Tinkering under the blog hood

Chatting with fab trainer J this morning, I verbalized a new epiphany about blogging: it keeps me focused and on track with my objectives. While we were primarily discussing my blog on the better health quest (makingprogressgettingfitter.blog), it also applies to this personal blog as well.

Small cakes in the epiphany universe, but through the past few weeks of hardly writing at all, I have become the incredible shrinking woman with regard to my better health quest in particular but my life as a whole as well. Not because I am faltering in my self-employment business pursuits or anything else, but because I have very gradually become more and more withdrawn and feeling boo-hoo blue about my job and the overall status of my life in general. And I have absolutely nothing to feel sorry for myself over – work is busy/hectic/crazy kind of good, health and fitness pursuits continue to be productive, relationships and healthy and rewarding. So it’s not because I’m doing something so terribly wrong or reversed directions and am splattered all over the couch with favorite sugar addictions methodically moving from hands to mouth and not taking care of myself or my business, but because I allowed myself to be distracted by other people’s problems and let that take away from my own more promising priorities.

Since today was my last training session for the next week (fab trainer is leaving on a well-deserved vacation), I thought I would return my focus and energy on catching up around here AND returning to something akin to a regular posting schedule. Because frankly, I do a lot better when I write regularly. No matter how busy I am in other aspects of my life, I can always find a few minutes to jot my thoughts and reflections.

Only as I said, I have been distracted by other people’s issues and trying to be a good and supportive community member. To my detriment. Either I fade away feeling like I am trying to extinguish wildfires by tossing single teaspoons of water at it or I am being smashed to smithereens by wrecking balls seeking care and attention and uninterested in doing that hard work.

Neither are good for my overall mental and emotional health. Me and social media: not a good fit. I have accepted it now and gone back to my 5-minute timer for Facebook a couple of times daily unless it’s something of interest, i.e., written by someone I know and whose thoughts and ideas interest me.

Only another item on my to-do popped up this month: returning to my pursuit of self-hosted blogging. I have been promising myself to get it done sometime before my next renewal, which is now less than 30 days away. While I know this is something I can and should learn to do myself, right now my time is more valuable than the cost of paying professionals to do the work for me. So, I expect to continue to be offline for the balance of this week while they pros move the blog.

And I wonder – what the Hell have I been waiting for to do this? On the one hand, I’m not superwoman; I have plenty of other revenue-producing activities that are a much better use of my time. Besides which – I’m unlikely to be moving the blog yet again after this, so I should leave it to experts … experts I can verbally eviscerate if they screw it up. But they won’t, and not just because they might be worried about what I would do if things do not proceed well.

Which means while there will be no new posts going up after this one, I will continue to be writing offline and publishing as quickly as possible after the move is complete, hopefully Saturday and Sunday.

Because I need this outlet. I’m far more successful and have a much better outlook toward my progress when I’m downloading the thoughts and emotions associated with my life. Honestly, it feels (to me) like my distraction shows in work and the zillions of ideas and things I want to say and to share with my corner of blogville. To say I am feeling rather negatively toward myself the last few weeks as I feel my dedication toward  and enthusiasm for my self-employment business creep away is a lightweight understatement, but I know myself quite well and understand how much worse I can be when feelings of personal failure come into the mix. I’m human, and just like anyone else, I have a lot of days where I feel yucky about myself or tired or just not in the mood to work for a living. I’m not unhappy, depressed, or crying in my water bottle, but I feel off and can accurately pinpoint where it’s coming from.

So I expect the migration process will start this afternoon. Or my willingness to not change anything on the blog will start this afternoon. Hopefully the move will be completed quickly and any new “look” I have for the blog will happen in this timespan as well.

Fingers and toes crossed all goes as uneventfully as expected, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

 

 

It’s been a week

This week, this WEEK. It’s been up, down, all around. I am not coping in the most stellar manner, and it leaks out in the weirdest ways.

I have touched upon it in the past, but I had a horror-filled childhood with significant trauma from sexual abuse. I rarely write about it and never in a lot of detail, because I simply cannot go there. If I let go of the safety net that keeps me on this safe side of my mind and memories, I have paralyzing fear of what will happen to me. I foresee a kind of madness for which there is no recovery.

So I do not really talk about it. Periodically, if I am disturbed and on edge and feel that creeping into my consciousness, I have to book some time with TM to talk me away from the edge of the cliff so I do not start staring into the dark abyss and contemplate jumping into it. I would be lost. Once upon a time, in the darkest times of our marriage, M unskillfully pushed me to try and talk about it. It was nearly the undoing of our marriage and pushed me to a point of hatred for him that I did not even consider myself of feeling. Recovery from that is part of what makes our marriage better and stronger. Neither of us ever forget how awful those months working through it.

It occurs to me fairly routinely that I’m fortunate to be here, still standing, and pretty well insulated and safe. From myself. From my past. From a history that should never have been written. I have no illusions about how unpriviledged my upbringing or how broken and incapable my family of origin, and I completely feel the limitations of my own emotional range. My life works as well as it does because I work at it. Every single day I have to make choices and do some level of work to strike the right balance between two extremes. Honestly, I do not see myself as unusual in this characterization of life and living, but I do feel handicapped in some areas other people take for granted.

My bias against those with entitlement or similar inclinations is pretty strong. The princess complex, as I think of the female of the species who are spoiled and want what they want and typically get it because of their physical beauty, is a huge blindspot for me, one I have to consciously battle to restrain assumptions based on facts not in evidence.

I may have a similar chip on my shoulder about those crying “poor me” about the state of their lives and blaming their upbringing for their lack of success or unwillingness to make the sacrifices and do the work to improve their circumstances. The cycle of poverty is a symptom of a malaise in our society and there are no easy answers or solutions to overcoming it. However, not excusing ourselves from taking more responsibility for our lives is a start and a step in the right direction.

Sometimes I wonder if it is simply my generation that leads me to such impatience with those who spend most of their time weeping and wailing rather than trying to make small changes that will improve their lives. This is where I know my feelings are not completely functional, because I know how crummy I felt inside for too much of my life and yet still managed to take care of myself and my family. I look at my upbringing, I look at how destroyed I was and wrecked I remain from the weight of those emotional scars and wonder why I am a productive member of society and others are sitting around wringing their hands in angst and distress and making excuses about how awful their lives. I want to react with sympathy, I want to be compassionate, yet much of the time inside I am screaming “shut the f**k up and get some professional help to grow up.”

I guess I wonder how far we should reach out with sympathy and compassion. Depression and anxiety are real afflictions for many people, and I do not want to be a jerk about accommodations for such conditions. But there has to be balance, a tipping point.

Except I feel too strung out with my own history to be a rational judge.

It comes up this week in particular, with a child committing suicide and wrestling with an emotional distress issue in an employee and trying to oversee our current recruiting campaign. Thus far this week I have met with three candidates with strong resumes and yet seem to be suffering from some sort of personality disorder in face-to-face meetings.

Like so many posts, I am simply trying to sort out my own thoughts. Mostly, I think I am frustrated with those who have expectations of obtaining something unearned. Natural talent is rare and most of has have to work hard to earn whatever it is we are seeking, and sometimes that involves swallowing our pride and sense of self and just doing what is necessary to remove or dismantle the obstacles in our way, whether it is bad things befalling us in childhood or the shit work in our jobs to get to the next raise or the general education to get a college degree or having a conversation with firm administrator – not an attorney peer – when seeing an attorney position in a law firm.

Days like today, weeks like this one, I am weary of being underestimated or my conscientious efforts to do better, be better minimized in the face of someone else’s ambitions.

I also recognize this … stuff … comes from no one I care much about and whose thoughts and opinions should not impact me. Unfortunately they are still people I have to deal with on some level or another and their clones are everywhere. It is just tiresome.

At the same time, I am grateful for the bland normality of my life and times. Living the dream? Oh my yes. From where I started, I never anticipated, nor did anyone else in my family of origin, ever imagine me achieving this or any other level of success in life.

I wonder if that chip, and the lingering resentment it instills when faced with similar attitudes and projections, can be surgically removed? Today I might seriously consider it.

Car stuff, weekend random

First and foremost, thanks so much for all the kindness and support from my last post. While there are still several days left in March, my personal March madness has quietly concluded. Never do I underestimate the intensity of emotions that surround anniversaries.

M has an older car with nearly 200K on the odometer. He loves that vehicle, except for the fancy-smancy gizmos and gadgets that are designed into it.

