Category Archives: Companions

Reasons to be happy!

My posts have been downers lately. I don’t like that. The attitude in my posts tends to reflect my attitudes in real life. And I don’t want to be down.

Plus I obsess obsessively about what other people think of me and how these negative posts reflect on me in the minds of random strangers I’ve never met.

Things have been crazy what with the whole applying-to-grad-school-less-than-two-weeks-before-classes-begin-while-traveling-cross-country. Lots of stress. Happy, excited stress! But, physiologically, still stress.

So.

Today, right now, I am going to focus intentionally on all the myriad of things I have to be happy about.

My sweet puppy is curled up at my feet sleeping after a week apart. I don’t expect the cuddling to stop any time soon.

I am home! Back to a place where “warm weather” means it’s in the 80s. This is the land of my people.

No flight delays today! In fact, we got in 30 minutes early!

It is a beautiful, sunny day outside. Gorgeous. Breathtaking. Revitalizing.

I planted 6 sets of watermelon starts after getting home. They are basking in the sun.

My newly planted tomatoes and strawberries didn’t die while I was gone. In fact, the strawberries are thriving!

On that note, all the plants in my ditch are still alive! YES! (I will beat you, ditch.)

Tomorrow I get to go teach two full classes. And then Monday another totally full class starts.

I am officially accepted into grad school! I may not be registered for classes, they may be charging me too much, and I may have issues with the education department, but those are all fixable because I AM IN!

See? Lots to be happy about!

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RTT: TSA Edition

Have you heard of the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)? They’re in airports across the country. Some have them as secondary screening tools/alternatives to patdowns (as they were originally promised they would be kept to), some have them as random primary screening tools (people are randomly selected to go through the AIT instead of the x-ray), and some have them as their only primary screening tools (every single person goes through one).

They take naked photos of your body. They are detailed enough to tell if you are on your menstrual cycle. There has been at least one case where the photos were saved (not deleted immediately as promised).

You CAN opt out of them. The alternative is to have an enhanced pat down. Which involves the TSA agent feeling and possibly squeezing your breasts. And using their palm to feel your genitals.

If anyone else took naked photos of you, or used their hand to feel around your breasts/genitals, it would be a sexual crime. The police have never been allowed to do it without probable cause. Now government employees can.

We need to raise hell about this until it is stopped. I am all for safety, but these do not even necessarily improve safety. The technology is not designed to see the explosive used by the underwear bomber last Christmas, which is supposedly what started these procedures and what they are here to prevent a repeat of. Anything in folds of skin or crevices is not seen. Knives could easily be carried through without being seen. And what’s more, no matter how extensive our security system, a government team whose job it is to try to breach airport security has a more than 90% success rate, under all of our different systems of security. Not with shaving razers. With automatic weapons and other such tools. A determined criminal can get through security. Is it worth submitting to sexual harassment and violation every time we fly when it doesn’t change that fact?

Here are some great articles on it:

Pilots are being encouraged to skip the backscatter due to health concerns. This article also covers some of the outrage, and some of the TSA’s responses to it. I love the line, “You should never have to explain to your children, ‘Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.’ ”

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This is an outrageous story about the TSA. One man decided to leave the airport rather than submit to either AIT or an enhanced pat down, and was threatened when he tried to do so. I understand that it is suspicious for a person to not want to go through security…but I feel that in this case, it is reasonable to not be OK with either option.

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This site has information about opting out, which is completely legal, even though many TSA agents try to convince you otherwise. In other places there is a National Opt-Out Day planned for the day before Thanksgiving. It is a movement for everyone to refuse to submit to AIT on this day especially, to cause a headache for the TSA. The call is to not make it easy for the TSA to use AIT so widely by making the TSA agents uncomfortable by requring them to do a pat-down, which also takes longer and upsets their system. The site also includes great information on some of the risks of AIT and low-resolution images of what the different types of AIT pictures look like.

