Monday, January 31, 2011

What's Happening to Hollywood?

What has happened to Hollywood?  I know I am certainly not the first person to mention this, but Hollywood is too thin.  WAY TOO THIN!  The actresses all look hard and skeletal.  Actresses who looked amazingly beautiful ten years ago now look rough and kind of scary.  Take, for example, Jane Leeves, actress who played Daphne Moon on Frasier and who now plays Joy on Hot in Cleveland.
 Is it just me, or does she not look so great?  Now, I love Jane Leeves.  I think she's great.  And, I know there's an age difference between these two photos, but I don't think age is the problem here.  I really feel that if Jane Leeves were ten pounds heavier now she would be much cuter.  She would possess a certain softness that she once had, a softness that she lost with the loss of a bit of weight.  When she played Daphne Moon, she looked healthy and happy.  Clothes seemed to fit perfectly and her collar bone showed off the gentle curves of her neck.  Now, as Joy, she looks like she's trying to hard.  Clothes seem to hang off her in a less-flattering way, and her collar bone seems to jut out at hard right angles.  

Again, I don't mean to pick on Jane Leeves, but I'm using her as an example for the rest of Hollywood.  Do people really think this looks good?  I've noticed this on plenty of other actresses (Mary Tyler Moore, Meg Ryan, and Jennifer Love Hewitt to name a few).  In an attempt to fit into a size -2 all these actresses have lost that wonderful attractive quality...femininity.  

So, who do I think is stunningly beautiful?  America Ferrera!  Sure, she's dropped a few pounds since her role in Real Women Have Curves, but she's not scary thin.  Her face is full but well-shaped.  Her curves are plentiful and beautiful and her clothing only helps to accentuate her beauty.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Grammar Rules

I read a few blogs (probably more than I should), and generally I enjoy them.  Lately, however, I've been concerned about something...GRAMMAR!  I know I'm not always perfect, and I probably overuse commas and parentheses, but there are a few rules I want to go over here.

Me vs. I
This is the one I see most often.  People tend to overuse "I".  I think this comes from being told so many times that they were using "me" too often.  So, I thought I'd help out here.

If you're debating whether or not to use "I", use this general rule: Take out the other person.

Example: Hans and I are going to the store.
              The trip to the store was fun for Hans and me. 

All I have to do is remove Hans' name.  Would I say, "Me is going to the store?"  NO!  I'd say, "I am going to the store."  Would I say, "The trip was fun for I?"  No!  I'd say, "The trip was fun for me."  Actually, I'd probably say, "I had fun on that trip" but that's a completely different issue.

There, Their, They're
This one is a little easier.  The rule is: "Their" is possessive, "they're" is they are, and "there" generally falls into all the other circumstances (usually location).

Example: Their cat is white.
               They're going to get a white cat.
               There is a white cat in that house.

I certainly wouldn't want to say, "They are cat is white," so why would I use 'they're'?  Most people don't have many problems with this.

To, Too, Two
'Two' is obviously a number.  I find it easiest to remember "to" as headed to a location.  'Too' can mean also, or it can be used in circumstances where you're signifying amount (too many, too much, etc.)

Example: We're going to the show.
               There are two shows.
               That show was too long.  OR We enjoyed that second show, too. 

I don't really know how else to explain this.  Any ideas?

Your vs. You're

'Your' tends to signify possession, whereas 'you're' is a contraction for you are.

Example: You're a very nice person.
               Your sister is a very nice person.

Again, you wouldn't say, "You are sister is a very nice person," and you wouldn't say, "You a very nice person."  The 'are' makes all the difference.

Who, Whose, Whom
This is a very tricky one for a lot of people, and I'm not nearly as great with it as I used to be.  However, there is a very simple rule.  Simply answer the question you're asking (I always answer in the masculine to make the rule easier).   If the answer is 'he', then the correct word is 'who'.  If the answer is 'his' the word is 'whose'.  If the answer is 'him' the word is 'whom'.

Example: Who is going to the concert?  Answer: He is going to the concert.
               Whose concert tickets are these?  Answer: Those concert tickets are his.
               Whom are you taking to the concert?  Answer: I'm taking him.

Now then, there is one more form of who, and that's who's.  This is a contraction of who is, and generally follows the same rule as who.

Example: Who's going to the concert?  Answer: He's going to the concert.

Alright, I hope I haven't confused anyone too much, and I really hope I haven't offended anyone too much. It's just this is something that bothers me.  Too many people are abusing the English language, and we need to start learning how to speak properly.  That said, if you catch me abusing the language, feel free to call me out on it.  I'm always looking to improve my speech as well as my writing.  Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something Smells

What a day yesterday was!  This was the view of my basement around 11:00 yesterday morning.

