07 August 2008

Spring? Cleaning

I've been struck by the cleaning bug. I think it might be a tad bit late for actual spring cleaning, but hey, at least it is happening! Having clean counters and a gleaming sink makes me feel so good, right down to my toes.

Now, if someone could come up with a good solution to crayon bits that have been ground into the hardwood. :\ I suspect that I am going to have to get a bit of metal (flat-head screwdriver, chisel, something to that effect) and scoot around the floors on my butt, picking at each bit. What a pain. I'm not sure sure how the crayon pieces have become one with the ground. I do know that the ones by the computer desks have been accidently rolled over with the chairs, but the bits in the living room? No clue. And I'm going to have to replenish my stock of Magic Erasers to remove the giant circles drawn on the walls.

The dogs are not a fan of cleaning. This usually means lots of vacuuming, which only really bothers the whippets. Athena usually sits on the bed upstairs, shaking and whining. Wallace follows me around, then retreats upstairs to bark a bit. Silly dogs. Plus it means the possibility of a bath, depending on if the dog towels are clean. And no one likes a bath!

I secretly suspect this cleaning fever has been triggered by the fact that my mom is coming to visit next month. basically, this means I will get my house spotless within the next week or two, only to have it trashed again by the time she actually gets here. :D Not that she really cares either way.

On a side note, it appears a snake has moved into the bush in our front yard. Just a plain ol' garter snake. He's dark green, with yellow racing stripes and I think one orange stripe going down his top. Wallace likes to sniff him out, and then his best pointer impersonation, baying an awful lot like a beagle. The snake just recently shed his skin, and left it on the front step as a present. Ooooh boy did that freak Wallace out! I've got some pictures that I'll have to upload. It's too funny.

Now, as a dedicated sighthound owner, I always have my hounds leashed or under control in some fashion other than voice. But somehow Wallace isn't like Athena or Achilles. I can take him around the backyard and into the front without being on the tie-out or leashed. This makes me so giddy. He dislikes being out in the fenced in yard with the other dogs because the play among three dogs is just a bit too rough (plus he prefers being wherever I am). So we do a little tour of our yard, with frequent recalls to remind him of his obedience. We chase each other, do butt-tuck zoomies about the yard... We've even had some serious distractions out there. One was our neighbor and her little white dog. He ran over, I called, he returned. The second was much bigger. A dakrat. By a dakrat hole. Where lots of other dakrats live. He saw the dakrat dash, his ears perked right up, and before he could take off, I got his attention and he settled down. Needless to say, we had a good romp about the backyard in victory. I am very proud of him. And since he is a much more outgoing dog, I am thinking that when we have disposable income again (ha, with the gas prices and food prices?) I would like to enroll him in obedience class. I could see him doing much better than Athena, because it won't be such a fight dealing with just being in the room. Poor Athena, she just despised going to the class.

And on a less interesting side note... I seem to be having a problem with my vets office. They have been acting very cold and snooty the past few times I have been in. I need to take Wallace in to get his sutures out (had a neutering and they had to go in to retrieve his retained testicle), and I am so not looking forward to dealing with them. Which is SUCH a shame because I have always enjoyed going in there. I don't really know what's up, but it's frustrating.


26 July 2008

The Catch Up

This is likely to be a long post, so I'm warning you now to get a drink, go to the bathroom, maybe grab a snack... :D

I am in love with my son. I always thought women who said the phrase "in love" in relation to their children were weird. Being "in love" is something else. But it's not. I realize this now. Lochlan and I, we know each other. We can sit together, his little legs on my belly, cold hands wrapped around my fingers, and just gaze into each other's eyes. Our souls touch. They feed each other. I came up with an idea of what it's like tonight. I feel like our souls are magnetic. When I hold him snuggled up tight, it feels like absolutely nothing could take him from me, the closer we are the tighter they hold on. I am thoroughly enjoying his every moment of life. He is so happy and content. First two teeth slowly emerging from his gums. Crawls like a mad man. And he is already cruising around on the edge of furniture. Every now and then you'll glance at him, and he'll just be standing there, not holding onto anything. His whole face lights up in this heart melting grin. You can feel his thoughts, "Look at me!!! I am doing it!!!" I love it.

He still sleeps in our bed, along with one, two, three, four dogs... ! Caayn is working on me to get him in his crib. (It is pretty difficult to be intimate with that many bodies on the bed...) I don't even know how to start. Lochlan screams like a banshee when he is put in there. And I don't blame him! It's like a jail cell. Wooden bars. Plain walls. No momma to reach out and touch for comfort. At the same time, I do so love waking up to his sweet little face. He is always happy to wake up, full of smiles and giggles, and silly floppiness. It's the very best part of the day.

Oh, did I say four dogs? We have an addition to our home... Shannon Down The Big Surprise. His call name is Wallace (we were going to change it to Apollo, so he'd fit in with our mythological A theme, but he is just a Wallace... so Apollo is his middle name). He is a red and white whippet, just over a year old. His daddy is one of my favorite whippets, a -gorgeous- red boy from Sweden. Wallace has some good bloodlines, and whenever we get out of North Dakota, I am hoping to get him out on the field to race. He just got neutered today, the poor guy. Only one of his testicles descended, so he got both a neuter and a spay, lol. I'll get pictures of him soon.

I've been very sucked into World of Warcraft lately. Since Caayn and I don't really get out too much, it is a good way for the two of us to do something we both like together. And it helps us save money. For $30 a month, we get two accounts, and it keeps us busy. So instead of going downtown (which is about an 1/8 of a tank), spending money at the mall, probably getting food while we're there, and then driving home again, we stay on base. We play outside with the dogs and the boys. We have a good homecooked meal. And we stay far more entertained with the game then with whatever we might have spent money on downtown. (Our budget is pretty tight right now.) But all that aside... I almost have a character who hit level cap. The game currently allows characters to reach the level of 70, at which point you are in "end game" stuff... it doesn't technically have an end though, since they continue to release content in patches. There is also going to be a second expansion coming out soon, raising the level cap to 80 and releasing new zones to play in, etc. So that's pretty exciting. However, my character is a hunter... which is one of the most over-played classes ever! I've sort of halted questing with her and moved onto my mage, who is in her mid 40s right now. The hunter is now my helper character. She runs my friends through lower level dungeons and helps out that way, which is pretty fun.

My 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up. I think it might be next week. It's very amazing to me that here we are, 5 years down the road. Still happy. Still very much in love. I have got to be the luckiest woman alive. :)

The biggest accomplishment so far this year is.... Sully!! Sully is fully potty trained now. YAHOOOOO!!! I just stopped putting a diaper on him. And since he knew peeing on the floor was unacceptable, he just started going on the toilet. Same with pooping. No struggle. He has had 2 accidents in the past month. Both were from him throwing a fit before bedtime and refusing to pee before being tucked in. Now, to teach him to keep his pants on. :P

Also on the Sully front... His artwork is becoming so much better! I am tickled pink every day by his latest drawings. Today he comes up to me with a piece of paper and says, "Look, it's Mr. Sun!" There was a big sun, with a huge grin and eyes. I love it. He draws houses, all of us, grass, colors... I like when he shows me a huge scribble of one color and says, "I drew blue!" He is so proud. He tucks crayons over his ear.

