Monthly Archives: February 2011

Another set of (kitty & bball) photos

February 11

We found a fun new way to torture play with the kitty!



Almost got it...




...where'd it go?


February 12

Have I mentioned my hubby is a ref? He had district tournament games this year. I enjoy taking photos of sports. It keeps them from being completely and utterly boring.

Opening of the game. Doesn't the official who threw the ball look like Taub from House?


I just like this one. The framing and aperture is cool. That's my hubby!


During a time-out.


Free throws.


Three points...? I love how every single person is staring up at the ball...except the officials, who are watching the players. What good officials!


Can I just add that these photos are way cooler bigger? The facial expressions and such are great. Like the coach’s face during the time-out. Totally doesn’t come through when shrunk. *sigh*

Enjoy! Maybe some day I’ll get caught up and post the right pictures on the right day…maybe.

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The need to be seen

I have a problem with needing to feel heard. If nothing I say or do right is ever acknowledged, I get frustrated and shut down.

I was reminded of this tonight at agility.

We had an indoor class because it has been monsooning. We went over the basics of how to clicker train. Um…hello? I teach other people how to do this. But that’s OK, I figured good review. It was just sooooo slow and sooooo boring.

But that’s not the point.

Eventually they decided to have us each practice nose targeting one at a time. Toby hadn’t done this in about a year (with a target on the ground), and he’d just spent 30 minutes working quietly for me and being comtained while the teacher talked (and talked and talked). So we get up for our turn. And he does phenomenal! At least, in my mind. Within a half-dozen clicks I have him going to get his treat and trotting back over to the target from a few feet away. He got one click for his first investigation and almost instantly figured out what to do. I feel like I’ve done well, both with this trick and his foundation.

But no comment to that effect.

OK, whatever.

We go around again and hit my turn. Before we can start the teacher starts harping on me about how Toby isn’t motivated enough. How I need to get him more up. And how I need to get him touching multiple times. (Which I had no idea was a goal, for the record.)

And OK. It’s true. Toby’s not motivated. I didn’t think this needed to be a super-high-drive trick. And he’s doing it fine, just kinda whatever. He’s tired, he’s cold, he’s bored, and he knows I’m bored. So he’s figuring it out and having fun, but not being super up about it. We’re both working.

But really?

All he had to do was say, “OK, he’s doing great touching the target and going to it from a distance, now let’s see if we can build some motivation and get him touching multiple times!”

See how much better that is than, “His drive is low. How can you get him excited? And get him to touch it multiple times.”

It’s not a big thing.

It’s just that it’s all.the.time.

I don’t want a “compliment sandwich.”

Just an acknowledgement that I did some good.

And so, because I felt like I wasn’t really being seen because there was no acknowledgement of anything good we had done, I would find myself commenting to try to defend myself.

I can take criticism.

But I wanted to hear a, “OK, good point! How can we work around that?” or “Well, good that you know!” rather than, “Prove it,” or “Do this other unrelated thing.”

I kept talking and responding because I felt like I wasn’t being heard. And I couldn’t stop myself. I just needed a tiny acknowledgment that I might have some clue what I was doing.

I have come away from agility in the past so disheartened, because I feel like Toby did something GREAT! Maybe he ran when he normally doesn’t, or took an obstacle he just learned..but when I get off the course, all I hear is, “Next time, work on this.”

And I know. I’m there to be told what to work on.

But you lose your motivation when it feels like no one sees your successes.

It takes two extra seconds to say, “Wow, great job on that hoop! Next time, work on this.”

Is it really that hard?

I am constantly telling my students to watch for their dogs being good, not just to react when they’re bad. I remind them to keep things positive, to give corrections but then immediately set up to succeed and reward. Don’t just harp on the bad. And, for the most part, they get it.

Why is it so hard for this teacher to do with his human students?

And I know I don’t do this with my human students. It is just obvious to me. You don’t walk up and correct someone all the time. Maybe I say, “That was great! Try this…” and that’s all. But there’s still that lead in.


I know it’s not a big deal. It’s not. It’s a little thing.

But that little thing building up for years starts to take its toll.


Filed under Dogs, Life

More photos

I have not yet figured out a good system for getting the photos onto my computer. It tells me it has 5 hours before the next set is uploaded. *sigh* I should work on that.

But here are some previous day’s photos!

Also, just for the record? I’m not editing any of these photos. They’re going up as-taken. And it’s totally not because I don’t know how to edit photos.

February 10

Well, I had high hopes for adding another day or two worth of photos…but since there are currently photos uploading it is taking almost a minute between shots for me to view them, let alone upload them! I have got to figure this out…

Just bask in the Toby cuteness for now :-)

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It sees you when you’re sleeping…

When you have dysthymia, the depression is always there. Always. Just waiting around the corner. Watching every second of your life for a crack it can sneak in through.

