Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hair be gone!

I had been wanting a hair cut for awhile now. It had been about 2 1/2 years since my last hair cut. My hair was not quite as long--then, it was waist length. This time, it was just a little past my the middle of my back. I set up this appointment a few weeks ago with a new hairstylist recommended to me by a friend.

When I went in , I figured I'd probably do something similar to what I did last time--cut just below my shoulders. And then for whatever reason, I decided against that. I browsed some magazines, deciding on whether to stay with traditional Asian hair, straight as a board basically or to be a little funky. I chose the latter, but not so outrageously funky like some of the current Asian hip stars. At one point in my life, I was very big into highlights, because I was so tired of my boring, straight, dark brown/black hair. But eventually, I came back around and have since kept it the natural color it is.

So how much did I get cut? If you remember in this post, it was 14 inches.

This time, it was:

Really, I did not expect that, it just sort of happened that way. If you look at the linked post above, the new hair do is slightly below my chin which is drastically shorter. Actually, the shortest I've ever had! I'm not sure if I love it, but I don't hate it either. It's just different. Sadly, I will miss ponytails for awhile, but I know my hair grows fast naturally.

So far:
The pro are, there is swishiness and bounce, less maintenance, and less air drying time.
The cons are, I have major static and no more ponytails (well there is like a stub if you count that)
The jury is still out whether I actually look taller. I'll have to ask some people.

The one thing noticeably different this time around is that I don't have as much anguish over getting my hair cut as I have in the past. Maybe I'm finally letting go of my hair and identity thinking and embracing change.

Note--I was going to have my neighbor take a pic of me, but I got home late last night. If you are dying to know what it looks like, you can always e-mail me through my profile on here. I just have a policy of not posting pics of my face on here for semi-anonymity reasons

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brunch averted

Thanks for the feedback on my last post.  It is always nice to know that I am not the only one who just scurries out to avoid a meal/drink/happy hour event even when in recovery.  I think the whole social thing is one that doesn't seem to be as discussed with eating disorders.  But EDs are very isolating, so I think talking about our social anxieties is very important in recovery.

So everyone is wondering how did the run and brunch go?  Well, run went well.  I talked with a girl towards the end of our route.  However, afterwards, many ducked out and left.  I think part of this was because the e-mail that went out the night before, failed to mention the brunch, despite the organizer talking about it last weekend and on Wednesday.  I stayed an additional 1 1/2 hours, chatting and waiting for the second group to come back.  Realizing that no one else was staying, I left too.

Part of me thought, yeah, I did not have to worry about the challenge of eating essentially two breakfasts in a short period of time, but another part of me had already geared myself up for the experience.  Oh well, until next time, right?  One fun aspect was getting to know some of the other people, like their name, though apparently one guy does not tell many people his real name.  The girl running with me asked someone else, and told her what it was.  Thus, blowing the guy's cover.  I haven't figured that one out yet, but he seems like a cool guy nonetheless, camos and all.  (yes, he runs in camouflage pants; apparently last year he ran a marathon in combat boots and used to have duct taped running shoes until they convinced him to buy a real pair of running shoes)

On another note, many of them talked about the happy hour on Wednesday.  Apparently, there were 11-12 of them, and they had a good time.  It sucks my anxiety caused me to miss out on it, but no use in beating myself up over it.  It's still relatively early in the year, and there will be other opportunities.  Now, it's just me sticking to it and not backing out.  It's easy to say afterwards that I will not back out and do this event, etc., but when push comes to shove, and you are in that moment, it can become a lot easier to make up an excuse, sad to say.  Keep me on my toes, my friends.  It's good accountability for us all.

How has your social anxiety hindered you? Have you found it has gotten easier in recovery?  What is a social challenge you have overcome recently?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A social miss

I mentioned in a recent post about joining the local running group here. (this is not the one that I was originally going to join last year, this one is literally just 3.5 miles from my house) They meet twice a week--Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. The first Saturday I went was great. I immediately met a guy and just started talking to him throughout our run. However, on the next several occasions, I've pretty much run by myself. There have been people, but either people already pair off together or the group easily disperses. On my last Saturday run, I kind of thought, "well heck if no one is going to run with me (there were only a few who were actually running that specific mileage), then I could just be doing this by myself."

