Monthly Archives: May 2009

Thankful Thursday

It’s that time again . . . it seems like it wass Thursday just yesterday. Time sure flies when you’re having fun (or just busy with work, although it actually was fun).

This week I am thankful for my parents. Not only did they do a pretty good job of raising me (if I do say so myself – although they appear to have forgotten to teach me humility LOL), but they are always supporting me in one way or another. Now, I’ve posted before about my parents and what they mean to me, so I don’t intend to get all sappy and sentimental. This week I am particularly thankful that my parents love my dogs and are willing to look after them when I need help.

Just having gotten home from 8 days away, I feel happy knowing that my dogs were VERY well taken care of. Not once did I have a pang of worry, because there are very few people that can look after my dogs like I can. They were fed and loved, and they got to play outside TONS every day. When I got home, they were happy to see me (of course!), but they were happy and not seeking attention or acting neglected. It was clear to me that they had barely noticed my absence.

I realize exactly how lucky I am to have these built-in dog sitters. They save me money, but more importantly, they save me from worrying.

Thanks Mom and Dad – we’d all be lost without you!

PS – Vicky, I may do a show or two in the fall, but I consider that a new dog show year (sort of like the school year LOL)

Home Sweet Home

Well, after 8 days on the road, I’m finally home. Hooray! While I always enjoy traveling, there’s nothing quite like being in your own home and sleeping in your own bed. And of course, I never sleep as well without my guy Farley to snuggle up with.

I’ve now driven the 401 (the main east-west highway through the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and managed to do so without incident. After more than half a dozen trips to Toronto, it really was time to brave the beast (the highway). It went well, and was kind of exciting – for the first 5 minutes, anyhow. Anyhow, it’s another thing that I’ve been meaning to try. For those of you with no knowledge of the 401, it’s massive. Many, many, many lanes of traffic going in either direction, and plenty of cars wanting to cross all of the lanes at once.

I had a fabulous visit with my best friend and her parents. I haven’t seen her parents in close to three years, and it was just too long. It was nice to be able to give them huge hugs. I also got to see her brother, sister-in-law and their kids. That visit was a hoot, the kids were a lot of fun.

And, of course, seeing my best friend. Because we live so far away from each other, any visit is much appreciated. This “freebie” visit was a HUGE bonus! It was nice to have some down time, to just enjoy each other’s company.

Now it’s back to the grind stone, until next weekend, when I go to my last dog show of the year.

Thankful Thursday

Since I had such a nice response to last week’s Thankful Thursday post, I thought I would do another one this week. I just got back to the hotel room from the office, and have a bit of time before heading out to supper with my co-worker. It’s been a really busy trip, filled with learning, but it’s been an excellent experience for me. I’m far more “on board” with the project than I was before I came, and that’s a good thing.

This week I’m very thankful for the traveling I’ve been able to do. During elementary school, my dad won a pair of flights to a list of various places, and he and my mom settled on Portugal. Initially my brother and I weren’t included in the travel plans, but that changed. We spent a month just outside of Lisbon, in a small place called Sintra, and it was great.

Following high school I spent a year as a Rotary International exchange student. I lived in Denmark for a year, learned the language, fell in love with the culture, and enjoyed life. During that year I traveled to Prague twice, as well as seeing several other major European cities. It was the experience of a lifetime, and it changed me a lot. I developed a lot more self-confidence, my public speaking skills grew exponentially, and I learned to communicate with just about anybody, regardless of language barriers.

As part of the MBA program I took, I was offered the chance to travel to China (Beijing, Shanghai and Huangzhou), and although I hadn’t really considered the Far East as one of my top ten vacation destinations, how on earth could I say no? I didn’t! I climbed a part of the Great Wall, walked around the Forbidden City, and had experiences that were uniquely Chinese.

With my job I’ve traveled a few times, and that seems like it’ll be the norm for the near future. I’m also lucky enough to have the means to get to Vegas a few times, as well as traveling to the major Cocker Spaniel show in the US twice already (Indy and Philly), and once more in less than 50 days (Pomona, CA).

I think that traveling really broadens your horizons and shapes your view of the world. I highly encourage you to get out and see the world, because you’ll never come away knowing less than you did before you left. Bon Voyage!

Mother Nature

I just want to point out that Mother Nature has a sick, sick sense of humour. Here it is, 2/3 of the way through May, and Northern Alberta is getting snow. Yes, you read that right. The white, fluffy stuff associated with Christmas and cold weather. Frosty the Snowman and all that jazz. Now let me ask you, does that seem even remotely right? Nope, I didn’t think so!

Fortunately for me, I’m traveling for work, so I’m in sunny, hot, humid Houston right now. And really, it’s not that humid, but when you’re used to a dry heat, humidity is killer. With the air conditioning on inside, the contrast in temperature between buildings and outdoors is akin to the temperature difference between Texas and Alberta. However, since there’s no snow, I refuse to complain. The skies are a very bright, sunny blue, and there isn’t a cloud to be seen. I plan to enjoy my summer vacation before heading back to the Great White North.

Hopefully wherever you are, it’s not snowing. And if it is . . . well . . . that just sucks.

Enjoying the sunshine

Jack Jack
Jack Jack again . . . I’m keeping his coat in oil, which is why he looks greasy. It’s not pretty, but it protects the coat from damage and from urine stains (if you’ve owned a male Cocker in full coat, you know about the stains and the smell).

Grace, surveying her queendom.

Farley, doing what everybody should do on a sunny afternoon – catching some zzzzz’s in the rays.

Alternate Career Options

Yesterday I spent some time exploring an alternate career option, in case the job I have now doesn’t work out. No, no, don’t take me seriously . . . I was just installing a new toilet in my parents’ en-suite. Well, co-installing, really. My mom did the hard work of taking out the old toilet. That’s no easy feat, and I must admit that I’m glad that I didn’t have to deal with it. In the meantime, I was shopping, to make sure I had clothes for an upcoming work trip to Houston and Toronto.

When I got home, mom and I started installing the new toilet. Really, toilet installation is pretty straightforward and easy, assuming that there are no complications. But my mom and I should know better – our projects are never really straightforward. Ha! When we installed the toilet in my bathroom, it ended up taking hours due to a few little mishaps. Why should this instance have been any different? It wasn’t . . .

Two trips to Home Hardware, many, many curse words, blood, sweat and tears. I know, it sounds more like a war movie, but in all honesty, it kind of felt like a war. A war on water supply and floor flanges. No guns or war machines . . . just wrenches and plumbers’ tape.

Anyhow, the toilet is in. It took a lot of extra work, but at least it’s in and functioning. My apprenticeship as a plumber is underway!

Thankful Thursday

I haven’t done a thankful Thursday post in ages. I kind of ran out of things to be thankful for, without sounding trite and sappy. I want my posts to be thoughtful, not just something that’s spewing out of my brain to put words on the screen. Of course, that does happen on occasion, but I try to keep it to a minimum when I can.

This week I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given. The most recent example is my new job . . . . it’s the kind of opportunity that doesn’t come around every day. My new bosses took a chance on me, and I appreciate that. I know that I can do the job and do it well, but without fate and intervention from a few people, it never would have been available to me. But beyond the job, I have had so many other great opportunities . . . and they just seemed to come along at the right times in my life.

Just out of high school, I traveled to Denmark as an exchange student with Rotary International. It was a huge opportunity – I was so lucky to be able to live abroad and to gain the awesome life experiences. I saw a lot of Europe, I learned a new language and got to be immersed in a new culture. So many people never get the chance to do this, and I did. It changed my life forever, for the better.

Last fall, I was given the opportunity to teach some Rally Obedience classes. I have no official training as a dog teacher, but the training centre owner hired me. It has turned out to be a lot of fun, and I have some fabulous students. I am thankful all the time that I got this chance, because dog training is something I really love.

Life is a series of opportunities ~ whether or not a person grabs them is what guides the course of their life. What “carpe diem” moments have you seized?

