Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bath & Body Works Disses My Olfactory Preferences Yet Again

Several years ago, I discovered a scent at B&B Works called Fresh Ginger Lime. Loved it. Couldn't get enough of it. Used it all the time. But within a year of proclaiming this scent my favorite scent, B&B discontinued it. With the help of their semi-annual sales and my mom-in-law, I snagged up a stock of lotion and body wash to last me for a while. But it wasn't the same--I haven't used the stock all that much because I know that once it's gone, it's gone.

I don't have that luxury with the other two discontinuations of my fave products. For several years, B&B sold the Pure Simplicity Oat line of face care products, and I stocked up as much as I could afford because the stuff worked wonders for my skin. Then I realized it was getting harder and harder to find the products so I could stock up. Last year, they vanished all together, and I changed stores and discovered Origins fabulous line of skin care products, though it sets me back a bigger amount (at least it also correspondingly works better).

And, just yesterday, I went to the store to buy more Fresh Vanilla lotion as I just ran out of my last stocked bottle despite having a three-fourths full bottle of shower gel. After wandering through the store and not finding that scent, I confirmed what my sinking stomach was already telling me: they discontinued the scent--well over a year ago, even. So I can't find the last dregs of the scent anymore, they're all gone.

I went to check on-line for any last gasp products in Fresh Vanilla--only to discover that they're discontinuing my favorite summer scent (after Fresh Ginger Lime, of course): Pink Grapefruit.

Sigh. I think it's time to use up every last bit of my B&B stocks and give them up as a store where my olfactory (and skin care!) preferences are either no longer represented or in an unsupportable minority. I'm really going to miss pampering myself regularly with Fresh Vanilla, though. That scent was about the most comforting I had ever found: it got me through the last months of my pregnancy and through the long weeks of my c-section wound recovery. It was the scent I reached for every time I needed to settle myself and relax.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Progress to Report

Haven't written since Wednesday night. Likely won't write tonight. Drew's had a couple of bad nights going to sleep, and it's pretty hard to concentrate on writing when he's either crying until 8:30 or Mark or I has to go back in to get him settled every fifteen minutes. Today I'm just wiped, despite sleeping in and a two-hour nap, and I'm not hopeful on Drew's going to bed routine this evening either. I think my body's trying to tell me to chill for a bit, so I'm going to listen.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tarot for Writers

While the party raged through the hotel's little valley nook in the Tucson Mountains during my Writing Getaway, I was forced to abandon the laptop and find something else to do. On a whim, I had packed the Mystic Faerie Tarot set my mother got me during a rough patch last month. I've used Tarot in the past for generating plots and character arcs, but that was with some cheapo deck I picked up at Borders. It was a good way to get a sense of what Tarot was about and how it could be used, but it really didn't do much else for me. With Mystic Faerie Tarot, I discovered a neat view to narrative structure and devices.

So I brought out the Tarot and tried to ignore the bad karaoke filtering through my patio window. I decided to work with different spreads to get some insight on THUMB and my characters, but none of the example spreads in the Tarot book looked right for that, and I couldn't remember the spreads I had used in the past for writing topics. As I was hunting through the Tarot book, though, a single sentence caught my eye: " can design a spread yourself to answer a specific question." My thwarted creative energies found a new outlet, and I went to work on some ideas.

The best spread I came up with was the Character Arc. I arranged six cards in an arc (think in terms of tracing a rounded capital M and stopping at the midpoint), and I placed a seventh under the curve of the arc. Each card in the arc represented the classic steps in a story arc:

  1. Inciting Incident

  2. Turning Point

  3. Midpoint

  4. Dark Moment

  5. Climax

  6. Resolution

The seventh card represented the theme of the arc or the character's goal or the character's defining quality. Essentially, Card 7 served as the basis of the question I was asking. A unifier of my choosing.

