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Undeniable Recap

Undeniable Recap of 2021

We didn’t do it gracefully, but we survived 2021. Holy f^¢king sh*t it’s been a roller coaster of a year. Here are some of the highlights.

Lucy is such a happy dog!

Lucy Jane Carter

On April 28, 2021, I got a call from the president of the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue asking if I’d take in a foster. A 3-year-old basset was found wandering by herself in Tempe – no tag or microchip. As I loaded this hound into my car a few hours later I thought, “Here’s to another 10-year commitment.” I named her Lucy Jane.

Lucy Jane came into my life exactly when I needed her. I’d survived a car accident and sustained a concussion only a few weeks earlier. When I noticed her mellow loving temperament, I registered her as my emotional support dog. We’ve barely been apart since then. She goes to work with me every day, and we even turn my trip to Cleveland for Content Marketing World into a road trip so she could come with me. She’s brought so much love into my life.

Faith wearing Rosie’s sweater. She was so little!

Faith Helen Carter

The reason why I could take in a foster in April, was because Faith, the basset hound I adopted at the end of December 2020, only lived 36 days. For those 36 days, my life was focused on giving this little girl the best life I could. Rescued from a breeder in Tijuana, Faith came with a host of medical issues, including renal failure. On February 1st, after rushing her to the ER for what would be the last time, I accepted that my job was to give this little basset a soft place to land and surround her with love for her final days.

We did it!

5K Ocean Swim with the Jews

Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been training for my first full Ironman race since the fall of 2019. My race was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. (Hopefully third time’s a charm in 2022.) I still flew to New York to do the 5K ocean swim. My original plan was to do this 3.1-mile swim so that a 2.4-mile swim on race day would be easy in comparison.

For context, my coach, David Roher, and his friend and my teammate, Shlomo, swim in the ocean at least once a week all summer, and several friends periodically join them, all of whom happen to be Jewish. It was important to me that I could hold my own with this group, not just as part of my training, but also because I didn’t want to be the weakling who couldn’t keep up.

It turned out, I had nothing to worry about. My training paid off, and I held my own just fine with the “Jewish Swim Team” as I lovingly called them. Coach David swam behind me, just to my left, and I when I periodically drifted out to sea, he grabbed my foot and pulled me back on course. (Swimming in a straight line isn’t my strength.)

Cow hugging with Moothias – he’s such a sweetheart.

Volunteering at Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary

I changed my work schedule at the end of 2021. Now on Monday mornings, when everyone else is heading back to work after the weekend, I head out to Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary. This sanctuary is home to over 100 cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and other animals, many of which have special needs. A lot of the time, my job there involves scooping poop and laying out fresh straw, but it also includes spreading love, petting the animals, and singing to them.

JK and I decided that we’re in a boy band called Boy Band.

Hugging my Friends

As I went through my jar of happy memories while I worked on this Undeniable Recap for this year, I noted that a lot of them were notes about hugging various friends. Between the pandemic and busy lives, I don’t get to see my friends as much as I’d like, so when we do get to meet in person, it’s so wonderful to have that moment where we get to hug.

We drove out of our way to stand on the corner in Winslow, AZ.

Firsts in 2021

Rushing a pet to the ER; Having a pet hospitalized over night

Cooking with a BBQ

Using a composting service

Staying at a Getaway Cabin (I hope they create an outpost in Arizona.)

Hosting a law graduate for a bar exam

Getting Experience Points on Sigler in Place

Getting a concussion as an adult

Washing my car using a drive through car wash

Biking at South Mountain on Silent Sunday

Sights: Standing on the Corner in Winslow, AZ; Singing at Knight Rise in Scottsdale, AZ; Fearless Girl in New York, NY; Captain Janeway Statue in Bloomington, IN; Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX

We really drove out of our way to visit the Future Birthplace of Captain Janeway.

Lessons Learned (or Re-learned) in 2021

I’m a better person when I have a dog.

Do not perform home surgery on yourself.

Time is our most precious resource.

Make time for self-care before you’re forced into it.

If you answer the phone with, “It’s done. There’s blood everywhere,” the cops may show up at your front door.

Dairy Queen has pup cups.

Hooman and Hound – I love this dog.

In Memoriam

Hoomans: Ron Flavin, Joanne Rogers, Ethan Pleshe, Jane Murdock, Beverly Cleary, Carolyn Lange, Jason Wright, Michael Berch, Stephen Sondheim, Paul Saviano, and Betty White

Critter Friends: Jager Martin, NASA Shankman, Athena Takaha, Jasmine Guerrero, Wooliam Takaha, Violet Takaha, Rambo Inman, Pearl Takaha, Bart Isaacson-Ortmeyer, and Bunny Reilly

Undeniable Recap of 2020

Oh my goodness – I’ve been living in a pandemic-based society for over eight months. All of my in-person conferences were converted to virtual ones this year, and my Ironman race was deferred until 2021. For the bulk of the year, I worked and trained. I only left the Phoenix metro area once since we all started needing masks to leave the house.

