21 December 2012

Just In Time for Christmas!

It's been a long month or so since my computer screen went on the fritz.  A month of trying to look for a job and run a dog rescue via an iPhone and Kindle Fire was daunting, to say the least.  Somehow I managed to slog through it, complete an adoption and rescue a couple more dogs.  We're currently at a total of 41 pointers rescued since November 2011.  The next several days will be spent on catching up on rescue work, paperwork, and other tedious administrative tasks.  However, I will also be able to catch up on my favourite blogs, TV shows I haven't been able to watch on Hulu, and many other things that when lacking I became increasingly grateful for.

Our Christmas tree!
Although it is not yet Chirstmas, I've already received a number of gifts.  London Fog luggage, a Cath Kidston purse, and a vintage inspired floral quilt from my mother; a really keen bicycle headlamp and tail-light from my brother, homemade baklava & chocolate truffles from my friend S.'s mom (who has become like another mother to me, since I have no family in Tucson), and a 2013 German shorthaired pointer calendar (and some GSP related decals!) from my friend S. in Colorado.

Over the course of my limited internet ability, I've handwritten and outlined posts, as well as taken plenty of photos to share what I've been up to during my second and most recent hiatus (lots of food and dogs, of course!).

Here are a few snapshots of what I have been doing to keep busy: decorating for the holidays and rescuing two more dogs!

Yes, we have icicles in the desert!  (Or at least in my kitchen!)
Watson (#40), an 11 month old English pointer mix. 
Cooper (#41), a 1 year old purebred German shorthaired pointer.

26 November 2012

Sudden Hiatus, Explained

The past week has been a tumultuous one.  On Monday, I was laid off from my job with little to no hope of returning.  About a quarter of the company was laid off due to the extremely weak global market in our industry combined with pervasive mismanagement across the board.  Still, I valued and relied upon my job to support myself and provide a home for myself & my dogs (all three of us have chronic medical conditions).  It came as a shock that I was eliminated simply because I lacked seniority; I had expanded my job (which was extremely easy and only took a few hours of the day) to tracking all of our parts & raw materials orders for purchasing (which in addition to working with vendors involved working closely with the project manager & project engineers).  Basically they got two positions filled for the price of one.  If they truly intend to salvage and save the company with financial cost being the bottom line (and the reason so many were laid off), they would have been wise to keep such a hard-working and valuable employee.  Ah well... like I said, the company is badly run from stem to stern.

Okay, enough about that.

Wednesday was a deeply saddening day.  I wrote about Rusty, the older German shorthaired pointer that I would be fostering to determine the severity of his health and/or behaviour issues.  Thankfully once his very long nails were clipped he got around much better with only moderate osteo-arthritic stiffness.  However, upon examining his teeth I found that he was much older than the 9 years we were told when we rescued him last May.  I estimated his age to be anywhere from 12 to 16.  His back teeth were worn almost to the gumline and the front were ground down considerably so that he had a difficult time chewing dry food.  His most notable symptom was that he was easily disoriented and when confused would stand there and cry pitifully unless someone was there to talk to him & calm him down.  Even after spending several days with him (during which I was home most of the time), I don't believe he even recognized me; I was merely a reassuring presence when he became frightened and confused.  Because of the severity of his dementia we made the decision to have him humanely euthanized.  While that is always a heartbreaking decision to have to make, his quality of life was so poor that giving him a release from that constant suffering was the most compassionate gift I could give him.  RIP sweet Rusty.

The rest of my week was consumed with Thanksgiving and the weekend was mostly spent cleaning, reorganizing and decorating my home for Christmas (my favourite holiday).

Last night I went for a run with R. for the first time in a week.  I really surprised myself by running 10 minutes with only a 3 minute rest, then running a quick 7 minutes followed by a nice long cool down walk!  While I've given up the C25K program, I plan to still run twice a week (with R. or Gatsby or both) and then do yoga, Zumba, and bike around town the rest of the time.

16 November 2012

Foster Dog #21 - Meet Rusty!

Rusty
I shall endeavor to type this post quickly, as I need to leave work in about 8 minutes to catch an earlier bus than usual home.

Around 7pm tonight I'll be getting another foster dog (yes, number 21!) named Rusty.  He's a 9 year old purebred German shorthaired pointer (of course) and is suffering from advanced Lyme disease.  He seems to be in pain and is having mobility issues.  His treatment will require vigorous treatment and even once he is feeling better, he may never be a very adoptable dog.  Even if that is the case, he will remain with my rescue (Arizona Bird Dog Rescue) and we will care for him for the remainder of his life.

Rusty stayed with us for a few days, post-rescue and I got some nice photos of him (and a cute one of him and Lola Lulu smiling).
Lola Lulu & Rusty


15 November 2012

A Bit O' This and That

It seems like all I write about lately is running (for better or worse).  This week hasn't been much of a week for cooking, being the final stretch before payday tomorrow.  My laptop's screen is fried, so I haven't been able to blog (or upload photos) at home.  I have gotten a lot of reading done, however.  Enough that I can almost justify buying myself another book tomorrow.  (I promised myself that I would read the books I have before I bought any more...)  Hopefully my laptop screen will be replaced this weekend (it's still under warranty) and I can resume blogging more or less "as normal."  It will be nice to include more posts about food, the dogs, and some of my great vintage finds over the past few months (especially Pyrex and glassware!).  If you'd like to see some cute pictures of my dogs, Lola Lulu started writing her own blog again.  You can read it here: Adventures with Lola Lulu

Either Friday night or Saturday morning I will be taking in a 9 year old overweight German shorthaired pointer named Rusty (who was rescued several months ago, with my beloved Lemons and another GSP, Bones).  He has advanced Lyme disease and will be mostly convalescent and on several medications (two antibiotics, anti-inflammatory pain pills, and glucosamine/chondroitin) for quite some time.  I don't know how long I will have him in my care;  hopefully he will be easy to have around my house for time being and can go to another foster home later.  He stayed with me for several days, post-rescue, and was a really sweet boy.  Currently he is having a lot of trouble standing and walking so we'll have to see if we can get him feeling better on the medical regimen that we're developing for him.  I hope that we can help him feel better even if he isn't a very adoptable dog and he might end up in the care of my rescue until it's his time to pass on.

To take a sharp left from that sad note, I may be taking a trip overseas after the holidays.  I am not going to say very much about it at this time, but I have never been abroad and it would be an amazing trip in many ways.  The only foreign country I've ever been to is Canada and when you grew up in Michigan, Ontario is pretty much exactly the same!  I am excited/anxious/nervous/delighted with the prospect all at once.  My mother is buying me a very nice set of houndstooth luggage for my upcoming 30th birthday (which is January 4th).
My "personalized" set of luggage will be the smaller bag here and a larger 29" suitcase, as well.
It is looking more and more like Thanksgiving may be just my dear friend S. and I (with R. stopping by after she spends most of the day with her parents) cooking, baking, and watching movies in our pajamas.  We still haven't worked out a complete menu yet, but I think this recipe (by Joanne of Eats Well With Others) is going to have to be a part of it.  I love (and by love, I mean LOVE) kale and S. makes the BEST roasted brussels sprouts.  The lemony vinaigrette will be a nice bright touch to the squash and greens.  Doesn't it look divine?!  Recipe here: Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Butternut Squash

Photo by Joanne Bruno of Eats Well With Others

14 November 2012

Running: Post-Plateau

Whew!  Not only did I survive last night's run but it really felt good.  Stretching before and after made a huge difference and I think instead of sticking to the C25K program to the letter, R. and I have decided it's more important to just keeping running, keep running longer, and keep improving our stamina.  If it takes us a little while longer, so be it.  Our goal was to become more healthy and fit, first and foremost, with the 5K giving us a tangible goal to keep us motivated.

Today is the first day in over a week that I don't feel sore or disillusioned about running in general.  I feel like I've overcome a hurdle and will be in good form for Thursday evening's run with R.!

In other news, don't weigh yourself after you just ate a big sandwich for lunch (even if it was only rye bread, mustard, pickles & veggies).  It's disheartening, to say the least.

