Wednesday, May 23, 2018

This is Two.

Monday the 21st was our 2-year wedding anniversary.
We build the Matrimonial Pizza, with my brother officiating and
my Chick of Honor watching. My brother heads off to the PNW this week,
and this beautiful patch of Vermont is for sale. 

What. The. Serious. Fuck.

I have been married for two years now. Best Guy and I will be celebrating four years together this September (ironically, on the same day my Chick of Honor is getting married herself).

Married two, together four. Four fucking years.

Again I say: WTsF.

The 4-course meal I made for our anniversary: Pesto Chickpea Salad Buschetta,
Field Greens Salad with Strawberries and Balsamic Vinaigrette; Cilantro Mashed Potatoes,
"Facon" Crusted Tofu, and Double Chocolate Baby Bundts.

To be honest, I still have to remind myself to call BG "husband." It's just so... foreign. But also, I just don't often think about the fact we're married. We're a bonded pair. No one with a heart would ever try to separate us into different homes. And if someone did try? Well, people would look at them aghast and with horror and disgust.

Because you don't separate bonded pairs. Ever.

It feels like everything that happened to me before BG happened to someone else. I am my best self now that I am with him. Everything else is...gone.

It all needed to happen so I could be the person I was when I first met him, and so I am grateful. But it's all very much in the past now, and no longer needed or necessary. I am here, now. With the person I am meant to be with. And it is good.

So good.

So very, very good. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Roller Coaster Weekend

It is now Monday the 14th. This past weekend was filled with my Birthday (Friday the 11th), my brother's moving sale (Saturday) and Mother's Day (yesterday). What a roller coaster of emotions!

Friday was wonderful. I woke up to some lovely gifts:
I've already managed to crack the mug. Still usable though!
The Resist sticker currently resides on the car, and I lurves it. The tree
is an essential oil diffuser for the car. OMG is smells so good in there now.

That afternoon I took myself shopping and bought a couple new items of clothing, a new purse, and a foam roller, which I am already in love with and using every night. I also bought some locally-made, female-owned business body butter and epsom salt bath stuff. Sooooo goood. I actually use some of their body butter for one of my treatment menu items; this time it is all mine.

Then I got a massage (which was - ha ha - sorely needed), and Best Guy took me out for dinner at a lovely vegetarian restaurant in town. It was a wonderful, sunny if chilly day and one of the better birthdays I've had in a while.

Saturday, we headed up to my brother's in Sheldon. After five years in their home and hosting our wedding, they are moving. He got a job out in Oregon, so not only are they moving they are freaking moving. The time frame is relatively short, so they'll be on the road next week. It is very bittersweet. I am happy that they are moving somewhere with more opportunity (Vermont was ruining them financially), but I've been pretty spoiled with having all of my immediate family members within easy reach. I guess on the plus side, I now have a reason to visit Oregon. I've always wanted to go.
My brother has a little piano from the 1930's he was trying to sell.
Of course, BG can't resist a keyboard, so he played a few tunes.

To make matters worse, Toby forgot that he likes his Grammy on Saturday and charged her, making her fall on her bum as she tried to get out of reach. Thank goodness we had him leashed, but I didn't realize what was happening until almost too late. Mom is thankfully okay (just mostly embarrassed she fell with a whole bunch of people milling around). We ended up leaving not long after that, as it was obvious Toby had been pushed to his limits. Which brought even more of a pall over the day for me. So not only am I losing my brother and sister-in-law, my dog is a douche and can't ever be trusted with anything ever.

Womp womp.

Sunday was Mother's Day. I had a full-to-bursting work shift so I was go go go all day long. It was nice to come home at the end of my long day and have dinner and some wine in our back yard, with my own "son", the aforementioned douche:

My boy, who loves cheese and rolling in the grass and walkies and naps. Not unlike his father, ironically enough.

Today I'm working from home. Well, supposedly but I've just spend a good long while avoiding work by typing this so there you go. It's another gorgeous sunny Spring day outside, so I'm thinking some of my working from home will be rolling in the grass and walkies and naps outside in the sun. Because apparently the fur baby apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sometimes Letting Go of Your Stories Means You Miss a Few Key Details

Several years back when I was going through my yoga teacher training, I really grasped on to the idea of letting go of old stories that no longer serve you.

We all have these stories; histories that we tell ourselves must be so because this happened, or so and so said so, or it happened once to one person so it must always happen the exact same way. You get the idea.

The thing is, a lot times the old stories we tell ourselves simply become invalid after a certain point. Can you really not do the thing, or have you just told yourself you can't for so long anything else is unthinkable?

While letting go of stories that don't serve a purpose lets you move forward in life, it's also good to realize that some of your stories - your history - can't be discarded, because they are still very much influencing your present, and always will.

I'm not personally one for living in the past. Things happened, things stopped happening, people were there, now they're not. Life moves on. Interactions with people back then influence the way I relate to people now. I don't dwell too much on the people or those interactions themselves; I'm more concerned with breaking my own bad habits that were developed as a result. I don't concern myself with other people's behaviors in the past. I can't do anything about that. I can only work with myself, now.

All that being said, sometimes there is no getting around the fact that other people's behaviors in the past had a lasting, deep effect on how I live my life now.

I have been sick for going on two weeks now. It snuck up on me and I wasn't able to get ahead of it, so it did what all colds do for me...went into my lungs. I have been suffering from acute bronchitis literally all of my life. Every single year growing up, I would get it. I would suffer from monumental coughing fits that would last from five minutes to twenty minutes. And there was nothing I could do about it. Because it was/is viral, antibiotics are useless against it. All you can do is let it run its course.

The cough can linger for up to a month, which makes getting back to your life difficult. After a certain point, people stop having much sympathy for you. You complain that you don't feel well, but you don't look/sound sick. You keep insisting there's nothing to be done but that cough sounds bad and you should do something. People keep insisting that you come out and have fun because surely you can't still be sick, and when you finally do try to do something fun you have a 10-minute coughing fit with tears and snot rolling down your face and your friends look at you in horror.

All this is to say, it fucking sucks. But after 43 3/4 years I've pretty much gotten used to it. It is simply how my body works. I hate it and it's frustrating as all get out, but there it is.

The thing is, there is a reason for this. There is a story as to why I get bronchitis every year. But I forget that fact, simply because it is such a part of who I am at this point that it just never occurs to me that there is someone outside of me to blame for this unfortunate turn of events.

My father smoked. He smoked a lot.

I'm not entirely sure where he picked up the habit, but I think it was when he went into the army shortly after graduating high school. He smoked throughout my childhood; cigarettes for many years before shifting over to a pipe later on. After I left for college, he finally quit.

But for me, the damage had been done many, many, many years beforehand.

I get bronchitis every fucking year because my wonderful, loving Dad - who was about the kindest, gentlest man I've ever known, who'd never do a thing to hurt any of us in any way - picked up a nasty habit when he was in his early 20's.

It doesn't feel good to say it. My Dad died in 2001 of a heart attack. I miss him so much. The pain with which that grief can flood me even now can bring me to my knees. He loved us all so very very much, and would never have wished this upon me, and would feel horrible now knowing that his actions continue to cause me pain. Keep in mind, this was the 1970's and 1980's.... the effects of secondhand smoke were only just beginning to come to light.

Sometimes the stories we don't like to tell are the ones that are the most telling. Was I protecting him in some way? Possibly. Was I doing my best not to dwell on a past I could do nothing to change? Possibly.

But it also serves as a vivid reminder that the things we say and do to one another (no matter how seemingly inconsequential, innocuous or innocent) can have far reaching effects.

So, let go of the stories that need to be gone. But if they're still an active part of your life, don't ignore or dismiss them. Honor them, accept them as part of the history that makes you you, and move forward. It's not baggage if it is literally a part of you.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Today, You are Ten

Well, as far as we know, anyway. We're not sure of your exact birthday, so we use your "Gotcha Day" instead.

You've been with us for two years now. What a ride it's been! We've all come a very long way in this short period of time.

When we first met you, I don't think either we or the humane society realized how terrified and shut down you were. As you became used to your new surroundings with us, you let us see just how traumatized you were when you were forced to leave Mama #1. You told us that the world was scary. People were scary. Dogs were super scary. The cats weren't scary but we belonged to you now so they shouldn't act like they owned us. We could pet you, but no cuddling could happen unless the lights were out and we couldn't see you.

Your anxiety about the world and your place in it threw us for a loop. We wanted you to know just how much you were loved, and how welcome you were in our lives, but we simply didn't know how to help you. We made mistakes. But I'd like to think we learned from them.

I'd like to think that in the last couple of years you've learned a few things as well. You've learned that we love you very much. That we'll keep you safe. That it's okay to cuddle with us whenever you like, even if we can see you. Dogs are still pretty scary, but you've learned that your Grammy, Aunt and Uncle are pretty cool people. At least, you'll tolerate their presence.

Today, you are 10. Which is 70 in dog years. We've noticed that you've slowed down just a tiny bit. But you still love being outside and going on walkies with us. You love rolling around the back yard and chewing on big sticks.

The top photo was taken about a month after we got him, the bottom
was taken about a month ago. A little blurry, but he's gotten a lot more
white along the muzzle, and his ears have definitely faded a bit. Our old fart 💕

And every time I walk in the door, you are there to greet me. I see the love in your eyes (and your waggy tail) and you make me happy.

Happy Birthday/Gotcha Day, my sweet and crazy boy.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Seem to be Turning into an Active Person and I Don't Know How I Feel About That

I've been taking the equivalent of four classes a week at the Dojo. On Wednesday evenings, I take the Beginner Class where I first started a year and change ago, but now I stay for the Intermediate Class too. On Monday evenings, I take the all-rank class, followed by the ACT class. ACT stands for "Adaptive Combat Training", and we learn things like gun disarms, knife disarms, what to do if someone tries to take you as a hostage, etc. In fact, here are a couple of my Senseis demonstrating a technique. This past Monday I did this, and I threw Mr. Check Writer on to the "counter." Proud moment for this girl.

Last night (Wednesday), we were standing around after warm-up but before curriculum in the beginner class, and the Black Belts were doing a huddled whisper. One looks over to us as says "You guys are gonna be here for the next class, right? Because that's going to be important."

Erp. When your Sensei looks at you and says that, cringing is probably the right answer. But do it internally because never show weakness in the dojo.

Anyway. Apparently last night I tested for my Green Stripe. Which, as impressive as it sounds, is in actuality a piece of green electrical tape. But I earned that piece of tape, damn it.

Kate's First Stripe. Dawwwww.

This week I also started the Couch to 5k program, which is an 8-week program that takes a non-runner and slowly cajoles them into running 3 miles of their own volition. I just completed Week One Day Three, and that means I'm going for a half hour, 1.64 miles. It includes a five-minute walking warm up and cool down, and then intervals of running for one minute, then walking for a minute and a half. As I progress, the intervals change and become increasingly difficult.

I'm glad I started this now, as I was talking to one of the Kempo Camp veterans about it last night, and apparently there is a "Fun Run" at 5am on Saturday/Sunday, that is a 2-miler with physical training thrown in. I'm unsure if it's required that I participate or not (the people testing for Black Belt do and I am thankfully not one of them. Yet.). But at least I know by the time August comes around I should be able to run 3 miles without an ambulance following behind me.

Toby would rather I run outside with him, but has come to terms with the weird machine in the corner.

So, here's where I am at this point in my life. About to turn 44, spending four hours a week in the Dojo getting tossed about like a soggy blanket, training to run 5K, and a plan to up my physical training so I can pass my brown belt test without a cardiac incident. A plan that includes push-ups, ab exercises, lots of training on the punching bag, and more cardio.

I do believe I am becoming the one thing I swore I'd never be: sporty.

I suppose being able to throw a guy six inches taller and 75 pounds heavier makes up for it.

Monday, March 19, 2018

StayKatetion 2018

Back in mid-February, it became clear that I was burnt out and needed some time away from work. I initially took this past week off in March, but ended up extending it to a week and a half. My wrists were shot, and I spent my my non-work time wearing braces on both wrists.

I was emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. I was ready to simply quit everything altogether. I no longer cared about my client's needs, I struggled to find compassion for anyone, including myself.

I was very overdue.

Initially, I planned on getting some bodywork of my own done - I was going to splurge and go to a spa. However, after not booking it and not booking it I realized that I was so far gone that I didn't want anyone to touch me. The idea of having anyone else in my energy made me want to cringe.

It's been an interesting week.

This vacation hasn't been a "week in Florida with sunshine and friends" week. It's been a week of holing up, riding out nor'easters and coming to grips with what I need going forward, and where these needs stem from. It's been a week of deep inner work. Not fun, but necessary.
Ahhhh.... March in VT. There's nothing like it anywhere else.
We should go anywhere else.

I went back to work on Sunday. While emotionally and mentally I still need a little more time, physically I'm feeling better. I've also been working a bit with Best Guy to figure out some next steps for me, and to help process some of the things I've unearthed. It's been an interesting journey.

