Friday, July 18, 2014
The week didn't start off well for me. On Monday, my parents had to take their older dog to the vet to be put to sleep. It's been years since I lived with them, so I hadn't noticed how much she had aged...but when I went to the vets office to meet them, she was very emaciated, had no energy or interest in what was happening, her back hips were so bad she could barely stand, and her belly was distended - apparently, she had urinated blood that morning. My parents had been talking about how much worse she was for about a week (it all happened pretty fast, I guess), but that clinched it!
And last night, one of the apartments in my complex caught fire. I still don't know how it happened, but luckily one of the neighbors smelled smoke, pulled the fire alarm, and kicked in the door to the apartment that was on fire. He tried to use a fire extinguisher, but it was too big by that time. The man who lived there was taken to the hospital, but luckily no one else was hurt...though they probably lost some stuff, and one person's cat was very unhappy with being removed and scratched him up...
It wasn't my apartment, or my building, but it was still pretty scary! I heard the cat yowling (it was REALLY unhappy being moved!) and went outside thinking that there was a feral cat hurt somewhere - only to find tons of black smoke pouring out of the building and my neighbors gathering in the parking lot!
The police responded quickly, and within a few minutes the fire trucks had the fire out, but still...this is the first time I've ever been that close to a fire (aside from controlled bonfires, and the occasional fireplace), and it was really nerve-wracking to think this could have happened in my building too..and to know that my neighbors, some of whom I've known for 5 years, had to go through an even more terrifying ordeal!
For the last couple of weeks, I've been wavering about my decision to move to Madison. But after this past week...I can't get there fast enough! That's the terrible part about aging - having to watch your parents get sick, go through surgeries and go on medication, losing beloved pets, and all of the tragedies you have to live through.
Well, enough moping! Here is my parent's older dog...from the first vet visit in 2002 to her last days with us.
Her first visit to the vet...about a week after we first found her. She was only about 6 weeks old at the time, and weighed about 6-7 pounds. Even then, her sweet fuzzy puppy face was full of attitude! Then again, well behaved dogs seldom make history...
This series of pictures if from about a month later, during Easter weekend. My family came up to my college to visit, and brought the puppy (who had doubled in height and weight, and looked HUGE to me!) And please forgive my brother...he was a 17-year-old-boy being forced to visit his sister's freshman dorm!
I'm having trouble finding pictures of the next four years now...but in 2007, I found a stray 6-month-old black lab mix. She was covered in fleas - as in, a whole cloud of them around her - and she had gnawed herself raw in several places. She was so skinny you could see every bone in her body...and so afraid of people after being badly abused, she was cringing with her tail between her legs, belly on the ground, crying, when I caught up with her. Drizzty took her in hand and taught her to be a real dog, defended her from new people while she recovered from her traumas, schooled her when she stepped out of line...and the two of them were not separated for more than an hour or two from that day to Drizzty's last.
And yes, she kept that attitude. I've never met a dog with a bigger personality...if you said something to her, even if you were using the "happy voice", she knew what you said and responded in kind. I kid you not. This dog's responses to everything we said were eerily spot on!
And she was determined to be the alpha...even if it meant conquering us humans! While I lived with my parents, I really struggled to exercise. The second I was on the ground - for yoga, strength training, stretching, etc - I was fair game.
Towards the end, she slept a lot more. But between my parents, my brother, her buddy Shadow, and all of her other friends (on two legs and on four), she always had a buddy to watch over her while she napped!
Friday, July 04, 2014
Several years ago, before I started to embrace healthier habits, I hated holidays.
Holidays meant that my family would all be together...and in my mind, they were all judging me. I've been curvy since puberty hit, but after I left for college and got up to my heaviest weight...well, I felt like holidays were a tribunal, with my whole family studying me, watching every bite I put in my mouth, and judging me for each and every one of them.
Silly, yes. Paranoid? Definitely!
But that was how I felt. It all came from inside me, rather than from any of my relatives - whom I know now are very supportive and love me as I am! Holidays just made me feel like I was on display.
The biggest - and best - change I've made is how I spend my free time. Working two more-than-full-time jobs, going back to school...I have to budget my time very carefully! And I would be lying if I said I'm eating as healthy, working out as regularly...and I have gained a few pounds because of it.
Here comes a three-day weekend, though. In the old days, I would hide in my computer and my video games, and comfort myself with food.
Not anymore! In the past few years, I have managed to declare my independence from those unhealthy habits, the trigger foods, and the self-destructive cycles that used to keep me from becoming the person that, deep down, I had always wanted to be!
