Got my first paycheck on Monday! What an amazing experience. I looked at it and said, “Yowza! I could live an entire MONTH on this!” And to think I get another one at the end of the month. And the month after. It’s really weird.
I mean, if you think about it, it’s sort of odd. I put on clothes, I go off to work, I wander around and talk to people, and type a bunch of stuff on the computer, put together a presentation or so. And in exchange, I get a big chunk of money deposited into my bank twice a month. It sounds like an amazing scam or something. Especially after TWO YEARS of being unemployed. It’s bizarre.
So anyway, I seem to have gone instantaneously from starving-graduate-student poor (watching the debts mount up) to “earning” huge sums of money as a successful computer professional. I feel like I have financial whiplash. It’s going to take some time to get used to having money to spend again–being able to go out to dinner, and so on. Mind you, it’ll take me about two years to dig myself out of debt, but at least I no longer have to worry about impending bankruptcy. Thank goodness.
Speaking of money, I just got back from my latest shopping spree…you know, thrift shops may just convert me to *enjoying* shopping. (I usually dread it–I’d rather have my nails pulled out.) Just got back from the Palo Alto Goodwill with more upscale clothes–3 jackets, 3 blouses, 3 pairs of pants–all for under $60. And actually had fun shopping.
I’ve always dreaded clothes shopping because I never know what’s going to look good, and of course you can’t take it back to try it on with everything else in your wardrobe. At $40-80 per blouse, I can’t afford to take chances–if I’m not absolutely certain it’s going to look great, I’m not going to buy it. So I’ve mostly stuck to “traditional” looks, which are pretty boring.
The nice thing about thrift shops, though, is that instead of $80, it’s only $5. In other words, I don’t have to like it $80 worth, I only have to like it $5 worth. Five bucks is cheap, so I’ve been encouraged to experiment outside my usual range, and try new styles. Today I bought a “jacket” (one of those shirt/jacket blends) that was way too long, looked at it, and decided it might look good with a belt. So I bought it, and got a belt. This afternoon I’ll try it on with some of the pants in my closet–if it looks good, great! and if not, it goes back to the thrift shop. I lose a grand total of $8. If even one outfit in 3 winds up “working”, I’ve already saved money over the cheapest possible item I could buy at Macy’s (or anywhere else for that matter). So I can afford to experiment a lot. 🙂
(It also addresses my other problem with clothes shopping, which is what I call “seamstress sticker shock”. I can sew. So I know exactly how much the fabric cost for any particular item would be, and have a hard time convincing myself to pay ten times as much for the same article pre-made–especially since it doesn’t fit. At $8, I couldn’t even buy the fabric for the same cost, so I save money even over making it myself.)
Finally, I went to the orthopedist (I have health insurance again!) and he wrote out a prescription for physical therapy, to help fix my knee. Then I went to my cycling coach, who is also a physical therapist, and he did a full evaluation and workup on my knee. (I hadn’t been able to ride my bike much at all because of knee pain.)
It turns out that, of course, I got muscle atrophy on my left side when I had the knee surgery done a year and three months ago. The medial gluteal muscle (= middle of the butt) is still quite weak–it never strengthened up properly. The m.g.m. is responsible for stabilizing the knee–without it, the knee tends to bow in.
So far, so good. Now, the body tries to keep the knee from bowing in, so without the medial gluteal, the other muscles of the leg try to compensate. The iliotibial band and lateral quads (outside and front outside of the thigh) tighten up, the whatever-it-is-quad that runs diagonally across the thigh tightens up, and the adductor muscles (inner thigh) tighten up–all in an attempt to keep the knee in place.
Now, it turns out that three of those muscles (the medial quad, the diagonal whatever-it-was, and the adductors) cross and attach at the knee in roughly the same place, on the lower right part of the kneecap (this is the left knee). So, when you crank all those muscles tight, presto!…you get tendonitis. Which, in turn, is causing my knee pain.
It’s all very simple. (And yet so complicated.) So, in other words, weakness in my butt is giving me knee problems. That makes total sense, but it’s also pretty wild.
Anyway, my coach (Curtis Cramblett of Revolutions in Fitness) did some PT-style massage on the muscles. Which was excruciatingly painful–essentially they’re going in and breaking all the knots at once, instead of easing into it like a regular massage therapist would–but dang if the knee problem didn’t feel better almost instantly. So I’ve been sent home with stretching and strengthening exercises, and some tools for getting knots out of the rest of my muscles. Curtis thinks there should be no problem with my doing the AIDS Ride in seven months. (Whew!)
Work-wise, I just got a new manager (finally!). Everything is in flux right now, so I have no idea how things will turn out…but having a manager and a definite office makes me feel much better. I even have my phone working! Whee!
Oh, and I am finally contemplating another fiber project…I really need something to relax with after work. I’m experimenting with stuff, but leaning towards another ring shawl, this one with 1 ply of black angora and 1 ply of brown cashmere/silk mixture. I might use red satin angora instead–gorgeous stuff!
But who knows…it’s a beautiful day today, and after my acupuncturist’s appointment I’m going to a taiko (Japanese drumming) festival in Berkeley. Tomorrow I may go help my ex run some logs through his “portable” sawmill. He’s been sawing some redwood logs for the Sierra Club, which is clearing out some inholdings (settlements) on recently acquired land.
Isis is doing better (I think)–at least, there’s less wheezing. She didn’t have a good shed, though, so tomorrow I’ll probably spend several hours putting eyedrops on her eyes, then trying to take off the extra eyecaps.
this weekend is mostly going to be quiet time for me…I’ve spent the last three weeks burning my candle at both ends and in the middle, it’ll be nice to have some time off. I’m also skipping my annual batch of chocolates over Thanksgiving, and taking time off/working on the book instead.