Friday, October 26, 2012

Self Induced To Do List

It's been an incredibly busy week and I can't believe that I am actually sitting here attempting to write  blog post while the chaos whirls around me. The thing about my kind of "chaos" is that it is completely self induced and most of the things that I need to get done don't actually "need" to get done. It's totally my choice and yet I let these things run my life!

Yes there have been many things and events happening the past few days which have kept me going, such as my job and school. I was working about 6 days in a row there and trying to study for a few exams plus finish some assignments so I was up to elbows in that kind of stuff (boring!) But on top of that, it was my dad's 60th birthday on Wednesday (Happy Birthday Dad!) and I had to work 10:30-4 that day which meant that by the time I got home from work, made the cake and got ready for supper, there would be zero homework done that day, which stressed me out. Plus having Axel around is a constant walking and playing marathon which gobbles up lots of time as well.

Have I mentioned that I am going to PEI for a visit? I am flying out tomorrow (apparently just in time to meet up with Hurricane Sandy who is plummeting the East Coast at this very minute) and arriving on Sunday morning. I have been so busy with school, work, dogs and birthdays that I haven't give myself a single moment to get excited about this trip. Unfortunately I will have to spend some time doing school work and being a responsible student, but now that I am done exams and off work for a while, I get to be excited about seeing Chris and my friends! The weather is supposed to be crap but I don't mind. I'll be with good company which is all I need for my duration there.

But then there's the silly little things that I need to get done as well which, in my head, seem just as crucial as going to work and studying for midterms. Things like getting my pumpkin carving done! Halloween would not be Halloween if I didn't get the carve at least one pumpkin, and since I bought 2 this year then that meant twice the fun! Normally I wait until the night of the 30th or morning of the 31st to do the carving so that they look nice and fresh for the Trick-or-Treaters, but since I am heading out tomorrow I thought that today would have to be the day. I always like to try to do a  "scary" pumpkin which ultimately never really ends up being all that scary but I enjoy cutting out the jagged teeth.

And this year since I got 2, I figured I'd might as well do something ridiculous. I've never met a pumpkin with a moustache so this year I created one.

I am incredibly disappointed that I will be missing all of the Halloween festivities both here at home and out in PEI. Halloween is on a Wednesday this year (BOOOOO) which means that all parties are the Saturday before, which is the night I will be flying across the country. I was never a huge Halloween person until I met Chris and he loves it so much that it kind of wore off on me and now I look forward to it so much! Stupid me for stupid making the stupid flight reservation on stupid Saturday before Halloween. Stupid.

Now it's only just past 9pm and I'm utterly exhausted. I'm waiting for my clothes in the dryer to finish drying so that I can continue packing up my suitcase, but all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleeeeeep. Axel and the cat don't get along so at night he sleeps upstairs while she sleeps downstairs, which is where my bedroom is. So for the past few mornings she's been waking me up around 5:30-6am to let her outside. And then of course I can never fall back asleep because my brain starts spiraling thinking about everything that I have to get done that day. So I am trying to stay up late tonight in hopes of sleeping in since I am taking a late flight out tomorrow which lands in PEI at 11am Sunday. Staying awake for 48 hours is not on my "To Do" list at the moment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Dreams

I loved growing up in Canada and I am a firm lover of all 4 seasons. The spring is fresh and warm, summers are hot (most of the time), the autumn is beautiful and winters are majestic. Today was the first snowfall of the year and waking up to a light blanket of white snow always brings a big smile to my face. Snow makes everything so much prettier and always I appreciate its ability to create a calm and peaceful backdrop.

The one and only thing that I did not enjoy about growing up where I live is that as a kid, by the time the end of October came around, you'd be hoping and praying and begging Mother Nature to hold off the snow until at least November 1st. Many times I remember trudging around the neighbourhood trick-or-treating in my pretty costumes with ugly noisy snow pants peeping out from under my skirt. Every year I hoped that I could wear just my costume and no winter coat or gloves to keep me from shivering like the candles flickering in the Jack-o-lanterns. You see all those commercials on TV of groups of kids running around on Halloween in their fancy short-sleeved costumes and perfect make-up, when in reality most of us kids are forced to bundle against the imminent winter weather with our careful planned makeup hiding under our hood. How was I supposed to show off my fancy fairy wings when they were stuck inside my coat? Plus clunking around in Sorels instead of pretty sparkly shoes was such a bummer.

