Friday, January 29, 2010

Balance

I've been finding it difficult to work out some sort of balance in my life. I was so spoiled while living out West. I had time to do everything I wanted, almost. I only worked 5-6 hours a day usually so that left a lot of time. I had time left over for things like working out, riding my bike, walking/running the dogs seperately, cooking meals, persuing any of the other hobbies I entertained, reading. Well, now I'm at work 8.5 hours a day and spend a little more than an hour in traffic a day. As soon as I step in the door, the dogs and I get ready for our joint walk (unless they're really lucky and get seperate walks which doesn't happen in the short days of winter too often). We go on our 3-5 mile walk. I get home and if I'm lucky, I have leftovers to reheat. If not, I have to then cook dinner. By the time we're done eating (at about 7-7:30), I will try to accomplish something around the house, or drive over to Barry and Lanette's to do laundry. Working out that late at night is just not something I want to do so I have decided to use my lunch break to work out to a DVD. So I have at least found a way to work in a little extra exercise. But by the time all my chores are done, if I have indeed finished them (not likely since I'm too tired) it's time for bed. That may mean I actually get up read from the Book of Mormon and get to bed but more often, it means I sit in front of the tv for a little bit and veg out while I toss a ball for Tucker until I can't take it...about 11:30 to midnight because I feel like I haven't had any time to really relax.

I've been going to bed earlier this week. I've actually turned off movies in the middle of them so I can get some sleep. I know that being rested helps my mood stay good and it also helps me have enough energy to do the things I have to do so I am trying to get to bed at a good hour. I'm also trying to use my little bit of extra time in the evening to get dinner ready for the next day so I just have to reheat it. The crockpot has become my friend too. It sure is nice to have a fresh, hot meal when I get home from a walk.

But other than that, what are some of the things you do to achieve some sort of balance in your life? I don't even have kids...I would be in trouble if I did.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Junk week

The last week of 2009 was dubbed (by me) junk week. I decided that since I was going to be going on a diet starting January 1st that I had better eat all those good but not good for me things I wouldn't be able to eat. Just a few weeks before that, I had been having lots of stomach pain and found out that I have acid reflux. They put me on Nexium. I took them for 2-3 weeks and the pain went away so I quit taking them a few days before junk week started. During junk week, I had brownies, cookies, ice cream, donuts, candy...anything I could get a hold of...and I ate a lot of it! The stomach pains quickly came back so I started taking Nexium again and it calmed the acids down enough that I could eat anything I wanted without too many consequences. At 11:30 PM (after a movie) I had my last bit of junk... a donut with some chocolate milk to wash it down.

I woke up the next morning and the sugar withdrawl started. The first few days were pretty hard. I craved those delicious donuts so bad! In all the cravings, I completely forgot about taking my Nexium. I was just thinking about it today but I haven't had a single one since December 31 and I haven't had a single problem. I don't think I can make junk week an annual event though I did thoroughly enjoy it! My body was trying to tell me something and I ignored it completely. I really need to get better at listening to my body if I plan on living till I'm 105-112 years old (which I do)!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seeds of Greatness

Seeds of Greatness: The ten best-kept secrets of total success by Denis Waitley


Back before I moved to Utah, the church library was getting rid of all the books that weren’t official church material. So I browsed the books and took quite a few. I’ve decided that I need to read them or I need to give them to someone who will. So I picked one out of the pile and started reading it. This one is actually not even written by someone in the church. I didn’t realize that when I picked it out to read. But it was such an inspiring book! I couldn’t put the book down. I would just type out the whole book if I could, it was that good. But let me see if I can summarize it well. I highlighted A LOT in this book! This will be a long post because I absolutely LOVED this book. It was the best one I have read in a while. I’ll share my favorite quote from each section.

1. The seed of self esteem. (This is not the book I blogged about earlier about self esteem.) A lot of this part is about how to build up the self esteem of others but he does also address the reader as well.

“We live in a narcissistic society. We are struggling to move from the ME generation to the WE generation and the going is tough. The elusive preoccupation we have in self-gratification and self-indulgence has been termed narcissism. The word comes from ancient Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image, reflected in a pool of water. He was the original ‘if it feels good, do it’ guru. Today, narcissism is manifested in redwood hot-tub groupies, designer jeans for tots, too many presents under the Christmas tree, an overt emphasis on youth, sexuality, and physical beauty; and other things and places – things to own, things to adorn and places to own and visit; not to share with others, just to show others.

