Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beauty - 2/28/13

On the back of my calendar page:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Mourning run - 14 miles!

This weekend's long run was a real mixed bag.

I was supposed to do 14 miles - my very first attempt to pass the half-marathon distance. We decided to run Saturday on a Washington trail and then have lunch with Brad's folks. I was nervous but psyched for it.

But with all the cat drama Friday night and Saturday, I was a complete wreck and in no shape to run at all.

Because I have just a few weeks until my marathon, I knew I couldn't skip my run. And I knew Linus would want me to get out and get it done. He was always very supportive of my workouts :)

So we planned to go out Sunday after church and hit the Fanno Creek trail in Tigard and Beaverton. It's 6 miles from our house to the turnaround at Denney Road. I figured I would do that and then add a couple miles at the end for a grand total of 14.

No problem. Yeah, right!

I started out fine, but that feeling lasted only until about mile 5. Then I totally tanked.

I have to say that was the hardest run I've done in a really long time. I walked way more than I planned to and struggled just to keep going and finish. It was slow and painful.

But, I finished! My longest run ever - and new PDR! (personal distance record)

I give myself a full pass on this one. My sleep has been wonky since starting this new tummy med. I was completely dehydrated from crying all day Saturday, and I was mentally and physically exhausted. I hardly ate anything Saturday, and I was definitely depleted. Plus, I raced a killer half marathon just two weeks before, and I could still feel it in my legs.

Because of all those outside factors, I am actually really proud of myself.

14.0 miles in 2:30:19 - a 10:44 average:
Man, I was shot afterward! I went straight for the cold tub - and it felt amazing.
My legs recovered quickly, and my blisters healed over. I think that ice bath really helped.

It was hard to celebrate - we weren't really in the mood. But we did meet Brad's parents at Native Foods Cafe for some yummy dinner. And lots and lots and lots of water! I was really dehydrated.

Here's hoping this week's run is much better :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Remembering Linus

Some of you don't understand why I'm so upset by the death of my kitty. That's OK - your life/pet experiences have no doubt been different from mine. But some of you really get it, and for that I am truly thankful. Thank you to all who have shared memories, hugs (virtual and real), tears and prayers.

I just want to talk about my kitty for a few minutes. Indulge me if you will. Or click away. It's your call :)
About two years into our marriage (January 2000), Brad and I moved from an apartment into our house in Tigard. Being life-long cat lovers, we decided it was time to cash in on our wedding gift from my sister and go to the Oregon Humane Society to pick out a couple companions.

We brought home Piper and Linus. Piper was an all-black homebody who loved to sleep on our bed. He was very affectionate, but you'd have to watch close when you pet him, because when he was done, he was done. :)

When we first spotted Linus in the shelter, the giant cat (near 20 pounds!) was curled up in his litter box. Just hanging out. We adopted him anyway and frequently referred to that lovely scene.

We were a happy family of four until August 2004 when an undiagnosed heart defect took Piper. It was very sudden (he was fine in the morning and had to be put down before lunch), and our hearts broke for our beloved Peeper (that was his nickname).

We adjusted to being a family of three, and everything was good. Well, mostly good.

There was an incident with the neighbors. Linus beat up their cat. They threatened to kidnap and kill him. We called the cops. We all went to mediation. The neighbors said they would move in order to get away from our "20 pounds of mean male cat". The housing market tanked. They still live next door. Linus lived inside for the rest of his life. We still give them the stink eye ;)

And then there was the pee. For some reason, Linus felt compelled to pee on plastic and plastic-like things. Plastic bags, buckets, tarps, ski pants, puffy jackets, reusable grocery bags, nylon gym bags. And also beanbags, floor pillows, hiking clothes and running shoes. Oh, and in the later years, Christmas trees.

I bought Nature's Miracle Just for Cats Urine Destroyer by the gallon.

But that was his major downfall. Seriously. The rest of the time, he was just a very, very sweet, kind, lovey cat.
Linus was incredibly affectionate, especially when he was younger. He always wanted to be touched and pet and snuggled. He would run from person to person and beg for love, meowing the whole time. He would roll onto his back, hoping for a belly rub. This behavior gained him all kinds of mildly inappropriate nicknames like Horny McFuzzy Butt.

