News

Jun. 12th, 2017 07:19 pm
icepixie: ([NX] Ed with camera)
Good news: Yesterday I wrote almost 800 words on the Northern Exposure fic I've been working on in various iterations for at least ten years. (Like most, I have a "Joel returns to Cicely" story in me; mine's just taking a while to expurgate itself.) I also pulled out the not!drawerfic for the first time in almost three years and added about 200 words to it. I may finish it one of these days.

More good news: I added a folded-up blanket to my computer chair and reduced my hip pain by about 80%. (The chair has a mesh seat, so it dips more in the middle than at the sides; I evened it out so it's relatively flat now.) I still went to my first PT appointment, but we didn't do much besides add a couple of stretches, and he reminded me of how to properly do some of my exercises. We have a follow-up appointment next week, and then I'll probably be sprung.

Mixed news: I got a big girl bed (a full) instead of the twin I've had forever, and the mattress is VERY firm. Ultimately I think this will be a good thing, but wow, did I ever have a backache when I woke up this morning. To the point where the first thing I did upon getting out of bed was order a 2" memory foam topper.
icepixie: ([Wonderfalls] This isn't fun for anybody)
I start round five of physical therapy in a week and a half.

I'm trying to look on the bright side--this is mechanical, not yet another manifestation of arthritis, and thus might be fixable. The official diagnosis is "hip abductor tendinopathy," rather than the bursitis I thought it was. Problems in the hip/back/pelvic area are, per my orthopedist, "like chasing your tail." Fix your back, your hips start hurting. Work on your hips, your back starts hurting. Some people find the magic balance that makes neither hurt. Some people keep going back and forth forever and dear god I should at least get some points on my credit card for this.

Grrr.

On a more pleasant note, I had a ton of energy last weekend and cleaned the crap out of my apartment in preparation for having a Chandra this weekend. I think the exertion attempted to start a flare--I can usually tell by now that when my hands start hurting that things are about to go south--but I was already planning to pregame for her visit with steroids, so I started that and boom, I feel decent. Minus the front/outsides of my hips hurting, which are not solved by steroids, which is how we know it's mechanical and not arthritis. However, my "full-spectrum CBD infused gummies" came today, so perhaps I will feel better about that shortly. (These are legal because they don't have marijuana in them, just hemp extract. You can get them on Amazon. I got some hemp seed oil pills earlier that didn't do anything, but supposedly it was the wrong part of the hemp, or didn't include the right protein/ligand/whatever? I figured this was worth a try, anyway. At worst I'll have some expensive gummy bears.)
icepixie: ([Photos] Pansies)
Skating: I kinda did a flying sit spin today! Okay, there wasn't any much sit, but there was some spin and even a couple inches of fly. I landed on one foot and kept spinning. I'll take it.

I also eliminated the entrance to my nascent back scratch spin entirely and actually got a revolution or two in the right place on the blade, with my weight over my right side. BF has done away with the inside three turn everyone uses to start a back spin and is having me enter it from...the closest I can describe it is kind of a mutated Ina Bauer. Just keep curling around on the right foot, dragging the left foot, and the circle gets smaller and smaller until it turns into a spin. In theory. It works better than the three turn entrance, anyway.

Getting my weight over to the right may have helped a little bit with the loop jump, although I'm still too scared to really pick my left foot up and cross it in front while I jump because you cannot save yourself in that position if something goes wrong. I like having an exit strategy. Except my exit strategy leads to me always landing it on two feet, which is not really the goal. Ugh.

Arthritis: On Monday night, ever so briefly, I thought the Enbrel might be working, because usually I'm 100 mg of tramadol in by 6 PM and I actually managed to make it all the way to bed without needing any (I had taken some that morning). Alas, it was short-lived and Tuesday was kind of hellish. But it was close enough to when I take my shot (Sunday afternoons) that I'm somewhat hopeful it's related to the medication, and as it continues to build up in my system I might experience longer and longer periods of not hurting.

I finally made an orthopedics appointment for the hip bursitis(?) that's been going on for at least six weeks now. It's been low-level annoying for long enough that I want professional help, even if the professional can't do much. Although apparently they can just remove the inflamed bursa in an outpatient procedure if steroid shots and physical therapy fail, so there's that.

Apartment: I now have 15 plants in various containers, not counting some hibernating bulbs, mostly in front of my huge western exposure living room window. I may need an intervention. But they love that window so. My purple waffle started as basically half the size of my hand, and within six weeks was bigger than my head. It's still growing. And it bloomed! So did two succulents. Adorable pink flowers. And my not-an-aloe-but-looks-like one made a baby once I repotted it. And I added a table to my screened-in porch, which has been very nice since the weather warmed up.
icepixie: ([SG-1] Didn't teach this in grad school)
I started learning flying spins today. Flying camel is premature, because I haven't yet figured out back spins (you can only fly into a back camel), but flying sit might be accomplishable by me sometime in the next decade. You wind up like usual for a sit spin, jump straight into the air, and then land on that foot and start spinning.

...Yeah, put that way it sounds pretty impossible to me too, but BF did it today and even I got to the "jumping straight into the air" part, so it seems it can be done.

I also learned yet another entrance into a back scratch spin. I think we may be into the teens by now. We'll see if it works. We're teaming it with a couple of exercises to get my weight over my right side, because it just doesn't want to be over there.

Either the Humira was actually doing something that Enbrel isn't, or I'm having the world's longest, lowest-key flare. Bleh. Tired. Bed now.
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G Romeo Juliet lift)
Now that the competition's over, we're back to loop and flip (loop, always loop...I swear, I'm throwing a party when I finally land this damn jump on one foot) and footwork. I want to have fabulous brackets, counters, and rockers. After a week, I'm able to do a tiny, wobbly version of the forward outside/back inside bracket sequence from the Adult Gold Moves test.

I think I found next year's program music: this most excellent rendition of "Down by the Salley Gardens" (well, more specifically the part from 1:39 to 3:24, ending with that lovely variation on "and now am full of tears").

Or I may possibly end up doing it as a Dramatic Showcase piece? To be honest, I don't really get the difference between freeskate and showcase; especially at the Pre-Bronze level, where the music is the same length and you just get one fewer jump in showcase. I guess the judging is supposed to be more predicated on choreography and emoting? Except we still use 6.0 judging at my level, so it hardly matters. But basically it sounds like you get to do two programs instead of just one, so that would be fun.

Updates

Apr. 30th, 2017 09:00 pm
icepixie: ([Photos Stock] Sunflower field)
Arthritis: My latest flare was at least nicely-timed. I saw my rheumatologist three days into it and started a steroid pack that day. He also gave me a rather immense amount of prednisolone and pretty much told me to experiment with it. The literature suggests that one per day is within normal variance for naturally produced corticosteroids and thus has no ill effects but can still be helpful for inflammatory disease; it's only once you get above 10 mg prednisone-equivalent per day that the problems like diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, etc. start to show up. EULAR (the European League Against Rheumatism, which is a fantastic name for a professional society; American Heart Association, take note!) even recommends it as standard treatment along with TNF-blockers. My doc said I could also just take it like I would an NSAID, two or three times a week as needed, but that doesn't seem very effective--it takes me about 48 hours to process a steroid, generally, so it's not exactly immediate pain relief.

So I'm going to try the one a day plan for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Chandra's coming to visit at the beginning of next month, so I can also pre-medicate with three a day for the increased activity and hopefully prevent another flare.

I've also switched from Humira to Enbrel, since the Humira did nothing. The downside to Enbrel is that you have to inject yourself once a week rather than every other week. But hey, maybe it'll work!

