Saturday, August 22, 2015


Thursday was AMAZING, weather wise.  I think it got up to only 32 C, and then storms brought that down.  Even better, my husband had the day off.  At one point in the afternoon, we were walking around outside raving how nice it felt.  I think that was the coolest day we had since leaving Canada.

I like being here, but with the highs still around 37-38 C everyday, I'm getting cabin fever.  There is stuff I want to explore, but it's just too hot.  We have acclimatized to the point where we can sit in the shade when it's in the low-mid 30s and feel fine, but walking around in the sun is another matter.  Fortunately, the mornings are still reasonable enough for short jogs.

Especially Friday.  It was only 23 C.  What?! It was a real treat because our apartment is set at 25 C.  I jogged with the dog for 25 minutes (admittedly, in 5 min intervals).

But perhaps it wasn't cool enough for her because she went swimming soon after!  Actually, she didn't jump in, but simply side-stepped into it during a moment of distraction. Since it's more of a canal, with vertical concrete sides, it's easy to fall in and harder to get out.  I couldn't lift her out in my present condition, but I wasn't too concerned because it's a small sluggish shallow river, and a boat ramp was nearby on the other side.  A kind passerby helped coax her over, and then I jogged up to and over a nearby bridge to retrieve her.

There's a $500 fine for "falling in"--the language was chosen to address the usual drunken excuse apparently--but I'm not sure it applies to dogs.  Since then, I've been looking around for other good places to get my dog out in case.  She's still rather young and repeatedly distracted, and my strength (and reach!) is limited.  Some portions of the river have railings or vegetation buffers, but there are quite a few stretches with very convenient water access.

The old dog would've loved it.  He was an avid diver and underwater fisher, and there are some pretty big tilapia here.

Today was hotter and less eventful.  Just 15 min of jogging and the new dog remained drier than I.

Monday, August 17, 2015

back in the saddle perhaps maybe

So I did run again this weekend and I couldn't have timed it better.  We've been here for not quite a month and there has been very little rain, but I managed to score the first morning drizzle.  20 minutes of near-comfort!  It felt nice and I even got to run on the non-shady side of the river for the first time! Even in the early morning, the temperature is at least 25 Celsius, and so I've been a creature of the shadows.

If I can do ~20 minutes of running three times a week for the next month or so, I'll be happy.  It's hot and I'm in my third trimester.  Yes, this is why I'm presently in Texas and not up in PA.   The weather is much better up north but the food and general scene is much better here, and the baby will emerge* in time for the awesome weather season.  I love winter, but I'm looking forward to Not-Winter this year.

Meanwhile, I've recently found out that my iron levels are low again, even though I'm taking almost 60 mg/day of iron supplements. 

* this is the kindest and least intimidating verb I can think of for this process.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Quick recap...isn't possible.

And I didn't even run today.  It was a nice morning, overcast, dry, and only about 27 C.  The dog and I merely walked, however.  I didn't have a lot of energy today: it was destined exclusively towards (more) unpacking.  We are downsizing somewhat radically, having slashed at least 1000 square feet off our living space--this is an excellent exercise for clarity, economy, efficiency, etc, but meanwhile we have to play horizontal Jenga.  So many boxes!  so much superfluous junk.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sad because I'm feeling less and less sad

It's been about a week and a half since we put dog #1 down (cancer), and I am still sometimes startled that I will never see him again.  Intellectually, there's no confusion, and I've become used to the void.  I've gone through practically all of the post-dog firsts, and I no longer expect him waiting at home, or by the bed, or outside the bathroom.  If he were to miraculously come back at this point, it would actually be an adjustment, stripping away the filter of memory and a bunch of new habits.  After a wretched first few days, I've mostly moved on.   Yet a sliver of primordial emotion/denial still clings to prior associations: "oh, he's at the kennel, oh, he's at the vet, oh, he's out in the yard.  He has to be back sometime."

Perhaps he will feature in my terminal anoxia-induced hallucination that will seem endless (and hopefully pleasant) but last no longer than my dying neurons.  Or perhaps both of us are eternally in the "bookcase dimension" (thank, you, Interstellar, for enhancing Flatland explanations)...but this dog isn't coming back.

I've previously lost loved ones, including other dogs, but this dog was one of those dogs, as it turns out.  He wasn't the easiest dog--far from it---which probably explains why this is such a fundamental loss.  His faults forced me to examine my own, and yet he was incredibly loyal and stoic and patient, albeit with just a few people.  Some dogs love everyone, and other dogs distill their affections.  For eight years, I was so much of this dog's world.

His high pain threshold masked the problem until it was incurable.  I can't actually remember our last run, but it was a few miles sometime in March.  Forest, sandy trails, same old, just another bland half-hour, putting in the time.  He had to go to the vet for his yearly checkup soon after, and we had questions about arthritis or whatever--because he did look stiff at times and we were giving him glucosamine--but we weren't expecting anything major because he was still fit, still fairly active for a nearly ten-year old dog.   His bloodwork last year was that of a much younger dog.   Well, this year, hemangiosarcoma and worsening anemia and possibly just a few days left.   Fortunately, he hung in for a couple of months and seemed to enjoy them, mostly.  We took him to the beach, we fed him decadently, we spoiled him.

