Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Ned suits his name, or should I say, Ned's name suits him. He is 5 months 5 days old today, a month older than I thought, and he is absolutely lovable. He is the most placid, easy going pup I've ever known, and I can now see why Chris and Fiona are willing to travel half way across the state to buy their working border collies from this kennel. Ned is like a little old man when he's not playing, and like a little old man, he loves to curl up and snooze in a patch of sunlight. That is, when he and Keiodie and Sam aren't rushing through the house wreaking havoc on anything or anyone silly enough to get in their way, cos they'll just run right over it. It's lovely to see, because they acted as if they'd known each other all their lives right from when they first met each other.
All three dogs found their own place to sleep, because they were so worn out from playing they'd fallen asleep earlier and still weren't awake when I went to bed. Not one whimper overnight, nothing, Ned slept soundly, probably totally exhausted from the hours of playing. He did however wake me at 3am, along with Keiodie, as they had the mistaken belief I too would want to join in their game. I can only say they were wrong, very very wrong! I listened to them playing for a while, getting even more boisterous than the evening before. I gave up hope of getting any more sleep and got up, made a hot drink, sat down at my computer for some very early morning Sparking. That was the turning point - both dogs stopped instantly, both crawled under the desk and fell asleep, leaving no space for my legs. I now have to sit at my desk with my legs wrapped round the base of my chair. That's fine, its nice to know they like me enough to want to sleep close to me. At that time of the morning after being woken by having Keiodie jumping on top of me in an effort to persuade me to join in the game, even I wouldn't want to get too close to me!
Ned is a tri-color border collie, purebred. He doesn't look the way you would expect him to, but that's because he has a few 'quirks'. He has a slightly undershot bottom jaw which has altered the shape of his muzzle (he manages to eat very well, even picked up a moth in his teeth with no problems). He has been diagnosed with dwarfism as well. His little legs are definitely 'stumpy', but he has no other health concerns. The only thing I know will possibly need to be done is to have his lower incisors removed if they begin to cause him problems with eating. We won't know if this needs to be done until his adult teeth are fully developed.
Ned came to me with two wounds to the top of his head, partly healed, and two almost healed wounds on his nose, thanks to his brothers and sisters, who bullied him continually because he was 'different'. He hasn't let that unfortunate introduction to the world affect his attitude to other animals or to the people he's already met. He has welcomed everyone, dogs, Rhani, and people he's met since being here, and is eager to please so obedience training will be a pushover. He may not be the usual border collie, but then I don't think any of us living at this address is exactly what we're meant to be... maybe that's why he feels so at home here.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Finally I finished knitting my random patterned yarn socks, which I knitted primarily to see how the yarn would knit up. I did say to the assistant at the store where I bought the yarn that I would prefer to waste however much yarn it took to get to the identical part of the yarn pattern so I could have matching socks.
She was absolutely horrifeid, and I do mean HORRIFIED that I would even think of having co-ordinated socks! Guess I put it down to old age on my part (although now I come to think of it, she was older than me), lol. So, i went with her advice and just knitted as the yarn unravelled. Here is the result...
I have to say I am not happy with the random pattern, because to me it makes them look like not only is one longer than the other (its exactly the same length), that the toe shaping is different (not that either), and one looks wider than the other on the photos (wrong again). Don't know if I'm being too picky or what, but no, I would not knit any of that random patterned yarn again.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Ok, first the good...
I am, as of this morning, under that seemingly insurmountable 150 pounds! For so long, all I have focused on is how good its going to be to get under that magical number. Today when I hopped on to the scales, I weighed 5 pounds less than 11 stone. So excited by that was I that I seemingly lost the ability to substract...
This is the bad...
I somehow managed to subtract 5 pounds from 11 stone ( 154 pounds) and get the number 147 pounds. Took me from 9am till 8.30pm to realize somehow it didn't add up. Went to my weigh in page, and there, staring me right in the eye was my mistake. There are NOT 12 pounds in a stone! Maybe the fact that even though I grew up with the imperial system, we switched to metric here in Australia quite a number of years ago. I choose to focus on this reason for my mistake, rather than purely the excitement of being under 150 pounds, lol.
