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    Journal - Third Quarter 2003  

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur. *       

October thru December 2003:

All entries are organized in reverse-chronological order so the newest entry is always at the
top. (If you're reading the journal for the first time, you might wish to start where I began
(the 3rd Quarter of 1999) and go to the bottom to begin reading.

3rd Quarter 1999 4th Quarter 1999 1st Quarter 2000 2nd Quarter 2000 3rd Quarter 2000
4th Quarter 2000 1st Quarter 2001 2nd Quarter 2001 3rd Quarter 2001 4th Quarter 2001
1st Quarter 2002 2nd Quarter 2002 3rd Quarter 2002 4th Quarter 2002 1st Quarter 2003
2nd Quarter 2003 3rd Quarter 2003 4th Quarter 2003 1st Quarter 2004  

December 2003:

December 25, 2003:
Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 21, 2003:
Spent the entire day in front of screens... started out with a ton of stuff to get done on the computer this morning; then went to see Return of the King ( nearly 4 hours!) Then came back and watched the making of the new Queer Eye video.

"...All Things Just Keep Gettin' Better.." Love that song. It gets into your head.

Well, back to work. I am deluged as usual and I'll pay for taking the time to go see a long movie. But it was worth it.

December 20, 2003:
Nobody said life was easy.

OOoo, it's been almost a week since I made an entry. It's been quite a week.

Monday after our magazine staff meeting, Neil had brought Godfather's Pizza for he and I to have for dinner afterward. It was SOOOooo good. We get it rarely because it has to come from when one of us has been to Chilicothe (a long way away) so we always bring each other pizza back.

The whole week's been one of those weeks when everything is either really, really good, or really bad. Three people I am very close to are dealing with major health problems, though. One had a stroke, one has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and one is dealing with a possible recurrance of a serious condition. I feel lost as to how to help and what to say (and when to say nothing...)

Other things are going really well. Sometimes I find I can't decide if I should be feeling joyous or sad. So I guess I just keep swinging back and forth.

December 15, 2003:
I had a very nice time in South Carolina with Stuart and Laura. Laura cooked her butt off making a big smoked turkey, homemade low carb cranberry sauce that was better than mine!, and this amazing broccoli/caluflower dish with different cheeses and almonds. It was delicious!!!

Then she topped it off with a LC caramel cheesecake that was to die for! So creamy and good! Covered in cherries too!

Laura sang in her chorale concert at Fuhrman University and did a beautiful job. There was lots of audience participation.

We celebrated early Christmas (and late Thanksgiving.) Neil has dubbed this "Thanksmas."

But it's good to be home. I missed my life, I missed my work, I missed my friends, and I missed Neil. It's always nice to go on trips but definitely great to COME HOME.

A box filled with little gifts from my friend Beverly was waiting when I got here. Gifts for me, for Neil, and for other friends who will be here tomorrow night.

Well, I am off to bed. I'm just exhausted!! It was a long drive home. (Just realized... I missed my bed too!)

December 9, 2003:
What a difference a year makes...

So much work; so little time...

There are times — especially lately — when I've wanted to just throw my hands up and quit. Getting the magazine going in its new direction seems to be a 24/7 task and at times I just burn out.

Yesterday, my total food for the day was 3 spoons of chicken salad and one handful of Carborite Peanut M&Ms. Never found time for a meal all day. And I started work at 7 am (like I did this morning.) I worked all day on documents for our meeting last night and managed to rush back here from the printer about 5 minutes before Neil arrived (at 5pm.)

I have to find a way to eat better and get some decent amount of sleep. I was so keyed up last night that I ended up unable to fall asleep for hours... I was quietly working on the computer so Neil could sleep. But then when I crashed, I crashed. Yet I was back up at 7 am.

So today, I am going to work on a food plan that will accomodate this ridiculous schedule I am keeping. I think it's the haphazard eating that's causing the sleep problems. We'll see.

I am going to South Carolina this weekend from Thursday through Sunday. Neil will be in Michigan those same days with his family. Maybe going to SC will get me in a Christmas-y mood. I haven't been able to really get there as yet. I expect it's the fact that this year is SO different. Last year at this time, I was married. What a difference a year makes...

December 3, 2003:
A trip to Canada... Oh, how times change...

