Lily is a LOT

Yikes! I never introduced Lily to the blogosphere. For quite some time, I’d been looking for a companion for Gg. I still think she would have preferred a cat, but we have a doggy door, coyotes and I’m allergic, so we added Lily on November 15th. We got her from a rescue, and we know her mom was a Jack Russell, and dad is a presumed hound. The rescue thought maybe a basset hound, but I’m not sure at all…

The first ride home…

The rescue folks were calling her Lily, and as we’d already considered that name anyway, we kept it. But my dogs get middle names, and six months in, Lily’s remains elusive. Here’s a list of what we’ve tried on already:

  • Pawlitzer – a nod to Lilly Pulitzer, as the girl resided near a country club when we picked her up.
  • Bean – as in LL Bean – because she’s definitely more rugged outdoorsy than prepster society girl.
  • Lagertha – as in the warrior from Vikings; Lily loves to play rough and doesn’t doubt herself.
  • Brienne – as in — of Tarth from Game of Thrones. Lily is a GIANT of a JRT mix, and not done growing!
  • Mae – as in Ellie Mae Clampett – because Lily loves to wrestle.
  • Limo – because she’s really long in the body.
  • Lizzo – because she’s bold and it sounds like limo, AND Gretchen was named for another singer, Gretchen Wilson.
  • Beth – as in Beth Dutton, because this dog makes Beth D. look like she DOES have impulse control!

She’s a smart, sweet girl who has no concept of personal space, but she is a handful and requires a firm hand and needs more training and exercise than she’s getting most days. It’s even more complicated because she is hyper-alert and EVERYTHING triggers her. Leaves, squirrels, cats, neighbors walking on HER road… I’m supremely grateful for the co-workers, gym friends and neighbors who have tried to help us help her learn to trust and work on her impulse control, but I’ve had to stop walking her in public, which includes our road, because she’s gotten so big it’s just dangerous to have her flip out – literally. So until we can get her with a trainer who can help us get this managed, we are limited to walking around the house unless I think she’s in a place where we can risk a walk on the road.

Big girl has her first birthday on the 5th. She’s a lovebug, but… Lily is a lot. I’m positive she’s going to mature into an amazing pup, but right now, she’s more work than any other dog I’ve ever had.

She is more “handsy” than any dog I’ve known. Not only does she need a tremendous amount of physical contact, she uses her front paws like hands and will hold hands, pull a hand to her chest for a chest rub (more desirable than a belly rub, evidently), boxes, throws hands, grabs, etc.

She’s brilliant – no, really. She’s a fast learner and tries to anticipate what we might ask of her. She knows at least two versions of most commands (paw and shake, for example, if you want her to put her paw in your hand), and yet… she has no impulse control and cannot execute proper leash manners when temptation strikes.

She is very willing to please, as long as she’s not on one of her tangents. She’s clean by nature and once we cleared her giardia, she’s been perfectly housebroken and crate trained, in spite of living with a cranky, incontinent old dog (Gretchen Greer). When she did have accidents in her crate, she cleaned them up AND folded the mess up in the towel in the crate.

I haven’t been able to have a “made bed” since she came here. She can’t help but tunnel and flip and dig in the covers. See above – she’s brilliant, wants to please us BUT her lack of impulse control rules her brain.

She chews. Oh how she chews. Thank goodness there are fabricated sticks, because those are her favorites, except when she wants to play fetch with a squeaky ball or a plushy toy. She’s not allowed to keep either of those in her reach though, because … impulse control. When the switch flips in her head, she MUST destroy the ball/stuffie and she can do it faster than I can blink. She ate the sole out of several socks before she decided I was SERIOUS and she ought not to do that ever again. She also ate the buttons off of several blouses, shredded roughly a dozen towels (so now her crate is bare), and yet, we can leave her loose in the house while we cut grass and nothing other than her toys has suffered for it.

We feed her via puzzle toys now, to keep that brilliant, mischievous mind working. We walk and play fetch, and we’re trying to find a trainer to work with us, all while still managing a senior Cushing’s girl with baseline anxiety and thyroid issues, who is losing her eyesight, hearing and bladder control. But otherwise, Gretchen is a happy girl who still likes walks, albeit shorter ones, who still gets excited about meals, and has her humans at her beck and call. Gg’s greatest joy is getting Lily in trouble, second only to greeting her people when they return.

It’s not an ideal mix, this senior mess and the wild pup, but they are well-loved and pampered. Gg even has her own credit card now, and paws are crossed Lily remains healthy. Evidently, my motto should be, “No low-maintenance dogs allowed!”

Trilostane Day 48

… sorta’. We skipped a dose early on because she was being weird. We skipped 2-3 doses (once daily) in the last week because of her trip to the emergency vet. She binged Thursday with the help of our co-workers, so I didn’t worry when she was very tired and not as hungry on Friday, but as Saturday ticked on, she lost mobility and moved into lethargic levels, to the point she wouldn’t/couldn’t walk. I didn’t feel like it was Addison’s, but I knew with her Cushing’s diagnosis, everyone (read: urgent or emergency vet) would have to rule that out first.

She had a little “ruffle” on her left hip, right at her lump of scar tissue from that dog bite long ago, and I thought nothing of it until I actually touched it. Turns out once the vet focused on that too, we found the problem; a NASTY, under the skin infection. We will likely never know what caused it, but a week of antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory pain killer our regular vet added on Monday, and she’s back to normal, her new fussy about how I take my meds aside.

This little crisis has shown me how blessed we are. We have great veterinary care, and my co-workers are the most amazing, kind, supportive, animal loving people ever. Gg HATES the cone (e-collar, or whatever you know it by), and she’s been a good girl minus two nights, but work has been quite easy, thanks to a pack ‘n play we’ve been loaned indefinitely. It’s kept her clean and safe, and she seems to like it! She gets even more pets and attention than she gets wandering around on her own.

She doesn’t know she’s fourteen years old. Most of the time, she doesn’t act like it, but she is a very senior dog. She is slowing down, she sleeps more, she takes more medications, but she’s still my spunky, sweet, utterly devoted sidekick. I miss our runs and wogs, but I’m hoping as the temperatures cool, she’ll want to trot down the road a bit now and again. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be her person, and I’m a better person because of Lady Gretchen Greer. Here’s to many, many more years together!

Trilostane Day 7

Or is it Day 6, since we skipped Friday, Day 5? Gretchen wouldn’t eat her breakfast, so I called the vet and they advised that I skip her dose for that day, as the side effects we’re monitoring her for include decreased appetite and lethargy.

Her tribe concurs that it’s likely heat and long work days that caused her behaviors, but there’s no denying the girl is off her game. She didn’t go to Ladies Group (workout) yesterday morning. Her humans had decided she wasn’t going because she hadn’t eaten, but she also made no effort to come with me until I was basically out the door, so she somewhat opted out; she didn’t know we had decided she wasn’t going.

She always sleeps a lot on Sundays, so it’s hard to judge what’s going on today. It’s also hard to say whether we’re seeing positive changes, because her routine is so far out of whack, but that’s necessary because she needs constant supervision for the first couple of weeks on this medication.

This is hard. I trust our veterinary team explicitly, but in the end, it’s up to me to figure out what’s working and what gives Gretchen Greer the best quality of life. We’re waiting for the next round of testing to see what the labs say, because Gg’s Cushing’s journey is so muddy and muddled because the symptoms are so very similar to the anxiety issues she’s had her whole life.

Trilostane Day 1

Have I even blogged about Gretchen’s Cushing’s diagnosis? (I mentioned it, but barely.) So, let’s recap:

The week after Thanksgiving, Gretchen had a binge bender than brought me home mid-day to figure out why the puppy cam was upside down. She did some impressive at any age table-surfing and found her “headed out the door”dog treats, AND an old powerlifting meet gift bag that included some (non-chocolate, thankfully) KIND bars in various stages of all gone and what was left was in shredded plastic! She repeated that feat again on Saturday morning (but with no nommies found), and then came absolutely unglued when she was crated (rare, but she was crate-trained) while we went to the work holiday fete that night.

To the vet we went, and we were all surprised when this healthy-looking gal tested positive for Cushing’s Disease. (I’ll probably add her results here at some point so they’re all in one place.) At the vet’s recommendation, we went holistic, in part because she was back to being all but symptom free by then AND because our vets are friends and they KNOW I’m resistant to certain big pharma medications. That went really well for several weeks, and again, I’ll almost assuredly create a Cushing’s page here to track it all, but then in late April, she began having acute anxiety again. On May 31, our holistic vet broke up with us. (No, not really, but I try to keep things light, and when the holistic vet tells you it’s time to use conventional pharmacology, it’s sobering.)