We all dream of growing up and being able to go out on Halloween dressed like this:

But in reality, we ended up going out like this

It's only the 23rd which means that there is still 8 days for the snow to melt, the sun to break through and the world to warm up so that all Canadian kids can live the dream of actually wearing just their costumes on Halloween. Back off winter! It's not your time yet!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


His name is Axel and he's mine, all mine! It took me nearly a week of meeting, greeting, walking and thinking to decide to take him on.

I didn't mean to fall for him. I went to the SPCA to look at a dog that might be a good fit for my parents and after they turned out to be less than ideal, I set my eyes on this friendly guy and was instantly hooked. Axel came from the Similkameen Valley where he was found as a stray. After being in a shelter out there for a while with no one coming looking for him, he was adopted by someone who owned a small farm. Unfortunately Axel got a taste for chicken and they ended up having to give him up since he was a repeated offender in the chicken coop. They shipped him to the Trail shelter in hopes of finding someone here who wanted to give him a home.

Axel had an award winning personality that I could not help but instantly enjoy. To him, every person that he meets is an incredibly exciting moment which is a change from the dogs that we have had in the past. Rizzo was always really person friendly but the others...not so much. When he gets really excited he smiles and shows his teeth, which is something that I have never seen before. It's pretty cute! He's got goofy lopsided ears, natural camouflage and lots of energy. He's a mix of Australian Cattle Dog and Blue Heeler, which means that he might be a bit of a handful in terms of needs for exercise, but I am up for the challenge. So far he's proving to be quite easy to handle and I am so happy to have a dog that already knows all of the basic commands. I also really love that he's excellent with kids and other dogs. Bonus!

One of my favourite things about dogs is how adaptable and flexible they can be. I really don't know anything about how this guy was raised but he came into the house and immediately made himself at home. I was worried that he might not like where I put him to sleep for the night, but he was quiet and didn't make much of a peep the entire night. He just seems so happy to have people around that actually want him to be close by. I am also loving how quickly he is catching on to the routine and the things he is learning. For example, he knows nothing about toys, fetch or playing tug-o-war. I threw a ball for him yesterday and he just sat there and watched it bounce away without a hint of recognition of what to do in the situation. After some time in the yard with the ball, he is not starting to figure out that this is meant to be fun and he gets excited to see toys around. Sort of.

Welcome to the family Axel! I hope we are all you wanted in a family!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hand Sanitizer Hostility

Today I have decided to take a stand and express my perspective against hand sanitizer. That's right. HAND SANITIZER! Most of the time when I mention to people that I am against all forms of hand sanitizer, they give me this look like I am slightly crazy and might be waiting for a story about the time I got abducted by aliens. Is it really that bizarre to detest the stuff? I think it's bizarre that people swear by it and carry multiple tubes around with them at all times. I don't care if it's scented with lavender, coconut-pie, new leather smell or key-lime, it's not going in my shopping cart.

The reason I am dead against the stuff is that the only times I ever get sick is within 24-48 hours of using it. Now this is the part in the conversation in which I get the strange looks, but it's totally and completely true! How could someone make something like this up? I get a cold maybe once a year. If that. Colds are not my style and I do a fairly good job at avoiding them. But then a day will come where my hands will get something especially nasty on them when I'm out and about, and my only resort to any kind of cleanliness is a couple of squirts from one of those public hand sanitizer dispensers. And them BAM! By the next day or day after that, it all starts with a sore throat and I know I've lost my battle with cold-aversion. It's hard to avoid these dispensers though. They're in banks, grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, classrooms, clothing stores, washroom, public parks, offices, drug stores, coffee shops...and every five steps in between. Taunting you. Reminding you of everything that you touched, making you second guess your personal hand cleanliness. 

Why do we feel the need to destroy all of the bacterial on our hands continuously throughout the day? Do you know why it is recommend for babies to crawl around on the floor and put things in their mouths? To eat bacteria and build their immune systems! If we go around killing every teeny tiny bacteria that might come in contact with a mucousal membrane (nose, mouth) then we'd might as well not breathe the air. We'd might as well live in a bubble and avoid every surface and every person who might come in contact with us. Our skin is covered all of the time with millions of friendly bacteria that are there to keep us healthy, and we're going out spending money on products to kill them off. 

When did the obsession of insane hand cleanliness start? Oh wait...I remember. It was when H1N1 was exploding on the scene and everyone was freaking out of coming down with it. When was that...2008? 2009? Sometime in there. I remember being in university and suddenly there were machines everywhere squirting chemicals in your direction if your hand brushed near. At first I thought that it was neat that people were being proactive in the fight against evil viruses and I'll admit that I used the antibacterial gel on more than one occasion, but overall not that often. But then I started to get more colds. Hmmm. It took me a while to find the correlation between using hand sanitizer and developing a head-cold, but as time went on, I figured it out and have been avoiding all kinds of hand sanitizer ever since. But as I mentioned, every so often my hands get uncontrollably gross and a handy-dandy dispenser is always near to entice me to place my palm underneath. Yesterday I fell for it once again and SHAZAM! Today I have a sore throat. It's been about a year since I last used the stuff. When will I learn?

I stopped at the dispenser and stared at it for a while before making the terrible decision of giving into it. Why did I do it? What is it that compelled me to give in when I knew the outcome would be a sore and snotty mess which would last for up to a week. Now I am double-dosing myself with Oil of Oregano in hopes of kicking this thing down before anything substantial develops in my head.

Wait...what? I haven't told you about my obsession with Oil of Oregano? Oil of Oregano is the most amazing substance that humans have discovered in the fight against...well...everything! I use it exclusively when I feel a cold coming on, but it is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic and can help with problems such as digestive issues and skin infections. It can help boost your immune system, improve your joints and flexibility and even help with your respiratory system. People use it to treat warts, shingles, lice, headaches, bladder infections, acne, burns, bruises, candida overgrowth and dozens of more problems. It's amazing. Truly. I recommend everyone go out, buy a bottle and try it on your own personal symptoms. You can pick it up at any health store or even in the grocery store with all of the vitamins. 

While you're there, don't buy any hand sanitizer! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Housesitting Hysteria (aka Sophie)

I've been house sitting for my sister for the past couple of days and have been thrown back into the wild and crazy world of having a puppy around. Pam and her husband have a 10(ish) month old pup Sophie who, even though she is highly entertaining, is such a pain 95% of the time. My last blog was about the death of our family dog Rizzo, and even though it was 15 years ago that she was a puppy, I don't remember her being as crazy as Sophie is. Riz didn't jump up on counters or have the level of separation anxiety as Sophie does. I feel like I can never fully relax because I am on constant Sophie-patrol, meaning that she could be up to anything and anytime and in any part of the house, so I have to be on high alert to make sure she's not pulling gloves, knives, bottles, beer cans, lids, of the counter, or pulling the garbage out of the bathroom and dragging it around the house. We've learned to keep all bedroom and bathroom doors closed at all time because there is no telling what she will find exciting enough to steal away and bring to her bed to gnaw on. Unfortunately she somehow grabbed a roll of toilet paper from my bathroom and destroyed it all over the living room rug. Being here for the weekend is a great reminder that I don't ever want to own a puppy again and that a full grown dog from the SPCA will be a great addition to my life sometime in the future.

Plus she has the worst dog farts right now and is grossing me out.

But like I said, puppies are very entertaining creatures to have around. They are very simple minded and find happiness in the smallest things, such as apples, sticks, bugs, grass, old rotten zucchinis and basically anything that gets in their line of vision. I've been taking them on the same walk for the past 3 days and every time at the exact same spot on the trail, Sophie gets this burst of energy and runs back and forth up the trail while lunging at Splash trying to get her to play with her. And every time she does this, Splash turns to me with this defeated look that clearly displays that she thinks this pup is a lunatic who she wish would just leave her be to enjoy the walk.

