Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oh the gifts dogs leave us

I know for many of you, it is still very much winter. Here, we've had a few cold days, but the temperatures are rising slowly. Right now, 40 and 50 degree weather sound about good, though I'd prefer 60s and 70s. I want to believe it will be an early spring. I mean after all, Punxsutawney Phil, the famous ground hog, didn't see his shadow (my guess, all the freaking snow, he couldn't have). Therefore, for what it's worth, his prediction is that spring is near.

Besides all the stuff about trees and flowers blooming, another way I predict that spring is near are the moles. Yep, you heard me right, moles. They are abundant here for whatever reason (I guess maybe similar to Boulder, CO's prairie dogs), and many people are not happy that they tear up their yards, including me. I'm not big into trying to "kill" an animal for removal, as really the best method is to trap them and then move them elsewhere.

Well, last year, I learned that Tovah is a bit of a huntress and finds these moles. At first, I was a bit shocked. I've never had a prey-driven dog, so it seemed a bit like whoa. But when I could, I'd watch her stare at the ground intently, just waiting, then she'd snake out the mole. Many of these moles were the small ones, and I soon learned, she had no intention of killing them, just "playing" with them. She'd flip them in the air, kind of toss them about. Of course, the poor moles, well, they likely died of shock, though some did make it. I removed those as best as I could. Last summer, she probably found 6-8 of them and not one had a mark or puncture on them.

This year, it looks like the mole count is going to be higher and start earlier in the season. Yes, she's already found 2--one on Thursday, the other yesterday. The one she found on Thursday, I literally saw her stare at the ground, wait, pounce, grab, and hold the mole. (I was here at this time and told her to drop it and leave it which she did) What surprised me with these moles were how large they were. I remember seeing one dead in my yard last year that was a big bigger but not by much. Check out for yourself below.

The mole she found yesterday is a bit of an embarrassing story. This cable guy showed up around 12:30pm. I was still in my jammies. Obviously, it was not my best impression here. He was apparently there to check signals. He was legit, so I let him in. I brought Hank and Tovah in from outside. Tovah dropped something black right by our feet. Yes, it was a dead mole! I was mortified! I immediately disposed of it and apologized profusely to the guy. Luckily, he wasn't too squeamish and said he'd seen it all. Still though, it was like one of those stories you hear about your child saying a curse word (ahem, yes that was me, the angel I was when I was younger) in front of someone, or running around naked or something.

The response on FB was interesting. Quite a number of people laughed over this, a few cheered her on, and one reminded me it could have been much worse--maybe a rat, a pair of underwear, a bra, or feminine hygiene products. I once had a cat who brought a baby snake into the house. This same cat killed a rat, left dead birds as presents on our front porch and in the basement, and also loved to "talk" to the birds trying to get them to come near the windows where they would meet their demise.

I don't necessarily discourage this behavior as long as Tovah releases when I ask her to and leaves it (she always has). I think this is her new fascination. For awhile there at the other place I lived at, it was dead birds. I always know w hen she has been "mole" hunting by the dirt on her nose, the holes in the yard, and her dead stares into the ground. My hope is that the moles will learn that this is just not a cool yard to be in and leave. I'm also hoping her mole fascination will not hinder her other scenting abilities of cadaver work which I'll be starting soon. I'm so psyched about that and hope she has the chops to do it. More on that later.

On a side note, apparently in Germany, moles are a protected species. Who would have thunk it?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gift code giveaway winner

First off, thanks to everyone who responded to the Gift code giveaway. I was thrilled with everyone who commented. It was lovely to hear how all of you were taking care of yourselves! Keep up the great work, everyone.

Below is the random number generator. I used 15 instead of 16 since I know Lucy Sparrow is in the UK. But Lucy, I am so glad you commented. You've been through a lot lately and are getting back on your feet. If you haven't checked her blog out, I encourage you to do so.

True Random Number Generator 4Powered by RANDOM.ORG

And the winner is...Sensory Overload. Congratulations, you lurker you ;-) I'll be e-mailing you shortly with the details of the gift code.

I hope everyone enjoyed this, and I'll be able to do it again. In the meantime, keep taking care of yourselves! If we can start taking care of ourselves one aspect at a time, I hope we can all get to a place of health, hope, and happiness.