This was a very helpful spread in organizing the thoughts I had already structured in this fashion in my vague pre-plotting, and it also highlighted commonalities that my subconscious had been noticing but hadn't been cluing the rest of my brain about. I don't think I could use this spread (or really any Tarot reading, now that I think about it) to attempt to force an outline on a story before I start writing it, but I can use this to keep my left and right brains communicating a bit better throughout the writing process. And that's remarkably helpful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Progress: Break On Through

Deadline: June 30, 2008
Today's Words: 1,231 (that's more like it)
Total words: 52,060 (9,060)

Musical stylings: More Magnatune wanderings
Munchies: None, but I'm about to change that
Researched via Quickie Wiki or the Google Boogie: I was a good girl and left Teh Internets alone tonight
Mean Things: Impersonal crew titles among friends, mommy issues, rich girl angst
Placeholder of the day: "It helped that Elzie's mentor, Name Here, had commed them..."

Physical therapy contortions: Man, I am just falling apart. My wrist went bonkers on me tonight, but I'm pretty sure that's just from all the mousework I had to do for the DDJ today. Aside from that, the stretches went well. My shoulder seems to be doing better as my neck gets stretched out, and my hips are definitely vastly improved over the past week and a half. Now I get to work at my scar a bit as Mark and I watch an episode of The West Wing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Progress: Dead on my Seat

I don't know how I managed to keep my butt in chair for an hour and produce anything, but I did. Granted, it's not a lot of words by any stretch.

Deadline: June 30, 2008
Today's Words: 138 (I'll onesy-twosy this chapter yet)
Total words: 50,829 (7,829)

Musical stylings: Via Wil Wheaton, I tried to keep my brain alive by wandering through Magnatune's ambient and electronica selections.
Munchies: M&Ms (a small handful, honestly)

Physical therapy contortions: Friggin' shoulder is acting up, but I still managed my hip and abs and neck stuff. Excuse me while I collapse in bed now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Progress: More Note-taking than Writing

Didn't post progress reports on Saturday or Sunday despite having made some progress on Saturday. The lack of posting was due to a fun new twist in the Saga of My Health. I developed severe shoulder pain that actually prevented me from writing beyond the 30 minutes or so I logged Saturday. Writing not only increased the pain, it also was one of several triggers that made my arm go slightly numb. My physical therapist gave me a bit of an exasperated look when I shared the new problem with him today. We think the pain was caused by one of the stretches I was doing to improve my back extension. Good times, good times.

Deadline: June 30, 2008
Today's Words: 127 (not much better than 0 but I was starting a new chapter and it's into the meat of Act 2, which is brand new territory for me; spent a lot of time thinking and jotting notes this evening)
Total words: 50,691 (7,691)

Musical stylings: More Rhea's Obsession
Munchies: The last remaining snack portion of chicken tetrazini
Researched via Quickie Wiki or the Google Boogie: Pasta Primavera, "Enter Sandman"
Mean Things: Brutal honesty
Character Revelations: Sela, my MC's best friend, has become to Voice of Truth when assessing people's character. While this does make sense given her backstory, there is a bit of irony in that she has spent nearly her entire friendship with Elize (my MC) lying by omission and that's going to bite everyone in the ass for Elzie's black moment.

Physical therapy contortions: Gave myself the night off since I endured shoulder and neck manipulations on top of the standard scar tissue massage less than four hours ago. Plus, I served as Example of Teh Odd Case Study for a resident/intern/whatever, so my karma's balanced on this, to say the least.

Drewbie Sees a Who

We took Drew to see his first movie in the theater yesterday: Horton Hears a Who. He had a blast. At first, he was glued to my lap, entranced by the big huge movie, looking away only to make sure the fistfulls of popcorn he grabbed made it into his mouth. Then, when the novelty of WOW-BIG-SCREEN wore off and he was just watching the movie, he started running around the otherwise empty aisle, finding new spots from which to watch the movie. We were worried that he might get overly exuberant with his exclamations, but he was mostly quiet as he pointed out things like birds, water, ice, and so on, exercising his vocab and knowledge of what things are and how things work. There weren't more than 30 people at the showing, probably more like 20, but that's because it was 10AM on Easter Sunday, I'm pretty sure.

