Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Confessional

I have needed to come clean for quite some time now. Like many people, I often hope that not talking about something will either make it go away or an even better scenario is that I can not talk about, fix it without even mentioning it and then it is like it never happened. But what I am quickly learning is that neither of these options are recipes for success.  

So here it is; raw and real.
I have gained 30 pounds.

You have no idea how horrible and ashamed I feel to write those words.  With people I see day to day I can't hide it.  Weight is always there for all the world to see.  Some of you may have sensed my struggles on Facebook as I hinted at it; at not having time to get to the gym or at eating things I should not be eating.
I can trace it back a year when the problems started for me.  Food has always been a coping mechanism for me as it is for most people who battle it.  When my church life turned upside down, I found myself slowly starting to return to food as a means of dealing with the pain and betrayal.  Then there was the new job and not just the stress that comes with a new job, but going from twenty hours a week to forty.  Suddenly, I was no longer getting off work at 12:30 and heading to the gym before any of the men in my family were even home to know I was missing.  Now it is get off work at 5:00, go home and cook and can we talk about being tired after being at work for nine hours?  I often find that once I am home, it is so hard to find the will to go back out and hit the gym.  Honestly, it barely happens and most evenings, I simply opt for a walk instead.

Now, a walk would probably be fine were I being super careful of my food intake but most days, I am not.  Sitting at a desk all day, I find myself nibbling.  I am trying to do better but it is a daily battle.
After my surgery, I documented everything here, got support and advice and I know it helped me.  I shared what I learned and read about what others were doing.  Now, here I am, barely blogging so probably not many readers still remaining.  The fresh new post-op me, was replaced by just "me" and I have gotten lost somewhere along the way.  Somewhere along the way, I have put aside the things I know are the right things to do.  I have gone back to making excuses and if I don't get my act together, I am going to reach the point of no return where I will be so far off track that getting back on track will be overwhelming.

So, here I am.  Honest.  Scared.  Worried.  Unhappy. Feeling alone in this and trying to turn this ship around.  I don't want to wind up back where I was.  That would make everything I went through; surgery, preparing for it, recovering from it, working so hard to lose 109 pounds, in vain.  I cannot bear the thought of it.  
I hope some of you are still here to share this with me. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Year Later

So a year ago, a huge part of my life changed.  A year ago, after not getting any results from the church council, I blogged about my discontent and was attacked by people I had known and trusted my entire life.  I have learned a lot in a year, some good, some not as good.

  • I have learned that no matter how much you think you know someone you really don't. 
  • I have learned that people who are supposed to be among the most trustworthy will lie to save their own ass or to make themselves look better.
  • I have learned that not even church is safe, even though it should be.
  • I have learned that people will go to great lengths to be "right".
  • I have learned that sometimes good people who should fight for you won't because they are afraid and that this does not make them bad people.  It only makes them fearful people.
  • I have learned that there is no replacement for people who know you well and you can be yourself with.  I miss being with these people.
  • I have learned that at times God wants me to act, even if I don't want to.
  • I have learned that maybe you cannot be spiritually fulfilled and still be surrounded with people you want to spend a lot of time with.  So far in my life, it has been one or the other.
So there you have it.  It has been a hard year.  I am spiritually happy and miss my friends.  I still see them but not as often as I would like and certainly not every Sunday.  I spent some time with them Saturday and there is just no replacement for those relationships.  They are what I lost.  I gained being spiritually fulfilled.

One day maybe there will be both.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In Search of Self Control and a Good Night's Sleep

Ah, the wayward blogger returns.  Seems there is so much I want to do and not enough hours in the day to accomplish much of any of it.  But I really need to start prioritizing a few things or I am going to be totally screwed in the long run and will have no one to blame but myself.

I keep talking about doing things but cannot seem to fit them into my schedule to actually accomplish much of anything but the fact is that if I do not start making myself a priority I am going to put on more weight and the pounds I have gained since last March already need to go.  My head keeps wanting to go back to running as I am thinking it will help keep things under control along with controlling my carb addiction, but my knees and the clock have been disagreeing with me.  But I need to give it another go.  I was never much good at it really but on some sadistic level I apparently enjoyed it as my head keeps returning to the thought. 

I have gone back to kickboxing and have been trying to hit the gym but it is hard.  Yet I know that cannot be an excuse.  I have some tight clothing and I refuse to start buying larger sizes.  Hell to the no.  I grocery shopped healthy today.  I even waffled over some protein powder but let's be realistic...I hated that shit. But I need to go back to eating like a healthy person.  I used to do it easily and am not sure when it got complicated.  I think I got comfortable and complacent and figured my problems days were over and that I could eat like other people and just not think about/care about what I was putting in my mouth. 

The fact is that it will never work that way for me.  I am not one of those people.  They exist; the ones who can eat anything and never gain an ounce but it will never be me.  I need to accept that and move on.  Working on it.

I have still struggled with sleep issues and have just switched over to the Ambien Extended Release.  Last night was the first night on it and it went well.  Here's hoping.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Angel

So not too long after The Brit and I got married, my mother went shopping in Lancaster, PA and she brought me home this beautiful ceramic angel.  I am very angel particular.  They have to have pretty faces as no one likes a pissed off angel; they just have to look "angelic".  This one did and she was pretty big; about 8 or 9 inches high, kneeling, hands raised, dark hair, long blue skirt and white blouse.  She is one of the prettiest angels I have ever seen.

She came to my house in a box and when we opened her, we sadly discovered a broken wing.  It had broken clean off, but The Brit was certain he could fix it and he did.  As the wing attached in the back, looking at her one could not see any evidence of the breakage.  

I kept her safely on a shelf at the desk, up high where the cats could not knock her down and she resided there for several years until one night, someone knocked the desk and caused her to fall from the shelf and break into several pieces.  Worried at first that she was not fixable, I was thrilled when The Brit once again pieced her together, minus a spot here and there where holes remained, those remnants broken into pieces too tiny to repair.  

These days, at quick glance, the angel appears perfect; a striking image of the perfection God would have made her were she real.  She is kept in a lower but still safe place and it is only at closer inspection you can see her battle scars; a missing piece here, a rather large hole in the back.  Still beautiful but far from perfect.

How like us she is!  For some reason the saga of my angel was on my heart the other day even though it has been probably three years since her last accident.  But she is like us.  From the outside we can appear to have it all together, to even be somewhat perfect, but only once you really start to see inside of someone can you see their "holes"; their scars that life has dealt them.  Sometimes you have to look very closely because many of us keep our imperfections, our hurts,  our betrayals well hidden.  But often it is worth the time to look and to try to understand.

What is wonderful is that like the angel, who was created by a master craftsman somewhere, we have also been created by a Master Craftsman who sees all our holes and loves us not just despite them but because of them.  In His eyes, we are perfect and precious and loved, despite our faults.

Just sayin'.

 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Keeping It Real

So they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem so I am going to put a little faith into that and hope to an extent it holds true.

I have been struggling with some weight regain.

There.  I said it.  Since my lowest and relatively comfortable weight for me, of 209, I have gained about 28 pounds...most of it since starting back to work full time.  I know that carbs are my problem and I am still wrestling with what to do about it, but I know I have to do something.


There is something called "The 5 Day Pouch Test" that has existed in the WLS surgery community for some time as carbs tend to be a post op problem after a few years.  Here is what I read about it last night:


Slurry food, more commonly described as slider food ,is a watery liquid food solution of simple processed carbohydrates containing scant nutritional value. The substance usually comes from crackers, pretzels, cracker snacks, popcorn, cheese snacks, potato chips or tortilla chips, or sugar-free cookies, cakes, and candy. The foods are chewed and washed down with liquids into the surgical stomach pouch where the gastric muscles churn them into slurry which slips directly into the intestine to be quickly processed and stored as body fat. Patients of all bariatric weight loss procedures including gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap-band), and gastric sleeve, are prone to weight gain if copious amounts of slurry food are consumed.

