I went to the optometrist for the first regular checkup in many years. They did the pupil dilation thing, which was sort of annoying and now I remember how much I didn't like it the last time. I probably should have used the cheap sunglasses they gave me, but I didn't. On an overcast day, on the walk back to the office, the white lines on the road were blinding me. Yeesh. My pupils looked, and still look, like an animé character's.

Night fell shortly after I got back to the office, which was convenient. And from then until now, everything is brighter than I expect, and point-source lights have pretty auras around them.

I walked [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog through the big park, which has been decked out in Christmas lights.

Wow. Pretty. Very pretty.

The strings of lights in the trees each looked like thick cables, bright but not quite painfully bright. Again with the pretty auras. If I could have turned off the streetlights, it would have been perfect.

I'm not sure I would recommend this as a way to get into the Christmas spirit, but hey, as long as I've got weird vision, might as well take advantage of the few unexpected benefits.
Last night Dan was going to make Iles Flottantes, which sounded tasty and decadent, but the eggs wouldn't separate, which meant he was either going to waste a bunch of eggs, or change plans. So he made pound cake, which is indeed quite tasty.

I woke up this morning hearing Monty Python-esque voices saying "Iles Flottantes", or in English, "Floating Eels..." Sadly, that's all of the skit that came to my waking mind. But someone else should run with it, shouldn't they?

--

This weekend has been a bit of a crapshoot. I have had a terrible backache, which has gotten better and worse in turns, but today I didn't need Tylenol with codeine, just regular Tylenol and Advil, which is an improvement.

This weekend I've gotten lots of walking in, just around downtown. I saw a twitter post yesterday that amused and amazed me: there are still apparently a bunch of people in town who are terrified of Downtown as being scary and crime-ridden. Perhaps 15 years ago it was? But I'm certain it's much less worrying than, say, Ball Square or other Boston-area neighbo(u)rhoods. A friend made a comment to the effect that such people form a distinct set of folks she is displeased to run into, in the OTHER (ritzier) end of town. And there is some truth to that for me too.

...I'd say eat the rich, but I'm not really into capitalism cannibalism.

--

We have an offer on our house! The inspection is tomorrow morning, after which we'll hear if they have any problems. The realtors had a showing today "just in case" and there was a lot of interest, if Party the First falls through. Getting this close-to-finished is such a load off my mind. And for Dan, too. There's a difference between knowing in theory that it will sell, and actually having it finally happen.

--

I've been trying to not think about work at home, but failed yesterday, when I decided I would just email the author of some code I'm using. His reply was both immediate and very useful, and at the same time I realized I: 1) had a bug in my alteration to his code and 2) knew the fix could be tested in about ten minutes. ...So I did that. And it worked!

So then I had to tell him I fixed the deficiency he had told me he'd never gotten around to fixing (but wanted to fix). And since he had a github account to share his code, and *I* have a github account I've never used, it made the most sense to figure out how to share it with him publicly, with all the public open-source accountability.

I expect you can see where this went (and so could I, even while I was doing it).

It took me about an hour to figure out the next part, since I've never actually used git before. But the end product looks pretty awesome to me, because something like 3 lines of code (and 1 line of documentation) means I don't have to spend at least a day writing a workaround for the (nonexistent) deficiency in the underlying system API.

Or, said another way, I made it so I can programmatically rename hosts in the campus DNS system, instead of having to delete the old host and re-creating all of its information in a new record.

--

So yah. Life is pretty good, and will be even better next week when the provisional house sale becomes final!

How's by you?
I have been in a writing lull over the last month. I've spent a bunch of free time immersed in that game; I've been thinking about work at other free times, solving problems in my head; I've been thinking about Quaker Meeting and making plans for Quaker-related travel; and while dan was away, I had a cold for a week that made me fairly low-brain.

Then, the cold got better two Sundays ago, and I went to Quaker Meeting and felt absolutely wonderful, and spent the afternoon bouncing around, writing journal posts in my head, only to see them disappear when I sat down at the end of the evening, just as the cold symptoms came back again for the night. So, oh well.

But the last two weeks have been pretty good. I went to a Vote Mob [1], voted early in the national election, went to a birthday party, a pub dinner with programmer friends, and we had friends over for tea and cookies. I think I finally kicked the cold, despite some very rainy and windy weather. And I finished what I needed to do at work, for the start of the new term on Monday, despite a fairly impressive set of potential problems with infrastructure upgrades which have largely been ameliorated. And that is all I will say about work.

Last Wednesday was the start of Open Ears music festival, which is more low-oomph than prior years. It's held every other year, and it's how dan and I have seen Pamela Z, Negativland and Patricia O'Callighan, and DJ Spooky, among other highlights. I hope they can get their act together for 2013; Open Ears has been one of the great things about living around here.