It was a great experience, one that I'm sure we'll repeat later this year when Wall-E comes out. Seeing as how Mark's first theater movie experience ended with him being carried out of Empire Strikes Back screaming, and one of my first experiences involved hauling a very upset, possibly screaming me out of E.T. and into Annie, yesterday went very well.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Progress: Literary References Gum Up the Works

Deadline: June 30, 2008
Today's Words: 290 (better than 0)
Total words: 50,282 (7,282)

Fun with typos: They're lurking, I can just feel it.
Musical stylings: Rhea's Obsession
Munchies: A few Cadbury's Mini Eggs
Researched via Quickie Wiki or the Google Boogie: The plot of Dune and other things for that universe
Mean Things: Dissing film adaptations of classic novels, monkey in the middle

Physical therapy contortions: Gave myself the day off after a hellish appointment this morning. Back on the horse tomorrow.

Collagen Run Amok

After several weeks of either increasing my hip pain/leg numbness or keeping it at a steady state, my physical therapist tried a different approach on Monday and the results have been startling. He decided to take a look at my c-section scar and see if scar tissue might be the culprit. Sure enough, while spending 15-20 minutes working on my scar, we discovered a correlation between prodding one area of the scar and numbness and pain in my leg.

Scar tissue is formed by collagen fibers laying down in the place of injured skin. When there's a lot of damage (as I experienced), or if the genes responsible for this part of the healing process aren't regulated quite right, the collagen fibers can go a little bonkers and keep laying down well beyond where they're needed. And, of course, the way collagen works is to attach itself at both ends: damaged skin to be repaired and an anchor elswhere in the body. In my case, probably intestines, bladder, muscle, and maybe even all the way back toward my spine.

So in addition to loosening my hip muscles, strengthening my abs, and improving my posture, we're going to start a regimen of intense scar tissue massage. And if I thought anything I had endured as part of my physical therapy before this point was painful, I was given a whole new set of data points to adjust my perceptions. Breaking down scar tissue, particuarly when it's built up and spread out as in my case (and anchored to a whole host of internal necessities), hurts like a mofo. Twice a week is what we're doing now, and my therapist is thinking it's probably not a bad idea to up the tally to three times a week.

While the idea makes me whimper, I will submit to that regimen, because if 15-20 minutes of pain 3 times a week means I get my body back to its (mostly) functional state, then bring it. But I think I might also schedule some time for curling up in the fetal position under my desk.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Progress: Lord Help Me in Revisions

So far so good with this progress metter posting thing. It's actually making me look at my writing process in a novel way, getting me to look at the little fun bits that might make entertaining fodder for these posts. One thing I realized tonight, though, is just how ugly this draft is going to be. I've got threads starting and dangling and knotting all over the place. I'm putting a lot of trust in Muse that I can pick them all back up at some point.

Deadline: June 30, 2008
Today's Words: 1162
Total words: 49,992 (6,992)

Repetitive repetition: 10 instances of "could", 8 of "can", and 2 of "can't"; apparently I'm all kinds of positive in this bit
Fun with typos: "the information my uncled had" (this is actually a very common typo for me; I seem to add or remove one letter at the end of words frequently)
Odd Spelling Suggestions from my WP's Spellchecker: "barff" instead of "barf"
Musical stylings: Just ATB today, which surprised me as it's usually far too bright a sound for draft composition
Munchies: Craisins and H2O
Researched via Quickie Wiki or the Google Boogie: Nada
Mean Things: Lying to friends and strangers, taking their doubts on the chin
Placeholder of the day: "We can play a game of [something fun] or watch a digie."

