Monthly Archives: June 2008

Thankful ABC’s

I borrowed this idea from a friend’s blog . . . I am short on creativity lately, so I thought I’d use it on my own. I thought it was a cute idea, so I thought I would do it here. I would love to see other people do it as well.

A- Aunty. I’m not really thankful for any of my aunties in particular, but I am extremely thankful that I get to be an aunty! I have 4 nieces and 1 nephew, and I enjoy each and every one of them. I like having one on one time with them AND time with them as a group. They bring youth, vitality and innocence to my life. And they have made my heart grow exponentially with the arrival of each one.

B- Best Friends. I am fortunate enough to have two best friends, which is twice as many as some people ever have. One lives really far away, but I get to see her quite often. The other lives much closer, and I typically see her monthly. I talk to both of them by phone very regularly, and we email lots. They both play different roles in my life, and together, they make my life complete!

C – Canada. I am very thankful that I live in Canada, which is a relatively peaceful nation, with lots of wealth. I don’t have to worry about health care, and I don’t have to worry about war, other than our brave soldiers that go out into the world to ensure peace. We have a great country that allows us many personal freedoms.

D – Dogs. I am so extremely thankful for my dogs (three of them at present). They are my sanity and mental health preservers. These dogs are always happy to see me, even when I’ve yelled at them or left them at home all day while I’ve been at work. They love me unconditionally, and they remind me of the simple joys of life.

E – Eating. I am so thankful that I can eat normally, and pretty much anything I want. I don’t have to have my food in liquid form or anything like that. Since I know two people with major “eating” issues, this has been on my mind lately. I enjoy food so much that I would really miss being able to savour individual tastes and textures.

F – Family and Friends. I know I posted about Best Friends, but I also have a lot of very, very close friends that I rely on, as well as my family, who I am fortunate to be very close to. Without these people around me, I know I wouldn’t be half the person I am right now.

G – Growth. I’m not talking about growing taller (or fatter LOL), but growing personally. I am a firm believer in continuing education, and I believe that we can learn something from everybody we meet, if we just pay enough attention. I think that personal growth is tremendously important.

H – Home. Although I don’t own my own home, I’m thankful for the home that I do live in (my parents’ house). Even though I complain about it being crowded and overstuffed (both of which are true, by the way), it is still HOME to me.

I – Income. I’m thankful that I have a good job that pays well. This allows me to pay off my debt and to do the things that I enjoy, such as traveling, dog shows and buying the things I want.

J – Job. I’m grateful for the job I have, as it presents me with learning opportunities every day. It continually challenges me and keeps me on my toes. I have great co-workers (don’t tell them I said that or it’ll go to their heads!), and a really good boss.

K – Kisses. For me, kisses from my nieces, nephew and dogs are something I definitely enjoy and appreciate. There’s a sense of love and trust in that small gesture that always makes my heart swell.

L – Literature. Since I have already used B, I’m using L to capture literature. I am an AVID reader (as well as a budding author), and I can’t imagine a world without literature. It captures our history as well as our imaginations.

M – Music. I’m a bit music-lover . . . I always have something playing in the background, especially Broadway musicals. I have a fairly broad range of stuff I like, and I am always interested in hearing new bands or musicians. Life would be very dull without music!

N – News. I’m thankful that we have Free Press in North America. When I was in China, it was a bit disconcerting to only read what the government deemed appropriate. I read the news every day, just to stay on top of what’s happening in our world.

O – Outside. I love the outdoors, especially when it’s bright and sunny outside. Even in the winter, when the sun is shining I’m quite happy to be outside with the dogs, soaking up some rays.

P – Photographs. Without a doubt, I love photographs and am so thankful for them. I am a picture BUFF, and am always waving my camera around, trying to get good pictures. I look at pictures over and over, and rely on them to help job my poor memory. I would be very sad to lose all of my pictures.

Q – Quiet. I never thought about how much I appreciate quiet until the first time we had all of the kids here for a weekend. By the second day, I felt like my ears were ringing from all the talking, laughing, crying and singing. So I am thankful for quiet moments, especially right after those busy weekends!

R – Rescue. For the number of dogs out there that need help, I am HUGELY grateful for rescue groups and all of the hard work they do. They take in dogs that would have nowhere else to go otherwise, and they bring out the best in them. They bring families and dogs together and facilitate happy endings.