Skating: I had BF take a bit off the toe picks when he sharpened them this time, and it was definitely the right choice. I was getting really scrapey after the last sharpening, and now I'm not. Spins are faster, too, since I'm no longer dragging on the bottom of the pick quite so much. Salchow and waltz jumps were hard to get used to at first--there's more to roll forward on now before hitting the pick--but I think I've gotten them back to normal.

P started teaching me the horribly named but very pretty broken leg spin. At the moment, mine looks nothing like that; it looks more like I really, really need to pee. However, I think it will get better. I'm hoping it will also serve the purpose of training me to quit turning my free foot out so much in spins and eventually jumps, because that's really all that's holding my loop jump back now.

Speaking of which, we tried having me go into loops and flips with a shallower three turn, and it certainly improved things. Still can't land either of them on one foot, but nevertheless, I persist.

Other: This week has had some great weather for sitting out on my screened-in porch. I now have a table on which I can put my laptop and/or a meal, which is quite excellent. I sat out there yesterday and sewed up the too-big armholes on a new dress, and read this morning. Good times.
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G cool angle)
Skate Nashville was fun. I actually had competition in the freeskate. There were enough adults that it wasn't just me in my division!

This means I came in last out of the four of us, but I was expecting that as I knew at least two of the three had more difficult jumps than I do. Oh, well. (One of the five judges had me third, which was heartening.) I was uncontested in the compulsory moves event, which was fun to prepare for because the compulsory moves this year were all things I enjoy and am good at, but was over so quickly that I don't know if I'll do it again in August.

I bought the professional action shots a photo company was making of everyone, so here are some selected photos.

The opening of my October Sky freeskate Winding up for a camel spin Starting the footwork sequence I have discovered anti-gravity!  Nope, just a spread eagle. Landing the final jump of my three-jump combo
Sit spin (perching on a barstool spin?) Coming out of the sit spin Compulsory Moves - Spiral Entering a sit spin I saw the photographer at the end. :)

I don't think I'll be trying to do an out of town work conference and a skating competition in the same week again, though. That was very stressful and tiring. (And, unfortunately, this conference next year is going to be Thursday-Saturday instead of Wednesday-Friday, so I really couldn't do both. I'm hoping we'll get a budget from NIH someday soon--thanks, Trump!--and will get to hire someone, and that person can go next year, but I should probably be thinking about a poster I can present, since they have a section for training and educational support posters, and that would get me closer to the quasi-faculty position my boss and I want me to move into someday.)

In fact, it was so stressful that I'm pretty sure it's set off another arthritis flare. I have a previously-scheduled rheumatologist appointment tomorrow, though, so at least relief is in the near future.
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G zombies rocking out)
[profile] rivedellrose, I saw this house and thought of you, but really everyone should see it. It's super cool.
icepixie: ([Photos Stock] Cherry blossoms)
LJ: I've been crossposting for years and plan to continue doing so. You can comment at either place, though I suppose I would prefer you do so at DW if only because I have a paid account there and can use different icons. LJ will, I suppose, keep tottering along.

Skating: BF and P are both very happy with my program for Skate Nashville next weekend, as am I. Unfortunately, my flight back from a work conference in DC lands a nervewracking four hours before my first event (compulsory moves; freeskate program is the next day). If all goes as planned I should be fine because it's 10 minutes from the airport to my parents to eat and pick up skates I will have left there, then thirty minutes to the rink, but please cross your fingers the plane doesn't get delayed.

And then after the competition I'm going to get my skates sharpened, because dear god do they need it.

Arthritis: Currently playing another round of "is it arthritis or something fixable?" with new foot and ankle pain. The timing is suspicious, because this started right around the time I noticed my skates were breaking down. But while Achilles tendonitis from that makes sense (and was partially alleviated by adding yet more moleskin to the heels), second toe pain does not. It seems to also be tendonitis-like, and I suppose the real cause could be somewhere further up the foot or ankle where the broken-downness of my skates would affect things and referring to the toes, but it's also kind of stiff and arthritis-y, so...I dunno. I see the rheumatologist the Monday after my competition, so I'm hoping to limp along until then.

