Um…hello?

Wow. I half expected to see cobwebs hanging off the page and all when I logged into this site today. Needless to say, it’s been a while.

My life exploded.

Nope. That isn’t right. It deflated. Everything that has happened has been a long time coming, but I really wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did (my relationship, that is). Or as suddenly as it did. It was sort of like a bouquet of cut flowers – they are dying from the get-go, but you don’t really notice they are wilting at first. And you can always sort of pick out the early faders to keep the vase looking good. But then one day, you go to add some water to it and wham. All the flowers are dead, petals everywhere and that’s it. It’s done.

Immediately following the sudden deflation of my personal life, I acquired three tiny kittens. They were around three weeks old – eyes open, ears just opening, definitely nowhere near being weaned. My neighbor found them at a job site and they couldn’t be left where they were due to construction. No sign of momma cat and he knew a shelter would have put them down. So, sucker that I am, I said, “Bring them here.” (It didn’t help that he sent me a picture of them – all three solid white fuzzballs).

Rooty (named so because he loved to root around), Patch (named because we thought he might lose an eye; thankfully, he won’t), and The Princess (she just is). Initially we had all sorts of issues. Fleas,eye infections/ulcers, dehydration, and  terrible constipation. The constipation was so extreme that I had to be taught by my vet how to give them kitty enemas at home (don’t ask – thank the skies it is over). Now everyone is healthy with the exception that both Patch and TP are going to need reconstructive eye surgery. They both have eyelid agenesis (coloboma). Essentially they are missing part of their eyelids. If they do not have the surgery they will go blind even with eye drops administered every few hours ever day of their lives. So, for now they get drops every 2-3 hours and three times a day also antibiotic ointment to stave off infections from the irritation from dryness and their fur rubbing against their eyes. In the spring we’ll do the surgery. Now if I can just get TP to wean.

Then there is Moo. The same weekend the kittens showed up, she decided to grab the brand new bottle of her allergy medicine off the kitchen counter and eat it. A 30 day supply. She almost died. Phone calls to the ASPCA animal poison control hotline, a trip to the emergency vet, and a very scary couple days. She is fine now and I am much more careful about putting everything away.

There’s my list of excuses. I have been mentally shutting down the past several months, but this past month in particular has been close to full-on hibernation. I’m working on it. Picking myself back up. Getting into a new routine. Don’t even get me started on my lack of eating and the poor nutrition of the crap I do eat. Maybe tonight I will be able to make myself cook something. Maybe in another few weeks I will even have the energy to think about exercising again. At least the thoughts are there…the actions will follow.

Whew!

What a week!

Moo’s surgery went well. Clean teeth (yay! no more doggie breath!), repaired knee (yay! once it’s healed all the running and jumping she could wish for!)…the only hiccup was the edema that happened after she got home. Her poor leg swelled up like a sausage for several days. Thankfully, there was (is) no sign of infection. Just fluids that weren’t draining. Sunday night was the worst. But then just like magic, yesterday most of it went down and today her leg is back to normal (minus the lack of hair from being shaved for surgery and the incision held together with staples).

Work is crazy. This week I am on “vacation” studying for my certification exam which is Friday morning. I am freaking out and will be glad when it is over.

Fitness & weight-loss…the first is going great! The latter is slow. But I do believe the first is more important and I know the weight-loss will come as I get more and more fit. So, I try not to think too much about it since there is enough other stuff to worry about these days! I seem to have stagnated right at 207 lbs…I have about six weeks to lose 8 lbs. I really do want to make my goal of being under 200 before my mom and sister visit. We’ll see.

The other day a blogger I follow posted about “creative outlets” for finding fitness in a day. My yard work is definitely my creative outlet lately! I finished hauling and placing an entire pallet of concrete stones around the beds in the front yard yesterday. That’s 140 stones weighing approximately 8lbs each. I have most of another pallet to go in the backyard along with several tons of river rock that will be shoveled, hauled, and spread over the coming weeks. (Several being somewhere around 10 tons.) I think I did more squats and lunges yesterday in the yard than I have done since I started meeting with my personal trainer!

The photo was taken with my phone so the color is funky…the rocks really are not that purply/pink…I swear! Now I just need to get those shrubs in front of the windows trimmed before they eat my house.

Alright, enough procrastinating. TIme to go review some more banking regulations while I have another cup of coffee.

