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Sharing My Commonplace Book

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

During the past 8-months I may not have been writing much here on 1WaySwim but I certainly was reading a lot. One of the things I started doing with books I read is to highlight and keep track of passages and quotes from the book. Anything I come across that is impactful or has some kind of meaning for me I save for later. I save all of these passages and quotes in what is called a Commonplace Book. Commonplace Books have been around a really long time and the point behind them is simply this…to capture important knowledge. What is important? That is completely up to the individual.

But the real value of my Commonplace Book is that I read through the information I save at a later time. I keep my Commonplace book in a digital tool called Ulysses (in fact it is the editor I am writing this blog post in now). You can keep a Commonplace Book in a physical book or just about any digital tool for taking notes, but the two main reasons I use Ulysses is for its organizational tools and for how well it ties into the iOS automation tool “Shortcuts.” Everyday I can pick up my iPad or my iPhone and press a single button and my device presents me with a random entry from my Commonplace Book. It’s a great way to revisit important facts and quotes from things you have read.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. My Commonplace Book is getting large enough that I figured it was time to start sharing some of my favorite nuggets of information from books I have read. So I set up an automation in Shortcuts that lets me take a random Commonplace Book entry and put it out on Twitter once a day. So if you want to know the type of information I find interesting from books, follow my 1WaySwim account on Twitter. Not on Twitter? Not a problem. Just check out my Reading List & Quotes page here on this site. On that page I list the books I am currently reading, the last few books I have completed and at the bottom of the page I have my latest few tweets of quotes from my Commonplace book.

I have just barely scratched the surface of the Commonplace book topic with this post. I have a whole series of articles I will be publishing soon on GeekDad about Commonplace Books so stay tuned for that if you want to know more or are interested in starting one for yourself.

I'm Back!

Just like the person in the photo I have been resting and not blogging much here, but that is chaging today...I'm back!

Way back in December I got really really sick with vertigo from a virus that attacked my inner ear. I didn't end up going back to work again until late January but ever since I have not fully recovered. A few weeks back I took my first long vacation since I got sick and during that long break I noticed all of my lingering symptoms went away. But when I returned to work they immediately came back.

I was fortunate enough that I had several of these "breaks" from work right in a row (both in State and out of State) that allowed me to experiment and without a doubt my dizzy/wooziness symptoms were directly related to me being physically at work. Something in my work building is causing me to have ongoing syptoms from the nasty vertigo I had back in December.

After living with this for over 8-months now I didn't realize just how wiped out and not well I really was until I went symptom free. Wow! Now that I know how to keep the syptoms from coming back I am continuing to be symptom free and I feel fantastic. When you feel pretty rotten it is really hard to go to work and function, much less come home on the evenings and weekends and feel like doing ANYTHING. That is why I have been missing in action with respect to this blog. But now that I know how to avoid these sypmtoms and feel like myself again I am back to blogging. In the mean time my office building is being tested and I lucky enough to be able to telework until I figure out what is going on and how I can permanantly fix it.

So I'm back. You will see more posts from me here going forward as long as I contine to feel well enough to do so!

Fixing a Noisy Refrigerator

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I wanted to toss this article out there in case others had a similar issue because it was a very simple fix to what could have been a very expensive problem down the road if not quickly corrected.

I woke up one morning and came downstairs to find that the bottom pull-out door to our refrigerator/freezer (the freezer section) had been left open. I shut the door after looking at the contents to make sure everything was still relatively cold and somewhat frozen (in case I had to throw anything out) and the fridge started making a pretty loud humming/grinding noise. Definitely not a normal noise we hear coming from our fridge (which is essentially silent running).

