Listen to your bits…

shopping

I have spent 24 years drawing with my mouse on the computer. For the last several years, I used Apple’s magic mouse which is touch-sensitive and allows you to swipe across it to move the cursor and it has been wonderful — until a few weeks ago when I was doing a whole lot of drawing in Illustrator.

My right index finger (the mouse-finger) started to hurt, a lot. And it got swollen. And then it hurt worse. It is at this point that many people go into denial. I do not.

I treat my body like a used car. If warning lights start flashing on your car, you take it to a mechanic, right? We should all head to the doctor when our bodies send us similar warnings.

It may not be this way in your town, but here plastic surgeons are the hand guys. I visited Dr. Swamy who has been in practice here a long time and is much beloved. I took my mouse and asked if that was the problem. Yes, it was. I asked if rest would make it better enough to be able to use the mouse again. No, it would not. We agreed that I had to find a new way to draw in the computer and I had to also find a more ergonomic mouse.

 

 

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The mouse was easy. I got a Logitech M570. I’ll have to be careful not to overuse any of my fingers but I can do that.

I won’t be using the mouse to draw. I am, instead, viewing this as an opportunity to buy a tool that I have lusted after — a Wacom Cintiq tablet! (Imagine a quilt-y picture instead of a lizard.)

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The Cintiq tablet is actually a very fancy computer monitor that is touch-sensitive and that you can draw on. It’s similar to the iPad Pro, but you hook to to your computer and the Cintiq mirrors whatever is on screen. I’ll be able draw in Illustrator with a special pen. I’ll be able to use the pen in Photoshop as well, and I’m sure there’s more. I suspect that I’ll be able to move the mouse on the screen with my finger, much like you can on your smartphone.

On the advice of a friend (thank you, Amanda) I got the biggest Cintiq. I have gotten used to using a very big monitor and there isn’t any going back from there. Thankfully, this is piece of business equipment that I should have gotten a long time ago. I think it might actually make me more productive while also helping me to preserve my right hand – my sewing hand!

The bigger issue, and the point of this post, is that you need to pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore warnings, take care of your bits early rather than after damage has been done. Because I said so :-).

 

I’m pretty sure I’m fit…

I started wearing a Fitbit in 2014. I wrote about it here, about losing it here, and then about buying a new Fitbit here. I ended up not wearing the Fitbit Charge for very long. I didn’t like the clasp, I didn’t like the way it felt on my arm, but more importantly I found an Apple Watch that fit me like a glove.

Last summer while we were in Hawaii, on our last night, I went into the Apple store in Waikiki and tried on a watch with a stainless steel band.

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It looks big on my arm in this photo but it doesn’t in real life. This is the utility face. There are several ‘pretty’ faces, but I love this watch because of what you see here. I can tell time, see the day and date, temperature, and (best feature ever) I can set a timer by touching the upper left corner.

I use the timer all the time. Take the cookies out of the oven in 10 minutes? Set the timer. Need a reminder to make a call or go to an appointment?  Set the timer. It can both ding and vibrate to tell me my time is up.

Texts show up on the watch. It is easy to send a simple reply. I could probably send a longer reply using Siri, but I usually don’t. When close enough to an iPhone, you can answer or send calls with the watch. I’ve done that twice, when I couldn’t reach my phone and needed to take the call. It felt (and looked) very Dick Tracy-ish.

I have a sentimental reason for loving this watch. It reminds me of my dad, who died 26 years ago. He loved gadgets, and his watches always had this sort of stainless steel band. My dad would have loved this watch!

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Those of you with Fitbits are wondering how the Apple Watch compares when tracking fitness stuff. I started out using a few of the fitness apps, but I don’t use them much (or at all) any more. In this respect, the Fitbit is better. It is easier to use because it is a much simpler machine.

The biggest surprise I’ve had is that I don’t miss the fitness tracking. I wore a Fitbit for more than 2 years. I thought about my steps, checked them often, and was probably too proud of myself when I was very active.

Once I quit looking checking my steps, it was like a switch got flipped. I can tell by the way my body feels that my activity level is the same as it was but I no longer care how many steps I’ve taken or miles I’ve walked. For a competitive step counter, that has been a real surprise to me.