Let me start at the beginning.  Last week Hans and I noticed a slight leak in the basement.  This is not entirely unusual in this area, and while we new it wasn't from outside moisture we assumed it was a mild leak coming from a hose we have down there (maybe needed a new washer or something).  Then, on Friday, Hans was downstairs dealing with the dogs, and I was upstairs getting ready for the morning.  When I flushed the toilet, Hans discovered that the leak was NOT from the hose, but was instead from a sewage pipe.  EWWWW!  Luckily, we had a home warranty and could easily get someone to come out and repair it.

I had noticed over the weekend that the leak was getting worse, and things were getting stinky.  When the plumber came out, he informed us that it wasn't just a small leak.  We could see the crack from the top of the pipe leading into the floor.  The plumber had to drill into our floor and replace the whole pipe.  I couldn't use the bathroom for the day.  Luckily I had appointments and my appointments had toilets.  :P

Right as the plumber was leaving the treadmill repair guy came.  Get this, something had simply come unglued!!!  Actually, that's about how I feel most of the time...coming unglued.  Anyway, I now have a working treadmill again!!  Woot!!!  Sprinkles can get walked without going into the cold and rain, and I can walk without going into the cold and rain.  It's a beautiful thing.

Other than that, I've been busy catching up on work.  Things have been hectic but good.  Let's keep this up!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Being Michael Scott

Some of you may know that I love the show The Office.  I couldn't even begin to tell you what sucked me in, but I just love it.  It makes me laugh, and that's always a good thing.  My least favorite character, however, is one that almost everyone else adores...Michael Scott.  I understand that the show wouldn't be the same without him, and I don't think I'd enjoy it as much if he weren't there, but that character just irritates me (especially in the earlier episodes).  However, the other day I was watching an episode and I was struck by a startling realization.

We are all Michael Scott.

Here's the thing about Michael.  More than anything, he wants to be cool.  He wants a cool job and a cool girlfriend, and lots of cool friends.  Jim is the coolest guy in the office, and Michael wants to believe that he and Jim are best friends.  Pam is the prettiest, and so Michael imagines that Pam is attracted to him.  Michael is too afraid to show his true personality, so he puts on this over-the-top act so people will think he's cool.

And I have to wonder, how many of us do this on a daily basis?  How many people buy the coolest fashions and read all the hip magazines just so they can fit in?  How many young girls starve themselves simply so they can be as thin as a model and be "cool?"  How many people truly act like themselves 100% of the time?  I know I don't.  There are very few people who have seen 100% of me.  That said, I feel like one of the lucky ones.  My job allows me to act more like myself than anything else, and that's a blessing.  But how many people have that?

Maybe if we stopped looking to please other people, maybe if we took time to realize what we really wanted instead of worrying about what others think of us, then maybe, just maybe, we'd be a little happier.  And when you're happy, that comes across well.  And when you come across well to others, you make friends.  And the more friends you have, the cooler you are.  Ah, it's so simple yet so complicated.

So, my challenge to you:  Stop being Michael Scott.  Start being you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Missing a Gene

I know I've mentioned this somewhere before, but I feel it needs mentioning again.  I am missing a gene.  I know I am.  It's the gene I call, "The fashion gene."  This missing gene also affects any design ability.  I'm terrible at choosing furniture and colors and clothes.  I'm as happy covered in dog hair and dirt as most people are dressed up with fancy shoes.

Take, for instance, this recent picture of Natalie Portman:

Most people I know who have commented on this dress said it was hideous.  They blasted the rose, they said she made pregnancy look awful, and they even reconsidered seeing her newest movie because of this dress.  My reaction?  What's wrong with it?

Sure, I might choose a different color (I'm not huge fan of pale pink), and they could have done more with the rose, or they could have made it slightly smaller, but I don't hate the dress.  I've definitely seen worse in a dress, and I think it works on her.

Am I wrong in thinking this?  Is my style different or missing?  I'll let you decide on that one.  Until then, I'm going to try to perfect the style I do have.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

In case of bad days, and in case I forget, these are a few of my favorite things:

- Feeling Cody snuggle against me.

- The soft texture of Cody's fur after a grooming.

- Feeling and hearing the slight twitches while Cody sleeps.

- Having an extra minute with Hans.

- Watching the buds form as weather gets warmer.

- Hearing the crackle of a warm fire.

- Watching a dragon fly land on a fishing pole.

- A stroll though the park.

- Watching snow fall fresh on the ground.

- A big cuddle session with Hans and Cody, especially if the cats get involved too.

- Watching Merlin and Cody try to shove their noses out the window. (This one's new.)

