Picture Post!

Jen took this photo of me 5 years ago, but I discovered it when I went trawling through tagged photos of myself on Facebook. My parents want a picture for their living room and while this one doesn't have Bosco in it because it was the summer before I adopted him, I think it's pretty great on every other front. I look good, you can clearly see Maia (who is saying "Cookies in my mouth!") and the background is my beloved dykes.

I took this selfie yesterday at my desk. I was having a 'feeling pretty' day.

A co-worker at the call centre gifted me with this brand new Costco bed because her dog refused to use it. Maia thinks it's perfect.

First snow of the year! Bosco is so handsome.

I stole Cooper again. I *love* him.

My beautiful girl. This is my work computer desktop picture right now. I love blue shadows on snow.


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Thursday

I went by the call centre today (my work place before I got this one year temp position) and everyone was so happy to see me. I got 4 hugs! And people told me I looked really happy, that I was glowing.

Sometimes I think I must be doing okay at this whole life thing.

~

Totally unrelated, I got jealous at my American friends posting about their Thanksgiving dinners today so I bought a rotisserie chicken and a box of stuffing, made garlic mashed potatoes, and poured about a litre of gravy over everything. No more jealousy and happy belly. And happy dogs since they got to sit next to me in the kitchen while I tore the chicken apart, and got a near constant supply of skin and fatty bits directly in their mouths. Everyone likes rotisserie chicken night.

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Randoms

On Sunday I spent 7 hours on my feet, wrangling dogs for Santa photos. My friend Jen does two photo shoots by donation at a local pet supply store and 100% of the proceeds go to a local cat rescue. This was my first year volunteering at this particular one and I had so much fun. Wore the wrong shoes and my feet still hurt, three days later, but I am looking forward to the second one in a couple weeks. I got to pet and snorgle so many adorable dogs, and seeing how much people love their pets can't help but make you feel good.

~

Boss was in town over the weekend. Well, sort of. He was doing a mini-conference on Vancouver Island so I saw him briefly on Friday when I picked him up at the airport and dropped him at the ferry terminal. I got a couple hours with him on Monday when we did the reverse. We went to an Asian mall in Richmond. (Richmond is a predominantly Asian suburb in Vancouver, and it is kind of like a large Chinatown. Everything in this mall was written in … Mandarin? I don't even know! The food court was all Asian food, and not North Americanized Asian food but I guess more authentic Asian food. It's quite strange.) There is a Daiso in that mall that is a Japanese dollar store and it is huge and has a ton of cool stuff. He loves to go browse in there.

We may or may not have had a quickie in the family washroom. *laughing*

I had borrowed Hailey's new (to her) Honda Element and had brought cushions and pillows and a blanket so that we could have a cuddle and/or sex in there. Elements are huge when you fold the back seats up, and I thought that it would be a better option than trying to cuddle in my car. He humoured me and we spent half an hour snuggled up in there, just parked in the parking lot. I don't really ever touch anyone except him, and I don't notice how much I miss it until I get the change to glom onto him.

He has time off from travels between the Seattle vendor fair in a few weeks, and Taboo in February, and hopefully I will be able to go down to see him during that time. He won't be working on stuff at the warehouse so we will be able to cuddle and lounge around and cuddle and watch tv and did I mention cuddle???

~

But because I had a good Sunday and a good Monday, the fates needed to intervene so yesterday I came home from work to find two large piles of stinky smooshy poo on Bosco's mattress. Thanks Maia! It was my fault completely – I fed them some canned food on Monday night and didn't insist that they poop before I went to work. But on your brother's bed? 

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Crafty!

http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.ca/2014/11/knock-off-pottery-barn-advent.html

This is such a cute idea for anyone who has kids or a partner who might enjoy this. It's a do-it-yourself big advent calendar.

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Voting and feeling connected

I have spent the better part of today reading the platforms of the candidates running for mayor and councillor in my municipal election. The last one was in 2011 and while I was living in Maple Ridge then, I didn't take the time to learn anything about the candidates and therefore I didn't vote. It is the one and only time I haven't voted, in any election, since I became eligible.

I started with the women nominees because I decided that women whom I liked would get precedent over men that I liked. Considering that there are 26 nominees and only 6 of those are women (and there are no POC at all) I thought it was the best way to get some diversity out of the choices. I now have 2 women and 5 men picked out but I can only vote for 6 to become councillors.

The past year or so I realized that I have become very attached to Maple Ridge, and I don't want to move anywhere else. I had originally planned to stay in my townhouse for five years and then move to a house in Mission. The real estate is cheaper in Mission but it does not have the dykes that I love, and it would add at least another 25 minutes on to my commute (assuming I get to stay in this position once the year contract is up). Reading the platforms and seeing what different people's visions are for Maple Ridge has solidified for me that this community is home.

I may even start reading the local newspaper!

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Public Service Announcement

I may have solved one of my life’s little aggravations. My sheet always ends up covered in dog hair. Like, I use a clothes brush on it every night and end up with a handful of Bosco fluff. Not any more!

The solution
When making the bed:
Fitted sheet (obviously)
Flat sheet smoothed out
Pillows on top of flat sheet (very important)
Duvet

When I get into bed I lift the pillows and pull the flat sheet down and voila! Fitted sheet with very minimal dog hair!

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Change

I managed to tell my therapist my deepest darkest secret. And I didn't die! (That's our yardstick for difficult conversations. Did you die? No? Ok it's probably going to be ok then.)

I am in a curious place now of confronting a deep held belief about myself that might possibly be untrue. And if it's untrue, then it opens up avenues in my life that I didn't think would ever be open.

It's bloody scary. I'm just … sitting with these thoughts right now. I have a tendency to get fatalistic so I'm trying to just be open to the idea that things could possibly be different. It helps that last year we confronted my other hugely negative self-belief and now when it tries to rear its head at me I tell it to back the fuck down, that I don't play that game any more. So change can happen. These beliefs are not rooted in stone.

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Weekend Adventures

I had such a lovely Saturday. I didn't speak to anyone except the Starbucks barista. I spent the day alternating being cleaning and watching Rectify (which I highly recommend!). I ended the day by taking the dogs to the part around 9pm, and their new LED lights worked like a hot damn.

Then yesterday I was up early to take the dogs for a proper walk. We were out before it got hot and there was no one else around on the dyke. It continued the soul rejuvination that I began on Saturday. Then I was off to Langley to meet up with Amber, a friend from the call centre. We went to BBQ Off The Bypass which is a barbecue competition. Every hour the competitors have to present a particular item to the judges and then they have free samples for the public. We were there for the pulled pork hour and considering there were about 15 competitors, we ate our fill!

I went home for a much needed nap in the quiet and cool of my bedroom, but then I was off to my parents' for dinner. I tried acorn squash for the first time in years and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it. I think it's hard to dislike anything when it's dripping with butter though. Always good to add another vegetable to the diet. (Also, I just looked at the word SQUASH so many times that it looks weird and I'm finding it hilarious that we call vegetables SQUASHES.)

And then – AND THEN!!! We went to the Elton John concert! My brother, his girlfriend, and I got tickets for the three of us plus my dad for a birthday / Father's Day present. I took my dad years ago when Elton came with Billy Joel and we were blown away. He did not disappoint this time either. He is such a fantastic singer – he owes nothing to studio mixing. He plays the piano and sings his heart out and it was so great. Best quote of the night from him: "Being cool is overrated. You're cool for 5 seconds, then you're not cool. I've never been cool and I'm fucking glad of it!" My only wish is that he performed 'Daniel' because that is one of my all-time favourite songs. However, he got most of my other favourites, including 'Crocodile Rock' in his encore.

I didn't get home unitl midnight so the alarm came way too quickly this morning. I can't even relax after work because I have a hair appointment. My roots are ridiculous and I probably need about four inches cut off to take care of the split ends. But I get to cuddly kitties while my hairdresser does my streaks so I think I'll manage.

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Wolves in Yellowstone Park

How Wolves Change Rivers: http://youtu.be/ysa5OBhXz-Q

This is so fascinating to me. Worth the 4 minutes, I promise!