It was good to hit the road yesterday morning and head off to a day in Ontario. Haven't been there in a year, and just getting out of Ohio was nice. Plus Neil and I had a long time to talk on the road... also nice. He is so great at making me see things in life I'd otherwise miss... or to put things in a perspective I don't catch.

We ate at Casey's... where I have eaten off and on for the last 6 years of making that trip. But I hadn't eaten there for over two years so I was surprised to see the menu had totally changed. It was this very off-beat fun menu before... we'd go there and watch Curling on the big screen TVs and order odd foods, daring each other to try them -- things like alligator, frog's legs, and rattlesnake meat. I'd given Neil the scoop on them before we arrived, and then we get there and find the menu to be akin to any regular American menu (like an Applebee's or a Perkins.)

Neil looked at the waitress and asked her, "what happened to the alligator?" She looked at him like he was nuts... she'd worked there a year and a half and didn't know about the old menu.

Lots of other things had changed too... for one thing, Canada's obesity problem has gotten more noticable. And no wonder... I'd never seen so many low-fat (super high carb) new items on their shelves. It was a surprise to see America was doing so much better in the low-carb awakening process. Many of the things I used to get in Canada were either gone, or now contained HFCS and the like. Ugh...

I did manage to still get some cool things I love to stock up on there... from cyclamate Brown Sugar Twin to E.D. Smith's Splenda sweetened jams and jellies. I got 6 containers of Olivina (my favorite non-trans fat margarine... great for cooking.) And Neil found both some cool Diet Blueberry Soda, and some Flaxseed (also no trans fat) margarine.

There were lots of Splenda sweetened ice cream choices, but alas, no way to bring them home.

We did some other fun shopping and explored the city a bit (only getting lost a few times!) All in all, a good trip and a fun day. No checks at either border crossing... In fact, on the way back into Detroit, we were the only car in our line NOT searched. I think I must look incredibly safe.

Well, back to work... tons to do, and so little time. Don't worry, I have some sleep penciled in for February.

November 2003:

November 26, 2003:
I'd planned to make the trip to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with Stuart and Laura, but poor Stuart has bronchitis and it had to be cancelled. So I am having a friend over and we are doing a mini-version of the big Thanksgiving meal Neil and I prepared three weeks ago in preparation for the LCL Magazine recipe section.

This time, I'm making 2 turkey breasts instead of a huge turkey. Will still make the LC stuffing, the mock mashed potatoes, etc. But I'm going to make a low carb waldorf salad as well. And we'll be having the new Sweet Ketatoes too.

I knew getting out of cooking was too good to be true.

No complaints, though. I have so much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

November 22, 2003:
Well, the night before last I ended up absolutely crashing. Fell asleep on the couch (for the first time in 3 years) around 11pm and woke up at 3 am. Drug myself to the bedroom and crashed again until 10:30 yesterday morning. But having gotten 11 1/2 hours' sleep meant that last night, sleep would not come at all. My mind just keeps racing. Damn.

I finally laid down at 4:30 this morning, but was awake and up working at 6:30. So I've got another busy day in front of me on 2 hours' sleep. I need to find a way to get this sleep problem under control. I don't think my sleep patterns have been normal since the surgery, but I don't think it's from the surgery. It's just when I noticed the change.

I have a LOT going on in my life right now... really, more than I ever have. So I suppose I am not handling it all that well. Plus, I just don't sleep well alone in the house. After being married for a b'zillion years, it's a huge adjustment being single again. And then I probably got used to Neil being here pretty much constantly in the weeks that followed the surgery. Now that our schedules are back to normal, I'm more aware of those nights when I'm here alone at night.

I went to the salon yesterday and was finally able to have color put on my hair (the doctor wouldn't allow color/chemicals near the suture/staple sites before.) Lori made it two shades darker as we're trying something new. But I'm not sure I like it. Maybe the lighter, warmer blonde suits me better. Or maybe I'll just go for more highlighting next time... especially framing my face.

I need to get my diet back in order too. I haven't lost a single pound since 2 weeks before the surgery. I wasn't especially trying to lose during that time... it was more important to eat well and heal. But it's time to be very serious. I need to try to reach goal before the Low Carb Summit in Colorado in January. If I'm gonna speak in front of tons of people, I might want to consider looking good, huh?

