Sunday, July 29, 2018

Rocker Bottom Shoes

I developed osteoarthritis in both knees at the age of 16 when I started running cross country. Many years ago, I read (in print!) that the leading cause of osteoarthritis in juveniles was dehydration, and I know I didn't increase my fluid intake when I started running (unfortunately; this is your cue to get more to drink so you stay hydrated). Thanks to my physical therapist, I am not (often) bothered by that knee pain. Yes, you can beat osteoarthritis! One of the suggestions from my physical therapist was always to wear athletic shoes for the cushioning and support. This has been the simplest fix so far! After a flare-up, I do need to treat the pain and perform my PT exercises regularly, but after that my "maintenance" state is just to wear good sneakers at all times.

Based on my experience running cross country, I want my shoes to provide motion control as well as lots of cushioning. Motion control shoes ease the stress on my wobbly ankles, and hold my arch in a better position. I tend to pronate when I walk, and supinate when I run, so when my shoes provide proper cues for both conditions, I experience less pain. This is why I choose motion control over stability. However, I also have a very heavy stride, wearing through the soles of my shoes very quickly, so the more cushioning, the less pain I feel.

Until bilateral ankle pain visited me, I was a huge fan of rocker bottom shoes, specifically Skechers Shape Ups. Some Skechers are so cushioned that I call them "marshmallow shoes" for all that squishiness! Shape Ups are very cushioned! The rocker bottom forced me to roll into each step instead of stomping with my heel, thereby reducing heel and knee pain. Instead of needing a new pair of shoes every 3 months, I could generally wear one pair almost a year before I noticed the characteristic ache in my knees of needing new shoes. However, the arch support was negligible. I took a pair of 3/4-length shoe inserts, and cut out just the arch following the shape of some other inserts I had that built up the arch in layers that made it easy to see the shaping. I put that "just the arch" cut-out underneath the liner in my Skechers Shape Ups, and my feet were finally comfortable!

However, the rocker bottom is not stable on your front-back axis (it's fine side-to-side, which is why it didn't originally bother my ankles). You should not wear these hiking, mowing, or on uneven surfaces.

After 5 cushioned years in my Skechers Shape Ups, I hit 2 years of near-continuous ankle pain that is somewhat soothed with normal flat-bottom shoes. sigh However, if you have a heavy stride, you want a cushioning shoe, and you don't mind the lack of arch support or you don't mind adding your own arch support, these shoes were great! I'm looking for my next favorite shoes.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Raspberry Pi Zero W, back from noboot

I had a brief power outage recently, and my Raspberry Pi Zero W did not survive - but the original Raspberry Pi Zero right next to it came through the power bounce without problems! (Power and cable modem internet have been bouncy this month.)

I tried to power it up on two known-good power sources. I tried another micro USB power cable. I didn't see any lights any time I tried, so I thought this Zero W was completely dead.

Then I ran across this suggestion to try a different SD card. Since that's so simple to try, I did, and now my Raspberry Pi Zero W works again! The old SD card spewed errors all over dmesg when I tried to mount it on my computer, so that was definitely the problem.

So now I'll add trying a new SD card to the list with power and cable to get a Raspberry Pi to boot.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Chicken and Rice

I usually skip "me too" posts and comments, but how to cook moist and tender chicken breasts every time [from The Kitchn] does exactly that. I feel bad for not already sharing how easy and delicious this is!

I usually skip the first step of flattening the chicken. I've tried cooking chicken breasts both ways, and as long as I keep the thinner end of the chicken breast farther from the center of the heat and the pan, the end result is just as good in less time, with less of my kitchen exposed to raw chicken. I season very lightly with salt and garlic powder, but no pepper. I use either olive oil, or almond oil poured off my almond butter. It's especially tasty when some almond butter gets in the pan! If the chicken breasts are thick, I leave the heat on low for the second round of cooking for 10 minutes too. In less than 25 minutes, I have freshly cooked, delicious chicken breasts!

The chicken leaves some delicious broth in the pan, and often some bits of chicken. For my next step, I make rice with the chicken broth. I use my Progressive microwave rice cooker. So, for instance, if I make basmati rice, I add one scoop (about 3/4 cup) of basmati rice, and three scoops of liquid. I start with as much chicken broth as was left in the pan, and then I add cold water to fill three scoops. I microwave that for 18 minutes in my 900 Watt microwave. Then I take the rice out and stir it up. Since my crowd strongly prefers soft rice, I add two more scoops of water, sample it to adjust seasoning levels (usually just salt and garlic powder), and then microwave for another 12 minutes. Brown rice gets 21 minutes then 14 minutes; compared to the first round, the second round of cooking uses 2/3 of the water and 2/3 of the microwaving time. Now I'm up to an hour of cooking time, but 50 minutes of that is hands-off with no peeking so it's low effort.

From this point, it's a week of chicken and rice, but that's a delicious combination! Chicken with veggies over rice, chicken burrito bowl over rice, chicken stir-fry over rice, classic chicken and rice casserole, southwestern chicken and rice casserole, chicken fried rice, chicken and rice soup, pineapple chicken and rice, Greek chicken and rice, and that's just off the top of my head if you keep the chicken and rice paired together! I enjoy sliced chicken on my sandwiches, and rice is always a tasty side dish.