This week, the battery died of old age. It is a 2008, battery has been in there since 2010, so it has had a good long life. With the push button start and keyless entry systems, it was not so simple as to replacing the battery and everything is fine. Oh no. While it did start up fine just after M put the new battery in it, our keys refused to electronically open the doors or start the vehicle when we walked out of the grocery store. Apparently our fob batteries failed as well? Or it needed to be repaired, like my phone with my car’s bluetooth? Not sure. But we consulted the manual, followed the emergency steps, and voila! Car started without issue. Get home, read more in the manual, decide there is some graduate course out at Toyota U that must be successfully taken to know what to do with this vehicle. Unfortunately when I go back to put the manual away, key fob is again not working correctly for some reason. Maybe its batteries die sympathetic deaths with the car battery?

M goes through the whole process again of manually opening the door, repairing the key to start it, and drives off in search of the super special battery needed. I stay home just in case he needs rescue. When he gets back he replaces batteries in both fobs and voila! Both keys are working again.

For good measure, every time he gets up throughout the night I hear the front door open and know he is going outside to check to see if the key is working. So far, so good.

We knew buying an older vehicle with lots of miles the potential for it needing repair increased. Since I am familiar with the entire history of this vehicle (purchased from my former boss), I knew it had been well maintained and not driven too crazily with its prior owner. But M seems to have a far lower tolerance for repairs than I do, but more than the expense the gadgetry of later model vehicles and his ability to diagnose and do repairs himself tends to drive him crazy. This too shall pass.

Or we’ll be hobnobbing around in some 70s vintage POS car that M can fix himself. Assuming he can find parts, of course.

Not a whole lot going on around here right now, other than the car drama. Busy work weeks. Busy trying to get my crap organized at home. We are in the process of moving from one storage to another smaller, closer space. Because we have waaaayyyyy too much crap. Good news on that is we are winnowing down our crap this go-round. Stuff we (M) has been keeping and storing 20+ years is now going into the trash or the donation box. Unfortunately, we still need a storage unit. I have big dreams of someday not needing an offsite storage unit, but at long as M owns the project car (that has been in pieces for the entirety of our relationship) we will likely need storage.

Once we get that stuff sorted, though, I plan to get cracking on our garage. It’s a mess. It’s a mess of crap that (1) we no longer need, (2) we no longer need to keep in the garage, or (3) we have no idea what it is or was or why we (M) actually own it.

Work is a messy schedule this week. Tuesday is usually my work from home day, but this week my admin had to take emergency leave so I will e going into the office tomorrow and moving my work from home to the weekend. Thankfully my private clients are understanding about my schedule.

But work is good, remains 95% satisfying and 5% somewhat dreadful tasks I wish I could delegate to anyone else. Allergy season is also winding down, thankfully. After a severe sinus dust-up and almost 2 weeks mild yet ongoing congestion, I am happy for the break and return to normality.

Everything else – things are good. And for that I am always grateful.

Sleepwalking on the darker side

The past week has been rough on me with sleep. It is an unusual occurrence, because I rarely have issues falling asleep or staying asleep. Disruptions happen, though, and some are even depressingly predictable. Like when the trees in my neighborhood start blooming and I am popping allergy medications every 4 to 6 hours. Sudafed, while effective on my congestion and sneezing, will keep me up all night if taken too late in the day. March remains an emotionally challenging 31 days, with my oldest child’s birthday and death day occurring in the same week. Even after 21 years (this year), it’s still sad and it’s still hard.

But the allergy meds that get me through the day make for a very rough night of sleeping. This year is the first I am truly cognizant of the differences and impact regular exercise makes, and I begrudge every second of crankiness that even minor sleep deprivation brings me. If that were not bad enough, the combination of allergy-medication induced lighter sleep and March, for whatever reason it opens up the can of worms of night terrors. That makes life so much darker and seemingly more dismal.

For the most part, I am relishing the go-go-go busy and overload of work this month has brought. I love my family and my friends old and new who make me smile and laugh throughout my days. Darkness happens, and I remind myself that the reality of darkness is only as long and as permanent as I allow it to be and how to leave it in its place. Having been in such awful, terrifying places in my life, I have an almost fanatical appreciation for the joy and great aspects of my day-to-day life. Still, when the horrors of my childhood visits me in sleep, it’s upsetting all on its own, without the additional disruption of the losing sleep over things I cannot change, thoughts and feelings I wish I could ignore if I cannot forget.

Which tends to make me even crankier that I am losing sleep over shit I want to not contemplate any further.

In such a dark mood, dark place I ventured into the gym and for practice this morning. All went well, but I find myself supremely annoyed by the remodel and how my routines have been upturned. Regular folks I used to see pursuing their own Lists nearby most mornings I barely pass in the hallways now, to the point that one such regular remarked today that she never sees me anymore. How true. We both spend a fair amount of time on the stairs, seeking out spaces and equipment that used to be fully contained on one floor or the other.

At least I am not of the grumpy old person camp who snaps at members who may be in the way.

Tonight I got to spend some time with my tribe sister, doing a light routine and yakking and catching up with life and times. We had so much to talk about that my funk-spike did not even occur to me to bring up for discussion. I am happy about that.

The sun is supposed to shine this weekend and temperatures being a warm 70-something degrees. I can’t wait! While others will be outside enjoying it, I am simply looking forward to having no meetings, lighter workload, and just time to pursue my own projects. G – my youngest child – turns 30 on Sunday. Funny but it does not make me feel old so much as marvel that our lives have advanced to this point, that he is healthy, happy, newly married and moving on with a fulfilling and happy life.

It is just a weird dichotomy month for me. Every year in advance I resolve to be less bothered and burdened by the grief that lingers, and every year I am learning how to be kinder to myself when it creeps in and taints my days.

I will say the habits acquired in the last couple of years – regular exercise, healthier eating, blogging and writing routinely, the discipline of managing my own small business and working at a full-time job – have done wonders to keep me out of the emotional cesspool of my own making. While it feels like I am sleepwalking on the darker sides of my life, I am on firm footing with a clear path and a retainer wall that will not let me slide off the edge and down the slippery slope.

There is an edge to the life I have led and the events that have befallen me. I cannot imagine a day where I state with any form of sincerity that I am grateful to be a sexual abuse survivor and the mother of a deceased child, but the day when I am grateful for the beauty and sense the infuses my life is here and its now. My oldest child – I think of her every single day and it makes me smile. My childhood – no getting around that I would be a very different person as an adult. And while I am very, very far removed from perfect, I am better than many and completely good enough.

Sometimes I let myself believe I have all I need, but on the heels of that thought comes acknowledgement that needs change every day. Wanting something badly enough tends to elevate it to need status, or the item becomes less realistically available or emotionally desirable and need for it fades to the whimsy of a want. Understanding the difference and the subtleties of the feelings has been a lifelong task, one that probably ends when the mind regresses or life ceases.

My life is full with lots and lots of good fortune and amazing souls who include me as part of their personal realm. During this month when the sads strike, it seems there is always someone or something that sprawls directly in my path and makes me recognize how truly rich my whole life.

Allow me to be thankful. And grateful. And neurotically repetitive. I have not been as present in this space, but my deep and abiding affection for it, and all of you, remains. I shall endeavor to ponder here more frequently.

3 years, 3 days, 1132 posts later

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.    – Marcel Proust

I missed my 3 year blog anniversary – I officially published my first post on 12/19/2016. But oh well. My ongoing amazement that I am still here, still writing and posting something most days is far more significant than commemorating and celebrating the actual day. It’s not quite a cake occasion, after all.

But it is so significant to me. Wow! I am actually surprised I made it 3 months of regular blogging much less 3 years. And other than a 2 week span the first year, I have rarely gone more than a day or 2 without posting something, even if it is lighter and fluffier than my typical content. Who knew I had so much to say? (Me, me, me … says everyone who knows me.)

As the time has passed this year I find myself more and more dependent upon the writing to keep process my thoughts and emotions, to find my balance in life, and to simply document events I want to remember and dates I cannot seem to forget. Both my children married in 2016, very different ceremonies yet both fitting and perfect for the couples involved. Our deck was finally replaced, and now the front landscaping has begun in earnest.

The better health quest continued and opened a lot of new doors for me as well as my heart and mind to possibilities I never dared even contemplate much less seriously consider. Truly, I found a stronger, more confident voice as the months passed and my many small wins began to pile up with health and fitness.

While “need” is sounds a little strong for my use of this outlet, I know how much I would miss writing if I were forced to stop. It seems impossible to have these ongoing conversations about what is on my mind with everyone I would want to participate in the discussions or to listen and to hear me, so the blog fills that gap nicely. I never dared dream how many would ultimately follow and read my missives out into the great unknown.

So this is my big giant THANK YOU to my followers, readers, family, tribe, and friends for sticking with me, for hanging and hanging on. The writing process and the discussions and doors opened have all reaffirmed for me how truly fortunate and blessed I am.

And so begins the next chapter in our ongoing adventure. Let the posts continue!