When we were in Pennsylvania, visiting the in-laws, I got a fairly big tattoo on my back. A big phoenix. I've used the name Phoenix for 7? years now, maybe a bit longer. It started when I was in high school. I had a lot of struggles with depression, and one of the times I was coming out of it, I was surrounded by pictures of the phoenix. Every where I looked. (Even in my math book, which I couldn't believe, because that was just too strange.) Coming out of a bout of depression is like being reborn. It's like rising above this thick cloud that you just can't shake. Above, the sky is clear. No fogginess to muddle your vision. The air feels crisp. And since then, I see the pattern of the phoenix in a lot of my choices in life. I continue to reach new heights, to be reborn in a different way. Every day I am not the person I was the day before. I have grown. And I've noticed an effect it has on me. I am more confidant, more sure of myself. Normally I am pretty shy. You wouldn't believe it for an instant seeing how the words pour out of my fingers, but it is the truth. When I'm around people, you can almost hear my gates clattering shut, my drawbridge coming up. I keep to myself. I'm the scrunched up housewife who scurries about her business as fast as possible to get back to the safety of her home. But now... my shoulders are thrown back, my posture is correct, I feel alert, energized, like I am full in my body. I like it. :)

I've been reading the blogs I used to again... For a long time there I stopped reading. And now I remember why I loved them. Some of these women are so eloquent. And so many of them write exactly what I am thinking, feeling, going through. It feels good to come back to them all.

Thats it for now. I'm all worded out. And instead of feeling empty of words, I just feel satisfied. So many times I catch myself composing blog entries in my head, or my inner monologue speaking like an entry. Maybe if I can get them out sooner, I can be free of these thoughts that fill my brain up with chatter.

14 April 2008

The One Where I Never Stop

I can't sleep, so I figured I'd post.

Caayn and I took the troupe to the dog park today... Everyone except Artemis, who isn't very social and tends to spend her time barking insanely at all dogs and people. Much fun was had by all! We met up with Jimmy and Spartan. I took almost 300 pictures!! Hopefully I can get some photo editing done this week, so I can get around to uploading those and getting them online. Some of them are really good! I managed to snap one of Athena with all for paws off the ground.

Caayn worked 12 hour shifts all of last week and this coming week he'll be working from 3pm to 9pm. He's doing a training class for tow vehicles (he's done it before but they all got decertified not too long ago). I think I'll like this shift. We can sleep in, as much as Sully will let us anyway, and he's not getting off too awfully late. It'll make for strange dinner times though, and probably lead to us staying awake longer than usual.

However, there is hope he'll be getting our fence put in this week, or maybe this weekend. YIPEE! And I should be upgrading my cell phone too. Going to get one of those LG enVs... Those are so neat looking. I like the one Sprint or AT&T (I forget which) has better, but it's not available for Verizon. I've been contemplating switching us to Alltel, but I don't know. I have to go in to the stores and do some talking. We are supposed to be getting a military discount on the bills, but we aren't. So I want to get in and compare plan prices with the military discount factored in (assuming Alltel offers one).

Not too much else going on in the Phoenix-Caayn household. Looking forward to our trip to PA in June. Not looking forward to all the extra miles going on the van, but hey, what can you do? It's really the cheapest way to get anywhere with 2 kids and a dog along for the ride.

I noticed something funny the other day. The more active I am, the more bruises my legs get. And when I say active, I don't necessarily mean physically. Like just spending more time outside, or doing more driving around! Luckily I don't mind; I love bruises.

Ugh! I don't really even have anything to write about, just feel the need to get my fingers on the keys. I've also noticed that I'm feeling more creative lately. I have the urge to draw, which I haven't had in probably over 6 or 7 years. I also feel the need to write.When I was younger, I dreamed of being a writer. I've got tons of notebooks filled with first pages of stories, random plots, etc. I sort of gave up on it, mostly because I have a LOT of trouble breaking 5 pages on a story. (I know, can you believe it? Me, the one who can go on and on for hours!) But even just something simple like blogging scratches that itch. There should be a term for it, like brain overload or something, where there is just literally too many words in your head and if they don't get out somehow you'll go insane!

The wee hours of night like this are my favorite. My house is finally quiet. Caayn is resting peacefully, Lochlan too. Lochlan is getting to the stage where he moves around in his sleep now, so he seems to frequently end up completely sideways in the middle of the bed. I like to just drink him up with my eyes. Memorize everything I can and hope that I'll still remember it all in 20 years. The dogs start dreaming too. Athena's paws twitch and jerk, and she'll utter little yips. I know she is dreaming about the dog park, the hard ground under her feet, wind blowing her ears back. I guess the barking could be her playing with Spartan, or maybe she is just voicing her joy of the day... even though she is very quiet at the dog park. Achilles never seems to sleep. He moves around a lot. Checks up on me. Why are you still awake? You smell okay. Go to sleep! Athena just rolled up onto her back. She doesn't often sleep in the dead cockroach position, but it always amuses me when she does.

Athena is getting new pigment areas. I'd heard that that happens, where there are spots where the pigment will come in or go away at different times of the year. She just developed a small patch on her muzzle, and near her lady bits a few spots have shown up. Her poor little tail! She has stud tail something awful and has like a two inch bald spot on it. It resembles a rat's tail there. (And I know, because I've owned several rats over my history of pet ownership!)

It's almost 2 now. I guess I oughta get off here and try to sleep. Curling up with Lochlan, Achilles behind my knees, sounds pretty nice. Oh, here comes Athena... she really likes to lay on or near Lochlan. Not sure why, but it is incredibly cute.

Is there anything as wonderful as your family? When everything is quiet, I reflect on that a lot. I've got a fantastic husband who couldn't love me more if he tried, I've got two wonderful sons who make me laugh and melt my heart every day, and I've got dogs. I simply can't imagine anything better than this. (Heck, this family of mine makes living in a dreary place like North Dakota just fine.) It's good stuff. I gave up everything I've ever known to come here with the man I love, and you know what? It has been worth every minute of it. Sometimes taking a leap like that has to be done if you want to open new doors. Looking back, I can't imagine what would have happened if I stayed back home. It would have been pretty dull I think. And not nearly as filled with happiness.

10 April 2008

w00t for Good Wi-Fi!

I'm dog-sitting Spartan the Wonder Italian Greyhound. The guys are working 12 hour shifts again and I figured Spartan would enjoy getting to hang out at Camp Phoenix rather than being home alone for a long time. He gets here around 6am ish, and leaves around 7pm.

He is so much fun! He's like renting a puppy, lol. And I really think it's good for everyone involved. Spartan gets to spend his day with other dogs, and going outside, and just hanging out. Athena gets a chance to PLAY, since Achilles prefers sleeping in bed and Artemis is too 'diginified' to play. And when Spartan leaves here, he is completely worn out! Which, I think, means Jimmy gets a chance to relax during his time off at night rather than having to deal with an overly-wound up pup. Plus, he's so darn cute to look at that I like having him around. It's fun watching him tackle the multitudes of dog toys we have around here.

So today I've been waiting him out on the pooping issue. He's not really well house-trained. Italian Greyhounds seem to have an issue with it, and are apparently notorious for being very particular about things. (Like in the middle of our VERY cold winter, he didn't want to go outside, hated getting his little paws wet, etc.) I've just been treating him like you would a puppy. Every couple of hours we make a trip outside, and after he eats we IIgo out. All day he hadn't pooped and I knew he was going to have to... Finally everything in the house was settled enough that I could leave Lochlan inside without him freaking out, and I could wait him out.

