Monday, August 31, 2015

The Goober Abides

Late last week, Buddy scared the crap out of us. He wasn't eating, was listless, and barfing up massive quantities of... we're not sure to be honest. It got to the point where we took him to the vet on Friday because he was acting so out of character.

Short of getting an (expensive) x-ray or doing something invasive, the most the doc could do was some blood work, which showed an elevated white blood cell count. He was dehydrated and also lost some weight, which didn't surprise us. We think on top of everything else he also pulled a muscle somewhere along the line. He slips a lot on our wooden floor so it stands to reason.

The vet gave him a shot of antibiotics and some pain meds and we took him home. We basically spent the weekend spoiling him rotten since we both feared he might not make it through until Monday. In an attempt to get some sustenance in him I made him some simple food: rice made with chicken stock, a rotisserie chicken I chopped up into small bits (skin included), some broccoli since I know he likes it, and some coconut oil. He kept looking at Best Guy like "I'm allowed to eat this? Really??"

The great news is, it is Monday. He is still kicking along. He seems to have perked up a bit. He is walking more on his walks, he is eating the food, and he is taking his meds. Except for the pain meds; he won't go near those and if we mix it in with the food he stops eating.

His pulled muscle is still bothering him but other than that he has stopped throwing up. He has developed an odd roundness in his torso however. We are realistic that this may be a sign of something more insidious. Right now, we are focused on keeping him comfortable and happy. And, dare I say it, spoiled. Because he's an old pup who has had a difficult year. We knew the steroids would probably be a stop-gap measure.

We'll take him for as long as we can.

My writing companion, who quickly became bored and wandered off to something else.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hashtag Chillin' like a Villain

It is Sunday morning. I slept in. I enjoyed a couple cups of coffee near the open French Doors in our family room. Best Guy is downstairs playing his piano.

There is no place we need to be and no thing we need to do.

It is a beautiful day.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Project 251: The Saga Continues

On Saturday, Best Guy and I used our Project 251 as an excuse to travel south to visit Vermont's Annual Scottish Festival. It was a lot of fun, and kilts were seen everywhere. I have yet to convince BG to don one, but.... some day...


So, here we go!

Men in Kilts doing Feats of Strength!

The Opening Ceremony. Wherein absolutely none of my clans were represented. Ach!
Scottish Dancing. 
Project 251 City #8: Williston. We actually took this picture a couple weeks ago.
We're in Williston weekly so this was an easy one to knock off.

#9: Montpelier. The capital city!

#10: Hartford. We were in Queechee for the festival (and, apparently the Gorge). However,
it turns out the Queechee is *in* Hartford. We're finding a lot of places we thought were towns were
actually just little places tucked inside larger ones.

#11: Woodstock. Hippie Hippie Shake and all that jazz.

#12: Barnard

#13: Bethel, where according to all the movies is where all the survivors always come during an apocalypse.

#14: Randolph

14 down, 237 to go!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sometimes the Hardest Lessons are the Most Subtle

Lately I've been getting frustrated with my perceived inability to move forward in one particular area of my life. It has gotten to the point where I have my friend Tonya's voice on a constant loop in my head: Trust in the Universe, Trust in the Universe, Trust in the Universe....

She would get a kick out of that. Hi, Tonya! ;-)

I may very well be exactly where I need to be in this moment, but it's not necessarily where I want to be. So I figure the sooner I can learn this particular lesson the faster I can get out of this damned hole.

Of course, such things can't be forced, and moves made out of desperation (or perceived desperation) always backfire on you in the end. Mainly because you tried to go around the lesson you were supposed to learn. So not only does it kick you back to the beginning, it shovels another lesson or two on top of the original. So then you're piled under a bunch of things you're trying not to figure out because you're so goddamned tired of always learning the fucking lesson.


Moving on.

Lately I've been wondering if my lesson is complete and utter surrender: to completely let go and to be supported by someone else. Maybe it's time I learned that being fiercely independent is not all it's cracked up to be, and letting someone else in is not a bad thing. 

I don't mean complete surrender to the point of not actually doing anything; that is laziness and not in my genetic makeup. I guess what it means is saying "this particular thing is not currently working for me and I can't figure out a way out of it. Can someone please help until I can get myself back together?"

I am so lucky in that I have someone who keeps telling me "I am here for you. You will be okay. We will get through this. Things aren't nearly as bad as you're telling yourself they are. I will help you find your way back together."

Maybe my lesson is listening to him and letting myself believe that I can lean back into the Trust Fall, because there is finally someone there to catch me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blah Blah Blah...

I've started writing on that illustrious book again. You know, the one I keep starting? The one I've been writing for the last 15 years but never get further than two pages in?

That one.

I've actually got theoretical ideas for three books. But you have to start somewhere.

I started.


I'm actually being very blunt and honest this time around. Which may or may not make the final cut. I've got to say though, there is something very cathartic about writing whatever the fuck I want without worrying how it may or may not affect others.

Because this is my story, damn it. I get to tell it and no one else gets to say how it goes.

At least until the editing process.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Project 251: The Adventure Begins!

There are 251 main towns and cities in the State of Vermont. Back in 1954, an author in Vermont Life magazine suggested that the best way to really get to know the state was to visit every single one of them. Out of this was born the 251 Club. You visit each place and take some sort of photo to prove that you were there. That isn't a requirement necessarily, it just makes things more fun.

Best Guy and I have been floating the idea of seeing all 251 towns and cities for a few months now. Today, however was a beautiful day with nothing going on. We didn't want to stay home, but the idea of hiking another hike was too much. So, we decided today was The Day. We were going to start our Project 251.

Eventually we are going to have to come up with a plan of attack, since some of these places are difficult to get to and may require overnight stays. Plus, we want to minimize back-tracking (having to re-visit three towns to hit one we missed seems a waste to us). So we started simply today: we drove North, veered East, then came back. Just a few easy-peasy nearby towns and some stunning summer Vermont vistas. 

We haven't taken the leap of actually joining the online community yet. For now, we're just doing this on our own.This is for Sundays that beg for something to be done even though we can't really think of anything to do.

And now, I present to you Project  251: The First Seven

Stop 1: Colchester

Stop 2: Milton. We were going to kiss in every picture, but then we
realized 251 pictures of us kissing is a bit excessive.

Stop 3: Georgia. We actually stopped here for lunch. The pizza dough
was so fresh he rolled it out in front of us. Delicious!

Stop 4: Fairfax. Black-eyed Susans are my Mom's favorite flower. Hi, Mom!

Stop 5: Cambridge

Stop 6: Fletcher

Our final official stop of the day (7): Westford
Only 244 more to go. Bring it on!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Maiden Mother Crone

The Maiden/Mother/Crone (or Triple Goddess) archetype is found in most Pagan philosophies. They symbolize the three main stages in a woman's life. Although I have friends that will add a fourth: Maiden, Mother, Queen, Crone; for those of us who have moved on from Mother but have most certainly not reached Crone.

With each of these, there can be a literal definition as well as a more figurative. Maiden can mean a child, a woman not yet experienced in love, or a woman whose nature is naturally fresh and innocent. A Crone could be a withered old woman living off-grid (and I know a few women who would love nothing better), or someone who has come in to her years - young or old - with grace and wisdom. Mother can literally mean a woman who has given birth to another human, or it could mean a woman who is nurturing, caring, and holds a space for those in need.

At 41, I think I can say I am now firmly attached to this transitional decade for women. Many friends who had kids early on are finding them nearly grown, if not having kids of their own. We are, for the first time, facing the fact that our ability to have children is coming to its end. While we are far from Crones, a great many of us are finding ourselves transitioning out of Motherhood and into Queendom.

Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, older traditions still reigned supreme. Moms stayed at home or had part-time jobs once the kids made it to first grade (a full day of school). Dads worked outside of the home. You graduated high school, you got married, you had kids. After I graduated college and struck out on my own, every time I went back to visit I would get asked by locals "so, are you married? Do you have kids?" Family knew better than to ask those questions, and always stood by my choices. No matter who I talked to, I always left feeling like I was a failure because I wasn't married or had kids. But then I would go home and do what I wanted when I wanted and spend my extra money on vacations and I didn't feel so bad.

I watched friend after friend get divorced and it solidified my choice to hold out for someone who was going to Stick Around. I only wanted to get married once, you see. And I wasn't going to have a baby unless the Dad was going to be there. Those were the choices I made. Of course, I thought I'd find someone before now. That there would still be time for children. But when you wait for Quality, sometimes there has to be a sacrifice. 

I have finally found someone who fills my heart beyond my comprehension. It still floors me how overwhelmed with love I become in his presence. He brings me joy, laughter (so much laughter), love... I could write for days. It was a personal choice of his long before he met me not to have children. And while I did not consciously make that choice, you don't get to 41 childless without having made some decisions along the way. 

But I do not consider myself any less of a mother. My chosen second career allows me to be caring and nurturing to others who desperately need a little TLC. And then there is this:

I am a mother... to three furbabies whom I love very much. I feed them, I give them affection, I play with them, I go to the vet with them. I get frustrated by their antics. And I make their Dad clean up the barf and poo. 

A few years ago, I went to a wonderful tarot reader for some advice. At the very end, just as I was losing hope, she drew the final card; the one that said to me - in no uncertain terms - "Family." This may not have been the conventional family I thought of when she drew the card, but this is definitely the perfect family for me and I would not trade it for anything in any world. 

Whenever Best Guy tells Buddy to go see Momma, he comes to me. Which is all my heart needs. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food Shaming and the Middle Age Spread

No, that doesn't mean we give hummus a stern talking to about its nutritional make up.

It is those (almost always) unwanted pounds that seem to creep on after 40 and make themselves at home, like a mooch who doesn't know when their stay has expired.

Mine started creeping on a couple years prior to my decade shift. A couple pounds here, a couple there. A few of those pounds I could attribute to change in muscle mass, thanks becoming a Massage Therapist. But the rest of those pounds? Let's just say they tagged along for the ride, slowly picking up friends as they went.

Today, Best Guy and I met for lunch. We went to a local coop that has a great hot-bar and pre-made section. He hit up the hot food bar and I made my way to the sandwiches. This place makes a great sandwich and they had one of my favorites available. It was a little on the large side and probably made to share, but I wanted it.

We were sitting down to lunch, his reasonable portion and my giant sandwich. A little more than half-way through I looked at him and said "I think I'm going to eat this whole thing." and then on the heels of that: "... and this is why none of my pants fit." BG very wisely said nothing. He has a strong sense of self-preservation and it has served him well.

It was shortly thereafter that I realized two things. One, back when I gained loads of weight post-college, it was because I was eating extravagant portion sizes (for every meal, plus snacks) and then saying things like that while in the same time in complete denial that one had anything to do with the other.

The second thing that I realized is that making myself feel ashamed for my choices does absolutely nothing except make me feel bad about myself, which drives me straight to food for comfort. Which turns into the Shame Spiral of Evil.

If I want to eat a huge sandwich, so fucking what? If I want to eat that bag of Doritos, who the hell cares? If I want a ginormous salad for dinner, what of it?

Living the Western world, I am graced with an exceeding amount of plentiful. Stuffing my face and then shaming myself for it indicates that I am ungrateful for all I have and gives the finger to all those who would literally kill for the quarter of that sandwich I was too full to eat.

Maybe I am carrying extra poundage I would prefer to shed. In other places in this world, I would be considered healthy and of Great Means. Perhaps the only thing I would be shamed for is not sharing my great wealth.

I have the ability to change my eating habits if I want to. I have the luxury of keeping them as is if I choose. I have choice, I have means, and the only shame there is would be my continued inability to be grateful for all that I am blessed with.

Better Kate Than Never

As you've probably noticed (all six of you), over the last few months my contribution to this blog has dwindled significantly. In trying...