Don’t confuse narcissism with healthy self-esteem. They are night and day. The word esteem means to appreciate the value of. In the human being, I believe it is the beginning and the first seed to success. It is the basis for our ability to love others and try to accomplish a worthy goal, without fear. Narcissistic self-gratification is a materialistic, hedonistic type of self-worship. Self-esteem is based on the internalization of spiritual love. Why do we stand in awe of the power of the immensity of the sea, the vast unknown reaches of the universe, the beauty of a flower, the splendor of a sunset…and at the same time downgrade ourselves? Did not the same creator make us? Are we not the most marvelous creation of all, with power to think, experience, change our environment and love?

Self-acceptance, as we are right now, is the key to healthy self-esteem—seeing ourselves as worthwhile, changing, imperfect, growing individuals, and knowing that although we were not born with equal mental and physical uniforms—we are born with the equal right to feel deserving of excellence according to our own spiritual standards.

You are a masterpiece of creation. Always carry with you the secret: ‘Love must be within us before it can be given.’”

2. The seed of creativity. In this section he talks about self-talk, mental images and how they impact your life. He says that it is proven that the mind can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly and repeatedly imagined…like in a person who tells a lie so often, they start to believe it themselves.

“Your mental picture of yourself is the key to a healthy development. Who you see in your imagination will always rule your world.

You are your greatest critic. You can devastate your self-esteem and creativity with sarcastic and negative reviews of your daily performance. Or you can elevate your self-image with encouraging and positive feedback and previews of coming attractions. Your self-talk is being monitored and recorded, minute to minute, by your self-image. When you talk to yourself, be careful what you say!”

3. The seed of responsibility. This is another chapter where he explains how to teach others but he does address the reader again.

“In chapter 1 we talked about three great fears: fear of rejection, fear of change and fear of success. One good way to conquer fear and build more self-reliance is to realize that we all are ‘God-created, but self-molded,’ and that we are given love, spiritual leadership, divine rules, and laws to help us understand how we cause our own effects by our decisions.”

4. The seed of wisdom. There was no quote that I absolutely loved in this chapter. He talked about continuing education throughout your life (something we have all heard before). He also addresses the need to find your natural abilities or aptitudes so that you can use those abilities to help set goals right for you.

5. The seed of purpose. He discusses the need to set goals for yourself but my favorite part of this chapter was when he discussed a part of your brain that allows you to focus. I found the very fascinating!

“Radiating from your brain stem is a network of cells, about 4 inches in length, called the reticular activating system.

The reticular activating system performs the unique function f filtering incoming sensory stimuli (sight, sound, smell and touch) and determining which ones are going to make an impression in your mind. It decides, from moment to moment, what information is going to become part of your world.

…Have you ever seen or heard of individuals who always seem to be looking for trouble? Of course, you see them everyday. What they do not realize is that they have tuned their reticular activating systems to guard their minds against success by deliberately seeking the negative inputs and problems they say they are trying to avoid. By considering, so often, the possibilities of failure, their brains have been set up to operate as failure-seeking homing torpedoes!

Stop reading for a moment. Sit quietly and listen carefully to all the sounds around you. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how you are able to concentrate on reading without being aware of all the distractions. The ‘reticular activating system’ filters out the unimportant stimuli and focuses on what is important at the moment. The sound of a crying child, a siren, the ring of a telephone, would cause you to pay less attention to the book and direct your awareness to the sound you heard. Once you have made a distinction that a certain value, idea, sound, picture or feeling is significant to you, your reticular activating system is alerted. It immediately transmits any information it receives regarding the significant item to your consciousness.”

6. The seed of communication. This chapter had a paragraph written just for me. I do this all the time. I don’t know why I do it…maybe because I don’t have anything interesting of my own to say. But nonetheless, I’ve been working on biting my tongue more often but I slip up sometimes.

