Friday, December 19, 2014

Hurry, Hurry - Now Wait!

I've been putting off drafting this post, hoping a few things would snap into focus and I could write definitively about them, but that's just not happening, so let me get you up to speed as best as I can.

The fall semester is over. Grades are turned in and there was the usual gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and marking in red. Some students pulled things together and amazed me and some - well, some just didn't, or they misread the syllabus, or, or, or. At any rate, it's done and in the record books at this point, which means it's time to get ready for the holidays, right?

Well . . .

Even by my standards, Dec. 19th is a little late to be getting a tree, but that's how the Casa de Guffey rolled this year. On the plus side, waiting until the 19th means you get a really, really cheap tree.  On the minus side, it's a little on the funky side from being cut and tied up for so long.  We now have our second year of learning "just how much tree will fit in a sedan?"  (The answer for a Ford Focus is "about seven feet," by the way. Just drive carefully and stay on the back roads.) A good friend brought his sons over and he gave the trunk a fresh cut, we wrestled it into the stand and it's now slurping up water and letting its branches relax and hang out.  Hopefully, we'll decorate it (and get the last few thingamabobs up in the house) tomorrow, which is also a major family feed day. Yum!

As you know from this blog, the main reason the holidays are so discombobulated this year has to do with my introduction into the Pink Ribbon Club. That's kept me (and FryDaddy, as my personal chauffeur) hopping lately, with consultations and appointments galore.  Let's see - among the things I've learned would be:
  • I don't have a genetic predisposition towards cancer - it's just one of those things that could (and apparently, often does) happen. That's not nice, but it's good to know that I'm not at a high-risk for recurrence.
  • Surgery is expected to be a "lumpectomy," although I don't actually have a lump. On the day of surgery, they'll insert teensy guide wires to tell the surgeon "start here!" and "stop here!" I'd think a felt-tip marker could do the same thing, but no. When I whined about this, FryDaddy reminded me that, yes, I have many accomplishments, but going to med school isn't one of them, so maybe (just maybe) I could hush up about this part. I hate that he's right.
  • Surgery will be outpatient, which thrills me to no end. Get me home, please! We've got comfort food in the kitchen and I hope to have a few hot meals lined up before we leave on Monday.
  • When you remove tissue, the body doesn't like it much and wants very much to fill that void with fluid, which is bad and can be painful. To avoid that, the idea is to compress everything and hold everything very, very still. So I'll be wearing a garment I've spent my entire life avoiding - oh, it may be medically-indicated, but it's still essentially a tube top. I want sequins and blue eyeshadow to go with it, but apparently that's not an option.  At least not one covered by insurance.
  • Due to the (still fingers crossed here) change in date, Christmas is going to be very interesting. But honestly, I want this done.  As in DONE. So I jumped at the date change. Looks like the 23rd of December for me. I'm scheduled to go first that day, so we've booked a hotel room close to the hospital rather than make the hour-long drive at 4 AM.
  • The date was switched because a pathologist managed to get the slides from my biopsy, examine them, and say, "By George, the doctor's right in her surgical plan!" With that done (they weren't expecting the pathologist to get the slides so quickly, but that Very Fetching Hat seems to have some magical powers), there was a slot on the 23rd, so the hospital called me, and I began a whirlwind of phone calls to schedule what felt like thirty-seven separate appointments. While not physically exhausting, it's been a draining day.
  • The 23rd of December. That's sort of funny in the "non ha ha" way - a year ago, I began jobbling as part of my "I'm going to take better care of myself" pledge.  (My first jobble was on Christmas Eve, I believe.) Now this.
I am amazed beyond belief at the kindness and gentleness of people during this stressful, weird time. (And judging from the quote in the picture, I know a LOT of very, very strong people.) It's nearly overwhelming what friends will do for you in times of trouble. With cancer, maybe it's a little of that primitive lizard-brain at work - "If I do this, the Angel of Pink Ribbons will fly over my house;" I don't know. What I do know is that my yard and gutters are leaf-free, I have a Christmas tree with a fresh cut, my workplace is being beyond understanding, I have the promise of fresh homemade food, and dozens of friends have given/are giving us gifts of time, talents, kind thoughts, and errand-running so my house can get through this rough patch with as little disruption as possible.

It'll make you pause.

And maybe that's the lesson in all of this.

Be safe. And don't wait to tell those you love that you love them. If you get another chance to do it, tell them again. Won't hurt.  Might help.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November - Checking In!

