Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

hive-aitus

Greetings from Hell, aka Los Angeles, a climate-forsaken oven of a city, solidly in the grip of a brain-boiling, mood-ruining, sex-thwarting, creativity-curbing heatwave.

I am sweaty and cranky, and have been for weeks now. Though that only partially explains my absence here. Mostly it has had to do with my health, which right about the time of my last post took a sudden and bewildering nosedive.

In a nutshell: I have spent the past two and a half months fighting, of all fucking things, hives. Debilitating, unbearably itchy, splotchy red hives, of the sort one gets as an extreme allergic reaction. Only, I'm not allergic to anything. I am, however, immune-challenged, what with my hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's. Both of these conditions put me at greater risk for something called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, or, in plainspeak: Neverending WhoTheFuckKnowsWhy Hives.

It is a long and boring story involving lapsed insurance policies, indifferent doctors, blood tests, urgent care visits, and weeks on end of intense misery - and mystery. Really all that matters at this point is that eventually I figured out a medication "plan" that manages and ameliorates the symptoms. But it's a doozy.

You know how groggy a single Benadryl makes you? I'm currently taking eight Benadryl a day. Eight. Plus nightly Pepcid. Plus my regular dose of synthroid.

There's a potentially happy ending to this story, in that there's a decent chance an untreated dental infection has been the source of the hives. I found out about the infection two weeks ago. My dentist explained that rather than manifest in my mouth itself, the infection has been draining down directly into my lymph nodes, which then may very well have been distributing the fucking infection throughout my body. Causing my mast cells to freak out and fire histamine in an effort to protect themselves. Causing the hives.

I had the offending tooth removed a few days ago. I am on antibiotics. The hives seem to be abating, but I'm still too terrified to quit the Benadryl and find out if they're really gone (it takes a few days of "building up" resistance to the histamine before the Benadryl is effective for me, and every time I skipped a dose or was even a few hours late, boom, my skin would explode again).

Ugh this is so boring. Other people's health issues are so not sexy or interesting. I am sorry. It's just been an incredibly challenging few months, and I wanted to offer an explanation for my disappearance. There were some really, really bad moments during which I entertained some really, really bad thoughts. Luckily, where "luckily" doesn't even come close to expressing what I'd need it to, I wasn't alone in any of this.

"Supportive" is a similarly insufficient word to convey how amazing Timo has been during this time. It's no exaggeration to say I couldn't have survived without him. He was there at three am, when every inch of my arms, legs, neck, chest, and back were aflame with blooming, excruciatingly itchy red roses. When the only thing to be done was head back to the hospital for another round of steroids. Even on nights when there was nothing he could do but keep me company while I suffered, he insisted on keeping me company while I suffered. He went online and did research on his own, to understand what was happening to me and how to help. He found holistic doctors and learned the difference between H1 and H2 blockers. He talked in terms of "we" and "us". As in, "We're going to figure this out. We're going to get you answers and get you better." He'd lift my chin and make me look him in the eye and believe him. He made me feel much less alone, during what is ultimately a very lonely ordeal.

So. That's a bit of what's been happening. But there's been lots more going on, much of it wonderful. Shows and trips and another birthday. An anniversary. And I'll catch you up on all of it, I promise, but right now? Right now I am sitting in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, on what has turned into a gloriously grey, breezy day, waiting for my boyfriend to come meet me so we can have drinks alfresco at the open-air restaurant next door. He just got off a plane an hour ago. He's been gone for two weeks.

We have some catching up to do, too.

of lions and ladybits


Notes:

apologies for "swabs", fucking ew

my doctor's office (read: KP complex) is on the same street as a Scientology center and the intersections are always swarming with pamphleteering kids

the underwear were purchased in one of those 5 for $25 Victoria's Secret deals and all they had left in my size was dumb phrases like that and "UP ALL NIGHT"

this whole thing was basically just an excuse to start the category "colorfy chronicles"

anesthetic

Dentist this afternoon. Three cavities filled, because apparently I've been using powdered sugar as toothpaste. Gotta look into that. I'd canceled my three previously scheduled appointments since I am a huge baby (though in my defense the last time I let the dentist lay hands on me I got dry socket), so I couldn't say a word today when they kept me waiting a solid forty-five minutes before starting.

The exam rooms at my dentist's office aren't divided by walls; they're just small, recessed inlets off of a main walkway. This makes it easier for the staff to step in and out of each patient area quickly, so they can manage multiple appointments at once. It also allows everyone to hear what's going on with everyone else. Drilling, cries of pain, diagnoses of gum disease... It's all very democratic.

Today in the "room" beside mine was an elderly woman, whose face I could see when I turned to my left, which I did exactly once. Scraggly grey hair, clean-faced, threadbare cardigan. She had a dreamy, faraway smile that suggested nitrous, but it was clear from the encouraging words of her companion (who I could hear sitting at her feet) that she wasn't high. Just not there, exactly. Alzheimer's perhaps, or dementia? I don't know. The middle-aged male voice - which kept calling her Drea and telling her how brave she was -  had a patronizing quality and an unnecessary loudness that set my already-nervous teeth on edge. I wondered whether there wasn't some part of Drea, still perfectly lucid, that hoped he would shut the hell up.

With nothing else to do, I texted Terence a play-by-play. He just said, "She likes to smile, and she likes to chew, too! Doesn't she? DON'T YOU, DREA?"

Jesus, said Terence. Plot twist: he's actually in the chair in a dress talking about himself. 

Now he asked the dentist and assistant if they mind if he takes a picture of them working on her. WTF. He's talking to her like she's four and promising her a Starbucks cookie and I want to cry. 

Poor Terence, who was probably waiting for my own work to start so he could take a nap, didn't know what to say. It's like a bad show and you can't change the channel. 

I feel awful for her, I said, adding a frown. She's terrified, I said, though I had no way of knowing if that was true. Then I repeated the mantra I'd been saying all day, to stave off my dental visit dread: Joshua Tree, Bonnaroo, Lake Burton. Joshua Tree, Bonnaroo, Lake Burton. Joshua Tree...

---

My fillings were surprisingly quick and painless, and I was on the train back downtown within forty minutes. I absolutely hate having my face numb, though, so as soon I got home I Googled ways to dispel the anesthetic faster. One site said increased blood flow helps, as from exercise. But I hadn't eaten anything so a run was out of the question. I threw some soup on the stove and edited photos from the weekend while I waited. When the soup was hot, I poured myself a steaming bowl and retreated into a big, cozy chair. But when I tried to blow on the soup to cool it, the muscles around my mouth just bunched up stiffly; I was still too numb. Panic crept in. What if something's wrong? What if they made a terrible mistake and my face is stuck like this forever? I slurped a spoonful of soup and the slackness of my jaw was unbearable. Exactly how a stroke victim would feel, I realized.

I knew everything would come back to me, if I just waited a little bit longer. I'm still waiting, though. Poking my cheek with my tongue, grimacing and puckering and getting quizzical looks from Chaucer.

We could probably both use a run.

derby

Kentucky Derby banquet and viewing party thing, at the LA Athletic Club. We're not members, but Kross is. Figured what the hell. We'll wear goofy hats, suck down a few mint juleps, root for the horse with the best name. An excellent excuse to day drink with friends, anyway.

I get there first, see Kerry waiting at the bar. No hat. Plain black shift dress. Looking annoyed. The club is terribly understaffed. Always takes ages to get a drink. The woman working the entrance accepts my cash and cuffs me in a flimsy wristband I'll lose within five minutes; I stuff Terence's, along with his free drink coupon, into my clutch. A clutch seemed in order, to go with the pleated woven dress someone must have secretly clipped a good four inches off over the winter. I feel naked. Adjusting my headband, where a hot pink silk dahlia blooms on an inch of netting, I decide not to give Kerry hell for her lack of costume. But it was her idea.

"Ross is grumpy," she informs me by way of greeting.

"The dress looks great!" I respond. It's an Anthro score she texted me about a couple nights ago. I didn't realize she was going to wear it today. But no amount of tugging on my hem is going to change how short and silly my own is. Time to cash in that free drink coupon.

Back at their table, which sits adjacent to the massive projection screen showing pre-race festivities, Ross picks at a plate of traditional derby fare, as interpreted by the LAAC. Finger sandwiches, pigs in a blanket, fried chicken. Kerry has waited for me to eat, and after setting our drinks down, we hit the buffet. Everything I put on my plate looks brown and dry and wilted. Remembering the KP Health Action Notice I received via email a few days back, I add a couple spoonfuls of cut strawberries. Slightly elevated, I'd read, my jaw nearly hitting the keyboard as I scanned the results of my blood work. Cut back on fried foods, cheese, and butter. Immediately I'd sent a screenshot of the message to Mason, my partner in thyroid disease, dadlessness, and now, apparently, high cholesterol. He'd only just found out about his a few weeks before.

OMG we're fucking twins, he replied.

Ridiculous, I texted back. Caught me completely off guard.

Meet you at Furr's at 4:15 for dinner

(Cracks about getting older figure heavily into our conversations these days. We even have a hashtag for it: #goodforty, coined by the twenty-something girl who, while flirting with him, assured Mason he was "the good forty".) 

The strawberries turn out to be the best thing on the plate anyway.

We catch up, the only real news since we've seen one another last being our respective vet visits. I tell them about Chaucer's mysterious panting episode; they brief me on their cat's medical issues. We are all of us mortal: canine, feline, human. I don't mention my elevated cholesterol, which depresses me. Makes me feel old. Kerry is turning forty-five just days before I turn forty. Big year for both of us. When I'd offered to plan something for her birthday she'd answered, with typical frankness, "Well you can try, but I don't know if I'll want to do it." I've missed her.

