Saturday, July 30, 2011

The vet's advice.

Asha has been a part of our family for about 3 weeks now. On Fridays, she has been coming to work with me. That is a long day for us, too long to leave her home alone. The first two weeks, she was sick and had been up all night long either with a tummy ache or at the ER with a seizure. So, she slept pretty much all day. Yesterday, she came with me and did not sleep for more than about 20 minutes.

I don't know what the problem was, but Asha was restless all day long. I set her up in the bathroom with a bed and her toys. I spent as much time as I could with her, but she would just not settle down - that is unusual for her. She barked. Alot. Like most of the day. I was so frustrated, I didn't know what to do in order to calm her down.

We are right next door to a vet. I don't really like him, he's nice enough I guess, but he just seems like a dick. He'll pop his head in now and then to complain about the landlord or other tenants, but that's about it. I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from him and we don't take our pets there.

I was in the bathroom with Asha and the vet next door came into the store. He saw Asha the last two weeks and asked about her. Today he said, "having some anxiety?" I said yes and told him how it was unusual, she normally just sleeps. He said he was doing a surgery and could hear her barking, it didn't bother him, but he heard her. He asked if he could see her. She smelled him as soon as he got near and went nuts! She LOVES new people.

Then, the vet proceeded to tell me what they do in his office when they have a dog in its kennel who won't stop barking. They sedate it, so he "doesn't lose his mind" or "disturb the neighbors". Then he went on and on about how I should get her on an anti-anxiety medication like prozac. Um....We've had this dog for three weeks, she's a puppy and I just got done telling you that this is unusual? And the part about sedating animals, I could have kicked him out of the store right then for that. He just ensured that we will never take our pets there.

I finally got Asha home and all was right with the world. I had mopped the bathroom floors the day before I brought her to work and I must have wiped away all smells that were familiar. I don't know what the problem was, but she slept soundly last night and this morning was up and back to her normal rambunctious self. No drugs required....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Days go by

My dad called last night to tell me that my Aunt Pearl had passed away. She was actually my dad's aunt - his dad's sister. She was 92 years old. When I talked to my parents on Sunday, my mom had mentioned that Aunt Pearl wasn't doing too well, so the call didn't come as a surprise, but it sure made me sad. And it really made me miss my Uncle Lou, Aunt Pearl's husband, who passed about 12 years ago.

I've spent alot of time over the last day thinking about both Aunt Pearl and Uncle Lou and remembering my childhood. These two sweet people were a major part of my life. Always.

I grew up in New Jersey, right across the street from my Grammie and Pop-pop. Aunt Pearl and Uncle Lou lived about 20 minutes away. We spent all our holidays and special ocassions with them. We rotated holiday dinners - so we'd do Easter at our house, Thanksgiving at Grammie's and then Christmas at Aunt Pearl's. Then the next year, we'd change it up. But we always spent this time together. And I loved it.

If dinner was at 2, we'd get there around 12:30 or 1 and we would stay until 5 or 6. There was always good conversation, great food and general comfort. There is nothing better than being around people who love you unconditionally, just the way you are . That is how it was with these guys.

And of course, there was always Aunt Pearl's chocolate chip cookies. I don't know what she did, what her secret was, but they were the best. These cookies were so good that they always served as birthday presents too! She would deliver a tin of cookies to each of our on our birthdays and I could eat 100 of them.

She had a dry wit and just like my Pop-pop, did not mince words. She said what she thought. And her laugh, Aunt Pearl had the best laugh. I loved her, I respected her and I completely enjoyed her company.

I remember several very specific times at Aunt Pearl and Uncle Lou's. The house they lived in most of my life smelled a certain way and if I think hard now, I can almost smell it. I remember sitting in their yard, under a tree on a hot day. I remember walking through their back yard into the orchard that was behind them and going to the park next door to play basketball. I remember our cousins Joey and Richie and their German Shepherd Tuna.

I can still see their dining room where we ate and their living room where we went after dinner to talk for hours. Aunt Pearl's dinner table on Easter of 1986 was where and when I realized that I was losing my hair, the beginning of the most difficult time of my life.

At some point, they moved into an apartment a little closer to where we lived. There was one Thanksgiving in particular that comes to mind. In high school, I worked at a bakery and Thanksgiving was our busiest day. I was up early that day and worked until noon. Then we went to Aunt Pearl's. I was so exhausted that I went into their bedroom and slept for hours. Then I remember sitting around their kitchen table, eating and talking and laughing. Always laughing.

I left for college and only saw Aunt Pearl and Uncle Lou a couple times a year. Then, I moved out of state permanently and saw them even less. The years went by and before you know it, I was an adult. Uncle Lou passed away in 1999. I was living in New Jersey at the time and was able to attend his funeral. He was such an amazingly good man, so humble and unassuming. He just went about his business and made a difference in the lives of so many people. I learned so much about Uncle Lou that day that I had never known. He did an usual amount of charity work and he never talked about that with us. He just did it.

Several years ago, I was back in New Jersey with Trevor and we stopped to visit Aunt Pearl. She was getting up there in years and when she came to the door - she didn't recognize me, but she did recognize Trevor from a picture my mom had just sent her! We went in and spent a couple hours visiting with her. That was the last time I saw Aunt Pearl. She sent a nice card when Trevor and I got married, but my communication with her was limited to that.

I think of Aunt Pearl and Uncle Lou during the holidays. We spend holidays with Trevor's family and they don't do big dinners for everything like we always did and I sure do miss that.

My Pop-pop, Aunt Pearl's brother, passed away in 1997. Missing Aunt Pearl makes me miss Pop-pop even more. Their generation was something special. Their attitude about things was so different that ours. Struggle, tough times, didn't phase them. I remember them being so non-chalant about things. I loved to hear their stories about their childhoods, the war, the way things used to be. I could listen to them talk for hours.

I loved those days and I really do miss them. Time moves on and life changes, but my memories are as strong as ever. I always knew that I was fortunate to have such a great a family. I was fortunate to be loved by such exceptional people. I am who I am today because of them. I learned a lot by being around them, watching and listening.

Thinking of Aunt Pearl, I feel a strong urge to laugh at everyday things and to bake some chocolate chip cookies. I know that Aunt Pearl, Uncle Lou and Pop-pop are in heaven, along with Sis and Charlie saying "what the hell do we do now?". Now, they wait...just like us...until we are all together again.

Rest in peace Aunt Pearl. Your life was well lived.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nothing to do but wait

Its been all clear since Asha's seizure on Friday morning. While Asha has been getting some good nights' sleep, Trevor and I have been hyper-sensitive to her every move. While it could be a one time occurrence, we are bracing ourselves for another episode and just don't know when that could come.

In the meantime, Asha is enjoying her puppyhood. She seems to learn something new everyday and expands her circle of comfort by leaps and bounds. She spent yesterday at the vet's office getting a bile acid test to see if a liver shunt caused her seizure. It checked out clear, one more thing ruled out. Now we wait to see if and when another seizure occurs. We are really hoping it was a one time thing. As the days pass, we think less about it, but it will always be in the back of our minds. Asha just keeps moving forward, living in the now!