Poet Thomas Hood didn't really care for November, once writing:
No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November! 

Right there with you, Tommy.

All throughout 2014, I've been "checking in" on the resolutions I made in January. Back then, I set five challenges for myself and all year, I've been reporting in my progress, setbacks, and "ack!" moments. To review - I picked six classic books I hadn't read to complete this year, I picked 24 "good movies" I'd never seen to watch this year, I determined to keep a household budget and tame the credit card monster while I was at it, I said I'd take the FlyLady system further into homecare, and I said I'd train to run a 5K race before the New Year's Eve.

OK. No one ever had me stand on a stage to receive the "Sanest Woman Alive" medal. There's been progress, sure - I've read three of my six classic books (along with a slew of other books that weren't on the list), seen 12 of my classic movies (again, along with a slew of classics that weren't on the list [I especially recommend Fritz Lang's M, by the way]), the budget comes and goes although we've done very well on keeping credit cards in a drawer, the basics of the FlyLady system are in place, although my zones are hit-and-miss, and - my big triumph - I've run 3 official 5K races, along with several "virtual" ones where you run and post your time online.

In the meantime, work has been driving me into a state of frantic "I can't get caught up," I feel like organizations I deeply care about are getting about 70% of me and that's squeezed in, my writing projects feel like chores rather than opportunities, and my beloved husband, who took me 40 years to find, feels a lot like an amiable roommate some days.

Clearly, something had to give.

I was not expecting it to be a diagnosis of cancer, although that'll pull you up right short in a hurry.

Cornhole - lot of missed shots there!
I wrote about this in my last post, but a quick recap and the latest news. I have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS"), which is both good news - it's not life-threatening in and of itself; it's what it can turn into that's worrisome and bad news - it's gorram cancer. I've had two biopsies done and am scheduled for a third Monday morning. OK, now for the funny.  400 years of the scientific method and the best position for a patient to be in for a breast biopsy is to lie flat on a table, with the (ahem) body part in question stuck through a hole as if a backyard game of cornhole has gone dreadfully wrong. There's clamping and needles, and bandages, and teensy portable ice packs and uncomfortable sleeping for a few days and a day or two of sharpening your sponge bath skills.  In short, while not nearly as bad as any other number of medical procedures (at least you get to go home), it's not a barrel of monkeys, either.

After Monday's "third time's the charm" procedure, it's time to pick a surgeon (I'll be a patient of this doctor for a number of years, so we need to get along and also, how far do I want to have to travel for check-ups? These questions, along with, "You received your Board certification when?" and "You've performed this exact operation how many times in the last year?" are ones that will need be asked.) Hos much tissue will need to be removed (lumpectomy or full-on mastectomy), what sort of surgical follow-up (radiation, chemotherapy, both, or neither) and what kind of recovery time is expected - these are questions that cannot yet be answered.

Part of the Colander Commandoes
I've had what I'm being told is a very human reaction to all of this - and the first person to quote Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to me gets strangled with a pink ribbon. I see the massive "bummerocity" in dedicating this year to getting my diet and exercise habits in better order only to be hit by a cancer diagnosis. I am grateful for medical technology that found the "bad spots" years before a traditional mammogram could've picked up on them. I'm profoundly humbled by the kindness of friends and complete strangers who have come to my aid during a time when a certain slant of light makes me tear up. I have cards, presents, prayer shawls, silly pictures, and a list of names as long as my arm of people who are willing to help out. (Need your leaves raked? Dog need some attention and a place to romp? How about some casseroles and soup so you don't have to fret about cooking?) You learn that you're sick even if you don't exactly feel sick. And you learn that life keeps spinning and that it's not all going to break your way just because you're sick - we had to put our young gray cat down due to (you guessed it) cancer this past week and that was a Very Bad Day.

Very Fetching Hat
And you know what one of the most profound lessons in all this has been?  Yes. 

Yes, I do have time to be sick. Yes, I am far, FAR stronger than a half-teaspoon of malignant tissue. And yes, I am worth being loved and being taken care of. (There was a time I wasn't too sure about that part.  Really wasn't too sure about that part!) Yes, deadlines can be re-negotiated without the person on the other end thinking you're some sort of couch slacker. And yes, you can fight with a Very Fetching Hat and dozens of friends who are willing to wear colanders for the battle. 

