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I’m turning into a zombie…

August 2, 2011

So, I’m having several medical problems, so I thought I’d start with the most entertaining.  I’ve been having problems with my wrists at night, and I’ve thought it’s carpal tunnel.  I’ve been wearing wrist braces at night, and sometimes they work, but sometimes my hands would still fall asleep.  So, I went back to the doctor, and we discussed my problems, and he thinks it’s a nerve in my elbows that are inflamed, not my wrists.  So, now I have new braces that prevent me from bending my elbows at night (and no wrist braces).  After last night, they seem to work.  However, since I sleep on my side, I’d imagine that if you took a picture of me and put in a word bubble that said “braaaiiinss” I’d look a lot like a zombie.

So, I’ve been having pain in my shoulder for several years, which I’ve mostly been ignoring.  A few months ago I went to an orthopedic surgeon for tendonitis, and while I was there I asked about my shoulder.  Went back a few times, and ended up getting a cortisone shot in my shoulder.  The pain went away for a few months, but then came back with a vengance after the last wedding I shot.  As per our agreement for if the pain came back, I had an MRI done of my shoulder.  Apparently I have arthritis in the joint where my collar bone meets my shoulder.

My doctor didn’t seem to concerned about the fact that I have arthritis for no reason.  He said it’s common for people who are much older or who have had a sports injury, but doesn’t know why I’m affected.  I did ask if it might be rheumatoid arthritis (I’m a very strange hypochondriac that always jumps to the worst conclusion but hates going to the doctor – did serve me well when I had appendicitis though), but he didn’t think that was it since it usually starts in the hands.  I’m a little freaked out though because it just seems odd.  And the more I think about it, the more I wonder.  I do get occasional pains in my knees and hips, but they will hurt for a day, and then they are fine.  And at some point in the past year or two I remember my fingers hurting really badly (took me several attempts to make a fist), and I did actually think to myself “I wonder if it’s arthritis”.  But, it went away a few hours later, and I never thought about it again.

Now I can’t figure out if I’m giving stupid things meaning because I’m freaking out, or if I just suck at listening to my body because I hate doctors and taking medication.  Not sure what to do right now.


My photography

July 15, 2011

Ok, haven’t had much to talk about lately because I’ve been home resting my shoulder and taking lots of pain medications.  So, I’ll share what I’ve been up to besides sitting on my butt all day.  I’ve been trying to improve my photography skills, but I still have long way to go.  I still make some stupid mistakes when shooting weddings, so it’s nice when Kasey is there to point out my stupidity 🙂  I guess I’m just not used to passing around cameras with someone else, who will change settings and lenses, and then they get passed back.  I need to remember to check basic settings every time I pick up a camera.

As for shooting on my own, I’ve been using the crutch of shooting in aperture priority mode, and letting the camera figure out exposure.  I finally got around to buying a converter for my old nikkor glass to use on my canon body.  That means I need to learn to shoot in full manual – again.  Back when I was shooting with my mom’s old nikomat I had to shoot manual since that’s all that existed.  My pictures were never wonderful, but now I have instant feedback, which makes learning so much easier.  Bought some books, but I’m mostly learning by trial and error, and just getting my meter to read in the middle.

That’s all fine and good for exposure, but that’s only one part of photography.  A photo can be technically perfect (yeah, mine are nowhere near there yet), but it can still be a lackluster photo.  So, I’ve also been working on angles, subject matter, and composition.  One of the ways that I’ve done that is follow a suggestion of a friend, and I joined an online photography forum (  This has been a great influence on my photography.  There are all sorts of links to helpful websites, people with years and years of experience, examples of work, people selling used photography gear.  It’s a pretty great place.

One of the most helpful parts of the forum has been when I post pictures that I have taken and ask for critique on them.  I get lots of advice on what I did right, what I did wrong, and how I could improve.  And, it is horribly fun.  There are monthly meetups, and we also have been doing a fair number of photowalks lately.  (Not sure how common they were in the past, but we’ve been doing them almost monthly since I’ve joined.)

Anyone interested in photography should check it out.  And, if you’re interested in winning $1000 gift card to B&H Photo, check out this link.  You need a twitter account, but you don’t have to be a member of Pixtus (although you do make more money if you are a member – $1100).

So much pain

July 10, 2011

So a few months ago I’d made a couple of trips to an orthopedic surgeon for a couple of different problems.  I had tendonitis in might right thumb from pipetting too much at work, and my left shoulder hurt for some unknown reason.  I ended up getting cortisone shots in both places with a few caveats.  I could get one more cortisone shot in my hand, but after that, it would lead to surgery.  One suggestion was that I get a job outside of the lab, or change the finger that I pipet with – knowing that it could just cause problems in that finger as well.  As for the shoulder, I was told that the pain I was having is common for people that have had injuries to their shoulders, but I did not.  I was told if the pain came back, I would need an MRI.

I recently have been doing a ton of pipetting work, and my thumb is killing me again.  I am back in my brace, and have stopped using my thumb to pipet again, but it’s still getting worse.  My shoulder has been fairly good but I’d have a little bit of aching, and then it would be fine for a few weeks, and then it would ache again.  I was debating whether or not it was worth going through another MRI, or if I could just deal with occassional aches.

We had a wedding yesterday, and by the end of the evening, my shoulder was killing me.  I am carrying around a lot of equipment, but it isn’t that heavy really, and the large bag of equipment I’d carry on my right shoulder.  Basically, there wasn’t anything hugely strenuous that I was doing with my left shoulder.  I support most of the camera weight in my left hand, so I think that was the biggest problem.  But, that shouldn’t be enough to cause as much pain as I was in.  I couldn’t lift my arm up to shoulder level last night, and luckily I had some vicodin left over from my carpal tunnel surgery.  This morning, I woke up from the pain, and it was so much worse than last night.  That shouldn’t happen from just carrying a camera.  There is definitely something wrong with my shoulder.

Monday morning, I’m call my surgeon!!


July 8, 2011

It’s Friday, and that’s exciting because the week is over.  Sad that it’s such a relief; I only worked three days these week.  I made it to the gym this morning, and did the same thing I did yesterday.  Still died after five minutes of rowing, but at least I managed to burn 12 extra calories in those five minutes 🙂

Also excited that someone on the photo forum ( posted a scavenger hunt for this month.  I designed one back in May, and I was the only one that participated.  😦  Since I didn’t design this one, I’m hoping there will be at least two of us.  As for this weekend, I don’t have much planned.  I need to pick out some prints for an art sale/fundraiser that my school is having and buy some frames for them.  I’m figuring whatever I don’t sell, I can hang in my apartment.  Then I’ll actually have something on the walls.  I also have a long day tomorrow; we have a wedding out in Beaumont.  Weddings may be tiring, but they are a lot of fun!  Definitely not going to work out in the morning, I need to save my energy.  Speaking of, I need to get to bed!

In the red

July 7, 2011

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever be here again, but I find myself with -$21.77 in my bank account.  This is odd, since I don’t have overdraft protection, but considering it’s my rent check that put me over, I’m glad it cleared.  I get paid tomorrow, so it isn’t horrible, but I should have plenty of money.  I have a budget, but I have not been sticking to it.  What a surprise – not like I’ve been doing anything well with any other of my improvements in progress.

I’ve recently added some new activities to my monthly routine – and I enjoy them because they are fun.  However, I haven’t rebudgeted for them, and I haven’t been strict on making it sacrifices to keep doing them.  Every Monday I’m doing dinner before bell practice, Every Tuesday I’m doing trivia at the Saucer, three times a month I’m going to Pixtus meetups (and most of them are 30 or so miles away).  These often involve eating and/or drinking alcohol (also not helping with the caloric intake), and I’ve been having some 8×10 printed up to bring in for critique.  Add in random times of me not wanting to cook, and me not making lunches with the wonderful excuse of “I’m dog sitting”.  Yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense.

Last month, I spent over twice what I had budgeted for going out to eat.  That’s ridiculous.  No wonder I overdrafted.  It’s time to tighten the belt.  I skipped out on the Saucer this week, but I ended up buying breakfast this morning because I didn’t have portable food, and I went to the gym this morning – meaning I had breakfast at work.  Need to make a trip to the store tonight – which means it’s going on the credit card.  I also bought pity pizza Monday night – not pretty for my wallet or my butt.  I need to decide what’s important, and what isn’t.

On a more positive note, I did go to the gym this morning.  Spent 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning, but had to limit my speed to keep my heart rate under 190.  Not that I was wanting to run constantly, but I kept having to slow down towards the end.  I was on an elliptical with stationary arm bars, so no arms were involved.  Somehow, in the middle of my workout, I felt a twinge in my back between my shoulder blades.  No idea how I did that, but I had already decided that I wanted to try the rowing machine too.  So, being the smart one, I decided to try the rowing machine, but taking it easy.  I wanted to do 10 minutes – yeah, I lasted five.  I’d like to say it’s because my back hurt, but I was just tired.  Man I’m out of shape.

Emotional eating

July 5, 2011

Well, it’s been forever since I’ve posted, and pretty much just as long since I worked out.  Got in a few days here and there, then things got crazy at work, and I used that as a nice excuse.  Looking back, the blog hasn’t been very uplifting lately, and sadly this post is going to start out just as bad.

I’ve been in a really bad mood since yesterday, and unfortunately I let it affect my eating habits.  I have sat on my couch like a bump on a log for two days.  I need to clean my house and I have all sorts of chores to do, but I haven’t felt like doing any of them.  I should be emotional eating, but it’s hard.  I’m trying to wean myself off my medication again, so I need to be able to work through my problems on my own.

Friday was a new moon, which is a time for new beginnings.  I spent the night thinking of all I needed to do to improve my life, what I wanted to change about myself.  And I asked for help.  Now, I’m off to a rough start.  But, that means I just need to work harder at my new start.  I need resolve, and man do I need to get to the gym.  All of my improvements have been lost, well, most of them.  The last time I did go to the gym, my heart rate was astronomically high again, and I’ve lost most of my muscle mass.  Pants are getting tight, and the scales are tipping in at 240lbs again.

I’ve also decided to expand the scope of my blog a bit – mostly for the sake of my aunt.  I wanted to include some more of my basic life.  So, what’s been going on in the past couple of months?  Work still sucks, but I’m looking and applying for new jobs.  Apartment still sucks, but I’ll probably be here until I pay off student loans and get a better paying job.  Been hanging out with some local photographers more – going to get togethers and on photowalks.  Hanging out with friends more, baby sitting (well once, but everything went fine), dog sitting, and some of the same old.

Unfortunately, these new activities mean that I’ve been spending more money.  It’s time to tighten the belt and decide what is more important to me in my life.  First to go – training sessions.  Considering I was gifted ninety billion of them, doesn’t really make sense for me to be paying for more on my own.  And that’s a huge chunk of cash every month.  Everything else, I need just make sure fits in my budget.  Of course, now I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth it to justify spending that newly freed up money on food or drinks when going out with friends, or if I should be making more extra payments on my student loans.

Of course, hanging out with other photographers more means lots more photo ops.

Feeling the B’s

March 25, 2011

I was reminded by my sister in law that I haven’t been posting lately, and that’s mostly because I’ve been feeling the B’s lately: blue, blob, bogged down, bummed, broken.  Yep, I’ve been mopey, and a large part of it probably has been because I haven’t been working out (apparently I miss those endorphins).  I have been having a relapse of mono, which means that I’m tired all the time.

I’ve been trading sleeping in for getting up for spin class.  For a while I was still making it in twice a week for training, but they’ve had some problems transferring my mom’s training sessions to me.  Apparently someone at corporate has to push a button, and it’s taken three weeks so far for that to happen.  (I’m beginning to lose faith in LA Fitness, let’s get it together people!)

But, even being tired doesn’t give me the excuse of eating like crap.  I’ve been giving in to every craving that I’ve had lately: chips and guacamole, margaritas, bread, margarine, chocolate, and all sorts of other crap.  I haven’t gain a ton of weight, only about three pounds or so.  However, I’ve probably also started to lose muscle too, so I have probably gained a fair amount of fat.

I haven’t lost weight in probably about three months or so (perhaps I should go back and read my blog to find out exactly when), and that’s not because I’ve reached a plateau in my fitness plan.  I have given up recently.  I haven’t been trying hard.  I’ve been lazy.  Think of all the weight I could have lost in the past three months.  Instead I’ve been stagnating.

I’m starting to feel less tired, and honestly, working out will probably help with my energy levels as long as the mono actually is going away (and I could always go to bed before 10pm too).  I need to shape up, but I’m finding motivation hard.  Now I’m just whining.  I just need to get up off my butt and do it!