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Friday, April 30, 2010

Updates

So, there's so much going on I'm finding it difficult to piece together one solid blog.  Whenever I sit down I try to think of somthing to type, but I find I'm starting to sound like a broken record.  All that's really going through my head is "So busy.  I love my house.  Work is great.  So busy..."  So, I thought I'd give you all a few little updates to let you know what's going on in this house I love so much.

* If you read my post yesterday you know that I'm currently babysitting some puppies.  They're absolutely adorable!  That said, they're also only 3 weeks old, so they're currently kind of stinky.  Oh well, I think I'll get over it.  I especially love it when they try to suckle on my fingers.  So stinkin' cute!

* Work really is going well.  I'm almost nervous to say anything because I'm scared I'll jinx it.  I'm just so happy with everything, and I really love what I do.  I'm definitely starting to encounter more and more behavior issues, which is kind of scary.  You know, when I first started I had one maybe two behavior issues and the rest were just puppies who needed training.  Now I'm kind of well rounded.  I have dogs with behavior issues and puppies with obedience issues.  I have dogs whose owners think they have obedience issues but all they really need is a little attention.  I have dogs and puppies whose owners think they're perfect but who actually have serious issues.  Of course, the owners could only think they're so perfect since they called me!  I just want it to stay this way!!!!

* Hans and I have started painting our rec room...finally.  I was a little nervous about the color at first, but I think it's going to be beautiful.  I actually chose curtains a while ago, and I was going to return them, but I looked at them today and decided they look great too.  Hurray!  Next...the bathroom.

* For outside repairs, Hans is building a deck this weekend.  We had some lumber delivered yesterday, and Hans and one of our friends are going out this evening to pick up some more.  Even with the dogs we'll have a nice place to read, eat dinner, relax, and entertain.  Again, Hurray!  Next...yardwork!

* The VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) just had their grand opening for their newest addition / remodel.  I haven't actually been to VMFA since high school.  Part of this was because of all the remodelling work they've been doing for the past few years, and part of it is because I just haven't made the time.  Now I really want to see the opening and take Hans to see the museum I used to visit quite often.  That and the Historical Society are pretty awesome.

* Other things I need to see include Ginter Park Gardens, the mountains, Williamsburg, and the beach.  I'm really trying to plan out my weekends so I can go see everything over the summer.  I'm having a little trouble because, at this point, many of my weekends are tied up with the WEE Shop.  I'm thinking that Hans and I will utilize as many Sundays as possible, and we'll just have a good time with it.

* That said, we're also getting ready to start fostering some other dogs.  These are dogs that have had a few minor issues (either mild fear aggression or just plain crazy), and are currently stuck in a kennel.  The first one we'll be getting in is really sweet and lovable, but at stand she's a little overwhelmed and barks and growls.  If she has someone near her she knows, she's fine, but when left alone she panics.  I'm going to try to introduce her to as many new things as possible (in a structured manner) so she can deal with days at Petco.  The other guy is really sweet, but he has tons of energy.  He'd have a foster already except he's a big escape artist and can easily jump 6 ft. fences.  So, I'm going to let him play with Cody a lot, take him on walks, and really work on training him  Exciting!  Let me just say, for all that HHS has done for me so far, I'm more than willing to do this for them.

* Lastly, I just got in some new agility equipment.  I'm going to up Cody's agility skills and work on a few other dogs.  I've always loved doing agility with Cody, and I really want other people to find out how great agility can be.  Cody loves agility work, and he just seems so happy with me when we work on it.  When I pulled out the equipment he got kind of excited, although he was a little confused.  "Why is there a tunnel in my house?  There's never been a tunnel in my house before!"  He likes it.

Well, that's it for the updates for now.  I'll post back soon to let you know how my C25k thing is going.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Puppies Need a Home

This week I'm babysitting.  People who love kids babysit children.  I babysit dogs.  Normally the dogs I watch are older than a year, but it's so exciting when I get something young.  These pups are only about 3 weeks old.  Their eyes just opened and they're still very dependent on their mom (who's aptly called "Mamma Dog").  In about another 5 weeks, however, they're going to need a forever home.  They'll need someone to love them and play with them.  Someone who really wants a great companion. 


