Monthly Archives: March 2010

Courage

I am getting up the courage to go talk to my boss.

This makes it final.

Really, really final.

No going back.

Even when I know it’s affecting my health

Even when I know this will let me get the medical help I need

Even when I know that we will be financially OK

Even when I know I can find another job that suits me better

It is hard to know that I am doing the right thing.

I am scared.

Send me courage.

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Happy award-day to me!

The beautiful, funny and talented Brea of Brea’s Befuddled Brain has chosen to honor little ol’ me with my very first BLOGGY AWARD!

*cheering*

*applause*

*cat call*

Whoa now, let’s keep it appropriate.

…OK, you can cat call. But no butt-slaps, OK?

Really, now, while I am, of course, deserving of all kinds of awards (*cough*) I must admit that “happiness” is not the reason I would imagine getting one. Especially given Brea’s description:

Her posts make me happy in a smiley-fluffy kinda way.

*cocks head* I do not think I have had anything related to me described as smiley-fluffy before…guess this here blog is good for the ol’ emotion-factory!

This award does, of course, come with some rules I am more than happy to follow:

  1. Thank the person that awarded you in a new post.
  2. Put the award on your sidebar.
  3. Name 10 things that make you happy.
  4. Pass this award to other bloggers who make you happy.

So moving right along then.

1. Thank the person that awarded you in a new post.
Check! Oh wait…*scans writing*..guess not technically. Thank you, Brea! It made my morning extra happy to not only get to read a new post by you, but to receive this prestigious honor from your esteemed (virtual) hands.

2. Put this award in your sidebar.
Check…um…as soon as I figure out how to do that…I’m sure there’s a way..I’ll get it…I’m an engineer after all!

3. Name 10 things that make you happy.

  1. My sweet hubby
  2. My adorable puppy
  3. My bestest buds Erica and Margi
  4. My mommy, who’s always there for me
  5. BOOKS! (I will admit I have an addiction. I recognize that admitting that you have a problem is only the first step to beating it. I am perfectly comfortable at step one thankyouverymuch!)
  6. Sleep
  7. Dog training/Dog parks/Playing with dogs/Virtually anything related to dogs
  8. Leaving my job
  9. My blog and all the bloggy friends I’ve found…and blog comments. Definitely comments.
  10. An entire day with nothing to do and no reason to get out of my pajamas

Check!

4. Pass this award to other bloggers who make you happy.

*rubs hands in glee* Here’s five lovely ladies whose blogs are the cause of regular happiness!

First up: Mommy Drinks Because You Cry I mean come on, how can you not giggle at a name like that? She makes me happy by illustrating how you can be an awesome mom and have a lot of fun all at the same time! If you hear me giggling, there’s a good chance I’m at her blog

Next: The blog of one of my bestest buds, mentioned above. Her blog makes me happy because even though we now live in different states instead of just different rooms, I can still hear a bit about how her life is going and get my needed does of her unique humor through it. She makes me happy because even though we haven’t seen each other in months, we can still drop in and spend a weekend together, or pick up the phone and talk for hours, with no awkwardness.

And don’t forget: The Accidental Mommy Again, how can you NOT like that name? I love her views on parenting (did you know that you can not cook from scratch every night and still be a good mom??) and the girl is funny!!! She makes me happy by making me laugh until I cry..and cry and cry and can.not.stop.laughing (Here’s the worst offender on that score).

Moving on to: Watching the Waters Here’s another lady who can make you laugh until you cry, but doesn’t ignore the serious bits of life. She makes me happy by being so real, being so confident, and being so darn inspiring!

Fifth and finally: The Mrs. One of the few married without children blogs I read, hers is just fun. And she has two adorable dogs. And clearly loves them. It doesn’t take much more than that to make me happy!!

Check!!

Well there you go, I hope you have enjoyed my outpouring of happiness. Now go check out those awesome blogs, stat!

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Don’t judge me.

I may have stayed up until 11:30 last night reading this book.

But in my defense, I never ever wanted to read it.

My friend nagged me to.

And nagged me.

And then sent it to me for Christmas.

And it’s been sitting there, staring at me.

With her voice saying, “I spent money to buy this for you, you have to read it for me.”