S – Singing. I may not be a good singer (Okay, that’s the understatement of the year!), but I love singing, and when I hear a song I know, I usually burst into song without even noticing.

T – Teachers. I can not thank the wonderful teachers that I’ve had enough. Those top notch teachers are the ones that instilled this love of learning in me, and encouraged me to always learn more. Without teachers, our world would not be a very fun place to live.

U – Understanding. Sometimes I really appreciate being able to understand more than just basic concepts. It makes life so much easier!

V – Vitality. Okay, so lately I haven’t exactly been full of vitality, but I am thankful for the times and days that I DO have it.

W – Writing. My childhood dream was to be a published author, and I have to say that that is still a goal that is close to my heart. I truly enjoy writing and having the ability to express myself in words.

X – Okay, I can NOT think of anything with X. So I’m grateful for the other 25 letters, but this one is drawing a major blank for me LOL

Y – Youth. I am very grateful to still be younng and able to enjoy life. I realize that as you age you don’t lose the ability to enjoy life, but I do think it gets tougher.

Z – Zoo. I adore the Toronto nd Calgary Zoos . . . both of them have been renovated in the past while, and they have excellent habitats for the animals. They are great places, with lots of learning opportunities and cool things to see.

Stuff You Don’t Know About Me . . .

Okay, I must admit, I stole this blog idea from both Vicky and Weeza . . . thank you for the idea ladies! I’ve been short on inspiration lately, especially since I have a puppy to play with. Blog . . . puppy. Blog . . . puppy. Tough choice – or not!

1. I will eat peanut butter cups and Kashi granola bars, but I HATE nuts in desserts, salads or on chicken. I will not eat those things with nuts. It’s just easier to tell people I’m allergic than to deal with the questions.

2. I do NOT eat fish. YUCK! Well, except for Basa fillets. Everything else is gross. Salmon is included in the yucky list.

3. I hate flying in airplanes, which is funny when you realize that I fly several times a year. It makes me nervous and feel sick to my stomach.

4. I have road rage. Oh wait, if you’ve ever been in a car with me, you already know that 😉 I don’t ram into other drivers, but I have gestured and hollered.

5. I love attending live hockey games, but get totally bored watching it on TV.

Just One Word

Stolen from Sarah’s blog –

Answer in only one word:
1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Your significant other? None
3. Your Hair? Short
4. Your mother? Calgary
5. Your father? Ironing
6. Your favorite thing? Friends
7. Your dream last night? Forgot
8. Your favorite drink? DietCoke
9. Your dream/goal? House
10. The room you’re in? Dining
11. Your children? Dogs
12. Your fear? Fire
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? House
14. Where were you last night? Bed
15. What you’re not? Skinny
16. Muffins? Yummy
17. One of your wish list items? House
18. Where you grew up? McMurray
19. What you read last? Behavior
20. What are you wearing? Casual
21. Your TV? Sitcom
22. Your pets? Dogs
23. Your computer? Laptop
24. Your life? Busy
25. Your mood? Happy
26. Missing someone? Yes
27. Your car? Caliber
28. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
29. Favorite Store? Chapters
30. Your summer? Ange!
31. Like someone? Friends
32. Your favorite color? Purple
33. Last time you laughed? Today
34. Last time you cried? Sunday
35. Someone you wish to know more? Yes
36. Horrible habit? Packrat
37. Future plans? Move
38. If money were no object? Travel
39. Life-long dream? Author
40. Greatest accomplishment? Education

SPCA Dog Jog

So today the local SPCA hosted their semi-annual Dog Jog (I think it’s semi-annual, I know it used to be). I was planning to take Grace with me, since she’s so friendly and outgoing, but I think she’s starting her heat cycle today, so I didn’t want her out in public. So I decided to take Jack. Given how timid he can be, I knew it would be good for him, if it didn’t scare the living daylights out of him. He’s improving daily, so I figured it wouldn’t be TOO bad.

We got there and I registered, and Jack was whining a bit, but not putting his tail down or backing off. So far so good! We watched the agility demonstration (done by the lady that owns the training school we go to), and that was a lot of fun. Then we did the actual walk. I think it was about 3km, I don’t know the distance. He trucked along the ENTIRE way, happy as a clam. We walked with a Border Collie (gorgeous dog!) and a large Black mixed breed (VERY sweet!). Jack was absolutely fine with them, he didn’t make a peep. He got petted by a bunch of people, and handled it really well. I am SOOOO proud of this little man!

