Tag: work

This week in goals

I’m going on record with a list of things I’d like to accomplish this week. We’ll see what happens.

  1. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
  2. Try making stickers with my Cricut
  3. Write and schedule at least 3 blog posts
  4. Finish my Instagram presentation for work
  5. Do some digi scrapping
  6. Avoid compulsive news consumption
  7. Don’t beat myself up for not getting it all done

One thing is guaranteed. I will compulsively create designs with the Assembly app.

Abstract vector art

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Not quite right and doodling

I came down with a cold, or something that resembled a cold, a few weeks ago. I took a Monday off and then worked the rest of the week. I did the same the next week because I thought I was better. I should have taken a few consecutive days off because it seems that sitting at a computer can wear a person out.

When I sat at my desk for too long I got a pretty severe tingling sensation on one side of my body. This is an MS symptom that I’m more likely to experience when I’m sick or when I haven’t had enough sleep. When I get the tingling it’s usually mild. These extreme sensations make me worry that the disease is getting worse. It probably isn’t, but it’s easy to jump to negative conclusions.

I think the tingle is related to my tight neck and shoulder muscles. I need to look into a way to tame the tension in those areas.

My blogging has suffered because I’ve been too tired to sit at the laptop. I get upset with myself for not blogging regularly. I haven’t had the energy for digital scrapbooking either.

I’m mad at my body for betraying me, but that’s fodder for another post.

I managed to do some doodling while lounging on the couch this weekend. This was drawn by hand with a Micron pen and then scanned and processed with Art Card for iPhone.

 

Doodle digitized

Now

Pocket watches hanging on chains
You can't get ahead
It's not possible
Not in any lasting tangible sense
You may think you're ahead
But you've only caught up
Because the thing that is finished
Must be replaced
With something fresh and new
Sit back and rest for a moment
You have to rest
Breathe for a minute or two
It's what you must do
But realize that time is always marching forward
You are losing ground
Now
Now
And now

Felt like Monday

I’m not meant to get up early. You see, I’m not a good sleeper. I can get in bed and fall asleep without too much trouble, but I often wake up much too early. Sometimes I can go back to sleep, other times, not so much.

This year I have work meetings on Mondays and Tuesdays. One at 9 am, the other at 10. Are they trying to kill me? I think. that they are.

I was annoyed at the world today. The sky was gray. The air was cold. The pile of snow in my parking space made getting out of the car a little dangerous.

In the afternoon the document I was working on didn’t save properly, so I had to redo a half-hour’s worth of work. After I clocked out for the day I realized I forgot to do something. Oh well, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Illustration of purple flower
Purple flower

I want to spend the day making things with the Assembley app.

Nested round shapes
Nested shapes

I shouldn’t have looked at Twitter yesterday. I should’t have looked again today.

I want chocolate, but I’m limiting my sugar intake to around 25 grams a day. Sometimes eating popcorn eases my craving for sweets. I might be too lazy to make popcorn.

The world’s a mess and I’m in a mood.

Cloudy skies are expected tomorrow.

Illustration of cloud and rain
Cloudy and raining

Multiple Sclerosis researchers aren’t phoning it in

This is recent Science Node article of mine. I’m still learning to be okay with an editor’s tweaks. My style is probably a little drier than his.
Duke researchers use smartphones to paint a clearer picture of multiple sclerosis.
Speed read

Multiple sclerosis is a multifaceted neurological disorder that can perplex scientists. To fill in the gaps in their knowledge, researchers are now looking to mobile phone technology.

In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a condition that affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide, the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system, interrupting and distorting impulses traveling between the brain and the body.

MS symptoms can include fatigue, numbness and tingling, weakness, walking difficulties, bladder and bowel problems, and cognitive changes. Some less common symptoms are speech problems, tremors, breathing problems, headache, and seizures.

MS symptoms vary and can be triggered by things like stress or temperature extremes. Because every person who has MS experiences it differently, it is difficult for scientists to grasp.

That’s one of the reasons  F. Lee Hartsell and researchers at Duke University launched MS Mosaic, an iPhone app to gather data from MS patients.

MS Mosaic will help researchers better understand how patients live with MS from day to day.

Got smartphone?

Designed by Thread Research, MS Mosaic employs surveys and tasks to record and track MS symptoms.

To get involved, participants download the app, sign up for an MS Mosaic account, and start answering health questions. Each day, the app will prompt users to rate the severity of 19 symptoms on a scale of zero to five.

The app also asks if the user feels he or she is having a relapse. A relapse, also known as a flare-up or exacerbation, is marked by the occurrence of new symptoms or a worsening of existing symptoms.

On some days, MS Mosaic assigns physical tasks to complete. One activity has participants walk 25 steps forward and back with the phone attached to the body to test the functionality of the walk.

Another task is tapping the iPhone screen repeatedly to test fatigability, motor speed, and coordination.

There is a test that involves adding a series of numbers, another that requires the person to move a virtual peg across the phone screen, and a game that tests short-term memory.

Smart machine?

Hartsell says the app will soon incorporate artificial intelligence to improve predictive ability. “AI will prove invaluable,” he says. “Very soon we hope to use machine learning to identify patterns in our data that can help explain the seemingly random symptom fluctuations people with MS experience.”

Hartsell believes that AI will help the researchers identify related symptoms, and generate algorithms that can predict symptom changes. He hopes that as the data becomes larger, the app will be able to deliver personalized insights to users.

Researchers also hope that insights gained from the Mosaic study will help customize symptom management and one day influence all MS care. One of the study’s goals is to understand why some people with MS experience different symptoms than others, and why symptoms can vary over time.

The study is open to anyone 18 or older (with or without MS) who lives in the US and is comfortable reading English. There are currently around 300 people enrolled, and enrollment is increasing each week, Hartsell says.

Hartsell is seeking to increase participation in this study and also to recruit members to the Mosaic research team. The MS Mosaic Artisans Project aims to assemble the skills of MS patients, care partners, researchers, and clinicians to share information in the areas of platform development, data science, disease education, and care improvement.

If you would like to help or learn more about this study and find resources about Multiple Sclerosis, visit the MS Mosaic web site.

Back to work

Today is the official New Year’s holiday. Tomorrow, I go back to work. I don’t wanna! The work week won’t even be semi-normal. I take my car for an alignment tomorrow and then take my dad to an appointment on Wednesday. I also have to go to Comcast and swap Dad’s malfunctioning router for a new one. The good thing is that I’ve got some fish and vegetables pre-cooked, and I’m well stocked on veggies for a while.

Last month, Riley destroyed my Wii Fit disc, so I ordered another one.

riley-asleep
An innocent sleeping Riley.

I also bought Zumba Fitness World Party. I haven’t tried it yet. Maybe I’ll write a review after I’ve given it a spin. It’s important that I get two days of strength training into each week. I have everything I need to accomplish this goal, but for some reason, I’m not good at seeing it through. I should make sure to do it on Mondays. That way, I’ll be half-way to accomplishing the goal. I may have to set a weekly schedule. Ideally, I would have my workouts set up for a whole month. The Evernote Moleskine notebook I ordered might help me to get moving on a workout schedule. We’ll soon see.

I forgot to post this picture of a tree ornament at my neurologist’s office. Is that Gandalf the White?

gandalf
Must be Gandalf!

Cubicle Fun

There was a brief time when I would create monthly exhibits on my cubicle walls. It got to be too much trouble.

Here’s a sample.

I learned about the Highland Wildcat from M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth novels.
In the new building we have an open plan workspace so there’s no more cube decorating for me. That’s okay. I felt quite lonely when I was enclosed in that cube. I think that most of my co-workers dislike the open plan. Studies show that it hinders productivity. For me, it’s an energy booster.

Work work and food

I worked a fair amount of hours last week. I finished a blog post about personal digital archiving and started one on digital painting. I go to work with the mindset that I am a writer. Then I sit down and write. The topics I write about require some research, and I feel a little guilty when I’m searching the Web and not writing, but that’s part of the process.

This week, I want to finish the latest blog post. I also want to learn something that I can make a video tutorial about.   Those are my work goals.

In my personal life, I want to write more in my real paper notebook. I think this will help to alleviate my depression and anxiety. I recently read yet another article about how journaling is a good way to deal with depression. I’ve got stuff I need to say that I don’t want to share with the world.

Another personal goal is about food. I have to improve my diet. I eat vegetables most days, but I’m not getting anywhere near the recommended five per day. I think that I have to eat well so that MS doesn’t get the better of me. There are recipes I want to try, but the idea of going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients stops me. I considered trying Blue Apron, but it’s too expensive for my budget. What I think I can do is work with the food I have at home. That seems reasonable.

Illustration-Carrot, Broccoli, Red Pepper

 

A Bit of Success

Yesterday evening I sat down and listed a few of my husband’s basketball cards on eBay. I felt so productive! It’s a lot of work. I have to take good pictures of the front and back of each card and crop them in Photoshop. I name the image files and add them to an online collection on Omeka.net as I’m listing them on eBay. The majority of the cards we have don’t go for that much money, but we have sold a couple of expensive ones. Maybe someday we can get a bit of income from sports cards. My Amazon book sales are extremely slow. I would do better it I paid the professional seller fee. To make that worth it I would need a much larger inventory. I don’t have the time or energy to be a real bookseller at the moment.

I’ve wanted to write more blog posts for work. I finished one last week and started another today. My goal is to start acting like a writer. That means I will write more.

In anxiety news, I’ve been listening to an audiobook about dealing with anxiety. It’s called Self-Coaching, Completely Revised and Updated Second Edition: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression. I just reached the section where he starts talking about the actual self-coaching exercises. I decided to switch to listening to The Girl on the Train for a while. I think I’m going to like it. My anxiety is still with me, but it comes and goes. I’m able to eat, so things have improved.

The two canvases I’m working on look like this now.

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And my interest in making jewelry is coming back.

So basically I’m realy uneasy about the world and my place in it, but I have all of these things that I’m still interested in. Seems like a paradox, but I’m not sure if it is.

Good is Okay

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stairway/

They built a stairway on that hill to make it easier for you to ascend and descend. Why are you trudging up in the grass and the dirt? Do you enjoy struggling? Are you trying to prove to everyone that you’re tough?

I ask these questions because I care about you.

I think you’re afraid that if something is too easy it means you didn’t work hard enough to make it happen. The fact is, you’ve got some natural talent in your DNA. There are some things that you were just born to do. You’ll breeze through a lot of projects and end up with something that’s good, or maybe a little above average.

Good is okay most of the time. Everything you create doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. . What you’ve got to do is find something that matters and give it your all.  Save your energy for this by taking the stairs or the elevator for the everyday stuff

.