Productivity and updates

I have to admit, it is weird not working. I was so used to a routine schedule of waking up between 5-5:30am and coming home between 6:30-7pm every day. Being a structured, routine person I am, it is tough to have all this free time. But, I feel like I've put it to good use so far. My revised resume is completed and visible to employers. I got in touch with all the necessary people I needed to amend bank stuff, bought some pair of black socks for interviews (my mom informed me it would look tacky to wear white socks with black shoes), a friend of mine agreed), returned and mailed any items from old workplace, learned exactly what I can and cannot do, in regards to future employment, received some good advice (never sign any contracts/agreements prior to working), and had a great dinner with a friend, capped with a brownie dessert and ice cream which did not end in any guilty thinking.

Now, it's a waiting game. And that's the hard part. I always have some fear that no one is going to look at my resume, despite my credentials.

In some ways, having this time off is good, because all those things I have put off like cleaning, organizing, taxes, going through boxes (yes I still have some from when I moved over a year ago), getting my hair cut, writing letters, working on Baxter's memorial video, reading my stack of books/magazines, watching my stack of dog dvds, etc., I now finally have the time to do. There's even a possibility I may be going to FL in a few weeks to visit friends.

Here's the thing, though I try to stay optimistic about things, there are still a lot of times I feel down or try to wrap my head around things. This often times gets my father upset, because he feels like I'm just obsessing (I have a post related to that soon). To me, it is my way to try to make sense of things, vent, or whatever. Because for me, what it boils down to is just another loss--a loss of a job and workplace that had so much potential (I guess it still has the potential, just without me), a loss of friendship, a loss of trust. The latter two hurt the most and is likely irreparable.

Truly, I know time is really the only thing that will help. The more you can distance (not avoid per se) yourself from whatever harmful incident has happened, the better you can learn, move on, and heal. But still, it all takes time, time that is different for everyone.

p.s. If you have not entered the gift code giveaway, you still have time until 11pm EST tonight. I forgot to mention it in the original post, but it is for $50. All you have to do is leave a comment on one way you are taking care of yourself. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thoughts for the day

Just happened to see this quote posted today which reminded me about recovery. I don't necessarily agree with it 100%, but I think it holds a lot of truth, especially that change does not happen overnight.

"Through constant familiarity, we can definitely establish new behavior patterns, using our tendency to form habits to our advantage. If we make a steady effort, I think we can overcome any form of negative conditioning and make positive changes in our lives. But we need to remember that genuine change doesn't happen overnight." ~Dalai Lama

This also reminded me that I had wanted to post some Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross quotes. I've always found her to be an incredibly interesting, inspirational person. If you've never read her memoir, Wheel of Life, it is a thought-provoking piece. A few things she had to say on life were:

"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well”

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of th edepths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people who not just happen."

What are some of your favorite quotes and whom do you find inspiring?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gift code giveaway

Today, I took a nice run with Tovah. We didn't go to our usual places, but instead stayed closer to home. We ran past houses, stores, people with grocery bags, kids on bikes, and a nearby small park. Since the weather wasn't the best, there weren't many people at the park. However, there was a kid on a swing set flying as high as he could with his dad behind him. The kid was grinning ear to ear, giggling while wanting his dad to push him higher and higher. It was a lovely scene of a child and parent spending quality time with each other. It's something I wish all kids had. Those are some of the positive moments we remember forever.


In honor of NEDA week and as a way of saying thank you to all my wonderful readers, I decided it would be a good time to do a giveaway! CSN which has over 200 online stores contacted me asking if I wanted to do a gift code giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment about one way you are taking care of yourself. This can be anything related to your eating disorder, mental health, your life, etc. So all you lurkers out there, here is your chance to leave a comment. I will then choose a winner randomly and then get in touch with you with your gift code. Please leave a valid e-mail address or if I can click your screen name and get to your e-mail, that will work too.

The only bad news is that this giveaway is only open to US and Canadian residents. Hopefully, in the future, I can do one worldwide. The deadline is Thursday, February 24th at 11pm EST.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2011

Today kicks off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week for 2011. This year's theme is '"It's time to talk about it."

Isn't this the truth? Though eating disorders are getting out there in the public, it is still stigmatized in many ways. Whether it is someone who is in the early stages of an eating disorder/recovery or more of a veteran, people still feel very ashamed about how they struggle. It makes it even moreso why there is a need to talk about it and realize like anything else, that if we never do, society will never get better.

NEDA has been hosting a video PSA contest. The deadline has already passed, and the winners will be announced in March.

Take a look at at a select few of the submissions. If you go on youtube, there are more.

This last one is an older video from 2009 that I thought was powerful.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One door closes...

This is inevitably a difficult post for me to write. If any of you have been keeping track of the work saga, it has now come to an end. I am no longer an employee there. It wasn't exactly on my terms, but I certainly know now that this was coming. Some of you know more in-depth details about all that occurred from late October through now, and in retrospect, I know this was essentially to drive me out.