I brought along the laptop. Lately I have been SUPER addicted to Questionable Content, a webcomic. It is so funny, the art is really good, and it always seems to strike a chord. (In one of the first strips they are drinking and playing video games, after all.... and thats something that happens around here!) Anyway... Apparently my wireless internet reaches all the way to the neighbor's deck stairs. Which means once Caayn gets the fence in over there, I can sit on the deck and be on the net at the same time! Wheee!!

I've been meaning to post for some time... I hate when you have a blog, and you are really good at updating it, and then one day, you start forgetting. Then before you know it, you are only updating once a month and the post always starts with, "I can't believe I haven't updated in forever!"

Several times I've started a post, so I'm not sure if this will be repeat news... but I called Carol a few days back and talked to her about Cozy, Athena's littermate that I'm secretly (or not so secretly) in love with. I let her know that if she was wanting to sell her, I'd love to bring her home here. However, Carol thinks that she might do well running, so they are going to try her out at the end of the month, when lure coursing and stuff starts. (Up here in the north, you can't do it year round! Too cold!!) So we'll be in touch on the subject. She did warn me that Cozy is really a naughty little whippet. I'm pretty sure a lot of that is not a lot of exercise and not being a real house dog. She had warned me about Athena too, and she is such a sweet dog here. Although from what I saw, Cozy is definitely different than Athena. She's a talker; barks when people come in, and does a lot of the "rah-rah-rah" that some whippets do. (Which I totally LOVE! I'm always trying to get Athena to talk more. She'll do it when me and Achilles start singing, or when she is playing with Spartan, but not really otherwise.)

Anyway, I am really excited about that. I was so nervous to call and ask her about the whole thing... I mean, how do you call someone up and ask if they'd sell you one of their dogs? Especially when you aren't really sure if the dog is up for sale or whatnot. I'm pretty sure Carol would sell the rest of the litter, if the right homes came along, but I don't think she is actively seeking homes out. I wish I was in a different situation, because I would love to take Athena's brother too. He is so full of energy and such a happy boy. He deserves to be in someone's home, being totally loved on and spoiled rotten. Caayn hates when I say this,k because he thinks that I might not stop at Cozy and will just want to keep adding more whippets to the family, lol.

Nope! If and when we get a third whippet, it will be one from Athena, if and when we decide if she is going to have a litter. (And even then it won't be for quite awhile. She's just over a year old and hasn't matured yet, and I don't want to even THINK of the responsibilities whippet babies will mean until we are in a situation where we can handle it. Like, in our own house.... kids a bit older than 3 and under 1.... Lol.)

11 March 2008

My Official Girl

Just a super short entry right now... Athena is OFFICIALLY Straylight's Affinity In A Row! I got an e-mail from the AKC letting me know they got her paperwork. (Uhh yeah, I really did procrastinate that long...) We have a registration number and everything. I can't wait to go make an account on the AKC site, lol.


08 March 2008


To be perfectly honest, I've been blogging over a year now and have managed to avoid doing any and all memes. I very nearly caved when Phoenix Says did the purse one (where you empty the contents of your purse and show it off, very interesting for pack rats!)... But this one is a book related type, and well, I just have to.

This one comes from Patience:


1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

I currently have two books going, whenever I put my huge book of really hard crossword puzzles down. Those are Duma Key, a new book by Stephen King, and The Dark Half, an old book by Mr. King.

Duma Key: Wireman said nothing for a little while. The torn umbrella flapped. I had time to think, Well this was a potentially interesting friendship that's not going to happen, but when he next spoke, his voice was calm and pleasant. It was as if our little side-trip had never occured. "Part of Duma's development problem is simple overgrowth."

Dark Half: She sighed, looked down at her beer-bottle for a moment, then raised her head again.
"That's actually pretty lame, isn't it?"
"I'm afraid so," Alan said kindly, then looked at Thad. "You ought to be down on your knees thanking God for your alibi now, even if you weren't before. You do realize this makes you look even tastier as a suspect, don't you?"

Whee! :D And for the record, I am really liking Duma Key. Stephen King's writing as aged well. it makes me think of a good scotch or wine or something, where the flavor and aroma deepen with age. Every sentence has a taste or a texture that you want to savor before going on. I'm only like 100 and some odd pages in, which is HIGHLY unusual for me. I normally dig in and don't let go until I'm done. But I'm taking my time. It's not very often that I get to read new Stephen King, lol. I'm almost always buried in a reread of his old stuff. (Have I mentioned that I love Stephen King? I highly suggest him to ANYONE who likes reading. Any genre. He is that good.)

Anyway, I've got to run. Babies are calling.

PS. Ugh. I forgot linkage... I'll edit this in a few minutes to include proper links.

06 March 2008

Deadly Plates!

I forgot to mention this...

Yesterday, Sully managed to drop a plate on his toe while trying to hand it to me. It didn't fall flat (that would be like buttered toast falling butter side up!), but with the edge directly at the base of his big toe toenail. He wailed! I snuggled him all up on the couch and thought that was that.

He kept telling me his toe hurt, but I sort of just assumed that was him doing the broken record thing. After all, he is -still- reminding us that the cat scratched his foot, and that happened like 2 weeks ago.

Caayn comes home after his appointment yesterday for a few minutes and Sully shows him his toe. OMG. Half of the toenail was purple! He's walking around with his toes pointed up so he doesn't have to put any weight on the one. By nap time he is rendered to shuddering, gasping cries of pain. I gave him some motrin to take the edge off the pain. He stayed in bed until after 6pm!! He wasn't asleep, he just didn't want to get out of bed. I had Caayn bring the tv down to his room with the PS2 so he could watch a movie. (Hehehe, perfect opportunity for Caayn and Lochlan to catch a nap with Sully!)

Today his whole toenail is purple, and the blood blister causing the purpleness is bulging out from under the nail. Caayn thinks the nail will probably fall off!!! Seriously, who knew plates could be so deadly? I mean, he's dropped plates on his toes before and this has never happened. Poor kiddo.

Congratulations Athena!

Athena finished her basic obedience class! It's official. She is not very good at sit-stays (she wants to lay down), but she did manage to wait the full 2 minutes during the down-stay, getting up just as we were told to return to our dogs.

As a fun little exercise at the end, we did heel-downs or something like that, where you walk around with the leash draped over your arm. The point is that your dog obeys you and the leash doesn't fall off and you don't need to grab it to correct your dog. Athena would have done well, except this gal walked in with her charpe (no clue how to spell that breed; they are the really wrinkly ones) who seems to have a bit of an agressive temperment and a shiba inu--the two of them kept snapping and barking at each other. And ever since that pit bull got Achilles, I've been very short leashed when around any dog who I've seen be snippy. One of the times we went around that corner (which happens to be the corner that Athena has the most trouble with anyway, she always wants to duck in there and hide), the dogs broke out in a snarling, barking fit, and I grabbed the leash... Boo. I think she would have lasted a bit longer.

Now I have a little certificate stating she finished Basic Obedience to go along with her 2nd place ribbon from the B match. Yay!