Today, I started the day by going kayaking with my boyfriend and one of his work colleagues. Great start to the day! We paddled about 3-3.5 river miles in a little more than an hour, so we were moving at a pretty good pace!
After that, I rode my bike over to pick up my BFF, her boyfriend, and my goddaughter, and we rode through the park and over to my parents house. The cookout was pretty small and simply...I had a veggie burger, reasonably-sized portions of potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw. I did give in and have a second beer - but then I opted for watermelon in place of pie for dessert.
Then back on my bike to get home! Altogether, I biked about 13 miles today!!
So that was my fourth of July. Tomorrow, I'm going to pick up my goddaughter and another friend for some blueberry picking, then I'm heading to Louisville to see my other BFF!!
How did you spend your Independence Day?
Saturday, June 28, 2014
It's been a few weeks, but my garden has already grown so much bigger!!
In early May, I tilled one half of my plot and put in 6 tomato plants - and then it froze again. Luckily, 5 of the tomato plants survived!
The last weekend in May, I finally tilled the other half of the plot, weeded the half that was already planted, and put in more tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, peppers, and lettuce!
They've done really well in the past few weeks...especially the squash plants!! I had no idea they'd get so big!
Today, I finally weeded the garden again (well, mostly!), transplanted the cucumbers, lettuces, tomatillos, and moved the eggplants closer to the fence.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
It's been a couple weeks since I wrote a blog, and I have to be honest....they haven't been good weeks.
The emotional eating beast reared its ugly head, and it took some time to get control of myself again. Today, I finally added all of the food I've been eating (and drinking), and I've been averaging 3500-4000 calories a day over the last week!
I can't believe I let this happen!
Which explains my weight gain, of course. At the peak of my quit smoking effort, before I started losing weight again, I was at 180-ish. After I ran the Mini last month, I was down to 162.5....but as of yesterday, I'm back up to 169.1.
So here's where I am right now:
In less than two months, I'm moving to Madison. I got into the University of Wisconsin for graduate school, which is GREAT! But I don't have a job lined up in Madison, which is scary. And I still haven't heard back on my financial aid, so I don't know how I'm paying my tuition yet either.
My BF is getting really upset that I'm leaving...but every time I suggest that we should end the relationship now, he gets even more upset. He wants to spend as much time with me as he can. Which is sweet, but I'm not feeling the same way - and all I'm getting from him now is extra stress and guilt.
Mostly because I have ZERO free time. I needed to take a couple of prerequisites this summer, so in addition to working more than full time, I'm taking two classes.
And, funny story, teaching three classes....
I got a part-time job teaching English and career exploration classes with this year's Upward Bound program. I'm really excited, because I need the experience in front of a classroom if I want to get an assistantship at UW. Plus, I love the program and what they do for kids!
Now, I teach classes 8-noon Monday-Friday...then work at my full-time job from noon-8/9-ish. Most Saturdays, I work environmental events - lakes/river festivals, eco-blitzes, envirofests, etc. And then, I also have to do homework, draw up lesson plans, grade papers, send out resumes....
I'm about two seconds away from EXPLODING!!
And while I should still be trying to spend as much time as I can with friends and family (and BF...), all I want is for them to leave me alone so I can get through the end of classes (in mid-July)!
It just felt too hard to take care of myself anymore. So I just gave up. I didn't want to cook, so I ordered take-out. I didn't have time for longer workouts...so I skipped working out entirely.
Of course, now I feel awful. I've got no energy, and I feel bloated and heavy. So I'm getting back on track. I dragged my BF hiking at Shades, then on a kayaking trip last weekend. This past weekend, I was at a bio-blitz and spent several hours hiking...and last night, I hauled myself off the couch and out to Zumba class.
I'm feeling a lot better - in particular, I've got my classes and work schedule under control, and I've adjusted to it. I've also restocked my apartment with healthy, quick meals, and scheduled time for myself (tonight, I'm getting a massage!) so that I can handle the stress a little better.
All I have to do is make it to the last day of classes - July 12. I can do it. It's only a month...and now that I'm getting ready to start a challenging degree program, I KNOW that I need the planning and time management help, so this is a good kind of busy for me!!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
She actually did pretty well! The fact that it was hot probably helped...the water felt good. But she sat nicely in the sink, and my dad (the poor man) didn't even have to hold her while I went to get a towel!
Getting her dry, on the other hand...
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