Physical therapy contortions: Did all my stretches and even tried the knee one, though I might regret that tomorrow. I'm taking the night off from scar tissue massage as I'm going to get a nasty round of it tomorrow at my appointment. The Nosey cat decided that me sprawled on the floor meant I had invited her to flop all around me and nose and mew her way into my face and shoulders and hands and knead my hair with her paws. I couldn't persuade her otherwise.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Progress: A New Trick

Trying something new, borrowing heavily from Elizabeth Bear. I'm going to see if posting my writing and physical therapy progress on a more frequent and rigid basis keeps me honest and productive. Here goes nothing:

Deadline: June 30, 2008 (totally self-imposed and looking toward completing revisions by the end of the year)
Today's Words: 565
Total words: 48,830 (5,830 for the Starting from Act 2 Endeavor)
Repetitive repetition: "There's the truth, and then there's the truth."
Fun with typos: None that popped out at me, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.
Musical stylings: Mostly remixed Collide with some ATB thrown in.
Munchies: Just agua tonight.
Researched via Quickie Wiki or the Google Boogie: Lyrics for various and sundry stalker songs
Mean Things: Viral program that plays said songs
Placeholder of the day: "some synthesizer effect"
Physical therapy contortions: Got through all of my stretches except for the one that makes me kneel. My knees just can't hack it. Still to come tonight: torture scar tissue massage.

I'm going to try to keep this up for the next week and see how it goes.

Interesting Things About My Trip

Man, I'm really into this "4 Things" meme. It an excuse to be remarkably lazy in the blogging department. Not to worry, I think I might try something new here soon and keep content fresh and entertaining daily. Ha. And I'll have more about my trip later as I still chew over the bits and pieces of insights I gleaned from it.

  • My MRI was, in a word, "unremarkable" but for some minor disc degeneration, which is common due to such things as gravity. The prescription: loosen the hip muscles, strengthen the abs, and improve the posture. (I've since discovered other things in the progress of my physical therapy; more on this later.)

  • A gathering of college-scene/struggling/indie/garage bands occurred in a lovely patio setting just a stone's throw away from my room at Hotel the First. Apparently, even supposed professionals are prone to singing very bad karaoke and shouting a lot just to hear their voices echo through the valley. I could sing along even though my patio door was shut and I had my own music on full blast. My word count for that night was only 561 words. I was less than amused.

  • Driving back home on Sunday proved to be quite an experience. A chilly wind was howling through the valley by the Chiracahuas. By the time I got to Benson and realized I need to check my oil when I gassed up as the car was riding rough (dipstick was bone dry; fun), the wind had brought with it temps in the 40s or lower. Then I hit the Tucson valley and saw a whole wall of purple gray in the sky and knew I was in for some severe rain--only to encounter marble-sized hail and snow for a fifteen-minute stretch first. The interstate was even icy for a small bit. In Tucson. On March 16th.

  • Absence makes the sight grow sharper. Being away from Drew for nearly three days let me get some distance so I could see just how much he's grown and developed his mad toddler skillz. It's interesting that I kept thinking of him as smaller and more dependent on me without realizing it. From what I've heard, I don't think this is going to change any time soon, but at least I'm aware of it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Off I Go

After enduring a round of Kellie the Human Pretzel at physical therapy this morning, I am ready to head on down to Tucson for the start of my Getaway. Though the first bit of my "vacation" involves analyzing my MRI results with my orthopaedic specialist. Then it's on to the hotel for rest, relaxation, and lots of writing. Wheee! I'll have lots to say about the experience next week.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

One Last Gasp

Right now, I have not quite 1000 words of THUMB to my name this week. I was hoping for at least double that, if not triple heading into my weekend so I would be taking a productive week and ramping it up. Barring a miraculous 1-2K outpouring tonight, it's not going to happen. I'm shifting the focus of my trip to just making progress, refreshing myself, and coming back to home with a renewed sense of connection to this book and myself and my writing. If I manage 10K or more, swell, but finishing the current chapter will be just as welcome.

Still, I've got one last night of writing in my usual environment. I'm going to do all I can to make it a productive one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Various Bits of SF Geekery

Because apparently I can't blog anything of subtance for more than a paragraph or two lately.