There you have it.  I have a lot of other likes, but simply thinking of these things makes me smile.  What makes you smile?  What are some of your favorite things?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Feeling the Wind In My Hair

Well, I was right.  Today has been a much better day than yesterday.  My bad mood vanished with the bad weather.  Thank goodness, because yesterday was not a good day.  Anyway, today had many good surprises, including warmer weather and some surprise me-time.  Hooray!  The best part of all, though, was a simple car ride.

You see, Merlin had a vet appointment scheduled.  Merlin is the only dog in the house, other than Cody, who is allowed to ride in the car without the crate.  So, Merlin was happy in the car.  Normally, I would have left Cody at home, but I needed him for a later appointment, and I figured that Cody could always use a practice visit to the vet.  And, Cody was happy in the car.

After a few minutes in the car, though, Merlin started to get restless.  He kept trying to climb to the front, which would have been fine if he hadn't tried to squeeze between the window and the passenger seat.  To help him calm down I rolled the rear window down just a crack.  Then to make it fair, I rolled the front passenger window down for Cody as well.

If you don't crack up at the sight of of two dogs shoving their noses through the crack in a window then their is something wrong with you.

Don't you all wish we could live life that simply?  I for one would love to get that much pleasure from just having the window down.  Maybe if we lived like that, days like yesterday wouldn't happen as often as they do.  I'm just happy I can take so much pleasure from watching the dogs.  It's little things like that which make the world a better place.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Of Those Days

Have you ever had one of THOSE days?   You know, one of those days where nothing seems to go right?  That sort of day where you're tired and cranky and emotionally spent?  Yeah, that sums up my day today.

I know the biggest cause is the weather.  The darker clouds caused me to sleep in this morning, making me late for everything else.  The colder weather means my body has to work harder to stay warm, which means I'm tired sooner.  The colder, darker weather also encourages me to crawl back into bed and sleep, and it's a grand injustice that I can't.  I'm just in a cranky mood, and I very much wish it would go away.  Somehow, the energy I had last week vanished, and I'm exhausted!

Personally, I wish there was a pause button.  There could be some wonderful button that you could push that would make time stop, if only for a few minutes, so you could catch up.  You could have some you-time.  When I was younger and working in less-enjoyable jobs, my pause button was called "a potty break."  I would go into a stall, put my elbows on my knees, and my head in my hands and just breathe.  I would roll my neck, stretch my legs, and read the writing on the walls.  This was my me-time. 

Now, that I'm running my own business, me-time is less and less.  And very rarely does a potty break constitute as me-time, what with dogs and cats wanting to follow in for cuddles (silly guys!).  Occasionally, I'll have that brief, wonderful space of time between two appointments when I can sit in the car and do something for myself.  Sometimes that means reading, other times napping.  In the summer, if Cody's with me, that often means going for a walk.  Oh, how I love those times.

Today, though, is not a day that allows those times.  Save for this post, my day has been go-go-go.  While this is quite a good thing, I still want to complain just a little.  I want to stamp my feet, fall to the ground and scream while someone else looks at me and says, "Somebody's tired.  Let's get you to bed."  Then I would go kicking and screaming until my head hit the pillow and I would sleep.  (In case you didn't get that, I want to be five and let someone else do all the work). 

I know this day will pass, and tomorrow, while busier, will probably be better (one can only hope).  If tomorrow's not better, Thursday will be.  I just keep telling myself, "This too shall pass."  That's what gets me through the tough days.  What do you do?  How do you get your me-time?  What do you do on days where there's no me-time to be found?  Hopefully, you can see as well that this too shall pass.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Most people who know me would describe me as being very confident.  Even some of my closest friends have commented on how they wish they had my confidence.  I have a secret, though.  It's all fake.  Confidence has never been my strong point.  I have always been the shy one.  The thing is, though, sometimes I can fake it.  If my friends are involved in any way (with me, supporting me, encouraging me) I can fake confidence.  For the business, I can fake it.  Actually, with most dogs I'm not faking at all.  I'm very confident around the dogs.  They put me at ease.  It's the people who make me nervous.

Over the years, there are several experiences that I've missed out on due to my lack of confidence.  I never joined my high school lacrosse team (even though it was new, and there weren't try-outs, just acceptances) because I was afraid of looking stupid.  I have a lot of trouble making new friends because I'm nervous about making a fool of myself.  I remember one time I was in training for cafe manager at school.  We had to meet with Life Safety and learn fire safety, and part of that lesson was using a fire extinguisher and putting out a real fire.  This was super-exciting for me.  Hopefully this would be the only time I'd have to do this...ever, but I was excited.  What did I do?  I just hid in the back, avoiding being called, simply because I was afraid I'd do something terribly wrong.  Lucky for me, every single person had to do it, and I had an opportunity to put out a fire (without looking like an idiot).

About three years ago I decided to change this.  I decided that I wanted to start taking risks.  I wanted to be confident, and I was going to make a concerted effort.  Things were going wonderfully.  I made the decision to go to dog training school, I took control of my life, and I was happy.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for something to shake this new-found confidence.  As I graduated from school, and was ready to take on the world, I was not ready to take on losing a friend.  I wish I could say that she was lost in some dramatic way, that something had actually taken her from me, but such is not the case.  My friend, my best friend of seven years, a bridesmaid at my wedding, simply decided she no longer wanted to be my friend.  There was no explanation, no fight.  My best friend, the one who had promised me at my wedding to always be there for me whenever I needed, simply walked away from the friendship without a word.

How does one handle something like that?  For a while, I tried to convince myself that she had actually passed away.  Thinking of her as dead was easier than admitting that she could choose to not be my friend.  Still, though, I knew the truth.  Every day I was reminded of things we had done around town, and the wonderful memories we had, and I was reminded everyday that I wasn't good enough for my best friend to stay with.

It's been two years since my friend stopped being my friend, and I still tend to look at the memories, but somehow they don't hurt as much.  And as the memories hurt less, my confidence grows.  I am learning that whatever happened with my friend was not my fault, it was hers.  I don't know what happened, but I know that I should have been treated better.  I deserve to be treated better.  I am worth it.  Somehow, something has switched, and that little flicker of confidence I once felt is coming back.

I am grateful to everyone who has stood by me, be it for one year or for 25.  It is you who have taught me I am worth it.  It is because of you that I can stand up for myself.  It is because of you that I can ask for what I want.  It is because of you I can grow my business, take care of myself, and learn that I am worth it.  With your help, I am developing self-confidence.  Thank you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lil' Tidbits

I have lots of thoughts swimming around in my head, and none of them are really long enough for a proper blog post.  So, I figured I'd share them with you in little snippets.

*I love it when Cody is clipped short.  His hair is softer, and he stays cleaner.  To make things really great, he is a lot more cuddly when his hair is short.  This is probably due in part to the fact that he's slightly colder, but it's also because he's more comfortable.  Yay for the groomer!

*What is the big hype about Twitter?  I have a Twitter account, and I occasionally will make a tweet (when I'm trying to get into it), but really I don't see the point.  Can someone please explain it to me?  Possibly even give me a tutorial?

*Weather is getting slightly warmer.  This means that soon outdoor activities will resume.  Personally, I can't wait.  Soon, Cody will be able to go swimming.  Soon, bicycling and jogging outside will be an option.  Soon the flowers will be budding, and the birds will be singing.  Soon!

*I love the support and encouragment I find in friends and family.  Hans has been especially good.  Then again, he always is.

*Along those lines, I need to start scheduling time to make a few more snacks I can take with me.  I also need to find a few more recipes.  AND, it wouldn't hurt if I occasionally planned a menu.  Knowing what to eat in advance would go a long way right now.

*Again, along those lines, being a woman just isn't fair.  Men, in general, are allowed at least 300 calories more than women, and Hans gets many more than that.  If I had those 300 extra calories I would put them to good use.  Hans doesn't even want them!  NOT FAIR!!!!

*Taking down Christmas decorations isn't nearly as fun as putting them up.

Alright, those are some of the things going through my mind.  I have a few other things too, but they'll make longer posts in the near future.  I hope you're all having a wonderful time doing whatever your doing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Mushroom-Swiss Burger

Before I go on to the point of this blog, I have to ask, have they created a fat-transplant procedure yet?  I ask because yesterday I took Cody to be groomed.  I know it's cold, but he's so happy when he's not covered with hair, so we cut him short.  It always surprises me how thin he is.  Actually, in general, he tends to fill out during the summer and lose weight in the winter.  I'm pretty sure this is probably due to lack of exercise and an atrophying of muscles, but for now the point is that he looks very thin.  I'd be more than willing to donate some of the extra weight in my thighs to help him fill out.  So, again I ask, have they created a fat-transplant procedure yet?

Alright, on to the brunt of this post.

So, the past few weeks I've made a concerted effort to cut out all junk food / processed food from my diet.  I know from previous experience that if I can avoid the junk for a long enough time, that when I do eat junk food it won't be at all satisfying.  In fact, it may even be a bit sickening.

Well, last night we went out to dinner with a couple of friends.  I was really craving a burger, so I ordered the mushroom swiss burger.  I really didn't want fries with it though (that just sounded disgusting), so I had green beans on the side.  My plan was to only eat half of the burger, but for some reason I went ahead and had the whole thing.  I had forgotten how awful the sickly feeling of eating junk is.

