Category Archives: health

Happy things

I didn’t blog yesterday because my antibiotics are making me tired. I slept a good portion of the day, but this morning my face doesn’t hurt despite me not taking Sudafed since 13 hours ago! (And I have the short-acting stuff, which can be taken every 4 hours.) There’s definitely still some sinus pressure, but I no longer feel like there’s an icepick in my right eye. Definitely improvement.

Yesterday morning I registered for classes at the local community college. I’ve always wanted to learn calculus, and have never gotten the chance. Also, it’s on my bucket list to get a degree in statistics. (Preferably a PhD, but I’ll start with a bachelor’s in it to see if I want to commit to a doctoral program.) Getting into the local university’s stats program requires completion of Calc 3. I never got higher than College Algebra when I was getting my B.A. in psychology, so I’m going back to learn calculus. If I hate it, that’s okay. I can find other things to study. But you never know until you try, right?

So this fall I’m taking Trig and Pre-Calc, so I can take Calc 1 next spring. (I’m planning to take Chemistry then, too, simply because I’m interested in it and never got to take it in high school. When I take Calc 2 I want to take Physics as well, for the same reason.) I’m doing both classes in person, because I’m good at math but not so much at arithmetic. When a real person grades my work I tend to get good marks, because I can show my work and they can see I know the material. If a computer is grading me, all it cares about is my final answer. It’s the difference between getting an A and a C, for me. I think I have mild dyscalculia, actually…

If I get a job between now and August, I can of course put off classes for a bit, or take just one at a time after business hours (once I get used to being employed). But for now, I’m signed up for Tues/Thurs morning classes. I researched the professors and chose carefully. Hopefully that will help. I get disabled student status at school and get help on note-taking, etc., but some professors are more sympathetic than others.

Otherwise, yesterday was pretty quiet. Lots of resting, some cheesecake… I didn’t play my cello because I was honestly unsure if I could lift my instrument. That’s how tired I was all day. I’m going to take it easy today, too, although I want there to be cello. Practicing is rewarding and I don’t want to skip it.

I have so, so many things I want to be working on lately. I’m enjoying cello. I have knitting, weaving, and spinning projects in progress. I’m in a Coursera class (Data Science with Python), and want to score some points on HackerRank in JavaScript. I have a web site I want to build with Python/Django, and a Discord bot I wrote in JS that I need to repair. I have a handful of fanfics I want to finish. Oh, and I’m learning a new language. It’s not that I tend to start stuff and never finish it. I’m pretty good at completing projects. The problem is that I’ve got too many of them at the moment, and they’re all fun.

I need to prioritize them, I think. Hm. Spinning commission first — I’m almost done with it, and that makes money. Cello doesn’t take long every day, nor does half an hour of language study. And I’ll only work on one programming thing at a time, starting with fixing that Discord bot (shouldn’t take too long, and a friend is waiting on it). Okay, yeah. That’s enough per day, and if I get inspired to work on a fanfic I’ll add that in. I fell better having a plan. I can’t set a schedule for myself — those never work out for me — but I can limit how much I’m doing at one time.

I have another blog post to write, then I’ll have breakfast, and then get to work…

Sinus infection, socializing, cello

Titling blog posts can be freaking hard. Sorry.

Last night I was up until almost 3:00, and woke up at 6:30 when a cat begged me for breakfast. I took my early-morning pills and tried to go back to sleep. Failed, but when I rolled over in bed the right side of my face started hurting like hell. I called the doctor’s office at 9:30, got a Zoom appointment for 11:00, and it turns out I have a sinus infection. Doc recommended Mucinex and Sudafed-D on top of the antibiotic she prescribed. After lunch I got everything at the pharmacy. I had to go inside because of the Sudafed, so while I was in there I grabbed some Easter candy. Couldn’t help it.

Doc said I can take 2000mg of Tylenol a day, but only for 2-3 days. So between those and the sinus OTC stuff, I’ve been in much less pain. My face still feels bad pressure, but it’s not full-on pain. I can’t read books because I still have the wrong glasses, but at least I can do everything else. Which is awesome. I’m glad I called the doctor.

The weather was lovely this afternoon, in the mid-70s, so Mom and I opened up the house. I spun for a while (finally, yay!) while we watched Law & Order reruns. And then it was time for cello practice (after I closed the windows; I didn’t want to hurt the ears of the neighborhood dogs).

I had looked up bow holds last night, and it helped a lot. Bowing felt more natural today, and more comfortable too. And I sounded a lot better. Still terrible, but better. I did the long, broad bows, the etude #1, and worked on the Bach minuet. I listened to the piece on YouTube first, because I play better when I know what I’m supposed to sound like. And then I had an idea. I have a tuning app on my phone. I turned it on and set it on the music stand, and played slowly while trying to match my fingering to the exact pitch. It helped a lot. I haven’t made it through the whole piece yet — bowing hand tired out again — but it was actually sounding like music (if terrible) after a bit. I was actually on pitch thanks to the app, and doing it over and over helped lock in the finger positions.