I have cancer, yes, but that's far from all there is to me. Going into December, I figure my final challenge for 2014 is going to be one that I maybe should have put first - every day, I'm doing something nice for me. Maybe I'll bake something to share (hey, nice to me can also be nice to others, you know!), maybe I'll make time for a manicure (waiting in doctor's offices leads to me picking obsessively at my cuticles), maybe I'll take a half-hour and read for fun. At any rate - it's the Season for Being Nice - and yes, that should count me.

Be well.  And to quote those grand philosophers Ted "Theodore" Logan and Bill S. Preston, "Be excellent to each other."




Monday, November 17, 2014

So You Think You Had Plans . . .

As I wrote in my last post, my regular, run-of-the-mill mammogram didn't look so good, so other tests were ordered. Then an ultrasound. Then a biopsy. OK, at this point, it doesn't take a Rhodes scholar (which I'm not) to figure out that sumpin just ain't right in Boobtown. And true enough, the biopsy was clear as dawn - ductal carcinoma in situ ("DCIS") which translates into "yay! you've got the very least bad form of breast cancer!" What I've got hasn't invaded beyond the duct into surrounding tissue or into the lymph nodes, but let's not kid ourselves, this is still Pink Ribbon territory.

And I'm scared.

Friends and family have been great and things are chugging along - I have an MRI scheduled for first thing Wednesday morning and after that, I'll pick a surgeon (think of it as a really bad game show, probably airing on Fox until public outcry becomes too much to ignore) and we figure out how much of me is left and how much of my Amazonian cosplay takes on an air of true authenticity.

Time does funny things at this point. I want everything to just stop. Just. Stop. I want to curl up into a very small ball and hide under the covers, not even coming out for comfort food like pie or Chicken 'n' Stars. I just want things to stop. But things, of course, don't stop, not least of which is because I have attained the status of a Grown-Up and am expected to carry on with things. There is work to be done - papers to grade, laundry to fold, writing to do, pets to care for, errands to run - all the things that go into creating a modern life and yes, they have to be done. And they have to be done even when you're feeling weak, and fragile, and impostor-ish because with DCIS, you just barely have cancer at all, and so many other people have it so much worse, so for God's sake, buck up, girl! (You think this because your brain is certifiably crazy, by the way.) And someone gives you a hug or buys you a cup of tea and you just collapse into a shallow puddle. If you're lucky, you choke out, "Excuse me" and get to the bathroom before you begin sobbing and no mascara is really that waterproof. Screaming seems like a logical course of action, but it would scare spouses, co-workers, small children and/or pets, so that's out, unless you make an excuse and go for a drive. Then, make sure the windows are tightly rolled up and have at it.

And then there are the times where you're okay and you can fret over everyday things, like not being able to go for a jobble because it's raining too hard and you're pretty sure you could've made good time today. And you make jokes and wisecracks because it's what you know how to do and it feels normal and you want to feel normal but damn, this is weird. People in nurse's uniforms and sensible shoes are treating you like you're a chart, so you take to wearing a ridiculous hat just so they stop for a split second and look you in the eye.

You try not to worry people around you, but you just don't know how to answer when someone asks you, "How are you?" That simple question becomes a big, honking deal. You just get through the day as best you can with lists running through your head as you pigeonhole your life - medical stuff, insurance stuff, work stuff, family stuff - and invariably you drop something.

And you just want to curl up into that very small ball - all from a microscopic cluster of cells that don't belong there. Roller coaster of emotions? Hell, that's easy. Try a gorram Tilt-A-Whirl. But I keep being told to "feel what you're feeling" and right now, I feel overwhelmed. People are thinking about me, and praying for me, and making me gifts (gorgeous, gorgeous gifts) and being so kind to me that I feel so crappy about feeling crappy.

But I am assured that this, too, shall pass.

Leaving what in its wake, I have no idea.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October - Checking In!

Way back at the start of the year, I set five challenges for myself and I've been reporting in my progress, setbacks, and "ack!" moments all year. To recap - I picked six classic books I hadn't read to complete this year, I picked 24 "good movies" I'd never seen to watch this year, I determined to keep a household budget and tame the credit card monster while I was at it, I said I'd take the FlyLady system further into homecare, and I said I'd train to run a 5K race before the New Year's Eve.

Clearly, I was clinically insane to think I could take on all of that. Add in the fact that I work full-time at a job that I greatly enjoy, but one that is quite demanding and I have relationships that I care about keeping healthy and positive, and oh,yeah - I had a major commercial book come out (Wanna Cook?) and nearly immediately jumped into the next project - yes. Insane. Bonkers. Loopy. A sandwich short of a picnic. Round the bend. Crazy as a rat in a coffee can.  All of those terms, plus more, probably have applied.

So I'm practicing something that isn't on "the list" - something that I strongly suspect isn't on any of our lists, but jolly well should be. I'm practicing saying "enough will do." FryDaddy and I just finished a quick swoop 'n' clean of the floors in our little, lovely home. It had gone on too long, and what we just did will do. While I didn't pick up another heavy "good book" from my list, I've enjoyed reading Hedy's Folly (about movie star Hedy Lamarr's contribution to torpedo technology, as well as cell phone technology) and Factory Man (about keeping furniture manufacturing jobs here in the Southeast despite the flood of cheap Chinese imports). I haven't marked any more movies off my list either, but I've seen Fritz Lang's M, which I somehow had missed - amazing, incredible film about justice, vengeance, and insanity. The Babylon 5 project isn't moving as quickly as I'd like, but we're still okay on that. "Enough will do."

Budgeting is the tough one. It's just too tempting to eat out on busy, busy days. I'm hoping with the coming of colder weather that stews, soups, and casseroles become staples in the household. Easy to fix ahead of time and you know what you're having before you get home from work.

Following my doctor's report, I gave up tracking my food (just in time to go nuts with Halloween sweets), then got a KA-BLAM! dropped on me in the form of a "not so good" mammogram report. Long story short, additional tests indicate some calcification, so I have a biopsy scheduled for later this coming week and I'm scared. Hint - if something like this ever happens to you (and I hope it doesn't and that your life unrolls in front of you like the finest Chinese silk), screw being brave and stoic. Tell people. And let them help you. Let them cook for you and keep you company, and sit with you over coffee, and talk about something completely else, and offer you support, and prayers, and cartoons, and well wishes. And be so very glad you have people. They're a little scared for you too, and this helps them about as much as it helps you. So suck it up, sunshine - and let people help.

One thing I've learned in the last twelve years or so is that it's fine to be scared, you just don't let it stop you. So you do it scared. So this morning, I woke up to a dark, cold, blustery-with-rain day and went ahead and jobbled the "Rhythm & Roots" 5K race. My time was so-so - I was hoping to be under 35 minutes, but with the cold, rain, and crowd, I came in at 38:38. Still - that means I've done three 5K's this year and a year ago, I didn't even own a pair of running shoes and was flailing around a church parking lot.

Enough will do.




Sunday, October 12, 2014

What a Week!

 It's been an eventful week here at the Nest - both for me personally and for a far larger population.

To start with, I had my first full physical since I took up running at the start of the year. I have a fantastic doctor and, I'll admit, I was hoping that the needle of the dreaded doctors' scale would give me number I could preen about after all the exercise, food tracking, water guzzling, and so on.

Nope.

In fact, according to that lying piece of cheap machinery, I've gained nine pounds, which I'm pretty sure means I weigh the most I ever have. What the what? I was quite dejected about this. On top of which, I'd bought into an idea on a running blog and had started doing ten straight days of running. Yes, I'd kept most of the runs short (which for me means under two miles), but my calf muscles had started screaming at me the day before my appointment. So now I feel hungry (blood tests meant fasting), grumpy, achy, and generally unsettled.

By the way - all of that goes to prove that it's all attitude. Before I saw the number, while I felt hungry, all the rest - including the achiness - wasn't there. Instead, I felt good - like I was taking care of myself and doing the right things. I'm telling you, I'm half a step from crazy three days a week.

This is why you need a doctor you can actually talk to. I laid out my concerns - I'm stressed with multiple deadlines and responsibilities, I have a book contract to fulfill, which is a fantastic opportunity, but a heavy load of additional work. I'm getting older, the weight's creeping on, and I hate tracking food and exercise; it makes me feel additional pressure. I have a wonderful husband I want to be around to enjoy. What can I do?

Gently and with good humor, she explained to me that what I truly need to do is get over it. Seriously. The numbers that concern her - blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, and those more arcane test numbers from (ahem) bodily fluids - all of those were stellar. Far better than they had been, and she had been happy with them before. Muscle does in fact weigh more than fat and my clothes are fitting just fine, so - keep running, but pay attention to twinges and take regular rest days and I'll see improvement more quickly than if I try to become a Navy SEAL. Eat food that's good for me, but don't track it if I don't want to. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and go to bed at a decent hour to guarantee that I get enough sleep to be sharp and function. Take time every day to rest and stretch and focus. In general, just be kinder to myself. And treat myself to that latte on the way home, although making it with skim milk isn't a bad idea.

