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Pain in all its many permutations

Ugh. I got distracted talking to P before the freestyle session started yesterday and got on the ice with my blade guards on. I was hanging on to the boards with my left hand and managed to sort of let myself down gently, so it didn't hurt at the time. Today: OUCH. My whole left side is screaming at me.

On the bright side: I have a lot of drugs for that.

I think also have to eat some crow. Three days into the prednisone, and my lower back/sacroiliac pain is GONE. I walked my dog around the block today without back pain for the first time in over two years.

I guess this means I need to admit I have ankylosing spondylitis and should start the Humira. I'm glad I at least know turning off part of my immune system should help, rather than winging it on a hope and a prayer. And it'll be nice not to be in constant pain, assuming the Humira works as well as prednisone.

(Bad side: The steroids did nothing for all of my other joints, including elbows, fingers, thumbs, knees, ankles, and toes. But the back pain is 70% of my daily pain, so I guess that's okay. And perhaps the Cymbalta will take care of the other joints in time.)

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Some things wot I've been working on

Forward camel into beginning forward layback spin:

Forward camel into layback spin from Skater on Vimeo.

Waltz/half-loop/Salchow jump sequence (aka the very awkward one I mentioned a few weeks ago):

Waltz, half loop, Salchow jump sequence from Skater on Vimeo.

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Dear Yuletide Writer 2016

[Note: I am icepixie across LJ, DW, and AO3.]

Dear Yuletide Writer,

THANK YOU for writing for me! I love all these fandoms and characters dearly, and I know I'll love whatever you come up with for them. I'm offering specific prompts for each fandom if you're the kind of writer who prefers them, but please don't feel constrained by them if you're not.

General likes/dislikesCollapse )

China BeachCollapse )

Ned & StaceyCollapse )

The Matchmaker (1997)Collapse )

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Skating update

My lesson with our local spin doctor went well, although I find it incredibly ironic that after all this PT to strengthen and learn how to use my butt muscles, the biggest thing keeping me from a back spin is...I don't use my butt muscles. *facepalm*

Anyway, after a week of reminding myself to use my butt and abs, I've got about a half revolution more on a back scratch and a back sit spin. Spin doctor and I have another lesson a week from Monday to work more on this.

Speaking of spins, my layback spin has gotten much better in the last couple of weeks. I have the leg and hip position down; now I just need to face my fear and lean back. (The minute I look up and see the ceiling, my body just goes "NOPE" and the spin stops.) I'm also getting lower and more revolutions in the pancake and tuck spins I posted a couple of weeks ago.

P taught me to do a waltz jump-half loop-salchow jump combination last week, and this week I actually landed a few. They are itty-bitty, because it's frankly a massively awkward combination. You have to land the waltz jump with your free leg forward, which is a thoroughly bizarre feeling and quite difficult. This is so you're set up for the half loop, which takes off like a loop and requires your free foot in front. Then you land the half loop on your non-landing foot and immediately wrench yourself around into a salchow off that foot. It's not a jump combo I would've come up with, let's say. On the other hand, working to get it better should improve my control over all my jumps.

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Edges class

We had a guest coach for the adult edges class today, a Russian fellow whose background is, I believe, in pairs. It was nifty. He had us do really clean, deep versions of alternating forward crossovers, and for the example, he started on the goal line about a third of the way from the wall (his axis was a bit further in than the one on the hockey dots I usually use), and on the first one went within inches of the wall(!), then on the second one crossed the center line by a good few feet. This is on two edges. Two. Googling the dimensions of an ice rink tells me he was going something over 30 feet horizontally on two crossovers. I've never seen anyone get that deep of an edge, at least not in person.

(I know, I know, [personal profile] kyriacarlisle is probably the only one who understands what I'm babbling about, but trust me, it was impressive.)

He asked us if we could do back outside three turns, to which three of the four of us nodded somewhat cautiously while the fourth was more confident. Then he said he wanted big, fast back crossovers around the middle circle into a back three, to which I at least went AHAHAHAHA YOU MUST BE JOKING and proceeded to do them on two feet. Again, when demonstrating, he had such a deep back outside edge that I thought he was going to fall over. I know he probably wasn't at a 45-degree angle to the ice, but it sure looked like it.

On the bad side...dude is very touchy-feely. P has touched me three, maybe four times in the two years I've been with her, only with fingertips to reposition an arm or shoulder, and that works for both of us. We did an alternating forward outside three turn exercise as part of this class, and every. single. time. I turned he grabbed my arm with both hands to make sure I checked out enough. I would've done better without that, as it startled me so badly every time that I was mostly trying to keep from falling over rather than working to control the edge on my own. If the class in September isn't big enough for me to hide at the back and that happens again, we will need to have Words.