So... on the agenda:

Get diet in order
Get some sleep
Get all LCL Magazine duties completed and in order
Finish Holiday card designs
Finish all open design clients
Strip the stupid ugly wallpaper from my office... I can't keep looking at it and work.
A billion other things for LCL
A trillion emails to answer
Shop for groceries (I've needed to do that for a week and a half at least.)
Clean/organize my mess of a basement
Prepare for the holidays
Try and have a personal life
(Did I mention sleep??)

November 20, 2003:
I had an early, early morning appointment with my therapist and barely made it, but it was good talking to him since it was my first visit since the surgery.

Going into the holidays, I am beginning to feel the stress of how/where to celebrate them since this is my first year without Richard and I no longer have my parents. As usual, I have some decisions to make.

I was up until 5:30 this morning talking to Neil. He's wonderful to talk to and he really listens. I believe we're very good for each other. I am so blessed that God brought him into my life.

That said, I think I am really running on a sleep deficit again. Gotta get some good rest tonight. That probably means a Neil-free night Not my favorite thing, but probably necessary.

Two more recipes to complete this evening before the Magazine goes out tomorrow. Then it's sleep, sleep, sleep. (I hope!)

November 19, 2003:
Up early today; trying to be quiet and not wake Neil. Lots of work on my plate today.

Last night Neil and I played cards at a friend's house. We played partner's euchre and Neil and I won two out of three hands (kinda cool.)

We stopped at Kroger on the way home and found a ton of new Low Carb items they're stocking now, including all the new Carb Sense mixes, new brands of LC bread and bagels, new ice creams, 3 brands of LC pasta, and more. It's a different world.

It's fun seeing Neil — who's never had to be low carb — getting all excited about the new products, picking things up for the review team, and thinking about what will end up in the magazine.

Life is good...

November 18, 2003:
Everyday the temperatures seem wildly all over the place. What's that about?

We had an informal meeting of the LCL Magazine staff in Columbus last night (at Don Pablos... we'll do a review of them for the magazine.) We tried out their new low carb menu. It was a fun evening!

Neil and I played cards till 3:30 am... that was fun too.

Had my final post-op visit at Dr. Mendelsohn's yesterday (and Neil and I actually got there exactly on time — that never happens!) The doctor said I was now healing remarkably well; words I needed to hear.

Some of the numbness will be with me another 4 to 6 months, but I can live with that. I am looking better and better and that's what matters. Neil and I will go back to see him in two weeks to interview him for the magazine. That should prove pretty interesting.

November 15, 2003:
Can you be happy/content and scared/stressed at the same time?

I think I've pushed my stress limits too far again. I know my emotional roller coaster is hard on Neil... don't know why he keeps hanging in there with me.

I had a meeting with a potential hire last night and it seemed to go well. He was excited about the job and I felt sure we'd end up with a deal. We ate at Ruby Tuesday (their new low carb menu) and that went well too with the management and waitress trying hard to accomodate.

Yet today was a different story. The man I interviewed last night called at 9 am today to say he'd changed his mind. No good explanation. Then tonight, Neil and I went to Ruby Tuesday again to do a full review for the magazine (and get photos etc.)

The waitress was a train wreck. She got everything wrong (all the while calling me "sweetie" ) and I thought I might just need to smack her silly (though of course I stayed pleasant and even tipped well.) In retrospect, I wish I hadn't. The bad time at the restaurant kicked my mood sharply downward and poor sweet Neil paid the price.

He did make me feel better and talked out a lot of the things stressing me lately. We played some cards (which was fun!) and then spent the rest of the night together. Let me just be blunt and say that Neil is an amazing lover as well as the best friend I've ever had... So it was lovely and I'm always held together (as though he were the glue) until he leaves and I'm alone with my thoughts again. Once I'm on my own, the original things that were bringing me to tears are right back in front of me.

So I had a good cry.. maybe I needed it. After I get some sleep, I'll know... I'm off to bed.

November 14, 2003:
Last night as I was driving to Neil's house (in the dark and rain), I witnessed the most horrific thing. I am having some trouble dealing with it...