Also I want to get off Humira and onto Xeljanz, because it's a daily pill instead of a biweekly injection and short-term studies have shown significant AS improvement for a large chunk of the study populations, so plz to sign me up! (Come on, insurance, cover this one!)
icepixie: ([SA] Geoffrey smooshy)
Cranky Pants are officially on. My skates are breaking down. I noticed the beginnings of a crease at the ankles of both boots today. I've only had them for two years! This is half the time I thought they'd last!

BF said that the way my feet are shaped, ain't no stock boot ever going to fit them and the lacing accommodations I do to make these workable are breaking them down faster, so if I want to not be doing this again in two years or less--not to mention have less pain than I do now--customs are my only choice. Customs, of course, being in the $800+ range, more if a brand/style changes changes what size blade I take and I can't move my current ones.

On the other hand, these are going to become unsafe to skate in within 4-6 months, so I don't have much choice, at least if I want to continue skating. Apparently the head of SP Teri is going to be at the coaching conference in Nashville in May, so I'll make an appointment and see what they can do for me. Arrrrggghhh.
icepixie: ([Movies] Toepick!)
Oh my God, I finally finished a fic!!

(This is the one I've been working on since I was preparing to test Pre-Bronze. It's been my little coping mechanism through three Moves tests now.)

Playing by the Rules (7405 words) by icepixie
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Cutting Edge (1992)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Douglas Dorsey, Kate Moseley, Anton Pamchenko
Additional Tags: Ice Skating
Summary:

Before Kate and Doug get anywhere near Nationals, Doug has to qualify by passing the US Figure Skating Association's many skating skills tests. It's a bumpy road for both of them.

"I can do crossovers in my sleep. Why the hell do I need to take a test on them?"

"Is just formality," Anton said from the side of the ice. "You have to qualify to compete."

"Who came up with that?"

"Someone very smart, I would think," Kate said loftily. "After all, without the tests, just anybody could walk on the ice and make a fool of themselves at competitions."

icepixie: ([Movies] Myrna Loy as a blonde)
Prednisolone is a revelation. 24 hours of pills stopped the flare in its tracks, and it's done so without making me ultra-hyper (and starving) like prednisone does. Too bad all steroids have heart, metabolism, and other bad side effects when used long-term, because if they didn't I would take this forever.

Yesterday I was back to or even a bit above my normal, which is maybe 80% of regular-people normal. You reduce the amount of medication each day, so today my back and hips are muttering angrily, but no more than usual, and the rest of my body is happy. My joints bend, I can get out of bed without tools, and I have energy again, so I can do things like my taxes and grocery shopping and holy cow, I even cooked something that required real preparation and a heat source other than a microwave today!

My tax refund came to within $10 of the Skate Nashville entry fee, which was a pleasant surprise. I guess last year wasn't a fluke and despite choosing to withhold as little as possible because I would prefer I earn the interest on my wages rather than the IRS, tax law and my current salary will combine to give me about $150 in the spring. Sweet.

Speaking of skating, P and I ended up ditching all of the possible music choices in my poll and going with the October Sky soundtrack. The music is technically 5 seconds too long for Pre-Bronze, but they don't start timing until you start moving, and they stop when you stop moving, so as long as I don't start right away and end a bit early, it's all good. We started working on it yesterday and laid out the majority of the choreography, though it's still a work in progress. The structure is fairly similar to the Amelie program, but different enough to be interesting. It has a left forward inside three turn in the footwork sequence, which is my bad side on forward inside threes, so I'm hoping it will make me actually work on it so it doesn't look so inferior to the right forward inside three when I do it as part of my Silver Moves test. Plus I think I can get this cool move I came up with to look good in six weeks. It's a forward inside spiral, change of edge to...it doesn't have a name, but I'm upright and on an outside edge with my arms doing interesting things and my free foot crossed in front.