  • In a similar vein that hopes to tap, I've been trolling through to see what was up. Found some neat spoilers on the upcoming Battlestar Gallactica and lots of speculation about the summer SF goodness coming at us. And then, in a lovely piece the likes of which don't appear on the site often, a fab essay on rules for writing short fiction. Though I must say that the art work is a head-scratcher. I mean, I get that women are depicted as sex objects first in most comics and SFnal art work, but wow. Never have I seen such attention given to breasts so that I understand that the lady in question used to wear a more substantial bra but has recently opted not to. Tan lines are a bitch.

  • It was all over the internets last week that the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons died. Many great tributes were paid, nearly all of them referencing the game play in some fashion or another. My favorite was Charles Stross's spin roll, as he lumped in current politics, and he's a Brit at that. All I can say is, as long as the Cheney card is in play, looks like we're stuck between Barack and a Hard Face. (My experience with D&D is limited to some guy who was sweet on me trying to introduce me to the gaming life, and I got cross-eyed at all the rules and rulebooks. Though, later, I did get to enjoy a RPGer condescending to me in horrid, sexist fashion so he didn't have to leave the game he was playing at a con. Must say, between the two exposures, I've not really been interested in learning more.)

  • Watched the SG1 movie, The Ark of Truth, last night and came away mostly disappointed. Most of this is because the movie was sending me cues left and right that it was supposed to be EPIC, and I just didn't buy it. Intense and grand music scores, sweeping panoramas, save-two-galaxies-at-once stakes, etc. The problem with trying to make this movie epic was that the story was essentially a two-hour season finale. It's hard to get into the standalone epic feeling when you've got two seasons of television shoring up all the backstory and characterisation so that the plot can be hurled at you with big 'splosions. (And, actually, they still ended up cheating us out of a decent build up to the whole concept of the ark and its origins and moral ambiguity. Also, there's direct Deus Ex Machina that further flattens the feel of the movie out of its epic aspirations.) That being said, I am very much looking forward to the second movie as the story is not a direct continuation of a plotline developed in the series. It seems much more likely to offer a good standalone movie with a universe and characters I enjoy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mor on Tor

Patrick Nielsen Hayden tells all!

UPDATE: You know, I thought I was being all clever and writerly with the title of this post. Then I realized that I had written, essentially "moron Tor." Not the brightest thing to do to the leading SF publisher when one is trying to get one's SF published.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Baby, Remeber Drew's Name (Remember! Remember! Remember!)

Drew's big into dancing. His favorite (read: only) style is frenetic running in place while moving his arms up and down and shaking his head back and forth. Sometimes he mixes it up by running in a circle while doing the above or mimicking whatever I'm doing. This makes for a lot of fun times whenever something musical comes on in the house.

Another thing Drew likes to do is run around the house in one final pre-nocturnal hurrah after he's released from the shower or bath. The first step in this process is to run to the parent who was absent during the washing and give said person a big hug (this also helps him finish drying off as he isn't really into that whole "toweling down" thing). Then he'll hurry into his room to jump on his bed before we come at him with a diaper and PJs. (His word for jump, incidentally, is "boing.") Lately, though, he's been dancing around to whatever music is coming from the TV before we get him all trussed up for the night.

Last night, this new tradition and love of dance took a fascinating twist when I had the XM Radio 80s channel on and "Fame" started up after Drew gave me his very wet hug. Drew and I had great fun dancing to that song. He particularly enjoyed it when I did a mock balletic jump. Then he tried to do the same thing, and laughed when it always turned into a near-belly-flop on the carpet.

It feels great to be silly like this with Drew, to move just for the sake of moving, to sing and dance and not care what anyone who observed us might think about the spectacle. I wish I could bottle up this enthusiasm to experience the world without the restriction of clothing. Not because I think we should all be nudists, but because the focus is not on how the body appears but on how it functions and interacts with the world. Society tells us not just that our bodies are private but also that they are shameful or abnormal. I'd like for a moment to feel the same freedom Drew feels when he escapes the towel and throws himself into whatever activity catches his attention. I'd like to be able to dance naked in the privacy of my home without feeling exposed or horribly aware of the flabby bits and the awkward sags and the scarred skin.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ready for Progress

OK, I've decided to dive into the story at the beginning of Act 2 and pretend that Act 1 is the spiffy goodness I've outlined instead of the nearly 50K of crap I just read through. This hasn't worked for me in the past, but then I didn't try it armed with outlines of both the crap and the shiny new stuff. Also, I think that previous attempt might've been interrupted by getting pregnant. Regardless, I'm going to do it this time and do the outlining trick whenever I feel I've wandered too deeply into Suck.

Plus, if I'm going on a writing retreat next weekend (!!!!), then I best be plugging along on actually creating draft instead of all this dithering I've been doing lately. No sense in wasting that weekend with more dithering. I want to jump into it with a plan of action and a track record of successful writing in this new vein.

So, I sit before the computer, armed with my "Floggings will continue daily until morale improves" T-shirt, a couple of hours of remixed Collide songs, Jelly Bellies, and the promise of a Starbucks run compliments of a gift card Mark got me if I need the boost. I'm ready to head into the fray. I've got the hip waders for the Suck on standby, just in case.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I've spent most of my writing time this past week outlining the current draft of THUMB in all its hideousness. This was so that I actually knew how I had gotten to the crunch I encountered not long ago. I had already realized much needed to be changed, but without a good handle on what was there and how I should change it, forward progress was moving at either a snail's pace or propelling me backward with the force of Sheer Suck. It got so bad at one point that I realized I had two characters essentially yelling at each other over supply delivery in what amounted to a slightly more sophisticated version of "I know you are, but what am I?"

The outline helped me see a few patterns. The first being that having a villain POV in this just sucked the conflict right out, especially when I had my protags face whatever obstacle he presented in the following chapter. Nothing was building, and my poor villain was going to wax melodramatic just to build a plot that would really confound them. Also, I kept resolving big stuff "off-camera" in order to have more time for dialog that, while mostly good and character-revealing, essentially served to introduce the characters to each other, trot out their backstory, and explain what they were trying to do. Over and over again. Oh, and I realized very quickly that shifting this to first person POV drained the life and color right out of the story. (This happens to me when I try to move a story to first person POV when it doesn't need to be; the effects are startling and immediate.)

But, I also saw how there was a lot of good stuff in there, hiding under all that Suck, waiting to get teased out and buffed into gleaming awesomeness. I saw what nixing the villain's POV would do. I saw what I would miss in getting rid of a secondary character's POV. And I found a whole bunch of better ways to dump my protag into conflict and have her try to swim out on the page instead of off of it. Without wallowing in angst (mostly). Or, at least, I think I did. That's the problem with that right-brain, left-brain translation issue. The right brain is buzzing with excitement, seeing all the threads and mostly confident that the dark spots of the threads, the hidden snarls in shadow, are still going to take us to the end of the story. The left brain wants the right brain to write everything down in triplicate.

Meanwhile, I have to decide if, after setting up a new outline of what the story should look like vs what it currently is, I need to write the story to match or if I can take the story on faith and write as if I've already written it. The left brain really wants to do the latter (ya know, the model of efficiency). The right brain views the "story as it should be" outline as a new toy and is just itching to play with it. The rest of me just wants to have a complete draft of the book so I can move on with revisions as that's when both the right and left brains seem to be in harmony.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Another Item I Should've Linked a While Ago

SF publisher Tor (perhaps the biggest name in SF publishing) is gearing up for a spiffy new, interactive website and, to whet your appetite and keep you riveted for more details, they are giving away a free e-book a week. No purchase (or DRM) involved. They are also giving away free wallpaper by their various cover artists. I've got a gorgeous Stephan Martiniere print on my computer at the moment. Makes me giddy every time I log in and fall into that work of art.