Yesterday was full of many tears. Today hasn't been too bad. I know I just need to move forward as dwelling about the whys and the logic is futile when there is none. I know that in the end, this is likely for the best. But still, I am hurt, sad and angry over it. More angry about how things happened--could have happened differently and sad and hurt because a friendship has been completely ruined.

There have been lessons learned which I now know not to repeat. I think the biggest one is realizing how people really are when you actually work with them. Perhaps, I'm a bit too forgiving and give way too much of the benefit of the doubt. But I like to try to see the good in all people even when there may be little.

It's hard for me to not think of myself as some horrible person, though I of course know deep in my heart, I am the farthest thing from that possible. Not that I am perfect by any means, none of us are.

So as this week goes by, I will try to pick up the pieces, start anew, and venture to see what is out there. Maybe in some awful way this is a blessing in disguise.

When I was younger, I used to dream about being able to make a mark in this world somehow, some kind of difference. For the last number of years, I've really struggled with what this is, what my sense of purpose truly is. Maybe it really isn't dogs like I thought, maybe it is something else completely. Fear has stood in my way for many years, and it still does. But at the same time, I know I must try to move past that and once again enter a new chapter in my life like I did a little over a year ago. Sometimes, it is hard to take that leap of faith until you are forced to. But here I am and forced to.

I know I will get by. Right now is tough and it may be for awhile. Hopefully, I can focus my energies in positive ways and find something that will make me happy.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. I appreciate it all. I don't know what I would have done without my parents and friends (both personal and virtual). You are all LOVED.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Body thought for this week

I'm stealing this quote from a friend of mine who posted this on her facebook wall today.

Though most of us are afraid of getting fat, I really like thinking about ourselves in this positive way as humorous as it may be:

"With time, women gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that there is no more room, it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated, and intelligent! Beginning today, when I look at myself in the mirror, I will think "Good grief, look how smart I am, I must be a genius!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Filling in blanks

The game is the same for everyone.
You're trying to analyze what you can see to get a sense of what you can't.

This was a line from a recent This American Life radio show titled "Contents Unknown." I listened to this on last weekend on my run. Although this specific line was in the segment discussing unpaid rent of storage units, I found it a very thought provoking, insightful comment related to people in general.

Whether it is a stranger, a friend, a family member, a relative, an aquaintance, a person whom you are dating, etc., we've all done this at one point or another. Sometimes, it's as basic as just wanting to know someone's story or what a person may be thinking. Other times, it's about wanting to know someone's struggles, their dreams, their hopes/aspirations, their likes, their dislikes. It's like wanting to be able to fill in the blanks.

When I think about this quote, two things come to mind--a specific woman and myself. There was a particular woman I used to see out running a year or so ago. She had a lopsided gait which looked like she might have had a stroke. Later, my mom did tell me that she was a "hemiplegic" likely from a trauma or stroke. (My mom used to work with spinal cord injuries a long time ago) For whatever reason, I was drawn to this woman. Maybe it was the perseverance factor she had to continue to run or maybe it just wanting to know her story.

I haven't seen the woman in awhile, so I don't know whether I will ever find out her story. I like to think she is well and taking a running break for now. Perhaps, one day I will find out.

Now with myself, this quote reminds me of how much pain I felt during my early ED years. What most people perceived on the outside was this put together, overachieving, likely to become a doctor person. Many thought of me as perfect. This is what I too wanted people to see. In that way, I was successful.

However, at the same time, I had wanted them to see more than that. Very few truly knew the anguish I felt about myself, my body, my self doubts, my life in general. I used to wonder what people would have thought of me if they knew how imperfect I was. Likely, they would have seen me as normal, but my teenage self didn't see me that way.

Perceptions are funny this way. They are hard to gauge, and can take awhile to determine the accuracy. As German philosopher Hans Margolius said:

Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Empowering myself

I had this conversation today with my mom's husband, M., this morning about work. Though part of what he said was hurtful, it was true too. Basically, he said I needed to stop whining/venting and do something about it. I kept reiterating that I have been which I felt like he was not hearing at all. It is true I have made some other contacts and begun to look around. But at the same time, one of the most essential things I need to do, I have not done. I really need to know for sure, on a dime, what my exact rights are here in this state (all states are different with employment laws). I did an internet search and found several that specifically work in employment law, so e-mailed one. Most will do free initial consultations, so I should be okay there in regards to fees.

