Monthly Archives: February 2006

Little things

I was asked about my “new and improved” lifestyle. This is about the 10th time in a year I have tried to change my life for the positive. But this was brought about by more than my own desire, this has to do with those around me too. I have been really down and bitchy lately, and it was finally brought to my attention. So I made a promise to myself (and also to those I care about) that I would try and make my life better. Part of that is helping Billy be a better dog. And I’m not being facetious when I write that, either. He is a 6 month old puppy, so he is full of piss and vinegar, and our lifestyle wasn’t working for him.

So I am trying to change. Not getting to the gym, unfortunately (damned gym membership cost an arm and a leg!) but taking Billy for a walk every day. If the weather is decent, Farley comes too. If it’s too cold his knees get sore (he has slipping kneecaps and some resulting arthritis), but otherwise the walks are good for him. I’d estimate that we go for about 2 miles every day. In addition to that, I have changed my morning routine to suit Billy better (less time in the crate before I leave from work), and I am making a concerted effort to spend less time online. That one is tougher for me. My friends are online . . . therefore I spend a lot of time in my various web communities. But I think it’s time to try and find a life outside the Internet. Gasp! Yes, there IS a life outside the Internet!

I am also trying to spend less money, especially on silly things. I will continue to try and find nice, old Cocker magazines. But no more buying things without thinking at least twice about them. The last of my impulsive purchases are trickling in, but then I’m cutting it way down. I have to – money is a real stressor for me, and I have to start managing things better. That is, unless I want to live at home until I’m 50. No thanks. That also means eating out less, which is another tough one for me. Not being a cook, eating out is just so much more convenient. But I am working really hard at avoiding fast food, and eating at home instead. I’m not putting a bunch of restrictions on my diet, but I am trying to slowly improve and change my eating habits. I figure if I take it just one step at a time, I might just succeed.

So that’s the new and improved lifestyle. Will it work? I sure hope so. I do know that I can’t continue on the path that I was on. I wasn’t treating those close to me very well, and that includes my dogs. Their life has to be about more than watching me surf the ‘Net for hours on end. So, more interaction, more play, and less surfing.

I wanted to comment on these dogs, and how damned smart they are. I definitely don’t give Billy enough credit. He has been getting into the bathroom garbage and shredding the tissues in there (thank you Farley for teaching him that trick). I thought I’d be smart and put the garbage can on the toilet tank, where he can’t reach it. Hah! Well, last night, as I was blogging and doing homework (which I did get done), he got smart. He grabbed the end of the toilet paper roll and shredded for all he was worth. He made a lovely, snowy mess, and was very proud of himself. How can you get mad at a dog for thinking so logically? I was proud. My mom was not as impressed with this display of brains.

Life is always fun with a Cocker Spaniel, that’s for sure.

A little help from above . . .

So, because I have been procrastinating as usual, I have two assignments due tonight that I had hardly started. I think a large part of my continual procrastination this semester has to do with my lack of understanding of the subjects I’m taking. I find both of them very challenging, thus the homework leaves me confused and frustrated. This means that I avoid the homework as much as possible. Is that a good strategy? No! But it is one I seem to use over and over again. Anyhow, I was thinking of taking today off work to get my homework done, but the Big Man above helped me out in a generous way today. We were actually told not to go into work today, because of an accident at site (no fatalities, thank goodness). A crane tipped over in one of the plants and so they spent last night and today working on removing the crane from the plant. And it meant a “snow day” for those of us that are non-essential on site.

So I have been butting my head against a brick wall for the better part of a day, trying to understand this homework. I finally gave in and emailed the prof, and I think his answer helped me figure it out (either that or I’m going to get an abysmal mark on this assignment). One down and one to go!

To celebrate the nice weather, and to work out some of my frustration, I took Billy and Farley for a walk. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking with Dumb and Dumber, because they just refuse to work together. I walk them on a coupler (a small contraption that turns one leash into two leashes, to make walking two dogs easier), and they insist on attempting to wind around me, go in different directions, and generally make me crazy. 90% of the time they’re really good, and maybe it was just my frustration with school that made them seem bad today, but it was like a comedy of errors for 30 minutes. At least we made it through, and they should feel a bit refreshed from the nice weather. I know I do.

On that note . . . back to work! And maybe a small celebration of the fact that I am one week into my “new and improved” lifestyle, and still sticking to the plan!

