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!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Checking In - August!

It was just about a week ago that I checked in here regarding progress on the 2014 January resolutions, so I'll be brief on those:

Zone Cleaning Challenge - well, I've got my morning and evening routines down, but adding in the weekly zones is still hit & miss for me.  Now that the semester has started and is finding a routine of its own, this comes back to the forefront.
5K Challenge - who would have thought that I'd find out I actually enjoy jobbling? I have my first "real" (as in timed) 5K race this coming Saturday. I'm nervous, since of course I want to do well, but it's an excited kind of nervous. I'll be doing something that I couldn't have done when I first set these challenges and that has to be viewed as progress of the good kind.
"Good Book" Challenge - Just under the wire, I managed to finish Faulkner's Light in August before I ran out of month. I really, really enjoyed this and I found myself wondering what Faulkner's reaction to the events in Ferguson, MO would be if he were still around to talk with us about Southern mythology, class, and race - always race.
"Good Film" Challenge - Saw several good films this month; none were on my list. Well, it doesn't make me a bad person.
Budgeting Challenge - Doing well enough on this that we enjoyed a weekend away for Labor Day. That probably blew the budget (or perhaps the car repairs will - like Moses, our loyal Bonnie Bonneville didn't make it up the mountain to the Promised Land, but unlike Moses, her damage may be fleeting), but it was a sorely-needed trip and I regret nothing!

I think I "over-goaled" here trying to do everything at once, so I cut myself several breaks as I focused on one good habit at a time instead of trying to overhaul so many aspects of my life at once. But now that a few habits have, in fact, become habits, FryDaddy and I agreed it was time to tackle the elephant.

Eating.

See, I like food. I like white-tablecloth restaurants and I like fried chicken eaten on a tailgate. My comfort food is Southern - pimento cheese, Barefoot's homemade mac 'n' cheese, sweet tea, Krispy Kreme, and so on. I've been known to say (to a good friend, not on a job interview), "You gonna finish that?" while gesturing with my fork. I grew up one of those people who was picky enough of an eater that it seemed I could eat whatever I wanted with no problem. Well, like eight-tracks, those days are gone. Yes, I'm a runner, but I'm a baby runner, and I simply don't burn enough calories to eat like that.

Add to that the fact that my job involves a lot of sitting and typing, and the problem begins to emerge.

Add to that the fact that I deal with stress by eating and the problem comes into focus. 

Add to that the fact that I also do a movie show for local cable, and prep work for that involves sitting and researching the films and sitting in a dark theater to watch the films, which for me as a kid, meant treats like buttered popcorn and candy (maybe a Slushie), and I don't need a nutritionist to tell me what's what.

Oh, I've tried all this before; I've even bought the books and the hype. The result is the same - I'll lose five pounds, then reward myself with a Blizzard. So I've roped in FryDaddy this time to help me. Really, it's not a matter of me not knowing what a portion size is or not realizing that fried is less good for me than broiled, it's a matter of putting theory into practice.

I'm trying to be sensible - no cabbage soup, no "only eat tomatoes for three days," or any of that nonsense - and I know that this will take time, but dammit, I don't want it to. Sigh. Patience may be a virtue, but it's not one of my virtues!

Today has been all about getting ready - I'm eating a few things that will shortly be on the "verboten for now" list (Mickey D's really does have the best fries, you know) and I've done a massive grocery run. No kidding, this one's going to be hard, but for the next month, my plan is to limit my refined carbs (no rice or pasta as a side dish with dinner and no stuffed baked potatoes as dinner), no sweets beyond a touch of good dark chocolate or something similar (au revoir, Fuzzy Peach!), and (gulp!) no movie treats. Let them catch me sneaking in grapes and baby carrots. Let's see where I am in a month. I won't lie - the scale has power over me, but so does my wardrobe, and I'm tired of putting something on and offering up a muttered prayer that the button will fasten.

Deep breath. Here goes - and yes, I'm gonna finish that.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer's Waning

August has been a strange month here at the Nest. It's a month that tends to be syrupy hot-and-humid, so it starts by slowly crawling by, then suddenly, everything goes into turbo speed and it's the end of the month and I'm left wondering what the heck just happened. It's been a good month so far - a few days at the beach (FryDaddy and I swear we're going to get a solid week in next year) served as a break from start-of-school madness. (But not totally.  Seriously, this semester has gotten off to a rocky, weird start punctuated with all manner of schedule changes and curve balls. It'll settle and a rhythm will be found; it always does, but it's been a wee bit odder than most.) So I'm off my routines, but still wanted to check in once before the very end of the month.

Oh, and that's the lesson I learned this month - the term "routine" has a different meaning than "straitjacket." The idea behind routines is that I do those things way more often than I don't do them, and it helps keep the house running more smoothly as a result, but you just can't do everything every day. Sometimes work needs you a little extra, sometimes you have houseguests, and sometimes you need ice cream more than you need a fruit smoothie (it's true) - half a hundred things can happen and that's all okay. You just get back on it as soon as you can and, if you've been basically keeping up, it's not a big deal to get caught up. So zone cleaning (and healthy eating choices) are both ongoing goals, but there's progress.

So let's see -

I've signed up for my next official 5K race - I had the Color Run back in April (click here for details!) and I've done two "virtual" 5K races over the summer (you run your own race and post your time and other people in other parts of the country do the same thing), but this next race is local, so I figured it was time to run against the clock and see how I do. Today FryDaddy and I drove over the course and wow! are there hills! I won't be especially fast and I'm pretty sure there will be some walking involved, but I'll finish and that's way more than I could've said in January.

I'm working my way through Faulkner's Light in August for the book challenge and quite liking it. I'd been tearing through it - the language is so compelling and it's a great story - but I put it down to read this month's book club book (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - fantastic read!) so I'm not done with Faulkner quite yet.

Speaking of which, Faulkner worked as a Hollywood screenwriter for a bit in the 40s and he co-wrote the script of Howard Hawks' To Have and Have Not which was (very loosely) adapted from Hemingway's novel of the same name. This month, FryDaddy and I started writing a twice-a-month column for the pop culture website BiffBamPop.com. My first contribution was on that very movie and Lauren Bacall, who made her stunning screen debut in it. Check out the column here! Not exactly part of my film challenge (I'd seen To Have and Have Not before; it gets better with subsequent viewings), but hey - that's where I am for now.

Budgeting is going pretty well, actually. We're both working on that and working off a single budget instead of two separate ones is much easier! Sure, we still have work to do (groceries are always more than we seem to think they will be), but again - progress.

So here I am, at the very end of summer - a season which beats you into submission with heat, humidity, and the siren call of hammocks and shade trees. I hope you'll understand if I remove myself from the Internet to go enjoy a few of those last golden hours. Just tell me, and I'll write a note for you to do the same!



Friday, August 1, 2014

Checking In - July!

OK - time to check in.  As regular readers know, at the start of this year, I set five goals for myself, with the intention of making 2014 a true "makeover year" and I post these "check ins" once a month (generally on the very last day of the month or the very first day of the month) to both show how things are going and to keep myself accountable for these goals I set.  And make no mistake, these were some LARGE goals. The road hasn't always been smooth, but looking back, I can see progress, often in some unexpected ways. So - the goals were:
  1. Believing that a sense of calm would come from a neater house, I wanted to get organized and stop doing "crisis cleaning" on the weekends. FlyLady had helped me get rid of (maybe literally) a ton of clutter, so I decided to take that system a little deeper and add "zone cleaning."
  2. Money's tight, but I wanted to stop using credit cards and live frugally, with the idea of whittling away at the household debt.
  3. I decided to watch 24 "good movies" that I really should have already seen, from a variety of genres, ranging from foreign classics to comedies.
  4. I wanted to read six "good books" that had slipped by me.
  5. I wanted to feel stronger, so I decided to train to participate in a 5K race this year. Thus, the "Dancing Sloth" was born.

Whew! Taken all at once, these goals were intimidating. But I've stuck to it (mostly) and can report the following as we head into the "dog days" of August:

July was interesting, since I was back in the classroom with my summer school classes. They're fun classes (at least I think so) and they went well, but boy howdy! do they take time. (I had two sections to teach, each of which met for three days a week for  just over three hours a session - yike!) Now that FryDaddy is home from graduate school for good, we're working through our "delayed honeymoon" period, which is an occasion for much YAY! but it also means we've been sorting through things that most couples would have sorted out at the beginning of the marriage. One thing I can thoroughly recommend for those in such situations (although I think this might be a good general rule) is to schedule "date time." We've been doing that, but we took it to a new level today and made all of today "date day" and it's been just lovely. We ran on our own schedules, ate out so no one had to cook or clean, saw a matinee (we chose Guardians of the Galaxy, which we loved, but pick whatever suits you), and took advantage of a rainy, unseasonably-cold day to lounge and snooze. It doesn't really matter what you do, it matters that you make time to do it together.
  1. As to the housework routines, we're nearly there. I have a few things I do every morning and a few things in the evening to get things ready for the next day, pretty much without fail. I'm working to add just 15 minutes to that on the weekdays, usually just after I get home. I spend those few minutes in the "zone room" for that week, using the FlyLady "daily mission" and zone checklist for that day as a starting point. Hey - the living room windows got cleaned this week, which has to count for something!
  2. We're back on the budget horse this month, making a strict budget using the Dave Ramsey system. (Yeah, he shoots his mouth off about the poor and makes some downright dumb statements, but his "debt snowball" system is sound. Take what works, leave the rest.) We'd used it before, but we were running off two budgets, since FryDaddy was at school and I was here. Now we're consolidated, which should make things easier. Fewer meals out, though - that's for sure!
  3. The movie challenge -  I marked one off my list in July; the amazing classic Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. If you haven't seen this one - even if you're not a fan of Westerns - you owe it to yourself to see it. Incredible performances from Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne and a story that'll just yank you in.
  4. The book challenge - well, I picked heavy books for that list and I sort of fell into a crevasse about it. I've been reading (I actually finished five books this month, all nonfiction, ranging from a short series of vignettes about women explorers to a fascinating examination of the origin on modern forensic science), and I'm determined to start Faulkner's Light in August since it's, well, August. Check back in a few weeks to see how I'm doing on that.
  5. As for the 5K challenge - I've had surgery to clear my airway (read about that in my previous post) and am back to running. A good thing, since I agreed with a friend - we'll call her "Bawlmer Hon" here at the Nest - to participate in next summer's Ramblin' Rose mini-triathlon. It'll be a hoot getting ready for that, let me tell you!
Huh. Looking back, I'd say it's been a good month. It hasn't always felt like that (surgery, school, chores, uncertainty), which is why these posts matter. There are days that are great, days that are good, and some days that are pretty much meh. The trick is to look at the overall pattern.

And hey - it's still summer!  Go enjoy it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Not Even An Isthmus

In one of his most famous poems, John Donne claimed that "no man is an island" and he was right. No matter how independent you may think yourself to be - and independence is a good quality - we are social creatures and we need other people. I've had some time to reflect on this over the last few days and I am even more convinced now that this is so.

Earlier this week I had some minor surgery done. Doctors aren't entirely sure why I have scar tissue in my windpipe (probably some sort of reflux, but tests weren't conclusive), but there it is. Scar tissue can be cut away, but it always grows back and as it grows, my airway narrows and my breathing is affected. I also start to cough a lot to clear away junk that most of us don't think twice about - a healthy windpipe has teensy hair-like structures to help propel phlegm and crud up and out whereas scar tissue is smooth and those structures are absent. Exercise exertion seems to both help and serve as a canary in this coal mine, so we keep an eye on things through an uncomfortable scope procedure that I'm very grateful for, and every few years (it had been three years since the last time; six weeks since the most recent scoping), I have to get my trachea "rotor-rootered." It's not fun, but it's pretty routine and low-key. Still - general anesthesia is not a joke, although I try to yuk it up as they get me ready. I was first diagnosed at Baptist Hospital (now called Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, but it's still "Baptist" to most North Carolinians) and I continue to go there for treatment. Yeah, it's a little out of the way from where I live now, but it's a top-notch teaching hospital and I make my living talking and teaching other people how to talk, so I'll keep going there thankyouverymuch.

Recovery from this procedure isn't too bad - everything is done with lasers, not scalpels, so there's very little blood or discharge - but I'm tired, sore, and achy for a few days and can't really do too much for myself for the first day and a half. (Interesting facts to support this point - anesthesia can make you super-cold and shivery for the first several hours post-discharge, the compression thingies they put on your legs to prevent clots can make your calves sore to the point of making walking uncomfortable for the first two days and your innards are likely to be strangely out of whack for two to three days.) While you're not covered up in bandages and bruises and stitches, your body's gone through some trauma and you're not exactly Little Miss Marathon.

Enter other people. Oh, let me explain just how much NOT an island I've been the last few days, for there is nothing (emphasize that - nothing) like being sick to make you appreciate other people. I can't list all the kindnesses I've received over the last five days or so, but let me try to capture the flavor of compassion.

  1. My surgeon cuts on Thursdays, so I had to miss a day of my turbo-speed summer school class. Far from celebrating "woo-hoo, teacher's gone!" my summer class made me a "get well" card on the sly to give me before I left for surgery last week. Totally spontaneous and heartfelt and I made sure it was propped on the dresser top so I could see it from the bed. 
  2. My parents went full-out Florence Nightingale for me. Every food that I even thought might be tasty they had in full supply. I go whole-hog Southern for my comfort food, so I've been consuming pimento cheese by the tubful and sweet tea by the half-gallon.
  3. My parents live in a century-old farmhouse, obviously built before air conditioning. The rooms are gracious, airy, and peaceful. I loved sitting on the breakfast porch and just watching the antics at the bird feeder. Plus, one night a doe came up out of the woods to graze in the pasture. Best kind of reality TV.
  4. Ensley tore up the road between our home and my childhood home, tending to our sick kitty (she's on antibiotics and won't come out for just anybody) then coming up to make sure I wasn't pushing things too hard the first few days.
  5. Having a little in my iTunes account to treat myself to gemstones in "Midnight Castle," a found-object game I spent a lot of time playing over the last couple of days. (Anybody playing that - friend me!)
  6. My minister - who's brand-new herself in town - kept up with me through social media and made sure to relay support and kind words.
  7. Friends.  Oh, friends. Neighbors who offered to look after the critters, Facebook friends from close by and across borders and oceans - I had dozens and dozens of people checking in on me, wanting to know if I was okay, if there was anything I needed. It feels good to know that I'm connected like this, not just drifting on the air currents like a discarded grocery bag.
  8. Being well enough to drive home, but still not have to do anything. Yes, there will be work tomorrow and errands and all the things that come with modern First World life and I'll be better suited to face them following three solid days of rest.

It's true - I'm not an island. I'm not even an peninsula or an isthmus. And what a wonderful thing that is. Think of it this way - you know who's truly independent? The poor schmo you see leaving the hospital in a cab. He can't drive himself and there's no one to pick him up, take him home, and get him settled, much less check in on him to make sure he's comfortable post-surgery. That's not independent; that's just sad.

Thanks to all who made sure I knew I wasn't an island.