13 November 2012

On the Brighter Side

Something I try to refrain from doing is going back and reading past posts (especially recent ones).  I tend to get a little extreme with over-editing and seeking unattainable perfection with my writing.  So instead, I've made a habit of writing as my thoughts and the words flow, doing a quick proofread and then flinging the words out into the world.

However... upon second glance, my last post (as much as I tried to still maintain a degree of hopefulness) sounds somewhat depressive.

To counterbalance that tone, I'd like to share some recent wholly positive recent developments.

Today for breakfast (and lunch!) I had two pieces of Magpie's "Mikey's" Lite-R pizza on a whole wheat crust with olive oil & garlic for sauce.  Each slice is only 172 calories and 4 grams of fat.  SERIOUSLY!

Yesterday I got another space heater (dogs count as space heaters when they are over 50 lbs., right?), which helps me gather a bit more courage to get out of bed in the morning.  Tile and wood laminate floors are COLD.  I really need to buy some slippers.  Preferably dust/dirt coloured ones that won't show the ever-present dust/dirt that results from: (a) living in a desert & (b) having very active dogs.

British Invasion Duchess of Pearl Princess Grey Black Tea by local Tucson tea purveyor Ausperitea has changed my life and has ruined most other tea blends for me, forevermore.  A traditional Earl Grey with the addition of lavender and rose buds/petals.  Faintly citrus and delightfully floral on a classic base of black tea.  Absolutely sublime.

Thanksgiving is a little over a week away and I still haven't sorted out what I'm going to be making/baking/what-have-you.  I can't let S. have all the fun!  One thing is for certain... I am going to be baking a "naked apple pie."  (As seen on the Snack Girl blog.)  Or maybe it will be a naked pear pie.  Either way, I'm baking a pie and it will be naked.  ...and yes, I am going to snicker about the pie's lack of attire.  Since I don't have any biological family in Tucson, the holiday will be spent with my friends-who-are-my-family.  Hooray!

I am almost done reading Michael Pollan's well-known literary pillar of food ethics, "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and can dig back into "Empires of Light" by Jill Jonnes (which is about Tesla, Westinghouse, and that jerk Edison).

Not-So-Cool Running

To be frank: the past week (Week Five) of C25K was the absolute worst.  I don't know if I've hit a sort of "running plateau" or if I'm progressing faster than my body can manage.  Every day the times increased, which was without question a challenge.  The first two days I completed the regimens (barely) and while I felt mentally happy to "finish" them, I felt physically awful and so sore that I've given up biking, walking the dogs, etc. because on running days I am too exhausted to do either and on rest days I am too sore to want to exert myself, knowing that I'll have a brutal run the following day and I want to be as ready/rested as possible.

I know part of my inability to finish the 20 minute run last weekend was because I didn't have enough fore-warning to use my inhaler in time, I felt rushed and didn't take the time to stretch beforehand, and it was MUCH colder than I'd anticipated.  I ran the first ten agonizing minutes, then stopped to stretch for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute, then run for another 6 before I started feeling dizzy and asthmatic.

Truthfully, I do hope that last week was just an exceptionally hard week (I was getting over a cold, at the time) and that this week I finally feel "good" running again.  If not... I'm not sure that I want to risk injury but stubbornly pushing myself to finish the program (or at least finish it on time... stretching it out and using it as a guideline doesn't sound too awful).  I know that if I choose to run less often and increase my times more slowly that R. will be deeply disappointed.  I love running with her and I am so proud that we've come this far together, but at some point I have to balance the physical toll on my body with letting down one of my dearest friends.

I really, really hope that this week is a better one.

Today is only 8 min./5 min./8 min. with 3 min. rests in between.  After Sunday's disappointing run, this sounds a lot more pleasant... I hope I'm right!

08 November 2012

The Looming Gloom

5pm, outside my office.  :(

Tonight is Week Five/Day Two of C25K, which I am actually pretty excited about!  Aside from the weather and the fact that I packed a tank top to run in (and will probably freeze the first mile or so) tonight.  Ugh.

There is supposed to be a silver lining, right?  I'm looking...

In other news, my laptop screen is fried which means no viable internet at home aside from my not-that-smart-phone.  It should still be under warranty; I hope I can find the paperwork tonight (I got it right before I moved... which makes the chance of successfully locating it somewhat grim).

Before you think this really is a gloomy post, I have some good news to share!

My dog Lola Lulu starting writing her blog again!  I know, I know... ...I didn't even know she could spell!  But there you have it.  You can check it out here.

Well.... off I go, to run in the rain and hopefully not get shin splints or slip and fall on my ass in front of rush hour traffic.

Ciao!


'Tis the Season!

Now that Halloween has passed, it is finally time to gear up for my favourite holiday of all: Christmas!

Yes, I am aware that I'm skipping right past Thanksgiving but honestly I don't see much point in that holiday (other than the four day weekend and cooking/eating with my close friends).  I practice gratitude and mindfulness daily.  Shouldn't we take a moment, each day, to be thankful for the people, places, and dogs who enrich our lives?  Anyhow, Thanksgiving is pretty much just a potluck with friends and wine.

But Christmas?  I love Christmas.  The music, the decorations, the cooking and baking, the time spent with loved ones, and the whole festive spirit in general.  Yes, I celebrate Christmas in an entirely secular manner... but I don't love it any less for that.  This year I am excited to buy a second tree; my current tree is a silver one about two feet tall.  Last year the small tree was ideal to display on a table top, out of Gatsby & Lola's reach (in theory).  Aside from Lola repeatedly stealing the abalone shells I had put beneath the tree (they looked so pretty with the blue twinkle lights!) and chewing on them, the GSPs left the tree alone.

So... this year I will be getting a five or six foot tall artificial tree.  I have not yet decided if I will choose a matching silver tree or a contrasting green one.  This will be a serious test of the dogs willpower vs. curiosity vs. petty thievery.  Will they eat the tree?  Steal tinsel and/or ornaments?  Poke themselves in the eye on a branch?  I guess we'll find out!

Each year I buy myself an ornament to add to my collection.  Who says a single lady can't start her own holiday traditions?  This year, after scouring the internet for days, I found the perfect ornament for this year:


As many of you know, I lost my beloved English pointer "Lemons" to aggressive cancer (hemangiosarcoma) last month.  When I saw this ornament, I knew it was the one.  The profile looks so much like his and the craftsmanship is remarkable.  It will be bittersweet to hang this ornament high upon the tree.  I can think of no better tribute to one of the sweetest, most loving dogs I've ever met.

I had hoped he would live until the new year, but at least this way we can remember him the way he was before he really became sick: regal, stoic, gentle, warm, and so loved by everyone he met.

RIP Jack Lemon, aka "Lemons"
2002 - October 17th, 2012

07 November 2012

I Think I'm Hooked!

I just realized that I haven't written much about my journey from woman-trying-to-awkwardly-run to eventual-actual-runner.

Yesterday I ran Week Five/Day One of C25K which entailed three sets of five minute runs, with three minute rest periods in between.  As usual, the first day of a new week strikes fear into my heart when I check the training schedule.  The ramped up running times and rapidly diminishing rest/walking intermissions always seem like too much too soon.

However... yesterday wasn't nearly as rough as I imagined it would be.  While there are definitely days that I enjoy running more than others (and some days I don't want to do it at all), yesterday felt GREAT.  Absolutely great.  There have been only a couple of times since R. and I started C25K that I have so thoroughly enjoyed a run and enjoyed running in general.  I felt so happy and invigorated afterward.  It made last week's miserably toilsome run through Starr Pass worth it, just to get to this point (and to forge ahead!).  I can hardly believe we are over halfway to running a 5k!

Today is a rest day; my idea of "rest" is a 3 mile brisk bike ride to and from work.  Tomorrow and Saturday will finish up Week Five; Sunday is Zumba (which I am trying for the first time... I was too apprehensive to try it when we began running because I didn't think I had the stamina and has horrible visions of myself running out of class then crying outside the dance studio).  Then back to our usual Mon/Wed/Fri or Sat running schedule.  Only four more weeks!  WOW!  6 weeks til our first 5k and 8 weeks to our second!

Even though I should be resting today... I'm so tempted to take Gatsby out for a jog.  Maybe just a short one?  Before bedtime?  We shall see...


Daily Gratitude - 7 November, 2012

#1 - Today, I am happy to be an American.  We're an imperfect country, but we're moving in the right direction!

#2 - An apple empanada is a thing of beauty.  (Even if it isn't pumpkin as I'd hoped...)

#3 - I rode my bike to work in only 18 minutes!  (My fastest time ever!)

#4 - Porter and Gatsby are now playing!  He is the 3rd dog Gatsby has ever played with in the year or so I've had him.  He greets dogs politely, then ignores them & displays no interest in interacting.  Normally he only plays with Lola and if Lola is inside with me, Gatsby is outside digging holes in the yard.  He hasn't dug holes for a few days now!  (I can tell, because I recently filled them all in with a shovel.)

#5 - Also in Porter-related news, he slept in bed with Gatsby and me last night (his first night not sleeping in his crate) and was very good!  No "accidents" in the house and he slept through most of the night except for a few coughing fits (he still has kennel cough).
Gatsby & Porter

06 November 2012

Four Things I Love

#1 - My dogs

#2 - Beer

#3 - Mysteries

#4 - Politics

I swore that I was not going to watch the election coverage.  I was going to run with R. after work, then go home and relax with my dogs and perhaps have a beer or two.  All of these things are true and did happen.

Yet somehow, I found myself on Huffington Post's result page and hitting refresh about every 30 seconds.  The suspense is too delicious!  I remember the first time Obama was elected.  I lived in Chicago (on Broadway, in Uptown) and spent the night chain-smoking decadent rose infused cigarettes from Marshall & McGearty's.  Drinking to much wine, pacing around my loft, and kicking myself that I'd declined to go down to Grant Park (my friend has an extra ticket!) because the wait for the El or cabs afterward would be extreme.  (I'm kicking myself now, just thinking about the opportunity I passed up for such a silly reason!)  I remember the wave of joy that electrified a city that has stayed up late to await the results when the final announcement was made.

People, myself included, ran into the streets.  Crying, clapping our hands, yelling in joy, hugging neighbours we'd never met... I've never experienced anything like it.  Even the next day, taking the El downtown... the city felt different and surreal, like I'd woken up in a parallel city.

I wonder what tonight's results with have on my current city and on my country itself...


05 November 2012

Life Lessons From the Desert

#1 - When you have multiple dogs (and a yard that is devoid of grass or any plant life) a post-monsoon muddy yard (complete with muddy paw prints through out the house) are MUCH more preferable than the ever-present dust which seems to coat everything immediately after sweeping, mopping, dusting, and otherwise cleaning.  In summary: my yard is a dust bowl.  :(

#2 - If you have dry skin expect to use twice as much facial moisturizer and body lotion.

#3 - You might think that someone will seasonal plant-related allergies would find life in a desert less histamine inducing.  You would be very, very wrong.

#4 - The daytime high temperatures and the nighttime low temperatures can easily (and often are) be 40 degrees apart.  Shivering and bundled up in blankets with dogs as space heaters at midnight?  Check.  Tank tops, flip flops, and sweating after walking two blocks at midday?  Check.

#5 - Living in the city and seeing coyotes on a regular basis are not mutually exclusive.  Thankfully my dogs are larger than coyotes and seem pretty battle-ready if need be (although I sincerely hope that never happens).


02 November 2012

I Think I May Be In Love...

Just look at that face!

He is the newest rescue dog in the Arizona Bird Dog Rescue family.  For anyone who may be a new reader (hello and thank you!), I am the president and founder of Arizona Bird Dog Rescue which is a non-profit dog rescue whose dedicated volunteers, fosters, and transporters rescue homeless, sick, and needy German shorthaired pointers, English pointers, and English setters across Arizona and the Southwest.  As of tomorrow we've rescued 39 dogs since the rescue was founded on November 5th of 2011.

We've named him Porter, after the dark beer (which is one of my favourites).  He is beyond sweet and has a lovely temperament.  Tomorrow morning he will be meeting his potential foster family (who may adopt him if he gets along well with their female GSP) tomorrow morning.  Fingers crossed that the dogs get along and he heads down to Sonoita to fatten up so we can get him neutered, micro-chipped, and then find the family he belongs with.  

If so, I'll be heading to the pound to rescue another skinny, sweet GSP boy who I had tried to take into the rescue last February when the current owner stopped cooperating with us.  Today he showed up at our local animal control and the owner said he was "aggressive" which means immediate euthanization.  I volunteered at the Pima county shelter for over a year and everyone there knows me.  A good friend and employee called me at work, let me know the situation, and I was able to put a temporary hold on his euthanization until Monday morning.  Tomorrow afternoon I'll be heading down to the shelter to evaluate his temperament and most likely will be taking him home right then & there.

01 November 2012

A Coming Out, of Sorts

Recently I have written about my diagnosis of exercise induced (and allergy aggravated) asthma, which I am still learning to manage in conjunction with my fitness journey.

However, the medical diagnosis which has most affected every facet of my life and which I have never spoken or written about publicly is Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder.  I was first diagnosed around 15 years ago and struggled with it for many years afterward.  I have been re-diagnosed twice since then, most recently by my current psychiatrist (whom I only told I had "depression" but who properly diagnosed me anyway).

It's taken years for me to feel comfortable enough to write about my experiences, past and present, and in what ways my coping (and often lack thereof) have shaped my life.  I am currently on medication and along with meditation, healthy eating, avoiding excess of alcohol/caffeine (which I'm not always successful at...), and making exercise & physical fitness a priority, I am managing my Bipolar Disorder better than I ever have in my life.

Through my writing I hope to paint a different picture of what most people think of when they hear the words "Bipolar Disorder."  I don't feel like the stigma associated with mental illness is as pervasive as it once was, but it still persists.  I've been dumped by a boyfriend simply because I admitted to him that I have it; even though no incident had happened, he feared what "might happen" or what I "might do" someday.  And that was enough to send him packing.

If you would like to read more about what Bipolar Disorder really entails and about the various types, please read NIMH's page.  It's an excellent and detailed resource on the topic.

My name is Garnet Scarabin and I am a writer, a dog rescuer, an excellent cook, a vintage culture aficionado, a soon-to-be runner, a good friend, I hold down a good job, and I have Bipolar Disorder.

(I'm also lactose intolerant, but that's a lot less sensational.)

Smooth Sailing!

On Monday I was terrified of beginning Week Four in C25K.  I had skipped a day of training the week before and spent half the weekend recovering from a killer hangover (one of the many reasons I almost never go "out" on a Friday night).

But you know what?  WE DID IT.  The running parts doubled in time, the walking in-between parts decreased, and not only did we do it but we did two laps of our downtown course (two weeks ago we were doing one lap in 20 minutes) in 25-30 minutes if you count a few minutes of walking to cool down afterward.

Yesterday I biked a total of 10.5-11 miles, back and forth to work, the doctor's office (more about that later...), and the grocery store.  Not only was I not exhausted, but when I got home from the store at the end of the day... I felt tempted to go bike a couple more miles!  Crazy!! 

This week has marked a significant turning point in how I view and I how I feel about exercise.  Other than yoga, hiking, and dancing... I can't say that I've EVER enjoyed physical exercise.  I used to joke that the only time I'd run was if I was being chased.

I think those days are over.  I can definitely see how people can become addicted to running or biking!

Tonight I have another doctor's appointment (more later... yadda yadda...) and will be running Day Two of Week Four with Gatsby.  Friday night I'll be having another German shorthaired pointer boy stay over and he'll be meeting his potential foster family on Saturday morning.  Later that day R. and I will conclude Week Four; on Sunday we'll be doing the Scavenger Dash which is part race, part scavenger hunt, and part adventure with clues and puzzles to solve along the way.  Fun, right?  Exercise AND mystery solving.  What could be more up my alley than this?

29 October 2012

Weekend Roundup! 10/27-10/28

The past weekend, like every weekend in October, was a flurry of activity and I wasn't home nearly as much as I'd have liked to be (I have numerous unfinished/unstarted around-the-house projects).  Saturday's test screening of "Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent" went really well; I have no idea how many people attended, but the turn out seemed good.  The previous night several of us took the film's producer out on the town (dinner, drinks, and silliness...), which was supremely fun especially since most of us are homebodies and Friday nights are generally much more low key.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of Saturday (post-screening) napping and recovering.