This time the only out-of-town performers I was really excited about was the Princeton Laptop Orchestra; and their concert didn't really do it for me.

So far, the best pieces were by Penderecki String Quartet (with DJ P Love). The Quartet are always excellent, even if I don't like what they play. This time they played Different Trains by Steve Reich, and it totally blew the recording away. The mix was different; you heard less of the recorded voices, and a much more lively violin-against-steam-whistle that just sounded awesome. They also played a piece composed during the CBC Strike (of 2005?) by Nicole Lizee, called "this will not be televised", which at one point, sampled the most famous riff from the middle of Duran Duran/"Rio", and cracked dan and me up.

Last night I saw Tanya Tagaq Trio, who are made up of a percussionist, a violinist, and Tanya Taqaq, an Inuit throat singer. This is not easily described. I'm glad I went. She has toured with Bjork, and I can see the mutual attractions. Many of the sounds she made were ones I didn't know the human body could safely produce. They closed with a set of traditional Inuit throat-singing, between Tanya and a female cousin, which was amazingly intimate and sort of kind of like this, though dialed up in intensity quite a bit.

There are two remaining concerts I'm interested in: Blue Dot tonight, and Da Capo tomorrow afternoon. However, we have our friend Lee-Ellen visiting from Ithaca, and I'd rather see her than the concerts!

[1] Vote mob: if you're outside Canuckistan you've probably not heard the term. And fellow Canadians are probably sick and tired of hearing it. In short: a month ago and at a school not very far from here, students decided to Stick it to The Man via YouTube, to counter the claim that "young people don't vote," and there have now been a few dozen youtube-video-driven events along the lines of Flash Mobs, though none I've seen have had amazing music or amazing dancing or amazing anything. Just lots of energy. Being part of the local campus one was... um, sort of silly. But I got to run through mud puddles, which turned out to be fun.

On an airplane

Saturday, 25 December 2010 06:50 pm
December 24, 2pm: Somewhere over northern Florida-

dan and I on our way for three days in Tampa with our friend Tom, then two in Sarasota. As usual, the University is closed between Christmas and New Years, so we're taking the time for vacation. Somewhere warm(ish): Tampa temperatures are mid-teens Celsius (60ish F) for the next few days, but it's due to go down to freezing overnight on Saturday through Wednesday. Ah well; It will be warmish.

I just watched an episode from Treme, season one, which I've been hoping to check out for a while. It's gritty and depressing, and makes me want to visit New Orleans. Some other vacation.

It's been a while since I've had energy for writing. I might say I've been too busy living life, to record it; or I might say I've felt too boring to write. It sort of feels like both.

I'm curious if this week will find me less busy and/or less boring-feeling.
The week so far has been fairly full.

Today I went for an all-day Emergency First Aid training. I'm curious how many of my friends are CPR trained? Either current, or lapsed? (I'd also be curious how many of you have ever used it? I know at least two of my friends have. What's that like for you?)

My training was led by an ex-US Marine, ex-firefighter, with just about as much authority on the subject as I might hope for. It was a really intense day. Hopefully I'll sleep OK tonight; I've been to the gym and had a strong drink, which I think has helped calm my mind down. :)

I wonder how the day's tone would be different with, dunno, a more "boring" instructor. He shared a lot of his macabre sense of humor. One story; he was working as an EMT in Atlanta at the Braves stadium for a big home game. They got the call about a man who collapsed; they got within a few hundred yards and started humping their equipment through the press of crowds, many clustered around the guy who was down. As they got there, they discovered two "good ol' boys" (as he called them) running a jumper-cable from their big truck, engine racing, just about to make contact with the old guy on the ground. Fortunately, they got there just in time; turns out he fainted from the heat, his heart was beating fine, though it wouldn't have if the two dudes had worked faster!

A few things I learned:

1) if someone feels faint, *don't* tell them to put their head between their knees, unless you're holding on to the back of their shirt. If they go unconscious, their head will hit the ground and then they might have spine/head trauma to deal with as well. According to Ian, slouching with head back is perfectly fine.

2) AED's, Automated External Defibrillators, are some really cool technology. The modern ones are designed so anybody can use them (though you can get going a bit faster if you're trained). They will talk to the user, flashing lights to tell them what to connect to the patient and where. They will detect a weak heartbeat and if necessary, send the shock to try and restart their pulse; but if they don't detect any pulse, they will guide the user through CPR steps, including sounding out the beat for chest-compressions.

3) The "First Aid Recovery Position" is the same as it was when I learned it at Cornell when I volunteered at Slope Day, a booze-fest on the last day of classes. Preventing someone from choking on their own vomit is timeless.

