Category Archives: military

Progress

Just wanted to update everyone on Odin’s progress with settling in. We just got back from an AWESOME dog training session – he mingled with other dogs, with no issue except with a very dominant over excited young German Shepherd named Delta and when Punchen arrived (the deaf Great Dane puppy – the size of a small horse already) the excitement levels in the ring went a bit over his comfort zone, so we quietly slipped out. He also had a bit of an issue with Buddy (a stray/rescue from Spain) but I think that’s because Buddy is so unbalanced (waivers between terrified/anxious and dominant/over excited) and Odin is actually a very balanced dog, since he had to be a real dog his whole life. He had quite a calming influence over a crazy, dominant German Hunting dog called Nina as we went for a short walk together (he needed to poop, and he doesn’t like doing it in front of all the other dogs, weirdly enough) and by the end of it she was much calmer. Still a feisty little thing, but much more relaxed around him.  Odin did the rally course (obedience course) twice and was near perfect – seriously: his only mistake was when I asked him to “wait” and I walked around him, he lay down instead of standing. That was it. Otherwise – BEAUTIFUL! Stephanie (Punchen’s owner, and the one who supervises the rally course) was so impressed by him and how far he’s come.

We also did a little bit of agility – he walked the raised ramp, even did the see-saw (raised up to a normal height, with a little help from the instructor) and I started him getting used to the weave poles: he’s a little wary of the plastic mounts for the poles. We also did some jumps (the instructor even raised them to give him a little challenge) and he did them really well :)
I was so proud!

On our walk this morning we also encountered a military working dog at the main gate and he was quite calm (calmer than Azzie, who I had to correct: but she also behaved after that) and I had no issues with him.

 

It was a good day. Long may it continue!

 

just some waffle, no cream

Odin and I went for our third run together last night. It was great. A little warm, but not too bad for him (or me) and he kept up nicely even after racing around in circles on the grass while I chased him earlier that evening. He had to stop and piddle a couple of times, and a little girl wanted to pat him as she’d “read all about him” apparently… not sure where, as I am not on Facebook and I don’t really post about my life anywhere but here… *shrug* but he was too “in the zone” by that point and he wasn’t interested in being petted by anyone (except me of course, because I have the treats in my pocket)

But otherwise, a really nice run. I felt good. Knee hurt like a bugger when we stopped though, and walking up the stairs was a killer. But I’ll push on through.

He keeps me going, and keeps me steady in my pace. I feel like I can for longer, and farther when he’s trotting along beside me. It’s a nice feeling. I do feel bad leaving the girls behind, but they just aren’t up for it, and Azzie gets WAY too distracted.

 

Had a bit of a silly incident yesterday morning – Odin lost his marbles for a few minutes (cat, small dogs, cars racing by on the road, barking Azzie, growling Gina… just general chaos) but it’s all good now. Was a bit heartsore afterward, as it showed me that we still have very far to go with Odin’s behaviour – thought we’d come quite a way, but progress is subtle I guess.

Still on my weight plateau. But I’m feeling in control, especially now that I am running again. Tried on some clothes that I got from a friend a while ago – when I was larger – and they all fit me so much better now. It’s great looking in the mirror and seeing the changes I’ve worked so hard to make. Started up my yoga too – I do it in the other room, while the dogs snooze after their long morning walk, usually. Taking it easy on the knee-intensive positions, as my knee really does take strain when I do certain moves, but otherwise, all good. I can do 10 push ups, too, and hold plank for 1 minute. Working on that.

What else did I want to waffle about?

I forget right now.

 

Oh yes! Our dates are set, tickets are booked, kennels are bought… Just have to collect them today – will be a tight squeeze, as it’s a GIANT sized kennel for Azzie! Now we just have some other arrangements to make, some things to cancel closer to the time we leave, and begin deciding what will go with us on the plane and what will be shipped (and be unavailable for 3 months) to our new duty station. I really want to get out of here (many reasons) and I know my husband can’t wait to get away from this awful unit. He’s got some friends, but even they know that it’s better to get out than stay here and wither away. Going to the States is a double edged blade, really. Conveniences, a proper address, I can work, but there’s the whole “it’s filled with Americans and on the verge of either collapse or civil war” thing… *shrug*

Where we’re moving is VERY hot and excessively humid pretty much all year round, so we’ll be shaving the dogs down – not to the skin, because I know that’s bad for double coated dogs, but just shorter, so it’s easier to manage, and easier for them to cool down. Thankfully, there will be air conditioning in the houses.

