Monday, December 12, 2011

Entering the Modern Era of Technology

In the past three months, I have updated my technology SIGNIFICANTLY. I ditched the was never worth all the money I paid for it and snails move faster than it did. I traded it for a nice, new Toshiba laptop...and I am loving it. Takes less than 30 seconds to boot up and does all kinds of fun stuff.

I also upgraded to an iPhone. I did a lot of research and a lot of cost comparing, but finally made the jump. My company is transitioning over to iPhones and iPads...and I think an iPad is in my future. Unfortunately, before an iPad graces my presence...I need to replace the tires on my car. The not so fun big expenditure.

Anyway...I have been snapping lots of photos with the new little toy...enjoy. :)

I was in the kitchen a few weeks ago and looked up and he was actually standing on the sofa table. I stared, dumbfounded. I try to keep something there to keep him from standing on it...but he still likes to look out into his kingdom from this vantage point. As long as he is not standing on my furniture...I am fine with that. 
 "Hurry up and give me the nuggets, lady". Chelsie waiting for her snack (not so patiently) on our way up to an agility trial in East Lansing, Michigan.
 Ace's brother Blue came for a visit..."motivational camp", as my breeder called it. I worked with him for a few weeks to see I could get him to move faster. I am happy to say that he had a great weekend when we went to East Lansing. He lives in Grand Rapids, which is about an hour from East Lansing...and he went home after this trial. His brother misses him...tons of extreme bitey face at all hours of the day and night. Bluey likes to hold you can see in this photo.
 Brothers at their agility trial. Blue on left, Ace on right. Cute little sauce pots, aren't they?
 Torture...being forced to wait for dinner so mom can take a picture. Next to breakfast, dinner is the most exciting part of Acie's day. My dogs eat side by side in a raised feeder, and have from day 1. Chelsie is a pushover about a lot of things...but not her food. The boy has gotten that message loud and clear. :) After he eats, Ace runs to find if to say THANKS MOM FOR FEEDING ME BECAUSE I WAS STARVING. Chill son, you're not starving.
 Life is good in labbie land tonight. After getting home from work, we had family the dry cleaner, bank, car wash and gas station. Errands followed by a walk and bedtime treats, not to mention that breakfast is all ready for the morning. Yes, life is good in labbie land.
A little nylabone gnawing time before bed. I am biased...but he is a cute little stinker.....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stranger Danger

Interesting title. I sort of like it. I promise, it will all eventually make sense.

All is fine is good, busy...which is always good. I am settling into my new job, as evidenced by the fact that I can now stay wake past 7 30. Dogs are good, Chelsie is doing awesome in agility, Ace is well, Ace...he needs lots of reminding about everything and is sometimes off the wall. Case in, while I was putting my make up on (on the bed) he started licking my sweater and getting into my make up. I pushed him over on his back for a belly rub and when I was done, he jumped off the bed and tried to eat his sister...who has stitches in her ear from getting a wart/growth removed. UGH. That was just a small part of our day. Son, you killed me today.

On to the title of the post. The time of year is obvious...the holidays...not to mention the dreaded birthday along with it. The time of year where being single is absoloutely HIDEOUS - and a double whammy at that, with Christmas and my birthday right on top of each other. I so want to just hunker down and completely avoid the very thought of Christmas, however, that is impossible. I keep telling myself that next year will be different, I will be celebrating with someone special...however, that never seems to be the case.

Most of the time, I am comfortable with who I am and where I am...sometimes, I am not. Most days, I can handle it...some days require more effort to get through than others. What I find to be the most exhausting is being my own cheerleader. True, we all have to be our own cheerleader to some degree, but being your own cheerleader all the time is emotionally exhausting. we go...stranger danger. Today, I decided I needed to go shopping. My goal with shopping was to find a pair of brown boots. I see people wearing them all the time..they look great. I have this vision in mind of what I want them to look like on me. I wear the pants that intend to wear with these adorable brown boots, and off I find these boots that will look great and make me feel good about myself.

First stop...Macy's. I was in there the other night, saw some really great options. Didn't have time to do much trying on, but there was definitely potential. Now, I am a girl who has been schooled by Clinton and Stacy on What Not to Wear...I know you have to try on 50 things to find three great things. Today, I tried on about 10 pairs of brown boots...and wanted to try on about 10 more pairs...however, when you wear size 10 narrow and have calf muscles, your selection of boots is limited. Long story short, I did not find the boots I was looking for. To make matters worse, it seemed like every woman I saw in the mall had on GREAT BROWN BOOTS...and looked great in the out fit they were wearing. I even saw some little tweeny bopper that had the look I envisioned in my head. Feeling very deflated at this point. I go...wandering around...feeling deflated about the boots...and watching all these couples/families out Christmas shopping. Insert feeling like a million bucks. But I press on...just looking around to see if any item of clothing speaks to me...and none do. Off I go to meet Belinda and the kids...took kids to play area and then off to food court for dinner.

