Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cody Day

It was two years ago today that Hans and I drove to NC to pick up our baby boy. I was so nervous. Well, nervous and excited. I just kept thinking how happy I was to finally have a dog again, but I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. How big would he be? Would we develop a good bond? Would he be a chewer or a house-wetter or just a general terror? Lucky for me, he was none of those things (well past the puppy stage anyway). He was just a sweet, 11-weeks-old pup who wanted a lot of love and a comfortable lap to sleep on. He was perfect.

Now, two years later, he's no longer considered a puppy. He's 14 in people years, but acts much wiser. He's my companion and my friend. He's my blanket on cold nights and my cuddle-something when Hans has to work late. He gives me kisses in the morning and hugs to greet me in the evening. He makes a wonderful mascot for the business, but he makes a much better friend.

The thing is, I wish I could explain how much he means to me without sounding like a crazy person. Anyone can explain her love for her child and people will understand, but how do you explain that you love your dog the way most parents love their children? How do I explain that when he's upset I'm upset, or when he's sick I'm sick?How do I explain that, as much as I love, respect, and cherish all dogs, if another dog bites him I want nothing more than to hit it with a 2x4? The joy I feel just by seeing him smile brightens my whole day. It makes getting up in the morning worth it.

I've always been of the belief that anyone who wants a dog should have one, but it's not because I'm a dog trainer or just because I have a fondness for dogs. It's because there's no way to replicate the love you feel when you have a dog who loves you. My dogs have always made me a better person. They help me express my feelings. They make me happy. Yes, they can make me terribly sad too, but isn't that true for all creatures you love.

I guess what I'm saying is I hope you understand. Cody has been such a wonderful addition to my life. I'm so happy to have him. Thank you Hans for loving him with me. Thank you Dad for agreeing to me getting him. Thank you Cody for being such a wonderful friend / son / companion.
How could that NOT make you smile?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land Update

Well, I did it. I had some cookies. I had chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies, and white chocolate macadamia cookies. It was cookie galore. Oh, and today I had some ice cream (shh, don't tell Hans). So, how do I feel? To put it plainly: Like shit.

Of course, I'm exhausted from last week and the events of this weekend anyway, but I haven't felt this tired in a very long time. I fell asleep in the middle of a book. Running sounds hard even though I usually enjoy it, and Cody certainly isn't getting the exercise he got last week.

I am on a sugar crash. A major one. The one thing I'm really hoping for, though, is that I won't start craving things like cookies and ice cream again. Now that they're out of the house it should be fairly easy to avoid them, but the cravings are terrible (especially when there's nothing to satisfy them). I'm also hoping I can jump back on the exercise wagon without too much trouble. The cooler weather should help.

The thing is, a cookie here and there isn't that big of a deal. If I'd just had the 3 cookies at Bark in the Park (one of each flavor) I'd feel fine. Now, however, I just feel gluttonous. Oh well, back to work!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bark in the Park

Bark in the Park was yesterday, and while it was cloudy with the threat of rain, I still think it went fairly well. There were probably about 1500 people there yesterday, and our booth stayed busy the entire time.
Cookies and Cody both helped to bring people over. We were the ONLY ones giving away people treats.
My two boys are looking as handsom as ever in their new uniforms. Cody liked his so much he had to show it off.

There I am during a "slow" period. Check out the sign set up. Didn't Hans do a great job?

I really love this picture. Pick out my booth from the line of booths. Can you find it? I'll give you a hint: Mine's the one with the banner on it.

Yeah, the banner was pretty cool, and I have to thank Hans for figuring out a great way to hang it. I had a few former clients who showed up, and when people mentioned how well behaved their dogs were, they'd just point to my tent and say, "The tent with the banner. She's the one who trained my dog." Like I said, it was a good day.

Oh, and the best part? I have cookies and bones left over! The bones we're going to freeze and use again (I still have Ask a Trainer every weekend), but the cookies are being sent to Hans' work. Yes, I did have a chocolate chip cookie, and yes, I'll probably have another. But, it's like they say, "All in moderation."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land- Update

Well, things have been going quite well in Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land. Technically, my 2 weeks ended last Wednesday, but I'm making more of an effort to keep it going. I am allowing myself to have some fun (fried fish is too tasty to pass up), but I'm just not overdoing it. Basically, I'm keeping my meals smaller, and I'm passing up on the daily Starbucks. Also, I'm trying to keep up the exercise thing. What can I say? It makes me feel good. So, what have I noticed? Quite a bit actually.

The first thing that happened when I started was that I dropped a few That was nice. However, as my body has adjusted, I've started to plateau. That's ok, though, because I can see my body becoming stronger. I may not be showing much change on the scale, but I can feel and see a difference in my clothes. Besides, I still haven't even added in weight training yet, so I definitely have something to step up my workout if I need to.

I've also noticed I've had tons more energy. I'm having a blast taking Cody for walks, and the house is staying cleaner. A few weeks ago it was an effort just to get out of bed. Hans and I are having a blast. We are still fairly pooped come evening, but instead of just vegging out and watching t.v. we'll often play RockBand or some other game on the Wii. Last night we even took Cody for a little mini-walk and then played with him outside some. Have I mentioned that Cody loves this too? Oh, and when I mention evenings, I typically mean 7:30 or later. Any time before that and I'm typically still at work.

Yes, I feel good right now. I'm hoping I can keep it up, because I'm still tempted by a lot of foods. Eventually, I know those foods won't even appeal to me, but until then I just have to keep a plan. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Little Updates

This week has been fairly non-eventful. Not a lot has been going on. I've been preparing for Bark in the Park, and I believe it will come off without a hitch. There is still a lot to do, though, so I'm still freaking out a little. Mainly, I have to finish baking dog treats. The biggest thing is I'm not sure how many I should have. I want a minimum of 200 pairs, but I'm not sure that will be enough. Along with that, I'm buying cookies for people, and again, I'm not sure how many I should have. There may only be 200 people there, in which case I'm hope at least 100 stop by my booth. But what if there are 800 people there? I want to make sure I don't run out. Jess, Byron, and my mom are all coming over on Friday to help me make everything look nice, so I'll probably just bake as much as possible until then. Luckily the bones are easy to make, and it's just as easy to make a double batch as it is to make a single.

Other than that, Saturday was pretty fun. Hans and I went to the 43rd Street Festival with some friends of ours. We saw a lot of really nice art. There was one piece that was a picture of a dog, and I almost got it. It was really cute, but I decided to save my money for now and spend it on something better. The festival was also really good for networking. There were a lot of people with dogs there, so I stopped them and asked if Cody could meet there dogs. Once they mentioned how well behaved Cody was (and shock that he was only 2 years old) I would hand them a card. Hopefully I'll get some calls from that.

Oh, lastly, I'm trying to figure out some fun activities for Cody this week. I need him to be exhausted come this Saturday. I'm already planning to take him on long walks, take him to the dog park, and take him to the river. Along with that, I'm hoping some extended time at Mom's house will wear him out (he loves playing with her dogs). The plan is that, if I do these things every day, he'll be too tired to move on Saturday. However, if anyone has any other ideas, it would be very much appreciated.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's Happenin'!

*I had yet another Ask a Trainer session this past Saturday. They seem to go well, and I think they're a great way to get my name out there. Now all I need is for the clients to give me a call!

*We're less than two weeks away from Bark in the Park, and I'm quite nervous. I'm just about ready, but I do have a few last-minutes touches to complete. This week, however, I got my banner and my car magnets. They look great! Plus, Hans set up my tent and rigged it so the sign can hang just above my tent. He did an amazing job. I'm so lucky to have such a talented husband. I know I wouldn't have even thought of doing that, and I certainly wouldn't have known how to do it even if I had thought of it.

*My birthday is just under a month away. I think I'm looking forward to it mostly because it signifies fall for me. Plus, it means I get to go up to Grave's Mountain Lodge and pick apples. And Cody will get to romp in the mountains. It's all a good thing. Yes, there are things on my wish list (some to do more with business and some not), but I really just want to have a good time with my friends and family.

*Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land is still in progress. I had a bit of a fallback yesterday at Dad's house. I did turn down the ice cream. He told me I had to have it and I wasn't getting up until I did. Luckily, I was kind of expecting to have a sugary experience, so I ate less earlier in the day. Plus, I've already been for a jog this morning, and I'm hoping to work out again this afternoon to make up for it. I have a few somewhat easily attainable, short-term goals set for this week and for the next couple of months. Really, though, it's all been easier than I expected. Hans and I were cutting back anyway due to money issues, so there's really nothing around to tempt me, and even if there were, I can't afford to pay for it. Yay!

*Other than that, not much else is happening. I'm having fun keeping the apartment clean and doing as much for the business is possible. I just hope I continue having fun and can eventually share that fun with all of you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Am An American!

Maybe this is just a way of briefly procrastinating, but I thought I'd share some thoughts with you.

My mom stopped by this morning to drop off a book she's been meaning to give me. While she was here, she mentioned something about the bru-ha-ha surrounding a speech President Obama gave yesterday to school children across the nation. See as I have no t.v. and I rarely listen to the radio, I haven't been following the news much lately, so I asked her to explain. Apparently, President Obama gave a televised speech to children across the nation yesterday. The speech was focused on the importance of education and hard work. It was a cry to the children of today to work harder for tomorrow's future. Somewhere along the way, however, the purpose of the speech was misconstrued.

Florida Republican Party Chairman, Jim Greer, apparently started the rumor that the speech was only going to push socialism and "liberal ways" onto our school children. Just like any rumor, it spread like wild fire. So many parents raised their voices that many schools and school districts opted not to air the speech. After having watched the speech myself, I'm quite disappointed in these schools. While it may have been over many children's heads, it was, none-the-less, a very moving speech. It encouraged students to work through their family traumas, to use those life difficulties to make them stronger, and to become the next Bill Gates, the next Condoleeza Rice, or even the next Barack Obama. The only thing that could have even been construed as "health care reform" was when he told students to wash their hands to protect against illness.

I have to say I'm quite angry over the whole situation. I understand that people are scared of change, and that each person is entitled to his/her opinion, but do they have to be so cruel? I feel like we're back in middle school and there are rumors flying over who kissed whom. "Well, so and so heard from so and so, who heard from Jim Geer, who's a reliable source that Obama was spouting radical politics, and I don't want to be involved in that!" I want to encourage people to really do their homework.

Take the time to find out what the message really is before believing the rumors. If you disagree with the message, that's fine. That's what makes America great. You're allowed to disagree. Do not, however, disagree just because you heard it from a "reliable source." Then, if you don't support our president or the party, figure out why. Is it because you don't agree with the tax policies and the health-care reform or is it because your parents don't like them? Oh, and check your facts on those items too.

So, here's your homework (just like in high school): Decide whether or not you like our current administration. No matter what your position, decide if there are certain things you would change. Ask yourself why and how. Oh, and, as always, check your sources. Wikipedia and emails from your friends are NOT reliable.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tina Fey

Well, I was right. Day 3 of Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land ended my feeling terrible. I never did get a headache that day, and the next day I felt much better. Granted, I was extremely tired, but I think that had more to do with the late night and early morning than with the sugar thing.

Now, however, the real cravings have set in. Pizza sounds like heaven, and it's taking everything in me to resist making cookies and eating them all. I'm trying to resist those cravings and eat fruit for a natural sugar high, but it's quite difficult. Milk has become a best friend of mine, because it seems to lesson my ice cream cravings. Oh, and if the ice cream craving is really bad, I'll eat some yogurt (not frozen, just Dannon). That's actually quite helpful.