Terence arrives and settles in. He feels out the loop, coming late. Scooches his riveted leather chair close to the table. "What'd I miss?" I've prepared a plate for him since, absurdly, the food is already being pulled. The race hasn't even started and they're shutting down the party. Breaking a sugar cookie in half, I assure him he hasn't missed much. We've barely started drinking and haven't picked our horses yet. I finish the cookie and have another.

Ross hands me a printout of the race stats. I ignore the odds and read the names aloud. "Upstart" is my favorite. He points out how much Terence, ever the good sport and clad in a salmon-colored bow tie with matching suspenders we picked up for $20 in the Fashion District, resembles Bill Nye. Kerry nearly spit-takes her julep. But I'm not satisfied until Terence poses for a pic, perfectly imitating a photo of Nye I pull up on Google images. It's spot on. Also terribly unflattering. I text a side-by-side to him and everyone we know. The four of us giggle like idiots, barely aware of what's happening in Kentucky. The day has officially begun.

There's a costume contest, organized by an upsettingly perky woman whose dirty blonde hair matches the wide brimmed, beribboned hat she's cocked just so. Her entire getup is as beige as the brunch on my plate but much prettier. And she knows it. Flashing a flirtatious smile, she saunters around the room, drawing the suspense out. "Whoooo will it be? Who will be our best. Dressed. Womannnn?" Kerry and I roll our eyes. By now we've all decided this was an overpriced dud of an event at best and at worst an alarming display of privilege. Several women are wearing the kind of expensive Gainsborough hats I saw the day before in the Fashion District, selling for over $100. I feel guilty enough about my headband, which I talked the shopkeeper down to $20.

The race is over in the blink of an eye. Excited shouts, laughter from the more raucous tables near the bar, then it's done. The crowd clears out quickly, leaving the dining hall zapped of energy. But we've got coupons for the "Specialty Punch" being served at whiskey bar next door, so after Terence and I make an ill-advised stop by the photo booth, that's where we head.

Seven Grand is making a good show of it, for a Saturday afternoon. Most everyone there is dressed up, too, which makes Terence feel a little better about his ridiculous ensemble. Such a good sport. Me, I've about forgotten my headband and miniscule frock. Or I'm just too liquored up to care.

We stay long enough to collect our free punch, which isn't half bad, and for me to say hello to a bartender I know. Old roommate of an ex-boyfriend. It's an embarrassing conversation.

Hey! (For the life of me I can't remember his name.)

Hey! (I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember mine, either. Thank god.)

How's it going? You guys out for the derby?

Yeah, yeah! Day drinking, you know. 

The awkwardest of nods and silences ensues.

So, how's living with ___? (Holy fuck, did I just say that? Am I that drunk?)

Oh, we don't live together anymore. He moved out. Still my best friend, though. (This last feels like a warning.)

Let me start over. (I shake my head as if to clear the slate.) How are YOU? What's new with YOU? (He laughs.) So obnoxious. That was so obnoxious of me! (He laughs more, shrugging it off. He's a good guy.)

Good, good. Doing the ___ and the ___ and working for ____. Which is cool because I get to ____. (I nod emphatically, feeling mortified, and make some inane comment to show I'm paying attention.)

Well, great to see you! (His name comes to me, and I use it, hoping it doesn't sound like an afterthought.)

Yeah, you too! You look great! (He gestures to my dress, headband.) Really, looking awesome. (I think I hear a trace of begrudging surprise in his voice, and I wonder, drunkenly, what that's about. No matter. Ancient history. I'm a different person now, with different LDL levels and everything.)

We take an Uber to Villain's Tavern, and the rest blurs a bit. Sitting outside in the sun, at our regular table. We have a regular table, I inwardly marvel, with these friends of ours. That is a thing to be grateful for. 

We talk for almost two hours, slowly losing sunshine and heat. Bacon cheddar fries to share; today is not a day for minding Health Action Notices. Several trips to the bar for cocktails the bartender takes a stupidly long time to prepare, packing them with extra shaved ice to disguise how underfilled they are. In the bathroom, Kerry and I argue over whether or not the mirror is "skinny" and which of us has the worse throat wattle. Back outside she deletes the group photos we take (No, no, terrible, ugh, no...) but shoots a selfie before handing my phone back to me.There.

Later when we're waiting for another Uber, the four of us stand close together, pairing up tightly for warmth. Where did this cold come from?? A young family is having a photo shoot feet from where we wait. They must have wanted the Arts District backdrop - brick walls, wide alleys, industrial cool. Two impossibly blonde little girls mug and twirl for the camera, the younger one clearly more comfortable in front of the lens. Kerry, semi-wasted, is fascinated by them. "Look at their hair. Look at it! Ellie! What happens to blond hair? It doesn't stay that shiny and perfect!"

"You have the exact same color hair," I point out. And she does.

"Yeah but I pay hundreds of dollars for it."

Next up is dinner: Mexican food in Silver Lake. Margaritas we drink on the rocks, but with glasses of ice served on the side. Someone figured out you get more alcohol this way, and we've stuck with it ever since. Enchiladas: cheese for Ross and Terence, chicken for Kerry and I. An argument breaks out. Familiar territory for us - woo woo, superstition, psychic powers and whether there's life after death. Sides form, as usual. Two against two. I complain, begging them to knock it off. They know I hate getting into this shit. I storm off to the bathroom. "You guys can talk about this all you want, but you know where I stand, and you know I hate arguing with you. I love you guys too much. I don't want to do this again." When I come back it's still going. Gets more heated. Too much alcohol today, too sensitive a topic. Do you guys not think that I'd love to talk to my mom and my dad? That I'd pay anything for just an hour's worth of conversation?? It's not. Fucking. Possible. So what's all theoretical for you? Not so much for me. Tears. First me, then Kerry, in sympathy.

"Ellie, none of us knows what that's like. None of us has lost a parent." She's conciliatory, dabbing her eyes. I try to explain it's not a competition, that's not what I meant. Holy fuck are we drunk. Somebody hands me a napkin. Terence tries to wrap his arm around my waist, but he's on the wrong side of this whole thing, and I'm furious. We catch our breaths, pay the check, and stumble back outside into the cold, shocked and quiet at the turn the night has taken.

In the Uber home I'm sandwiched between Ross and Kerry, who plays with my hair and squeezes my arm every few minutes. We're all of us rattled but I'm the most far gone. Before leaving the restaurant I'd made them promise we'd leave this topic alone once and for all but we can't take back the nastiness that's already been aired.

Next day, I fire off an apologetic text to them both. Sorry, Jesus. Terence and I are so different that sometimes I just latch on to those differences. Both answer, making jokes. It's all good. We've been friends for four years now and it's all good. We know it was drunken bullshit, and it's already funny in retrospect. 

The nice thing about getting older: our friends get older right along with us. And the nice thing about going through shit is that some of it we go through with them. Our pets get sick. We get sick. We face down milestone birthdays and high cholesterol. We confront fading hair color, ghosts from the past, and fears from the present. And we do it together, because it's so much better that way. Drinks in hand, dumb hats on head, we race towards the end together.







morebettersoon

Boring blog is boring lately, apologies for that. Few things going on keeping me from writing more (and better):

1. Some awfulness went down between myself and a friend recently. I'm really bummed out, not sure how to handle it, not sure if I want to talk about it or not. And when there's something big on my mind like that, everything else gets backed up and frozen until I've dealt with it.

2. I'm distracted by both some concrete and some still-vague travel plans for the year. Until that's all firmed up, I feel guilty spending time on the blog, particularly because others are waiting on me to make decisions. After Bonnaroo I'm taking a solo, mini road trip through Georgia and South Carolina to visit some friends (which I'll expand on in another post, soon). I need to figure out the exact wheres and whens of that. Also, Terence and I are talking about heading up to Big Sur for my birthday. A sort of hotel/camping hybrid weekend. Camping because I want to be in nature, because I want to try acid. But near enough to a hotel that if things go south, we can easily get back to civilization. I know, I am weird and crazy. And finally, not-so-new neighbor friend and I are looking at Morocco, this fall.

3. I guess I also have to cop to a general lack of inspiration, possibly tied to my upcoming 40th? Every so often an ugly thought worms itself into my brain: Quit the blog. You're too old for this shit. You've outgrown it. I doubt I will, I'm too entrenched. But ways to, I don't know, level it up maybe? - have been on my mind. It seems ridiculous to be posting screenshots of conversations with my friends at my age, even though they crack me up and are fun to read later. Essays feel like the right direction. Less social scrapbooking. But I still love that stuff, too, so who knows.

4. Last thing is that I've been focusing more attention than usual on working out. Also a turning forty thing, admittedly. And what with my finite energy supply, sometimes blogging gets shoved out of the day in favor of a run, or a longer set of weights. The good news is that I feel pretty great, physically. The bad is that I feel out of touch, creatively. If only balance really was sold in bar form. And because boring blog has been boring lately, eh, why not, here's a "progress" shot - though, spoiler alert, there'll almost definitely be more nekked pics closer to my birthday, because I yam who I yam.


Feels like I just wrote a term paper extension request, with the most inappropriate attachment ever.

Happy April, Quents! #morebettersoon

somewhat the same

Twice a year I go to an allergist about an hour away in Orange County. Two tiny exam rooms, a reception area, a closet sized workspace that seems to be his office, and a sort of makeshift lab where he performs skin tests. The same two women, a receptionist and an assistant, have been working for him for as long as I've been a patient.