The joys of a long weekend

Yes, it’s a long weekend! Yahoo! And even better, my family is out of town, so the dogs and I have the house to ourselves. It’s a rare treat and I think we’re all enjoying it. Billy has had more freedom than he usually gets, since he’s not bugging anybody but me, and I don’t mind. It means he’s sleeping like a log at night, which is fabulous. I actually got almost 9 hours sleep today, which was a huge treat!

Today was off-leash park day . . . 45 minutes of boundless fun in the snow. Thankfully it’s actually not that cold, so it wasn’t unpleasant to be standing around watching the dogs play. Two dogs got into a fight, and one moron was savagely punching his dog (I hope it was his dog!) in the head. No matter how many times I hear of things like that (this was my first time actually seeing it), I don’t understand how somebody thinks that can actually break up a dog fight. When dogs are fighting, they’re angry. Punching a dog in the head (repeatedly!) is only bound to make him more angry. Right? So now you’re trying to separate two extremely irate dogs. I wanted to punch the owner in the head, but that surely wouldn’t have solved anything. So I just watched, sadly. Thankfully Billy had the good sense to stay close to me, because he wouldn’t have a clue how to handle a fight, and he’d most likely get slaughtered.

Despite the incident, he had a great time. He played with a little Terrier of some sort almost the whole time. They had a blast, running and wrestling like puppies. I don’t know how old she is, but he is most definitely still a puppy 🙂

I brought him home afterwards and decided to bath him. He always gets all spitty and stuff at play day, so he almost always needs a bath when we get home. I decided this week to try and teach him to lay down for blowdrying. Anybody that has groomed a coated dog (especially an American Cocker) understands that blowdrying a dog while it’s lying down makes life much easier. Anyhow, I have been putting off teaching Billy (AKA Satan, remember?) to lay down for grooming, because I thought it would be a real chore. He doesn’t always agree with my ideas, since he thinks he knows better. But it was incredibly easy! I did about half of one side standing up, and then decided to just bite the bullet. I was VERY proud of him for how well he took it, and his coat looks much nicer now. By the time we make it to his first show, he’ll be an old hat at this!

Guess I didn’t need my friend to make the opening picture for me . . . thank you Karen deForest for your artistic talent! I firmly believe it suits Billy to a T, even with his good behavior today!

Anyhow, guess I should get some homework done and watch my movies . . . I rented “Red Eye” and “Must Love Dogs” so I’m looking forward to watching both!

Brrrrrr!

So, after a weekend of intense soul-searching, I have decided that my attitude needs a SEVERE adjustment. I also need to make a lifestyle change. Too much sitting around, on the ‘Net, and not enough get up and go. Well, I couldn’t start anything for the past two nights, since I had to watch Westminster on TV. So I started tonight. Who in their right mind decides to start walking the dogs when it’s 35 below (with windchill)? Obviously I’m not in my right mind.

Got home, grabbed Farley & Billy and some poop bags, and off we went. It was cold, but I figured we’d warm up as we started moving. Hah! It was so cold my face was burning. Poor Farley was miserable, trying to lift all four feet off the ground at once, to stop them from getting cold. Billy (Satan, remember) didn’t seem fazed at all. I guess it’s the hellfire burning within LOL We went for 25 minutes, and I’m sure my metabolism was working at least twice as hard, just to keep my body warm during that walk.

So now I’m actually doing the homework I wrote about on Sunday. Well, not this instant, but I’m about halfway done now. I was able to do the first bit quite easily, but the second bit has me stumped. So I’m taking a brain break and posting here. It’s due Friday, so I’m still not pushing it last minute . . . which is good. Although I have to admit, I tend to work better under pressure. That’s why I never seem to be able to get stuff done too far ahead of time.

Monday night was our last puppy class (Billy and I). I don’t know what Billy’s issue was, but he was sure full of himself. He spent more time struggling to play with the other puppies than paying attention to me. I know he’s just a baby, but how can he ignore me when I’m frantically calling his name and waving food in front of his face? It boggles the mind! We will miss the puppy classes. We are signed up for another set of classes which start on March 7th . . . so in the meantime we are going to try and keep working on the obedience basics. I wasn’t nuts about how this teacher taught heeling (far too advanced for puppies) so I am going to try Dawn Jecs’ Choose To Heel method if I can figure it out. It’s definitely based on positive reinforcement, so I need to introduce Billy to the clicker first of all. That shouldn’t be hard at all.

Well, guess my break time is over . . . back to work! To those of you that actually read my chatter, thank you!