I know I will feel better once this is done, because then I can stop doubting everything. And I guess in a sense it is empowering. I just hate the fact that it seems the only way I can "empower"/do this type of thing is when I feel angry about something which isn't always the best thing either. :sigh: I just hope this lawyer tells me what I need to know and also is kind of nice too.

p.s. When I think more about this, I'm always advocating for being an informed consumer, so really this should not be any different.

p.p.s. To those who have helped, thanks bunches. You know who you are.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


******Trigger Warning******
I do not ever try to write triggering posts, but feel the need to put this up just in case as it talks about a specific exercise program.

Recently, I was talking to my veterinarian. It's a bit funny, because she is not one to really talk on the phone unless she has to. However, when it comes to texting, she invariably will text back right away. The conversation was originally about work, then her dog, and then it rerouted to exercising after I asked whether she was/is a runner, something my boss had told me awhile back. I was quite honestly looking for a running buddy. (Right now, it is just Tovah) But she hasn't run in about 3 years and didn't sound like she was going to start right now. However, she asked if I was interested in doing a p90x program with her and another woman from the vet clinic.

I was unfamiliar with this program, though it sounded strangely familiar. I did a quick google search, and yep, it's one of those ones I've seen advertised. Of course, I had to ask people whether they had used this program or knew other people who did. Surprisingly, my dad knew about the program, because one of his friends who is a Navy Seal said they are using that program to get the Navy Seals fit. If you've ever watched the rigorous workouts Navy Seals have to endure, you know they have to be in top physical shape.

In essence, this is a pretty intense workout. You can look at the link above to get a better idea. There is a nutritional component to the program, but I know for sure now I would not be following that but my own anyway.

I'm sure people have a variety of reasons to do this program. Some want to get in better shape, maybe lose baby weight if they recently had a baby (my vet), others want the ultimate beach body, while others may do the program for unhealthy reasons-to indulge their exercising compulsions.

So where do I fit into this list? Well, if I am completely HONEST with myself, it would fall into getting in better shape and probably some exercise compulsion thrown in. If you've been reading this blog, you may be thinking this may not be the best idea since I have some minor injuries and am in physical therapy once again (a whopping 10 exercises to do 1-2x/day--I've been compliant) This has been the same mantra that some of my dear ED recovery buddies have also expressed.

But, and I'm throwing this in as a just for the record, I'm not underweight, eating has been stable (I did have a few weeks of not eating optimally but got myself back on track), and my exercise is limited to 1-2x/week of running at a snail's pace. Also, I do not own the p90x program and will only find out details next week from my vet next week. My vet also knows nothing about my history with ED.

I'm not trying to justify myself here. I was thinking about this more yesterday, and I think the bigger drive here is the feeling of success and accomplishment. When I was training for my marathons a few years ago, there was such a feeling of accomplishment in running faster, beating my time, running up steep hills entirely with no walking, running for long periods of time, etc. I do admit for awhile there was a thinking of being able to run on limited calories, but I quickly learned, I'd hit the inevitable "wall" if I did not eat enough. If you've never hit the "wall," it is an awful feeling of lightedheadness, fatigue, exhaustion, like you're going to fall down, maybe like you're going to vomit, etc. all due to glucose depletion!

Right now in my life, I'm just not feeling like I'm accomplishing anything. Work, well, some of you know about that, is just not going well. When I'm working with dogs and their clients on behavioral issues, socialization, certain tricks or tasks, etc., there has always been a feeling of accomplishment and reward. But right now, I am not working with clients at all.

Although I'm working with dogs in daycare to a degree, mostly on impulse control exercises, learning to be quiet at various noises, learning to go to a mat, to go in their stainless steel kennels at naptime, and basic obedience, it just isn't feeling very rewarding. Perhaps, it is because I feel like I receive no acknowledgement of my efforts. Maybe I feel like I really don't see as many changes as I'd like. One example is with a dog where it took 5 1/2 months to get her to finally go into a kennel at naptime and that was because I started not giving her an option--no force involved just that the only way out was to go into the crate/kennel. It was wonderful when she did it and now she goes in without any problems. I had wanted to share the elated news with the dog's mom, but since I have no client interaction was unable to. And now if I did, I would be horribly reprimanded and punished for it--long story on that. So I'm now left with working with several other dogs who have the same issue but have no clue what their owners are doing at home if anything.

I'm also feeling like a janitor too more than a dog trainer as there just always seem to be an enormous amount of cleaning I do everyday with little to no help.

So going back to the p90x question. Will I do this? I don't know, though I'm quite intrigued with it. I think the bigger question to ask myself is can I hold myself accountable to stop if this is too much? Are the reasons really valid enough to do the program?