My cellphone was dead the entire weekend, which was a mixed blessing.  I have to say... it was pretty relaxing!  Thankfully I can make phone calls via Google from my laptop, so I was able to make plans with R. on Sunday for lunch and shopping... as well as order a veggie pizza from Magpie's on Saturday because I was too exhausted to cook.  The dogs may or may not have had a piece of pizza each...  (I picked off the onions for them.)

I scored some great buy's at Betty Blue's Junk Shop on Sunday.  A pale ice blue Glasbake dish with lid for only $9, a nice small/medium sized Federal glass bowl, three vintage/repro skirts for work, a vintage sweater clip with mink "powder puffs" (not sure how else to describe them...), and a vintage plastic & brass floral brooch with rhinestone accents.  I also won an eBay auction on Sunday for a really cute aqua & white cotton gingham 1950s day dress.  It's missing a few buttons, but cards of vintage buttons are easy to find on Etsy & eBay.

Tonight I am running Day One/Week Four of C25K and am feeling woefully unprepared.  I only ran two days last week and the first day of a new week is always the most daunting.  I will probably be running at a slower pace during the running portions, but I am determined to complete this step and continue on.  And not keel over from an asthma attack, hopefully!  Wish me luck!

Update: I just read the regimen for Week Four and I am pretty sure it is going to almost kill me.  My anxiety just went through the roof...

26 October 2012

On Being Astounded

A sentiment that I often hear in my work in dog rescue is that it is so shocking what people can do to an animal:  starving them, physically abusing them, dumping them in the middle of nowhere to die, etc.

But what I find so inspiring is how so many people are willing to extend their hearts, homes, time, and efforts to a suffering animal.  I have to believe the good people outnumber the cruel and careless; every day I see that truth illustrated.  For every one animal that needs help, there are dozens of people willing to do whatever is in their capacity to do, to help.  Help them find a home, a save haven, someone willing to take them into their homes and care for them until they can find a home of their own.  It's a big deal to welcome a strange animal into your home and family.

So often I feel overwhelmed and consider giving up; not on life, but on continuing my work in rescuing dogs.  It's endless, it's so emotionally draining, and it feels thankless so much of the time.  No one gives you accolades for cleaning up other people's "messes."  But at the end of the day, the week, and the month... I am so glad to be doing what I do.  I see compassion working firsthand.  I see dogs that others thought were hopeless or doomed grow into amazing and well balanced companions.  I see other people's trash become treasured family members.

It's hard, it's unrelenting, but I could not imagine my life apart from these dogs.


23 October 2012

Daily Gratitude - 23 October, 2012

I haven't done a posting of five things I am grateful for right now in quite a while... so it's about time to put it down in writing instead of musing to myself throughout the day.  I find it beneficial to take a moment to stop, reflect, and recognize time simple things we have to be thankful for each and every day.

#1 - I am learning to control my newly diagnosed asthma and still continue my fitness journey alongside my dearest darling friend R.  :)

#2 - I am back to cooking more of my meals from scratch (which is such a stress-reducer for me!) and am not eating emotionally/compulsively.  Getting weighed at the doctor's office last Friday was a real eye-opener; it makes me even more determined to take control of my eating and exercising habits.

#3 - Since Lemons passing, my home has had a new sense of calm that I did not expect.  My friends who have visited in the past few days have all remarked upon it.  I had not realized how much stress his being sick had put on Lola Lulu and Gatsby.  I know it was hard on me, but seeing them visibly happier and more relaxed is proving to be a much-needed succor while I am still grieving the loss of Lemons from our lives.

#4 - My favourite mid-morning snack (I tend to eat a light breakfast around 6:30am and my lunch hour doesn't begin until 11:30am) is Yoplait fat free Greek yogurt, honey vanilla flavour.  It's only 100 calories, 0g fat, 8g protein, only 12g sugar, and 80mg sodium!  The coconut (which contains actual flakes of coconut!) is delicious as well, but I ate it so frequently that I'm a little burned out on it for time being.  I believe it is also available in blueberry and strawberry.

#5 - Every day I am more and more thankful that I have such an amazing, compassionate, and thoroughly enriching group of friends, who have over the approximately two years I have lived in Tucson become my family.  I love you all!

Catching Up

So many things have happened during the past week or so, that I haven't had the time or the energy to put my experiences into writing.  Some things I am not completely ready to talk about, yet.

Last Wednesday, October 17th, I lost my beloved 10 year old English pointer Jack Lemon (fondly referred to as simply "Lemons").  I chose to adopt him last June knowing that he had terminal hemangiosarcoma and there was no way of knowing how much or how little time he had left.

 Two weeks ago I began the Couch to 5K training program with my friend R.  The first time I ran, I had an extremely difficult time breathing afterward.  For several hours.  I chalked it up to being woefully out of shape.  I had two other severe reactions post-run, where I could not take a full breath without wheezing for hours and usually woke up coughing still the next morning.  I made a doctor's appointment to be checked out for asthma on the 31st, but last Friday after three days of shortness of breath and feeling like my chest was being internally crushed (and bruised) I missed work to go to an urgent care center. 

I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma that was further complicated by my allergies.  Basically when I ran, my lungs opened up more fully, taking in more pollen and causing a severe histamine reaction on top of the asthmatic inflammation and bronchial spasms.  I'm on three more medications now (for a grand total of four, more about that later...).  So far, so good on this regimen.  I finished Day Three of Week Two after a six day lay off.  Between losing Lemons and the doctor's two days mandatory rest from physical exertion, I felt pretty rusty last night, but I did it anyway which felt great.

Today I biked the three miles to work and will bike home stopping about halfway to go to the bank.  I used my inhaler before and after the morning's ride, but I feel okay and only have coughed a little bit.  I made a point of giving myself ample time to get to work so I wouldn't have to rush.  It took a little longer than usual, but to me it's not a race.  As long as I get to work on time and physically feel good, that's what is most important.

Last Saturday was the first big event for my non-profit dog rescue, Arizona Bird Dog Rescue.  You can read more about it here.  There are quite a few more photos on our Facebook page, which you can find by clicking the big chocolate coloured dog logo on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Next Saturday is another big dog-related event here in Tucson: the special test screening of the unreleased documentary "Guilty 'Til Proven Innocent" which we will be attending to show our support of the film and both my own & my rescue's opposition to breed specific legislation (aka, BSL).  You can read more about the invitation only event and my stance on BSL on my rescue blog here.

16 October 2012

C25K - Day Two/Week Two!

Whew!  Done!  I had to use Google Maps to calculate the distance I ran/walked in 21 minutes... 1.5 miles!  Which equals a 14 minute mile.  I'm not sure how far R. and I ran on our first day training, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't have traveled a mile in 14 minutes on my own to feet at that point.

The best part is that Gatsby is a GREAT running partner!  Well, aside from wanting to stop to lift his leg every minute or two.  Gotta love boy dogs.  Granted, Gats power-walked while I jogged, but he was still very easy for me to walk and jog with tonight.  What a relief after the bad run I had with Lola on Sunday!

Overall I am proud of myself for going out and completing today's regimen.  Better late than never, right?  I still miss running with R., though.  Gatsby was really fun to work out with and I will definitely continue jogging with him, but he's not much of a conversationalist and his own encouragement is a sideways grin over his shoulder every so often.

Again, I am experiencing my chest feeling constricted and I keep coughing.  If I try to take a deep breath, I only wheeze and then can't stop coughing spasmodically... I think I really do need to make a doctor's appointment.  Pretty sure this is another possible asthma attack.

Running Melodrama

Completing Day Three and Week One felt like a justified reason for celebration... the hardest part of the journey was over, right?  That's what I thought last Friday after running with R. downtown and enjoying amazing drinks & food at Elliott's afterward.

Saturday wasn't truly an "off day" since I clocked 3 miles walking (with Gatsby, to the Farmer's market and then home) and 3 more miles biking (downtown to meet R. & D. at Tucson Meet Yourself).

