Saturday, June 27, 2009

100th Post!

Matt's Nanta had a beautiful hydrangea bush growing her front yard and I asked if she would part with a few of the blooms. Happily, she obliged and I have a huge beautiful bouquet now sitting in my living room. (And I have not killed it! I even changed the water! Maybe there is hope for me.) It makes me happy every time I walk past it.

Of course, since I love zooming in on things, the flowers have provided a fun fodder for playing with the dials on my camera.

Want Your Wedding Done in Macro (and only in macro)?
I'd be your gal.

AND I am even learning my photo editing software - although I haven't gotten past the "fun effects" tools. My grandma is one talented lady with the oil paints - I wonder how she'd feel about my lazy-man's oil painting setting?

Monday, June 22, 2009


It's amazing how owning a house pretty much automatically doubles your to do list. Not that I can really complain - after doing most of the initial unpacking, I will confess that much of the follow up: picture hanging, landscaping, furniture building, has been the undertakings of Dr. C. (In my defense, I do not create the Honey Do List. Most of these projects are generated by the taskmaster himself.)

This weekend, after my flurry of productivity yesterday (you know, the ironing) Matt took on a tremendous Home Improvement Project: the big wall. We've been staring at this big, blank wall for 2 months trying to figure out what we could put up After a few unsuccessful go-rounds trying to find just the right thing on the interwebs, we ended up in Pottery Barn one night last week and the set of shelves came home with us.

I knew that this was a task I would be minimally involved in as it required measuring things, staying focused on one task at a time and heights. Not three of my fortes. I tried my best to be handy including standing at the bottom of the ladder handing up levels, drills, Coors Lights, nails, and holding the dust buster under the drill holes. However, there is one thing I have learned from past Home Improvement Projects and it is this:
So, although I was quite minimally involved in the actual doings of the project, the end result is so fantastic that I thought it warranted a post. We didn't really know what we were going to put on the shelves, but it all came together in 3 different color schemes, which I love. So far, our house has mostly features the palates of Taupe, Brown, Natural and Cocoa, so this is a good addition. Hooray for Color! The only thing we purchased was the skinny painting from HomeGoods and the bamboo plant from World Market. It's green and I can't kill it! Yessss! Then I found the perfect colored candles at good ol' Wally-World and the tableau is complete. (They even smell good, which wafts down right where you walk into the living room.)

End Result!
(The green from Bethpage compliments the bamboo nicely, don't you think?)

One more step towards house --> home. Next project: table building. I say this like I'm somehow involved. Don't worry - I just live here, I don't work here.

(PS, Thank You Hubby. I'll unload the diswasher now.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Wife, Happy Life

This week was crappy for no apparent reason. Like, the kind of week where you're almost trying to FIND something to pinpoint those AGGGH BLACCCH EEEKFF feelings on, because heaven knows you're not going to be the girl who's just complaining for no reason at all, right? Right. I don't know what it was, the alignment of the stars, the extra half hour of sleep stolen each morning by my new furry, four-legged personal trainer, the stress of a brand-new group of 40 newbies staring eagerly at me wondering how I am magically going to make them lose weight, the fact that I still had a suitcase sitting on the bedroom floor from a vacation a week ago or WHAT. But all week long, I felt tired, I felt cranky and I felt ... undeserving of those feelings. Like, who am I to feel that way when the list of blessings definitely outweighs any for-real negatives in my life? That's so strange to feel that way - undeserving of the right to be cranky. But until I sat down to pour my heart and soul out to the internets, I didn't even realize that sentiment was underlying that craptastic funk I was in all week. I mean, why can't I have a week where I'm just feeling shitty for no good reason at all?

I can hear myself telling any of my coaching clients right now: it's not good, it's not bad, it just is. Apparently, I'm taking my role as the positivity police a little toooooo seriously if I won't even let myself have a B.B. King kind of week. But whatever, it's come and gone, and I'm feeling just fine and dandy and actually pretty darn accomplished after 3 hours of ironing. (Yes, 3 HOURS. We'll get to that.) Actually, you know what I think was the root cause of all this internal foot stomping? I don't think I've had a day where I really could iron since April 29th: closing day. We closed, we packed up, we moved, we unpacked, we unpacked some more, we hosted family, celebrated a graduation, packed up our bags, flew to the Dominican, (ok don't pity me too much here), came home, unpacked, got a dog, realized said dog had some major behavioral issues, went home to Lincolnton, went to work again, went home to Rochester, went back to work again and WOW. Ok, blogging epiphany. While the last 8 weeks have been chock full of really super duper awesome stuff....

I am le tired. And I want a nap.

So this weekend, we originally planned to go to the mountains. And while I know I would be happily hiking along a huge staircase of boulders in Julian Price right now, or maybe sipping a cold brewski out of a mason jar at The Woodlands, I am really really happy to be sitting in my bonus room with a sleeping dog at my feet, a sleeping hubby in front of the TV, a big pile of ironing done, and no where to go. Staycation, yes please.