The vet commented that she was such a happy dog. She also was surprised that Asha wasn't afraid of new things. That dog just loves meeting new people. It is amazing to see the joy she gets when she realizes there is a new person in her vicinity!!

Asha is much more calm at the house, she seems to know her way around and gets quite angry when something new shows up. We moved Buster and Maggie's food bowls the other day and Asha kept running into one of them. Finally, she picked up the metal bowl in her mouth and carried it outside to the part of the yard where she goes to poop!! She had enough of running into that thing!!

Having a deaf dog does have its good points. When we get home, she is usually sound asleep. I can make as much noise as I want and it doesn't disturb her. We try to let her wake up on her own, if we wake her up, it scares her and we don't like that.

Asha has a lot of Wookie's characteristics. She has these little tufts of crimped fur behind her ears, just like he did. When she lays down, she flops. That is so very Wookie. We miss him terribly, he's been gone over a year now and this sweet little one reminds us so much of him. She is very stubborn, just like Wookie was and she can be an asshole....Maggie calls her an "Ashahole".

The other two dogs are still adjusting to having a third, but as time goes by they are figuring her out. We look forward to a long happy life for all of them. These animals really are the greatest joys of my life, just like Opal, Wookie and Gus were before them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

An early wake up call...

Things have been moving along nicely with our newest addition - Asha. She still wakes us up in the middle of the night to go out and go potty, but she's a puppy, so we understand. I didn't think it was possible for me to get any less sleep. I was wrong....

Last night at about 1 am, Trevor woke me up and said "Asha is choking". It took a minute for that to process. I jumped out of bed and there was Asha, on the floor next to Trevor. She was convulsing. After a couple seconds, Trevor said "she's having a seizure." She peed herself. We moved her away from the bed and the wall and watched with total helplessness while our little girl seized. I didn't know what exactly was happening, but I thought I was watching Asha die.

I ran downstairs and got my phone so I could call the emergency vet. We had just been there a few days ago with Maggie - she had thrown up a little bit of blood and we had taken her on Monday night. She was fine the second she finished throwing up and they think she had some sort of ulcer in her throat or stomach from heaven only knows what. She's back to normal. I guess that was good, because I had the ER on my recent contacts and they had all our info. They said to wrap her in a blanket and bring her in.

By the time I got back upstairs, Asha was alert and awake and seemed to be wondering why we weren't asleep. She had a lot of drool on her face and was coughing, she was also laboring a bit to breath. Asha walked down the stairs herself, in her usual midnight sleepy way. We put on our shoes and rushed out the door to the vet.

So many thoughts were running through our heads. On the phone they had asked if Asha got into any rat poison, we could not figure out how or where she could have. There is none in the house and she wasn't out in the yard alone. We could not get there fast enough.

Once we arrived, they took Asha back to observe her. They put bells on her collar so they would know if she started to seize again. Right after we got there, she coughed up some blood. That was more cause for concern. They did blood work and xrays. They told us that epilepsy is common in Australian shepherds. Another reason for seizures is liver shunts, so they wanted to test liver function. Now we waited.

At the emergency vet, they want you pay before they do anything. I was worried about this because I could not find my credit card and I didn't have thousands of dollars in my bank account. I found a card I thought would work and they ran it for $400. That was just the first round.

The initial tests showed all her blood markers were normal, no indication of liver issues. She did show fluid in her lungs, probably from a prolonged seizure where she breathed in some saliva. That, they said, should clear up on its own, but antibiotics would help insure it didn't turn into pneumonia. They wanted to keep her over night and monitor her. They were going to do another blood test to see if she had any toxins in her blood, just to be sure she hadn't gotten into anything poison.

I don't know what kind of fog I had been under, but at this point, I realized what was going on and I started to cry. I was overwhelmed with what was happening to our little Asha. Blind and Deaf, now having seizures. I did not want her to be scared or sick or sad. Not for a second. She has lived with us for less than 2 weeks, but she is as much a part of our family as any of the others. We love her with all our hearts and she loves us back.

They gave us another quote of what it could cost and we needed to pay. Another $350. We went back to say goodbye to Asha, she was resting calmly. When she realized we were there, she got so excited. We petted her and loved her and told her we'd be back in the morning and she was to have no more seizures.

We headed home and tried to get some rest. We were instructed to call in the morning and we could pick her up if all was well. They said they would call if she had another seizure. It was hard to sleep because we were worried the phone would ring. Luckily, it didn't.

This morning, Maggie and Buster seemed to know something wasn't right. Where was Asha? Around 8, I called to check on her. The doctor got on the phone, a different doctor from last night. I could hear Asha barking in the background. The dr said that she was alert and "energetic" and doing fine. He said I could come get her, but needed to monitor her. He suggested we go to our regular vet next week and get some different tests for liver function and follow up xrays to be sure her lungs were clearing out appropriately. Then he said "you are good people for adopting her, she is a very sweet dog".

I got dressed and headed over to get our sweet girl. She was SO happy to see me. Every nurse and tech that I saw told me how great she was, how happy she had been all night long and how they sat with her and she was no trouble at all.

We got in the car and headed to work. I stopped to get a couple things at the grocery store and my debit card was declined. That was weird, I had plenty of money. I didn't think much of it. I got to work and got Asha all settled in her spot. She was sound asleep in no time. I checked my bank account and realized that last night, I thought I gave them my credit card, but I gave them my debit card and my bank account was overdrawn. This was a problem.

Neither Trevor or I could get to the bank today. I called the bank and explained what had happened. They couldn't take a check or credit card over the phone for a deposit and I was going to have close to $200 in fees. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't life or death, but it sure was annoying. Then, the woman at the bank told me that she would come on her lunch break and pick up a check from me. That way I would avoid all the fees. Do you believe that? Umpqua Bank sure did right by me today. Not only did they come pick up the check, but they brought doggie treats for Asha.

So things are looking up....But now, we wait. We wait until Asha has another seizure, they don't give medicine until a dog has more than 6 seizures in a year. Right now we are at one and I hope we never see another one. I know the chances of that are slim. This is the first....there will likely be others. We will need to track them and monitor her. And then we'll see what our options are. There isn't much else to do now except wait.

I've been researching epilepsy and seizures in Australian shepherds all morning long and once again am disgusted at what I find. Its a breeding issue, apparently one that the Australian Shepherd breeding community ignores. So, these MFers have not only bred these animals into blind and deafness, but also into epilepsy. I love Ahsa and can't be mad that she exists, she will have an amazing life full of love and joy, but how many others like her will not. Its tragic and wrong and it makes me sick.

But for now, I will put all my energy into my sweet little girl, who right now, is sound asleep on her bed having doggie dreams. Sweet, Sweet Asha. What lies ahead for us?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Obsessed with overcooking

I don't "cook", I make food. For several years now, I have prepared the majority of our meals at home. I make lunches, dinners and snacks for me and Trevor every day of the week. Trevor jokes that he has a magic refridgerator - every day, the second shelf has his food ready for him.

