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.


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.

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