Linus loved to laze around, sleeping in the most cozy spots. I frequently told him how impressed (and jealous) I was at his ability to find what looked like the perfect napping place.

Linus loved to play, but only on his own terms. He enjoyed ripping the facial features off his little toys, especially the catnip-filled ones. And he liked to attack his prey under the kitchen table, noisily jumping around, under and over the table and chair legs.  (And then he would snuggle with them!)
Linus really just wanted to be with us, even more so as he aged. Wherever we were, there he was. He curled up on the couch behind us when we watched movies. He sat on my lap when I read in my chair. When we were outside on the deck, he'd sit at the slider and meow. When we were in bed, he'd lay on our chests, getting as close as possible to our faces. He loved to rub on Brad's beard. In the mornings, he'd get up and sit with me while I ate breakfast. 

He used to spend his nights in the garage, but we softened as the years went by, and he eventually got to stay inside. That meant sleeping on the bed. And that turned into sleeping on my pillow. I finally gave up after he tried to push me off my own pillow and made a special place for him at the top of the bed and then put my pillow below. My feet hit the bottom of the bed, but that was OK with me.
He was fun and mischievous and silly.

He loved his scratchy boxes and his magic carpet.
He refused to drink out of a bowl, always choosing instead to climb headfirst into the toilet when he needed a drink.
He was always up for a post-work nap.
When Brad was away, he'd sleep next to me and protect me from the bad guys.

He was a very handsome boy and loved to be brushed.
We put up a baby gate in the hall to confine him to half of the house. We called it "Kitty Jail" and frequently reminded him that it was his actions (peeing) that caused him to live there.

Brad gave him a thyroid pill twice a day. Every day. We paid Eryn to do it when we were out of town. Surprisingly, Linus didn't seem to mind at all.

We had to buy a dog carrier because he was too big for the cat-sized one:

We had signals to let each other know if the cat was locked in the house and it was safe to open the garage door.
Despite the cat's full access to the garage, we've had mice. In the first outbreak, the rodents were actually stealing Linus's food and hiding it around the garage.

He wouldn't squeeze through a door that was ajar but insisted on first pushing it all the way open with his paws and then walking through the opening.

He would sometimes get a wild hair and gallop through the house at top speed.

In the last weeks of his life, he refused to eat anything except cat treats and the gravy from canned food. And though his mobility was fine, he insisted that we bring it to him in his bed (and by "his bed", I mean, my pillow).

Linus was a very good buddy, always there when we needed some cheer or someone to talk to. I spoke with him all the time, sharing my news from the day, telling him what I was up to, sharing both my struggles and my triumphs.

The last weeks...

We had noticed Linus slowing down. He was about 3 when we adopted him and that was 13 years ago. And 16 translates to about 87 in cat years! He was definitely getting less active, but he was still himself. The vet always said he was in great health considering his age.
But shortly after the beginning of the year, we noticed a baseball-sized growth in his right hind leg. The vet warned that it could be cancer and then ran numerous tests. He called with good news: It was likely just an infection. But it didn't shrink with antibiotics. In fact, it got bigger. Much bigger.

We went for a second opinion, all the way to Vancouver to a cat-only vet who's been friends with Brad's family forever. She gave us the bad news: It was likely feline fibrosarcoma. She suggested that he might live just another couple weeks.
For those last weeks, Linus lived like a king. We gave him so much attention and love and treats and toys and everything we could to ensure that he was happy and comfortable. We planned family movie nights just so we could all hang out together. I spent extra time reading in my chair so Linus could come sit with me. We stayed home on the weekends to make sure we were with him until the end. 
In the next four weeks, the tumor grew to be the size of a large grapefruit. But Linus was still happy and comfortable, hobbling around like nothing was different.

This past Friday night, Linus was suddenly scared and in pain. Thankfully, the vet sent us home with heavy-duty pain killers to get him through. We gave him a dose to calm him, and then Saturday morning, we said goodbye. 

I miss him so much.

