5 Things I Learned in September

Taking a nod from the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog to share a few things I learned in September – from emotional to mundane.  

1. My strength has limits

First the lows: This month I really wanted to run away from life. I am officially exhausted by the move – and all the “to-dos” that come along with moving across state lines: 

  • automobile stuff (title transfers, registrations, driver’s license, state inspections, taxes and fees). We’ve paid taxes on the value of our 2011 sedan three times now – when we purchased it in Pennsylvania, transferring it to Arizona in 2014 and transferring it again to Henrico County, Virginia in 2017.
  • lining up health care providers (which I haven’t done yet)
  • finding decent hairstylists that don’t cost a small fortune. Jason paid for a hair cut twice this month because the first time was f’ed up so much.
  • finding a new gym (boy, do I miss Tucson Strength) and researching a local financial institution.
  • changing your address on 50 million items that you didn’t even remember you had.

It’s a full-time job – and don’t get me started on how expensive it is. “Hemorrhaging money” was the appropriate term a friend of mine used (as she’s recently been through an out-of-state move).

I ended up at the DMV three times to register cars and get a driver’s license.

I also didn’t take any time away from my client work, so trying to juggle all of this in addition to keeping up with deadlines means that I am tuckered out – physically and emotionally.

2. Caring for senior dogs is really hard … on the heart.


Another low: Probably my greatest source of stress comes from helping our dog, Elle, (13.5 years old) through her senior years.

An abridged background:

We discovered a lump on her toe last October which turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma (aka a tumor). By early January, we decided to have it surgically removed – no small decision considering her age and anesthesia don’t mix well. The veterinarian in Tucson botched the surgery, and our Elle came home a mangled mess. We got her patched up, but by the end of March, her tumor was back bigger than ever. The only option the vet gave us was to amputate her foot –  one we weren’t keen on.  

By this point, we decided not to take action in hopes that in our new location, we would find a vet who would have a different approach for treating her.

We found a holistic vet in Richmond that is treating her with neoplasene – a bloodroot treatment that is either injected or applied topically (we’ve done both) to the affected area. The neoplasene pushes the cancerous cells out while preserving the good cells. It’s a bloody mess, but it is working.

The treatments are painful for her, especially the first few days afterward. The cancer cells are throughout her foot, so it makes it difficult for her to walk. As you can imagine, that causes other issues and getting her up and down five steps to get outside to go potty is a challenge.

Watching her go through this week after week has been hard for me because my “emotional bank” is already pretty freaking dry from the move. I don’t begrudge the “doing it” part – not in the least – but the emotional toll it has taken on me is immense.

My heart hurts daily, and that’s a sadness that I can’t just shake off (I’ve tried).

I spend a lot of time doing this after a treatment:

On to brighter things …

3. Not only do I love to read, but I also love books!

Perhaps this headline isn’t earth-shattering news for anyone who knows me. One of the reasons why I was so determined to spend a day jumping through hoops get my Virginia Driver’s License was so I could obtain my library card! Books I’ve read since late August include:

    • The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
    • The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood
    • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
    • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

In addition to utilizing the library, I’ve also been busy getting books from Thriftbooks:

4. I don’t currently enjoy audiobooks

For nearly five years, I was a faithful listener to audiobooks. I’d listen to them on my morning walks and when doing chores around the house.

But something changed.

About a year ago, I switched my Audible membership from one credit per month to one credit every two months because I wasn’t using my credits.

The last book I listened to was  Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham from June through August. While I didn’t dislike the book, I felt it was slow. After reviewing the other audiobooks I’d listened to this last year, I felt the same way about those. Interestingly enough, I first tried to listen to The Nest this past spring and didn’t like it, but when I got the book from the library to read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s when I realized that right now, I don’t enjoy audiobooks.

5. The podcast, Serial, is quite good

What I am listening to is Season One of the Serial podcast, and man is it good! Here’s a synopsis:

A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappears after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend, Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig sorted through the thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever get to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence – all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of?

For me, this series is so addictive; I am listening to it even when I know it is going to freak me out.

What did you learn in September?

2 thoughts on “5 Things I Learned in September

  1. Love this post, and feel your pain my friend! I can’t imagine moving after being in the same place for 25 years, much less across the state twice! Elle is lucky to have such a good “dog mom”. So what did I learn? Take time to stop and smell the roses! I joined a photo of the day group and I find that when I see something that pleases the senses or makes me wonder, I stop to focus on it, and take a photo! Thanks for reminding us of the things that matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This past month wasn’t all bad … lots of small moments of happiness, too. I like your daily photo challenge. I may follow your example to pause and enjoy, even on the most stressful days. Thanks for the reminder!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s