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Skating update

My reintroduction to skating continues apace. I moved my left blade inward, and it helped so much I've just done my right blade and hope it works out too. I'm actually using the screwdriver and moving them this time around instead of BF. I've been through so many attempts at new/correct skates, with attendant blade placement tinkering, that I have leveled up to doing it myself.

This week I got my forward inside three turns mostly back (the left was never great, so I'm unsurprised it's only successful about half the time) and did rudimentary sit and layback spins. I also did some so-rudimentary-they-really-shouldn't-be-classed-as-camel spins, which I probably haven't done in over a year. Good direction forward outside twizzles seem...almost better than inside twizzles? This shouldn't really be a thing, but okay.

I still have basically NO PAIN from my skates! *insert Kermit YAY gif* There is one spot at the top of the back that digs into my calves a little, but it seems like regular punching with my ball and ring pliers will fix that. My feet could totally handle multiple hour-long sessions if the rest of my body could (it can't).

I haven't attempted jumping yet, mostly because for structural integrity reasons you're not supposed to when your blades are still on a temporary mount, partly because I'm still pretty tentative out there. I am strongly considering just not jumping anymore. I beat my head against the wall with loops and flips for almost four years. Possibly the new skates will help, in which case I'll continue, but if after a couple months I still don't make real progress, I think that's it for jumping. Means I can never proceed past the first level of adult freeskate, but...eh. I can skate up to the next level at most competitions, and there are Light Entertainment and Dramatic Entertainment options in addition to regular freeskate.

Solo free dance could also be an option if/when I pass gold Moves in the Field. It's basically a freeskate program consisting entirely of footwork, with one spin and no jumps. Hey, spinning and footwork are my two favorite things! I could also get there by taking and passing a few pattern dances, but I am morally opposed to the dance test industrial complex. It's $25 per dance to test, each level has at least three dances, and there are something like 35 dances in all. The hell with that. It also makes my former ballroom dancer self cry a bit to have to follow a specific pattern for each dance rather than having a set of steps you can mix and match as the spirit moves you.

I'm hoping to be with-it enough by the end of the month to start working on a program for one of the local competitions in early August. We'll see how fast it comes back.

Right now, though, I am with nothing because I'm recovering from a deep tissue massage on my abdomen to break up scar tissue and adhesions. I haven't needed one for over a year, but I guess being much more sedentary for three months while I waited for my new skates did not do good things for me. I am definitely sore, but it sure does feel like I can sit up straighter, extend my legs more, etc.

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SKATES THAT FIT!

My second attempt at custom boots, this time with Avanta, arrived, and they fit. They fit so, so incredibly well. I skated for more than an hour this morning with ZERO pain or numbness. I mean, nothing. It was like wearing stiff sneakers. The first time! Without breaking them in! Hell, with my old Jacksons it took two years to be able to skate for an hour without taking them off halfway through, and I never got to a point where they didn't hurt at all.

As you might imagine, I am over the moon. I truly thought I was going to have to stop skating. (I would have, if these didn't work.) I've spent the last 20 months either off the ice or on it in painful 5-10-minute spurts (or in broken-down boots I couldn't do much in), so going to the rink had frankly become kind of a dismal experience that I dreaded. Because of boot issues, I pretty much stopped learning new things back in summer 2017. Now I can look forward to skating, and have lessons again, and learn new stuff!

...Once I remember the old stuff. I haven't skated for the last three months, so today was pretty wobbly, but you know, at this point I'm simply grateful to be able to go around in circles. The rest will come back.


*

I started planting things in my garden this weekend. Snapdragons did well last year, so I got more, and some phlox for phun. I planted a bunch of gladiolus-type bulbs. And I'm trying spinach this year. We probably have 4-5 weeks till it gets hot enough to bolt, so to be honest I expect maybe two salads out of my crop (assuming the local critters don't eat it), but that would be cool. I picked a few leaves the other day to put on a sandwich, and they definitely taste better and fresher than store-bought.

peach-blossom carolina-jasmine snapdragons

spinach spinach-harvest

*

Finally, since the last time I posted here, I got a new diagnosis added to my list: Asthma. Yes, apparently sometime over the last year I became a closet asthmatic. I had a cough that started back in July and just never really went away, so I asked my doctor about it at my physical a couple of weeks ago. I was thinking persistent low-level sinus infection with drip that was irritating my cough reflex, but the sinus x-ray came back clear, so we started a trial of Advair (daily inhaled steroid). It was miraculous. My cough silenced within an hour of taking the first dose. I also noticed about a 25% improvement in my chest capacity upon inhaling the first dose, too.

Ah, well. At least it's fixable. I like diseases that are fixable.

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I just finished All Systems Red. Murderbot is my new spirit animal. That is all.

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I'd say I knew Tumblr would fail and that's why I never moved there, but really it was that I didn't want to learn a new platform (especially one you couldn't easily have conversations on). Also I was pretty much in fandoms of one at the time everyone moved over there (and from that moved on into no fandoms at all), so there wasn't much incentive to follow.

Anyway, welcome back, everyone. Please stick around; it's nice having more of a flist to read again.

*

I'm on month five of Cosentyx. It's been...interesting. I think ultimately it helps the pain about as much as Enbrel, but it's distributed differently (likely because it's a once a month shot instead of once a week). Enbrel was pretty much the same level all the time. This one, it's like week one: I feel AWESOME (to the point where last month it convinced me I could do a huge Christmas shopping trip and then clean house later that day, leaving me with a week of costochondritis, blarg); week 2: I feel good to excellent; week three: I feel okay; and week four: UGH LET ME DIE.

But on the unequivocally good side, I ended the month with several doses of Tramadol left over, which hasn't happened in a long time. (And I will promptly use them up with this week's dental implant implantation, but oh well.)

*

I gave up on the revised SP-Teri boots, as my toes and feet never stopped going numb. My last attempt is Avanta, which is run by someone with a history of making orthopedic shoes and skates. If they don't work, I've been offered a full refund. I had casts made of my feet this weekend for them to work from, as Avanta is out in California and I am not, and I should have boots in about six weeks. (Normally it's four weeks, but after seeing photos, the bootmaker pronounced my feet "very, very unique" and said it would take some time to make the boots the way I need.) There was some talk of not having laces but rather straps, or having minimal lacing plus straps, so I can avoid having something press down on the parts of my instep that appear to house the nerve that feeds my toes. Not sure what's going to happen there.

Hopefully one day I'll skate again. I admit it's been nice not getting up early to skate before work, but that's been the only upside.

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Fannish and other

I watched The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina over the last couple of weekends. Some spoilery thoughtsCollapse )

*

I got the fourth iteration of my custom skates back a couple of weeks ago, and they are indeed much closer approximations of my feet than the previous three tries. They actually have enough width in the ball and toes, and enough depth in the toebox, and a wide enough tongue to encompass my massive instep and beefy ankles. I've been able to go progressively 3-5 minutes longer at each session before my feet go numb, so I'm up to 20 minutes as of today. I can't repeat that after taking them off and putting them back on (at that point I only get 5-10 minutes), which is unfortunate, but perhaps I can one day get to an hour.

They were ever so slightly too long, but I fixed that myself by wearing an Achilles tendon gel sock thing, which pushes my foot forward just enough to be in the right spot over the blade. Nicely, it also prevents the back of the boot from cutting into the back of my ankle, as it was doing before I started wearing these.

The blade still feels very weird, but that could be because on my old one, I had BF shave down the drag pick to keep the relationship between pick and rocker accurate as the rocker flattened out, and now I have both pick and rocker back. Nevertheless, I finally managed a spin on Tuesday where I didn't feel like I was inches from death, so. Yay. I have sit and scratch spins kind of back, and I've attempted some laybacks, but no camels. Part of my spin trouble may also be that I'm going at turtle speed for everything due to THINGS FEELING DIFFERENT, so as I adjust to the new skates they may get better. One thing that may get better faster is back spin, because we've mounted the right blade farther in than it was on my old skates, and I could tell I'm actually hitting the right spot and getting my weight over it on my attempts today.

I accomplished weeny versions of waltz jump, salchow, and toe loop today(!) as well. It's been a long time since I jumped, so that was exciting. I don't think I want to go back to beating my head against a wall with the other jumps, at least not until I master back spin, but I'd like to retain these.

*

My right shoulder hasn't really been right since I took a fall about two months ago and wrenched it trying to protect my head. It's now gotten harder to ignore. It might be the AS deciding to attack a new joint, or it might be 34 years of bad posture and sitting in front of a computer catching up with me. I should probably see someone about it, but I know they'll prescribe physical therapy, and as a five-time PT veteran, I have enough exercises I'm supposed to do four times a week for the rest of my life. I don't want more. :(

(On the other hand, I need to continue using a computer mouse to retain gainful employment, so I may have to anyway. Ugh.)