Sunday was hot (almost 90 F), sunny, and I really was not feeling it but R. bullied/charmed/convinced me to get my butt out of the house.  I suggested bringing Lola Lulu with us since I had run with her in the past and that seemed to really help her fearful reactivity in public. The run started off with my shins aching and I felt pretty rusty.  Lola was also not on her best walking behavior and I was getting tired a lot more quickly by trying to keep her focused and not underfoot.  It wasn't the best workout we've had but I was finally starting to find my groove when a guy standing behind a car startled Lola, who bolted and ran across my path tripping me.  I went down hard and landed on my right knee (which I had scraped open the night before after laying my bike down by taking the turn into my driveway too sharply).  Ouch.  Big time.  We only had 30 more seconds of jogging to do, so after walking a block or so (and having rolled my capris up over my knees so they didn't rub on my wounds)... we finished our run, damnit!  In fact, we ran an extra 30 seconds just to do it.  Then we walked back to my house so I could clean and dress my knees.

We agreed to take Monday off so my knee could heal a little, but R. did Day Two/Week Two by herself.  Today I was horrifically hung over after an unplanned extended cocktail hour (with excellent live jazz) at Elliott's, so I chose not to run after work (even though the constant threat of vomiting had been replaced by a splitting headache).  So again, R. did it without me and furthermore accused me of giving up.  Which isn't remotely true.  The real slap in the face was the bragging on Facebook that she'd completed Week Two (even though she didn't follow the C25K program and did it in all in three days with no rests).

I no longer feel like I have a partner on this journey and that really sucks.  

There is a reason the program is designed to run one day then rest a day (even though on "off" days I still bike, walk the dogs, do yoga, etc. but the point is that I do different forms of exercise).  Running everyday for three days straight then not running for 3 or 4 days doesn't work for me.  Firstly, I inherited some less-than-ideal knees from my grandmother and am trying to strengthen them gradually so that I don't have the painful knee problems she has experienced later in life.  I also had shin splints about 3 months ago and am not eager to repeat that any time soon.  Thirdly, I think I may have had two post-run asthma attacks since we started.  Day One I didn't think anything of it... I'm pretty out of shape, so a tight chest and shortness of breath was to be expected.  However, it lasted for several hours and I was raspy & unable to take a full breath for the duration.  I've never had asthma in the past, so I'm not sure what an asthma attack feels like, but the second time it happened after what felt like a fairly easy workout and again lasted for a few hours until I could breathe normally again. So yes, I am a "wuss" who would like to alternate running days with more low-impact, less strenuous exercise until I get a bit more fit (for the sake of my knees and shins) and get in to see a doctor about the painful chest tightening & inability to breath normally post-workout.

The real reason I feel angry is that I feel hurt that R. is doing it without me and completing the work outs faster than I am.  I know it's not a competition, but I still feel left behind in the dust like a loser. She started a day before me to begin with and re-did Day One so that we could start C25K together.

My new sports watch (with stopwatch feature) will arrive on Thursday, but for tonight I have a downloaded stopwatch app on my not-so-smart-phone.

Now that my hangover has mostly worn off, I'm going to try taking Gatsby out with me to complete Day Two of Week Two.  Wish us luck!

11 October 2012

Reflecting on Day Two of C25K, the Day After

I had every intention of blogging about my experience with Day Two of C25K, but honestly it was pretty anticlimactic.  It was remarkably painless and dare I say it... easy?  So easy, in fact, that R. and I are going to do Day Three TODAY instead of skipping a day.  Then to celebrate working out for two weeks straight and finishing Week One of C25K, we're celebrating after our downtown run at Elliott's On Congress.

While it may not warrant the title of this post, I did (and still do) find it astonishing how quickly my body is getting used to this level of activity (which I know is modest) and yesterday I actually felt as if I'd found a sort of coordinated rhythm instead of my accustomed "I-am-not-a-runner" awkwardly lurching gait.  Did I posses latent athleticism underneath my chubby exterior??

I'll try to be a little more interesting and introspective later... today my head feels like it's been stuffed with wool and my allergies are going absolutely ballistic despite medication.  I am leaving work early today for a doctor's appointment (more about that, later) and then heading home before meeting R. downtown for Day Three.

Tootle-loo!  (Is that how that is even spelled?  I have no idea.)

08 October 2012

Couch To 5K - Day One!

You know the trite but true saying, "today is the first day of the rest of your life?"  I don't think I have ever felt that idiom as viscerally as I do right now.  From my rasping lungs to my only somewhat aching muscles (it's amazing how that extra time walking afterward helped my poor burning shins calm down to a dull warm throb and then to almost nothing).

The best part is the sense of accomplishment I feel for having done it.  Correction: for R. making me finish it instead of wussing out and just walking the last 60 second long jogging period.  I jogged it, I 100% did it, and yes I am proud of myself.

The second best part was during the first 60 second jog when R. said, "I need a sports bra for the booty," and I almost tripped from laughing so hard.  I couldn't get that sentiment out of my head every time we jogged and various parts of my anatomy bounced violently.

Guess what?  We're going to do it again on Wednesday!  Tomorrow I will stick to walking the dogs a couple miles paired with yoga.

That's all I have to report.  I survived and I'm going to do it again.

Over and out!

(I don't know why I said that, post-exercise delirium probably.)


Weekend Roundup - October 6th & 7th, 2012

"Weekend Roundup"  ...I like that!  It reminds me of the Wild West, which is where I live.  Although perhaps "wild" doesn't need to be capitalized anymore.  People don't rob banks, steal horses, and pin stars on their chests then shoot people in the streets in broad daylight anymore... or at least not most of the time.

"Roundup" also makes me think of Monsanto, but we won't even go there...  it's too impolite a topic and this is a happy post!

Last weekend was one of the best I have had since moving to Tucson after flipping a coin.  (I think I won that toss!)

Saturday morning my dear friend S. brought over my niece-dog Laney Lou and we (me and Lola Lulu) went for a nice walk around the U of A campus and mall.  Lola even walked past a marching band (playing a slow tune or warming up or something) and didn't completely freak out.  We stopped a couple of times to take photos and give Lola a chance to relax.  All the strangers, bicycles, and especially skateboards frighten her, but by the end of the walk she was doing pretty well and once we got home she got to run around in the yard with Laney and the boys (Gatsby & Lemons).

Laney Lou & Lola Lulu!

Later that morning my friend A. and I headed up into the Santa Catalina Mountains to take Jack Lemon (aka, "Lemons") hiking on Mt. Lemmon.  We ended up doing about 2 miles on the Marshall Gulch trail and the weather was sunny, brisk, and utterly perfect.  Lemons had a blast playing in the creek, smelling and pointing things, and he napped hard on the hour-long trip back home.  I may or may not have bought half a pound of fudge... but if I did, it would have been half traditional chocolate and half maple nut.  (It was delicious and reminded me of childhood vacations in northern Michigan where a lot of historic, touristy towns have confectionery shops.)  For those who may not know Jack Lemon's story, he is an almost 10 year old English pointer that I adopted last June knowing that he has terminal cancer (hemangiosarcoma) with an unknown expiration date.  He is just about the sweetest creature on four legs and everyone who meets him falls instantly in love with his gentle nature.  I make a point to take him places and make sure he has fun for however long he has left.

LOVING the creek that ran alongside the trail!

Me & Lemons (toward the end of the hike; he was getting tired). <3

04 October 2012

Life?

I really have no idea what to title this post, so hopefully some idea forms by the time I finish writing it...

Today marks exactly three months until my 30th birthday. 

Perhaps surprisingly, I am looking forward to this birthday far more than I traditionally would (I usually don't look forward to my birthday at all).  To me, 30 is more than a three decade milestone or the end of my 20s (which weren't particularly peachy, for the most part).  I've spent so many years moving around the country, going from major to major in college (never finishing any of my partial degrees), job to job, and always trying to "Start Over" or "Start Fresh."  I think the fact that this was an almost compulsive reaction to any real or perceived failure illustrates the fact that I never did anything more than turn a page in the same chapter I was already in.

Moving to Tucson on a whim in June of 2010 was yet another attempt to begin a new life in a new and unfamiliar city.  In some ways, I have repeated old patterns (such as not coping with my clinical depression, but that's another topic for another day) but looking back I also tried new things which although begun halfheartedly (and for the wrong reasons), have changed the entire course and fabric of my life.  Yes, I know how vague that sounds.  Allow me to elaborate.