“… I also had the habit of communication with my children and my wife by playing the game of ‘Can You Top This?’ Whenever they would tell me something really exciting about their world, or something that one of their friends or friends’ families had done, I could hardly wait until they were finished telling me so I could outdo them with my own fantastic experience…”

7. The seed of faith. Denis says that faith and optimism are hand in hand. He tells the reader to associate with the kind of people that have the values and goals you have. That you should make service a part of your daily life and to make Sunday a day to attend church, listening and sharing your faith. He also talks about being careful of the things you listen to and watch.

“Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy; you won’t necessarily get what you want in life, but in the long run you will usually get what you expect.”

8. The seed of adaptability.

“… Two other more active kinds of motivation drive our lives and have much more significant mental and physical effects. These are ‘penalty motivation’ and ‘reward motivation’. I call them the two faces of stress.

‘Penalty motivation’ tells you to do something or there will be a penalty to pay. These options are better known as compulsion (have to) and inhibition (can’t) and there is always a penalty.

‘Reward motivation’ tells you to seek something because there will be a reward for success. It also tells you that you are able to do it. These options are better known as propulsion (want to) and volition (can) and there is always a reward.

Both ‘penalty motivation’ and ‘reward motivation’ cause stress. ‘Penalty motivation,’ associated with feelings of compulsion and inhibition, cause negative stress known as ‘distress.’ Distress leads to disorientation, discomfort, distortion, dysfunction and disease. ‘Reward motivation’, associated with feelings of propulsion and volition, cause positive stress known as eustress. Eustress leads to goal orientation, energy, power, and a sense of well-being.

Is stress god or bad then? The answer is yes, stress is either good or bad, depending on whether you are motivated by ‘penalty of failure’ or motivated by ‘reward of success.’ Which is it for you?”

9. The seed of perseverence.

“Perseverance does not always mean sticking to the same thing forever. It means giving full concentration and attention to whatever you are doing, right now! It means doing the tough things first and looking downstream for gratification and rewards. It means being happy in your work, but hungry for more knowledge and progress. It means making more calls, going more miles, pulling more weeds, getting up earlier in the day and always being on the lookout for a better way of doing what you’re doing. Perseverance is success through trial and error.”

10. The seed of perspective.

“All the best-kept secrets of success involve your perspective—how you see life from within. The seeds of greatness are the responses or attitudes you develop as a result of ‘seeing’ the world more clearly. When you see more clearly, you see yourself as valuable and your self-esteem grows strong. Seeing clearly enables your imagination and creativity to soar. Seeing more clearly gives you the understanding that you are responsible for learning as much and contributing as much as you can to life.

When you see life from within, you see wisdom, purpose, and faith as cornerstones of your family’s foundation. You see through the eyes of love and reach out and touch all those with whom you come in contact. Seeing from within is having the courage to adapt to change, and to persevere when the odds seem overwhelming. Seeing from within is believing that beauty and goodness are worth planting everyday.”

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, well, you should have just read the entire book!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bikejoring with the meet-up group

Today, I met with a group of people, well, only two other people and 3 other dogs. Both of them were on scooters. Laura had her dog Luna with her, a deerhound. They're sighthounds like a greyhound. So they can sprint fast but they run out of steam very quickly. Laura and Luna were behind us for a while but she finally called it quits and turned around. Emjay and his dogs Indigo and Pepe and me and my dogs continued on. We would occasionally lose sight of them around a corner but we were never too far behind. On the way back, we stayed close enough that we almost didn't ever get out of sight. My dogs were more rested than his at one of our stops so we went ahead and left earlier than he did but he caught up to us and we followed his team the rest of the way in. Jasmine and Tucker really dug deep and ran faster than they had the ride up to that point for at least 1 mile. They slept all the way home.


Emjay, Indigo & Pepe

Laura & Luna


Here I am giving directions at the intersection of the trail as we pull up (Laura & Lune rounding the corner). It was so fun. I can't wait till we get to do it again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Progress!

Last night, I got home from work, and trip to the store to find Adam and Barry mudding the walls. They finished all the drywall and have moevd onto the next step. :o)

Wall at the end of the halllway was one big open hole...not anymore.

Pretty much that whole wall had to be mudded. The corner was the pantry so quite a bit of repair work was done there as well.

