"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Friday, December 26, 2014

Year End Meme

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
I competed in endurance!

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?
I'm doing a separate goals review post, but I didn't really keep any of my goals for myself. However, the ones I set for Lily were far, far exceeded: my original plan for 2014 was to do one LD on Lily and instead we did two 50's.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. Charles's best friends had their first children. This was kind of epic in different ways: Victor is the one other person outside of family that he's known the longest. (I'm the other person Charles has known the longest.) We thought for a long time that he'd never really settle down...until he met the woman he married. He fell HARD, hell-over-heels in love with her, and it's been really awesome to see him posting pics of himself and his wife all over FB for the last couple of years. He'd never done that before. He's a proud and dedicated daddy: his FB is now full of pics of both his wife and his son.  The other friend, Will, was also sweet to watch: he used to be a crazy party animal in his heyday and Charles's companion when they hung out in the Puerto Rican and later Floridian rave scenes when they lived in Orlando. Will met the woman of his dreams a few years ago and never looked back. He is madly in love with his wife, and they also welcomed their firstborn, a daughter, into the world this year. Will's photos of his little girl are truly heart-warming, and it's obvious that his little one is all he thinks about! Coming from a situation where my dad abandoned the family, it's wonderful to see two men so dedicated to their families. There is something to be said about Puerto Rican men ;) but also about the loving women that have brought out the best in them.

4. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 
A horse trailer of our own. And to live closer to the barn. In FL we lived THREE MILES from the barn. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome that was. While the current 10-mile, 30-minute drive is way less than what other bloggers drive, it makes it harder to make it to the barn every day when you have a weird work schedule. I'd love to live closer.

5. Did anyone close to you die?

6. What countries did you visit?
All of our travelling was within the US.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
June 14. The first time Lily and I rode and completed 50 miles, over the most difficult trail of the East Coast.

8. What was your biggest achievement of 2014? 
Turning Lily into an endurance horse. Sorry, this year really did revolve around endurance. It was all I prepared for and thought about when I wasn't physically at work.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I was never able to get my act together to even start compiling the case studies to do my veterinary technician specialty in Emergency and Critical Care. I was SO burned out at work this year that the last thing I wanted to do was have to think about work when I wasn't actually working. Thankfully the burnout disappeared when we were switched back to three 12-hour shifts a week.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Bronchitis and a concussion.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
I was so excited when we bought Gracie. So much hope and happiness revolving around bringing her into our lives. After the concussion I feel like I've had to start all over with her, like I had to delete everything I thought I knew about her and just get to know her from scratch. I didn't include her in the Shining Star post because I've had to change my expectations of her so much this year, I honestly don't know what I'm proud of her for. I'm currently happy with her, but it's been a roller coaster where she is concerned. I originally wanted her to be the backup endurance horse. At one point I thought she just might be my potential 100-miler horse...until her arthritis diagnosis. So I thought maybe we could do LDs with her...and then she started falling at Kathy's shortly after the move. And then she caused my concussion, and for a long time I was up in the air about whether I'd have to put her down, retire her or sell her, and whether I wanted to keep her even if she was normal neurologically. We weren't able to find anything physically wrong with her and she's been doing well so far which bodes well for her future with us, but I still work around her with the same kind of emotional detachment I use for working with other people's horses.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Charles's. He is the best husband and partner, and is always game to participate in any and all adventures I come up with. Even the one that includes a second horse.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Gracie's when she knocked me over in the field. It literally made me appalled and depressed, though it's not her fault.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?
Lola. Though "hate" is a pretty strong term for it. I just dislike her. I'm still confused about what happened there. She was my first friend in Maryland and I heavily advertised her blog on mine when she complained that she didn't have followers. We commiserated over our problem horses back at the first MD barn. However, when I started making big progress with Lily's training at the second barn we boarded at together, instead of celebrating with me, she stopped talking to me. She wins the award for simultaneously creating both blog and barn drama in one fell swoop this year when she tried to get both Liz and I in trouble with my BO by using our blogs as a weapon. Thankfully the issue had already been discussed with the BO prior to the writing of the blog posts, and we had written nothing that we wouldn't want the BO to read. What really got to me about the whole thing was the intent: the woman had previously called herself my friend. Instead of bringing her supposed concerns directly to me, she just went straight to the BO to discuss an issue that had nothing to do with Lola herself. I had to laugh when afterwards Lola defriended me on Facebook. I really don't understand people.

15. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and Charles's student loans. The amounts are just about equal at this moment.

Both our "daughter" and our turnkey.

16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Riding at the Old Dominion endurance ride.

17. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Shut up. ;) So what if the song talks about getting so drunk you don't remember anything. Setting the lyrics aside, I actually really like this song for the following reasons:
a) it's Pitbull and Ke$ha (I have my reasons: Ke$ha's song Tik Tok got me through many an overnight back when I first started in vet med and Pitbull was so overplayed in South FL that his voice still reminds me of the good times living down there)
b) it's the perfect combination of country and dance music
c) Pitbull's setting in the video (it's Major Big Cay in Exuma, the Bahamas. Also known as Pig Island. If you watch the video, you'll see why)
d) it was played so much on the radio in early 2014 that it will forever make me think of galloping Lily across snow-covered fields. It was usually playing in my head during those moments.

And Rude:

I love this song. I love the reggae rhythm and how both soothing and uplifting it is. It was my favorite song of this summer and it played so many times on my Pandora while doing speedwork with Lily on the barn's fields that it will always remind me of cantering her around the brilliant green grass under the blazing sun.

So basically where Timber left off, Rude picked up on the radio. My two songs of 2014. :)

18. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder? Sadder
b) Thinner or fatter? Fatter. Holiday food + not being able to work out or ride.
c) Richer or poorer? Poorer

19. What do you wish you'd done more of? 
Trail running. I wanted to run a couple of trail races. I would have liked for us to have travelled more, even if just locally, and just been able to have more fun together, Charles and I. We have several things on the bucket list for this area still: to visit the Sugarloaf Mountain vineyards, go walking through more of the museums in DC (I've only been to the MOMA and the Museum of Natural History), to go to any of the local farms where you can pick your own fruits and veggies and actually pick our own fruit, to spend a night on the town in DC with friends (any volunteers??), and so many more. We love this area, the entire DC/MD/VA area, and when you add in all the stuff I still want to do involving horses, we really could just live here for the rest of our lives and still always have something new to do. Unlike when we lived in South FL, you can actually go out and have a good time without having to spend a ton of money.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worry. Worry about health both Charles's and mine, worry about money, worry about the horses, worry about my job, worry about the cats. There's been a lot of worry this year.

I was told this sweet girl whom I adore might have cancer. Thankfully she proved the doctors wrong. 

21. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it working in the veterinary ER and didn't get to see Charles. Lots of sick animals in the morning on that day, way too many dogs that ate chocolate which, having owned multiple dogs for the first 25 years of my life where we baked every single Christmas, I still find it kind of surprising when people are unable to keep the dogs out of the chocolate baking stuff.

I can understand with a large counter-surfing dog (though why not lock it out of the kitchen while you bake then?), but a little one? And granted, then there are dogs like this one.

We had two euthanasias amid the emergencies; I kept a very, very critical dog stable and helped her blood pressure go up by keeping my doctor informed of her condition every 15 minutes so her therapies could be tweaked constantly (stabilizing critical animals is an art); we had a couple of general practice-type "emergencies" where the owners brought their pets in simply because their regular vet was closed for the day. By early afternoon, the ER slowed down and we were able to enjoy the awesome Boston Market lunch that the hospital had had catered for us:

Charles's human ER was insane. He said it was so full when he walked in on Christmas Day that it was like all of the little kids had asked Santa for a hospital stay over the holidays. :/

So Charles and I finally opened presents today instead.

Charles had all of the presents under the tree and the tree lit up on the 23rd when I got home from work.  He was off that day so he made an amazing Christmas dinner so we could have it together in advance. (Both of us worked the 24th and the 25th.)
We bought a real wreath and hung it above the fake tree in the hopes that it would give the house that lovely pine tree smell. It didn't work, but it looks pretty all the same. If unusual. Haha...

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I celebrated 10 years of being in love with the man of my life, Charles.

23. Did your heart break in 2014?

24. How many one night stands?
None. Durh.

25. What was your favorite TV program?
Orange is the New Black. I think we discovered it this year?

26. Where were you when 2014 began?
I was at work. I had just been switched from working weekend days to working the mid-shift during the week, and I was still feeling my way around my main coworker, who was known in the hospital for having a rather challenging personality. I was actually walking down the hallway to transfer one of our patients from the emergency room to our Intermediate Care Ward right when the clock hit midnight. The patient was a small fluffy dog but I don't remember what was wrong with it. So since I was in the hallway when New Year's started, I missed the wishes of "Happy New Year" both in the ER and in the Ward. I was already upset over not being able to be with Charles (they made him work ALL THREE HOLIDAYS at his job last year. RNs don't always get to choose their holidays off. I had chosen to work rather than spend it alone at home) and so I was even more upset that no one wished me a happy New Year. I walked back into the ER livid and when no one still said anything, snapped, "Well happy New Year to you guys too." They were surprised that I was angry and when I explained, everyone went out of their way to make it better and I ended up laughing that I'd been so silly about the whole thing.