Good things this week thus far

While I recognize it’s only Tuesday, I had a bit of a morning this morning followed by some lumpy-bumpy issues with work. The morning events were nothing serious – actually, it was all me just being ridiculous – yet even knowing that does not lessen the impact on the situation or the emotions. And I have to laugh at me and my first world issues, now that I am completely over my momentary snits and back to normal daily programming. However, it inspired a let-me-be-grateful type post.

While J is away on vacation, my plan has been to go straight through the 5 days of Lists he created based on Dr. Spencer’s exercise program for me. We have been going over it for the last couple of months; I have been practicing various things in between sessions. Yet for some reason having a structured, day 1 through day 5 feels almost confining. It’s not, not at all. Because I know these things. I can do all these things. I can even indulge my inner planning-obsessed person by knowing what is up on the agenda tomorrow. It is the little, tiny free spirit fairy inside my head is kind of chafing at this change in routine. She gets indulged by choosing the List of the day most days. Now it’s 5, probably 6 days of planned Lists? What is up with that inner free spirit squeaks.

Anyway, this morning was back/biceps/abs day. Which meant venturing forth into the bigger boys room (find the detailed list of exercises in this recap last week) to use the cable row and lat pulldown machines. When J and I went through this we stayed in there, using the various benches that live there permanently. I admit to taking deep breaths and quelling my anxiety about going forward into barely known territory all on my own. I could do it. I would be fine. And I did, and for the most part I was. While going through the stretchy band curls paired with the row, I was eyeing each of the benches and deciding on my strategy for staying in that room and finishing the bench work there versus my typical safe haven. The really ridiculous part? I wanted a bench where I would not have to move one of the big bars. First, I was not 100% sure where to put the big bar, except on another bench, in which case I could just use the devoid of big bar bench. Second, I was not sure how heavy the big bars actually are, having not yet had any reason to handle one myself. Trainer J makes everything look so effortless and in my mind I was imagining that puppy weighing a lot and/or my causing bodily harm to myself or others. So yeah, I decided my safest course of action was picking an unmanned, unbarred bench. And there were actually 2 available that I saw from my vantage point by the row machine. I was so relieved.

EXCEPT … when I was done with my row/stretchy band bicep curl set and turned to the benches, both were occupied. In fact, a guy sat down on the bench I wanted just as I turned to take a step toward it. My old friend, gym crazy, flooded my mind with indecision. At the end of a very long 5 second pause, I fled back to my comfort zone and that trusty bench. Thankfully no one else wanted to use it today.

This should not be a big deal in anyone’s life. It is truly not even, not really, worthy blog fodder. Except I could feel myself having to mentally and emotionally shake off that feeling of backsliding badly and all negative girl’s chanting echoing faintly inside my head. In the big giant picture of me and my life, what matters is that I persevered and went through maximum sets, maximum reps on the List of the day without faltering. Maybe the positive spin on this is that I am now capable of shaking off the gym crazy when it strikes unexpectedly. This is just another moment in life when I have to remind myself that I have come so far, that not that many weeks ago I would have still been too intimidated and petrified with anxiety to even try to use those couple of machines in the bigger room on my own.

Friend J is my stand-in security text blanket this week while trainer J is away on vacation. He assures me I could have moved the big giant bar on my own. As long as I was careful and watching where I was going and what I was doing, I should have been capable of moving it on my own without incident, although he did have to ask me if there any weight plates were attached, and if so, remove those first. Since he’s apparently in the middle of his own shitstorm of work, I couldn’t tell if he was serious or giving me a hard time about being such a baby.

This whole morning started this whole go-round of thinking about gym, exercise, and changing objectives. Probably another stand-alone post on another day.

From there I went home and hopped into the shower. Only when I was done, I realized that M must have washed whites yesterday and forgotten to replace my towel. So drip-drip-drip down the hall into his bathroom where the bath towels are kept. I was not happy.

But thinking about it, it’s mostly my fault for not noticing that he’d run off with both towels in my bathroom. Then I think about him actually doing laundry and other domestic chores while I’m working. He washed and detailed the interior of my car on Saturday and then waxed it yesterday, so that was a very nice thing. For every instance he drives me batshit crazy there are probably 10 other things that he does that delight or make my life easier and better. And of course, I know the ratio of irritating and good things I do for him is equal or at least similar. Balance.

