Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Losing a Whole Year

To quote Bruce Springsteen, "Is anyone alive out there?"

I truly didn't mean to let a year pass.  To be perfectly honest, I was dealing with a LOT of junk starting in fall of 2018, and the 2019 hasn't done us many favors either.  I just wasn't in the headspace to blog at all, and I finally got to the point over the weekend where I was like, I should just delete this damn thing.  So I logged in and was literally going to delete everything, but then stopped myself.  Eric and I both got to reading some of my past posts and looking at pictures, and it just seemed wrong to delete it.  It's almost like burning a diary or something?  Anyway, I just didn't have the heart to delete my blog, and decided to keep it up and write in it when I feel like it.  It's less "fitspo" type vibe or whatever the hell I was going for and is just kind of going to be more like a journaling type thing.

Just to kind of get the ugliness out there and recap the last year, overall I'm fine.  There's just BEEN some shit.  It started with a situation last September where one of our bathrooms/ceiling got super messed up and resulted in a multi-week handyman intervention.  Very stressful, very expensive. Then Eric got a really bad stress fracture in his foot that took a long time to heal.  Then we had drama at work that almost resulted in us leaving (and I am minimizing the situation and summing it up greatly).  It thankfully worked out and we 're still in the same place and doing betterish, but yeah, it was touch and go.  So 2018 ended, we were thrilled to start 2019 and determined to have a great year.  Spoiler alert, it has not been.

Without beating around the bush, we lost our beloved Molly in February, right before what would have been her 11th birthday.  I can't bear to write out a huge thing about it because it's still incredibly painful, but she got sick in January.  It was this long, horrible situation that involved a misdiagnosis, us changing vets to try to get answers as to what was going on, a roller coaster of her getting better then suddenly having a downturn.  It was a horrific and traumatizing couple of months, and at the end of it we had to make the difficult call to say goodbye to our sweet, sassy baby Molly.

As difficult as this was, we called an at home euthanasia service, and I couldn't recommend that more if you have the option.  It was expensive, but a much more peaceful experience for everyone.  She was so frightened of going to the vet, especially by the end, that we were glad we could give her the gift of the thing she loved most...being at home on her bed with us sitting there and petting her.  As a pet owner I've done it both ways, and never will go back to a traditional vet office procedure the next time I have to make the final call if I can help it.  Anyway, it set the tone for the year.  We're both still heartbroken and desperately miss her.  I still find myself crying at random, or expecting her to be waiting for us at the front door.  The house is quiet and life just isn't as fun.  I still haven't been able to have an encounter with a greyhound where I don't have a breakdown after.  We do intend to adopt again, but it will likely be next year.  It's a combo of wanting to wait for some travel dates we have coming up to pass, and also still not being ready.

These are a couple of pictures I took of her during her last week.  One thing I am grateful for is how loving she was during her last month.  Normally she got so pissy about having her photo taken or being snuggled, but she really let us love her and soaked in the attention towards the end.

So yeah, sorry for the downer.  Like I said, it set the tone for the year and I truly just went in full "eff it all" mode after.  Caring, working out, all of it.  I'm definitely a bit doughy, which wasn't helped by getting a heel spur, which pretty much took the piss out of my entire summer.  Oh and I was diagnosed with anemia after experiencing crippling fatigue around May.  Yay!  Thankfully the foot is a dull roar at this point, and my anemia is getting better due to diet change and iron supplementation.

It's not to say 2019 has been entirely horrific, there have been some great moments/trips too.  In March we met my mom in Tucson and had a really nice long weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Tucson was really gorgeous and we ended up touring the Mission San Xavier del Bac, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  Every experience was really wonderful and practically a 6 part post in and of itself, I can't recommend each of those places enough.  The food down there was AMAZING too.  Both the botanical gardens and the desert museum had food that rivals some of the fanciest places here in Portland.

I love cactuses, especially Saguaros, so I was practically screaming every time we passed them.  It never got old for me.  It was amazing seeing thousands of them at once, especially on the drive to the desert museum.  It's a whole different type of landscape, but simply stunning.

We also did our usual trip to Central Oregon on the week of July 4th.  It was an annual tradition to get Molly away from the fireworks and we had booked our 3rd year in right before she passed away.  We debated about whether to cancel it, but ultimately ended up going.  I am so glad we did because it was a great break from work and life.  We did a healthy balance of relaxing and enjoying the property we always rent while also getting out and being active.  One of my favorite things we did was hiking at Smith Rock, which is simply gorgeous.  We didn't do the Misery Ridge trail because I didn't feel like I was reasonably trained up to do it safely, plus we each only had a quart of water on us, so we decided to keep the hike to only 3 miles or so.  If you come to Oregon I highly recommend a hike here, but make sure you slather yourself in sunscreen and bring plenty of water and snacks.  It's very hot and very dry, so it's easy to get yourself in trouble.

Let's see what else...Eric and I started a podcast together!  I'm sure this will shock no one, but it's about music.  It's been a TON of work but also a lot of fun.  I've personally learned so much, not only about the music we talk about, but about podcasting in general.  I do all of our sound editing, which was challenging to learn, but in a good way.  Not to sound like an annoying d-bag, but I'm not comfortable sharing the name here simply because I've got a TON of personal info about myself here and where we live, all of my depression stuff etc.  I just don't really need randoms finding this blog and connecting the dots, if that makes sense.

The other thing that started last year and has continued through this year is that I have transitioned to being vegan.  To me this has been a positive experience, but I've hesitated on how to discuss it in this post, because I know many have a reflexive eyeroll about veganism.  All I can say is that for me personally, it was something I needed to do in order to align my actions with my values, and much like religion for other people, it's just kind of a personal thing.  I definitely have the philosophy that everyone has to do what's best for them, and I'm not here to push my values down people's throats if that makes sense.  So if you're worried that my posts are going to start being shamey or I'm going to post 900 photos of factory farming or whatever, rest assured, I'm not here for that.  Honestly, I've found that simply being chill, living my life, eating what I eat and not judging people has been a more effective "activist" tool than anything.  I mean honestly, who wants someone to scream at them and judge them?  No one, that's who, so I just don't.  It's made people be willing to ask me more questions and see that having a meal without meat can be fun, easy, normal and doesn't turn you into a crazy person.

I did do it for ethical reasons but have been shocked at the physical changes as well.  Not only did it drastically improve my skin, but it entirely resolved my digestive issues.  Yes, all the ones I struggled with for 4 years or more were resolved within a month of veganism.  I was thrilled but also pissed, because I would have done it years ago had I known.  But honestly, I wouldn't have been in the headspace, and I needed to have the ethical connection in order to make the transition.  Anyways, I'm all good now.  The anemia unfortunately was due to me being a dummy and eating poorly after Molly died.  Once I got diagnosed, I made it a point to make sure I was getting more tofu, beans and greens in my diet and also supplement with iron.  All good on that front now too.  One good thing to come out of it all is my focus has become much more about macros than calories.  Nothing wrong with counting calories per say, however, being focused on hitting vitamin and mineral goals has resulted in me eating much healthier than I would be if I was looking JUST at calories.

Anyways, that's been about it.  I'm here.  Was on the fence about deleting the blog, but decided not to.  Will kind of blog as I feel like it.  It's for me more than anything, but I'm happy to have people along for the ride if they want to read me.