This is the future laundry room/pantry. Everything is looking so good!

And Adam fixed the vacuum too! It's bee broken since we got it. The belt flies off every minute or so. I had mostly given up vacuuming because of the hassel. It would take about an hour to vacuum my small living room, and small dining room and hall. Forget the stairs and bedroom. I had to stop, take the vacuum apart, reseat the belt and put the vacuum back together every time it fell off. As you can see...it just wasn't worth it. I had been sweeping the carpets for some time now. But that is all voer. Adam successfully fixed it so I have clean looking carpet again. :o)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Snow dogs

I forgot I actually got pictures when the snow was still here. It wasn't a whole lot but the dogs loved it.


Tucker was licking the snow off the deck railing while waching Jasmine & Jack play in the yard below.






Snow is fun, they say!

Dog toys

When Bear was a puppy he would chew on everything! He had some toys but he really prefered to chew on things like wood and upholstery so he only had 5-6 toys, some tennis balls and plenty of rawhides. Plus he had some outside toys too but he really only used tennis balls and basketballs. Jasmine likes things with squeakys in them but doesn't play with them often so she didn't have too many of those either. Jack doesn't play with any toys whatsoever. But now we have Tucker. Tucker is a ball of hyper energy. If he isn't asleep, he has to be chewing on something, running around and usually jumping thrown in for good measure. If no toys are around, he will find something more valuable to chew on. So to combat his destructive behavior, I have been buying toys like crazy (mostly stuffed animals from the thrift store but also some dog toys with squeakeys which he also loves. Water bottles and pieces of cardboard have been added to the pile and Mom, Dad and Sheri got them a bunch of toys too! So, our house is now a toy box. It has been keeping him from chewing other things though so it's something I will gladly live with. It takes a lot longer to round up all the toys than it used to.

Tucker's toy corner.

What you see doesn't include the toys in the kitchen, the dining room or the bedroom...and sometimes they even flow into the bathroom.

A beautiful poem

This poem was written for an older book about a young boy who lived in the days of the Westward expansion. He was physically handicapped and rejected by those his age. He was assigned to spend his days on the top of a hill to be a lookout for Indians and sound the alarm if they ever came. He decided that he wanted the world to know he was there and to be remembered so he began to build a monument at the top of the hill with the stones that were lying all over. I don’t know how the book ends since I’ve never read it. But I came across this poem that is from that book and I LOVE the message it conveys. I just wanted to share it with you.

The Monument

God,
Before He sent His children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package
Of problems.

These,
He promised smiling,
Are yours alone. No one
Else may have the blessings
These problems will bring you.

And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Your servants.

Now go down to your birth
And to your forgetfulness. Know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems I give you
Are a symbol of that Love.

The monument you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your
Love for me,
Your Father.

By Blaine M. Yorgason

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jasmine takes a ride

On Monday, I had a day off of work for Martin Luther King day. I decided that I would take Jasmine out on our first longer ride together in Georgia. But first, I took Jack for an hour long walk, Bear for a 40 minute run, then Tucker for a 40 minute run. Before leaving with Jack, I got everything set up and ready to go. So by the time I got to Jasmine, I only had to change clothes and go.

I decided that since I can;t go touring right now, I will pick a route and ride a small portion of it and turn around and get back to the car. Next time I have time, I will just drive back to that spot, or as close to it as I can, and continue on the route. I am trying out some of the state's bicycle routes to see how they are. The bicycle routes are on regular roads but are supposed to be safer than some other roads. We'll see. We haven't actually made it to the route yet...I decided to bike to the route from home then start.


We went on Azalea DR to Cedars RD. Cedars RD is much more built up than it was when I first moved here but it's still a good road to ride on. This horse pasture is on Cedars.


It was actually quite warm. I was in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt and was plenty warm. So when Jasmine's tongue started hanging out, we took a long break. Afterward, I made her walk up a big hill then I put her in the trailer for 30 minutes while she rested some more.

This is just after I took her out of the trailer. I was trying to get up a hill but decided she was rested so she might as well ease the load and run along with me now. It was starting to cool off anyway.




The rest did her ALOT of good. We only had to stop once for 5 minutes to let her rest. There were a few other stops for water but as soon as she drank, we got back under way.