On that classy note, what about yesterday?...

Yesterday was the annual campus conference. I gave a talk, on one cross-campus collaboration project I'm involved with. It went ok; the best part was finishing and having lots of leftover time for conversations with people. I saw good talks and so-so talks, and ended on a great note with some students very energetically talking through some mobile dev projects they are working on in spare time. They made me, personally, feel completely not-cutting-edge, but that's fine. Sometimes other people get to be the sharpest knives in the drawer.

After work, I had a fairly difficult phone-call to make relating to some stuff that happened after Quaker Meeting on Sunday, but you know what? It was fine; and it was entirely the right thing to do, and I felt supported by a bunch of people in the Meeting in the process.

Just beforehand, I shoveled snow for the first time this year, and a bunny came over from a few lawns over and sat just across the street, sort of under a bush, watching me the entire time. It was still keeping watch when I went inside. And it helped me stay grounded as I went inside to make that phone-call.

And in the evening, dan took me out for all-you-can-eat tapas, using the thank-you gift-certificate from the talk that he gave yesterday, to a bunch of high-schoolers. (Next year? I think the school will try and avoid having a CS conference for some hundred students on the very same day that most of the technical staff are at their own conference. The combination went OK, but that took a lot of work from lots of dedicated people!)

Bike Log

Saturday, 23 October 2010 07:15 pm
rolled over another 200km, biking home after Pilates. During which I had the realization that my core muscles felt stronger, after doing the same exercises for something like 6 months. Yay!

Beautiful fall weather.
I went to a potluck on Sunday that was hosted by a variety of grassroots organizations: a Local Foods vendor, barter group, and the local car-share. I happen to be members of none of these, but [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere was.

I had more fun than I expected to. I ran into friends I don't see much ([livejournal.com profile] pnijjar ) as well as a coworker and his spouse, who I enjoyed talking with; and also someone who used to come to Quaker Meeting and was wondering about whether she should come with her 2.5-year-old (yes!)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere and I brought our dogs; and many outdoor events are better with dogs.

The potluck pot was surprisingly lucky. Among 50 or so participants, I brought the only fruit salad; there were lots singleton main courses, finger foods, and deserts, and all but one dish I tasted was yummy (the non-tasty one was some sort of cheese pie that tasted old). Someone made skor bars. I should try that some time.

Later on Sunday, I finished my Canadian passport application, which included figuring out when I had met my two references. The last five years have been good for me socially.

Tonight, I watched [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball give a 30-minute talk to high-school students; he did an excellent job connecting with them and giving them a positive model for an academic path.

My bike odometer rolled over another 1,000km on my commute home from work. Just before some sort of stinging insect made impact with my nose. Which is still swollen, but by now it doesn't hurt as long as I don't poke at it.

Happy Weekend, fooks

Friday, 4 June 2010 10:16 pm
Tomorrow is the local Pride Festival, which for me mostly means sitting in a park with friends and watching the world go past. It's a low-key Pride, which suits. Also, I'm going for my 5th Pilates exercise class (which seems fairly clear is doing good things for my back and shoulder and likely my overall body-tone).

Sunday is the local Quaker Meeting's summer picnic and outdoor Meeting for Worship, which I expect will be fun. I missed the one last year, despite being responsible for reserving the picnic area in Guelph. This year, in advance, [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I went for a walk/hike with [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog and we all gave Riverside Park thumbs-up and/or wags.

This week has gone by quickly. It was "Commuter Challenge Week" which meant Monday there was a free breakfast for cyclists (wearing helmets) in the Uptown Plaza, which surprised me for not being lacklustre (after the poor advertising they didn't do). There were TV cameras but I didn't bother finding out if I was on TV. Tuesday I blew my green cred out of the water by driving to the airport to pick up a friend. Overall, I racked up 42km in 4 days on bike, which felt good.

Ideas for today:
- I heard (from someone who does not assert this is definitely true) that young chickens might be more capable of flight than adult chickens, before they gain their full body weight. I want to see a fable about a chicken who remembers the joy of flying, who's handy with tools (yeah) and builds a chicken trebuchet. (thank you for this idea, [livejournal.com profile] mrwhistlebear and [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere). In my head it looks like a mix of this and that.
- Are we tool-using metaphor-flingers? (thank you [livejournal.com profile] dawn_guy, for a very non-sequitur meeting this morning...)

Oh, and after lunch with [livejournal.com profile] chezmax and [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere we walked around the site where Mel's Diner was (until last month when the plaza it was in burned down). The tile is still there, and it was decidedly odd to see how small the footprint of the place actually was. Walking around there, and talking about the place with a few people: I don't think I'm overly sentimentalizing a not-very-exciting diner; I just have little exposure to "places" turning into "not-places" and my reactions to that happening are interesting to me. ...if it had been a family home, I would find this reaction intensely inappropriate, but since it's a commercial establishment, that somehow makes it OK.