A low-resolution copy of an image from the lower-resolution AIT technology. The original image, as seen by TSA agents, is clearer.

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The Israeli airport security system has not been breached since 2002, and yet passengers are through it in no time. This exact same system may not work for us, but it at least shows that a non-intrusive successful security system is possible!

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Want to do something about it? Here is information about a Senate TSA Oversight Committee meeting happening TOMORROW. Contact your congressperson and/or the chairpersons and ask if recent TSA abuses are on the agenda. Tell them you are upset by these abuses and want something done.

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And finally, let’s end off-topic with a funny video. I mean, it’s funny, because if I don’t laugh I’ll want to cry.

I have no problem with people having their religion. But when you use your religion to dismiss real concerns on a national level, I have a problem with that.

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OK, some normal RTT to round it out. I currently have my puppy cuddling my feet. And my kitty cuddling my side. I have been getting lots of double cuddles recently. They’re getting more comfortable with each other…and it’s getting colder :-)

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Sending out love and support to the mommy bloggers who are under attack by the government systems that are supposed to be in place to help them out. People are being investigated, and even having their children removed, for blogging. Ridiculous. For more, see Corey’s page. In her normal, awesome manner, she has laid out the problem and given a list of ways you can help.

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I have a big black dog class on Sundays. Not intentionally, but it happens to be all big black dogs. It also happens to have all awesome people. I love classes full of people open to learning and willing to take me at my word! Many of my classes include people who seem skeptical of positive training, just waiting for their dog to not instantly become perfect so they can point to that and say, see?? It doesn’t work! To which I reply, why bother taking my class, then? But Sundays make me happy :-D

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My WordPress theme was discontinued and replaced with this (very similar) one. Now I need get to play around with it and personalize it!

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I got my coupon for 50 free Christmas cards! I need to design and order mine, now! Fun yet overwhelming, I have lots of photos to sift through! Plus, what news do I want to talk about? My biggest news is some I don’t really want to go into…

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I’ll leave it there for now. Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Filed under Companions, Life, Random Thoughts Tuesday

RTT: There really is no theme

I am very sleepy, and thus very random. Yay!

I want this house. Nice subdivision bordered by other subdivisions. Gorgeous tan walls with white trim. Beautiful kitchen with a pretty island. Master bathroom with it’s own stand-alone tub. *drool*

No, we’re not moving. Why do you ask?

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Toby and Parker have been tentatively playing. It’s adorable. Toby keeps rolling his ball to Parker, at which point Parker freaks out and bolts. Then, while Toby is distracted chewing on something, Parker comes up and bats at him. If Toby turns around, he bolts. His bolting is kind of a pattern.

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I just read the best analogy for what living with chronic fatigue is like. Go, read it. Seriously. I love it.

(One thing I’d add: every time your dysthymia gets stronger, your spoons all disappear. w00t.)

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Glee and House are back. It is going to be a good week :-D Once I pull them off my Tivo

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MY HUBBY IS BACK TOMORROW!!! He spent the weekend on a fun trip for himself, visiting a new city, old friends, and another ball park (he tries to see one every year). I am so happy for him when he goes…but I can’t wait to see him! I’ve missed him a lot.

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I had a(nother) grumpy start to my day. Then, I taught a fun class and two new people signed up for my next round of classes. Score! I never want to go to class anymore, but I always love it when I’m there! And now that I’m not trying to make Companions into a full-time thing, it’s far less stressful :-D

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Toby threw up twice last night, and Parker kept coming in to investigate since the hubby was gone. I’m hoping for a calmer night full of better sleep, since tomorrow is a full day!

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Getting my *random* on!

That’s right, folks, it’s time for Random Tuesday Thoughts! I know, I know, try to contain your excitement, I’m about to let my random fly!

Look at the shiny new button! I love it! Just as random and fugly as the last one, but with a modern twist! Now click on it to go link up with your own random!