One day, a couple of months after I moved to Tucson (knowing only one person and having a falling out with them shortly after I arrived), the loneliness of not having my two cats (they couldn't fly into Arizona in the summer due to temperature restrictions at the airports) became unbearable and I spent a few days scrolling through the "Pets" section on Craigslist.  What started out as a search for "free kitten" ads (to fill the gap of my own cats) culminated in my calling the local shelter to inquire about adopting a red purebred Chow Chow (crazy, I know!!) named Sylvia.  She had already been adopted.  So I continued to read ads and noticed how so many of them were seeking foster homes for needy dogs.  I grew up with both dogs and cats; the only reason I had never owned a dog as an adult was because I wanted the freedom to be able to move whenever/wherever I wanted to.  Cats were easy and small to travel with; my cats have probably flown cross-country more times than most people.  Feeling lonely and not used to living in a pet-less home combined with the "well fostering a dog is only temporary!" gave me the courage to respond to an ad.

Twenty minutes later the rescue group replied and the next afternoon I had a 6 month old German shepherd mix puppy named Ruby.

Fast forward two years and I've fostered over 20 dogs, adopted two, and started my own non-profit dog rescue dedicated to the breeds I fell in love with (namely, pointing breeds).  A long-time apartment dweller, I now live in a small one bedroom house with a yard and room for my dogs to run & play.  I've never been a very athletic person (in fact, I rather loathe exercise!), but now I am working out everyday with my friend R. and we're going to run a 5K in January!  I own a bicycle and a pair of running shoes (two things I have never owned as an adult).  I even use them sometimes.  (ha)

I also use parentheses to an extreme degree.  I don't apologize for it, either.

A quote that I always used to think about with some degree of irony is, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon)

I have always been someone who spent more time daydreaming about what I want my life to be like, who I want to become, and that type of farsightedness has prevented me from really understanding and even more importantly, appreciating, who I am right now.

I'm not the 30s or 40s housewife that I daydream about being... I'm not the owner of a bed & breakfast with a huge garden, who brews her own beer and keeps bees... I'm not an expatriate writer in the south of France or the mountains of Nepal.  I'm not the slimmer, more fit, or more whatever person that I hope to become someday.

I'm a 29 year old woman with two amazing rescue dogs, a job with people I genuinely like, a small house that almost feels like a home, and I never have enough free time.  I have the most amazingly supportive and wonderful group of friends, both near and far.  And I'm training to run the first 5K of my life.

Maybe it's not grandiose, but it's good.

P.S.  I still don't know what to title this post.  Oh, well!

 


03 October 2012

Daily Gratitude - 3 October, 2012

#1 - My amazing taking an early bus/getting bagels/cab ride/getting to work early adventure this morning was a success!

#2 - Today is Day Three of me and R. being exercise buddies (...bullies, as necessary!) and after work we are either going to the YMCA gym or starting Day One of the Couch to 5K program.  (Yes I mentioned this before, did two days, and lost motivation... but this time I will stick with it!)  This is the most exciting change in my life right now and I'm so happy to be doing it with my dearest friend.

#3 - Last night R. and I took all three dogs for a walk and guess who was the best walker?  Lemons!

#4 - A free pumpernickel bagel (with hummus) for breakfast is never a bad thing.

#5 - I woke up feeling rested and ready to tackle the day.  So far, tasks are being tackled left and right!


21 September 2012

Daily Gratitude - 21 September 2012

#1 - It's Friday (and only half an hour until I'm done with my work week!)!

#2 - Going to Barrio Brewery after work with my co-workers.  I work with awesome people!  :)

#3 - This weekend is Painting Weekend!  (I'm serious, this time......)

#4 - I ate only healthy meals and snacks today!  No junk (even though there is a lot of temptation at work...).

#5 - The jewelry I wore today was absolutely hilarious... but only one person "got it."  :(

Here it is (please excuse and/or enjoy my cleavage):
BIRD!

19 September 2012

Daily Gratitude - 19 September, 2012

#1 - I do not have a hangover today!

#2 - I had a free onion bagel with hummus for breakfast.  I love my workplace!

#3 - We may have found a new foster home for Rusty! *fingers crossed*

#4 - I am ordering a free sandwich for lunch!  (Have I mentioned that I love my place of employment?)

#5 - The weather is bright and sunny, but not too hot!

10 September 2012

Daily Gratitude - 10 September, 2012

#1 - I got a free sandwich for lunch today!  Veggie sandwich from Baggin's with no cheese and extra pickles.  Yum!

#2 - I found green tea + blueberry in my desk at work (I thought I was out!).  Enjoying a cup now.

#3 - Today is Meatless Monday and (hopefully) I can convince a friend to come over and enjoy a meat-free dinner!  Now the hard part... what to make?

#4 - The weather is BEAUTIFUL in southern Arizona today!  It's going to be high 80s to low 90s all week... we're sloooooowly cooling down here in the desert.  :)

#5 - Today has been a nonstop busy day at work which means the day is going by quickly.  I can't wait to get home, cook dinner, get some rescue work done, and then relax with my dogs.

05 September 2012

Daily Gratitude - 5 September, 2012

#1 - My 90 day review which was postponed until next week has been move up to tomorrow! :)

#2 - I had a pumpernickel bagel with hummus for breakfast.  Yum!

#3 - Lots of exciting stuff happening at work in the next few weeks!

#4 - The vintage Nancy Drew cookbook I won on eBay arrived and it's AMAZING. Can't wait to share some of the bizarre recipes here!

#5 - ...and the very best of all: Today marks one year since I picked up a depressed, shut down, and antisocial German shorthaired pointer from the boarding kennel where he had lived for two months.  That dog has changed so much over the past year... yes, I'm talking about my GATSBY!

04 September 2012

Sandwich School!

Want to learn about sandwiches from around the world?  Serious Eats put together a really neat slideshow.  There is even a sandwich called the Gatsby from South Africa!  (It sounds kind of gross, though...)

Check it out here.

Daily Gratitude - 4 September 2012

#1 - The peaches in my fridge are perfectly ripe!

#2 - I had a nice, quiet weekend.  Just what I needed to recharge.

#3 - Today is my 3 month review at work!  Excited/nervous/confident.

#4 - I finally ponied up and joined Netflix.  See you guys sometime next year!  (haha)

#5 - The weather today is nice and cool!  It's under 80 right now!  The projected weather for the rest of the week is rainy and under 100 degrees.  Very nice!

27 August 2012

Weekend Roundup & Daily Gratitude - 27 August 2012

Let's begin with the fun stuff... last weekend was one of the most enjoyable weekends I have experienced in recent memory (granted, my memory is shoddy at best on most days... but still!).

I got most of my gardening and yard work projects done!  The yard is raked, the holes have been filled, and the fence has been mostly repaired aside from the one foot gap between my yard and the fellow next door (which I require more fencing materials to complete).  I re-potted my Japanese privet and realized I should have bought a much larger pot.  Sorry, Fujiko (it's not weird to name plants, right?)... I'll buy you a nice, big pot after my next payday.

Tomatoes, chard, Thai basil, cilantro, and some shasta daisies & black-eyed susans!

It is rare that a television show, especially a modern one, both grabs my attention and impresses me with it's acting & writing.  Little Mosque on the Prairie is one of those rare shows.  I have been watching it on Hulu nonstop since Saturday evening... I believe I am somewhere toward the end of season two or the beginning of season three.  If you have never seen it: you should!

I also got the floors swept/mopped, the bathroom cleaned, cleaned out the fridge, took out the trash, washed dishes (still need to unpack a lot, however), did several loads of laundry, and found time to relax & read a bit.  What am I reading these days?
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of the Four Meals by Michael Pollan
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • A North American Bird Book, circa 1930-something.
  • A North American Wild Flower Book, circa 1950-something.
The best part of the weekend was going out to breakfast at local Tucson landmark, Bobo's Restaurant, with S. and then hitting The Girls estate sale shop.  My eggs toast & veggies were typical mom & pop greasy spoon breakfast joint, but the "child size" banana pancake that we shared was one of (if not "the") most incredible pancake I have ever eaten.  Large slices of banana, fluffily perfect pancake texture, and the best part: the crispy caramelization.  As S. so aptly described it, it was like the pancake version of Bananas Foster. 

