward my overall health and fitness and the Fitbit is supposed to help provide me with empirical feedback so that I can set goals and monitor results. Here is a look at my first week with regard to activity.

Date Cals Burned Steps Dist (km) Floors Fairly Active (m) Very Active (m) Activity Cals
2017-04-09 2,978 10,467 4.6 19 61 24 1,562
2017-04-10 3,222 11,756 5.16 21 26 21 1,799
2017-04-11 3,187 12,211 5.35 30 63 29 1,718
2017-04-12 3,335 13,099 5.88 25 18 13 1,833
2017-04-13 3,362 11,763 5.16 34 19 3 1,947
2017-04-14 2,638 8,279 3.63 26 16 1 1,113
2017-04-15 3,483 10,718 4.7 17 54 33 1,963
Wk Average 3,172 11,185 5 25 37 18 1,705
Total Average 3,172 11,185 5 25 37 18 1,705

Not bad for the first week if I do say so myself. I am at least building a good picture of where I am currently at without applying any sort of plan or exercise regime.

Sleep is another thing that I will be tracking closely with the Fitbit. With a goal to sleep seven hours (420 minutes) per evening, here is how my first week shaped up.

Date Asleep (m) Awake (m) Awakenings Time in Bed
2017-04-09 631 69 7 702
2017-04-10 389 46 3 445
2017-04-11 391 20 6 413
2017-04-12 415 32 3 470
2017-04-13 392 61 6 459
2017-04-14 539 39 3 597
2017-04-15 342 8 3 421
WK Average 443 39 4 501
Total Average 443 39 4 501

I'll be posting these results (and probably some more as they develop) each week as time goes on.
To whom it may concern:

First, I would like to apologize for my lack of activity around here as of late. To be fair, DW was not my only social networking service to be neglected during my prolonged period of absence, so there is that. But I changed the format of this blog into writing in letter format in order to have some sort of an inspiration to come here and write-- in the end after two entries I disappeared. So, for that, I am sorry.

Next, I would like to welcome all of the new users of DW coming from Livejournal. Terrible things are happening in Russia right now regarding the LGBTQ community and Livejournal is finding itself smack in the middle of the fight in the online realm. I do not need to get into the specifics of how it is happening or why it is happen (just click this link for that sort of background information), but I side with DW in pleading for users here to consider a donation to the Russian LGBT Network/Российская ЛГБТ-сеть. I hope that DW as a whole becomes more active and people are energized to jumpstart the communities that have started to die. In particular, I hope that the [community profile] canadianpolitics community starts to pick up in activity (who is with me to help that out?).

I do plan on writing here more often. Things have changed a lot at work, and I am looking forward to sharing my new adventures with all of you.

Until next time,

EDIT: [personal profile] muccamukk has informed me that the Russian LGBT Network cannot accept foreign donations and suggests this site for North Americans to donate and help the cause ->
To whom it may concern:

I am pleased to report that I have decided on a template and general theme for this blog. My hope is that it will spur me to post more often and with more relevant content in the future. This blog will now feature posts written in the form of letters directly from me. The addressee of said letters is really going to be endless list because it could include all of my subscribers in a general format (such as this one, addressed fittingly to whomever it may concern) but could also include people I meet in real life or corporations I engage with, friends, family, co-workers, my work in general; the list literally is endless. And that is a good thing, because they can be rants, praises or little notes about my daily life. All packaged and formatted in beautiful letter format.

When you think about it, letter writing is actually quickly becoming a lost art. Most people no longer write long form or with pens (ironically my blog is called PenlessEJ for that very reason). However, letter writing was once an art that was curated and developed by people who called themselves men (or women, but mostly men because of the time) of letters. I like to consider myself a man of letters, and hence the reason for this particular formatting.

I enjoy DW because the content is relevant, I find what people write here interesting. It is certainly more interesting than the snippets of photos, comments and statuses that come with Facebook. And it runs better while I am at sea than Tumblr or Wordpress. I have also curated a small group of subscribers and friends here who contribute wonderful content that I am drawn to read and comment on. Engagement is important, even if not literally in person. And so I hope to continue my time here on Dreamwidth with my letter writing blog.

This blog will remain the same with regard to content. You will get insight into my daily life as a soon-to-be husband to an amazing and powerful woman, a future father (hopefully sooner rather than later), a Naval Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy and a 30 year old politically engaged Canadian. You will also get all of the warts and rants and ravings that come along with an ENTP (the debater) personality with an opinion on everything and then some. And hopefully you will come to know me better in time (and hopefully, dear reader, I come to know you better as well).

I hope you return and I hope you enjoy the letters.

Yours in blogging,