In a conversation at dinner, I relay to Belinda my sob story about how every other woman out there has these adorable boots...even the tweeny bopper...and how they all look fantastic in them and that even if I found them, I would never look as good as some other women I had know, the size zero and twiggy ones. What we concluded from this conversation was how unhealthy it was to compare ourselves to other people...that we see only our shortcomings and not our good qualities.

I repeatedly find myself in the same situation when it comes to my relationship status...I compare myself to other people...people I know and people I don't know. This does nothing but seed negative feelings. It is not helpful...yet it is a behavior I often find myself trying to correct. Things are not always what they appear to be and the grass is not always greener on the other side. My perceptions of other people's lives may not be reality, rather the reality I have created in my head...and that is the reality that often starts the negative feelings about myself when it comes to being single.

The stranger danger for me this time of year is comparing myself to those cute little families who seem to have it all...when really, that may not be the case. I am certainly envious, there is no question of that. But I can't help wanting to be one of those cute little families. And some days, it is harder to remain positive than others. This year, I forced myself to participate in the holidays. I put up and tree and decorations on the inside and even dragged several of my outside decorations. Its a lot of effort for just one person, but I am very, very glad I did it.

This year, I will be thankful for my family, my health, my job, a roof on my head and food on my table. For my two furrry companions who love me unconditionally every day. For my friends. For agility. For soccer. For the ability to be able to push myself in the gym....the list could go on and on. I will celebrate with family and hopefully start some new traditions. I will wish for what I think I want, but be greatful for what I have. For me, stranger danger is allowing myself to want what I think others have and then feel inadequate or like there is something wrong with me because I don't have it.

Thankfully, most days, I can overcome my stranger danger. But for all of you out there, hug your partner tonight and tell them you appreciate them. While they probably have annoyed the hell out of you at some point today, be thankful that you have found your partner to journey through life with, and celebrate that partnership this holiday season. Don't let your perceptions of my so-called "freedom" become your strager danger.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

21 mos

Today, little Acie punk is 21 mos old. Happy 21 month birthday to my spicy little sacuepot and his litter mates...Ella, Libby, Blue and Lily, the little flower.

For his 21 month birthday, little punky boy gave his mom 5-6 contacts this weekend in his standard runs. Before this weekend, he had been COMPLETELY blowing me off, leaping off the contacts with reckless disregard for his command to stop. He has to wear the collar of shame, as gramma calls it...meaning, he now wears a collar during agility so that when he disobeys his "spot" command, he gets the walk of shame off the course held by the collar of shame. This weekend was our first trial with the collar on and all in all, it went pretty well. We are still day, we will get it.

His sister was her usual flawless self. She got a little caught up in the chute and by the time I figured it out, I was pulling her off a jump because she was a little further behind that I expected.

Tomorrow, I will get up and go to work to pay for dog biscuits and agility...and the dogs will stay home and recover...REALLY???

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Broken Glass Ceiling

For the past 2 days, I was very fotunate to attend a "Women In Leadership" conference sponsored by my employer. Planned by 2 females on our executive council (ie, the executive council reports directly to the CEO of the organization), no expense was spared and no detail over looked. Case in point - they had a gift for us at the end of the conference - it was a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag, luggage tag and coin purse. As I said, no detail was overlooked - Vera Bradley was chosen because it was a company owned by a woman in our Indiana service territory.

We were fortunate to have a number of terrific speakers on hand - including the attorney general of Illinois Lisa Madigan ( Connie Lindsey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Norther Trust and the current President of the Girl Scouts of America ( and the former chief of staff for the first Lady Michelle Obama. We also heard from the Dean of the School of Business at Notre Dame, Dr. Carolyn Woo, a member of our Board of Directors.

All of these women are amazing women in their own right - passionate about what they do and believe in giving of themselves to help create more opportunities for women. In my professional career, I have been fortunate to have never had to wonder if I would be held back because I was a woman - I have always felt that if I worked hard and did the right things, that those opportunities would be there for me. To date, this has been the case. But there are a lot of tough situations for women in the workplace - how their co workers perceive them (male and female) achieving balance personally and professionally and taking risks were among the topoics we spoke about.

We also had the gift of hearing from our chairman of the board, as well as our CEO. Our CEO is an awesome leader. He very personable (I know him on a first name basis), very humble and has displayed the ability to make some diffucult decisions in the best interest of the company. I feel very fotunate to not only have a job, but to be working for a company with terrific leadership.

What I took most away from the conference was that occassionally you have to take risk to get potential reward and that finding where your yin meets your yang is key. Dr Woo spoke of leadership in three words - self, others heart. In a nutshell, to be an effective leader, you have to care and nurture yourself, have the capacity to care and nurture others and do everything with passion in your heart - whatever it is. Don't feel guilty for setting limits and enforcing those limits.