The Apple Watch was too expensive. I’ll have to wear it a long time, but at this point there’s not another watch I’d rather wear.

Shaking hands with a shovel…

Bruce Taylor’s guys put in our drip irrigation system last week. These brown drip hoses are perfect, but don’t look that great laying on top of the ground. 

   
 

The last time we spread mulch was 2 years ago and it has decomposed. It was time to mulch again. 
We’re lucky that there are big mulch piles that we can use but it is real work to get the mulch from those piles to our yard. It requires shoveling mulch into bins and buckets, driving it home, and hefting it into place.  
 

Steve and I both shoveled. He did the heaviest bin-lifting into the pickup. But I did my fair share of lifting and I was thankful for all those Pilates classes :-). 
  

We started at 7:30am and quit at 3:15pm with a 30 minute lunch break. We are fried but the yard looks great!
  

The mulch pile is much diminished…

 

We celebrated with home-made hot fudge sundaes!

Applique and posture…

I usually hand applique for 2 to 2 1/2 hours each night in my chair with my feet up and my light in the correct spot (over my left shoulder because I am right-handed). For the last few weeks I’ve added a few hours of applique in the afternoon and I’ve noticed that my neck is sore. Darn it! I know it’s because I’m holding my (heavy) head in the wrong place instead of keeping it centered over my body. I also know that I’ve gotten posture-lazy in the last year.

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It is really easy to ignore your posture, letting your head drop and shoulders round forward—gravity is working against us. There are, however, easy exercises that we can do to combat this problem. I know because I googled ‘neck and shoulder exercises’ and found this video.

As I watched the video, I was reminded that this is exactly what my physical therapist recommended when I was first diagnosed with bone density issues. Doing this for 40 seconds, 6 times a day, is not that hard!

However, the warning at the front of the video is true—only do these if your body is up for it. If you are unsure, consult your physician. FYI: I’m not necessarily a fan of chiropractic bending and popping, so please don’t consider this an endorsement of that.

PS: If you are like me, you thought it was funny when he said “if you have trouble finding a corner…”. How hard could that be? And then I had trouble finding a corner in my own house :-).

Busy Sunday…

First, I want to thank Celia for her excellent guest posts! We’ve all enjoyed knowing more about life in NYC, and I have really enjoyed her photos. She and Jeff will be crazy busy all through the school year but perhaps Celia will have time to check back in with us over the winter :-). 

Now, about our busy Sunday… Last night Steve and I were sitting by the pool, looking at the fence and we decided that we should water seal it. I remembered doing this job with a sprayer and that it wasn’t so bad so we decided that we would get up and do it today. And we thought we could do Mom’s fence too. Silly us. 

I didn’t take a before photo but the wood was gray, like our neighbor’s fence:

  
At 7:45 AM Steve went to Lowe’s for a big can of Thompsons water seal (TWS). He had checked our pump sprayer and it worked, but sadly as it turned out, not with the TWS. Ours sprayed a jet, not a mist. Back to Lowe’s once, and then again. 

  
We tried both of these to no avail. Deep sighs all round. We couldn’t use a roller on the outside of our fence because it’s not flat. Instead I used a wide brush. 

As I worked, memories started coming back to me. The last time we did this the same thing happened! How could I have forgotten? Note to self: forget the sprayer. 

  
It got hot. I put on sunscreen and a hat and powered on. Even behind the bushes. 

  
Steve worked on the inside of the fence with a roller and brush. I joined him and we were making good progress. Clouds rolled in, it got cooler! Yay! 

And then it started to look like rain. At any other time we would have cheered. More sighs. We ran out of TWS and Steve went Back to Lowe’s. 

It started to sprinkle, then rain but we were so close to finishing and the rain wasn’t hitting the fence so we finished what we could and tidied up. 

Steve cleaned out the sprayers and brushes.  (I love that man.)

  
The sun came out and after a couple of hours it was dry enough for Steve to finish the very top of the fence. 