The meals I make are very basic, utilitarian more than enjoyable. Function instead of enjoyment. I make a meat, a carb and a veggie. Usually this is chicken, broccoli, sweet potato. I make turkey burgers with one ingredient - turkey. I make meat loaf with one ingredient - meat. Trevor jokes that I could do a cookbook of 1 ingredient recipes. We call my meat loaf - loaf of meat. None of it is fancy, but it gets the job done.

I have so many food intolerances that it is easier for me to make things simple and not have to try and figure out what ingredient is upsetting my stomach. I am so envious of my friends who cook delicious dishes. I feel sad for Trevor sometimes too. He will eat anything I make and rarely complains. Everyone once in a while, he'll tell me that he's had rice too many days in a row (like 120 days in a row) or that he didn't particularly like a certain cut of meat that I got.

For some reason, I am always worried that I would cook the meat long enough. I am afraid of getting sick from uncooked me. This means that I cook all our food way too long. I have done this for years.
Because I am afraid of this:
I usually make this:

Trevor and I joked about it a couple weeks ago and I decided to get a meat thermometer. I started using that last week and what a difference. Trevor commented last night that the chicken I've cooked lately has been so moist and delicious. He said that he told the chicken he had for lunch the other day that he had really missed its tastiness.

I was cooking some chicken last night and when the thermometer said it was done, I said to Trevor "this just doesn't looked cooked enough to me" and he said "then its perfect".

Monday, July 18, 2011

Girls and Dudes Sprint Triathlon Race Report 2011

This was our A race for the year. We've done this event the past two years and its short and sweet. One of my goals for this year was to win my age group. Last year I came in second by 10 seconds. That was when I realized that I can race, I can go fast, I can push hard. And this year I wanted to see how hard I could push.

When we woke up, it was raining outside. The forecast had called for sun, so I figured eventually it would stop raining. Seemed like every time I thought that, it would start raining harder. I actually considered NOT doing the event. Racing in the rain sounded miserable. But, we decided to go anyway and hope for the best.

The great thing about this event is that it is less than 10 miles from our house. The route is one that we are very familiar with. There are a lot of beginners at this race and so its very comfortable and really no pressure.

We got down to Frenchmans' bar and started to set up our gear. It was still raining, but it was slowing down. Another great thing about this event is that we know everyone!!! There are so many customers, friends, fellow triathletes that we know who come and do this event. I love that.

We got all set up in transition and it stopped raining. Yay. The road would be wet and I knew that meant we'd have to be a little more careful on the bike.

The swim is down river, so we have to walk 1/2 mile up river to get in. This is always a fast swim, the current really helps!! We made our way up river and got to the start area. Just as with my half ironman last weekend, I wanted to be stress free and I was doing a great job. I wasn't feeling nervous, I was just ready to get going.

I always start at the back on the swim. Last year, at this event, that was an issue. There are so many beginners, that if you start at the back, you spend half the swim dodging their legs while they breast stroke or flip to their backs. This doesn't bother me, I know how it feels to be a beginner, but I wanted to avoid that this year. I set up a little further out in the river and a little closer to the front.

The gun went off, I did my normal slow start, then I put my head down and swam. I did have to dodge a few people, but I just kept swimming. I felt good, comfortable, but certainly was pushing harder than usual. Its just 1/2 mile. Last week I swam 1.2 miles, so this will be over before I know it. That's what I kept telling myself.

Sure enough, it was over before I knew it. I wanted to race. I usually walk out of the water to transition. This time, I actually ran from the water into the transition. I got out of my wetsuit and into my bike gear as fast as I could. Off onto the bike...

Swim: 12:44
Transition 1: 2:12

This bike course is flat and fast. Its a good one to get into the aerobars and just pedal. I wanted to go between 20 and 22 miles per hour. The roads were wet, so I eased up just a bit. I was also breathing pretty heavy and wanted to have a good run. My goal time was 35 minutes. I know this route like the back of my hand. We have ridden it probably 100 times over the last couple years. I know every pothole, turn, bump in the road. I passed lots of people in the wave that started before me and no one passed me on the bike!!! I saw Trevor, his wave started 10 minutes behind me.

As I came back into the park towards the transition, I reminded myself that I was racing and I needed to get off the bike and go....

Bike: 37:00
There was only one woman who completed the bike faster than me!

I hustled in transition, changed my shoes, put on my visor and off I went. I heard some people yelling my name and realized that our friends Chris and Kristine had come to watch us. And our friend Shawna was a volunteer. I had my own cheering section and that really felt great!
Transition 2: 1:00

I felt really good off the bike, I focused on going as fast as I could. It was just 3.1 miles. We've been doing a lot of speed work and tempo runs, so I knew I could maintain a quicker pace for this short distance. I wanted to keep an 8 minute per mile pace, but soon realized that was probably a little too aggressive! My first mile was 8:26 and my goal became to maintain that pace.

Last year, I ran just about 10 minute miles, so this was quite an improvement for me. This run was an out and back, which is great because you can see who is in front of you. As I was going along I counted 3 women in front of me. That meant that worst case scenario I would be 4th in my age group. But there was a chance I could be better than that, depending on the ages of those women.

I just kept going and knew that if I did the best I could do that it would be okay. It was a struggle, I am not used to pushing like that, but it was fun. I was really having fun and feeling proud of myself. I saw Trevor and he looked good too.

It has started to rain again and was actually pouring by the time I crossed the finish line!

Run: 26:14

Total: 1:19:11

Last year's time was 1:23, so I took 4 minutes off. I felt pretty good about that. My bike was a bit slower than last year, I can only assume that was due to the weather.

This time was good enough for 7th overall female (out of 134) and 2nd in my age group (out of 28). I really wanted to be first, the girl who was first beat me by 3 minutes. She was a minute faster in transition 1 and 2 minutes faster on the run. Damnit!!!!

Trevor got 3rd in his age group for the 3rd year in a row. We both felt like we were always the bridesmaid, never the bride!! Honestly, we were very proud of ourselves. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to this event next year.

We packed up our gear and loaded it up. It was POURING rain by now and we were soaking wet. We headed to breakfast and then home to bask in our accomplishments! I think that is it for our triathlon season. Time to train to get stronger and faster. We plan to do another Ironman next summer and we need to work on a few things before that training begins.

This was a great way to end our short season!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The best day of my life....

11 years ago today, I got up on a Sunday morning and put on my best summer outfit. I had a date. It was a blind date, with the son of one of my best friends Jay. Jay had been trying to set me and his son up for a while. Finally, he went ahead and scheduled the date. He told me that his son would call me and then pick me up on Sunday morning. We were going to the car show - with Jay and his wife Sheila. A double date. With your date's parents. Does it get better than that?

