Observations on Oz

A few weeks ago I returned from a week in Australia, an opportunity that unexpectedly popped up and which I was fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of; a friend of mine who grew up there was going home for five weeks and he suggested I come down and hang out with him for one of those weeks. Seven days with a native in a country most people only dream about visiting while they are having summer and I am enduring record cold temperatures in the great northeast? Yes, please. My shiny new passport which remained un-inked after being in my desk drawer for nearly three years was about to take a trip half way around the globe for its maiden voyage; go big or go home I told myself and planning the trip became a delicious obsession.

I was going to be responsible for lodging while I was there and leveraged Airbnb for the whole trip which turned out to be a fantastic choice. No impersonal hotel concierges and sterile rooms for this girl; I got to meet the people whose space I was renting and the three different bookings were all delightful and different in their own way. It’s hard to beat a cottage in Katoomba, a waterfront retreat on Kilaben Bay or an eighth story penthouse apartment with a stunning view of Manly Beach; all were fantastic in their own way and as far as I am concerned it is the only way to travel. It is a wonderful way to interact with locals and I will never forget the people I met as a result of using private homes as lodging and it’s a blog post all its own.

Seventeen hours from Dallas-Fort Worth to Sydney was not for the faint of heart but I was prepared for it by my well traveled daughter who had already made the trip and exhorted me to hydrate and wear elastic stockings and her advice was fantastic as usual. I booked my flight with the marvelous Qantas airline which miracle of all miracles seems to really care about its passengers and discovered a pillow, blanket, headphones and sleep mask in my seat. Somehow I lucked out with having a free row on my trip to Sydney allowing me to lay down and get some sleep; I arrived Down Under feeling pretty good and Sean was there to meet me.

What an amazing country! I was completely enchanted by the laid-back attitude, fantastic climate and approach to life. Touring the countryside with a native gave me a wonderful view of a country whose minimum wage is 17.70 an hour (roughly 14 dollars American as of this writing) and a population unencumbered by concerns about health care or getting shot on the street which seems to be an American obsession Australians just cannot comprehend   Aussies also get five weeks of vacation per year because the government feels that downtime is a human necessity; this sensible approach is how life should be and the vibe was tangible…I left part of myself in that place which was both wild and civilised and if they didn’t reject visa applications of anyone over fifty I would have applied. Life in Oz makes sense.

Sean was a splendid tour guide and had some great things planned. We did a wildlife park whose main focus was conservation and solving the problems of animals facing human intrusion; I saw so many animals I would never see otherwise and petting a koala, a kangaroo and a baby Tasmanian devil are life changing experiences and I learned a tremendous amount about native Australian species along the way. I saw the Three Sisters rock formation with a bonus thunderstorm at night over the Jamison valley, some great wineries and many absolutely amazing and colorful birds which made sounds I have never heard; being awakened in the morning by a kookaburra fracas is a magical thing. We swam ay Manly Beach, strolled The Corso and watched the pelicans get fed at The Entrance in New South Wales. In spite of its beauty this is a country that can kill you though, and the sight of a huntsman spider on my first night in Katoomba was sobering; I would have had difficulty covering the teenager that descended from a tree near my cottage with my whole hand. The place in Kilaben Bay had a deadly funnel-web spider living in a void in the masonry next to the door, but treated in a circumspect manner it was never a problem.

Sydney was an amazing city with the iconic opera house sitting like a jewel in Sydney Harbor the brilliant sun reflecting off the million or so glazed ceramic tiles covering what is an architectural masterpiece; I stood in front of that wonder in the dazzling sunshine and could not stop staring at it. The Royal Botanical Gardens with its long walkway along Sydney Harbor had many amazing plants I had seen only in pictures or in greenhouses. You have to love a place where jasmine grows wild and gardenias are a shrub as common as yews. Public transportation was fantastic and purchasing an Opal card gives you access to all forms of public transportation including the ferry which we used a great deal between Manly and Sidney; getting around was fairly easy and things were well marked and logical with clean public toilets available everywhere. New York City could learn a thing or two from Sydney.