After I blow out digital candles on a computer simulated birthday cake, he peers in my ears and up my nose, listens to my lungs, and asks a handful of questions to verify that my lifestyle hasn't changed radically in the last half year. The whole process takes about eight minutes, after which we spend another ten bullshitting about our personal lives. In his case this means travel, the tribulations of parenting a 20-something, and updates on his romantic life. Then it's my turn. He asks me about living downtown, about my own relationships. The same things he's been asking me for years, the whole routine strangely reassuring.

Afterwards he tops up my supply of free, full-sized "samples" of the inhalers I use, each of which would cost over three hundred dollars at the pharmacy. He waves away my slobbering gratitude, making me promise to just come see him in another six months. I schedule my next appointment on the spot, always marveling, when the receptionist names the distant date, at how much will have happened before my next visit. "How about July 20th?" she said this afternoon, and all I could think was that by then I'll have turned forty, sung Piano Man alongside eighty thousand other people, and visited Georgia for the first time. A little bit older. A little bit fuller.

He's the only doctor I've ever looked forward to seeing, and he's been seeing me since 2009.

Today while looking over my chart he announces his upcoming trip to Switzerland. "Your lung function is awful," he adds, seemingly as an afterthought. 

"I'm sick!" The force of my objection starts me coughing. A wheezy hacking that bounces right out the door and down the hall. The other patients probably think there's a chronic smoker back here. "Work or pleasure? Switzerland." More coughing. I grab a tissue. Pointless, though. There's nothing coming loose.

"Ugh, Deborah." He's one of five people on the planet to still call me that. But from him I like it. Makes me think of uncles and cousins, New York relatives who always said it with an accent so thick it seemed tribal. "That cough is terrible." He pats the sterile paper stretched across the exam table. My invitation to hop right up, be poked, be prodded.

"Yeah. Well." His tone worries me. Somewhere along the way, for the lung function challenged, a cold stops meaning chicken soup and movie marathons and starts meaning potentially serious complications. I'm never sure if I've reached that point yet or not. 

But he's smiling, so it can't be that bad, right? Or else he's just excited about Switzerland, which he's telling me about now. Medical conference, up in the Alps. Train ride through the mountains. Just chugging along, miles and miles of snowy pine. I imagine him bundled up, tasteful scarf and overcoat, nose red and breath coming in steamy puffs. Stamping his feet to stay warm while he waits for his luggage. "Are you taking anyone?" I mean a girlfriend. He almost always has a new girlfriend.

He removes the disposable black plastic cone from his otoscope and tosses it at the trash. We both watch it bounce off the rim and land on the floor. "Buddy of mine and his two kids. Eight and eleven. That great age, you know? Before they start to hate their parents?" I murmur assent, my head tipped back to showcase my nostrils. "They call me Uncle Don. They love me. Deep breath. Again. Ugh, you sound horrible. Again, deep breath. One more." The clotted bubbling in my chest is embarrassing. It must sound disgusting, amplified to stereo by his stethoscope.

The doctor announces that he's putting me on antibiotics. "What?! No. Really? I hate antibiotics. For how long?" I'm not giving him a chance to answer and he's blinking at me patiently. Fatherly. When my mother died, my marriage tanked, and my design business grew too big for me to handle, my body reacted by literally deciding it was allergic to stress. I broke out in huge, raging hives all over my arms and legs. Blistering red, agonizingly itchy, lasted for months. Kept a bristle hairbrush beside the bed, scratched myself to bleeding, silent tears of frustration running down my face while my stranger of a husband slept, inches away. Prednisone, twelve pounds gained, no clear diagnosis from multiple apathetic doctors. Then I found Dr. Levy. The first time he saw me I broke down sobbing in the exam room. "You're going to be okay," he promised. "This is stress-related and it's temporary." He let me cry until I was empty that day, asking me gently what was going on in my life to terrify my immune system so badly. I told him everything, it just poured out of me. My mother, my marriage, the suicidal thoughts, my brother, how overwhelmed and alone I felt. He was determinedly cheerful. He felt for me, for all I was going through, but he wasn't going to let it swallow me up. And in the five years since then he's been a twice-yearly reminder that even the worst things in life don't have to swallow us up. I don't drive all the way to Orange County for free inhalers. Those could probably be obtained easily enough from decent, sympathetic allergists closer to home. I drive all the way to Orange County because he's the only doctor I've ever gone to who seems to genuinely care about me as a person, and that's where he's located.

He cocks his head, teasing. "What's wrong with antibiotics? Antibiotics are your friend." He knows I know this. In fact were he to describe me I bet he'd call me a "sensible girl." It seems like an expression he'd use.

"I knowwww," I intone, exasperated. "Believe me, I'm on your team. Yay science! I just--"

"You have acute bronchitis."

I explode in my seat. "What?! Bronchitis?? No way! How do you know? Just from listening to my chest?" This seems impossible. Shouldn't there be a test or something? Visions of sallow-faced old women, stooped over, gripping the arms of their wheelchairs in a paroxysm of coughing. Visions of my mother.

But Doc is ignoring my panic, skating right over it. Eyes on his laptop, tabbing through screens, submitting the prescription to my pharmacy downtown. "Five days' worth. You'll be fine in a few days." Few days. Fine in a few days. His words a warm bath, relaxing the grip of anxiety. And now we're talking about everyday stuff again. After Switzerland he's going to London. He's started making notes of all the crazy things he's seen as a doctor. Thinks maybe the collected anecdotes could be a book, or a podcast. His daughter has moved back home.

"That's common these days though, isn't it?" I offer helpfully. He groans and rolls his eyes. Doesn't want to talk about it. The latest girlfriend is mentioned briefly. Nice girl, too new for Switzerland though. She has fourteen year-old twin boys, entitled brats, their entire generation is like that though. Asks me about Terence. How long's it been, how's it going, etc. Offers up a few platitudes about compromise and communication. I let these stand rather than tell him that actually, things are pretty great. Gotta take the Dadisms where I can get 'em. 

"So you live downtown, right?" Here it is.

"Yeah."

"Do you live in one of those big open lofts?" He asks me this every time.

"Yep!"

"That's so cool!" He responds this way every time, too, probably imagining some boho chic, artistic space it doesn't remotely resemble. But that's fine too. 

And then we're done. I'm chaperoned back to the receptionist's counter, given an armload of samples and an appointment reminder card, and bid farewell until next time. "Thanks! See you in July!" Somewhat changed but somewhat the same too. 

seven things I am aware of as the year comes to an end

1. If a tree falls in the forest and no one was there to document it, it still made a sound. 

Quitting Instagram turned out to be a surprisingly educational experience for me. When I took away that push-button validation, it got weirdly...quiet. And in that quiet I had plenty of time and space to consider why and how I document my life. What my motives are, what if anything I'm trying to show - to prove - to myself and to others. I got honest with myself about some of my longstanding insecurities, particular those surrounding friendships and what has, pathetically, persisted as a never-ending need to prove I have them.

I went through some shit growing up, with friends. And not-friends. And frenemies. Some awful, awful shit that launched me into adulthood frantic to fix that part of my life. And I do feel miles away from where I was, as recently as my twenties. But I certainly don't need to fuck with the precious, mysterious thing that is friendship by making it any more of a spectacle than it already is here on overshariquent.

Not being able to announce, immediately, HEY GUESS WHAT I HAD DRINKS WITH MY FRIEND KERRY, WHO LIKES ME, BECAUSE SHE IS MY FRIEND, BECAUSE I HAVE FRIENDS is really good for me. It took some getting used to, because I was so warped by the Insta-machine that not documenting my good times made them feel, at first, somehow less real. But eventually I was able to just chill and let go of the need to SHOW and TELL, and I know I became a better friend for it. More present and relaxed and engaged. Less distracted by the need to Make Sure and Get a 'Gram Out of It! Nowadays I don't even blog about every "bloggable" thing I do. I'm just doing things and enjoying them, like a normal fucking person. Imagine that.

Whether or not I blog it or Instagram it or Twitter it - the good moment happened. That's the thing to remember.

2. Reading fiction makes me a better person. 

My reading habits aren't what they used to be, but I'm fighting to earn back my bookworm badge. It isn't always easy to find time, and distractions abound. But when I do make the effort to plunge into a novel, to persevere until I feel its hooks sink gloriously into me, I marvel at myself. Psst, dummy! How can you forget how good this feels? How can you not want to do this ALL THE TIME? 

A good book occupies my thoughts and distracts me from the annoyances of daily life, making me less irritable. Even when I put it down, the back burner of my brain has something more satisfying to chew on than whether or not I should reorganize the spice cabinet. Fictional characters feel like temporary friends, and the (often epic) challenges they face smack some perspective into me.

I feel more open-minded and cheerful when I'm reading fiction, and I suspect I'm more pleasant to be around. It leaves me feeling peaceful and thoughtful, which probably primes me for more loving and engaging interaction with the people I care about. Compared to how I often feel after an hour or two on the internet (depleted, agitated), that's a very welcome change.

3. Being precious with things wastes them. 

For as long as I can remember, I've had the notion that "good" things need to be reserved for special occasions. It's only now starting to dawn on me how crazy this, because I'm looking back at the last few decades of my life and realizing how little I've utilized some of those good things. The expensive, the rare, the treasured and beloved. The "good" china. My "nice" sweaters. For a while after I bought it, I even avoided sitting on my own sofa, because I didn't want the cushions to wear out.