Jay said that he felt bad for both me and his son, we didn't have any friends, he said. He figured we should at least meet so we would have someone to do things with. I figured that even if it didn't work out romantically, we could be friends.

Jay's son, Trevor, picked me up on Sunday morning. We headed out to Jay and Sheila's house. On the way, we made pleasant conversation. We stopped at Starbucks and then arrived at the house. We were all going together to the Forest Grove Car Show. While we were getting ready to leave, Jay wanted to introduce me to his dogs. I went out back with him and both dogs came running around the corner. Jay had treats in his hands. One dog, Godzilla, grabbed a treat from Jay and then came to smell me. The other dog, Junior (a rottweiler) ran right past Jay, probably thinking I had a treat and bit my hand. OWEEEE.

It hurt and for a minute, I was in complete shock. I ran into the house and looked at my hand. Trevor asked what happened, I told him and showed him my hand. The blood drained from his face. It was a pretty deep bite. I went up to the kitchen to wash it off and Jay pulled out some whiskey to wash it out. I put my hand in the sink and he poured in on my hand. Then he took a swig. Then he poured more on my hand. I felt like I would pass out and was embarrassed. Trevor was standing back, looking like he wanted to leave and never come back.

After Jay got done disinfecting my wound, he put a band aid on it and said "ready to go?" I wasn't ready to go. I wanted to go home, actually I wanted to go to the Emergency Room. I was on my best behavior and said "yes, let's go".

It was about 100 degrees out and as the day went on, my hand continued to swell. We went to the car show and has as much fun as you can have at something like that. I kept thinking that I just needed to get through the day and then I could take myself to the ER. I smiled and didn't make a big deal out of this injury.

After the car show, we went to lunch. While sitting at lunch, Sheila saw my hand and said "someone needs to take her to the ER". So after we finished lunch, Trevor drove me to the ER.

Visiting the emergency room on a first date presents all kinds of issues. We don't know each other, I am trying to be brave and happy when I am in pain and want to cry. They ask all kinds of personal questions in the ER. It was embarassing. Trevor joked about it and made me laugh when I wanted to cry. When the nurses found out it was our first date, they said "if you get married, you should do it here" and "if this works out, what a great story". Just what you want to hear on your first date!

The doctor came in, did some xrays, gave me a bunch of shots, including a tetnus shot and cleaned my wound. When he found out it was our first date and how the day had gone, he said "you got bit by a dog and STILL went to a car show? If it doesn't work out with him, give me a call". Trevor was sitting there for all of this. Again, so embarassing!!

We finished up at the ER and headed back to Jay and Sheila's. We had now been on our date for about 8 hours. It was finally time for Trevor to take me home and I was so relieved. I wanted to feel sorry for myself and take off the happy face I was wearing!

As we were driving home, Trevor said to me "I had a really good time today". I busted out laughing and said "yeah, it was really great". I thought that was such a ridiculous thing to say and also thought it was very sweet. He was making the best of a screwed up situation.

I got home and we said goodbye. No kisses or anything after this date. Trevor told me he would call. I didn't know if that was true or not but I hoped he would.

A couple days went by, my hand got infected and I had to get some antibiotic shots, take a couple days off work and make multiple trips to the doctor's office. Trevor called me on Monday and we set up a date for the following Saturday night. Years later, he told me that the reason he called me for a second date was because I was such a trooper. I made the best of a difficult situation. He was a bit disappointed, not so many years later, to realize that I was not really a trooper. Once I became comfortable with him, he realized that I am a big baby and that if the dog bite happened today, things would be much different!! But my acting paid off. He called me, we went out again, I moved in with him shortly after that (like the next day) and 6 years later we got married.

We could not be a better match. He is the yin to my yang. The way he made me feel that first day, is the way he makes me feel all the time now....comfortable, at home and safe. And he makes me laugh. No matter what. He did it that day in the ER and he does it every day now. What could have been one of the worst days ever turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

This first date the at the car show turned into an annual thing. Every year we went there to celebrate our anniversary. On our 6th anniversary, we went, just like always. I had been wondering for a while if Trevor was ever going to ask me to marry him. I figured it was doubtful, I knew he wasn't really interested in being married again. We had gone to dinner the night before to celebrate and he gave me a bracelet as a gift. I remember thinking "no ring again this year". There was no way Trevor would buy me a bracelet AND a ring. As we walked around the car show that day, I was thinking how great it would be if he proposed, but he never would. No, I was never going to be Mrs. Trevor Bryant. Never. We were there with Trevor's family and some friends. We found a place to have our picture taken. Every year, we had our picture taken. I have a coffee table covered in pictures of us from the car show. As we posed for our picture, Trevor moved away from me. I turned to look and he was on his knee, with a ring box opened. He said "will you begin our life together with me?" I don't think I ever said yes. I just said "oh my God, Trevor....oh my God".

Trevor can never surprise me. I almost always know what I am getting for birthdays and holidays. This day, this one day, there is nothing that could have surprised me more.

July 16th is a very good day for me.....

Friday, July 15, 2011


There are many reasons why I do not want children of my own. But it really comes down to this....I cannot stand NOT sleeping. I need 8 hours a night, solid, without interruption. I get that sleep too. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, through anything. Anything, except the first months of a new puppy. That's what we've got going on right now. Asha is a puppy and puppies don't sleep through the night for a while.

Not only does she not sleep through the night, but she needs let outside. So I can't just lay in bed and try to ignore the noise...I have to physically get out of bed. I am doing pretty good at being patient with her. But I am tired. And that makes me cranky.

I do not know how parents go years without sleep. Seriously, I'd be in an institution or jail. I just couldn't do it. I don't know how others do it and continue to function in their every day lives. Seriously.

To make matters worse, Asha got a case of the runs yesterday. We left her home in her kennel for a bit of time and when I got home, every inch of Asha and her kennel were COVERED in poop. She was alseep, but I imagine she was pretty upset for most of the day. I woke her up and took her out onto the deck and gave her a bath. She actually liked the bath. She was so clean and soft afterwards. I also power washed her kennel and got things smelling normal again.

Overnight she had some more loose my closet...on my UGG boots. Poor Asha! She doesn't make enough noise when she wakes up for us to get her outside in time. She does good most of the time, but since she isn't feeling good, its tough. Again, we got it all cleaned up and smelling normal. But sleep!

This morning we took her to the vet to see what was going on with her. They did some tests and found a bacterial infection. We've got some special food and meds for her to take. She should be better in a few days.

She was SO happy at the vet. It took her about 15 minutes to feel comfortable in the exam room, but then she was just as happy as could be. She liked meeting all the new people and smelling all their smells.

I took her to work with me just to keep an eye on her. She slept just about all day long. We went on a little walk and played a bit. Everytime I saw her sleeping, I thought of waking her up so she'd be exhausted tonight and we could all sleep. But that would be mean and even I am not THAT mean.

Look at her...