Holy smoke. A doctor who talks sense to a patient who's maybe a little too harsh on herself.

I shook her hand and leave the office feeling much better about things and hied myself to the coffee shop where part two begins.

I took my latte and pastry (remember, still fasting at this point) out to a sidewalk table to begin enjoying the sunshine while I pondered the whole get over it thing. Within four minutes, I had a surprising opportunity to mend a fence that had been broken for a decade. Like most people who have passed forty, I've got a past and part of that past is a relationship that ended badly but has both of us still in this same small town. We run in different circles and rarely - very rarely - even see each other. While neither of us hisses and spits on the ground, historically we don't get along, each blaming the other for the demise of a relationship that (let's face it) was bad from the get-go. At any rate, he was walking into the coffee shop, said a cautious hello as he passed my table, and we wound up spending maybe five or six minutes chit-chatting about a huge legal issue facing our state (we're both lawyers, although I don't maintain a practice). I think the hatchet's buried, which is rather nice. We've both moved on and I know I'm in a far better place that I wouldn't be in if I hadn't come to this town and I followed him to this town, so . . . I doubt we send each other Christmas cards, but that's okay, too. Dr. King's right - hate's too big a burden to bear.

So that legal issue we were discussing. Two years ago, North Carolina put gay marriage up to a popular vote in a primary election, when turnout was guaranteed to be low. The language used in the constitutional amendment (we already had a law, but that wasn't good enough for some folks) was harsh and broad, prohibiting not only marriage, but also any form of civil partnership. It was ham-fisted, unfair, and badly thought out. It also passed easily.

Fast forward to this past week. When the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to any of the same sex marriage ("SSM") cases up for consideration, it created some chaos. The Fourth Circuit, which includes North Carolina, had ruled that Virginia's law violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause, but what did that mean for the rest of the states in the circuit? As a practical matter, it meant that SSM was legal in all states in the Circuit, but there was a flurry of filings. Interestingly, most of the focus was on a case in our Middle District. While our attorney general has refused to defend the law, based on the Fourth Circuit ruling, two politicians who used taxpayers' money to hire outside counsel, filed to intervene. While the judge there gave the potential "intervenors" (a fancy word meaning "I'm not a party to the case, but let me in to plead anyway") until 3 pm on Monday to get their act together, a judge in the Western District presiding over a different case (this one involving clergy who maintained that their First Amendment rights were being violated by prohibiting them from performing SSM ceremonies), relying on the Fourth Circuit ruling, struck down all laws and statutes prohibiting SSM in the state of North Carolina.

All laws and statutes. I had been obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed, yet missed the ball. I genuinely thought nothing would happen until Monday. Safe to say, North Carolina sort of exploded - some with happy tears, glitter, and cake, others with frustration, condemnation, and ashes - but the sky remains firmly in place.

As I said - quite a week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Checking In - September!


What an interesting month it's been! (Such a useful word, "Interesting.")I've had the opportunity to learn a lot about "over-goaling" this month and I'm actually spending a few days re-assessing. Far from being a sign of failure, I've learned this year that those times are crucial to success. I took on too many goals and put too much pressure on myself to excel at all of them all the time, and it's okay to acknowledge that and correct it. Forward motion is progress and sometimes that forward motion is pitching a fit and declaring that there's just no way that all of this can get done right now and, if fact, declaring Bill the Cat to be my spirit animal!! (Pant, pant, sigh, gasp.)

True.

But where's that leave me?

Well, the "good books" and "good movies" challenges are back-burnered right now. With work on the Babylon 5 book heating up already, I found myself overwhelmed and teary at the prospect of doing those things to mark a title off an arbitrary list. I'll get to them, but right now isn't the season for that. I've seen plenty of movies and read plenty of books, but not the ones on "the list" and that's just dandy.

Zone cleaning is sort of in the same boat - it's not a struggle to keep up with my morning and evening routines, but much of anything beyond that is proving to be monumental. I keep the book with the zones out and I read my daily challenge each day and sometimes it gets done and sometimes something else gets done. You know what? The house is still standing and remains in better order than it used to be.

