2016: My Year in Review

Sometimes I can be hard on myself. I tend to get to the end of a year and think, “I didn’t do this” or “I never got around to that.” This year, as I sifted through the 1,300 photos on my iPhone, I realized I actually had a really phenomenal year and that’s worth celebrating!

1. I met Hillary fucking Clinton. Sorry, Dan, that had to be number 1.

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2. I read 20 books.

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3. We spent my birthday at a relaxing Spa.

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4. We went “across” with my Mom. CAPPA.

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5. We flew over the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

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6. We visited Europe…twice…!

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7. I learned some Italian.

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8. I ran 2 miles, two days a week, for most weeks.

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9. I wrote more here on my blog.

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10. I danced on stage with Morris Day and the Time.

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11. We saw Pearl Jam, The Dixie Chicks, Brandi Carlile, and Rev Run in concert.

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12. We spent a week on Martha’s Vineyard and celebrated Dan’s 37th birthday.

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13. We went to the Warren Fourth of July Parade for the first time and Dan won $75 worth of cheese.

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14. We hiked, walked and ran with Sadie more this year.

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15. We kayaked and fished.

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16. We saw 4 Lake Monsters games.

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17. I won 99 $1.00 bills at Breakwaters.

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18. I also won a year of flea prevention medicine for Sade, ha.

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19. I spent a lot of time with family.

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20. I baked countless breads, cookies and pastries.

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21. We gave our greenhouse a makeover.

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22. We installed new basement windows.

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23. I cuddled (a lot) with Brody and Sadie.sadie-brody-cuddling
24. We spent some QT with friends.

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25. We played on a softball team and donned jeggings.softball
26. We ran a 5K and had to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the middle of it (and yes I realize how counter productive this was to #8)

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27. I became very close to the cat next door, Lily.

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28. I got to see one of my best friends have a baby (note: not *literally* see) and become an honorary Auntie.

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29. We visited Portland, ME.

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30. We went to Hampton Beach.

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31. We had awesome foliage and went on a leaf-peeing adventure to the NEK.

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32. I got *really* into nail art.

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33. I developed a new-found appreciation for both my dad and Sherlock Holmes.

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34. We made teacup bird feeders and became bird watchers.

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35. We got lots of snow in December and I continued trying to learn how to snowboard.

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36. I got to honor a close friend and coworker with a goofy video.

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37. I became a Nasty Woman – ok, let’s be honest: I always was one, but finally got the t-shirt to prove it.img_9507

38. I organized a drive for period products for a domestic violence organization.period-products-drive
39. I rekindled an important friendship.

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40. And…I finally hit that mother f-ing jackpot on Candy Crush.

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What a year!

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Big news!

Announcing the newest member of the Lafayette / Page Household…

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Isn’t she precious?! About one year old and no name yet.

I know this is probably coming as a shock to many of you. Or not a shock at all to people who know us well. Orrr a huge shock to my mom who thought I was announcing I was pregnant. I’m not. Sorry mom. Here’s a little Q&A to help you deal.

WHAT!? You guys got another cat out-of-the-blue? Who are you people?
It wasn’t quite out-of-the-blue. But I know, I know. We didn’t tell any of you about our secret adoption plan because we wanted to keep it under wraps in case something happened. I was convinced worried that if we told the world we were adopting her, the powers that be would deny our application. Yes deny us, as in the two law-abiding citizens, who own a home, have good jobs, go to bed at 9:30 every night, and who recently spent a small fortune trying to cure our late feline of cancer. Happens ALL the time.

Keeping it a secret was soooo incredibly hard! I wanted to blurt it out at least 400 different times at the Superbowl party:

“Touchdownnnnn RAVENS!”

“Woo-hoo!”

“OH MY GOD, WE’RE GETTING ANOTHER CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!”