I am so envious....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Surviving Puppy hood

Meet Asha

On our way home from the Rev3 triathlon Sunday afternoon, we stopped at the Humane Society and picked up Asha. On the way out to the car, the volunteer from the shelter said "this is the true definition of a rescue". He put Asha in the car with us and waved goodbye.

We got home and started to acclimate her to the house. She immediately started to map out the rooms, running into the couch, the walls, etc. We leashed up all 3 dogs and took them out for a walk so that Buster and Maggie would realize Asha was part of our pack. They walked so amazingly well together. Asha followed along with us and wasn't an issue at all. She did lay down a few times in some soft yards. She must be exhausted!

We came back home and let her explore. When she got confused, she would turn around in a tight circle and bark. They had told us about this behavior and we wanted to stop it. So every time she did that, we would stop her, make her sit (by pushing her butt down) and pet her. This little deaf dog has the loudest bark you have ever heard. Actually, its a puppy's bark, it sounds just like every other puppy - loud and bone shaking.

We used treats to get her to do the things we wanted and every time I gave her a treat, I pushed her butt to the ground. As of today, she has been trained to sit - when you give her a treat, she sits down before she takes it. We pat her several times on her side when we say "good dog". The idea is to come up with signs and be consistent about what they mean. We started working on that from the first moments.

Bedtime came and I knew it would be a long night. I was hoping she'd sleep. But she didn't and neither did the rest of us. Just like when we brought Maggie home, she was fussy, confused and restless. We took her out to go to the bathroom twice - in an effort to start pottie training. We also need to train her to use the stairs. All of this was requiring alot of patience and I was SO tired. I didn't want to be patient! But I knew that in order to sleep through the night at some point in the near future, we had to do these things now.

I thought of my friends who have children and again realized that I could never be a mother to a human child! I also thought several times that most of these issues were because of Asha's age, not because she couldn't see or hear.

We finally got up and came downstairs around 4:30 am and of course, all the dogs fell sound asleep on the couch!!

Later in the morning I emailed Asha's foster dad and asked some questions about how he had been training her. He gave me some great advice that has already made a big difference. Trevor spent most of the day home with Asha. She slept and explored the house. He took them all for a walk again and she seemed to be settling in.

She is an animal around food. When we put the bowl down she will sprawl out on the floor and bury her head in the bowl. I expect that will change over time as she realizes that she will get enough food. She has the downstairs and backyard pretty well figured out. She is always on the go - checking things out. She has realized where the end of the deck is and doesn't fall off. She jumps off the couch and goes to lay in her kennel. She plays with the other dogs, although they are all still trying to figure each other out. Buster and Maggie don't know why Asha doesn't seem to see or hear them and Asha can't track them just quite yet. But there is a desire to play with each other and that will just grow over time.

Our friends Diane and Dane came over on Monday morning and Asha met them. She wasn't scared of them, in fact, she was very interested! The liver cubes that they brought might have something to do with that!!!

Monday night was better. We had used some of the tricks that her foster dad told us about and they made a HUGE difference. She isn't doing the circle and bark thing hardly at all anymore. She slept on her dog bed next to our bed most of the night. Got up once to go to the bathroom, then back to sleep.

Tuesday I spent the day with her and really all she did was sleep. She moved around the house but really liked being under the table amongst the chair legs.

And she really loves to snuggle
We are exhausted, there is not doubt about that. But the love we feel for and from this little one makes it all okay. She is so sweet. When we are walking her and we come across a neighbor, she gets excited. She will realize there is someone new around and she wants to meet them. When you are deaf and blind, your other senses are stronger and her sense of smell is off the charts! I was cooking some ground beef while she was sleeping and once she got a whiff, she came from the other room to find it! If you watch her run around the yard or the house, you really forget that she can't see or hear. Sometimes she looks up at me as if she can see me, but looking at her eyes, I know she can't. She is pure love, unfiltered joy and abundant life. We are so blessed to have her as a part of our family.

We know that once she starts sleeping through the night, we will all feel better. Hopefully that comes soon.

We got some Doggles for her - goggles for dogs. We plan to have her wear these when we are out and about, especially when we are on long walks on the path or at the park - that way she doesn't get poked by a branch. She doesn't seem too excited about them, but Buster thinks maybe he needs a pair too!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rev3 Portland 70.3 Race Report

Holy crap. This came up on me without warning! When I signed up for it in January, I had big dreams of training all year long. Instead, life got in the way and we started to train about 6 weeks ago. We had maintained our fitness over the winter, but sport specific, well....we were lacking in the swimming and the biking. The running I had down, I did a marathon in May, so the 13.1 mile wasn't too overwhelming for me. The swim and the bike, that's a different story.

The Rev3 Portland course was supposed to be very hilly and challenging. Three weeks ago, they announced a venue change and the course ended up being as flat as flat can get. I was happy about that because I think a super hilly course would have handed me my ass. A flat course has its own pedaling for 56 miles, no coasting.

Since I hadn't put in the months of physical training for this event, I decided that I wanted to work on my mental performance. All my previous races have brought me to a point of EXTREME anxiety. I have gotten so anxious about these events that I have really been unable to enjoy the days leading up to them. On race day, I can barely stand to talk to anyone because I am so nervous. With this race being in our backyard - 15 minutes from home - we knew a lot of people racing. I wanted to be able to enjoy my friends and so I focused on not getting stressed out. I decided I was going to just enjoy the day. A nice swim, bike and run.

I feel like I accomplished my main goal. I was calm leading up to the event. Race morning, I felt great...I wasn't freaking out like usual. I really liked the way I felt!!

As with many half iron races, you drop your bike off the day before. I love that, much less to deal with on race day. It was interesting to see that the swim exit was about 1/2 mile away from the bike area. That meant that we would get out of the water and have to run 1/2 mile. That's something new, usually the bikes are right there. Other than that, it all looked usual.

Instead of the traditional bike racks, they had these bike boxes.

So easy to rack the bike. We dropped them off and headed for home. We got all our gear together and finally got to bed around 9:30.

Sunday night, after the triathlon, we had plans to go pick up our new puppy. I was awake at 4 am thinking about her, which helped me not really think about the event. We got up around 5, ate our usual breakfast, drank our coffee and got our nutrition mixed up for the day.

At most events, you arrive in the morning and they body mark you - meaning they write your number and your age on your arms and legs. Rev3 gives you temporary tattoos and you apply them yourself. Trevor and I had some idiot moments trying to do this! It took a few tries to figure it out and I actually ended up using a marker to write some of the numbers on us because we aren't smart enough to read directions!!!

After that debacle, we hit the road at 6 am. Right on time.

We got to the venue with plenty of time. There were only about 500 people participating, so it was a smaller group. I liked that! They were closing the transition area at 7:30 and my wave didn't go off until 8:30. That's a lot of standing around. Usually that would just be time for me to freak out, I wasn't going to allow that today!

We got our gear set up and saw all our friends - Carla (who I trained), Jan, Doug, Melissa, Brent, Mike, Sherri. Lots of familiar faces. I really loved that about this race. It was just like a training day with our friends!