It took less than half an hour for me to feel awful.  My stomach was upset, I was surprisingly tired, and I did not feel good.  When I got home, I immediatly went to bed.  I slept through the night, but this morning was not a good feeling.  The best way to describe how I felt would be a mild hangover.  My mouth was dry, my body ached, and I felt slightly naseous. 

I got up, downed a glass of water and hopped on my bike.  Every pedal felt like torture.  I'm really surprised that one burger could do that, but trust me, it's a feeling I won't soon forget.  That burger certainly wasn't worth how I felt afterward.  I highly doubt I'll be having another one any time soon.

Other than that, things have continued to go extraordinarily well.  I'm busy.  I'm happy.  I'm loving life.  I'll tell you now, that I have no intentions of turning this into a weight-loss / dieting blog, but right now that is a wonderful part of my life.  So, please excuse me as I share my joy and excitements.  Hopefully you'll take joy in them too.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life Is Good

Alright, so, honestly I don't have much to talk about.  Life has been busy and crazy and hectic, and I've been loving every minute of it.

Lately, I feel like I've come back from the dead.  For the past few months there's been this cloud hanging over my head.  I was tired and cranky and irritable.  I'm pretty sure whenever I entered the room Hans would sound some sort of alarm for others to scatter.  I felt over-extended, and at the same time I felt like I wasn't extending myself enough.  What I really wanted was to just lie in bed and stay asleep.  Oh what joy THAT would have brought!  And, I knew what some of the factors to my mood were (I'll discuss those some other time), but knowing them didn't seem to help at all.

Lately, though, I've been feeling good.  Sure, some days are easier than others, but so far each day has seemed better and better.  I'm feeling more energized, and I'm accomplishing a lot more (like writing this blog).  Spending time with the dogs has always been easy, but before all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep.  Now, I'm itching to take them to the park or hiking or some other fun activity.  For that, I'm simply waiting for warmer weather.

I have a few theories as to the improvement too.

1) My chiropractor appointments have helped immensely.  I feel like their really starting to stick, and I like that.

2) It's amazing what eating right can do for your energy.  Calorie Count has been a big help, but I'm doing more than counting calories.  I've been really careful to eat wholesome foods, and less processed foods.  Good for me!

3) It's also amazing what a bit of exercise can do for your energy AND for your mentality.  I love endorphins.  I'm not doing a lot, mainly riding my bike inside.  That said, does anyone have any solutions for the sore-butt that my bike causes?  As in, I could ride a lot longer if sitting up there didn't hurt my bony rear so much. 

The mood has been relatively short-lived, but I'd be really happy if it continued.  Here's to keeping up the good work!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fifteen Minutes A Day

So, the other day I blogged about my plan for Icing, and how Hans and I would play with her for 15 minutes at a time each.  The thought was that fifteen minutes seemed like a much more attainable goal, and that we would be more apt to devote that small amount of time (and possibly more).  So, two things:

1) Icing is doing wonderfully.  We have quickly lengthened our time with her, and as her training progresses we are allowing her to partake in family activities more and more.  Last night we even took her to Bass Pro Shops.  She and Cody still don't get along (at all), but she's quickly learning to pay attention to what we ask of her, and that's a good thing.  Hopefully she'll find a home soon.

2) I didn't realize what a great thing I'd stumbled upon when I decided to start with just 15 mintues at a time.  Things were going so well with Icing that I decided to try it with other aspects of my life (namely cleaning).  I know it hasn't been long, but so far so good.  Fifteen minutes is not enough time to start and finish a large project, but it's enough to get started.  If I say, "Just fifteen minutes" then by the end of 15 minutes I'm typically wanting to continue because I'm already involved.  Plus, on days where I'm super-busy, and I know there's no way to finish a larger project, I might at least get 15 minutes in.  This is a huge change from the days where I'd just give up and say there was no way I was every going to get it done, so why should I even start.

So, what can you get done in fifteen minutes?  Hmmm....

1) Clean a desk

2) Vacuum a floor of the house (depends on how thorough you are, but good for a light cleaning).

3) Fold laundry (depending on amount of laundry).

4) Clean a bathroom (at least my tiny bathroom). 

5) Change your way of living.

6) The possibilities are endless!

I should make one last comment.  Again, I know it hasn't been long, but the last few days have been wonderful.  By starting with just 15 minutes, I'm getting so much more done.  When I get more done, I feel better about myself.  When I feel better about myself, I'm more apt to get even more done.  Do you see where this is going?  I encourage you, instead of looking at a massive project and declaring that it's too big and overwhelming, set your timer and work for just 15 minutes.  I assure you, you'll be amazed at the progress you can make!

Alright, blogland.  How do YOU stay motivated?

