Check it out! Justin fixed my website! I got hacked. 🙁 At least, it might have been me. Justin hosts several websites on the same server and one of us got malware and then it spread around to a couple other places and it was hard to see where it started from. So he had to pull everything down, clean it up, and put stuff back up again.

Hopefully the code is all gone now, but we’re still watching to check that it doesn’t pop in from anywhere in the database.

But in the mean time, I think I can start actually working on getting this place cleaned up a little bit!

In regards to my knee

Some of you (All of you?) know that I’ve been having trouble with my knee. It’s not super interesting, but in case you were wondering, here’s the scoop on that.

Back in January, I stood up from the sofa to shut the blinds on the window and my knee wouldn’t support my weight and I fell over. I don’t remember now if there was pain in my knee before that point or not, but I know for sure that there was after that point.

We went to my chiropractor in the morning to see if he could do anything about it and he adjusted it so I wasn’t in so much pain and I was mostly able to walk on it again and I put an athletic brace on it and walked with a cane when it was really painful and iced when it hurt and didn’t do much walking on it and hoped that it would stop hurting and get back to normal. Because hey! The human body is AMAZING and will heal things that are damaged. It’s amazing to think about it sometimes: Things that are alive can heal from injury!

Um, except that in my case it wasn’t working. I thought it was, but if I walked too much or tried to exercise, the pain would come back, with swelling and not being able to walk without pain. It was getting really frustrating. When I decided that I was going to cut back on my hours at work, I also decided to start doing things to improve my health, mentally and physically, so I went to yoga and I couldn’t do it! I mean, I could, but I HURT the day following, which was ridiculous. The yoga wasn’t that hard.

So I went to my usual doctor, PA Lovato, and talked with her about it and she said that I should get an MRI and see what was happening inside my knee. So then I went to get an MRI, which was interesting. They had me lay on this table thing and take a very still nap for about 20 minutes while the big camera computer machine beeped and buzzed and made a whole heap of noise, making it hard to take my nap. And then they gave me a CD of the results and sent me away. A day or two later, my doctor got a report that said that nothing was torn or broken, but that there was swelling. Which we all knew already just from looking at my knee.

So my doctor, not able to see anything wrong, said I should see an orthopedic surgeon and get that person’s opinion. So I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Hoffman, a highly recommended doctor in Savannah, and waited a few weeks for that appointment. Meanwhile, I went to see Kamaka, my massage therapist and she recommended that I see Stuart Fife, a physical therapist in town who she and the chiropractor she works with always recommend. So I went to see him and he put these little sensors on my legs above my knees and below my knees and on my feet and had me walk on a treadmill to do an evaluation of my gait. And he said that I walk with my legs at an inward angle of 10 – 15 degrees, which is a lot, and that if I strengthened the muscles in my hips and butt, then it would be greatly improved and solve my knee and my back pain and reduce the risk of tearing my ACL (I think).

So I went home with exercises that I haven’t been doing because they’re painful and frustrating, but I know I should be doing because I paid a lot of money for that evaluation and I should heed good advice when I get some.

Then I went to my appointment with Dr. Hoffman, who took an x-ray for no good reason and then looked at my MRI and said that I have a small tear in my meniscus that should be healing on it’s own except that the swelling is so much that it’s not. So he gave me a shot of a steroid in my knee, I’m assuming it’s cortisone because it’s always cortisone, and said if it’s still hurting in 4 weeks, come back and he’s got a surgical option he could do, but we’d both rather not have to do that.

And since the shot, it’s been so much better! I’m still wearing the brace as I start increasing my use of my knee. I’m going on walks and NOT BEING PAINFUL and it’s the first time it’s happened since January! I’ll get back to doing the exercises recommended by Stuart and that will, hopefully, take care of the whole problem. I’m hoping to be back to doing my aerobic videos by July, which is good because I’ve gained back more weight since November than I’d like.

So that’s that! That’s what happening with my knee.

Hi! Did you miss me?