And somewhere in the midst of all of that, baby girl was also diagnosed with high blood pressure. She’s on a microscopic dose of Amlodipine (2.5 mg tab QUARTERED, and one of those pieces twice daily), and while it dropped her BP a bit, it remains a little higher than desired. With everything else going on, we’re going to re-evaluate THAT when the vet tells me it’s time… I think in September?

So, today is day one on Trilostane. She’s on a whopping 15mg compounded into a chicken flavored chewable tablet that the princess rejected as a “treat” but thankfully, she did gobble it down with her breakfast. Yes, that’s a high-maintenance, home-made meal, which I’ll also include on the Cushing’s page. She loved it at first and seems bored with it at this point. I know there’s plenty of room for discussion; my dogs have put me in camp “we like variety when a slow switch is done”. They definitely seem to get tired of the same flavors day after day, week after week.

So far, so good. She’ll be at my side for the next 10 days, until we do her first monitoring bloodwork to assure this is the right dose for her. Despite what I’ve read, I’m still insisting she’s going to live to be 20, and have a happy, healthy life until then.


It is my duty and a privilege to care for Gretchen Greer. She’ll be 13 and a half years old in a couple of days. She has Cushing’s Disease, hypothyroidism and a lifelong anxiety issue.

I’m still announcing she’s going to live to be 20 every chance I get. I take great pride each time I hear she doesn’t look like a senior dog. But the truth is, she isn’t getting younger and none of us know when our time will be up, so I’m taking every chance to snuggle, wog, talk… to do anything she wants to do.

So yes, my chores wait, my feet go numb and I go out of my way not to disturb her when she naps on my legs. Heck, I don’t even lean forward to pick up my phone, water, etc. Some say she’s spoiled, but I say I’m just doing my job. It’s my job to try to return the love and devotion she gives me, to take the very best care of her that I can.


I’m beginning to think that when I’m not reading and writing, I’m not at my best. I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg, but yet again, I’m going to try to write and read – READ ANYTHING – more and specifically, daily.

What do you know you need to do to be at your best? I also know I need to get back into a fixed fitness schedule, no matter what activity I do during those times. I sleep better, I feel better, my body just IS BETTER when I’m exercising 4-6 days a week.

Yes, I’m eating well enough, drinking enough water most days, and getting decent sleep. I’ve always needed less sleep than some, but I do still try to get 6-7 hours per night without fail.

What I am doing is binge-watching all kinds of things like never before. Currently, it’s Discovery of Witches, and I think that’s my next binge-read too. Do you binge-watch TV?

Authentic vs. Imposter

I don’t talk much in detail here about the people in my life, but I need to open this post by saying I know I’m blessed. I have some of the best people possible surrounding me, cheering for me, supporting me. I have a good job with the very best co-workers, many of whom are dear friends. I have the most devoted (read: clingy, neurotic, riddled with separation anxiety) dog, and life is good.

One night last month, I had one of those sweet, simple and yet so impactful nights that I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life. A friend coordinated a get-together, and four of us whose lives intersected through the Junior League but have stayed entwined through cross-country moves (and thankfully, back again!), seven children, my divorce, and more, sat down and picked up as though there had been no pandemic, no years since we all laughed together. (I’m pretty sure the last time we were together was the baby shower we hosted for the first of the group to have a baby, probably about five years ago?)

I hope each of you has a tribe like that, or at least one friend with whom time and distance don’t exist, where conversations flow as though you’d just clinked glasses together the day before, NO MATTER WHAT.

… which brings me to the meat of this soul-barring confession…

My name is Chan and I am an imposter.

… and those brilliant, strong, beautiful ladies knew it all along and loved me anyway. Each of them tried to love me towards being authentic in her own way, but ironically, it took a pandemic and the isolation that came with it, our busy lives and all of the other circumstances that led me to being able to look them in the eyes and admit that I’ve spent my ENTIRE LIFE trying to be what I thought I was supposed to be in that moment, for this person or that one, for this role/job or another…

I was proud of being a chameleon, and I actually said so out loud many times. I NEVER stopped to question my logic, or to wonder if I could just be me and see what happened.

Honestly, it began before I have any recollection of being aware of my behaviors. I had to be on my best manners for this person, so she’d give me presents. (Literally… one of my few memories of her was of a post-toddler-nap moment when she rather succinctly explained that if I couldn’t be a happy, grateful little girl, I could give the toy she’d just given me back and go home.) Then, I was told I couldn’t pursue tennis as a passion because it required someone else to play with me. Then, yet another nurturer told me I couldn’t major in music in college because it would lead to frustration (as so few make it as professional oboists) and I didn’t want to be stuck being a music teacher.