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Have you ever had a friend that you really want to be happy for, but they’re being such a moron they’re making it virtually impossible to be their friend, let alone be happy for them? Yeah. I hate that.

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I need to give Toby a bath. Because we are going to see a new client today. Yes, we. This woman called and asked if I could come over with my dog to introduce them to clicker training! Kind of a random request, but hey, I’m game! Now I just hope to god that Toby performs well and isn’t totally distracted by the kid. I don’t actually practice with my dog all that much…he’s a pet, he’s well-trained enough for me, he is not an intelligent dog who needs loads of mental exercise, and I train other people’s dogs all.the.time! Sometimes Usually I just want to have some random fun with him, instead of working!

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I can’t stop thinking about babies.

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I finally got hooked back up on Twitter! I have tried before, but I have a hard time keeping up with it. Maybe if I got some followers…*hint hint*! ;-)

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I have discovered a problem with gardening. Spiders. Namely, monster spiders creating GIANT webs between my two garden boxes so I am too scared to can’t walk between them!

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My random amusing quote of the day yesterday:  “As a mother who breastfed all four of her children I strongly believe boob jobs should be bulk billed by medicare.. Imagine if everytime a father had a child his penis got smaller, floopier and everytime he looked in a mirror he was horrified with what was left of his manhood.”

I can’t decide if it’s funny or sad, but it’s definitely true! And either way, I choose to giggle :-D

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My kitty is adorable. So is my puppy. And now I get virtually non-stop cuddles! Life is good.

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I love that on the Colbert Report last week, the vice president of the United States carried around a box of free hot dogs and distributed them to the troops who made up the audience. How cool is that? That he’d be willing to put him self in such a “lowly” position, and play it up and have fun with it, is just awesome.

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I think I shall cut off the random there, and go bathe my puppy. I’m sure as soon as I hit “publish” I’ll remember all the random things that have been floating in my head all week, but that’s OK!

(This was my first post participating in the fun meme Word Up, Yo! The word of the week is “random,” and I just couldn’t ignore that!)

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Random I’m Baaa-aaaaack!

*phew* So not blogging in weeks means there’s weeks worth of stuff to write about! Let’s see how much I can remember…

I’m moving Companions! I’m moving in with a natural vet who’s in the same complex. Her waiting room is almost the same dimensions as my training space, and she’s only there one-to-two days a week. So I get the other evenings. Woo-hoo! Rent goes down a little and her space is way more finished than mine. Actual fresh paint, nice flooring, and no random ghetto holes in the wall. And I don’t have to move and lose repeat clients! I’m so very excited about this!

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Toby keeps cuddling me while I type. His head is currently on the keyboard, resting against my hand as I type. He alternates between that and flipping his head back to stare at me upside-down. Adora-puppy!

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Did you notice I changed my separaters from * to ~ ? Oh yeah, stepping out on the wild side!

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So remember Parker, my boyfriend on the side? He’s gorgeous, beautiful black and grey hair, totally striking. He’s so young and full of life, he just walks with a confident joy and loves to cuddle with me. When he sees me he comes right over and begs for attention. Which is not common for him, though it is for some of the other cats in the store. (Oh, did I not mention he was a cat?) Well, I’ve been half-wanting to adopt him for awhile, but the crazy rescue who works their insists he goes home with another cat, since at one point in his life he had a brother he was close to.

Well evidently, if I can prove that he and Toby get along and will play, they’ll approve his adoption! Yay! So I took in Toby today and they met for the second time. Parker came all the way off his cat tree and they got within a few inches of each other. At once point Parker let Toby come sniff, they stayed within a foot or two the whole time, it was good. I think this is possible. (If he came home with me, they would totally play. They play in the same way. They’re both cool with/curious about each other right off the bat. They like the play the same way. They’d become friends.

Now I have to decide if I really want this cat. I love him, we’ve got a bond. But it’s another animal to be responsible for. It is a responsibility. Must think it through.