Also, in the tile floor near the back corner, I found a charred penny from 1974, the year I was born. Lucky? Unlucky? Just a penny? Yet to be decided. :)
Bless me LJ, for I have been quiet. It has been two weeks since my last post.

Hey, I'm 36! My birthday was low-key; bookended by food: takeout BBQ one night and yummy home-cooked shrimp scampi. And ice-cream on my birthday. 36 so far feels like 35 with more things falling apart.

I've lost track of how many times I've had bike flats in the last month. It's at least five.
Tomorrow morning might be exciting; I'm biking to work by way of the bike shop, to replace the rear tube (again) and tire (overdue). The tube/tire on the bike might hold long enough for me to get there.

On Saturday morning, I went to reinflate my bike tire to the recommended pressure... and didn't notice a hole worn in the tire sidewall. "Hey, that side's bulging. Hey, maybe I should let the air out before it - " BAM! My ears were ringing for a while. I had to laugh out loud at the absurdity. I immediately pictured birds flying in circles around my head.

In the last week, I've had high hopes for a long bike-ride after work, or on the weekend, but with the different flats, it just didn't seem like a good idea. Hindsight, at least two of the flats were caused by wearing through the tire sidewalls. One was glass, one was a bad patch (over a seam) and I don't remember what the rest were. At least I can still say Rapid Flat-Fixes Я Us.

The odometer did roll over another 200 km, Friday evening just after I replaced the n-1th flat on my way home from work; exactly 30 days after the last 200km.

Other stuff falling apart? Goodness. My laptop has been crashing (though I now have Time Machine running backups, so at least that's automated), my phone/camera has been acting finicky, my iPod has been refusing to update again, our front stoop has lost a chunk of stone and now looks a bit gap-toothed, and I think the front doorknob is possibly loose. Whee! Oh, and we're probably going to replace the car reasonably soon, as upkeep costs begin to approach trade-in value. I feel super-lucky, though, that none of these are dire situations, as long as everything doesn't fail simultaneously. (*glares menacingly at laptop, phone, iPod*)

Anyhow, this weekend included a batch of errands, a wonderful walk with [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog and [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball in a leash-free dog-park along a river, and a fairly recuperative Pilates session that made me feel all stretchy.

Work recently has included a foray into writing some C code, which is quite challenging for me. So many ways to screw up! But I've hopes that I (and colleagues I can rope into helping) will end up with a minor contribution to OpenSSH. Srs!

Since I last posted, I also went to Philadelphia for a Quaker thang, which was useful at unsticking some "how should I do this" sort of questions I'd been stuck on (and perhaps will post on eventually) and also for some good news about the Quaker Quest program- there will soon be funding to hire some number of additional staff. And then I spent a wonderful afternoon with friends in the Philly area, and we romped in the park with their dog and their 5-year-old, AND had a visit from NJ friends who came into town for the afternoon; and then they fed me soup and brownies and sent me on my flight back home with a big smile on my face.
OK, I wrote an entire post in my head, biking home, but some time between coming in the door and sitting down at the laptop, it's gone poof.

Rough brush-strokes:

Guy walking with his wife, passing me stopped at a light: "It's a bit fresh for shorts this morning, eh?" What a turn of phrase. He was about 65, maybe 70. Smile in his voice. I said yup, so I was discovering, but it certainly got the blood going. It turns out it's 3C. Not so bad when I was moving... it only snowed a bit while I was actually on the bike, and a bit more snow when I was indoors. But it didn't stick.

I'm in shorts because I wanted ease of motion, because I went to try out a Pilates studio uptown. It was an hour of guided exercises, tough but not too tough; a fun instructor, and a small class. I'm tempted to sign up for the weekly classes, since they seem flexible (haha) and I know it will help my back and shoulder (and stomach and legs and...)

I will also try our gym's pilates class, though the massage therapist I see (at the gym) suggested I should try a "real" pilates studio, not her own workplace, which makes a fairly strong statement.

This afternoon I'm taking a load of dead electronics to the University (locals; free electronics dropoff for recycling today, at East Campus Hall) and maybe making chicken soup. Hm, I think with matzo balls. (wow I'm hungry).

Last night, my cousin Arlene arrived, and I made us roast chicken with pesto. We stayed up talking a bit late (late considering she's here for a conference near Pearson airport, and she was out the door this morning at 7:40.) She's staying one more night, which means she will just miss seeing [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball, who is coming back from Chicago Sunday mid-day. I hope tonight she'll be back from her conference early enough that I can take her to a ceilli tonight.

