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Being a stay-at-home person

Being a stay-at-home person for most normal people is 70% awesome and 30% meh.

For normal people the separation from their co-workers, and the lack of social interaction in general, causes them a great deal of misery and depression. For me, it’s not an issue. I am a solitary person. If it wasn’t for my husband, I could go months, even years, without speaking in person to another human being. Except maybe a thank you or please to people who need it. No conversation though.

For normal people, getting up in the morning at a reasonable hour is also something they find difficult – for me, it’s not, as I have so many reasons and motivations: firstly, my husband gets up early and I get up with him so that I can make him breakfast, and pack his lunch (yes, we’re old school – and we’re good with it) and I also feed my dogs (two of them have to eat early in order to prevent acid reflux which causes them to vomit if they have an empty stomach for too long) and take them outside for a quick piddle break. So I have no CHOICE really, but to get up at a reasonable hour to start my day. Usually, during the week, the dogs and I go back to bed after their breakfast and husband has left for work. It’s an hour or so of a nice nap to prepare for the day. Then we get up and go for our long morning walk, which lasts anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on where we go and what we do.

This leads me to another issue that normal people seem to have with working from home (or being a stay-at-home person) and that’s getting out of your pajamas. Once again, thanks to the dogs, I don’t have a choice in the matter. I have to get up, get dressed in clothes that I can be seen in out in public. and head out. I also do the grocery shopping, generally, and that involves being in public, so I definitely wear reasonably acceptable clothes for that too. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, so it’s not difficult. I also have a capsule wardrobe which mostly consists of clothes that I can wear both on a dog walk AND at the store!

Normal people also complain about their eating schedules – I don’t really have that issue. I eat breakfast after feeding the dogs “second breakfast” when we get back from our long walk. This is any time from 0930 to 1030, depending on how long the walk was. So I’m pretty full right up until around 1400 or so. I have something small (soup, a sandwich, cereal) for my “lunch” and then the next time I eat is when I make dinner for my husband and I. I think it works for me, as it stops me from “snacking” all day and eating junk food. If I am bored, I eat. So this meal schedule helps me keep the weight off.

I also have the Bird Bar, as we call it, to take care of. And my plants and herbs and flowers need watering as well.

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I have to admit that I have become a bit of a “social commenter” on Facebook, much to my disgust. I realised this today, after reading an article about this subject (working from home) and finding that only a few of the items listed actually concerned me. There are a couple of groups on Facebook that I check daily, a few times. I have made some lovely friends and learned some very helpful and interesting things there.

 

But other than that – I love being a stay-at-home person. When I am done with school, and I begin actual work, I don’t think my routine will change much. Perhaps a little less time on breaks and more time working (my work will be time sensitive) and completing things in a timely manner.

Sometimes being a little odd and being a loner is pretty useful. It helped me through long periods of separation with my husband too, while he was on the other side of the world. I’m a self-sustaining person. If I have no interaction with humans, I am just fine. I don’t get miserable or depressed. i don’t get anxious or desperate for another human voice. If I want to hear people speaking, I simply watch one of my favourite tv shows. I talk to my dogs, yes. I talk to them a lot. I don’t find that strange. Sometimes they help me, simply by listening, to sort through things or work out ideas. And anyone who says that dogs can’t have a conversation has not spent enough time with them. 🙂

My dogs are interacting with me in many ways, all the time. You just have to be aware of it, and be willing to let go of human conversation rules. My dogs have taught me a lot about silence.

Like the silence of the forests we walk in – that silence that’s made up of all the sounds of the forest at once. I love that. I gives me great serenity and fills my body with energy and inspiration and I can get on with my day. I find days that I don’t walk in the forest with my dogs, are days when I am physically tired, and I struggle to concentrate on my school work. It’s no coincidence, I feel.

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Time for another update

Time for another update

I thought it was well passed time for another update, as things have happened, and changed and other things are still ticking along.

Dogs are doing well – I’ve now taken all of them to St Francis Animal Hospital at one point or another in the last few weeks and I have to say I have been very happy with the service and the people there. Odin had an ongoing issue with his tummy, and I finally gave up on trying to fix it myself (it was a losing battle!) and the vet found he had multiple types of worms (not eradicated by their usual monthly dose of heartworm tablets, which does kill some types, but not these, clearly!) and she said that after moving from lovely cold Washington, she’d found from experience that Georgia is a “cesspool of bugs, parasites and protozoa of all kinds” – her words, not mine. She says that you have to be vigilant and most DEFINITELY keep up the heartworm medication, as they are rife here.