 

What else? Oh! I got to bust out my dusty sewing machine and skillz, to make a Peter Pan collar to attach to her store bought dress, for a photo shoot she did with her husband. That was cool. I felt useful. It came out very well and I was pretty pleased with myself.

 

 

And there it goes again

Hello Universe, it’s me, the crow. Not feeling very harmonious right now.

Could I ask a little question? Why? Why this time? Why now? When we were _so_ close to actually getting what we wanted. So close to the dream job. So close to the career path that would finally make him happy? Why shut it all down? Why slam the door in his face? Why let those idiots get the upper hand, once again? It was all on track. It was all go and things were finally looking up. Never mind the moving around, or the uncertainty of where we would end up – we didn’t care! We were just happy that it was finally coming together, finally on the right road, finally heading somewhere promising. The light wasn’t a train, it was the sunshine of a promising future at the end of a very, very dark tunnel that he’s (we’ve, really) been struggling through for years and years with this petty unit… but oh, no, wait, is that a whistle? Yeah. It was a train. And we have to dive for safety once again.
Not even going to go in to what this cryptic (to those who don’t know me/us/our lives) post is about – just needed to rant and vent and shake my proverbial fists at it all.

It hurts me right down to the bone. It breaks my heart to see how he finally let himself be positive, to believe it was all going to go right for a change… only to have it taken from him, one more time, thanks to incompetence and idiocy and sheer sneering small-minded crap from this unit. And human resources too… one moment it’s all go, the next it’s “oh no, it’s over” and that’s that.
So that’s it, Universe. We’re moving on from the whole idea. We’re setting our sights on what’s next, where to next, how we can get over this and through this and wash all the sh*t off from this whole experience. I’m still gnashing my teeth though. I’m angry for him. Angry at the Army. Angry at those who chose their own careers over helping someone who helps them (and everyone else) without any regard for what he gets out of it. Someone who tries his hardest at _everything_ he is given to do – whether he enjoys it or not. There’s no 20% with my man, he is 100% all the time for everything. And they just left him hanging, over and over again, because it didn’t advance them where they wanted it to. Only one person has tried to help and he has washed up against that brick wall of pettiness over and over again – but he keeps trying. He knows how amazing my husband is. What a great soldier he is. A great person. He knows how they have screwed him over so many times that any lesser man would have lost all measure of his own worth. But my husband gets up, brushes himself off, and says, “Is that the best you can do?” and puts his hands up again.
He’s a fighter – he never quits.
But he’s not stupid, and we now know that we’ve exhausted all avenues and jumped through every burning hoop and slashed our way through every red tape forest that was put in our path. We are moving on. Upward and onward. To better things.

Better things. Please.

I have trouble letting go

Say you picture in your mind, just for interest sake, a thread or piece of string. Then you picture a pair of scissors cutting that piece of string or thread… can you SEE the thread being cut and the two separate pieces? If you can, you’re normal.

I cannot. Even if I think REALLY REALLY hard, and concentrate until my head hurts… even if it’s something that I THINK OF MYSELF, just to see how I am doing that day – I can NOT picture that damn piece of thread being separated. I cannot see it letting go.. it always.. “sticks” together, or “sticks” to the scissors or knife, or somehow remains in one piece. I simply CANNOT make my brain break it in half, or simply just make it two separate pieces. When I dream, the same thing happens… things stretch, bend, or miraculously join back together before I can see them apart – they NEVER separate.

I just can’t LET GO of the string. I know it’s a metaphor for a lot of things in my head, I know it’s weird, but I’ve been like that my WHOLE life.

If I physically cut a piece of thread, or a string, or anything that can be cut, broken or snipped.. it’s fine. I see it, I have no problem with it. But if I imagine it in my mind… it doesn’t happen.

Weird huh?

And going with that theme: I finally made the decision (after talking to my husband about it) to cancel my cell phone contract back home in South Africa.

It was a very hard one for me. I’ve had that same contract, with the same service provider, and the same number, for over 15 years. For someone like me, who has trouble letting go… doing this is a very big thing. But since we have no real idea when we will be returning to South Africa, it’s silly to keep it going “just in case”. Rather a new number, a new start, when we do go back. That way, I’m not paying for it every month and not using it in any way. It will be one less thing to worry about. And when it comes to worrying, I’m a Big One. So this is a good thing. Just waiting for a response from the service provider.