So I finally picked it up, to silence her little voice in my head to just “give it a try.”

After 50 pages I was so disgusted by the whininess I almost threw it down.

And it’s suuuuuch brain candy, takes no time to read, has nothing of value, very simple writing.

But I kept going.

And now…I’m 350 pages in…and addicted.

And the book…I almost can’t bring myself to say it…the book…is….

Don’t judge me….I’m so ashamed…

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Possible partnership..?

There’s a new doggy daycare going in to the shopping center where I have my training space. I got the phone number of the woman opening it from the property manager and just gave her a call. We had a really nice chat, and she was very excited about possibly cross-promoting, especially when I told her she was welcome to take a class for free to see how I train (hey, you’re more likely to promote it whole-heartedly if you have experienced it!).

And then I took a deep breath and offered what I was a bit nervous about.

“And I know a lot of doggy daycares in the area will offer training as an added service owners can buy while their dogs are there. If you’d ever get to the point where you’d be interested in doing that I’d love to set something up with you.”

*bite lip* *hold breath*

Really? You’d be up for that?? Yeah! That sounds great!!”

YES!!!!!!!!

That could be a big deal for me. A steady stream of new clients, or continuing clients, who come to a doggy daycare. They type of owners who love their dogs enough to take them to a daycare are likely to be the type who love them enough to talk with other dog owners, so more opportunities for word-of-mouth spreading. I just get to work with the dogs directly (read: they get trained a lot faster and it’s a lot less work for me) and then provide summaries to the people or do quick transfer-of-knowledge sessions with them. And it’s a bunch of “private” clients at private(ish) rates without the long drive to their home on either end. A nice, steady source of such income, even if it’s small, would. be. amazing.

Here’s to hoping that really works out.

But either way, even if it’s just cross-referring business, it sounds like this could be an awesome partnership :-D

Pluuuuus…

After about 4 weeks of no one signing up for a group class and having to cancel one, I just got my first clients to sign up for my next one (which starts in two weeks).

:-D

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Weekend Wrap-up

Sadly, it’s Sunday night. For some reason I had it in my head that it was Saturday..I think because yesterday was full of “work,” even if fun work, and not lounging around trying to recuperate and gather strength for the coming week like most weekends are anymore. But the weekend is, officially, over.

First up, I finally finished The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It. Was. Amazing. So many great questions brought up. So many great things to think about. Such a great story for itself, which totally and completely sucked me in.

The book is science fiction, about a Jesuit mission trip to a planet recently discovered to have intelligent life. The story is told in two parts simultaneously; the story of the events leading up to the mission and the mission itself, and the story of the one remaining member of the trip who has made it back to earth. The author alternates between these two times, both progressing linearly with respect to their start dates. We have an idea of the outcome, from the condition of Emilio, the survivor, but we don’t know much more than that about what happened. Through watching the mission unfold and listening to Emilio’s report (told painfully over months), we begin to piece together what happened, and learn how the happy group of eight who leaves earth of one viewpoint could turn into the broken single man who returned in the other. The story is fascinating, the characterization is great, and you are pulled in both by feeling for the people and events and by trying to figure out the puzzle of what happened. I was breathlessly, painfully involved until the final pages, when it all comes clear, and even then left with questions to ponder, the sign of a good book in my mind. Matters of faith are brought up, along with questions about society, poverty, religion and science.

Near the end, there is this discussion on faith, which I love (no plot spoilers involved, though it is from the end of the book):

“There’s an old Jewish story that says in the beginning God was everywhere and everything, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist. So He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, there creation exists.”

“So God just leaves?” John asked, angry where Emilio had been desolate. “Abandons creation? You’re on your own, apes. Good luck!”

“No. He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering.”

“Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine,” Vincenzo Giuliani said quietly. “‘Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'”

“But the sparrow still falls,” Felipe said.

I love this exchange. If there is a God, this is how I believe he interacts. Not by reaching in, by observing. It is how I felt when I was religious, and now that I’m more ambiguous this is still the only way things make sense to me.