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Good Day After All

I don't normally post twice in a day, but I figured it's late enough tonight, and I probably won't have a chance to post tomorrow.  Besides, I want to share some stuff with you.

Living Healthy
So, on a previous blog post I wrote about my desire to start living my life in a healthy way again.  I wanted to regain control of myself.  Well, so far so good, and I'm feeling awesome (well, actually I think I'm catching a nasty cold, but other than that I'm feeling awesome).  Those snack bars have really come in handy, too. 

Anyway, I wanted to tell y'all about this awesome tool I found.  I was searching around online for a recipe calorie calculator for the bars that I made.  You see, I don't want this healthy-living thing to just be about calories, but I new I'd need a little help with some stuff.  I found quite a few calorie calculators, but the most awesome one I found is sponsored by  This calorie calculator is FANTASTIC!  Not only does it calculate calories, but it also gives me full nutritional information (fiber, potassium, fat, etc.).  I went ahead and joined the community (free of charge!), and suddenly I was equipped with an online food and exercise journal.  It even tells me if I'm low on any given vitamins, and it connects me with all sorts of online groups and resources.  I'm absolutely astounded.  I'm so happy with it, I just had to share it with all of you.  If you try it, please tell me if you like it.

Moving on...

The Doggie Debaucle
Yes, I'm still upset about the Icing situation.  I kept waiting to get a call or an email saying that Doggie Day Spa was sorry, and that there was just a bit of confusion.  Alas, no such call or email (or even text) came.  You know what, though?  More power to me.  Yes, I could deal with a bit less stress.  Yes, that would have made life a lot easier.  I know, though, that if I can handle this, I can handle anything.

Hans and I are starting out right too.  We spent a good thirty minutes this evening with Icing.  The goal (for now) is twenty to thirty minutes of working time in the morning and thirty minutes of play in the evening.  Icing did get here until late morning, so we just started out with this evening.  Hans and I are both really busy, though, and I kept thinking out I just couldn't fit a whole 30 minutes in.  Then it dawned on me.  I can't fit 30 minutes in, but I can fit 15 minutes in, and so can Hans!  Of course, this is advice I give my clients all the time.  It would be a bit helpful if I listened to myself every once and awhile.  Anyway, that's what I did.  I played for 15 minutes, and Hans played for 15 minutes.  It wasn't much, just a light game of fetch, but Icing LOVED it.  And you know what?  She's quiet right now.  I can only hope she stays that way through the night.

Well, I hope you all had a decent day.  I think mine went fairly well.

Disclaimer: Promotion for the calorie calculator on was done of my own accord.  I am not receiving any gifts or extra rewards.  I simply found a site that I'm really excited about, and I wanted to share.

The Doggie Debacle

All names have been trained to protect the innocent (and the guilty)

Oh what a day!  For those of you who don't know, I foster a dog named Icing for the Humane Society.  Icing is a handful.  She's a cattle dog (supposedly mix) and she definitely displays all the behaviors that are characteristic of cattle dogs.  She's really sweet, don't get me wrong.  However, she's also high energy and very opinionated.  While I think she's a really great dog, she and Cody just don't get along, and that's a problem for me.

Anyway, I brought her to my house in October with the intention of training her.  I wish I had realized then how much added stress that would be.  I spend 10 hours a day training dogs, and when I'm not training I'm thinking about training or studying training methods or planning for more training.  Having a dog in my house that needed to be trained from scratch was just a little bit more than I could handle.

Back in December, though, Cary from the Humane Society called to say that the boarding facility Doggie Day Spa  would be taking Icing to train her and that I would get the dog they had just trained.  Admittedly I was upset at first.  My thought was, "I've failed them and let them down.  They think I suck!"  Then, however, a thought occured to me.  Maybe they didn't think I'd failed them.  Maybe they just realized what an added task that was and wanted to give me a break.  Taking in a trained dog to keep her training up would be a lot easier on me, and Doggie Day Spa had the facilities to train Icing properly.  This wouldn't just benefit me, it would greatly benefit Icing (and any other dog who entered the program).  Once Icing was trained, I'd be happy to take her back (which would be great because otherwise she'd go into a kennel where no one would work with her), but in the mean time I could have some down time.  Oh what a blessing!!  So, I quite happily dropped Icing off at Doggie Day Spa yesterday morning and picked up Valentine (the previously trained dog) to continue working with her.

Then, at about 5:30 last night, Cary gave me a call.  The owner of Doggie Day Spa did not realize that Valentine (and any dog after) would be going to another trainer after they left Doggie Day Spa.  Apparently, this was a conflict of interest for them and they were suspending our contract until better arrangements could be made.