27. Who were you with?
Jon, Moira and Joana.

28. Where will you be when 2014 ends?
We don't know yet, but at least we'll be together this time!

29. Who will you be with when 2015 starts?
With Charles!

30. What was the best book you read?
Falling for Eli by Nancy Shulins.

31. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Reggae Christmas music. Charles hates Christmas music and I love Christmas music. We both love reggae. One of his coworkers was playing this last week at work and Charles returned home very excited about it. So now I finally get to listen to as much Christmas music as I want around the holidays and Charles doesn't mind because it's basically reggae. We have reached an agreement. ;)

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think this is seriously awesome!

32. What did you want and get?
A second horse that was gaited.

A truck that could tow a horse trailer.

To do endurance.

To get to ride again with Charles.

33. What did you want and not get?
A bike maybe. As in, a mountain bike. But having the second horse made this kind of a moot point. I actually got every single thing that I wanted this year.

34. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I worked. Everyone at work was lovely as always, stopping by the ER out of the blue to wish me a happy birthday and just making me feel loved, and my supervisor brought me cake from Wegman's. (If you live in Maryland, you might know about Wegman's bakery. If you don't, you should try it...ALL of their cakes are amazing!) And Charles was at home laid up after his knee injury that happened while riding Gracie (I sound like someone in an abusive relationship defending the spouse that beats her up, but this was a classic green rider + green horse moment. And don't think I haven't beat myself up about that one too, because I have. That one was my fault too on many levels for taking way too many things for granted when I okayed Charles's wishes of riding Gracie.) He was still having a hard time getting around, but he still got up and drove to the mall to get me Lilly Magilly's cupcakes as a surprise, which I honestly didn't feel like I deserved. I turned 35. I was off the following day and we were originally going to go for a long trail ride, but obviously Charles couldn't so I ended up riding Lily and longing Gracie which given the circumstances was good enough. I know we went out to dinner but I can't remember which restaurant it was: we tried out a few new ones in the area around that time.

34. What was your favorite film of this year?
We didn't go to the movie theater a single time this year. Of the movies I watched on video, my favorite was The Lone Ranger.

36. How many different states did you travel to in 2014?
Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia.

The road trip to Atlanta, GA with Liz was one of the highlights of the year for me.

37. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Endurance clothes (bright shirts and riding tights) or scrubs most of the time.

38. What kept you sane? 
Charles, Lily, Liz and Karen.

Karen, I hope one day we can have the real you in the photo with us!

39. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

40. Whom did you miss? 
My mom. She was supposed to visit this fall but they had to do some repairs to their house. And Diana, who was supposed to visit in May and has yet to reschedule her trip.
With my mom on the Metro when she visited last summer.

With Diana when we visited FL last November.

41. How many concerts did you see in 2014?

42. Who were the best new people you met?

Endurance Trifecta hand sign!

And Gail!
Walking in with her and Nimo at the Fort Valley LD

43. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
I want to come up with something brilliant, but I don't have anything. I started my year-end review and became depressed when I realized how bright 2014 had started and how dark it became. I'm very lucky and grateful for what I have, don't get me wrong, but I hate the fact that sometimes no matter how positive you are, how good you are, and how you try to look on the bright side of things, bad things can still happen. I am reminded of this constantly at work too when really good people bring their really wonderful pets in for stuff that ends up causing their early or drawn-out demise. You will understand how all of this ties in together when I publish the official year-end review.

When the whole concussion thing happened, I was told to "be extra paranoid." You know what? I struggle with that every single day. I have a tendency to be negative. The blog has been a huge help in helping me see things in a positive light, because no one wants to read a bummer blog. I have some anxiety issues that I cope with silently. I can tell you all the million things that can go wrong with every single scenario you can think of. Me getting on my horse and riding out into the unknown alone day after day is (I refuse to say "was") a HUGE thing for me. I have a brother that succumbed to his paranoia and he hasn't set foot outside of his house in over a year. The comment about being extra paranoid really hit a nerve and was extremely upsetting. To be extra paranoid is to not live. It was hard to leave the apartment on the fourth day after my injury. When your head isn't right and you can't balance any little thing can throw you off. Can make you fall. Can make your injury worse. I was hyper-aware of this. Even driving down the street to go to work 3 miles away, I was terrified of being hit by another car because it would mean ending up in the hospital for sure with a worsened head injury. But I had to leave the apartment. I had to work. I only get 2 sick days a year and 4 days of vacation. I didn't get disability at the time. And I don't have a desk job: I work 12 hours a day on my feet, constantly squatting, kneeling, bending, lifting, walking, running. All things that made my head spin after the concussion. My veterinary ER is a busy one. It is very hard to run down a long hallway while carrying a dying 90 lb dog when you can't even walk straight. It is hard to do chest compressions when your head feels like it wants to fall off of your neck. But I left the house and I did it. My coworkers are amazing people and they helped me out as much as they could those god-awful first few weeks. My second day back on the job, a full week after I hit my head, I was holding the hind legs of a fractious 60 lb Shepherd who was lying on her back for an ultrasound. The dog started kicking hard with her hind legs, so hard I couldn't get her to stop, shaking me so much that I was nauseous for hours afterwards.