Even with the monotony, there were still some important events that happened this year:

Helping Rosie Over the Rainbow Bridge

I’d had a suspicion for months that Rosie wasn’t going to make it to end of 2020, and as her arthritis and doggy dementia added more and more challenges to her life, I helped her over the Rainbow Bridge on August 7, 2020. My eyes still well with tears when I think about losing her, but I know I made the right decision and gave her a good death.

Photo by Lauren Ellis Photography

Officiating Sarah and Thomas’ Wedding

My friends and neighbors, Sarah and Thomas, got engaged last year. I thought they were going to ask me to watch their dog while they were getting married, but to my surprise, they asked me to be their officiant. I had a blast spending time with each of them individually, asking about how they met, their relationship, and their hopes for the future. From their stories, I found themes, looked up quotes about marriage, and wove them into a short ceremony that was customized to them.

I also felt like a bit of a MacGyver that day because at the beginning of the ceremony, I had the bride and groom’s rings on my fingers (because they didn’t have a wedding party), and the bride’s handkerchief tucked into the back of my belt to hand over when she started crying since neither of us had pockets.

Singing at Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary

I love spending time at Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary. In the winter, I was out there to help with Gracie the baby lamb with the crooked neck. At one point, I was snuggling her on my lap, and I started to sing. Aimee was awestruck and said I have the voice of an angel. Since then, she invites me out to sing whenever an animal needs extra love and attention – like Peanut the pony when he was new to the farm and scared, Duke the cow who was born without elbows, and Wooliam the sheep after he had surgery (neutered). I love when I start to sing to one animal and other animals wander over to listen too. Aimee even had me out on the Fourth of July to help keep the animals calm while the fireworks were going off.

Photo by Aimee Takaha

Releasing the Lights Camera Lawsuit Online Course

It’s been about three years in the making, but I finally finished and released my first online course, Lights Camera Lawsuit: The Legal Side of Professional Photography. I wanted to create a course that gave the photographers the information about copyright and contracts at an affordable price, so could avoid making the painful and avoidable mistakes that I see photographers making all the time.

This course has been a journey, and probably the start of more courses to come. I had to form a separate business, create the website, hire people to create the logos and slide templates, create the lesson outlines, record and upload each lesson, and promote the course. It felt so good to bring this to market. 

Every Time Miss K Says “Oggy Ruth”

I have a nibling who lives across the country. She’s two and has brilliant blue Disney eyes. She’s so expressive. Now, I’m not a fan of children as a species, but I adore this little creature. If her parents don’t post pictures of her often enough, I’ll send them a text that says, “Send proof of child.” Since there isn’t a gender-neutral term for aunt/uncle, I picked “oggy” as my title (rhymes with “doggy”), and everyone in this kid’s life is completely on board with it. My heart melts every time I hear her say, “Oggy Ruth.”  

There were a few things that didn’t make my top five for 2020 – including going to my friend Cora’s wedding and participating in multiple Love and Compliments rallies. The thing that made these and the other top events from the year so important was that I got to spend time with my friends, even when we had to stay at least six feet apart at all times. Being away from loved ones has been one of, if not the biggest challenge of the COVID pandemic.

Photo by Liesl Pimentel

I didn’t have many firsts or any celebrity sightings in 2020, so they’re not in this Undeniable Recap. Hopefully, they’ll be back next year.

In Memoriam

Humans: Mary Griffith, Maggie Griffin, Katherine Johnson, Grant Imahara, Justin Lutch, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sean Connery, Alex Trebek

Other Creatures: Ziggy Moriarty the Boston Terrier, Moonflower Takaha the Cow, George the Corgi

Undeniable Recap of 2018

It’s been a busy year, and I’ve barely blogged a thing. Sorry about that. I’ll do better in 2019.

I’m glad I keep my jar of happy memories next to my bed to remind me of all the good things that happened this year. Sometimes with everything that was happening in the world, it was challenging to remember that everything doesn’t suck all the time. So many good things happened that I had to do more than a top five list:

Top 5 Events

1. Non-Binary Birth Certificate: I am officially legally non-binary! I had my California birth certificate corrected and re-issued, so now it states that I’m non-binary. For now, I can’t get a non-binary driver’s license in Arizona, but I’m working on it. I hope to influence the State to pass a bill that will allow non-binary birth certificates and driver’s licenses next session. Having a non-binary birth certificate also makes me want to go to states that have passed “bathroom bills” and ask where my restroom is.