First of all, let me make it clear that it was never any secret that I was another trainer.  Not only had it been mentioned in emails, it had been clear that this was the Humane Society's choice because then all these trained dogs would go into a home with someone who was used to working with them.

Second of all, (in case anyone at Doggie Day Spa happens to read this) never was it my intention to train these dogs in any new way.  I very much respect the methods with which they were already trained, and I even use those methods myself.  Never would I claim that I had trained the dogs, for that would be unethical.  I would only want to see these dogs to continue to improve.  In fact, in the few hours we've had Valentine, Hans has been the main one to work with her.  Why?  Because she's afraid of men, and each time Hans works with her that's one man she's a little less afraid of.

Third of all, what kind of dog-friendly company would do that to a homeless dog?  They're lucky I'm a pushover, and I'm very lucky that Hans is so understanding and patient.  If that were not the case, then Icing would not have a home to come back to.  How awful of a person would I be if I turned her out into the cold?

Now, maybe I'm wrong about all this.  Maybe there's just been some major confusion, and in a few short days everything will be worked out and we'll all be happy.  However, right now I am not happy.  I am ticked off.  I am flabbergasted.  I am disappointed in a lot of people right now.  Actually, as an ego-boost to myself I'm also a bit pleased.  I can only assume that Doggie Day Spa has heard of me and sees me as a major threat.  (Thinking this makes me happy.  Please don't burst my bubble.)

So, now I have a lot of work to do.  I have decided that Icing needs more than what I was able to give her before.  Giving her more would make me feel better about myself, so that's what I'm going to do.  It might not be a lot more, but it will be more.  I promise myself and Icing and Hans that things will not be the same as what they were.  Things will be different.  Wish me luck!

P.S. If anyone reading this would care to help me train a dog, either through motivation or as an actual assistant, I'd be more than happy for the help.  Motivation is what I need most though, so please don't hesitate to give me daily (hourly) reminders!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If I Had Won The Lottery Last Night...

...I would have:

1) Called my closest friends and family and told them they're all rich.  Really, what's the point in having money if you can't share it?

2) Called my realtor and told her to get ready for a big commission.

3) Donated a lot to animal rescue organizations.

4) Planned an astronomically-priced vacation.

5) Spent a whole lot on stuff I probably don't need.  I mean, come on, it's good to have fun.

6) Started planning and building my dream kennel.

Alas, I did not win the lottery last night.  The $355 million jackpot was split between two people in Idaho and Washington.  And while everything on this list is great, the one item that makes me happiest right now is number six.  It amazes me to think that even if I had more money than I knew what to do with, enough money where I would never have to work again, I would still want to build and run a kennel.  How many people can say that about their jobs?  How many people can say that even if they never HAD to work again they would WANT to continue what they're doing anyway?  I, personally, never thought that would be the case with me.  I hoped I would love doing what I do, but never really thought it would happen.

Sure, running a dog-training business can be frustrating (as can running any business).  There are certain days and certain dogs and certain people that just make me want to throw in the towel (or at least cry for a very long time), but when I think about my overall feeling towards what I do, I'm happy.

Three and a half years ago, when I graduated as a music major from a small school in MN, happiness (in my job at least) was merely a dream.  To know that dream has come true is phenomenal.  It spreads into all aspects of my life.  It makes me be a better person.

So, while I did not win the lottery last night (dang it!), I can live happily knowing I have a roof over my head, a husband who loves me, a wonderful, wonderful family of dogs and cats, and a fulfilling career that generally seems more like a hobby than a job.  Who needs more than that?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Enough Is Enough Already!

Last New Year's Day I made a resolution to live life healthier.  Like most resolutions, this one started out well and was full of good intentions.  However, eventually life caught up.  Between buying a house, working at WEE Shop, growing the business, and simply living life I kind of let the fitness thing go by the wayside.  I stopped working out.  I used my time with the dogs as an excuse for not doing hard workouts like I used to (this actually worked over the summer), I used all my time in the car as an excuse for not being able to prepare proper meals, and I used stress as an excuse to be lazy.  All that said...


I am tired of feeling so tired!  I am tired of feeling my jeans grow tighter and tighter.  I am tired of telling myself I'll get back on track tomorrow.  Why not start today?

First things first:  FOOD!

I learned over Christmas that I love to munch.  While I also enjoy sit down meals, I thoroughly enjoy snacking all day long.  Apparently this is better for my body too, so aren't I a lucky gal?  The problem is, snacking on cookies and cake probably is not the healthiest thing for me, and I'm not always in the mood for fruit and veggies.  So, what's the solution?  Breakfast bars!!

I spent yesterday morning and evening making different bars.  Some are a great meal replacement for those mornings where I'm really too rushed for breakfast.  Others are better as just a quick snack.  They all store well, and they're super tasty...yum!

I also learned that I get cold in the winter (go figure), and I need something other than hot chocolate to keep me warm.  One hot chocolate here and there isn't so bad, but three or four in a day probably isn't so good.  So, Hans and I made a huge pot of chicken and wild rice soup (my favorite soup) last night.  That will make for a few good lunches and dinners.

There is now pre-cooked food in the house as well as lots of fruit and healthy stuff.  The junk food, it is no good!  I'm making a concerted effort to watch what and how much I eat, and I already feel like it's paying off.  I'm feeling better and more energetic already.  Woo hoo!

Step 2:  The work-out!!!

This gets a little more complicated.  I have not yet gotten clearance from the doctor to start a full-blown workout routine like the ones I used to do (if you're wondering why I'm seeking clearance, email me), so I kind of have to improvise.  Plus, it's cold outside, and that makes things a lot harder.

To get things going, I've started walking on the treadmill, and will slowly increase speed and incline as soon as I'm allowed.  The problem?  My treadmill broke!!!!!!  Luckily, it's still under warranty, but it's a pain in the posterior none the less.  This means I either have to walk outside (brrr!), or I have to...

...ride my NEW BIKE!!!  I've had a bike since I was five, and I thoroughly enjoyed riding it.  I got a second bike when I was nine.  I've had that bike for the past 16 years.  I love that bike.  It has served me well, but needless to say it was just a bit too small for me now.  I've been saving and saving, and I finally justified the bike.  I decided it was time and I'm worth it.  Added bonus: As a late Christmas treat, Mom and Hans got together and got me an indoor trainer for my bike.

This is soooooo great!  I can now do a low-impact, higher-intensity workout inside...while I watch t.v.  It's true, I'm changing my t.v. time.  T.V. time is now while I'm working out.  It works out well because I'm able to enjoy my favorite shows I'm still moving (not being a slug on the couch), plus I'm not getting bored by the stationary workouts.

So, I'm sorry this is such a long post, but I am utterly thrilled about all that's been going on.  I am asking everyone and anyone who's reading this post for help and support.  Help me keep getting on the bike or treadmill (until warmer weather hits and I can go outside again).  Help me choose the best and healthiest foods, in the right proportions.  Help me reach all my goals, so I can be the best me possible.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Updates For the New Year

Hello All! 
I'm so sorry it has been so long since I last posted.  I honestly think time just got away from me.  I was thinking, "Hmmm, it's been almost a week since I last posted."  Then, when I looked, I saw it had actually been closer to two weeks!  Sorry!  So, I thought I'd give you this first post of the new year just to update you on the events of the past few weeks.

Christmas was a wonderful, beautiful event.  Hans had off from work, and we spent the entire time doing nothing.  Last year we had 17 people, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a baby in our apartment.  The year before that, we traveled to MN and AZ to visit family.  This year, with all that's been going on, we just wanted to sleep.  Hans and I spent all day watching movies and just enjoying being with each other.

Oh, and I also gave Hans is gift.  He was expecting a tool or two, and he got tools...he got a lot of tools.  Hans has been so wonderful, and he's been building dog beds for the business, an endeavor that means he's had to spend extra time at the theater just to have tools to use.  Of course, this means he hasn't built many beds nor has he been home as often as possible.  So, I made an investment.  Hans now has a workshop.  That was the best thing on Christmas, watching him open every tool and watching his face light up.  Christmas was good.

New Year
While we wanted Christmas day to be quiet, we did want to see family at some point.  We saw my dad right after Christmas, but we wanted more.  So, shortly after Christmas, we drove down to NC to visit Hans' grandma, Gan.  I hadn't seen Gan in a year, so I was very excited.

We spent the past few days visiting with Gan and Hans' cousins (some of which we hadn't seen in 3 years).  It was so nice seeing everybody, but it was almost nicer just having a chance to get away.  Cody had a blast having us all to himself, and we enjoyed waking up on our own schedule as opposed to waking up to the dog's schedule (Cody is great about following our schedule).

We rang in the new year last night with Gan, and I think that was a wise decision.  Opening the new year with family is always great.  Today we drove home, and now I'm back in my own house.

The other fun thing about today is that it's my dad's birthday.  So, while I'd love to fall asleep, we're instead going to visit Dad and join him for dinner.  Don't worry, I'm equally excited about that.

In three days (on the 4th) we'll celebrate my mom's birthday.  Kind of exciting to have two birthdays so close, huh?  So, the next week will be somewhat exciting.

Otherwise, there are a lot of other things coming up, and I'll have to keep you posted on that.  I hope you all have a beautiful and wonderful New Year.  Enjoy!