Seeing What You’re Made Of…or, Mr. Bubby, Part 2

I think sometimes we are tested just to see what we’re made of.  In the case of Mister Bubby, he’s been tested and that little man is full of heart and gumption!  Last I wrote, we were waiting on results from a biopsy to determine whether or not my baby had cancer.  Unfortunately, the results came back positive: he was diagnosed with stage 2 spindle cell sarcoma, which is a localized cancer and one that doesn’t metastasize (thank God). Upon receiving the results, I immediately made arrangements to meet with a surgeon who our vet referred us to.

I was highly impressed by the doctor and facility, but the means of getting rid of the cancer left me nonplussed. Amputation was the only way. After a tour of the operating and recovery room, I felt slightly better though; Mister Bub would have excellent care through this big surgery (three people in the operating room during surgery) and I would have 24 hour follow up advice via phone if I needed it post-op through both the surgery center and the emergency clinic associated with the surgery center.

I spent the weekend before surgery with my little lovey, taking him wherever I went and giving him his favorite treats of bacon and ice cream. Sunday evening rolled around and it was time to make the trek from Culpeper to Manassas, so I loaded him into the car with my Dad and off we went to the surgery center. Leaving him overnight was awful; he looked at me with a shocked face as if to say, “Ma, what…where are you going?!” If that experience was bad, the next day was pure torture as that was surgery day.  The day dragged on and on and I was finally able to call and check on him at noon: Mister Bubby had made it through surgery just fine and was resting.

Tuesday rolled around and I was anxious to get the little man home to rest in the comfort of his own bed, so that afternoon, I drove up to pick him up. Seeing him for the first time was a shock, adorned with his little blue e-collar (or as I like to call them Cones of Shame) and his shaved hind end. We walked outside with a very sweet tech from the surgery center so she could so me how to use a sling on Bub so he would have an easier time walking. Much to my surprise, he walked (or rather, hopped) right out of the sling and hightailed it to the car, anxious to get home!

We were sent home with pain medication and an NSAID and my sweet boy took his medicine well, but I noticed that whenever I would dose him with the pain medicine, his heart rate would increase and he would start panting heavily.  This only got worse over time and we made a hasty visit to the emergency clinic in Manassas again on Sunday.  Mister Bub was given new paid meds, put on an antibiotic due to a fever and had staples put in to secure his incision as he somehow managed to pull out about three sutures.  After a day at the clinic, we were free to go home!

I’m happy to report that Mr. Bubby is doing much better since the change in medicine and I believe we’ve turned a corner and he’s on the mend.  He felt so good in fact that he spent some time outside with my Dad yesterday, hopping around in the grass, moving about easily with his tail wagging. He’s my trooper, my brave little boy and my miracle.

Now, the only hurdle we have to jump is getting more biopsy results.  Our surgeon sent off Bubby’s leg to be biopsied where the leg was taken off to make sure that the area is free of cancer.  If this comes back as cancer-free, then we are in good shape and cancer-free!

Here’s to the health and happiness of our constant companions and fur babies everywhere!

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

Mr. Bubby, The Day After Surgery

What Do I Want?…or, Weddings & Facebook Posts Make Me Think

I have a friend from college that I keep up with on Facebook who recently made a post that has made me pause and think.  She’s a well-educated, well traveled, attractive woman who comes from a good family, owns her own home and has two fur babies that she thinks the world of. But this lovely woman, who I’ll refer to in this post simply as C made a Facebook post recently about how she would like children, despite being childless and still single at 32 years of age. In typical fashion, I had to respond to her post with an uplifting message about how being childless isn’t necessarily a bad thing; being child-free, she has the opportunity to do what she wants, when she wants to do it and doesn’t have to worry about lugging her child/children with her along with bags filled with all of their accoutrements. She never has to worry about making arrangements for anyone to watch kids in order for her to be able to do anything, and best of all, she is free to travel unhindered whenever she likes.

But, I’ll admit, her post got me to thinking. Well, if I’m honest, it was her post and the fact that the weekend prior to reading it, I’d attended the wedding of a long time friend.  I’m 31. I’m single, and seem to always fall into the pattern of single, not single, single, continue on ad nauseum. The truth of the matter is that at 31 years old, I’m not entirely certain what it is that I want. Of course, I’d like to meet someone who meshes well with me and who would be a good partner, but do I ever really want to get married again? And kids? Do I want kids?

