[A-Z] X is for X-Ray

I took a three-week break from Facebook since it’s such a big time sink and because I’ve got a few projects to work on. During that period, I accomplished much: I wrote about 3,000 words on an outline of my current novel¬†Code Monkey, and about 2,000 on an outline of my other current novel,¬†Brought to Life. I also wrote a couple of short stories. I made no progress on the advanced PHP/SQL course I’m taking for work, but I expect to catch up on that Any Day Now.

But by far my greatest accomplishment was probably falling down the stairs in our house and injuring myself pretty severely. What happened was this: as I was going downstairs with a load of laundry, I noticed a towel and a pillow on one step. I made to step over them, and ended up missing the step together. I could not compensate, naturally, and fell down the rest of the three or four steps in the staircase.

My wife heard the thud and thump and my crying out and rushed to the staircase and asked immediately if I was all right. And, of course, me being a Manly Man, I responded, “I’m fine!” even though I knew I could barely move my right arm and my right foot was shooting red pain all the way up to my skull.

“I’m fine,” I repeated later that day as I lifted my right arm with my left in order to eat a piece of pie (it was Pi Day, after all, and we had guests over to celebrate).

“I’m fine,” I said again as I limped to bed.

The next day, though, I was ready to admit that I wasn’t quite as fine after all. So on Tuesday I went to the doctor and got X-rays done of my shoulder and my foot. There was no bone damage to my foot, just impressive bruising. But my shoulder… well, that was a different story. My doctor identified a “chip fracture”, which I guess means a tiny little chip of bone was knocked off my humerus. He sent me to an orthopedist, who confirmed the chip fracture and also told me that there’s a tiny bit of separation between my rotator cuff and whatever bone it’s attached to. Not enough to warrant surgery, of course, but enough to warrant some PT exercises and Advil. Lots and lots of Advil. What he said in essence was, “This is probably going to hurt for a couple of months. Come back in May and we’ll take another look.”

It’s been nearly three weeks, and I’m feeling much better. My foot barely hurts at all at this point (though I’m still a bit gimpy in the mornings when I first get out of bed). My shoulder is still painful, but I’ve recovered a lot of range of movement, so I can even put on shirts without crying now. This is important, as you can probably imagine. I figured out how to do a lot of things with my left hand: brushing my teeth with only my left hand, showering with only my left hand, eating, getting dressed, etc. I never did figure out the trick of shaving with just my left hand, so I’m looking a bit scruffy these days (fortunately no one cares at my office, where, because we’re a creative organization, we’ve developed a sort of deliberate casualness).

I still get grumpy about the pain in my shoulder, of course. But I expect it will get better soon. And I can point at my humerus and explain that in all my years, it’s the first time I’ve ever experienced a bone break.

Next time I take a break from social media, I expect to accomplish something more impressive.

This post is for the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I’m not doing the alphabet in order. Sorry about that.

[A-Z] N is for Noodlin’



It’s been a long time since I’ve seen or listened to a Marx Brothers show, but I’m still a fan. Have been since my mother gave me an album of theirs for my… uh… twelfth birthday? Maybe it was my thirteenth? At any rate, I was pretty young, but I loved the album, which was something like “Marx Brothers Classics Volume 2”. I listened to it obsessively for months, possibly years. I had every one of Groucho’s jokes memorized, and while I never got around to learning to play the harp (or was ever interested for that matter), I did certainly appreciate Harpo’s talent on that instrument.

There were some neat guests on that album (I think Doris Day was one), but the one I really remember is Oscar Levant. He played an instrument (I think it was a violin? Again, I was very young), and did an improvisation with Harpo that I thought was brilliant. Groucho asked what the two would be playing and Levant answered, “We’re just going to noodle around.” And so that’s what they did.

I spend a lot of time doing that myself: improvising on what I’m going to do, what decisions I’m going to make, where I’m going in my career (both writing and tech). I have a feeling that noodlin’ around is what adult humans do the most. I certainly remember thinking at times when I was a teenager that I couldn’t wait until I was an adult and would have my act together; little did I know that “having your act together” is just a myth, and that adults don’t really have any better an idea what they’re doing than the kids do.

So I just noodle around, poking my head into various projects and tasks until my to do list becomes unwieldy and I start to panic about the number of novels I’ve started outlining and the number of new features I’m going to implement into our product at work. Right now I’m working on two novels and three short stories, primarily because I’ve managed to whittle my project list down significantly. I have a “top ten” list of projects at work which has ballooned, sort of like the early Universe in its hyper-inflationary period, into a couple dozen. I like to think that I do a pretty good job of condensing it into an easily-managed list on another platform.

See? Noodlin’.

Just like I’m noodlin’ through this A-Z challenge. I thought about doing the letters in order, I really did. But then yesterday I realized that the only A word I could come up with was “Antelope”, and I have nothing clever to say about antelopes, so I decided to start with another letter entirely, and copy what my wife did by working with the letter H.

There’s still no plan.

Groucho would have been proud.