See, I think this is part of the problem. I tend to hold a bit of an idealistic hope of something, and then when it doesn't happen, I feel discouraged. What I had envisioned was that I would have a running buddy to talk to just about the entire time I was running or at least for half of it. I realize this is not everyone else's envision, however. And so, I need to change my view a bit.

I've come to the conclusion that the real social time seems to be the before and after party of a run. Last night, there was an invitation to go to a happy hour at a nearby pub. To me, this completely defeats the purpose of running in the first place. I mean why down yourself with alcohol after a good, hard run. Many would counter this argument with the fact that alcohol does have calories and carbohydrates, both of which your body needs after that much exertion. I've also heard some say that a good, cold beer after a run is simply just good. I guess I will never discover that, because I honestly have never acquired a taste for beer and have no desire to either. It would have to be a fru-fru drink laced with vodka and fruitiness to even be in the realm of my liking.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to go, knowing I could have just ordered an iced tea and I guess been "social." I mean this is partly why I joined this group. Tovah, by the way, has been a real hit, and they just love her. A few of them asked me if I was going to come, and I sort of made the excuse that I wouldn't be able to take Tovah with me (the place does have an outdoor cafe but it is not open yet), though it probably was cool enough to have left her in the car. The other fact was that I was really hungry and did not want to spend money on pub-fare--very typical of burgers, fries, etc.

I told my mom about this on the phone, and she seemed really upset that I didn't go. I think my parents still fear I isolate myself too much and want me to date, join groups, etc. I guess I'm feeling like if I complain that I have no social life, then I do need to make more effort to do these types of activities just to "be social" even if I may not completely enjoy them. But then another part of me counters that with, if it is not fun, then you essentially fulfill a self-prophecy--See you went to this event and it was no fun=social events aren't fun.

But here is where my counteracting self must talk. Okay, so I didn't go this event, but there will be another chance on Saturday after everyone's long run. I should go, because it might be fun, and I might get to know people better, and this is why you joined the running group.

Saturday, after out long run, we are invited for free massages and a breakfast/brunch at nearby cafe. It will certainly be cool enough (it dropped 30 degrees this morning) to leave Tovah in the car should I choose to bring her. So I'm going to try hard to keep the social event on my calendar. My only reservation is this may be like eating two breakfasts very close in time together, and that may feel a little uncomfortable. :-/

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring, kids, and sweet gestures

Spring is finally arriving here--crocuses and daffodils are blooming. And with spring, all the neighbors begin to come out from winter hibernation. One neighbor, I saw with a new dog who was apparently pulling her like a freight train to the edge of my yard. She's had the dog since Nov/Dec., and it is now 5 months old--my guess a Hound/Pointer X. This was the first time I actually met the woman since I moved here. She and her husband also have a Boxer who I have met a few times since he got out of his yard to come visit my dogs.

The kids on the other side of me are out more as well. Since I've been home in the evening, I often see them out when they have finished their homework. I've never considered myself a "kid" person per se, but many people do say I do well with kids. I remember when I first looked at this house, the grandmother was here taking care of her grandchildren. One child who was 2 1/2 or so used to lead me around, showed me his room, his toys, etc. On one occasion, he even wanted me to sit and watch a dvd with him. The grandmother asked me if I had kids. I said no, only dogs. She was surprised, saying that I seemed so good with them.

Now, the kids beside me took to talking to me quickly. But the thing that I love about these particular kids are they are such nice, pleasant children to be around. They love to come out when they see me with the dogs. Whenever their friends come over, they are quick to point out all the dogs' names, that Daphne is deaf, so she can't hear you, etc. They love watching the dogs run and get the ball. They try calling the dogs--"To-bah, Hankie come here" and getting them to do tricks. The dogs are not always as responsive as I'd like, but it's mostly because they haven't had enough other people ask them things. Plus, there is a fence between us, so that makes it a little more difficult. Although yesterday, they loved the fact that they got to use the chuck-it to throw the ball for the dogs. They each took turns, giggling after each throw, and had a ball of a time. Luckily, Tovah was a little tired by then, so she brought the ball back to me better. LOL

Besides knowing all about the dogs, these kids are also social. They tell me about their days at school, facts they've learned, their likes, their dislikes, and other miscellaneous things. They even show me cheerleading cheers they've learned and ask me all kinds of questions. It's so sweet.