We headed down to the water to take a look - the lake looked so calm. I love that, I was feeling good about the swim. My previous best swim time was 49 minutes, I wanted to beat that today and remain calm the entire time.

Before we knew it, they were singing the nation anthem, the pros were starting and it was time for my wave! I got into my wetsuit, kissed Trevor good luck and headed down to the water. I was feeling a little nervous when the pros went out, but by the time I got in the water, I felt good.

This lake was where we did our first triathlon, 3 years ago and I was sure I was going to die on the swim. I was excited to get into this water and show it how far I have come!!!

The countdown was on and then we were off. I was in the first wave of swimmers - all the women, in pink swim caps. 5 minutes later, another group swimmers - men under 40 in white swim caps. 5 minutes after them, the rest of the men in yellow swim caps. My biggest concern of the day was being swam over by the waves behind me. I figured I'd stay as wide as I could and just keep swimming.

I am always so worried about the swim and the truth is, every swim I've ever had has been pretty easy. I never get caught in the "washing machine" of arms and legs, I never get swam over, I've never been kicked or punched. In fact, I always feel like I am swimming alone. This day was the complete opposite and really allowed me to test my "no freaking out" goal.

I always wait a minute after the start and let everyone get out ahead of me before I start swimming. I did that today, but there were pink caps all around me for a while. After the first turn, things spread out and then the white caps came up on me. I was staying wide and they were still passing me on both sides. I kept reminding myself to stay calm and keep swimming, it would be okay. Then, some yellow caps started to pass. The waters were full and I was surrounded. I did pretty good at not panicking. It was time to make the final turn back to the swim exit, I was about 2/3 of the way done and BAM....I was kicked in the head - my goggles came off. The poor pink capped woman who kicked me stopped swimming and profusely apologized. Any women who were around me were swimming at my slow pace and surely felt the same way about the swim as me. I told her it was okay and tread water while I put my goggles back on. Anyone who swims knows that once you take your goggles off or get water in them, they can bother you for the rest of the swim - they are never as well sealed as when you started. I had to stop 2 or 3 more times to adjust them so that they wouldn't leak.

I just kept going and was finally at the swim exit. I looked at my watch - 48 minutes. One minute better than my previous best swim time. I would have been faster if I hadn't been kicked in the head!!! I was happy with my time! I made my way to the our special needs bags - that was where I had a pair of shoes to wear on the 1/2 mile hike to get my bike!

I am always so happy and proud when I get done with the swim. Here's a picture that captures that perfectly!!

Swim: 48.02

This was a slow transition due to the long run from one place to the other. When I got back to my bike, it was all alone. All the other bikes around me were already out on the course. That always make me laugh! I got all my gear ready, sprayed the suntun lotion and headed out for a nice, flat 56 mile ride.

Transition 1: 10:08

My goal for the bike was to finish in 3 hours or less. I knew that I needed to maintain an average of 18.7 mph to do that. The course was really flat. It was two out and backs, so I had the ability to really pace myself. I liked the out and back because I got to see all my friends multiple times. One by one they passed me - Trevor, Doug, Mike, Brent, Jan, Melissa, Carla. We had some friends who were out on the course to cheer us on, that was so uplifting!!

I was having a good time, cruising along. After we got past the 205 bridge, the road was REALLY rough. I had been in my aero position and it really hurt my arm to be jostled like that. My arm hasn't totally recovered from my crash last year and it bothered me a bit on this ride.

A little past the half way point, my stomach started to bother me. It could have been from the amount of lake water I swallowed. Due to the unusually hectic swim, I swallowed more water than usual and was actually burping it up during the last part of the swim. I also think it was the position I was riding in. We haven't practiced hours of riding in the aerobars. So I was bent over for 56 miles. I took a break and sat upright every now and then, but man, my tummy really hurt. I tried not to worry too much about the run. I was right on pace for the bike and I was focusing on the now, not what was next.

I pulled into the transition area, right on track.

As you can see from these pictures, not nearly as happy as after the swim!

Bike: 3:02

This transition felt really slow. I changed my shoes, sprayed the sunscreen again. It was getting hot and really sunny out. I felt super bloated and crampy in my stomach but figured I could just run that out. Oh and even better....there were people who were already done with the entire race while I was getting ready to head out on the run!

Transition 2: 2:55

Now onto the run. Yuck. I felt awful. My shorts felt too tight around my waist because I just felt so full. I had originally wanted to run at a 9:46 mile. There were water stations every mile. I went to plan B which was run from water station to water station, walk through them, pour cold water on my head and try to get my belly to loosen up.

I did not want to walk 13.1 miles. I wasn't going to do it. We were planning to pick up our new doggie later that evening and I knew that every minute I spent on that course was one less minute I could spend with her. So I kept going. I saw all my friends again and it looked like we all felt the same way. Hot and tired.

I was starting to wonder if my stomach would ever feel better. I tried to break down the miles to make them seem more manageable. I was running about 10:30 miles. I would be around a 10 minute mile until the water stations and I would walk until I saw my pace drop to 10:30, then I would run. I stuck by this the entire run until about mile 11. Then I had it. It was SO hot and my calves started to cramp a bit. So I walked from street post to street post and just kept moving forward.

As I made the final turn, I was SO happy to be done. I started to cry a little, I always do. This is a big thing for me, to continue to come do these things. I'm not fast, I finish closer to the end than the middle, but I give it all I've got and I really try to have fun. This was a fun day, it got close to crossing over into the not fun anymore zone, but it didn't. Even though you couldn't tell by looking at me here - this was about .1 miles to the finish...I was having a blast.

Run: 2:20
That is 3 minutes faster than my best half ironman run time, so that's good!

And you can't see my face in this one, but I was smiling from ear to ear. So proud of myself. 70.3 miles. They start the race clock when the Pros start and that was 30 minutes before I started. So subtract 30 minutes from what you see here.

Total Time: 6:24
My previous best half iron distance time is 7:04. That was on a really hilly course, so you can't compare the two. Getting done sooner is always better!!

Afterwards, I found Trevor, ate some food, stretched and shared stories of our day. Trevor finished in 6:02. He was 10 minutes faster on the swim and almost 10 minutes faster on the bike. A good day all around.

Rev3, short for Revolution 3 is an Ironman Brand competitor. In my opinion, they really gave Ironman a run for their money. This race had a lower entry fee, the support was amazing, we got two shirts - an event shirt and a finishers shirt, a medal, a visor (I LOVE visors). I haven't been too impressed with Ironman lately, as a company. I respect the Ironman Brand and their races, but am not really feeling the love as a participant. I felt like Rev3 really wanted to put on a good race, they wanted every participant to walk away with a great experience. Everyone I talked to did just that. All their other races are in the eastern half of the country. I'd like them to come out west and put on a 140.6. I'd totally do it

Here are the two shirts and visor they gave us and the shirt and visor that I purchased. Can't wait to wear them all!!