My brain seems full of pokey things. Things I should poke at and things that want to poke me back. Like, the web demo I'm doing next week for profs, which is full of wildcards in terms of what feedback they will have. Like the fact that my home mac still has networking problems but I'm not convinced I should replace it with a (brand new, very fast, lighter-weight, pretty) model [1]. Like, dancing on the edge of not over-committing for everything. And concern for friends who are in rough spots. And yet through it, feeling more or less centered; feeling connected like I should be, and sort of being present with the low-level anxiety, knowing that it will work out, s'ok, really.

Something else that will work out well: time for some lunch!

[1] This year's new 13" macbook pro is a bit faster than my work iMac, which is much faster than my home laptop, which has felt fully sufficient for my needs, aside from occasional worries about whether it is slowly dying.

(no subject)

Friday, 19 March 2010 10:26 pm
da: (grey)
This morning, I woke from a dream that I had been lying in bed unable to sleep for hours and it was 5am and I was exhausted. Then I woke up at 8am, convinced it had been a dream, with no basis for assuming so, especially since I still felt exhausted. Bleh.

Then at 8:50, my pants vibrated to remind me of something on my calendar. I meant to catch a talk at the University at 9:00. I made it to the talk at 9:03, including paying for parking. Go me. ...Then I reset google calendar to send me reminders 20 minutes ahead instead of 10 minutes. (which would've given me enough time to bike instead of driving!)

I've biked to work three days this week, which is as positive a development as you'd think. The weather is LOVELY. Having my back in good enough shape to bike in is also LOVELY. The back's not in great condition, but it's OK. I need to work on strengthening my core muscles; my body's in much worse shape than I think it should be.

In fact, last night with [livejournal.com profile] elbie_at_trig and [livejournal.com profile] thingo I made a Bold Assertion: a year from now, I'll be in good enough shape to go climbing at the campus bouldering wall. And not feel like I'm messing up my arms, or shoulder, or lower back, or hip, or.. yeah. So, LJ, you're my witness. Next March!

I'm also loving that I have my taxes finished- and the US returns are in the mail. I don't owe anything to the IRS, and I'm owed a nice little refund from CRA, which I hope to have in my account in less than two weeks. My tax preparer came by my office at the University to have me sign the forms. Such service!

All of these good things aside, I've been feeling bleh today. I blame that overactive dream. *shakes fist at dream*
After Manhattan, I met up with F/friends [1] and we set off for Peekskill on the train. By that point, my back was still in quite a lot of pain; I took some pain drugs, but not enough. I spent nearly all of the trip lying down, but there were lots of amazing views of the Hudson when I did sit up a bit.

Thence to car, thence to the Catholic retreat center for our Queer Quaker gathering. Oh, the iconography at the Catholic retreat center. It was something. I took photos, but I haven't had time to do anything with them. Other people during the weekend were talking about their various relationships with Catholicism; I can say my reaction was mostly puzzlement. Whatever.

The retreat center was a seven story building on the top of a large hill, so there were great views of the Hudson and surrounding hills. The Appalachian Trail ran nearby, and there was apparently very good sledding. Not that I went outside.

The gathering went well; there were about 100 of us, including a huge number of newcomers who seemed excited about coming to next year's (in North Carolina).

I spent most of the first few days on my back. On the day we arrived, I got acupressure then acupuncture from my friend Amy, who had taught me the very effective headache acupressure points this last June. She has been practicing for 17 years; "by now, I sometimes even feel like I know what I'm doing." I will say it made a fairly big difference, and dramatically. Some of it was sort of like an ice pack, without the cold.

In the first day I also gained +1 in Pain Management skills from other friends [2]. I can be fairly stubborn about asking people for help, but this was a substantial lesson in asking. And feeling so restricted in what I could do for myself. And feeling so frustrated at not knowing how I'd be doing in an hour, or the next morning.

Very early on, lying on a couch, my eyes fell on a wall containing the Serenity Prayer ("Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things that I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.") I had to chuckle, because that was indeed one thing I needed.

With all the lying-on-hard-floors and moving-mattress-off-squishy-frame and pill-popping as necessary, I did start feeling better, very gradually. I could go on for a while about how great people were; apart from when I've been home sick in bed, I had never needed that much help before. I got all the help I asked for and lots I hadn't specifically asked for.

I had a group activity each day in the center's Chapel, which had amazing stained glass (and a comfortable carpet).

The gathering itself was a combination of work and a joy and occasionally frustrating but felt overall, graceful. I think I learned more about working with people and asking them for their best and trusting in that. I helped where I could.

I missed friends who couldn't make it this time. I missed catching up with people because they were across the room or across the building and I couldn't get up to talk to them.

