Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Dragon to the Rescue

I've been spending the last two weeks trying to recover solid use of my left arm, hand, and shoulder. For some reason the whole limb hurts badly. In order to try to work differently I bought the newest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking when it became obvious that the built in Windows 7 dictation software was inadequate for my needs.

It's been fun learning how to write through dictation again, as so much of my writing is hardwired into my fingers to keyboard. It's almost an entirely different thought pathway for words to go through my voice rather than through my fingers.

I've also been trying to do a lot of things that take me away from my desk: walking, gardening, photography, cooking, and catching up on my reading and anime watching. That has been very rewarding as well, and it might well indicate that I need a good deal of life and input before a plunge back into writing.

Gardening has been a joy, so long as I don't dig too deep and too ambitiously. One day Jet's school was giving away free compost, because their cafeteria and classrooms contribute to the commercial composting system in the area. Since they provide a great deal of raw material for the commercial composting, the company decided to allow anyone to take as much finished compost as they could carry away.

John and I went with shovels, big paper leaf bags, and our EuroVan and got eight large bags of commercial compost to dig into our garden. John did most of the work once we got home, but I tried turning one of the raised beds and suffered for it significantly the next day. Still, the bed that I had ceded to before we left is now feeding us spinach, radishes, and lettuce. It's nice to enjoy the fruits of our labors so soon.

One other choice I've made this year is to grow my tomato seedlings in a small greenhouse that were placing outside, rather than inside. Last few years I started all the tomatoes indoors, on those shelves. The hardening off process always lost several plants, and last year I lost all the Black Krims to an unknown cause while moving them indoors for the night. I didn't want to do that this year, and really wanted the plants to have as much full Colorado sunlight as possible. So I've been putting them outdoors every morning, and leaving them outside if the temperatures stayed above freezing.

Another thing I've been trying to do has been writing my stories longhand in a notebook, and then dictating them into the computer. I haven't completed anything using that particular technique, but the flow of the words is different than when I use a keyboard. I'm not exactly sure if I like it any better, or if it's any worse, but entry into a digital document is amazingly fast once the words are captured. I managed to figure out the opening sequence of the next chapter of Twin Souls, and I think I worked through the entire ending, the scenes that have to be in there, not just an outline. I still have to match up all the promises I made in the other chapters, but I feel better for having made some progress.

I've never been particularly convinced of that dictation is faster than the writing of a dedicated touch typist. I know I am much slower trying to figure out the words to say that I am just writing what's on my mind. Still, I guess it's a way to learn another way to use words.

Since my right hand is relatively unaffected, I have been able to paint. The exercise is also good in helping everything heal, so John and I have been doing a lot of walks. We've discovered places that we don't usually get to go to and it's been fun to find true cherry trees, winding paths, meandering streams, waterfalls in unexpected places, and spectacular views we would not have seen otherwise all just in Longmont. It has been fun finding new subjects for my paintings just by getting out there and walking. There are some spectacular old cottonwoods, the mountains are always an inspiration, and it's fun finding all the flowering fruit trees that I didn't know were there.

I've also been doing a lot more cooking. Making blueberry coffee cake, baked macaroni and cheese, the vegetarian gumbo that we really enjoy, baking granola, and after reading a whole lot of Iron Wok Jan, rediscovering fried rice with just egg, scallion, and a little bit of ham. The three of us also tackled an entire Smithfield ham, though it was a city ham, not a country ham, and just the shank half. "Eternity is a ham and two people." The three of us have managed just fine, however, I did freeze a few pounds after the initial roast and glaze. Jet ate five slices the very first night, and has declared him one of his favorite foods. That's been pretty good.

The last thing is that Boulder County has called me on jury duty. I'm supposed to start tomorrow. The nice thing is that the County has established a phone system whereby I can call tonight to see if they really need me in the morning. I'm half hoping that they don't need me at all, but I'm willing to go serve if the need is real. The one thing I really hate, however, is not knowing exactly what my schedule is going to be for the next few days.

I did get my massage therapy today, and it helped significantly. Bonnie also asked me to come in again next week, rather than waiting for two weeks, as she felt that she could make progress against this thing. I'm hoping that she's correct.

Spring allergies have affected my eye again, even with the steroid drops in use. I'm hoping that the additional irritation will go away with the seasonal changes, but I will admit some frustration. I am juggling three different crops, and seem to be staying on top of the problem to the point where things are bearable. I probably shouldn't complain too much.

Hope things are well for everyone, and that the spring is treating folks well.
Tags: coping

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