things abound

I think I’m entering week 7 of lockdown, or thereabouts. I figured when the library shut it’d be months before we returned though the odd bod I suspect was hoping for a few weeks. I’m somewhat unusual compared to my colleagues, working from home is old news; I spent years working from home in a previous job. This time round, it’s still the case that my job is mostly online and the bits that weren’t, very quickly were.

Weirdly, or perhaps not, my workload increased initially and for a few weeks after. It seems to have settled down though the gov has said we’re only supposed to work 7 hours with no flex. I have struggled to keep down to 7. Then again, I am glad that I have work and sad that so many do not. I am a renter without a mortgage to worry about.

I am overjoyed that we are lucky enough to have the nbn though adsl would suffice as it has in the past. It drops out on rainy days which suggests we’ll need to get the wiring looked at. We moved house prior to Christmas, downsizing, but the bigger house would’ve been good now with 2 adults and 2 adult children co-sharing a 3 bedder rather than our previous 4. All of us with different online needs. As I’m working fulltime, my life has not changed a great deal. My commute is now 10 seconds rather than an hour, which means an hour extra sleep in the morning – that will be hard to give up.

I have revisited my LibraryThing account; there’s an app now with barcode scanning. I am tempted to try and scan all my books, at least those that have barcodes. Many alas, do not. In the move, I reluctantly weeded a few boxes of books. Some I miss already…I think I got rid of my Wizard of Id collection of which I had many volumes. I have kept my Biggles, Enid Blyton, and of course Trixie Belden. Got rid of chunk of history things that I had grabbed from Dad’s books when he passed. I have been buying nicer editions of some novels, and tossing the ageing, smelly paperbacks.

snail on wheels

Ms19 has bought a pair of roller skates which in turn has encouraged me to retrieve my old, old skates from the garage. I was unsteady initially but glad to report I still remember how, the confidence returns. We have been out twice to skate at a nearby basketball court which is sufficiently smooth and large for us to gain confidence and in my case, pick up speed as I skate the perimeter. However my upper body particularly is feeling the strain; feeling sore for a few days following each session.

As time goes on at home, I struggle to imagine what holidays look like. I had planned a 6-8 week trip in Europe to coincide with my partner’s Churchill Trust study trip. That will not happen this year and the Trust have postponed such trips to next year…I suspect at the earliest. I was saving my leave for a couple of years for this trip and now the idea of going on holidays saddens me. I am overdue a holiday and there is nowhere to go. I am keeping my fingers crossed that NZ will be a possibility later in the year.

And I am lucky, lucky that I have a job, lucky that I can still think of holidays.

headphones

…can be a tricky thing. For many years I’ve had a pair of Sennheiser HD 515 headphones which have been lovely. I have used them a lot, replaced the pads once and they’re due for another set. I dropped them a year or so back and the casing had cracked but sound was still fab. To wear them, I usually removed my hearing aids and pumped the sound up. The downside was that sound leaked and recently I had an incident on a plane where the person behind asked me to turn them down.

Part of the issue is finding headphones with a big enough cavity so that I can leave my hearing aids in comfortably, the other part is reducing the amount of sound that “leaks” out. In recent months I’ve been trying out lots of headphones trying to find the right balance. Not entirely unexpectedly I’ve ended up back at Sennheiser. I had initially settled on a pair of HD 280 Pro as they seemed pretty close to ideal. I was in JB on the weekend and they happened to have 20% off on headphones and was prepared to get the 280. Then I noticed they had another unit set up for trying out: Sennheiser 380 Pro. They were only $3 more than the lower model but the design pushed them against the head and reduced the sound leakage significantly, Plus they come with a flattened carry case which means they’re easy to travel with. With the JB discount, they ended up being $159. Sold.

Wearing them now while my partner watches TV behind me and no complaints so far. Currently “bopping” to Ministry’s Just One Fix. Happy days. Will see how they go on the flight to Adelaide on Sunday.

Update: my partner didn’t hear them at all even though she was sitting a foot behind me. With them on, I didn’t hear any external noises either so there seems to be some sort of noise cancelling/insulation thang going on.

five on a seat

With a heading like that, I feel like I’m channelling the Famous Five and that may yet lead me down an interesting path for headings…five take a flying jump and so on. Here’s another five articles of vague interest:

of mojo

2013 was not the best of years. It started well and started badly. On 24th Dec 2012, I went on a date. On 27th Dec 2012, my mother passed away after a long battle. While mum’s death was a mixture of relief and sadness, it has been with me for all of 2013; It has affected all my spaces. My abilities to be creative and to work, have been much impaired. My mojo for many things has disappeared.

canoe advancing through waterMum’s birthday in late November was a tricky time and I was not looking forward to my various anniversaries across the dec/jan period. Yet here I am, one anniversary to go and coping well. Dare I say, I’ve even been enjoying myself. For some years, I have been trying to do things to reclaim some of the joy I’ve lost for this time of year. There was a sense at the end of November that I’d turned a corner and my old self was returning. There has been a false alarm or two in that direction but this time it seems to be real.

