Ergonomically Speaking

For nearly 18 months now, my left shoulder has been “ouchy”.  By which I mean, there are stabbity pains in the joint, the muscles down my upper arm have gradually got more and more tense, and putting my arm back to put on a coat or whatever sometimes just didn’t really work.  In summary: ow.

But hooray, I’ve finally worked my way up the waiting list and a couple of weeks ago I saw the physiotherapist at the hospital for my first appt.  And guess what?  My posture is completely borked, and my back is as tight as an exceedingly tight thing, which has caused and/or exacerbated inflammation of my shoulder ligaments(? tendons? I forget).  Then blah blah tl:dr subsequent tensing of the arm muscles and it’s all been a whole catch-22.

So, I’ve got exercises to do, which I think are definitely helping, but the one thing that she said also needed to be sorted out asap was my computer desk ergonomics.  I spend an awful lot of time sitting here, and I have known it needed sorting out: there was a shelf for the monitors which put them too high even if I had my chair up as far as possible, which in its turn meant that my short little legs were dangling in the air.  Plus, I was smooshed up against the wall on my left side and, it turns out, had my mouse too far over to the right!  Whoops.

I have actually been looking for a new desk for a while now, but can’t really afford one just yet.  However, my brother came up with a couple of excellent ideas: Mum is redecorating his old bedroom, complete with new furniture which meant that his old desk was going spare.  So I’ll be getting that once we can get it over here.  And then he asked if I could detach the monitor shelf.  That hadn’t even occurred to me.  Yes, I could.  So I did.  Then I moved the printer (which was on the right of the desk), pulled the desk away from the wall, and put the printer in the resulting space there instead.

New desk set-up

New desk set-up

It’s not the perfect solution: there’s a middle shelf bracket that means I can’t put the monitors right to the back of the main desk, but since the keyboard is on a pull-out tray, I’m still a good distance back.

I’m left with less workspace for now, but only until I get the second desk.  And I’ve been able to put my chair back down to a me-sized height.  This means that I’m finally, for the first time in years (!) sitting properly at my desk.  So much better!

I think it also helps that a bloke I know is doing a course in sports massage at the college, and I get to be one of his guinea pigs.  Doing the physio exercises unsurprisingly stretched things in my back that’d been determinedly tense for ages, so it was fab having that ironed back out again.  I have two more sessions with him to go, too.  :-)

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Welcome to the jungle family!

So, what with not having posted properly for ages again, I haven’t mentioned that there are two new additions to the family!  One actual brand new person, and one fuzzy feline dictator.

First of all (not chronologically, but never mind that), my Favourite Niece, who is also my first and only niece or nephew, arrived in the big wide world last summer.  Here she is aged 2 months:

photo of Ms RA and her Daddy

Favourite Niece aka Ms RA, with her Daddy

It's srs bznz, this growing up thing

It’s srs bznz, this growing up thing

And this is a more recent photo, aged nearly 6 months:

photo of Ms RA wth Mummy

Ms RA invites you to try some of her parsnips

Isn’t she adorable? *proud auntie face*

And secondly we have Mr Merlin McPurrlin, my new feline overlord.  He is about 2 years old, loves his play tunnel and yellow-mouse, prefers to drink from the bath tap… and yeah, has me very well trained!  He came to live with me back in the late spring, after having been left in a box outside the vet’s because he’d been spraying in his previous owner’s home.  The vet gave him the snip, and surprise – no more spraying since then.  He’s a lovely boy, and I’m very glad that I happened to pop into the vet at just the right time!

photo of Mr Merlin McPurrlin

Merlin McPurrlin, Lord of The Remote Control All The Things

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Christmas Time, Mistletoe and Other-Things-of-Varying-Toxicity

That time of year (ie. the end of it) has crept upon me somewhat unawares yet again.  Insert “where has the time gone?!” shock and confusion here.  However, I am sort of, kind of, mostly ready for Christmas.  I think.  I do have some wrapping to do still, but I’m aiming to be all done by dinner time.  If I am, I’ll be well ahead of myself based on the last few years1.  Hooray!  Or in a shout out to Rebecca, yippee!

As for the Mistletoe etc part of the subject line… well, that was mainly me being unable to resist mangling a song lyric.  No mistletoe or mistletoe-related-seasonal-activities for me, I’m afraid.  How v disappointing ;-)  And toxic things… well, many intoxicating things are still right out due to my meds.  But happily some are fine, so I shall be having Crabbies’ with my Christmas dinner tomorrow.  I think it’s going to go rather well.

Anyhow, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year [or insert seasonal festival of choice, etc] one and all! I might try some blogging new year’s resolutions (eg. blog more / at all), but I haven’t decided yet.  I really would like to get back into the swing of writing again.  But til then, TTFN!

1 Started this post earlier today, obviously, and am now pleased to report that I have finished the wrapping:

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On: Manic Depression « squeegee182

An excellent post on what not to say to people with manic depression / bipolar:

On: Manic Depression « squeegee182.

I think I can count myself pretty lucky that it’s been a long time since I’ve had any of these things said to me.  It makes me realise how awesome my friends and family are, and how much their (your!) efforts to understand really help me.  Thank you all! ♥♥♥

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Bipolar Awareness Day 2012

Bipolar UK is the new name for what used to be called MDF: The Manic Depression Fellowship. I think the new version is more succinct, don’t you?  They’re launching a campaign which will hopefully become an annual event:

A public education campaign, Bipolar Awareness Day will be launched on Wednesday 27 June 2012 by Bipolar UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Bipolar Scotland.
– Quote from Bipolar UK

Approximately 1% of people in the UK have bipolar – that’s 1 in every 100 people, remember.  So even if you don’t have a close friend or family member who’s affected, it’s very likely that someone you’re acquainted with – a work colleague, or someone you went to school with – is living with bipolar.

Bipolar UK are planning to focus on one aspect of the condition every year.  This year it’s the fact that most people take around 10 years to receive the correct diagnosis.  That was certainly the case with me.

Anyway, go and check out their shiny new site if you’re interested, and find out some more information about the campaign there.

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Friday Five: 1st June 2012

Flowers!

  1. What is your favourite flower?
    Poppies. And lilies, but they tend to make me sneeze.
  2. Do you buy or send other people flowers for special occasions?
    Yes, usually Mum.
  3. Have you ever picked flowers from your own garden (or wild flowers, if you don’t have a garden) to give to someone else?
    Not for a long time, but I did pick some daffs from the garden once when I lived at the parents’ place.
  4. If flowers could talk (think Alice In Wonderland), which flower would you most like to converse with?
    Triffids! From a safe distance, of course.
  5. Have you ever used edible flowers in cooking, or eaten one?
    I’ve had lavender chocolate, and didn’t really like it, but I’d like to try lavender and honey ice cream, and I think you can eat some kinds of pansy in salads?
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The Good, The Sad, and the Dusty

I know, I know.  It’s been ages.  Again.  I won’t try to update on everything that I’ve been up to, so here are five things: three good, one sad, and one dusty.

The Good.

1.  I have a new blog!  What on earth for, when I hardly ever post in this one, you may ask?  Well, this one has kind of got too unwieldy for me, so I’m taking out the ‘Review’ categories that I never use, and narrowing the focus of this blog to be… well, what I actually do post about, which is knitting and bipolar, for the most part.  So no real changes, except to how I think about it.  Never mind, it helps in my weird brain.  So the new blog, Frozensoul.net, is my review blog.  So far it’s all book reviews, but it’s for whatever I feel like reviewing.  TV, movies, music, podcasts, gigs, events, stuuuuuff.  I’ll probably go back to posting general life stuff and fandom rambling at Dreamwidth / Livejournal, as well.  There may be some crossover there, though.

2.  I’m going to be an auntie!  My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a little girl this summer.  Yes, I am knitting.  Mwahahaha!

3.  The doctor (psychiatrist) reckons I’m well enough to start back to work gradually!  So I’m going to be looking into the Permitted Work scheme, and speaking to the Bridge-builders worker at Together, as she has info about all of that.  So far, the vague plan is to get back to freelance web design part time, and see how that goes.  Fingers crossed!

The Sad.

My lovely fuzzy Xandermog has moved on to hog the big sofa in the sky.  He was really ill last year, and he never completely got back to full health, although he was happy and active and pesty up until he got ill again last month.  It was all very quick, and he went peacefully – lovely Adam the Vet did the necessary while I was stroking Xander.  It’s very strange and quiet to be mogless, even though he wasn’t a noisy cat most of the time.  But I’d had him for over 11 years, so I spose I was used to his presence.  I shall probably find a new furry dictator to arrange my life fairly soon.

The Dusty.

I’ve been spring-cleaning.  Or really, I spose it’s getting on towards summer cleaning by now!  It’s an ongoing project.  My allergies aren’t impressed, but I’m sure they’ll be happier with the final result.  I’ve sorted out a whole load of things that I was hanging on to for no good reason – hairbands and scrunchies when I’ve had my hair short for over a year with no intention of growing it again, and so on.  Old make-up, random bits of paper and fabric… so much clutter!  I seem to have all manner of things that I’ve stashed away “just in case” they might come in handy some mythical day.  But no!  I need to get rid so that I can do the re-organisation of my living room that I’ve been planning for months.  I will get it done!

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It’s my Blogoversary

It’s my blogoversary today – eleven whole years since I started this blog!  It’s gone through some changes in that time, of course.  Webby tech has advanced and all that.  And of course I haven’t been able to blog steadily throughout the whole time.  But the last eleven years have been fairly definitive for me in a lot of ways, so I’m glad I never seriously thought about closing the blog down.

So, happy birthday, blog, and here’s to many more years… but first let’s see if I can re-establish the blogging habit during 2012!

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Time to Talk

I’ve made a pledge on the Time to Change website:

“I pledge to help end mental health prejudice.  I will talk about my own experiences with bipolar disorder and anxiety to help break down stigma.”

The project is not only for people with a mental health condition – it’s for friends, family, professionals, and anyone interested in the issues, really.  So check it out!

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Kick Start

Hello, and Happy New Year!  Look at that, I’ve finally got around to posting here again.  I keep meaning to, but I always feel like I should post a long explanation of where I’ve been.  Well, I will, but first of all I think I need something simple to get me started.  So, have a meme:

webuyanycat.com has valued my cat at £14.33

webuyanycat.com has valued my cat at £14.33.

I think I’ll keep him a while and see if he appreciates – I spent more than 200 times that on him last year, and I need to make some of that back somewhere. ;-)

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Marking a century

My granddad would’ve been 100 years old today.  Happy Birthday Poppa!

That’s the two of us together when I was small.  He died a few years ago now, and for another few years before that wasn’t really ‘himself’ due to Alzheimer’s, but other than that he was busy and active his whole life.  He was a fireman in London during the Blitz.

He then stayed on in the fire service for the rest of his working life.  He’s on the far right in the above cartoon – I think the date on it is 1949, but it could be ’48 or even ’40.  I won’t go into some of the stories he had to tell now, but there were some dramatic ones!  He travelled a lot, too, I think mostly after he’d retired.

So that’s it, really – happy birthday to you, Poppa, and Happy Centenary!

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Busy busy busy

I’ve been running around doing all-sorts this week.  I’ve been at C House a few times, at the library (hi Henry!), at the gym (!!!), to KnitJam, and I’ve had a visitor this weekend – my friend Charlotte.  Whew!  And now I’m starting all over again.

I’m going to the gym with the bro and also sometimes with my upstairs neighbour.  It’s definitely a good plan to have gym buddies.  We’re planning to go to pilates, too.  Should be fun!

In knitting news, I’ve finished my first project for 2011: the Snapdragon Tam for my sister-in-law:

Snapdragon TamSnapdragon Tam

Pattern: Snapdragon Tam by Ysolda Teague [Ravlink]
Yarn: Elle Family Favourites DK in Gold.
Needles: 4mm metal circulars.

I am pleased with it, and it was fun to knit, too :-)

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FOs in 2010, Part 1

As I didn’t post all that much last month in the end, I thought I’d do a round up of last year’s finished projects now, before it gets too out of date.  Some of these I’ve mentioned before, but I wanted to get some better pictures of one or two anyway.  So, in order of finishing:

Continue reading

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In which I have a revelation

It has just occurred to me that when I’ve been working on a post for this blog (on and off, but still) for nearly a week, then that post is probably really too long and it’s time for me to stop and think again.  I mean, really.  So, I’m going to break it up into two or three posts instead, and be much calmer about the whole thing.  It’s only a blog!  And that’s my little bit of life perspective for the week.  You’re welcome.

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Reading Challenges

As I’ve mentioned before, I read a lot.  I always thought there wasn’t much point in me doing a reading challenge like the 52 books in a year one, since I habitually read much more than a book a week anyway.  However, on the Goodreads site, I came across the Seasonal Reading Challenge group, which posts a long list of tasks to be achieved over a season (defined as a three month period).  So I signed up.  Because while I read a lot, I only really read within a couple of genres (Sci fi / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / SFR, and Historical Romance – I like my escapism, see!).  I used to read mystery / spy / thriller novels more when I was younger, but I moved away from them when I got more into reading sci-fi.  Anyway, as I think I also mentioned in a previous post, doing that challenge didn’t widen my reading as much as I’d hoped / planned.  It probably would have done if I didn’t have such a long list of books I already want to read.

So, last year I did the 144-books-in-a-year challenge instead.  And… I failed!!  I only read around 110 books.  Some of them were pretty doorstep-y, but still.  I spose that’s what happens when you only have one pair of hands – I can’t read and knit or spin at the same time, unless I’m listening to an audiobook.  Which I don’t do very often.

This year, the challenge group (this is also on Goodreads, by the way) has changed its parameters so that you can set your own goals to some extent.  I thought I’d be realistic and go for 100 books this time around.  That averages out to 8 1/3 books per month, and I’ve already read nine so far this year.  So that’s a good start.  If I find I’m reading more every month, there are points during the year where you can move your challenge goalposts, so I can increase to 150 if I want.  But I’m not going to particularly try for that, I’ll just see how I do.

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