It is a life-long battle.

It will never get (all the way) better.

It will never go away.

You cannot beat it.

All you can do is learn to live with it so that it affects you as little as possible.

And build up a kick @$$ support system, so that when it does start to win, they’ll hold you up while you fight it off.

I think one of the hardest things about dysthymia for me is how stinkin’ sneaky it can be.

The past week I’ve felt like I’m doing pretty good.

Haven’t been super sad.

Have been able to leave the house.

No anxiety melt downs.

No crying fits.

But it’s still got me. It just found a new way.

A subtle way.

One I didn’t notice.

So it managed to interfere with my life for a solid. week.

What way is that?

I have not returned any phone calls.

No big deal, you may think. So my friends aren’t hearing from me.

But that’s not it. My friends know not to call me, because I hate phones anyway and they’re much more likely to get a fast response texting or e-mailing.

It’s my business. Dog training. Potential clients. Current clients. People trying to get ahold of me to give me money.

I need to call them back to keep my business afloat.

And yet I just…haven’t.

I think of it, and my mind slides to something else.

I make excuses, things like, “It’s too late now,”…at 6 PM.

I keep myself busy doing nothing until after 9 (when I won’t call).

I say I’m “too tired” when I’ve woken up in the morning.

The result?

People who were seriously interested in my services haven’t heard from me.

And they left a message a week ago.

Now the calls are going to be that much more painful.

But I need to man up and do them.

Damn you, dysthymia, for being so damn sneaky.

It’s played the phone game before. It’s just always been for only a day or two, and as a minor side-effect, while other, more major symptoms took most of the attention and really let me know I was in it.

Time to go do what I have to do, despite my mind fighting me every step of the way.


Filed under Invisible Illnesses, Life

I’m sure I’ll appreciate it in another 10 years

My hubby is a sports official, which means I (very occasionally) go to his games. I have had some interesting occurrences there.

I have always looked young for my age. A few years ago a priest at my mom’s church seriously didn’t believe that I was the older sibling, and went to find my mom to insist she tell me not to lie about it.

So going to school games and sitting in the stands I am often assumed to be something I am not.

Back in college I was at one of my hubby’s games at a junior high right down the street from my university. I was sitting in the stands working on some homework, probably statics or dynamics or something. Some friendly people sat down next to me with special needs kids, and we started chatting a bit. After a few minutes this conversation happened:

Nice people: So what are you working on?

Me: Oh, just some engineering homework.

Nice people: Oh, really!? I didn’t know they taught engineering classes in junior high!

Me: …*processing*…No, I go to the university up the road.

Embarassed people: Oh! …Oh! Uh…

Yeah. It was awesome. I think we were both too embarrassed to talk more after that.

I thought I was pretty much past that. I mean, 3 years ago when I started at my engineering firm the doorman didn’t believe I was old enough to be an engineer. But since then I’ve cut my hair short, and it makes me look older. And time has passed.

Or so I thought.

Until I went to my hubby’s high school district game the other night.

And a friendly man sat down next to me during the second half when I was using our expensive, interchangeable lens camera to take video of the game for my hubby to review.

And we chatted a bit.

Nice man: You look familiar, do I know you?

Me: I’m not sure, you do look vaguely familiar…are you a teacher here?

Nice man: No, my kids go here. Do you go here? Maybe you’re one of my daughter’s friends…

Me: Oh…no. I’m married to one of the officials. *Thinking: No, I have two degrees, have worked as a professional engineer, own my own small business, and am married. But it’s like being in high school!*

Nice man: …Oh…OK, that’s cool! So you’re taping the game for them?

He recovered nicely :-)

Maybe in another 10 years I’ll appreciate being mistaken for being 10 years younger than I am. But at this point it just makes me wonder what my clients see when they first meet me, and just how inexperienced and young I appear to them.

Also makes me wonder if, when I have a baby, I’ll be assumed to be an unwed teenage mother while walking around with him/her.

Oh well! Let the good times (and judgements) roll!


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Happy Blogiversary to ME!

Yesterday the hubby and I went out to dinner. And he looked into my eyes and said, “Can you believe it was a year ago Tuesday that we went to the Olympics together?” in a romantic, so-much-has-happened-since kind of way.

To which I immediately responded, “Wait, you mean I’ve been blogging for a year already!?”

The dreamy look drained out of his eyes pretty fast.

But he’s an awesome hubby, so then he grabbed his phone and looked up the date of my first post, and lo-and-behold, it was the next day!

