There will be a number of dirty words in this post. Prepare yourself. Maybe grab a beer or something.
I'll start with my least favourite dirty word. My beloved tabby, Cameron, probably has the Big C. He developed a large lump near his jaw a few months ago and it didn't respond to antibiotics, so my vet is assuming he has cancer. In order to get a diagnosis, Cameron would have to have a biopsy to remove the tumour. This means general anaesthetic and a big old scary trip to the vet school at U of S. He's old (if he were a human, he'd be about 85 years old) and has an existing health problem, so the surgery may actually cause more harm. It would also be outrageously expensive and my intuition tells me that my money would be better spent on spoiling my boy in the time we have left together. I'm so glad the vet told me that it's okay for me to decide not to have the surgery, which helps immensely with guilt. I wasn't surprised by all of this but it's still stressful and sad. This cat has seen me through a lot and offers a level of unconditional love that continues to give me a boost everyday. I will miss him so much when he's not here to greet me when I get home from work. So now I'm in a new phase of pet ownership, where I have to monitor Cameron's quality of life on an ongoing basis and prepare to decide when it's time to let him go. Right now he's comfortable and happy. His kidneys and thyroid are in good shape, and he's still eating. No problems with his appetite at all, although he's lost weight in the last year. Every time I walk into the kitchen he's right behind me, surveying the dry food situation and demanding treats.
This isn't really a dirty word for me, but it is for other people. I've decided to give up on dairy and eggs. Dairy is not agreeing with me and I've had a love/hate relationship with eggs for a while. I've been eating vegan a good deal of my time as a vegetarian, so it's not a huge deal and isn't anything new. I even hesitate to use the word "vegan" but we're all hell-bent on labelling diets, so if people ask from now on this is the word I will use. What I really want to emphasize here is that if I go out for dinner with you or have a meal in your home, I don't want to make what I eat/don't eat a big fat hairy deal. If I eat something with cheese or eggs in it, no one is going to die. I'm not going to projectile vomit or spit it out across the table or have a hissy fit in the restaurant. I accidentally ate chicken back in the fall at a library social thingie, and I chalked it up as a "shit happens" kind of situation. That said, I also appreciate it when people don't look at my food like it's landed on the plate from outer space. It's just plants. I eat what makes me feel best, and you do the same. I'm sure there are more interesting things to focus on anyway.
I took my flute in for a check up a couple of weeks ago. It came back feeling much better...the keys close at the same time! I don't know what happened to it, but half the instrument was in really bad shape. The repair guy said he wasn't sure how I was getting sound in the low register because nothing was sealing properly. He worked his magic and all is well again. Now I can't blame the instrument for any problems that I encounter, which means if I want to get back into good playing shape I'm going to have to stop messing around and start playing my scales again. All those annoying technical exercises I did for years and years really did help; all the music I play is made up of scales, arpeggios, etc. and if I don't practice them everything falls apart quickly. I once had a lesson with a flute player who said that any problem (ANY PROBLEM) in a piece of music could be solved with a technical exercise, and I believe him. Not all musicians agree with me, but I know myself well enough to realize that I need to haul out the daily exercises again if I have any hope of getting back to where I was a few years ago. I need to find my tuner too...that's another dirty word. *shudder*