Thursday, September 29, 2011

Busy...but overwhelmed

Just want to say that things have been crazy busy here. I leave for my big dog conference a week from Saturday I'm excited to go, but in the meantime, stress is really building on me.  This year, my role has been upgraded, so I feel a little more pressure to ensure things run smoothly. 

I had manged things pretty well dealing with stress up until now, and it is like this week everything fell into the category of "overwhelm."  

I'm trying to get a lot done before I leave for the conference which includes:
  • Dog food preparation.  I have to order enough food, then prepare it all in pre-packaged meals for my neighbors to easily feed.  If this was kibble, it would be easy, but it is raw food/veggies/fruits.
  • Bunny food preparation.  I find doing the same thing with the bunny as the dogs is the easiest thing for my neighbors--this means ziploc bags of her veggies and pellets.
  • Car oil change--luckily, I have a $20 coupon
  • Lots of work-related things.  I'll put it this way.  When you are starting from scratch, it can be a bit difficult.  Not that I haven't gotten a lot done, but there is always more to do.
  • Dog vet appointment.  I will begrudgingly have to get a Vaccine for Tovah.  It goes against my ethics, but at the same time, it is the only way I can take her to a nearby SAR seminar in November.
  • Time to exercise.  Seriously this has been majorly lacking the last 1 1/2 weeks.  I took a run with the group last night and ran a week prior to that, but only short walks in between.
  • Finishing up work for the big dog conference.
  • Considering picking up a few bartending shifts at the Zoo next week.   This makes it really hairy since they are all mid-week towards the end but really need the additional money.
  • Buy food/snacks to take with me on my trip.  
  • Figure out my insurance bill.  For whatever reason, my physical therapist put in two different diagnoses for several of my appointment, thus resulting in being billed for 2 appointments rather than one.  How frustrating!
I know the best thing for me to do is just to breathe, organize, and cross things off one at a time.  So easy to say, so hard to do sometimes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

1st bartending gig

Yesterday, I had my first bartending gig. The day before, we had a walk-thru of what was going to happen, and many of us felt nervous as this was our first event.  Some of us felt like we were being thrown to the wolves! 

The event itself was the big annual fundraiser for the zoo.  Tickets were not cheap, ranging in price from $200-$3000.  However, 2250 people were willing to pay the price for this big gala event.  There were some big name sponsors plus around 75 restaurants, offering samples of their food. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to taste any of them which was so disappointing.  Some chefs near us said we should just sneak off somewhere and eat their food.  Instead, we were given pizza and soda before our shift.  Neither are my favorite to eat, but this was my only option for the next 8 hours.  

At the beginning of our shift, it was pretty slow.  We were all just standing around, waiting for people to show up.  The people at my station were just as nervous as me.  We had all gone to the bartending school with the exception of 1 person.  I think all of us had reviewed our recipe cards the night before, afraid we'd be asked some obscure drink to make.  Luckily, this was not the case at all--it was mostly cocktails and easy highballs drinks--gin and tonic, vodka and cranberry (Cape Codder), rum and coke, etc.  The entire night, I made only 2 whiskey sours and 1 margarita.  A few people wanted Cosmos, but we weren't carrying all the ingredients for that drink.

Once we were busy, it was jammin' in there, and the time went by quickly.  By the end of the night, there were more than a few people wasted (I think one guy asked me for at least 4 screwdrivers-vodka and orange juice), but all looked like they had a good time.  Though no one was required to tip, we still had people who did which was nice.  The bad part is that we have to split the tips, so overall with at least 20-30 of us, it won't be a lot.  

All in all, I was pretty pleased with how everything went.  It is too bad, because we (the bartenders) have been asked if we can do additional events for various picnics, parties, etc., but unfortunately, right now is about the worst time possible as I'm busy with a lot of other things.  Otherwise, I'd be jumping on these opportunities.  I will probably still do the ones I can, but still, it's like "where were you 2-3 months ago?" 