I only spent about $20 at the estate shop but got a set of queen size lavender sheets (now I have two sets of sheets for my new bed... fancy!), the above-mentioned wild flower book which as beautiful prints of watercolour botanical paintings, and a couple kitchen utensils (cheese wire and vegetable grater, if you're curious).

This week is looking bright but busy, just like I like 'em.  Dinner with Mama D. on Tuesday or Thursday, pizza at a funeral home turned upscale pizza parlour with the Stunning Broadside ladies & friends on Wednesday, and hopefully I can manage to get my bike from R.'s house this week or this weekend at the latest.

And not that this part isn't "fun"...

#1 - The sandwich I just had for lunch made my heart soar and my stomach happy.  Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around vegan cream cheese, Quorn chik'n cutlet, sriracha, raw beets, crispy fried sweet potatoes, dijon mustard, and herb salad mix.  Oh.my.word.  SO GOOD!

#2 - I slept 6 hours last night and feel... wait for it... well rested!  It's a rare and beautiful feeling.

#3 - Work is going smoothly today.  This too is a beautiful thing.

#4 - I have a lot to look forward to this week, both in the fun/social and practical/solitary departments.

#5 - My three month review (and hopefully accompanying raise) is about a week away!



21 August 2012

Rambling, Columns, Etc.

I don't know what my fascination is with creating "regular features" on this blog whose daily audience could probably be counted on one hand (with fingers leftover).  Daily Gratitude is both self explanatory and important, but what is up with trying to borrow "Follow Friday" from Twitter or coin new segments?  "The Present," "Morning Interludes," "Fill-In-The-Blank," etc.  Most of these I do once or twice and move on with my damn life.

Maybe I should just, you know, write.

A novel concept, I know!  Why just do something, when you can do it with a cherry, sprinkles, and a lit sparkler on top?

Sometimes I exhaust myself... I can't help but wonder what those around me feel like, especially on some days.  (Insert apology here.)

Okay, let's begin!

Today's lunch was only slightly short of perfect.  Quorn naken chik'n cutlets (no meat, no soy, yada yada) with julienned raw beets, sweet onion, and carrots then sprinkled with fennel seeds and raisins.  I keep forgetting to bring home my dijon mustard from the fridge at work, so I dressed the sandwich (which was a whole wheat wrap) at work, added some herb salad mix leftover from last week (or something), and re-wrapped it up.

I love beets.  (Maybe even more than kale.. I know!)

Moving on...

It could have used one or more of the following:
  1. apple cider vinegar
  2. julienned apple (Granny Smith or Fuji)
  3. vegan cream cheese
  4. avocado
  5. sunflower seeds
It should be pretty clear by now that I've had too much coffee and what I accepted as an adequate amount of sleep last night (five and a half hours of German shorthaired pointer spooning/snoring) may not have been.  (I'd like to apologize to my co-workers, if any of them are stalky enough to read my blog.)

Tonight I am going out to dinner with a friend at Lovin' Spoonfuls, which is a highly rated vegan restaurant here in Tucson.  I've been eager to try this place for quite a while, but always seem to forget about it when I'm wracking my brain to come up with a place to eat out.

I have a few ideas for upcoming blog posts that may or may not ever see the light of day and the twinkling of the internet.  My current favourite will be about dairy products (especially milk... gross) and why Americans can't seem to get off the tit.  I plan on saying that a lot throughout the post.  I'm sure it's been said, but some things just can't be said enough.  This may be a poor example, but it's all I've got and I'm generally too thoroughly exhausted to be more provocative than that.  Or to publicly admit to being more provocative than that.

Daily Gratitude - 21 August 2012

#1 - Coffee with unsweetened almond milk!

#2 - Kale!

#3 - Fresh, clean laundry!

#4 - Well-behaved dogs!

#5 - Faux chik'n and root veggie wrap for lunch!  (I'm making it now, actually... will be good, I think!)

Can you believe that I used to "hate" mornings?  Now they are my favourite part of the day... calm, homey, good food, my beloved dogs, meditation, and sometimes even relaxation!

20 August 2012

Daily Gratitude - 20 August, 2012

#1 - I am no longer hungover.  Now, yesterday...

#2 - Whiskey is now safely back into our rescue program and has a really fantastic foster who will nurse him through his heartworm treatments.

#3 - I have a lot of gardening projects on the docket!  Chard, cilantro, Thai basil, cherry tomatoes, and some frivolous daisies and black eye susans.

#4 -Today I am going to buy some new bras!  (This may be the result of the dogs eating the last decent bra I own... but still...)

#5 - There are two pieces of eggplant, tomato, & pine nut pizza on whole wheat crust waiting for me at home in the fridge!

15 August 2012

Daily Gratitude - 15 August 2012

#1 - This morning I took Lola Lulu AND Gatsby for their first walk together in over 6 months and it wasn't terrible.  Lola was actually really good most of the time and was only minimally reactive toward city buses, strangers, etc.

#2 - Wednesday is usually the busiest day of the work week and I love being busy!  (Busy = not bored!)

#3 - I didn't have a doughnut at the Doughnut Meeting At Work!  Huzzah!

#4 - I was able to get Gatsby added to Lemons' vet appointment on Friday.  I hope his cloudy eyes aren't too serious.  :(

#5 - The sundress I wore to work fits a bit more loosely than it did last week.  :)

14 August 2012

Seepage

My work life has officially seeped into my "real" life:  I am now seeing Grainger ads on the blogs I read. 

Please Note: Most of the blogs I read are related to food, dogs, or vintage culture.

Sigh...

13 August 2012

Daily Gratitude - 13 August 2012

Part of taking the time to stop and notice what we are thankful for in our daily lives is the act of doing so when we're feeling cranky, burdened by others, and otherwise ungracious.

Like me!  Today!  (grumble-grumble)

So here goes:

#1 - I was able to pick up some needful household goods at Target over my lunch break today.

#2 - The infected cut on my hand seems less infected and appears to be healing.  It hurts less.

#3 - I cannot express the sheer delight I felt in discovering that such a things as "pie birds" exist! (See previous post.)

#4 - My mom sent me bath soaps and candles as a housewarming gift. 

#5 - My dogs will be waiting for me when I get home home from work!  Yes, this is a five-days-a-week occurrence, but it always makes me happy to be home.

Pie Birds?!

How did I not know about these until today??


10 August 2012

My Blogging Soul Sister?

Back when I had "free time" (...seriously, what does that even mean??) I used to tweet on Twitter.  On Twitter there is (or was) a popular weekly event (for lack of a better word) called Follow Friday where you recommend another Twitterer to your followers.  "Hey, they are GREAT you should read what they have to say!  You won't regret it!"  That's it, in a nutshell.

 Now that you're up to speed, I intend (when I remember) to carry on that tradition her on ye olde blogge where I will recommend a blog that I enjoy and think my readers (all two of them...) might enjoy as well.  When I remember to do so!

The inaugural installment of Follow Friday is a blog I began reading TODAY.  Yes, today.  And I'm already irrevocably hooked.  It's about food (which I know and love) and running (I'm going to be a runner!).  Guess what?  The author has a GSP who is 7 years old and  GSP/Lab cross (who is 4... and male... but whatever!)!  We're even the same age.  What are the odds?

 Emily Malone writes the Daily Garnish.  You should read it!

Aren't sure where to begin?  Allow me to point you in the right direction!  Or at least some direction or other.

How to make your own Vegetable Masala burgers!  (Just like the Trader Joe's frozen ones... but better!)

I spent part of my lunch hour at work today reading through Emily's Running Journey which is what finally gave me not only the motivation but the initiative to take on the Couch to 5K (C25K) training challenge.  Just trying to get out there and "do it" without really knowing what I'm doing hasn't been very effective.  I've taken Lola and Gatsby each out once during the past week and have been making excuses every morning for the past few days.

Time to get the lead out!

The Present - 10 August 2012

I just ate slightly over half of a club sandwich with added pickles.  I didn't eat the entire thing.  And my stomach wasn't rumbling like a half full rock tumbler.