After that, he got the in car and headed to the Humane Society to get Asha. No recovery for us!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A new addition

Ever since Opal passed away last month, we have been feeling a void in our home. It took a couple weeks and then it became clear that Trevor was ready for another dog. I wasn't so sure that we could handle more than the two we already have. Trevor pointed out that if a dog came to live with us, that would free up space in foster care or at a shelter for another dog that needed the spot.

We have gone back and forth with what kind of dog to get. Trevor will email me pictures of dogs he has seen listed online. A few weeks ago, he sent me a picture of Pinky. You can read her Humane Society Listing here
I thought she was beautiful, but I could not imagine how we would deal with her special needs. Pinky is blind and deaf. I told Trevor that seemed like too much for us.

Time went on and he would email me different dogs, but I kept thinking about Pinky. Finally, one day, I emailed the Humane Society about her. The foster cooridinator told me that Pinky had some prospective adopters and so we were out of luck, but they'd let me know if didn't work out. I found myself surprisingly heartbroken.

I couldn't stop thinking about Pinky. We looked at other dogs online and none of them made me feel the way Pinky did. Earlier this week, I got an email from the foster coordinator and Pinky's adopters had brought her back to the shelter. At first, that made me incredibly sad (who adopts that dog and then brings her back?) and then it made me incredibly happy! I emailed him back and told him we wanted to meet her.

I spent a couple days emailing back and forth with the Humane Society's behavior specialist. Pinky's adopters brought her back (after just 2 days) because she was barking and they didn't like that. They went over her special needs and wanted to be sure we thought we could handle that. I said yes and set up an appointment for Friday morning for all of us to meet Pinky.

Thursday night, I laid awake and worried. I worried that we weren't ready for a challenge like Pinky. I worried that I didn't have the patience, that I liked my quiet life too much, worried that it would be a bad fit and that all of us would regret it. Honestly, I was scared.

Friday morning, we loaded Buster and Maggie into the car and headed to the Humane Society. Pinky was there with her foster dad. I went into the room to meet her first while Trevor stayed with Buster and Maggie.

I saw Pinky and I knew. Within one second...I knew. She would be coming home to us. I walked over to her and got her attention by putting my hand under her nose. I started to pet her. Then I sat down and she leaned against me while I touched her ears and massaged her entire body. I felt an amazing connection and I felt pure love. I couldn't wait for Trevor and the dogs to meet her.

Trevor came in and met her, then we brought in the dogs. One by one, each of us was introduced. Buster and Maggie weren't quite sure what to make of this little dog. She is 18 pounds and a little smaller than Buster.

Pinky made her way around the room - sometimes she would run into the wall or body check on of us or the dogs. She would get to the wall and bark at it. Her foster dad she had found her voice and that she seems to bark at the wall as a sign of success for not hitting it. He told us how she can map a room in minutes and how she runs through the yard, uses a doggie door and isn't nearly as bothered by her situation as people may be.

I asked if she got along with cats and he said that she doesn't know what a cat is and probably won't know the difference between a dog and a cat. When you can't see or hear, how do you experience the world?

Maggie was rather uninterested with Pinky. That's how she was when we met Buster. Buster, however, was VERY interested in Pinky. He was right next to her and wanted to play and show her the way. After about half an hour he seemed to settle down and accept her.

We agreed that she would be the perfect addition to our family. We have done quite a bit of research on deaf and blind Australian Shepherds. They are actually more common than you would think. There are different colors of Aussies. When two of one certain color are bred - a blind/deaf puppy will result 25% of the time. It really bothers me that breeders even continue to do this.

We asked how Pinky had come to be at the Shelter. Her mother had an entire litter of puppies who were blind and deaf. The breeder decided to drowned them all. His wife stopped him from drowning Pinky and I think one or two others. She brought Pinky to the shelter. I can't even tell you how sick and sad that story made me feel.

The deal was sealed. We couldn't bring her home until Sunday because we wouldn't be home at all on Saturday or Sunday. We have a triathlon on Sunday and after that, we will go pick her up and bring her home to live with us.

We have spent yesterday and this morning preparing. We've cleaned up the house, got things off the floor and organized for her. She'll need to map the house and we don't want any obstacles. We got some new leashes, a few toys, a bed, a entire care pack for our new addition.

We've discussed names and I believe we will name her Asha Grace. The name Asha means hope and life. Hope, life, grace. Those are her words. I cannot even explain the amount of love I have for her already.

I know we'll have some challenges. Plus, she's 4 months she's a puppy and that will come with all kinds of things that will turn our world upside down!! I am excited to see what she can do, to see how she will grow. I can't wait to see how Maggie and Buster are with her.

I keep thinking about what a great life she will have with us. Yesterday, one of my friends said "she will change your life forever". That really hit me....I think we are going to save her life, but I suspect it will be the other way around.

Sunday night, we will bring Asha home to a place that she will never see. She will never hear the barking of our other dogs, the hissing of our cats, the lawnmower, the trash truck, the vacuum. She won't hear us call her name or see how we look at her when we disapprove of what she has done. She will experience her home in a completely different way than the rest of us. But she will know love. We all will. Welcome home have no idea what great things lie ahead of you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

People who became friends

I loved high school. I wasn't popular, but I loved the few close friends I had. I got along with just about everyone (at least that is how I remember it). I didn't date really, I just hung out with my friends. I played sports and so most of my friends were part of that too. In high school, I felt good at things, I felt comfortable. Sure, I dealt with all the usual teen angst. There were times I felt bullied, but over all, I look back on that time with happiness. I'd do it again for sure.

I cannot believe that is has been 19 years since I left high school. Seriously. It makes me feel incredibly old to know that my 20 year reunion is next year. How has this happened?

Thanks to facebook, I have been able to reconnect with so many people from high school. Notice, I said "people from high school", not "friends from high school". I stayed in touch with the few close friends I had in high school...a handful of them. I got married 14 years and 3000 miles away from where I went to school and 3 people that I graduated with came to the wedding. One of my favorite memories from our wedding weekend was sitting in my kitchen with my three best friends from high school, laughing our asses off about a million stupid things.

Since I have gotten back in touch with these people from high school, I have realized that I really missed out back then. I have formed some amazing bonds with people who I rarely spoke to during my time in school. I didn't hate them, I didn't love them...I was indifferent to them because I didn't know them and they didn't know me.

I see their pictures and hear their stories, the things they have gone through, the things are doing now and I feel so amazingly proud. These are my friends. My friends from high school. They make me laugh, they make me cry. I cheer their achievements and comfort them during their difficult times and failures. What a gift! To be able to feel such closeness with people whom I haven't seen or actually spoken to in almost 20 years.

Its strange to see these people, who I really only know as teenagers, who in my mind will always be teenagers, having children...raising children. Its strange to have them share the things their children do, because it feels like we were just doing those things! Some have teenagers, some are still having babies. And when I see their pictures, the pictures of the my friend's children, I want to scoop them up and hug them - the children AND my friends.