But we stayed strong 🙂

I didn’t even know you were looking for a cat. How did you find her?
Wellll, we weren’t seriously looking. I mean, I scoured PetFinder, Craigslist and every Humane Society within a 200 mile radius on a daily basis, but we kept saying it would be best to adopt after we got back from vacation. We’ve noticed that Bear has been extremely sad and lonely since Buddy died (ok, maybe we’re just sad and lonely for him), and had been tossing around the idea of getting him another play-mate. But Bear is an Alpha-Male, meaning unless we got a young female cat, he was probably going to beat the crap out of whoever we brought home and/or start peeing all over our house. And we’re not big fans of pee.

One day during my daily search, I came across Rose (name from shelter). I was immediately drawn to her because she had similar coloring to Buddy. I included her in my daily cat-digest email to Liam, which always contained phrases like “Eeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!” or “kitttttttttttttttens!” or “please, please, please?” Surprisingly, Liam said we should go look at her. And even MORE surprisingly, I WAS the hesitant one.

“Shouldn’t we wait until after the cruise to adopt? We’re going to be gone for a week. What if…what if…what if…”

Liam just kept replying, “Doesn’t hurt to look.”

Wait, I just gotta ask. Are you sure you’re not pregnant?
Yes, I’m positive. No baby. Just a kitten.

Sigh…Ok…When did you get her?
Rose was up for adoption at the Pet Advantage via Franklin County Humane Society, and on Saturday we paid her a visit. Remember seeing my check-in on Foursquare, friends? It was for her—not to “give my pet the edge.” Muhaaahaaa. When we walked over to her cage, there was another couple checking her out. Our hearts sank. And then we noticed the woman’s GINORMOUS baby-bump. Yep, she was about to pop that child out any day and told us they were literally “just looking because we have this (circles around belly) to worry about first.” Mom, maybe THAT was the pregnancy you were sensing.

We went over to Rose’s cage and took a look at her. She was ADORABLE. Sandy in color, big ears, petite body, pink nose…basically the perfect cat recipe. An employee came over and asked if we wanted to open the cage. Umm, duh. She immediately came over to us, sniffed us, and then reached out for us like she wanted to be picked up! My heart broke a little when the employee said she was still recovering from her spay surgery and couldn’t be held…

Liam was especially smitten with her and kept saying, “She’s probably not going to be here when we get back from the cruise! I think we should just get her.” Even though I was still slightly apprehensive, I said OK, and we started the application process.

While I filled out paperwork, Liam chatted with the cashier. “She’s such a sweet cat,” the woman told us.

“Yeah, she seems like it.” Liam said back. “I think she’ll make a good companion for our other cat.”

“Oh absolutely,” the woman told us. “She loves to cuddle, too.”

AND THEN, YOU GUYS, SHE SAID SOMETHING THAT MADE ME KNOW IT WAS DESTINY:

“And the thing about her is that she loves to climb up on people’s shoulders!”

Liam and I turned to each other and gasped. “Our other cat Buddy used to do the same thing!” we told her.

Then Liam told her all about Buddy. He told her about how chatty Buddy was, how he loved to ride on people’s shoulders and cuddle, how he ate human food, even about his bent, crooked tail.

Then the woman said, “SHE has a crooked tail, too! You probably didn’t notice it when she was lying down.” We hadn’t, but it sort of sealed the deal.

So what, are you trying to just replace Buddy?!
Nope. Not possible. Buddy was one of a kind and there will never be another cat like him. We’re just both taking some comfort in knowing Rose has some of his crazy traits.

Ok, so that was Saturday. When did you bring her home?
Unfortunately for us, we sort of picked the absolute worst day to start the application process. The shelter was already closed by the time we saw her on Saturday, and they were also closed Sunday & Monday. So we had to wait until TUESDAY to even hear if were approved or not. It was during this time my conspiracy-denial theory started. Did I mention it was killing me to not talk about this with anyone?! Cause it was. they finally called today and said we were approved and we took her home tonight!!

