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Success

Woo-hoo! Today I did my whole program, to the music, and was finally comfortable enough with the steps that I could make minor adjustments to hit everything on time, from the waltz jump that landed nicely on a beat, to getting the windup done for my camel-sit spin just before the music swelled, to starting the footwork sequence on time and ending on time. YAY.

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Program

Rumors of my death, exaggeration, etc.

P and I are hard at work trimming down my program to something manageable by me in the 1:40 seconds of music I'm allowed. We started out with a lot of footwork, then when I could barely get through half the program before the music ran out, started chopping with wild abandon. In addition, the waltz jump-toe loop combination is no more, though if I can get speedy enough I'll try to add a toe loop after my salchow. I think this means I could do a half flip-toe loop without worrying about whether it would get counted as two jumps rather than a combination because I tend to need to slow myself down a bit before going into the toe. You get four jump passes, be they singles, combos, or sequences.

It sounds like the August competition at my rink won't happen, since they need at least 50 people to sign up and as of last week had...three. I'm both sad and relieved, because to be honest, I'm not sure if my program's going to be presentable in five weeks. I'm much less nervous about the adult competition in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend.

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Skating video

I recently joined the 21st century and got a smartphone, and even more recently realized I could use it to take video of my skating. (And CRINGE MIGHTILY at said video, wow. I thought my sit spin was much lower than that. And my jumps much higher. On the other hand, I think I finally got it through my head what P's been saying about how my hips are too open on most things, so I'm trying to fix that now.)

So, here's a compilation of my tricks (spins and jumps) and another of my moves/turns/edges. I feel compelled to warn you that while the tricks are more recognizable as skating things you've seen on TV, I look much more like I know what I'm doing in the moves video. ;)

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Rumors of my death, etc.

Hello, my internets! I've been away in the land of [spooky voice] GRANT SUBMISSION [/spooky voice], but now that's done and I'm back! Uh, until I leave for my ten-year college reunion tomorrow, anyway.

I actually finished all the revisions on my piece of the grant at 5:30 on Friday evening, and I've pretty much spent the last week recovering. Recovery has meant skating, which, because my home club is hosting a competition in early August, has meant starting my first competition program! It's to the Amelie piece I posted ages ago. P choreographed the first third with me yesterday. It includes two choctaws. :D

Also so far we have a waltz jump and a salchow-toe loop combination, a spread eagle, an arabesque-y spiral thing, and assorted toe work. A sit spin and a camel-sit spin combination will probably be making appearances as well. She tried to include a cross-behind (to see it at real speed go to 1:06), and thankfully I am an adult and I have veto power, because NUH-UH.

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Hysterversary

Facebook reminded me that yesterday was my one year hysterversary. I still have mixed feelings about it, given all the complications that followed, but they're about 90% good feelings.

...Especially because I just finished a round of prophylactic amoxicillin for my bone graft. I found out the hard way in 2014 that my body completely ignores birth control in the presence of antibiotics. (The hard way involved an ER visit because I thought I was going to bleed to death.) I still have my left ovary, and right now it's basically doing a dance and yelling, "OVULATION PAR-TAY!!!" I suspect whatever bits of endometriosis are still clinging to my abdominal cavity and other organs are joining in as well. It started up again two days ago, and it is a very, very familiar pain. Dialed down about 80% because the two major offenders are no longer there, but nevertheless, it makes me glad to also have a stash of good drugs for the pain of the tooth extraction/graft.

Which went reasonably well, I suppose. I had to go back on Monday for more painkillers, because I R Slow at healing, but other than that all seems okay. I have stitches in my mouth that are irksome. I picked up some clove oil at Walgreens the other day because I was running low on my second round of hydrocodone and wanted to stretch it as long as possible, and though I didn't expect it to work, it really did numb up the whole area very well for about half an hour and then provide a few hours of pain relief. The only downside is that when I use it, I smell like a Christmas ham. Ah, well.

Since this appears to be the health news dump post, I'll also tell you that my physical therapist assigned me an AMAZING exercise this week. It's this thing where you put your hands and one knee on a bed and bend the other knee for several reps. Really works the butt muscles I need to engage when I walk, and she says over time it should make it more automatic for me to use them when walking. Yahoo.

And, to end on a high note, although I've had a cold/cough for over a week now, it hasn't bugged my bladder at all. :D :D :D Crossing my fingers that I'm strong enough now for this pelvic floor disorder to be on its way out!

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Okay, ten minutes of personal instruction on back spins from Scott Hamilton just because he happened to wander by and see me struggling was worth getting out of bed and to the rink today.