I don’t mean to give the impression that this book is all philosophical questions. It is mainly plot, the two stories developing and coming together, and gripping at that. But because of my own faith journey, some of the conversations on faith stood out to me. The questions raised are mostly done indirectly, I tend to look for them and ponder them, but they come up through things happening which makes the reader question why, or if, these things are wrong or right. Entertainment Weekly said it well,

Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. The Sparrow is one of them.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely highly recommend it to anyone. It may not seem this way from the books I’ve remembered to review thus far, but I do not say this often. It is a great story that will challenge you, and you will be glad you read it.

OK, that review was a wee bit long..but..I really liked the book :P

Tomorrow back to work. I’m thinking of giving notice at the end of this week. Possibly the beginning of next. I’m not sure. A bit nervous. Going to need to buckle down and work hard to get this project good and wrapped up, so I can leave. But now that the decision is made…I feel so much peace about it. A kind of cautious excitement…I can see a light at the end of the tunnel..but I’m afraid if I look at it directly it will go away. So I’m approaching it sideways, shuffling with small steps, and hopefully, soon, I’ll emerge out into its warmth and find some healing.

I can’t wait.

In other news, I’ve finally decided on a phone. None of the ones I talked about previously. Today the hubby and I went out and looked at other carrier’s phones, and I fell in love with one of them.

The Palm Pre Plus

Finally, a phone I have no reservations about! It is small, barely bigger than my current dumb-phone (is that what you call a non-smart-phone?), the same thickness and height and just a bit wider. It has a full qwerty keyboard that I got used to very quickly as a played with it. The screen is big and gorgeous, very responsive (unlike the Tilt2) and very functional. You can multitask apps, and move between them easily. It is fast. Really fast. And the interface is extremely intuitive for me. Unlike all the other phones I looked at, the more I play with and look into this phone, the more I fall in love with it. With others, as I looked deeper/played more, I found more and more to dislike. This one, not so much.

The catch.

It’s not available on AT&T. Yet. Maybe. Probably.

It’s supposedly definitely going to maybe be available on AT&T in some form which is probably just as good more or less on the exact approximate date of May 10 more than likely. So the hubby can keep his iPhone, I’ll be waiting til then to get my new phone.

Impatiently.

Swearing at my dumb-phone as it slowly falls apart in my hands.

On the upside, I haven’t even noticed time passing the past 5 months or so, I can’t remember anything that happened in that time (good thing I now blog so I can look back and remember some). I mean, honestly, what happened to February? Did that month happen? And I think we had like a day of January. So hopefully, while finishing up at my job, trying to keep Companions running, and trying to find a new job(s) for May, I will continue to be so stressed I do not notice April, either!

And then my shiny, functional new phone can be a leaving-my-job celebratory present.

’cause, you know, leaving my job is a good reason to spend lots of $$.

Shhhh.

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Let’s pretend it’s Friday

First, Dear So and So…

Dear House of Representatives,

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ecstatic citizen

Next, Friday Happy Hour

Today I am happy that health care passed!!!!! As I leave my job (and insurance), I don’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions (since basically any illness could be connected back to CFS). People no longer have to do what my friend did, living at home with his mom to stay on her government-insurance after graduation so he could get needed medical treatment rather than striking out on his own and finding full-time work like he wanted to. It is not everything, but it is a step in the right direction. I have not even let myself hope :-D

I gave Toby some celebratory ice cream so he could be as happy as me. It worked :-D

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Dog Talk

This post is entirely about dogs and dog related topics. If you are not a fan of dogs, or simply do not care, you will be bored. You have been warned. Even though I’m not sure how that is possible.

Today Toby and I had another doggy playdate with our friend/client. I’ve worked with this woman, we’ll call her Mrs. Awesome, and her dog, “Cutie,” for 12 weeks now. The first class she and her dog were in alone, so we had a lot of chance to talk and hang out. She is so much fun to talk with and work with and so good with her very timid shelter dog (even if she doesn’t think so), so we’ve started to hang out outside of classes. This was doggy playdate number two.