Gina got her Previcox, finally, and she is doing SUPER well on it. She’s full of bounce and energy again and comes with on 99% of the walks. She sometimes decides to stay home if it’s late evening, she’s already been to the loo on the previous walk and most importantly, daddy is home.

Azzie’s hotspot cleared up very nicely and I’m keeping an eye on her for any others that might appear.

With this hot, humid weather (Georgia is rolling out the spring/summer carpet already) there are ticks and fleas, but I’m finding the BravEcto is working very well. I’m the only one who gets bitten, now!

We also clipped down Azzie and Gina a few weeks ago – it was just starting to get SO hot that we couldn’t leave it any longer. All the groomers we tried were booked up, so we just got some good clippers and we did it ourselves. We made a few mess-ups (especially with Azzie, as she WRIGGLES like mad and it’s hard to keep her still enough to work on certain parts of her body!) but it came out looking pretty good and the girls were feeling much lighter and cooler. We didn’t shave them down, just clipped their very long fur down to about an inch or so. Probably more, as we didn’t want to go too close, just yet. We’ll try again in a few weeks, armed with this experience!

 

An update on my school work: I wrote my theory exam 2 weeks ago and I did VERY well. Much better than I thought I would! That was also with minimal “working off page” and I felt pretty proud of myself! Now the theory is done, I’m starting into actual practical work – actual transcription! It’s very exciting, to me. Sometimes the accents and the Americanising…. ZING… of the words gets on my nerves a bit, but it just makes it more of a challenge, and will help me when I step out into the REAL world to begin working.  I’d really like to work with psychology reports and things, but I don’t think you get much choice. I just want to get working, so I can start earning and contributing.

I also want to get my school work done so I can start responding to all the people who have asked for my help with their dogs! A few evening ago, while walking the chickens, a lady came up to me and starting talking to me about the dogs, her dogs, my dogs, etc, and asked what my website was for my training. I explained that i only do it for myself and I’ve done it that way – I don’t have any professional accreditation. I do have a partial degree in animal behaviour, but it’s more aimed toward horses! I didn’t mention that though. But she was determined, this lady, and said that she’s seen me walking my dogs and how wonderfully well behaved (I laughed, but let her carry on) they were and all that, and wanted my help with her dogs. My first question was how much exercise they got and she gave me the usual American answer “Well, they have a back yard to play in, so I don’t walk them.” So me, being the polite person I am, simply said “Well, that’s a start.” And she took my name said she would look me up on Facebook. I won’t hold my breath, but I will certainly go walking that way again when I am done with school, and see if she still wants my help. I will have time then, and her dogs don’t suffer in the heat like mine do, so I will have during the day to work on them, after walking mine.

Our Bird Bar, as we call it, is in full swing. We’re getting all sorts of new kinds of birds every day, including a hummingbird!! We bought a feeder for them, and I made some “nectar” syrup from scratch. No colourants etc. We had a couple of them coming by quite often for a few days, but then the HUGE ants found the feeder and I keep having to clean it out because they keep DROWNING in it! And I’m sure the hummingbirds don’t want to drink dead ants. Very annoying! I’ve tried moving the feeder further along the branch, but they keep finding it!

There’s also a family of SIX squirrels who come down to the yard from the tree in the front. I call one of them Blinky, as she initially had a very closed up, swollen eye and I thought she might lose it. But she’s bounced back and it’s just a little bit odd looking now and her little ear is a bit wonky, but that’s it. She’s still recognisable though.

I’ve seen loads more fauna around here (foxes, deer, and even a RABBIT the other morning!) and I am slowly starting to recognise local plants and trees. I still have to work out what kind of tree we have in the back yard here, and clarify what the huge one in the front is too. When I finish my school, I will start with the proper Herbology and crafting of salves and lotions and potions and tinctures. I just don’t have the time right now to focus too heavily on that side of my life. I am looking forward to it though!