There happens to be a dog show in Fargo at the end of May that I am thinking of entering Athena in. The numbers have been pretty good considering the state the show takes place in (27 whippets in 2007, and then 18-20ish in 2006 and 2005)... Plus I am pretty sure I'll be seeing some Affinity dogs there. :) I'll really need to work on my handling skills though, since I KNOW I am not very good at them. I'm getting better at getting Athena stacked quickly (and well), which is a good thing. I just need to figure out how to get a look of interest on her. At that B match, the whole time in the ring her ears never once perked up.

05 March 2008


I am procrastinating. What I should be doing is making appointments. Already this month we have 5? Shotgun training (mandatory class for Caayn), a sleep thing for Caayn because his surgery to correct his deviated septum appears to have not worked and he is still not feeling rested, a pre-op and then operation appointments for his big V, and Sully's dentist check-up.


I have to make two check-ups, one for Sully and one for Lochlan. The dogs are due for their annual check-up and vaccinations. I have to see a dr to see where we stand on the anti-depression meds (my rx is out), and see if they will let me continue taking them. Plus I seem to have developed a rash. I am alternating calling it an allergic reaction to stretch marks (it's mostly in the places I have the worst stretch marks) or the measels. Gotta find the humor in it somewhere!

So now you see why I am procrastinating. !! And to top all that off, I still have obedience classes on Wednesday nights (this is the last week for Athena, then none next Wednesday, but then I am taking Achilles to the basic class, so it'll start up again the following Wednesday), AND I need to find time to get a hair cut. I can tell Caayn is wanting me to grow it back out, but for once in my life, I am trying really hard to maintain the short cut. Normally I cut it short, let it grow long, cut it short, grow long, etc.

Achilles is going to have SO much fun in obed. He's a quick learner and really enjoys pleasing us. Plus he'll get to go on car rides every week and hang out with other dogs. It'll be a lot of fun. Maybe I'll be able to take him to advanced. I'd love to be able to tack a CGC title on him, since he won't really ever get any others. Athena is too stubborn. She behaves perfectly in class, but that's because she is terrified out of her mind. Once we are back in her comfort zone (home), she'll only do things if it involves treats. And only if she really wants the treat. All I really want her to learn is to recall, but she doesn't really even do that in the class. I think that will be one trick that I need to use good treats for. Just loving her up and singing her praises aren't enough to make her come.

04 March 2008

One More Hour in the Day Please!

Geez am I having a tough time getting on here long enough to post an entry. Yesterday was the first time I managed to completely empty my inbox of new messages since coming back from St. Paul.

I had my wisdom teeth out on the 15th. UGH. It was pretty scary sitting in the chair and having two women converge on either side of me and begin poking and messing with me (sticking oxygen tube thingies in my nose, IV, etc). I got pretty swollen, and had massive bruising on either side of my chin. Apparently one nurse is supposed to hold your chin up, and when she does it she seriously bruises. (I was so hot with those green and yellow bruises, let me tell you.)

Very nearly stopped breast feeding, what with my milk supply being weird from the trip and then the surgery and being on antibiotics... I think Lochlan also really liked the bottle and how much easier it was to get formula out of it. But with a lot of hard work and putting up with him screaming (he would get SO mad at me because he didn't want to nurse, he wanted a bottle), we're now back in the flow. Thankfully. I really didn't want to give it up yet. It's my favorite thing in the world to nestle up with him and watch his funny little habits. Like how he rhythmically flexes his feet, or the way his hands move. Or when he is mostly done and he starts throwing himself backward, one hand flying like a rodeo guy, with a huge grin.

We also got our tax return! YAY for money! We paid off quite a bit of debt, bought a new tv (we were still using a really small ghetto style one, now we have a 42" LCD), an xbox... The only things left that we want to do are buy some bookcases, real wood ones, not those particle board with cardboard backings! And new couches. Heck, I don't care if they are used. I just want to replace ours. The cat has peed on them so many times (Achilles and Artemis too) that they just stink. Bad. No amount of Nature's Miracle or Febreeze will remove or cover up that odor.

Still working on the pictures from my trip... It'll be forever before I get any up. :P I've been thinking long and hard about this... I think I'd like to get another whippet. I've never seen Athena has happy as she was running around with her old pack. And I think I might like to bring her sister Cozy home. She's such a sweetheart. I'll have to write more about this later, but it's just something I've been thinking about.

Anyway, I must be off. Life is catching up with me again and I must go tend! :D

14 February 2008

The End

If I had been alone in the car, I would have had the window down, and my podcast MUCH louder. (Surprisingly the podcasts are better for holding my attention, since I can just zone out singing along to music.) I was tired. Exhausted. Drained. Done. I'm weaving in the lanes, but figure hey, I'm still on the road... As we are nearing Bismarck I see a sign saying 83 South, this way. I have a moment where I'm freaking out thinking I had nodded off and missed the sign for 83 North. Eventually I see that the road I'm on is 94W/83N and am okay. Whew. Keep your eyes OPEN, woman!

I make it through Bismarck. I'm thinking to myself how awfully small it looks, for being a capital city. Somewhere outside of Bismarck, not sure where, I come to a small town. The highway is 70 until you hit there, then it drops to 45, and then 35. My eyes must have been closed when I hit the 35 sign, because until then I had seen them all. The roads are utterly deserted, and really have been since I got out of that St Paul traffic. I see a cop car sitting in a median, and then as I near it, the lights go on. Ahhh crap. Not too sure if it's me he is pulling over, I sort of slow waaaaaaaayyy down and then go over to the side when I see he's still behind me. Did I say I was tired? Lochlan had been crying for the last 20 minutes, but I hadn't wanted to pull over and get his pacifier situated because I was hoping his cries would help keep me awake. (Boy, this is really making me not look like a good mommy.)

I hop out of the van to check on him, and the cop is telling me I need to be in the car... but he lets me check on Lochlan once he realizes what is up. I was going 59 in a 35MPH zone. Hmm. I got a ticket. It's only $12. That's nuts. I've been driving for almost 5 years and have never had a ticket or accident until now. Boo on me for ruining my perfect record!

Ugh. I made it home okay after that. I will never again make a drive like that. At least not with Lochlan in the car.

After all that though, I am so thankful I came home when I did. Wednesday, the day I was originally going to come home, we had a huge amount of snowfall. And wind. And I don't think I would have made it home if we left then. We would have been who knows where waiting for who knows how long, because even after the snow stopped falling, the roads would have been really dangerous to drive on.

Now for the downside of my mom's visit. She managed to get some sort of bug that she passed on to Sully and Caayn, and possibly Lochlan. They all have fevers, and possibly kidney pains (its hard to know where and what hurts on a toddler), sore throats, headaches... Sully is flat out miserable. He won't eat anything, but he's hungry. And to top it off he is still constipated. Lochlan is just passed out. He has been ever since we got home. He'll wake up to eat, get a diaper change, make sure he is being held, and then passes back out.

So yep. That's my story.

The End of The Middle

As a precursor to the whole Minnesota adventure, I had gone down to a Verizon kisok sort of thing here on base and added text messaging to our plan. So as I'm getting ready to leave Carol's, Jimmy texts me and says to make sure I do the Bismarck route we had discussed... where I stay on 94 all the way to Bismarck and then hang a right and go north on 83 the rest of the way home. I wrote back double-checking because I didn't want to get lost again. And it really did sound a lot easier than going the way I normally do, which involves a straggling diagonal across the state before hitting the 94.