It was fascinating to be in a country where I was the one with the accent and immediately identifiable as an American. Given the horrendous political climate back home it was difficult not to feel a sense of embarrassment when people asked about what was going on in my country but everyone was polite; somehow they understood that Trump supporters generally don’t have passports and that I was likely from the other camp.  The prevailing question was always. “Okay, he got elected…but it’s been a year. Why haven’t you gotten rid of that wanker?” It was a question for which I had no answer but it led to many fascinating conversations from people not only from Australia but New Zealand, South Africa and the UK; it was heartwarming to know that people all over the globe recognized that our democracy is in jeopardy and were sympathetic to our plight.  It was a mind expanding experience as all travel is but the luxury of visiting a continent where people spoke my language and resonated with my sensibilities made the perfect first foray into serious travel; I am forever grateful to Sean for sharing part of this unique and wonderful country with me and it has whet my appetite for more far away experiences.  After all, once you do Oz everything else is a piece of cake.



Suzy Q

The other day at the gym I had a conversation with one of the instructors who commented about how much she hated her fifties; she was annoyed by her body which suddenly seemed out of control and the fact that her children were migrating away to college and their own lives. I was inclined to agree with her on the traitorous body but it’s still hard for me to hate my fifties.

Some people never get to have them.

Thirty one years ago today my mother died at the ridiculously young age of 49 from metastatic breast cancer a victim of her decision to forego mammograms, chemo and radiation. In spite of the fact that her father was a prominent local surgeon she eschewed medical intervention unless absolutely necessary and was terrified of infirmity which likely shortened her life but she never had misgivings about her decisions. At the time of her death her daily driver was a ten year old Datsun 280Z which she drove like a bat out of hell and I can remember being certain she was going to die from wrapping it around a tree. In retrospect it would have been infinitely kinder than watching her incredible sparkling energy slowly be dulled and dissipated by the insidious thing attacking one bodily function after another.

My mother was my best friend in the world and it was torture to watch her die before my very eyes; I was her primary caretaker and had a ringside seat for her horrific decline, the kind only cancer can provide. It saddened me to think that my four year old daughter would not get to grow up to know this woman who was the embodiment of love and it devastated me to think of having to live without someone who knew me better than anyone, believed in me and was my constant cheerleader.

It took a very long time to get over my mother’s demise and I still miss her every day but I learned a couple of very important things in my grief. I learned that the best way to honor a lost loved one and to keep their memory alive is to do your best to embody everything that is good about them so I work hard at being the kind compassionate woman she would want me to be. And I suddenly realized with stunning certainty that life is finite and wasting time on people or activities that are not positive and life affirming are a gigantic waste of precious moments. Her death was an important milestone to me in terms of reassessing where I was going and it encouraged me to start living in a more unapologetically honest way even if it means making changes that are unpopular to those around me. Death does not care if you have not taken that trip to Europe, failed to lose thirty pounds or the unfinished dissertation and I firmly believe the best defense against it is to live every day as if it is your last.

It’s what mom would want me to do.

Stick Chick

In 1977 my best high school friend Kenny Jay Crawford taught me how to drive a stick in his dad’s bullet proof farm truck which happened to be a ’59 Ford pickup and a total pain in the ass to drive. This was for the sole purpose of using me as a hay mule, but that was okay; even back then in rural America not many of my female friends could handle a manual transmission so it made me feel like a badass. To paraphrase from the Red Green Show, “If boys didn’t find me pretty they could sure find me handy”. My love affair with the clutch solidified in the 80’s when my now ex husband bought me a 1977 Camaro with a 350 and a Muncie lift reverse complete with competition clutch. And headers. I was officially the coolest mom in elementary school.