I not only printed out the Couch To 5K training program, but I actually glanced at it!

Tonight I might actually get my new bed.  Third time's/tries a charm?

Tomorrow I'm going to an estate sale with B. and then breakfast at Blue Willow.

Before I do that, Lola Lulu and I are doing Day One of the C25K (see above).  There!  I've stated it publicly, which means I have to do it or risk losing face or street cred or whatever it is that keeps my eyes bright and my nature intense!  Plus it's only twenty minutes of various things jiggling off and on.  Surely can't that cause permanent damage!  Right?  Oh, dear...

There is no way that I've had enough coffee thus far today to be rambling like this, but I'm gonna go with it...

I'm the second one from the left, don't I look tan?  (...kidding)

07 August 2012

Broke, Quick, Improvisational Lunch

I woke up extra early this morning.  4 am, to be precise, and like all mornings where I awaken extra early I am lulled into a false sense of having more extra time that I genuinely do.

So while I had time to take Gatsby for a lovely 40 minute walk, enjoy a leisurely (and hot!) shower for the first time in months, and tidy up the yard I was also sprinting out the door, hairpins flying, & frantically wishing that I would make my bus to work.  I ate approximately 90% of my breakfast (guess who inhaled the crumbs?) and ran out the door with a protein shake, a frozen veggie burger, and a couple of yogurts hoping that I could cobble together something edible for lunch.

Guess what?  I did and it was delicious!  I knew that I had some leftover lettuce (current condition: unknown) and some random items in the fridge at work.

Here is what I made:

Yes, this is a paper bowl and plastic fork.  I'm sorry, planet Earth. :(
Yes, I know that my cellphone takes fairly lousy photos.  The lens is probably dirty and smudged, too.  Oh, well!

Black bean burger, crumbled atop the edible remnants of the curly leaf lettuce (not many curls in evidence...), with chiffonaded (is that even a word? I've never used "chiffonade" in the past tense...) freshly palm-crushed mint (aromatic!), half a package of roasted/salted peanuts from Costco, and the dressing was made with two genuine soy sauce packets (no MSG or weird stuff, whew!), a splash of orange juice, some crushed red pepper, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper.  No need for additional sodium with the soy sauce and salted peanuts, folks!

I also ate three slices of dill pickle, but that is neither here nor there...

P.S. It's a good thing that excessive parenthetical blogging contains zero calories... jeepers...  (...ellipses, on the other hand...)

Daily Gratitude - 7 August 2012

#1 - Went for a 40 minute walk with Gatsby around the U of A mall and campus early this morning; such a beautiful location to walk the dogs!

#2 - Almond. Italian. Soda.  Delicious!

#3 - I am taking on new responsibilities at work!

#4 - Tomorrow I should be getting my new queen size bed!

#5 - Hopefully today I will be able to finish cleaning out my old duplex and finally be done with that place for good!

01 August 2012

Daily Gratitude - 1 August 2012

#1 - I am, where I am, right now.

#2 - Today is Gatsby's 7th birthday!

#3 - One of my favourite pieces just came on Pandora Radio (Gymnopedie for Piano No. 1 by Erik Satie).

#4 - I slept well last night and feel calm this morning.

#5 -  I found the jade earrings my grandmother gave me; I'm going to wear them today.

30 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 30 July 2012

#1 - Today is the two year anniversary of the day I got Lola Lulu from the pound!  I love my crazy, silly, sweet girl!

#2 - Whiskey is on a one week trial with his potential new owners and it is very calm around the house without him.

#3 - I had the most amazing club sandwich with duck yesterday at Elliott's On Congress.  It made my life complete in a way that I can barely describe!

#4 - By this time next week I will be completely moved into my new home!

#5 - I finally forced myself to go for a one mile run before work (with Lola Lulu) and while it was punishing, I know that I am on the road to a healthier, happier, and more fit Garnet.  Each day is a good day to start something new and today is the day I became a runner!

25 July 2012

Freudian Slippage

I just typed "pants remover" instead of "paint remover" in the chemical inventory I'm doing at work.  Oops...  ;)

24 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 24 July 2012

#1 - A good night's sleep!

#2 - No pee on the floor when I came home yesterday... Whiskey seems to be learning to "hold it."

#3 - Signed the lease on my new place and am moving in a week & a half!

#4 - I don't feel horrifically bloated and uncomfortable today.

#5 - I managed to eat breakfast and prepare food to bring to work for lunch this morning!

23 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 23 July 2012

#1 - Tonight after work I am signing the lease to my new house!

#2 - I am thankful that I have a job to get up and go to.

#3 - My new Liberty of London blouse is prettier than I expected it to be in person.

#4 - I had a good breakfast.

#5 - Today is a slow day at work... which is good because I'm feeling very sleepy.

20 July 2012

Changes, Oh So Many Changes

I should be excited and hopeful, but I'm not.  I'm moving into a new place, a bigger place (slightly), a nicer place (assuredly, once the ghastly red living room and bright yellow kitchen are painted over), and a closer-to-work place.  One of my dearest friends will be moving in next door.  Our dogs are friends.  We work together.  We are starting out with new homes, new romantic interests (not in each other), and all-around new-ness.

I should be happy, but I just don't feel it.  I feel nervous, apprehensive, and scared.  I feel sad and lost.  I don't know what is going to happen next and I don't have enough wine in my house.

I feel a deep sense of loss that I was not expecting.  I love my neighbourhood.  I love living close to S. and R.  This is a big change and I didn't expect it to happen so fast.  Although I am finally feeling "settled in" at my job, it's still a "new" thing... there is so much in my life that is changing.  It's a lot of change to process... and I don't think I've fully computed it all yet.

It's raining again and I'm out of wine.

19 July 2012

Signor Smiles

Gatsby is one happy dog.

Afternoon Interlude

I almost put my shoes on... on the wrong feet... for the second time today.

It's just one of those days!  :)

16 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 16 July 2012

I missed a couple of days due to a combination of working around the house, relaxing, and... ...okay, so I don't really  have a good reason, but that's not important.

Let's begin with a quotation from today's Tiny Buddha daily "Tiny Wisdom" email...

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” ~ Albert Einstein
_____________________________________________________________________

#1 - I have a job that enables me to pay my rent, utilities, and feed myself & my dogs.

#2 - The prospect of moving in the next couple of months is daunting but exciting, too!

#3 - This weekend's monsoons cooled the temperatures down considerably.  Every little bit helps when it's July and you live in a desert in the northern hemisphere!

#4 - I made chipotle mac & cheese last night with roasted broccoli (I love my toaster oven!) and it was utterly delicious.

#5 -  I don't have to worry about removed the dead palo verde stump anymore... Gatsby dug it out for me!

12 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 12 July 2012

#1 - My house no longer feels like a sweat lodge!  Thank you to Russ for saving the day and letting me borrow their a/c unit. :)

#2 - Once I got to sleep last night, I slept deeply and well.

#3 - There is a lunch meeting at work today, which means I get free lunch!

#4 - I also have to walk around and do a chemical inventory, so I get to dress more comfortably than usual.  Waaaaaay more comfy than usual!

# 5 - The dogs are all healthy and happy.  And so am I.

10 July 2012

Daily Gratitude - 10 July 2012

#1 - I got caught in a monsoon on the way home but didn't get stuck by lightning.  Also, the dress I was wearing is opaque, even when wet!

#2 - I am drinking one of my favourite beers, from one of my favourite breweries: Arrogant Bastard ale by Stone Brewery.


#3 - Lola Lulu's ear drops arrived in the mail today; perfect timing because humidity usually causes her chronic ear infections to flare up.


#4 - I had not one, but four emails that totally made my day today! :)


#5 - I feel very loved by those around me.

Up and At 'Em?

It's almost two in the morning.  I think I went to bed around 10:30 or 11pm.  Why do I keep waking up in what should be the middle of the night?  Especially when I usually wake up between 4:30-5am.  It's like I'm living in entirely different time zone; at least partially.

I'd make a "Twilight Zone" remark but more and more people seem to think I'm referring to sparkly vampires instead of the cult classic.

This is the world we live in, folks!