I managed to hit the end of the rush hour traffic leaving St. Paul. A little nerve wracking, mostly because I have Lochlan who is crying in the background. Everything is going cleanly... light dustings of snow around St. Cloud and a little further. I stop to feed Lochlan. Get gas. Etc.

By the time I hit Fargo, I'm starting to feel just a bit weary. After all, it was around 10pm ish, maybe a little later, and I had been in the car forEVER. Jimmy texts asking if I had arrived in St. Paul yet since I hadn't responded to that question earlier. I wrote back saying I was half way home. Also around that time Caayn calls me. Sully is super super constipated (this had been a continuing situation of many days) and he was getting ready to go plunk him on the toilet so we got off the phone... (yes, my boy who is not potty-trained at all can poop on the toilet, even though he won't pee on it; how lucky am I?!) He called back to let me know how that went (I love being a parent, who else calls to talk about poop?) and he said, "Are you in the car?" I tried to act shady. Needless to say he spoiled the surprise and the decision was made that he'd stay up and wait for me.

Those last four hours were pure hell. I pulled over a couple of times at rest areas, thinking I'd take a nap. But by the time we'd be there, I was feeling more alert and awake, so I'd carry on. The last time I stopped, I was feeding Lochlan and saw the snow start coming. It wasn't heavy. But I figured I really ought to go on.

The Middle of The Middle

I haven't even mentioned Sue! Sue is a roommate at Carol's house. She has whippets too. I didn't catch her last name, or if I did I don't remember it, but what a funny gal, and very nice too. She showed me her whippet Wade... oh my goodness was he HUGE. He is over the height limit for the breed, standing at 22 3/4"... He looked like a yearling greyhound. It was just amazing.

Monday was a mess. My mom missed her flight, but managed to get on the next one... so we got a really late start back. She was totally tickled by how cute Athena is. The drive back went well until the very end. I took a wrong turn and didn't notice until I was probably 100 miles down the road. I called Caayn and asked him where I was in proportion to our town, and I had overshot. So I turned around. And then took another wrong turn... this time I caught on really quickly. All that extra driving around added about 2 more hours on to the drive. Might be 3. We left the airport at 6pmish, and got home around 5am. I was so dead tired by the time we got home. Yuck!

Her visit was MUCH better than it has been normally. This time she actually talked to Caayn when he was in the room, and spent time with Sully... (She was the only family down for Sully's 1st birthday, and she went out to smoke while we did his birthday cupcake. :P) Sully LOVES his Granny. Lochlan was okay with her, but he still prefers me to everyone else in the world.

I took her to the mall... found a jean jacket in JCPenney's for $14 while walking through the store to get to the rest of the mall. I had to buy it. My old one had literally fallen apart several years ago. This one needs to fade a bit before it will be perfect-o... I'm so happy I found it though.

We left Tuesday morning at 5am, with Lochlan in tow. When I got back the week before, despite pumping all the time, my milk supply had gotten all wonky and I didn't want to risk another long separation from him. Plus, he pretty much cries nonstop if Caayn is holding him... I think Caayn would have gone insane, lol. (Have I mentioned that Lochlan is my boy? We always joked about how Sully was a Daddy's boy and how this next one was going to be "mine". Well, it happened. I don't mind at all--snuggling all day and night with the sweetest little baby is hardly a chore.) Again the drive went fine. I think I have the trip memorized for the most part, and can actually find my way a bit in St. Paul.

Lochlan cried the whole trip out though. I allowed my mom to break the law and take Lochlan out of his carseat. She sat in the second row and held him, which was exactly what he wanted. (I kind of suspect that the straps in the carseat need to be put on a higher setting and that they were sort of squishing him into an uncomfortable position.) Shame on me, I know.

We stopped in at Carol's after I dropped my mom off at the airport. I got to see sweet Cozy again--man she is just so adorable! Carol signed the registration papers. Athena's unofficial-official registered name is Straylight's Affinity In A Row. (Her sire is "Johnny", Affinity Walks The Line... I thought it was funny. I really wanted Straylight Affinity's Bobeena, but Caayn hated that. Bobeena because I call her Athena Nina Bobeena.) I just need to send in the papers before the name becomes official.

I hope I get to go back to Minnesota often. I really like being in Carol's company. She is a talker and I'm a listener, so we fit just perfectly. I could listen to her stories and experiences all day!

Now, the original plan was that I was going to stay Tuesday night at Carol's and leave in the morning. The weather was calling for snow on Wednesday and I wasn't tired or sleepy in any way, so I decided I would just go home. It'd be a great surprise for Caayn!

The Middle

Sunday was the match. Carol had me running circles around that ring forEVER! I'm so not in shape, lol. Athena was sort of just terrified out of her mind. A slight tremble to her, pulling on the leash any time we neared an exit, trying to hide under chairs or tables. Poor girl. I know I need to do more in socializing her with different places and situations, but there is just nowhere for that out here. I practiced stacking her, which I *think* I got down pat. Athena is good for naturally placing her front paws correctly. I can lift her chest up and let her down and she will place them just right.

Athena went 2nd.... in a class of 2... Hehe! We got a lovely ribbon, a bag of treats and a stuffie for playing with. Her competition was Simmer, Laurie Erickson's dog. Who went on to win Best of Match, I think. Laurie was really, really nice. She had Spats with her--a dog with 34 titles, I think it was. She did a teeny bit of obedience stuff with him, and that was really just amazing to watch.

I'm definitely in need of more handling practice. The judge kept telling me to smile and have fun, which I was having a lot of fun, but I was focusing so much on trying to cheer Athena up that I probably looked like I wasn't. I learned so much though. Everyone was willing to offer advice or tips. And that is so needed when you are new to something like this. I did take some pictures, but not too many. I wasn't sure if people wanted some stranger photographing their dogs, lol. I could have asked, but there was just too much going on, so I stopped.

There was a guy there who looked EXACTLY like an ex of mine. Not a big deal to most people, but that guy wasn't a good person. I'm not sure I should divulge the details on this, so let's just say I watch To Catch a Predator just to see if they catch him. I kept waiting for someone to talk to him so I could hear what his name was. Eeks.

We caught the second half of the Super Bowl at one of Carol's son's house. Really nice guy. YAY for the Giants beating the Patriots! I was so so so hoping they would.

The Beginning

So many things have happened this month, that I'm not sure where to begin this tale. At the beginning, I suppose, since that's usually the right place. I'm pretty sure this is going to be LONG... I'll probably break it up into more than one post, otherwise I'm likely to forget to finish up!

The beginning of February found me busily preparing for my 500 mile, 8 hour long trip to St. Paul, Minnesota. Athena was going to her fun match with the Greater Twin Cities Whippet Club. (Which I went on to find out was called a "sanctioned B match"... not sure if there is a difference.) Saturday, the 2nd, I woke up super early to start my trip. Of course I had forgotten to pick up a pump to keep my milk supply up while I was gone from Lochlan, so I had to go out of my way to grab that, which ended up taking about an extra hour. The trip out went fine. I listened to lots of World of Warcraft podcasts, and then rocked out to my music so hard that the muscles in my arms were sore from playing the steering wheel drum. My aunt always said to never marry a drummer because they never stop tapping, patting, thumping... Well, my uncle is a drummer. And I spent a lot of time with him... Too late!

I brought two of my super soft fuzzy blankets and a pillow for when I got tired. I didn't get tired. I had 4 hours of sleep heading into that trip and didn't even get a wee bit sleepy. Not sure how it happened, but whatever, I was happy. Stopping to pump added at least an hour to the trip, possibly an hour and a half. I think I arrived at Carol's around 4pm. She is such a nice lady! You never feel awkward or out of place; it's like you are family. And her dogs! Oh my gosh. It was a little piece of heaven being surrounded by so many whippets, I gotta tell ya. I missed Caayn and my boys with all of my heart, but I wouldn't have traded that weekend for anything. (Would you believe me when I say that Caayn and I have never, ever, been apart, except for the night I spent at the hospital with Lochlan? Same goes for Sully.)

I got to meet Imani's Affinity Queenie, who is called Queenie and is the mother of Athena. I also met Antoinette "Toni" who looks EXACTLY like Athena, only the other half of her face has brindle too. And I met Louis and Cosette "Cozy", who were two more siblings. Louis was the boy we almost brought home. He is lovely! And big, my goodness was he solidly built. He looks like he could tear a course up. And Cozy stole my heart. I have an extreme soft spot for black and white dogs. Not sure why. I'll have to get around to posting some pictures. Cozy has black patches on both sides of her face, and then black splotches on her back. And she just has a wonderful personality. I would have brought her home with me at the drop of a hat if I could have! The only one of Athena's siblings to have been sold went to a guy in Texas. I'm not sure what her name is, but she was solid white with black ears. It'd be nice to find her!

Luckily I have pictures of all these wonderful dogs, so one of these days I will get my butt in gear and start editting/cropping and getting them online. (I took over 200 that weekend.)

The banquet was a lot of fun. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, dog people are a breed apart. They are good people for the most part. And you'll always have something in common. I got to meet David Samuelson and his wife, Gina. He was the one who referred me on to Carol when I was hunting for a whippet. I know I met a ton more people, but I can't remember all the names. While I was being introduced to everyone, I kept wondering to myself if any of them were members of Whippet World, an MSN group... Hehe.

02 February 2008

See Ya!

Well... we're off!

Not -quite-, since I have to stop at Jimmy's for a special camera lens and then at WalMart because I forgot to buy something yesterday... :P but still. The car is all packed up. I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep. I have a pillow and some blankets in the car, for when I get tired and need to pull over. Which will probably happen.

I've got a 12 pack of Red Bull, an Amp, and a Rockstar. I'm only half jokingly considering picking up a pack of cigarettes... they are good for helping you stay awake on road trips...

But I'm wasting time. Gotta run! Wish Athena luck! (And me--I don't want to crash and die or anything on this 8 hour road trip, alone.)

29 January 2008

Whose Bright Idea Was It To Settle In North Dakota?

Just a little weather update.... last night the winds were over 40 mph. I think the temp was around 5 when I checked at 8... I'm probably off. Not sure what the wind chill was though. All I know is I bundled up to take Athena out and when I tossed her out (I always have to give her rear end a hoist because half way out her brain sends a signal saying the front is really cold and to abort mission...) she ran three feet and whipped around back to the door. I went out in the yard, trying to call her to me. The wind was so fierce my words were gone almost before they reached my lips. It was even difficult drawing a breath. No wonder she didn't want to pee! I told Caayn to expect some messes in the house because there is no way she'll go in that. You may get her outside, but she won't do any business.

This morning it is -22. With wind chill, it's -52. BRRRR. At least the wind isn't blowing like it was yesterday. When it's this cold that extra wind is just too much. (Not that I have too much experience here--when it's this cold, this little lady doesn't venture beyond her door.) However, last year when it dipped low like this, Caayn nearly got frostbite on his ear. He definitely got what is called frostnip, which is just before that. His ear was swollen and red and just plain bad for awhile before it went back to normal. Let's hope this weather goes away before my mom gets out here. She's been living in Arizona the past year, and has since adjusted to living in that climate. This would just be too much!

Achilles is doing better... the vet wrapped him up and gave us some antibiotics. Unfortunately I didn't talk to her, so I really have no clue what the heck happened. With Achilles all doped up, I just wanted to get him home. (He walked right past me when they brought him out, and hardly recognized me when he did see me!) So I don't know what the x-ray found, I don't even know how often his bandage should be changed, or if he can have any pain meds or what. Not even a word on activity levels. I've been keeping him quiet though. He's still not really able to get it comfortable. We both had trouble sleeping last night. But all this boils down to two things: a) it's usually best to get an appointment and b) I've got to call the office and have the vet call me back when she has some time so I can ask her these things. :P

Carol called night before last. Her mother passed away a few days ago. She was on hospice, and that is just tough. My grandfather was on hospice as well and had a similar time at the end, with the amount of morphine and frequency given. At that point the end is a relief. They are no longer in pain, no longer suffering. I'm sorry for her loss though. No matter what age, I'm sure it is very hard to lose your mother. I hope I don't have to deal with that for many many years (mother-in-law included!).

27 January 2008

Achilles The Bad Karma Boy

Today peaked at a whopping 45 degrees! The high for Tuesday is stated at being -12. What is up with the weather out here?!

Since the weather made it over 40, I took the hounds out to the dog park. We met up with Jimmy and his new friend, Spartan, the italian greyhound. A good time was had by all. Athena just loves to get out there and run. She'll weave beside you, mere inches from your legs... once she just ran flat out into Jimmy and knocked him on his keister. It was hilarious. We were pleasantly surprised by her excellent behavior with Spartan. At the house, she thinks he might be prey, and spends most of the time trying to whack him a good one. But she mostly ignored him. (To the point where she occasionally used the poor guy as a speed bump to slow her progress...)

However, my big black fella hit his bad luck jackpot again. I feel so bad for him--about 85% of the time we go out for some fun, he gets hurt. Today I think it was worse than it has ever been so far. He ripped off one of his dew claws. He didn't make a peep when it happened and it was only while holding his collar when someone was bringing in a new dog that I noticed the bright red blood trickling down his paw. I got the e-vet on the phone and he said to see if I could get the bleeding to stop, and then wrap it up and bring him in tomorrow. Putting the powder on was horrible--he has the worst scream ever. It drills right into your very soul. He is just the sweetest dog in the world and does not understand why there has to be pain. I wrapped him up with gauze and then some of that medical wrap. I gave him a rimadyl tablet when we got home and settled him upstairs. I'm going to have to make sure to wrap his other foot every time we go to the dog park now, to make sure he doesn't rip that one off. Poor guy.

I've got more to write about, but I've got to get Lochlan settled for the night, which will effectively put the household to sleep... so I'll continue tomorrow, with an update on Achilles.

24 January 2008

Athena Rawks!

Another obedience class has gone by. Athena did really good! It takes her to the end of the class to warm up to the situation. That's when she feels comfortable enough to start walking out further on the leash, sniffing other dogs and people. It seems to me like it might be considered 'bad etiquette' to let your dog walk up and sniff other dogs... whenever the other dog starts to sniff back, the owners seem to always give the leave it command. Whatever, I'm not going to stop her. I'm just glad to see her come out of her shell. I talked with the instructor after the class about the 'local' kennel club. I say it like that because the Bismarck kennel club is two hours away... Apparently they do fun matches all over the state and fun stuff like that. She also attends dog shows in Canada, since we are right by the border. She said if I wanted to go to any of the kennel club stuff or shows, she'd give me a ride in her van. So yay!!