I had a very good christmas, not to mention Christmas Eve being the first anniversary of first date :-) Mum’s anniversary was spent in good company, as was Ben’s. I got through both anniversaries in one piece and at peace.

closed ereader on empty tableMy reading mojo seems to have returned. Fully. I managed around 4 books in 2013, struggling even with those. I’ve read two books since Christmas and am now on to a third. In 2013, I would force myself to read and fail; now I hunger to get back to the book when I’m doing other things.

#blogjune…again!

Oops, #blogjune has been running for 4 days and I’m already well behind. As I’ve commented previously, my mojo has been missing in action this year. I don’t want to speak too soon but there are signs that it may be flickering back into existence. In the last month or so I have managed to not only start but finish a book and start a second. I have read the final True Blood novel and made good progress with the third Sandman Slim.

My approach to work has also picked up and I’m feeling a stronger sense of ownership. I’m also approaching my 12 month anniversary. The last few days have been ticking over nicely and dare I say it, have had a nice buzz.

I have no idea whether I can manage to keep up the blogging in June, especially as I’m only up to “G” of April’s daily #atozchallenge.

We shall see.

e is for ears

I’m a bit of a deaf bugger (maybe a lot :-) and require hearing aids to be able to hear well in many situations. I inherited my current pair from my father when he passed away. I had new molds made for my ears and the aids were re-programmed…literally. They were connected to a computer via wires and had their settings modified. Dad got them new in 2002 and I was fitted around 2006. At the time, they were still pretty much state of the art and there hadn’t been new developments.

Now it’s 2013 and the hearing aids are coming to the end of their life. Hearing aids generally last around 6-10 years and anything greater is exceptional. Just as well as they’re rather pricy with the current pair costing dad about $4,000 per ear. I have embarked on the process for getting a new pair, which take several weeks, and has already proven to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I went to see a doctor last week to get my ears de-waxed and lost hearing altogether in one ear for a few hours. While I knew logically the ear would be ok, the shock was rather upsetting. This week, I’m doing it again and have drops in my ear prior to seeing an ear specialist tomorrow. Because I was mentally prepared this time, the loss of hearing has been more comfortable.

author staring at a screenHowever, this is but the first stage. Once the ears are de-waxed, I then need to see an audiologist for a full hearing test to see where my ears are at now and whether I’ve lost any hearing since the last test a few years ago. Then I need to look at what sort of hearing aid best suits and what options I like.

While there had been relatively few improvements in 2006 there have been substantial improvements since then. A big improvement is that you can now get water resistant models: one of the things I’ve been paranoid with the current pair is getting them wet. I was told to avoid such and they could only handle a few drops. Given the expense I went way out of my way to protect them and always carry a protective beanie if there’s a sudden downpour. Otherwise I take them out and restore them when inside.

Colour! My current pair are a sort of grey, ugly colour. The new models come in a variety of colours including red and blue. I’ve been very tempted by bright, red ones but have been concerned about coordinating my wardrobe around so may choose a dark blue instead. Blue would go better with my eyes too. Other options include being shock resistant, some models have a remote control to provide greater flexibility. My current pair has about 20 possible settings but I can only ever have 2 or 3 active. To change them currently, requires a visit to the audiologist. A remote control would mean I could change them myself on the spot. And so on…

a is for active

Following on from flexnib’s example, I’m going to attempt doing an A to Z of topics ie each post will be based on a word based on the current letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. Con is doing it in 26 days as it seems to be an April challenge. I’ll give that a go, but mostly I’m just aiming for 26 posts.

I last blogged nearly 4 months ago, and I have not been active in the blogosphere in the time since. My online activities have waned. To some extent, I suspect that’s a side effect of the death of my mother at the end of December…no sympathy required and I’m doing ok; her passing was not unanticipated. I’ll cover another side effect when I hit “B”.

On the other hand, I have picked up on physical things. I am walking more. I even did a 3 hour walk around Northbridge on the weekend. That’s not a particularly big deal, however I’m aware that my fitness has lagged and I’ve not really been up for the sort of tramping I did for Routeburn in December 2010. I’d like to get back to that level of fitness so I can return to New Zealand and explore more of their Great Trails.