How do you join in the giveaway madness (there's also a sweepstakes for a an e-book reader, IIRC)? I'll cut and paste from the email to give you more info and the link:

A science fiction and fantasy site not quite like any you’ve seen before, mixing news, commentary, original stories and art, your own comments and conversations, and more. A place on the net you may find yourself wanting to visit—and participate in—every day. Stay tuned to

If you like SF and/or enjoy freebies, check it out. If you're interested in the quirks of a mover and shaker in the publishing industry, then I doubly recommend checking this out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Something I Meant to Link a While Ago

A gaggle of good SF writers have banded together to create an on-line series of episodic fiction in the style of Criminal Minds--but the unsub is deep in paranormal quirks beyond just being a bad guy. There are two episodes up: Emma Bull's "Breathe" and Elizabeth Bear's "Knock on Coffins." These are essentially novelettes, so it will take some of your time to read, but it is vastly worth it. The next episode will be up on March 17. I'm told there's also a lot of easter eggs buried in the site, but my technical savvy only stretches so far.

Anyway, check out Shadow Unit (I've also added a link on my sidebar for your future timewasting needs), a collaborative effort by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Will Shetterly, and Amanda Downum (and maybe another?). Go. Read. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rub Me the Wrong Way

Gah. I have hit a point where I would love nothing more than to rant about something but there's no way I can siphon off enough of the details to cover my butt and still have anything worth posting. I will only say this: if you're reading this, it doesn't apply to you.

So, instead of a long, juicy rant, I'm going to do the next best thing and grouse about my phsical therapy appointment, which essentially encapsulates the philosophical griefs of my rant in physical form. It's so nice when life gives you that particular brand of synchronicity, isn't it?

Yesterday I had my third PT appointment. We're focusing on stretching out my overly tightened hip muscles, strengthening my abs, and monitoring my back's response to all of this. The first appointment revealed my left hip is slightly higher than my right and this may or may not explain why my back rolls unevenly when I slouch and straighten, which may or may not be the cause of or a contributing factor to my current hip pain. Still, the therapist wants to help me even out the imbalance as much as possible and has geared my stretches and appointments accordingly. The first week of PT went fine along these lines.

Enter Monday.

I am already torqued and likely carrying around far too much stress in my body. I hustle to the appointment, and they start me out with a nice rest on a heating bad and electrical leads to relax my back and ease any pain in my workout. About halfway through the heat session, I notice that the numbness in my left leg ramps up from its usual, constant level 1 baseline to about a 4. Not numb enough to prevent me from using the limb, but enough to make me go, "hmmm." But I don't say anything as the therapist checks in to stop the heat and have me start my stretches while he finishes with another patient. After all, I had spent the entire time on the heating pad with my legs elevated, so maybe it's just a result of that.

I get about three reps into my first stretch when I notice my back is not happy with me when I do the stretch, which is essentially just a pelvic tilt while I contract my abs. So I switch to another stretch, this one focusing on loosening my hip muscles, and the back does not protest. I try another stretch involving contracting my abs, and the back protests again. I run through my stretches as much as possible, trying to figure out what hurts and what doesn't and where.

My therapist comes back, and I give him my report. He then says, "Hmm. You're going to be my case study." Translation: I have no idea what the hell is going on, so let's go hunting; this is gonna hurt and/or involve a lot of extra tests. Unique is good for just about everything in life, but when it comes to health issues (and technological difficulties), unique is bad.

And a-hunting he does go, pushing all sorts of spots on my back as I move this way and that way, figuring out (or trying to figure out) where the pain is coming from by finding the very painful spots and comparing them with the not as painful spots. I whimper and gasp a lot, thinking it's a perfect way to end a Monday.

My next appointment is Friday. I think I'm supposed to hear back about the results of my MRI (that I took on Saturday) before then, so hopefully I can go armed with more information to prevent a repeat of the "What Happens If I Do This" game.