Years ago, I read an article that blog writers should never start a post with an apology for not writing in a while. I can’t remember exactly what the reasoning was in the article, but I thought it was good advice and I resolved never to do so. My primary reasoning, since I can’t remember the article’s reasoning, is because this is my space, dang it, and if I don’t want to be here, then I don’t have to be here. And I don’t have to apologize for that. And secondly, starting posts with apologies is really boring to read.

So, you’re not getting an apology. But I do want to write about my absence a little bit becuase I have been thinking about what was behind it and figured I might as well share that. There are two primary reasons, I think, behind my lack of posting here.

One is that I stopped writing almost entirely once I started using a tablet to read the Internet instead of my laptop. My laptop has gotten old and very slow and it doesn’t do me much good on a day-to-day basis. I tend to read a lot of different things on the internet and I can read all of those things more quickly and with less weight just by reading on my small, handheld tablet. My tablet has been one of my favorite purchases in the last several years. So much of what I do can be done using the tablet instead of a full processing personal computer — with one glaring lack. I stopped writing.

I don’t tend to write using my tablet. Primarily because it’s a pain in the butt to use the integrated keyboard for long lengths of text. I didn’t even text much with people I know online using it becuase I got so frustrated with how slowly I’d have to type compared to how fast I can type  on a keyboard, and I’d get more typos and autocorrect errors and it was SUPER FRUSTRATING. So I stopped. Mostly. I kept typing to one or two key people because they kept texting to me, but otherwise, I mostly went silent.

And the not writing didn’t bother me too much because of the second reason, which was that I was feeling more and more vulnerable about how my life was not feeling very private. I started to back away from any social media and places where my personal life was available to people outside of my own home. (Not that I was much online anywhere, but anyway…) The reasons behind this are partially because I was getting overwhelmed at work and with stress and a lot of things that were only happening inside of my own head. But the solution that I found was to curl up into myself and not share.

And I think that was healthy, to an extent. The amount of information that we willingly share on the Internet is massive, and there is a point, for everybody, where you should hit the point of “I’m not going to share that.” (For some people, that point is WAY FURTHER past where it should be…) I think it’s normal and important to sometimes stand back and evaluate what information you’re sharing with which groups of people and think about if it’s appropriate and think about what’s happening that could or shouldn’t be shared and to be cognizant of the difference.

Of course, in my evaluation of what was happening in my life, most of what I came up with was the fact that I was working. A lot. And that it wasn’t something I could/should share and if I did, it wouldn’t be terribly interesting. So I didn’t.

And on top of that, I didn’t think people would care or notice if I stopped typing, so why not? If I didn’t want to write and people wouldn’t care if I didn’t, then why did I go through the trouble? And that may or may not be true — since I’m not sure that anyone other than the people in my immediate family actually even know this website exists, and as far as I know, only the women of that audience have ever cared to read it. If that’s my whole audience, then shouldn’t I just be able to communicate with those people in other mediums?

Except I haven’t.

I mostly just sunk into working too much, doing little else, and getting more and more mired in the muck in my head.

So, finally, I’m working on changing that.

Justin bought me a keyboard for my tablet. He’d asked me several other times if I’d want one and I kept telling him that I  didn’t think the expense would be worth it. But we’re working on setting up a new computer as a media server (for all the CD’s he spent months coping digital copies of) and we were going to need a keyboard to use for that computer. And he found a keyboard that would easily switch between three different devices and asked if I’d be interested in that.

So now I have a keyboard for my tablet! Which means I can enjoy all the ease and speed of my tablet AND still be able to type!

On top of that, Justin and I had a heartfelt conversation about how I needed to stop working so much. I’d been working 50+ hour weeks since October and I was not holding up under the strain. I’d started thinking about finding another job, just to be able to walk away from all the problems I’d been dealing with in this one. The outcome from that discussion was that there were two options: Work could have me for 40 hours or they could have me for 0 hours. I would actively start concentrating at leaving ON TIME and not working overtime. And either things would pile up because I wasn’t working enough or I’d find a way to make it work in the 40 hours in my week. And if they piled up and the company decided I needed to work more hours, then I would leave. Or if I couldn’t find a way to be happy with the amount of backlog that was happening because I wasn’t working overtime, then I would leave. Either way, it was going to be 40 or nothing.

It’s been about a month, and I’ve been at 45 hours or less that whole time. And it’s been VERY HARD. But so far, no one in my department blames me for cutting back. And no one has said anything about my job performance needing to improve. And while I sometimes have to tell myself that it will be FINE. Just leave it. Go home. Do it tomorrow… I’m getting better.

And cutting back on my hours and my stress means that I’ve opened up my brain space to deal with other things that have been stuck up in there, lurking, waiting, rotting. And I’m working through them.

My concerns about what I share publicly are still relevant and there are a lot of things happening right now that I’m not going to write about. But I think I’m going to try to at least write SOMETHING. After all, I have this shiny new keyboard that needs to get used.

Hurricane Matthew – part 2

We have decided that we are going to leave town after all. Not because we’re worried about the weather, although an increasing number of people keep saying that we should be. But because we’ve been intending to go up and visit Mom and Dad and this is a really good weekend to do that! We used to have plans for Saturday — Family Day at work, Justin needed to go to the art museum for an exhibit for his Art History class, and a friend invited me to an Indian festival in town. But all those things got cancelled. I have off from work and Justin has very little homework due on Monday.

So we’re planning to head out there tomorrow and come back on Sunday.

As far as local news, this morning, the county decided that everybody east of I-95 should evacuate. We are west of the interstate. Less than a mile west, but we are west of it. This afternoon, our apartment complex sent out an email recommending that people leave. One of Justin’s classmates told him that her family was leaving around 1:45 this afternoon. He got an update from her recently (about 2 hours after they’d left) and they’re only 30 miles away. Hopefully traffic tomorrow morning will be clear.

It’s still calm and cloudy here. We kind of wish we’d be here to see what kind of weather does come through over the weekend. But we’re going to pack up and head to TN and check out how the weather is up there instead. I hope to get some hiking in this weekend! And getting to see Mom and Dad and the finished up house is going to be AWESOME!!

Hurricane Matthew

The biggest storm to come up the coast since 2007 is on its way into town, so I figured I’d write about it.

Hurricane Matthew has it’s own wikipedia page already and it’s a lot more accurate and detailed than I’ll be able to get, so if you want to know about the specifics of the storm, I’d recommend that you go read that article.

What I can tell you is about how it’s effecting things around here.

Yesterday morning, Tuesday, we were mostly not very concerned. It sounded like Haiti had taken a beating and it was surprising how little the storm slowed. And Cuba was looking like it was getting hit hard, too. But mostly we figured that overnight it would either slow down or, more likely, take a sharp right and head out into the Atlantic.

By that afternoon, though, it wasn’t turning or slowing down any, and Gulfstream decided to reschedule the Family Day scheduled for Saturday. And then the governor of South Carolina started putting into motion the mandatory evacuation of Beaufort county and others, which includes Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, starting Wednesday afternoon. I heard about it at work as some of my coworkers started telling the bosses that they had to leave and they wouldn’t be back until the governor said they could get back into their homes. They had to go home, make the house ready for the storm, and then head out of town to wherever they’d be spending the next couple days.

We had chiropractor appointments in Bluffton that evening, so we went up for our adjustments and looked as the ramp to the interstate was already getting backed up and the gas stations already had lines queuing down the street. Our chiropractor’s wife stopped by the office on her way out of town with their kid, on her way up to her family’s house in North Carolina. He was spending the night to get the house in order, but she was heading up early to beat the traffic.

At the grocery store next door, some people were shopping like maniacs, taking carts full of bottles of water and bread and, of all things, milk. Like, most of the milk was gone. What are you going to do with milk on the drive out of town?