It's all fine and good to value your belongings, but what's the real value of something that you don't even use? When you think about it, disuse is about the saddest fate you can assign to some material thing. I mean, if you were a thing, wouldn't you want to be used and loved and appreciated to your fullest extent? Would you want to sit collecting dust in a cabinet, or in a jewelry box, or on a closet shelf? Wouldn't you revel in being taken out and given a chance to shine?

Losing my parents unexpectedly in quick(ish) succession has absolutely driven into me that life. is. short. Embrace what you've got here and now because you never know when it'll be gone.

4. Crowding out the bad is easier than cutting it out.

I first came across this concept in Hungry For Change, a food documentary espousing an approach to diet and exercise from a place of health and self-love, vs. one of deprivation and self-recrimination. And it was sort of revelatory for me, because it absolutely did work. When I stopped focusing on restricting bad foods and concentrated instead on slowly integrating in better ones, my life changed. And yeah that's dramatic, but it's true. I have never felt so consistently healthy as I have the past year, and that, I believe, is due to what I've added to my diet (which in turn has crowded out some of the worse stuff). It's easier not to fixate on avoiding unhealthy choices (thoughts which veritably consumed my food-disordered twenties) when they've been upstaged by healthy ones.

This idea has worked in other areas of my life, too. I'm as addicted to my phone as the next person, and much as I try to cut back on screen time, it's difficult. So rather than continuing to just rebuke myself for making poor choices (tap tap on Safari, oh look here I am surfing TimeWastersAnonymous AGAIN...tap tap on some shopping app, oh look here I am being a materialistic asshole AGAIN), I've added in some good choices. Duolingo. An awesome, super simple flashcard app for (NERD ALERT!) learning new words I've picked up while reading. I also only recently realized that I can save web pages, such as to news sites (or my blahg), to my home screen. But - and this is where the crowding out comes in - in order to do so, some other apps had to give up their prime real estate. Result: when I reflexively grab my phone in a free moment, it's that much easier to choose curiosity or creativity over mindlessness.

5. Curiosity and creativity are muscles that have to be worked. 

Sometimes I criticize myself for not being more up on current events, for not reading more articles, for not being better in touch with popular culture or knowing more quirky, interesting things about the natural world. The thing is, curiosity comes naturally to children, I think, partly because they have so little else on their plates. And since learning is so empowering, it becomes addictive. But the older we get and the more we have demanding our time and attention, the harder it is to keep this habit of learning up. It takes more effort to read the whole Times piece, for instance, and not just glance at the tweeted summary. But I think that just like any other habit, it can be strengthened. So rather than beat myself up for not knowing ALL THE THINGS, I accept that I can only know some - and even knowing those will take work. But educating myself about one issue is such a confidence booster that it feels less daunting to move on to another, and so forth.

Same thing with creativity. I believe writer's block exists, but I also know that forcing myself to sit down and create content sometimes produces the best stuff. No fairies are going to flutter down to my fingertips and take over. There's plenty of inspiration to be found in the world, but no magical muses. And the more I flex my creative muscles, the stronger they are and the braver I am about breaking out my guns. Even for silly stuff the point of which begins and ends with my own amusement. 

6. Good enough is a great stopping point for me.

A few months ago, Terence and I were checking out at the grocery store when a magazine caught my eye: Domino (a home decor magazine that was wildly popular but inexplicably retired in its prime). I was obsessed with Domino back in the day. I subscribed and saved every issue, only giving them up with great difficulty when I got married and wanted to pare down.

Anyway, when I saw the glossy cover on the rack, I audibly gasped. "What?" Terence asked.

I pointed. "My favorite magazine ever. Well, after Jane. I had no idea it was back!"

Terence grabbed a copy off the shelf and tossed it on top of our items, assuming from my reaction that I'd want one.

"No!" I exclaimed, shaking my head vehemently. "I can't." He didn't understand. "I'll want to redecorate our entire place," I explained. It's too much."

"Too much" is a place I can go to, too easily, and be too dissatisfied...and too spendy. Too much is Apartment Therapy and Pinterest and Domino. Where my home is concerned, I've learned that comfortable, organized, and welcoming to friends are good enough. I could make myself insane (and broke) trying to make it the most OMGstylish and amazing space ever, but that way madness lies.

Accepting its imperfection frees me up to better enjoy the home I've already got vs. obsessing over some future-perfect version of it that may never exist.

7. I want to be a fisherman.

A few weeks ago I told Terence about an interesting website I'd stumbled across. The Center for a New American Dream's tagline is "More of What Matters" and it sponsors initiatives having to do with things like community collaborations (sharing resources, strengthening regional food systems) and post-consumerist culture (better work/life balance, protecting kids from the marketing machine - even an alternative giving registry where experiences take the place of material goods).

But most exciting to me is their "Redefining the Dream" program, which is about what you'd imagine, and has a number of thought-provoking resource pages exploring the capital B Big questions (how much is enough? what really matters in this life? how fulfilling can an earn-and-spend existence be?) that, the older I get, the more I ponder.

Anyway, when I told Terence about it, he told me the story of the rich man and the fisherman, which I'd never heard. There are several versions of it floating around, but I like this one best. And if you're too pooped to click over, in a nutshell it's a story about a businessman who's too blind to see that the best things in life are free. (I'm not doing it justice though, because it's a powerful little tale and you really should read it because wow is it some food for thought.)

I've known a lot of rich men in my life and a handful of fishermen, and I've seen what it means to be each. I'm pretty sure which I'd rather be.  

wok this way

Last night on my run I encountered a real life word problem. I wish I could tell my eighth grade math teacher about it, but I didn't even pay enough attention in that class to remember his name, so I'll tell you instead. Here's what happened:

A couple of months ago I came to the realization that my body doesn't care whether I run for an hour or I run for half an hour. After HardSummer I was so burned out on working out that I decided to take two weeks off. Well, two weeks turned into two months and I hadn't moved a muscle. But even though I was less toned from not lifting weights and my goofy faux-pilates exercises, I didn't weigh any more. Whether this is a function of my wonky thyroid or just aging, I don't know. And I don't care. Fine by me.

Anyway, I ixnayed on the onglay unrays, and cut it down to 30 minutes with a break at the halfway point to do some stair lunges.

The place where I do lunges is just past the freeway, in a semi-sketchy area that's not particularly well lit. Most nights I point my phone's flashlight at the steps lest I trip on a discarded fast food container or syringe or a napping rat. Last night it was especially dark - no moon that I could see, and foggy. So I didn't notice the two people huddled together at the bottom of the first of three flights until I was upon them. Oh, hai.

I didn't want to be annoying by going back and forth right next to them, so I figured I'd double up on the bottom stairs instead. Only, I forgot how to math, because I couldn't determine how many times I needed to take that first flight in order to make up for skipping the upper two. Trying to factor in that I'd traverse the top flights when I left anyway caused my brain to make belabored whirring noises and smoke to issue from my ears (hopefully it blended in with the fog). That's when I realized that a) I am an idiot and b) I was in a real life word problem!

Ellie the Insomniac likes to climb a three-flight set of stairs twice before heading home to pen rabid screeds on her blog. If, in her efforts to compare favorably with a Paper Magazine cover model, she is thwarted by a canoodling couple 1/3 of the way down, how many times must she climb the bottom flight in order to reach her goal?

I did three sets on the first flight and called it a day, stepping carefully around the canoodlers on my way back up. Then I came home to scrawl about it, because therapy, and because I have a standing challenge from Terence to do more doodles, even though I am an alarmingly bad artist. (He says I should stretch myself creatively and that the message and intent matter more than the execution. IF ONLY.)



Notes:

1. That is actually last night's correct moon phase. I looked it up. This is the kind of commitment to accuracy you'll find here on Elliequent, folks.

2. No I do not run with an upside down wok on my head. That's a ponytail. (See baby? I told you they'd laugh at me.)

3. Not to scale. But this is! (And much, much more beautiful.)

the week in silver linings

1. I return to the orthopedist, this time for a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I am told I have a 97% chance of it taking care of itself within a few weeks; otherwise it'll be time to talk about an MRI. All I hear is "There's a 3% chance your shoulder is fucked and will require surgery. LOL forever at your broken body" and am beside myself with worry.

Silver lining: A flexible, plastic model spine sits on the counter in the doctor's office. While we're waiting, my companion manipulates its vertebrae into a ventriloquist performance of The Beach Boys, to distract me. I am reminded how incredibly nice it is not to have to face scary medical stuff alone. 

2. Chaucer accidentally rips my fitted sheet while dreaming.

Silver lining: I take the train to my favorite bedding store to shop for a replacement, and my first solo subway trip since breaking my foot feels amazing. I'm massively relieved to be mobile and independent again after so long. I will never again take for granted the basic ability to walk. Like, ever.

Secondary silver lining: my 135lb dog runs in his sleep and that is just damn adorable.

3. I am called an idiot, a moron, and sanctimonious - by three different individuals.

Silver lining: I can see where I've probably been a bit of each, and reflecting on how doesn't kill me - and in fact makes me feel strangely good, as if the people I've disappointed expected more of me. I guess it feels like a compliment of sorts? Being held to a higher standard seems like a good thing. 

4. I drop my debit card on the way out of the grocery store. Within fifteen minutes, the lucky new cardholder has gotten him/herself a smoothie and $200 worth of electronics.

Silver lining: I was totally bored with that card number, anyway. The CVV in particular was lamesville.

5. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Missing my mom like whoa. Best cook ever, to begin with, and her Turkey Day spread was nonpareil.