Of course, this is always assuming that Athena shows interest in the show ring. If it's obvious that she doesn't like it, I'm not going to push her. Unfortunately the next show in Canada (not sure if its in Manitoba or Saskatchewan... OMG, spell check didn't ding me... I spelled that right!) is the weekend of my wisdom tooth surgery... so I couldn't even tag along to scope out the scene! Boo.

Lochlan is getting so big! I think he has to weigh 10lbs easy... maybe 11. We're still going strong with nursing, too! I'm really proud of that. Not happy about being away from him for 3 days or not being able to nurse following the tooth thing though. Supposedly I can nurse him after 12 hours, but not sure I want to if I am on percocet, which is the "safest" while breastfeeding. He's really perfected his smile, although I haven't managed to get a photo of it yet. I can already tell he'll be a serious little baby, like Sully was. You kind of have to put some effort into getting that smile out. Or else not look at him. He's always grinning at whoever isn't looking at him. Silly kiddo. I can't wait until he laughs. I bet it is going to be just the cutest sound in the world. Still sleeping really well, fortunately. We've been going to bed around midnight lately (which is just too late, both of us are exhausted all the time), so I'll nurse then. Lochlan will sleep until 6am ish, when he'll want a diaper change and to halfheartedly nurse. Then he's up at 8am for a real nurse. Then a good nap until 11am ish. I'm not sure how I lucked out like this.

Sully has really started taking his art seriously. He actually draws things now. His people resemble jellyfish--big circle head, and anywhere between 4 and 8 lines as legs (I think he is actually going for the 'outline' of a leg, one line for each side). He gives them eyes and a mouth. If he is really into it, he'll give them ears and arms. The arms are just circles. It's really amazing. He draws pictures of the dogs. The other day he drew a picture of Athena's tail--a thickish line that curled up towards the end. It's crazy!! And one page of printer paper he filled with balloons, which are small circles with incredibly long strings attached. I love it! And he's making leaps and bounds with speech. We have real conversations now. His words are very clear. I think that 3 is going to be a really fun age.

And amidst all this going on at the house, I some how found some time to renew my world of warcraft account. Caayn didn't cancel his and so now his main character is 70. Boo! So now I have to catch up... only my old main (Ahtura on the Terrokar server, if anyone cares) is alliance... and before I quit, I had been leveling up some horde too. I can't decide what to do! I don't have any characters that I consider my main now, since I'm spending equal time on them all. My "mains" are Ahtura the level 48 rogue on alliance (she is my only alliance character), Loreza the level 35 hunter, and Thelisa my level 22 mage. I think I'm going to put more effort on my rogue, since she's only 10 levels away from Outlands now. I can't wait to get there!!

Next weekend is the Greater Twin Cities Whippet Club fun match... ! I'm so excited. I ought to give Carol a call and see how things are going out there. And plus, that following Monday my mom is flying in. I'm hoping she'll be a better house guest now that she is not living with her old boyfriend. Crossing fingers here. Especially since the last time she was out, we pretty much swore she would never come out again. Ugh. I love her to death, but sometimes...

And now to end this ridiculously long post about nothing! I need to write more often. Maybe I'll have something interesting or worthwhile to write about then, lol. Probably not. ;)

16 January 2008

Wisdom Teeth

I think I need a day planner/address book thingy. It seems like this year has kicked off with a bang so far; appointments left and right. Today I had an appointment with an oral surgeon. Apparently at my last dentist appointment, the x-rays showed that my wisdom teeth are really needing to come out. I've always planned on leaving them where they are because they hardly bother me. Only one ever twinges and the pain will last a day or two and then go away. Well, that one is nearly about to come through and the other bottom one is really close to the surface too. And apparently they are impacted.


So today I met with the guy who will do the surgery to remove them. According to my last panoramic x-ray (which was 3 years ago, so I had to take a new one, which we are hoping shows improvement...), both of my bottom wisdom teeth are directly on a nerve that runs along your jawline. This nerve controls the feeling in your jaws and cheeks. The upper two are close to the sinus cavity.

What does this mean?

It means I am possibly at risk of bad things. We don't know how high the risk is, since that xray was so old. There is a chance that the teeth have pushed away from the spots. If he hits the nerve, my face will be totally numb. He said for 4 to 6 weeks, although I'm assuming if he were to somehow disconnect it, it'd be permanent. (When describing it, he said if he were to bump or pinch the nerve...) If he hits the sinus cavity, he has to make a hole (in my face!) to repair the cavity with stitches.

The surgery will be February 15th (I wanted it after the fun match and after my mom goes back home)... It will cost either $1,800 or $ 1,600, I forget which. Our insurance will cover most of it. We have to pay $640, on the day of the surgery. Which really sucks. We have no savings. No spare $600 laying around. So this has to go on a credit card. LUCKILY we will be getting our tax return not long after that (I think we normally get it at the beginning of March, just depends on when the W2s come out and how soon Caayn gets into the tax office place--thats right, we do it ASAP), so we can pay it right off. The second downside? This will use all of our benefits for 2008. Meaning our dental insurance won't pay for anything else this year. Ugh. At least it's only me and Sully on it, since Caayn gets free dental work, being the active duty member.


On a more happy note, I FINALLY paid for Athena. !! Yes, we've had her since November and hadn't paid. Carol was wanting to make sure we really wanted her, and that she fit in with our family, before sending the money in. She is such a sweet woman. I don't think I have ever met someone in my whole life who would trust a stranger with their dog, out of state. I am very thankful to have met her.

Tonight is obedience class number two! We didn't finish our homework--Athena still won't sit when I come to a halt, unless I push on her rear. (She won't even sit for a treat, unless she jumps on me and I nudge her away, THEN she'll sit.) However, I've been having them wait at the door, and that is working great. Achilles will sit on command (albeit a little slow sometimes, and with a tendency to want to go down). Both will hold their sit while I open the door, and Achilles will go out the door when I tell him to. Athena usually needs a push, she's not fond of the cold air outside. I can't wait to go tonight and see what we learn. Plus to get more practice walking around with other dogs and people. So much fun! Maybe I'll manage to get my nerve up and talk to the instructor after the class tonight. She's a breeder/handler of golden retrievers (Ambush is her kennel), and I'm pretty sure she occasionally does handling classes for the kennel club... so I wanted to talk to her and see if she was doing any sometime soon. I hate being shy. Once I start talking, I'm fine. Especially on a topic I love, like dogs... it's just the whole approaching someone I don't know and initiating the talking... EEKS! I'm pretty sure I blush every time. And it's not even like she is mean or anything--she's totally a nice lady!

OH!! I think Athena chipped a tooth. I was checking her teeth over before brushing, when I noticed a strange outline on one of her incisors. I'm not sure if her puppy teeth have come out (these look like adult teeth to me, although I've never seen whippet puppy teeth before)... Luckily one of the vet techs from my vet's office attends all the obedience classes, so I'm going to have her take a look and see what she thinks I should do. Athena doesn't seem to be bothered by it... I'm pretty sure it happened when she was pulling metal off of her wire crate. :P

Anyway, I'd better be getting my butt in gear... I need to get a crate out to the car and get ready to boogie!