Anyway, I think it was a good experience for me.  I did however realize that I suck at uncorking wine bottles, so I was quite thankful for the guy beside who could do this well and promptly.  So, those are the details of my first bartending gig.  Once I got home--around 1:30am, I went straight to bed.  I was hopeful to sleep in, but alas, that did not happen.  I think the rest of the day is going to be a bit on the lazy side--chores around the house, catching up on some documentation work, etc.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teeth issues don't go away

Yesterday's dental appointment wound up disasterous. First, I was 20 minutes late, having gotten lost going a different way or a way that I thought was the right way. By the time, I arrived, I figured I would have to reschedule. But they allowed me to have my dental cleaning since the person who was after me never confirmed her appt.

This appt. was a basic cleaning-no big deal, right?  At the end of my appt., the hygienist said there was a shadow on one of my upper teeth.  She went ahead and did an x-ray.  When the dentist came in, it was confirmed a large cavity.  Then, I had the dentist look at this one place on my upper gum line that has been irritated for months.  When I last asked about this, she said she did not see anything but some trauma.

Well, a new x-ray showed a massive infection there.  Ugh!  I knew something was not right there.  Several weeks ago, I even had a few blood-like blisters.  So the treatment is either a root canal to save the tooth or remove the tooth.  If I remove the tooth, there would be no teeth left on my left upper side which seems like a horrible option.  But then, if I go with the root canal and crown option, I will max out my dental benefits for the year and would owe about $1,000.  Apparently, they can make it slightly cheaper for me by only doing part of the crown, then waiting until after the first of the year to do the rest.  

To be honest, neither option sounds great.  I know in my last post about my dental problems, I sounded pretty good and tried to make a point for others not to follow in my footsteps.  But yesterday and today, I just feel upset about it.  It's like my teeth issues will never get better and will likely just go with me to my grave.  I know that sounds so morbid, but I just feel like I never get  a break.  I've put off some of the major procedures simply because they are too financially costly--think at least 3 implants and  new bridge.  

There is something else with all of this that runs in the back of my mind.  If my teeth are this bad as a major consequence of purging, imagine if I'd been a multiple-a-day purger.  My guess is that I wouldn't have any teeth left at all.  

For now, I'm on antibiotics for the infection and will go back to he dentist in a few weeks for the root canal.  In some ways, I feel like not saving this tooth, but I hate feeling toothless too.  Argh, what a horrible conundrum!  I hope others do not face my plight!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The "In-Between State"

I do not know if you are familiar with Pema Chodron, a well known Buddhist nun.  She's written a number of books about meditation and applying it to your everyday life.  This passage from her book, The Places that Scare You.  If you have not read it, please do so. 

I read it a number of years ago and found it very helpful.  I actually remember this passage well about the "In-between state."  I think there are a lot of us that struggle with this in recovery.  As I like to say with anything I read, people I hear, etc., there is always something to learn from them all--take what you want and leave the rest.

We are told about the pain of chasing after pleasure and the futility of running from pain. We hear also about the joy of awakening, of realizing our interconnectedness, of trusting the openness of our hearts and minds. But we aren't told all that much about this state of being in-between, no longer able to get our old comfort from the outside but not yet dwelling in a continual sense of equanimity and warmth.
Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It's the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what's happening, we begin to access our inner strength. 
Yet, it seems reasonable to want some kind of relief. If we can make the situation right or wrong, if we can pin it down in any way, then we are on familiar ground. But something has shaken up our habitual patterns and frequently they no longer work. Staying with volatile energy gradually becomes more comfortable than acting out or repressing it. This open-ended tender place is called bodhichitta. Staying with it is what heals. It allows us to let go of our self-importance. It's how the warrior learns to love.

Showers and flowers

I was thinking today of the quote, "when it rains, it pours." Most people seem to say this when bad things happen.  There is a tendency for people  to relate to pouring rain with sadness.  There are only a few people I really know of that look at it differently--perhaps it is because their association with rain has always been pleasant and positive.  So I was trying to think of a way to have a positive spin to this time-old saying?

This is the one I came up with, "When it showers, it flowers."

I think this is a really good positive spin off.  What do you think?  It is what has been going through my head all day due to some interesting, exciting news.  Unfortunately, I cannot discuss it here fully, but those who have my personal e-mail can e-mail me if they want to know the details.

But here's what I will say, I'm taking a leap, a plunge into the unknown.  It's no doubt scary, stressful, and will be hard at the beginning.  But, I believe in myself enough to try.  I remind myself I have the skills to do it, the ability to be "different," and to be successful.

I realize I may not be feeling this in like a week or two, but I must go with what I feel right now.  Otherwise, I know I will never do it, and then only have regrets.  And who wants to live a life of regret or what ifs or what could have been?  None of us do, and none of us should have to.

Wish me luck!  When I am able, I will fill in more details.  I really do hate to leave all my beloved blog readers hanging, but this is sensitive stuff right now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Video Wednesday-Clover jumping

I think I'm going to try something new and instead of a "Wordless Wednesday" than many bloggers do, I'm going to do "Video Wednesdays." Likely, these will mostly be animals, but maybe I'll think of some other stuff to film too. Keep me to this! This might be a fun thing to add here!

I know a few of you wanted to see some videos of Clover in action, so here is just one example.

A few weeks ago, I was going to make a jump for Clover. I realized I did not have long enough pieces, so I had to finagle with what I had. I made her this jump from her weave pole set. Here's a quick video of Clover jumping over it. I really love the fact she chose to jump over it, following my hand than jump through it which she could have easily done.

At some point in the future, I may give Clover her own Youtube channel. And yes, this is how I talk to the animals when training/rewarding them.

Dog-filled weekend

Quick post here. I will have more of substance soon. This weekend was rather "doggy." I went to an agility trial last Friday to watch a friend run her poodle, and also to check out this facility. It may be one I join.  The poodle on the right is the one my friend ran.  The gray poodle, she performs in Rally.

On Saturday, I went to a big dog show with a friend. Unfortunately, this was the hottest day! We mostly watched obedience and browsed the vendors, then chilled back at her house.  I fell in love with this 25 lb. Border Collie, belonging to my friend's friend.  Apparently, the woman who had this dog said she was the dumbest dog she ever had, and she couldn't get her to stop jumping, etc.  One day, my friend's friend (also a trainer) told the woman the day she wanted to give her up to let her know. About two weeks later, the woman called her, and gave her up.  This is her third home as a rescue and her last.  She was such a darling. After watching the agility trial, it really made me want to have a bit of a "push button" dog to run with.  Yes, BCs come in this size!

Over at my friend's house, our dogs had a great time playing which was a big thing for my friend's dog reactive dog. Last time, he met Tovah, it wasn't the most pleasant experience. My friend's done a lot of work since then, and it showed. Everyone has a wonderful time!   Here's a group shot.  Her two dogs are the Cattle Dog X and the Fox Houndish X.  The red dog farthest right is a dog that my friend was taking care of.  It is sad, she is only 4 years old and has glaucoma.  She lost an eye last year, and is adjusting to her near loss of sight.  She is a sweet girl and love dogs.

Then, on Monday, I walked with a friend and her JRTs at a nearby park. We had a late lunch afterwards where I had an amazing grilled hummus foccacia wrap! I'm seriously thinking about buying stuff to make this sans the cheese.

These are my friend's two JRTs.  The one on the left is 14 years old and still trucking along.  The one one the right is 3 yrs old.  He is a smooth-coated JRT.  He did confirmation (though finished now), earth dog (dog run in through tunnels looking for the a specific animal scent, typically a rat scent is used.  This game mimicks the history of what many terrier type dogs were originally used for), and dock diving, his favorite.

Here is a photo of Tovah with the city background behind her.