Looking back and forward

Holy crap! I forgot how much I love Shiny Toy Guns.

You aaaaaaaaaaaare the one. You’ll never be alone again.
You’re more than in my head. You’re more.

The year is practically over. Another calendar year and I am still alive and still excited about life and the future. I have much to strive for and much to look forward. I am so thankful that my joie de vivre remains intact. My goodness, I dread ever losing it!

So the upcoming year will come with a major change: Dustin and I have been approved for our new place and will be moving in early this year! After four years of dating, it’s about time it happens. We are both thrilled and are busy making plans for the move-in. My mom has already gifted us a washer and dryer. A new bed and television are next on our wish list. Hopefully, since we are both off from work the next few days, we can start looking.

I am somewhat nervous about us living together. I have always either lived with family or lived by myself. I have never had a friend as a roommate, much less lived with a boyfriend. We have spent so much time together in the last four years, though, that we know each other well enough to understand what we are both getting into.

I hope I don’t drive him crazy. I hope that we are able to give each other space when we need it. I hope my critters don’t piss him off (how could they? They are just little bodies of love!). I hope that we treat each other as equals just as we have in the last four years. I hope that we both respect one another and are responsible for each other. I hope our home is filled with love and joy and the making of happy memories.

Ah, I am so excited! Now if only this cold weather would go away!

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Exciting times!

I just had an incredibly busy, not restful at all, weekend. It was productive, though, so I am happy.

Friday night after work, I had dinner and went to a couple of stores with Dustin. I was exhausted because I woke up extra early to run a few miles before going to work that morning. I was out before 10 pm. Total old lady status.
Saturday, I woke up dark (the sun wasn’t out yet) and early for the North Texas Great Santa Run 5K. The race was supposed to begin at 8 am, but I think it was delayed because of the rain. When we made it to the site, the volunteers and sponsors were only beginning to arrive and set up. I picked up my Santa suit then waited with Dustin in his car for the race to begin. Jocelyn met up with us and we ran the race together. I love running 5Ks with her! We run at the same pace and we get a lot of chit chatting done! We also crack up at all the other runners. Not in a mean way, mind you. The 5Ks that we do are usually “fun runs” with people all decked out in crazy costumes. That’s usually what we laugh about… how crazy and daring some people are! We had fun. We definitely need to do these 5Ks more often. It had been much too long!
5Ks are fun!

Dustin and I spent Saturday afternoon driving around looking at apartment complexes. We stumbled upon one by complete chance. I know we had driven past it before, but we had never really noticed it. The leasing office was open so we stopped by, talked to the leasing agent, and got a tour. 
The complex seemed very nice. First of all, it’s pet friendly and has a lot of green space for walking Canelo Dog. It also has a huge pond with fountains in the middle of it. There’s a bridge that goes across the pond that takes you from the front of the complex (where the leasing office is) to the “recreation area” (where the pool, hot tub, picnic tables, and volleyball court are located). There were ducks in the water and I just know that I could sit out there and watch them all day! I love ducks!
The unit with the floor plan that we chose is on the second floor, which is great because we won’t have upstairs neighbors making noise. Underneath the living room is our car port and underneath the dining room is our neighbor’s garage. This means that I can stomp around in those rooms as loudly as I want to and not receive any complaints! Freaking fantastic! Not that I am much of a stomper, but I do love to dance and work out, which can get pretty noisy. It will not be a problem, however!
I could also work out in their fitness room, but it has limited equipment. Although it wasn’t very spacious, it has a treadmill for me to get some runs done when the weather gets in my way. If that fitness room doesn’t cut it for me, there are gyms right down the road that I could possibly get memberships at. We’ll see.
Oh! One of the best features is that Belt Line (with all its shops and restaurants) is just a short walk or bicycle ride away. Dustin and I need bicycles. End of discussion.
Needless to say, we both really liked this place and decided to take some applications home with us.
Enough about the apartment (I’ll get back to it) and on with the rest of Saturday. Dustin and I went back to his place, read more about the apartment complex, chilled for a little while, and were picked up by Heather and Tee to go to Dave & Buster’s.
About a month ago, I planned a holiday party for everyone who has worked or is currently working at the SPCA of Texas. I thought it would be a good opportunity for us all to meet and reunite. The party had originally been planned for last Saturday, but because of the ice storm, we had to reschedule for last night. Unfortunately, this meant that a lot of the invitees did not show up. No matter. Those of us who made it had a great time! I could go years and years without seeing these people (in some cases I had) and pick right back up where we left off. I love my SPCA people!
SPCA gals!
We ended up staying at Dave & Buster’s pretty late. As a result, Dustin and I went to bed late and slept in this morning. As soon as we got out of bed, we started filling out the apartment applications. After a quick bite, we headed back to the complex that we liked so much to turn the applications in.
The leasing agent was busy with another potential resident when we arrived so we left to check out the area some more. Target wasn’t very far so we stopped by. We killed time looking at televisions (we’re hoping to buy a new one!) before heading back to the leasing office.
We finally turned our applications in, were told which unit would be held for us, and set up a move-in date! We happened to apply while they have a special going on so our rent will be about $65 cheaper than what it should be. Score! All we have to do now is wait to find out whether or not we get approved. Dustin is anxious about it. He just wants to have it approved and know that we will have a place to go to when his current lease is up.
I feel that so many exciting things are happening right now. I got a raise at work last week, I am finally getting a 401K going and saving for retirement, I was approved for vacation time to make a trip to Mexico next month, I am on track with my marathon training, and after four years of dating, I am moving in with my boyfriend.
These are the types of things that excite me. Events that mean progress in life. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are just one-day events that end so quickly, they seem unworthy of built-up anticipation. Events that are life-changing? That’s what I live for. Those are worth the anticipation and enthusiasm. They make me genuinely happy because they’re not fleeting.
I am so thrilled, I’m tired. Time for bed!