We meet up at the Edmonds off-leash dog park, which happens to be on a beach. Neither of our dogs care too much about other dogs, nor the water, but they both do like to explore. My little man feels the need to lift his leg on every.single.rock/bush/piece of driftwood, even though after about the second shot he’s empty, Cutie will just wander a bit away and come right back. While we’re there we chat away and try to get our dogs to play with the other dogs. Cutie also has a history of having been punished for playing with/chewing on any objects in her previous home (the toys were all for the other dog), so it has taken time for Cutie to be willing to take something in her mouth.

Today was awesome.

Toby went in the water, oh yes he did! There was a seagull of some sort floating a few feet into the surf, and so he carefully picked his way out to try and get to it. Of course, the bird could simply casually paddle its way into deeper water and Toby wasn’t going to follow it (though he thought about it) but he actually chose to go out in it! He then came back, with his undercarriage and legs sopping wet, and spent the next hour romping through the sand and dirt, doubling his weight with the said substances. At one point we climbed up to an area I hadn’t been to which was flatter and had dirt instead of sand, so Toby could get a better purchase for his tiny little legs, and he ran and played with a few other dogs! Kind of with them. His short legs don’t give him much purchase, so it was more of a following the other running dogs 5-10 feet back trying to keep up thing, but hey, it’s all good!

Toby! I forgot to take any pictures at the park. But he's still cute indoors :-)

But Toby is a brave dog. Lucky little guy has a trainer for a mom, and a trainer for a breeder, so he was heavily socialized and positively exposed from a very young age.

What was really awesome was Cutie’s strides.

Cutie ran with some other dogs. She’s still not sure quite how to actually play with strange dogs, but she gave it an honest try. And at a few points she did kind of play!

Cutie then found a stick and brought it to Mrs. Awesome. Huge in and of itself. She not only picked up a stick in front of people, she brought it to one of them! And then, Mrs. Awesome grabbed it..and Cutie TUGGED. This seems like nothing for most dogs. But for Cutie, who would not pick anything up for months, and even then would drop it the instant anyone else approached or reached for it, this was so big! Mrs. Awesome could even throw the stick, and Cutie would run after it and bring it back.

Which leads me to her next big accomplishment, Cutie chose, of her own volition, and very knowingly, to go in the water. Mrs. Awesome carried the stick back to the water and tossed it a couple feet into the surf. The water was only a few inches deep, but before Cute would.not.approach. By the end of the hour and a half she c a r e f u l l y would pick her way in to get the stick and bring it back, so happy to have made her mom happy!

So that was just hugely rewarding. I love, love, LOVE watching dogs come out of their shells! She’s learning how to be a relaxed, happy dog more and more every day :-)

On a side note, when we got home Toby got a bath with his new oatmeal shampoo (he shakes and scratches a lot, I switched to see if that would help) and it is AMAZING. It pulled the sand out of his very-fine-and-easily-matted fur. And his white fur gets stains on it from his dog tags: when I put him in the bath his chest was black. His old shampoo would lighten it, but nothing got it out. Now? Pure white again. :-D

And then, and then, Toby had a big breakthrough. I put him in his crate…and he stayed there..without anything to do…without whining. Most dogs do not have a big problem with crates. Most even love them, or learn to. Shih tzus..tend to hate them. And Toby HAAAAATED them. So we’ve been working for months now to get him crate trained (required for any type of competition, dogs are crated between runs). Today I stuffed a shiny new stuffable toy I bought yesterday with wet food, and gave it to him in the crate. He licked and licked and licked, getting it all out…and…I forgot about him. Busy cooking dinner. He usually gets a KONG, and when he’s done he whines to come out. But today, sleepy from his morning at the beach, comfortable from all his training, he just stretched out and waited. It was probably 10-15 minutes before I let him out. Our previous record was 3.

So I got cocky and tried again a few minutes ago. This time with no stuffed toy. I put him in with his favorite ball (this is his security blanket. He cannot sleep without it.) and a bully stick (know what a bully stick is? Well, how’s this..there are bull(y) sticks..but no cow sticks…*cough*) and left him. Slowly moved from next to his crate to my chair. And he sat and nommed.Once he finished the stick..rather than whining to come out…he started playing with his ball. YES! After a little over 10 minutes I let him out, before he wanted to come, so it stayed positive.

So thrilled!

It was a good, doggy kind of day. All this plus a new client? Yeah. Good day :-)

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