Now that he's gone, it's astounding to realize how many ways he affected our daily life for the past 13 years. His constant presence is very much missed. Each time I walk into our bedroom, my eyes are drawn to his special spot, where I've come home to find him sleeping for many years.
My heart hurts in his absence. And it's so lonely at home. And very quiet.

Linus was my sweet boy, my baby. He loved us, and we loved him. We are better for having him in our lives, and I think his life was better with us.

Thank you, friends, for all your support through this hard time.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Beauty - 2/24/13

I don't have a nifty photo, but today's beauty was found in my friends in the NFC handbell choir. I felt so loved and so supported. It was great to be surrounded by people who understood the sadness of losing a pet.

Thank you, friends :)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Beauty - 2/23/13

13 beautiful years. Rest in peace, my sweet boy.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Beauty - 2/22/13

Three friends received great news:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Last weekend Brad and I explored some new-to-us trails in our area: Cooper Mountain Nature Park.
It's close by in Beaverton, just about 15 minutes from our Tigard house. I'd love to bike there, but some HUGE hills stand between us. 

High clouds hung above us, but the view was still beautiful:
Checking out the rose hips:
Being on the side of a mountain, the trails all start off downhill - fairly steeply. And that means some good uphills on the way back. We did the big outside loop with a little loop at the bottom. In all, I think it was about 2.5 miles. We thought about it as a new running spot, but I think the steepness is a bit much for me.

The trails we went on were covered in tiny gravel and regular gravel. The trees and shrubs were naked for the winter, but I can just imagine how lush parts are during the summer. I can't wait to come back and see the other seasons.
Our favorite part?

I know there are lots of good dog lovers out there. But I am so tired of sharing the trail with rude owners who cannot control their pets. This was awesome :)

Check out Cooper Mountain Nature Park! :)

Beauty - 2/21/13

Changing of the guard:

A zeroed-out transcript - three CE2 grads today!!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sleepy run

In my ongoing quest to solve my tummy woes, my doctor put me on a new prescription yesterday. He warned that it could make me sleepy so I should take it at bedtime. The pharmacist then suggested that I not plan any big presentations at work the next morning until I saw how my body reacted. WOOHOO!

Having no plans for the evening besides watching Modern Family, I took my first dose at 8 p.m. and then crawled into bed. I eventually drifted off to sleep, but when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. for my morning run, there was NO WAY I was getting out of bed. Good thing it was just a run and not a presentation ;)

I eventually got up and was 45 minutes late to work. I was SO sleepy. I felt like I'd stayed up all night - you know, that kinda hungover feeling. I was groggy and grouchy. And patience is really necessary in my job. Oops.

I finally starting feeling normal around 1:30 p.m. Holy crap! I sure hope my body adjusts to that, or I won't be staying on those pills regardless of how my tummy feels!
ANYWAY... finally awake, I hit the treadmill after work for a short run with a 1-minute walk in the middle. 3.6 miles:
Now I must make dinner and take another pill. I'm part of a group putting on a staff breakfast at work tomorrow, so I have to get up no matter what. This could be interesting ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beauty - 2/20/13

Breakfast with my kitty:
Our very talented IT guy bailed me out:
Cancellation = unexpected same-day appointment:
Stormy sky:

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

No-TV Tuesday: No. 12

Well, that was a quick read!
I started Dear John by Nicholas Sparks Monday and finished it just in time for bedtime Tuesday. All 300+ pages. A love story and not my usual murder mystery, but still good. It was another of the romances Eryn used in her Valentine's Day display at school.

I'd better go check out another one :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beauty - 2/19/13

Another gorgeous sunrise:
Generous donations for students having babies:
(PS - If you have any used baby gear that needs a new home, I'll take it! And it's tax deductible!)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1:17 NIV

Sure feeling like spring

Man, did I luck out on the weather again today!

I thought it was going to be cold and wet, but when I stepped out for my post-work run, this is what it looked like:
It was a little breezy, but once I warmed up, it was nice and toasty. Even took off my jacket.

Training called for running 20 minutes, walking 1, running 20. No problem!
Actually, it was a little painful until my muscles remembered what they were doing. We did a short, hilly hike Sunday in FiveFingers, and I have some muscle soreness in strange places. But I finished strong. 4.37 miles at a 9:41 average: