Friday, October 30, 2009

Listen With Your Heart- You Will UNderstand

Ok, so first let me apologize for the corny Disney reference.  I've recently been in a Pocahontas mood for some reason, and this song kept popping into my head.  Anyway, what I really want to talk about is listening to your body.  Basically, it's important (who knew?). 

For the past couple of days I've been really tired.  I felt lethargic, worn down and a little sick.  I kept trying to come up with reasons (my body must be fighting the piggy flu, I've been working too hard, etc.), but nothing really seemed to fit.  I was also really hungry, but I just figured that tied into me being tired and maybe even being a little bored.  So, I ignored the signs and just decided keep working through it and hope that I actually got sick enough to warrant a long rest or that I'd magically get better.

Here's the thing, though, I wasn't just hungry.  I was hungry for all the wrong things.  Usually when I'm hungry a banana, or an apple, or even a yogurt would suffice.  Recently, however, I've been craving fried foods and cookies.  Oooh, I really wanted a burger and frosty with fries from Wendy's.  Again, though, I didn't listen to my body.  I thought I'd maybe eaten too much junk recently and just wasn't feeling that great because of it.  I also figured that if I had anymore junk that I'd just crash.  That is, until last night.

I was on my home, trying to figure out what might be healthy and still satisfy my cravings when I got a call from a friend who wanted to eat out.  Everything told me I should go out.  I mean, it's expensive and it's not that healthy, but I thought, "Screw it.  Let's go out!"  So out we went.  The plan was to have a baked potato and soup, and maybe some hot chocolate or something fun like that.

By the end of the night I'd eaten a cup of soup, a cheese burger (only 6 oz so smaller portioned), quite a few fries, 2 cookies, and a few fried cheese balls which I stole from Hans.  I didn't feel too bad until I looked in the mirror and saw a food baby the size of a four month old.  I went to bed feeling guilty and dreading the morning.  I figured after all that food that this morning would be difficult to say the least.

This morning was wonderful!  I felt awake and well rested.  I had a great jog and I've run errands all morning.  Aside from the fact that I got about 3 hours less sleep than usual, I feel completely awake and fantastic.  So, do you know what I figured?  I figured that's not just what my body wanted, it's what it needed.  My biggest guess is that my body really needed the iron in the burger (it's quite easy for women to be slightly anemic), but a little fat and grease is quite good for the body.  It's wonderful fuel.

Here's the thing, though.  I don't plan on doing that every night.  I have to make sure my body actually needs something (not just wanting it) before I give in.  Yes, burgers and fries may become a bit more routine, but my run is becoming a bit more routine as well.  So, I implore you to really take stock of your body.  Listen to what it's telling you (Listen with your heart, ha ha) and answer it.  Just make sure your body is talking more like a mature adult and not like a 5 year old in the candy aisle (GIMME!).  Then get the food/fuel (fool?) that you need.  Enjoy!

P.S. I'm not quite sure why this blog has recently transformed into a fitness/weight loss blog, and I apologize if that's not what you're into.  That being said, this blog is called "Journey of a Dog Trainer" and this is all part of my journey.  Right now, it's a big part as I'm taking time to refocus my life to find what's best for my health (and for the dogs).  That being said, if you're interested in a more dog-oriented blog, check out  There you'll find answers to numerous dog questions.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Running Barefoot

As I progress further into the world of running, I hear more and more tips and tidbits.  Some are pretty straight forward, like make sure you take water.  Others are a bit more extreme, such as barefoot running.

Apparently barefoot running is a "new" fad, and comes from the idea that for centuries shoes did not exist, and man was never made to wear shoes.  I might agree with that if it weren't for the fact that man used to only live for 30 years.  Then again, who's to say that's because they didn't have shoes?  This video provides a little more info.  The interviewee is Chris McDougall, auther of Born to Run.


Even after watching the video, you'd be hard-pressed to convince me to run barefoot.  I like having soft feet, and I really do NOT want hard, scaly feet.  I'd also be less concerned with pebbles and glass, but more concerned with things like feces and worms.  You're feet could be tough enough to walk over coals, but you can still get worms.  Luckily, there are "barefoot shoes" out there for people like me.  Check out Vibram Five Fingers.