After surgery many bariatric patients find the restrictive feeling following eating to be uncomfortable, yet it is the very nature of the surgical gastric pouch to cause a tight restricted feeling after a small amount of solid food has been consumed. This signals the patient to stop eating. Uncomfortable with this restricted feeling, many patients turn to softer processed simple carbohydrates or junk food that can be washed down with liquids creating slurry. The uncomfortable restricted feeling never occurs and patients can eat unmeasured portions without feeling discomfort. Soon the weight loss they were enjoying has stopped and weight regain begins.

In a malabsorptive procedure the pouch is made and the stoma or outlet is attached to the lower part of the middle intestine called the jejunum. The majority of caloric absorption takes place in the jejunum, so depending upon where your surgeon created the outlet the level of absorption can vary. Skilled surgeons will adjust the length of intestine bypassed according to their patient's projected needs based on dieting history and pre-op psychological screening.
Slider foods slide right through the stoma into the jejunum. My first test of the slider foods was graham crackers and coffee for my after work snack. Now imagine, I could eat a stack of graham crackers and wash it right through the pouch with the coffee and never feel any satiation. What resulted was an easily absorbed slurry that my jejunum sucked up like a sponge - it didn't have to do any work to absorb this simple carbohydrate slurry. Of course, weight gain resulted and I had to give up this little indulgence. Another popular slider food is pretzels. I speak with post-ops all the time who are addicted to pretzels - again, this is a simple carb that your jejunum is very happy to receive and convert to fat. Traditionally dieters are encouraged to eat pretzels or popcorn - fat free and fiber, right? But that doesn't work so well for us. Giving our re-routed bodies these simple carbs is dangerous because our bodies have spent years perfect the art of fat storage - slider foods are to the body a great big lottery win.
 


Many patients will mistakenly blame their surgical stomach pouch thinking it has stretched out or is no longer working correctly. However, patients who return to a diet of lean protein and avoid drinking liquids with meals will quickly discover the uncomfortable pouch restriction still occurs bringing feelings of fullness with small servings of food. Continued compliance with the high protein diet eventually leads to weight loss once again. 

For weight loss surgery patients protein is not always the most comfortable food choice because of the tightness that results following eating. However, for bariatric surgery to work correctly and sustain long-term weight loss and weight maintenance, a high protein diet void of simple processed carbohydrates must be followed consistently.

I am apparently a queen of slurry foods.  I read that and though I knew carbs were my issue the ones described; the crackers, pretzels, popcorn , are my crack.  Well and Twizzlers which I have not had in over a week thankfully.

The 5 Day Pouch test takes you through the food stages we went through following our RNY in five quick days.  In short, it is this:

 
Days One & Two: Liquid Protein
low-carb protein shakes, broth, clear or cream soups, sugar-free gelatin and pudding.
Day 3: Soft Protein
canned fish (tuna or salmon) eggs, fresh soft fish (tilapia, sole, orange roughy. 
Day 4: Firm Protein
ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, lamb), shellfish, scallops, lobster, fresh salmon or halibut.
Day 5: Solid Protein
white meat poultry, beef steak, pork, lamb, wild game
My biggest concern with this is the first two days and my mood that might accompany that.  Can I work productively while probably feeling irritable?  My other huge problem is my hatred of protein shakes.  I have NEVER found a protein powder that did not make me want to gag.  But I need to.  A majority of WLS patients years out of surgery still have 1-2 protein shakes a day.

I have two other major rules I have broken.  I am again drinking soda, albeit diet soda and I am not obeying the rules of drinking before and after meals.  Essentially, WLS patients should stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal and not drink again until 30 minutes after a meal.  My goal for this week is to resolve the liquids problem.  The pouch test I plan to start a week from tomorrow as The Brit will be away so I don't have to deal with meals other then the simple crap the kids will eat and what I will need  to do.

So what happens after Day 5, you may ask?  It says this:

After the 5 Day Pouch Test is when things get exciting. Having successfully broken a carb-cycle, regained a feeling of control over the surgical gastric pouch and possibly losing a few pounds one is ready for re-entry into a compliant way of eating. This means focusing on protein rich meals, observing the liquid restrictions and avoiding starches, particularly processed carbohydrates and slider foods. Three meals a day should be two-thirds protein, one third healthy carbohydrate in the form of low-glycemic vegetables and fruits. Consumption of whole grains is not forbidden, but should be limited to one serving a day.


If necessary between meal snacks should be protein dense. Natural food protein is great including hard-cooked eggs, lean low-sodium deli meats, and limited servings of nuts or low-fat cheese. In addition, protein bars or beverages may be used for between meal supplementation.

I read about one women who lost 100 pounds by doing the Pouch Test and then staying on Day 6 for the next five months, so getting back on track is far from impossible.  I need to remember why I have done this.  I worked too hard to get the surgery and has a post op to screw it all up now.

So there you go for keeping it real.

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adventures in Ambien

I have sleep issues.  I have been popping Tylenol PM for the better part of 20 years and the last several months, my insomnia has increased enough that many nights it was three Tylenol and four Melatonin and still I would find myself wide awake at 2:30 AM.

Many months ago, Michael, my GBC, told me he was on Ambien and he loved it.  Said he slept like a baby.  I considered it but dismissed any thought of pursuing it.  Now working full time again, lack of sleep is a big deal, especially since it happens to me a lot.  T, who I work with also told me she was on Ambien and having grown weary of feeling so tired all the time, I finally saw my doctor last week to ask about a prescription, which she gave to me.

That night, I got the best night's sleep I have had in months!  I  was surprised by how quickly it worked though!  Tylenol PM, I took an hour before bed in order to feel a little sleepy by the time it was light's out.  Ambien takes about 15 minutes to hit full force.  In 15 minutes, I can no longer read the words on my Kindle and have to sleep.

The third night on the drug was following a busy day.  We went to the lake on Saturday and had a full day boating and swimming.  We left late to come home and did not arrive back at the house till 10:30 PM.  After getting the kids up to bed, I took the Ambien and then putzed around downstairs for about ten minutes; putting away some of the stuff from the lake and tidying up.  Went upstairs and took out my contacts and washed my face.

Then it all gets fuzzy.  The Brit reports that I sat on his side of the bed and tried to put on my pajamas for ten minutes, all the while talking about the people on the love seat in our room who were laughing at me.  I went on to insist that I did not want the kids in the room while I was changing.  No recollection on my part at all.

Sunday night was uneventful, though The Brit remarked when I came up to bed that he was ready for tonight's show.   Then last night, I got into bed with the intention of reading my Kindle until I went to sleep.  Apparently, I fell asleep with the Kindle and my glasses down around my face and when The Brit woke me up to tell me to put the Kindle away and go to bed, I argued like a child about not wanting to, held a full conversation with the Couch People and told The Brit where on my body I hid my dollar bills.

It has been an interesting ride so far but damn, I am sleeping well!

The Genius turned 16 today and per his request, he got a Kindle.  At least I have one reader out of the two!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Take Time for a Do Over

 Laura posted this last year and only read it if you don't mind some tears, have tissues handy and own a dog.  I use the latter not because I think that people who don't have dogs won't get it, but because though I read it last year and it made me feel undeniably sad, I don't think it brought me to tears.  As an animal lover, I hate any and all animal injustice and believe me, I see plenty of injustices every day.  I said that because I read Laura's repost of  it tonight and cried like an idiot because now I have a dog to associate this with.  Like putting a face with a name.  I look at my Rhys and know that was his situation and would have been his situation in the end had we or someone else not fallen in love with him.  His last family gave him up because a baby was on the way.  So Rhys was the first baby but in his case, being a canine made him a throw away to these people.  And despite the fact that their ignorance was my gain, it still makes me angry when I think of the situation through the eyes of my dog.