She did so well the whole way back that even though I had her in the trailer for 30 minutes and made good progress during that time, we managed to shave off 30 minutes from our original out trip. She ran most of the way home. She had me huffing and puffing up some of the hills. She is a super girl!

Right toward the end, after our last water break, I told her "ok, hike" and she started going but I was having trouble getting going. She was actually pulling me and got me going. That's Tucker's influence. She never would pull before. :o) They're both learning good habits from each other. It amazed me that after 12 miles (or whatever the distance was that she covered), she still had the strength to pull me and the load. I forgot how much fun it is to have Jasmine biking with me...slow but fun!


Friday, January 15, 2010

I just don't understand...

I am reading a book about self-esteem. This particular book focuses on spiritual, phycial and scoial self-esteem in different chapters. The chapter on physical self-esteem just didn't sit right with me. Am I the only one who sees the wrong in her logic? She speaks about proper diet, regular exercise, proper clothing, cleanliness, & makeup and hair. I understand that what you present to the world is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Diet and exercise are essential to good health, I believe. But in her writings about hair and makeup, she says
"President McKay was reported to have said when asked by the Bretheren if women of the church should wear makeup, 'Well, even an old barn looks better when it's painted.'

a few guidleines (I didn't include them all)...
Eyebrows should be immaculately plucked and shaped.
ALWAYS wear mascara and lipstick (no lipstick makes dead lips)
Get a decent haircut, not a do-it-yourselfer."

Then she goes on to say how you should attend a makeup deomnstartion every year and do research in fashion, makeup and grooming. "Above all, strive to be feminine and simple."

I know I don't have the best self-esteem in the world when it comes to my looks but I feel like I have more self-esteem than some because I don't have to wear makeup or have a fancy hairdo or dress in certain clothes. I am comfortable enough to be myself. What do you think? Am I wrong in the way I'm thinking? If I had more self-esteem, would I dress differently, would I take more time to groom myself for the image I want others to see? Or am I just missing the point all together.

What does my lack of style and grooming say to you? I am looking for a sincere and honest answer so just post a comment ananymously.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adam's birthday

Yesterday was Adam's birthday and he took the day off. I'm not sure what he did with the first part of the day but by the time i got home, he and his father were working on hanging more drywall in the laundry room and on the wall that has the openings for the fridge and the laundry room.
This is a little nook in the laundry room. It's above the fridge and will be a little extra storage space. (Notice the shirt he's wearing. That's the shirt for his buisness, Road Ranger.)

Barry and Adam measured and cut an awful lot of little pieces trying to use what we already had. I think that almst all the drywall is hung. After another session, it will be done. Next step... mudding the dry wall. I've done it. It's not hard but it can take a lot of time.
A few days ago, I think the day after it snowed here, Adam saw my turtle fur neck band. Well, I don't really know what it's called but I call it a neck band. It's just a double thickness of fleece sewn into a tube. You slip it over your head and wear it around your neck. It's long so it fits inside your coat and keeps your neck very warm. It's more convenient than a scarf because it never falls or comes undone. It just stays in place no matter how much moving around you do. And it's really warm to boot. It's also long enough that you can pull it up as high as just below your eyes to protect more fo your face from the wind and cold. I told him I'd keep an eye for one for him at the thrift stores (where I got mine). He looked at it and decided I could make one.
So this is what I made for him. Even though my sewing machine was giving me problems, I managed to finish it late on Monday night (well, finished with what I could do on the machine. I had to close it up by hand.) He gave it his seal of approval! He also got a pair of insulated pants which he really could have used when working outside in UT, WY & ID in the winter. But he's been wearing insulated pants everyday for the last couple weeks, since the temps dropped to freezing. He only had one pair of those so I figured he could use a second pair!
In this picture, I am wearing my neck band, the store bought one. This was on Jasmine's first long ride. It was in the 30's out and the neck band kept my face nice and warm and it didn't fog up my sunglasses the way my balaklava does.

We had dinner at a b-b-q place with his parents and grandma and then just the two of us watched a movie at home afterward.