Honestly, I feel like Liz Lemon (aka Tina Fey) from 30 Rock. I just recently started watching that show, and I'm living vicariously through her. She eats EVERYTHING, and with each little bite she takes, I find I'm cheering for joy. "Yes! Eat that pizza!!! Oh, and have the brownie too! It's beautiful!"

Actually, I finding that Tina Fey has kind of become my idol. She's a smart, sexy, brunette woman. She manages kids and a job. She's well respected in the comedy world, but she's not necessarily out of her realm when she speaks about other things either. She kind of has that sassy librarian thing going on, and I think that's extremely attractive in a woman. Basically, she makes smart look sexy, something so few actresses now can do.

Ok, before I start sounding like a creepy stalker, I'll stop. Maybe I've just been watching too much 30 Rock, and I've probably fallen for her character more than for her, but, then again, 30 Rock is her show. Who knows!?

Anyway, my question to you is: Who do you idolize? Do you want to be like someone living or someone from the past? Is this person someone you know personally or just someone who's spread some good ideas?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Anti-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land- Day 3

Anyone who knew my grandmother in her old age knows of Chocolate Chip Cookie Land. In reality, it was just a bit of confusion on my grandmother's part as she was writing an address. In my world, however, it's a land full of chocolate chip cookies, cake, pastries, and, of course, milk. Basically it's what my world has been like...until recently.

After the trip to Chicago I noticed how much I'd been craving sugar. It started with just a small bowl of ice cream after dinner, but then I wanted more. It turned into ice cream after lunch and after dinner. Then, ice cream as a snack. I baked a batch of cookies, but I had to have 3 or 4 for "quality control." It was really getting out of hand.

Not only did was I noticing how much more sugar I wanted, I was also noticing that I hadn't been feeling well. I was always tired (and wanting more sugar), and I felt depressed in general. I was depressed because I wasn't working out. I was depressed because I wasn't going out. I was depressed because I wasn't reading, or because I was reading too much. I didn't even want to clean the house. So, I decided it was time for ANTI-Chocolate Chip Cookie Land. I needed to cut out as much of the processed sugar as possible. My foods needed to be nutritious and maybe even a bit smaller.

Now, I'm on day 3. Honestly, I feel like sh**. My whole body is aching, and I'm ending every night with a migraine headache that brings me to the point of tears. I feel like vomiting 90% of the time, and some moments have passed where I feel I might murder someone for a brownie.

Here's the thing though. It's getting better. Today is much better than yesterday. Hans and I even went to Kings Dominion as a kind of kick-off. I was thrilled that I wasn't that tempted by the Funnel Cakes (although pizza sounded pretty good). While I'm tired today, I haven't gotten a head ache yet, and that's great news.

Oh, and last night was a huge turn-around I think. We turned the a/c on last night because it was fairly warmer than it's been the previous nights. Even though it was about 5 degrees cooler in the apartment than it has been, I woke up in a cold sweat. And I had the weirdest dream (too confusing to explain). I figure that all this feeling like crap is just my body going through detox (maybe I should drink some tea to help), and that when it's done in a week or two I'll feel better than I have in years. Yes, I'll probably hit another point where I don't think I'll be able to live without a bite of sugar. I may even be tempted to dip a spoon into the sugar jar. However, I know I'll be able to jump that hurdle too. I only have to worry about the next 11 days. After that, things should be easier. Well, until my birthday that is!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Weighting Game

Right now, anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a dog trainer. You know I'm married to a great man, that I love living below the Mason-Dixon line, that I abhor the cold, and that I thrive in humidity. I think it's time, however, that you all heard of my prolonged activity on the weighting game. How did it start? When will it end? What are my goals?