2. First Marathon and Triathlon: I finished a marathon this past January. By Mile 20, I was hurting but also planning for my next race (which will be in February 2019). During the off season, I had Coach David add biking and swimming to my workouts for cross training. A few months later I signed up for my first sprint triathlon – just to see if I liked it. Less than 100 yards into the swim I thought, “Yeah, I like this.”

3. Christopher Creek Lodge Vacation: I shipped Rosie and myself away from society for a few days to stay at a cabin with bad wi-fi. We spent a lot of time reading, watching nature, rejuvenating, and getting my creative energy flowing again. It was what I needed.

4. Open Water Swim with the Jewish Swim Club: When I started swimming this year, Coach David asked, “What’s the goal?” I responded that I wanted to hold my own “with the Jews.” (Note: When I started my swim workouts in April, the furthest I could swim the first day was 75 yards.) During the summer, David and his friends swim in the ocean off Brighton Beach, sometimes a mile or more.

By the end of June David asked when I was coming to visit. I did a whirlwind trip, flying across the country on Thursday, to go swimming at 7am on Friday, and be back home in less than 24 hours. It was an awesome trip, including the swim. This was my first real open water swim, and I had a bit of a panic attack at the start. Once I realized I would never find my cadence in the waves, I was fine.

5. I Became an Oggy:  A few months ago, my sister had a baby. (I can’t wait to meet the little human.) If they don’t post photos of the little one for seven days, I send my sister and brother-in-law an email that says, “Send proof of infant.”

I had to figure out what I am to my nibling (collective term for niece/nephew). There is no gender-neutral term for aunt/uncle. I adopted a term from another non-binary person: “Oggy” (rhymes with “doggy”). I like being “Oggy Ruth.”

Honorable Mentions

Seeing Dan Savage Live: If you ever get the chance to see him speak, go.

Blind Rosie: Rosie went blind a few weeks ago, and we had to remove her other eye. She was in surgery a few hours after waking up blind that day. When I brought her home, she was bit freaked out by the protective cone she had to wear, and she refused to walk. My neighbors, Sarah and Thomas, came to my rescue and helped carry Rosie into the house when we got home. Since then, we’ve both adjusted to blind basset life. She’s such a trooper.

Rescue Dogs at CMWorld: Last year at Content Marketing World, I asked for rescue dogs in the expo hall. (Everyone loves dogs, right?) This year, they made it happen! One of the happy hours was “Yappy Hour” where, for a donation, we got to pet adoptable dogs from City Dogs Cleveland. I hope it becomes a standard part of the event.

Skateboarding: Last year, the crew at Content Marketing World bought me a penny skateboard. This year, I learned how to ride it – with lessons, pads, and the whole she-bang. I also bought a proper board. I love riding my board. When I’m skateboarding, I literally can’t think about anything else, otherwise the risk of falling is too great. I’ll tell you the whole story next year.

Firsts in 2018

Fostered a dog for a week – and learned that Rosie’s meant to be an only child.

Peleton class – at the flagship studio

Ebay listing – sold my BarBri books

Rubber bands on my Invisalign trays

SlotZilla Zip Line

Settlement conference

Deposition

Garmin watch

Amazon affiliate link

Seeing Chicago’s Second City perform

Visit to Bart Simpson Bust

Being told I look like a young Richard Gere by the clerk at JJ Hat Center

Swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Erie, and Tempe Town Lake (Yes, I was up-to-date on my tetanus shot. No, I didn’t get super powers.)

Events: Intelligent Content Conference, American Alliance of Museums conference

Attempts to be a Better Human (affiliate link): Reusable produce bags and jars, Bringing my own container to the store for Rosie’s chicken, Zero waste deodorant, Bamboo toothbrush, Menstrual cup

Foods: Making beans from dried, vegan pancakes, Daiya Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac (not bad), Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie – Chocolate Chip (not worth it), overnight oats, Just Desserts vegan chocolate midnight cupcake (delicious but soooo sweet), chia seed pudding (meh), Café Indigo vegan carrot cake (yum)

Celebrity Sightings

Margaret Cho

Elizabeth Smart

Dan Savage

Tina Fey

In Memoriam

Stephen Hawking

Harry Anderson

Larry Dolan

Kate Spade

Anthony Bourdain

Aretha Franklin

Elena Shushunova

John McCain

Mary Sigler

Burt Reynolds

Jay Bottomlee

Stan Lee

Penny Marshall