I might not be opposed to giving those a shot.  That being said, I really love my current sneakers (from Saucony).  Maybe once those shoes are dead and gone I'll consider going barefoot.  Lord knows it would save me money on shoes.  Until then, however, I'm going to lace up my sneakers every morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Losing Weight and Setting Goals

So, I've been thinking a bit about goals lately.  To be more specific, I've been thinking about weight-loss goals.  Everyone has weight-loss goals.  While some people's goals are to gain weight, most people, of course, want to lose weight.  Shows like The Biggest Loser show regular men and women dropping weight like there's no tomorrow.  There are numerous books, videos, CDs, and podcasts out there to promote weight loss.  What I, however, have been asking myself is Is weight loss a good goal? 

I don't mean to imply that people shouldn't try to lose weight.  Over 50% of Americans are obese, so, yes, people should try to lose weight.  What I'm saying, though, is that people should maybe set their goals as something related to weight loss and fitness, rather than focusing so much on a number. 

This will be extremely important as you hit plateaus in your weight loss.  For instance, I want to lose 20 pounds.  More than that I want to wear (and look great in) a bikini.  Neither one of those, however, is my real goal.  They're both just going to be results from my true goals.  Here's the thing, I don't want to be some wispy, weak woman.  I want to be strong and fit.  I want to look healthy. 

So what is my goal?  This is where it's important to be realistic too.  I have multiple goals, but they're all broken down into small, attainable pieces.  You know, stepping stones.  Right now, my goal is to simply run a 5k.  Seeing as I've never been a runner, this is a big deal for me.  I'm currently up to about a mile and am improving every day.  After the 5k I may shoot for a 10k.  After that, I'll see where life takes me.

The point is, all my goals are set on fitness, not on weight loss.  Yes, I'm happy when I see a lower number on the scale, but I'm much happier when I can run an extra block.  That extra block tells me that, while my body may not show a lower number on the scale, it is stronger, healthier, fitter.  And THAT, my friends, is what my weight-loss journey is all about..

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cuddle Monkeys

As a dog trainer I have to admit that most dog people (trainers, doctors, competitors, etc) are slightly crazy.  So, I've started to wonder how normal my everyday activities are.  Am I becoming crazy too?

Point 1
Now that the weather is cooler, I have to take Cody with me everywhere I go.  Do I think he'd miss me if I left him behind?  Probably a little, but I know he'd be fine.  It's more that I miss him.  He's great to have around when I get a little stressed, and he makes me feel safe when I'm in what could only be considered "unsavory" neighborhoods.  Most people are fine without their dogs.  I'm functional.  I'm just not happy.

Point 2
Very similar to point 1, if I'm traveling anywhere Cody had better be with me.  I'll admit I haven't even had the opportunity to travel out of the country since I got Cody, but I'm already looking at different laws in countries so I know where I can take Cody and where I can't.  The thing is, I've left him behind before, flown to MN to visit family, and realized what it's like for me.  Again, Cody's fine.  I'm the nervous wreck.  Forget the fact that flying / traveling freaks me out anyway, I then have to worry about Cody.  Is he sleeping/eating/feeling ok?  What if something happens?  How will I get back to him?  God forbid, what if something happens to us?  Who will take care of him?  It's much better to just have him with us.

Point 3
Off subject from Cody now, I'm happiest when all the animals are curled up on the bed with Hans and me.  I know this is a big no no as a trainer, but I like it.  I think it's the extra warmth.  Seeing as I'm always cold, having 2 cats, a dog, and a husband to snuggle with is a big help.  Besides, they're so friendly when I wake up; it starts my day off just right.

Point 4
While I run to keep myself healthy, my biggest reason for running is for Cody.  He needs the exercise.  Of course, I love running too, but seeing those big, brown eyes look longingly towards the door is enough to get me off my rump.

Point 5
I moniter (and get excited by) Cody's and the cat's poop.  Yes, I know each animal's pooping schedule.  This is actually good practice for all animal owners.  Poop can tell you a lot about your dog/cat/bird/horse/guinea pig and if your animal isn't pooping at all you've got serious problems.  My biggest issue, however, isn't that I monitor,  it's that I worry prematurely.  I mean, imagine if you were about to do a number two and someone forced you off the toilet.  Can you imagine the discomfort you'd feel all day?  I don't worry as much about the cats on this one, but what if I'm not giving Cody adequate time?  I've even been known to feel his belly to check if he feels "full."

Yes, I'm nuts.  However, to end on a more humorous note (and to stress the importance of poo) I thought I'd leave you with a bit of Scrubs. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Hair Do

I know it's hard for a lot of you reading this to picture my hair.  If you are able to picture it, you're probably picturing some generic ponytail with a hint of curl or (if I'm lucky) a picture from an event where I may have had my hair styled (wedding comes to mind).  If you saw my hair at a styled event you saw it straight, or you saw it blow-dried, curled, spritzed, and sprayed to the point of near death.  Otherwise, as already stated, you saw it in a pony tail.  When left to its own devices, my hair frizzes, partially curls, and forms what can only be considered a pyramid of bad hair don'ts.

I was getting sick of that routine.  I have curly hair.  It's taken me a long time to embrace it, but it's true.  I have curly, corkscrew hair.  I also, however, have no hair work ethic and definitely do NOT want to spend hours making sure my hair is curlicious.  So, when I heard a commercial on the radio about a salon that specialized in curly hair, I thought it might be time to give it a try.

As a birthday gift, Mom hooked me up.  You can see the results to the right.  That do came from a special shampoo and conditioner and one (1) product.  I never saw a blow-drier nor did I see a curling iron (at least not near my head).  They gave me tips to help me keep it up and they were very friendly.  Trust me, I'll be going back.  That being said, I suppose the real test will come tomorrow morning when I try to replicate this style.  I can't promise anything, but I'm definitely hoping.  Considering the fact my hair has never looked that good, that short and without the aid of at least 2 different heat tools, I think I stand a chance.  Here goes nothing!

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering where you too can receive such a great hair style, check out Imago Salon (  I highly recommend them.  If you don't want to try a new salon, at least amuse yourself with this commercial:

Have fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I was running this morning and I was thinking about how long it had been since I'd last gone for a run.  It's been about a month and, of course, most of the progress I'd made has flown the coop.  Then I started thinking about all the excuses I used as to why I wasn't running.

*I need new shoes.  These shoes make my feet hurt.
      While I did desperately need new shoes, my old shoes had been doing just fine.  I was using this as a lame excuse.

*Work is picking up and I don't have time to run.
      Yes, work has been picking up (Yay!), but that's still no excuse for not running.  I would always run in the morning anyway, long before I'd have to be at work.

*It's too cold.
     This is probably the closest to the truth.  I'd wake up, try to get out of bed, and jump back under the covers for warmth.  Then I'd invariably fall back asleep.  Of course, I lived through 4 Minnesota winters.  The lowest it's been this year so far is 35 degrees (and that was late at night).  I should definitely be able to handle a 40 degree morning.

The fact of the matter is, though, I didn't run because I just wasn't motivated to run.  I was tired and cranky.  I needed some rest, yes, but I took advantage of the time I had.  It's a shame too, because I really enjoy running.  It's my time in the morning to be myself.  It's bonding time with Cody.  It's fresh air, before all the cars are on the road time.  It's quite nice.

That being said, there's nothing to motivate you like a new pair of running shoes.  I couldn't wait to get them on.  Plus, they're so comfortable I'm thrilled to wear them again and again.  My old sneakers are being used for work (I need to be able to maneuver with the dogs too), but these sneakers are just for running.  Imagine how bad I'll feel if I don't use them.  Yay sneakers!  Yay running!  Yay me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Staph, Worms and Vet Visits! Oh My!

What an exciting weekend/Monday I had.  I usually pride myself on everyone in my household being happy and healthy and well taken-care-of.  This is why this weekend was so hard.  Such was not the case.

Let me start off with Cody.  As I've posted before, he had a staph infection a couple of months ago.  Antibiotics and steroids helped him tremendously, and I thought all was well.  However, he recently started scratching again.  I'd feel so sorry for him as I'd watch him scratch and scratch and scratch and find absolutely no relief.  Then, as is common with staph, he started to smell.  Of course, all dogs smell at some point, but he smelled like rotten fish.  So, since I had a vet appointment scheduled anyway (he needed his annual shots) I thought I'd ask about it.  Sure enough, we have him back on antibiotics.  This stuff is stronger, so hopefully it will knock this thing out.

Then there's Mo, the cat.  He will occasionally have these bouts where he'll get sick to his stomach and then he's fine.  I was planning on asking the vet about that too and maybe have him tested for diabetes or thyroid issues.  Things changed Friday.  Hans and I came home after dinner with Jessica around 1:00 am.  About 30 minutes after we got home Mo vomited all of his dinner, and it had barely been digested at all.  He then spent the entire night and into the next morning being sick every two hours.  So, that was night of no sleep number 1.

