Coming up for Air

Life's been busy lately. A little odd, but very very full. Since the trip, I've been finishing off a novel with demented_dee, getting into another one so that the end depression isn't quite as bad, and adjusting a lot of small things in my life to just make things better.

My eye troubles have been on and off better and worse since the start of the cold season, and I had something of a break when I went to Oakland, though one hotel room with feather pillows and comforter made everything worse, another in downtown Oakland made everything better. So I had some hope that there was something specific.

I also stopped using an antihistamine drop there when it seemed like it was making everything a lot worse. Which turned out to be exactly the right thing, as when I came back everything got worse and I went into an eye doctor, who then started the whole logic train that led to the idea that it was just dry eye. By treating my eyes just for dry eye, everything's turned around. And for the winters here at altitude it's just the right thing.

The other thing was that the keyboard that I've been using for the last three or so years, picked up at random at some Frye's, turns out to not be made anymore. I've been trying half a dozen different keyboards. Mostly 'cause I didn't want to spend the $300 it would take to buy myself another Kinesis well keyboard, the one with the funny backspace on the thumb. I loved my old well boards, as they had just the right action and the funny thing itself really helped with my old overuse problems. I found out that they were making the new Freestyle, and decided to drive into Boulder to try it out. It had the same key action that the well boards have, which I really do love a lot, and the angling and the negative slope on the board itself was a real plus.

I figured it wouldn't be *worse* than the damned cheap $16 board I have right now is (which I love as it's really light action, really slim so there's no lift for my wrists, but the my left wrist was suffering mildly with overuse from having to angle out a little), and have found that, indeed, it's really easy to use, especially with the wrist rest extensions that only come with the VIP frame. I'm still not completely sold on the angling to the sides, but I find that when it's in my lap and especially if it's tipped away from me, it's far more comfortable than even the keyboard I'm giving up.

So. It's a clear improvement, and I'm satisfied with an investment of just a bit over a hundred, instead of the full $300.

The other thing that I really noticed was due to a bit of strangeness on my part on my trip to Oakland.

I love Sweet Maria's for their green coffee, and recently they started selling roasted coffee. Since I was going to be in Oakland and they were starting to offer roasted coffee, I thought I'd get a couple of pounds for use during my trip. So I did. The owner was great about greeting us when we went to their warehouse to pick up my order, and he mentioned that he often goes to get the coffee ground by someone when he's traveling as the hand grinders are a lot of work. My Zassenhaus burr grinder is a bit of a pain, so one morning I went to a Starbucks and asked them to grind it for me, and they did!

The thing was that their grind was really uneven! *laughs* The things I notice, but some of the beans were pulverized and there were big chunks of the bean as well! Compared to the utterly even grind I was getting from my hand setup, I was just glad that I'd only given them about a cup of beans to destroy instead of more of them. Then I went home, and noticed the exact same problem with the burr grinder setup I have at home!!!

I was livid. Especially with my espresso setup. I should have noticed it sooner, but the burrs on the grinder were worn out. The grinder is just a $120 Solis affair, and new burrs are $20. I ordered the pair of them, top and bottom, and replaced them that weekend. And the difference was just astonishingly good. I had huge crema on my espresso, the coffee just tasted better, and the even grind got rid of all the dust, and my vacuum coffee setup was much much happier as well.

Finally, I haven't actually been very good at doing my weight training exercise for the summer. I pretty much quit as I didn't want to go into the Rec Center all the time for their free weight set, and it's always odd getting stared at when I lift. *laughs* So I started collecting used weights for home. Just standard plates, and I got two dumbbells and one barbell for home. I love that the local Play It Again sport good store has used weight plates for seventy five cents a pound, so I can add whatever multiples I want in whatever sizes I find I need.

I love The New Rules of Lifting for Women, as recommended to me by sophiap, especially their explanation of how soccer playing women's quads are sometimes 100% stronger than their hamstrings, which is likely why I destroyed my knee that winter day. Lol. But that it also leads to all the front muscles being stronger than the back ones, elongating and weakening the back and causing all kinds of problems for most women, including back pain and the like. So the routines in the book actually help balance front and back, really work on strengthening the back, hamstrings, and gluts, not just the quads and abs that so many other common setups do.

I've also developed a sincere hatred of the plank. lol. And find that Trader Joe's protein mix after a workout really does help me recover faster, though I am usually in sincere pain the day after a workout. The really cool thing is that Jet's picked up an interest in the weights as well, and is starting to do some of the workout with me. Not so much to build himself up, as to just discover what it's like to lift more than he thought he could.

I'm getting skinnier, too, which still bemuses me.

The jeans that I bought for my very first trip to Biloxi have finally worn through. I have holes below the back pockets and above my knees where the fabric finally gave out. I've never worn through a pair of jeans before. Either I just didn't fit them long enough, or they were lost in some move, or I just stopped liking them. But my Gap boot-cuts have been lovely and fit my body exactly, and were tough enough to get scraped all over the place doing construction work. And I guess for the last five years, since I recovered from being pregnant with Jet, I've been pretty stable about my weight and my desire for comfort rather than a particular look. These have been pretty loose the last couple of years, but hadn't had any reason to get rid of them.