 

On another note! An update on our Little Man, Odin.

He is doing VERY well! Putting on weight, putting on a bit of muscle over his once very skinny body. He is so chilled and so happy that it’s like he’s a new dog. On Friday evening my husband and I, and two of my husband’s fellow soldiers (one of whom knew Odin where he was rescued from as he was stationed with my husband) went for a lovely long easy hike through the “Grunewald” (the “green forest”) with the dogs. It had been a very warm day, so it was nice to go out in the relative cool of the forest in the evening.
Odin and the girls had an absolute BLAST! The soldier who knew Odin before he came here could NOT believe how different he was. He says he is SO happy and so energetic and bouncy and MAN can he run!

It was nice to hear that they could all see the good changes in him after just such a short time with us :)

Here are some photos.

Day Eleven and the Gang’s All Here

Last night my husband finally returned home after just on 5 months away.

I really wish I’d thought of recording his home-coming welcome with the dogs because it was eye-watering sweetness :)

Azzie and Gina went completely berserk with happiness and Odin was beside himself with joy :) I’ve never seen him wag his tail that much and have such a happy smile on his face. He definitely remembered my husband as his rescuer. It was heart-warming.

We spent a few minutes outside so the dogs could get all their happy bouncy out and then we headed back to the apartment.

Every time my husband sat down or was on the floor (taking his boots off etc) they piled on top of him with glee – even Odin!

This morning saw a very cold wind blowing, but the sun was out (mostly) so we headed out to show “daddy” some of the new paths we’d discovered in his absence. He was quite wowed by the huge expanses of land just down the way from the secret pond and while we didn’t really explore that far in to the new paths we wanted to show him, he and the dogs had an ABSOLUTE BLAST racing around and chasing each other on the grass fields. The dogs were completely exhausted by the time we got back to the car – swims in the pond included.

Odin didn’t want to get out of the car for my husband, when we got home, as I think he was thinking “oh no, where has he taken me now” because almost every time (except for the days my husband visited him at the vet) he would see my husband while he was over there, it was to be taken somewhere else for something else to happen to him. But once he got out he was fine – he recognised we were “home” not somewhere new. Will take a lot more car rides with daddy to get him over that worry!

Here are some photos from our awesome walk this morning:

(You can find lots more photos, and some videos too, here)

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Day Ten of the adventure

This morning we decided to head across the busy road this time, to our favourite long farm walk.

Gina, Azzie and Odin had a zoomie session on the one plowed area and then I popped Odin back on his lead as he then spotted something in the grass and had a think about chasing it (might have been a rabbit – there were quite a few around today)

He was super good though while off lead – listened when I called etc.

Nice and crisp and cold out there this morning, thankfully – so we walked at a good pace (Odin kept up just fine: in fact he was an eager boy and was ahead most of the way)
Lots of ticks *shudder* and I’m just hoping the fact that I could SEE them and they were walking around on the dogs and not hiding, that it means the stuff I put on is working… because I’ve found a couple biting the girls, but they have been there a while – so not sure if they were attached before I put anti-tick stuff on.
Put stuff on Odin yesterday too.

A good walk. All dogs pooped – all EXCELLENT :)

When we got home, I was picking ticks off Azzie’s fur  – I HATE TICKS. So now I feel like I have them walking all over me. *squirm*

 

In theory, husband might be home today. Not holding my breath, and I won’t get excited until I see him standing in front of me. I know the dogs will be over the moon. It’s been a very long time since they saw daddy, and Odin will be totally ecstatic, as my husband is his rescuer :)

 

Here are a couple of photos of our lovely walk:

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And here are a couple of videos of G, Az and Ods doing zoomies and playing :)

I lost another half a pound this morning…. I’m pretty excited. This portion control thing really works.

 

I was going to go to the shops straight away after our walk this morning but I was firstly too damn hungry (so I had my toast and tea) and I am tired from the walk too. So I’ll chill a little bit, and then head off.

Odin is the only one who ate “second” breakfast – despite Azzie not eating her breakfast this morning either. She eats later now, I’ve noticed. I also don’t think she’s keen on the salmon oil that I put on their food in the mornings. :/ It’s so good for them, but maybe I’ll swap hers to the evening rather.