Silver lining: Myself and a +1 are invited to return to a friend's family's home in Fresno for Thanksgiving (same wonderful place I went last year). The number of things I've got to be thankful for feels like it jumps to +1 billion.

the new normal

Every time on Instagram that I do the thing where I apologize for not being around, for not being up to date on everyone else's pics and goings-on, one or another of The World's Most Kickass Blog Readers basically tells me to shut up. That it's not necessary. That it's my right to have and enjoy an offline life.

And I appreciate that so much. But I still feel compelled to talk a little bit (more) about why I've put out a whopping two (2) posts this entire month. Because it isn't just that I've been in a whirlwind of distraction and excitement, romantically. There've been other reasons, as well.

For one thing, there's the matter of my foot. Which is still healing. So very, very, very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that I worked myself up into a lather of worry and frustration, convinced there was something wrong. That it hadn't healed correctly, or that, for some crazy reason, I'd been misdiagnosed. I even very seriously entertained the thought that my X-ray had been mixed up at the lab with someone else's.

That kind of thinking isn't like me. I'm neither a hypochondriac nor a conspiracy theorist. I just thought that once I was cleared to start putting weight on my foot, I'd bounce back to normalcy quickly. This hasn't been the case, at all. I'm still limping, badly, and in pain.

And being an active and generally impatient person, this has been an extremely emotionally trying time for me. To not be able to run, or chase Chaucer. To not be able to go dancing or exploring or wandering around, just taking pictures. To not be able to play and jump and goof around with my amazing new boyfriend (yes, it is official, and the terminology has been approved). I became more and more depressed and withdrawn and scared, and by the time I made an appointment to see the ortho again - for which I had a nearly two week wait - I was beside myself. Truly a wreck. So the last thing I felt inclined towards was anything creative. Writing, blogging, photography - it all fell by the wayside as my thoughts were consumed with doomsday scenarios.

(Meanwhile, the boyfriend did everything in his power to console, reassure, support, distract, and generally love on me while I waited to get some answers. On my worst day, he showed up at my door with a venti macchiato in one hand and his six string in the other. It's weird to be going through one of the most trying times of my life at the same time I'm going through one of the most incredible.)

Anyway, all of that fear and wondering lasted until yesterday morning, when the ortho told me to take a big fat chill pill, because my foot is perfectly fine and healing normally. It's just that feet take longer than anywhere else on the body to heal - particularly my kind of fracture, particularly with how much I have to use it (I walk everywhere), and particularly because I have a thyroid disorder. I was so relieved I cried.

That being said, I still have a ways to go. I'm still in pain when I walk, which sucks, because not having a car, I walk everywhere. I still limp, which throws off my entire body and makes everything from my lower back to my shoulders sore. I have to concentrate on every step, which is so unnatural and annoying - like having to think about breathing. When Chaucer and I go long distances, I get so frustrated and upset with not being able to just relax and enjoy it, I'm nearly in tears by the end of the walk.

And I didn't want to blog about any of this, for fear of sounding like a whiner. Because, my god, there are people who don't have the use of ANY of their limbs. I can suck it up and deal with a limp for a few months, right? Of course I can. But if you want to know the truth, this has been one of the worst things I've ever gone through. Ever.

And uh, that's saying a lot.

In any case, what has now cleared the way for me mentally (and hopefully, creatively) is the realization and, unfortunately, the forced acceptance that for now at least, this is the new normal. Limited mobility, a limited physicality, and just feeling like a limited version of myself overall. Now that I know I'm probably facing a few more months before I'm back to 100%, it's time to stop sitting around in terror, start finding workarounds for those limitations, and work on being patient with my body.

And it's time to reconnect with my creative self.

There's something else, too. There's the fact that my life has been completely changed by the addition of another person, and all that he brings to it. And it isn't just that I spend a lot of my time with him, though I do. I still have plenty of time to myself, for writing and blogging and Instagramming and all of that fun stuff. (He understands how important that is to me, and he very much respects and encourages any and all of my creative endeavors.) It's also a matter of making the mental adjustment to a very different emotional life.

The new normal is being loved, every day. And that's...not something I'm used to.

I've spent an enormous amount of psychic energy the past few weeks trying to get over the hurdle of accepting the fact that, Yes, Ellie, you actually have found someone with whom to have a healthy, happy, and fulfilling relationship. You can stop thinking about it and stop holding your breath, waiting for shoes to drop. You can just enjoy it. 

I've been enormously self-conscious during this time, where my online presence is concerned. I've felt the weight of unseen eyes, friendly or hostile, waiting to see how my latest foray into romance plays out. Which sounds grossly self-absorbed; believe me, I know. But I mean, it's true. I have a pretty good idea of who reads my blog, and who checks in on me from time to time. And that's cool. I'm flattered to be of interest to anyone I've known, virtually or personally. It's just that the fourth wall can be a little crippling, when you're at you're most vulnerable.

And it doesn't get more vulnerable than saying, Holy shit, I am madly in love.

I am in love, which is always scary. But the good news is that someone is making it his business to give me every bit of that love back. Which means I am safe. Safe to try, and safe to fail. Safe to return to this space, and carry on my creative life. And though I know it will be difficult for me - not the least because there are some intimidating new eyes around here - it's important to me to work towards embracing that new normal, too.

So that's why I've been elsewhere lately. In a nutshell: fear.

But enough of that baloney, yeah?

t-minus two months

Just got home from seeing the orthopedist. Have never been so relieved in my life. The doctor says I'm perfectly fine, the break healed straight, and my foot looks strong based on my last X-ray. He cleared me to start slowly putting weight back on it, and says I should ditch the crutches completely within two weeks. And the best part? He says I should be fine to start running again in another six weeks after that.

Yes, that's still two more months of no running. But compared to the doomsday scenarios I've been crafting my head, that's the best news possible. I've tried to put up as positive a front as possible about this whole thing, but the truth is this past week I was really starting to get scared. There's still tenderness on the inside of my foot (which he says is normal), and I'd convinced myself that they'd mixed up my X-rays or something, and that things were much worse than I'd been told.

I'd gone online and read all kinds of horror stories and absolutely worked myself up to a fever pitch of worry, since the doc I'd originally seen wasn't an ortho, and I was starting to think she didn't know what she was talking about. Had a complete meltdown the other day, in fact. But as Mason (who fielded the meltdown call) pointed out, no one ever goes online to post things like "Yeah, minor break, healed great, no sweat, was back running in a few months."

Oh my god. I can seriously feel so much tension loosening in my body, now that I know I'm going to be just fine. I'm going for a few sessions of PT starting next week, just to get over my fear of walking again and make sure I have full range of movement and flexibility back in that flipper. But after that I should be back to 100%. YAY!

Anyway, I know I've been bleating about this dumb injury here and there and everywhere, so I wanted to update. So, so, so happy. Have a great weekend, you guys. :)

jones break

Last night I was looking for information online about my foot fracture, because that is what you do when you're uninsured: you consult Dr. Google. (His bedside manner sucks but at least he accepts walk-ins.) Dr. G taught me that my particular fracture - the 5th metatarsal - is called a "Jones break." Cut to me searching under those terms and bringing up a page full of results...about the recent separation of Catherine Zeta and Michael Douglas. LOL.

Rather than ignore this useless information and refine my search to include the word "foot", I spent the next ten minutes laying in bed, bemusedly fleshing out a scenario in my head where the opposing bits of my broken bone are a fiery but beautiful Zeta Jones-type and an equally passionate (but noticeably more wizened) Douglas-type. But, like, bones instead of people.

A heated argument, neither even remembers how it started. Michael's been hitting the Macallan pretty hard tonight. He's still not over the time she accidentally cried out "Oh, Antonio!" in bed. Words are exchanged. Catherine calls him an anws blewog, and after thirteen years of marriage, you know he's learned that particular bit of Welsh. When Michael tauntingly asks her when the last time she fit in her Entrapment catsuit was, she loses it. She grabs her Louis Vuitton duffel, stuffs a few essentials into it, grabs the keys to the Bentley, and heads out the door...

....and Ellie's foot goes snap.

---

Got my ticket for The Vaccines show, which is just a couple of weeks away. Hoping against hope I'll be able to walk to it (I still have bruising on the bottom of my foot, so I'm scared to put weight on it yet even though it's been six weeks).

If you haven't heard of them, or if you didn't check them out the last time I banged on about them, seriously do so. Much awesomeness.

---

I got cold hit on yesterday. By a stupidly good-looking guy. Story time!

Late afternoon, I'm a hot mess. No makeup, unbrushed hair, baggy jeans, t-shirt. I'm taking Chaucer out for a quick potty. As we wheel out of the elevator, peripherally I notice a guy sitting in the lobby. I hear him say something, How ya doing? or something, to which I mumble a reply without looking up, because a) I think he's someone else, specifically a guy from my building and b) I know I look like hell/ridiculous on the scooter.

I let Chauc pee around the corner, and we return to my building.

As we're coming in the door, a very tall and handsome guy and a short blonde woman in glasses are exiting. The way the guy says hello and smiles at me makes me think I must know him from somewhere, and I wrack my brain trying to figure out who he is. Then I realize he was the guy sitting over by the elevators five minutes before, though I still don't understand the grin.

He and the blonde start chatting me up about Chaucer, with her asking most of the questions (Oh, is this your dog? Do you live in the building? He's a mastiff, right? "Chaucer"? Are you from England?), while the guy just sort of stands there watching me. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they're being so solicitous and chatty. Then she tells me she's a dog walker, and I prepare to be handed a business card. But she just introduces herself and her friend, and both of them shake my hand. He then chimes in to say that's why he was sitting by the elevator - he was waiting for her to be finished walking a dog from my building. The way this information is relayed by them - along with the very intent way the guy is looking at me (which, seriously, was starting to make me blush) - makes me realize they're purposefully clarifying their relationship because the guy, for some reason, digs the cut of my jib.