A Saturn was in front of me in the left lane... a semi to the right. I was about 4 car lengths behind the Saturn. The truck signaled a lane change to the left — and then just did it. He hit the Saturn, pushing it forward, then into his front grill, where he drug it a little until it spun backward headed almost for me. It veered off toward the center, hit the median, nearly flipped, and the front end crumpled/bent upward. The driver — a man perhaps in his early to mid 30's — went through the windshield. And that was that. The front end of his car being bent upward forced the headlights — still on — to shine up onto that shattered windshield, allowing me to see his head, much of the scalp removed. He died at the scene.

I'd sped up and darted through the car and the truck and narrowly avoided being a second victim. I remained to give a statement to the police. And all the time I waited, I could not get a signal on my cell to let Neil know I was alright.

By the time I got to his place (2 hours late), I was too shook up to drive. After getting me calmed down, he drove us to dinner at Applebees and I talked it through.

How am I ever going to get that image out of my head? Oh God, that poor man. His family... Oh God. So horrible. So many emotions right now.

November 13, 2003:
Spoke to a High School friend today...

She wanted to know how the surgery went. It's been ages since we've talked and it was great. At the end of the conversation, she said, "Wait a minute... I want to tell you something... I want you to know I think of you often, and I really love you."

I nearly cried. For the third time today...

Yesterday I was feeling lonely and unloved and today three people very special in my life told me they love me. How's that for God listening?

Last night Neil told me that I need to be open to the times when others let me know what I mean to them. He says I discount that sort of thing. I guess he was right. Life truly is a journey of learning about ourselves and about those souls that touch ours.

November 12, 2003:
For the last several days I've been feeling very energized and together — excited about new things happening with the magazine and more. But yesterday, everything caught up to me.

Richard came over and I tried to have a talk with him — about our present and our past. I tried to make him understand some things. It did not go well, and I ended up having an anxiety attack that felt like a heart attack. I'm going to guess my blood pressure probably shot up since I ended up bleeding quite a lot from my right ear (around the suture lines I thought were healed.)

I couldn't seem to stop crying... Neil had been at the game with his parents and he called right about then. The first thing he said was "what's wrong?" A few minutes later, he was at the house.

We sat there in the dark and he held me and let me get it all out. We talked for a long time. I think a lot more had been building up in me than I realized and I'd also failed to see just how exhausted I still was from the surgery. Somewhere along the line it had ocurred to me that I was no longer working just for my OWN future, but for so many others'. People I care deeply about, and I am terrified I'll let them down.

Neil cared enough to just listen and let me get it all out... pointing out my strengths and making me feel less alone. What would I do without him?

When I felt better, he went out to his truck and grabbed a deck of cards. We sat in the kitchen and played Rummy... something I haven't done for ages. It was fun and he's a blast to play anything with. We decided we have to get together with friends and play Euchre soon — a game we both love and are very good at.

Not since the surgery have I needed his support and intimacy more. I had a little talk with God last night, thanking him for all the wonderful people in my life. But especially for dear Neil, who keeps me sane and keeps me whole.

November 11, 2003:
The Thanksgiving planning cooking went extremely well. Ordinarily, something goes wrong, some recipe fails to turn out, some photo goes untaken. But yesterday everything went like clockwork and every recipe fell together beautifully.

Neil and I got perhaps 150 photos, and so many gorgeous ones. The turkey itself came out beautiful — just like a Norman Rockwell print or something.

Then after the gorgeous meal was made, Neil suddenly looked out onto the back patio and said, "what's going on out there?" I followed him as he stepped outside with his camera to see one of the most beautiful sunsets I'd seen in ages. It was stunning. We got lots of shots of it.

Then it was finally time to eat. The turkey was so perfectly tender, I could have cried. They never come out perfection when you're making them for a boatload of guests. It was delish!

Such a good day. Neil stayed late and I enjoyed every second of his company. He's such a dear (I may have mentioned that before.)

Sent the magazine out yesterday morning, but the server was so busy, it didn't distribute until after 8pm last night. We're up to nearly 70,000 subscribers now, so it's taking quite some time for the server load.

November 7, 2003:
Got a lot of real work done yesterday. I'm feeling SO much better and stronger.

As we speak, I have an 18 lb turkey in the oven. I'm making an entire Thanksgiving Day meal today so we can complete some recipes for the Nov 21st LCL Magazine issue, and Neil can do all the photos today.