Every car I have owned since then must have a manual transmission and both my car and truck are five speeds. I like driving and I love being in control of and engaged with my vehicle; crappy road conditions are a million times better when you can dictate what your wheels are doing and insurance company statistics can already tell you that people who drive a stick are lower insurance risks out of the box likely because they are paying attention. My daughter is of the exact same mind and was recently frustrated by the new car choices for clutch lovers; the fact that it is getting harder and harder to find cars with a manual transmission option is both appalling and alarming.

Equally appalling was the experience I had today after waiting an hour and a half to get an inspection on my truck at the local Valvoline shop; the young lady who was the inspection tech was unable to drive a stick and therefore could not complete the inspection. I had never heard of such a thing!  She assured me that the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles had disallowed her from completing inspections on vehicles with manual transmissions because she had been unable to complete that part of the test. My first response was, “Girlfriend, get behind the wheel because you are about to get a lesson”, but of course she was on the clock and could not do it. To her credit she quickly called a couple other of their local shops to find one with an open bay; I was able to get my inspection done at a shop about four miles away by a cheerful young man who was apologetic about the inconvenience. But it blew my mind that someone in the business could not drive a stick.

I guess the meme I have seen on the internet about a stick shift being the ultimate anti-theft device is laughably true.

The Accidental Vegetarian


I first heard that term when my grandmother had to throw a dinner party for some Indian doctors my grandfather was entertaining and talked about the challenge of being suddenly confronted with having to come up with a vegetarian menu when her husband was a devoted hunter and carnivore. In similar fashion I was a girl who grew up on a farm that raised and butchered most of its own meat, so vegetarianism was a completely foreign idea to me. There were people who didn’t eat meat? Really? The only thing stranger to me was those poor souls who did not eat pork; the thought of not eating bacon was just unimaginable. What religious dictum could possibly be against that salty, smoky goodness?

Vegetarians continued to be a weird, far away sub-culture relegated to hippies and certain religious groups until I was in my late forties and started really paying attention to what I was putting in my mouth. A nutrition class in college, the Food Network bringing mindful eating to the forefront and my own daughter who is an adventurous and healthy cook all inspired me to clean up my nutritional act. But it wasn’t until I dated a vegetarian who worked out and played rugby that I realized my vague discomfort with eating animals could coexist with an active lifestyle and I did not really need to consume meat. It was also around that time I realized a vegan colleague was a yoga instructor and a runner, and I realized that if her relatively extreme dietary habits sustained her exercise routine then I should be able to do it as well; one thing I wasn’t interested in was being constantly hungry especially on spin days when I’m already more ravenous hungrier than usual.

I decided to try being a vegetarian three days a week; it seemed doable enough and as I adopted the trappings of a vegetarian lifestyle I was surprised by how many people have been doing it for years completely unbeknownst to me. It has been fun to query them about their favorite things to eat, how they deal with fast food restaurants and generally coping with being a vegetarian in a world of carnivores. Three days a week morphed into four days a week  then five as I experimented with tofu and bean burgers and the loss of bacon in my life. Websites like Food 52 and Thug Kitchen became culinary romps which opened my eyes to how fantastic plant based eating can be and my fear of being constantly hungry proved completely unfounded. One day I looked at my shopping cart and had an epiphany; I had not purchased meat in two whole months! Somewhere along the way my body quietly decided it wasn’t interested in being a carnivore any more and it manifested itself in my shopping habits. I realized that it was probably time to come out as a vegetarian.