This morning's walk was full of adventure and fun though! After finding someone's discarded bag of garbage (that Sophie ate a lot of) and a big pile of some kind of animal excrement (which Sophie ate a lot of) AND some more garbage left behind farther down the trail (which Sophie ate some of and ran around excitedly with in her mouth until I chased her down and made her drop it), we came across an old deer carcass. The trail is at the bottom of the bank which follows alongside the highway, so I am guessing that the deer was hit by a car, landed in the bushes on the side of the highway and somehow made its way to the bottom of the bank (probably an animal dragged it down) and landed on the trail for us to find. I let the dogs investigate it and give it a good sniff, then proceeded to carry on down the trail while calling them to come along. Splash gave up quite quickly and followed along but Sophie panicked at the idea of leaving this amazing carcass behind and decided to try to pull it home. She grabbed a hold of a rib bone and pulled with all her puppy might, only to drag it about an inch. I could see the excitement in her eyes as she tried her best to get this thing to come along with us, but she soon realized that this was a lost cause. No doubt she'll try again next time she's that way again.

Tip of the Day: Puppies are relentless and will push your every button until your head hypothetically explodes. Always have lots of tasty treats around to bribe them with.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


We found Rizzo nestled in the
laundry basket on a regular basis
Nearly 15 years ago on a cool December evening, my mom and I took a trip up to Fruitvale to take a look at a litter of puppies. I was 14 back then and super excited at the possibility of getting a puppy...although mom told me repeatedly that we were "only there to look". We got to the house which was way out in the middle of nowhere, and were directed to a shelter where the puppies were being kept. They were just 6 weeks old, mutts made up of Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd, and there were 13 in the litter! I remember walking up to the litter and being overwhelmed by 13 puppies all jumping up at the fence, excited to meet the visitors.

As soon as I saw her, I knew she had to be mine. She was mostly black but had some markings which showed that she clearly had German Shepherd in her. But what got me was the tiny white line right down the middle of her forehead. She was so small and sweet looking (little did I know at the time what puppyhood would bring my way) and I picked her up and held her to my chest while mom looked at the remaining 12 pups. After a few minutes mom told me to put her down and play with the rest of the litter, so I put her back and pet a few other pups, but after about 2 minutes I picked up my little one again and didn't put her back down. On the drive home we stopped at the only open grocery store and bought some puppy food, a food dish, a couple toys and a collar and leash.

It took a couple days to agree on a name for her but we eventually agreed on Rizzo. The first few nights were tough because she didn't want to be left alone at night, but she eventually learned the routine. I remember her being so small and the snow was so deep in the streets that she had to walk in the tire tracks to keep up with me on our walks. As she grew bigger and bigger, she proved to be a major handful and most of the first year owning her was full of threats from my mom that we had to get rid of her, and me crying my eyes out saying that she would get better. She was an escape artist and we could barely keep her in the yard. My poor dad had to keep renovating the side yard, building the fence higher and closing up any openings she might be able to squeeze through. Luckily she almost always went to the same neighbours yard to play with their dog, so most of the time I knew where to find her when I looked outside and saw the yard empty of Rizzo.

It's been almost 15 years since we got that dog and the stories of Rizzo are endless. As the years have gone by, she's had a fun and busy life with lots of love and lots of great walks. When she was younger she was amazing at playing hide-and-go-seek with me. I would throw the ball down the riverbank then run and hide somewhere on the property. She figured out my hiding places pretty quickly and the only time I ever stumped her was when I jumped into the cab of the truck. She never forgot that hiding spot and went to check every time past that. Dad was unimpressed when he saw her jump up against his truck to try to look inside to see me. The past year has been hard on her and she lost a lot of her strength in her back end, so she has trouble walking a lot of the time. Plus her heart has been failing for a while now so she can't get too stressed out or too much exercise before she collapses, out of breath.

I am sad to announce that today was her last day with us. She was struggling too much and as much as it killed us to do it, called the vet to make an appointment to get her in for her last visit. Even though I didn't want to go through with it, I knew that I should be there with her for her last minutes with us since it was me who brought her into this family. Watching her drift away was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I am so glad that I was there for her last few minutes. I know I'll be a crying fool for a while, but having Riz for all those years was worth a couple days of constant tears. I'll miss you Rizzo. We all love you.