Saturday he seemed to be doing better, so we decided to feed him a small amount.  A few hours passed and he was still fine, so we decided to proceed with our day.  When we came home around 6 he had gotten sick a few more times, but we just figured it was a stomach flu or something.  Saturday night, however, he started to vomit but when he was done he was wheezing.  His lungs were audibly congested, and he wasn't looking so good.  I decided, however, that it wasn't quite an emergency yet and we could wait until Sunday.  I still, however, wasn't taking any huge risks so I spent most of the night up with him making sure things didn't get worse.  That was the night of no sleep number 2.

Sunday he had a slight fever and was obviously feeling terrible.  I didn't want to put him at risk, but I still didn't think he needed the emergency center.  I suppose to be honest, I was afraid of the cost there too.  You can figure that just walking in the door will cost you $250, and I still figured it was just a cold.  You know, he may have aspirated some vomit, or he may have caught Cody's staph.  It could be pneumonia, but that could wait.  I still kept a close eye on him all day, though, and was actually relieved when I heard him cough (he was coughing up stuff, I thought it was good). 

Monday I took him to the vet first thing.  He was noticeably declining.  His energy was lower and his appetite was waning.  If you know Mo, the energy thing isn't such a big deal, but the lack of appetite is huge!  The vet's diagnoses?  Heartworms.  It's very rare for a cat to get heartworms, but it happened to him.  Now he's on steroids to kill the worms and antibiotics to boost his immune system and fight off the pneumonia the worms caused.

So how is he now?  He's surprisingly much better.  I figured it would take a few days for him to really improved, but after his first set of meds yesterday morning he seemed to be coughing less and eating more.  This morning he was purring and jumping on me just like his old self.  I'm excited by this improvement and can hardly imagine what he'll be like in 9 days when the treatment is over.  Not to get into too much detail, but I've noticed big differences in the litter box as well (even from before he was sick).  I'm wondering if, once the worms are gone, his body will actually receive more nutrients and he won't have to eat as much.  Maybe he'll lose weight!  Maybe he won't stink up the kitty "bathroom" so much.  This could be super exciting!  Wish him (and me) luck!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Blog

Alright, so more posts will come soon, but I just wanted to let everyone know I now have a new blog.  Visit for dog training tips and answers to various dog questions.  The first post is about puppy-proofing your house.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Very Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday. While this birthday has been a bit less eventful than others in the past, it has also been a wonderful birthday. Let me preface what I'm about to say by explaining that for the past week or so I haven't been feeling so great. I've been tired and sore. My nose has been slightly running, and I've just felt run down.

I'm also a big believer that everyone should have their birthdays and major holidays off from work. That's why I told all my clients that I would not be in today. A few clients I told weeks ago, and others I just made sure not to schedule for today, but either way I had today off. My thought was that I could take a relaxing day and deal with some odds and ends I might not otherwise have time for. Yeah, that didn't happen.

I slept. I slept a lot. I spent most of the day on the couch, under the blanket, curled up with the cats and Cody, watching reruns of The Office. I did go out for lunch with Mom, but I took a nice, long nap after. I feel much better now.

I also had a wonderful dinner with Mom, Dad, Sherry, and Hans. It was nice to spend some time with my family as a whole. I also received some wonderful, thought-felt gifts. It's obvious everyone knew exactly what I wanted.

So, yeah, thanks guys! Thanks to everyone who called / emailed to wish me a happy birthday. Thanks to everyone who respected my day off and let me sleep. Thanks to a wonderful husband who got up early to make me waffles for breakfast. Thanks to a great family for coming out to celebrate. Oh, and as always, thanks to a wonderful Cody (and I'll include the cats here too), Mo, and Stolte for being such great cuddle-bugs / foot warmers. I had a great day because of all of y'all!

Friday, October 9, 2009


**Things have been going quite well on the sweets front. I had a little trouble about a week ago, and learned that if there are cookies at Dad's house then it might be best for me to steer clear. All other sweets (the ones that were in the apartment) were sent off to Hans' work where they were thoroughly enjoyed by all. I've been enjoying lots of fruit, though!

