036 // Caught in a Split Second

This morning I witnessed the aftermath of a rather horrific car accident. A child pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing near a busy intersection just moments before we arrived. The scene was pretty upsetting to see.

At first, I didn’t even know what I was seeing. I saw cars stopped and a street light down. I thought I was looking at a terrible but typical car accident. Then I noticed there were a lot of people walking around. Then I saw six or seven people crouched near the sidewalk. Then I saw the small bundle of scrawny limbs awkwardly piled in the gutter. I noticed the backpack and the flower shirt. I noticed a child who wasn’t moving. I wanted to help her. I was getting up to help her…and then the fire truck was there, and we were moving, and it was over.

I returned to work. I did my job. I moved on with my day. I was shaken, but I thought I was fine. I tried to put away the memory of that girl scrunched up in the gutter, but as time passed, I became more and more disturbed by what I had seen. It’s still with me even now, as if I am still caught in that split second between realizing what I was seeing, and deciding what to do.

First responders arrived before I had to make a choice, but I wonder what might have happened if we had arrived just a minute or two sooner. If I had seen the child hit and what I would have found when I ran from my bus with my limited training in first aid and CPR.

I wonder if she is okay? I wonder, are her parents by her side right now? I wonder how her life will be shaped by this moment and how long the memory of her will affect me.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

035 // The Afterglow of a Good Day

It was a strangely productive day today. I woke up feeling much better than I had when I went to bed and that gave me some hope for the day, but then I was asked to do real work, and that bit of awfulness threatened to ruin my good mood and sap my energy.

Then I remembered, I’m tackling the dreadful with enthusiasm now. A little of spirit got the job done in record time and I was able to move on to the things I wanted to do.

I made it through a few more of Dickinson’s poems. I blasted through some Spanish on Duolingo, and nearly finished week one of Social Norms, Social Change I. Not a ton of writing got done, not in any structured way anyway, but some ideas were sparked and preliminary notes were taken.

I’m hoping tomorrow will be even better, I still made mistakes after all, but for now, I’m simply basking in the afterglow of a good day.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

034 // Growing Old While Young

Ending the night in pain. The joint that connects my middle finger to my palm has swollen and the joints in my feet are protesting against my weight.

I’ve taken ibuprofen even though I know I’m not supposed to because it’s the only thing that helps. I’ve got two heating pads going and I’ve put myself to bed early hoping to wake up in a better state.

I’m doing my best to stay strong because know I’m only going to get worse while I wait for financial assistance from the new drug company. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that phone call sometime this week.

Damn, it’s depressing to grow old while you’re still so young.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

033 // A Good Day and a Bad Idea

Today was one of those good and bad days. Not in between, but both at the same time. The day appeared to be all bad, or at least very bad from my cozy place in the corner of my couch, but after a good meal and a chance to rest quietly, I can see there was actually a whole lot more good than bad.

The good news is we may have made some very significant progress in wedding planning but rather than being relieved I just feel newly overwhelmed, anxious, and afraid. With every step we take a cascade of decisions must be made after. Everything I do means I must do other more difficult and expensive things next. There is so much that can go wrong and have a talent for finding the most devastating ways of screwing things up.

My littlest sister—younger by 15 years!—had to give me a pep-talk and her enthusiasm, faith, and humor have energized and emboldened me.

So yes, looking back, it was a good day, but afterward, hoping to keep the good time going, we decided to go clothes shopping and that was a bad idea. Long story short, my self-esteem didn’t survive, hence the need for the cozy corner on the couch, the quiet rest, and an early bedtime.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

032 // New Month, New Me

This year’s resolutions are on a staggard schedule. This month I’m beginning my resolution to start taking some Open Online Courses.

My goal is simply to go on learning all my life, always in new ways and ways under new topics. I’m not looking for certificates, or to advance my career, right now. I want to use more of my brain and to broaden my horizons. I want to learn how to think better and about more than just my work and my writing. I want to learn how to learn, that is all.

I started with Social Norms, Social Change I on Coursera. It seemed like something I could handle with a limited subject range and it’s only 4 weeks long. A good place to start. When I finish I’ll move onto Social Norms, Social Change II in March.