The other day, E., the second youngest, ran inside and got hostess cupcakes for their afternoon snacks. E. hands me one.

Me: Why don't you keep it for yourself and save it for later?
E: Still holding out the cupcake.
Me: Do you want me to have it?
E: Nods her head yes.
Me: Are you sure:
E: Nods her head.
Me: Okay, I'll take it then. Thank you.
E: You're welcome. This was said to the best I could tell. Her enunciation is still not quite there.

It was one of those moments where I thought, how could I not take this even if I am not a big Hostess cupcake eater? She is graciously offering it to me. Now, of course, her mom may have told her to give this to me. But whatever the case, it was sweet and nice of them to think about me. And I actually liked that they had a Hostess cupcake rather than just an apple or something. It's good to be healthy of course, but it's good to have balance too.

You can check out other posts about these children here, here, and here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's good to reveal a lot early on, right?

I'm not sure how much people are keeping up with my love life, but I'm going to go ahead and post anyway about a recent match. There are actually two, but I've only met one in person.

We had a second date this weekend. Just a simple dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Here's what he has expressed to me:

On mental health:
I: I have anxiety and am on medication.

Me: Well, that's okay. We all have our own issues.

On dogs:
I: I have anxiety about dogs, especially large ones. I'm okay with puppies and small dogs.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry, I did not know that. Many people have anxiety about dogs. Were you ever bitten as a child? (I ask because many are)

I: No, but I was close to it.
Needless to say, talking about dog bites didn't go over so well. And I kind of find it ironic that he is okay with small dogs, because statistically speaking, they have the most bites. It's just that they often go unreported. I have heard of a yorkie biting a hand that required, stitches, surgery, and physical therapy.

On the types of women he likes:
I: I never would have said I had a certain type of woman I liked/was attracted to. But then, after my divorce (I think he has been divorced a year or so), I realized I was attracted to Asian women. (his ex-wife is Japanese) I guess it's like not knowing what you have until you lose it. (btw, he was not the one to file for divorce) So, I tend to choose women who look like my ex-wife.

Me: Well, it kind of makes sense. You were with her for a long time.
Really, in the back of my head, I was wondering, does this mean he chooses women who are Asian because his ex-wife was Asian. Or does this mean he chooses women who specifically look like his ex-wife?

I: But the weird thing is, if I was dating a Caucasian woman, I would want her to be big.

Me: Maybe that's the Italian in you.

I:Yes, it could be. Italian men like their women to be large.
I found this a bit strange, but I guess could make sense. It raises an interesting point about ethnicity.

On body image:
I: I worry about my weight.

Me: Why?

I: Because both my parents and sibling are obese. I'm afraid of becoming that way.

Me: Well, I don't think you have that much to worry about. You are a small guy.
He's like 5'5 and something like 145-150 lbs, so not big at all for a guy!

We talked about some other things too, these were just the ones that stuck out to me. Though it's not like I look for what is wrong about a date, but certain red flags do pop up. It is good to reveal some of this stuff early on, but at the same time too, you don't want them to be turns off though either. Obviously, the dog issue is good that it came up so early since I have 3 large dogs but was surprised about bringing up the anxiety and body image issue. Hmm, I guess, I'll just have to see where this goes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day

First off, are we all wearing green? Normally, I'd have the dogs in some green gear, but I stopped myself short of that this year. I figured with Easter around the corner and trying something new, I didn't want to harass them too much.

Anyway, Happy St. Patty's Day

Here's a nice little Irish blessing about friends.

A Wish for a Friend
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

I hope everyone has friends, rainbows, and sunlight in their lives!

Upcoming posts and other thoughts

I know everyone does not want to hear about job stuff other than I am still at it with resumes, registering at temporary agencies, etc. However, I did run across this article which I think may be relevant to some of you who are also searching. Basically, it is says that even though we may be desperate for a job, a bad job could be worse for you mentally than being unemployed. Just something to consider.

