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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes



Ok, so I love that song a little more than I should, but it's definitely perfect for my mood change today.  I'm feeling much happier today.  Yes, I can tell my cloudy mood is still waiting to rush in, but today is sunny.  So, what's different?  What changed?  Well, a few things.

First, I finally (finally!!!) got my video ad in for Impawsible Pups.  I been anxiously awaiting this moment since the end of October!  It's absolutely beautiful too.  Ok, so I'm biased, but I'd definitely choose this videographer again.  If you haven't seen it yet, go to my previous post and watch it.  Do you have a favorite scene?  My favorite scene is the one where Cody is jumping in the air after his toy.  He looks so happy!

Second, I have some really wonderful friends, and I don't even think they realize how wonderful they are.  Recently, I have felt utterly alone.  I felt like my only friends in the world were Hans and Cody, and Hans didn't count because he's my husband (he has to like me...or at least tolerate me), and Cody counted plenty, but he still couldn't quite make up for a human interaction.  That said, Cody was one of the few things that brought me solace.  I felt old and tired and alone.  It's not a great combo.

Yesterday, however, I got a message from a friend that made me smile.  That was a help.  Then last night, I posted that video, and I got some good responses from some old friends.  That was an ego boost.  Then, out of the blue (not related to the video at all), Jess called to see if I could hang out.  She said she wanted to see me before Christmas, and I was instantly reminded of what a dear friend she is.  Lastly, I had a brief chat session with my old roommate.  It wasn't much, but it was a good reminder that I'm not forgotten.

All of a sudden, I don't feel so old and lonely.  I'm still tired, but that has other sources.  I know my friends haven't forgotten me.  Sure, we're all busy, and many of us are broke (making get-togethers difficult unless they're free), but we're still there for each other. 

So, let's hope this mood stays this way for a little while.  I definitely like it better than the one I'd been in before.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Receiving This Brightened My Day

The Past Few Weeks

The past few weeks haven't been the greatest for me.  I've been in a serious funk.  While everyone else is gearing up for Christmas and time with family, I feel like Scrooge saying things like, "Bah!  Humbug!"  It really stinks.

I know this is in part due to stress.  I'm still dealing with the accident from Nov. 16th, I'm trying to fit a week's worth clients into 3 or 4 days, and then into two days since Hans and I are planning a trip to visit his family in NC, days are shorter making me tired faster, attractive Christmas food is leaving behind not-so-attractive thighs, and to top it all off I still haven't even gotten out Christmas cards.  Actually, I haven't even gotten presents for most of my family.  That said, I probably won't be able to get them before Christmas anyway, so I should probably stop worrying about that.  Really, my dream right now would be to hire a team of people to do everything for me (including a nutritionist and personal trainer), but that dream isn't happening today.

Instead of devoting my time to the tasks at hand, I'm finding I'm becoming frustrated and giving up.  I don't want to clean.  A nap is better.  That's my mentality.  Of course, this leaves me feeling even more defeated and upset.  It's like I told Hans last night, "I need to be motivated so I feel better, but feeling better would make me motivated."  It's a vicious cycle!  A credit to Hans is that he's been wonderful through my torrential mood swings.  And trust me, I've taken out a lot on him.

I'm hoping I can come out of my funk in time for Christmas, and I am looking forward to Hans opening his present.  That should be exciting.  That said, to any family members who may be reading this, please excuse delayed presents.  To anyone else reading this, please excuse a lack of posts.  I'm  just not in the mood.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Christmas Tree

This past weekend, Hans and I finally got the Christmas tree set up and decorated.  It was a little later than we'd have liked, but late is better than never.  Anyway, it got me thinking about how different people I know decorate their tree, versus how we do our.   Some people like a themed tree.  It's all red and gold balls with white lights (or something like that).  If they have kids, they may have a separate tree for the children to decorate, but their tree is the main one.  Some people can't decide what theme they want, so they decorate multiple trees.  Some people don't have a theme, but do have somewhat uniform ornaments (oh, and lots of tinsel).  Our tree's theme is the same every year... Christmas.

One of the things I love about Christmas is the togetherness.  Families come together to spend time with one another.  Memories are made.  Our tree is filled with memories of Christmas past.  It reminds us of family members and vacations, schools and traditions.  This year, we have a smaller tree than last year, so many of our ornaments would not fit on.  Hans and I each, however, found the ornaments that were most important to us, and all of those are up there.

Full of family memories...and Cody in the corner.
 And here are some of the family favorites:

A Ukrainian spider web for good luck.

A light house that actually lights up from Hans' grandma.

Memories of our trip to Arizona over Christmas 2008.

An ornament filled with costume scraps from Cirque du Soleil.  Hans and I love their performances and thought this ornament would be perfect.  Hey!  We should do this for TIV!

Memories of our college days and our wedding.
Obviously I couldn't post pictures of all of the ornaments I love or else I probably would have taken pictures of the whole tree.  Just so you know, though, we also have ornaments from Hans' great-grandparents and my grandparents, both of our "baby's first Christmas" ornaments, and my "baby's second Christmas" ornaments.  There are some that have been on my Christmas tree for as long as I can remember, and it doesn't really become Christmas until I see those ornaments.  Oh how I love the Christmas tree!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

I've posted this before, but I feel it could be said again.  There is a reason I enjoy having dogs in my life.  They make me feel good.  So, let me give you an example.

Lately I have not been sleeping well.  Between a bit of stress, a lack in strong physical activity, and a general overall feeling of blah, sleep has suffered severely.  With a lack of sleep, I've found myself cranky and irritable.  I am finding it harder and harder to be in the Christmas spirit.

Well, this morning I was in a state of partial sleep, mostly awake (as I was all night).  I was marvelling a bit at the fact that the fosters had not yet woken, and was worrying that the cats, who were hungry, would start asking for food and step on my bladder.  I could feel myself tensing up, and getting cranky over the fact that I had spent another night without a good night's sleep.  That's when I felt it.  I felt little, wet kisses on my hand.  I looked down, and there was Cody.  Cody was laying on his back, tilted slightly towards me, with his front paws wrapped around my arm.  He was giving my hand little kisses, and when I opened my eyes and looked at him he wagged his tail.

I could feel my bad mood vanishing with every thud, thud, thud of that tail.  With a few more kisses, the bad mood was almost completely gone, but what finally did the trick was when Cody pulled himself up closer and snuggled up under my chin.  All he seemed to say was, "Mommy, I love you.  Hold me."  How could anyone be in a cranky mood with that sentiment?

Cody seems to be great at doing that.  I suppose that's why I don't understand how some people don't like or don't want dogs.  What do they do when they're stressed or in a bad mood?  Who snuggles up to them?  Who has a soft coat for them to run their hands through?  Who amuses them my pouncing after a toy or getting confused by a butterfly? 

Anyway, my bad mood is no longer here, and I have a great smile on my face as Cody tries to decide whether to play with his Kong toy or with the cats (who don't want to play quite as much as Cody does).  Much happiness!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Week in the Hospital

This week has been crazy to say the least.  To be honest, I feel as if I've been pulled in a thousand different directions all at once.  Thanksgiving was fun and restful and wonderful, but Monday started the craziness.

Monday morning I woke up early and went to the hospital.  Dad was scheduled to have a hip replacement, and I wanted to be there for him.  I was in the hospital from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm merely waiting for him to get out of surgery and recovery.  I thought I might leave between 6:00 and 7:00, but as meds wore off and hunger set in, Dad started feeling not-so-great, so I stayed later.  I was probably home between 8:00 and 9:00.  I didn't sleep so great that night.

The next morning, I was back in the hospital bright and early.  Dad was feeling much better, and I was relieved.  Actually, overall Dad has done extremely well.  He's been in little to no pain, and most of the pain he is feeling is simply from the surgical incision.  He's been in good spirits, and was a physical therapy favorite.  It was interesting to compare him to other patients.  There were others who had been operated on on the same day, but who still couldn't walk on their own today.  Dad was discharged today, and was such a trooper.  He's not feeling so great this evening, but that's probably just from all the exertion from earlier.  Hopefully he'll be better tomorrow.

On Another Note...
I am trying to get back into a good work-out routine.  I had one for the longest time, but have failed miserably lately.  To make matters worse, recovery from my fender bender is taking longer than I'd expected, so I have to take things slowly.  Add to that the cold weather, and exercise isn't happening right now.
My doctor has given me a few exercises I can do, and will continue to work with me (I really love her), but I'm hoping to improve more.  So, now I must ask, what do you do to help stay healthy during the winter?  Do you stay indoors, endure the cold, or go to the gym?  Or, are you like I've been lately and simply figure that the added weight is needed for the colder temperatures?  If you have any tips, please let me know!

Thank you very much!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things To Be Thankful For

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Traditionally, my family and I will sit around the table, and, after saying grace, will share what each of us is thankful for.  I very much enjoy this tradition, and I feel it should be something that is shared on more than one day a year.  Then again, if that happened it probably wouldn't be as special. 

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and while I should wait until tomorrow to share, I would rather spend that time with my family than on a computer telling everyone else what I'm thankful for.

So, I am thankful for:

- Friends and family to gather around the table with.

- A loving, caring husband who is ever-so helpful with everything.

- A happy, healthy Cody who can cheer me up whenever I need cheering-up.

- A healthy me! [especially after all I've been through this year]

- A wonderful year of business.

- Wonderful clients who are so dedicated to helping, teaching, and learning with their best friends.

- Two amusing, crazy cats.

- A roof over my head.

If I were to sum things ups, I'd declare that I am thankful for the mere ability to wake up in the morning and get out of bed.  That alone makes life worth living.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Great Debate...Or At Least One of Them

This morning I was following the stalker feed on Facebook when I saw a comment regarding children and leashes.  The comment said something to the affect of, "That disturbs me almost as much as parents who leash their children."  So, of course, I mentioned something to Hans.

Having been a leashed child myself, and feeling as though I have not suffered any long-term side affects, I am all for a leash...especially in crowded, public situations.  I don't feel that a leash is a way to drag your child around or force him to stay directly by you side.  It is not meant to treat him like a dog (although that's not such a bad thing in my world) where he should always walk on you left side and sit when you stop.  Rather, a leash is a way to keep him tethered to you.  Should you have your arms laden with groceries, or should be in a crowded area such as a mall or fair, the leash guarantees that your child will not dart into traffic or wander off to find something more fun.

Hans, however, has a very different opinion on the matter.  While he sees the positive side of leashing a child, especially in a situation like the farm building at the state fair, he thinks it odd and possibly detrimental to the well-being of a child.  He says in situations like the mall or walking down the street one could simply hold their child's hand.

I, obviously, disagree.  I don't feel that I've heard enough arguments (sound arguments, not just opinions) that would lead me to believe that leashing is bad.  Just like with Cody, a leash in certain situations gives me a certain peace of mind.  When Cody reached the point that I could trust him off-leash, I let him off-leash.  Why would I not do the same with my own flesh and blood?

So, now I must ask, what are your opinions on the matter?  Were you leashed?  Did you leash your children?  Do you wish you had?  Do you wish you hadn't?  Are you utterly opposed and why?  Are you simply indifferent?  Please share!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Past Few Days

Things have been crazy since Friday.  There's been so much going on, I thought I'd share with you a few of the things.

Saturday
Saturday I was supposed to go to adoption stand, but I was held up by the Richmond Marathon.  After being help up for 45 minutes, I decided to turn around, go home, and then go straight to my afternoon appointments.  (P.S. Brittany, if you're reading this I hope you did well on the half marathon).

My appointments were fun, but not super-eventful.  After my appointments, though, I went out to the VFW to help Jess set up for her wedding.  I have to tell you, Jess is super-crafty.  She made, all by herself, all of her favors and place settings.  Plus, her idea for the guest book was amazing.  She had a somewhat smaller wedding, so instead of doing an actual guest book she did something very unique.  One of Byron's coworks drew a tree full of branches but no leaves.  For each guest, she had them put their thumb print in orange, red, yellow, or green ink and write their names next to it.  She and Byron were in blue ink (like two blue birds in a tree).  It was really cute.

After we set up (and I'd driven out to get the cake), we returned to Jess' SIL's house for a sleep over.  I'll tell you, Jess' brother married a good woman.  She's such a sweetie!  We spent the rest of the evening enjoying pizza, cookies, and hot chocolate.

Sunday
Sunday was the big day.  Jessica was getting married!!!  The ceremony was small (something I love), but it was full of love and happiness.  I was surprised by how teary-eyed I got.

The reception was done beautifully.  Hans was in charge of sound, and he did wonderfully.  The best man gave a beautiful speech, and Jess and Byron looked so happy together.  It was such a beautiful day, I'm not even able to really put it into words.  Luckily, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Hans also played photographer for the day.  Luckily I wasn't photographer.  He's much better than I am.

A Beautiful Bride

Bride and the Matron of Honor- Don't we look like sisters?

A couple in love

A beautiful first dance

For a moment we thought the groom was going to run away with the best man!

This is a beautiful cake, but I especially loved the cake-topper.  I LOVE Willow Tree People.
Tuesday
Monday was non-eventful, just running errands, so I decided to skip ahead to yesterday.  Yesterday was FULL of events.

First, I woke up super early.  It was my day to appear on Virginia This Morning on CBS, and I was just a little excited.  I had set my alarm for 5:00 am, but I woke up at 3:15 and 4:30.  I was nervous, and I arrived at the studio 45 minutes early.  Luckily, Cody and I were on first.  I think it went well!

 

What do you think?

Oh, but that's not all that happened!  That afternoon I was on my way to an appointment.  It was rainy and wet, and traffic was heavy.  We had just passed stop light when a car stopped to turn left.  I stopped.  The car behind me didn't.  Well, she said, "I stopped but just kept sliding."  Basically, I was hit by a car going at least 20 miles per hour.  I spent the evening in St. Mary's Hospital taking x-rays and just wanting to go home.  I spent the night on muscle relaxers and pain medications, snuggled up to Cody, CJ, Mo, Stolte, and Hans.  This morning, I'm a little sore and I'm waiting for a call from the insurance adjuster.

For those of you who are wondering, a police report was filed, and all should go fairly smoothly.  I'm sure there will be lots of other issues later, but for now I'm just icing, moist-heating, and taking prescription medication.  Woot!

So, this autumn has been fairly eventful.  I've survived a tornado and a car crash, but I've also had a great time with business and even made an appearance on the news.  Lots of ups and downs!!!  I'm just hoping next year there are more ups than downs!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Day At The Beach

It is very rare that I have a day off.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it's been months since I had absolutely NOTHING to do.  Usually there's something going on.  Well, today was one of those days.  I have lots to do.  I have phone calls to make, websites to update, and dogs to train.  I have a house to clean (particularly an office) and dogs to bathe.  I have a few wedding preparations to help out with for Jessica's wedding.  All in all, there's lots to do.  However, today I found myself with a large portion of time of no appointments.  Usually I get office work done between appointments, but today all my appointments happened later in the evening.  Combine that with a beautiful, sunny, warm, autumn day, two dogs with pent-up energy, and the opportunity to let them off-leash to run it out, and I was easily swayed away from desk.  Off we went to the river.

I love the going to the river because Cody loves going to the river.  Today, Cody got to go with his best friend, CJ.  Plus, we normally go during the summer, which means there are lots of people, lots of noise, and not a lot of room for yourself.  Generally, Hans and I will find a rock in the middle of the river and just hope that no one bothers us.  In the fall, during the middle of a work day, the river is abandoned.  I was able to leave the sounds of the city behind, take out a book, a camera, and lunch, and simply enjoy a few hours during the day.  Forgetting my enjoyment, though, the dogs loved it!  Don't believe me?  Here's the proof:

RUN!

Splash!

One happy dog.

Run...again!

Wait for me!

Play!

What's over there?

We'll find something fun if we just keep digging.

The view when we left...beautiful.
See?  Great day!  I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Getting Thin

One of the ways I waste my time on the internet is by reading blogs.  I read my SIL's blog, and my client's blog, and numerous other blogs.  One of my favorite topics on blogs is weight loss.  It's helpful to know that I'm not the only person who's struggling, plus it's great to see what's working for others and get motivation and ideas.  I love it.  However, there's one blog post I read recently that irked me.

This girl talked about how she can't find a guy because she's overweight, she can't wear pretty clothes because she's overweight, and she was overall down on herself.  One, I can tell you from the pictures she's posted that she may have been slightly overweight, but she looks quite healthy.  Two, she also comments that she's lost 23 pounds since August, and based on her starting weight that does not seem very idealistic for long-term weight loss.

What irked me, is that she blamed her weight for all the problems in her life.  If she had blamed her health issues on her weight, I would have been understanding.  If she had said that her weight made her self-conscious and therefore she didn't feel comfortable wearing pretty clothes or going after guys, I totally would have gotten it.  However, she said that guys didn't want her because she was overweight and she couldn't wear pretty clothes because she was overweight.  I just don't buy it.

Here's the thing.  I know how I was at my heaviest.  I believed that no guy could want me because of how I looked...yet that's when I met Hans.  I also noticed that as I lost weight, I got more attention from guys.  However, I can guarantee you it's not because I looked different.  My whole attitude was different.  I felt better about myself and I would flirt...quite unabashedly.  Guys who wouldn't have noticed me before still didn't notice me...until I started chatting.  I wouldn't hesitate to strike up a conversation with a waiter or with a coworker.  One could argue that losing weight changed me, and that's true, but it didn't change the guys.

As for the clothes thing, it is harder to buy pretty clothes when you're heavier.  I remember finding the largest size available and sucking in my gut just so I could avoid having to move into the "big girl store" which was more expensive.  Those clothes were always too tight and quite uncomfortable, and they never looked that great.  Their not looking great wasn't so much because of MY size, but because of THEIR size.  I wasn't wearing the right size, and so I ended up looking like a sausage.

I think what bothered me most about this post was how much support this girl received.  I expected to read things like, "Why can't you do this?  You're awesome as you are!"  Especially after the Marie Claire hubbub I expected a strong reaction of "You are beautiful!  Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do!"  Instead, I read reactions of, "So true!  I can't find a guy either!" or "Yeah, I hate having to cover myself up too."  There were three (THREE!) people who said, "Don't let your weight hold you back" and those three people were utterly refuted.  WTF?!

If an anorexic woman states she's disgusted by large people and thinks they should cover up then she's immediately considered a villain and is drawn and quartered.  Everyone will rise up and state how wrong she is, and how proud they are to be them.  However, if a somewhat larger lady (not obese, just not as fit) says she's disgusted by weight and needs to cover up and can't find a guy then she's revered for being true and honest and wonderful.  Am I missing something here?  If I am, please tell me.

Can we only say we're upset by weight if it's our own?  Where do we draw the line on that?  Does your BMI have to be at a certain level for you to complain about your weight or could someone with a BMI of 24 (technically considered normal, but on the upper edge) say they feel large and gross and unable to do all the things "normal" girls could (like shop)?

Plus, if it's weight that's keeping larger girls from getting married or buying cute clothes that look good on them (like fancy underwear), how do we respond to the girls who are doing this everyday?  Did God look down on them and decide to grant them some sort of miracle despite their weight?  Did they instead make a pact with Satan?  Are they some sort of anomaly...a freak of nature?  Or, are they perhaps just slightly more comfortable with who they are on the inside and are therefore able to let that shine through to the outside?

Lastly, whatever happened to losing weight so YOU feel pretty?  What kind of message are we sending out?  "I'm not really concerned about the weight.  I just want to look cute...oh and find a man!"  Somewhere along the line we seriously need to adjust our priorities.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Bachelorette Party

Yesterday I told you about Jessica's bachelorette party, but the biggest problem is that I can't give you Jessica's emotions or feelings towards the party.  I can, however, give you my feelings towards my own bachelorette part and wedding shower (or showers as the case may be).

My Bachelorette Party
My bachelorette party was a complete and utter surprise.  First, Hans surprised me by flying my two best friends up to MN.  He knew I was homesick and was having trouble that year, so he talked them and his parents into all pitching in a bit of money to give me a big surprise (fantastic!).  So, my roommate, Jackie, and her sister, Kelli, decided that would be the perfect time for a party.  I had a quiet evening planned...they had other things in mind.
Kelli arrived at the apartment baring a bag full of blow pops, some bachelorette-themed-shaped white chocolate and milk chocolate suckers, a handful of Hawaiian leis and tiara and veil.  The rules were I had to approach random strangers at a bar, ask them if they'd like a c***, blow or lay for $1, and if they bought one I'd have to sing "Lolli-c***, lolli-c***, Ooh lolli, lolli-c**" while dancing.  So, off we went: Jess, Laura, Liz, Kelli, and Jackie.  They were nice enough to take me to TGI Fridays for dinner and preparation.  

At first I was mortified...it was EMBARRASSING!  Then, however, people started buying.  Heck, I got so into it I even sold the tiara for $5 (although that may have irked Kelli a bit).  Anyway, by the end of the evening I had made over $100, and had had a blast.  I think we got home around 2:00 or 3:00 am, which was a bad idea because I had to be at work to do time cards by 7:00 am.  It took me 3.5 hours to do what normally took under 2 hours.  I was really tired.

The Wedding Shower Number 1
I forget what we had planned for that day, but I know it didn't work out.  Jackie made up some story that her car wasn't working and asked if we could come pick her up at her sister's house, so off we went.  When we got there, there were a few cars in the drive and on the road.  As we entered the house, we were greeted by Jackie, Kelli, Hans' whole family, Jackie's mom (who was making our cake), and a buffet of wonderful...including a chocolate fountain.  So, the problem with a chocolate fountain when you're really tired is that you make a mess.  Within ten minutes I had made such a mess that I had to borrow one of Kelli's sweatshirts.  Boy was I embarrassed.  Oh well!  We had fun.  We played games like seeing who could make the best gown out of toilet paper (Hans makes a very amusing bride...especially with that strapless gown), and memory games like remembering what sorts of kitchen utensils were safety-pinned to an apron.  We also brought out a few left over lolli-c***s from the night before and laughed hysterically as Hans, his brother, and his mom enjoyed the tasty treats.  The party seemed to end too quickly, but I was tired and ready for a nap.  Jess, Laura, and I went off so I could show them around town, and Hans and his parents went to see a show he'd been working on.  I was happy that evening (well until Hans called to say that he and his parents had hit a deer.  That wasn't fun).

The Wedding Shower Number 2
This one was much more planned.  Actually, I'd known about this shower since before the first shower took place.  Hans' grand-Godmother (his Godmother's mother) threw us this shower.  Instead of involving people from VA and St. Cloud, this shower included more of Hans friends from Peterville.  The invitations were fantastic.  Each invitation had a recipe card and whether or not you could make it you were supposed to send in a recipe for us to call our own.  We got some wonderful recipes including some delicious brownies from Liz's mom, some great waffles from Hans' dad, and the recipe for Green Garbage (a broccoli casserole Hans' family has over holidays).  Hey, I said they were good.  I never said they were healthy.
We also played games at this party...very similar games to the first shower.  A really fun one was dressing up the bride and groom and tissue paper.  Apparently, Hans is a jack of all trades, because not only did he make a great bride, he also looks pretty fantastic with a goatee and top hat.  

The nice thing about this shower was that I didn't feel like I was about ready to drop.  I was simply able to enjoy the party.  That's definitely a bonus.

Anyway, it wasn't too long after all these parties that Hans and I got married.  And now, my Maid of Honor, Jess, is getting married in less than a week.  Wow!  Time is flying by!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Bachelorette Party

A while back my best friend, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Byron, got engaged.  I posted on it when it happened.  Anyway, a couple of months ago they finally set the date.  Anyway, one week from tomorrow, November 14th, Jess and Byron will finally be married.  Everything is coming together nicely, Jess looks fantastic in her gown, and I am loving my Matron of Honor dress (although I hate the fact that I'm called a Matron...it sounds so old).  Two weeks ago her SIL, Maria, threw a bridal shower, and last night I threw a Bachelorette Party.  It has been quite fun.

As we go through all these events, though, I can't help but to reminisce on the events surrounding my own wedding...how different my bachelorette party was (not better, not worse, just different), how my wedding showers (yes I had more than one) turned out, and all my feelings surrounding the events.  So, while I do want to share with you Jess' bachelorette party, I also want to share with you my own events.  This post, though, is not about me.  It's about Jess and the party we had last night.

Jessica's Bachelorette Party
The party was scheduled to start at 6:00 pm.  Food was on the table, and what a spread it was.  We had mini egg rolls, pretzel M&Ms, pub mix, chips and dip, and a few drinks.  Pizza was on the way, due to arrive by 8:00, and we had a special guest arriving at 7:00.  Get your mind out of the gutter!  We did not hire a stripper.  Actually, I had scheduled a Tasteful Treasures party...you know, like a Tupperware party except instead of Tupperware women look at items that might be useful in the boudoir.  Anyway...we were ready and set to go by 6:00.

The only person there by 6:30 was Jess' sister-in-law, Maria.  The bachelorette was late for her own party, and he was bringing a gaggle of guests with her!  I finally decided to call her and she told me she was on her way, but by the sounds of things she wouldn't be there for another half an hour.  Geeze!  Anyway, the Tasteful Treasures lady arrived by 6:45 and the guest of honor still wasn't here!

I should make a note here that the lady I had originally booked for the party had called around 4:00 to say she was sick and couldn't make it, but that she had found a replacement.  The replacement had called to introduce herself, and I that's when I found out it was her very first show...ever.  Probably not ideal for a bachelorette party, but we're flexible.  When the presenter arrived, we took one look at each other and realized we knew each other.  Our presenter was someone whose sister went to middle school with me and who was only one grade below Jessica in elementary and middle school (in high school too, but they went to different schools by that point).  Small world!

Well, Jess arrived with the extra guests by 6:56, just in time for the events to begin.  We went through a presentation that was fun, filled with questions, and filled with even poor giggles and grown women acting like middle schoolers (tee-hee!  She said "back door.")  It was fun.
After the presentation, though, is when I feel the real fun began.  A couple of people had to leave, and that was a shame because it would have been more fun with them, but the rest of us had a great time.  We played Pin the Junk on the Hunk (like Pin the Tail on the Donkey only not), in which hilarity ensued.  We followed this up that up with bachelorette charades (which we're all pretty awful at...we like to use words) and finished off with talking like chipmunks courtesy of the helium balloons...yes, we're middle schoolers.

All in all, it was a very fun evening...an evening spent with just us girls...an evening full of laughter and some stupidity, but all in good fun.  I hope Jess had as much fun as I did, and I hope the party met her expectations.  No, it wasn't a raucous night of drinking (although drinks were had).  No, it wasn't a loud night, a wild night, or even a very late night.  But, it was a fun night.  So, here's to ending the single life!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eating Late

This is an issue I'm facing right now.  Actually, it may be a non-issue, but I'd love some advice.

So here's the deal.  I eat late...generally between 9:00 and 10:00 pm, almost never before 8:00 and occasionally after 10:00.  I'm not snacking or stress eating or mindless eating- that's when I have dinner.  Here's what happens in my day.

I typically wake up sometime between 6:30 and 7:30.  I'll shower, let the dogs out, and go have breakfast.  If I don't have appointments that morning I'll either work in the office or run errands.  Then it's off to my appointments.

The problem with in-home dog training is that a good percentage of people work 9-5.  So, their appointments fall after 5:00 pm.  Take yesterday for example.  After running errands all morning and meeting with the roofer, I went to a 4:30, a 6:00, and a 7:30.  I got home at 9:00.  I was planning on working out before dinner, but I was exhausted and hungry, and I had work to do in the office, so Hans put dinner together.  It was on the table by 10:00 pm. 

It was a tasty dinner too.  We had apple-cider chicken over pasta with green beans.  The portions were quite reasonable, and the dinner was wholly satisfying.  I had a banana for dessert (something I'm fine with not having when they are not in the house, but that I can't live without when they're right in front of me).

After dinner I trained the dogs for an hour (and had a blast doing additional work with Cody).  Then I went to bed.  I slept in later this morning, but that's simply because after some additional water intake yesterday I had to get up a few times in the middle of the night.

So, my questions are these: 1) Is this even an issue?  I know eating late isn't ideal, but the meals are healthy and well-balanced.  2) Do you have any tips?  I thoroughly enjoy my sit-down meals with Hans.  I already eat lunch on the run a good portion of the time, and I'd prefer to not do that with dinner too.  So if you have any suggestions that would be fantastic.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marie Claire

I've been wanting to write this post for some time, but I wasn't quite sure how to get my points across without offending anyone.  So, as you read this, if you are offended then I apologize.  Such is certainly not my intention.  That said, this is my blog about my thoughts and feelings, so if you're really ticked, just don't read it. 

Alright, that said, has everyone read the Marie Claire article that has everyone so infuriated?  If not, I encourage you do so before continuing on this blog.

Most people are supremely ticked off about this article.  If you don't believe me, try reading other blogs like LutherLiz or Dietgirl.  There was even a kiss in over this article!

Here's my thing, this article does not anger me.  Do I think it was written in poor taste?  Yes.  Do I think the publishers probably should have thought a little more before running the article?  Definitely.  But does it make me angry?  No.

Now, one could argue that I'm not angry because I'm not obese.  Well, considering the fact that hundreds of other non-obese people are angry I doubt that's it.  Plus, just because I'm not obese now doesn't mean I never was, and it certainly doesn't mean I'm not without my own weight issues.  So, why doesn't this article anger me?

Mainly, I feel sorry for the author.  It's very clear to me (and anyone who has ever read this article) that the author has never struggled with obesity, and thus lacks a clear understanding of the larger percentage of the U.S. population.

She also admits (albeit briefly) in her update that she did struggle with anorexia.  She definitely has her own issues to sort out.  I'd say the number one issue, and the reason she wrote this article, is that she's afraid.  She's not really disgusted by obesity.  She's afraid of it.  She's afraid that is what she will become.  She's afraid that if she doesn't go to the gym or eat the right foods or do everything just right then she will become one of the morbidly obese masses.  That's got to be a hard life to live.

Lastly, and this is the one that might offend people, she's not disgusted by obese people simply because they are obese, she clearly says that she's upset and offended by how they are treating themselves.  Whether you're thin or fat, tall or short, the majority of the population is not treating their bodies properly.  I can't really preach because I'm a big culprit here, but I'm working on it.

Our bodies are something sacred, something to be cherished.  We should love and embrace our bodies no matter how large or small we are.  We should fuel our bodies, not just feed them.  We should love our bodies for every single step they allow us to take.  We should greet the morning thanking our bodies and thanking God for even allowing us to wake up.  Yet, we're not.  We groan every morning.  We curse that ache or pain.  We focus on all the failures instead of all the accomplishments.  We shovel food into our mouths (damn you Halloween candy) while we zone out watching shows like Jerseylicious (guilty) or House (definitely guilty), or ironically, The Biggest Loser (formerly guilty).  I really wonder how Maura Kelly sees her body.  Does she love it or does she curse herself when she gains a pound?  That's a tough row to hoe.

So, I'm sorry, but I just can't be angry.  Instead of getting angry at Maura (because really what good does that do?), I am simply taking the time to evaluate my own feelings.  Am I afraid of putting the weight back on?  Afraid doesn't even begin to cover it.  Do I wish I was thinner?  Unfortunately yes.  My weight is healthy, but I'm not satisfied.  More than thinner, I definitely wish I was healthier, and that is a whole other bag of worms.  So please, feel however you wish.  Do know, though, that anger isn't going to solve anything.  Actually, it could just make you feel worse.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

I know I just blogged yesterday, but I'm in a blogging mood.  Here are a few thoughts to tide you all over until my next post.

What happened to Halloween?  Hans and I stocked our shelves with candy, but we didn't even get through one bag last night.  Only a small percentage of kids were dressed up, and half the time their parents asked for the candy for them.  Part of me wonders if they didn't have costumes because they couldn't afford them, but then I have to ask why they didn't go for the homemade variety like Hans and I did.

Speaking of trick-or-treating, how old is too old to go out?  I know I stopped when I turned 11, but I had a few friends go out until they were 15 or 16.  Personally, I feel like once you're out of elementary school you're probably too old to go door to door asking for candy, but I want to get your take on it too.

I also got to thinking about Halloween parties.  My dad and his fiancee threw a Halloween party and it was nice, but it got me to thinking about the kind of party I might throw.  So, I came up with two different options.  1) Dia de los Muertos.  Celebrate the latino heritage and Catholic religion with the Day of the Dead.  I would definitely need to study-up on some of my facts, but I love this holiday.  2) Colonial Halloween.  Who doesn't love the idea of bonfires, bobbing for apples, and ghost stories?  Definitely my idea of fun.  It did dawn on me that each of my parties takes Halloween back to its religious roots.  That's OK by me.  I think Halloween has really gotten lost in the consumerism lately.  I'd love to celebrate it for what it really is.

Too Much T.V.
I feel like the Berenstein Bears in Too Much T.V.  I've spent a lot of time vegging out lately, and that certainly needs to change.  I have, however, seen two very interesting shows.  

First, I've been watching Sister Wives.  For Halloween, these four women dressed up as women who are happily married.  That is a lifestyle I don't think I'll ever understand.  Especially after seeing this first season, I think my head would explode if I lived that way.  Actually, I'll probably do a whole post on this one later, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Second, I recently saw previews for Sarah Palin's Alaska.  Oh, and Palin dressed up as an average Josephine.  So, I have to ask, is Palin planning on running for President?  I definitely see this show as a way to portray her as an "average Joe."  She's just an all-American gal who fishes, dog-sleds, hunts, and protects her kids.  I don't mean to offend anyone, but I highly doubt that's the way she is at all.  My guess is that she's done those things, and probably enjoyed them (I'd enjoy dog-sledding too), but that she doesn't do them all the time.  Really, between her time in government office and her time on Fox News, when would she have time to go dog sledding?  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe she sleds into office all the time up in Alaska (well, when she was in office).  Maybe she and her kids go fishing on a daily basis.  Maybe they really live in tents and live off the land...I just highly doubt it.  

Anyway, that's enough of my ranting and raving.  It's off to work with me!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In a Tornado

I almost didn't post this blog, because I really hate showing any sort of vulnerability.  But, in this case I'm finding that being as honest with myself and with the people around me is really helpful.  Anyway...

In my last post I wrote about being in the tornado.  I mentioned it was my biggest fear, and it still is.  So, being in my car in the middle of a tornado was my worst nightmare.  I keep telling myself that the tornado was small (only an F0-F1), and that everyone is OK, but I still find I'm having trouble coping.  The fact of the matter is that for the first time in my life, for a brief moment, I thought I was going to die.  I know that sounds overly dramatic, but it's true.  I remember thinking, "I just wish I could be with Hans and Cody."  I wanted to be inside, in the basement, with the people I love.  If there hadn't been the damage there was, I probably would be just fine, but after seeing everything that happened I realized the severity of the situation.  That's when I started shaking, and apparently the effects are longer-lasting than I'd anticipated.  The past few days, I've hated being apart from Hans and Cody.  When I'm home I just want to snuggle up, and when I'm gone I've taken to taking Cody with me.

To make matters worse, our foster, Tommy, was adopted yesterday.  Tommy was a snuggle bug.  When I was tired, he and Cody would cuddle up and let me rest.  When I was angry or sad, they'd do something silly or playful and make me laugh.  Now he's gone and I feel like a member of the family is missing.  I'm worrying about whether he's ok or not.  Is he stressed?  Does he feel loved?  His new parents seemed wonderful, and I don't doubt that he'll be spoiled, but I still miss him.

So, to some things up, I'm feeling a little raw and exposed.  I'm tired and anxious.  I'm grateful when I have things to do to keep me busy and keep my mind off things, but then those same things that keep me busy also keep me away from home, which is hard.  Each day is better, but then I have moments like this morning where I start crying without any prompting.  It ends as quickly as it starts, but I don't like the fact that it's starting at all.  Oh well.  I suppose I will just have to take it one day at a time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Than Lucky

Yesterday, I faced one of my biggest fears.  A tornado hit our neighborhood.

I'll back up by explaining my fear (as well as a fear can be explained).  Growing up my parents raised me with a healthy respect of tornadoes.  My grandmother was from Oklahoma, and she knew how to tell when a tornado was coming.  I was quickly taught what to do in such an emergency.  However, when I was in kindergarten my teacher tried to teach us about tornadoes.  She read a book to us that explained what a tornado was and how it worked and what one should do in an emergency.  I vaguely recall the book.  What I really remember is the cover of the book.  It was dark green with this monstrous-looking black funnel on it.  If I were to see it today I probably wouldn't think anything of it, but at that time it gave me nightmares.  Thus began my fear.

When I met Hans, one of the things I loved about him was that he was scared of tornadoes too.  His is slightly more understandable considering a tornado destroyed his town, but he wouldn't hesitate to run to the basement, and he certainly wouldn't leave it till last minute.  In fact, when searching for a home, we focused on and eventually chose a house with a basement simply so we'd have a safe spot in case of a tornado.  That's where I was trying to go yesterday.

I was on my way home after running a few errands north of town.  I realized I had left my keys in the house when Hans was home for lunch, but I figured he'd be home in less than 10 minutes so I'd just wait.  I was just pulling up to the house.  It was Hans.  He asked me where I was, and I told him I was by the house and that weather was really bad.  I wanted him to hurry home so we could get downstairs.  I didn't have a chance to get that far, though, because that's when the leaves started swirling.  I couldn't see anything due to all the leaves and I had to stop my car in the middle of the road.  Hans heard something to the effect of, "Geeze, weather is really bad.  Oh gosh, winds are picking up.  Oh S***!  Hans!  There's something...S***....dead silence..." I had accidentally cut the connection. 

When everything cleared there was a tree in the street in front of me and a tree in the street behind me.  I was a little shaken up, and couldn't figure out how to use the phone, but I did push "answer" and reconnected with Hans.  I'm pretty sure I was screaming in his ear (although I can't be certain) and then I broke down crying.  He was home moments later, and he climbed over the tree to get to me (my hero). 

We're all fine.  We didn't even lose power.  The house, on the other hand, is going to need multiple repairs to the roof and porch.  Our fence is down, and yard clean up may take a little while.  Still, though, we're ok.  The dogs and cats are ok.  We're all fine.  That said, I never want to go through that again.

The roof over our porch is a little damage.

There are tiles missing off the side of the dormer

There used to be trellis work here.  We have no idea what happened to it, but we're assuming it's a few blocks away.

Our fence blew down.

You can see daylight through the roof of the attic.

The tree in front of me.

The tree behind me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Woof Wag Walk 2010

This weekend was Woof, Wag, Walk with Hanover Parks and Recreation.  Normally, I only do events with Henrico Humane Society.  They have some of the larger events in the area, they're well priced, and I really have no desire to do more than two events in a year, much less in a month.  However, this time was a little different.  It was brought to my attention that Hanover was looking for a demonstrator for their show.  They needed someone to do an obedience demonstration.  Of course, I jumped at the chance.  It's one thing for me to tell people I can train their dogs.  It's quite another thing for me to show them.  So, I gathered up a few former clients, held a couple of practice sessions (followed by dinner, courtesy of my loving husband), and decided we were ready.

Saturday, we woke up early and headed out to Hanover to set up.

My first demonstration was just showing off my clients.  Six dogs lined up and proceeded to heel (in both walk and jog), weave through cones, sit, stay, down, stay, come, place, and ignore distractions.  I was so proud of everyone.  They all did such a beautiful job!  Unfortunately, I completely forgot to hand my camera off, so I don't have any pictures of them working so hard.  Oh well, maybe next time!

Before the demonstration, my booth was DEAD.  There weren't a lot of people at the event anyway, which was sad, but the people who were there just weren't stopping for a dog trainer.  The crowd was completely different from what I encounter at Henrico, and I almost felt like the in-home was a little too "froo froo" for them.  After the demo, though, things changed.  I couldn't catch a break!  People saw that I helped to create well-behaved dogs, and they wanted in on it.  Since the event was smaller, I was able to spend more one-on-one time with people.  I'm really hoping it turns out well..

At 1:30 I had my second demo.  This one was a stay demonstration followed by a stay competition.  This one was easy, because it was basically what I teach my clients every day, but it became difficult when the batteries in my microphone died.  Luckily I can have a loud voice when I need to.

Cody's posing for the camera.

Hold your stay.  Do not eat food until I release.  Good boy for looking at me.  Free!

Cody was tired, and was super-good at holding a stay while I walked around the ring.

This girl and her dog were the winners.
After my second demo, the event was over, so we packed everything up.  Since we were so close, we took the dogs to Bass Pro Shops (I love that place).  Normally, I just go with Cody and I'm stopped often so people can pet him.  This time, however, we took Cody, Tommy, Kyla, Alex, and CJ.  It was a doggy parade!  We could barely make it in the front door, and what usually takes half an hour took an hour and a half.


Anyway, by the time we left Bass Pro the dogs were pooped!  Cody fell asleep, twitching and all, in less than 5 minutes.  Tommy didn't even hesitate getting back in his crate.  When we got home, Kyla and Alex could have cared less about playing or chasing the cats.  They simply sprawled out on the floor or curled up on the couch and slept. 

All in all, it was a very good day.  I seriously hope I can do it again next year!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My New Shoes

In a previous post, I commented on barefoot running.  I commented how I wasn't so certain about the whole concept of running barefoot, but that I might be willing to give a certain shoe a try.  The shoe was the Vibram FiveFingers, and it's very form fitting and designed to give your foot protection while still allowing you to keep the barefoot feel.  I almost got some last year instead of my sneakers, but I wasn't quite sold on them so I refrained.  Apparently, though, I've been talking about them more than I thought because this year my mom decided to get me some for my birthday.  She surprised me by finding out where they were sold and making me drive to the location.

So, what's the verdict?  I LOVE them.  I want to spend all my time in them.  I think they're fantastic.  I haven't tried running in them yet, because I want my feet to really get used to walking in them first, but honestly they're amazing.  Since I'm terrible at really describing what they're like, I'll take a quote from the Vibram website.

Remember going barefoot as a child? It’s the way you first discovered and conquered your world—without the constraint of shoes. Or the sense of duty you acquired later on.
Now you can experience that same physical and visceral sensation in Vibram FiveFingers—the only footwear to offer the exhilarating joy of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram® sole.
FiveFingers footwear connects you to the earth and your surroundings in a way that is simply not possible in conventional shoes. It puts you in touch with the earth beneath your feet and liberates you to move in a more natural, healthy way. FiveFingers stimulate the muscles in your feet and lower legs to build strength and improve range of motion. Our customers report an increased sense of balance, greater agility, and visibly improved posture.

 
And then there's this:

The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

Many experts believe the shoes we wear not only cast the foot in a protective form, but also weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more prone to injury. And while there are many occasions where traditional footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security, it is equally important to stimulate and exercise the foot in a more natural state on a regular basis.


There we go!  That pretty much describes it.  I can say that I find those statements to be very true, especially the first one.  I've been wearing my Vibrams to train the dogs, and I am more comfortable than I was in regular shoes.  I wore the Vibrams on Saturday when we went on the hike, and I definitely felt more comfortable jumping across rocks and running with the dogs.

I will tell you that they look a little odd, and you'll hear remarks from everything from "Are those those new running shoes?" to "What on Earth is on your feet?"  Plus, they do take some getting used to.  The first couple of days my pinky toe protested because it didn't like being separated from my other toes.  Then, as I started walking more in them, my feet and legs said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Where's the padding?"  Now, though, I'm extremely comfortable in them.  I can't wait to put them on in the morning, and I often don't want to take them off at night.  That's something I've never felt about a shoe before.  So, if you're considering it, then I recommend them.  If you want to know what on they are, check out Vibram.  Or you can just check out my picture below.

Yes, there are some reflective bits on the shoes.  Yes I love them.  Yes, there was someone else on the trail who had them.  Oh, and yes, I got a little wet when the dogs splashed me.
 Like I said, I love these shoes!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Busy Weekend

Well, this past week was super busy.  As busy as it was, though, it was also really fun.  So, I figured I'd fill you in on all the happenings.  Of course, Wednesday was my birthday, and you already know about that.  Thursday was pretty much just getting back into the groove of things, but Friday's when the fun really began.

Friday
Friday started out fairly slow.  I knew I had a lot to do, but I also had a bit of time to do it in.  You see, I had a few former clients come over for a practice session.  This is not something I do regularly, but these clients are helping me at an event next weekend, and we needed the practice.  I thought it would be great practice to have dinner first and work on down-stays and then to do a formal practice.  All the dogs were great, and it was wonderful seeing some of my past clients.
Everyone's just enjoyed a great meal!

This was much harder than anticipated due to the small space.  The dogs did great, but the people had to work on logistics.

Kelsey's holding a wonderful place command.

That's my mom and Alex.  Alex is like a miniature Cody...full of spit and vinegar!

The dinner was wonderful, if I may say so myself.  I did an apple-walnut salad, Hans fixed a baked pasta, and we ended the evening with homemade brownies.  So good!  We'll be having another practice this Friday, and I'm really excited.

Saturday
Saturday we woke up early for a fun, annual event.  Every year we travel up to the Apple Harvest Festival at Grave's Mountain Lodge.  It started as a birthday celebration for my eleventh birthday, and it's just continued (with an interlude while I was in college).  This year, the weather was beautiful, so we were really excited.  We also went with our friends, Chip and Jean, and their dog, CJ.  Boy was I looking forward to it!  We stopped at a wonderful coffee shop in Louisa, which put us a little later than planned.  This meant it was much more crowded than usual.  We didn't spend long there (maybe an hour), but we did have a lot of fun.
See all the cars in the background?  That's only a small percentage.