For those of you who haven't known me that long, you'd never know that I used to be overweight. However, you only need to know me for about 5 minutes to know I have an obsession with food. I live and breathe for a good meal. You'd might not know, however, that at my heaviest I was over 200 lb. You also may not know that I'm not at my goal yet. You may not know that I started working towards my goal years and years ago, but only recently was my goal in sight. So, here's my story so you can be filled in:

I wasn't always overweight. As a kid I was really active. I played soccer, I swam, I rode bikes with friends. I was supremely active. The joy of being that active, however, is that you can eat whatever you want. Plus, the joy of being a kid is that you never really think about weight. Sure, you may notice that some kids are larger than other but you never think, "That kid is FAT." My main activity was swimming. In the summer, I'd swim every morning for 1-2 hours, play tennis for an hour, and then hop back in the pool for the rest of the day. In the winter I swam Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for 1-3 hours. To make up for lost swimming practices, I'd come in early for training (crunches, push-ups, extreme stretching). Trust me, I was one of the most toned ten years old you'd ever meet. That changed when I turned 12.

Of course, puberty will do a lot to a kid. Other than feeling awkward about myself (noticing how I looked in a swimsuit, etc) I really just got tired of it all. I had school and my interests had turned from sports to choir. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have stayed in shape just for choir, but, alas, I was not that wise. I quickly rose from a size 8 to a 12 and to a 14 within a few short years. While 14 isn't large at all, for a pubescent kid it's a nightmare. At 14 I was the second largest girl in my class (small, private school). I was too embarrassed to go shopping with my classmates because I often couldn't shop in the same stores (kids departments a.k.a. CURSE YOU AMERICAN EAGLE). So, I started weight loss plans.

I sent away for "magic formulas," I tried tons of diets (and I do NOT recommend Atkins). I responded well to Weight Watchers, but I couldn't make it last long. I just didn't have the will power. Somehow, I managed to almost maintain my weight all through high school. I'm sure I inched up a bit, but I really don't remember it. I gained a lot of confidence in high school and I think that helped. I actually gained so much confidence I felt I was ready for college...1200 miles away.

I was ready for college. College wasn't the problem. It was college in the the treacherous cold. I knew before I left I wasn't great in the cold, but I figured I'd throw on a few extra layers and be fine. The night my eyes froze is was made me realize I wasn't cut out. I ended up spending most of my time in either my or Hans' dorm. I'd barely even go outside for food. Pizza was the main part of my diet, and I figured I needed the extra energy to keep me warm. Yet, as badly as I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to stay inside more.

By my third year of school I'd gone from a size 14 to a very snug size 18. I probably would have looked better and been more comfortable in a 2o, but NY and Company didn't sell 20 and I really didn't want to have to leave that store. I knew my size, but I didn't know my weight. I knew it wouldn't be something I'd be happy with, but I also knew I'd have to face facts sooner or later.

I'll never forget the day I stepped on the scale. I'd expected 180, maybe even 190. Imagine how I felt when I saw 210. 210?? How did that happen? I ate salads for the next 2 weeks, and I really am not a fan of salads. I know that there are a lot of numbers worse than 210, but it certainly wasn't a number that was making me happy. I decided something had to be done. I spent the rest of the school year trying to get on track, but there weren't any real changes until the next summer.

Mom and I joined a gym. VLF was a great gym...women only and very friendly. There were weights, group classes, treadmills, and ellipticals...all favorites of mine. I'll never forget how at the beginning of the summer I could barely last for 2 minutes on the elliptical, but by the end I was going a whole 30 minutes on level 4, 5, or 6. It was so empowering. Plus, I started running. My goal, run a mile. I did succeed, but I haven't maintained.

As for diet, I can't say that really improved by choice. It would be more accurate to say that financial restraints limited my food intake. I tried to keep things nutritious and baked potatoes, yogurt, and oatmeal were staples of my diet. The weight melted off.

By senior year of college, I'd shed about 20 pounds (a lot for 3 months time, but I enjoyed it). I tried to keep losing during college, but work, stress, and a bit of depression limited that. Plus, I was still FREEZING. Whoever convinced me MN winters were easy was a big, fat liar! So, when I came home, I kept trying. Ten pounds later I hit a bit of a plateau. Actually, the plateau hit me.