I have to admit, I have good and bad days with this whole no work situation. I really have to fight the "rejected" feeling and the "I'm not a loser" mantra. Hence, I think this is why productivity feels more emphasized. There are some days I feel like I am so productive, but then there are other days, I feel like I get nothing accomplished. Then, the day feels wasted.

However, I haven't felt the latter of that too much this week.

How have I been productive this week so far?
* Sent out more resumes (I am currently waiting to hear from 5-6 potential employers)
* Registered with a temporary agency
* Have been working with the dogs and bunny on new tricks related to Easter. I have a photo in
mind, but we'll see if it will really happen.
* Bathed Tovah--she is itchy unfortunately
*Got my glasses fixed. A nose pad fell off. I tried gluing it but it did not work. The cover of one
arm has beencracked too for awhile. It was being held by scotch tape. The lady was nice and
put 2 new nose pads and 2 arm covers on my glasses.
* Got new windshield wipers. Mine were falling apart.

Now, things to look forward to:
* Dog show! I'm going on Friday and Sunday morning to see the Boxers and some competition
obedience andmaybe rally. I'm taking the opportunity, because I rarely get to go and actually
see what I want. A local person here is also going on Sunday, so we may meet up at some point.
* Running group on Saturday morning. I missed yesterday's session due to not being able to read
the clock correctly.
* Possible a date with match guy. We'll call him the writer. (I actually have 2 prospects, the other
is an hour away though--we've talked on the phone a few times-also a runner)
* Next week, some cadaver work with Tovah. After e-mailing another well known trainer, I
realized I may need to slow down a little, but I am very curious to see how Tovah reacts to a
cadaver scent.
* Upcoming dog seminars that are nearby in April and May.
* Hair cut appt. at the end of the month. I haven't cut my hair since this post. And yes, it is just
about that long now again.

Now, things you have to look forward to in some following posts:
* Book reviews. I'll be reviewing:

Beating Your Eating Disorder: A Cognitive-Behavioral Self-Help Guide for Adult Sufferers and their Carers by authors Waller, Mountford, Lawson, Gray, Cordery, and Hinrichsen
Give Food a Chance by author Julie O'Toole.

Both are two I have wanted to read, so this is a great opportunity. Some other books which are on my stack are Unbearable Lightness; Women, Food, and God; Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, and other dog training related books and dvds. I realize these are not new books, and I've been quite negligent on my book reading, so I am trying to take this time to get back into the groove of reading.

With all of that said, how is everyone's weekend shaping up? What do you have to look forward to?

Taste revisited

Awhile back, I posted about how taste can be impacted with recovery. This is to say that anedoctally, taste seems to come back when you are in recovery as opposed to when you are actively in your ED.

The other day, I was listening to a fascinating podcast by All in the Mind about Taste. For instance, did you know that we are all actually born liking sweet and hating bitter? As Linda Bartoshuk, director of Human Research at the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Florida, says:
You love high fat, high sweet, high salt we all do, we're born loving that. Those are incredible survival tactics -- that gives you calorie sugar, gives your brain salt an important macro-mineral for brain and muscle function..
But of course as time gos by, we learn other tastes like bitter and sour. We learn to smell which invariably affects our tastes. And then, there is the culture and emotional components that affect our tastes.

During the show, Linda talked about supertasters. So what are supertasters? They are people who have more taste buds or fungiform paillae. These people experience double the intensity as other people in regards to taste and are more sensitive to pain on their tongues. These people also have difficulty with the taste of bitter.

What does this have to do with eating disorders? Well, it got me thinking. What if you were actually a supertaster prior to your ED. Then, your ED suppressed your taste buds since your brain made food non-rewarding, and you could simply no longer recognize taste. There was a study about how taste is different for those with anorexia which provided evidence of the difference between those with AN and those who did not. Yes, this study was done with recovered anorexics. However, it still makes me wonder whether taste can fully come back in recovery--not necessarily as the rewarding factor per se but the intensity/sensitivity factor.

Does taste seem more intense in recovery? Are foods you once thought of as sweet not so sweet or sweeter? Are foods that were once sour more or less so? And how about the taste of salt, fat, and bitter?

Maybe, this would be a good experiment in a bit of intuitive eating which is partly about slowing down, eating the food and asking yourself how it tastes among other things.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Discussion boards

These days, I don't post much on discussion boards. However, I was intrigued by a new website Secret Society of Women. I had read a recent article on Lisa Ling where she talked about her miscarriage last year. She decided to create this website for women to share their secrets, wisdom, gratitudes, wishes, etc. anonymously.

In order to view the website, you do have to register. I browsed the topics in their secrets section. There are a variety--everything from body image/eating disorders to marriage/divorce, resentments/regrets, fears/phobias, loneliness, addictions, pregnancy, religion/spirituality, and more. I found it ironic that the thread which had the most responses was on a topic about fear of pitbulls.

Anyway, I did want to pass on the site in case anyone was interested in participating. The ED section is not like the SF Board where numbers are not permitted, so do proceed with caution if numbers trigger you. The site itself, however, is moderated and if there are red flags, actions are taken accordingly.

In my personal experience, discussion boards have a bit of a love/hate relationship with me in terms of Ed/mental health. (For whatever reason, I have a much better positive vibe with small group e-mail lists) I have met some wonderful people from discussion boards--some have become great friends, but at other times, I felt exasperated, annoyed, and unworthy. I also know how easy it can be to get sucked in and read posts all day. At one point in high school and early college, I was like that which also paralleled the time the ED was the worst for me. I've learned that I tend to gravitate towards these type of boards when I'm doing poorly, depressed, lonely, etc. It's almost become one red flag for me.

Saying that, this is not to say I'm doing poorly, but I know this is a tough time for me. I know it'll get better eventually, and that it is important to remain optimistic. I also know lonely moments and depressed feelings are natural, but like anything, dwelling on it doesn't help matters. Instead, what I'm going to focus on instead is what I have to look forward to. I'm going to try to find at least one thing, no matter how small or simple, every day to look forward to. I figure it is good motivation if nothing else.

So today's Looking Forward To thought is making banana bread and brownies for my neighbor who graciously took care of my dogs and bunny while I was away last week.

Do you belong to discussion boards? What is your experience with them? Yay or Nay?
What things do you have to look forward to this week? Share your comments.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reality sets back in

I'm officially back in reality mode.  The trip was a nice break from having to think too much, be in crappy weather, and just to take a rest.  Yesterday was my birthday.  Truly, I did nothing and was in a bit of a bitter/dumpy type mood.  I realize this was my choice, so really I have  nothing to complain about.

My original plans had been a dinner date with a new match guy.  We had coffee last week, and it went well.  He had offered to take me out to dinner for my birthday but then never mentioned it over the course of this past week.  As is par for the course job stuff came up, and he pulled out his business card, saying he could help me with my resume.  This guy works for the state but his love is writing, and he has been published in a number of venues, mostly writing entertainment and review pieces.  But still, I thought it was nice that he offered and was not charging me anything.

I sent him my resume, and he basically shredded it apart.  This has nothing to really do with constructive criticism, because I can take that.  It has to do more with not feeling very confident in myself nor knowing what I want to do exactly.  There are jobs out there, but I feel qualified for nothing other than animal-related since I have been doing that for the last 10 years.  My problem lies in that the "contract" I signed holds me at bay from doing anything remotely similar to my previous job.  This makes it difficult to find work.  It makes me seriously think about going back to school, but I worry about financial costs.

On the same token, having all this free time, I thought about attending some dog seminars.  There were a few that were at great prices, but then my dad made me feel all guilty about that since my first priority is obviously finding a job.

Today, reality has really sunk in, and I'm feeling very bummed about everything.  There have been a number of moments where I felt like collapsing into a puddle of tears.  In some ways, I feel like I have no right to complain as so many people around the country are in the same predicament and some for a lot longer than a mere three weeks.  It's just hard to apply for jobs  and know the only thing you can do is wait. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Visiting the beach--Rehashing the trip part 2

As I mentioned before, I am not much of a beach girl.  I like the sand, the waves, the breeze, the pretty sunsets, the various animal life, but I do not enjoy being or swimming in the ocean.  Luckily, I didn't have to do the latter, just walk along the beach.  It was a cool, breezy day, but nice overall.  We took all the dogs--my dad's and Tovah.  This was the first time for everyone. Bella and Tovah were off leash (first time for both in a public area like this), but Leroy and Daisy were on leash since they do not have good recalls, especially Leroy.

Bella, Leroy, and Tovah enjoyed it. 
Daisy, however, looked like this at beginning heading back towards the car.  But by the end of the hour, she was trotting nicely along Bella.

It was very bizarre, but we found all these starfish washed up on shore.  They appeared dead, though some still moved.  There were many and 
                                                      some stacked upon each other.

We also ran into this lovely Borzoi named Yetti.  He absolutely loved me and just kept rubbing his entire wet self on me.  The dogs had a lot of fun with him.  Here they are doing a  group smell, 
                                                     then playing.

 Tovah had the most energy of all of them as evident by this video of her playing in the water.

She also liked to visit the people.

I'll close with some of my favorite photos from this day.

Oh how I miss the sunshine already--Rehashing the trip part 1

I'm finally getting around to posting about my trip. I got in late Tuesday night and was exhausted. It did not help that for the last 3 hours of my trip, it rained. Then, poor Tovah was acting strangely in the car. I couldn't figure out if she was thirsty, hungry, or what. Well, despite having stopped to pee on the last 1 1/2 hours of our trip, she apparently had to really poop. Unfortunately, it was too late, and she made a mess on the cover of the seat. Luckily, that is washable. Tovah never has accidents, so I know she was horrified. She sat huddled in a ball the rest of the way home, not trying to touch any part of excrement. Bad mommy, bad trainer.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day recuperating, though I did have an evening dental appt. which did not result well for me. My bridge on the upper right part of my mouth is barely holding on and will need to be replaced (no purging in several years with one exception), I have 3 cavities, and a possible infection under the bridge. I know this has resulted from my horrible inconsistency with flossing. For whatever reason, I am terrible at remembering. I go back in a month for the rest of the cleaning and to fill in the cavities. I always wonder what dental hygienists and dentists think when they see my teeth. Are they horrified? Do they wonder how that could have happened at my fairly young age? They never ask though, it's typically me saying something, though I have not with this dentist whom I've only seen once.

Like I said before, the trip itself went really well. Sitting and driving for 32 hours in a span of 6 days was challenging. My record with long distance driving has not always fared well. It was more just getting through it and not having much memory of it. These days, I handle it much better. I have to attest recovery, more sleep, and having a gps for that. Although the gps did kep wanting me to take this one road to my friend's place in FL. My friend warned me it would do this, and if I went that way, I would get stuck in the sand! I almost did leaving her place but was able to turn myself around.
When I arrived in SC late last Thursday night, here are the dogs who welcomed me. Well, the little white one one wasn't thrilled with either Tovah or me. If you do not know what the breed dog in the first photo is, most do not. She is a Leonberger. Despite some opposition, the breed recently became recognized by the AKC this year and was eligible for Westminister. Bella's littermate and brother, Gulliver, was the one shown at Westminister. If you're wondering why some might be concerned about the AKC recognition, it is because there is a likelihood of the breed becoming more popular which places risk for bad breeding and more puppy mills.

The second photo is Leroy, a Treeing Walker Coonhound. He has a bit of a long story but originally my former co-worker found him and fostered him. Then, my step-brother adopted him which lasted only a few years, then my dad and his wife took him.

The last photo is Dasiy. She is the newest member of their family, only having lived there a year or so. She was apparently kept in a crate with a few dachshunds and bred. Her social skills are lacking and she pretty
much snarled and guarded the toys from Tovah the majority of time while we were there. Though I know what to do to help correct this problem, family is much tougher to get through to. You learn to pick your battles and hope for the best before something awful happens.

Tovah was quite wired from her long nap in the car and kept pulling out toys like these and continuously squeaking them. She pulled out ALL the toys. Daisy was not happy.

Tovah and I left for FL the next day to visit my friend. I got lost and drove around for an hour in the rain but eventually made it there. Her property is beautiful--10 acres fully fenced. On Saturday, she had an aggression workshop. I helped out where I could, listened, observed, and chimed in here and there. It was good to get to see my friend in action.

After the workshop ended, we let Tovah and her dogs go out onto the property. She has Irish Setters and Flat coated Retrievers. They all went into the pond. I wish I had gotten photos of the dogs but it was getting dark.
My friend also has goats living on her property, so the next day I took some photos of them. In this first photo, this goat was really pushy at the fence. Lovable for sure but definitely hogged all the attention. It is very evident in the second picture. My friend said that he was much like his dad and she will likely find a different home for him.

The goats were so funny. They especially loved when their dad came over with the food. They were like a bunch of puppies, baa-baa-ing their way in front of each other. They also liked do do stuff like scratch their butts and backs on the fence as well as their horns.

Then, there were the babies. Now, baby goats, much like baby lambs, are just adorable! You can't but say "Awww." There were three of them. They were a bit shy of strangers. Had I had food, they would have been right at my hand likely. If my friend had more time, she would clicker train them. Goats really excel at clicker training, so hopefully one day she will be able to.

The following day, I watched some of her classes--confirmation, obedience, and agility. She let me have the opportunity to work with Tovah in the class, and that was fun. I was really proud of how she did, especially since she has not been in a class setting for over a year in a half. As my friend said, "she did pretty damn good." It was a nice confidence booster and a good source of inspiration, especially since my friend breeds, shows, competes in obedience, and agility with all nationally ranked dogs.

I so wish my friend wasn't so far away, and that she could offer me a job there. I would absolutely love it, even if it is in FL (mountain girl here), but she is not able to. So as she says, she will have to find more opportunities to bring me down there.

I'm going to end this post here as it is getting long. The next post is about the beach and other stuff.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Heading home

This is going to be a brief post, but I wanted to write at least one from SC or FL. I leave tomorrow to head back home. Overall, it has been really nice. It was a much needed break to just chill, hang out with a good friend, observe some different classes, expose Tovah to some more new things, visit with my dad, and get some good sunshine! In some ways, I wish I could have stayed longer with my dog trainer friend in FL, visit with my dad, see another dog trainer's friend new Belgian Tervuren puppy, but I really do need to get on the road and get back to the grindstone of finding a job. I dread it honestly, but it has to be done.

I'm hoping for an uneventful drive back and am going to listen to What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. It's been on my book list for awhile now. On the drive down, I listened to Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz and Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth--really liked it and will read the hard back I have at home.

When I get back, I'll have a full report and some pictures as well. Though I'm not a beach person, it was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I loved watching how much fun Tovah had there. This was her first time at a beach as well as being off lead. It was a nice test for recall exercises which she did very well.

I must now go to bed. I have a 10-10.5 hour drive awaiting me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Road trip

Tomorrow, as long as I can get all my sh$t together, I will be going on a road trip.  I'll be driving to my dad's which is about a 9.5-10 hours drive.  Then, I'll head to FL to visit a friend about 6 hours away.  She is having a dog workshop on Saturday.  I'll head back to my dad's likely Sunday afternoon, and then head back here on Tuesday.  This makes a total of 32 hours of driving over 6 days.  Yikes!  The most amount of driving I have ever done in a day is 12.  I'm a bit  concerned but feel like I can do it.  Here's why:

Over the last few weeks, i.e no job, I have gotten a significant amount of more sleep--think 7-8 hours versus 5 hours (yes, sleep has always been my nemesis).  I've eaten pretty well and have not gone overboard on exercise.  I've only kept to my 2 days of running and walked the dogs more.  Even if I run at my dad's, his weather is much warmer than it is here, so my body would not be acclimated well.

Anyway, my biggest challenge is getting everything together.  My neighbor will take care of 2 of my dogs and Clover (the youngest is going with me)  I worry slightly, but I think if I give her very detailed instructions and go over everything with her, it will be okay.  Hopefully, this time I will not come back to a roundish bunny like last fall when my parents took care of the dogs and Clover (bless them, they tried).

My next posts will be from sunny SC and FL!

Musings on memory and specialness

I've been meaning to write this post for several weeks now and am finally getting around to it. Some of you know that one of my favorite shows is House. On most Saturday nights, my date is House, ie watching the reruns. Occasionally, there will be a quote or scenario that really makes me think. (see "control" and organ transplantation, "let them eat cake," "life is a series of rooms," and "the greater good.") Or better yet, I tell myself, "this will make a good blog post!"

The show was entitled "You must remember this." It was about about a waitress, Nadia, who came in with paralysis of her legs after she falls suddenly. There is nothing different about this woman except for one thing--she has an impeccable memory. She can remember anything from any date. Everyone is impressed, including House.

Later, we find out that the waitress and her sister have been estranged for a long time. The sister comes to be with Nadia. She tries to share memories with Nadia, but Nadia only lashes out at her sister, always finding a reason why that was not a good memory. After several times of this, Nadia's sister leaves. That is, until she learns that Nadia needs a kidney and is persuaded to donate hers.

Nadia's case has yet to be solved, but House wonders whether Nadia will thank her sister. "She claims that she objectively sees reality. Weighing the good and bad in people. If that's true, I don't care how many times her sister borrowed her scrunchy without asking, a free kidney ought to trump all the bad stuff."

Well, it didn't, and Nadia still could not thank her sister.

As the show nears the end, we learn that Nadia also likes jigsaw puzzles and would never leave one unfinished--it would drive her crazy. Houses reasons she has OCD, and that she has McLeod's syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disease in which anxiety and OCD can be a symptom. House tells her, "Best case scenario, you can live another twenty years." Then, he says one of his famous lines, "If it's any solace, everybody dies alone."

Chase comes back into Nadia's room with a bottle of SSRIs, telling her it will help with the OCD. Nadia is only concerned that it would affect her memory. Chase tries to explain that her memory would be like everyone else's. Nadia goes on to say, "My memory is the only thing that has ever made me special." Chase replies with "if you want to be special then it means being alone."

So this episode is a twofold one--the idea that we filter out our memories, rehashing or remembering only the bad stuff and the idea of "specialness."

Lots of us, ED'd or not will at times dwell on things in our lives which may not be the most healthy for us. Take in point last week when I was talking to my dad about work. He felt I kept bringing up my former boss, and he just couldn't understand why I was not able to drop the subject already. I think had I gone on for days and weeks and weeks about it, yes, then, it would be considered dwelling. Or dwelling if I could just not stop talking about it completely, like an obsession. But it's not. I have talked about it extensively with close family and friends--heck I even had a recent dream about it, but I have moved on from it. Will I still wonder, yep. Will I ever get answers? Likely not.

That was the thing for Nadia, she was not able to let go or forgive people. She saw her memory as objective, but it was far from it. Instead, she filtered everything good out from her memories and only remembered the bad stuff. And continuously obsessed on it. And that became what she felt was her true memory.

This is similar to the scenarios of therapists who continuously want to rehash the past My feeling is that there is a time and place for it, and in early recovery, it can help understand why you feel the way you do or how someone else may have felt. Then, when there is a point of acceptance about it, that is when you must move forward and learn what you can do now.

Secondly, a lot of us want to feel special. Truly, we all are--we just never see it at the time. We want a special quality that no one else can do. For many with eating disorders, it is the idea of starvation and thinness. (For me personally, it was the superwoman complex which equated to great grades, functioning on very little sleep and food, and being a part of lot of extracurricular activities and excelling at them.)

Though I don't completely agree with Chase's statement if we relate it to eating disorders--really we aren't alone, there are millions starving, purging, bingeing everyday. But we do feel alone. We feel alone for being different, for having no one else to talk to who relates, for our isolation/our imprisonment in our own minds. And that's truly not a way to live a life.

It's kind of weird when I think about the whole "special" thing. For so long, I've been told I was special. I never believed it though. I mean, it just doesn't count when it is from your parents. But other people would say it too, and would they lie really? Still though, here's what I do know. I don't want to be special for my outward appearances (well okay, being called attractive is kind of nice at times--a recent date told me this), but rather for my inner qualities. I know that sounds hugely clichèish, but it is true. I'd rather be considered kind, compassionate, generous, reliable, hard working, etc. than just pretty.

Did anyone else see this episode? What were your thoughts? How do you view memories? How do you want others to see you?