Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mid-sleep Maladies, Massage and Managing Mindsets

The word of the week is palpable.

July 3 – Better Thoughts

I've been thinking lately more about budgeting, and possibilities.

That word is the key: possibility.

In previous entries, I mentioned that there's a 'gap' that I'm trying to overcome in terms of my wages versus debts: $10K more year and I would be slightly more than breaking even in terms of my net take-home income versus monthly expenditures. Yet I've been so focused for the last year on increasing my income that whenever I looked at my debt, I would shut down mentally, seeing it as a burden that gets heavier every day. I couldn't see any way to get out that didn't involve in me essentially throwing up my hands and 'giving up' on repayment.

This last month, I've forced myself to set that aside and think about it again.

If I want to get things rolling in terms of repayment, I need to budget a total of $1500 a month to go towards debts, which would result in 90% of my debts being repaid within two years. That minimizes the amount of interest that will accrue( and I'm not even thinking about what I've ALREADY paid over the years )which is incentive to stick to the plan to see it to fruition.

I think that's reasonable, but I have to get there sooner rather than later.

The important thing about running these kinds of numbers is that you have to leave room for hope. For a long time now, I've just been plugging away at what I can see in front of me, juggling things so that I have never missed a payment and in doing so, giving up on any long-term financial goals due to my current situation.

Raising my eyes from the ground, I can see a way out, but it's all dependent on a decent income increase within the next 6 months. After that, the wave will catch me... and I'll have to let go of what I'm clinging to in order to make it to shore.

July 4 – Follow Your Bliss

Life is what you make it.

It can be blissful or unbearable: the choice is up to you and how you live your daily life, and none knew this better than the remarkable John Joseph Campbell:

My takeaway from his words is that happiness is a state of being we can all attain with effort, but few of us can maintain it consciously every day. Living your life under a cloud will color everything you see, so simply allowing the light to shine on your daily activities will reflect back far more happiness than just hoping that the sun will come out - it's an interesting distinction and one I'm working on myself.

Speaking of bliss, I mentioned last week I found something at my parents place while searching through the storage boxes for comics... it was this:

That's a BucConeer 1998 souvenier coin there too!

Now, the story behind this was that when I moved to BC nearly 10 years ago, some of the boxes from the move went missing... conveniently including one with the new-ish camera. At the time, I was unable to get anywhere with moving company and had to accept the loss it as part of the price of moving. I also thought that the same box held my cherished dice bag( above )containing all of the dice I've ever used for decades for my RPG games. I'd held off buying any more dice since, partly for the reason that I didn't want to replace these originals if they were still around, and partly because I never got back into a regular monthly RPG group( with a too-brief, wonderful exception a few years ago ). It was obvious I was still holding out hope of finding the bag, and I was rewarded this week for my patience!

The bag itself is unique, in that I've never seen anything like it anywhere for sale, online or off: I found it at BucConeer, the 56th world science fiction convention I attended in Baltimore in 1998. The bag's skin resembles that of a Dragon, in that it has a 'pebbled' texture with the appearance of scales: I fell in love with it instantly and it cost me a total of $15 USD at the time, a bargain!

I'm incredibly happy that I found it underneath some larger books in a box full of Car Wars RPG supplements, so it was completely invisible without the whole box being emptied. Which I thought I had done when I was going through all my stuff after the first couple moves around the city here years ago.

Joy and happiness!

July 5 – Living In Paradise

Ah, Victoria... you're so glorious!

The weather here is finally stabilized and we're into the 'dry season' with little to no rain for the next few months. The grass has turned Brown except where it's watered regularly( with restrictions )and the temperatures have stabilized.

It's the perfect time to go and explore Vancouver Island... Except I can't, because I have too much to do. But I can still look and plan for next year:

July 6 – Phone Return = Good!

Looks like I made a good choice in returning my recent LeEco phone.

I received notice a few weeks ago that my phone had been received by Banggood in China, and just today I received the bulk of the refund( less shipping fees, they're coming soon )via PayPal. I'll be sure to deal with Banggood again, as there was absolutely zero questioning of my return: it was quick and easy compared to that of many people in the forums I've seen when dealing directly with China-based companies, who tend to clam up when it comes to returning money for purchases.

If I had returned my phone, I could've been stuck with a device that while technically sound, wouldn't have received any kind of upgrades in the near future and more than likely any warranty service would have been haphazard at best. I'm glad that I followed my instincts and returned it as quickly as I did, despite the disappointment that engendered in being stuck with my failing Oneplus One.

However all is not lost: I found a new phone today on eBay - that I can afford!