Procrastinating again

Yes, you can almost guarantee that when I post more than once during the week, that at least one post is to “prevent” me from having to do homework. There is just something about Finance that makes me want to avoid it at all possible costs. However, since the assignment is due on Friday, I can’t go on like this forever. And while it may not seem like procrastination to you (since the due date is 5 days away), I have been diligently avoiding my homework ALL DAY now. Bad girl.

Today was our weekly visit to the off leash park (in my city it’s only an allowed off-leash park one day a week). I only take Billy with me, since Farley dislikes other dogs and Quigley refuses to come when I call him. Billy, on the other hand, is a little pro at coming and checking in with me every so often, so I don’t have to worry about him. And he sure loves the other dogs. His new best friend is Brawn, a really nice 7 month old Bullmastiff puppy. Although Brawn is at least 5 times Billy’s size, he plays so gently with him. And he is so tolerant of being “boxed” in the face by Billy’s puppy paws. Billy likes to run through my legs . . . which is cute. Then Brawn runs through my legs . . . sort of like riding a pony. I sure love watching them play though. And of course, Billy’s first and best friend is Jack the Golden Retriever. Jack belongs to very good family friends of ours, and I babysat him for a week once. Ever since then, Billy idolizes Jack and just waits for him to arrive at the dog park.

This week should be interesting. Tomorrow night is Billy’s last puppy class. We missed last week because I was sick, so we’ll be a week behind. I will really miss the classes, despite Billy’s clownish antics. It was a lot of fun seeing the other puppy owners and seeing the other puppies learn through the weeks. We are signed up for a second set of classes, but they won’t be puppy classes. We have to wait until early March for those . . . so we get a couple of weeks off. I’m going to have to start walking him or something to burn off the energy he usually burns at puppy classes. I’m sure the walks won’t hurt ME either.

I got some great news today. The musical that I want to see more than anything – “Wicked” – is returning to Toronto! The timing is less than idea (Oct 6 – Nov 20, 2006) but I am determined to find a way to make it work. This musical is the latest Broadway hit, based on a book of the same name by Gregory Maguire. It is the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I know the words to all of the songs, so now I need to see the show to bring it all to life in my mind. I will find a way to get there.

Well, I am actually running out of things to say now . . . amazing! Guess that means my homework is really calling my name. Hope you have a great week.

One of "those" days

Warning: This is NOT dog-related and is a very cranky post.

Have you ever had one of those days? For me, that’s what it was. It didn’t even start out well and go downhill, it just sucked all day long. And the evening has just begun. I actually had to hit snooze . . . which I almost never do. I practically had to use toothpics to keep my eyes open for the first few hours of the day. I hate the gritty eye feeling from not enough sleep. Might as well roll around on a beach with my eyes open.

I thought the shower would help. It probably would have helped had somebody upstairs not run the hot water TWICE. Cold showers are a horrific way to start the day. Ugh.

Then my ride to the all-day session for work was really late. I was going to toss a coin to decide whether she was too sick to go and forgot to call, or if she had just forgotten to pick me up. That was about the time she slid to a stop sort of in front of my house (very snowy and icy right now).

All day sessions for work are never good news. They’re traditionally boring, and you spend the entire day thinking of what you could be doing at your desk instead. And today’s session was no exception at all. And you can’t let yourself fall asleep, because guaranteed EVERYBODY will see it. So I did lots of list-making, doodling and writing to keep myself awake. I wrote my first poem in years (actually a bright spot in this day) – that’s how desperate I was.

Then I found out that the job I thought I’d have until about October 2006 is being cut short due to budget restraints, and I am being “restructured.” That just sucks. I am so disappointed, and not looking forward to the change. My mother says I’m going into it with the wrong attitude, but I consider it more realistic than anything else. A lot of people were shocked and unhappy after the session ended, so at least I can take comfort that it wasn’t just me. That’s something I guess.

Hopefully tonight will be a bit better. My nieces are coming, so I will probably hide in the basement (horrible, I know, but the “child” gene passed me over by a mile) and maybe watch a movie. Still haven’t watched Wedding Crashers, and it’s been in my room for over a month. Maybe I will groom Farley – grooming always makes me feel better. Not so much for the dogs though.

Hope your day has been better . . . and hope you have a fabulous weekend!

The Great Adventures of Billy The Kid

Well, I should know enough by now to realize that the fun just never ends. With three Cockers, there’s always somebody who is thinking of some way to spice up their hour, day or even just their life.