11 January 2008

First Time

Yesterday night was the first of the obedience classes. That was a lot of fun! Athena was about as nervous as a dog could get though, poor thing. She kept trying to crawl under the chairs. We learned to have our dog in the heel position, and then to walk forward, then stop. When we stopped, the dogs had to sit. (Our homework for the week is to have the dogs sit without needing to be touched.) And we did about faces. I kept forgetting that the dog needed to be on the outside. :P

All in all though, fun! I think it will be really good for Athena though, in that she'll be getting some socialization with other dogs as well as people. And the room is kind of big and echo-y, so she can learn to be okay with that too. I was very proud of her on the leash. She did really good.

And today when I went to the gym, I walked almost 3 miles. Go me! Hehehe. I even managed to run 1/8th of a mile... too many of my muscles aren't toned enough to run much more... By the end of that lap, I definitely have to stop. Hopefully I'll be able to get all that back together again soon!

Tomorrow is Lochlan's two month birthday. Two whole months. He's getting so big. Finally he is out growing some of his newborn outfits. It's a little sad though. They're so cute! I think this time I'm going to save more things than I did last time.

Caayn has started looking at his cross training choices. He is trying to get in contact with a person who he can talk about this stuff with... His first job pick has some good base choices... one is in Italy (Aviano), one in Germany (Ramstein)... and the bases in the USA that we're looking at are Robins AFB in GA, Langley in VA, Shaw in SC... I also like Wright Patterson in Ohio, but I don't think Caayn is interested. He's wanting something near a coast. I'm wanting something near some whippet clubs. Haha!

I'm excited for him to start this cross training business. We've been waiting for so long it seems. Finally we're here. It'll be lots of changes. The tech school for the career he's looking at is 120 week days long (doesn't include weekends), which means we'll probably pack up and go with him... and then from there, we'd move again to the permanent station... whee!! I look forward to the chaos, oddly enough. It's going to suck moving in that we'll leave Jimmy behind. This is why I was so determined not to make friends when Audry moved. It's too painful to get close to someone and then have them move away, or you move away. Boo.

06 January 2008

Potty Talk

Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!

Sully has reached a new milestone in his ever changing world of toddlerhood. Today he peed in the toilet. Of course, there were two accidents, one before and one after, but we don't care. He did it! It was so exciting. And since we made such a huge deal of it, he's now really excited about it too. The rest of the day he kept asking to go sit on the toilet. He didn't do anything else, unfortunately, still... This is a huge step. He has realized a lot of things. Like the fact that he can pee without a diaper on, on purpose. And that actually peeing while sitting all stretched out on the toilet is okay too. (He looks so funny sitting on that big ol' seat... I'd take a picture... but... it'd be considered inappropriate.)

And Athena is getting better about going outside. For the most part she is down to one accident in the house a day, or none. It depends on the weather outside and how well we pay attention. She has such a tiny whine at the door that if you aren't keeping about 10% of your consciousness thinking about her, you might miss it.

On the downside of all this potty discussion... the cat has been really having problems about peeing on our bed. We aren't really sure what her deal is, but it is seriously getting old. The bedroom door now has to be kept baby gated AND closed. Poor Achilles, he is sad that he can't sleep on our bed all day. I think we need more dog beds. And soft cozy blankets. *cough*

(Wal-Mart has these uber soft wonderful blankets for $5... I think I have 6 or 8 of them now... Caayn thinks I have a sickness... but I can't help it. They are awesome blankets. One of them we've had for a year now, and it is still just as soft and wonderful as it was brand new. I NEED at least 10 more. I swear. I could find uses for every single one. Caayn disagrees with me. Boo.)

05 January 2008


Ooh! On a totally un-dog related note... Nike+iPod made a little widgety sort of thingy for blogs and such. I stuck mine on the blog... Don't laugh, I've only just figured out how to work the thing so it only has two walks recorded. Yes, I said walks. I'm so out of shape for running! A couple of "runs" back, I thought I had hooked it up right and did a lot of walking and actual running... but it turns out I didn't have it right and the whole block of exercise was not recorded. Boo.

I have small goals right now: 12 miles in 4 weeks and to work out 12 times in 4 weeks. They are small enough that I will hopefully surpass them. The goal weight I'm aiming for is 115. Whenever I get to the gym next, I'm going to try and remember to use the scale there. We had one but it got lost in the last move... and it sucked anyway, it was never accurate.

Hopefully my info will just go up and up! If anyone else has a nike+iPod thingy, I'd love to hear about it!

Have I Said I Love Dogs?

When I was little, we had dogs. Always had dogs. I suppose that is why we always have dogs now, too. We didn't have a lot of money. When my dad left, I was a month old. My mom chose to stay home with me and my 6 year old brother and to get on welfare. The house we lived in was through Section 8 (which I suppose is called HUD housing now? or something like that). She bred Australian Shepherds,. Only just recently did I find out that they were actually AKC registered dogs and that each puppy was papered. She was what you would call a backyard breeder, which is usually considered a bad thing. She didn't show her dogs, didn't do agility or anything (Aussies are excellent with agility!)... she just bred them for the joy of good pets. I have many fond memories of playing with the puppies.

I've been told by family that when things were bad, my mom would make sure the dogs were fed over having food for us. I don't remember. I have blocked out countless memories from my childhood. Because of that, a lot of my family disapproves of me for having pets. They feel that I'll do things like my mom did. That somehow the thought of dogs will cloud my brain and I'll be unable to do anything else. (This comes from family that aren't pet people, literally every dog they've ever owned has ran away, including a dog that was hand-nursed through a case of parvo.)

Some day Caayn and I want to open a kennel. We'll board dogs and probably offer grooming services. He would like to consider breeding whippets as well, although from everything I have been learning through whippet groups, it's not as easy as all that. It seems to require a lot of effort. It's not a matter of getting a male and female together. You have to look at bloodlines and genetics, consider the standard and type. The goal being always trying to improve the breed with the breed standard in mind. I think by the time we reach this point in our lives, I'll know enough about whippets to think about maybe taking that step. I can say that I'd be willing to think about thinking about breeding, lol. It's serious business. I'm excited about it though. Awhile back there was a lovely house for sale in Dover, PA... it was old, had a fair amount of acreage and already had kennel runs built. But we're so far from being ready to buy a home like that. That's a dream for when the kids are bigger, when we're more settled.

I've discovered that I really do like the military lifestyle. We've been here in Minot for 4 years. We have lived in 3 different homes already. This current house we moved into last November, and I'm finding myself getting the itch to move back downtown. We lived downtown when we first got here... It's hard finding a house to rent that allows dogs, much less 2 medium sized dogs and a large dog! But still...

All of this is really just a roundabout way of saying that dogs are our lives. And that makes us happy. They give us such joy, bring so much laughter. Dogs are amazing. You could learn so many things from them. And I am so glad that my children will be raised in a loving household with great dogs. I always feel so bad for kids without dogs. It seems so universal that children want, need, a dog. I've never met a child who doesn't want one. They can make anything in the world better.

**This subject was brought to mind by Patience's post: Clueless.