Apr 23, 2011

The Year of Healthier Living

I don't know what happened, but last summer I really started to think about mortality, and my health, and how I am not the spring chicken I once was. Not really in a depressing way, but it did occur to me that I am not immortal, and one day I will die. It also occured to me that even though I can't exactly pick my ETD, and I can't stop a piano falling on my head, or another car from killing me, I can do other things to stave off the one thing I fear more than heights or big open spaces, if only for awhile.

I knew I had to change my ways, and the typical culprits of unhealthy living had to go. I had to quit smoking. I had to eat properly ( and by properly, I mean more than once a day, and before 9pm). I had to stop drinking so damn much. I had to sleep more, and exercise more, and take some time for myself once in a while.

I  tried my best in September to quit smoking and drinking. After our last big party in our apartment, I felt so horrible that I decided I never wanted to drink or smoke again, a promise I had never made to myself before. Unfortunately, two weeks later I was back to drinking and smoking and hating it, but doing it nonetheless. I knew I couldn't stop, not there. I kept my mind open to the possibility of quitting these things once I was away.

Once we were settled out here in BC, and before I had a job, I knew that I had no choice but to quit smoking. We had already pretty much stopped drinking other than the occasional drink ( which we have stuck to for six months), so it had to be done. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I have ever done, and the worst pain I have ever gone through. It was two weeks of pure emotional hell, but I got through it. In all honesty, I have had the occasional cigar and cigarette over the past few months, usually when out for drinks. I have realized that cigarettes taste bloody awful, and I know I will never be a "smoker" again. I will most likely still have the occasional fruit flavored cigarillo, because I want to, not because I have to. I decided right from the start that I would never say never....I keep my mind open to the fact that I might smoke, I might drink, I might eat an entire pizza by myself again one day. This way of thinking keeps away all those feelings of failure that always stopped me from being mentally and physically healthy before, and helps me to feel like I'm doing my best, no matter what.

Once the smoking and drinking were no longer a part of my daily life, everything else just kind of fell into place. Living in a mild climate has let me be the outdoorsy person I always wanted to be. I get to be outside every day, and I have even gotten used to the rain, and have learned that there isn't bad weather, there are just bad clothing choices.  I have lost 30 pounds since December, which sounds like a lot, but really, I need to lose another 20 before anyone will really notice....however, it happened without me really trying. Just being active, did it all. Due to our limited budget, we don't always eat as healthy as we want to, and due to the fact that we don't drink anymore, our weekend treat a lot of the time is a bag of chips or dessert on a Friday night. But to me, that is still healthier than drinking 18 beer, and getting McDonald's afterwards.

Now, it's not like I am a big fitness/health guru now. I don't care if you smoke and drink and live off Burger King Whoppers, I just have to watch myself, because I have an addictive personality, and I like to do everything in excess. I am proud of myself. I have worked hard to change my way of thinking, and my view of myself. I am not an aging, alcoholic, chain-smoking obese person. I don't know who I am to be honest, but I know I am not that anymore. I'm liking the new, energetic and happy me, and even though it's not happening over night, when it does happen, I will know that I earned my weight loss, and my healthy body, and my positive way of thinking. With any luck, this stronger mental and physical health will keep me on this earthly plain for a few years longer than I had originally expected.

Apr 19, 2011

Grace in Small Things #66

1. Random sprouting daffodils.

2. Three more weeks, and I will be making regular paychecks for three months. Three weeks isn't that long, is it?

3. Letting the dogs off-leash on walks.

4. My husbands hair after it's gone greasy and stands up all over the place.

5. Last shift at this job is on a stat holiday. Time and a half!

6. Annual camping trip confirmation came in the mail.

7. Knuckle Toes is waiting for us to get home before she moves here. Party on.

8. Black fingernails and red hot toenails.

9. Having a husband that will hold me while I cry uncontrollably over ruined pancakes, but knows that the pancakes aren't the real problem.

Apr 11, 2011

Oh, Patches.

My first memory of meeting Patches was at a party at a friend's house about 3 years ago. We were sitting on the patio swing out back, taking a moment away from the drunken festivities, and this fuzzy little Ewok wandered over for a visit. He was weird looking, and goofy, and very friendly. We joked about stealing him and taking him home with us. One of our hosts told us we could take him anytime, but we didn't take him seriously. A few months later, Patches needed a home, and was dropped off at our place.

Patches ( and now Maggie) has been with us on so many adventures, it's hard to even count. The little bugger loves camping and bonfires, and even has his own camp chair. We've taken him to parties, to the bar, canoeing, and he was at our wedding. It kills me to leave our dogs anywhere, even when they've stayed with friends when we've been unable to take them for any reason, they are an integral part of my day.

Patches is a dopey, happy lump of a dog. He has become more active since we've moved to BC, and he's learned to play not only with other dogs, but with toys and sticks...finally. It's good to be a Patches, for the most part.

Patches has had more than his fair share of health problems since we've taken him in. Some were preventable ( and now we know!) , and some were not, and some just come along with being a Shit Zu ( bad teeth for example.) On top of all that, he was attacked last winter, and had to have emergency surgery, and mentally hasn't quite been the same since.

He was doing good for awhile, but the past few weeks it's been one thing after the other. It started out with a severe eye infection ( that still hasn't quite cleared up), and then what seemed to be a UTI, and now his stomach and the area around his penis is red and raw, and there are sores appearing. I spent Saturday night consoling him, while he had diarrhea and puked until 7am. Today, his sores seem to be worse, but that's probably because of all the licking and scratching he's been doing. We got him groomed, we've tried different creams, and try to keep him from bothering them too much. Tonight he is sleeping beside me peacefully after I put some zinc cream on. It was like instant relief to him, so it must be itchy-burny.

It makes me feel like a big fucking asshole that I can't afford to even take him to the vet this time. We're at a point where every penny we have has to get us back to Saskatchewan in a couple weeks. Neither of us get paid again until we get home. And he just keeps feeling worse. Ugh.

Some online friends and family have made comments to me over the past few weeks about what they think it may be, and giving advice on websites to check out for information ( THANK YOU!) , and some have bluntly told me to relax, because "it's just a dog". To these people, I want to say "relax, it's just your child that's sick, you can get another one", but that would be rude, so I won't.

The thing is, Patches is my best bud, and I worry about him always.  I am never happier than when I'm just hanging with my husband and my dogs, so every single day, I get to experience pure fucking joy, just hanging out at home. So when Patches is sick, it just kills me a little.

Here's hoping that it's nothing serious, and he doesn't feel worse before we can get some money in the bank, and also, here's to hoping that one day he won't always have to sleep on my pillow and snore in my ear at the volume of five old men who smoked for 40 years. Seriously Patches, I'm trying to concentrate!