Guess I'll have plenty of turkey to work on leftover recipes too!

November 5, 2003:
Spent the day in Cinci with Neil. Went first to the doctor; then went to a little New Orleans style restaurant called Copelands. Both Neil and I loved their food. Lots of low carb choices and the food was amazing. We got back home around 5 pm, got a few things done at the house, and Neil took off.

Aaron drove down at 6 pm to take me to dinner... went to Carabbas and I had their Chicken Trio that I love. Aaron had the Veal Picatta. It was a fun evening and it was great going out to a nice restaurant again with a dear friend. Aaron was very cool about my "face" (the bits of bruising and swelling still present) and he went on about how good I looked. I guess we all need that. We had a good talk and I laughed till I was sick. We DEFINITELY need that!

So, a pretty good day. Life may not be totally back to normal yet, but I can tell I am getting there.   :)

November 2, 2003:
Stuart and Laura called... they're on their way back from PA. Hope they had a good trip. The airport was very noisy so I don't think I heard them very well.

Well, I spent my first night without Neil last night. Sadly, it was a very painful night as the swelling's gotten worse. I finally got up and just worked at 4 am. I was determined not to let Neil know I was having a hard time. He couldn't have made the pain any better anyway. I have to be more independent.

November 1, 2003:
I managed to go through a store (in public) without sunglasses last night. Neil stayed close and kept reassuring me and I did it.

Why are women so aesthetically oriented? It's all about our faces, isn't it?

Neil and I didn't get to sleep until about 4 am... spent the morning in Cinci at the doctor's; left there about 2 pm, and then got some shopping done and grabbed some dinner. He got me a Rocky's pizza... I think I'm hooked on those and the toppings are all super low carb (no sugar in their sauce.)

Then Neil let me discuss so many of the things that have been difficult for me of late... I guess I had a lot of venting to do. It's so liberating to do so with someone you can trust completely. What a new experience for me.

People kept writing and asking if I had a picture of Neil I could share. I snapped a few photos of Neil here a couple of days ago. I think this is the best one.

Today Neil got me some breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, and took off for work. I have a ton of work to do here myself today. I have to get back into the swing of things...

October 2003:

October 31, 2003:
For the last few days I've had to keep going back to the doctor to have the hematomas that keep forming aspirated. I feel like my progress toward healing has halted and I am simply slipping backward. Ugh... There is so much I should be doing that I cannot because I can't seem to get my health back.

It's looking like I'll be going back to the doctor again today for the same thing. I was supposed to stay totally away from stress yesterday. I tried, but stress found me. A phone call from a friend who is disappointed in me; a visit from Richard that did not go well... Then Neil was late getting back last night and his cell wasn't working so I had a little "scare" there. By the time he got here, I was not in good shape. He was very comforting and wonderful, though, as always, so I was able to get some sleep.

I'm trying to let him sleep in a little this morning since the night before last I ended up in so much pain that he sat up in the bed all night holding my hand and changing the cold compresses on my eyes every 20 minutes. I am blown away by the sweet gentle nature of this man...

October 28, 2003:
Twelve days since the surgery. I'd hoped to be further along in recovery by now, but I am trying to be patient and understand that the complications during the surgery altered that schedule.

Poor Neil has worked his tail off taking care of me, and continues to do so. I know he had little idea what he was in for, and didn't know his world would be turned upside down for 2+ weeks. He's spent every day and night with me, and I've begun to worry about his life back home, his house, his dogs, his work.. I am so indebted to this wonderful man.

I went back to the doctor today and they removed the final staple and stitch (they missed one of each last time) so that's that. There's still a significant amount of pain so they put me back on Vicodin again today (probably for 3 additional days.)

Neil will stay again tonight, but may go home tomorrow if things can get back to normal a bit. It's weird — I'll miss him terribly when he's not here 24/7, but also want my life as it was back to normal. And want our relationship back to normal.

It's very hard for me to be dependant in any way on anyone. I've always been a very strong in-control woman. It's all changed my world so much.

October 20, 2003:
Better again today...

I guess every day will continue to show some improvement. Neil stayed today till about 2, then had to leave and go to work. He's been babying me quite a bit, so I guess it's time I got the hang of doing a few things for myself anyway. We'll see what I can accomplish before he gets back tonight. I am SO anxious for these stitches to come out and for the swelling to go down.