Well, 'new' is a relative term: it's a Samsung Galaxy S5, and I just paid far less for it than its initial $600 price tag when it first came out in 2014. While its specs aren't quite as good as my OnePlus( only 2gb RAM vs 3 on the OPO )the screen is excellent and it has a number of features that my OPO doesn't: a heartbeat monitor( which I will use sparingly! )and a barometer, which is great as I plan to monitor the daily weather in the service of migraine prevention. Here's the rundown:

This will give me a phone that I can use for at least another year( or even two ) without issue in terms of speed, and without my having to cave in to Telus to get a phone on contract - never again!

Now I just have to find a decent-and-cheap case for it... on eBay, of course!

July 7 – That's too early...

It seems I can't catch a break with my physical health sometimes.

This morning, I awoke at 4am with some awful stomach pains, similar to the random-but-nasty leg cramp last week that snap me awake around the same time. It felt as though my entire abdomen was burning and I had to spend the next hour hunched over a heating pad in order to find any relief.

I didn't get back to sleep.

Looking things up after breakfast, I narrowed it down to the Rectus Abdominis group, or as they are more commonly known, one's abdominal muscles, as the culprit. From what I can determine, my posture over the last several months has been more 'forward' and hunched due to my new job position, despite my efforts to ensure that I sit upright in my chair. The sitting itself is also a factor, in that my stomach muscles have become foreshortened even with my regular walkabouts every 20 minutes, the regularity of which my coworkers have often commented on lately.

Tension, it seems, lives everywhere in my body, and I'm having difficulty getting rid of it even with regular stretching and walking daily. This never happened when I was riding my bike to work, and so that's a goal of mine: to get back on my bike, despite my fear of another hamstring-related failure...

Next up on my daily / weekly regimen: adding some Tai Chi and breathing exercises. We'll see how that goes, and I'm thinking of adding both acupuncture and massage therapy as I can find the funds to afford either this summer.

July 8 - Pressure Release

In the morning today, I went to get a massage - talk about good timing!

Serendipitously, this Thursday while hosting one of my writing group's monthly meetings, one of the members picked up on my brief aside that I was in some discomfort sitting at the table and mentioned that she was a massage therapist. After the meeting, she sent me an e-mail offering me a free trial session today, which I gratefully took her up on as I've been putting off any such treatment due to a lack of funds.The fact that my archaic work health coverage will only cover $10 per session for massage( unbelievable! )was also a factor, so I didn't want to 'waste' large amount of money on someone whose treatment might not have any major effect.

I really should've just spent the money, as the effect was indeed major!

During my treatment today, there was a massive release of tension throughout my body: she said it was directly related to my posture while sitting, as I had suspected, especially around my hips. Afterwards, I felt like I was a dangling puppet in a jar, my limbs were so much looser and I walked without more than a twinge or two in my foot tendons for the first time in many months.

I'll be going back next week again, as I certainly won't go back to feeling like a over-tensioned tennis racket waiting to snap should I move the wrong way. Unfortunately, my abdominals are still really tense and woke me up again last night , though this time it was just on the manageable side of uncomfortable rather than agonizing, which was an improvement.

Lesson learned: spend the money on massage to avoid further pain and lifestyle fragmentation...

July 9 – A Poetic Day

I was a 'hunter' for a day today!

My girlfriend invited me out to join her poetry group downtown, as we did a poetic scavenger hunt for a few hours this afternoon. She provided us with a list of six route items to 'collect' / experience, and we all went on our merry ways:

After an hour and a half, I made it back to Sam's Deli, where I sat down and for the next 30 minutes worked on my poem objectives. I ended up with five complete poems and five Haiku, which I thought was a nice balance. After everyone else had arrived and had a little bit more time to work, we went around the table sharing our creations in general order and they were quite impressive! I received some excellent feedback on my own works, of which I've selected one for your reading pleasure below, complete with picture - enjoy!

I have to say it was a glorious week and weekend weather-wise: sunny, with warm breezes and nary a hint of rain. Which is par for the course for Vancouver island in the summer months: not too hot, not too cold and just the right amount of humidity to be comfortable without the problems at either end of the scale. It looks pretty good to me for the next few weeks and I hope that August will also see us experience this moderate forecast:

It's been a good week, even with the waking-at-4am difficulties I've experienced. I'm hoping that the massage this week and next will alleviate most of those issues along with stretching and other exercises that I'm doing to bring my body back into a more balanced state. Eating well, a positive mindset and my eye on the ball( writing / better job / building my home business )this summer will see me make great improvements in my life before the end of 2017.