Elka: golden/pit mix.

Yes, we did pay to have Elka’s DNA tested – it was far, far more interesting that Vince’s we got a few days ago. Turns out our snuggly, sweet pup is half golden and half pitbull. No labrador! No long locks, no golden color. And no hound despite her occasional howling. And her sister is in Annapolis (!) who I DMed to see if we could have a meetup/playdate. No response yet. And we can see all (I went through the top 10-12 most closely related pets) her golden cousins/aunts/uncles – one in particular said her golden was on the smaller side (as is Elka) and is very empathetic (as is Elka as well). Now we are left to wonder – was Elka’s mom the pit or was she the golden?

Meditation.

I’ve been working, working on my mental state. I think it’s mostly my depression creeping back and me not recognizing it and managing it well. In the past, I’ve taken SSRI meds for it (though not now and not for the past 15 years or so) and done CBT and all the regular things – sleeping enough, exercising enough, friends, goals, etc. Maybe I’m slipping on the goals? I do think turning 50 was a big deal – watching the ascension of our children (in-general, not just mine). I am scared! Like how to take care of Edda, our parents, what if I lose Jeremy in a bike accident or whatever? How will I manage? I also believe that there are still big goals out there to find and to do – I don’t want to give up on that.

Anyways, I want to mute the general anxiety I feel – like that rushing, rushing feeling like things won’t get done on time or that I’m doing things wrong. These are feelings that I don’t believe intellectually – I’ve always managed to “do things” and I don’t really believe there is a “right” way of doing many things – often it’s a judgement call and you’ll just need to judge and be at peace with it. I tend to gravitate towards planning, organizing, time-blocking, bullet journaling, but I think it’s aggravating the anxiety. I spent the weekend looking towards meditation to help me, it’s one of the last things that lots of people recommend, but I’ve always scoffed at. But I honestly have too many anxious thoughts in my mind or I’m too reactive in my emotions and it is sometimes like I’m trying to run a chariot with horses running all over the place that I have no control over. So I’ll try. We’ll see.

Something that I’m already disappointed in in the meditation space is the excitement over drug-assisted meditations. LSD, mushrooms, microdosing – etc. We had a long discussion with our friends over an evening about these things and all the podcasts/subreddits are full of people doing this stuff. I’m not interested in any of that. I’m interested in sitting on a pillow and breathing and seeing what happens.

The cat and Jeremy like to shower together.

MLK weekend.

We spent the long weekend at home – but also with many people. Isabella was here on Saturday to mind Edda and Elka.

All three animals are hanging out happily these days – each with their own quirk – obvs. I think Elka finally felt herself on post op day #4 and started dancing around and pestering both the other dog and cat.

We hosted for two nights, this lovely baby – Milan (and parents Lael & Vikram). It was fun to hold a 6 month old baby and to just watch her learning stuff at an incredible rate. It’s also fun to watch Jeremy hold and rock and soothe a baby like just like he did two decades ago.

Weekend-ing.

I’m spending the weekend tidying up our basement apartment. We have friends coming into town for a few nights who are going to use it and then we have a prospective renter trying it out next week. My big project is to replace the countertop. My second big project is to not get frustrated by replacing the countertop.

Pip almost gave us heart attacks last night – for about 20 minutes, he was running around wanting to eat grass, plants, the string off of an apron and I thought he was dying or sick or having a panic attack – but it turns out it is “normal Pip behavior” (N.P.B. for short). The pets are giving us a run for our money, though Jeremy is doing most of it.

Angry

I’ve been so unusually angry for months now. Snippy and reactive, not really my usual self. Little things set me off – conversations that I’d have with Jeremy or Vickey – (mostly Jeremy, poor Jeremy) I thought it might have been that I was working too much, or that I was burned out from the nursing. Every little thing seemed like such a mountain to climb. Did I feel this way before the pandemic? So I backed off of so many things Q4 – quit the nursing job, went part time at the patent job, stopped exercising/training so vigorously (basically stopped doing workouts and running so long, but still exercising regularly for movement). Basically, whatever I was doing, I cut back 50-60% and left room for resting. So I baked and had weekends free since October now. But I’m still pissy and I still can’t quite understand it. I think it’s a mix of recovering from the pandemic (which included the regular pandemic stuff, working professionally in a hospital, and seeing Alice through her cancer/hospice/death) overlaid with becoming menopausal during the same time. I had a hot flash last night – unusual, I had my hot flashes summer of 2019 and it’s been a quiet menopause transition since then. No complaints. Am I snippy now because I’m not working enough? I don’t know! Going back to full time at my desk job at the end of January.

My favorite thrift store closed! Grrr. (ha ha just kidding. not mad at this.)

Pants, DNA, spay.

OMG, I almost fell over laughing when Vince texted this photo…it’s been pouring in Davis (as it has been for the past week and will continue to do so for the next week) and we’ve been concerned about Vince biking to school in the pouring rain, he has a raincoat, but no pants so we got him some rain pants in bright yellow (his request).

Also, for black friday, they were offering DNA testing for half price, so I snagged it and gave it to Vince because I figured that if he tested, there would be no need for either of us to test. It was completely unremarkable and 100% expected: 1/2 Chinese, 1/4 Jewish, and 1/4 other white European.

Elka got spayed yesterday, poor girl. She was not happy yesterday. Of course, I’ve taken care of many, many patients who have gotten TAH-BSO (total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy – uterus & ovaries removed) and I, of course, if I had full IV access, I’d have given her IV morphine or dilaudid (at least one dose in the early/middle of the afternoon and maybe a 2nd dose 3-4 hours later) and transitioned her to an oral opioid to get her through the night. But I didn’t have any of that, of course. All I got was doggie ibuprofen for the morning! not even at night! She was not happy and she got carried around yesterday. But she did all the post-op stuff that I wanted her to do as soon as she got home, she ate, peed and pooped. She got to sleep in our bed last night too. She is much, much better this morning – actually much better than most of my post op day #1 patients. Walking, pooping, eating – a little butt wiggle of happiness, but still recuperating.

Adriana.

I had a Panera lunch with Adriana yesterday. Adriana both 1) went to nursing school with me and 2) was Edda’s afterschool caregiver around 2016-2018 and she left to become an ICU nurse at the UMMD in Baltimore. We haven’t really spoken since then, but we had a long, 2 hour catch-up session yesterday. She did end up overlapping with me at Holy Cross Hospital for about 2 years (2020-2022), but I never saw her – she was in the SICU and Covid ICU units while I was on the med/surg unit. I took care of Covid patients for only 6 weeks, but she ended up taking care of them for over 18 months! We both quit our bedside jobs at about the same time, she took a nursing job at a stand-alone outpatient surgery center making about 40% more than a bedside nurse and it’s weekdays only, all holidays/weekends off and you can work any four days during the week, you get to pick whichever weekday off you want every week. And it’s super boring and not challenging, but she needed a break, as did I. I asked why in the world did she take the Holy Cross job at the height of the pandemic and she said that 1) the commute and 2) she wanted the experience to go to CRNA school (nurse anesthetist) – one of the most coveted nursing positions out there, incredibly hard to get into the limited programs. But she said that after seeing the CRNAs in the operating room of the outpatient surgery center, she didn’t want to be a CRNA because it’s even more boring than being a post-surgical nurse at an outpatient surgery center. You put the pt to sleep at the beginning and then you are stuck in a cold operating room for five hours, just looking at monitors with (hopefully) nothing to do. And you do that 3-4 times a day – forever.

Anyways, it was fantastic to catch up. We talked about how, at the end of the bedside-ness, the patients became unbearable. Well, not that they themselves were unbearable, but that every request, no matter how reasonable-ish (could I have a glass of water? not this old water that I already have, I’d like fresh water. And warm, not too hot & not too cold and then after you come into the room with the warm water, they say – oh! I need a straw too.), became a source/flash for anger and irritation. And then you question yourself – I am a nice person, right? Why am I angry all the time? And I am angry all the time. Hmmm, I wonder if this is a weird manifestation of my underlying depression. If it is, it’s showing up in a new way.

Sunday long run.

Jeremy and I fought on Sunday morning, but by lunchtime, things were mostly fine. I wasn’t going to go for a run because I had kayaked the day before, but Jeremy nudged me outside and I did and I felt much better.

Beavers are hard at work.

We are still figuring out the covid stuff – all negative. Still!

Kayaking.

Yesterday, I went to a pool and started to learn to roll a kayak. When I decided to quit nursing last fall, I needed it to be replaced with something else – something that provided a group of people to meet, something to do, etc on a regular basis, challenging and slightly stressful, but not too stressful, and I came up with white water kayaking. This was my (borrowed) boat that came with the lesson. The pool seems empty here, but it was not, there were about 20 kayaks in the pool, most of the occupants practicing on their own, but about half of them in lessons. I was in the very beginner lesson for rolling, I’ve never been in a kayak so I needed to learn everything. My teacher, Jennifer, is about 10 years older than me (maybe, I only gauge because her son is 30 to my son’s 20 and her hair is fully grey as opposed to my slightly grey) and she is a class 4+ kayaker and she started learning with her son when he was 15. Class 4+, I assume, though I don’t know – is scary-ass white water kayaking – like there is a real possibility of hurting yourself. I think the scale goes only up to 5. I asked if she was out on Christmas Day – I asked specifically because I knew it was like five degrees F, but people were kayaking the Potomac because the water level was high to a level it gets to only once or twice a year, and various chats I was monitoring about kayaking were debating whether was totally crazy to not miss the great water conditions or if you were going to certainly die from hypothermia. It turns out that she had been out the entire week that it was frigid and the water fast.

I had a good time, I flipped upside down and right side up (with help) at least 30 times. I’ve never been in a boat that flips so easily. Jennifer first taught me how to wet exit – which is basically to abandon the boat if you need to – she explained how to do it and I mimicked the motions while sitting in the boat and then I patiently waited for her to flip me upside down because I thought you’d need more force than I could generate, but then she said – oh no! you flip yourself! and I said, really? and then I gently shifted my center of gravity to the side and whoosh, I was upside down.

So the main thing is that when you are upside down, to not immediately panic and struggle like I was going to drown which I probably did for the first 3/4 of the lesson. The main thing is to relax, get your bearings and then go through the positioning they taught you. So it was fun, I did get dizzy and a bit nauseous from all the flipping, which persisted for a few hours after I got home. Jennifer assured me that women are not disadvantaged in kayaking because it’s more about core strength and flexibility instead of just brute force. It’s hard to explain, but the way you sit in and touch the kayak with your legs, feet and back, it renders it kind of an extension of your body, as you shift your weight and press against the kayak, it’ll move in certain ways that you can control without the paddle.

While I was kayaking, Jeremy and Edda went to an Eagle scout ceremony of Vince’s old troop. These kids (who are now sophomores in college) were part of the group that went to Philmont the year Jeremy organized it in 2019.