Since it was so crowded, we decided to head up to White Oak Canyon Trail to avoid some of the crowds.  I've been on the trail tons of times, but it's been a while since I last visited.  I was excited, but Cody was ecstatic.  We let him and CJ off leash, and they had a blast running back and forth on the trail.  The most exciting part, though, was when we reached water.  Cody loves water, and CJ's a Lab, but we had never seen CJ in the water.  It was really sweet.


The hike was great, and the dogs were exhausted on the ride back. 
Wouldn't you love to hike through that?

Passed out between the seats.
We all slept pretty well that night, and I only hope we can do it again soon.

Sunday
Sunday would have been pretty non-eventful if it hadn't been for one thing.  We got two more foster dogs.  Lucy and Sprinkles had been staying in a kennel, and they needed to be in a home.  We decided to take them in a while ago, but wanted to wait until after my birthday..  They're much easier than I'd anticipated, which is wonderful.  I've already started working with them and Tommy so they can hopefully find homes faster.  Does anyone want a new dog?

Well, that's my weekend.  I hope this next weekend is just as fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Share or Not to Share?

Well, first of all, yesterday was my birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  I am now a quarter of a century old (25 for those of you who are bad at math), which as my mom continues to remind me, makes me an antique (at least if I'm a car).  I have yet to remind her that she's 35 years older than I, so that must make her a relic.  :P  Just kidding, Mom.  You know I love you!

Anyway, while we we were all gathering together last night to go out for a birthday dinner, Hans got a call.  A few weeks ago, one of his friends / coworkers asked if we might rent out a room in our house to his girlfriend...someone we've never met.  I'm not exactly certain of the story, but if I'm not mistaken her roommate moved out and now she can't afford the rent (I could have that completely wrong, but that's the story I remember).  It came up a few weeks ago, but then we thought she had made arrangements with another coworker.  Turns out, that coworker already rented out her room.

So what do you think?  Should we rent out a room?  I've provided a list of pros and cons.

Pros
 1) Extra cash.  Money's a little tighter since I left WEE shop, and the extra cash couldn't hurt.  Maybe Hans and I could buy some decorations, or go out to dinner, or just put it into savings.

2) A reason and a person to keep at least 2 rooms a little cleaner.  We wouldn't have to worry about the guest room or the guest bathroom.

3) This one may never happen, but we could become fast friends and how cool would it be to have a buddy who lives with us?  Ok, so this is almost certainly out of the realm of possibility, but I still like to stay positive.

Cons
 1) It's another person in our house.  We wouldn't have nearly as much alone time, and we'd have to be a lot more understand of another person's needs.
2) Hans does work with her boyfriend.  What if we hated her?  How would that affect his friendship and working relationship?

3) She'd have to REALLY like dogs and cats.  Allergies aren't really something that would work well for someone coming to live with us.

4) I don't know anything about her?  Is she nice?  Shallow?  Hard working?  Lazy?  Considerate?  Selfish?  I have no idea!

Part of me is really tempted to say yes.  I think back to my college roommate, Jackie, and to how much I loved living with her.  But then, I also think as to how much life has changed in the past three years, and I'm pretty sure we'd end up killing each other now.  Although, I could be wrong.  Jackie and I were really good about communicating, and we're still good friends.  I think we've both just gotten used to having separate living arrangements.

Then, I also wonder how certain things would work out.  Would she get the big room or the small room?  Would we let her decide based on how much rent she wanted to pay?  Would we treat the room as "her room" and let her do whatever in that room (except smoke.  Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the property), or would we set stict ground rules?  How shared things work out?  Who has control over the thermostat?  How would the kitchen arrangement work out?  Would we all share meals, or would we prepare them separately?  If we prepare separately, that's more electricity and more space used in the fridge.  If we share meals, who buys the groceries?

I know, it should not be this complicated, but I'm trying to think of every little thing that could be a potential conflict.  I'd like to bring it up from the get go. 

Hans and I are still talking about it, and I wish we had chatted a bit more before he left for work this morning.  But, now I'm asking your opinion.  What do you think? 

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Turning Point

You know that dog fight I wrote about a few weeks ago?  The one where I nearly broke down?  Well, it seems to have been a turning point for Merlin.

For the days leading up to the fight, Merlin was friendly but was also obviously a bit cranky.  He just seemed like that cranky old man who might snap at any moment.  And snap he did.  Poor Tommy!

Anyway, treating him after the fight was a bit of a stressful situation.  We ended up having to muzzle him and hold him down while we cleaned out his ear.  He growled and fought the muzzle for about a minute, but once he realized that fighting wasn't helping things he calmed down.  I was worried that once we took the muzzle off he'd come back fighting, but I was wrong.  He stayed calm, wagged his tail, and just relaxed a little.

The next day, I was worried about how he might be.  If his ear was sore, would he be weird?  But he wasn't.  He was very happy...very very happy.  He even let me inspect his ear without hesitation.  I keep waiting for him to become cranky again, but it's been two weeks and he seems to be happier than ever.  When I come out to feed him, he gets excited and jumps up and down.  His whole body wiggles as I enter his kennel. 

Normally, I would feed him, leave him alone, and come back after he was done eating to retrieve his bowl and love on him a bit, but today he seemed so happy I decided to spend the time with him.  I fed him, and let him eat in peace, but as he was eating I cleaned his kennel.  He didn't seem to have any problems with my proximity (although to be safe I fed him in a corner of his kennel that would make it easier for him to ignore me).  When he was done, he tore off  through the yard.  Then he ran up to the house, opened the back door (which doesn't latch well) and ran upstairs.  I called to Hans that Merlin was inside, and then I heard Hans laughing as he greeted Merlin.  I called Merlin back, he ran downstairs and out the door.

Merlin stopped just past the door and looked at me as if to say, "Aren't you coming?"  I went outside with him and brought Cody with me.  I cleaned the yard a bit as I watched Merlin and Cody having a great time.

I'm still not letting Tommy and Merlin interact.  Merlin isn't great at play.  He tries, but his body language can sometimes be confusing.  Cody can handle it, but Tommy can't.  Plus, Merlin is more relaxed around Cody anyway, and I'd rather not take that risk with Tommy again.

I know that in the scheme of things, two weeks is nothing.  Merlin could just be happier about the slightly cooler nights.  I'd like to think, however, that Merlin has realized a few things.  1) He's not as tough as he thought he was.  2) Even with as cranky as he can get, we're still going to take care of him.  It's probably just wishful thinking, but I'm going to keep on wishing anyway.