There was a barbecue, so I got to have a hot dog and a rootbeer, and Jack got some nice cold water and a big cookie. We visited with some people, and then headed home. It was a really nice event, and we both enjoyed ourselves. He’s STILL tired, but I’m glad it went well for him.

On another note, the idea was tossed out that I teach some Rally Obedience classes. Wow! I was honoured to be considered, and I hope it comes to fruition. I think it would be a LOT of fun! I don’t know that I’m really qualified, but since I’m one of the only people in Fort McMurray that has competed, I guess that’s more qualifications than anybody else has. So we’ll see what happens in the fall.

Hope your weekend was excellent!

Thankful Thursday

Well, another Thursday has rolled around, which means it’s time to reflect on something I’m thankful for. There are so many things I’m thankful for, I don’t even know where to start. As I’ve said before, I hate the idea of sounding cheesy!

This week I’m really thankful for my wonderful friends. Yesterday one of my best friends filled out a survey of 51 questions about me. I really enjoyed reading them, and was a bit surprised about how well she knew me (although I shouldn’t be, since we’ve spent tons of time together). But what really struck me was the “niceness” of her answers. I was really touched by some of what she said. I’m sure if she reads this, she’ll think I’m just being goofy or silly, but it’s true. It touched me, and it reminded me of what good friends I have. Especially this person in particular, who has been an incredibly good friend over the past several years.

So to that person (you know who you are) – thank you. And thank you to the other wonderful friends I have, who are too numerous to name here. You make my life better than it could EVER be without you!

Finally some sun!

I hate to be a whiner, but what the heck . . . those of you that read my blog already know I’m a whiner, so it’s not like it’ll be a surprise!

We have had rain. What feels like enough rain (over the past 2 weeks) to build an ark and float away! Have you ever tried housetraining a puppy in the rain? He doesn’t want to pee outside, and to be honest with you, I can’t blame him. I wouldn’t want to either! But he’s been very good (and I’ve been very persistent), so that’s kept the accidents inside to a minimum.

But the rain is depressing for me too. I find it hard to be upbeat and cheerful when the skies are grey and cloudy. All I really want to do is go to bed and have a sleep, surrounded by dogs and with a good book in my hands. Instead I have to get up, go to work, and actually be personable with co-workers. Dammit!

Today the sun is shining, and I can already notice a difference in how I feel. I spent some time playing fetch outside with the dogs and enjoying the sunshine. I can just feel the positive energy flowing! I hope you had a sunshiny day too!

Busy Weekend (Take 3)

It seems like I use this blog post title fairly often – I wonder if that is a sign of having too much going on? But in this case, it has been a very pleasantly busy weekend so far.

Friday night was quiet, thank goodness. We had a good supper (Mom made pork chops in mushroom soup, baby potatoes and peas), spent some time chatting, and then went to bed. Mr Jack-Jack slept ALL night, and even let me sleep in on Saturday morning! What a good puppy – he’s fitting in very nicely. Saturday Mom and I ran errands in the morning. She wanted some vegetables and herbs for the garden, so we went and got those, as well as stopping off at Superstore to get some big planters for everything. We assembled the bed frame for her king-sized bed, and did laundry. Terribly exciting, I know.

Saturday night was great fun – I went with my parents and a family friend to an Opimian Society dinner ( The Opimian Society is a club for people that enjoy wine. They offer between 6 and 8 meals a year, and each one has an exquisite menu. Last night it was Creole Cooking – Down The Lazy River. The food was unbelievable; absolutely scrumptious. We had Tempura soft shelled crab, Atchafalaya Alligator, Frogs’ Legs and succotash. Everything was delicious. I can’t wait for the meals to start up again in the fall!

This morning I went for 9 holes of golf with my Mom and a family friend. It was cool and damp, having rained through the night, but we discovered that this is near ideal weather for golfing. Not too hot, and not too buggy either. None of us was golfing very well, but we sure had a good time, and everybody made some lovely shots.

This afternoon I gave Jack-Jack a trim with the clippers, and am sitting down to write my monthly article for the Cocker Classic. Nothing like writing it the day it’s due, heh? But that’s always been my style. Grace could really use a good grooming later on, and laundry is ongoing.