I received a beautiful floral display this morning and was surprised to see it was from my doctor. What a sweetie he is.

I'm going to start trying to get my low carb routine back in gear today also. Neil did tons of shopping for me, so I have a lot here to choose from.

There's an LCL Magazine due out in a few days, so I need to be able to get back to work... Onward and upward...

October 19, 2003:
I wanted to just let everyone know I came through okay. There was a minor complication in that a blood vessel broke toward the end of the procedure, causing some excessive swelling and a blood pressure spike. But while it means a little slower recovery, I am okay. My vision in both eyes is back today, though a little blurry.

Neil has taken excellent care of me and I don't know what I'd have done without him. The poor man has had to shower me, cleanse the wounds, keep dressings on, chart every med, cut my food... well, the list goes on and on, but he's been amazing beyond belief and I'll always be grateful.

Dr. Mendelsohn has also been tremendous. He's called every night, stays in close contact with Neil, and even opened the office on Saturday to come in to care for me. He emailed me a little while ago to say he'd been thinking about me all day. How sweet is that?

So I am in good hands, and slowly coming back to good spirits. There's still a substantial amount of pain, but it's bearable (especially with the Vicodin!)

Thank you to everyone that's sent me notes and e-cards. It's so appreciated. It's been a tough week.

I go back to Cinci Wednesday morning to have the stitches removed, and then back a few days later for the staples.

Off to get some rest now...

October 14, 2003:
Less than 48 Hours...

In less than 2 days, I have surgery and for some reason, it's really scaring me. I don't know why I'm being such a baby about this, but I am. It's creeping into my dreams and I'm not sleeping. Ugh.

I am so grateful Neil will be with me through this.

Food-wise, I have to get very strict when I get past the surgery and initial recovery. I have been very lax because of nerves, but will get back to strict-plan when I return.

For the last two weeks, I've had no alcohol, no drugs other than Tylenol (I'm not allowed aspirin, ibuprofen, anaprox, etc.) and am following doctors' orders. At this time when a glass of wine might do so well to calm my nerves, I can't have any.

It's pouring rain.. very dreary.

All that said, though, while scared, I am in good spirits and am feeling pretty positive about life.

October 12, 2003:
I'm less than a week away from having major surgery and I think the nerves are settling in. Everything feels larger than life right now and I am running around in a hectic frenzy trying to cover all my bases before I am incapacitated for a period of time.

Being the control freak that I am, it's hard for me to let go of all the responsibilities in my life. And I'm feeling more than a little guilty knowing that Neil will be taking such an active roll in my pre-op and post-op care. It seems so much to ask. How will I ever thank him for the time and effort he'll be putting in? I'm pretty sure I don't deserve him in my life. But I am grateful.

I'm also really grateful for the support friends have shown this week.

October 4, 2003:
Went to Ruth's last night and had a great dinner with friends. They met Neil and I around 8 last night. Aaron was there too, and it was an exceptional dinner (Chef Ron outdid himself) and the company was great.

Then Neil and I headed back to my place for a lovely rest of the night. But we woke up to terrible rains and very, very cold weather, and my furnace acting very odd indeed. I'll have to call someone to look at it. And Monday I have to have someone out to repair the (relatively new) garage door/opener that has ceased to work. It's always something.

That's okay... I'm happy anyway.

October 1, 2003:
I made a decision to have plastic surgery... a facelift. After losing so much weight, I just look older than I should... One's face tends to really show sagging (and wrinkles) after having lost a lot of weight. I am having Dr. Jon Mendelsohn in Cincinnati do it. He's one of the best facial cosmetic surgeons in the country. Neil's gone with me for my consultation and he felt good about him too.

No, I am not getting the surgery for Neil... or anyone else. It's for me. For my future. And because I feel like I deserve it. But I'm a little scared too.   :)

I had a great time at The Melting Pot last night. Neil and I drove up to Columbus and met Adrian there. Those boys were so funny learning to use fondue forks. But we had a blast and the food was very good.

Then Neil and I drove back to his place to spend the rest of the evening. Had a great night and got to really unwind after a very hectic work week.

I'm off to have yet another way-too-busy day. But I ain't complaining.

*Anything in Latin sounds profound.