In theory, I think marriage is a good idea. The main idea is that you meet someone who is your equal, your partner and your friend and you marry them to pair up and forever be linked. But I’ve done the marriage thing once, and it didn’t work out so good for me. Granted, I think when I got married, I had a skewed view of what marriage was going to be like. Which was weird because I’d been living with the guy that I married and I come from a family with two parents who are still married and, I believe, have set a good example of what marriage is. Also, I married a lying bastard and so maybe I should open my mind to the possibility of pairing up with someone who doesn’t possess that character flaw.  The other aspect of marriage that makes me iffy is something that I’ve actually discussed with my dad. We as humans are still animals, and I think the concept of “forever” is tough for us to grasp. So, when we promise another person that we’ll be together forever, I think a lot of people don’t think about how hard being with someone until you die is actually going to be. Think about it: you go to bed with the same person every night and you wake up next to the same person every morning. That’s tough. That takes serious commitment.

When I allow myself to think about it, I struggle with the concept of having kids. I recently went away for a few days with one of my oldest friends and her little girl and it became evident that I simply don’t have the patience that having a child/children entails. Other reasons that parenthood might not be in the cards for me:

1)      I  value my sleep. And, if I don’t get enough of said sleep, I’m a real force to be reckoned with.

2)      I have a rather short fuse when it comes to smart mouthed kids. I’m afraid I’d beat a kid mercilessly if I was put in the position.

3)      I like to do what I want, when I want to do it. And I like being able to go where I want when the urge strikes. I like to do this unencumbered.

4)      The idea of being responsible for anyone other than my self and my dog scares the hell out of me.

5)      Kids are pretty gross. They pick their noses, spit out chewed food if they decided they don’t like it and are incapable of wiping their own bums for a good period of time.

6)      I’m afraid my child would be either over fed or under fed. How does one know exactly how much to feed one’s child? There are no directions on the side of the food bag for this.

7)      How does anyone ever know what size clothes their kid wears? My kid would perpetually wear ill-fitting clothes. Or trash bags.

8)      Kids are expensive. They always need something.

9)      I like peace and quiet and kids talk a lot. Like all the time. Kids are noisy, tiny little people who always can think of something to say.

10)   I like to use colorful language. I like to say the words fuck, shit and goddamnit a lot. Some people believe that you can’t say any of my favorite words around kids because they’ll instantly repeat them in the most unfortunate circumstances.

11)   Having a child requires having sex with someone who likes you. Or at least can tolerate you long enough to have sex with you. Or, if neither of those are an option, it requires having an expensive procedure. At this time, I don’t like anyone enough to have sex with them or have the money for said expensive procedure. This alone rules out having children.

 

Sure, sure, I know people say that when they have kids, things just come naturally. You’re able to magically know how much to feed them, what size clothes they wear and you develop this weird ability to totally tune out your noisy little gremlin while they mercilessly chatter away in the back seat on a long car drive. I’m told that somehow, some way, you’re able to afford said child once it arrives. I’m not really sure I actually believe any of this.

 

Now, with all of that said, I do actually turn into a pile of unrecognizable mush when I see a baby. I do love babies. I think I love them for a very few, select reasons:

1)      They’re usually cute/pretty tiny little people who wear clothes that make them cuter/prettier.

2)      They can’t talk back.

3)      As long as they don’t have a load in their pants or have recently vomited all over themselves, I usually like the way babies smell.

4)      When you hold someone else’s baby, you get to give it back.

Something in me says that if I ever meet “the right” guy, I’ll know whether or not I ever want to entertain the idea of marriage again, or the possibility of having children. But, the logical half of me says that I should have all of this figured out on my own before I meet anyone. Does everyone have this internal struggle on these issues, or is it just me? When someone asks me “Do you ever want to have kids?” or “Do you want to get married again?” should my response come from my gut; should it be an immediate, never hesitant, definitive yes or no? I’m not quite there yet, but I think with time and more thought, I’ll have a better idea of what exactly it is that I want when it comes to two of the biggest decisions of adulthood.