They're really cute.  I know they're some sort of hound mix (the mom is obviously hound), but we have no clue what the dad is.  Hans and I both guessed some sort of bully breed, but at this age it's really quite difficult to tell.  Basically, they all have smooshed faces.  They're starting to develop personalities now.  Of course, the runt is always picked on.  She's my favorite (I'm always partial to the runts) and she's the only chocolate.  There's one I call Speckles (he has spots) and he's a cute trouble-maker.  He's constantly exploring and trying to get to new places.  Another little lemon-colored girl is super-cuddly but her male counterpart just wants his mom (he'll probably bond really well with one or two people).  So, who wants a puppy?  I'll even help you train him/her!

And now...CUTE OVERLOAD!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Non-Exercise Related Post

Sorry it's been so long since I've had a real post.  Things have been crazy.  Hans and I are trying to find time to paint (hopefully this week), plus he's designing a deck which he'll be building this weekend.  I've been working like crazy (Hurray!), and nights have been long.  That said, it's also been a great week.

I finally ordered some travel agility equipment which means that I'll soon be teaching some very (VERY) basic agility.  Cody has been excited about it too.  I thought he'd be most excited over the tunnel since that has always been his favorite obstacle, however he got really excited over the jump.  Over!  I'd yell, and over Cody would go.  Then he'd turn around and look at me as if to say "Let's do it again!"  I think he liked how happy it made me.  Honestly, I can't wait to work with him on it more. 

While I've been so busy, the dogs unfortunately missed me.  I felt bad for leaving them alone so long.  That said, I have taken them on a few walks and Cody has played with a few friends.  They both seem tired and relaxed, so I'm not going to worry too much.  Merlin seems especially happy.  We've been lightening up on his rules and he seems to be doing ok.  We're still keeping an eye on him since he gets so stressed so easily, but he has seemed genuinly happy lately.  Plus, he seems most content when he's just able to follow us around the house.  I like that.

I also went to court this morning.  I'm taking my apartment complex to court for unrepaired damages (and to be released from our rental agreement).  The judge continued the court date until next Monday do to a phrase in the Landlord / Tenant Act, but I think it went well.  The apartment complex didn't even send a representative, so it was pretty much just me agains nobody.  I felt very prepared, and the judge seemed sympathetic.  I'm hoping next Monday goes even better!

I'm looking forward to seeing how this next week turns out.  If I'm lucky, I may even add another post!

Couch to 5k Week 1

First of all let me say that I have no intention of turning this into a weight-loss blog.  I've just been a bit strapped for time.  However, check back in a bit and you should find a non-exercise related post.

That said, I did complete week 1 of the C25k program.  Not only that, but I also started week 2 today!

Week one was easier than I'd expected.  I guess all the running I've done before has paid off.  I do remember starting the program a while back and finding it extremely difficult, however I may have had my speed too high.  This time I kept my speed fairly low (5.0), but raised it a bit at the last session (6.0).  I like going faster, but will probably have to keep it slower for a while. 

Yes, I stayed on the treadmill the entire time.  I have decided to stay on the treadmill until I'm really enjoying the run just for the run.  Then I'll take the dogs outside and let them run with me.  That said, the dogs didn't suffer.  I have tried walking them as much as possible, and they've played a lot in the backyard.  At least, they seem tired.

So, how did each day go?  Day 1 was by far the easiest.  Honestly, though, I think this has less to do with the workout and more to do with the fact that I got a lot of rest between day 0 and day 1, but little to no rest the other days.  I feel that day 2 was the hardest, and by day 3 I was excited and wanted to do more (but didn't due to time).  Many evenings I found myself wanting to repeat the morning workout simply because it felt so good to do.  I had less of an appetite throughout the day and seemed to feel more awake than usual (based on the small amount of sleep I had).  Sure, the early mornings meant I also wanted to go to bed earlier, and that didn't happen enough, but I felt good.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the rest of week 2 goes.  Wish me luck!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Couch to 5k

First of all, thank you to my SIL, LutherLiz, for being such a great motivator.  Recently she posted a blog about all of her fears in regards to losing weight, but instead of shutting down and letting those fears take over being so open got her up and going!  So, she decided to take on the mile.  For someone who's never been a big runner, the mile is a big thing...a huge thing...an accomplishment to say the least.  When she posted that, though, she received an overwhelming response from readers who encouraged her to try a 5k.  A daunting task, yes, but LutherLiz was not deterred.  "A 5k it is!" she said, and thus she started the Couch to 5k Challenge.  She encouraged all of her readers to join her in her journey, and she was off.

So, I looked at that post and said, "Hey!  Why not?"  I know I've posted lots about jogging with the dogs, and I do enjoy my morning runs, but the fact of the matter is they've recently become less running and more walking.  I was never a big runner when I was younger, and I guess a little slacking off put me back in my out-of-shape mode.  Even when I did go on runs, I never went very far.  I eventually made it up to a mile, maybe 1.5 miles, but nothing ever really past that.  So, I decided to go for it now.

Originally, I was planning on downloading the podcasts and running with the dogs, but an early morning (dark still), and the recent reclaiming of my treadmill meant I ran inside.  I had a print out of the coolrunning C25k plan, so I was all set.  The nice part?  The treadmill is in our rec room with the t.v.  NO MORE RUNNING INTO A WALL!!!  I just set the t.v. to a decent show and kept myself entertained while I jogged for half an hour.  YAY!

Basically, this week kicks it off.  I plan on running again on Wednesday and Friday (assuming all goes as planned).  I may try to get up early enough for some strength training in between, but my days are super long right now, and I just might not be able to handle it.  As far as end goal / way to celebrate my accomplishment, I haven't quite decided yet.  I may just say, "Great!  I'm done.  Time for a 10k" or I may run for a cause.  I'm definitely open to suggestions.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll even be super pro-active and put together a 5k to support the arts (as if I have spare time).  Until then, I'm just going to enjoy getting back in shape and feeling better.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Breath of Life

Ok, so I know everyone is probably sick of hearing about the house, but I just can't get over how great it is.  So, I'll make this brief, but I wanted to touch on the key things I've noticed.

  • The dogs are more relaxed.  This is one I've gone over again and again, but I'm still just in awe.  They just seem to be getting better and better.  Honestly, I'm more relaxed too.  Sure, living in the city is new for me, so it sometimes gets creepy at night (I don't like having people randomly walk by), but I relax as soon as Cody notices them and barks.  Between him and the alarm system, I know I'm safe.
  • The cats are waaaay relaxed.  They have tons of space to play, and I think it's wearing them out.  They're also cuddling more and are a lot more affectionate.  Heck, Mo even became affectionate with strangers the other day...something he NEVER does.
  • I feel as though someone's breathed life into me again.  I'm finding I'm thinking on my toes a little more and I'm able to get through the day a little better.  Everything at the apartment seemed so hard.  There was so little space that cleaning (organizing) was difficult.  Bringing groceries upstairs meant I'd either have to lug them all up in one trip or make multiple trips up to the third story.  While that's great exercise, it kind of stinks.  Of course, that meant I kept shopping to a minimum and that also meant cooking suffered.  Plus, everything was so poorly arranged.  Here, I find myself wanting to do things.  I love cooking in the kitchen (it's such a great kitchen), and at the store yesterday I found myself buying multiple kinds of meats for Hans to grill.  I so love sitting outside with the dogs and grilling with Hans.
  • I'm getting more work done.  I'm able to think more, so I'm able to work more.  Enough said.
  • I'm sleeping better.  Even Hans said that getting up in the morning is hard, not because he's tired but because the bed just seems so much more comfortable here.
The list isn't that long, but I feel better, and that's what matters.  We're still tackling projects, and this biggest problem right now is just a lack of time.  Unfortunately, if I wake up at 6:30, get the dogs and myself ready, do a little work at home, work from 9:30-3:30, have more appointments, run a few errands, and come home by 9:00, I'm typically ready for a late dinner and bed.  Maybe someday I'll learn to work longer and later, but not today.  Really, though, I don't know what's making it so great.  Some might say Feng Shui, but I don't know enough about that to know.  Some would do a spin on Feng Shui and say the house just has happy spirits.  Others might say it's because we're just a bit happier.  I don't know if my happiness is merely projecting and reflecting to make the house seem better, or if the house is so great that I end up being happy because of it.  All I know is I'm relaxed, and I'm really starting to feel good.  Let's keep that up!

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Tidbits

OK, so there's been a lot going on lately, and I have a ton of stuff running through my mind.  I want to share it all, and since writing each thought as a long blog would be exhausting (and a waste of time), I've decided to simply do some more tidbits.

*After writing that friendly spider blog, I did some more research.  My first instict was that the big one was a small black widow, but the brown spots made me reconsider.  I knew it wasn't a brown recluse, so I wasn't too concerned.  After doing more research, however, I've discovered that black widows don't turn completely black until they're mature.  Before that they're black and brown.  The yellow one is probably a male, which isn't poisonous.  I haven't seen the bellies, so I'm not completely certain, but all evidence is pointed in that direction.  Anyway, so while I'd love to have a few friendly house spiders, these guys are going to have to die.  I just can't risk having them around when I have so many animals to look out for.  I think they know it too, because ever since I announced their death sentence (and bought the spider killer) I haven't been able to find them.  Frustrating!

* I finally feel I'm starting to regain some control over life in general.  The last few weeks, while wonderful, have been super crazy.  I've been exhausted and snippy.  There just haven't been enough hours in the day.  Last night, however, I was actually in bed by 10:00.  Well, I really fell asleep on the couch at 9:30, and Hans got me up to bed shortly after.  I had no idea how tired I was either.  We had friends over last night, and they didn't leave until 9:00.  Hans and I did dishes, and then I figured we'd chill for an hour or so and be in bed by 11:00.  Nope!  I was out within 15 minutes!!  When I went to bed I thought, "Great!  I'll probably be able to get up early and get some things done."  Nope again!  I slept right on through until Hans' alarm woke me up at 7:30.  Sleep is nice.

*Hans and I are currently shopping for rugs and window treatments.  I'm terrible at interior design of any kind, so if anyone would care to help I'd love a shopping buddy (please remember my budget is small).  Also, I have a few questions for everyone.  When eating dinner, would you prefer to eat with a carpet under your feet or on hard wood floor?  I can't decide.  Oh, and why is it so difficult to find currents shorter than 84 in?  I just want something that's the length of the window...not from floor to ceiling.  It's frustrating!

*Merlin seems to be doing much better in the new house.  He's gotten a lot better with us, but he's still stressing out over new people.  I need to set up a dentist appointment for him (his teeth seem to be bugging him), and I may ask for a thyroid test as well.  Hypothyroidism can cause increased anxiety in a dog which can often lead to aggression.  There are, however, many other possibilities for him.  I know he has a sleep disorder (that dog sleeps with his eyes open...completely open...like he's awake), so the possibility of a REM disorder is highly likely as well.  You know, I wish I had been better at chemistry.  I could have been a vet and run all these tests myself!  C'est la vie!

*Cody has really relaxed and is doing much much better than he was at the apartment.  He's still my little guard dog, but he's a bit more focused on me than he used to be.  Plus, he loves having doggie friends come over and visit, and he loves being able to run around outside with them.  However, I think his favorite time is after the playing when everyone's gone home and he can cuddle.  Ok, maybe that's my favorite time, but Cody seems pretty content with it.

Well, that's about it for my updates.  Yeah, I'm certain there are about a 1000 things I've forgotten, but I don't want to end up repeating myself too much.  Thanks for listening!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Ukranian Christmas Tree

WARNING: IF YOU GET FREAKED OUT BY CREEPY-CRAWLY CREATURES (LIKE SPIDERS) DO NOT READ THIS BLOG!

Alright, so I know it's not Christmas, but stay with me and you'll see where this is going.  Ukranian Christmas trees are typically adorned with a gold or silver spider web.  My tree has a gold web with a small, marble spider on it.  Why?  Spiders are good luck.  You want to know more?  The story goes as follows:

A long time ago, in a far away land (in Ukraine), there lived a family.  The family was very poor, and they lived in a very small house with dirt floors, and they had little to eat.  Even with their meager portions, however, they managed to care for all the creatures in their house...from the largest pig to the smallest mouse.  Yes, even the mice were fed.

One Christmas, the family was really in trouble.  That winter had been particularly cold, and the family could not afford a decent Christmas meal much less presents under the tree.  Still, however, they cared for all the creatures.  Since it was so cold, all things large and small were looking for shelter, and it just so happened that a very particular spider found their small cottage.  

A few days before Christmas, the spider spun her web in the corner of the cottage.  As she sat and waited for tasty bugs to eat she observed the family.  "What a wonderful family!" she thought.  "Surely such kind people deserve better than this for Christmas.So, she saved all her strength for a few days...until Christmas Eve.  

