Saturday, December 16, 2017

This is 39 (Month 2, Check-In 1)

Month two of year 39 is going well. I'm writing this from my sister Meghan's couch in Brooklyn where I'm working and on Quinn-duty. I'm loving the extra family time but struggling with the cold weather (it's currently 22°).

I'm still charting my progress on my tracker and finding it helpful in the accountability department.

For this update, I want to focus on a handful of the goals that I've outlined

Call my grandparents 1x/week- I added this goal to my list because with grandparents who are in their 90's I recognized that time is limited and I needed- no wanted- to be intentional with connecting with them the best way I could when living on the other side of the country. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer about seven years ago and then about a year and a half ago, it had spread to his bones. Bone cancer is typically very painful, but he was very fortunate to never experience major pain related to it. However, about a month ago, he was admitted to the hospital, got pneumonia, felt better, left the hospital and then spent the past few weeks riding a bit of a health-related roller coaster filled with ups and downs.

I still made an effort to call at least once a week (and during most weeks called more than one time a week). Often times, I wasn't able to talk to my grandmother or my grandfather (who was having trouble speaking). But I wanted them to know I was thinking about them.

On a random Sunday when my grandfather was "visiting" his home (he was spending most of his time in the Care Center inside the senior living community he lives in), I happened to call while he was still there. Although he had a hard time speaking, I felt so fortunate to get to hear his voice. When I said hello, he very slowly said "It is always so good to hear from you." I teared up knowing it was likely the last time I'd hear his voice...and I was right. A few days later, on Tuesday, December 5th, my 93-year old grandfather died.

It's a major loss for our family and for anyone who knew him. He was a remarkable man who led an extraordinary life. (You can read more about him here.) And I will miss him so very much. I'm grateful to have 39 years of memories to draw upon and for this particular goal which helped me to be in regular contact with my grandparents. I know it'll help me play a more active role in my grandmother's life as she learns how to live life without her husband of 69 years (holy cow). I visited with her yesterday and she seemed...lost. How could she not be? I can't begin to imagine what it's like for a 92-year old woman to suddenly be without the man she's spent 75 years alongside. In time, I hope she'll be as okay as can be expected. But I know she can plan on hearing from me at least once a week to make this sad time in her life just a little easier on her heart.

Date night with Steve at least one night a week (when I'm not traveling)- Apart from this week, I've been home much more than I have the past several months and it's been great for me and Steve to get back into a routine and just hang out together. We're still mourning the loss of our beloved Clancy and both of us have had a hard time being inside the apartment where we're surrounded by memories of him. We actually got rid of our cable, but have been using some of our date nights for the simple things like sitting on the couch and watching a movie after making dinner together. I'm going to be off from work for two weeks over the holidays (Steve gets three weeks off) and I'm looking forward to doing more with Steve. But so far this month we've done things like gone to a wedding and celebrated the anniversary of when we met 16 years ago! (11/30) and went to a work Christmas party (the highlight was listening to Steve laugh uncontrollably- one of my very favorite sounds in this world- while his co-workers did karaoke). It's been really nice and here are some photos from these moments the past month:

Finish the remaining stair walks form the Secret Stairs of Los Angeles book- The day after Thanksgiving, Katie and I got up and went on a stair walk. I couldn't decide which one to do, and Katie smartly suggested that we just start at the beginning. So this walk found us on Stair Walk #1 on the Pasadena Eagle Rock border. It was a beautiful walk throughout some neighborhoods I never, ever would have found myself in. And bonus- it was a great way to work off some of our Thanksgiving dinner indulgences :)

Hike 1x/month- At the beginning of my second month, I went for a great (and short!) hike in Topanga Canyon with Katie and our friends Carrie and Jena. It was a belated birthday celebration for Carrie and it was such a lovely way to spend a couple of hours catching up with girlfriends. I also loved exploring a new (to me) hike. Here are some photos from that glorious day:

Resistance training 3x/week- On and off for the past year, but totally on for the past nine weeks, I've been using the app Sweat by Kayla Itsines for my resistance training. I do really well with other people telling me what to do and I don't actually need a gym membership for this. I've bought myself a workout bench and have weights, a jump rope, a medicine ball and keep adding to my home gym so I have no excuse to not get in my resistance training. This week while in Brooklyn, I impressed even myself by going to Crunch Fitness and getting a one-day free pass so I could get in my workout. Another night I worked out in Meghan and Rob's apartment while everyone else was long asleep. And then earlier today, my niece Lila and I worked out together in the basement of her house. Two of three workouts this week was about improvisation, but I like that I'm not letting not having all the equipment I need get in the way of accomplishing this goal.

Use my real camera at least 1x/month- Venice Beach is always an amazing place to take photos. After a Sunday morning breakfast date with my friend Cyrena and her mother, we walked over to the skate park and took some photos. Here are a couple of photos I snapped during that morning:

It's been a productive month so far, but yet again, I've left some of the big ones to the final week. (I tried to volunteer last week, but the organization cancelled because of the fires in southern California.

More next week!


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