Harder to Kill: 1st Quarter Update

Three months of 2016 are vaporized, and i am holding myself accountable out here on my annual pilgrimage into the wilds of self-improvement. Time for an update on my quest to Prepare to Die while Becoming Harder to Kill.

Harder to Kill: i got off to a fabulous start with my health and strength goals! January found me doing another round of eating clean for three weeks! It is energizing and cathartic to do this – after a week of going without sugar, alcohol, dairy and caffeine, it became clear that i CAN do this.  My third session of unprocessed foods, it was noticeably easier this time.

Combining the aggressive control of my food and beverage intake with a jacked up workout routine, and i managed to drop 12 pounds through the end of January! A fine start to the quarter!

Then the travel started… i was on the road virtually all of February. A dive trip to the Caribbean, followed by a pile of business trips. On the bright side, i kept up the exercise routine, doing strength training in hotel fitness centers. On the down side, i added back in sugar and snacks and alcohol and… whatever the hell i felt like eating.

Boom. Almost 10 pounds right back IMG_20160406_191715where they started.  It could have
been worse. Course corrected, despite continued travel, i’ve
managed to get back on track. i need to do MUCH better with consistency, even if i focus on eating real food during the week, and allowing myself just one or two indulgences on the weekends.

Goal for the 2nd quarter? More push ups, more core strength and another 10 pounds vaporized. i love my trainer, and am ready for bicycling season to begin in earnest…

Preparing to Die: Partial win and partial fail here… i managed to do some office excavations, but it was mostly annual maintenance, rather than getting my personal paperwork in order. Clearing out “stuff” went fairly well, due in part to a new volunteer job i’ve taken on…

Being angered by the anti-refugee sentiment – now fueled by a certain orange businessman who has become the pied piper of ignorant bigots – i now volunteer with the non-profit responsible for refugee resettlement in my small town. A good group, they are short handed, and have limited resources. They need housewares, and i have extra housewares, so that’s worked out. A great outlet for re-homing things i don’t need. That, plus a carload of items taken to the local thrift, and i did make some progress on this one…

The real progress may have come from an unexpected source. As i sort through end-of-life issues for my ancient dog, and discuss this with my adult children, a lot of turf has been covered. Hospice care vs heroic measures. Disposition of the remains. Legacies. Memories. Saying goodbye…

i have alIMG_20160128_170450ways believed one of the benefits of raising children in a home with pets is that this is a healthy way to learn to deal with death. Burying guinea pigs in the side yard prepared my children for the loss of their beloved dogs, and later, it gave them a reasonable foundation for losing the first grandparent.

Turns out, the conversations we are having regarding my Elder Mutt are continuing to teach those lessons. As they prepare to say a final goodbye to him, they are in training for when i die.

Took this picture as i brought him home from the vet, stitches removed from a 7″ incision on his hip, resulting from the removal of a fist-sized cancerous tumor. Normally, i wouldn’t have had surgery done on a dog almost 15 years old, but had it been the really bad kind of cancer, it would have ruptured and he would have bled out. Not a good way to die. Had to do it, and he bounded back… Congestive heart failure is what will likely get him. It’s all about palliative care now. And enjoying every single moment with this old boy…

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32 thoughts on “Harder to Kill: 1st Quarter Update

  1. Mr. Pickles, I salute you. And you, too,Daisyfae, for caring enough.
    On the battle (yes, it IS a battle!) to control the body’s wilful departure from healthy stability… I’m modifying my own eating/drinking/exercising.Seems to be working, but further blood tests will show the real dynamic! So…I’m on my own tailored version of the Five-two diet.Five days of good meals and two days of not-quite fasting.Still 3 meals, but reduced to more snack than meal. One glass of wine a day.Nope! Not gonna work! Easier to cut it altogether.So I am.
    And I’m walking again; now that it’s cooler I’m getting in 8kms walking or 3 15 minute sessions on the stationary bike.
    I may need a new wardrobe…

    • You are inspiring me, my dear! I have heard of the 5-2 concept, and understand the logic, but for me, two days (weekends?) are when I am most likely to be out and about and just snacks aren’t going to cut it! Trying to really focus on good, whole food during the week – and no alcohol. Weekends? a little less constraint, but if I’m going to stop the roller coaster, I need to stop blowing out… and extending the weekend. “Thursday? It’s almost Friday! And hey, Sunday night? Last Hurrah! Monday? Well…. because Monday, right?” and the next thing I realized is that I’ve got 5 ‘weekend’ days. Not going to happen.

      The exercise is (dare I say it?) enjoyable, though! it just takes a LOT of my time… working full time still, plus four volunteer gigs? I’m fairly kinetic already. Now scheduling around 7 workouts/week, plus pick up cardio and home exercise… no wonder I’m not blogging much anymore!