Then there is work. Ahhh … work. Today is my self-employment day, and I had to be professional and firm and fire a client. He was a referral, but he’s a total PITA, been late paying his invoices the last 2 months, and the second check bounced. That’s a first for me. I did receive a cashiers check replacement last week, and last Friday I wrote him a formal letter terminating our business relationship. It’s not just the late payments, although he is having cash flow issues. It is his calling my cell and then calling again, and again, and again, voice mail after voice mail after voice mail after I have told him repeatedly that my primary “office hours” are Tuesdays and various windows throughout the rest of the week. If I don’t respond within 60 minutes he calls again, and gets angrier and angrier each successive voice mail. I can typically reply to a text or an email much more quickly, but no, he does not like that “impersonal” method of communication. This is my second attempt at terminating our relationship due to my inability to serve him to the level he feels is appropriate. The first time he assured me he would back off and let me do my job, and he did … for about 3 weeks. I understand his stress – business is pretty good yet collections are slow – but it’s not really my problem. I do his financials for the bank each month. Left to my own devices it does not take much time to prepare. Coupled with the amount of attention he demands for the same questions, month after month, my time – and invoice – quickly triples or quadruples. He was upset that I was pulling the plug, but honestly, my time is better spent doing something else. I don’t need the aggravation.

He was very upset about the situation, says he needs my help. I offered several referrals when I wrote him, all of whom have more patience and availability to hand-hold the way he wants/needs to be guided. At the end of our conversation he sounded so dejected and rejected, and I am reminded that ordinary things seemingly unavailable or out of reach suddenly seem so much more desirable. I am not some super accountant and do not cater to some exclusive group of businesses. What I am is pretty busy with my law firm gig and the rest of my clients, none of whom call me every hour for 5 or 6 hours straight simply because I have not had opportunity to call them back.

I feel lighter and freer already knowing I will not have to cope with him again next month.

All in all, I have a lot to be happy about and grateful for. On my own I ventured out and was successful with machines in the gym’s bigger weights weight room. I was also able to shut down negative girl from planting thought of me as a neurotic loser (yes, the thought flittered through my head in an unguarded moment before I could stop it). I was able to avoid getting snappish with M about my dripping all over the tile to get a clean towel out of the linen closet in his bathroom. I was also able to really appreciate that we took the wood laminate out of the master bathroom and replaced it with tile, so at least the puddles of water were not going anywhere or going to damage the flooring. And I shed a small client that was causing me a lot of drama and stress each month.

I will call all that positive progress.

 

When the world hugs me

Word is out that I had The Call after my routine mammogram, and the texts and emails and kind and encouraging words are pouring in from all sides. I am so touched, always, by the care other people present to and for me. Friends near and far sending me hugs and good thoughts and kind and funny and touching stories about their experiences.

Having been down this road a couple of times, I am truly not especially worried. The phenom of dense breasts and fatty tissue in breasts and all sorts of other things it could be rather than cancer surround me. And even if it were that … well, let us just agree it presently seems unlikely and leave it at that. But you know I have a plan tucked away for the just-in-case possibility. No need to pull the ripcord on that parachute until I am sure i have been shoved out of the plane.

My sister died of breast cancer. She found the lump, then waited 8 months and until it had grown to the size of a walnut before going to see her doctor about it. She was gone 3 years later.

I, on the other hand, found my first pea-sized hard thing at age 34 and had a hysterical, tearful meltdown on the phone with my gynecologist’s office that I had to be seen THAT DAY. I don’t think the crying stopped until they agreed to squeeze me in on the same day to look at it. By the time I got to the office late in the afternoon, the little pea-sized lump had moved on, and I was kindly counseled that this was likely a hormonal cyst in conjunction with my impending menstrual cycle. I cried all the way home, in relief this time.

So yeah, I take the breast cancer screenings pretty seriously. And while the annual mammograms (since age 40, because of my family history) are not something I look forward to each year, they have gotten easier as the years pass. I dislike going to the dentist to get my checkups and have my teeth cleaned, too, but I am always happy walking out with sparkly clean-feeling teeth and freedom for another 6 months.

The silver lining right this minute is the random emails and texts from friends and family members. I love hearing from distant folks, even if they only live across town from me. I just wish it did not take something like this to bring us closer, to reach out and say hi. I am as guilty of it as anyone. I should not wait until someone is ill or potentially ill or passes away to reach out and express myself; I should do so more because it’s Tuesday and someone crossed my mind in a random thought or memory.

But for today, thank you universe, for the kindness and the kind words, and the big giant positive embrace. The week is busy, too busy for worry about the unknown, but never too busy for kindness and news from old friends.

I am a very lucky woman.