On Friday, we are having a party with his friends but it won't be at our house. Our house isn't really big enough and none of his friends are dog people... I'll be making Adam's traditional birthday cake tonight for that party. It's a cake that is gbest after sitting for 2-3 days, or so they say. Not being a cake person, and especially not this cake, I can't say for certain if that's true or not. I'll be sharing the recipe for the unusual cake and equally as unusual frosting recipe soon...which everyone but me seems to love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My dandy handy man

We got this entertainment armoire from Adam's parents. I had been looking at all the thrift stores for one and checking the ads on craigslist daily. I found some but none I wanted to pay for....at least none of the ones I could afford. So when Barry & Lanette decided they didn't want this one anymore, I was so happy to have it, even if it isn't exactly in a style I would chose myself. When things are free, I really don't care too much as long as it's in good shape, which this one is.

But what makes Adam a handy-man was the moving shelf he put in it. He used to have a really nice desk but we had to leave it here in GA when we left. He took the sliding keyboard drawer off of it and gave the rest of the desk to a woman in the neighborhood. He pulled it out of the garage and started building this sliding shelf so that I can watch while I'm working in the kitchen. Then, on the shelf is a lazy susan so not only is it past the walls of the armoire but it actually can be turned to face the kitchen. The orignal piece of wood from the drawer was too short. But we had the shelves I had cut down for the old laundry closet. They were the shelves all our small kitchen appliances were on. They just happened to be the perfect size for this. So now we have a white shelf...it doesn't match but that's ok! I can paint it if it starts bothering me enough.

Isn't Adam the greatest?



Bikejoring

Our first bikejoring outing away from the neighborhood. I thought that all we would be doing was sniffing the trail at a walking speed but they did really well!


It snowed a little this week and a tiny bit has stuck around. It's supposed to warm up this week though so it will all be gone soon.

I've been getting more and more interested in bikejoring. It's a sport (competitive or recreational) where a dog or dogs pull you on a bicycle. Most do it with huskies, malamutes, samoyeds or other sled pulling dogs but my dogs like running (except Jack) and they are not real fast but they enjoy it! I enjoy it too. I recently started hooking up Jas & Tucker together for their runs. They have similar speed & pace so it works out well. Last night, I took them to a bike trail near the Mall of Georgia. Lots of fun. :o)
Here they are having fun running faster than my weak legs allow them to.
video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mice & squirrells

Jack was telling us for 2-3 days that something interesting was going on under the stove and in the air vent near the bathroom. I peeked under the oven but didn't see anything. When Adam came home, a mission started...an assasination mission. Well, for Adam, it was just an exploration mission but Bear, Jack and Jasmine decided it was more than that. Tucker was milling around too but he didn't really seem to know what was going on.






Adam thought he got all the squirells out and patched the hole on one side of the house. Turns out, one squirell was left inside and he was trying to get out, driving the dogs crazy with his efforts. Adam opened the hole back up and it seems he is gone now. Now, the hole just has to be fixed again so they don't slip back in. He and Aaron cut down a branch that went over the deck and the roof so now it shouldn't be as easy for them to get in again. We'll see...

Assaulted again...

Bear's claws healed fast so we didn't take any breaks from walking the next day. And again, on Wednesday, we were back out on a walk. We hadn't gotten much further than 1/4 mile when we were merrily walking down the road. Suddenly, a dog charges down his driveway. The dogs see him as he's coming at them full force and start barking and growling. He comes in for the kill...I guess Bear seems like a good target since he's putting on the best show. He and Bear were fighting it out with Jack trying to help Bear out and Tucker and Jasmine just barking. The owner, a woman, comes running when she hears the commotion. She was screaming at her dog and I was oddly calm...by that I mean I wasn't screaming my head off like a maniac as I had done on Monday. The husband comes running out to see what's going on and yells at the dog and their dog starts running to evade being captured by his owner. I am managing to keep my dogs from catching his as he circles around and around and around us and even keeping them from getting tangled around me as the dance continues. The man looked at me and said "Go and et your dogs out of here." I didn't say anything to him at first. I didn't want a smart remark to come out and make things worse. But I was thinking about how he was just lucky that I was able to hold my dogs back from charging his...after all, they had two people and one dog. I was one person with 4 dogs and mine were, under the circumstances, behaving much better than his. And he expected me to just mosey on by like I hadn't a care in the world. I finally said, "I can't." At long last, I was able to pull the dogs backward while the other dog contiuned his evasive dance around us. We finally made it far enough away from his territory that he let his guard down for a second and was captured. The dog and people quickly went inside and slammed the door shut behind them. Neither of them came back out to see if we were ok or to apologize and that made me even madder. The dogs and I were in someone's yard trying to catch our breath and settle trembling legs. Bear started holding his rear legs funny. I inspected his legs and he had ripped the rear pads up pretty good and reopened his claws. So we had a very short walk and poor Bear was too heavy for me to carry home so he had to walk. I was really mad that the