So a busy weekend, but a fun one. Hope your weekend was great too!

Thankful Thursday

It seems like it’s been an awfully long time since I did a thankful Thursday post. That’s probably because it has been a while, what with the trip to Vegas, food poisoning (or flu) and then getting the new puppy. I’ve been pretty busy, and haven’t been spending as much time online lately.

But I’m here today, thinking of all the things I’m thankful for. And as stupid, girly and shallow as this sounds, I’m grateful for the fact that the tent caterpillar infestation is almost over. Apparently the local environmentalists are saying that by the end of next week, they should be in their coccoons, and well on their way to being moths. I really do prefer the idea of moths over these creepy, crawly caterpillars.

These things are EVERYWHERE. They love aspen trees (according to the girl at the bus stop this morning), but will munch on anything deciduous. There are quite a few in our yard, even in the grass and on the deck. I’m sure I’ve killed close to 50, just in the past couple of hours. Of course, I am going out of my way to make sure that I step on any that I see. The deck and planter box edges look like a little tent caterpillar killing field. Which is really what they are, I guess.

They also really like the side of our house for some reason – so my mom’s been taking the hose to them and spraying them off. Whatever it takes to get rid of them, because they really do give me the shivers. I don’t know why, since they don’t bite or anything, but I just can’t stand the thought of them.

I am thankful that their reign of terror (silent as it has been) is almost over.

Recovery Is Good

Considering the great amount of trauma that Jack-Jack went through last night, I thought there might be some residual effects. Nope, not in the least! Tonight he’s as feisty as ever – perhaps even more so! He’s played hard with Grace several times tonight, has played major tug-of-war with the braided fleece rope toy, and ran around the yard like his hiney was on fire. Maybe now that he’s safely removed from puppy class, he feels big and strong? In any case, I like this puppy – he’s much more fun than the soft, whimpering puppy I was exposed to last night.

On another front, the Northern Alberta region is going through a MAJOR tent caterpillar infestation – they are forecasting about a billion of them in my region alone. Can you say EWWWWWW? They are everywhere – I step on them on the pavement and in the grass. I am flicking them off the deck, the garden bed edging, the garbage cans, and the yard furniture. Worst of all, Jack-Jack seems to think they’re some Northern Alberta delicacy. Mom and I sprayed for them on Sunday morning, but I think the rain washed the spray away, so we’re going to have to spray again. Our spraying is very limited, though, because the spray is toxic and I have to be careful where we apply it so that the dogs aren’t at risk.

As we were spraying on Sunday morning (garbed in long sleeved and legged clothing, with safety glasses and gloves on), I felt like that scene from “Good Morning Vietnam” where the general walks out onto the beach and says “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Tell me, is that scary?

Off I go to wage more war on the millions of tent caterpillars taking up residence in our yard. Wish me luck!

Lucky . . . or not so much?

Well, for the past week I’ve been thinking that I needed to look into a Puppy Kindergarden class for Jack-Jack. Although I can manage the training aspect on my own, the socialization aspect is invaluable. And attending a class keeps ME on track for teaching manners to my furkids. However, I kept forgetting to email the lady that runs the training school in town. Today, I finally remembered to email her. Lucky for me, I was able to get into the current session, which started today!

I knew that Jack wasn’t quite ready for puppy classes yet, since he’s not been on a leash much. But I didn’t want to lose the opportunity, so I took it and signed up for the class. What an adventure!

First of all, he was NOT thrilled about the car ride, although he did fairly well. A few French Fries from McDonalds helped make it a more pleasant ordeal. Second of all, he was NOT impressed with the whole collar and leash thing. In fact, when I tried to pull him by the leash, he screamed bloody murder! Everybody quit talking and stared – that was fun. I’m pretty sure the instructor was trying to see if I was discreetly pinching him LOL

He handled the class aspect very well . . . he worked very nicely for me, and picked up on everything I was asking him to do. Cockers really are intuitive, intelligent dogs! But for the play portion of class, he wanted nothing to do with the other small puppies. Nevermind that he was the biggest of the small dogs, as soon as that terrifying Chihuaha came close, he tucked tail and ran. Oh well . . . he can’t be totally perfect, right? With all of the wonderful things he has going for him, a bit of timidity at the first class is small potatoes.