**Things on the exercise front aren't going quite as planned, but they are going. The one thing I'm not doing that I really want to be doing is running. I used to run every morning, but I've been sleeping in the past few weeks. I blame it on the fact I'm in desperate need for new sneakers. That being said, however, I am getting some exercise. Being a dog trainer, I'm constantly moving with the dogs. I've been taking a lot of dogs on walks, and that at least keeps me moving. I am also hoping to hit the gym sometime soon so I can work on weights. I need to strengthen my arms and legs.

**Business is doing quite well. August and September were a bit slower, but October seems to be making up for it. I think Bark in the Park helped a lot. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled. I'm starting a new blog for all those dog owners out there. It will basically be a series of posts on questions I'm commonly asked. Topics include (but are not limited to): Why does my dog eat grass? How can I get my dog to stop barking? My dog's very aggressive, what should I do? My dog is scared of everything! What can I do for separation anxiety? Plus, of course, I'll gladly answer any questions anyone may have. I'll let you know when it's actually up and running.

**Last Sunday, Hans and I moved Mom's old washer and dryer into our apartment. They're so much quieter, and they're energy efficient. We're doing loads and loads of laundry!

**My birthday is officially in FOUR DAYS! I'm pretty excited. I have a lot of stuff planned for the next week. October 13th is also my in-laws' anniversary. Everyone's celebrating!

**Events in and around Richmond over the next week include: The Richmond Folk Festival, Halloween Haunt, Italian Festival, Graves' Mountain Lodge Apple Harvest Festival, Knights of Columbus Octoberfest, Shocktoberfest, and many more. I know I'll definitely be going to at least 3 of those events. If I have time, I'll go to more.

Other than that, I suppose there isn't a whole lot going on. I'm doing my best to stay busy, which, I suppose, is all anyone can ask.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Twins Territory

Last night was an exciting night for Hans and me. While I read my the APDT Chronicle of the Dog, Hans searched the internet trying to find the Twins game against Detroit. He finally found the bottom of the 9th. The score was tied 4-4, so I set my reading aside for what I thought would be a fairly quick win for the beloved Twins. Then we went into overtime.

At the top of the 10th the Tigers did something terrible. They scored! Hans and I moaned and moved to the edges of our seats to pray that the Twins tied things up again. In the bottom of the 10th, we hooted and howled as, first, Cuddyer hit a triple and then Tolbert hit a single and allowed Cuddyer to make the run. Things were still tied, 5-5, and I had learned this wasn't just going to be a short game.

It wasn't until the 12th inning that I'm sure we woke the entire apartment complex with our screams and howls and whistles. Casilla, during his only at bat the entire game, delivered the single most important hit of the game. His hit allowed Carlos Gomez to make the run, finally bringing the game to an end after 12 innings.

Why is this game so important? It means the Twins are now the American League Central Champions. It means the Metrodome, which will no longer be used for the Twins after this season, will live to see another day as the Twins play the Yankees. It means the team I was rooting for won! Hurray!!!!!

That being said, it was a great game played by all. Detroit wasn't going down without a fight, and, even though both teams were exhausted, they continued on for 3 extra innings. It takes a lot of heart and stamina to do that. As I mentioned before, Detroit kept us on the edges of our seats. Unfortunately for them (and lucky for us) the Twins were working just as hard. GO TWINS!

In other news: Vikings beat the Packers. Take that LunarGoat!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bedknobs and Bookcases

Today, Hans and I did something that he does all the time and that I've done maybe once in my life. We built something!
In an attempt to create even more order in our lives (and expand the kitchen and my office) we decided to put a bookcase in the hallway between the kitchen and my office. The problem is, it's hard to find a bookcase with the precise dimensions we needed. We needed the shelves to be just so high, and the entire unit could only be so tall and so wide. Plus, we're a little strapped financially, so we couldn't go spending a couple hundred on the perfect shelf. That's why we decided the build one.

Here's the thing: I know Hans can build a shelf in just a couple of hours. I also know he builds stuff all day everyday and the last thing he wants to do is spend his Saturday building something else. I also thought that maybe, just maybe, he'd enjoy building it if he were teaching me. That's why, for the most part, Hans didn't build. He (with Cody's assistance) instructed.
You're talking about someone who's never used a table saw. Heck, I have trouble with a hand saw. Yet somehow, I cut boards. I glued boards. I drilled holes and screws into boards. Yes, I made sure Hans (or Cody) was looking over my shoulder the entire time, and no, I probably couldn't build something again without his supervision. However, I could cut a board again. Plus, I know the basics of building a shelf. Yay!!!
See my masterpiece!