And who knows, maybe it will lead to something bigger down the road. Maybe I will finally make up my mind and gather up the courage to enroll in a degree program and embark on a whole new journey in life.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

031 // The Story of Today

It was one of those days that contains a little of everything in your life. It was the kind of day that before you had actually lived it you never would have described as perfect, or good, or remarkable in any way. If it weren’t for this post forcing me to stop and think about it, I may have forgotten the day entirely by tomorrow.

But thinking about it now, there was good that felt really good and the kind of bad you feel proud to fight through and overcome. It was quite the battle, the struggle, and the victory. There was love, there was a little bit of tragedy, and there is even a happy ending too.

Today, it turns out, was actually kind of epic and beautiful. Maybe every day is?


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

030 // Total Fasting

I had an ultrasound done on my liver tonight. I had asked for the latest appointment time so I could do it after work but it wasn’t until the appointment time was set that the nurse explained over the phone that I would need to do a total fast for 8 hours before my appointment. No food, no exceptions, not even water, not even a stick of chewing gum.

So, that means I’ve wasting away since 11:00 this morning. I felt nauseous and tired, my throat was dry and I was in a terrible mood. It was hard but I’m proud of myself not just for sticking so strictly to the doctor’s orders, but for still working through it and getting some errands out of the way too.

And now that it’s over (I could hear the results as early as tomorrow) and I’ve had a few glasses of water and a nice big juicy cheeseburger, I’m off to bed feeling satisfied, relieved, and determined to never, ever do that again.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

029 // Tonight, I’m a Mess

I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the week yet, and this godforsaken month seems determined not to end. Why don’t the weeks of April through October ever feel this long? I suppose times slows to a crawl when you’re miserable.

I spent most of the day dealing with medical professionals, staff, and drug companies. There was good news, or, rather, there was information which did help put my mind at ease. But, moving forward with new treatment means a battery of new tests and appointments and it also means more anxiety. I’m trying my best here but it’s hard.

So, tonight I came home, claimed a corner of the couch as my own, wrapped myself in my comfiest blanket, and let my girlfriend know that is where she could find me for the rest of the night. Tomorrow I’ll be strong again, but tonight I’m a mess, and that’s okay.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

028 // Beginning with Emily Dickinson

Another snow storm rolled in today and this time we got far more than the local meteorologists were predicting. Visibility was low and the temperatures were frigid. The road conditions were treacherous and traffic locked up all over the city. We all should have stayed home but the worst of it rolled in after it was already too late to call it a snow day.

My bones still ache and I’m entirely worn out for no reason except that the air was cold and I —having been forced to go out in it—had to work harder just to stay warm. I hate the layers I have to wear, and the clunky shoes, and the slow stupid way I have to walk to keep from busting my ass on the ice.

I’m tired, I’m angry, and I’m outraged I have to do it all again tomorrow.


It wasn’t all bad. I did finish reading The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (my sixth book of the year already!) this morning. It was an incredible book but not quite what I had expected it would be.

(I have to start writing this year’s book reviews before I get too far behind)

Luckily, I remembered to bring The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson to work knowing how close I was to finishing The Soul of an Octopus. So far it’s been a…challengeing read. I thought Dickinson would easy since the poems are so short. Wrong!

I could spend days analyzing just one of her poems. I only got through 10 of them today but they were so beautiful that I don’t mind at all. Looks like I’ll be spending a good long while with Ms. Dickinson. So much so that I may have to change my reading schedule to accommodate the research I want to do and the notes I want to take in the book.

I’m also going to start reading a second book to keep from falling behind on my reading challenge. I haven’t decided which one yet but I’m thinking something short and easy. Candide by Voltaire perhaps? Recommendations welcome.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

027 // Letting Sunday Go

Today hasn’t been a very good day. I went out shopping and didn’t find anything I liked. I didn’t get any reading or writing done. My house is a mess and I’m too tired to clean it. My back hurts, my head hurts, I’m tired and the weekend is rapidly ending. Now I’m in a bad mood and I don’t know how to get out of it.

What I need is a plan. Maybe I just need is a long hot shower to reset the night. Maybe I just need to turn off all of these screens and crawl under a few layers of blankets with a big cup of ginger tea and the last 20 pages of my book. Maybe I need to call it a night, let Sunday go and try again Monday.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren