Non-Resolutions for 2013

I don’t really believe in the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Goal-setting and self-evaluation don’t need to be limited by a calendar date and just stating your intentions of doing something isn’t really actively changing anything. However, like prior years I do have some things I plan for the coming year. Specifically I have three things I am going to attempt to do each day:

  1. Practice yoga for roughly an hour.
  2. Post on this blog and/or write something.
  3. Take a photograph.

I will confess that I don’t intend to force myself through any of those because that just might be crazy. My goal is to have a habit of doing each of these and both being accountable for and the actual act of daily repetition will hopefully work towards doing that.

All of these things are important to me in different ways and to varying degrees I’ve let all of them fall by the wayside. I’m striving to be more comfortable about my abilities as a photographer and get more creative with things that I would like to shoot, which has been something I’ve already started working on but not to the frequency I’m proposing. My writing has taken a supreme backseat to lots of other things over the last year and thinking about it the last time I really felt like writing was when I was blogging daily throughout 2011. Of course, the issue with that was I had less desire to blog, so I’m incorporating the two together and we’ll see where it goes. The yoga is the most disconcerting of this list because I was actually doing really well with practicing daily. I managed to spend a week at my father’s even and not miss a day and yet throughout this past month I’ve been very sporadic and lazy about it. Considering it’s the only thing that’s been of any help with my pain issues this is something that is totally unacceptable.

As luck would have it, there are a few relevant challenges to help kick start my 2013 plans. I’ll natter on those more specifically if/when I decide to officially participate, though I have already confirmed one I plan to partake in that isn’t specific to the things listed here. I am very intrigued by all of the challenges because essentially it’s providing a support system and by extension another layer of accountability. However, there’s been a few events over the last several days that have dampened my enthusiasm for one specific challenge I was thinking about and I’m feeling more than a little conflicted about participating.

In any case, 2013 is looking to be an interesting year!

Addendum

I rambled so nonsensically yesterday that half of what I intended to ramble about didn’t get mentioned. I’ll likely do the same today because while I’m far calmer I’m still relentlessly neurotic about that thing I can’t talk about. Also, I am cryptic.

Anyway, the biggest thing I didn’t mention was this article on the Health and Wellness blog at The New York Times about EPI. I am so thrilled that this article has seen the light of day because it is really big exposure for EPI. I can’t stress enough how important it is to spread awareness of EPI because that lack itself is one of the largest hurdles to deal with. And even among those that are familiar with the condition, it’s still one that is mostly associated with German shepherds, however, it is not exclusive to the GSD or even just to dogs!

Yara and me lying in the grass togetherI sincerely hope you take the time to read the article, but even more I’d appreciate it if you would share the link with others and help increase awareness of EPI. And, if you’re in a particularly generous mood, there are a bunch of fine products you can purchase that will benefit EPI research and the campaign to spread awareness, including, but not limited to the 2013 calendars which features this lovely photo by Red Cottage Photography. (Thanks again, Mike!)

Speaking of guide dogs, I also neglected to mention my sort-of-kind-of resolution for next year to really get guide-dogs.org off the ground. I know I’ve been saying that for, well, awhile, but in my defense I need to eat and so unfortunately things that actually help with that need took priority. Also, there was that whole pain issue. But I still have everyone’s contact information who voiced any interest in helping and I fully intend to pester those people relentlessly. Along with anyone else who wants to help out!

Oh, and I also totally forgot about the pain stuff. Well, honestly, there’s not too much to report. My new doctor remains awesome and she is in total agreement with me about not prescribing drugs with crazy side-effects just on the off chance they might help. Unfortunately, she’s exhausted any ideas beyond that and so has referred me to a rheumatologist. My appointment isn’t until after the New Year, but frankly at this point waiting is the least of my issues. As far as I’m concerned it may well be fibromyalgia and everything we’re doing is pointless because there really isn’t anything that can be done. But I’m relieved that my new doctor is on board with me and isn’t taking that diagnosis as the ultimate answer. The stiffness in my fingers is what concerns her the most, which was something my previous doctor didn’t seem to think was much of an issue at all. Personally, I’m really fond of the ability to use my hands and those few weeks where I couldn’t even bend my fingers to hold a coffee cup were almost worse than the few weeks I was in so much pain I couldn’t move.

Randomized

  • I don’t really do the New Year’s resolution thing, but I think I need to consciously get myself back into a blogging routine. This year has been really . . . well, lacking I guess. And I can only blame so much of it on the pain issues.
  • I have been busy, busy, busy with the website design thing. And by that I mean I had a few projects that I thought were going to be relatively quick and combined they took the better part of a week. As always such projects are a wealth of learning opportunities for me and, in fact, I discovered a few things about the theme powering this blog that I didn’t even know.
  • And now I’m free to work on my neglected websites. I’m really itching to redesign this blog, but there are so many other more pressing things I probably should do. Except, of course, my back is having none of that and is very much letting me know this sitting at a desk thing is not acceptable. Have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow where I intend to complain mightily about this.
  • My mother made me a surprise lunch today. I can’t begin to tell you how touched I am by this.
  • Uschi was very happy to see snow this weekend. I was even more happy to see it all melt away with today’s mild temps. I am not looking forward to the return of the white stuff.
  • I had fully intended to decorate the house for the holidays, but the weekend went by and none of that happened. I also haven’t written a single holiday card yet. But I’ve a little wiggle room with my self-imposed extension. I figure I’ll start freaking out about that when I actually start receiving cards myself.
  • I have a cupcake backlog again. You all know what that means. ;-)