I have been home from work for a couple of days with that gross cold that is going around. Stuffed up nose, sore throat, sore ears, tired . . . you knowm the typical mid-winter cold that everybody gets eventually. Yesterday I tried the exercise tactic to get rid of it – I shovelled the snow off the driveway. Didn’t work. Sigh. Figured today I’d try the spa tactic 🙂

So I’m sitting in the hot tub on our deck (not covered, so we can enjoy Mother Nature), and Billy is running around playing in the snow. Occasionally he puts his paws on the edge of the hot tub and tries to take a drink. I’ll never understand the lure of chlorinated water. So I decide to read, and try to “steam” the cold out of my body. Sounded like a good plan, and I was feeling relaxed.

Hah! NEVER let down your guard! All of a sudden somebody (who will remain somewhat anonymous for now) did a massive cannon ball into the middle of the hot tub. I was stunned! Even Farley, who lives for water in the worst way, can’t manage to jump clear over the edge of the tub into the middle. So I’m soaked (more than I was from sitting in a hot tub), my book is soaked, and I have a 5.5 month old puppy swimming around the tub gleefully. So much for rest and relaxation.

I got out of the tub, grabbed my robe and sandals and brought Billy inside. It’s about -15 or so outside (Celsius – the only TRUE way to measure the weather!), so of course I’m concerned about his hair freezing. He thought that was the perfect time for a game of keepaway. Of course, how could I be so silly?

So I finally got him inside and had the dubious pleasure of bathing him while wearing a wet swimsuit. Lucky me. The perfect attire for a girl with a cold, I’m sure.

Anyhow, I decided to go ahead and do the full groom on him, since it was going to happen this weekend anyhow. Bathed him (with my new favourite product – Buddy Wash and Buddy Rinse) and then blew him out. Reminded myself that he HAS to learn to lie down for blowdrying. Right . . . in my dreams. That should be an exercise in futility.

So he’s clean and sweet-smelling (and in his kennel, so he stays that way). And me? I still have the cold. And am now afraid to go in the hot tub anymore for a while.

Life is always fun, that’s for sure!

The Cone of Shame



Poor Farley has graduated to wearing the cone of shame. His incision is obviously really itchy, because he is chewing and licking at it like nobody’s business. So out came the cone last night. I guess after I left for work this morning he stood in the kitchen howling – he refuses to actually move while he has the cone on.

Despite his huge level of embarassement, I can’t resist sharing a couple of pictures . . . but he would prefer it if you didn’t show all of your friends.

On the topic of Billy (aka Satan) – this dog is obsessed with me getting his puppy teeth! I now have EIGHT puppy teeth from this guy. Considering that I had never found a puppy tooth at all before, this is just amazing to me. I don’t know what I can do with them . . . maybe make some kind of necklace? I was thinking of sending a couple to my best friend that teaches Grade 2. Maybe her students would enjoy seeing them.

Guess I should do some homework now. I didn’t get it done last night 😦

Over and out!

Procrastinating is fun and easy!

Ooooh, maybe I am getting the hang of writing in my blog more than once a month! Don’t hold your breath girls and boys, it could just be a fad 😉 It could be due to the fact that I have a homework assignment due tomorrow night that I have yet to start . . . in fact, I’m pretty sure that’s it. There is just something about Statistical Decision Analysis that screams “Avoid me!” Don’t you think?

Thanks for the comment about puppy housebreaking Vicky . . . I’m not sure Satan (errrr . . . Billy) is capable of learning. The little brat has started peeing in his kennel, and I’m pretty sure that means a lifetime of him just not getting it. Sigh. Good thing he’s cute, otherwise he’d be turfed! (those of you that know me, know this is far from the truth)

Farley is starting to hate me. I won’t let him jump on the bed. I won’t let him scratch or chew at his incision. I won’t let him play tug of war. I make him take horrible medications. I swear on every leash, collar and dumbbell I own that it’s because I love him. But he just doesn’t get it. That being said, it is so nice to see that spunk coming back.

We had week number four of puppy classes last night. I never thought I’d be the owner with the class clown, but alas, it is me! Billy spends more time barking at the other puppies to entice them to play than learning anything. He does a fabulous recall, as long as I allow him to stop for a visit along the way. I mean, he lives with me, so why come running? He’s so funny during the play time. He makes a concerted effort to play with every puppy there, even if it’s just for 15 seconds. At least he has a good temperament. I guess that’s more important than a brain anyday.

Well, guess I should get down to business and do my homework. Sigh. Wish me luck . . .