I may just keep 'em. *laughs* They make me think of Darkprism's West, who only seems to wear jeans with holes through 'em. And they certainly are comfortable, though the belt does bunch things up a bit. I'm also getting oddly enamored of cowboy boots, but I can say that I had that feeling before West. *laughs* It was after the Stock Show one January, when I was at the airport, watching dozens of cowboys go through security, and this one man had these boots were the foot looked like any normal distressed leather, but when he had to take the boots off for security, he showed that the upper panels were these gorgeous, bright chartreuse tools leather.

I've been longing for a pair ever since. And I think I've found a pair that I could really truly love. Saving money on the keyboard may have an entirely different kind of pay off. *laughs*


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Ooh, I'll have to give that weight book a look. I used to weight train when I had easy free access to a gym (in high school and undergrad), but kind of... stopped. My current workplace has a small gym off the breakroom, though.
Oooo... that might be perfect. *laughs* I am really liking it, though I had a little trouble with my knee for a while, but I think that had to do with the right knee being weak... and doing it correctly this time has really helped out, I think.
Yeah, I really have no excuse not to XD My big problem is with my back, and I know having stronger core muscles would help a lot with that.
I'm glad to hear you and your doctor figured out how best to deal with the eye.

Also, hooray for the weight training! Getting the front and back musculature evened out has helped with a lot of problems, esp. with my shoulder. It's also very interesting to see how my waist and hips have gotten narrower while my actual scale weight hasn't shifted much.
OOoo... yes. I think that that last is what's happening to me. *laughs* It's pretty cool.
All these improvements sound very good things - small in themselves, but making life so much better when put together. (And another book? Excellent!)
(beams) They do come together pretty well.

We're also having to figure out how not to kill ourselves with too MUCH. *laughs*
Hey! You spaced on the knitting stuff *pouts*. I like hearing about that. Good that the eye thing is resolving itself finally. My keyboard on my lap top is okay, but the letters have been totally worn off the EIOAS and the N is down to a single vertical line. Good thing I'm pretty decent with touch typing or I'd spend forever looking for those missing letters *laughs*.
I did, didn't I?

Oops. I am getting pictures now, too. *laughs* I have finally finished that lace shawl you touched!! I want to get a shot of it before and after blocking just to show the difference. Will probably post here, and link it to the knitting group. Whee....

*laughs about the missing letters* Yes. Actually, those letters are wearing off the favorite keyboard I'm having to replace, too.
It's past time for me to get a new keyboard as well. The key action on the one that I've been using for the last dozen years has gotten very uneven, some of the keys stick, and I've worn off the positioning nub on the right side. That leads to my typing ;ole tjos/. Really! The stickiest key is . That's quite a pain in Emacs. *ack!*

I'd been leaning towards the Freestyle, since it has the most flexibility I've seen for addressing the ulnar deviation issue that typically causes me problems. It's great to see a recommendation from someone who has also used their contoured keyboards (my other top candidate). Thanks!

I've been lifting weights more or less continuously since my first year in college. It's scary how long ago that was. It's mostly for "don't get hurt" conditioning. What that doesn't seem to be helping with these days is core balance.

Those boots are something. Great detail! I look forward to seeing them someday. They've got quite a selection on that site, but there are so, so few for size 14 feet. *sigh* Perhaps they're not really practical for PNW winters anyway.
Ack! That would be really a terrible thing to have stick. *laughs*

Yeah, I have on and off problems with ulnar deviation in the left hand more than the right. I suspect that it's just 'cause my left arm/hand is weaker than my right, and they're actually doing the same things. Or else the variation of mouse usage with the right helps somehow.

I loved the contoured keyboard, honestly. Though I'm getting more and more fond of the freestyle, now. Surprisingly, I really like it at the maximum tilt with the center hinge taken off, and at about the length of the tether between the boards. Angled to fit my shoulder width, it's been really really comfortable and even easier on my arms when I can tilt the front of the board down my knees. Been using a lapboard for the last year or so and that's always helped.

Ooo... about the weight lifting. I didn't know you were doing that! The particular exercises in the book really seem to emphasize working across the core.

They do have quite a selection! I have seen them in use a rodeos and stock shows, for riding exhibits and the like, but not entirely sure how practical they are in any case. I am debating all kinds of styles there, honestly...
I wonder if I'd want the version of that keyboard with the longer connecting cable, given how the separation has worked out for you.

So... I have to ask. If you get those boots, are you going to dye your hair to match again?

Yes! You might have to as your shoulders are wider than mine.

Oooo... I like that as an incentive to dye my hair turquoise again... especially when it's so short! Easier to grow out if I wish.