Uschi is Thankful for Yara

Last night we returned from a week at Dad and Keith’s. This is how we left Yara:1

Yara asleep on the living room floor

Uschi had the time of her life with Yara. She played and played and played! In fact, she played so much she literally wore Yara out to the point that Uschi got a chance at being Dominant Female for a bit. And I sincerely wish I could have managed a video of this because it was possibly the most hilarious thing ever. The first time Uschi had an over-sized squeaky tennis ball in her mouth the entire time, so rather than bite Yara or grip her neck, Uschi basically just bounced around and headbutted her. Another attempt was slightly less hilarious and nearly started an actual fight when Uschi bit Yara on a paw a bit too hard and wouldn’t back down. But aside from Yara possibly needing a vacation of her own to recuperate from our visit, the girls did enjoy themselves and got along very well. They even were pretty good about eating, though, there were a few meals where some creative trickery was required to get one or both of the girls to finish her food. For the most part they were basically inseparable, including being a very attentive audience to my daily yoga.

Highlights of the week not specific to the dogs: Thanksgiving Day itself was nice. Ate too much as is customary. Saw my one cousin’s baby son for the first time. Friday I treated Keith for his birthday and we had dinner at Brooks’ BBQ and went to see Skyfall. I haven’t had Brooks’ since before I moved from Oneonta and the movie was pretty good. Saturday we canned cabbage from the garden. I’m not particularly fond of cabbage and I was even less fond of how the house smelled after this project, but what can you do? On Sunday we had our own Thanksgiving meal that was mostly gluten-free2 and had a lot of yummy veggies from the garden.3 Not surprisingly, we stuffed ourselves yet again. Dad and I made a flour-less chocolate cake, too, and got to test out this very awesome trick to separate eggs.4 Then Monday Dad and I started the supreme project of painting my old bedroom (a.k.a.: his office). We were still working on it Wednesday before I left and it’s not quite finished, but we got a lot accomplished in the three days and it already looks a lot nicer.

Anyway, I completely forgot to bring the stack of holiday cards with me so I’ll be working on them as time and my ability to use a pen allow. In other words, I will likely miss that deadline of December 1st. But if you haven’t yet expressed your desire for a card, there’s still time to let me know!

  1. The new media uploader here on WP.com is very fancy, but incredibly disorienting.
  2. My dad has an intolerance and is attempting to give up eating gluten.
  3. Including the detested cabbage from the day before
  4. I made something of a stink about the recipe requiring separating eggs and Dad mentioned seeing the video on Facebook. We tried it out and were truly amazed at how perfectly it works. We both remarked we’d never separated eggs so completely (and easily!) before.

Odds and Ends

I had the fastest, most impromptu set of portraits taken last month. One of those “in the right place at the right time” kind of moments except that I literally was still in the process of taking my shoes off while most of these were shot. You may recognize a few of these from recent posts, but supposedly these are for holiday cards. Though, quite honestly, I’m debating whether I’ll even bother this year.

My personal favorite is this one of me lying on the floor with Uschi on top of me:

Portrait of me and Uschi on a black background; me lying on my back with Uschi rolling partially on her back on top of me

Of course there are also some fun outtakes. Specifically, this one taken right before the above photo that I am referring to as proof of why I was wary of practicing yoga for the better part of this year.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m still keeping up my daily routine of an hour or so of yoga. I’m definitely feeling it. Or more precisely I’m feeling the fact that I wasn’t practicing for so very long. I can’t speak as to whether I’ve lost any of the weight I’ve supposedly gained because my bathroom scale reads about fifteen pounds to the left of zero when it’s sitting idle and so I find it’s results highly suspect. However, I have lost an inch around my waist!

Most notable is that the yoga is really helping with the pain issues. I wish I could say it was completely alleviating the pain and stiffness, but so far it’s quite literally the only thing that’s had any real effect. I’m fine with this as a solution; however, I’d prefer a conclusive answer as to the cause of the pain. My latest battery of tests came back negative, including the allegedly more definitive Lyme test. I missed the call with the results so the office left a message that was pretty devoid of anything more than blandly reading the information so I plan to call Tuesday morning and talk with my doctor.

The whole thing is ludicrously frustrating and I’m very close to the point of just giving up. It’s becoming increasingly evident that the only answer anyone is willing to give me is essentially to take a bunch of meds. I’m not surprised. I had pretty much the same experience trying to get my migraines under control. But my concern here is the myriad of potential things that could be causing the pain and the possibility that I am doing something (e.g., working my guide dog) that is exacerbating the issue. For the record, I’m not arguing that it isn’t fibromyalgia, though, I am not willing to believe that it is the sole cause of the pain until other things have been ruled out.

Anyway, enough of my yammering on about all that. Tomorrow I’m having Thanksgiving #1 with Mom and Paul and my list of things to get done before then is likely impossible to accomplish.