Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Things I was told not to do today

Sometimes the people in a dental office can come across as accusing.

I went in this morning for my 6-month cleaning and check up. My teeth are in good shape; I brush twice a day and floss every day without fail. Still, I have sensitive teeth and bleedy gums. Both can be genetic predispositions, which I believe I have because the hygienist and the dentist listed the following reasons for my minor problems:

- not brushing enough
- not flossing
- sugary soft drinks
- unsweetened soft drinks
- energy drinks
- smoking
- brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush

I like my dentist, I do, but they do get a bit preachy at times. I very seldom drink sodas and never any with aspartame or energy drinks. (In fact, I eat very little sugar which is not only good for my teeth but my brains and gastrointestinal system) I have never smoked. I have never used a hard bristled toothbrush - I have always used a soft one.

I know that's just their bag of reasons they feed to everyone but good grief. Instead of telling me these are the reasons, they maybe could ask if I do any of those things instead of assume. I found I had to defend myself against their accusations. Maybe all their other patients lie?

Now to be fair, one of the things the dentist did mention was citrus and citric acid. I have been consuming a lit of citrus lately (I found a guy on KSL who goes to Arizona every other week and picks citrus there, brings it back & sells it in Utah out of his house - my citrus dealer). So I will cut down on that. I just get a bit annoyed when someone like me, with a sophisticated understanding of health and especially dental health, gets a lecture on how to brush my teeth properly.

/end rant

No cavities! 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Training for a Half: week 4

No you didn't miss all the other posts about the Half marathon I have signed up for. I've been bad at keeping the commitment to myself of blogging once a week. I think maybe it's the day/time I scheduled always got overtaken by other things. I first had it scheduled for Friday afternoon, when work was winding down and I was not likely to be interrupted, but then someone scheduled a meeting for that time. Then I tried putting it on Saturdays after I got back from Food Not Bombs, but by then I am so motivated to clean the house or do other chores that opening up my computer was the last thing I wanted to do. I'll work on finding the right time.

In our first year here (2014), I signed up for and ran a 5K race alongside the Salt Lake City Marathon. They continue to send reminder emails years later for past participants to sign up for something for the next race. When the reminder came in early January I decided now is the time, I'm finally going to do a half.

I did a 10-day juice fast over Christmas & the New Year and lost 6 pounds. I was lighter than I had been in more than 15 years, I decided I was ready to start training. I have a treadmill too, so I really have no excuse (such as weather) to not run.

I'm a big fan of health and fitness apps. I have a fitbit and check my fitbit app constantly to see where I am in relation to the people I am fitbit friends with. Back in December 2010 I discovered the newly released LoseIt! app and have been charting my ups and downs with that for more than five years now, it's so gratifying! I love my Nike+ Women's training app that combines dumbells and other equipment with cardio segments. When I signed up for this Half, I went to the "coach" section of my Nike+ running app, plugged in the date and length of the race I want to train for, and then 12 weeks of training plan was laid out before me.

The plan includes four days of running - two light (3 miles), two heavy (one longish run, one longer and longer run). It also includes one day of cross-training (so I use the aforementioned Nike+ training app) and two rest days. My main goal is to get through this training and race injury-free, so much the better if I can reach my goal weight while doing it.

A funny thing happens though when you are trying to reach a goal weight and then start an aggressive fitness program. The weight remains the same as you burn fat and start building muscle. I can't get discouraged by the number on the scale (but I sorta do) because the way my clothes hangs is totally different. I have to keep reminding myself that since moving to SLC just over two years ago, I have lost 35 pounds. That's no small feat! And now I am training for a race, a half marathon, something I have always wanted to do. Even if I never do it again, I will be pleased.

I am still juicing every day, sometimes twice a day. After doing that 10-day Reboot, I have a really hard time eating anything that has been fried, processed foods, or bread. It's been really interesting seeing how my body is adapting to this new regime in our house - Dan and I hardly eat meat anymore as we move to a whole-foods plant-based lifestyle. I am now one of those people who buys a 25-pound bag of carrots for juicing.

I digress. The race day is April 16, two weeks before I finish my second Master's degree, and a few weeks after my 42nd birthday. I'm looking forward to my training as it will give me time also to catch up on audio books and podcasts! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Story of Samantha Sophia 2002-2015

Okay I think enough time has passed now that I can write about what happened.

We had a holiday party on Saturday, December 19. Sam usually hid in the back room when more than three people came into the house, and when she didn't move for a few hours, we thought that was really strange but wrote it off as her learning to be more social. A couple hours after everyone left, she started behaving very strangely. Constantly walking around the house, walking on parts of us and the bed she doesn't normally go, constant swallowing. At 2am we decided to take her to the emergency vet clinic.

A few very expensive tests later, the vet told Dan that Sam had no platelets - no cause, no cure - and would not live to Christmas. While we were there Sam became very lethargic and went blind. It was so hard to watch. We were given the options of leaving her there for more tests, having her put down, or taking her home. We opted for the latter. We got home at 4am and she was totally unresponsive. She went peacefully an hour later.

It was just so sudden and there was no way we could have prepared ourselves for that, nothing we could have done differently to help. She did not suffer.

It's been a long time since I have had to mourn the loss of a loved one. She was my baby, we were together for 13 years - a long time for her breed as I understand it but I expected her to live at least to 17. That cat has been all over the place though - she was born in Korea, I took her to Canada in 2003, she moved between Alberta & BC for a few years until we settled in BC, Then we immigrated to the United States in 2013, moved to North Carolina and then Utah eleven months later. She lived in Utah just nine days shy of two years.

This all happened at a very interesting time, actually. If it had happened during a semester I would have been completely messed up. Because she died just at the beginning of the Christmas break, I had time to grieve with no work obligations - and we had no social plans for Christmas either (thank the heavens!) If it had happened at the end of this spring semester when we are also planning to move out of the house we are renting, that would have been difficult too. So really, it could not have come at a better time. Kitties know that, I think. Still, it's been hard getting used to our house being really quiet.

In the days that followed her passing, we took out all the kitty supplies. Her two scratching posts were nearly threadbare anyway, and with the mobility ramps that Dan built in 2013, all her paraphernalia took up a lot of space. I gave away her food to neighbours. We had to clean up from the party anyway but we have completely rearranged the house again.

It's also really changed our perspective on things. It was unconscious, but we had planned to stay in Salt Lake after I graduate partly because we didn't want to put her through another move. We don't have to worry about that now. We can also go away for a week or weekend and not need to find someone to look after the kitty. We definitely plan to get cats again in the future but not until we are a bit more stable and we know where I will be working.

During the week around New Year's eve, I looked after my friend Jenn's cats while she was away. She didn't know I had lost my companion. It was so nice to be loved up by her big fluffy kitties - I think they knew I was grieving for my baby.

Because of the full-on winter weather we had for the two weeks over the holidays, we weren't able to find a place to bury Sam. Finally, on New Year's day we found a good place in the western desert and gave her a perfect send off. We did everything we could for her, and now it's time to let her go and move on. I still get sad and cry every day when something reminds me of her, of course. She's the only pet I have ever had in my adult life. But as a gardener, I understand that all things must die that others may live.