The rest of the world was sometimes surprisingly obstructionist about my newfound interest in not eating meat and since I come from a large “foodie” family who happens to enjoy hunting for their own food in similar fashion to my grandfather I was worried they would think I needed intervention; you can’t get much more carnivorous than someone who does that sort of thing. I chose last Christmas to inform my family of my vegetarian status and softened the blow by bringing an amazing roasted vegetable lasagna to the holiday dinner which was a hit. They were skeptical and I weathered the inevitable “does that mean you don’t eat chicken” question, but once I assured everyone that I didn’t care what they ate it was business as usual. The family has been far more tolerant than the random friend or co-worker who gets defensive about my meatless lifestyle and tries to shame me about it which has happened a couple of times.  You can’t argue with the numbers, though. My doctor who at first asked me if I had lost a bet when I told him I was a vegetarian called me after my routine yearly blood work astonished by how great my counts had become; apparently a 35 point reduction in my LDL was a very big deal.

It has been just about a year since my shopping cart revelation and I am finally hitting my stride with this dietary choice; the eating part has come fairly naturally and with the exception of the occasional longing for bacon I don’t find myself missing animal products in the least. My cooking repertoire has expanded to include some amazing vegetarian dishes, many of which can be done reasonably quickly. Strangely the most difficult part has been breaking the news to people and it took several months before I could make the announcement without using the same hushed tones one would use for admitting a felony conviction or voting for Donald Trump. At some point I realized I was in it for the long haul and began to own the lifestyle, and while it wasn’t a primary motivator it really does feel good not to be contributing to the suffering of the animals we share the planet with. Winner, winner, vegetarian dinner.

The Richter Scale


That’s the word that appears in giant pink neon letters every time I think about the way-too-soon death of my friend Allan Richter who died at the ridiculously young age of 48 when his training plane crashed into a rail car one sunny September afternoon. A student was at the helm and he was killed instantly but it doesn’t make me feel any better at all. It is never going to make me feel better.

Have you ever heard anyone use the expression “had life by the balls”? That described Allan perfectly and he was the kind of gregarious personality who made friends everywhere he went. No one was immune to his charms, his observations or his hugs and he was larger than life in the most wonderful sense of the word. He started out as a friend of my daughter’s who knew him through his lovely wife Tami, a former teacher of hers.  He admired my daughter’s “shoot from the hip” style and since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree we somehow ended up becoming friends, too. I was a reliable post-work drinking buddy because I appreciated good beer as much as he did and could hold my alcohol; as a math major we had fun talking about the engineering problems he was working on and discussed them at length. Allan was visual, so this invariably resulted in something being drawn on the most available surface…a cocktail napkin, a receipt or a snippet of paper provided by an accommodating bartender. The last time we had gotten together I cadged a drawing that juxtaposes the words “suck” “squeeze” “bang” and “blow” next to an algebraic equation; only Allan could do that with any sort of alacrity and his little drawing lives on my refrigerator.

Solving the world's problems one drawing at a time.

Solving the world’s problems one drawing at a time.

One did not say no to Allan and he scoffed at excuses; everything was an adventure, a dare or a social experiment and I vividly remember my daughter’s 30th birthday at a local beer hall where we were hanging around clearly the oldest people at the party. Suddenly he brightened and said, “Let’s go upstairs and ride the mechanical bull!”  I laughed out loud at first and tried to play the “I’m not wearing the right bra” card, but he was undeterred. Before I knew it I was showing my ID to the nice man and getting ready to get my butt kicked by this unrelenting thing. We had an absolute blast and the takeaway was that the magical moments of life always seem to lie in moving outside of one’s comfort zone and no one embraced that concept more than Allan did.

He could turn up anywhere and I will never forget walking across the National Mall in DC the day after the Jon Stewart rally and heard someone bellow out my last name. I stopped in my tracks and seconds later heard it again which seemed impossible since I was 360 miles from home. It was Allan, who was in town to run the Marine Corps Marathon as he had done for years. He gave me one of his giant hugs and we chatted for a while before wishing him luck and moving on, still incredulous at bumping into him.