      Looking forward to an update from you after the blood work comes back! Perhaps we’ll have another chance at cycling Central Park?

      • I should say that the 2 days “semi-fast” should NOT be consecutive.I aim for Monday and Thursday.Yesterday it was gone 2pm before I realised!So I had one slice of rye, toasted and topped with avocado. As always, its the damned cheese that is hard to cut! Shh…don’t tell anyone, but I’m eating a low-fat Cheddar. Jesus! Who knew there was such a thing!

        • I will only give up cheese for short periods of time. Life without feta, and parmesan is not worth living! Thanks for the info… I think I could do this!

    • Mr. Pickles will be 15, if he makes it to July. I did not expect to have him past 10-12 years, but he’s in amazing shape. When the canine cardiologist (yes, I paid for that) said he had an enlarged heart, I said “No shit! I’ve known that all along…” but he was referring to physiology, not spirit… Saying goodbye to this one is going to devastate me….

      You are channeling Looby! Noticing details such as earrings? For real? These hoops are an investment, baby! I spent $5 on a set of 8 of these things – and they are my daily ear gear. The beauty of these cheapo accoutrements? They are ‘break away’, so that when I snag one on a hairbrush, a dumbbell or a belt buckle (don’t ask) they do not tear holes in my ear lobes.

      This ‘aging well’ thing is a lot of fucking work, and I can’t say I’m completely succeeding. I am sore all the time. Something ALWAYS hurts. And I spend a disturbing amount of time making myself look this disheveled. What’s up with that?

      You are on blog sabbatical? But you’re a popular blogger now? Wasn’t the itch scratched? Seriously curious….

        • Your writing is compelling, even if you’re bored by it. I am sure that the day of the blog is well behind us, thanks to social media becoming a part of our daily lives. I’ve taken a gentle break from that as well… Limiting engagement to people I like and avoiding politics. I feel better for it.

          What I most enjoy about the blog has been the connections and friendships that have happened… I am reluctant to give it up completely. Hope you still write, even if only weekly. You’re good. You have groupies. They will clamour for your return…

  2. I think you are doing just find and right on track, down 12 up 10 still equals down 2 or so and deserves a high five! Up and down is life, at least you are trying.
    So good to see Mr. Pickles, wadda face! makes me miss my old dog again, but I still have her kitten who is now a 14 yr old cat and the cat’s twin sister. Don’t know how to do life without a pet in it, as adorable as my Mr. is I still enjoy a cat and/or a dog in my life.
    So maybe you don’t have the paperwork all done, at least you and your family can talk about it which is major steps in the right direction. Another high five!!.
    Live each day as happy as you can and do your best is all any of us can ask for, life is too short as it is. (I’d put a pic up of me and Bubs (the cat) but no links allowed. Just as well really, Bubs would be appalled, her fur was being ruffled. oh just realized that’s her sister in the tiny picture..hi from us!

    • I need to keep the general trend downward… which is why I like quarterly updates. If I see it trending upward early in the quarter, I can scream “OH SHIT!” and get back on track before I have to announce it here… it really does help.

      I have no idea why links don’t work in comments… I’d love to see a pic of you and Bubs! when I get home, i’ll see if I can set something or other to accept links. I’m not good at wordpressing…

      Living pretty hard… to someone watching, they’d have no idea how obsessed I am with being fully prepared to drop dead. I’m living aggressively, not sleeping enough, and punching through bucket list items like a crazed machine.

        • YES! I was able to see you both, and the quad picture on your gravatar page! Fine looking cat and human! Did not realize you live in NS? I had a wonderful camping trip there with the young family years ago – truly beautiful!

  3. You are doing soooo well.
    Yay for Mr Pickles. And for the fact that you gave long and careful consideration to operating and made the decision in HIS best interest.
    I too am starting a variation of the 5:2 diet. Seems to be going ok. And slowly ramping up moving more – except when the rotten body conspires against me and refuses to play.

    • As long as I keep focusing on HIS point of view, I should be able to make good decisions for him. He’s been too good to me for me to let him suffer. He only knows how he feels today. Doesn’t know he’s sick/dying, just what is right now. A good lesson in that…

      Planning to look more closely at the 5:2. If I made the “2” during the week? it’s more likely I could succeed with this approach… or just incorporate it into what I’m already doing…

        • Got it. Studley and I are going to do some reading this weekend, and will likely incorporate it into our operations…as long as I don’t try to restrict calories on a weekend, I can probably do this!

  4. While you are getting harder to kill, at my age I’m looking for things that will make it easier to die. Americans spend one quarter of their lifetime healthcare dollars in the last six months of their lives. This is ridiculous. So, mostly I am making decisions that will keep me out of hospitals and surgery at this point, and informing the sister who will probably have to make decisions for me at the end, that I don’t want a lot of fancy stuff. Some folks have been urging me to reconsider getting my knees done, but new wheels are cheaper than new knees and less painful. In Studley’s place, and 15 years ago my decision might have been different. Right now I just want to enjoy life, like Mr.Pickles. Not everybody has to live to be 90, but given my family history, I might make it to 89 despite what my doctor thinks.

    • So many have a goal to NOT die in a hospital, yet the vast majority of people in the US do exactly that… except doctors. It is my goal to drop dead in an assisted living facility of some sort. A place where someone other than my kids will have to deal with the body and clean up. It may not happen that way, but it’s good to have a goal. Mr. Pickles has taught me many lessons… and one is that there will come a time when heroic measures don’t make sense. My Dad wanted that. Mom didn’t allow it. It was hard to watch her ignore his wishes, but she did what she had to…

      You’ve got cool wheels. The knee surgery recovery is a lot of work. Your body, your choice!

  5. I don’t think The Donald is ignorant. I believe he is pandering, just like Clinton & Sanders, to his core constituency, which is a must if you want to get nominated. The larger issue is that the vast majority of this country believes that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, directly due to 8 years of an official policy of victimhood that started from Pennsylvania Avenue.

    • Agreed that there’s plenty of pandering to go around. I just get frustrated that in any case, even if the population votes for such change, ultimately NOTHING will change. Failure to legislate falls back to congress, and that isn’t going to get moving forward anytime soon…

  6. you are my inspiration. (that’s me singing). we are on the same road with our Duke. scare just this week and it is hard to think about when he does go. Really DF, you inspire me

    • Thank you Cheryle! You’ve been hanging out here a long time… seems we are on parallel paths, including with the pups. Hoping that Duke is steady, and waggy, and you’re able to enjoy moments with him… ❤

  7. That dog looks so keen to be back with you, great move daisyfae.

    12 pounds in one month? And post-Christmas as well. Well done you!

    The government over here would like us all to be miserable and boring all of the time, but especially during January. There’s a semi-official thing over here called Dry January to encourage people to stop boozing for a month. It’s now spawned an informal opposite movement called Try January, in which you’re actually encouraged to try new drinks.

    However, I can assure you that Slovenian brandy is shite.

    • We do a ‘gut cleanse’ – nothing but lean protein, and vegetables, for 30 days. Try that and you too can drop some weight. But no alcohol… I know you do a month dry, so perhaps it will work, but you don’t seem to need to lose the weight.

      I will avoid Slvenian brandy. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Big ups to Mr. Pickles and his human!! Keep up the good work lady, i’ve found i’m addicted to my workout much like i was to certain substances in my youth, except i think the workout might be a little better for me, maybe i think, since i started my kick 4? years ago or so, i’ve dropped and kept off roughly 20lbs and knocked 2 inches off my waist… and though i need to get to work on the latter part of this post i have to watch cuz Nick Disaster doesn’t like to hear anything about his old man’s demise, of course when i was 6 i didn’t want to hear that shit either, i do tell him i plan to stick around if possible cuz i’m sort of attached to him and his brudda… last week Nick D. looked at me and out of the blue said, “Dad, you’re my favorite person in the whole world.” If you ever wanted to watch a 6’4 madman melt into a big ball of jelly that was it…

    • I call those moments when the kids would charm me to tears “paying the rent”. On more frantic days, I’d entertain thoughts of putting them in an airport dumpster, but then they’d pull something like that and I’d be in tears…

      The workouts are addictive. Part of the reason I’m looking forward to retirement is that I can workout mid-morning, which is my favorite time of day to knock it out. Would like to start swimming again, but local pools are slammed after work, and I don’t do early mornings. The retirement gig allows me to workout every damn day, and that’ll help. Right now, pesky day job and five volunteer jobs are getting in the way… my own fault, but still…

  9. We dogs are worth it DF! Tell me who your better friend is? Love your posts as usual. I have a note in my to do file that states, “Answer Daisy Fae.” Problem is I’ve forgotten what to answer?Have mixed feelings on refugees. A good friends brothers daughter was raped by an illegal.

    • We agree, dear Sandy, that dogs make life better. I remind anyone looking at a cute puppy that they are in for the long term – and can’t just dispose of a pup when they grow old…

      I agree on illegals. I am working legal refugee resettlement – through the departments of state and immigration. two years of review, processing, evaluation before they can set foot here. That’s how my grand parents got here, and I’m kinda glad they did…

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