And now for the (possibly) cute...
Yesterday Fiona, my youngest daughter, called me to ask if I could help her out with a problem. Of course I said yes before asking her what the problem actually was. The problem was that she and her fiance Chris had travelled to buy yet another sheep dog pup to be trained to work with Chris's sheep. Chris only buys pups from one breeder, quite a distance away from where they live. The pups are bred from dogs who, when they aren't working the sheep, are content to sit or lie and wait until they receive the command to work. That's when they make up for their inactivity.
When they arrived to choose their latest pup, they noticed one smaller pup in another yard. They enquired about it and were told it was due to be put down, not because it was sick or in pain, but because not only did it have an undershot jaw but had also been diagnosed with dwarfism. The vet had checked it thoroughly, said there were no other health problems evident, and had vaccinated it. Because the breeders don't have 'pet' dogs, and this pup was unsaleable, unsuitable for breeding, and was making their kennels look bad (in the owners' eyes at least), the pup had to go.
Fiona always tells me how Chris treats his working dogs as he does any other piece of farm equipment - well cared for, well maintained, provided with everything needed to ensure no problems would arise in the future... Chris always tells me that Fiona is too soft, that she will always feel sorry for the sick, old, frail animals at any sale. Both of them are right about the other.
Now I didn't find out who made the decision, nor did I wish to, but somehow a decision was made to take the pup home with them in order to find it a home with someone who would love and care for it despite its differences to its litter mates. Of course, who do we call when we need help? Mum! Mum (me) agreed, before even being asked, to take the pup and give it a loving home here with Sam and Keiodie, both of whom will come to accept it within a few hours at most. As for Rhani, if she hasn't been intimidated by a pair of aggressive rottweillers I don't think she will be too put out about our soon to be latest family member.
I have no real idea of what the pup's like, other than its tri-coloured, it's 4 months and 4 days old tomorrow, it's male, Fiona tells me its only about the size of a corgi, and its the most laid-back pup she's ever seen. Chris tells me its as active as a slug, but so is his pup, as have all his others from this breeder. The breeders assure them there is nothing apparent wrong with it after a careful examination, and that its ability to eat is not affected. Proof of that was that it was munching on a large lamb bone within an hour of being put in with their dogs.
I will meet Fiona half way between her place and mine, since she had arranged to drive friends to Ballarat to pick up a new car tomorrow. By chance I needed to go do some errands in Ballarat one day this week so I will go tomorrow too. I wanted the pup here for as long as possible before I return to college next Monday., just to make sure everyone has settled in together.
I'm really looking forward to holding my new furbaby in my arms for the first time, and I know beyond a doubt we will get along well, because he is the non-conformist in his family, the rebel, and that is me in my family, lol. Both of us are just so much different to the rest of our families, so we have one bond already.
I've picked out a name, checked its suitability with Fiona and Chris, both of whom approve wholeheartedly, specially because they know why I chose it. It is in honor of a neighbour's daughter, who taught my 3 girls to tie their shoes when they were little, way before primary school. Why is this worth mentioning? She was born with one hand, the other forearm ended in a stump. She never once let her disability hold her back or discourage her. She even did well swimming in the disabled Commonwealth Games almost 2 decades ago. We've lost touch with her now, but her name lives on in our memories. Her parents named her Kelly, after Ned Kelly, the Australian bushranger. There's a saying here if someone shows courage over adversity - 'game as Ned Kelly'.
Well, my new furbaby is going to be Ned, cos he has his own obstacles to overcome in life. Ned also sounds like an old man's name, and if this pup is as laid back as I've been told, it sounds like a really suitable name for him. Stand by for photos of Ned, sure to appear within the coming week...
Saturday, September 25, 2010
September is almost over, soon it will be October... time's passing increasingly quickly and soon it will be time for tinsel, trees, gifts, turkeys, etc. Doesn't seem all that long ago since last Christmas. There are 5 days left of this month, and its usually now that the usual game of 'catch up' starts, when I suddenly realize how little time I have to reach the targets I set for myself for the month.