I have spent hours trying to make sense of the injustice of a world without Allan and come back over and over again to the statistical fact that people who truly live and grab life by the balls are bound to run up against the odds; it’s part of the dues paid for a life embraced fully and on the edge.  As a pilot, sailor and flight instructor his vulnerability surface was larger than most but I know in my heart that he would not have had it any other way. I will never stop aching for his wife and children, but will try to focus on what a wonderful legacy he left behind and stay true to his “can do” attitude; it is the best way I know of to honor such a wonderful spirit and I can pay homage to him by perpetuating the notion that life is for living viscerally and with passion.

Semper fi, my friend.


Clothing Optional

As a devoted follower of Craig’s List I could not restrain myself from answering this ad:

I am interested in befriending an open-minded woman who already enjoys, or would like to enjoy (explore?) sunbathing nude at one of the respectable clothing optional resorts or nude beaches in the area.
My search is for friendship only as nudity in this context does not equal sex. To the contrary, after first being apprehensive I now find it emotionally and physically relaxing with the only thing missing being a friend to converse with during the day!
As a friend, your marital status, age, height, weight, ethnicity, education level and occupation do not matter. Your friendship characteristics; however, do matter.
As for me, I am married, 50’s, six foot one, one hundred ninety pounds, Caucasian and Master’s degree.
I hope to hear from you. I know this is an off-beat posting but I am hopeful of meeting someone who thinks similarly or would like to have an adventure for a day to see how they like it! I will respond to all reasonable replies and will provide a face picture at that time.

Whenever I think about the nude lifestyle I’m instantly directed to the metaphor of the little kid pressing his nose against the window of the candy store….at least until now. It is something that has captivated my imagination since I was old enough to be told that proper society demands clothing and I have never lost my interest in the delight of being naked.

Several years ago I had a friend named Diana who was a nudist and I sort of lived vicariously through her; I was married at the time and the subject of nudity would have been greeted with approximately the same suspicion as tuberculosis. My awesome girl time in the hot tub had to go unreported but it was something I never forgot and longed to do again. Later in my life I lived with a cool guy who had a very private swimming pool and we spent hours naked by his pool which translated into some seriously good bedroom time. But I digress.

The idea of going to a clothing-optional place has been on my mind for ages since it seemed like the next logical step in my search for nudity nirvana, but I never had a partner who was less than horrified at the thought of taking his clothes off in public. It is not hard to see why this ad captivated me immediately.

His name was David and we had some lovely banter back and forth before our appointed meeting day at a resort fairly close to both of us that he was familiar with. He was articulate, funny and provided me with a wealth of detailed information about what to expect along with some of his personal observations and ideas about things I might not think to bring; any anxieties I had were beginning to melt away and the appointed day could not come quickly enough. The forecast became a minor obsession and I was grateful that the weather looked promising.

Somehow I managed to make it to our chosen day without bursting and arrived at the resort about fifteen minutes early with my picnic basket and a silk sarong that I had fashioned out of a sari that had belonged to my grandmother. For an extraordinary day I needed an extraordinary coverup and this fit the bill perfectly being versatile and colorful.

David arrived a few minutes later in his pickup truck; he was a handsome, lanky man with expressive eyes who greeted me with a warm hug and a thousand watt smile. Mindful of the fact that I was checking something off my bucket list he brought me a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers he had grown in his garden; I was absolutely smitten.

About three seconds after we parked a completely nude man who was as brown as walnuts drove up to greet us in a golf cart. He recognized David right away and greeted him by name; clearly my companion was a regular. As he chatted with David we both prepared to get undressed at our cars as previously planned, and I knew it would be my moment of truth.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of times I have been enormously anxious about something that ended up being a complete and total nonevent and this was just such a time. David had done such an amazing job of preparing me every step of the way and the general attitude of the place was so casual and unassuming that it would have seemed dumb to have the slightest qualm about baring it all. I removed my panties and dress with total aplomb and tied my sarong on with a casual unhurriedness. My gut told me this was going to be okay.

We made our way to the nearly deserted pool and located a couple of lounge chairs on the far end that seemed suitable. I somehow managed to remove my sarong and slather myself with sunscreen before establishing myself on the chaise. Oddly enough it seemed a bit more intimate than undressing at our respective vehicles, perhaps because we were not distracted by our welcoming committee. It took me a minute to get comfortable, but once he started to talk I forgot where I was; it was just the most wonderfully uncontrived experience I have ever had and we talked about everything under the sun. There is something very honest about being unclothed and it’s the most amazing equalizer; it dispels judgement, prejudice and all the normal artifice of human nature leaving you with the most wonderful freedom to be one’s elemental self. We sunbathed, swam and strolled down to the pond for a light lunch and more conversation on my picnic blanket. I have never been so relaxed in my life and David told me I would have difficulty leaving.

He was right.

The afternoon melted away before I knew it and after a lovely outdoor shower we dressed and returned to our vehicles. At his suggestion I had sussed out a funky little brewery near our resort that I had been to before and we went there for a lovely dinner and to enjoy the fading light of the day. It was the most perfect time I have had in recent memory and I am so grateful to David for giving me the gift of an experience I would remember for the rest of my life. I’m hoping we get to do it again some time, but even if we never see each other again I know have been completely transformed into someone who has a new awareness of herself and it feels really, really good. Thank you, David.

Father’s Day

I hate Father’s Day.  There, I said it.

Yes, I’m aware that it seems un American to say that and that I sound a little bit bitter but I’m tired of this annual reminder of a father who has pretended I didn’t exist for my entire life. My mother told me that the only interaction he ever had with me was a few days after I was born when he visited, said “I heard it was a boy”, handed my mother twenty dollars and disappeared. Forever. She would keep him a secret from me for sixteen years.

My parentage had to be let out of the bag when I applied for a learner’s permit and needed a birth certificate. When the California Bureau of Vital Statistics told me I didn’t exist my mother and stepfather had no choice but to tell me the truth; I had been using my stepfathers last name and my mother had actually given me her maiden last name. I really had been requesting a birth certificate for someone who didn’t exist.

Suddenly I had no idea who I was and wanted desperately to know anything about my real father that I could possibly glean from anyone. My mother had fewer details than I had hoped for, telling me only that his family operated a ski area in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire and that he was a skier who was good enough to have tried out for the Olympics. And I knew his name.

There were few resources available to me in the seventies to find out anything more about him; today it would be a relatively simple internet search to get the details I was starving for. Oddly, it would be several years later when a woman’s name in a quilting magazine caught my eye; she had the same Swedish last name as my father so I wrote to her and asked her if she knew him and only said that he had been a friend of my mother’s during his skiing days. She sent back a delightful note saying that he was her nephew and that she would be happy to pass along my contact information and put me in touch with his mother. My grandmother!

A few days later I got a note from the man I was sure was my father telling me briefly about his life in Nevada and asking me who my mother was. I knew that revealing her name would tell him immediately who I was and as predicted I never heard from him again, but his mother wrote to me and seemed undaunted by the fact that I appeared to be a long lost grandchild; I often wondered if she suspected something all along.

My father’s family embraced me almost immediately once they saw me; the family resemblance was startling and there was no doubt that I was indeed Roger’s cast off child. To this day I remain incredibly grateful for the entire family for the warm welcome I got and have enjoyed developing a relationship with an entire side of my family I never knew I had.  It is pretty clear that my father is never going to acknowledge me, but my aunts Joyce and Roberta have been just wonderful and we keep in touch still; they are as confounded by his behavior as I am. I love being invited to family functions on my father’s side and introducing my daughter to them as well. It’s as if my aunts understand that his dismissal of me has nothing to do with me and everything to do with his shortcomings as a human being.

Nearly thirty years after finding my father I have yet to have any conversation with him and I often wonder what it will be like when I find out he has passed away with out having known me. My aunts’ mantra is “his loss”, but at this stage of the game it seems silly to pretend I don’t exist. Is he embarrassed by what he is not? Ashamed of his own regrets? Afraid I turned out okay in spite of him and in spite of the fact that I ended up being a dreaded girl?