Week Three…or, The Moment of Realization

I’m nearing the end of week three of the Do It or Die Plan and as time wears on, it’s become more apparent to me that I need to look at myself rather closely and discover what on this earth brings me happiness other than food.  This has been a sad realization, but a necessary in order for me to continue the weight loss journey. After a multitude of melt downs (that my Fitness Extraordinaire Sister has put up with) because I couldn’t have _________(I’ll let you fill in the blank), I feel that the only way I’ll be able to continue successfully is to re-examine what exactly brings me joy.

Food has always been the center of gatherings with friends and family in my life, and something in which I’ve always taken great pleasure.  Therefore, in these past 3 weeks when I’ve had to deny myself simple pleasures like a glass of wine or pizza on Friday nights, I’ve gotten mad. Mad because I feel I’m depriving myself of the one thing that has always been a source of joy.  Is that sad? Or, am I simply a normal person who takes a great interest in savoring food? Logic tells me that anyone depriving themselves of something that they enjoy is bound to get cranky. Logic also tells me that when I get cranky in this instance, I become resentful and want to throw in the towel. So, the question begs to be asked: is all of this work for naught? Will I, after a week of 45 minute cardio sessions, six days a week become so disillusioned by it all that I say fuck it and quit because I feel like I’m killing myself and depriving myself at the same time? If I did decide that this just isn’t for me, will I then feel a ridiculous amount of guilt because I quit? Would I then try yet another weight loss plan with limited success?

I’ve thought a good bit about what other things in life I could focus on that bring me joy when I’m pissed that I can’t have popcorn or a glass of wine. Time with family, time with my friends, and music are the obvious three.  Hiking and gardening once brought me joy, but I haven’t been out once this year for a hike and I have planted absolutely nothing this season.  I know what you’re thinking: that can be remedied. You’re right. In fact, I have a hike planned in the very near future with my kindred spirit, Lady Di with whom I always have a good time. And I think I’ll head to the store to buy some plants this weekend.

But, what else is there? I think the reason I have such a hard time listing the things that make me happy is because I have never spent a real good chunk of time alone with myself. I’ve always tried to focus on other people and have placed a great deal of significance on other’s happiness. One of my best friends tells me that the reason I don’t like being single is because it forces me to be alone with me and the fact of the matter is that I don’t really like myself all that much.  Perhaps she’s right. I mean, we could always learn to love ourselves more, right? Or, perhaps the thought of being alone with myself and being forced to find out more about myself is a daunting task.  I have friends who are completely at ease with being alone, and actually relish the time and these are the people who, I believe, know themselves the best. They have distinct likes and dislikes and are very comfortable within their skin.

I think this is a time of transformation for me. Not just physical, but emotional and mental as well. I’m pushing myself far harder than I ever have in the past physically and mentally. Every day is a battle with my self from the time I get out of bed until the time I’m back in bed at night: do I force myself to drink the gallon of water a day? Do I have egg whites or do I eat what I want for breakfast? Do I make myself go to the gym and do 45 minutes of cardio or, do I do what I really want to do and go home and have a glass of wine? For the past three weeks, I’ve been changing the way I live my life.  This morning, I watched a vlog that a friend and former yoga teacher posted and a piece of a sentence that she said echoed back to me: become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I think that I’m in this uncomfortable place and I’ve not yet become comfortable with it. Living your life in a completely different way is uncomfortable. But maybe, if I start to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, if just for a little while, it’ll make this transformation period a little bit easier.   This is my new mantra. And I’ll continue to repeat this to myself as I’m on the treadmill walking on an incline and my legs just want to quit. And something tells me that I won’t quit; not just because of impending guilt if I do, or possibly disappointing my sister who has done a good thing by helping me, but because I want this transformation. And being uncomfortable for a little while is a small price to pay for that.

Dieting at a Beer Festival…or, I Can’t Eat BBQ and I Want It

On Saturday, I picked up my honorary aunt, MaryMary and we went “over the mountain” (as folks ‘round here say) and headed to the 4th annual Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg, VA. This year, they had 31 breweries/cideries and three bands, four local restaurants set up in tents, and, thank God, enough portapotties for everyone in attendance.

MaryMary and I left Culpeper around 1 o’clock on Saturday while threatening looking rain clouds (or as my Grandma “Bill” would call them, “weather clouds”) started to roll in. As we climbed the mountain, the sky got clearer and it looked as though we would escape the threat of rain. I was excited just to spend time with my kindred spirit and to be out in the sun. I was not, however, looking forward to the temptations that I knew awaited me when we arrived: bbq, burgers, and lots and lots of beer and cider. I was prepared though: that morning, I drank my powered chicken, er…protein smoothie, and had my lunch of stuffed pepper and noshed on almonds on my way over the mountain. I also prepped a protein shake and threw that in my purse along with carrots and hummus.

By the time we found parking and arrived at the end of a very long line of waiting ticket holders, I thought it best to try to choke down the protein shake. Much to my chagrin, the damned thing had leaked in my purse and was warm. Nothing better in life that a warm protein shake. I guzzled as much as I could stomach as MaryMary and I waited in line behind a ridiculously annoying group of early to mid twenty-somethings. I wouldn’t go back to that stage in life if you paid me. Aah, to be older…and kinda, somewhat, maybe a little wiser?

First TasteThe first vendor we hit was Bold Rock, out of Nelson County, Virginia; not my favorite cidery, but a decent replacement as I couldn’t find one of my most favorite brands, Crispin. If you’ve never had Crispin, you simply must. They make a delightfully refreshing, light and flavorful product in two varieties: apple & pear.

After MaryMary enjoyed a ridiculously good looking bbq sandwich from Clementine’s, we hit Devils Backbone (Roseland, Virginia); they offered a tasting of pear lager which was interesting and very dry and had light elements of pair in the finish. We were fortunate enough to meet up with MaryMary’s son, Jamie and his beautiful girlfriend Kate at the festival and they were able to lead us to the Crispin tasting spot and because he was part of organizing the event, got us samples without having to stand in line! Crispin2

Jamie has been a part of the beer world for years and before moving back to Harrisonburg, announced that he will be opening his own brewery with partners, Pale Fire Brewing Company . We were able to tour his new brewery space while at the festival, and though right now the space is lookin’ a little rough, Jamie has a vision and I’m sure that his hard work and perseverance will pay off and Pale Fire Brewing Company will be a big success.

While at the festival, I was able to catch a great band out of Connecticut, Bronze Radio Return. They’re touted as an American roots music band, but they sounded to me more like a crossover band with American roots music influences. Their band included a banjo, a harmonica, both sounds that I love.

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Beer festivals are an interesting thing: they bring out all walks of life. Hippies and CEOs; young & old; stupid and not so stupid; drunkards and connoisseurs. They merge drink and food and music, three of my favorite things. Perhaps at the next beer festival, I’ll be in a position where I can splurge and enjoy the drink and food a little more than I did this time around. But this time around, I went home knowing that I was sacrificing for a better body the next day. And that isn’t a small feat.

Another One Bites the Dust…Or, I Have Hope for Myself, After All

That’s right. I’m back. Back and better than ever! I recently lost about two hundred pounds. Yep. I’ve re-entered the kingdom of Singledom. As it turns out, the one that I thought was “the one” was in fact most certainly not the one for me. I chalk it all up to another bump in the road with the apropos phrase “another one bites the dust”.

The season of renewal and growth is upon us and thus I find this latest occurrence in my personal life rather fitting. I’ve decided it’s time to really focus on investing time in myself and exploring who I am (again. But this time to do it more than a couple/few months). At thirty-one, I figure it’s time to get that figured out…or rather to continue the journey. With my time not invested in someone else, I now have the opportunity to delve deeper into myself; what makes me tick? What makes me happy? And the better question: Why am I not doing what makes me happy? Where do I actually want to live?

I’ve found that when I am in a relationship, a lot of my personal goals go by the wayside; for some reason, I can’t seem to juggle focus very well. Does everyone struggle with this or am I on my own here? I’ve decided to hit the reset button on my priorities and to reassess my goals now that life’s circumstances have changed:

#1 Get back to writing on a regular basis.

#2 Start playing music again. And possibly *gasp* start writing music again. The prospect of which scares the ever-loving shit out of me. Possibly start taking mandolin lessons.

#3 Make a concentrated effort to expand my culinary abilities.

#4 Continue hiking and *trying* to form myself into a shape that is a little less round.

#5 Start thinking seriously about moving. No really. I mean it this time.

#6 Start saving. No really. I mean it this time.

#7 Do not get distracted from any of the above goals.

After I pulled myself together, I realized that I was going to find myself with time that I hadn’t had in several months. After all, I wasn’t going to be commuting to anyone anymore. I was going to have weekends back to myself. I wasn’t going to need to be tied to my phone at night anymore. At first, the thought of breaking all of the above habits was going to be overwhelming. But then something beautiful happened. My mind opened up and I had a moment of clarity; I remembered that there are no rules and I can do what I want with my time. In fact, I can do whatever I want in regard to *all* of my life. There is no rule in stone saying I have to stay in one place or that I must do anything in particular. Those thoughts are liberating in what can be a very scary time of transition. I have hope for myself after all.

Long Time Gone…Or, Updates & Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

I know, I know…it’s been a really long time. Since last I wrote, a new development has taken place.  I decided to jump back into the world of online dating. I did so with much trepidation after some of my experiences, but this time…this time I actually found someone nice. I actually found someone normal. I actually found someone with whom I can talk about anything. I actually found someone that I just click with.  We’ve been together going on three months now!

That’s right folks: I’m no longer a singleton! I’m a happy member of a twosome with an incredible man. Someone who makes me laugh, listens intently when I need to talk and loves me for me.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Now, back to business! My goal with the coming year is to be more diligent in my writing. I realize now as my fingers tap on the keys of my laptop how much I truly enjoy the act of writing. There’s something about putting ideas “on paper”…and something even greater about having other people connect with those ideas. I believe that my focus is going to be my dietary journey. I’m in the beginning stages of trying out the Elimination Diet (which I will promptly throw out the window come Christmas Eve & Christmas Day). I’d like to share that journey with you and hopefully in the process come up with some really great recipes.

More to come (and soon)…I promise!

Going Blonde and Hating It …or When You Look Good, You Feel Good

After years of thinking about making the huge leap from my natural very dark brown hair to blonde, finally did it last weekend. I made the leap across the chasm and ended up none too thrilled. I did it on a whim. I made an appointment to get a haircut and walked out of the salon four hours later… Yes. Four hours. Three bleachings and four hours later, I left with a buttery yellow shade of hair. I remember looking in the mirror after it was done and thought, “huh. So this is it?” And then I started talking myself into liking the hair experiment.

This wasn’t exactly my first foray into jumping the chasm of scary shades between super dark brown and blonde. I tried going blonde during my early twenties, but it wasn’t a completely successful attempt. I ended up walking around with strawberry blonde hair that I walked around with for ages. No one in my family liked the color and looking back, I can attest that that shade did not look spectacular on my olive toned complexion. But, at the time I liked it. I think I was in such a haze of pot smoke at the time that I was so relaxed all the time I simply didn’t care.

This time around though? I cared. As I said, I upon first glance into the mirror when it was finally finished looked in the mirror and felt like I was obligated to like it. After all, I was spending over one hundred dollars on this and I’d just invested four hours. So, I decided that I liked it. And, I think I kind of did. Maybe. Until I got home and happened to be in the room when two of my sisters were face timing. Is that how you make Face Time a verb? My sister flashed the phone at me and my third sister says to me, “At first glance, you look like Slim Shady.” And then? She laughed. After that, all I could see was Eminem when I looked into the mirror. That’s how yellow my hair was. Butter yellow.

And then Monday rolled around and I had to go to work. My drastic change drew several gasps from my coworkers. And the second Eminem reference from my boss. That’s when I decided. It was official. I hated this yellow mop on top of my head. After several phone calls, I finally had an appointment with a hair dresser who I was confident could rectify this hair disaster. Two hours after I walked into the salon, I walked out with hair that is my natural color. I was elated. I felt like me again.

mid-fix

mid-fix

It amazes me how good I feel about myself now that I’m back to my brunette self. My eyes look brighter, my skin looks better and my hair most definitely looks better. I don’t think men really get how our silly beautification practices make us feel better about ourselves. When you look good, you feel good. Am I right ladies?