Archive for the ‘Smart Ideas’ Category

My apologies for any confusion if you saw an earlier draft of this post- I’m learning how to use my phone to do posts and it’s a little… limited. (And tricky.) But yay! I got it to work and uploaded pictures from my phone! (I may need to do some editing before uploading next time though- sorry for the file sizes.)image

While buying Christmas gifts I treated myself to a coloring book and pack of 48 colored pencils. This top one is a small pattern on the frontispiece. Since it was a holiday gift to myself and the leaves looked holly-ish I gave it a Christmas theme.  :}


It took me maybe an hour and a quarter to finish and I had a few thoughts:

  1. I totally missed an opportunity; I should have copied it and then I could do the same pattern in several different colors/patterns. I *might* get myself a second book just for masters. I might also be getting ahead of myself here.
  2. I am slightly disappointed in the color pencils- there is a serious dearth of reds. If I want a maroon or a burgundy I have to try and blend it myself. I may eventually splurge and buy a larger pack for more options (and then I’ll have duplicates of the most common colors).
  3. Colored pencils are misleading. The pencil looks green but is named “tan”. The color is neither what I think green or tan should be. I will probably make myself a color swatch guide going forward.
  4. If I’m going to do this regularly I need to invest in some pencil holders, maybe like these. I may have given myself a blister, I’m so unused to using a writing implement for long periods of time. I still have a writer’s callous, but I gave it a real workout.
  5. I need to lay a thick sheet of paper or shin cardboard in-between pages. The color may not come through, but the page beneath the one I’m drawing on gets embossed in the process.

On the plus side, it was fun and challenging and I just zoned out and colored for a hour, which was pretty much what I was aiming for. I’m also hoping that coloring will strengthen my hands a bit- my handwriting is really decaying. I managed three whole holiday cards and while I may still send cards to everyone who sent us one… even with effort my handwriting is barely legible. My fingers and elbows ache a little, and I’ve had no tremor (which happens if I get muscle fatigue in my hands), but even better I didn’t have any numbness, which usually crops up when driving, holding an eating utensil, or leaning on my forearms at my desk. Fingers crossed (hah! I did a pun) that this new, fun hobby is also maybe a little therapeutic.  ;}

Update: Yep, finger tips are tender. I made myself a swatch reference sheet to keep in my pencil box- I occasionally have trouble telling shades apart, but there are at least two pencils that I swear are the exact same color. I also added a #5 note above as well.


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My sister visited last week and gave me a belated holiday gift! Mine is black (because my sister knows my preferences) and I tried it out for the first time today.download

The arthritis in my hands (both kinds) has been especially painful lately, so I brought this into work so I can heat them during typing breaks. I was a little concerned about the size since I have freakishly long fingers, but it’s just right (especially since I’m usually only heating on hand at a time). This will also come in handy for cramps or a stiff back at work, too. The cord is long enough (always a concern) and it’s easy to remove the cover for washing (a big plus!).

My only complaint so far is that it is only on/off and can get pretty hot… it would be nice if there was a “low warmth” setting, but otherwise it’s an awesome product! Overall I definitely recommend.  :}

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You may remember the Kickstarter I spotlighted here a couple weeks back. Well, it’s going forward and Jenni needs some help! If you or someone you know might be interested in participating then please pass along the link and the invitation.  :}

Howdy, friends!

As I work on finishing my first draft, I keep running into the same issues, chapter after chapter: Not enough caregiver perspectives.

Caregivers include anyone who cares for a ChronicBabe: Spouses, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, parents, children, grandparents, friends, co-workers, neighbors and many more.

These people experience the impacts and consequences of chronic illness alongside us ChronicBabes, and in my experience, their voices aren’t heard nearly enough. So I’ve decided to include some perspectives from caregivers, sprinkled throughout the book.

If you’re someone who loves a ChronicBabe, please consider participating. I’m gathering volunteers here, with a very simple form (it takes 2-3 minutes to complete). I hope to use folks’ full names, but if you prefer more anonymity, I can use just a first name.

If you’re a ChronicBabe yourself and know someone who might be interested, send them a link to this update — and a sentence or two about why it’s important that their voice be heard. Don’t fill out the form on their behalf. 

Questions? Concerns? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP, or shoot me an email.

I’m excited to include such a diversity of perspectives in my upcoming book, and thankful to have such a supportive community.

XOXO, Jenni

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FREEKey Key Ring System

This isn’t a product review since I haven’t tried one out for myself yet, but it absolutely falls into the “Smart Idea” category! Managing my keys is a ridiculous hassle at times (and I’m looking for those phone-cord bracelets so I can wear my keys to help prevent dropping them all the time). This looks like a useful solution for someone with limited mobility, stiff fingers, inability to grip tightly, etc. (Like me!) If I do acquire one, I will absolutely post a review. Available through ThinkGeek https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/f2d3/

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Being Tricksy-Smart

I had a cunning thought. I had trouble putting on my necklace this morning. I changed over my clasps to lobster claws a while back, which are easier for me to handle. However, the link to clip it to was too small (I actually managed to attach the necklace to my hair at one point- ow! It really is getting long…) I took a spare hair elastic, looped it through the small link, and attached the clasp to that. Viola! Much easier to handle and more comfortable to wear.

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Smart Ideas

These are handy tools if you have arthritis or trouble gripping or holding things. If you know of other items along these lines, or have used one and want to share your experience, please let me know! I’ll list new items periodically as I run across them- possibly monthly.

  • Bag Grip – I have a foam one that closes with Velcro that I picked up free at a conference. It helps when carrying reusable or plastic bags from the grocery store and avoids cutting off circulation to my fingers. This plastic one might be more comfortable, since mine bends with the weight of the bags, but I wonder how sturdy it is.
  • Cup sleeves with handles – There’s several versions out there that work great when you have trouble keeping your grip! I like these because they’re pretty and handmade. Good for the environment too if you get drinks in paper cups often!
  • Wine server – I don’t drink wine as much as I used to, but I think this is a brilliant idea!
  • Palm vegetable peeler – I haven’t tried one of these yet, but it looks much easier that using a regular peeler, even one with a large handle. They also have a vegetable brush in the same style.
  • Kitchen shears – There’s many different types out there. I use mine for cutting small vegetables and meat when cooking. I find it much easier than manipulating a small, sharp knife.
  • Water bottle bag – Lots of designs available; mine is brown with dragonflies. Keeps your drink cold, and I love the handy carry-loop!
  • Travel cup with a handle and lid – Again, there’s thousands of styles, and the lid prevents sloshes and spills. I bring mine when I cave to the demon chai.  ;}
  • Pen grips – These are a big help, but some pens are a bit slim and the grips slide. There are some funky ergonomic grips out there I might try, if I can get over the fact that they look like wads of bubble gum stuck to your pen.

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