(Part of my annoyance with touchy-feely group class coaches is that while there are plenty of skills I definitely can't do yet and need help with, a lot of the time I can do the thing, it just takes me a few tries to figure out which leg I'm supposed to be on at what time and things like that. Left and right side differentiation is not something that comes naturally to me. So if they just give me a minute to figure it out rather than immediately manhandling me, I am much happier and learn better. This is why I prefer edges instruction one-on-one to group classes; then I have more time to figure it out and can get P or whoever to just tell me which arm or leg I need to be moving at the right time.)

I booked a lesson with our local spins specialist to try and get a real back spin happening. P and I are at our collective wits' end and figured another perspective might help. The bad part is that it's at 6:45 on Monday morning ohgod. I hope it fixes my problems. T is an amazing spinner and I've seen her work miracles with other people.

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Pat a pancake

A couple things I've been working on: Pancake and tuck spins. Or, "finally, spins where my natural inclination to turn my free hip out works to my advantage!"

Pancake and Tuck Spins from Skater on Vimeo.

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Good news

I have a trifecta of good health news from this week, for the first time in years:

1. I got my dental implant (the metal rod part; the actual false tooth/crown will be put on in three more months) on Monday, and aside from that day and night, there's been almost no pain. I only used a few of the good painkillers the dentist prescribed.

2. I bit the bullet and got a myofascial release/deep tissue massage for my abdomen yesterday in an attempt to untangle some of the scar tissue left behind by last summer's surgical adventures. It hurt SO MUCH while the therapist was doing it and last night (there's a reason I scheduled it for a week in which I would have narcotics...), but today it's amazing. I had no idea how restricted and tight everything was in there, and now walking is like MAGIC. It's like gravity has been turned down; picking my leg up to take a step is comparatively effortless. Skating, too, has improved. Getting my leg up for a jump or a camel spin is much easier. (She worked on my lower back and butt as well, since those muscles tend to tighten in order to stabilize the loose SI joints, but so far I haven't noticed improvement. Maybe that just takes longer than a day.)

3. Most amazing: My mucocele, that annoying spit-cyst on the floor of my mouth that's been hanging around for a couple of months, up and disappeared. I can't even tell it was there. It's essentially unheard of for these things to go away on their own, so FINALLY, I am medically unusual in a good way!! :D

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First competition

I was the only competitor in my division, so I got the gold medal by default. Works for me!

Pre-Bronze Freeskate - La Valse d'Amelie [Orchestra Version] from Skater on Vimeo.

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Mr. Garibaldi

After hearing about Jerry Doyle's death, I feel like I should add some words to my Ivanova and Garibaldi try to have a honeymoon but end up foiling a plot to assassinate the Earth president fic. RIP.

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Skating blather

I'm going to be the only person competing in my level at the competition in three weeks. It'll be like an exhibition with a medal at the end!

My program has settled into its final form. I'm hitting the five marks I really want to hit about 90% of the time (and within a beat or two the other 10% of the time) and did two really good run-throughs today. My camel-sit spin is still wobblier than I'd like, but everything else is going well.

I had BF sharpen my blades last weekend and put in a slightly deeper hollow* because it seemed like I was skating over the ice rather than on it, which is NOT a good feeling. Admittedly, this could've been because I had someone else sharpen them last time, but we figured a deeper hollow wouldn't hurt. A deeper hollow tends to make edges more secure (it makes the edges longer as measured from the center of the hollow, thus giving them more "bite"), but at the cost of some ease of glide. I went from 5/8 of an inch to half an inch.

My verdict? I started out feeling like I was skating through glue, but I think I'm going to like this hollow. The blades definitely have more of a mind of their own, which makes stopping...interesting...but my edges are much more secure. They saved me from a spread eagle the other day that would've had me on my face with the old hollow. Also, they've helped my back spin. I'm actually spinning a little before I get too far up the the toe pick!

* The bottom of a skate blade is shaped like an upside-down U (illustration), giving you two edges, inside and outside, which are what you actually skate on. The depth of this U, and the corresponding length of the two edges, is referred to as your hollow.

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Program, dress, etc.

For those of you wondering what it would look like in person, here's the dress for my program: under the cutCollapse )

The program continues to evolve. I was simply not making it from my salchow in the far right corner to the goalie area before it was time to start my straight-line footwork, so I said screw it and turned it a diagonal footwork sequence. I also actually have time left after the toe loop at the end of the footwork, so I've added a very short forward spiral prior to the mohawk and back crossover into my ending sit spin. Whether it's an outside or inside spiral depends on whether I fluff the chasse after my toe loop. *whistles innocently*

I also tried adding more pretty arms to things, not terribly successfully. Really I only managed it in one place, on the first half of the choctaw. The crossrolls especially need something interesting up top, but everything I tried made it very hard to actually do the crossrolls, so I may just have to let that be some time for folks to admire my dress. Or maybe P will have ideas for that bit.


In utterly unrelated news, Hem fiiiiinally put out that song they teased with in a commercial almost ten years ago, and it is beautiful.

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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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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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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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