Back home in Chatham County, our city of Pooler was mostly still unconcerned. Savannah sits in the “armpit” here and storms tend to come up Florida and then skip out into the ocean and make landfall again above us near Charleston. And Pooler is further inland from Savannah, on the other side of I-95, so there’s a number of us who were not very worried about this. Even so, Justin and I went out to the Scottish pub for dinner and every time the weather report came on about the storm, the whole place would get quiet. And then the Gulfstream Emergency notification network sent out a message saying that all the Chatham area schools were going to be closed for the rest of the week, and half the cell phones in the pub answered that message.

Justin’s school, Armstrong, was not cancelled for the morning, and neither was work for me. So we both got up this morning and went into town. Some people were absent from the office, taking care of their kids. But not as many as I expected. And Justin said most of his classmates were complaining about the fact that they didn’t get the day off like most of the other schools in the area. Armstrong did cancel all the classes after 11:00 this morning and for the rest of the week. (Justin was glad that they waited until after his exam was done for the day so he didn’t have to keep thinking about that all weekend.) At about that same time, they cancelled work for Friday for me.

I stayed at work over lunch and had meetings for the afternoon starting at 1:00. Half an hour into my meeting, a coworker stuck his head into the conference room and announced that they’d just cancelled work for Thursday. We could hear the hum of conversation outside the conference room ramp up to a quiet roar through the door. We pulled up Google maps to check how traffic was looking and I-16 from Savannah up toward Atlanta was already backed up for miles. The roads from Hilton Head and Charleston, which were supposed to get converted to all going one direction starting at 3:00 this afternoon, were looking pretty clear, up until the interstate ramps when things were getting backed up.

It’s been cloudy all day — even through the eye of this hurricane hasn’t even made landfall yet on the States, because this storm is HUGE. Seriously, it’s ENORMOUS. And the body of it is moving slowly, even if the winds within it are moving crazy fast. We don’t expect to feel any effects from it until late tomorrow, maybe not even until Friday. Saturday should be lots of rain, and then Sunday should be back to clouds again.

It’s been a mixed bag of how people are handling the pending storm. There’s the people who have been ordered to leave, obviously. And then there’s the people in town here who have the option to leave or to stay. There have been a lot of people stocking up on water and batteries and gas. Lots of people are heading inland, booking hotels as far north as Atlanta, or heading to stay with friends or family elsewhere.

We’re going to stay. We’re on the third floor of our building, so we’re not worried about flooding. The garage might get wet, but we’ll double-check it tomorrow and make sure it’s all safe to get wet. The worst that we’re expecting is if the wind gets strong, we might need to worry about the windows breaking — but we don’t believe to be likely. The power might go out, but if it does, we’ll eat all the ice cream and cook dinner over the propane stove we have for camping, and snuggle up reading books for the weekend. I’m okay with that plan. I have some work that I brought home to try to get done over the “long weekend,” but for the most part, we’re just going to take a quiet weekend, I hope.

Talking with my coworkers, I realized that even if Justin and I are not overly concerned and we’re going to “ride it out” at home, I would never try to convince anyone who was considering leaving that they should stay. Because we just don’t know how this storm is going to be until it actually arrives. If someone feels like they ought to leave and I convince them to stay and then the storm is worse than expected, or something horrible happens even if the storm isn’t that bad, then I would never forgive myself. I’d rather people evacuated and have nothing happen other than a bored weekend watching TV in a hotel somewhere inland rather than have them stay in town and have to suddenly deal with the floodwaters rising through their living room when they have nowhere to go or the wind taking the roof off their house above their heads.

And that brings us up to current! We’ve got no plans to go anywhere for the next couple days, lots of reading, lots of games, lots of Netflix, a bit of work (homework or work brought home), and not a lot of worries. Tomorrow we’ll be double-checking that we’re ready in case the storm starts to look like it’s worse than it looks right now. Friday and Saturday we’ll watch the rain. If it does start to sound like it’s not looking good, we’ll make sure to let everybody know. But so far, we’re just expecting to to get rainy and windy, and that’s about it.