And I see dozens of stories like his and worse every week.  Too many unwanted animals and not enough homes; not enough people to take a chance on a do-over dog but instead go to pet shops and breeders so they can start fresh with a puppy.  It isn't that I have anything against reputable breeders (and many of them are not reputable so do your homework if you are going to go this route) and the people who chose to use them, but most people do not see what I see.  They don't see the little Yorkie whose owner had landlord issues, trembling in the back of a kennel because he is terrified of all the barking and so confused as to what happened to life as he knew it.  They don't see the Chow and the Border Collie who have grown up together but due to the current economy, their owner had to give them up and due to the economy, the shelter will probably have to separate them in order to get each one adopted out.  They don't see the eager, hopeful year old pup who rushes to the front of her kennel for every person, desperate for affection and attention, or the three year old mixed breed, who passed his assessment with flying colors but two weeks later, the stress of shelter life causes him to snap and he is led from his kennel, no longer adoptable.  

These are the sad stories of shelter life.  Yes, there are happy stories too, like the purebred who went to his new home this week and as I watched him greet his new family, I teared up; both because he had been saved and also because so many others are not.

I say these things because I want people to understand my passion and for every one abandoned dog, there are five cats with the same story.  No kitten should ever have to begin and end their life in a shelter, yet it happens every day to dozens.  There will never be enough people to adopt them all, especially when so many refuse to spay and neuter.  But for every one person willing to take a chance on a shelter animal, it is one less sad story shelters everywhere have to endure.  We are all there for the love of the animals and with faith and hope that our educating the public will make a difference even to one animal.



 These faces are the reality of too many animals and too many shelter employees and volunteers.  We fight for them every day and for every person who takes a chance on an animal who desperately needs that chance, we add one more person or family to those more than willing to educate others to the joy their do over pet has brought to them.  

In many cases, we have to wonder who really rescued who.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Trip Around the Sun

Yesterday was my 45th birthday and it was a fantabulous day.  Unlike some, I do not need presents or a big party to make it a great birthday.  In fact, for me, yesterday was about as good as it gets.

I only last week learned that we have something called Shenandoah National Forest pretty much in our backyard.  An hour and twenty minutes from home, it is a one hundred mile drive one way through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen on the East coast.  Breathtaking views, deer a-plenty and bear sightings as well, it was just awesome.  It was just me, The Brit, the kids and my dog, but it was a damn near perfect day.  The humidity here at home has been rough the last week but in the mountains, the temps dropped to the mid-seventies, so it was windows down, fresh mountain air blowing through the hair and breathing in the smells of nature.  


We drove the whole Skyline Drive, which is 100 miles and that took us to about 4:00.  Well, we had lunch and the boys and I hiked six tenths of a mile down to a waterfall (and then all uphill on the way back but I did it and felt great for the experience).  So at 4:00, we elected that instead of grabbing the highway home, we would just turn around and drive the Skyline Drive back.  As twilight descended, even more wildlife ventured out, and our ride back was full of deer sighting; does and fawns and even some young bucks with velvet still covering their antlers, as well as an additional black bear sighting.


It was beautiful and breathtaking and we are doing it again in two weeks and are also planning a tour in the fall when the leaves are brilliant colors.


Don't give me cities.  My preference is always nature.   Beautiful and peaceful it makes me wonder how anyone can doubt the existence of God (and that is not a call for snarky remarks.  I don't bash anyone else's beliefs, so leave mine the hell alone) when I am watching a sky change colors after a storm or just listening to the sound of waves crashing onto the sand.  It's like the story of the watchmaker.  If you find a beautiful pocket watch on a log in the middle of the woods, you cannot prove that someone made it.  You cannot see the watchmaker, yet you know he exists.  For me, the same is true of creation.  It didn't just "happen".  Someone took the time to design it and in all its glory, it is infinitely glorious.

I'll show you pics when I get then downloaded.  Maybe even tomorrow.
 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Plan

I have come to the conclusion that I need a plan to not weight 300 plus pounds again.  Though I have not gone up any clothing sizes (yet) things are a bit snug.  The reason?  Working full time and not having the time to go to the gym.  I am walking many nights but compared to the kinds of workouts I was doing before, walking is not cutting it.  The gym at night is rough due to having to feed people and animals and grocery shopping and church.  There is always something in the way.

I had a long chat tonight with an old friend from the old church and she told me she had been hitting the Y at 5:00 am Monday through Friday.  I can do this.  Last summer, I was getting up at 5:00 to run before work, so surely I can get up to hit the Y by 5:00 or 5:30.  Then I can shower there and head to work.  It will require a little more planning but totally doable and probably the very best solution.  The Brit will be getting The Lawyer up for school come August and I can call to walk up The Genius.  He gets himself out the door anyway.  These days I head up to bed by 10:30 anyway and the fact remains that I know working out in the manner my body used to work out, is going to increase my energy anyway.

It has been a difficult adjustment to go back to work full time but I cannot use it as an excuse to gain weight.  I must simply rearrange my life a little to make things work for me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why I Love Them

Life at a shelter is often difficult for the employees as well.  Twice in two weeks, one of the kittens I have been loving on has died.  When the first little fur ball passed away, I felt as if my heart was being ripped from my chest.  T, one of my favorite co-workers, told me that was why she kept her distance from the animals.  I pondered this long and hard and came to the realization that no matter how hard it can be to lose them, to not love them is simply not an option.

How can I not shower them with a little love and a little cuddle when for whatever reason their mamas have vanished and they have placed into a cage surrounded by dozens of other crying kitties?  How  can I not in some small way bring some small comfort to one of God's little furry creations?  No, not getting close is simply not an option for me.

No matter how hard it can be, I am so thankful to be working there.  I love being able to help animals (who I regard in higher standard than most people) in any way.  I find it satisfying and so worthwhile.  Not always easy but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I found this on Facebook a week or two ago and I wanted to share as I love it.  I think it is true of most animals but especially of dogs:

Dogs Ten Commandments
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years - any separation from you will be very painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me - it is crucial for my well being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment...You have your work, your friends, your entertainment...
I HAVE ONLY YOU!

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when you're speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.

7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hands but I choose NOT to bite YOU.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting old and weak.

9. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old.

10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for ME if you are there. Remember that I love you.











Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seriously?

I have not blogged in ten days?  Actually, I am only blogging now because I am bored out of my skull and have the dog tied to my ankle, literally.  Friends of friends have written an independent film in which I am playing a small part and then we offered our home for them to film two outside scenes.  They have been here since 9:00 am and it is now 5:32 and they are on the last scene which is being filmed on the front porch.  As the dog is rather curious I cannot have him running the house and working his way into the film by breathing on the front door so here we are in the computer room blogging with his leash around my ankle.

This weekend was uneventful really.  Yesterday we ran some errands that consisted of The Brit's Father's Day gift and running my mom around to a few places so I could get off her shit list as she has not seen me too much lately.  Working full time will do that and then this past week was VBS at the church and I was playing a small part each night so it was a run,run, run kinda week, as in get off work, have 45 free (LMAO...free if you call vacuuming, sorting out dinner and changing clothes free time) minutes before hauling ass to church till 8:45.  But I will say that it was the most fun I have ever had at a VBS.  Those of you who have been following me for some time know how much I hated it at the old church because I had to co-run it, I already worked there so that meant more of my day VBS week was spent at the church then at home, and then more often than not, we would have 6 kids show up.  This past week, I did not run anything, we had several dozen kids, it was extremely well run and the kids had a fab time.  I will gladly help again next year even though it makes for a hectic week.