This month is a little different. Better too, and for once I'm pleased with my numbers as regards fitness. My goal for this week, not listed anywhere but in my mind, was to manage to reach 600 fitness minutes. I did, and it feels good to know it was done without any last minute must-make-up-my-numbers exercising. Those minutes just kept adding up and they did that because I now know how good I feel after having exercised. Talk about releasing endorphins! I'm hooked, lol.
My goal for this month was to reach 2,000 fitness minutes. This seemed an impossible ask only a month ago, now, once again, it seems to be happening without any conscious effort on my part to up my minutes to make it there. Already this month I have clocked up 1,871 minutes, so I have decided to be brave and up my target number from the original 2,000 minutes to 2,500! That still seems incredible to me, the thought I could actually achieve anything like that.
I guess its like when we look in the mirror and see the body of person we used to be before the weight started to fall away. I think of the amount of exercise I used to be able to do, and my goal was originally to do 15 minutes' exercise a day. Think I upped it to 30 minutes a while back, but I have no desire to change the numbers. This way I am constantly reminded of how far I've come, so while it doesn't reflect the new me, it does remind me of the old me, and I always feel really positive when the difference is brought to my notice.
Food-wise, I'm not wanting to make changes, because most times I'm within all my allowances. I seem to now be able to work out ingredients of meals I want on any particular day, and so long as I include a protein at each of the 3 meals, some carb and the rest is fruit and veggies, plus dairy throughout the day, I seem to be within my guidelines. One thing I do have a bit of a problem with is getting my fat intake up to minimum levels. I tried using full cream milk, but don't like either the taste or the texture so am back to skim. I have started to use a little olive oil on the days my fat levels are too low, but if that's the worst complaint I can make then I think I'm doing fine.
Water's never been a problem, I drink round 10 - 12 large glasses a day so no worries there. Love fresh fruits and veggies, and where before most of my veggies were of the frozen variety, I only realized the other day I can't remember the last time I bought any frozen veggies - they always seem to be fresh nowadays. Think its because the taste is so much better than frozen. Fruit? I could eat fruit all day every day, no complaint about that at all.
Part of a team challenge was to do as many crunches, pushups (any variety) and star jumps (jumping jacks) as we could in one session each day for a week. My numbers aren't increasing rapidly, but most days I took part they increased a little. I want to continue doing this till the end of the month, just to see how I go over a longer period.
This past week my stress levels have plummeted, thanks to a few Spark friends suggesting a remedy for my worries about never seeming to get my house cleaned throughout, and things such as the laundry piling up till it was threatening to take over the laundry. Flylady.com was the answer, a website where there are simple day by day steps towards turning domestic chaos to domestic bliss in only a few minutes a day. Loved it from Day 1 when all I had to do was to empty my sink, clean and polish it, then keep it clean. Amazing how that works on the brain, that one area of complete cleanliness and tidiness made me want to spread the joy throughout the house. Haven't yet, but hope by the month's end to be further advanced than I am today. I have joined the SP FLYbabies team, just a day ago, and its going to keep me up to speed, I know.
That's it, they're my plans for the rest of the month. Oops, one more thing - I would dearly love to weigh under 150 pounds by the end of the month. I will weigh in tomorrow morning (Sunday) and again on September 30. Thinking maybe I will continue with the weekly weigh-ins I used to despise, and also do one on the last day of each month so I can keep an eye on any trends that seem to be forming.
Nothing else left to say, other than really sincere thanks to the many wonderful Spark friends who take time to keep in touch and offer all those wonderful suggestions and advice, as well as encouragement. I'd be lost without you all, I know that only too well. Thanks too to all the great team mates I have, and its thanks to all of you that I am now co-leader of two teams - Sparkling Knitters and Finding and Loving Your Inner Tigger. Don't know that my knitting sparkles, but at times I feel my self-esteem does, and I've had lots of helpful advice whenever I've needed help with a knitting query. My inner Tigger is definitely emerging from under its long time protective covering of fat. Tiggers can not only stand on their own two feet, they can bounce through any problems with a smile on their face.
