tips

STEM Scholarship for Women in Tech

Media Ocean, a really great company, is offering a scholarship for women interested in STEM. Details.

Categories: geeky, gratitude, tips, women in computer science | Leave a comment

Pierced Ears Hack

For my entire life having pierced ears has been a dream and a challenge. Every three or four years I would get my ears pierced, it wouldn’t “take” and then I would try again in another three or four years. Same spot, new effort. The issue? My ears heal. Always. Constantly. Like if I leave earrings out for an hour I can’t get them back in an hour later. My ears lobes just don’t want to have holes in them. And while normally I listen to my body I must admit that this battle over wearing earrings was one I was not going to lose. Even if I was allergic to most metals and my ears would swell up like tires if I put the wrong earrings in. I was going to wear earrings.

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Modifying Yoga [modified]

Twenty years ago I started practicing yoga by choosing a routine from the back of Youth, Yoga and Reincarnation (a book I never finished reading but oh the appendix is worth the $1.50 used price). Over time I’ve modified that basic yoga routine to suit me. I took other yoga classes, studied dance in various forms, learned about muscles and stretching and what my body in particular needed. I now have a modest little yoga drill that works for me. When I do the exercises I go at a pace that works for me. (A very  very yin pace.) I try to associate breathing in and out with the up and down of the motion and generally at my weakest will repeat three times or hold for three breaths.

I haven’t done yoga in over two years. Health issues blah blah blah. On Tuesday I asked my vestibular rehabilitation therapist (aka balance therapist) how long she expected I would need to do my balance exercises. She said that ideally I would do them for the rest of my life, once a day. This was momentarily crushing. It felt like she was saying I would never be healthy or “normal” again. Not that I ever was normal, not that any of us really have met normal, not that the normal in my head is the normal that exists on average. Normal bah!

After a day of digesting this news I decided to start doing yoga again. For me it is a gentle daily exercise that I already had a habit around before I started experiencing all the things that led to brain surgery.  I realized I could modify it to include my balance exercises. That way these exercises are just part of what I do, not something I do because I had a hole in my head (SCDS).

My balance exercises are divided into three parts for me: sitting, standing, standing ankle thing.

Sitting: Sitting with good posture, thumbs become the focal point. Hold thumbs about 10″ from face, each one in front of a shoulder. Look thumb to thumb holding on each thumb for three seconds, moving slowly with eyes between thumbs. Move thumbs to about forehead and heart height and look thumb to thumb again. Shift out to shoulder height again, one up, one down and look thumb to thumb. Shift which is high and which is low, look thumb to thumb. Change to holding one thumb in front of face, this time moving head/vision left right, up down, diagonally both ways. Then change to holding head still and moving thumb while following thumb with eyes (left right, up down, diagonally both ways).  Feel very bored but also headachy and tired.

Standing: Standing with good posture, first time through with feet shoulder width apart, second time through with feet together, third time through with feet shoulder width apart and eyes closed (third time is an advanced exercise lately added.) Move head up and down, side to side, top corner to bottom corner (both sides), focusing on what is visible when eyes are open.

Standing Ankle Thing: Standing with feet shoulder width apart lean forward and back only bending at the ankles. Remain very very aware of feet and ankles.

[modification] I plan to do Standing Ankle Thing  before Chest Expander, Standing after The Stork right before Neck Rolls, Sitting will go where Eye Exercises currently is in addition to those mild yoga eye exercises. [end modification]

I’m also generally modifying my yoga again. Definitely no inversions.

These are the pages I created ten years ago with the complete list of modified yoga from which to pick and choose. I’ll need to make a new entry with modified yoga and balance exercises as described above.

Page one yoga
Page two yoga

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Sunlight, Bed, Vestibular Symptoms

Today I asked what vestibular symptoms should clue me in to cancel an appointment with the vestibular rehabilitation therapist. She said, “Things like not wanting to get out of bed.”

It’s February in Oregon and the rains are in full swing. No one wants to get out of bed.

I think I need to ask my husband to turn on the full spectrum light in the morning when he leaves for work an hour before I do. My own little private sunrise.

That said I love the look of rain, the feel of rain, and the way rain brings Spring on. I wouldn’t live any where else.

And I feel a bit of the retraining my brain stabby pain from doing the tests today. People on the support group all talk about needing to do the exercises but no one discusses the stabby dull ache my skull piece is going to fall out I don’t care if it has titanium mesh to hold it in head pain. I suppose I should ask. After all the support groups are half “is it only me?” Maybe another day when I feel like managing responses. Conversations online need tending. Meanwhile ow.

UPDATE: Having the early riser in the house turn on the full spectrum light like a fake sunrise works.

Categories: SCDS, surgery recovery, symptoms, tips | Leave a comment

Snow in Portland OR

It’s snowing in Portland. Has been since Thursday.  Before I begin showing off snow pictures like the rest of the city, here’s a little reminder as to why not to drive in Portland in the snow. You may be able to drive in snow but most of the rest of the city cannot.

The snow started Thursday:
light snow
bear with a little snow

The snow today:
more snow
bear with more snow

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Tips: Fat Free Cream Cheese

Fat free does not taste the same as fatty. Fat free cream cheese in particular has a strange flavor to it. Like a soft bland cheese instead of a slightly sharper cheese. I can only think of it as a sort of anti-umami.

There are times when fat free is necessary. The issue is how to fix that bland flavor, to make the fat free cream cheese taste better. I tried salt, all sorts of spices and flavors that should have added the necessary bite. After lots of experimentation I finally hit on it.

To make fat free cream cheese have the correct level of umami sprinkle dried chives on top.

Categories: food, recipes, tips | 1 Comment

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