Scatter my ashes here...
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Today it is the kind of cold that seeps into your bones and makes you not want to leave the house. It will be a bike day for sure. I feel like I had a successful week though, I did all my resistance training and stretching and all the extras. I will get there with the running, I don't need to get injured or sick like I did this fall. It's been such a long time since I've run much, I do need to start back carefully.
Somehow I will have to convince myself to start going up to Horsetooth as of next week, just once a week, to get the hills in. I'm hoping we'll be back to double digit temperatures in the mornings by then.
Spring is less than a week away.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
It's been cold and I haven't been running a lot, I did an hour on Monday and a little over a half hour each on Tuesday and today. I will try for an hour of running tomorrow even though it's supposed to be super cold. But Christmas and any big holiday have always been my favorite times to run because traffic tends to be light, people tend to be in a decent mood, at least less likely to run you over. I'm sure that will all change on the 26th when the shopping frenzy resumes.
I was thinking a bit about how I've evolved as a runner. For me it has never been a straight line, I have gone back and forth with being competitive and non-competitive, being highly driven and laid back. I love to run and I am thinking about finding some fun adventures to do in the coming year, though they won't be about racing or being competitive. I am ready to explore some trails and places I've been wanting to go but my specialized training for roads and my ankle problems never allowed me to put much effort into it. I have some new running partners who are also on-foot adventurers, and one of them is as much a photo freak as I am, and I find myself looking forward to their company.
Tomorrow is Christmas. We are taking it easy, having one friend over and that's it. I made tortilla soup and I got some stuff for quesadillas, and baked some cookies. After two tries on the cookies I finally did it right. I don't know why but cooking in the kitchen has been disastrous this week, I attribute it to the lack of a kitchen supervisor watching me. Isabelle took over Iris's position, and she was getting good at it. But now it's just me. Cooking is not nearly as much fun without Buffaloes.
We got Isabelle's ashes back last night. Dennis cried as he walked in the house with her, having picked her ashes up on his way home from work. A little turquoise box. It's almost an affront to fourteen years of companionship. But that's the way they do it, and now we have them both back.
It's so strange to receive the remains of your dog, the whole, wiggly, soft, furry, loving, interacting, communicating, responsive creature, in the form of a little cheesy-looking box in baby turquoise blue with a little pawprint charm attached to it, with some fake flowers to top it off. Now Iris and Isabelle are both home for Christmas, sitting together on top of the dresser, next to the hedgehog and bone pillow they each loved.
I remember how Iris and Isabelle used to run and could go forever, running circles around us, covering ten times the distance we did. Then they gradually slowed down, going from running Dennis's pace to my pace, to slower than me, then just walking, and in Isabelle's case, barely walking, until she could only go places being pushed in the cart.
I miss my girls, but I wouldn't have wanted to prolong either of their lives beyond where they both ended. I wouldn't have subjected Iris to being reliant on medications to prevent her from having seizures until she got so bad that she herniated, and I wouldn't have wanted Bella to keep losing her balance, falling, not being able to get up without help, losing bowel and bladder control, and living with the pain in her joints.
I know I'll keep moving as long as I can. I just hope that by the time I am unable to move forward on my own feet, that I or someone will be able to help me end my life when I feel like there's no reason to live. I hope by then we have more progressive laws that allow for that to happen for humans.
Death is a part of life and we're all going to die someday so we might as well accept our mortality and live each day the best that we can. If more people would not avoid thinking about and discussing death, and learn to face it as a normal part of what happens in our lives, and deal with the reality of it, we would be so much better off.
We would live our lives better, take better care of ourselves and each other, spend so much less on medical interventions, and we would finally expand palliative care to be a major part of medicine and health care. Instead of treating people as diseases, we could treat them as people who need help either healing or being made more comfortable.
The days are getting longer, and that means more daylight to enjoy each day. Only one more week until spring. Full speed ahead!
Friday, December 18, 2015
Isabelle Leck was born July 5, 2001 in Mesa, Arizona. She came to live with her parents and sister Iris in Fountain Hills, Arizona on September 6, 2001. Isabelle was bred to be a show dog, but she was destined for a much better life.
Isabelle was the shy, quiet one of the two girls, but she was full of surprises. She could be sneaky, and her vicious bark belied her lifelong sweet puppy face. From the first day we met her, her favorite activity was lying down. She loved the cool feel of the tile on her soft pink belly.
She also hated sprinklers, but her sister would protect her, biting the sprinklers to keep them away. She did not like four letter words. We had to watch our language carefully so we did not offend the Flying Nun.
Isabelle had many nicknames. She was the Hedgehog, Mouse, Flying Nun, Sister Bella, but most of the time, she was The Bella. "Don't scare The Bella" was our household mantra.
She loved to play in the mountains, visiting the shed and the cabin, chasing her sister through the tall grass, sniffing for doggie M & Ms that the deer and elk would leave behind, camping out under the trees and going for long trail runs.
Isabelle had a devious streak. When her sister wasn't looking, Isabelle would finish her own food, then nonchalantly move over and start working on her sister's bowl. She would let her sister do all the work of begging, but Isabelle was always rewarded. Food was Isabelle's comfort and raison d'etre, all the way to the end.
Starbucks pup cups, or for drives on summer evenings to Dairy Queen for cones filled with whipped cream. Isabelle thought Dad was the greatest creature on earth.
There are no words to capture the pure joy these two beautiful girls added to our lives. The Buffalo generation will be missed and remembered with many tears, smiles, and laughs for as long as we live. And the next generation, whenever we bring them into our lives, will surely hear endless stories of their predecessors' antics and legacy.
Monday, December 14, 2015
I wish I had more to report. I've had more on my mind than my brain's capacity to remember, my life is ruled by little scraps of paper with miscellaneous lists everywhere.
There's so much I want to get done but everyone slows down around the holidays, so I'll take advantage of that and take a breather myself. Work is a process. RFM.
I was happy to sell another painting today. Out of the blue there's been a spike of interest in my artwork. Of all times. I'll take it. I'm not actively creating anything new, but the old favorites seem to keep selling. Cactus with a Mohawk and Peach on the Dashboard are the ones that sold.
Isabelle continues to hang in there. She sings and dances with me. Today I made an exercise video for a client who uses a walker, and as I was doing the exercise moves, Isabelle was singing. She gets excited whenever I move around like I'm dancing. The other day we sang O Holy Night together, as a duet. It was really good.
And the food. She loves the food. Dog food mixed with chicken or turkey broth and chopped up grilled salmon or baked chicken. And the pup cups, not as often now that it's so cold outside, but on a warm sunny morning we wrap her up in a blanket in the cart and go to Starbucks.
I had some good ideas for a blogpost this morning but I got so busy and the day got away from me, and I ended up forgetting my idea and riding the bike indoors because I only had a half hour. Maybe it will come back after I get through the rest of this busy week. Maybe.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The good news is that I've been consistent about stretching every morning this week, I've been doing a stretching routine and I can feel the difference just walking around afterwards. My hips feel better, my gait feels smooth, and I have an easier time walking around. I didn't realize how tight I've been. I'm also getting into the habit of doing my strength training and hip exercises, and my core routine. I'm putting a few more miles in than I was, still having a little trouble with motivation but I have been more consistent this week.
The stressful parts have been worrying about Isabelle, and then the incredibly frustrating experience of redoing my business website and all the other things that go along with that.
The other night Isabelle decided to try jumping off the bed by herself. Usually she waits for one of us to help her down, but she was unusually restless that day. She gets confused at times. She took a dive off the bed, landed on her shoulder and cried. We couldn't tell that any damage was done but she was uncomfortable for a while. She's also been having some issues with incontinence, and we've been putting towels under her and trying to get her on a schedule, but every once in while we find a surprise. Fortunately we have tile floors, easy to clean.
After her fall, we didn't sleep very well, we talked about whether it's time for her to go see Iris, but she bounced back and the past two days she's been herself, no issues, and the shoulder seems to be okay. She likes hanging out with us, and I just don't feel like it's time yet. It's coming, but not yet.
It could be much worse, I could be back in my nurse slavery days. And according to my former coworkers, it's even worse now than it was then.
When I think of where I was 3 years ago, the stress of this is a gift. I'm doing what I love to do, building something I believe in, and knowing that when it's up and running, it will be something that really moves people's lives in a good direction. And better yet, I've been able to be a stay at home dog mom at the end of the girls lives.
Just trying to get the work stuff together and move forward, and it takes time to go through the process.
Take deep breaths, and go for a run.
Sunday, December 6, 2015
It's my shoes. This is the longest lasting pair of running shoes I have ever owned, I've been using them since June of this year. They've seen me through a 50 miler in town on summer solstice, countless miles in Death Valley this summer, and everything I've done in between. Today they are being retired. I am ready to break out a new pair of running shoes and break 'em in.
I had another pathetic week with motivation again. I ran on Monday, then I did some ab work on Tuesday. And then nothing again until yesterday. I had an extremely frustrating work week, and I was exhausted by Friday. I know I would be better off running everyday, but I haven't done it yet.
It seems I have tried everything I can think of, other than hiring my own personal drill sergeant. I set my phone alarm for twice a day. I thought about signing up for a race I'd have to train for, but I knew that would be pointless. Plus maybe my own stupidity and ego would get in the way, because I still seem to think I could mentally tough it out through anything, even though my body would cave first. I can't take a marathon or short ultra seriously, because I know I can make myself do it.