This morning, I switched out my winter and summer clothes - a task that led to me accumulating a pile of ironing about 3 feet high. I really avoid ironing at all costs - in fact most of the time, I just take it to the dry cleaners and pay $2 to get it pressed. I'm a firm believer in outsourcing. But this was probably about 20 items, so I figured I better just tackle it. I loaded up my computer with some TV I've wanted to catch up on - 3 episodes of Cook Yourself Thin, the season finale of The Office and 3 coaching vlogs I follow. It took me 3 hours and 60 oz of distilled water to get through that pile. No joke. And once I was on a role, I decided to iron the curtains that we need to hang in our guest room and the linen napkins I haven't used since Valentine's Day because they got too wrinkly after I washed them. All in all, 23 items ironed. I guarantee that's more ironing than I have done in our entire marriage.

After I ironed, I sat down and made the first meal plan I've made in probably 2 months (formerly an Every Saturday Morning tradition) which now means I have a humongous Harris Teeter trip on my hands. Our house is clean, the laundry is done, the dog is snoring... it feels so good to have my house right again.

When my home is happy, I am happy.

Meal Plan for the Week:

Sunday: Flat Iron Steak with Pimiento Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach and Onions, and Green Salad (No recipes, just basics)
Monday: Everday Food's Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce and Lo Mein Noodles
Tuesday: Cook Yourself Thin's Pasta Bake
Wednesday: Cook Yourself Thin's Quesadillas (If I can keep my hands off the wholly guacamole until then.)
Thursday: Sushi (picked up from Fresh Market) and Cook Yourself Thin's Spring Rolls
Friday: Leftovers or Grilled Chicken Salad

If any of the recipes are worth repeating, I'll post them on megeats.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Buddy has been coming around, in small but promising steps. We're hopeful we can get him (and us) okay with the longer crate times in just two more weeks. These two weeks have been two of the more challenging weeks I've had in awhile, but in a wonderful way. Truth be told, I'm a pretty selfish person. I consider myself (hopefully humbly said) a good friend, I work in a helping profession, I try to do as much as I can to make my husband's life easier, but when it comes right down to it up until June 1st, I mostly did what I wanted to did. If I wanted to stay an hour later at work, swing by the gym, or sleep in an extra hour later on any given day - I almost always did it. Not to say I didn't take others (most notably, the husband) into account, but let's be honest: Matt's not going to pee on the carpet if I didn't get home after 8 hours on the dot. While we convened schedules on The Big Things, my moment to moment schedule was pretty much up to: me.

But I'm happy about this change, for many reasons. One, I've always hated change but it's unfailingly been good for me. I could cite so many examples where I've freaked out, frozen up and panicked when Life Changed. But then, it turned out to be really, really, really good. For more examples, you could pretty much read my last blog. 2 Panicky Entries to every 1 Resilient, Insight Entry.

Two, reality check. Most ever client I've ever had has had a challenge with prioritizing their health because they've been in a caregiver role. I'm a huge proponent of selfishness when it comes to health. I've done many talks on taking time for yourself. And I still believe in it, but suddenly here I am not going to the gym after work because it's my turn to come home and do crate practice. And I'm going "Oh.... so this is how it happens." I'm beginning to see how it's a bit more complicated when dependents come into the picture. And mine is just the furry-four legged type. Hardly comparable to a infant child, a parent in declining health, an adult child who's lost their job, a spouse with health issues and the many other scenarios my clients detail on a daily basis. "Getting it" is key to helping others and I'm beginning to see a teensy bit more of the light. Understanding can only improve my practice. Professionally, and without question, personally.

Third, practice. One day, I want small, squirmy, drooling things. Not just of the canine type. Heaven knows why, because I'm sure they're going to cause more sleep deprivation and guilt and worry production in 24 hours than Buddy has in 2 weeks. But nonetheless, having any type of creature be dependent on me is good practice for things to come. Because let's be honest, I didn't do so good with the ferns.

Today we came home to Rochester, for Krissy's wedding. Last night we had the dog sitter over and while I fed her wine and reassured her that the whole "only an hour in the crate" thing wasn't nearly as bad as it sounded over a 3-day period, I was internally panicked the whole time she was going to throw her hands up any minute, tell us this wasn't what she bargained for and leave us high and dry. This did not happen, and she even seemed to take kindly to my 8 page notes on how and where he will #2. (I'm serious. It's a strategy.) My fear that she would reject my doggy was second only to the guilt I felt when he gave us THOSE eyes as we slipped out the door, suitcases in hand this morning.

Welcome to doggy parenthood: time to unsubscribe from e-savers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buddy Steps

Small but good progress. We've worked him up to 45 minutes in his crate and he doesn't come out and act totally wacko now when we take him out, so I think he's maybe getting used to it. We saw the vet on Monday and she gave me some good advice about slowly building up to time like we're doing, and also my friend Stef who has rescued 3 dogs who ALL have had separation anxiety (3?!?!) said they just ignored it (put them in the crate and let them bark) and she said the dogs just eventually accept that you'll be coming back and barking doesn't do them any good. In the meantime, she advised, invest in ear plugs.

We have gotten six different opinions on separation anxiety and google gives us even more. Is this just the start of "WHAT OH WHAT DO I DO" hand-wringing, advice-seeking in our life when it comes to creatures who are dependent upon us? Methinks yes.