Also, must get the hubby jazzed. Hi hubby! *waves*

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My friend and I made a deal. She’s read Twilight if I’d read The Dresden Files (first four books at least). I’ve been reading for awhile now. It really slowed down my reading progress, because I did not enjoy the books. I mean, I enjoyed parts of them. The open would kind of grab me. Then it would get b.o.r.i.n.g. Then near the end it’d grab my interest again. The big shit would go down. …and then it would be booooring again.

As the series has progressed it got better. Characters deepen and are introduced. Plots thicken. There’s a dog now.

And recently I read two books in the series and wasn’t bored at all. My reading progress has picked back up again! Woo-hoo! Guess it just took 7 bad books to get there :-P

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Toby and my friend’s dog had a GREAT time playing together this weekend! Her dog is an Australian Shepherd, so much, much bigger than Toby. Last time I visited Josie (her dog) bowled down Toby the instant we walked in the door. We spent the weekend keeping them apart so it didn’t devolve into fighting, as happened whenever they had 2 unsupervised minutes together. This time we managed the greeting and they had fun. Toby crawled all over her begging for play and she just took it.

I think dealing with a 13 month old riding her has mellowed her out. And visiting the dog beach weekly has mellowed out the Toby. Winning combination :-)

Yes, they are that cute.

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Have you seen this? Best way to quit EVER. I’m not sure if it’s true. I am sure that it’s awesome!

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I am now an online math tutor. It is pretty awesome. I had my first sessions yesterday, and of my 5 sessions, 2 people rated me. They both gave me 5/5. Yay! Within 60 days I have to upgrade off of probation, which means I have to meet a bunch of criteria, including having a high rating from students. So that made me quite happy. We’ll see what the people today said :-) So far I can tutor algebra, algebra II, and calculus. I <3 algebra. Calculus is scary, but I’ve done OK so far. It is so much fun…and once I’m off probation, pays 133% of what I make at the petstore. And since I can’t see myself there more than a year at the outside, it is very nice to have :-D

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OK, I think that’s all the big stuff (plus lots of little stuff)! And if it’s not, well, then I’ve got topics for future posts. Because it’s 10 and I’m ready for dinner, so this post is done.

The end.

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Filed under Companions, Dogs, Random Thoughts Tuesday

Blindsided

Today has been a day of, “….WHAT?!?!?!?”s.

First, I am going to my new puppy class (yay puppies!) with Toby. There are only two puppies in the class, and so I’m bringing him to be a third dog. He’s a year and a half old, but good at playing with puppies and still has energy. I like at least 3 dogs in a class, so if the energy of two dogs doesn’t quite mesh, there’s a buffer they can go through. Plus, puppy class is for socialization. You can’t socialize with just one other puppy.

ANYWAY.

It is 10 minutes til class. I’m in my car (because I’m running late). My phone rings. OK, better answer it in case they’re waiting for me or lost.

It’s one of the students in my class.

Cancelling.

No shit. Cancelling 10 minutes before class starts.

Which means there’s now ONE puppy in the class. The class whose purpose is (mainly) to socialize with other puppies.

Luckily, the remaining student was happy to have 6 weeks of private lessons, even sans wide socialization. I’m trying to get some former students to come back and attend for free. We shall see.

Second WTF moment: I just finished my mock session for an online tutoring service. I’d love to work for them. I’ve tutored unofficially for years. I’m good at it. I’ve been told I’m good at it by many, many students who have had a hard time understanding things, and then get it when I work with them. I’m very analytical, so I can dive down into where exactly they are getting stuck, and explain it in a way they understand. Plus I love it.

I figured online tutoring with flexible hours would be great for some extra income and as a fallback if I get sick of retail (plus I’m almost certain it pays more).

The entire session was one big WTF. It starts out and they present me with a concept I cannot remember how to do. I haven’t looked at it in, no joke, at least 4 years. I am approved for 5 subjects, and I felt confident in them all…but 1 topic in 1 subject just blindsided me. As I frantically scrambled to figure out how to solve the problem I stalled. Plus talking and pointing and writing concurrently is VERY different from typing then drawing on a digital whiteboard. So the session that should have been 10 minutes? Was 45. OOPS!

Oh, and then to top it all off, I was so frazzled that at the end I wrote down (x-3) instead of (3-x).

Causing the student to get a negative answer…for a VOLUME.

Which they asked me to check.

And I said was right.

‘cuase, you know, I like buying -1 gallon of milk at the store.

*facepalm*

(To my credit, as soon as they said, “…should a volume be negative?” I knew EXACTLY what had happened and quickly explained it. But still. )

Well, it was a nice dream while it lasted. I only wish they didn’t have you read through all the details of how everything will work when you are a tutor before the mock session…makes it feel like you’re already in. Which makes this (probable) slap in the face oh-so-much more painful.

Alright. Time to go. The hubby’s taking me out for a celebratory consolation dinner.

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Stressing

Stressing major about my business.

Because I want it to be a business, and not just a hobby. But with the amount of money coming in vs. going out for rent, it’s looking awfully much like a hobby right now.

And I don’t have time for hobbies.

As I’ve mentioned, my landlord raised my rent. Meaning I am making far less $$$ now.

(Not that profits were stellar to begin with)

Do I throw-down with my landlord and ask for a lower rent or threaten to leave? She has a listing on Craigslist for a spot in our complex at my old rent rate. Bring it up? Pick a fight? I hate fights…and it’s not worth it if I’m going to leave. But should I stay? Invest in paint, clean it up, and try to bring in enough money to make it work?

Or do I leave?

Try to find a new place to rent? It doesn’t have to be nice. Just a roof and four walls. Preferably, but not necessarily, insulated. Somewhere zoned for running a business. And most importantly, cheap. It’s funny how many places don’t want you bringing a bunch of untrained dogs or puppies into their building to run around/bark. So it is very hard to find something like this. I’m looking, but not holding out much hope.

Try to find somewhere to share space with? A vet, or groomer, or doggy daycare? This is my ideal solution for finances. It sounds easier than it is. The market is so saturated. Anywhere I’ve found with space is either 1) unwilling or 2) already has someone. I thought I had something set up with a groomer…but her landlord is being picky. So it looks like that is falling through. Crap. What next? Where else can I possibly look? Somewhere after-hours, that will let me have access? Somewhere during open hours, that will tolerate my presence? Where would that be? The only place I can think is a store…but no stores have space.

Or should I take a totally different approach? Rather than trying to find a place I can afford with the money I’m bringing in, should I try to find a way I can bring in more money? But doing what? There’s no special retail I can think of to sell, and that’s a lot of hours for me to sit there open. I can’t groom. I am teaching classes. There’s already a doggy daycare (plus that’s a ton of hours). So what should/can I do to use the space more than 6 hours a week or otherwise bring in more money from it? I’d even do something not dog-related…but WHAT? Would someone be interested in sub-leasing it for daytime hours if they only had a tiny space they would have to themself to leave crap in (i.e. I have a side office I don’t use, but it’s only about 70 sqft. They could use the full space..but it’d have to be clean when I needed it).

I keep going around and around and around with solutions. Pick fight with landlord? Move to new space? Move in with other business? Bring in more money? And always, how???

I just don’t know what to do. I’m keeping an eye on listings on Craigslist..which is mostly depressing. Since there’s nothing for me. But what more can I do?

I want this to be a legitimate source of income.

Not just something limping by.

It’s getting better.

But can I justify it?

(And yes, I realize this is a nice problem to have. I realize there are far worse problems out there. Kids starving. Moms with RADlets. Dying family. But you know what? In our society, where we are, your job can be a big problem. And this is my current source of major stress. It’s a nice stress to have in some ways. But it’s still a major stress. And just because it could be worse, doesn’t mean it’s all OK.)

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