One thing we both agreed on: it was time for me to drop a day at work. We ended up choosing Wednesday as historically it is my least-booked day. So now, instead of five hands-on days, I'll have four. I'll still be working on those days, but I'll be focused more on the paperwork and writing that gets put off or otherwise ignored the rest of the time.

It's a little bittersweet, knowing that physically you're no longer capable of doing what you once did. However, coming to this decision was such a relief that what sadness I felt was overshadowed by gratitude that I no longer have to push beyond what I'm capable of giving.

Another thing I came to terms with is the fact that I most likely have undiagnosed depression/anxiety. While going and getting the diagnosis would "prove" that, at this point in my life I'm unsure it would make much difference. I am functional and if anything low-grade. I don't believe medication would be necessary in my case, but it makes taking time to take of myself that much more important.

There are demonstrable things I can do that are effective for me: yoga, dance, kempo, alone time, time in nature, reading, meditating, talking things out with BG.... these are all things that work for me. There may come a day when I'll need to go and get the diagnosis, the medication. I don't believe I'm there. In lieu of that, making time in my schedule for these things is more important than ever.
Another thing that helps: a free-to-us treadmill so I can exercise
even when it's crappy out. Okay, so Toby helps too. 😉

Working more time off into my schedule is also necessary. I've written loads on how terrible I am at taking time off, but I'm at the point where I can no longer indulge in that behavior. While what actually happens will depend on how busy my schedule remains (it's been pretty damned busy), my goal is to take at least one long weekend a month and one week off a quarter. Or so. My actuality will probably vary a bit as I'm terrible at taking my own advice.

So that's kinda the State of Kate, Quarter One, 2018. I feel like these are all really good things to be working on, and that they'll help me progress forward not only personally but professionally.

Let's see what manifests...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Project 251: I'm Too Lazy to Post in a Timely Fashion Edition

Several weeks ago, we were desperate to get out of town for the weekend. It was the week of Valentine's Day. We both had stuff going during the week, so we decided Best Guy would take Friday off, and we'd head up to the NEK to knock off a few more towns and maybe have a romantic dinner at nice place while we had a babysitter. AKA, my Mom.

I am extremely late in posting the pics because Life. But better late than never, right? This is our first 251 excursion since October, I believe. It's a lot harder to do in the winter, because a lot of roads are either impassible or just really stupid to be on with a Prius.

But that didn't stop us, oh no.

147: Woodbury. Note the "witch window" on the house in the back. Almost exclusively a Vermont/New England thing.

148: Hardwick. It's a cute little town with lots going on.

149: Greensboro. It's a dying little town with lots of closed business.

150: Glover. As BG said, "rhymes with lover".

151: Sutton. Home of my Aunt and marks only 100 towns left to visit!

152: Lyndon. 

153: St Johnsbury. The only town in the United States with this name. Also, I was born here and spent a lot of time
here as a child. Mainly going to doctor's appointments for my ear. Which still doesn't work, but at least it's not going to kill me.

154: Danville. Taken at the entrance of a snow mobile trail. 

155: Cabot. Taken outside the Cabot creamery. I've been eating their cheese literally all my life. Om nom nom.

We've always managed to make it work, traveling with Toby. However, it's more difficult in the winter because picnicing is near to impossible and his reactivity regarding dogs and other humans make being in a more populated place (like we were this time) difficult. We had the opportunity to visit a micro-brewery while we were out and about this time. Unfortunately, only BG got to go in and sample. I had to be babysitter outside. Trying to keep Toby from freaking out with all the other people and dogs wandering around. And there were actually things to see and do in Hardwick, Lyndon and St Johnsbury, but again because of him we were extremely limited.

We had the pleasure of going to the Doggie Chapel in St Jay (as it's called here in VT). We managed to be there for quite a while before a couple dogs decided they wanted to be Toby's friend. Of course, he wasn't having it. It scares the shit out of me, frankly, when off-leash dogs come up to him. Even when they're well mannered and well trained. Toby will attack. And there is literally nothing we can do to train it out of him. We just keep him well leashed and hope people don't curse us too badly.

We did manage a couple decent pics at the Chapel though:
The outside of the chapel.

The inside is covered stem to stern with notes for fur babies no longer in this world. This is the note I left.

You can see my note on the right side of the image, by the loop on the glass window.

Toby and I inside the chapel. You can see part of the wall covered in notes behind us. 

This is Two.

Monday the 21st was our 2-year wedding anniversary. We build the Matrimonial Pizza, with my brother officiating and my Chick of Honor wat...