For some reason, this competition wants even Pre-Bronze competitors to fill out the IJS planned program content form (not actually needed for low-level events like mine!), but they don't allow you to include waltz jumps, half-flips, or half-loops, which...make up most of the jumps in my program. So it looks like I only have two planned jumping passes when I actually have four. I guess that's okay. I'll probably be the only competitor in this division again anyway, so I can't imagine it matters.

I'm also doing Adult Bronze Compulsory Moves, which this year include only things I'm good at and none of the things I'm bad at! You get a minute and fifteen seconds with no music to do a waltz jump-toe loop combination, a salchow, a sit spin (my best spin!), and a spiral sequence of at least two spirals (my spirals are pretty darn good for an adult).
icepixie: ([B5] Londo makes confetti)
Oh my God. The city is planning to build a rink in my neighborhood. I literally live ten minutes, if that, from the proposed site. AHHHHHHHH.

Other skating things: Flist, it is time for you to help me choose music again. I'm planning to compete in the competition put on by the rival skating club in town in late April. I could just use the Amelie music again, since I'll be competing in the same division, but I had fun choreographing with P and kind of want to do it again. Here are the other options.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 2


Which music should I skate to?

Feh.

Feb. 6th, 2017 04:55 pm
icepixie: ([Wonderfalls] This isn't fun for anybody)
Arrrrggghh. Teeth, why do you keep trying to escape? The molar I had a filling in a few weeks ago, and which hasn't settled down since, is either developing an abscess and will need a root canal, or has a crack and will need to be pulled. Since it's me, my money is on the more complicated one, but the round of antibiotics I'm about to start should be diagnostic (feels better = infection = root canal; feels the same = fracture = implant).

I told my dentist that if it's the latter I'm skipping the attempt to save the tooth with a crown and going straight to the implant. He said that ordinarily he'd recommend trying to save it, but in my case, he agreed we might as well go straight to pulling the damn thing.

Ugh. In less annoying news:

1. My dad took me to Memphis on Saturday to visit the new Ikea store and get a dresser and nightstand, then we put it together on Sunday. Not only do they look nice, they are all wood for a great price, AND I didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought I would after either the 6-hour round trip drive or five hours of putting furniture together. Maybe the Humira is working after all.

2. I've seen two coyotes in the last three days. One was on the way to Memphis, in a field by the interstate, and one was trotting along a path in the golf course I drove by on my way home from the dentist today. So pretty and fluffy!
icepixie: ([Fringe] Olivia looking up)
Can I just say...I commented on three LJ/DW entries, wrote a post, and have been working on fic since I got home from work. I'm partying like it's 2010, man. Let's keep it up. :D
icepixie: ([B5] Ivanova facepalm)
Oh my goddddd, BF decided to take issue with my forward spin technique yesterday, and now I have no idea what I'm doing. I assume that ultimately I'll wind up with better technique than I had before, but right now I'm in the no-man's-land of knowing I shouldn't fall back into my bad habits but not being practiced enough at the good habits to get a spin actually spinning without disintegrating about two revolutions in.

He has also started me doing waltz jumps, toe loops, and salchows on patterns, oh dear god. This means speed. I do not like jumps at speed. He's all, "You're fine, just go faster and jump higher!" and the words "But I like my bones in one piece!" actually came out of my mouth. At 32 very quickly going on 33, landing on ice on a 4 mm-thick piece of steel, I feel like this is a valid concern.

I have a lesson with P tomorrow, so hopefully she can clean up my new spin technique. Or at least commiserate, because when she started taking lessons from BF a couple of years ago he completely redid her technique on everything as well, and she went through the same disintegration/reintegration process.

On the bright side, I'm occasionally managing double back inside twizzles, which is pretty cool.
icepixie: ([B5] Ivanova facepalm)
Long story short, I don't have a crown on my implant anymore.

Long story long:

My crown started wiggling on Thursday night, because of course it would on the eve of a four-day weekend. It didn't hurt at the time, so I put off the emergency call to my dentist. It started hurting more over the weekend, until I finally gave in and called him today, and he very kindly agreed to open up the office and see me this afternoon.

Here's how his monologue and my thoughts went.

Dentist: Gosh this rarely happens--
Me: Have you met me?
Dentist: --but I think the screw holding it in has come loose.
Me: So I literally have a screw loose?
Dentist: I can usually get the crown off by pulling on it. Let's see.
*futile tugging ensues*
Dentist: Gee, that always works. I've only had to drill a hole in the crown to access the screw once before!
Me: Today will be your second time.
Dentist: I'm going to have to drill.
Me: Why am I not surprised.
*dentist drills, crown and screw come out*
Dentist: I've always been able to get the cement off with boiling water before. I don't have a stovetop here, but I'm sure it'll come off in hot water in the microwave!
Me: NO DON'T SAY THAT YOU'VE JUST TEMPTED IT!
*dentist attempts to boil the cement off*
Dentist: I just don't believe it--
Me: I do.
Dentist: --the cement won't come off. Oh, well, I'll take it home and boil it on my stovetop tonight. It'll be ready tomorrow.
Me: Why don't we make it for next week when I'm coming in any way for a filling just in case?

My body, I swear. If it can go wrong, IT WILL GO WRONG.

Updates

Nov. 23rd, 2016 07:19 pm
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G marionette far away)
Skating: Third back spin lesson with BF today. We tried a couple new techniques, and I did something resembling a back scratch spin at one point! He's given up on teaching me the start-with-free-leg-turned-out method, claiming I have so much turnout that it's counterproductive, as it winds up pulling me toward the inside. Or something. Anyway, we went straight to pulling the free leg up as parallel as possible to the skating leg--which for me, let's face it, is still turned out 90% of the time--and it's going better.

Humira: I had a miserable weekend where I couldn't go on after about 90 minutes of shopping (admittedly, this was after I spent $50 on Christmas tree ornaments, so maybe this was a blessing in disguise), then Monday and Tuesday were much better than usual. Today, eh, back to normal. I just took my third shot, so I'm starting week five. Eight more weeks before we can declare it a success or a failure. One of the common side effects is a sore throat, and unfortunately it's one I've got. About three times a week, I feel like I'm in the beginning stages of a cold, but the cold never shows up. Better than three colds a week, I suppose.

Fandom: I finally started on my Yuletide fic last weekend. Well, the one I think I'm actually going to finish, as opposed to the two false starts. 125 words. Onward...
icepixie: ([B5] Ivanova new beginnings)
I started a vid tonight. It's been--oh god--almost two years since I vidded. I've forgotten how I did this.

(On the other hand, vidding! Creative output! Surely fic cannot be far behind...especially since I still haven't started my Yuletide fic. *hands*)

ETA: So El Capitan (newish Mac OS) broke Handbrake, because of course it did. But Google to the rescue, after I gave myself some permissions I apparently didn't have, I was able to copy the little library file over into the usr/local/lib folder, crossing my fingers all the while that I wouldn't break anything. Seems okay so far. Now let's just see if reimporting this episode fixes the problem in iMovie, which is probably also due to things updating while I haven't used it in two years...

ETA 2: Reimporting didn't fix the problem. :( (When I import new video I've ripped, or even ripped long ago and saved, it turns solid green. Everything I imported in 2015 and before is fine.) The Oracle of Google has no answers either, and playing around with preferences, file format of the video I'm trying to import, even running the damn thing through MPEG Streamclip first doesn't work.

ETA 3: The clip imports into iMovie 10. Which I loathe. Ugh. Do I try and work with this stupid program or do I give up...

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