Look at how tiny his feet actually are under all that fur!

Back at home, I put Neosporin on Bear's feet and covered them up with baby socks (which we keep around for this purpose) so he couldn't lick or gnaw at his pads. With Bear, this is a neccessary thing. When he was a puppy and he was neutered, he got stitches. A couple of days later, I had him out in the yard and he was running around. I heard a yip of pain from him. The next thing I know, he is ripping out his stitches right in front of me and I couldn't get him to stop. But he was healed enough at that point that the vet didn't have to put any new ones in, lucky him.

I went to the pet store and picked up a spray can of citronella. It's in a tube like pepper spray. It sprays up to 10 feet away. So now I am armed and no more dogs had better try anything funny or I will use my new weapon...regardless of whether an owner is around or not.

We took a day off of walking last night to give him an extra day to heal. This morning, his pads were looking really good so we'll try a walk today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cookbook challenge: Succotash

As far as this challenge goes, I have decided to only do one a month, instead of two. I only have two people in my house and I am usually the only one to eat at home. So I basically cook for one. I eat the same food for 4-5 days in a row before it finally runs out so I just don't want to do it twice a month.

I have always wanted to try succotash but am not a fan of lima beans at all so I never have. In this magazine I recently picked up had a very good looking picture of succotash that used black eyed peas in addition to lima beans. I have been meaning to make it for a while now but kept putting it off.
Black-eyed Pea Succotash
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced orange bell pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can lima beans
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1. In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell peppers. Cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add black-eyed peas, corn, lima beans and tomatoes. Cook until all ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar, stirring to combine. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Since Adam won't eat anything with onions in them I never have any on hand (except for when he's out of town) so I skipped those. I don't like lima beans so those weren't put in either. I only used about half of the vinegar before tasting it. Even that was too much and I like the tang of vinegar so beware if you don't. I'm just glad I decided to only make half the recipe. I did not like it at all. I ate a bowlful the first night because I was starving. I thought a night chilling in the fridge would help meld the flavors better....not so. It just isn't for me. Just one more thing I can cross off my list of things I've wanted to try.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Calling 911

I was on the walk this evening. We were less than 5 minutes from home when I thought about how wonderful it was to walk the dogs when we don't run into any other dogs. Not 30 seconds later, I saw a little dog running loose but I recognized the dog as one that stays clear of us and a small child further down the road. It was already growing dark so I wasn't seeing too well. I breathed a sigh of relief when the little dog turned down the road away from us. Then the little child moved into the road and it wasn't a child at all...it was a big dog. It saw us and started running toward us. I yelled at it "No." and "go home". And the dog slowed down but kept coming toward us. Before I knew it, he was charging the dogs with teeth barred. He jumped right into the middle of my dogs and while he didn't really do any biting, he was getting bitten by Bear and Jack. He got wrapped up in the leashes and I couldn't get him untangled. Jack began ignoring him even though they were shoulder to shoulder and his attention was on the little dog that was keeping just enough space between him and the other dogs to stay out of the fight. The dog worked itself loose and jumped out and started messing with Jasmine and Tucker who weren't messing with him at all and he made me so mad. There was no reasno to mess with the innocent. It's already hard enough to keep them having good attitudes about other dogs as it is, living with dog aggresive Bear and Jack. As far as I could tell, no one got bitten, just jumped on a bit and growled at. The dogs backed away but were hanging around nearby. So, not knowing the number of animal control, I called 911. The dogs were ready to chase down the dogs and my legs were shaking from the adrenaline overload. During the call, the dogs wandered away and I couldn't tell where they went. We waited at that spot for a few minutes. I figured the black one would lead them to his house which was in the opposite directon of our house. We finally moved on and when the dogs picked up their trail and started running with me along for the ride. I finally got them to slow down and I saw the dogs. So did my dogs. This time, the dogs stayed further away but that didn't stop my dogs from getting all riled up. I had the phone in my hand ready to call 911 again if they attaked again. But animal control called me and I thought I ignored the call btut I answered it instead. I was just holding it out as I was trying to control the dogs and shouting at the other dogs again. When things settled down for a second, I heard voices and hung up the phone (I didn't know it was animal control). The dogs wandered off and I got my dogs home as quickly as possible. Then animal control showed up and I led them to the house of the little black dog...turns out they both lived there. They gave them a ticket for letting their dogs wander free. It wasn't until a couple of hours later that I looked at Bear's feet and saw blood. He shredded 3 claws down to the quick and messed another one up pretty good. I put steptic powder on them even though the bleeding seemed to have stopped, except on the one that he messed up. He's not limping though so hopefully it's not painful. Jasmine chipped one as did Jack but their's were very minor.

Tucker's playdate


Well, we had to postpone Tucker's playdate by one day because of rain. Tucker was VERY shy when we went over. They had two small dogs and 2 large dogs the first day I was there. The alrge dogs were not theirs...they were dog sitting them. But one of the large dogs had a heart attack and was at the vet. cardiologist for the remainder of the week. Bo, the remaining large dog was very intimidating to Tucker. He's never met a dog as big as he is. He growled a couple of times at him but started relaxing pretty quickly and would let Bo sniff him and he sniffed Bo a few times. Angel, a small dog, was of no concern to Tucker. Angel was allowed to sniff him freely. The other little dog was too loud and pushy so they didn't let him down out of Ronita's lap so Tucker wouldn't get traumatized. But Tucker did go over and sniff him. At the end, Tucker finally got up and walked downstairs with Bo and Angel. He never did play but he did really well relaxing. That's the start he needed. Now that Bo isn't at Ronita's, I need to find another house with a laid back, large dog to continue the socialization with. I was SOO excited to see Tucker play with other dogs so I was disappointed that he didn't but I know he'll get there eventually. The search for the right large dog is on now.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dreaming of snow

Anyone who knows me, knows I love snow (well, there was a while during the winter in Wanship that I was beginning to hate it but the winter in Boise was mild enough to bring the love back. I miss the snow. Winter just isn't right without it. I don't understand the point of being cold is if it isn't going to snow. It does snow here every two years or so but it's usually gone the next day and it's more like ice than snow. But in the past snowfalls here, the Mercers have made use of the snowfall to make masterpieces.
Aaron was on his misson when it snowed in 99. Mike and Mia (both budding artists at the time) made "The All-American snowman".


Then, in 2002, when Aaron returned and Mike was on his misson, it snowed again. Mia recruted Aaron to top her last snowman. Aaron is also an artist. This was the ultimate snowman masterpiece! David, the snowman. This was the first winter after 9/11 so the flag was added for patriotism. A neighbor called the news station to come take a look at David but no one ever did come. He lasted a couple of days before he really started melting.


Oh, and if you click on the above pic to make it bigger, take a look at the man in the window. That was a lifesize picture of Spock, mounted on a board for a theater display. He stood in the window for years! He scared a lot of people. The Santa hat was his Christmas decoration.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Living room wall pictures

Adam's request for his Christmas present was to have pictures hung, boxes unpacked and just generally make our house a home again. So I have been working on that and it is nice to have pictures on the walls again, I must admit! The living room wall is the one with the main pictue display since we're in there quite a lot.
Back in 2004, this is how the wall looked. The bottom row of framed art (the middle one is actually made out of fabric) was added because I measured incorrectly and hung everything too high. I loved it at the time but I wanted something different this time around, plus I had 4 dog pics to hang instead of three and that wouldn't fit.

This is how it looks today. I just hung the last picture for this display. I got the plaque for $3 from a thrift store here and I had to buy 2 5x7 black frames for Tucker and Bear's picture. Everything else was from the last display.

Does it look balanced, or should I change somehting?
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