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10 January 2013

Thoughts on the new year and knee

It'll be a spectacular scar! 
As most of my friends, family and Facebook fans know, I had my left knee replaced just before Thanksgiving. I tried putting it off by losing weight (I lost 70 pounds, and so far kept 50 from coming back.), physical therapy, braces on my legs, injections with various substances, changing shoes...the whole gamut my physician asked me to try before succumbing to the inevitable: My knees were in sad shape and needed serious repair.

My surgeon and I figure that if we do the worst side, the other--less bad--side can limp along a few years before it needed to be done as well. So far, I agree with that decision.

As it turned out. I am well ahead of the curve for recovery from this kind of surgery. My day job expects me to show up on time as the end of the month approaches. And my wife thought I'd be bored out of my skull by now! Hah!

Blizzard Drake and my holiday lights.
Suddenly, a whole bunch of projects I was hoping to do while recovering become shoe-horned in the last weeks of my convalescence. There were a bunch of little projects that are mostly taken care of (The last of these is the removal of the outside Christmas lights, but that always waits for a January thaw. Otherwise, I'd be fighting to remove rather delicate wires from ice-encasement.), and a milestone in my photography work has been accomplished: I had a portfolio review. (Thank you, Andy Manis!)

I needed this review so I can refine the photos that I will eventually post on a web site. I have a host provider picked out and their prices are reasonable. I just need to show my vision for those who would want to hire me to capture imagery. Cross fingers that I can get this done before the end of the month. It is a reasonable goal.

Another project is this blog post. Enough said.

My third project involves scanning a bunch of slides my brother-in-law has into digital format. I'll have to clean the dust as I go, because they were housed briefly in northern Arizona. The grit gets everywhere there. I haven't even looked a the scope of that project yet, but I will soon after I post this.

Last, but not least, is the organization of dances and music for dance ball to be held by my history club in May. It may seem a long way off, but the need to familiarize and practice some 20 new arrangements makes the intervening months all too short. Fortunately, I don't have to choreograph the dances, just select them and get the sheet music to the musicians. For this project, I am already late, but not too late to avoid the ire of my fellow players.

One thing that has changed over the course of the last couple months is my set of priorities. Part of that is temporal: Seasonal items, like school projects and home decorations for the Holidays. A big priority was and is recovery from my surgery. That includes daily exercise and weight lifting activities. I have close to 30 routines--just remembering to do them all is an exercise!

Now, the priorities shift to where I want to grow as a photographer, hence the portfolio review and preparation for a website. Part of what I also need to do is just get ready for the day-to-day grind of my day job, a new semester of school and getting a business presence so my customers can find me.

I also have to cook for myself this winter. My wife got a generous allowance from our HMO to take part in a boot-camp workout and dietary food program over the next three months. She goes in before work five days a week for an intense hour of weights and exercises. For two months, they provide all her meals, and the last month she gets home-sourced food on the weekends--she still gets their food on weekdays. It's been fun so far to match the suppers they give her with what we have on hand, so she doesn't feel like I'm eating radically different food than what she's getting. It's been reminding me to keep on my eating plan as well.

It's not that I can't cook--my parents made sure I knew how--I'm just a lazy cook. I'd much rather have ready-to-eat goodies out of the refrigerator than spend hours preparing something spectacular, at least most of the time. I have to remind myself that if I want bread I have to slice it! My wife did freeze ahead a bunch of entrees for use when I went back to work. I'm supposed to eat them for my lunches while I'm convalescing, too. I do. It is a little hard when faced with a dozen tubs of pea soup to keep picking from that pile. I just have to keep on, then.

Crystal Still Life at Poynette Antique Market
The biggest priorities are my lovely bride and our families. My brother has new digs that he'll need help moving to, and our other siblings and their children are so interesting that electronic scorecards are needed to keep track of them all. Life really is a lot of fun (especially with my family) when you look at it as an adventure to experience, rather than drudgery to endure.