On Christmas Eve, the spider tore down her old web and spun a new one... a special one.  On Christmas morning, when the family awoke, they notices something shimmer out of the corner of their eyes.  There, where her old web had been, this common house-spider had spun a new web of gold and silver.  The web was so grand and so large that the family never had to worry about food or cold or illness again.  Oh, and they still took care of all the creatures...including the smallest mouse (and the spider).

That's why, unless someone can tell me they're poisonous, I'm going to let these guys continue to live in the corner of my basement.  I could use some gold and silver now.


Oh, and for those of you who really hate spiders, here are a few fun spider facts:

  • A fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia.
      
  • Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey…  Miss Muffet was a real person! Her father, Dr. Mouffet believed that spiders could heal when eaten. Eek! If he was my dad, I’d be frightened of spiders, too!
      
  • The largest spider in the world is the Giant Bird-eating spider. One that was found had a leg span of 28 cm (11 inches)!
      
  • The smallest spider is the Patu Marplesi. You could fit 10 of them on the end of a pencil.
      
  • The kindest and most intelligent spider, of course, would have to be Charlotte, from the book Charlotte’s Web, since she could not only spell but saves the pig, Wilbur’s, life! (hee hee)
      
  • Spider silk is possibly the strongest material in the world! Scientists believe that if they gathered the same weight of spider web as a piece of steel, the web would be much stronger than the steel!
      
  • As hard as scientists try, they cannot match or copy the silk.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lil' Tidbits

* As I've posted multiple times already, moving is extremely exhausting.  It seems like I have a never-ending list of things to do.  Once I'm finally able to cross one thing off, another thing pops up.  Plus, everything's taking longer to complete than planned!

* The good news is that Hans and I finally bought a new vacuum and...drumroll please...our first lawn mower!  It's a simple push mower, but it's the first we've ever owned.  I can't wait to use it...especially since our lawn is in desperate need of a mow.  Hmmm, I wonder what the chances are that Hans would be willing to start on that tonight.

* The new job is going well.  It's getting me out of the house and keeping me fairly active.  Plus, I like my boss which is always a good thing.

* Impawsible Pups is going very well also.  Of course, I love my boss in that one.  :P  I'm working on my seasonal newsletter to send to clients past and present, and I'm getting ready to start selling dog soap.  I'm super excited for that.  All my scents are custom made by Little Luxuries of VA.  Can't wait!

*Oh, and for those of you who don't know my apartment situation, let me explain.  Our lease is not yet up on our apartment (not until June 30).  However, the whole reason we started looking at moving was because there were a few major things they had not repaired for a few months.  Of course, you can't just move, so I did give them notice that if the repairs weren't made within a certain amount of days, we would leave (as is allowed by the Landlord/Tenant Act).  I never heard anything, so I put my rent in escrow.  I was really just trying to get their attention.  Now I have a court date set, and I'm hoping the judge rules in my favor.  Luckily, I have emails and signed letters from them letting me know they have my notices.  One even gives me a scheduled appointment...which they never showed up for.  Keep your fingers crossed.  If we do end up having to pay the last few months of rent, it will be ok.  It would just be awesome, though, if we didn't have to.  Keep in mind, I'm not asking for reimbursement for past months.  I'm not even asking that they wave my check-out (I know there are a few minor repairs needed that are my fault).  I'm just saying that they haven't held up their end of the bargain, so why should I?  Anyway, wish me luck!

* Working out has all but disappeared recently.  My hope is to eventually start working out in the mornings again, however that won't happen until I can get to bed before midnight again.  I like my sleep...a lot.  However, I also enjoy my morning dog jogs.  Oh, why can't I have both?!  Also, my SIL recently decided to try the Couch to 5k plan.  I definitely want to try it with her, but while she started this week, I don't foresee me starting for at least another week, maybe two.  Do you think I can play a game of catch up?  I also need to do some strength training and tone my arms and legs for summer (plus it's great for working with the dogs).  Jillian Michaels here I come!

Well, that's pretty much it.  I'm tired, but happy.  Things are going well, although hectic.  I'm hoping things settle down soon, but I don't really see that happening in the near future.  Oh well!  At least when I do sleep I'm sleeping VERY well!  That's always a major plus in my book.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

VAL SMASH!!!!