 

Road Apples

“How about dem apples?!?”

Har. Har. Moo has decided they are delectable.  We went on the group hike today out at the Latta Plantation where there is an equestrian center who also uses the trails (this is also the same park/nature preserve that houses the Carolina Raptor Center). Moo discovered road apples. There wasn’t much to worry about in regards to aggression to the other dogs today because she was too side-tracked with trying to snarf them up as we walked along.

She did meet her first horse, ever, on the trail. That caused a ruckus with several of the pooches. Moo was beside herself – good experience for her, but I definitely need to expose her to more unusual/different situations.

Animal Quanadries

CATS

This morning I am cleaning up more cat pee. This time, though, it is a small amount…DG keeps peeing on the dog bed. when she was in for her last kitten series check-up I had them also check to see if she had a UTI. Nope. No problems there (which is good, don’t get me wrong). So what to do about the inappropriate peeing?

I think I’ve figured out the problem – the dog beds have cedar chips in them to help repel bugs and doggy odors…the new cat litter I bought is natural “green” stuff that smells like…cedar. I think pine is what the bag actually says, but it smells like outdoor evergreens. And thus, the itty bitty kitty thinks she has a litter box all her own in my bedroom.

Thankfully the covers are water repellant so the pillow is (so far) unscathed. And I have an extra cover from an old bed, so I’ve rotated them through the wash. But I don’t know what to do to deter her from wetting the dog bed. Sadie sleeps there (when it is dry) so I don’t want to take it away. I may have to see if I can find some beds without the chips in them…but I’d rather not. These beds are very, very nice – and very, very inexpensive at Costco ($20 for a large dog bed, everywhere else they run closer to $40 or $50).

Any suggestions?

DOGS

It really isn’t a quandary with the dog…more general frustration. Moo enrolled in Off Leash Dog Training last June. And while overall it has been hugely beneficial to her outside the home, it hasn’t changed any of her behavior in the home when I am not there to monitor it. She still shreds toilet paper, steals things off desks and counters, and in general isn’t trusted loose in the house. That isn’t such a huge deal – she can go in her crate, I just wish she didn’t have to.

The frustrating thing is that most of the group sessions which are held at various parks in the area, end up getting cancelled or changed to days/times when we cannot attend. The most recent example of this was the Sunday group class last week – couldn’t find them due to lack of directions on where the actual meet was. This week I finally got specific instructions but they’ve changed it (last night, mind you) from a lesson to a group hike. And while that would be fun, a) it isn’t what I signed up for and b) we kind of overdid it playing ball in the yard this week and her knee isn’t up for a hike, however, we really could have used the lesson since we couldn’t make the one on Saturday.

I like the people who do the training (though, the girl, whom I was least impressed with, but worked the most with is no longer there). The guy who owns the business is fabulous with both people and dogs. The problem there is he is trying to grow and expand and isn’t getting the base business well enough established first. Everything is very fly-by-night. Not that the business will suddenly not be there, but that nothing is well-organized or communicated to the customers. Right now the business is down to the owner and one trainer to hold all the group and individual sessions. The owner has also gotten himself a segment on the local morning news show. He is trying to organize attending home shows, seminars, and other community events and fundraisers. And unless your dog has serious aggression issues, I feel it is nearly impossible to grab anyone’s attention long enough to ask questions or get specific help at any of the group classes.

I think next week I am going to try to get Moo scheduled for a one-on-one session at their facility so we can get the needed face time. I don’t have serious problems and the questions I have I am sure are easy fixes, I just need someone to show me how to work on them. And I am going to ask about having a one-on-one session here at the house. I need help with the dogs at the door. I am sure getting it scheduled is going to be a pain due to the lack of man-power, but I am going to keep trying until it happens.

*whew* Thanks for letting me vent…this stuff (especially the dog training stuff) has swirled around in my head now for a while. I paid a very pretty penny for the training and though Moo’s progress has been good, right now I would not recommend this particular company it to anyone because the program it isn’t worth what I paid. The other part of me sees the potential in this program and if I had the time, would love to offer my services (for a price) to help with the office/organizational part of things to help get them to where they should and could be. But that isn’t going to happen in this life time.

P.S. I suppose I should also add that my training frustrations aren’t just with the training program…I am also frustrated that things have worked out such that I seem to be the only one involved in Moo’s training. The whole point of the training was to get her to a place where she could stay at Neil’s house without totally disrupting his household to save me money on kennel costs when I travel, but that hasn’t happened. So not only have I shelled out for the training, but I am still shelling out for the kennel. *sigh*

“Runnin’, runnin’, runnin’….

keep those doggies runnin’….rawhide!”

OK, so that isn’t quite how the lyrics go, but that’s what has been running through my head lately. (Get it? Running through my…oh nevermind. I’m such a dork sometimes.)

  • Monday was tough…I came back from a week without running and eating garbage for food and my legs told me all about it. Even with their talking, though, I finished the workout. 
  • Wednesday was awesome! Seriously, I think I could have taken on the 1/2 marathon on Wednesday, it was that good. It was my best pace yet.
  • Today was also awesome! Though the legs were a little more whiny about being pushed again. Aside from that, I felt great. And I maintained the great pace that I set on Wednesday. My breathing is getting noticeably better, too.

I’ve eaten better this week…not that it is a surprise to anyone, but isn’t it amazing how all that works together? Better nutrition equals better running. In fact, having a set schedule again has also kept me taking my vitamins regularly (which I need…I am very vitamin B anemic). As a result, I am feeling a billion times better overall. In addition to B6, I take salmon oil capsules, one of which also has some vitamin D in it. I drink milk every day and I am drinking more water in a day than I think I ever have.(This is the part where I don’t mention the pizza and beer we had last night.)

The other amazing thing? My skin is looking better than ever. (Yeah, I’m still a girly-girl, even if I don’t show it often.) But really! Fewer break-outs; it isn’t as dry and flaky as it was; it doesn’t feel like it is going to crack wide open every time I smile.

Right now my only guilt with the running is that I am not quite ready to take it outside and thus Moo is not getting any benefit from it. Youshould hear the pitiful, bored sighs she makes while she is laying on the floor next to the treadmill while I run. And don’t get me started on the sad, sad puppy-dog eyes she gives me while she is making the sighs. (My dog spoiled? No!) I am looking forward to Thanksgiving when I will (hopefully) be ready to start taking things to the streets and she can come along with me. My hope is that it will help build our bond and improve the consistency of her listening to me (and actually doing what I’ve asked). Heh. A girl can dream, right?

Leo Comes to Visit (a real post)

Leo came over for another play date the other day – his parents had to work and since he is still a baby I went over to let him out mid-day. He loves being around the other dogs so I brought him over for a bit for some romping (it’s good for the big dogs to have him here too).

King of the Castle

He also loves getting on the couch here. I think it is because then he’s at eye-level with the other dogs. Though there was plenty of random racing around the place too. On one lap through the house he discovered one of my stuffed rabbits in the guest room. I think his hunting nature took over because he grabbed that thing and raced around with it. He wouldn’t let it go!

Nature vs Nurture?
(Sorry for the noisy photo – it has been a while since I’ve used the point-and-shoot. I was struggling with the settings.)

Moo doesn’t know what to make of Leo (he is a spazz) so she usually retreats to her crate or to one of her “place” spots. When she does, she can’t figure out why the puppy still comes over to bother her.

Who are you?

However, dogs will be dogs and Leo really wanted to make sure she was who she was…or whatever it is that dogs are doing when they sniff each other.

Overall, a good time was had by everyone (I think) and maybe next time I will get better photos of the antics.

Three years and counting…

My how time flies. Three years ago, July 28th, this creature was born:
The Birthday Girl

We “adopted” her from a co-worker of Neil’s who had set up a webcam so he could keep an eye on the puppies while he was at work…which meant we could too! Here is a screen shot from the feed when she was six weeks old (she’s the one sitting by the door):
New Puppy (6 weeks old)

Her full name is Lili Marlene – I really wanted to call her Lili, but somehow that didn’t stick and we ended up with Marly. However, she grew so fast that things changed again and we started calling her Moo (Moo-cow or Moo-head).
I told you already...this is MY ball!

Marly - 19 Weeks

By eight months she was pretty much full-grown:
Clifford, the big black? dog...

And here we are today…fully grown. Considered an adult now. And still acting like a puppy. Plllbbbttt!
Pllbbbbt!
(Please disregard the lack of focus in this shot…I was very ill yesterday, but had to get some 3rd birthday photos since I completely spaced on Wednesday!)