All in all, it was a great two days. Last night, a group of us gathered to go out and ended up at a dueling piano bar....transportation for the evening was a Hummer Limo...cost was negotiated by one of our Supply Chain people (who negotiates contracts on a daily basis) So 10 of us rode around in a white Hummer limo that probably could have fit 10 more of us! Just for clarification...this bill was footed by the 10 of us. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another little black dog.... play agility with!

Last night my first night with my new agility charge, an over the top, bursting with excitement black lab named Tequila. Unfortunately, Tequila's mom, my friend Suzi, had a horrible accident a few weeks ago on the agility course. While planting for a turn to change directions, she snapped her heel bone and tore her achilles tendon away from the bone. Apparently, this is not an unheard of injury, that is seen in tennis players who stop and pivot and move forward with great force.

Suzi had surgery 2 weeks ago and will be non weight bearing for another 6-8 weeks. Full recovery time 6-8 months. In the interim, I have agreed to work with T on the agility course and run her in some trials. Last night was our first night working together and it went very well. Many people would find Tequila to be too much for them - she is a lot of dog, but she is a lab who is just excited to be there. She is very well behaved on the course and stayed with me quite fact, our instructor told me to "demand" more of her.

My own two dogs did very well last night also...poor Chelsie still can't get her handler to get her into  the correct end of a U shaped tunnel (where they can see entrances to both ends and I have to send her in the correct end) but she still comes over and jumps on me and gives me kisses after...I hug her, tell her I am sorry and get out the bounty - which, lets face it, that is really all she cares about.

My next trial is this upcoming weekend and first one with T will be the weekend after Thanksgiving. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Life is Good in the New Hood....

Hello readers! It has been awhile since my last here goes.

We have been in the new house for 2 mos now. It is awesome...I am loving it. Totally worth the stress of moving. I had been looking at new cribs for awhile..wasn't too serious about it, just kind of kept my eye on what was out there and all this fell right into the place. It is perfect in every way...the increase in square footage is in all the areas I live in - plus, I now have first floor laundry. I went from 1200 square feet to 1900 square feet - key is that the 1900 square feet is extremely functional. Some of my favorite things about the new place....

Bigger master bedroom
Bigger master bath - with huge walk in closet (ALL MINE) and linen closet
Bigger, open kitchen with countertop bar
Dining room (which I did not have at the other house)
Bigger living room
Master bedroom not off main living area
Upstairs office
Oversized garage
Smaller front yard, flatter back yard

The pooches are loving it as well...we had virtually no transition issues to the new house. This was not the case when Chelsie and I moved into Meadowhurst. Acie has even come out of his crate - he has been out for a month now and no issues.

All in all, it was a great move. I also started a new position the week after I moved, so life around here has been a little stressful. I do like my new job and am learning a lot, but my brains are scrambled at the end of every day.

I promise to post some pictures soon and to deal with the new template...but for now, I leave you with this recent photo of the little punk.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Catching up...

Hello faithful readers..I have been slacking. Packing and moving has literally wiped me out. :)

So a lot has happened since my last I type, I am officially homeless! My parents have been oh so kind to take us (and a lot of our crap) in. My dad was joking that the dogs and I would be livng out of crates and cardboard boxes, and holding signs that said "will weave for dog biscuits". :)

Seriously, it hasn't been that bad. I am at the end of week 2 with my parents and probably have another 7-9 days with them. I close on the new house Tuesday, take possession on Friday and the movers are dropping my stuff off on Monday, 8 29. A couple of rooms need painted so we are going to do that before all my stuff comes...I am carrying around 8 gallons of paint (5 gallons actual paint, 3 gallons of primer) and have a bunch of paint supplies in the car as well. My parents sitting room is loaded with CRAP...funny story about the CRAP. In the CRAP was a bag with about 15 tennis balls - I don't let wild thing play with tennis balls because he destroys them (he is classified as a "powerful chewer"). So I had a bag with a bunch of tennis balls in the CRAP..and somehow, wouldn't you know..he managed to find them. The dogs are doing ok...little Chelsie Belle gets nervous when mom leaves, but they have gotten pretty spoiled here. Chicken and green beans at every meal isn't so bad.

Mom has gotten spoiled too...probably the best thing is the fresh tomatoes my dad picks off his plant in the morning for my lunch. Clean sheets two weeks in a row, plus, I am taking advantage of the fancy front load washer and washing all my delicate stuff  - wait, lets get this right...gramma is washing it. :) After two weeks of living here, I can actually locate just about any piece of clothing I might want to wear...both upstairs bedrooms looked like the wrath of God with a doorknob on it, as my grandma used to say. But I fixed that tonight. I did earn my keep today though, helping my brother out. :) Physical labor...and I am exhausted.

So that is our story..the next time I come to you will be from the new place...the one with a walk in closet, counter top bar, dining room, first floor laundry and a whole bunch of other fun goodies....