I can go on and on, but my point isn’t to blame any of these people; I just want to know why it took me 52 years to realize I’m perfectly good the way I am and I don’t have to try to be what ANYONE else thinks I should be, or most specifically, I SHOULD NOT try to be what I THINK someone else wants me to be!

Impostor syndrome and the idea of being authentic are getting a lot of press right now, but this is hardly a 21st century issue. We’re watching Reign on Netflix, and certainly the characters depicted within were not afforded the privilege of pursuing what made them happy, fulfilled, etc. Nor is it uniquely an issue for females; people pleasers come in all shapes, sizes and costumes. I don’t think anyone in my life intended for me to make a life out of trying to guess what someone else thought I should be and doing my best to become it, but that’s just what I’ve done.

What’s most difficult for me to talk about, what I’m still very much working on, is how this all relates to my self-confidence. Up until very recently, I and most people who know me, would say I’m a very confident person. But the truth is, confidence is just one of the many costumes I’ve learned to wear well. I appear confident and self assured when I am feel I’m doing a good job in the role/image I’m projecting, when the people I am trying to please are pleased.

So tell me… what is one thing that is authentically you?

Plant based?

Edited to add… I thought this posted several weeks ago. (Read: at least 6 weeks ago?)

I’ve started so many posts, here and in my head. I know writing is a great release for me, and yet I don’t prioritize it… but that’s for another day.

I try to avoid the diet scene, especially after my failed efforts at even the modified Whole 30. (What’s the name of the version that allows beans?) If you don’t recall or weren’t around, basically I didn’t manage to get what I needed nutritionally from my not-meal-prepping effort, and I rather literally collapsed in the gym with a really heavy bar on my back. (Three cheers for the amazing trainer whose strength and attention saved the day!)

I knew better; I have a metabolic challenge (I’ve used the word “disorder” in the past but it’s not clearly defined and yet is quite manageable), and I know what my body likes/needs, and yet… I allowed myself to get caught up in trying a trendy thing that worked for my friends, even against my better judgment. It’s simple; my body NEEDS a lot of protein, a lot of fiber, water and very little sugar and/or “white things.” My body LOVES beans and legumes, doesn’t mind dairy, etc. There was no reason for me to jump on the bandwagon, but I did anyway.

So, I hate to say I’m eating more plant based now, because that’s a trend too, right? But my primary care provider (aka: nurse practitioner) gave me one more chance to lower my LDL cholesterol (hello, double-sided genetic whammy) and suggested just ONE plant based meal a week.

I agreed, and then got in my head. That’s like a diet, right? And we said we weren’t doing that again, right?

It’s not that hard. Most of my already fairly healthy recipes do quite well swapping beans (black are my favorites, but white works too) for ground turkey. Much to this descended from dairy farmers girl’s surprise, I often don’t miss the cheese when I leave it out. I add ground flax seeds to things when I can (it doesn’t work in smoothies), and I’m hoping the next round of blood work will be favorable.

Are you interested in my altered recipes?


Humbling is thinking you’re fit and strong and doing a workout of the day and discovering you have PLENTY of room for improvement.

Disclaimer: I don’t speak Crossfit. The only reason I know to call what I just did 21.2 is because CVG’s Instagram feed told me to. I happen to know how to do dumbbell snatches because I spent 3 years in a great gym, but I had to turn to YouTube to figure burpee box jump overs. (Hint: burpee + box jump ain’t quite it. Again, I’ve done something similar, but my gym was no Crossfit gym.)

Empowering is making what you have work for you – and work you HARD. I don’t have heavy dumbbells at home, so I scaled down by more than half, which honestly, wasn’t ideal. I’m not going to be so bold as to say I could have pushed through with a 35# instead of a 15#, but… instead of saying “I don’t have the right equipment so I can’t do it” I modified and I assure you, I still got a great workout. I don’t have a box for box jumps, but ironically, I’d just whined about this to my guy, and he – King of adapt and blow them away anyway – pointed out that the two stumps in the yard are roughly level and roughly small box, big box sizes.

So, after roughly a year of no box jumps, I started on soft, mossy ground (read: unlevel), and did it anyway. I still want heavier dumbbells, and I still want the sweet, dense foam boxes I once knew… but I can make do and sweat heavily without them.

As always, my faithful cheerleader kept me company, even if she thought it was weird. She also enjoyed looking for her lizard friends (too soon, sweet girl) and chasing squirrels, which she can’t do in a gym. Pros and cons…

What are you making excuses to avoid?