I thought you guys were gonna get a dog? What happened to that plan?
We still plan to! Probably in the spring or summer. But for now we’re focusing on our favorite new leading lady. 🙂

2/1/12: Update on Buddy the Cat

First, I just want to say thank you to everyone who keeps asking about Buddy. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get an inquiry from a caring coworker, or a call from a family member about our little guy.  Just last week, my coworker from New Hampshire read on my Facebook page that we were trying to fatten Buddy up, and she brought up a bag of gourmet chicken for him. She told me she and her husband are routing for him and are happy to help.  I should probably add here that they have never met Buddy, and only know his story (and cute little munchkin face) through my posts. Lisa & Rob, thank you so much for not only the delicious food, but for your support. Same goes to everyone else out there.

Now on to the update…             

Buddy has been on his chemo medicine for about a month and we have noticed a huge improvement. He actually has energy again. He’s been playing with toys, going outside, and chasing after his brother (also stealing cheese, licking oil & vinegar off my plate, and chatting up a storm…). Basically, he’s the cat he used to be before cancer. Check out this video of him from earlier in the week:

Today we took Buddus to the vet for a follow up appointment. Knowing the nature of his lymphoma and the fact that it’s “multicentric” (that means wide-spread), we were remaining realistic instead of optimistic.

From feeling him, the vet said his lymph nodes were much smaller. She suggested we do an ultrasound to see just how much smaller. And honestly what they found was shocking:

The giant, cancerous mass in his chest is completely GONE! And the lymph nodes in his stomach are significantly smaller!

Everyone at the veterinary office was stunned, including the Dr. who delivered the results…The same Dr. who voluntarily came in four hours early to see Buddy and do his ultrasound.

How is this even possible after only one month of treatment? How can a mass as big as the one he had, which was cutting off his ability to even breathe, just vanish? Two words: chemo therapy, bitches. It’s a beautiful thing.

We’re certainly not out of the woods, yet. We’re still deeply buried in a forest of uncertainly and mystery (like that analogy?). But one thing is for sure: Buddy has never been a “normal” cat—so why should we expect anything different for his recovery?

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I don’t know what my fucking problem, but I’ve been the biggest klutz ever this week. I feel like a pre-pubescent boy who’s growing into his body too quickly.

Ok, granted, I’ve never been the most graceful individual. This summer’s stripper stage injury can attest to that (long story, don’t ask). But I’d like to think that since I’ve been living in this body for 27 years, I would finally have some fine motor skills…or at least the ability to walk in heels without biting it.

My cat Buddy has been doing this new thing where he jumps on your shoulder in order to get a ride into the next room (he’s also been licking cement, but that’s a story for another day). He literally hates when his paws make contact with the floor, and will now meow incessantly at you until you give him a lift. I’m convinced he’s playing that kid’s game “Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.” (Top prize: year’s supply of catnip!) Liam and I can’t figure out if he’s being OCD, or just plain lazy. Either way, he spends most of his time on our shoulders.


I should point out that sometimes Buddy jumps without warning. I’ll be at the counter chopping an onion, and BAM! Out of nowhere he’s lunging towards me. He still has his claws so it really hurts when you don’t have proper notice.  Guys, I’m not joking.

By the way, this is NOT Buddy but doesnt it look JUST like him? Think of that crow as me. Photo via http://www.rolfzoo.com

On Monday night he jumped without warning. I was walking by the closet and saw him out of the corner of my eye getting ready to pounce (cue the butt shake). Like a lion stalking his prey, he was crouched and his eyes were wide. “Buddy! Noooooo!” I yelled, fumbling backwards to avoid his razor sharp claws. The good news is he didn’t jump. The bad news is I rolled my ankle and fell directly into a door handle. Got a sweet bruise to prove it.

The accidents continued last night when my size 10 shoes knocked over the cat’s food and water dish. I spent 15 minutes cleaning up soggy “crunchies.” “Did you just not see the dish?” Liam asked, trying to understand how someone runs into a giant blue bowl of water in the corner of the room. “No, I saw it,” I said without explanation.

I think my favorite story though is from today.  Yep, it’s a real gem.  I’m standing in my coworkers’ cube, thanking her for the fresh mint she’s brought in for me, when she points to my skirt. “You’ve got a little something there. Um…Er….Not sure what it is…”

I look down. “Oh that?” THAT would be a large chunk of the cinnamon oatmeal I had for breakfast. Really?! Is this really what I’ve been reduced to? I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed by the fact that I missed my mouth when feeding myself, or the fact that I didn’t even NOTICE. Maybe I should rename this blog “Guacamole In My Hairbrush … and Quaker Oatmeal on my Skirt.”

For your listening enjoyment and to wrap this biatch up:  an oldie, but a goodie—Our Lady Peace: Clumsy.

Why The Vet Sucks

Buddy, the best cat ever

Most of you know the current saga of our cat Buddy and his health. For those of you who don’t, here’s a quick recap of our lives for the past 10 days:

Sunday: We notice Buddy is “can’t cough up a hairball” and is having a really hard time breathing.
Monday: We take him to Green Mountain Animal Hospital and it turns out he’s real sick. They do x-rays and find lots of fluid around his lungs. He’s breathing at 25% of his capacity. He needs an ultrasound, which they don’t provide.
Tuesday: We take him to Burlington Emergency Veterinary Services (BEVS). They do an ultrasound. They find masses in his stomach and chest. They drain the fluid and send it off to be tested.
Wednesday:  GMAH calls us to tell us they are pretty sure he has FIP, a deadly feline disease, or lymphoma.
Thursday: We call BEVS for test results. Nothing.
Friday: BEVS calls our vet, and they call us (at the bowling alley) and say it’s not FIP, and they’re pretty sure it’s not lymphoma either. They say to come back in on Wednesday.
Saturday-Tuesday: Buddy’s breathing slowly gets worse and we await our next appointment at GMAH for him to get drained again.

Today we took Buddy to his highly-anticipated follow up appointment. We were told by our vet on Friday that they should “definitely” be able to get some of the fluid out of his cavity, that another ultrasound is not needed, and that in general, this should be a pretty “routine” follow-up appointment. We were pretty psyched to hear all of this, because, well, Buddy thinks we’re trying to torture him. I’d probably have the same reaction if some chick in a white lab coat stuck a giant needle in between my ribs to drain fluid. But, clearly, since I’m writing a freakin’ blog post about this whole ordeal, it was NOT a routine follow-up appointment.

First of all, the fucking weather ruined everything. We were supposed to take him in at 2PM so he could see the vet we’ve been working with. Fearing this highly publicized snowstorm would trounce our ability to get there, we ask if he can be seen earlier. “Come on in. We’re wide open.” Perfect!

Well, not exactly. Our regular vet is in surgery and we’ll have to see a different doctor. Sounds ok to us. I mean the guy is a doctor, right. What could possibly go wrong?

We talk to the new doctor for a while about how Buddy’s been doing the past couple of days. We explain his breathing has gotten worse, and that the other vet suggested we come back in today for him to be re-drained.

“Well, we could drain him today, but I have some concerns.”

Concerns? What concerns? The other vet made it seem like it would be a walk in the park.

“When fluid develops in the lung cavity, it sometimes accumulates into small pockets. These pockets can be throughout the chest and without an ultrasound, there’s no way of knowing if you’re tapping into them or not. It’s kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

“Oh,” we say. Confused. These “pockets” were clearly new to us.

“So…what you might want to do is actually go back to BEVS. They can do another ultrasound (at the tune of $300) and really see what they’re getting. And I bet because of this weather, they have a bunch of openings. Would you like me to call them for you?”

“Uhhhh….I dunno…” we say. “Does this mean that you can’t drain any of the fluid?”

Hi! I'm your new vet and I don't know dick.

“Well, no. I mean I could. But I just might not get a lot of it out. It might be for naught.”

“Uh-huh. So you are suggesting we go back to the other vet.”

“It’s up to you guys. I know how expensive another ultrasound is and if you don’t want to pay it I don’t blame you.”

“It’s not about the money,” I say. “Buddy hates being in his carrier, traveling in the car, and especially coming to the vet. Today has already been dramatic for him (this is where I’d like to point out the need for a cat thermometer that doesn’t need to be shoved up an animal’s ass). I just don’t know about bringing him somewhere else.”