New Job

I started my new job yesterday . . . and hit the ground running. The Business Venture Manager told me that I have roughly six weeks to get it all figured out, and I think that was a generous amount of time 🙂 Ideally, he wants me to have it figured out now, so that I can be 100% productive right off the bat. But there’s definitely an acclimatization period, and I’m in it now.

I’ve spent the past two days learning and absorbing. I’ve been talked to and involved in discussions, and I’m slowly figuring out what it is I’m supposed to do. I’ve spent time in Word and Excel, and a bit of time checking out PowerPoint stuff too. Wait until I get all of the access I’ve required – my head will really be spinning!

But I am most definitely enjoying it. I love being busy all day, and I love that my input and comments are being taken seriously. People act like I know what I’m talking about . . . sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so much. But they don’t know when I’m bluffing, only I know that. Hee, hee, hee!

Thanks everyone for the well wishes. I think this is a great move for me, and I’m glad I made it. I am now a Project Management Analyst slash Project Controls Specialist. If anybody figures out what that is, let me know!

Grace’s Therapy Visit

So last night was the first of three practicum visits required by the therapy group that Grace and I are involved with. As soon as we walked into the hospital’s front area, there were ooohs and aaaahs from people. She pranced her way into the elevator and rode it up to the fourth floor (Continuing Care) like a pro. We met the Recreation Therapist, who promptly fell in love with Grace, and then started making our rounds.

Grace did very well, and I’m not sure if it was the residents or the staff that enjoyed her visit more 🙂 She met around ten residents, and she wowed almost every one of them. With one lady, she laid down on her bed and snuggled into the lady’s legs. The lady was very happy about that. She showed off her “high five” trick, and gave out a few kisses (not too many though).

Our visit lasted about 45 minutes or so, and Grace was pretty tired by the time we headed back to the car. She handled everything like a pro, and I’m looking forward to our next visit!

Walking The Dogs

Or are they walking me? One never really knows, given their uncanny ability to turn into sled dogs as soon as the leash is attached. And it’s not like these dogs can’t heel – Grace is ready to compete in Rally-O and Jack Jack has been training for heelwork for almost a year now. But something about the two of them together. Grace I can manage verbally, with reminders to walk “easy,” but Jack Jack has to wear the dreaded Gentle Leader head collar. He hates it with a passion, and spends at least half the walk attempting new removal procedures. He has yet to succeed. Farley stays home, as the theatrics exhaust him, and his knees give out anyhow.

The first walk of the season was Monday night. Bright blue skies, sun shining . . . perfect walk weather. Apparently, the dogs have forgotten how to walk on a leash since the late fall. Fun stuff. Untangle, walk two steps, pull the coupler line out from under Jack’s tail, walk five steps, poop, walk three steps, untangle . . . you get the idea. And then we reach the off-leash area. This is where my own amnesia kicked in, and I let both dogs off the leash (it’s a fenced area). They go off running like something is chasing them, and they’re having fun. Until Jack sees the other dogs. The dogs that are so far away they look like specks. And he starts barking and freaking out. Aaaaah yes, I forgot. His whole “other dogs are way scary” thing. Crap! Scoop him up, and attempt to hold a writhing, barking, squirming dog while ignoring the dog that just wants to play. The poor owner is wondering what on earth her dog did to mine to make him scream. I’m reassuring her while calling Grace and trying to get the heck out of there.Yesterday’s walk was a bit more civilized. We by-passed the off-leash area, much to Grace’s chagrin and Jack’s relief. He’s much braver when the dogs are on the other side of the chain link fencing! We are still working on the getting tangled up issue, but it’ll come. And Jack’s various Gentle Leader removal attempts continue. He is convinced that with the right flick of a paw, it will magically slide off. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the show.We may actually get this routine back in place if we keep at it.

And once the two beasts are under control, I can bring Farley along for fun every now and then. Just to remind myself that carrying a 24 pound, 9 year old dog is more work than I want while taking a nice, summer walk.