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A Scare and a Success

The Scare

I've been getting up around 5 for the last few mornings and taking the dogs to the field at the local elementary school so that they can sniff and wander for fifteen minutes or so before being abandoned by me while I go to work. I'm still in my depression slump and it's been hard finding the energy to do anything with them when I get home in the afternoon so at least this way they are getting to leave the house.

There was a full moon two nights ago so there is enough light to see by on the field, except along the fence where there are some bushes and trees. Bosco's blue merle colouring means that he effectively disappears from sight in the shadows and I can only see him when he moves. He's very reliable though – he always sniffs his way down the fence line while Maia and I wander in the field.

Yesterday we followed the same pattern as usual but I trusted that Bosco would do his usual thing and I didn't keep an eye on where he was. I usually alway know where my dogs are when they are off leash. I try not to be a helicoptor mum but I can't just let them go exploring without knowing where they are. I turned and looked for Bosco and didn't see any movement. I called his name and got no response. Sometimes if he is sniffing something really good he won't recall immediately so I didn't worry right away … but the seconds ticked by and I still couldn't see any movement. I called him again, and whistled. Nothing.

I started walking back down the field, calling him and whistling every couple of steps. When I was almost at the other end of the field my car came into view in the school parking lot and I saw a familiar shape standing by the back bumper. I called him again and this time Bosco turned and came running to me. I dropped to my knees and made a big fuss of him when he got to me, and he flopped on his back and asked for belly rubs. I'm not sure whether he got confused as to where I was or what – we've walked in this field so many times and we always do the same circuit, but something obviously happened.

It reinforced for me that I always need to keep an eye out for both my dogs when they are off leash, and I got H to pick me up little LED collar lights from her work. We used to have what we called disco lights on all the dogs when she lived with me and we would take the gang out in the evenings or early mornings. They each had a different colour so we knew who was where. But the batteries died and they got immersed in water a few times too many, and I never replaced them. But now I have a blue flower on Bosco and a pink jewel on Maia (because those were their colours before) so that I can see them even in the dark.

The Success

H and I met up last night and we took Bosco and Dennis for a sniffy walk around her neighbourhood. Bosco thought it was the best thing ever because all the sniffs were new. Maia screamed her displeasure at being left alone at H's house while we took out the boys.

Then we swapped dogs and took the girls over to a nearby park where we met up with two other people and their reactive dogs, so that we could all practice calm behaviours. There was some kind of gathering going on in the park so there were a lot of adults milling around, playing frisbee and tossing balls back and forth. There was a group of women doing yoga. And there were a few other people and dogs walking by, including a couple off leash. I had my clicker and very yummy treats, and Maia was like, "Oh, we're working. Ok!" She had happy ears and tail for the entire time. She didn't seem to be bothered by anything that was going on around us. She was focussed on me and getting treats. I had my 12ft long line too and I felt comfortable enough to put her on that and work on a little bit of stuff at a distance.

The amazing success came at the end. The other woman and man put their dogs away and came back to give Maia treats so we could work on her human reactivity up close. She was great at approaching the woman (was her name Irene, H?) and took cookies immediately, bonking her nose into the treat pouch when the cookies were not getting in her mouth fast enough lol. The man (whose name I never caught) crouched down and held out his hand to the side and Maia slowly sidled up to him. She didn't want his cookies but she started snuffling his ear and cheek. I was watching her like a hawk because sometimes she does that but then decides she doesn't like the smell of the person and will start snapping and lunging. She seemed fine but we backed up a ways, took a little break, and tried again. This time I gave him some of my treats to give her and she was taking them from him. And then he started stroking her chest and rubbing her ears. And she let him! H and I looked at each other in disbelief. I have, through trial and error, made a protocol for introducing Maia to strangers, and being petted by them is not something that happens that fast because she would never be comfortable with it. And yet, there she was, taking treats and being petted by a man wearing a hat that she had only just met.

I was so proud of her. I forget just how far she has come because in some ways she is still a reactive lunatic (like in the car!). We are hopefully all going to meet up again to keep working on things with our dogs. I'm also inspired to take Maia out by herself to different places and work with her on ignoring strange people and things. She was so tired after an hour of this that she fell asleep in the car on the way home and then passed out on my bed directly afterwards. Yay for tired dogs!

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