Sure is a good thing he brought it up, or I might have missed it!

So much has changed in the past year, but it’s been a good one. And my mini-bloggy family has helped. So thanks y’all.

To really thank you and shamelessly pander for new reading material ideas, I’m stealing Corey’s idea for a give away. This means you can basically double your chances of winning the same prize! (And then follow her because she was one of my first bloggy addictions that got me into the whole thing and is awesome. Plus I’ve actually won stuff from her! Extra awesomeness!)

So, the prize: $10 to!

Nothing too fancy. Just enough to have some fun :-D

How to enter? Leave me a comment telling me either a book you have read recently and enjoyed or a book you would buy with the Amazon gift certificate/card/digital promise of moolah.

That’s it.

Please enter, and enjoy!

UPDATE:  Well, I guess I shouldn’t post in a hurry late at night (for me) because I leave out important info. The drawing will be Monday (a week from now) around..let’s say…noon. So you have til then to enter!


Filed under Books, Give Aways, Life

Photo a day

A student turned friend of mine was telling me about how she was doing a photo-a-day type challenge on her blog. And I thought, that’s brilliant. Especially since a few months ago my hubby and I bought an AWESOME new camera.

So I am going to be trying to take a photo a day (not too hard) and put them on my blog (evidently FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE!).

I started two days ago…but haven’t been able to figure out how to get the photos off my camera on my computer…and then once I got that, how to get them from there to here. The stupid software is REALLY SLOW…so I figure I’m using it wrong. Just need my hubby to fix it for me some more.

I’ll probably put up several a day, because I stink at picking just one. So feel free to chime in and tell me your favorites! :-D

Oh, and sorry they’ll probably almost-exclusively be of my aminals. Lucky they’re cute!











Yes, I took photos today. I am being good. But my computer tells me there’s 2 hours left in the upload. *sigh*

Today I even took them before 9PM! They look better with natural light!

I’ll try to just tack these on the end of normal posts, so feel free to skip past!

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Moments of Intentional Happiness

Recent little moments of happiness I refuse to overlook:

Cracking open a crisp, refreshing coke and taking that first cold pull.

Going to a new agility class with Toby (same teachers, higher level), and having him not only hit every obstacle (he knows) perfectly, but run the whole extra-long course.

Walking in the door at home with Toby and having Parker rush up to greet…him.

“Cuddle-watch”ing with my hubby — the name we have given to our ritual of cuddling up in bed together almost every night (and some afternoons) to enjoy some TV on DVD. Last night? (Spoiler alert!) Maxwell proposed to Fran! (Yes, we are watching The Nanny. I have a good husband. Who actually enjoys it. And yes, we have a TV in our bedroom. Despite common wisdom, best thing we ever did for our marriage!)

Watching my hubby’s friend have his socks charmed off by Toby.

Working on a current writing project, and actually liking what I wrote.

Unloading the dishwasher for my hubby (typically his chore) just because I can and I love him.

Doing homework help tutoring today, and feeling like I really got through to the student…even on an AP English essay (have I mentioned I teach math?)

Laughing over a fantastic episode of Big Bang Theory with my hubby.

Waking up to a puppy curled against my legs and a kitty curled against my shoulders.

Sitting on the couch and having my puppy come and circle up next-to-and-half-on me.

Stopping to remember and enjoy the little moments.

Sorry there’re no pictures. I figure she’ll forgive me over at Bad Mommy Moments.


Filed under Dogs, Life

Less-puppy super bowl

My hubby threw a super bowl party today for some reffing friends and his boss.

I have approximately zero interest in sports, and y’all know how social I am (especially with strangers!). So…I was totally looking forward to this! (/sarcasm)

First reffing friend walks in the door.

“Look at your dog!” (Who is jumping all over him. Yes, I’m a dog trainer. No, my dog is not “well-behaved” in the conventional sense…but he’s perfect to us!)

*pets Toby enthusiastically for several minutes*

“Man, I almost asked if I could bring Bear, but I figured, nah, that’s not something that’s acceptable…”

At which point I cut him off enthusiastically, “You totally should have! Man, that would have been awesome! …It would have given me something to do!”

He looks crushed, and mumbles something about wishing he had.

I said, “That’s OK, we’ll invite you over again and you can bring him.”

He spent the entire night playing with Toby and Parker.

When he left, he told us if we ever go out of town he would totally dog-sit Toby because he had fallen in love.

My hubby sure knows how to pick ’em :-D

And if any of y’all ever come over to my house?

Your dogs are totally invited.