Ok, so this is something that I've noticed, but I really think my family has noticed it more.  I'm cranky.  Actually, more than anything, I'm tired.  And, like many people, when I'm tired I get cranky.  So, why am I so tired?

Well, if you've been reading my blog at all, this shouldn't be a big secret.  Buying a house is freakin' stressful.  Add in the new job while unpacking equals crazy.  Plus, something I'll never actually complain about, the business has really been hopping.  It means my schedule is jam packed.  I've typically been leaving the house around 9:00 am and returning some time after 7:00 pm.  Then, when I have that one free morning like today, instead of cleaning and getting projects done, I find myself sleeping late or sometimes researching dog training techniques. 

While it may sound like I'm complaining, I'm not.  I'm tired, yes, but I'm also extraordinarily happy.  Hans has been so wonderful through everything, and I feel so blessed to know I have such a great husband.  Cody has been a joy and just seems soooo happy.  Besides, I just feel so lucky.  I'd much rather be tired and a little stressed than homeless or struggling for food money.  Plus, how could I be upset when business is great?

Things are happening slowly, but they are still happening.  Every day I feel like I'm one step closer to opening my own kennel.  Every day I feel like things are slowly falling into place.  I take that back, they're not falling.  They're carefully being placed on the shelf that I just dusted!

Yes, I'm tired.  Yes, I'm stressed.  But I wouldn't change those feelings for anything in the world...except maybe sleep and a massage.  :P

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kristos Voskres! Vo Istinu Voskres!

Christ is risen!  Indeed He is risen!

Happy Easter everyone!  For those of you who don't know, in the Ukranian tradition one greets another person on Easter by saying, "Kristos voskres!" (Christ is Risen!).  That person then responds, "Vo istinu voskres!" (Indeed He is risen!).  That's only one of my favorite things about Easter.  So, let me tell you about some of my other favorite traditions.

Easter Baskets
For anyone who thinks they have outgrown Easter baskets obviously isn't Ukranian.  Granted, my baskets were never stuffed with toys and candy, but they did have a few treats in them.  Plus I save some really great treats for Easter.  My baskets are filled with a tasty bread called Babka and kielbasa (way better than what Hillshire Farms could ever offer).  Let me explain why.



In the Byzantine tradition, church goers have their Easter meal blessed.  Really, let's think about this.  It's kind of difficult to carry a ham platter, stuffing, and mashed potatoes to church.  So, we carry baskets.  The specifics of each basket differ, but you can pretty much figure there will be meat, cheese, bread, butter, and dessert.  Some people add fruit or other tasty treats.  Due to the move, mine was little lacking this year, so let me talk about last year's basket.  I had babka and kielbasa (like I already said).  Babka is a cake, but it's not too sweet and pretty dry.  It works as a bread, a dessert, or as breakfast.  It's tasty.  I also put in gouda cheese (I like gouda...it's a personal preference), plain butter, dyed eggs (pysanka), and, of course, a chocolate bunny.  I also sprinkled a few jelly beans in the basket.  There's no Ukranian tradition about that, but Baba (my grandma) used to do it every year, and she'd often "accidentally" drop one for the dog who would subsequently get the jelly bean stuck on his tooth.  Cody eats the beans, but they've never gotten stuck.  Lastly, the baskets are covered with what can only be described as art.  Beautiful!

The Music
At least, at the little Ukranian church I go to for Easter Mass, the music is very simple, all a cappela, and beautiful.  My favorite, of course, is the Kristos Voskres.  Don't ask me to spell the whole thing in Ukranian, but at least I know the English translation.  "Christ is risen from the dead.  By death he conquered death, and to those in the grave he granted life."  We always end up singing that about 15 times (or more) throughout the Mass, both in Ukranian and English.  I love it!

The Mass
The Ukranian Mass isn't too different from the regular Mass.  It just has a few extras.  I love the incense, the music, the traditions.  It's just plain beautiful.

The Blessings
 Like I already mentioned, the Priest blesses the Easter meal (which is in baskets).  That blessing is so beautiful.  Something I hadn't mentioned was in the baskets is also a candle, and sometimes people add flowers to make it pretty and colorful.  The priest (or deacon) lights all the candles, and the room is filled with light and incense, and the smell of tasty foods.  It's just beautiful.