“Right. I understand. Listen, you basically have two options. I’m offering you the Gold package, but you can certainly take the Silver if that’s what you want to do.”

Annnd, I think this is the point where I lost it.

“I am just so frustrated,” I say, throwing up my hands. “The other vet specifically told us we did NOT need another ultrasound. She didn’t mention anything about these ‘pockets’,” I say, using big hand quotes, as if they were made up.

“I can assure you Dr. L. is a very capable Doctor. She’s the best of the best. She graduated from Cornell.”

Like.I.fucking.care.

“Well yeah, I mean I’m sure she’s a great doctor. However, we’ve sort of been waiting ALL WEEK to come back here. Had we known that it actually would be more beneficial to take him to BEVS instead, THAT’S what we would have done. On Monday. When his breathing started getting back again.”

“I can drain him if you want. It’s not a big deal. I’m just telling you I may not get it all.” Oh so now you CAN do it.

Turning to Liam I say, “I think we should just have him to do. I mean, we’re already here. This freakin’ visit alone has already cost us $100. We might as well see if he can get something out.”

“Yeah…” Liam says, unsure. He asks the vet a lot of questions, questions that he’s spent many nights researching. He throws out drugs he’s read about on the internet. I ask about a diuretic. We search for any sort of answers.

The vet mostly shakes his head and says, “Ehh…those could work if he had X disease…” and since they can’t be sure what he has, he doesn’t want to give Buddy any medicine yet.  We finally agree to have him drain Buddy.

“Ok, so I wouldn’t normally ask patients this, but given Buddy’s breathing and his condition…there’s a chance he could code when we’re draining the fluid. I really don’t think that’s going to happen, but it could. Do you want us to resuscitate him if need be?”

Without even flinching I blurt out, “YES.”

“The reason I ask is because we can’t see what we’re doing, and well, we could puncture his heart and send him into cardiac arrest.”

“?!?!”

“Also, resuscitation is super expensive. It really starts adding up. We give him this drug, and that drug, and do X,Y, and Z, and it can get pricy.”

“Like how pricy?”

“Couple hundred dollars, easy.”

“Well I don’t want him to die!”

“Yeah, the other thing is…even if we do resuscitate him, his chances of ever leaving the hospital are slim. Of the animals that are resuscitated and survive, only 5% EVER go home.”

Well Jesus Fucking Christ. This just keeps getting better. Not only is our cat very sick and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with him, he may now DIE during a procedure the other vet called “routine.” I was really starting to question why we ever brought Buddy to them in the first place.

Liam and I were bewildered. We didn’t know what to do or say. We had no idea we’d be deciding on a DNR for our 4 year-old-cat.

“Oh my God. Ok. Well. God. I just really don’t know.”

“You have to think about his quality of life, too,” the vet says, trying to help. But it doesn’t help. “If we do resuscitate him, he could just go back into cardiac arrest within an hour. I know it’s a hard decision.”

In the end we can’t make up our minds. The vet agrees to let us go sit in the waiting room, and he’ll “come out and talk to us” if need be. We kiss Buddy good-bye, certain this is the last time we’ll ever see our cat alive, and make our way to the waiting room benches.

After 30 minutes of uncertainty, and hearing the vet over-head page “assistance to surgery!”, the doctor and a side-shaven Buddy emerge, both perfectly fine.

“Well he did great. I was actually able to get quite a bit of fluid from his lungs. A quart of a liter. Or about a cup,” the vet tells us.

“!!!”

“Wow. That’s great. We’re so glad to see him and that everything went fine.”

“Yeah! He was great,” the vet says.

Seriously. Am I on some sort of sick Candid Camera episode. This dude had us convinced Buddy was going to die, that we were doing the wrong thing by getting him drained, and in general made us feel like the shittiest human beings ever. And now he’s hanging out in this waiting room acting like life is grand, and he and Buddy are tight.

The vet is going to send the fluid he obtained off to be re-analyzed. We should hear back in a few days about the results. No matter what the tests reveal, I do know one thing: It’s time for a different vet. No one should go through the drama we went through today.