I think part of the reason I have not been blogging so much is that life is just so busy but it is mostly mundane.  Nothing extraordinary is happening despite the fact that I am crazy busy.  Yesterday during our errand running, I bargain shopped very well.  Got a yard sale kitty tower for $20 and a wooden filing cabinet for $15.  Cannot beat that. In the last few days I have broken my own mold and elected to buy some dresses to wear to work during the hot summer months.  Those of you who know me well know I am not a dress up girl, but pants get hot during the summer.  I have purchased four dresses for about $25. Again, cannot beat it.  I love me some second hand bargain shopping.  Just because it belonged to someone else does not mean it is not in perfect condition and completely washable.  It is my contribution to being green.

I think I am ready to have an extraordinary day.  Will someone please get on that?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Don't Ya'll Faint Now

Yeah, two in two days!  Who would have thought?  Jimnotmike threw down the gauntlet after all so I guess I need to try to get back on the ball at least a wee bit.  No promises but I am trying.

Today has been one of those days I have been in awe of.  Nothing extraordinary happened, but it was just a good day.  Work was busy as we have a huge event Saturday night (I do not have to be there but am very involved in the prep work), so my day was spent on laminating and creating signs, working on silent auction items, helping B, my work husband who is head of Events, and running errands.  B and I went off to lunch together and there has been lots of camaraderie in my little department which is a welcome change from all the kitten sadness that will eat me alive if I allow it to.  It's just nice.  My boss thanks me on a daily basis for my work, T, the head Admin, jokes and carries on with me all day which is great fun, B and I get along famously and my least favorite staff person just gave her notice.

Tonight, The Brit and I went out to dinner with another couple we are friends with, Emily and Dave, and my church gals, who I adore.  We had some wine, chatted and laughed for two hours and I just again marveled at the way God works.  In an odd way, I thank Him for the horrible things that happened at the old church because they caused me to finally leave a place I was not being fulfilled.  Though it was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, when I think of how it all turned out, I am just amazed.  When I think that I could still be at that old church, fighting to keep it together and not getting anything back spiritually, I almost shudder.  I cannot imagine still being somewhere that is close to dead now that I am a part of something that is on fire.  Sometimes our blessings come in unexpected and unwanted at the time packages.

This weekend we are heading out for the day Saturday, potentially to a dog peach near Annapolis.  I still adore my pup and I want him to have some doggie fun on the weekends.  He loves other dogs so I try to find him some playmates over the weekends.  Next week starts VBS so I will be busy every night.  Yes, I hated VBS at the old church but I do not have to run this one and I am only playing a part in the drama each night.  Bring it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Non-Existent Blog

Yeah yeah yeah.  I know.  I suck.  If someone could create another eight hours in a day for me or better yet, a pill that enabled me to only need one hour's sleep a night, I'd get a lot more done.  

Work has been rough lately.  Really rough.  It is not uncommon to walk around a corner to see another employee in tears or to hear two employees who are really good friends, exchanging angry words.  Fuses are short and emotions are running high.  We are all there because of our love for animals and we are in the heat of kitten season and it sucks.  

Kitten season means that cats are out there producing at alarming rates because people are irresponsible and don't have their cats spayed or neutered and then they let them outside.  Those with male cats probably figure that their tomcat is not going to bring home any kittens and that would be correct but someone is finding them and bringing them to our door.  Little balls of sweet fluff who are unwanted in the world and who were brought into the world due to human irresponsibility.  It sickens me.  

The shelter is completely FULL right now which essentially means that anything that comes in right now is given a death sentence.  71 animals were put down in one day this week, simply because we are out of room and I would bet that the majority of that number were feline.  Each afternoon on break, I go back to the feline holding room, find a little kitten that fits in the palm of my hand and take it back to my desk to love on for 15 minutes and when I take it back to the cage I have no idea if I will see it tomorrow.  This is the reality of shelters  during kitten season.

Is this post doom and gloom?  Yeah, probably, but it is a hard time for us right now.  

Yet there are happy moments too.  Yesterday, The Genius was out walking the dog before I left for work and he called me from his cell phone, announcing he had found a "puppy" and no one was around.  I drove a few blocks over to meet him and the "puppy" was actually an elderly chihuahua.  I put the little girl in the back of my car where she sat politely for the ride into work.  Checking her out once we arrived, we found her nails had been recently trimmed and she smelled as if she had been recently bathed, but she was off the streets and not in any danger of being hit by a car or worse.

By that afternoon a crying elderly lady was at the shelter, so grateful that her beloved companion had been found and rescued.  The dog, who was actually 16 years old with a heart condition, had apparently slipped out when her husband had left for work, but now she was back safe and sound with her human mama.

These are the good stories and the reason I love my job.  I know we are working for the greater good, but at times it is so painful.  We see the stupidity of people firsthand; their lack of caring and their inability to comprehend that their decisions dictate a horrible fate to a lesser but in my opinion, far more superior species.  

We do the best we can.  If only the general public would strive to do better then maybe one day kitten season could cease to exist.

Oh and Strat, I dunno.  I have thought about writing THAT book before but am afraid they will find out and sue me for some reason...or stone me. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Makes My Blood Boil

A Shady Grove couple found guilty in April of abusing nearly 80 farm animals have been cited again, now for the alleged abuse of four dogs at their home.

A total of 14 animal cruelty citations were filed against Ralph and Susan Fries, said Franklin County Humane Society Police Officer Floyd "Buck" Hessler.

They have not yet entered a plea with Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham.

The dogs, which Hessler described as "husky-type," were seized April 23 from the couple's residence at 1704 Buchanan Trail East. Hessler said he acquired a warrant to go to the home after a neighbor contacted him about the conditions there.

All four dogs, one male and three females, are currently being held at Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter, Chambersburg.

Three of the dogs had medical issues when they were seized, Hessler said.

The Frieses are cited for not providing veterinary care to the male dog, which allegedly had severe infections in both ears. After the dog was seized, a veterinarian prescribed medication for the infections.

"The dog was in severe pain because this was not taken care of by a vet," Hessler wrote in the citation.

Two of the female dogs exhibited a "severe skin condition," according to Hessler. Medicine was prescribed for both dogs after they were seized.

Hessler's citations allege that he found the dogs living in unsanitary conditions. He said they were forced to live in contact with their own feces and urine.

It appeared that the dogs, all adults, were kept in small cages in one room of the house "for hours at a time" whenever they were brought inside, Hessler said.

The cages were too small for the dogs to stand or turn freely, Hessler said. Urine and clumps of fur were "all over the floor" of that room, according to one citation.

The strong smell of ammonia from urine inside the house "took your breath away," according to another citation.

In an outdoor kennel behind the garage, Hessler wrote that he saw dogs "walking and standing in the mess" of feces that had not been cleaned out.

One citation alleges that shelter in the outdoor kennel was inadequate, since there were no dog houses "to protect the dogs from weather conditions rain, snow, cold, heat, wind."

Another citation alleges that the dogs were not properly groomed, and had long toenails and clumps of fur falling out due to a lack of brushing.

Hessler said the dogs were apparently being fed and provided with water.

Ralph and Susan Fries each face seven summary citations for the alleged neglect of the four dogs.

Hessler said that if the couple is found guilty, he intends to ask for the maximum fine of $750 on each citation. He is also asking that they permanently surrender the dogs and pay restitution for veterinary, grooming and kennel fees.

He said the total cost of caring for the seized dogs is not yet known.

If they are found guilty, Hessler wants the Frieses to be prevented from owning any animals during a court-ordered probationary period.

While the law allows higher-level charges for repeat animal cruelty offenders, Hessler said he couldn't seek such charges in this instance, because the dogs were seized before the Fries' were found guilty of a previous set of violations.

On April 28, Ralph and Susan Fries were found guilty of 14 citations for the mistreatment of 70 goats, seven donkeys, a horse and a pony kept on a farm in St. Thomas.