The budgeting challenge hits full-force this month. As I wrote over Labor Day weekend, we had car repair bills that turned into "we can't resurrect her this time," which meant a certain amount of yike! We're mobile again and just fine, but those were not expenses were were prepared for. It's going to be a tough end of the year on that score, no doubt about it, but it'll all work out and hey - we're doing all of this so that soon (on the cosmic scale, anyway), money won't be the issue that it is now. Delayed gratification. Can't say as I like it too much.

Now to report of the 5K challenge, which I've folded into the first-stage-of-wrapping-up "You Gonna Finish That?" Challenge. This was designed to make me hard-core accountable for a number of habits, including diet, exercise, and self-care. (Remember what I said about too many goals?) I used SparkPeople as my diet and exercise tracker which I liked since it had exercise videos and recipes that linked directly to the tracker. I don't like tracking, although I'll admit it's useful to see patterns (I eat too many carbs, for example. Mostly "good" carbs, like whole grains and the carbs found in fruit, but still - that was eye-opening). I made sacrifices in terms of sweets, made sure to drink at least two liters of water per day (yep, I know where every bathroom is throughout my college campus), aimed for hard exercise at least three times a week, and have tried to get more sleep. 

Right at a month in, I can report that, while I still don't like tracking, knowing that I have to do it has made it easier to say "no" to some bad choices. While I'm trying to not give the scale too much authority (I still stink at that, by the way), I'm down four pounds. I've also logged 13 run/walk workouts this month for a total of 31-and-a-touch miles, with 22 of those miles being at a jobble or better. For someone who was staggering around a church parking lot seven months ago, that ain't too shabby! So I'm going to keep this challenge going another month and let's see what we see.

What I really want to add in now is more attention spent on taking better care of me - teaching is not a job that lends itself to being left at the office and researching and writing a book isn't exactly a side job, so my twin goals here are to (a) make the office more pleasant and (b) not be so hard on myself with deadlines that I set and that I know to be ridiculous. I had a small writing project that nearly drove me around the bend that I should have been able to handle with ease, but when added to the several other regular gigs I've got going on (which includes two blogs, a weekly movie show that involves watching and research before the cameras begin rolling, and a regular column over at the pop culture site BiffBamPop), I was perilously close to the non-whimsical version of "crazy." So I reached the conclusion that normal people would've gotten to a long time ago and I'm not taking on more work during this time. Let me keep working on spinning the plates I've already got up on sticks!

Onward!





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moving Into Fall!

As in, actually "moving" into fall - I had my first actual timed 5K earlier this month and I just wanted to do my best. It was a challenging course and remember - my 5K back in April was that super-fun Color Run which was untimed. I was nervous. I'm not exactly sure why - I knew I could finish the course - even if I had to walk it, I'd finish it - but I wanted to do well. Ensley came out to cheer me on, as did a few other friends and I met some friends at the race. I just wanted to not be all the way at the tail end. I had a goal - finish in 40 minutes, which I thought was pretty realistic, given the times I'd been clocking on my shorter morning runs and the number of big ol, honking hills on the course.

Final time? 35:50. (And the crowd goes wild!)

Seriously. That's an average of 11:33 a mile for 3.1 miles. Oh, to many experienced runners, it's a nothing sort of time, but I'm not them and I was thrilled to the gills at that. Even won a third place medal for my age group. (I won't tell you how many people were in my age group, but yeah, it was three.) So, woo-hoo, me! And yes, I've already signed up for my next one, at which I might be chased by banjo players. Such is life in my hometown.

Due to starting on the next book project - go here to read about that - my book and movie challenges are being ignored right now. I hope to get back to them, but to everything there is a season, and right now, 'tis the season to watch and notate.

On the "You Gonna Finish That?" Challenge - I've done very well for three weeks. We took Sunday as an "off" day (my first in that time) and I ate joyously, which meant I totally overloaded on carbs and sweets, so the scale was not my friend after that. Oh, well - I'm starting to see these things differently. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do far more often than I'm not and - over time - that'll matter. It also doesn't help that I overdid it with some yard work over the weekend and haven't run since then. 'Sfunny - I actually miss not running, but I was far too sore to do that to myself. It's better to take a few days off than to stubbornly injure myself and need to take a much longer time off!

So more good than bad to report. I'll check back in at the end of the month. Today's the first day of fall and Ma Nature wasn't fooling around with the change of seasons today. Personally, I love fall - the crisp air, the colors - but it was a bit of a sudden change!