So...what to do? I'll try the new shoes deal. I have new shoes, they always feel good. I ran a full hour yesterday and I struggled but I felt so much better afterward.
Tomorrow is Monday, another week.
Monday, November 30, 2015
I did get out and run today, my first run in 2 weeks. Thought I would die the first mile and a half but I managed to keep going. I told myself 30 minutes, and at 30 minutes I was only at 2.6 miles, so I told myself to go for an even 3. 35:28. I did it. See you next month.
I found these squirrel tracks this morning, leading across the brick walkway under the arbor to the front steps to the woman cave. I think Iris has come back as a squirrel. She ate so many of them during her lifetime, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
Tomorrow is December 1, and to me, that's the lead-up to spring. January 1 is the first day of spring in my world. I need to set some kind of goals going forward. Even though I have no desire to race or compete, I feel like I need some kind of thing to build up to. I'll need to think about that one, maybe a birthday run or something, but not for miles per year. I don't want to force myself into running that far by early March. I'll figure out some arbitrary adventure to do sometime in the next few months. I'm sure there are some weirdos around who will join me. Maybe between all of us we can run 52 miles.
My jeans have spoken.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Last night I woke up around 2:30 feeling hot, as usual, and went into the guest bedroom to lie down on the bed in there, where it was much cooler. I was just starting to find a comfortable position, and I felt a sudden weight land on the end of the bed, near my feet. Nothing could explain it except Iris. She would have jumped up on the bed with me in that exact spot if she were here. I know it was her paying us a visit.
I think she hangs out at the top of the stairs, watching over us, the way she used to. Isabelle is always looking up there, even when she knows that Dennis and I are both downstairs. Iris is watching over all of us.
Since my NaBloPoMo effort has been mostly a success, while NaRunMoMo turned out disappointingly due to my respiratory crud, I will attempt to re-start, if not all running, at least regular workouts, tomorrow. Mondays were always the beginning of my training week. I have the bike set up, and I feel like the crud has mostly subsided, except for still coughing up nasty looking stuff in the mornings.
My legs feel like they want to jump out of my skin and my body feels like it's been tied up in knots and needs to be stretched and moved, and I absolutely MUST get back to something. I have a lot more desk work to do before I can start spending more time up and active at work. I feel like a pile of melted butter from my ribs to my knees.
There's only more day in November after today, and then spring is right around the corner, on January 1. It might be too cold for Isabelle to be in the cart some days, but I can load bags of mulch in it for traction on the snow and start getting my outdoor workouts in.
Iris would not have let me idle for so long, she kept me moving all the time. I have a busy work week ahead, but I'll set my phone to prompt me every day that I need to get the workout in.
The bark tone on my phone sounds just like Iris's bark. Get your butt out the door, mom!
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
Usually we spend the holiday with our friends here in town but this year they were visiting family on the Western Slope. We knew Bella would appreciate not being left at home alone, and we know it's her last Thanksgiving. We took the Bella to Starbucks for a pup cup yesterday, wrapped her up tight in an extra blanket. She loved it.
I have decided to mount my bike on the trainer in the living room this weekend, so I will have additional options for getting some movement in. The other day I was walking down the stairs and felt a twinge in my left IT band. It felt like a rubber band snapped. Just a tiny twinge, but I can feel that something in there is not quite right. It's not the whole thing, just the edge of it.
I try really hard every year not to buy anything on Black Friday. I really resent what it has become, it's like the worst of all the Walmart and Costco shoppers come out of the woodwork, parasites, crawling into lines at dark hours. If you are a Black Friday shopper, whatever your reasons, I don't mean to offend you personally, if you have a good reason for braving the flu-infested crowds, snotty kids, and people wild-eyed with greed, willing to draw blood and brawl on the filthy linoleum floors in the cash register lines for $20 off the TV they want so they can sit around and eat more crap in front of it.
I was so happy when REI announced its #OptOutside campaign. I know it's just another way to market themselves but it really would be nice if most companies would stop forcing their employees to endure the shopping frenzy on one more day when they could be taking care of their own families and well-being. Going outside and breathing some fresh air...what a concept.
I tend to abhor shopping for anything, even groceries, from November through December. Walking into a grocery store and being smacked in the face with the pungent, nose-frying smell of fake cinnamon-scented pine cones and whatever else they have parked near the doors and endcaps is enough to make me turn around gagging and walk out the door. Why we must all be subjected to such scents when some of us find them offensive even in their real form...I do not like cinnamon. And fake cinnamon is even worse.
I don't care about the blank red Starbucks cups. I really don't care about the holiday symbols, they don't bother me. Not a Christian here. I just don't like the greed and overconsumption that goes along with the holidays. Just 38 days until the first Monday after New Years, when it will be safe to go into a store and breathe again!
