Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Wow, I kind of feel like I'm writing an essay for Junior High! However, the biggest part of my summer vacation has come and gone, and I feel the need to document my activities.
I left home on July 1st, right after midnight. Note to self - red-eye flights are so named for a reason. Do NOT take those if you have trouble sleeping on planes. On a positive note, I did watch two movies, so can cross those off my list. I traveled to Pittsburgh, where I spent a week with a good friend. We met online, and have defied the odds - neither one of us is a recluse, mass murderer, or slightly unbalanced. We're just normal (normal is relative of course!) people that met online because of a shared interest. Anyhow, I was invited to her wedding, so decided to attend. It was a BLAST! Despite the cloying heat and humidity (I am a Northerner, after all!), we had a lot of fun. Her wedding was beautiful, and I'd visit her again in a heartbeat.
From Pittsburgh I flew to Richmond, VA for the American Spaniel Club National Specialty. It was basically 500 Cocker Spaniels in one place, competing in conformation (beauty pageant), obedience, rally obedience and agility. I worked as an assistant to a professional handler, so spent a lot of time bathing and drying dogs. But I did connect with old friends, as well as making many new friends. The ONE puppy that I ever bred (I bred one litter, with one pup in it) traveled down from Philly to compete in Rally Obedience. He earned a Rally Novice title, which I got to see. Talk about being proud!!!!!!!
I did a LOT of walking and swimming (as well as lifting and carrying) during my holiday. My eating choices weren't always the best, but my portions were significantly smaller than I usually eat. The only good thing about being in a heat wave is that your appetite goes down the drain. I slept decently (although not always long enough) and generally had a great time.
The funny thing about vacation is that no matter how much we look forward to it, coming home always feels awesome. Last night was no exception. I got an exuberant greeting from the dogs (who are stinky and hairy, but I love 'em anyhow!), and my niece called to talk to me specially, saying she had missed me while I was gone. Who wouldn't melt at THAT comment??? I love little kids, their honesty is so refreshing.
I'm back at work, and for the first time ever after a holiday, kind of eager to step on the scale. I KNOW my pants are looser . . . let's see what the scale says about that!
Monday, June 21, 2010
My old dog Farley has been in a decline for a few months now, but I've been trying to pretend it wasn't happening. The confusion has been very evident for a couple of months at least. The housetraining issues have been going on for at least a year now - the vet saw a note about it in his chart dated April 2009. The other day my mom said that it was time for me to get him to the vet . . . as he's really showing his age. Actually, he's showing more than his age, since he's only 10.5 years old, which really isn't that old. Right?
The vet and I talked extensively about the signs/symptoms and the changes in behaviour over the past few months. She feels that he has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CCDS) which is more commonly called doggy Alzheimers. The doggy Alzheimers diagnosis isn't firm at this point - she wants to do the comprehensive blood panel and urine test to rule out a number of other things first. She definitely doesn't think it has anything to do with the medication - she looked it up and there's nothing about confusion or any kind of behaviour changes listed as a side effect (he's taking gabapentin for nerve pain, because of his back, and I thought it could be a side effect of the drug).
He goes for bloodwork on June 29th (I'm in Calgary for work next week) as it needs to be a day that Purolator can take the blood right away. Yesterday we missed the cut-off for them picking up, and they don't pick up on weekends here. It's not anything that's time sensitive, so although I hate not knowing for another few days, it was the best option.
I'm having trouble with this . . . it won't change him in any major way, but I really hate this major sign of aging. I could ignore the white face and the trouble getting on the couch, but this is something else. Fortunately, he's still very happy.
Anyhow, I'll definitely keep you posted when I know more. It is relatively early (his sleep patterns haven't changed other than he sleeps VERY soundly now), but the changes are significant in terms of his personality. I'm taking it hard because of who it is . . . this dog is my heart and soul, and even the thought of life without him scares me half to death.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Today's entry is not diet-related at all. It's a post of memories.
Today my niece graduates from kindergarten. Now, when I went through school (and it wasn't that long ago!) we didn't graduate from kindergarten. We had a Grade 8 graduation, because after that we were in high school, and then we had a Grade 12 graduation. Kids these days have all kinds of graduation ceremonies to celebrate their passage into the next stage of their education.
I really, honestly can't believe my niece is even old enough to be graduating from kindergarten! I still remember when her mom was pregnant with her, and seeing that first ultrasound picture. I remember having no real idea of what I was looking at, but feeling something swell up inside of me nonetheless. I remember the day she was born - holding this brand new life, that somehow already looked like her grandma, my mom. I remember the first time I babysat her, and being totally freaked out about looking after such a young child. I remember the time I was looking after her and she rolled off the couch - I almost had a heart attach right then and there.
So many memories, it's amazing that my heart and mind can hold them all. She used to love the word "soup!" - it would always make her smile. She has loved dogs since before she could talk, and they have loved her back equally as much. Her Poppa (my dad) is the light of her life. She thinks and feels everything passionately - there's no holding back for her. She's smart, funny and she loves to sing. She lacks pretension or falseness, because it just isn't a part of her life.
The other day I wrote about time flying, and I guess that's what this post is about too. But mostly I'm writing it to dedicate some time thinking about and loving my niece. I wish I could be there for her graduation today, but I have to work. Today will be her day to be the center of my thoughts, though.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Thankful Thursday posts are something that I used to do regularly on my other blog (the one I've been writing since before I started SparkPeople). Basically, it gives me the chance to reflect on the positive aspects of my life, instead of dwelling on the challenges I face. Some weeks being thankful comes very easily to me, but some weeks it's a challenge to find something that I am truly grateful for.
This week I'm very, very thankful for my SparkFriends. I joined this site roughly a year ago, and in that time, I've made some wonderful friends here. I love getting little messages on my SparkPage and replies to my blog - I find them very motivating, and they help me want to succeed.
Some folks have helped me take a deeper look at myself, and the challenges I face in terms of living a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. There are a couple of people whose blogs and posts regularly reflect how I feel, and reading their coping mechanisms or about the changes they've made have helped me move forward too. Other people continually post motivational blogs that leave me feeling good after I've read them. Those blogs just make me want to be better at everything, and that's never a bad thing.
I've had a tough week at work, but the bright spot in my life (other than my most wonderful dogs, who are always a bright spot for me!) has been coming to SparkPeople to talk to my friends here.
So thank you SparkFriends, for helping me become a better me. Your words of encouragement are very much appreciated!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
One of the things I hear all the time from my co-workers is that they don't have enough time in the day to exercise. I know how busy life gets - believe me! But I think there are always small ways to work exercise into your day. Most people seem to forget that you don't have to work out in 30 minute chunks in order for exercise to be meaningful.
I work in a building with three floors, so anytime I need to go to a different floor, I take the stairs. I can't get over the number of people I see using the elevator (people that aren't in wheelchairs, using crutches, etc). The stairs are just as fast, and they're healthier.
I make sure I get up from my desk every hour (I work at a computer 90% of my day) and take a walk around the main floor of the building. Not only does it make me more visible to everybody (I have sort of a coordinator role at work), but it gets me moving.
At least three times a day, I do seated stretches at my desk, especially for my neck and back. I find they make a huge difference to my posture and my overall well-being.
After work, when I go get groceries, I walk (the store is within 10 minutes). It doesn't take me that much longer to do the errand, and it's better for me.
Even with those small efforts, you can see how easy it is for people to work exercise into a busy schedule. The interesting thing is that my co-workers don't complain to me anymore, because they already know that the solution is right in front of their faces.
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