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Kauai and Beyond: The last half of 2019 and what 2020 is looking like

Thursday, January 16, 2020

So clearly it’s been a while since I’ve been active on SP or created a blog post. That’s okay! I’ve been keeping up doing a decent job with my activity overall, and flat-out killing it every now and then!

The ultimate was our trip to Kauai. OMG! The hiking was intense and I’m so glad I got really prepared for it. Our most epic hike was along part of the Kalalau Trail, then turning off to hike up to a HUUUUUGE waterfall. The trails were muddy, treacherous and steep. There were multiple water crossings, cliff-edge trails, bamboo forests, and ripe, sweet and incredibly fragrant guavas falling from the trees. (which I blissfully snacked upon!) That was really the highlight of my year and the peak of my physical fitness for 2019.

The latter half of 2019 was kind of awful. Everything in/on our house broke pretty much at once: hot water heater, HVAC, roof had hail damage, etc. So the AC went out when it was 100+ degrees here in Texas, and there was a leak underneath the furnace so we replaced the entire HVAC system aside from the ducts. Hot water heater died. Had to replace the roof due to hail damage, which was covered by insurance, but we still had to pay the $2k deductible. We also ended up replacing both of our cars due to repeated, costly repair jobs. Last, but most certainly not least, our sweet whippet Libby finally lost her battle with autoimmune disease and left us on 11/9/19. She was very sick the last 6 months of 2019 and no matter what we did we couldn’t get on top of it this time, so it was time. She first became ill at 9 months old and made it to 5 years old. That was 4 more (high quality) years than the vet at Texas A&M expected her to have. We’re grateful for the extra time that we had with her, but we miss her terribly. God, she was such a special girl.

2020 has started out with challenges, too, but I still feel inspired and like it’s going to be a great year once we get past our current hurdles. My wife is a serious runner, but she’s been sidelined due to injury. Runners who can’t run are … high maintenance? LOL… I’m doing my best to keep her reassured and focused on the progress she’s making, but it’s hard and kind of tiring. I’ll keep at it as long as necessary, though! The other stressors right now is that her real estate business is reeeeeally slow and so she’s constantly worried and down (so I’ve been doing a LOT of pep-talking lately) as well as her parents (who live 30 miles away for about 7 months of the year at least) are coming over way too often and being really intrusive. We’re working on getting them to call or text before they come over instead of just showing up and walking in. Here are two recent examples that show the magnitude of their intrusiveness: for Christmas, they bought us brand new door knobs and deadbolts for the front and back doors, which they conveniently had keyed to match THEIR house keys, so we all only need one key…um, hooray? The most recent thing is that their city quit offering curbside recycling, so they bring their recycling to our house. We have two large bins, so it’s mostly okay, but they are only picked up every other week. We ran out of space last time, so we were getting creative with where to store our recycling until we could take it out again. Well, LAST week, they decided to clean out their garage and so they brought ALL their recycling over and completely filled both bins, leaving us with nowhere to put our recycling for a week and a half. UGH. I’m an introvert and having these constant intrusions is really stressful for me.

Enough with the negativity, though! I just needed to get all that off my chest. Now that I’ve listed my known challenges for 2020, here are some of my goals and thoughts for the coming year:

Botanical/Herbal medicine: Learning it, growing it, using it. So, my SIBO came back and I didn’t want to go through the really strong antibiotic treatment again. I’d read some studies that showed there were a couple of herbs that were proven to be just as effective, if not more effective in some cases, (Oil of Oregano capsules and a tincture of wormwood and goldenseal). IT ACTUALLY WORKED, and faster than the antibiotics, without the side effects! So I’m a convert now. I’ve since used fennel tea for indigestion and had it work quicker than antacids for a gassy tummy. Also have been reading all the health benefits from drinking green tea, various herbal teas, etc. Now I have one cup of black coffee in the morning, green tea through early afternoon, then non-caffeinated herbal teas in the afternoon. My energy levels are more stable and I am more alert without being jittery. Anyway, I’ve been taking a course through Coursera on botanical medicine, because I know there’s a lot of “quackery” out there mixed in with the facts and I want to fully understand what I’m doing.

I’ve started using a treadmill at work. There’s a shared desk treadmill and twice a day or so I’ll take my laptop and go walk while I work. I got four miles in yesterday! It keeps my back and hips from hurting, aids my digestion from not being sedentary and gets my miles in. YAY!

We’ve also committed to going bigger with gardening this year. We’re going to tear out the agave’s (they’re too pointy for the dogs’ safety anyway) and put in raised beds for vegetable gardening. I’m going to combine daily movement with gardening to keep my mind and body healthy in many ways at the same time. Peaceful outdoor activity, meditative, natural body movement, connection with nature, etc. And that’s before we’ve even added homegrown veggies to the table!

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it here for now. Since I’ve got so much going on (both good and bad, or should I say challenging?) I’m going to try to write here more often. It may take more of a life journal tone because of that, but that’s fine. Our health, the foods we choose, the activities we engage in, all of it has impacts on our health and can’t be separated. It’s too bad that “holistic” has become such a new age buzzword, since it’s a truly important word and concept. We cannot separate our mental health from our physical health, our personal lives from our health goals, etc. I’m more aware now of how everything in interconnected…just even think about what is being discovered about gut health and how that is such a huge factor in our emotional well-being. I’m working this year on trying to see myself as a whole and how all my choices impact me as a whole. I feel like I’ve just really understood an important concept, a Truth.

Enough babbling for now. Go make good choices!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JUNEAU2010
    What a glorious blog! I am sorry about Libby, but so glad you had those high quality years! That hike! WOW!
    Here's to a much better 2020. We're hoping to get our garden going to a greater degree than before. Amazing how different home grown produce tastes from store bought!
    28 days ago
  • MEADSBAY
    You sure have been through a lot in the last year...good for you trying to look at them as simply challenges to be surmounted.
    Sorry about your pup...always sad to say goodbye.
    Lots of wise words here, my friend.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    32 days ago
  • THOMS1
    OMG! Wow! I can't imagine the rudeness of those two. But, you had a good place to vent and that's a good thing. Your hiking trip in 2019 sounded great and I am so glad you really prepared yourself for it. Have a great weekend! emoticon emoticon
    32 days ago
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