Spare Time

Sheepdog has a hard time sitting still.  I feel that he was born with some horrific “can’t relax” gene.  He still complains of being tired all of the time and that he feels run down and exhausted, yet he rarely listens when I wisely advise, “take a nap, dummy.”  Naps are the best part of parenting as far as I’m concerned.  They are the diamonds of Minecraft.  My precious.

But, back to Sheepdog.  The man is unable to just be.  I tease him all the time about his lack of quietude, yet I secretly find his buzz intoxicating.  I don’t want to be him, mind you.  But I am thrilled that he is on my team.  And he’s fun to watch.

This summer, my mom and dad gave Sheepdog a GoPro helmet camera.  I do not think in the history of things created that there could be a more appropriate gift.  Sheepdog is even more excitable than usual because of it.

Snake Creek Gap Sign

He has already begun filling his dance card with mountain and road bike races throughout 2015.  His first mountain bike race was the Snake Creek Gap 34-miler, which he completed last Saturday, January 3, in the cold and pouring rain in just over five hours.  He was so muddy at the end that the ladies who give out chili to the riders afterwards asked him to pose for pictures because they had never seen anyone so filthy and caked in mud.*

And because he can’t sit still, Sheepdog came home from the race and promptly made a movie about it.

I told you he is fun to watch.  How about those thighs, huh?

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

* Reminder to have Sheepdog build an outdoor shower in his spare time

Who Is In Control Here?

Tuesday ended up being one of those days.  It started off per usual (fighting with Kid E over wearing a winter coat as he headed out the door into, um… what’s that word… WINTER!) and then I did a deceptive little workout called “Isometrix” (I felt almost nothing while I was doing it.  I didn’t even break a sweat, really.  Then, throughout the day and night, I started to totally feel very painful things in places that I forgot I had…).  By midday, I had done my chores, my workout, and I even showered and ran an errand.  I was just about to wonder “What will I do,” when I got an email regarding an urgent request to completely redo the program for a ballet that Kid A and Kid C are performing in this weekend.

It was just me and another mom who make up the Program Committee, so I spent the next few hours mocking up a new one, and then I edited and sent it out for review.  It was a crazy afternoon of paying attention to small details of the program, all while fielding questions about homework, whether so-and-so could come over to play or Kid D could go to his house, responding to requests to make snacks and what was for dinner, as well as getting Kid C to focus and get ready for ballet class on time (Kid A was driving her right after she got home from her tutoring job), and then driving Kid B to her boyfriend’s basketball game before picking Kid D up from his playdate (on time, because last time I almost left him over there…seriously).  Oh, and we were out of milk and stupid Aunt Flo just knocked on my door three days early.

When Sheepdog got home that night, my head was spinning.  He could tell just by looking at me.  I was speaking at high volume and with excessive speed.  I moved about the kitchen like I had eight arms.  I was still doing too many things at one time, mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to gear down.  I even predicted the full moon before the sun went down.  So Sheepdog reminded me to take some deep breaths… like a million of them.  I did, and I felt better.  The wine helped too.

screen shot

I had prepared a delicious dinner with my octopus arms and everybody who was home sat down to eat together.  During dinner I announced to everyone  – despite the craziness of the day – I felt like I passed the test.  It had been hard, and my body and mind ached all over, but I had kicked one of those days in its bootie.  Yay, me!  I won this day!  Yesterday was not so good, and who knows about tomorrow, but I felt like I won this day!  On this day, I was in control.

I woke up Wednesday morning feeling really strong after a great night’s sleep.  I got in another fantastic workout (this one was not sneaky at all… it was quite forthright in its delivery of pain and sweat), showered, and went over to my neighbor’s house to hear about her new business.  I met some interesting women over there, and I ended up having a really good time.  I came home, ate a healthy lunch, and soon the boys were bounding off of the school bus and into the house.

Kid D was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework, and Kid E was eating (something other than a peanut butter sandwich… Hallelujah! for another small victory in the food wars) when my cell phone rang.  Caller ID said it was one of my friends from the neighborhood.  Our daughters play soccer on the same team and we do a ton of carpooling and soccer travel together.

As soon as I answered I heard the fear and panic and tears in her voice.  She was driving home from work early because her house was on fire.  She had no idea what would be waiting for her when she arrived.  None of the people in her family were home at the time, but she didn’t think that they were able to get her two dogs out in time.

Oh my goodness.  What can I do?  What can I do?  What can I do?

I was scheduled to pick up the girls after high school soccer conditioning later that afternoon.  She asked me to give her some warning when we were on our way so she could prepare her teenage daughter for the devastating news.  Her boyfriend ended up coming to get her before practice ended because word of the fire had started to spread on social media and they didn’t want her to find out that way, but I, like so many people in our neighborhood and the surrounding communities, have spent the time since I heard the news praying for the family and wondering “what if…”

My head had gone right back to spinning.

Fully aware of my life-long fear about house fires, Sheepdog texted me the next morning and asked how well I had slept.

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photo 2

That Sheepdog sure is a smart one.

So I’m taking deep breaths, and praying for my friends and about my fears, and I am (trying to) let it go.  And tonight at dinner – despite the craziness of the day or not – I am going to announce to everyone at the table that I am not in control, and that’s even better than what I said before.

Our amazing neighborhood has put together several ways to help our friends in their time of need.  Please pray for them, but you can also help in other ways if you are so inclined.  Email me for further information at tihidiblog@gmail.com.  Rest in peace Layla and Bella.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

This is Not a Post About Resolutions

Well, with the “winter break” (Ha!  Raise your hand if you actually feel any kind of post-vacation bliss right about now.  Nobody?  Me neither.  How about if I ask who feels “winter broken?”  Yep… me too.) drawing to a close, things are starting to get back to “normal” around here.

I fully acknowledge the overuse of quotation marks in that opening statement.  Cut me some slack as I ease back into this writing thing.

Sheepdog is spending more time at the office, the teenagers are slowly backing off from sleeping during business hours more than nighttime ones, and the littles are walking around like zombies, muttering “I’m hungry” and “I’m sooooooo bored” even after they have eaten us out of house and home and played their way through every single clamshell case and blister package that found its way under our Christmas tree.

What?  Those were legitimate quotes.  Compulsory marks do not count.

So, after just ONE MORE DAY of winter break, Sheepdog will go to work and the kids will go to school and I will…  I will…

Wait.

What will I do?  What will I do?  What will I do?

What will I do?

There are no more decorations to put up or take down.  There are no more presents to buy or wrap or deliver (well, Kid A does have her 18th birthday coming up in a few days, but how do you even begin to wrap a tattoo?).  There are no more goodies to make or bake or eat.  There are no more envelopes to address and cards to mail, no more trips to pack for (or unpack from), no more holiday parties to plan or attend.  It’s like November and December are 100-mile-an-hour months in a BMW hard-top convertible (sometimes with the top down…BRRRR, Green Bay!) – fun but fast.  Then in January you can’t go over 50 m.p.h. because you are driving around in one of those exclusively electric cars, like a Nissan Leaf.

Seriously, what will I do?

SAHM-meme1

Fortunately, there is always something to do around here.  Mostly, there are chores… shopping for, preparing, and cleaning up after meals, laundry, cleaning out closets and the garage to make room for our holiday haul.  Then there’s the driving… lots and lots and lots of driving.  And sometimes I have to take care of sick kids.  And following the hustle and bustle of November and December, I now have to add “pay many, many bills,” “exercise,” and then “exercise some more because you sure didn’t ever say ‘no’ to the shrimp fondue or the wine, dummy” to my To-Do ASAP list.

All legitimate quotes, dammit.

So, I have all of the boring, repetitive stuff, but I also have some fun stuff coming up too.  I plan on being really committed to my attempts at writing a book this year.  I started in November during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which challenges people to write over 50,000 words during the month, using inspirational quotes and emails and a really unrealistic timeline.  I wrote a chapter (a good one!) during the first few days, but nobody showed up at my front door to rough me up or chase me if I didn’t keep it up, so then I did the other things first that were higher on my priority list.  Seriously, who has time to flesh out the back story of a secondary, yet pivotal, character while they are simultaneously basting a turkey and making cranberry sauce from actual cranberries and agave nectar for 30 people?

"Ain't nobody got time for that." - Sweet Brown

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.” – Sweet Brown

But I do have time to continue to keep up this blog and occasionally write chapters of a book that has been knocking around in my head for years.  Especially during January.

And then there is my workout routine, which over the years has been spotty at best, and non-existent if I’m being realistic.  I have two workout speeds… maniacal and eating raw cookie batter when nobody is watching.  Acknowledging that unhealthy discrepancy, and the fact that I have been blessed with an extremely responsive overall body type, I have decided that 2014 is going to be the year for me to stop making excuses and screwing around and I am going to get healthy.  Even if nobody chases me.

When I go to Atlanta Blood Services to donate platelets, my body can produce three bags at one time.  Every time.  No kidding.  And that is apparently not a normal thing.  I am freakishly strong.  I once moved a couch and a love seat from the living room on the main floor down to the playroom in the basement all by myself.  And then I carried two ginormous leather chairs up the stairs.  I grew five healthy babies from scratch in this body (with a little starter help from Sheepdog, of course), and helped them grow even stronger and healthier by breastfeeding them.  And a year after I had Kid E, I did P90X and I was legitimately rocking a bikini on the beach.  I just got lazy and let things slide after that.  And that’s just wasteful.

Well, no more.  No more sliding, no more excuses, no more cookie batter.  Santa brought me P90X3 and I’m going to go push play.  Right after I finish this post and fold the laundry.

I’m just keeping it “real,” folks.

OK, I’m done with the quotation marks now.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Strong is the New Skinny

Prepare to be inspired.  I sure was.  I sure am.  Well, technically, I am on a cruise ship somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, likely drinking by the pool and not working out much, so my inspiration has been temporarily deferred, but you get my point.  I have yet to meet a person (not just a woman) who doesn’t feel like they could be doing better or more when it comes to eating clean and working out dirty.  When you finally get into the head space that you were blessed with this human body, complete with flaws of all sorts but ripe with potential if you just follow the simple instruction manual (more out than in), it is amazing what you can accomplish.  It isn’t about being a size 0.  It isn’t about losing ten pounds for your reunion.  It is about deciding to be strong and then making healthy choices for your body and mind and being comfortable in your own skin(ny).
 
I met Lindsay when I started dating her big brother in the early 1990’s.  She was in middle school.  She was never fat, but neither was she skinny.  She was just regular.  But to a teenage girl, “regular” can easily translate into “fatso,” even for girls with the utmost confidence.  She was rarely comfortable about her body when she was younger, and it just got worse from then on.  As an adult she was anxious, frustrated, scared and apologetic.  Then, she stopped being “regular” and actually got heavy.  We watched it take a toll on her.  We saw her struggling.  She tried to make changes, but they weren’t successful.
 
Then, at the start of this year, something awesome happened.  Lindsay was at the YMCA and she started working out with a group of girls.  At first they intimidated her, but they included her and inspired her and pushed her to try harder every day.  They showed her how to be strong, not skinny, and that has made all the difference on the world.  She is working so hard every day to meet her goals, and it has been absolutely amazing to watch her transform both physically and mentally.  
 
Lindsay – you are a rock star.
 
Top photo: December 2012 Bottom photo: August 2013

Lindsay and Sheepdog                                                                                                                                               Top photo: December 2012                                                                                                                                 Bottom photo: August 2013

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Guest Post by Lindsay Dunavant

Hi y’all!   I’m Sheepdog’s little sister, Stacy’s favorite (and only) sister-in-law, and aunt to all of the wonderful children those two wild and crazy kids have made.  When Stacy asked if I would guest post, I was flattered and downright scared.  Apparently, after you receive your master’s degree diploma, you rarely write anything of any importance.  At least that was the case for me.  You see, I was an athletic trainer in my previous life.  That means I worked thousands of hours, seven days a week making pennies on the hour having a blast watching collegiate sporting events.  And if someone got hurt, I was the person who ran onto the field/court/pitch/diamond and figured out if they were safe to return to play or what needed to be done to fix them.  So, the extent of my writing came down to something called a SOAP note (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan).  That’s what they are called in the medical field.  I call it a cover you’re a$$ note.  But I digress……

Yes, that is unfortunately a ‘fanny pack’

Yes, that is unfortunately a ‘fanny pack’

Then I got married and then came the baby carriage x 2.  So I became a stay-at-home mom.  And my writing became even more refined in the manner of grocery lists and check writing.  All of this back story is leading to something.  I promise.

So, Stacy asked if I’d guest write.  Why you ask?  Well, I sort of ate my way out of postpartum depression and had reached an inexcusable girth.  And this winter I had an epiphany of sorts and have lost 75 pounds since January.  With diet and exercise.  That’s all.  No bee pollen, no surgery (although I have been asked multiple times how I managed to run so close to having surgery), just old-fashioned, sweat in my eyes, hard work.  So what gives?

I don’t really know what happened to put me in the position to eat and become the lazy, wheezing person that I had become.  I know that I have struggled with my weight since childhood.  In fact, at age 9, I was on my first diet.  Crazy right?  I remember being made fun of at school constantly (mostly by a few people) when looking back on it, I was never obese.  I would round out and then grow 3-4 inches in a summer and be back on track, but in my brain, I was and would always be the fat kid.  I have been dieting for what seems like my whole life.  Then of course I got really skinny and unhealthy during college because, really, that’s what you do in college, right?  You drink all of your calories in beer and eat saltines because that’s what you can afford.  My alma mater is (and has been) on the Princeton Review’s Top Party School list for more years than I can recall.  We had a tradition to uphold!!  Let’s Go……………Mountaineers!!!!!  I then got into a relationship with a very smart, albeit, let’s face it, OCD, crazy fellow who was obsessed with his body building.  That resulted in me losing even more weight.  He wasn’t very nice to me.  So when I finally ditched him, I was kind of a mess.  I met an awesome man and fell head over heels in love with him and felt I could finally be myself.  I was comfortable and happy. We ate, drank, and were merry!  I graduated, went to grad school, got engaged and married, all the while the pounds were kind of creeping up.  Not in a bad way, but definitely on the rise.  I started working that crazy job where finding time to eat healthy and exercise were not options.  The job was incredibly stressful and I didn’t handle it well.  We eventually moved for my husband’s job and decided to start a family and that is when I realized my weight was getting out of control.  We had fertility issues, due to my weight and I lost 40 pounds and got pregnant! Yay!  But that instantly went back on and then some.  Lost a few and got pregnant with our daughter.  That is when the real trouble started.  We had a beautiful baby girl, a healthy two year old boy, and I was absolutely miserable.  I couldn’t do anything to make it better.  So I ate.  And cried. And ate. And baked. And cried some more.  SCREW YOU TOM CRUISE!!!  To quote the fine cinematic triumph that was Austin Power’s, “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle” Fat Bastard – Austin Power’s The Spy Who Shagged Me.  It seemed my whole world was perfect, yet I was miserable.

I started going to the local YMCA branch because they had babysitting (YAY!)  and thought , “if I exercise regularly, this weight will come right off.”  One year later, I was only 5 pounds lighter.  Feeling very discouraged, I started using an app called C25K (that’s Couch to 5K if you can’t figure it out).  After the 8 weeks, I could sort of run 30 min straight on a treadmill.  I needed to do more.  I asked for a great pair of running shoes and a heart rate monitor for Christmas (who is this girl??).  After receiving these fabulous gifts from my caring family, I headed off back to the Y the day after Christmas.  Lucky for me, a group of moms that I would always see at the gym and be in awe of their abilities, but was always too intimidated and frankly, too embarrassed to approach, happened to be there also working out the typical stressors of the holiday season.  They asked me to join them for a workout.  I laughed and said, “No way.  I can’t keep up with you.” They encouraged me to try, told me that they could modify the workout if I needed, but that it would be fun.  Burpees. Fun. Sure.  (If you don’t know what a burpee is, look it up on YouTube, try it out, and then you’ll understand) I managed 2 burpees that day.  And was ECSTATIC.

I never looked back.  I started taking a class that incorporated the same kind of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that those fabulous girls convinced me I would be able to do.  I kept running.  I’m a bit of a gadget person, so I started using the myfitnesspal app to keep track of my food intake.  I also was talked into joining a Biggest Loser competition of sorts in a private group on Facebook.  The final weigh-in was March 27.  I had lost 15.92% of my body weight and finished second  (“If you ain’t first, you’re last!”).  I went to the gym/exercised 6 days a week for about 2 hours a day.  No cheat days on my diet.  I ran my first 5k in March and finished with a time of 42:10.  I ran my second 5k in August and finished in 30:43.  To date, I have lost 75 pounds.  My first long-term goal was to lose 100 lbs, but ultimately, I think 117 is my goal.

I truly believe that I could not have gotten where I am today had it not been for that invitation on the day after Christmas.  My ‘gym girls’ have become some of my closest and most special friends on the planet.  Day after day, they listen to me complain, brag, whine, you name it.  They encourage without judging.  They never give up on me.  And they believed in me long before I ever did. Of course my family has been instrumental in encouraging me with support by watching the kids or dealing with my hunger-driven mood swings.  And many, many others who have suffered through listening to my never-ending chatter about running, mileage, splits, and food decisions.  Especially those who have no desire to ever run.  Many have been so kind as to help me rediscover the joy of shopping, especially since my brain still has me seeing a size 24 when I am now a size 12.

Awesome group of ladies.  Nativa is due any day, but ran with me up until 25 weeks to get my mileage up!!

Awesome group of ladies. Nativa is due any day, but ran with me up until 25 weeks to get my mileage up!! (I’m the other girl in blue)

The fact of the matter is, life gets you down.  But you have to be the one to make changes so that life will improve.  It was my responsibility to take care of myself so I could take care of my family.  I had to stop making excuses and move.  Postpartum depression is real and I don’t have the magic cure or timeline, I just know that it took a very, very long time for me to clear the fog.  Did the exercise help? Did the new friendships help? Was it just time? I don’t know, but I did know that it was time for me to be an active participant in my life.  I decided I wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle and be a positive influence on my children so that my kids didn’t go down the same path I had.  I want them to realize that diet and exercise are so very important, but that it’s a life choice, not a ‘diet.’ I want them to see that hard work and dedication pay off.  That, even though “mommy doesn’t win her races, she doesn’t quit.”   These lessons are already making their mark on my children.  Imagine what they will be able to accomplish!!!

This week starts my ‘official’ training schedule for my first 10K in Washington D.C. on October 27.  My awesome husband and kids will be there cheering for me, just as they have every day since January 1, 2013.  Thanks for listening.  Thanks for caring.  Can’t wait to let ya’ll know when I run my 10K in under an hour or when I hit that 117 pound mark!!!

All the Way Home

Last Sunday Kid B asked Sheepdog to take her to the park so she could do some goalkeeper training.  Kid C tagged along and they worked out together for a couple of hours.  There was lots of punting, drop-kicking and goal kicking.  I’m sure there were some dive drills as well.  Afterwards, Sheepdog and Kid C got back into the car.

“We are stopping at the grocery store for a few things on the way home.  You should run back from here,” Sheepdog said to Kid B.

Kid B hates running as much as I do, but she is required to do it for her overall soccer conditioning.  Sheepdog convinced her that is was only about three miles to our house, and he explained the route that cut through a safe neighborhood and kept her (mostly) off of the busy main roads.  She grumbled at him, but nevertheless she put one foot in front of the other and soon she was running.

Run, Forrest, Run.

Run, Forrest, Run.

I had taken both of the boys to the pool for a bit that morning while they were training.  But the weather had taken a turn for the worse, so we were back at the house even before Sheepdog and Kid C returned with their groceries.  I inquired about the missing Kid B.

Sheepdog explained the plan for her to run home with a very proud smile.  I knew that he had been trying to get her to do this for months now.  But I also knew that Kid B didn’t know the route very well and Sheepdog is beyond horrible at giving directions.  I was not happy.

“Did she actually want to run home, or did you force her to do it?”

“She knows it is good for her!”

“Did you show her exactly where to go?”

“No, I didn’t show her… but I told her.”

“It has been a while since you left her.  You even stopped at the store.  Shouldn’t she be home by now?  Does she at least have her phone with her in case she gets lost, or it turns out instead to be 10 miles from there to here?”

“Um… (quietly) no.  But I’m sure she’s fine.”

“Great, Dumbass.  I am going to go give Kid E a bath.  Kid B had better be back under this roof, safe and sound, by the time I am done.  Go get back in your car and drive around to find her if you have to.  Don’t you dare lose one of my babies!”

Sheepdog laughed at me, but I gave him a look so he knew I was not joshing.

A few minutes later, I heard the garage door open and his car was gone.

By the time I finished with bath duty, Kid B and Sheepdog were both standing in the kitchen.  Kid B was sweaty and tired, but she was, indeed, just fine.  I breathed a sigh of relief, and then I asked exactly what happened.  This is what they told me:

Sheepdog’s directions were wrong (well, duh).  First, she got lost in the park.  Then she got lost in the neighborhood.  Eventually, she made it out to the main road and started heading back to our house, but only after she had added a couple of extra miles to her run.  By then, Sheepdog had driven out to find her.  He had the top down on the car and he saw her running on the sidewalk and made a gesture that conveyed, “What’s up?  Where’ve you been?  What’s taking you so long?”

At first, Kid B just smiled back at him.  But then, overcome by frustration from him making her run home and getting lost in the process, on the side of a very busy road, my fourteen-year-old daughter flipped her Dad the bird, real big and dramatic-like.  And then she just kept on running… all the way home.

Coincidentally, I would have done the same, exact thing.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

The Hike

I held tight to my daddy’s arm as I walked fifty feet down the satin-lined aisle.  I stood beside an equally nervous Sheepdog and we both swore before God and our witnesses that we would ride it out through the good, the bad, and the ugly, forever and ever until we are parted by death.  Then we had a ginormous party.  It was a record-setting 96 degrees outside, well over 100 if you considered the humidity.  It was our wedding day.  And it was exactly twenty years ago.

This past weekend Sheepdog took me on a semi-surprise anniversary trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to celebrate our milestone.  I say “semi-surprise” because Sheepdog knows better than to try to take me on a vacation that I knew nothing about because I could not possibly prepare for such a trip.  I needed to know where we were going and what we would be doing and who was wrangling the entropy at home.  You say “control issues” and I say “practical preparedness.”  Whatever.

Now, it may be June according to the calendar, but it is still winterish in Wyoming.  It was cold at night (low 30’s) and barely got up into the 70’s during the day.  It was a little too brrrrr for my liking (my “liking” being anything having to do with the warm beach), but it was indeed perfect weather – and a beautiful location – for hiking.  So, after we took pictures with a moose on the side of the road, had a spectacular couples massage and some hotel room sex, we hiked the crap out of that place.

On the best day of our trip we hiked well over 11 miles, with a good 2,500 feet of vertical climbing.  Sheepdog calculated that for me on Strava… all I knew was that my hamstrings felt like we had hiked all the way back to Georgia.  We were in Grand Teton National Park, so we started off walking all around Phelps Lake, which took about three-and-a-half hours, including lunch.  Next we drove 15 miles north to Jenny Lake, which we first crossed by boat.  Then we hiked up to a spot called Inspiration Point, back down the mountain again, and around the lake back to our car.

When we returned to the hotel, we were exhausted but rejuvenated.  That one day of hiking in the woods together was incredibly meaningful and turned out to be more than just a day to us.  It was actually representative of our first twenty years of marriage in so many ways…

*  A mile on flat land is not too strenuous, but a mile uphill can mess with your head.

*  A turkey sandwich made with love by your husband tastes better than almost anything else you can dream up.

*  Sometimes the road signs will say “Rough Road” or “Frost Heaves.”  The best you can do is be alert and hang on tight for the ride.

*  Every once in a while you may cross paths with a girl who tells you she is going to jump into the lake naked.  It is okay that Sheepdog listens for her splash, as long as he is still walking by your side and holding your hand.

*  Occasionally you may also run into a boy hiking in just his underpants.  Discussing what you think will happen when he runs into the naked girl can provide lots of entertainment and giggles.

*  The weather may be too hot or too cold or somewhere in between.  Pack lots of options, and don’t complain about how heavy the suitcase is.

*  Bringing kids on the trip will change everything.  Sometimes you need to leave them at home with your sister.

*  Nobody likes a whiner, even if you get jammed in the leg by an unyielding tree.  Be tough.

*  Someone has to lead and someone has to follow.  Don’t be greedy about your position.  Share the responsibility.  But always let the man drive.

*  Wear good shoes.

*  Bring a book, but be sure to put it down sometimes so you can talk to each other.

*  If he carries all of the water, she will be able to carry the camera.  Nobody gets thirsty and everything is documented, so everybody wins.

*  You may think that you only like beach vacations, but the mountains just might surprise you.  You’ll never know until you try something new.

*  You forget the pain of the climb when you see the view from the top.  Especially if you are seeing it with someone you love.

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“In the name of God, I take you to be mine, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.  This is my solemn vow.

I give you this ring as a sign of my vow and with all that I am and all that I have I honor you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder.”

Happy 20th Anniversary to my Sheepdog.  Thanks for sticking it out through all of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It has been an incredible and inspiring hike.  Let’s keep going.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Rock Star

I took Dr. Sheepdog’s advice on the life affirmation, and shortly thereafter began exhibiting signs of too much of a good thing.  So I quickly called the office of Hot Doc to see if he could analyze my urine and write me a script that would lessen my urge to pee every three to five minutes.

I knew that I was traveling on a rocky road when counsel with Hot Doc didn’t provide me even a sliver of pain relief.  His killer smile and collaboration on a prank yielded no respite (He told me to tell Sheepdog no sex for four weeks. I chose to tell Sheepdog I was pregnant.  Sheepdog found neither to be funny).

Controlled substances gave me little lull in my torture, so I reverted to witchcraft, sorcery, and tricks of old.  I practiced meditation, controlled breathing and visions of my happy place to manage the diabolical torture my body was going through.  Oh, and I had signed up to deliver dinner to not one but two friends that day, so I had that to distract me.  By the end of the day I was convinced that I was dying.  I tried to pee one more time.

Sweet relief of Jesus.  Afterwards, I dialed Sister C’s phone number and waited.  When I finally heard an adult female voice at the other end of the line I screamed, “I just peed out a rock!”

“Um… this is Mary, the babysitter.  Sister C and House Captain went to a Braves game, so you can try them on their cell phones.  But it sounds like you just passed a kidney stone.”

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?

Later, I reached Sister C and she (being the kidney stone expert in our family) confirmed.  But apparently I’m supposed to save the little bastard for lab tests and whatnot (I didn’t).  And I now need to make adjustments to my diet and whatnot (less calcium, lower sodium, fewer animal proteins… basically get rid of all the fun stuff).

Hot Doc sent me a message via secure client portal this morning.  My urine culture returned negative for evidence of urinary tract infection.  Duh.

So I responded with this:

I’m not too surprised, because later that day I peed out a rock… my very first kidney stone! I just figured I was dying because it hurt like a mother all day. After it passed, I felt so much better but it took my body a day or two to completely recover. I did finish the course of antibiotics you gave me.
I guess I’ll just know for next time (fingers crossed there will be no next time) when I have acute lower back pain or throbs in my flank and groin and waves of debilitating agony that make me throw up, that another stone is rolling its way down the chute.
At least I remembered my Lamaze breathing. That really helped! Plus, I’m kind of a badass. That helps too.
I will follow up with my urologist.
Giddyup (that’s a stirrup joke because you are my gynecologist),
Stacy Swiger

Sheepdog says I’m going to get fired as his client.  I’m still on pain meds.  That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…