So much more to do with it, but I’m glad I thought of the app.

And then I did something unusual — I joined a virtual Knit Night over Zoom. It was my old local knitting group. I haven’t been in person for ages, despite being on the invite list, and they were surprised (pleasantly, I hope) I turned up tonight. I only stayed an hour but it was fun. I plan to join them online next week too.

Someone in the meetup told me there’s a well-organized group making masks for the local hospitals, at doctors’ request. I don’t sew but have a sewing machine. I contacted the group to loan them my machine, if they want it. No word yet, but it was just this evening.

More spinning with Law & Order, then 9:30pm dinner, and now it’s nearly bedtime.

I really am feeling better. It’s nice. I’ve been too chatty on Facebook today, probably, but I get verbose when I feel good…

Where to start?

I’m going to talk about things other than COVID-19. Because I think we’re all stressed about that lately.

My biggest stressor at the moment is related, admittedly. My city government decided optical stores are non-essential, and I’m trapped with the wrong glasses prescription for the time being. I had gotten progressive lenses for the first time, and they don’t work for me. I ordered single-vision lenses to replace them… and the store got closed indefinitely. So I’m suffering horrible headaches while I wait for either them to reopen, or for Zenni to send the emergency order I placed as soon as I found out the local store was closed. I don’t even know if the mail will still be coming in two weeks, which is the earliest the Zenni glasses will be here.

Small in the scheme of things, I know, but constant headaches and an inability to read books really suck. Especially when I normally would be devouring books as escapism right now. Eyesight being considered non-essential is ableist as fuck, for the record. Screw you, city government.

Let’s talk about something happy.

My mom retired at the end of August 2019, and since then she’s been relaxing a lot. Which is cool and awesome — she deserves it after 32 years of working for the same employer — but we’re roommates, and she’s home a lot. Which isn’t a problem at all, except that I feel really self-conscious playing my cello around her. Silly of me, I know, but when I’m playing non-musical technique stuff like etudes and scales, I feel I must be driving her crazy. (Cellos are loud, folks; she can hear me even in another room.) So I stopped playing.

Today I was feeling a bit better, thanks to Tylenol (I don’t take it often, because I have enough liver damage already — not from alcohol either), and I’ve been wanting desperately to play my cello since I saw Cello Fury live in February. (They’re my fave cello band. Check them out if you dig original rock compositions.) They were fantastic, and they played “Nightfall” — my fave song by them — and I finally figured out what key it’s in thanks to watching their hands during the performance. And I got to meet them and get their autographs and it was amazing.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to play, and my cello teacher Luna and I are Facebook friends so I know she’s doing lessons over Skype right now. I contacted her and asked if I could start taking them with her again. I had stopped in, uh, August 2016 (ouch) for financial reasons (read: major dental work that I just finally paid off two months ago), but she’s happy to take me back and I’m excited. I told Mom she can just wear headphones while I play!

I asked Luna if there was anything I could work on while I waited for my first lesson (Tuesday the 7th). She recommended a couple of things, so I practiced some tonight. Not too long, my bowing wrist got cranky from disuse, but it was fun and it felt so nice to play again. Everything I did was bowing. Didn’t even get around to fingering. Just bowing open strings with the whole bow, for like 10-15 minutes. One of the things she gave me to practice was Bach’s “Minuet in C” from Suzuki Book One, a piece I’d played back when I was doing lessons before, but my wrist gave up before I got that far.

(I did look up bow holds after, and figured out that I’d misremembered it slightly. Probably explains the angry wrist — my thumb was slightly off so I had the bow tilted weird.)

I want to get back to where I was, playing Irish music. Jigs are awesome. An acquaintance obsessed with Viking stuff and I were talking, and I realized Nordic folk tunes were a thing, and now she’s after me to learn some. I told her to give me a few months. I haven’t played in seven months, and before that I wasn’t all that great anyway!

Let’s see, what else is up… I’ve been writing a good bit of code, in hopes of picking up some programming work. (Anyone need a Python developer?) I wrote a couple of Discord bots in JavaScript before the eye strain got bad, too. (I have a third one I’m beta-testing, but it needs work and my head hurts too much normally.)

I haven’t been knitting/weaving/spinning. Requires working eyes. But I have projects in progress I really want to complete.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I recently got hooked on Ologies, which is mostly science, and Word of Mouth, a weird BBC language show (episodes topics include the words we use for numbers; how brand names are developed; words that aren’t words like humming… it’s strange and wonderful).

That’s about it, really. Lots of laying about in a dark room. But I’m luckier than some, right now. So I’m focusing on that.

Damn. It’s really hard to not talk about COVID, isn’t it?