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What I SHOULD have said, was…

The Situation: I gave notice at work today (WAHOO!). I gave them one week’s notice, they have until my next-week Saturday shift to replace me. I might have given more notice if not for their ridiculous behavior and the mandatory training on customer service happening Tuesday (that there’s no way in hell I’m attending). (Have I mentioned that one of the three big complaints in the customer’s e-mail was that there were things stacked on the counter causing them to have to switch sides to check out? And that the manager had all her crap spread out all over the counter for an hour or so, causing many customers to have to do exactly that in front of her? Yeah. Clearly it’s MY problem.) Anyway, at the end of my shift I asked to speak with her in the back for a moment, and then announced I was resigning and handed her my formal written notice.

The Comment: After a few minutes of reading the letter: “So you’re not giving notice.”

What I Said: I am giving notice. I am just giving one week’s notice instead of two.

What I SHOULD Have Said: No, I am giving one week’s notice, which is WAY more than you deserve. You have treated me like an incompetent moron since you arrived, and the owners have been abusive asses for far longer than that. I’m not sure if your attitude was because the former manager told you I was a very good employee and you wanted to prove her wrong, or just a stick up your own butt, but I have been professional and put up with a ton of your bull. So back the frick up.

You can fire me without cause and without warning. I can quit without cause and without warning. I am being NICE in giving you ANY notice.

Also, aren’t you even going to ask why I’m leaving? I had this nice speech worked out about how I appreciate the opportunities I was given at your store and how, for the most part, working here was enjoyable, but how recently things have become uncomfortable and unprofessional (read: since you arrived, which also meant we got the brunt of the owners’ craziness). I wanted to say how I took this job because it was fun and rewarding, but in the past few months it has become stressful and negative. I was going to tell you that because of this I no longer feel it is an appropriate place for me to work, nor that I can, in good conscience, refer my clients to your store. I also wanted to point out I was dissatisfied long before your and the owner’s completely unacceptable behavior last week, but that that was the last straw, which was why I was quitting so suddenly.

But no, I guess you just want to take this one last opportunity to point out what I’m doing “wrong,” and then nod and walk out of the room. Fine.

The Situation: I’m in physical therapy. I was originally sent for condition x (which I don’t feel like going in to here), which I have been working on for several months and has been improving. My physical therapy was being held up by knee pain, so the physical therapist requested permission from my referring physician to work on my knees in addition to the original diagnosis. As instructed by my physical therapist, I called the morning before my (late afternoon) appointment to confirm that everything had been worked out paperwork-wise with my appointment. I received a call at close that insurance was approved on condition X through March. I called back and left a message saying that this was about knee pain, which my PT added to my diagnosis, and I needed to make sure the paperwork had gone through for that.

All hell broke loose.

I spent all day today running into the back to take phone calls and return phone calls about this knee pain, and how that’s a whole new thing, and listening to the insurance woman basically yelling at me about how this was a new thing so she has to do it all differently and I have to show up early to do a bunch of paperwork. I say fine, I just want to confirm that I can show up at all. Finally, an hour and a half before my appointment (which is a half an hour plus drive away), I get confirmation.

I show up and fill out the paperwork. I go to my PT. We work on the knee pain. She gives me a sheet to schedule 3 more appointments over the next three weeks for knee pain and one for condition x. I go out to do so.

Al hell breaks loose again.

The insurance lady comes forward. She is very grumpy. She is trying to help the guy schedule me. She goes on and on, complaining about this, sighing dramatically as I calmly stand there answering her questions, just wanting my appointments scheduled so my chronic pain can go away. At one point she very loudly announces, “Now you are being seen for knee pain, you are no longer being seen for condition x.” Have I mentioned that condition x is private, and having it shouted across the entire waiting room is maybe NOT OK? I shouldn’t have to.

I clarified, no, I am being seen for both. I have approval for both, and will be having separate appointments, though with the same therapist, for each problem.

The Comment: She sighs exhuberantly, hangs her head, bangs her hand on the table, and says, “No! They should work all the way through one problem, and only THEN start working on the next problem! Doing it this way is such a pain for billing purposes!”

What I Said: Mildly: “Well, unfortunately, the two problems are affecting each other, so we have to work on both at once.”

What I SHOULD Have Said: I’m sorry, is my chronic pain inconvenient for your paper work?

If I had the power I would totally get rid of these problems, which interfere with every day of my life, my relationship with my husband, and a host of minor activities like walking, just for your sake. In the future, I’ll try to take the few extra minutes the paperwork will take you into greater consideration in my decision making, rather than focusing on my selfish concern of dealing with the problems I am in physical therapy for.


I think I showed impressive constraint!

Enough about those downers. Now off on a fabulous hubby date!

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