No matter how much time has passed and how much distance there is between us all, we shared that time in our lives. We all experienced our high school during those same years. We experienced it in different ways, but there is a ribbon of commonality that runs through all of it, that ties us and always.

A couple weeks ago, Jeff, who graduated with us with on a reality show - a cooking competition. He posted it on facebook and everyone from high school was watching it that night. While I sat in my home in Vancouver, Washington, I felt a connection to everyone that I went to high school with, the entire WTHS Class of 92 and no matter what, no matter how you knew or didn't know him in high school or since then, he was our guy. It was like we were all there together, watching and cheering one of our own.

I know that I am fortunate and blessed to be able to form these relationships after all these years with people who knew me back then. I am fortunate that they get the chance to see who I am now and I know that I am blessed to see who they are now.

Its not fair that we go through life in this manner....we should know more when we are young. I yearn for those younger days and really wish I would have spent time with some of the people I visit with most now on facebook and through blogs. For example, if I had known how funny Kelly was, or how much she liked to curse, we would have been inseparable. If I had know just how strong Alania was, well, she would have been my go to girl. If I had known that Kerry had such a soft spot in her heart for animals, we would certainly have been best buds. And Karen, if I had known all the amazing things I know about her now, I wouldn't have let a day go by without talking to her. I wish I had spent all of the last 19 years in close contact with these people, instead I'll have to spend the rest of my life doing that. I can't wait to see who we become, because we aren't done growing yet.

I guess there would be something amazing about saying you went to high school with someone who was really successful and well know - like the President or Bill Gates. I think there is something even more amazing about seeing the people you went to high school with making a mark on their worlds in all different ways, big and small. It is amazing to see these people living ordinary lives that are anything but ordinary.

I love them all, all these people from high school who are now my friends from high school and I can't wait to see them again someday.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What kind of world....

Lately, I've been wondering what kind of world we are living in today. Has everyone lost their minds? I see and hear so many things that give me pause, that make me wonder where we are headed and how much worse it can get before it gets better. I wonder how it has come to this and how much more of it can be tolerated.

I feel like people are willing to accept so much more than they should. I find myself living in a world full of violence and dishonesty, stupidity and cruelty, selfishness and greed. I am not saying I am perfect, far from it, but deep down I believe that I am always trying to do what is right. I want to be compassionate, loving, honest and of strong character.

We live in a world where politicians are constantly doing things that are corrupt, dishonest and stupid. Politicians on both sides of the spectrum. A world where professional athletes are treated like Gods. Where they can do anything they want to do and if they are good, really good at their sport, all is forgiven. A world where a black athlete can do unspeakable things to animals and his supporters can say that the only reason it upsets people is because he's black. A world where Micheal Vick's football jersey is a BEST SELLER? I have to believe that those people who support him do not know what he did. Because if they knew, really knew what he did and still supported him, it would be too much for me to bear.

I find myself living in a world where people stand in line and RUN to get a seat at the trial of Casey Anthony. Acting as if they were trying to get the best seat at a Michael Jackson concert. A world where there is non stop LIVE coverage of said trial. For our entertainment. As if the world has forgotten that a baby was murdered and dumped in the woods.

Its become a world where violence and sex are on every channel, all day long. Where video games are more graphic than any person should ever have to see in their lifetime, but people play them for fun. A world where Law and Order Special Victims Unit is entertainment. Nothing more fun than watching a show about rape, child molesting, murder. The movies "Jackass" are tops in the box office.

I look around and see a world full of people who say "everyone deserves a second change" and believe that makes them compassionate. Some people DO NOT deserve a second chance.

I see people propogating hate against others in the name of God. I see people protesting at the funerals of dead soldiers, saying that its God's Will. I see bullies, not just children, but adult bullies. I see them everywhere. I see them teaching it to their children. What a legacy. "My father was a bully, so was my father's father and his father before that".

I see a society of know it alls who take no responsibility for themselves or the mess they have created. A society of people who blame everyone else and who feel entitled to all kinds of things that they haven't earned.

A world where we feed ourselves and our children garbage, nutritionally void crap and say its our right to do what we want, as we watch disease and obesity skyrocket and healthcare become unaffordable and inadequate. It seems so obvious.

More and more often, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the things the people will say and do. I wonder how much lower people can go, how much worse it can get, how much more we can tolerate before it becomes unbearable. I wonder where I can go and what I can do to escape the constant barrage of the unbelievable. It makes me incredibly sad. Garbage in, garbage out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

For the love of Maggie

Michael Vick. I fucking hate Micheal Vick. I hate the Philadelphia Eagles for signing Michael Vick. I hate all the football fans who wear a Micheal Vick Jersey, go see him play, cheer him on, wait for his autograph. I hate BET for giving Michael Vick the "Sportsman of the Year award". I hate Subway for sponsoring that award. I really hate Nike for signing Michael Vick to a contract worth millions. I hate all the people who say "he made a mistake, he did his time, everyone deserves second chances". Michael Vick deserves to die an awful, horrible, painful, scary, slow, lonely death.

I have never been able to read the full details of the exact things he did to those dogs, because once I have that in my mind, I will never get it out. Once I am able to imagine that happening to any innocent living creature, I know that I will never be able to have any peace. That's how I am with things that horrendous. I have seen pictures that I don't want to see and heard stories that bring tears to my eyes and a sickness to my core.

The dogs that were the victims were pitbulls. We have a pitbull. Her name is Maggie and she is the sweetest dog I have ever met in my entire life.

I love her, I love her with all my heart and soul. To think of these things being done to Maggie makes me want to throw up. It is heartbreaking to know that anyone could put that sort of pain and suffering onto a helpless animal and even worse take pleasure from it.

Serial killers often start as animal abusers. That is the type of person who does these things to animals. There is no changing that type of person. Oh, I know, Michael Vick is sorry for what he did, he deserves a second chance. I saw a piece from an interview with him where they asked him if he could change anything, would he. He said that he would not change anything about his life, except for the prison sentence, he said he would have made that like 5 months instead of 18. Really?

Michael Vick has no reason to be sorry for what he did because there have been few consequences. He spent time in jail, but his life now is right back on track. Wow, must be nice. It makes me sick and the people who don't think there is anything wrong with it make me sick too.

To those people, who think that he deserves a second chance and that what he did wasn't really so bad. I ask you this:

I want you to think about someone that you love the most, someone who is a kind and gentle soul, who would love you no matter what. Then I want you to think of that someone being tortured, raped, starved, beaten and electrocuted. Think about the person who did all these things to the one you love, think about them laughing and enjoying the process. Think of them using it for financial gain and spend minimal time in jail, then becoming rich and famous. Think about people defending him and saying its okay because he did his time. Well, I guess it would be okay with you...everyone makes mistakes, right?

All I can do is love my animals more because of it. And I can choose NOT to spend my money with the companies and people who support him. That would be Subway and Nike, who will be next? It just isn't right and no one will ever convince me otherwise.