Bah Humbug and enjoying the fresh air!
Thursday, November 26, 2015
The other day in the grocery store I ran into an acquaintance, a woman I've met on my runs near the lake. We stopped and talked for a while. She's about my age, and we've both been struggling between being busy and in her case, injuries, and trying to motivate ourselves to do even the bare minimum. I know I need to get back to at least doing the cross training and the resistance work. I am turning into such a pile of mush.
The challenge for me is developing a program that I will stick to, which means, it has to be something I can do in just a few minutes, that doesn't require me to stop and take a block of time out of my day. But I have to be able to remember to do it. That means making it a habit. Where did my motivation go?
I do feel motivated to cook and eat today, which is a good thing...
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I feel like going for a good walk and I might have to do that later because it's supposed to get super cold, like single digits, and maybe snow, over the next few days. I'll have to bundle up really well and I'm not sure how my lungs will respond to the intense cold air. I'll try though. I'm really hoping I have the worst of this behind me and can start on somewhat of a regular routine next week. I'm uncomfortable in my clothes, my body feels like a big blob.
I love my little Bella. She's looking forward to the turkey smells and tastes. She needs a break from salmon. I'm looking forward to the time to hang out with Dennis and Isabelle and not have to do much of anything. Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving too.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Today I had a business meeting with someone that lasted nearly 3 hours, but was very worthwhile and enjoyable. I met a woman who is well-connected in the patient advocacy and cancer survivorship community, and we had a great talk. I went over my content with her and she gave some great ideas and feedback. I'm so excited for this. It all takes longer than you want it to, but this was a great opportunity to meet a very knowledgeable and resourceful person in my line of work. Turns out we are both originally from the same area outside of Philadelphia.
I am looking forward to running again.
Monday, November 23, 2015
I took my car back into the dealer today to get the airbags done, hoping their computers would be working. Fortunately they were. A friend picked me up and we went out to breakfast and talked about our businesses, then she dropped me off at home, and I walked back to the dealer later to pick it up. Yay, done.
Today the geese were flying overhead in their V arrangements, and I saw them at the schoolyard and other places where they like to hang out. It made me sad, I miss Iris. She loved to check out the geese, and of course, she loved goose poop. Isabelle never was much of a fan of it unless Iris was around to set an example. Otherwise Isabelle would have ignored it.
I tried taking The Bella for a walk this afternoon and she didn't want to go. She wandered around in the yard, front and back, but wouldn't go down the street. I know this will be a one day at a time thing from here on. She's still eating, and she still likes to talk to us, beg for food, and sleep between us at night.
Thanksgiving is coming and it's also a reminder that at this time last year, that was when Iris first had a problem with her eye, we took her to the vet the evening before Thanksgiving hoping to get something to help her get through the holiday. At that point we were treating it like an infection, but the vet told us the possibilities, and I conveniently tucked that brain tumor idea in the back of my mind at the time. Nine months later it became real for us, but who knows how much Iris was hiding that whole time. We saw signs like her tripping while walking, drinking a lot of water, and being more lethargic around the house than usual, but she never missed a walk or a treat. Easy to chalk it up to age when you don't want to think worst case scenario.
I had to go through my pictures today too, I've been looking for images for my new website, and I flipped through hundreds of pictures of the girls. I can't play the videos when Isabelle is around because she hears Iris's voice and it upsets her.
I know eventually Isabelle will "go see Iris", but she hasn't given us any indication that she's ready. So we will continue to spoil her with salmon and chicken broth dinners, occasional trips to Dairy Queen, and weekend rides in the cart to Starbucks for a pup cup. Here's a video of Isabelle enjoying a pup cup at Starbucks this past weekend.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
I have this thing about trees out in the open, by themselves. I love to photograph them and used to paint them in pastel, but I don't have time to paint these days. My ultrahypo blog features lone trees as the post images.
I thought I'd share my photo exploration of the tree with you, for something different. I don't know if next week I'll be running again or headed to a doctor appointment. Sort of depends on how I feel when I wake up tomorrow. But for now, I can at least enjoy the close up, slow view of the things I usually run by every day. ABC: Always Bring a Camera. So here it is, close up.
|Approach on land|
|the geese have returned|
|My usual view|
|The crown is so wide it doesn't fit without a wide angle lens|
|Roots of wisdom|
|The circumference of this tree is bigger than me|
|Up close and personal|
|In awe of these limbs|
|In all directions|
|Reaching for the sky|
|How many years did it take|
|Way above my head|
|So much detail|
|Color and shadows|
|Each crack tells a story|
|In the bright sun|
|Twigs and clouds|
|More wisdom in here|
|Walls and carpet|
|Come back again|