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The Crown

I'm a season into The Crown and am enjoying it a lot. However, I have a bone to pick. PHILIP, ugh.Collapse )

But by and large, that's the only thing I dislike about it. I wouldn't mind seeing the ratio of political to Windsor family drama shift more to the political--though, yes, technically Elizabeth can't actually do anything--but it's not bad the way it is. It's fun seeing Elizabeth come into her power but still think of herself as a regular, albeit upper class, person, like the scene where she asks the butler(?) if she can borrow the crown to practice with and he asks who she'd be borrowing it from. My favorite episode was "Scientia Potentia Est," since she was a girl after my own heart who recognized her lack of education, got pissed off about it, and got herself a tutor! I hope he sticks around. He was fun.

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Something kind of fannish

YouTube cooking shows is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about how to spend my time, and yet over the last week or so I've been devouring much of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen back catalogue. Not even because I want to make the food--although some of it does look good, and actually somewhat manageable for a normal home cook--but because all of the people presenting are just so...so friendly! As in, I want to be friends with all of them. They seem to be genuinely having fun and enjoying what they do and want to teach viewers how to enjoy it too.

It's hard to choose a favorite, because they all have different but equally nice styles, but I will say the first one I came across was Claire Saffitz's "Pastry Chef Attempts" series where she reverse-engineers junk food like Skittles, Twinkies, KitKats, Gushers, and Cheetos. She spends much of the time being long-suffering and despairing, but tends to prevail in the end. (She is the Eeyore of the group, at least in these particular videos if not her regular recipe ones. I feel like we would get along well.) She's a woman after my own heart, with the whole having gone to grad school in food history before going to culinary school, and is obviously super smart; it's just fun to watch her mind working.

Carla is chatty and mom-ish and doesn't care that she makes mistakes on camera. Andy is sort of the cooking equivalent of Bob Ross, very quiet and gentle. The undisputed star, though, is Brad, with his "It's Alive!" series about fermented foods that takes detours into how-it's-made for things like knives and salt. He is one of those people who would likely drive me to homicide if I had to work with him, but I will watch him be loud and nutty and cook food and have no filter on the interwebs all day. The editing is also the perfect counterpoint, with sarcastic thought bubbles and animations and...I can't even describe it, just watch. One of my favorites is "Brad and Claire Make Sourdough Bread," but really any of them will show you the glory of this series.

...Speaking of Brad and Claire. In the alternate universe where he's not married with kids, I ship it like FedEx. Fic, anyone?

Did not think something like this would pull me back into feeling kind of fannish after a long absence, but there you have it.

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Hark, an entry!

*blows dust off DW*

I received my new skates a couple of weeks ago. They are hideous, but they fit, unlike the SP-Teris. (Photo. Really not loving the silver plastic sole, although they look better with blades on. I was wary of plastic's abilities vis a vis leather as a shock absorber, but on the tiny jumps I've tried so far I haven't noticed a difference. Mine for some reason didn't come with the bling on the back, which frankly I am thankful for. They also lack the fancy microfiber lining, but I'm okay with that since that sure looks like latex foam underneath and it's not completely covered, which would be bad for me and my latex allergy. I'll stick with the suede lining mine came with.)

I've been gradually working my way up to longer and longer periods without having to take them off from pain or numbness. Today I got up to 25 minutes, which is 15 minutes better than I managed after nine months with the Teris, so. I seem to recall it took a few weeks to hit 30 minutes on the last pair of these, and more than a year to go an entire hour-long session, so I think I'm doing pretty good. The split width has definitely been helpful, as is owning a boot punch and knowing what kind of arch supports and other spongery I need. Jackson lowered the arches on their stock boots, damn it, but I think I've managed the right combination of things to get the height I need. (I cut up a Dr. Scholls insole and stuck a layer over these, which are basically the best thing ever and I have them in most of my shoes now.)

At some point before July I might even get back to taking lessons!

I think I'm pretty well screwed for the competition in early August, though. Between work and breaking these in, I don't see me doing a lesson before the end of the month, and I don't want to spend a $100 entry fee to just do my program from last year, which is rusty anyway because I haven't thought about it since last summer. Feh. Next year, I'm doing two programs.

That's really about it for me right now.

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And another thing

I'm not allowed to exercise until the test results come back (and I would assume if it is the tumor I can't exercise until it's gone), so no skating until at least Wednesday. :(

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I go to the doctor for high blood pressure, and she says, "You probably have a tumor."

Specifically, she thinks I have a pheochromocytoma, which is a noncancerous adrenal gland tumor that resets your adrenaline and other stress chemical levels to "getting chased by a tiger" at all times. That would explain the new-onset high blood pressure and my heart rate hanging out between 95-110 over the last week (and probably the last couple of months). It typically presents in young women and causes low potassium, which I also have.

She's running bloodwork to test for it now; if that's indicative of adrenal malfunction, then we'll do imaging to find out where the thing is. (Sometimes they detatch and wander away from the adrenal glands.) Then there will in all likelihood be surgery to take it out. Presumably it will be soon, because if you type this into Google you get things like "fatal if left untreated," which are not reassuring.