Well, less plateau, more SUV. It was a minor fender bender, but I was taken off running for awhile (my preferred exercise). I ended up not exercising at all. So when I went back to working out, it ended up being much less enjoyable than I remember, and much more excruciating. Who knows, maybe I pinched my exercise nerve and just haven't gotten it back, but I just don't have the drive that I used to.

I did lose another ten pounds when my wisdom teeth were removed. A liquid diet will do that to you. At the start of this summer, I thought I may end up losing some more, but whatever was lost was quickly gained back when birthdays started cropping up.

So, where am I now you ask? I am about 25-30 lb away from goal. I'm trying to focus on my diet first this time. I figure if I'm well energized, I'll be able to work out more. I'm hoping I can lose the weight by next spring (in time to show off toned arms) but I'm not making any promises. I do have other goals, though, instead of just losing weight. I think that's healthy because it's not just a numbers game anymore. It's more of a health thing. I want to run a marathon (a full marathon). I also eventually want to do a triathalon, but that may take a better-fitted bike. At this point, I'd love to be able to run enough to wear out Cody. Woot! Either way, there's still a lot of work to be done.

Anyway, I know I've blabbered on for a while now. I hope I haven't bored you to tears. I just thought I should share with you what I've been thinking about for the past 10 years. I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles...Well Really Just Automobiles

Geeze it seems like forever since I last blogged. Things have just been really hectic around here, so every time I think, "I'll write a blog today" I'm overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts and then I just decide to put it off for awhile. What I'm saying is, this blog may be fairly long or it may be fairly short. I'm just not sure where my brain will lead me today!

Well, my last blog was about Ask A Trainer in Southside. I did do another Ask A Trainer in the West End and it went even better than I could have imagined. I was able to meet plenty of people and I did have quite a few people ask me questions. I'll be back in Southside this Saturday, so we'll see how that goes. I'm expecting it to be fairly busy due to the Labor Day weekend, but I could be completely wrong.

Much more happened on Saturday than just Ask A Trainer, though. That evening we went to a cookout. When we got home (around 9:00 pm) we loaded up the car and drove to Chicago. I mentioned in the last blog that we may be going up for a funeral. The initial plan had been to leave Sunday morning, but we would then have to miss the wake. We both felt it was fairly important for us to be there, and it would mean a lot to Hans' family, so we left early. Hans was a trooper and drove for most of the trip. Yes, we did stop, but only briefly and only in a rest area in Ohio.

I have to say, while the reason for us being there wasn't the happiest, it really was a nice trip. Hans and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing his family. Plus, we were able to see a little more of where Hans' dad grew up. While I was a bit worried that the stress of the situation would cause us to drive each other nuts, I actually think it helped to mellow us out and bring us together. Really, while it's a somber occasion, it's one of the few occasions that will bring that much family together. Hans and I both met family members we'd never even heard of. I met some of Hans' family that I'd heard plenty about and just never seen. So, how can you not be somewhat happy? I think anything that brings that much family together has to be somewhat joyous.

Oh, and the day of the funeral was beautiful. My family has a belief (we're Ukrainian and extremely superstitious): If it's raining on the day of the funeral it means the deceased was sad to leave and is mourning the loss of his/her time on earth. However, if it's sunny, then the deceased is happy and at peace, and we should not mourn but be joyful because our beloved family member / friend is finally happy. The day of the funeral was bright and sunny. The temperature was warm but not too hot (well it was actually kind of chilly for me, but I'm odd like that). It was obvious that our aunt was extremely happy. I only hope that others can see it that way.

So, all in all, I had a pretty good time. I was able to see family that I'm not able to see that often. We actually had a great time visiting with them. I was able to try a great pizza place that Hans and his family have raved about for years (and it was delicious). Oh, plus I had a great meal at Culver's. There's no decent way to describe Culver's other than fast food deliciousness. Now I'm back home, Hans is at work, and there's unpacking to do. Life is going back to normal...I hope.