Take care all of you, hoping you all are feeling as good about your own achievements, either big or small, cos any achievement is something to be proud of. Hope you too love to check out each others' blogs and status updates, look at the amazing photos on each others' pages, and just say hi for no other reason than you know it will make a fellow Sparker smile.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year for some of my friends and I. We look forward to this day from one year to the next. It's the day we get up in what feels like the middle of the night, rush round to find something we can pack easily and not in need of refrigeration for lunch and snacks, get out our carry-all trolleys (not the old lady kind, these are brilliant red, collapsible, and emblazoned with one of the top hit radio stations' logo), remember to fill our water bottles and put on our comfortable shoes and clothes suited to everything from 5deg C. to 18deg. C temperatures. Everything needs to be light, take up very little room, no excess clothing, no handbags, etc. We mean business!
We meet up at 6am at our local railway station, usually with a travel mug of coffee and breakfast or an early morning snack clutched in our shivering hands. No train stops here, but the railway bus does, and takes us in the early dawn to the next town to catch a diesel train into Melbourne city. From there we catch a suburban electric train to the Melbourne Showgrounds for yet another day at the Royal Melbourne Show!
We somehow return to our childhood the moment we meet at the station, all talking about the show bags we're going to buy ourselves and our family members, almost all of which are overpriced, filled with garbage, or filled with lollies and chocolates guaranteed to pile on the pounds. There are a few worthwhile show bags, and its these I plan to buy, cos I don't need to buy anything for anyone but myself. Dad can no longer have the chocolate filled bags he loves, but he doesn't realize where I'm going so I don't feel bad about doing the right thing for his health. I will be buying myself a cheese filled show bag, blocks of different cheeses, which took me 6 months to eat my way through last year.
Another thing we head to is the sideshows, with all those really lame, and usually rigged, games we pay a fortune to play and at best win some huge stuffed dog or similar that we have to carry around all day, despite the fact we know they're going to fall apart within a week of getting them home, lol. It's a matter of pride that each of us will keep going till we win our useless, annoying, awkward to carry prize. Can't beat tradition, lol.
Next on our list is the rides... First up is the ferris wheel. I always go on that ride, always have, always will. Some of us won't go on it cos its too scary, others won't go on it cos its too tame. We are all at different levels on the risks-we-will-take chart. I was generally on the cautious side of midway. Last year I did one ride that scared the hell out of me, just to prove to myself I could face my fears and become stronger for having done so. I survived, and the feeling of triumph prompted me to vow next year I would go on at least 3 terrifying rides! One friend was ok while the ride was moving , but soon as she got off, walked a few steps, had burst into tears without being to explain why. Terror causes different reactions in all of us.
This year I will face at least 3 terror filled rides, and instead of dreading those rides as I did last year, I am actually looking forward to being scared out of my wits. Since last year I seem to have done a lot of things I never thought in my wildest imagination I'd ever be able to do... returning to study, working on my fitness enough to be able to spend all day walking without any pain killers,, exercising despite feeling unmotivated and what's more enjoying the feeling of pushing myself to my limits. This year I am looking forward to proving to myself I can face these rides, be scared, terrified even, and yet still laugh as I'm flying through the air, face first, stopping only feet from the ground. I can face those rides that will spin me so fast I know I'm going to lose my sense of balance, and probably feel really ill afterwards. I don't care, cos I want to prove to myself all the years of being to scared to face my fears were wasted, cos I could have had so much fun if I'd just let myself enjoy the feeling of fear conquered.
This year those rides are going to be yet another step in the right direction. That direction is leading me ever forward to being able to conquer my fears and uncertainties and I am going to enjoy every step of the journey!
Hoping to be able to write in my next blog that so far as those rides are concerned, I came, I saw, I trembled, but I conquered!
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