At first I thought it was just the compressor working overtime trying to make up for lost time and chilling down the freezer again. But by later that afternoon it was still making a lot of noise even though everything in the freezer had re-frozen and the temp was back to 0 deg F. Something was wrong. So I did some digging online and the most likely causes to the noises I was hearing was either:

  • Something caught in the blower/fan
  • Bearings in the fan motor going out
  • Compressor going out

The last two items I was not going to attempt to do anything with myself, but the first was a different story. As the fridge was cooling back down the freezer section I noticed a lot of ice that had built up on the surfaces of everything in the freezer. The door was left open long enough for warmer moister air to get into the freezer and the moisture condensed all over the surfaces. This meant that it was likely that moisture had condensed on the fan blades in the blower compartments and re-frozen. Just like on a prop plane, ice accumulation on blades/propellers is bad. It throws off the balance and makes the motor work a lot harder than it should (which could explain the noise I was hearing).

So if there was ice on the fan blades of the blower unit in the freezer how I could I get the ice off? There didn’t seem to be any way to easily gain access to the blower unit and the fan blades. To make things worse there was also no way to just shut off the freezer part of the fridge...it was all or nothing. So what we ended up doing was moving all of the freezer items out of the fridge and into our deep freeze in the garage and then unplugged the entire fridge for a short period of time. Then we opened up the freezer door and put a small space heater in for about an hour to melt and dry out all the ice/water in the freezer section. After that was done we plugged the fridge back in and the fridge was operating just as quietly as it had before this whole open door incident happened.

For reference, the fridge unit we have is a Kenmore Elite model 795.73153.610.

Also, we never did solve the mystery of who actually left the freezer door open. My wife went to work early that morning and said she didn’t get in the freezer and would have noticed if the door was open. My teenage kids all say they didn’t do it, but its rare for any of them to be up before noon. So if they did get up they certainly wouldn’t remember doing it. Maybe it was the dog...

How To Recover From Virus Induced Vertigo

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I am sharing this story and information in case others out there with this might also find some relief...

Some of the readers of this blog that know me personally may know that I have been pretty sick for about 6-weeks now. It all started the day before Thanksgiving with what seemed like a regular old run-of-the-mill cold. But just as I was recovering from the cold I woke up one morning with extreme vertigo (i.e. the room was spinning violently out of control). The extreme vertigo/dizziness went away within seconds but the overall dizziness and imbalance got worse and worse. It wasn’t long before it was so bad that I couldn’t even move my head (much less stand up or walk anywhere) without getting so nauseated that I would physically get sick. Over the course of several weeks there were 3 separate trips to minor emergency and I was given everything from a steroid to help drain my ears to several different types of antibiotics. Finally after about 3 weeks my symptoms subsided enough that I could tolerate the long car ride to go see my regular doctor (medical trip #4).

My doctor gave my ears and sinus a clean bill of health, so no infection and relatively clear sinuses. But she did some tests on me and said that I had positional vertigo. She told me about several vertigo maneuvers I could do to help resolve the vertigo (like the Epley maneuver). So I went home a continued to take the meds I had been taking (more on that later) and started doing these maneuvers. At first when I did the Epley maneuver it would cause a little mini vertigo attack and then as I did it more and more it didn’t cause any dizziness at all). I was hoping that meant that the maneuvers worked. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Epley it is designed to move the fluid/crystals that are in your ear canal around and eventually out of the area that is sensitizing your inner ear to think there is movement (its basically a false indicator on a sensor in your head).

But after a week of doing these maneuvers on a regular basis I was still getting “sea sick” during the day. It wasn’t extreme dizziness or spinning, it was much more subtle than that but it lead to extreme nausea. When the nausea would come on all I could do was sit still and cool my head down and try not to vomit until it passed. This went on for several more weeks. Finally my Mom had heard from a friend of mine that had a co-worker that was having similar symptoms and his doctor recommended he go on a special diet. At this point I was willing to try absolutely anything. So I went on this diet and within a couple of days I noticed a huge improvement. It has now been 11 days since I went on this diet and I am almost completely back to normal. Now it’s possible that this diet had nothing to do with my recovery and that all I really needed was time to allow my body to recover. But there are two reasons why I don’t think this is the case. The first reason being that nothing I tried for many weeks had any significant impact on reducing my symptoms and helping me feel better until I got on this diet. Reason #2 is that yesterday I thought I was feeling well enough that I would risk having 1 small cup of coffee in the morning (yeah, no coffee is allowed on this diet). Not long after I wasn’t feeling so well and it pretty much wrecked my afternoon. But the next day (today) I was back into my slow daily progression of getting better and better.

My Pre-Diet Drugs

For completeness I will list out all of the things I was taking before I went on this diet to help.

  • Meclazine (for dizziness and nausea I would take 25 mg every 6 hours)
  • Ibuprofen ( I just took the normal dose hoping to reduce any inflammation that I may have)
  • Mucinex (or Guaifenesin every 12 hours - extended release)
  • Sudafed (again every 12 hours - extended release)

The Sudafed and Mucinex were pretty key to keeping my symptoms minimized as I noticed that when I had more congestion my dizziness and nausea would increase. So by keeping things running and draining I would not get as sick as I would otherwise. But this went on for weeks and the drainage and the symptoms didn’t get any better at all. I was still not able to drive or go to work or really function much at all.

The Diet

The diet that was recommended from my friend wasn’t quite as restrictive (it only covered the first 5 items below). But when I did some digging online it seemed like the best approach was to eliminate everything that could complicate my issues any further. So the diet I went with was the following:

  • No salt
  • No sugar
  • No processed foods of any kind
  • No caffeine
  • No alcohol
  • No dairy
  • No grains or breads
  • Lots of fresh vegetables (but avoiding specific ones) and quite a bit of fruit
  • Chicken and salmon (obviously without any salt)

There were things that I was encouraged to eat that helps with reducing inflammation. So I tried to eat quite a bit of the following:

  • Avacados
  • Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • Dark chocolate (with little to no sugar)
  • Kale
  • Tumeric

What this ended up being was a combination of an anti-inflammatory diet (AID) and an auto-immune deficiency diet (also AID). The reason for going on a diet like this is to eliminate any and all dietary sources for inflammation and mucus generation. Most likely what I had was something called labyrinthitis (there is a great article about it here), which is an inflammation of the inner ear. So with my inner ear already being inflamed I needed to reduce as much of the “normal” inflammation and mucus/fluid production as possible and there are quite a few foods in our modern processed diet that result in inflammation and mucus/fluid production. By naturally reducing this by going on this diet it allows the natural course of the virus and the healing process to happen more quickly (not to mention it also dramatically reduced my symptoms within days).

I also took two additional supplements during this 11-day (and still going) diet:

  • MucoStop (a pill of natural enzymes that help your body break down and eliminate excess mucus)
  • DMG Chewables (Dimethylglycine) which among other things it also helps you with balance by providing extra oxygen to the brain and reduces inflammation

Please don’t take any of the information I provided above as a substitute for seeing a doctor. I only wanted to put this information out there so that others suffering with symptoms like mine might also find some relief. This diet that I’m on is a pretty healthy diet so the worst thing that could happen is that the diet only makes you a little more healthy (and does nothing for your symptoms). Don’t take any of the drugs or supplements I listed above without consulting a doctor first. Most of these are over the counter meds but they could have interactions with other supplements or drugs which is why seeing a doctor before taking a bunch of medications is so important. And most importantly of all good luck. Recovery from this virus is a very slow process, but at least for me (whether it was just a matter of timing or it actually did help) going on this diet drastically reduced my symptoms and my symptoms kept getting better each day (except for the 1 day I slightly broke my diet).

I am weening myself off of the Meclazine and should be completely off if it in a few days. At some point soon I will slowly start reintroducing things back into my diet and hopefully that will be the last step in my recovery.

Please pass this information along to anyone you know who may be suffering with similar symptoms. I haven’t seen much written about using this diet to combat these symptoms but it sure seemed to work well for me!

Yehuda Moon Cycling Comics On Sale

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Yehuda Moon is an excellent cycling comic that was in production for a number of years. The team behind Yehuda Moon is currently on a break from making new comics but some of their complilation books are on sale for $7 each for a limited time. If you have never heard of Yehuda Moon and you are a cyclist now is a great time to pick up the first several volumes of this wonderful comic strip and start reading!

You can purchase Volumes 1, 2 and 3 at a discount for a limited time here.

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