Okay, there were a few. Had one life line which turned into a major accomplishment: school and finishing a degree. If it had not been for the routine of getting up, getting into school, thinking about something other than what was going on in my life, then going home to prepare for the next classes, I would have fallen apart far more spectacularly than I did. I also found a new love in all this.
With the new framework provided by the History courses (all but cleared out the local community college's catalog), I've been going back to what I'd studied and loved in a past life. How much richer is Stendhal with a better knowledge of the conflicts between Jansenists and Jesuits; between the liberals of the time and absolutists; between the nobles, the bourgeoisie and peasant classes. I don't claim to get *all* his jokes; what I do see is that I'm starting to develop a crush on the protagonist of the story, Julien Sorel. He reminds me an awful lot of me: hyper intelligent but immature, emotionally confused and stunted from a childhood of abuse. Not handsome in a standard way, though striking. All I can hope for is to not come to the same end as he did. (So far, so good.)
I can't talk about school without mentioning at least in passing birds. Again, they've provided respite and comfort when I couldn't see through the gray cloud that envelops me sometimes. I'd taken up sitting in the kitchen to do my reading and writing; it was the warmest and brightest room in the house at the time (we've since fixed up the dining room - oh, the light we have there in the mornings now!), plus there was a decent surface for me to spread out my books, papers, computer. Noted that Tony was spending an awful lot of time at my side - found that he was actually not there for my company, but rather to watch the birds and the squirrels in the yew right out the window. A cheap feeder and suet cage scaled up to a thistle sock, a squirrel-proof seed feeder and a couple cages (not to mention a birdbath and a house that Pavel made himself). We now buy seed in 50 lb bags and suet cakes in quantity. There are several different editions of the Petersen guide floating around for quick reference if one of us sees anyone new. I am always amazed at what incredible things I find if I just take a few moments out to be quiet, to be still, to observe.
Thanks to Ravelry, my knitting's through the roof. Though am on Facebook and look at Twitter from time to time, to be honest, I'm not sure if I care for either so much. Ravelry isn't a social networking site per se, more of an online Alexandria for needleworkers. There's an awful lot of nice people there, though. Some, too, that I'd not mind meeting in person (and this is saying a lot, as I generally don't care much for people). Three cheers to the folks who created it and maintain it! It's an incredible resource.
Though I've yet to get myself back into good, strenuous exercise like I used to do, have managed to get a control on the eating. Since about May of last year, have managed to take off roughly 20 lbs. This has helped the knee and ankles considerably, not to mention energy (most of the weight loss has been thanks to South Beach - the closest thing, it seems, to the old Weight Watchers plan I remember from 20 years ago that I lost something like 60 lbs with - always felt good on that, too). I still have a bit to go, but if I just stick to it and get back either into swimming or running (don't know if the latter is possible), I'm sure I'll get to where I want to be.
So, not all has been bad. Thank heavens for that.