I can't promise it will actually help, but it was a very different way of entering it, so maybe this is the variation that will stick and make it so that I can do this spin. He uses a much deeper, tighter edge than I've been using, and adds basically an extra half-turn before going into the spin. The class was also nice--kind of an adult power class, mostly focused on crossovers and stroking with uber-correct form.

I almost didn't go, because my back is hurting (as usual) and because I went in to the office and worked on data tables for the grant for seven hours yesterday, in addition to the preceding two weeks of 9-10 hour days and four extra hours last weekend, and I am tired. These data tables are going to run over 500 pages, which just seems insane to me. I've had a temp working on nothing but the largest of them for almost six weeks, and that one still isn't quite done. Ugh. At least it'll be over on May 20. And, you know, hopefully we get the renewal, since this is the grant that pays for my position... (Someone today said, "Ah, I see, you're writing your paycheck." Indeed.)

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Walking 101

In addition to my various other remedial life skills classes, I'm now enrolled in Walking 101. While my butt muscles are plenty strong enough, my brain doesn't think to engage them when I walk, thus creating a swaying/dropping hipped gait that puts a lot of shearing force on the lower back. Hence pain. My physical therapist gave me some activities to do to try and retrain my brain into using my butt to walk with. Hopefully they work. Sometimes my brain can be stubborn. I'd really like to be able to walk around campus at the reunion in a month without crippling pain, though. I'll take moderate pain; really, anything where I can get by with my ration of NSAIDs rather than resorting to vicodin is fine with me.

That said, I've improved enough from my early March coughing-induced pelvic floor irritation to go back to an every other week schedule with my PT, so yay.

In semi-related news, ow, the knee I fell on on Sunday is hurting like heck for such a little bruise. Also I think it knocked my knee a little loose.

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Skating stuff

A backlog of good things:

1. I landed a loop jump on one foot today! It wasn't pretty, but it landed and I managed to check out.

2. The other day, I managed an entire pattern of forward inside to back outside three turns from the next Moves test with only one touch down. They were teeny turns, and too many of them, but they turned.

3. I fell this morning on a back inside three turn (bad), but onto my padded knees, so it didn't hurt (good), though it did leave a bruise (meh). But it didn't scare me to death and make me all shaky like my cross roll tumble a few months ago did (excellent).

4. P loves the outside mohawk in my eight step mohawk, which she says is the part of that pattern judges will nail you on. Woo.

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1. Poster sessions are literally science fair for grown-ups. There's a big hall with a bunch of posters up on boards, and their makers stand by them and talk about their project to everyone who comes by. This seems like a much more sensible way to run a conference than the humanities version, where people get up on stage and read a paper they have written at the audience.

2. Many of the scientists my office supports are fun to hang out with socially.

3. I no longer have the ability to walk or stand for more than 45 minutes without SIJ/lower back pain disabling enough to require a 10-minute sit-down, and if I want to do more than two of these 45-minute sessions, I require the assistance of vicodin.

One of these things is not like the others...

Despite that, I took some nice pictures of the National Zoo (not quite a mile from the conference hotel) and the hotel itself. It was by far the swankiest place I have ever stayed, or possibly ever set foot in.

Pictures, including several of pandas Doing Stuff.

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Adventures

Current adventures in physical therapyCollapse )

*

In skating adventures, my back has been allowing me to do the Silver spiral sequence multiple times on a session as long as I do it in the first half. I'll take it. My free leg is even at hip height on all the spirals, according to P!

I have also mastered the back inside three turn. Not that I have any speed going into it or any runout after it, but I can turn, which is awesome.

P had me start thinking about back scratch spin as having a forward inside three turn, then an inch or two of drift across the ice before pulling up into the spin rather than trying to do turn and spin all at once in on place on the ice, and...I think it might work. I've thought this about a lot of approaches to this spin, though, so who knows.

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So much snot

Dear Halls: Inspirational messages don't belong on cough drop wrappers. "Go for it"? The only things I'm capable of going for when I'm in need of your product are Netflix and hot tea. Maybe, if I'm feeling ambitious, soup.

FYI, a cold was really not what I needed to top off my weekend, but I got one anyway. Feh.

I've been spending time watching Royal Pains, which is exactly the kind of escapist stuff I need right now. I'm disappointed that the fandom, such as it is, didn't latch on to Divya/Evan, because COME ON, snarky and bantery and opposites-attacty? Match made in heaven. If not on the screen, alas.

I also went to my lesson yesterday anyway, because I'm stubborn like that. (Or, as the cough drops would put it, "Tough is your middle name.") We started on flip! And by "started" I mean I'm at the boards, picking my right toe in and jumping up, then landing, with no rotation whatsoever and while holding on for dear life, but it's something. It's basically a loop with a toe-in rather than off the edge, so while we all know my struggles with loop, I'm hoping the toe might make it easier. I prefer toe loop to salchow, which is a somewhat similar situation.

P taught me BF's back scratch spin entry, which is rather different from hers, and...I suck equally at it. If I ever get any kind of back spin--scratch, sit, camel, whatever--I am going to throw a PARTY.

In other news, apparently a reboot of Xena has been approved for a pilot! AND it's going to have Xena and Gabrielle openly in a relationship, rather than subtextually in one, and for campy bonus points it's going to be run by the same guy behind The Middleman! This could be awesome, guys.

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Various health things

Physical therapy update: There are 77 muscles in the human back,* and my therapist is determined to strengthen every one of them in order to hold my pelvis in place. I'm doing what feel like a lot of shoulder exercises for a pelvic problem.

I apparently have a case of contralateral pelvic drop/trendelenberg gait, so we're also doing a whole lot of butt exercises. I'm still on the every other week plan, which is good because these exercises seem to take a while to take root; it takes me several days to find the muscle she wants me to work with each of them (apparently this is common with loose joints), then to build up strength.

I'm still loving the KT tape over the sore spots on my abs. Excellent stuff.

* According to the first result Google spat up at me. I take no responsibility for accuracy, but that sounds good.

*

I had my first dental implant consultation today. I really liked this dentist; he was thorough and detailed in his explanations and answers to my questions and very nice. When I told him I was allergic to dental acrylic, he asked the dental assistant to make a note to look up hypoallergenic dental acrylic options (even though I wouldn't actually need a temp crown for this procedure). Then he said that while he'd done lots of these and was happy to do mine, the dentist he went to when he needed an implant had done a ton and if I would be more comfortable with him he'd happily send me over...and it turned out to be the one my dentist wanted me to go to anyway.

That said: When he was describing what a cracked tooth looked like and how it (dis)functioned, he opened a drawer that was FULL OF OLD TEETH. AND PULLED ONE OUT TO SHOW ME. Saying, "I pulled this tooth out of a girl, and as you can see..."

I don't know, man. This guy seems great, but the trophy drawer of teeth is a bit offputting.

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Adulting in myriad ways

Look at me, being all adulty! I have not one, not two, but three consultations lined up with dental implant doers. Admittedly, this mostly came about because the first one I called couldn't see me for a month and I thought that was ridiculous and so kept calling until I got a better answer (tomorrow, for the record).

The pain receded a bit today, probably because I used half my weekly NSAID ration on it, so I may actually make it through the next week's post-redone-root canal-see-if-it-worked period without begging someone to take some pliers and yank this tooth from my head, and if I'm really feeling great I might even be able to go another week on the off chance it just needs longer than usual to actually work. (That would be good, because the second consultation isn't until the end of the month and I'd like to make some kind of choice... I guess I could always get my regular dentist to pull it and then worry about the implant later, but then that would be three visits to the dentist rather than just one, and god knows I don't need to take more time off work right now.)

Of course, now the question becomes how this procedure will go wrong and become another Kafkaesque health nightmare, but let's pretend for a minute that something will actually work.

*

In less imminently painful news, I received an unexpected tax refund this year--I have it set to withhold as little as possible and I typically wind up paying the feds fifteen bucks or so every February, so either jumping a tax bracket changed things or someone in HR hit a button and reset my preferences. Anyway, it was almost exactly the amount of the pretty skating dress from my poll a few weeks ago, so...I bought it. :)

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Agent Carter etc.

A few scattered thoughts on the Agent Carter finaleCollapse )

*

My tooth hurts more after getting the second root canal than before. I wish I could say that surprised me. Thirteen days until the endodontist will consider it enough time to have settled and I can get this thing pulled out of my head.

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Skating stuff

I spent some time on my split jump today, and it's looking much splittier. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing like that video; it's somewhere between that and a half flip with some flailing of the legs. But it's fun.

Camel spin is back to where it was before I got my skates sharpened and my rocker mysteriously moved back. Back spin is...let's not. I think I may have landed an only-slightly-cheated loop jump on one foot today for half a millisecond before I put the other foot down. There was only one other person there this afternoon--amazing, given the influx after Ritzy Rink Down the Road closed earlier this month--and I got there first, so I put on my piano-centric playlist and it was all very peaceful.

P and I haven't had a lesson for a couple weeks because of schedule conflicts, but we do tomorrow morning and we're going to start the Silver moves in the field test elements. I can already do the front and back cross strokes and power pulls, though probably not to test quality, and I don't think spirals will be much of an issue if my back cooperates. The FI-BO three turns are doable now, but definitely nowhere near test quality, and my back inside threes are, uh, nonexistent right now, so that's going to need some work. Noooot looking forward to the 8-step mohawk, though. Outside mohawks are beasts.

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I passed my test! I actually got bonus points on the power perimeter stroking and, of all things, the figure 8.

Then we had another Friday evening freestyle session tonight, where everyone was too tired to do much, but G and I played around with figures. I wore my knee brace while skating for the first time, and I think it was moderately helpful. That may have had more to do with getting to take my weekly ration of Aleve, though.

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Squishy

I have little to say about recent episodes of Agent Carter and X-Files, save this: Leave it to Glen Morgan to make a chirpy mid-twentieth century song COMPLETELY CREEPY. Heh.

My Bronze Moves in the Field test is tomorrow morning. The scheduling gods smiled on me again and it's not until nine o'clock. (It could've been as early as six.) I was originally going to take the day off, but then NIH decided to have a conference call I really need to attend that day, so it's off to work for me once I'm done. Then back to the rink that evening to practice and meet/possibly do some kind of group class with a dance coach BF is trying to recruit to the area.

Hopefully my abdomen will hold up. PT has been rough lately. Slightly TMICollapse )

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Footwork

I tried out alternating mazurkas into a split jump into a toe loop today. It felt pretty good; hope it looks the same way, because I think it would go nicely with the plinky bits at the beginning of my program music. Depending on how well I stick the landing of the split jump, I can aaaaaalmost go into the toe loop without having to put my left foot down and stabilize for a second before I start the inside three turn into the toe loop.

After that I went to the grocery store and bought a knee brace for my left knee, because I can stand it no longer. I think I may actually be unconsciously compensating for it and thus making my right SI joint hurt. Bah. The brace feels nice now, but the pain is intermittent (classic chondromalacia returning), so it could be a coincidence. We shall see.

I also bought some excellent orange ginger herbal tea and some chocolate-covered pretzels, because they were on sale and tasty. Yum.

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Feb. 5th, 2016

P and I decided to go for the Amelie piece for my Bronze program. It also just squeaks in under the limit for a Pre-Bronze competitive program, so I could do it at the adult competition in Atlanta this September. Efficiency!

My loop jump is almost there. I'm really just two-footing the landing now. Especially after my lesson tonight, I'm getting up and all the way around, rather than jumping up and remaining facing the same direction.

I started attempting a back sit spin, since back scratch spins are going so dismally. It's...half a revolution better, I suppose. On my sharpening a couple weeks ago, B appears to have moved the rocker back a few millimeters, which is really not helping. It may be just the profile flattening out, but P agrees there shouldn't be such an abrupt change. However, my options in this town are limited. Grrr argh.

Bronze moves test is in a week at what I suspect will be horrible o'clock in the morning. (Moves in the field are turns and edges in specific patterns; everything but jumps and spins, basically.) My cerebrum recognizes I'm more than ready for it, even if I get nervous again and get stiff, but my lizard brain still feels unprepared. On the other hand, nothing like what happened during my Pre-Bronze freeskate test can happen this time. I no longer have the relevant organs. Yay!

(Now I just have to worry about my knees and my hips falling apart. Everything hurts this week. I'm thinking about getting two knee braces and wearing them to keep my kneecaps from floating around. Add that to the SI belt and I will be the bionic woman.)

There was a surprise evening session at Other Rink tonight, and it was awesome. Lots of people, but very orderly. I'm hoping it shows management that we could support a few weeknight sessions, because then I could actually go to them. The adults went out to dinner after at a place that serves generic Tex Mex and several interesting dishes from the Yucatan, including "pre-hispanic" dishes that were quite tasty.

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Knots

Today my physical therapist worked over my abdomen, and by that I mean I was hitting the good drugs the moment I got home, wow. I discovered yesterday that I have spots there that feel exactly like it does when you pop bubble wrap, which neither of us thought were a good thing, so she tried to make them go away. It wasn't bad while she was poking around in there, but after--yikes. She thinks a lot of it, especially the ropey feeling of the entirety of my abdomen (apparently this is not normal?) could be due to being blown up with gas for two laparoscopic procedures inside of three weeks this summer.

She also said I might never need to/want to resume my inner thigh strengthening exercises, because the connective tissue is so loose that the muscles will immediately knot up if I push it, or something like that. I didn't really understand and need to ask her what that meant next week.

(Sometimes I wonder about the hypermobility type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The doctor who gave me my SI cortisone shots suggested that possibility, and a lot of the symptoms fit. But it seems like my manifestations of them are on the spectrum of normal, and people who have this condition have problems that are far beyond said spectrum. All of my stuff that could point to EDS is also not uncommon on its own.)

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