At the end of the Mass, we're all also blessed with oil before we leave.  How great is it to renew our confirmation, baptismal, and Eucharistic vows before embarking out into the world?

While this Mass isn't for everyone, I'm thrilled that Hans enjoys going to it, and even more thrilled that he actually participates.  I LOVE this yearly tradition, and plan on sharing it with my children in the hopes that they'll share it with they're children.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The WEE Shop

As I announced in my previous post, I recently took a part time job just to give us a little extra cash.  I work in a small store in Short Pump that shall be known as WEE Shop (West End Expensive Shop) from here on out.  Honestly, for anyone who's ever met me, you know I'm probably the least-suited person for this job.  I've never been big on fashion or designer names.  And while my family feels I have high-end taste, the truth is that I just have mid-end taste.  I don't like Goodwill (well, at least not for clothes), but anything more than Ann Taylor Loft just seems frivolous and typically I spend my time at Target.  Heck, for the majority of the items for the house, I'll be shopping at Target, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Craigslist.  Plus, while I enjoy fine jewelry, I rarely wear jewelry, so it's very rare that I'd consider buying any a good investment.  Also, if I am going to buy jewelry, it's most likely going to be something with an opal (my birthstone) in it.  So, I really can't understand when a person spends nearly $300 on a hand bag or $200 on sandals.  My brain screams "DOES NOT COMPUTE!"

That being said, as much as I don't understand, I do enjoy my new job.  Surprisingly, I enjoy it quite a bit.  I find that I'm learning quite a lot about quite a lot.  I'm happy because I'm staying busy and filling in any empty spaces of time.  Plus, some of the items I really like.  There are some cute collars and leashes, and some beautiful paintings of Richmond and VA.  The jewelry is truly unique, and as someone who's sick of Kay Jewelers commercials, this makes me happy. 

I am a bit worried about what will happen when I'm no longer having to research every single item, and if there's a slow day.  Will I get bored?  Will I be able to find things to do.  Really, though, I don't think it will be a problem.  Yesterday, I went in with one project in mind: name the stones in the jewelry...no easy feat, let me assure you.  By the time I left, due to various interruptions, not only had I not completed my own project, I'd been given about 4 other projects that hadn't even been started.  I'd feel bad about this if it weren't for the fact that the owner spent the majority of the time on the floor helping out, and we still couldn't keep up.  Plus, apparently the evening shift is slower, so the evening person appreciated having things to do.  At least, I hope she appreciated it.

Anyway, for now, I'm happy where I am.  I'd be happier if my spare time were being spent in my own kennel on my own business, but that will come with time.  Until that time, I have things to do.  YAY!

Well, while I know you're all probably tired of hearing about the house, that is of course the main thing on my mind, so I want to give you all an update.  Unpacking is slow-going, but it is happening.  We haven't had as much time as we'd like since I'm working and we've also been preparing for Easter.  Like I said, though, it's happening and it will be done (hopefully sooner rather than later).

Also, I cannot believe how the house has affected both Cody and Merlin.  Merlin, of course, was thrilled to have a yard, and that hasn't changed.  Having a yard has definitely made it easier for us to unpack without having to worry about Merlin.  It's nice.  What's even nicer, though, is seeing how it's affected Cody.  At the apartment, Cody was tense and uneasy.  Hans and I were noticing that he was becoming more and more aggressive.  In the car, he's lunge and growl at passersby.  He was even getting bad at the theatre and would only greet people he new.  My huge, cuddly, baby boy was starting to scare children!  I was trying to exercise him more, and keep him under better obedience, but exercise was difficult with the cold, and my boy is stubborn.  Plus, even if he's in a sit-stay his growl is still scary...and annoying.  Anyway, I don't know if it's the house, the yard, or simply being able to see everyone who passes by, but he's getting better.  Hans and I took him for a car ride yesterday and he ignored all the passersby...even the guy in an electric wheel chair.  We live down the street from a school, and every day multiple kids and teenagers walk past our house.  Cody watches them, but he also ignores them.  He's still not great if people he doesn't know approach the house, but he is improving and will listen faster.  It's obvious that being able to play with Merlin in the yard has thrilled him...Merlin never played at the apartment.  It's obvious that being able to go outside and bask in the sun has relaxed him.  Plainly put, we really love the house.