I can't even tell you how hard it was to go to the barn. Just driving there and walking around and getting the horses and putting the longing gear on them and just working them was a huge mental ordeal. There's a reason why I was taking Charles with me even though we weren't riding. The physical and mental aspect of doing anything was exhausting, and the exhaustion led to only more dizziness for a really, really long time. It was like I could never escape the effects of the injury no matter what I did during the day: Every waking hour, I was constantly reminded of all of the levels of my own stupidity, from buying the horse that caused the injury, to deciding to remove her sheet while she was trying to get away from me, to choosing to stand in the way instead of closing the pasture gate. If only if only if only. Can you say mental hole?

It's been an awfully long and rather terrifying struggle to get better from my brain injury, both mentally and physically, and I'm still not completely over the hump. It's been over 6 weeks since the accident.

So maybe that's it. That's what 2014 taught me, which is a reinforcement of what I learned in 2013: I refuse to live my life in fear. Fuck the fear. 

44. What are your plans for 2015?
To survive it. To still have in my life Charles, the cats, Lily, our vehicles, an apartment, our health and our jobs by the end of it. Charles and I have been dreading 2015 for the last 3 years. It marks the start of a new era for us, and how we make things work in 2015 will set the trend for the next 17 years of our lives.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but a lot of things have to fall into place before then.


  1. In the past, I have let fear keep me from what I've wanted to do as well - mostly the nearly paralyzing fear of failure. No more! I hope you and Charles will have an amazing 2015 - you deserve it after all of the lows of this year.

  2. Here's to a wonderful, worry-free new year. You had so many ups and downs this year, and my heart breaks for you as you struggle with Gracie's future. I love your lesson for the year. Fear was something I never struggled with until my accident, and now it rears its ugly head all too often. My saying is, "Sometimes you fall off and you're fine. Sometimes you fall off and you die. It's not a reason to stop riding." Looking forward to reading along on your journey in this upcoming year, and hoping to see you in person at least a couple times as it unfolds *hugs*

    1. I love your saying, and it's very true. You have no idea how much I admired you for picking up pretty much where you left off after you recovered from your accident. You have always been an inspiration to me. I too hope we get to hang out (and ride!!) together more in 2015! *hugs*

  3. Go into 2015 with excitement. The best thing about life is that you can do whatever you want with it. Make wise choices, but remember to have fun and enjoy what you are doing.

  4. 2015 is going to be a magical year. So many things are falling into place for you, that I can only see good coming from it. I'm glad I have played a part in making your year better, because you've been an important part of mine.

    1. So mote it be! Your presence throughout this year made it so much better. I still find it hard to believe that we haven't met in person yet! It feels like you've been my friend for forever.

  5. #17 rings true with me, I freakin love Timber.

    2015 is going to be a great year - fuck the fear. We are here to cheer you on :)

    1. KateRose your comment made me grin from ear to ear. :D Thank you! *hug*

  6. The Lola thing made me LOL really hard. Tehehe.

    Cheers to a bigger and better 2015. More trails. More miles. More laughter. Dom and I will have to come visit you two in your new place and all go on a big ride together <3

  7. That last one is ominous.... I hope 2015 is amazing and that nothing bad happens. I'm sorry you're still dealing with the concussion. I don't think I realized your anxiety is that bad... I have the same problem so I totally relate. I'm hoping 2015 is when all of us can finally beat our anxiety because it really sucks to live with it. Oh and I hope you get some dang holidays and your birthday off for 2015. Sheesh you work a lot. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you!

    P.S. Where did you find this meme? Could I borrow it for my blog?

    1. Achieve, thank you for always being so kind and encouraging in your comments! <3 Your words always make a difference.

      I stole the meme from Dom's blog. :) Not sure where she found it, but of course you can use it on your blog! :D