Two in a million people get this. I am literally one in 500,000. (My doctor, after closing the door to my exam room: "I'm excited about it! Well, not for her, but...")

I would like to be normal and boring for a while, please.

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Skating of late

A skating update, because I've been consumed with real estate and haven't done one in a while:

I still can't go more than 10 minutes without my feet going numb in the new skates. It's been about three weeks. I finally went back to taking lessons, but we have to take a break halfway through so I can take off my skates and rub some blood back into my feet. BF is going to try stretching the ball and toeboxes this weekend to see if that helps. If not, I think I may have to give up on these boots.

That aside, I've been making progress. I almost have my nascent flying sit spin back. For the first time since I started learning the jump more than two years ago, I can feel myself actually committing to being on my right side for loop jumps, although I still can't actually get all the way around and land on one foot.

And I did an outside spread eagle yesterday for the first time ever! Pretty much everyone learns inside spread eagles early on because that's what you naturally wind up doing when you fail at a mohawk in Learn to Skate, but outside ones are much harder and have long been a source of terror for me, because you can't save yourself if you overbalance like you can on an inside one. (For visuals, see Brian Boitano; first is an outside, then he switches to inside.) Mine does not look like Brian's. Mine is more of a squat that's just barely on an outside edge, but I have aspirations.

P also taught me that you can enter a salchow from an inside spread eagle! That had never occurred to me, but yeah, the entrance edge is exactly the same. And it's really cool-looking. Two thumbs up.

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Stranger Things

I finally got around to watching--perhaps more like inhaling--Stranger Things this week. I had no idea it was so obviously inspired by Fringe! It's basically Olivia Dunham: The Early Years, with a much eviler Walter and a much creepier Redverse. Who knew. I didn't even mind that the kids were the majority of the main characters. They weren't as annoying as most kids in TV are.

And now I can read the fanfic, which is...hmmm. Well, there's a lot of it, to start with. I haven't been in a big fandom in...uh...the last one may have been SGA, actually, so that's a solid 12 or so years. And much of it strips away the sci-fi that made it interesting and is a lot of "Mike and Eleven go on seventh-grade dates," which was cute the first couple of times but is getting old. Anyone got recs for something with more plotty meat to it?

In other news, my skates are finally back! I get to see how they fit on Monday. Hopefully better than the last time. I also got my new pair of glasses redone, because the prescription wasn't strong enough, and they finally don't give me a headache.

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Cookie Monster

You GUYS, these cookies right here are basically what you making cookie butter out of, with a maple syrup crust. Oh man. So good.

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Program video

My program for this season. Today I got second out of five. :)


Pre-Bronze Freeskate, August 5, 2017 from Skater on Vimeo.



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Would that I could get a $9,000 COLA.

So apparently the cost of living in Nashville rose by $9,000 in the last year.

That is not a typo. There is not an extra zero added on to the end there.

It's been real, transplants, but y'all can go home now.

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Skating update, with videos

Flying sit spin: It actually flies now! There is a recognizable jump rather than what appears to be me having an awkwardly-timed spasm.



Back camel spin: Uhhhhhhh apparently this is now a thing? Kind of? I've been working on it for a week and somehow it's further along than the back scratch spin I've been working on for almost three years. Okay. I'll take it!



Broken leg spin: I adjusted the arms and in the process lost some of the knee bend, but on the plus side, I no longer look like I really have to pee, which is what I was going for. Yay!



Loop jump: BF spent almost an entire lesson on them with me a couple weeks ago and I'm much closer than I've ever been before. I think I'm two-footing the landing as a security blanket rather than because my weight isn't over the right side.

Back inside three turns: I can finally do these! Mostly! I can do the Silver moves pattern (forward outside three to back inside three) without any touch downs when the back turn is on the right foot. I can do the turn and get back to the axis without too much wobbling. The left back turn is...going to require work.

Other footwork: I have a consistent double twizzle on the left back inside edge, although the second one goes up to the toe. It's to the point where I'm trying pretty arms with it, anyway. Brackets, counters, and rockers are all pretty much where they were, maybe a bit cleaner. P taught me this thigh-burner of a rocker exercise that goes back outside (or inside) rocker, power pull, forward inside (or outside) rocker, power pull, repeat, all on one leg. I can do the rockers on one foot but have to put the free foot down to do the power pull part, probably because I still suck at checking exits to turns. I experimented with adding some extra footwork to my program, because I'm finishing a bit early now, but I think I need P to tell me what is actually accomplishable.

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