Unfortunately, his high pain threshold made the decision very hard.  Other dogs give that look or quickly decline, but this dog, a pit/mutt, had a solid pedigree of gameness, that self-sacrifice sought by dog-fighter shitheels.  I waited and watched for that look, but slowly realized that he probably wouldn't ever give it, leaving us with a grim calculus.  He got sicker a few times, but recovered.  In retrospect, not completely, but enough to convince us, one more week or whatever.

But he was losing so much muscle.   His collar, once snug, became loose.  His head and body became foreign to my hands.  His abdomen became swollen and tight, and the warnings of rupture resounded,  More and more, he shook while standing or balked at lying down.  Yet he wasn't done.  He still bolted after squirrels.  He still pleaded for food, for his walks, for car rides.  He looked at me not with resignation or blankness, but a more prosaic expectation.  The usual excitement, or confusion, or (usually) concern.

His last full day was the best one in a while, I think.  We walked together for close to an hour, albeit slowly, completing a trail loop that he hadn't managed for weeks.  The weather was mild and so he spent a few hours nosing about the backyard too, and later on we shared pizza and cake.  I suppose it was perfect.   I forgot that he used to run for hours with me.  It was like that had been another dog.   Perhaps he felt the same.  I have no idea if he was disappointed with himself at times, or simply preoccupied with maintaining appearances, but he seemed content during his last day.

The following morning, he appeared fine, bloated by the cancer, yes, but otherwise happy.  At the vet's, he scarfed down treats and barely looked my way (my husband had the treats).  This was fine.  He had no idea why he was there.   I didn't want my sadness to upset him, so the less he heeded me, the better.  Like I told the vet when she asked about optional sedation, "whatever is best for him."

Afterwards, even though I no longer heard his heartbeat, I sat beside him and waited.  I had to finish emptying the vet's box of tissues, yes, but I was also waiting for something else.

And I'm still waiting for the irrationality to leave.  I feel less and less like Peter Pan missing a (brown) shadow.  I'm starting to forget what he looked like, especially what he looked like at the end--more and more, I picture him as he was a few years ago in his prime.   He's becoming abstract.   However, the reality that I won't ever see him again still bewilders me.

Meanwhile, dog #2 is adjusting to her new promotion.  We've discovered that she hadn't really learnt a few commands, merely followed his lead, but we've been running.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Back in the saddle?

Today is my first weekday post-job.  I've given myself a month to prepare for a move (sort through/weed through our stuff, pack, repaint, do yardwork, etc).  At first a month seemed excessive, but I now regret not taking more time off.  My job was intense in a sometimes interesting but also sometimes wearying fashion, and it drained me.  The pay sucked too but I learnt and saw a lot, and met some really cool people.  The most fascinating discovery was a type of chronological amnesia during emergencies.  Seconds would crawl by, and then events would burst past the prosaic, and afterwards, hours afterwards sometimes, it felt like no time had passed at all.  

If only I could tap into this while running!  Sometimes, I enjoy every moment, sometimes I enter an endorphin-laced timeless haze, but sometimes I long to exit my body and let it go around for an hour or two.  Especially here.  Running has become so boring.  I wasn't ever that fond of trail running but it's my best option.   I much prefer city runs, productive runs, either commuting or running errands or simply exploring routes and snacks, but there's very little of that sort of opportunity here.   Even my runs to work became boring, and too hot, and thus eventually extinct, not to mention that running 9 miles and then spending the following 9-11-? hrs on my feet wasn't ideal.

I didn't run once during my last two weeks of work; I was too tired.  Between overtime, call, shifting shifts, and appointments/obligations outside of work, I just couldn't catch up on sleep. 

Fortunately, I slept about 13 hours yesterday, and I don't have to return to work for the time being, and so I am out of excuses.  20 min jog with dog #2 and then pushups and situps.  It's my plan to do 20-30 min each morning.  It's summer (tomorrow is supposed to be 34 C) and while there will be cooler days now and then for a bit, I can't expect too much.  However, I also hope to hit the TM for a long run, before the garage heats up too much, so that I can finally watch the Boston marathon.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


There's an official video?  
This song was playing during my drive home tonight/this morning/1:15ish am.  It seems like it's been a while since I last heard it.

Sadly, I have been doing much more driving than running :(  I'd thought about running to work tomorrow because the other days will have highs of about 30 C.  PUKE.   But there are supposed to be thunderstorms, plus after almost 11 hrs on my feet tonight (I didn't even get my full lunch break)....I'm toast.  I have the feeling this is going to be a rough week anyway.   BLERG

Hey, at least I can leave my little palm trees outside all week!

At any rate, I will try to jog with one of the dogs tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015



So I finally watched Interstellar, which investigates space and time, and I fail to understand how I manage to have too much of the former while too little of the latter (but the 3-D wormhole was cool).

But I have been running.  Short runs mostly.  Occasionally (1-2 times a week), I have to run to work because we share a car in a place where this is impractical.  So much wasted space to get through.  I do have about a mile of sidewalks, but the other 7.5ish are beside roads.  Mostly on the shoulder, on pine needles/grass/debris/??   These textures have grown old and I'm becoming increasingly fatigued in multiple dimensions. 

And summer is approaching.  My last work run was in 27 C.