Bursts of flaming reds and oranges and yellows decorate the trees outside on this brisk autumn day. Sunny, but windy enough to require a jacket, this is my ideal of perfect weather. This brings a smile to my face, a face that has not smiled enough in recent weeks. Since the week before Halloween I have written and discarded several daylogs. Plenty of sleepless nights and false starts later, I feel comfortable writing down my worry. A few Fridays ago I noticed a hard bump in my right armpit. At first the doctor thought it was an infected abscess, but a week of antibiotics resulted in no change. A return to the doctor's landed me on a table getting an ultrasound, and several days of anxious waiting. Now I'm on a different, much stronger and warning-filled antibiotic. Because cancer is prevalent in my family, (my mother developed cancer in her 30s and died when she was 43, I am now 35), these last few weeks have been terrifying. I'm actually a bit relieved to be on the horse pills. It gives me hope that this will turn out to be not very serious as all. But there were a few sleepless nights last week where that did not seem as likely.

The question of the mysterious lump in my underarm would normally be enough to put me in a funk, but these past few weeks have also been a period of extreme physical pain in my arms. Those who have known me here for a long time know that the situation with my arms improves and worsens based on my activity at work as well as requirements at home. And work has gotten busy, and for a variety of reasons I have been unable to use my voice recognition to the extent I need to while there. I have taken steps to ameliorate this situation, but it has not helped my frame of mind. I watch the Iron Noder progress with envy. There is so much I would like to write about but I'm trying to limit my exposure to the computer, and the last thing I need for my arms is to be on here several hours per night trying to put something together with wonky voice recognition. It is what it is.

One thing I do intend to write about is a challenge I've currently posted on my home node. I've cropped a small portion of a painting you have never seen in a gallery and posted it as my picture. My request is that anyone so inclined, send me a message of 30 words or less with their impression of the image. This is open ended. If you recognize the image, say so, but please do not share it with others yet. I'm going to try to work the responses into a short write up.

I'm experiencing one of those contemplative moments in life, which I suppose concerns of imminent mortality bring about, but I'm questioning a lot. How hard should I be pushing my preternaturally sharp five-year-old? How do I balance pushing her towards her potential versus letting her enjoy a carefree childhood, and where is the happy medium? How much should I devote to the repairing of broken friendships versus strengthening much newer but seemingly healthier ones?

How do I push to be better? I've reached the age where there are very few authority figures over me. How do I define what I'm working to and how will I judge when I have reached it? Life is short, how much more pain am I willing to tolerate versus completely withdrawing myself from everything but my wife and daughter?

It is what it is. I hate it when I get like this. But that thought brings to mind a quote from an episode of The Tick I recently saw:

The Tick: Life is your chance, Arthur! Grab it! Squeeze the milk of life into your dirty glass and drink it warm.

Which makes me smile again, and as I look that up for accuracy I come across a second quote that makes me chuckle outright:

Captain Liberty: I'm working on having him deported.
Batmanuel: She fears the demons I have awoken in her... womanly places.

That's better, that's much more my style. In fact, I feel positively upbeat now. I think I will go awaken some demons myself.

Until later,

-- corvus

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