I didn't sing enough. I didn't play nearly enough. I'll go back.

The train back to Manhattan was wonderful- watching the Hudson and getting to know a long-time attender and talking about life experiences. He is 60; he used to travel the world, and felt at home everywhere. Now, he doesn't feel at home anywhere, and wonders what he should do about that. But he's lived in the same Midwest US town for the last six years, and may move soon for work, which hopefully will help. ...I have felt the opposite experience. I don't think I've ever felt at home "everywhere" when I'm traveling, though really I haven't ever traveled for extended periods of time. And right now I certainly feel settled.

But when we arrived in Grand Central again, I had tremendous wistfulness for not being able to spend any more time there on this trip. Oh well, it will still be there too.

The flight and drive home were uneventful, and much less painful than the other direction. I had drugs, and I had a gel ice pack, which actually was as good as advertised on the box ("stays cold eight hours": I froze it overnight and put it in my luggage, which I checked, and it was still cold at the end of the car trip, eight hours later)

And seeing [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog was about as great as you might guess. :)

[1] that is, friends who are Friends.

[2] The details are probably boring to everyone but me, but: Alternating Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen at two hour intervals; Taking 3 or 4 Ibuprofen at the outset, with food (always with food; it's supposed to do bad stuff to the stomach without food at the same time); how effective an ice-pack can be; and laying on the floor with lower legs on a shelf/chair, parallel to the floor, to remove all leg weight from the spine. These are all probably basic things that I had been told before, but this time, it's internalized, y'know?

Oh! And I learned another acupressure point from Amy! I couldn't turn my head to the right because my neck was sore. She put my thumb against the muscle on the top of my lower right arm, and had me push hard ("as if the thumb was a coathanger hanging off the back of your arm"). To find the point: put your thumb in the crook of your elbow, fingers wrapped around the top of the arm. Note the crook of your thumb and second finger, on the arm. That's more or less the pressure-point; it should be the middle of a muscle. Move the hand so the thumb pushes into that point. She had me turn my head a bit to the right, and if the neck still hurt, move the thumb around a bit and try again. I was dumbfounded that I was able to find it, and find the same point in my left arm, and they both worked! This might have made the difference between being able to safely drive home, and not.
1) my left hip-bone is sort of fused to the sacrum, the middle hip-bone. My physiotherapist showed me that yes, I have worse range-of-motion in my left leg than the right. This was news to me- I just thought I had lower back-ache from the new bed. He says the bed probably alerted me to problems that had been going onward for a while. He did some fairly rigorous stretches to my back-joints and gave me a pair of additional stretches I'm supposed to do. (I think I'm up to something like 30 minutes a day of stretches I haven't been doing regularly.)

2) maple syrup does not go well on a dog.

3) [various work things that aren't nearly as interesting as 1) and 2)]

On ending migraines

Wednesday, 8 July 2009 08:49 pm
[I've not posted this partly because I don't want to jinx it, but at the same time- good news!]

Excellent news even- I have a non-drug remedy for my headaches.

It may have had something to do with:

- a bunch of physio appointments to un-stick a few vertebrae in my neck;
- a few (possibly ineffectual) acupuncture visits with same physiotherapist;

And it definitely had to do with:

- 9 days away at the Quaker confab, including some sort of "stress reset button" when I got handed an entirely different things to fixate on for the time there;
- five minutes with my friend Amy, who is an acupuncturist/acupressure practitioner.
- other factors, such as the very mellow massage I got from [livejournal.com profile] peaceofpie.

But the real biggie was Amy's accupressure points- on Tuesday morning I mentioned to her I was disappointed that the acupuncture back home hadn't had any positive effect, and she said, why don't you try pressing your thumb fingernail on your other hand right [here] in the web next to your thumb? On the right hand if the pain's behind your left eye, and vice-versa? So I did, and blam, the headache went away in under 5 minutes of pressing on my hand! Woah.

I got goosebumps. And the headache came back, and I did it again, and it went away again.

I had read about those pressure-points before, and tried them, to no effect, but I wasn't pressing hard enough, and I didn't have the right part of my hand.

All week I expected the migraines to come back just as bad. Instead they came milder and easier to get rid of. Like magic. And maybe there was magic involved; I don't know what all my friends were doing for me there... :)

All the old triggers are still triggers: not enough sleep, stress... But the pressure-points win over both of them. Wow.

Wednesday as an experiment I spent the afternoon in sun without sunglasses, and I got a dull headache. Yes, a boring dull headache- the kind I remember getting before the migraines took over a few years ago.

The other big factor is stress- on Saturday morning I was feeling quite stressed about travel and having to re-enter normal life again- and the migraine went away with the pressure points, but I found I could affect how it came back, by doing bits of meditation and by telling myself sensible things like "I don't need to do everything on my todo list on the day I get back." "I won't forget my passport again, I've already checked it's in my pocket." And so on.

This has felt like a successful science experiment- at this point I'm dealing with figuring out what I should do with the stress-factors so that they don't even get me to the headaches.

And also, it still feels like magic. And I have yet another thing to be grateful for.

Days and weeks

Saturday, 16 May 2009 10:15 pm
It's been a while since I've made a proper update.

Last weekend's trip to Philadelphia was fairly intense. I have a lot of respect for the organizers of the workshop; they packed a lot into our 44 hours on-site at Pendle Hill, yet it didn't feel rushed or overloaded. We learned more about the nuts and bolts of leading Quaker Quest training workshops, worked in small groups on articulating our own paths with regard to Quaker outreach, and talked about how the group of 30 of us can make the overall project work more smoothly. In the balance, I feel just as strongly that this is a worthwhile project and a good place for me right now.

The only parts of the weekend which were bad-intense were entirely my doing, because sometimes I'm a space-cadet who loses things wot aren't clamped down. *sigh*

One high-point to the trip was meeting some really neat people, some even roughly my age, from all over North America; and reconnecting with other 'Quakes who I've gotten to know and respect more over the last few years.

Another high-point was being picked up at the airport by Carrie G., who introduced me to Alma, who's now 4 5 months old. We went downtown and met up with her partner, Kathleen, and we had some wonderful time together (with ice-cream, plus also really cute sleeping infant) It was great to catch up for an hour; an hour which I thought I'd lost when I missed my first flight- making the meeting even more sweet.

But that was my 48 hours in the Philly area.

And when I got back, dan made us a lobster dinner, because he has an inside scoop with our favourite fish place, and heard they had excellent cheap lobsters. Yummy surprise, that. Go, dan!

Work has been rewarding, for the most part- I'm dividing my time between three software-design projects, and right now the balance is good. One project involves integrating our department's inventory system with the campus DNS, to simplify provisioning new equipment and make less work on updates. Another involves properly synching SSH keys so (among other benefits) instructors can more easily access their course-accounts from off-campus. The third is an Engineering Computing project of doom, which may be able to massage data from across campus into one place, in the formats needed by faculty to apply for grants, prepare their annual activity reports, and a few other creeping features. It may succeed, or it may collapse into a pile of brittle sticks; given the non-standardized data provided (and required) by the different faculties. We'll see.

I've just passed the one-year mark from coming back to CS, and I still like my work, I still like my work environment. Quite a bit, actually. The end of this calendar year will be five years I'm on campus, or more than half my time since moving here. Wow. I hope I can keep being as valuable to the U as I feel like it's been to me.

What else?

I'm going to be trying acupuncture. I met with my physiotherapist last week over coffee, and she pointed me in the right direction. I'll schedule it just as finish as I finish with the next bit of travel in May. I will be sure to report back, since I know some of you are practitioners. (or practitionees?)

For my birthday (which is next Wednesday), [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I are going to Nova Scotia. We're leaving on Tuesday, back the following Wednesday. I'm very much looking forward. The plans are: two nights in Halifax, one night in Baddeck, three nights on the north side of Cape Breton in Pleasant Bay, one night in Truro. d's been patient with my impulse to arrange EVERY LITTLE BIT TO SEE IN THE ENTIRE PROVINCE in just a week. And I'm... actually quite OK with dan's desired agenda of seeing a few sights, doing some road-tripping, eating some excellent food, taking some hikes, and mostly relaxing. (Relax? How's that work?... Heh. Anybody have any tips here? Is there a class I can take on it?... Um. Joking, I think.)

I won't have my laptop, so don't expect much from me next week, even if 3G from my phone happens to work. I'll be too busy eating seafood to post, anyway. :)

The following weekend we're off to Denver to see The Three Bears, and also Other People. Long-planned trip, finally happening. I've never been to Colorado!

And a week after, with a weekend at home again, I'm taking a 3-day Project Management course, way far away at the University's extension office just a few blocks from my house. It should be useful, and there will be two colleagues in the course to trade ideas with also.

I have been keeping up with my friends-list, even if I'm not posting or commenting much. I do appreciate hearing what's up with you all; you inspire me and also give me great stuff to think about; as well as grounding me a bit. So, thanks.

Happy Pi Day!

Saturday, 14 March 2009 09:19 pm
Today's high points included [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere and [livejournal.com profile] psychedelicbike's Pi Day party.

I had peach pie and blueberry pie and tiny lemon tart pie and bread-in-the-shape-of-pi and Caesar Salad Pie with crouton-crust and an almond-flavoured custard-filled pie and the Birthday cake pie and just a bit of the woven bacon crust of a Tourtière which is sort of a pie, right? [ETA: and a cream-cheese/smoked pie layered with pita bread.] All of these were yummy. I skipped the shepherd's pie, shepherd's pie pie (with pastry crust), cheeseburger pie (with side condiments), and at least one other meat pie.

To finish off, I had an entire cheesecake.

No, just kidding. I think.

...[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball is still not-well from this flu bug, but it certainly seems he's on the mend. Thanks to all who've sent their well-wishes; we're both grateful for them and it's good to know people are thinking of us. It's been a long week.

A Good Day has Sushi

Saturday, 17 January 2009 09:02 pm
Today I mostly was away from the computer, which is what I needed.

This afternoon, I went on a mission of rice-mercy, because sushi-making preparations work best if there's actually any short grain rice in the house.

This evening, [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball, [livejournal.com profile] metalana, mutual friend Kevin, and I managed to roll three cups of rice worth of sushi in probably about 20 minutes. It was seriously fast. I guess that's what happens if you have four experienced sushi-makers, four rolling mats, and a totally prepared mis en place (thanks to marvelous work by [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball).

We had: squid, salmon, salmon skin, smoked salmon, cream cheese, seasoned carrots, seasoned shitake mushrooms, umeboshi plums, scallion, and I'm forgetting something. And miso soup and my favourite kind of steamed spinach salad (with soy and sesame). And great conversation, plus bonus wagging lap-dog (not applied during dinner).

I fear tomorrow will be long; Quaker Meeting and Business Meeting will include three reports by yours truly, and then our outreach group has a final planning meeting before our first-ever University info event next Thursday. And then I come home and spend time with my sweetie, away from the computer!

The Guds

Friday, 19 December 2008 06:00 pm
- home-made pizza for dinner: pineapple, anchovy, and onion
- coming home at 2 when the University semi-closed
- a much-needed 90-minute nap
- neighbour stopping by with her snowblower, saving me 20 minutes' shoveling (which had been taking more out of me than I realized at the time...)
- instead of seeing [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball's concert tonight, I called and switched my ticket to tomorrow's matinée. My sweetie has good ideas.
- less of a headache than mid-afternoon. Hey, it's a gud. Weak gud, but still a gud.
In the last week, I wrote three posts but didn't like how they came together, so I gave up and saved them as Private. I'm not feeling particularly anti-communicative; but non-technical things seem tougher to write about. Possibly that's because I'm switching off between programming and writing my talk for the University IT conference in 11 days.

I woke this morning with a sore throat, the second in a row, and I'm hoping it will be OK tomorrow, because I obviously don't want the cold du jour.

As I was waking up, I was obsessing about change.gov, whether I should bother sending feedback concerning justice concerns, suggestions on engaging citizen activism, or what. And what would transparency in government look like in practice, if the next US gov't goes anywhere with that promise. And probably I should just let it go. Hm.

I took the morning off work and slept, came in at lunch-time, and got a fair bit done by the afternoon. My to-do list for tomorrow feels like a bit much if I'm fighting a cold; I expect I'm not going to get to see Faust at the movies (aw). But there's a house-warming in the evening (yay!) And much tea in my future.

Busy week around here. d's been running ragged; he's at the U tomorrow for much of the day. I think they owe him a vacation.

long weekend

Tuesday, 5 August 2008 09:29 am
* Civic holiday off from work yesterday. Much happened. Short version.

* Folk Festival in Cambridge: d discovered for us a very tasty South American restaurant, we hung out with [livejournal.com profile] persephoneplace and [livejournal.com profile] bodhranman, and watched Morris Dancers in their finery. I have photos, but haven't gotten them uploaded yet.

* Birthday Party: [livejournal.com profile] elbie_at_trig is a Triangle Square. I mis-heard someone's comment but the result was an excellent idea; and of course it's already on the internet: caffeinated bacon.

* insomniac night followed by fairly long bike-ride == oddly restorative. Though I had headaches off and on all weekend. Weird dreams, too. John Denver, get out of my subconscious! You too, scary border-guard guy!

* Studying for my PACS class final, which is Saturday at 4pm. I'm looking forward to it being over- the class was interesting, but not nearly engaging enough for me right now. Ah well.

* an afternoon off at [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j's cottage: Gloom is a wonderful game. It is macabre, uses a gimmick of translucent playing-cards to neat effect, and has story-telling elements built in, as you try to lower the Self-Worth score for your family while making everyone else's families happier. You win by dying with as much tragedy as possible. Also a fun round of Unspeakable Words, which is great to introduce to new people who are good at scrabble because it hurts their sensibilities.

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