I will probably never know. Hopefully, the fact that I don’t like Father’s Day means that I have reached the final phase of mourning for a side of myself I never knew. It’s been a long time and I’ll take it.



My last visit with Dr. D’Ascoli was this week and while I was sitting in the waiting room I thought about my surgeon grandfather talking about how pissed off he would get when he had a patient who he knew would have a bad outcome when they walked into his office. These were generally overweight, sedentary people who for any number of reasons would not fare as well as a fit person post-surgically,  and he hated operating on them. It made me constantly aware of how difficult it must be as a doctor to operate on someone who could potentially make you look bad. Dr. D seemed genuinely pleased at my progress and it made me feel like I had held up my end of the doctor-patient bargain: he promised to do a good job and in return I did everything I was told and had an amazing outcome by going into it as fit and as educated as possible.

There are still some numb areas, stairs remind me how weak the surrounding musculature is and the knee joint occasionally gets away from me. There is a tendency to limp when I am tired, but the cane was cast away several days ahead of six weeks and I’m not going back.  It is such a miracle to be without the remembered knee pain that I am still startled by it; I had lived with pain for so long and been so conditioned to react to it that it seemed like a miracle to have it disappear.

Now all I want to do is walk! I get up from my desk several times a day and take little movement breaks to keep from getting too stiff; I revel in it every single time. I no longer care in the least about finding a close parking spot and have returned to my customary habit of parking away from the idiots who care little about dinging my doors. Walking feels like a delicious luxury and I have had to watch out for overdoing it which leaves me with a throbbing, achey leg.

I’m incredibly grateful for an amazing doctor and incredible friends and family who were rooting for me…especially Mike who unflinchingly endured my pain and meltdowns with his perpetually positive and gentle nature.  He took care of snow removal, litter box cleaning and grocery fetching without a single complaint and I could not have done it without him. Thank you, Mike.

Return to Normalcy…Sort Of

The last steri-strip fell off my knee yesterday just in time for my return to work for half days today, and after I got home I realized how grateful I was to be able to start slowly. I was tired! I wasn’t even that productive with all my colleagues coming over to welcome me back, but there was plenty to catch up on. My office is easy to navigate without a cane and people were astonished that I was no longer limping. It’s still amazing to me, too.

The knee is still waking me up at least once in the night with its restlessness contributing to my tiredness during the day, but it’s getting better. The goal now is to get it to bend enough to return to spin class; it still will not allow me to complete a revolution on the bike…but I’m close. My walking is getting straighter and my endurance is getting good enough to get some things accomplished. That’s huge for someone who has found the slow recovery frustrating.

The Little Things

This morning after my shower I was contemplating what to wear and was dreading the thought of donning yet another pair of “comfy” pants; the yoga pants and stretch pants I had hoarded for post-surgery garb made nice loungewear, but wearing them in public has been a miniature nightmare for me. Nothing says “I give up” quite like wearing loungewear at the grocery store. And don’t get me started on how the average college student comes to class.

Anyway, I decided to give my jeans another try after a crushing defeat the week before which saw me getting my pant leg on about six inches short of what it needed to be. Even my stretchier jeans would have rendered the fabric too tight over the incision to be very comfortable so I put them away in disgust. This morning’s attempt seemed much more promising after Joan’s assertion yesterday that the majority of my swelling was gone, and indeed the pants felt fine after easing them over the few remaining steri-strips that refused to budge. The ten pounds I lost since surgery made things even better and it was just the sort of boost I have desperately needed after a week of frustration.

Once again I am reminded of how recovery is crafted of small victories and milestones, some of them painfully gradual in coming. It has reminded me to slow down, practice patience and be grateful for the dopey little things I previously took for granted.

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