Bring it on down to Veganville!

Last week, I passed the three-month mark as a dietary vegan. That’s one-quarter of a year! No eggs, no dairy, no lard, no hooves, no bones, and, obviously, no meat.

For the most part, it has been easy and extremely beneficial. I have tried to diet before, but you put a bagel, ice cream, a milkshake, a donut, a cupcake in front of me? Suck it, diet. Since going vegan, though, I have avoided all those things. I guess it’s more meaningful now. It is not about weight loss or health, it is about my own humanity. And it is working.

The hardest part about a vegan diet? Not being able to eat at the places that everyone else goes to. “No, I’ll just sit here while you all eat” or “How about we go here instead?” or “I’m not ready to order, I am checking your ingredients on my phone.”

It is all part of a learning curve, though. In these beginning months, there is so much for me to learn. Once I know which restaurants have vegan options, what ingredients to look for, which questions I should ask, it will all come naturally to me and will therefore be a lot easier. I cannot wait to have this shit down!

I am still in the midst of transitioning into a completely vegan lifestyle outside of my diet, though. I feel that I am doing remarkably well so far. I am being practical about it, because that is simply more affordable. I am waiting to use up the products that I have now and looking forward to replacing them with vegan products. Makeup will take the longest because I do not wear much of it on a daily basis. Ah well.

Anyhow, with beauty products, it’s important not only to check that they do not contain animal-derived ingredients (hint: lotions and moisturizers contain animal fats and urine), but also to be certain that the manufacturers do not test on animals (horrible!).

Things I have already had to replace:

Yes, some of the products are more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts (this is the reason I am not completely diving into a full transition and doing it gradually instead), but I do feel that it is worth it. The products last a while anyway and an extra buck here and there is not going to hurt me as much as non-vegan manufacturers hurt animals. It is simply a matter of perspective.
Probably the easiest part of my transition is fashion. I have never been a big fan of leather (I despise the way it smells!) so I already own a number of vegan shoes, purses, and jackets. I have donated a coat and skirt made with wool and leather belts to an animal rescue (at least the cruel clothes will benefit animals in the end, right? Stickin’ it to the man!). No angora, cashmere, fleece, nor feathers for this gal. Fur? Forget it! It is all so disgusting and sad.
Although my clothes are fine and I do not have to make too many changes to my wardrobe, I think my goal in this realm will be to shop only from fashion lines that are entirely vegan. I have already purchased combat boots from Michael Antonio and they are fabulous!
I am happy about finally being fully cruelty-free. I have loved and respected animals since I can remember. You know how much we emphasize that all humans are equal? That is exactly how I feel about animals. A cow, a chicken, a goat, a fox, a mouse, a rat, a pig, a sheep, a fish… All are as special as your dog, your cat, your horse. They are all intelligent. They experience fear and loss. They simply want to live. They deserve so much better than what is handed to them for the comfort, convenience, and egos of human beings.
So love and compassion to you, folks. Let’s make this world a better place for all!