I have no idea what to do or say. I'm obviously done walking my dog, introductions have been made, what am I supposed to do? I maintain eye contact with the guy as directly as I can without it being ridiculous (because I really am blushing at this point), tell them it was nice to meet them, and wheel off towards the elevators. The last lingering look from the guy as they head out the door seals the deal. Yep, totally digging me. I wonder as Chaucer and I head back upstairs if he'll maybe come back by, leave his number at the rental office or something? The thought occurs to me that for the first time in my life there may be a Missed Connections listing on Craigslist in my immediate future. It feels like that kind of encounter.

I unclip Chauc, wipe off his feet, and then roll back out to grab a Starbucks across the street. My regular barista is there and we're yammering away as he's making my drink, so at first I don't notice: the guy and girl I just met are sitting at a table right outside the window.

A second later, they both turn their heads to look in at me. I realize they must have seen me leave my building, cross the street, and come in to order. I make the appropriate Oh! Hey again! face, and we wave at one another. Nervous, I pull out my phone and pretend to be engrossed in Instagram while I wait for my macchiato. I glance back out the window and see the guy slowly stand and sort of stretch while saying something to the girl (who remains seated). He looks at the cup in his hand for a second, then lifts his head to look at me. I have no idea what expression to compose my features into, but I realize I'd better pick one quickly, because now he's coming inside.

He's sweet and very direct about it. The pretense is to get some ice water from the barista, but right smack in front of another customer (and the barista), he looks me square in the eye and says something about not wishing to be weird, but could he give me his phone number?

I'm smiling all over the place despite feeling extremely awkward and ugly and self-conscious (seriously, not a drop of makeup - and I was wearing an absolutely beat-to-hell v-neck that shows my awful sun damaged decolletage), because his manner is really soft-spoken and lovely, and I appreciate the fact that he offered me his number, rather than asking for mine (and thus affording me the choice of whether or not to follow through). A minute later I've got his business card in my hand and he's got my word that I'll use it.

I have, as is my specialty, turned a very not-big-deal ten minute situation into a massive blog post, like a diary writing tween, so I will wrap it up with this: dark floppy hair, massive brown doe eyes, absurdly cute, actor/singer/media manager, huge internet presence that I resisted looking into beyond a quick survey (okay maybe I watched ten seconds of a video of him singing and playing guitar), lives six blocks from me, and is probably, oh hell I don't know, late twenties? But I mean, he saw me in the harsh light of day, and kids, yr blogmistress fully looks her age in the harsh light of day. Fully. So who knows. Maybe he likes the oldur wimminz.

I haven't texted him yet.

two away zone

I'm having a rough night tonight. I'm so, so sick of being housebound with two bad feet. Yes, two. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to jack up my right foot, I think from all the hopping around on it? I thought it would feel better in a day or two, but instead it got progressively worse. And then I spent all of last weekend running around town on it, going out to dinner, to bars, to the pool, and by Sunday night, it was murder to even stand on it.

Anyway, I know it's just a matter of a few more weeks, so I'm trying not to be a whiner. But these little demons in my head keep whispering things that make me scared, all these what-ifs about improper healing, about permanent damage or chronic pain, about the possibility of not being able to run again.

And I'm at that point where I know I have to ignore these demons and just have faith that everything's going to be fine.

Faith, I have come to realize, is nothing more than the decision to anticipate a positive outcome. And I like thinking of it this way, because it gives me a sense of control where otherwise I felt none. At the very least, I can choose to anticipate good things vs. bad. That choice is mine to make. It's a small thing, but it's something to hold on to.

The one thing that invariably overcomes negative feelings, for me, is taking action of some kind. Action beats the shit out of worry. But there are occasionally times when there really is no action I can take. This is one of those times. Inaction is, in fact, my only and best option.

And it sucks.

---

New to me, music-wise:

The Eastern Sea (The Match, America)
James Vincent McMorrow (Sparrow and the Wolf, Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft and Low)
The One AM Radio (In a City Without Seasons, Sunlight)
The Neighborhood (How)
Radical Face (Always Gold)
Whitley (More Than Life)
Beta Radio (Where Losers Do)
Turtle Giant (Dry Eye, Something That You Need, We Were Kids)
The Helio Sequence (Back To This, Downward Spiral, Shed Your Love, Lately, October, Hallelujah)

There's also a new Washed Out album! Haven't listened to it yet though.

---

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, with the following sentence stuck in my brain: No one ever had their heart impounded for parking it in the wrong place. 

I've never had that happen. The words were just stuck there, and wouldn't budge. I almost felt breathless when I woke up, it seemed like such an urgent thought. I grabbed my phone and typed it into a note, but beyond that, I don't know what to make of it. I don't even know if it's true. I think I've had my heart impounded a few times, and it was hell getting it back.

Anyway, for fun, I half-baked this up in the Paper FiftyThree app:

most excellent news

Super duper quickie foot update, and I'm sorry for acting like EV1curr when I know VERFEWcurr, but I'd feel like a heel (OH SNAP) not updating after the news.

Just saw the doc, and apparently the break is actually already healed. It was a slight fracture of my fifth metatarsal (silly weak pinky), but yes, it's already mended. The pain I still have is because it's still only been a few weeks, and there's lots of bruising, etc.

But the main, most important thing is: no surgery.

I don't need a cast, either. A walking boot is recommended, if I want, to help disperse my weight and get on it again faster. But that's optional, too.

I am so relieved, oh my god.

I have some friends visiting from out of town, one of whom took me to the doc, which, holy crap was it nice to have some company for that. So now I'm going to go join up with the rest of them and have a cocktail or six, because I haven't had a drink since I took my spill, and man am I ready to celebrate.

Thanks loads and loads to everyone who has been so sweet and offering to help me out in all sorts of lovely ways. You guys rock.

Happy Friday. :)

my body, today (edited repost)

Warning: NSFW pics of yr blogmistress below the fold.

UPDATE: I originally published this yesterday, then pulled it after a few hours because I felt squicky about it. But then today a couple of people whose opinions I really value reached out to me to say they liked the post. So I decided to put it back up, but with the photos sized down a bit. I decided that would lessen the squick factor enough for me. I probably will post these on IG (as an exception to my not cross-posting rule), because they do look pretty cool on the phone. So apologies if you have to see them, like, three times when all is said and done.

Thanks for putting up with my quirks, you guys.

----

I took some OMGsexy photos of myself today, for fun. I wasn't planning on it, but the shadows were doing cool things on my sheets, and I thought some boudoir pics might come out nice. A friend is borrowing my Nikon, so I just used my iPhone and a desktop tripod. I thought about redoing them with my dSLR (and, uh, a less wrinkled sheet) when I get it back, as a sort of official update to the boudoir pics I took a couple of years ago. But I'm not sure I care enough to put that much effort into it anytime soon.

Right here used to be a very long paragraph detailing why I choose to share pictures like this. I wrote about three versions of it before I gave up, because it comes down to the fact that I just plain want to, for reasons that are various and complicated (but probably not all that mysterious, at the end of the day).

I am extremely interested in the ways that sexuality intersects with new media. I've got all kinds of half-formed posts in my head about "gpoys" vs. the male gaze, about how women training the camera lens on themselves is a way to reclaim - and reframe - their sexuality, about how vanity can be a gateway to demonstrably positive things like fitness and self care. And I would like to explore those ideas at some point. But all of that has very little to do, if I'm honest, with the fact that I took some sexy pics today and I just feel like posting them.

These are just cell phone pics - not good quality at all (though they look pretty rad on my phone). There are some unflattering angles. My skin is kind of terrifying in some spots. I think my nipples make an uninvited appearance in one of the pics, and the thong is bunched and twisted weirdly in others. But I didn't alter these in any way, other than running them through a VSCO cam filter. So I think they're a pretty accurate and fair reflection of my body, today, at thirty-eight years old.

foot update

A quick update after my cringeworthy, melodramatic post from Thursday: I had additional x-rays taken yesterday, and while I won't know anything for sure until the radiologist speaks to my doctor and my doctor speaks to me, the "off the record" confirmation from the x-ray technician is that yes, my foot is broken after all. Apparently the tissue was so swollen the night of my ER visit that the fracture couldn't be seen. I have to say I feel a bit vindicated by this news since I just knew it had to have been broken, based on how bad it hurt (and still hurts if I attempt to put any weight on it).

The tech told me the break doesn't look terribly nefarious to him, and that while he can't diagnose me or, obviously, prescribe treatment, it doesn't look like a case for surgery to him. If anything, he thinks they might put me in a cast.

I won't see my doctor until the end of next week, but I'm hoping for the best. In the meantime, Chaucer and I are chilling out, reading, and enjoying even more dairy than usual (I am and always have been a massive consumer of milk, and I secretly credit not having a worse break to my bones of steel).

Really don't mean to make a big deal out of this, but I already went and did that with my big tearjerker post from Thursday, so I figured it'd be lame to not at least let everyone know what I found out. Individual replies will be coming forthwith, but in the meantime, thanks so much to those of you who've reached out with virtual hugs or actual offers of help.

I'm touched and very grateful.

party of one

So you find yourself, two years shy of forty, to be a grown woman who's still scared of bugs. And that fear leads you to have a clumsy accident, and you land yourself in the hospital with a severe foot sprain. And it hurts, oh my god it hurts so much, but you take a good hard look around, and you remind yourself that you don't know what suffering is. And you suck it up and smile and joke and you do what you have to do. You look online and find a company that will rent you a knee scooter and a hands-free crutch, so that you won't be entirely helpless for the next month and a half. And the company is called Goodbye Crutches! and it makes you laugh, both at the situation and at yourself.

And they send you these things, which come in a massive box that you push down the lobby ahead of you, hopping on one foot behind it. And there's a basket and a cup holder you can attach to the scooter, which you try to find funny, texting pictures of them to a friend, but which you secretly find depressing. They send you these things, along with weekly emails with subject headings like "How to Handle Depression During the Healing Process." They send you an actual greeting card in the mail that says "Get well soon!" and is signed in cursive by someone named Laura. And this small consideration, this unnecessary, extra touch of service almost reduces you to tears next to the mailbox where you stand. But you can't cry because you've hopped one legged over to the mail area, leaving your scooter parked by the elevator, and the other tenants are coming home and getting their own mail, and you feel ridiculous enough as it is hopping back and forth in front of them. So you don't cry and you throw the card away.

And you go to your follow up appointment, which is a week later than it should have been, because there haven't been any openings at the public clinic you've been referred to. And you splurge on a cab to get there, because while it's only about ten blocks up the road, you can't bear the thought of taking a bus and having to wait while the wheelchair lift is lowered slowly, beeping loudly, holding everyone up, so that you can hobble on with your crutches. And you joke with the cab drivers in front of the hotel up the street, who argue over whose vehicle will be easier for you to get in and out of. "No one wants me," you tease them. "No one wants to give the gimp a ride."

And you don't mind that they decide to send you to the furthest cab from you in the line of five, because it's first in the queue to take a fare. You don't mind that they just point you at it, instead of whistling and calling it over to pick you up. You don't mind at all, because the past two weeks have been an eye opener, in terms of learning how much people, in general, care about helping someone out who's in obvious need. You've had doors slam straight into your scooter, your crutches, and you yourself, as you try to navigate the entrance to your building, while people watch indifferently. You've nearly fallen over a dozen times, trying to work your way past people on the sidewalk who don't move an inch to let you pass.

You wonder if you've been inconsiderate in that way to others, in the past. You wonder if you yourself would have noticed, and helped, and held the door, or cleared space for someone, or if you would have ignored them. You hope not, but you suspect that you probably did, occasionally. And you pledge not to grumble the next time someone in an electric wheelchair almost clips Chaucer's foot as they whiz by, because now you understand the very important difference between the side of the sidewalk that is smooth, and the side that is torn up and uneven.

Now you understand, a little bit.

And instead of growing more bitter each time someone fails to help, you understand that thoughtfulness is not actually the baseline of humanity. That the baseline falls somewhere much, much lower. And rather than feeling resentful about this, you actually just feel an enhanced appreciation for the nice gestures of people, because you realize that they're the exception to the rule. And it doesn't really make you sad so much as determined to belong to that group.

And at the clinic, you fill out your paperwork. You fill out your name and address and medical history, and the relevant medical histories of your dead parents. And you know it's coming, even before your eyes reach it on the page, but you dread it all the same. And when you get to that section, the one titled Emergency Contact Information, you know you should be prepared for this, because it's probably the half-dozenth time in a year that you've had to face down this question without an answer. You know this, and other times it hasn't bothered you at all, but today it does. Today it picks up the crutch you've got balancing at the counter against you, threatening to throw you off balance yourself, because the counter is too smooth and the crutch has already gone crashing to the floor twice, startling the entire room of patients, one of whom scrambled both times to pick it up for you. It picks up the crutch, this stupid fucking question on a document full of other stupid questions, and it jabs that crutch straight into your stomach, except you don't feel the pain in your stomach, you feel it in your heart, because you don't have an answer.

Because you don't have an emergency contact.

So you pick one of your friends from downtown, someone who lives close by, whom you know wouldn't mind, and who'd be there to help you if you needed it, to drive you back home if something happened, if something went terribly wrong. You pick someone whom you know would say "Of course!" and be touched by your asking them permission to make them your emergency contact. But you know they'd feel pity for you, too. You know they'd probably, later that night, as they lay together in bed, tell their spouse what you had asked. What you had needed. What you don't have. And that spouse would have nothing to say, because what is there to say? Life sucks, parents die, people divorce, and sometimes a grown woman is at a loss for just who, in her life, is the best candidate to be next in line to help her should the need arise.

And as you wait almost an hour for your name to be called in a massive waiting room filled with low-income patients, wishing you'd thought to stuff a sweatshirt in your backpack, you remind yourself for the fiftieth time how lucky are. How much worse it could have been. It isn't as if the waiting room is some dramatic illustration of that - it's filled mostly with healthy looking young women and their rambunctious children - but you know yourself to be more fortunate than them in many ways, and you count your blessings.

And when the medical assistant walks you back and weighs you, measures you, and takes your blood pressure, you're unbothered by her impatience with you for forgetting your paperwork from the hospital, and the sidelong glance she gives your iPhone when you take it out to check the date of your last period. You don't take it personally, though you would have, once. Now you know she's just doing her job and her thoughts are probably a million miles away, and you are no one to her, you are not her problem, because she has problems of her own.

So you sit in the exam room and quiz yourself on French vocabulary while you wait for the doctor. And this calms you, and distracts you from that stupid form a few minutes ago, and keeps you from thinking about it, because really, it means nothing, you know. All the security in the world means nothing, you understand, because once you had security too, and it all went away in the blink of an eye. You know security is an illusion, and that anyone who relies on anyone else to keep them safe and happy and loved and fed and housed is a fool, because we are, at the end of the day, truly and utterly alone, and fate has a funny way of teaching us that in the harshest way possible. You know the difference between you and your married friends, between you and the people whose parents are still living is negligible, after all, because there are no guarantees that those things will stay that way, anyway.

You know that, because you've lived it.

So you don't think about it, and instead you think about how pretty the French words for weather are. TempĂȘte. Naugeux. Ouragan.

And when the doctor comes in and looks at your foot, and you see the consternation in her brow, the frown when she sees just how much bruising and swelling you still have, you brace yourself. You very quickly and brusquely tell yourself to keep it together, ask the right questions, and find out what needs to be done. And when she tells you that she suspects they might have missed something in the x-ray at the hospital, and that there may be a fracture in your foot, you concentrate on your breathing, because you don't want to cry in front of this beautiful young doctor, who is being so solicitous and gentle in her manner.

So you breathe and you ask about the worse case scenario, if there is in fact a fracture in your foot. And she tells you that depending on whether it's healing correctly or not, that you'd either need a cast or surgery. Surgery, she says, if it's not healing correctly and it needs to be reset. Surgery, she says, and you feel a black space in your stomach expanding, threatening to turn you inside out (emergencycontact), but you're tougher than fucking nails (emergencycontact), you've been through divorce, depression, and two deaths in the past three years (emergencycontact), you've survived way worse and you'll survive this, too.

And you get the information you need. You schedule an appointment the next day for an x-ray. And you thank the beautiful young doctor and you leave. And you carry your paperwork back down the hall in your teeth, because you didn't want to make the doctor wait while you fiddled with the tricky closure on your backpack. And when a staffperson leaves her desk and walks across the waiting area to hold the door for you, that's when the tears come.

But you hold them.

You hold the tears in the elevator, and you hold them as you step out of the clinic and realize that since you're on a one-way street, you'll have to either switch buses or make your way two blocks to the next two-way street, in order to get back home, which is where you want to be so badly, even though no one is waiting for you there except your dog. And you hold them as you spy a taxi at the hospital across the street, and you hold them as you race against a stoplight, almost tripping in front of rush hour traffic, to get to the taxi before it gets another customer. And you hold them when the taxi driver says sorry, he has another customer already. And you hold them when he says he'll come right back for you, if you don't mind waiting, because he isn't going far.

And you sit (still holding them) on the grass in front of the hospital entrance, and you breathe and try not to think about surgery, or never running again, or not having anyone to take care of you after being cut up on an operating table. You try not to think (still holding) about these things, because there is no point, the universe doesn't care, and all the worry in the world won't change the fact that there may be a fracture in your foot after all. And you think about how good the breeze feels, and you like the clanking of metal on the flagpoles in front of you, and you listen to the flags themselves, the whipping, snapping fabric, and how nice it sounds, like the sail of a ship. And you look around you and you notice what the breeze is doing to some tall ferns behind you, making them sway and dance and tip and bend. And that's when you realize you're not holding them anymore, the tears, but that it's okay, you can feel sorry for yourself and be scared a little bit.

No one will know unless you tell them.

And you watch as a woman in an electric scooter is escorted out and helped into a van. And since you're sitting on the ground, you can see, close up, the wheels of the chair, which are the size of a stroller's, but much thicker. And you stare at the mechanics of this machine, the metal guts of it which are all on the bottom, black tubes and pipes and gears, looking grimy with dirt and oil. And the woman in the chair looks very tired.

So you wipe your tears roughly, because now the taxi has come back, he's come back for you like he promised he would. And that's something. That's a help.

And when you get home, you're greeted with love, with undeniable love. And that's something, too.

And you pull out your laptop, because you need to write, to confess the good and the bad, the uglier sides of yourself and the secret fears you harbor. The cynicism and the hope and gratitude which sometimes is glossier on the outside than it really is, deep inside of you.

And afterward, you feel emptied a little bit, and a little bit better, too. Because you know people care, even if they aren't related to you by blood or by marriage. You know that while you're alone, that you occupy space in this cold, apathetic world as a party of one, that you are thought of with kindness, sometimes, by people whose kindness you've done nothing, really, to earn.