  

We used clear TWS but it still changes the color of the wood. It’s brown again!

  
If we’re lucky, we won’t have to do this again for 2-3 years. It’s worth the effort because it lengthens the life of the fence, but it is not a fun job. 

Moms fence awaits. It is flat on one side and can be rolled so it’s faster but we’re going to wait until it’s cooler. 

PS: We celebrated with ice cream at Braum’s! 

So what exactly is a ‘moderate’ hike?

We hiked the Alakai Swamp Trail today. 4 miles in, 4 out. This is a hike that remember being hard. Steve, however, had different memories. Last night, Keith looked online and found that many people had called this a hike of moderate difficulty. I think that it helps a lot to know who is doing this labeling. A mountain climber would call this hike piffle. My mother would call it impossible. We made it, but there was plenty of effort involved.

There are terrific views on this hike if the weather cooperates. It did for us. We saw into the first overlook:

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We took photos and no one fell over the (incredibly steep) dangerous edge.

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Let me add that at this spot I visited with Jim, a man with a very big camera who was photographing an owl that I only saw the end of. This is what I do. I visit with strangers and as a result we have met some interesting folks. Jim, apart from knowing the birds, was also watching an enforcement helicopter that we would have missed. It was going after back country hikers/campers/pot growers. We’ll never know but it was interesting to watch the helicopter land on a tiny ridge of land way below us.

Yesterday we met John Lydgate, the grandson of the Lydgate who started Lydgate Park. He looked interesting so I said hello. Darned if everyone isn’t interesting in one way or another. Anyway, back to today.

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This is a benign stretch of the trail but it lets you know there is rockiness and mud when it’s wet. Luckily we did not encounter mud. Been there, done that, happy to have missed it today. There are stairs, lots of them, going and coming. I was so happy to have on my knee braces and to have started the day with ibuprofen. But, after 4 interesting miles during which I ignored my camera, we got to the end.

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Off in the distance is Hanalei Bay. You have to drive all the way around the island to get to there from where we were today. It’s a rare treat to get to this spot and not have the view blocked by clouds, which explains Steve’s happiness. (Hunt and Karen Tooley, who missed it on our last trip—we wish you had been there with us!)

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Other people came and took a photo of us all. Yay!

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And then we walked back, 4 miles. The stairs were more up than down. I was not loving it but what can you do but just keep going.

I lost my (prescription) sunglasses along the way. Darn. But we made it out and could still move by the time we got to the car. Yay, again! Lunch was late because… well, let me just say that some of us thought the hike was more moderate than it really is.

We stopped to look into Waimea Canyon on the drive back to Lihue. I’ve seen it before so didn’t spend much time looking. Goodness—am I jaded? No, I think I was just tired and hot. I at least took a picture of my 3 companions.

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Believe it or not we stopped for groceries (and non-prescription sunglasses) and got back to the condo where Steve is now cooking dinner. I do so love that man. When I finish this post we get to eat dinner, which is one of the 3 best meals of the day :-). Bye!

From Kiluea/Volcanoes National Park

We hiked today, and my feet are sore. I’m happy to report that after Steve’s MaiTais and dinner, they are less sore :-).

We hiked in and around Volcanoes National Park, and across Kiluea Iki. Luckily we got to the park before the crowds and parking was easy. And it was not terribly hot on the hike across the crater.

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There was some posing for interesting photos…

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The next shot was taken on the walk out and back up the side of the crater. We walked down the far side that you see, across the flat part, and up the other side.

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Steve, Amanda, and Keith were brave, almost looking over into a crevasse…

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There was some stopping to at least attempt to smell the flowers…

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That’s ginger, by the way. An invasive non-native that needs to be eradicated. It is also pretty.

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We hiked Devastation Trail… there’s a story that goes with the name but darned if I can remember it.

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Off in the distance, you can see the steam erupting from Halemaumu.

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Back in the day, Steve and I and students could (and did) hike out to that spot, but not now. It’s too dangerous. This is us, then. That sign is probably still there…

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Here we are today, 11 years later and still going strong :-).

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Tomorrow we are heading to Puna Lu’u, the black sand beach!