We'd been putting him in the crate and then correcting him when he'd start to go crazy, but Stef told us that even negative attention reinforces the behavior - which makes sense now that I think about it. I mean, it's the same reason I don't make a big deal out of the days when a particpiant eats 3 krispy kremes. Reinforce the positive, ignore the negatives, right? Right.

Just hope we can get him up to a decent amount of time by the 29th when Matt starts back full time. He has been amazing with Buddy. Today he is going to doggy day care (the dog, that is) because we'll be both gone for about 13 hours. That's extreme for even a normal pup. So, he's going to this place that's like a big Gymboree for dogs. I can't really believe that we're paying fot this, but here we are.

How quickly we're becoming dog people.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Dared Too Early

Off to take Buddyface to the vet for his last heartworm x-ray. The separation issues got way worse. Curtains torn down and dry wall totally tore up when we left him out for a little over an hour. Yikes. I was actually motivated enough to get my sewing machine out...for the first time in four years. (I think that's a good thing?)

So, we have to crate him and he's FREAKING out. We put him in for 3 hrs when we went to the movies and we put our video camera on. Pup barked, panted, dug at the bottom of the crate for THREE HOURS STRAIGHT. No joke. He was a mess when we got home. Whoa. We're getting a bit worried now, for HIS sake... we only have 2 more weeks before Matt goes back to work. I doubt he'll be ready for 4 hours, lunch break, 4 more hours in 2 weeks.

We're going to keep trying a little longer and have been reading a lot on separation anxiety in the meantime. New strategies are to do 10 minutes in his crate a couple times a day, adding on 15 minutes or so each day. We are also not going to talk about coming and going (spelling C-Y-A... yea that's us now) and not to make a fuss over him when we take him out. We are told normalizing the crate routine, as reassuring him in the smooshy voice just reinforces that he should have been worried in the first place. We also have to do more separation while we're home - we call him velcro dog, because right now he follows Matt ev-ery-where. So we've been making him sleep in the living room and then Matt will also make him stay when he gets up from the living room and goes anywhere else (bathroom, dining room, etc.) He is SO smart - we tell him to stay when we go to bed and at 6 am, he's still in the same spot. (he does lie down and go to sleep.) We're also trying to exhaust him - long walks, running, dog park, etc - whenever we can before crating. I just hope we can get him through this, I hate to think about him going through ANOTHER adjustment to go back to his foster mom's (although he will go back to a familiar environment.) What a mess this little pup is. I can't imagine what he went through before he went to the foster people's. I think he must have been crated and ignored all the time to be so insecure

And this is a dog? I can't imagine what kids who are abused, what it would take to foster, rehab or adopt them. So sad.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dare I Say: So Far, So Good?

Buddy is doing pretty good, so far. His foster parents told us he had major separation anxiety and he flipped out when they tried to crate him. (Like, tore the crate up and ended up hurting himself.) They also told us he tore up a sofa when he got out of the crate. (And we still took this dog???) Because he was abandoned before they got him, he's just super insecure. Like now that we have him, he just follows me or Matt (more Matt) around 24/7 and just always wants to be near us. Matt is fortunately home all this month, but I feel bad that his 3 weeks off he's just locked in at home, so I'm trying to work from home or at least come home for an hour or so to give him a break. Which is feasible, but also means that I have to get more done AT work when I'm actually there, so I've had less time to do things like.... blog. (Erm, it's important.) And it's just been kind of crazy come back from vacation and we're starting a new group next week and our new hire started this week. Sheesh.

So Matt crated him the first day and just went outside to mow the lawn to try and practice it...and he just sat in here and barked for twenty. straight. minutes. No breaks. Lots of drooling. Yesterday we decided to leave him out in the house when we went to the store, and we put our video camera on where he usually sits. He was FINE. He didn't even bark. He just sat and stared at the door - literally stared - as if willing us to return for 60 straight minutes.

Wonder if he'll do that for hours at a time?? He doesn't make any attempts to chew anything - we haven't even seen him put his mouth on anything. So I'm not really worried about that, and he doesn't even jump on anything. He is the sweetest little guy ever. He just wants to be loved and petted and he is so happy to see us. He has really gotten attached to Matt quickly. We're both trying to practice being really consistent and firm with things we want him to do - like wait for us to walk out the door before he comes out, etc. So, so far, he's done much better than we thought he would. Hopefully we can gradually increase the amount of time he's left alone.

Ya'll who own dogs: How long do you leave yours home? We are thinking it's realistic to work up to 6-7 hours a day??? I mean, they can hold their pee that long right??

Monday, June 1, 2009

Meet Buddy

So, we just adopted a dog. His name is Buddy, he is a 5-ish year old rescue sheltie who was found running loose in Greensboro, probably turned out and has been in foster care for the last 3 months. All we really know about him is he has super smart, sweet as can be, and did we mention he some potentially major separation anxiety? We don't know much about that, other than that sounds really not fun and hazardous to your favorite possessions, such as curtains and loveseats. Are we ready for this?

He arrives in an hour. DEEP BREATHS.