And that's something, too.

the sum of my woe

A bit after midnight on Wednesday, Chaucer and I repaired to the kitchen to see whether any snacks had miraculously materialized in the refrigerator since the last time we'd checked, an hour before. There weren't a lot of lamps lit in the apartment, because I'm determined to destroy what's left of my vision before I hit forty. However, there was enough light that when I rounded the kitchen island, I could clearly see what looked like an anorexic rodent scurrying across the floor and under my dishwasher.

I may or may not have shrieked.

Chaucer may or may not have bolted for the relative safety of the far side of my bed.

I may or may not have joined him immediately.

I considered the situation. No Raid. No bug killing spray of any kind. Windex and other household cleaners under the sink...next to the dishwasher. The main thing that was bothering me, besides the fact that Chaucer and I suddenly had a new roommate who I doubted was going to cough up very much for rent, was the puzzle of where the hell it had come from. I live on the 7th floor of a fairly clean building. I occasionally open my windows, but there are no trees anywhere near them. And anyway, it's the seventh floor. What kind of crazy-ass overachieving roach starts climbing the outside of a building and finds it such an enjoyable stroll that he keeps going for seven storeys??

Then I remembered that earlier that night I'd taken Chaucer to the park, and while there, I'd left the small bag I keep his ball and brushes in on the bench inside the dog play area for a little while, while supervising his interaction with some other dogs. Could the roach have stowed away in my bag??

Deciding that this was a distinct possibility, I became concerned that there were possibly additional hitchhikers still in the bag. Because hello, I love me a doomsday scenario. So this is a thing that I, Elizabeth Baker, age 38, did: I climbed onto my kitchen island, reached into the top drawer, and pulled out a pair of large salad tongs. Next, leaning far over the counter, I used these same tongs to open the bottom drawer where I store Chaucer's walk bag. Then, using the tongs like one of those claws in a toy machine, I gently lifted the bag out onto the floor. I used the salad tongs to shake it empty of its contents: three plastic grocery sacks, one rubber ball, one Furminator, and one Zoom Groom.

Zero roaches.

I pulled myself back up on the island, temporarily consoled. That's when I saw it again, this time directly in front of me, climbing the cabinet opposite from where I sat. I don't want to use the word "taunting", I really don't. But this fucker was moving so slowly, and with such confidence, as if assured by the fact of its massive bulk that I'd be too scared to even attempt to deter it from its destination - that yes, I think it was taunting me. Bitch, please. Look at me. I'm the largest mothafuckin' roach you ever seen. Whatchu gonna do about it? Nothin'. You ain't gon' do nothin'.

And it was right you guys. It was absolutely right.

It was at this point that I briefly considered getting a room at the Biltmore down the street for the night, until an exterminator could come. I am 100% serious about this. Then I realized how ridiculous that would be, and so I did something that was not at all ridiculous, in any way: I texted my ex-boyfriend to see if he'd come kill the roach for me.

Hey, are you around? was all I said to start, because I am shrewd, and figured that if I opened with You have to come kill a roach for me that I might not get any the desired response from he, the other adult starring in this comedy. But you can be sure that the second I saw the little iMessage indicator ellipse pop up, I scrolled up and hit "Call." I hadn't taken my eyes off Frankenroach the whole time.

"Hey, what's up?"

"OHMYGODA.THERE'SAROACHTHESIZEOFASQUIRRELINMYAPARTMENTYOUHAVETOCOMEKILLITNOW,PLEASE,CANYOU?CANYOUCOME?OHMYGOD."

"Whoa, whoa. Calm down. I can't understand you. There's a squirrel in your apartment??"

"Yes! I mean no, there's a roach--hang on, it's getting away!"

At this point my crusty brown Amazonian houseguest had made its way over to the paneling that encloses my refrigerator, and was lazily ambling upwards to the shelf above. I realized that if I didn't stop it now, it was going to be impossible to find again, because there are storage boxes and suitcases and folders and posters and spare paper towels and all sorts of crap I stuff up there to keep it out of view.

I grabbed a small spiral notebook off my sideboard, knowing full well that this wasn't going to do the job. If I was going to bookslam the roach to death, it needed to be a tome at least the size of a college dictionary, though honestly, I suspect the OED would be the only thing that could adequately flatten it. I think my plan was to just dislodge it from the wall, hopefully stunning it into immobility long enough that I could then drop my favorite and largest coffee table book onto its back.

Foresight and planning like this are why I'd never make it past the first tribal council on Survivor.

Anyway, I jumped onto the couch with my projectile in one hand and the phone in the other. And I guess now would be a good time to explain that about a week ago, I decided to drape a couple of throw blankets over the couch, because they are easier to clean than Chaucer's drool, which doesn't come off very easily from my new(ish) sofa. These blankets make the sofa very cozy...but they also camouflage the division between the two main cushions. And it was into this division that, as I launched my missile fridge-wards at la cucaracha, my right foot slid, throwing me off balance.

In a matter of .07 seconds, two things happened: 1. the notebook came THIS CLOSE to hitting its target, which - and I'm not sure about this, because I was in the middle of spraining my foot - I believe paused momentarily in its journey, fractionally less confident about the wisdom of so brazenly traveling in broad apartment light, and 2. I fell backwards off the couch, landing in a twisted position on my left foot, which exploded into excruciating pain and gave out from under me.

I collapsed on the floor, howling in pain.

My ex-boyfriend, meanwhile, was listening to this whole scene on his phone, standing in his work studio, can of spray paint assuredly in hand, as he worked diligently through the night to prepare for his next show, wondering what the fuck was the matter with his crazy ex-girlfriend now, in her apartment some five blocks away from where he stood.

Over the din of my yelling/crying, I heard him say something about putting Chaucer in the hall. He'd tell me later he thought there was an actual squirrel loose in my apartment, and that all the mayhem he was hearing was Chaucer running around, tearing up my apartment in his efforts to catch and kill it.

LOL.

I finally calmed myself enough to very clearly annunciate the following message: "A. I just fell and broke my foot. I need help. Can you come take me to the hospital?"

And he did. And rather than drag that poor soul back into my blog when he so recently escaped it, I'll end his role in the story there. But I will say he was a lifesaver and awesomely patient and good-humored about the whole ordeal, which ended up being waaaaay longer and more awful because of my choice to go to LA County. It was, I will say, a long night.

Bottom line: I have a "severe" sprain off of which I need to stay for a minimum of six weeks, which dramatically changes (read: smashes to bits) my plans for the rest of the summer. And while that's a bummer, honestly? Seeing the things I did while waiting in the County ER for nine hours, I'm not going to complain. I'm going to take my knock and be grateful it's not worse.

I spoke with a woman - probably my age - who was there tending to both a husband (broken arm) and her baby girl (fever, rash, diarrhea), all while watching over a very miserable and sleepy ten year old boy. She told me that the last time she'd come to the ER was two years ago, for a miscarriage. She'd had to wait seven hours to be seen, while in the middle of having that miscarriage. She was alone at the time. This woman had hemorrhaged in the LA County Hospital waiting room and its adjoining restroom, with no one there to help, no friends or family to be with her, while she waited all night for a doctor. As she talked with me, her baby fussed and cried, and she gently rocked and cooed her, arranging and rearranging the folds of her blanket around her.

I saw a grey-haired elderly man in tattered clothing, hunched over in an ancient hospital wheelchair, mumbling to himself as he slowly wheeled loops around the room. When he struggled with his shoe, attempting to put it on the wrong foot, A. jumped up to help him. Later, the man wheeled himself over to me, to ask in a barely audible whisper whether I was in pain. After I lied and said not much and thanked him for his concern, he moved off a polite distance from us before spending five minutes putting disposable blue latex gloves on his shaking hands. He saw me watching and explained that they were to protect his palms from getting calloused by the wheelchair wheels. He did this with a few mumbled words and gestures, rather than full sentences.

The gloves were the same ones that A. had earlier blown into balloons to make me laugh, while we waited in the radiology wing for the x-ray technician.

Later, that same old man and I came face to face alone in a hallway, me hobbling along on my crutches, coming from the bathroom, him still inching along with only his hands to propel him. He pointed at my foot and asked what happened. I couldn't understand his words but the tone and his face made it clear what he was trying to say.

"I fell on it," I said. "I'm waiting to find out whether it's broken." He nodded a nod that said Yeah, the wait here is a bitch. Something about his expression reminded me of my dad. He gave off an air of being an intelligent, thoughtful man trapped in the broken down body - and the broken down circumstance - of someone much worse off than he should have been.

"Neither of us are doing so good, huh?" I asked, and grinned sympathetically at him. The smile and slight laugh he gave back broke my heart. "Wanna race?" I challenged, pointing one of my crutches down the hall behind me. He chuckled again, his head still hanging low, and my heart broke all over again.

I have a sprained fucking foot. Getting around is going to be a bitch for a while. I'm going to have to teeter around town on a ridiculous-looking knee scooter, and it will take me three times as long to run simple errands. I can get Chaucer downstairs and to the curb for quick potty trips, but I'm going to have to hire a dog walker so he can in a good walk every day, plus exercise and socialization so he doesn't get depressed. I'm going to miss some festivals (Burning Man and HardFest), some parties, some nights out with friends. I can't run for a couple of months. I'll probably gain ten pounds. I'm going to be bored and go stir crazy, and I'll have to find ways to divert my energy and stay positive, so I don't get too low and lonely, which I know I will. But that's about the sum of my woe.

It could be much worse.