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.