My good friend from South Africa – an amazing photographer – has launched a project called Running With Dogs and even though I am far away, he wanted to include me in it! I was thrilled, and honoured, and SO flattered! I’m the only guest photographer, as far as I know. I sent him quite a few photos, after a lovely shoot with my husband and our pooches in the forest. He selected his favourites and he will include one of them in the calendar! I’m so excited!

What else? Oh, I made some peach crumble from scratch (Except for the peaches – they had no fresh ones at the commissary when we went, unfortunately) and bread too. I’ve made my chocolate cake a few times as well now. I’m trying to get out of my lazy rut and get my baking skills in gear, but my brain is usually so tired/burned out from school work that I can barely concentrate for more than 10 minutes sometimes! But I shall persevere! It’s getting easier now, with just the practicum modules, but still mind-intensive.

Our garden is doing WELL! We harvested our first batch of Arugula the other day! It’s so delicious! It just tastes so good, knowing we grew it ourselves! Now just waiting for the other herbs and plants to catch up and give me a harvest. Hopefully it will only be once I’m done with school! I’ve got Sage, Chives, Chamomile, Echinacea, and all sorts of wonderful things coming up! Our garlic is doing nicely too. The mint plants in the front are flourishing! We use them to make Mojitos 😀 I am trying to find things to make with the Chocolate Mint, as it is spreading all over the place! I might have to replant her into a pot by herself if she keeps this up!

 

Otherwise, we are doing well. Things are settling into a routine and we’re finding our way.

 

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One Year Ago Today

One year ago, today, our Odin arrived at Frankfurt airport. 

He was incredibly timid and nervous and wide eyed and rather overwhelmed by everything happening around him – but he was gentle, and quite trusting and when he heard his nickname that my husband used constantly before he sent him on his way he relaxed just a smidgen.  It was our ONLY connection at that point and we both used it to the max.

My friend Ciara was there, every step, to help me stay calm and to help take care of Odin while I filled out paperwork and paid for things. She also helped me navigate the German autobahn, in my little orange car.

When we got home, she stayed with us to help with the introductions to the girls – she got scraped knees and torn leggings and a very bruised hand thanks to their enthusiasm.

Just a momentary growl from Odin made Gina back off a little bit (she can be a bit dominant when she meets new dogs) and after that it was wags and sniffing and Azzie and Odin clicked instantly. We then went for a little “bonding” walk with the new pack, before we took them upstairs to the apartment. Ciara was invaluable in all of this. I could NOT (quite literally) have done this on my own. It would have been a nightmare, logistically. I was also emotionally exhausted and physically too – it was a long drive there, long drive back and nerve-wracking waiting for him to be brought out to us, and wondering how he would react to me.

 

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A year later, he has come SUCH a long way. Physically (his leg is all healed, he’s over 20 kg/ 40 lbs heavier) and emotionally (he’s much braver all round, and he’s SLOWLY getting over his overreaction tendency and learning to trust me and respect me) he’s come leaps and bounds since that day. I could not see our life without him, now. He’s bonded completely with Azzie, despite her craziness (he’s not generally keen on over excited dogs, and she is very much easily over excited) and has become quite close to Gina (she’s aloof anyway – never really bonded with Azzie like she did with Odin) and enjoys her calm company. He trusts me and does a little more every day. He still sees my husband as his rescuer, and that means he tends to treat him like an “equal” more than the one in charge – but that’s fine as long as he remembers that _I_ am in charge.

My little hunter... Odin

My little hunter… Odin

He’s taught me a lot – about myself and about my relationship with my dogs – my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve taken steps to learn to meditate and control my temper and keep my energy in check – it seems to be helping.

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All in all – he’s an awesome Little Dude and I am incredibly glad that he is in my life – our lives.

 

Happy rescueversary, Odin.

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hello eyeball hello otorhinolaryngology

Well, I’m in the mix of it again! Learning medical terms, diseases, processes, pathology, anatomy, all the systems (nervous, skeletal, endocrine and all the others) and parts that make our bodies so amazing.

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I find it FASCINATING! I truly do! I have to say that this course is far more interesting, and easier to grasp, and so much easier to mentally ingest and store than the last one I did. It’s in depth, but not overwhelmingly so.

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Yes, I’ve learned many medical names and terms and I’m learning abbreviations and jargon and slang and everything in between – but they put it in such excellent context and in such a variety of interesting ways to help you keep it in your head, that I am breezing through the course modules faster than I thought I would.

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However, I started off at a bit of a disadvantage – it took an extra day and a half for me to receive my login information, so I was behind – but I managed to catch up quickly, as the initial “placement” test was pretty easy (I got 100%). Then, I fell behind as I had the incorrect “end date” for my course, and using their built in “study planner” I felt I was cruising along easily, until I got a weekly email from the course admins and they said “this is where you should be on your timeline” and I was at least 3 modules behind! I panicked, just a tad, emailed them and asked them RUH-ROH, WHAT NOW? and they were very helpful. So I’ve been TRYING to catch up, but I just seem to be “keeping up” – I complete my work very quickly, but it’s JUST not fast enough to get ahead and get to where I am meant to be. I have other things to do during the day and I just can’t spend all the time I wanted to. I do about 5 hours a day, sometimes a tad less. I thought this was enough, according to the study planner, but was sadly mistaken. I might have to take the extensions offered (already paid for) to complete on time. I’m giving it another month, before I decide though, as I really would like to finish this as soon as I can and get started WORKING!

I think that this is really going to be awesome work to do – interesting, but also relatively easy to get through. I have learned so much already, and I’m keen to learn more.

(all photos and graphics taken from the Medical Transcription and Editing course – CareerStep)

I miss this snow.

I bring the snow

If I want it, I bring it! Even Georgia didn’t stand a chance, it seems!

It wasn’t a lot, but it certainly surprised the socks off the Georgians!

(Photo not from this snow, but from Germany last winter. I miss the snow there. Photos I took this morning were blurry and dark, as it was still early in the morning.)

 

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A little update

A little update

I thought it was time for a little update, as I have been absent for a couple of weeks now.

I had plans, but my plans were as usual, rearranged and postponed and dropped from my lists due to circumstances not under my control.

This little update is about the NEW plans I’ve made because of all these changes that have occurred.

The dog walking idea was pushed way back to the basement of my list, because the housing facilitators here on post decided that our (very nice) temporary (no dig) fence from Lowe’s did not “fit the aesthetic” of the post and so instead of our nice and easy back yard fence, they said if we wanted a fence it had to be exactly like the others on post (chain link, horrible looking things) so that it fit in. We would also pay for it ourselves and it would have to be PUT IN PROFESSIONALLY and permanently… which means digging, which means a dig permit from the Georgia land council. Plus, when we move out of here, we have TO PAY TO GET IT REMOVED. How completely bizarre is that? We offered a no dig, temporary fence we could remove with barely any trace… and we could do it ourselves, and it was a very nice looking fence…. and they said NO because it wasn’t “like the other” fences and it had to be permanent. It really boggles the mind. *shrug*

So there went all my ideas of walking my three dogs, just three times a day and being able to walk other people’s dogs the rest of the day. There are a couple of people I might still reach out to… because I feel so awful for their poor dogs (one, chained to a tree in the back yard) that I cannot bring myself to just let the idea go completely. But for now… it’s back burner for that idea.

Husband and I were then trying to think of ways to create a “yard boundary” that wasn’t a fence, but that we could use as a deterrent for young Odin and keep Azzie and Gina from straying into the neighbours yard area.

We decided on an elevated stake and line for Odin, when we are outside with him and the girls. Even if we had managed to put in a fence, I would never leave my dogs unattended out there. We also went to Lowe’s garden section and bought some very big planters and some soil and some seeds (husband said “go nuts!” so I did!) and we will space those out around the boundary area of our “yard” and that should keep Azzie and Gina from straying too far. Of course we’ll have to roll them out the way when the landscape people come to mow etc, but that’s small price to pay for the creation of “our space” for us and the dogs. I love our dogs.

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I can’t wait for early spring so I can start planting! I have so many beautiful things to grow! Useful, beautiful, herbs and plants and flowers. I definitely inherited my mother’s green thumb and love of gardens.

 

The online boutique is slow and as my friend said, perhaps selling other people’s stuff is just not for me… so I took the initiative and gathered some things together and have begun making hand made jewelry items as well. I think th20160115_120232is is the right direction, as I have already sold 2, and have 4 orders pending on one item and 2 on another! I sell in various groups on FB, and I have created an etsy shop as well (link is in the sidebar, if you are interested)  – I have to say that actually CREATING things using my hands and imagination is far superior to selling someone else’s stuff… as pretty as it might be. I think I have found my excellent hobby which, depending on various elements, could turn into something more serious.

 

I have ALSO bitten the New Year bullet and signed up for a Medical Transcription and Editing course – via the military tuition and assistance people. I begin the course in February I think (could be late January) and it’s all online, including the exams, and when I have completed the course and passed the exams, I will be helped with finding employment – which is ALSO all online so I can work from home! I can earn a good supplemental income and will finally feel like I’m contributing to our family. This means a lot to me, as you might have noticed.

I am also still going to complete my security/IT courses and see where that leads me.

I also want to continue my Russian language learning, and perhaps branch out into Spanish as well (since we are in the USA and Spanish is the second most spoken language) while we live here.

So my life is full and there are BIG plans and while they are not all the plans I had last year, I think they will work for me now.

I’ve been meditating and doing mental gymnastics to get my head in order and I think it’s starting to work. The decisions I have been making, after consideration of course (I am a Libra and I am me, after all), have all felt Right. Like I made the right choice and I have no regrets about them. This is a good feeling for me. Long may it continue.

Enjoy this Peacock ore – yes, those are the natural colours! Isn’t it beautiful? It makes me happy, looking at it.

I have some of this of my own. It really is such a happy stone.

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I dreamed about

I had no jewel under my pillow, but a few nights ago I dreamed about following a young Asian boy through a city made of cardboard boxes and then up a wet sandbar into a grounded ship that had a hole in the side. As I was walking up into the hold of the ship, I saw lots of shiny eyes looking at me, and then I woke up. It was so vivid I could smell the smoke from the cooking fires in the box city, and the overpowering stench of rotten fish in the ship. I wasn’t scared though, because the boy was always ahead of me and he kept stopping to let me catch up. He was dressed in orange and white soft clothes.

 

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I Have Plans For The New Year

I Have Plans For The New Year!

 

 

I have plans for the new year

I don’t have resolutions, but I definitely have plans, and maybe a few goals too. Resolutions are for people who don’t really want to expend too much effort, because they know that resolutions made for new year are not normally expected to be kept beyond February, March latest. Nobody will hold it against you if you give up 3 months in to the year! My plans are for the whole year, and even beyond if they work out the way I am hoping they will!

I have set my mind on the Octopus method of contributing to my awesome family: multiple streams of varying levels of income, which adds up to something viable and useful. Yes, it will be hard work – all of it will. Everything I am choosing to shove my finger into will require a great deal of time and effort, but in the end, it will be worth it. Pieces of the pie will add up to deliciousness.

A lot of my ventures will depend on some small steps and things to occur before I can continue, but they aren’t deal breakers, just conveniences.

In no particular order, my plans for the new year include:

  1. Writing for a science fiction anthology that I was invited to pitch a story for.
  2. Setting up my vintage inspired apparel shop again and getting to work on some clothes for clients!
  3. Keep on trucking with my jewelry line via my online boutique – even if it’s a small passive income, that’s absolutely fine with me!
  4. Keep adding my photography to stock image sites and Twenty20 (via Instagram) and work on my social media marketing (for my jewelry and vintage clothing as well)
  5. Begin a dog walking service on the post! Once we get our fencing up, I will be able to take my dogs for a set 3 walks a day, instead of 6 or 7, as they won’t require bathroom breaks to be included as we will have a little back yard for them for that! Once my dogs are set in a good routine (I would never neglect them for anything, especially money, or other dogs!) I will offer my services to the neighbourhood. I’ve already been approached by a few people, asking if all three were mine and if I walked for other people, so I know there’s a market for my skills. I will also brush up on my first aid skills, and get my CPR/BLS certificate for dogs (I have the course ready to roll, just need to make the time to complete it) so that I can set people’s minds at ease about that. I will have a few stipulations of course, for the dogs I will walk, but I really think it will work. Even if it’s just a few dogs a day, Monday to Friday. Will have to rethink things when summer rolls around, as the humidity is killer here in Georgia.
  6. Work on my website – on my own and also with my awesome friend Vanessa of VMCA.

There’s so much to do, I’m pretty excited! I will be busy, and tired, but I will finally make some sort of contribution to our family and feel good about myself and my worth. I feel good though, knowing that I definitely have plans for the new year!