Magisterial District Judge David Hawbaker ordered them to pay court costs and fines of $100 for each citation. Those animals remain in the care of a farm at an undisclosed location, Hessler said Thursday.


*****

So not only have these asshats been in trouble with animal cruelty charges before, but now they keep freaking appealing while their dogs SIT IN A SHELTER.  The dogs have been in the shelter for a year and if these idiots keep appealing the dogs could be in the shelter for years more.  If these people ever got these dogs back, the poor dogs would be so screwed up from the incredible stress of shelter life that they would probably wind up right back there again.  DO THE RIGHT THING.  Admit you screwed up, stop appealing and allow these poor animals to be adopted so they stand a chance.

The laws for animal rights, as I am learning, are downright shameful.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ever Have One of Those Lives?

I am finding myself beyond frustrated.  Most days (not today) I love my job and I don't mind working full time, BUT everything else is so much more complicated.  Part of it is my control freak ways.  My house needs vacuumed desperately and it BOTHERS ME.   I am putting on some weight and it BOTHERS ME.  Basically, it makes me feel like shit.  I don't feel as good as I did when I was working out regularly.  My kids are at asshat ages and it BOTHERS ME.  I hate that they are here alone so much because The Genius cannot be trusted.  I feel helpless in my own life and I have little to no idea what to do about any of it.  

Getting to the gym means the possibility of pissing off people.  But the fact is, if I get a handle on my exercise again, I may feel better in all the other aspects of my life.  Once a week kickboxing and walking the dog are not cutting it for me.  I felt strong in almost every aspect of my life when my workouts were regular.  My patience level was better.  I was not freaking exhausted ALL THE TIME.  I accept the fact that I am getting older and maybe being more tired is normal, but not this desire to nap half the freaking afternoon.

I love my dog, but at times it is hard to have him at work everyday especially now in the hotter months.  I could otherwise get a few things accomplished on my lunch hour.  Granted, when the kids are out of school, he will be staying home at least part of the time with them.  They need to learn the responsibility.

So I need a PLAN.  I cannot keep going this way.  It is making me crazy.  There are days when I feel like I am on the verge of tears all day long just because I hate the helpless feeling of not being in control of my life.  

So there are options for the gym.

I love my Wednesday night service at church but I am considering giving it up to go workout and then going back to the church for 8:00 rehearsal.   I can either get to the Y on a Sunday or I need to switch my grocery day so I can workout on Monday.  I have stuff here at home to work out but every time I attempt it, I am inundated with children and questions and mocking about what I am doing.  Plus, my resources are limited here and with it being the onset of summer, we don't have central air and I am not about working out in a sauna. 

I don't care if I go to the gym before or after dinner.  Either works.  I just need to get there...though it is harder to leave to do it once I am home, but I will just make myself do it.  I think my eating took a nose dive when the church blew up (and incidentally, more people are leaving) and I have not regained control.  I am still a size 18 but things are not as roomy as they once were and if I do not intervene, I will not stay an 18.

If this plan doesn't work (and when The Brit travels I am not sure at all of how it can work) something has to give.  The way I feel right now this moment cannot continue.

Just sayin'

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I do not understand the male species....

....AT ALL.



They set things on fire, they lie, cheat and steal, they find farts hysterical, love cartoon movies, have an answer for everything, always think they are right and can turn the tables on you in the midst of any argument where you have been wronged.  I love them, but I just don't get them.  Not even a teeny, tiny bit.

And with that being said, please let me say that single moms....you have my absolute respect.  I have had a big enough dose of single parenting lately to know that I salute those of you who do this every single day of your lives.  I hate it.  I hate it even more working full time.  I love, love, love my job, but trying to single parent around nine hours a day?  Not fun at all.

Last week The Lawyer set fire to a trash can outside from a cigarette butt my sister in law left in the outside ashtray.  He decided he wanted to know what would happen if he set fire to a plastic bag that was in the trash can.  Well, he found out.  It melted the trash can.  Thankfully, a neighbor came down to help put it out and then his wife proceeded to make me feel like a terrible mother, offering to let The Lawyer be in her daycare for an hour a day for $20 a week because "he is obviously lonely and trying to get attention." Gimme a break-he is home for an hour and fifteen minutes before I get here; he was just being a boy and I kicked his butt for it.

The second part of The Genius story is that he did not just drop out of Credit Recovery because of track.  Noooo...he dropped out of track too so he could walk to his friend's house in the west end of town every day when he was "at practice."  So he is currently under a microscope and he is grounded from his phone and life until he passes this class and gets his Biology grade up to at least a 75% which is what he needs to pass for the year.

The Lawyer fried his phone in the bathtub because he talks to his great grandma on the phone at bath time so it was just waiting to happen.  He, of course, blamed it on the cat.  Go figure.

The Brit has been gone more than he has been home, thus my salute to single moms.  I don't think anyone has any idea of what we do and what we have to deal with when we are on our own.  There is no down time.  By the time the kids are in bed, the lunches are packed, the house is semi-cleanish,  and the pets are taken care of, we are too freakin' exhausted to do anything more than go to bed so we can wake up and do it all over again.  Men often come home and when they walk in the door, they are done for the day.  They sit down to dinner and move from there to the television.  This is not my life.  Not when there are meals for the next day to think of, laundry to do, dishes to deal with (the men in my house think we have gnomes who do the cups and spoons they just lay in the sink when they are finished...a huge pet peeve of mine.  It seems to just be an assumption that I will do them.  I mean, how else will they get done?), grocery shopping to do, yard work, etc.  All the stuff that HAS to be done.

I tried not to complain about any of this when I was 20 hours a week, but it is harder to keep my thoughts to myself at 40 hours a week.  I just wish there was more help.

Next week is Tod's show "1776" and I am looking forward to a night out...again with my kids...but with some friends as well.

The dog is the light of my life at the moment.  He is a constant companion who does not argue with me.  His name should have been Houdini as we cannot seem to confine him to the computer room to go anywhere.  He is left alone VERY rarely.  He has so far eaten though a gate, knocked one over and crawled under another.  Yesterday, The Brit cut a door off and put it on hinges to keep him in there but today when the kids and I went to church, he jumped the door.  Nothing funnier though than pulling up in front of the house and seeing his handsome head pop up from where he is laying in front of the door.  Too cute and he has so far not been destructive so I guess we will give him the downstairs on a test run for Tod's show!

Hoping my week is uneventful as that would be a great chance of venue for me!

/rant

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Interesting Weekend

So yesterday we went to breakfast and ran into the whole old church crowd.  Several said good morning, Strat's dad waved though her mother would not look at me, and The Puppet Master's wife came back and hugged us both.  Not sure what the hell that is all about.  

The rest of the day was yard work, which I love, and a haircut at yet another new salon: Bella Salon and Spa.  A bit pricier than what I am used to, but a great haircut in a professional atmosphere.  My last cut was done by someone else in my former "new salon" and she screwed up the stacking in the back and after my appointment, the girls were all spinning their boyfriends around in their chairs and flipping each other off, etc.  Now, I am no saint but when I am paying for a service after a long day at work, I do not wish to see children playing adults and not succeeding, ergo Bella Salon.  Apparently, I am getting old.

Today was Kirk and Brent's graduation from Eastern Mennonite University and I was a little apprehensive about going due to folks from the old church who were my friends but I had not heard from since I left my job out there.  I almost didn't go, but Kirk has been such a good friend of mine for a long time so I went and had a really good day other than it being cold and rainy and the graduation being outside!  But it was fun and good to be around everyone again.


So a good day.

My friend Renee from California is running an experiment this week about us girls taking care of ourselves.  Our assignment for tonight, the first night, is to gauge on a scale from 1-10 how we were/are feeling about tomorrow at 8:00 tonight.  I gauged myself at a 5 mainly because I was and am tired from the long drive today and being out in the chill and rain.  Then before bed, I have to sit cross legged on the floor and take five deep breaths.  The experiment will progress this week and I will try to blog to keep you all informed.

Still in love with my dog.  He is a total love bug and so cute.


I mean, who in their right mind can resist this face?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Okay, I have been waiting to say this....Jimnotmike, you know I love you but a husband and a dog and a 60 hour a week job does not not equal a teenager and a tween, five cats, a dog, a guinea pig, living with all straight men and ain't none of them tidy in the least, a 40 hour a week job I am still adjusting to after five years of 20 hours a week and lemme tell you something else...there isn't any bed turning down service here nor a chocolate on my pillow!

Whew.  I feel better now.  Trust me, I will trade you for a week and you will so want your life back!  

But all in all, life is good for the most part.  The dog is settling in, not without challenges.  Today, we had to leave him alone for about 4 hours and please know that we rarely have to leave him alone for very long as he goes to work with me!  So we left him in the computer room so we could close the doors on one side and put up a child gate on the other door, much like this one:

 I went to training for work and The Brit and The Lawyer went to church for an Easter egg hunt.  The Genius was at his grandmother's house.  When The Brit and The Laywer got home, Rhys met them at the door.  Hmmmm...interesting.  In the hallway was an empty Kleenex box. Also interesting.  They came through the kitchen to the door that had been blocked with the child gate....and The Wonder Dog had chewed through one side of it in order to succeed in his escape.  From there there, he had a whale of a time shredding kleenex and paper towels in the dining room . I was most thankful they got home first and had to clean up the mess.

Rhys has definite separation anxiety but of course, we don't know his story before he came to us.  His mouthing issue has improved a lot and is rarely an issue already. Thanks to my bosses wife and her harness recommendation, walking him is much easier now. The cats are doing a tiny bit better...venturing out here and there, but Jonah is still quite vocal about his unhappiness at the dog's presence.  So we are all adjusting but for me, he is now part of the family and I adore him.
 
I am struggling with a few pounds I need to still lose and it is driving me insane.  Finding time and energy to work out while working full-time is hard.  I get off work and still have dinner to get or kids to get home to as I am single parenting a lot, and a house to keep clean (with minimal help from the males), lunches to pack, etc.  Many nights I am not relaxing until 8:30 or later and then bedtime is 11:00 or a bit earlier as the week progresses . I was walking with Rhys and gearing up to start running again but Thursday night I sprained the hell out of my ankle.  We're talking that it looked like a golf ball was attached to the side of it.  It is slowly improving and was pretty good this morning but the more I was on it today, the more uncomfortable it became again.  So this will possibly and probably mean no kickboxing this week as I'm not sure the ankle will be able to tolerate it as it is a nasty sprain.  So I am sitting on my ass eight hours a day instead of four, and having problems finding workout time!  What is the solution?  I can't get up earlier to go to the gym due to having to get the kids off to school and of course, the dog comes to work with me but can't come to the Y with me in the morning.  I had a pre-dog plan of getting up really early a few days in the summer to hit the Y before work and just shower there and leave for work.  If my kids would learn some responsibility with the dog, this could still be a option but so far, they are kind of sucking at being responsible.  The only time Rhys has an accident in the house is when the kids are in charge of his potty schedule, despite the fact that I leave them the schedule in writing.  *sigh*

So though I have sucked at updating here, let me see how many of you are still out there reading.  Two questions:

What is your best tip for leaving a dog at home alone?


And how do you fit in exercise with your full time schedule?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Okay, Okay

So forty hour a week job, church activity, husband on the road at least every other week, two kids, house, five pissed off cats and one new dog who nips when he gets wound up and ya'll wonder where I've been?  Can't imagine.

Things are going pretty well with Rhys though a few bad habits are being uncovered.  He does get wound up and mouthy, as they call it, and I am trying to break it.  Asking around to people who have been there and am hoping to get with my big bosses wife to ask her.  Pat Miller has written a few books on dog training, five I believe, and has traveled to places such as Australia to teach dog training.  She also has a business and website called Peaceable Paws, so check her out.  Anyway, she is teaching a class at work this week so I am hoping to tag her as well for advice on Cutie McNippy.  Rhys is a great dog 95% of the time but there is a lot of puppy still in him.  According to my Executive Director, about 3 or 4 years of it.

At work, Rhys is an angel.  He plays with his toys and dozes and at lunch we take about a 40 minute walk.  He knows "Sit" and "Down" though at times will play a stubborn card and not want to do it, though I wait until he does, even if I have to push his rump down to achieve it.  The cats still hate him though a few of them are starting to stick up for themselves.  Micah spends most of the evening hiding though I believe he comes out during the day when Rhys is at work.  I feel guilty about this because they were my first babies but everyone keeps telling me if takes about a month for things between the cats and dog to calm down.  

We took him on Saturday to Central Dawgma and the Dawg Wash which is a car wash for your dog.  I plan to bathe him myself most of the time but it was fun outing for us and Rhys was very well behaved for the bath.

In non-dog news, The Genius has a girlfriend.  She is a year older than he is and so far I really like her.  I just have to be careful about the possibility of him sneaking off to see her.  Last night he told me she wanted him to meet her at 4:00.  I reminded him he had track practice and I know had that not come up, he would have ditched practice.  So we had the conversation about doing the right thing.  I am not sure I am ready for dating but the choice is not mine really.  Ugh.


Work is still good but I am so busy right now.  Our Spring mailers are coming in with a vengeance which is good, but I have about 100 letters to do at this point.  I am also getting things ready for a Volunteer Appreciation dinner on Wednesday and for a complete system conversion.  I went from looking for things to do a few weeks ago to now knowing how in the hell I am going to get it all done.


And I think I am coming down with another cold...which I really don't have time for.  I'll try to update more regularly but time gets away from me.  If someone would like to take my kids once or twice a week, I should be able to be more timely ;)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Can it get any better?

I am in one of those seasons of life where things are going so well that I am waiting for something bad to happen.  I have an amazing new church, a job I love and this...

 coming on Thursday!

Yes, The Brit finally not only agreed to the dog but fell in love with this guy!  Is he not adorable?  This dog actually picked The Brit as this was not the dog I intended for him to see.  We had a purebred Golden Retriever come in last week...my favorite breed.  On Friday, I tried to find him, but couldn't.  I found this guy though and tried to convince myself this was the golden.  He had some attributes of a Golden and they had him listed as a mixed breed so I thought maybe though the girl assessing him thought he was purebred, the animal care folks disagreed.  

Saturday, we made a trip out to see him.  Well really to show The Brit where I worked and we ended up perusing the animals.  He found "Max" and was drawn to him.  When we went back out front, C asked me if I showed him the dog and I said yes.  I figured that had to be him as he was the only dog that looked anything like any sort of Golden on the adoption floor and C was asking me about him.  She tried to get The Brit to fill out an adoption request, but he needed to think about it.  He told her it was expensive and C, being quick, came back with "You cannot put a price on love."  

Well, Sunday morning, The Brit was looking up dog names and Sunday afternoon he was putting in a pole and zip line in the back yard.  Today, he went in and filled out the application.  When he left, the girls in the lunch room were asking dog he was adopting (I can't technically adopt for 90 days but my husband can!) and  I told them Max.  Shortly after, C was asking me what dog I was adopting because Max was not the same dog!  Copper was my Golden!  I went back to see Copper and sure enough.  He was in the stray holding area and not on the adoption floor, where both C and I assumed he was!  But, The Brit had already decided, so it seems that Max picked us!
 
I am so excited! Not sure the cats will be though!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Manic Monday

and it followed a really busy, peanut butter egg making Sunday!  Sunday's sermon, first of all, was amazing.  I really, really like our pastor; he has a way of just capturing your attention immediately and keeping it the whole time.  Quite a novelty in my life!

Then I was back at church at 2:00 with my Bible study girl group to work on making Easter eggs to sell.  We mixed up a buttload of peanut butter cream and melted a ton of chocolate and we only had four molds that made 8 eggs each.  And we had a goal of 600 eggs.  Go ahead and laugh.  We made just over 100 eggs yesterday and about 32 chocolate suckers.  So we are back in there next Sunday to try to get the other 500 eggs finished.  But I had a great time.  We laughed a lot, talked a lot, joked a lot and I was once again so thankful to those somewhat misguided people at my old church who caused me to leave because if they had not have acted as they had, I would still be there spiritually sinking and trying to meet every single demand of people who only wanted things done but did not want to participate in accomplishing it.  But their meanness resulted in my happiness in my spiritually life and my professional life.  Maybe I should send some Thank You cards?  Ya think?

Tonight I was back at the gym after not working out for a week due to being sick last week and it was nice to get my sweat on again.  I always feel so much better for working out.

Have you noticed the increase in reality shows about weight?  We started out with The Biggest Loser and now we have "Too Fat for Fifteen", "Heavy" and one called "Ruby".  We are in so much trouble as a nation that these shows keep cropping up all over the place as there are no problems casting them obviously.

My teenager still thinks I am dumb as rocks.  My mother had to take him to the doctor for me today and he called me afterward to tell me he was going to my mother's house as neither of them had their house keys to the house and The Lawyer had gone to the batting cages with a neighbor.  I asked him if he knew where his key was and he said yes.  I knew he was lying then.  So when I get home from the gym he is there and I tell him to go get his key to which he replies "I have to find it first." I told him he had no option; he had to find it.  An hour later and after much banging around upstairs, he comes down and I ask him if he found his key and he tells me "yes."  I ask where it is and he says "In my hand."  I say "Let me see it." and he says "Why?"  Yeah, he has it.  Whatever.  So he got told off, and told he was grounded until he found the stupid key.

He may be married with kids by then.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why is it Okay to Throw Them Away?

Did ya'll get to look at that eagle cam?  Is that not a GREAT camera?  

You are going to be getting some animal posts again as I am back in the industry again after five years and technically, other than being a writer, the animal industry is a dream job for me.  Though I am not working directly with the animals, I am working FOR them and there is no where else I'd rather be.  

What blows my mind and has always blown my mind (and you all who are my FB friends know I have talked about this before) is why do people consider animals dispensable?  If they don't act the way you want them to, or if you have a baby and suddenly have concerns about having a dog, or if they have bathroom issues, or if they suddenly encounter medical problems, people think they can just drop them off somewhere and be done with them.  Now granted, any of those things mentioned above are problems, but let me tell you something else, compared to the issues I can have with my kids (who never act the way I want them to!) the pet problems are no big deal!  

My pets have never been disposable to me.  They are my other kids with fur.  When my human kids tick me off, obviously I am not taking them somewhere else to live and hoping for the best, no matter how much in the moment I may want to!  The same goes for my cats (and soon to be dog).  They don't get thrown away when things don't go the way I think they should go.

And here's the other thing.  When you get a pet, you should go into that situation knowing that times they are going to cost you money; maybe a lot of it.  Most important?  You must have them spayed or neutered.  If you are planning to breed them for a profit that is one thing (not the way I would go but I don't want to tick off any breeders) but otherwise, stop them from accidental breeding.  All it does is fill up our shelters with unwanted animals.  Here's a wake up call: One unspayed dog and her offspring can lead to 67,000 dogs in six years. One unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years.  Sounds like a great reason to spay and neuter to me.  Believe me, I am seeing these poor animals that are brought into the shelter, desperate for a home of which a large number of them will not find.  Get your animals spayed and neutered.  I don't care if Snowball will never go outside.  Mine don't go out either but they have, on occasion, played Houdini and gotten out...and it only takes one time.  Get it done.

Your pet will probably also encounter an occasional medical problem that is going to cost you money.  If you have concerns about this, you are not ready to adopt a pet.  If your kids need medical attention, you get it for them.  Your pets should not be any different.

You need to plan before you adopt.  The same way you would plan to have a human child, you need to plan for your furry kid, who will always be a kid.  You will always be their person and they will love you unconditionally.  They deserve the same thing from you.





Monday, March 21, 2011

And I'm Oprah

I'll get to why I am Oprah in a minute.  

I have been battling the creeping crud again.  That thing that disguises itself as a head cold until three days later when all your....stuff...is green, indicating infection and me with no sick time till July 1st.  Not that I would call in sick, but seeing a doctor would be nice.  I do, however, have some leftover antibiotics from the sinus infection which I started popping today. I was pretty low key all weekend, just trying to kick this thing; only did some little things around the house and my church stuff on Sunday.  The crud is still hanging on.

Work is still good.  Caught up on all the backlog by last Wednesday.  Today I was actually bored as my boss and our new Events Coordinator went off site to a meeting.  In the absence, I finished what I was doing and then looking around for more work.  I found T, who I LOVE...what a doll...and she asked if I could put away supplies that had just been delivered to the supply closet.  I wound up cleaning out the supply closet, at least 90% of it.  It was in desperate need.

Another interesting story, at least to me.  Last week we had a staff meeting and they made us new kids get up there and introduce ourselves and then opened the floor for anyone to ask us anything, which was rather interesting.  One of the things that came up during my Q&A was that I sing with the praise band at my church.  After the meeting Nice Girl approaches me.  I call her this as she was one of the first people to talk to me and has always been very sweet.  We ended up talking about church and how she was very hurt by her last church (hmmm..sound familar?) and that she had not been in a church for about two years since that.  I told her that I had a similar experience but that I went and found a new church that I have been not only thrilled with, but spiritually uplifted by.  At the end of our conversation, she hugged me and said "I'm so glad you're here!"
Today, NG (Nice Girl) came in and rushed over to me and said "I went to a new church yesterday!  It was like coming home! I had missed going so much!"  She went on to tell me how two people she had not seen in a long time were members there (she did not know this when she walked in the church doors Sunday) and how they were able to reconnect.  Loved seeing her JOY!  Loved seeing how God is already using me in some ways that I am not aware of till they happen which just seals the deal on the fact that I am where I am supposed to be!

So, Oprah!  I have a new favorite thing.  Check this out!  I can't stop watching it, but then I love birds!  And she has some babies under her!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am so in love

I cannot begin to tell you all how much I love my job.  LOVE.  I am just still in awe about the whole amazing thing.  This is the first time in my 30ish years in the workforce that I feel completely and utterly at peace with a job.  I feel like I am where I belong; and it is where God led me to be.

I know I keep talking off and on about the church thing, but here's the thing.  Is it not completely amazing that what was probably one of the worst times in my life caused this amazing new opportunity where I not only feel fulfilled but I am working with people I share common interests with for common goals.  How funny is it that at a time when Christians elected to persecute me God decided to completely fulfill me in ways not even I could imagine.  Once I placed the whole situation in His hands, He delivered me from a place where I could not grow in Him.  I'm just so in awe of the whole thing and how it happened.  I look at the other jobs I interviewed for and I knew that though at the time I would have done almost anything to get out of my current situation, those jobs would not have been right for me and I would not have been happy.  

Then God puts Strat in my path, who was keeping an eye out for jobs for me, who leads me to the Humane Society website, where I apply and hear nothing.  Now, skeptics would say "So why if God was in charge would you not hear anything the first time?"  The reason for me is simple. I needed to learn to forgive those who had hurt me.  I needed to learn to pray for them.  I could not leave there feeling as bitter as I did and still make a true, clean start.

So them God puts Strat's hubby in the path of K, my new boss, (I assume that is who walked into his shop) and though Strat's husband had only met me once, he spoke to K about someone he knew who had applied and had not heard anything.  That caused K to go back and look for my application, which she could not find, and so Strat let me know I needed to reapply, which I did.

Everything fell into place in the time frame it needed to happen, but I still have to smile and offer thanks every time I realize how at peace I am now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5K Numero Tres

So I did a St. Patrick's Day 5K today with Leisl that I was not prepared for in any way!  

Leisl met me at the house at 8:00 and we headed to the park across town.   I had been concerned I might have dressed too warmly as the sun was actually out, but that was not the case! We arrived and I walked down to get my packet and shirt and number and we were freezing!  People were actually walking around in shorts and I don't know how they did it.  We walked back up to the car and were going to continue down to the starting line when we realized it was only 8:20 and the race did not start till 9:00.  We elected for car and heat for twenty minutes where we made fun of real runners (not in a mean way, but the folks that run before the race to warm up amaze me... .we were warming up in the car!) until we walked to the starting line.  There were only about 200 people out for this one and next to us at the start was an older lady who was lots of fun and thankfully Leisl and I had no thoughts about out running her as we would have been sorely disappointed!  Older lady kicked butt!

Leisl and I were not together long as she is skinnier and faster, but I ran as much as I could giving zero training the last few weeks and I walked any and all big hills.  By mile 2, I knew I would not beat my last time but I only blew it by about a minute so I can live with that.  I forgot about being cold and got really hot and sweaty but I finished with a new resolve to go back to running more often!

Otherwise I am just in it for the tee shirts!
 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday 13: I'm Back!

You know, I hope this is not just the honeymoon period because I am loving this job!  The week has flown by in a flurry of being busy and getting to know a lot of really nice people.  Like the church, no one hovers over me to see what I am doing, which I love.  K will walk by every so often on her way to or from her office and ask if I am okay...then she will tell me how much she appreciates how much I am doing, that she is amazed by how much I have accomplished, and she thanks me...for doing my job. Thanking me, to me, is not a necessity.  I am being paid to provide a service to her, but can I tell you how good it feels to know your work means something to someone else?  Pastor extraordinaire never said thanks for anything and I never really realized it until now because being thanked is a new experience.

So I have tons of work to do still to get things caught up where donations are concerned.  I have written 100 plus letters this week and P, the big boss on the site, signs every single one of them by hand, often putting personal notes on them.  These are people dedicated to what they are doing for a greater good.

The only problem I am having is my back has been killing me!  Leaning forward, hovering over a computer screen all day and my mid-back is aching.  I switched chairs today but it didn't help. Would a pillow help?

Okay, Thursday 13!  You ready?

13 things I love about my new job

1. Nice people
2. hour lunches
3. Challenging work
4. fulfilling work!
5. I can listen to my ipod through speakers while I work.
6. Close parking places!
7. I don't have to use my own car to run errands or do things for my job.
8. Casual Fridays
9. I kind of like dressing up a little after not having had to do it since 2001.
10. Weekends off.
11. Prime full time hours
12. Daily dog doses
13. It is only a matter of time before I have a dog of my own.



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Monday, March 7, 2011

Whew!

Wow!  My mind is all a-jumble after today!

  Of course, the first day the kids are getting themselves off to school and it freakin' snows and they have a delay! But it all seemed to go really well.  I woke up at the butt crack of early at around 5:00 and could not go back to sleep, so I hit the shower early instead, which allowed me to do some cleaning up this morning and to take my time getting ready.

Got to the Humane Society and first filled out a ton of paperwork!  All the normal first day stuff, tax stuff and handbooks and policies, oh my!  After that, my new boss, K, gave me the grand tour as we reviewed how long animals had been on the floor.  See, Mondays are "Pet of the Week" day on our local television station, so we ask the customer service staff, if any animals need a special push to find homes.  We chose one adorable little black kitten and a Blue Tick Coon Hound to have their moments in the spotlight.  So, we finished the tour and then K went over donation data entry and letters that need to go out to the people that donate...and there are A LOT of donations and they are BEHIND as K has not had an Admin and was trying to do her own job and that of a Admin when time allowed.  

Before I knew it, the morning had flown by and we were grabbing a cat carrier and a leash to board our Pets of the Week into the van to head downtown to the television station.  The rather large pup was very excited and was quite the puller on the leash and was my responsibility.  But he could sit on command and hated the van ride.  We then led him through the station and I stood with him n the wings while K talked with the news people on camera about the kitty (whose name was Tippy and he is adorable!  Anyone want a cute, sweet kitty, check him out! Cannot think of the dog's name at the moment...brain overload!).  Once the kitty was returned to the carrier, K motioned to me and I go over and had the dog off to her.  Then when that segment is finished, his leash was back in my hand and we are on our way out of the station and back to the van.

Took my lunch break once we got back and they have a full kitchen.  Got to chat with some of my co-workers and everyone is highly friendly!  One other supervisor of another area told me that "No one bites here except for an occasional dog."  The rest of the day was spent organizing donations and data entry and before I knew it, 5:00 was here.  K told me I could bring in a radio (I am thinking ipod!) and picture and "it's your desk.  Do what you want to with it."

Let work exhausted and went to zumba which helped with the exhaustion.  So there you have day one in a nutshell!

Here We Go

So it is Monday and I was up butt early at just a little after 5:00, though I didn't get out of bed until about 5:40. I'm actually kind of excited about starting the new endeavor today though I may come home tonight thinking "What the hell just happened?"  I think the biggest part of this whole change is for the male people in my life.  Nope, the biggest changes are obviously not going from 20 to 40 hours a week, or having to dress up for work or trying to rearrange my life to fit in exercise.  Nope, the biggest changes are shower schedules being thrown off by nine minutes and kids needing to get up earlier in order to be ready for school by the time I go to work.  This was all proven this morning and no I am not kidding.

I am trying to come up with theme days on the blog so I can get back on schedule with blogging as I have been rather absent lately as Jimnotmike has so obnoxiously kindly been reminding me.  Now that the old church is history, I am going to try to return to Thursday 13.  I am thinking a God day, a work day, a diet/exercise day.  What else are you guys thinking?  Anything of interest to you? 

I will try to blog again later this evening, but not making any promises.  Folks want to know how the first day goes so check here for it.  It will save me from making a kabillion phone calls tonight!

Have a blessed day all!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Okay, Need You All

I have been falling into some terrible habits the last few weeks and they have got to stop!  I know the majority of this has been stressed induced and the stress has not yet stopped completely with the unknown stretching out before me with a new job.  BUT, I have been snacking more.  I have been partaking of dessert a bit more often.  Again, the latter will auto-stop with going full time next week and my lunch dates a thing of the past!  I need to hold myself accountable and I need you all to help hold me accountable!

I refuse to gain weight!  I have lived my life that way and though I am not the size I want to be yet I also do not want to regress!  I said this surgery was for LIFE so falling back into these old, comforting yet terrible habits just cannot be an option for me.  

I don't even like talking about struggling.  I want to be the strong one; the one who has it all figured out and who is not tempted by the unhealthy.  But it simply isn't true. It's all such a balance; life is such a balance and there will always be temptations in our way but I need to return to making the better decisions.

The church is now officially over other than what I will do for them at home.  No more going through those doors or dealing with people who have forgotten how to act like Christians.  My last day was uneventful.  The Church Lady came in again and got emotional with me, Papa Don and the Music Director.  Papa said to me later "You never knew you had such a fan, did you?" Honestly, I did not, but she hugged me again and was tearful when she left.  She is disheartened by what happened to me there and I kind of hope she makes some waves about it.  She's a tough old bird and given the people who have been too afraid to take up for me when they hear someone saying something untrue, I do believe The Church Lady would.  But for me, the chapter is closed and a new one ready to begin.