Day Nine and more adventures

Day Nine of the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure!

It was warm, but not too bad this morning (cooler than yesterday) so I decided to take the dogs for Odin’s first walk in the Wald :) We headed out from the parking lot up near the Blick and headed off on one of the slightly shorter walks, just to take it easy for him initially. He had a blast. I did let him off lead when we stopped for water, but he kinda wandered off and got a bit nervous so I put him back on and he was fine. I think he feels secure on the lead when he is in new places.
Dogs were all awesome. All pooped – all good. Odin’s a little soft, but not awful. Maybe too much marrow bone :)

And since Odin appeared to be quite tuckered out by the walk (it was only 45 minutes, but a lot of walking and sniffing) I decided today was the day to start his separation training.

I breezed around the apartment, acting like it was all normal, and closed the bedroom door just in case. Then I got my stuff together, put my slip slops on and got the dogs their jumbones – this is a signal to the girls that I am going out for a little while so they clearly conveyed this message to Odin because I gave him his, he settled on Gina’s bed (shame, not sure where she ate hers, as Azzie was on her bed and there was nowhere else really to eat it) and I left! Made no big thing about it, just said “bye guys, I’ll be back later” and headed out.

I asked my neighbour to keep an ear out, just to see if Odin carried on a bit (he does make a strange whine/howl noise for a few seconds when I take the other dogs down in the mornings and evenings, and when I go feed the stray cats – but it only lasts a short time) after I left, but she said she didn’t hear a peep the whole time I was gone. I was SO proud, and such a huge weight is off my shoulders now too. I didn’t push my luck of course – I was only gone about 30 minutes, max, including driving time – but it’s a good start and promising for the future. :) I know my girls had a good deal to do with Odin’s relaxed attitude to the separation, and that makes me really proud of them too.

I took loads of photos on our forest walk this morning, so I will go through those today and post some later.

I have a house to clean too as my husband comes home soon – of course not sure of when, but it will hopefully be “soon” :)

I lost some more weight as well, so I’m feeling pretty awesome today.

All my pants are now falling down on me – which, while annoying, is pretty DAMN COOL! 😀

And all this weight loss just from my regular walking exercise with the dogs, and cutting my portions down. That’s it. Hard work, but so worth it. I have energy, my knee doesn’t hurt anymore (I mean I wasn’t OVERWEIGHT or anything – I was still in my BMI region, but at the top of it – but even just the weight I’ve lost has made a difference to that, so I cannot even imagine what a difference it makes to someone who is heavily overweight) and I sleep better at night. My hip doesn’t hurt as much either – but that could be the warmer weather, more than any weight loss. I can’t wait to start running again and see how THAT affects my weight too.

I had a “wow” moment last night: I realised I turn 40 this year. I really don’t feel like it, and I know that I don’t look it (generally) so I won’t act like it 😀 40 is the new 20!! Right?!

 

I also just moved my laptop back to my desk, so I am no longer sitting on the couch in front of the tv. This forces me to sit up straight so I can see the screen properly and use the keyboard without hurting my wrists, and it will help me focus on my tech courses as well. I’ve had plenty of time to veg out watching my tv series etc. When my husband gets home he will be in my place there on the couch, I’m sure! And rightly deserved after his time away.

I’m also working on a menu for the week, so I can shop for exactly what I need, and nothing will go to waste anymore. I’m tired of wasting food and buying things and not using them for what I bought them for! I’ll get some suggestions from his lordship as well. One of my ideas is a “something new night” where I take a recipe from one of my many awesome cookbooks and make that – something completely new. If it works and we like it, it can be added to the menu rotation. I’ve got enough meals for 2 weeks, including the “something new” night.

 

Day Four

Moving on to another day in the Gina, Azzie and Odin Adventure…

We made it through a night without him in his crate! Last night, as promised, I decided to just trust in him, and I let him stay out of his crate at bed time. He was very pleased with himself and he rolled around on his… I mean.. GINA’S bed and made snuffly noises and had a big sigh of happiness and then went to sleep in seconds. I was, of course, alert all night to the slightest sound, but he pretty much stayed asleep until around 0300 or 0400 (I don’t know when exactly it was, as I was too tired by that stage to even reach up to get my phone to check) again and then paced around a little bit, got some water, came to check on us in the bedroom, had a think about jumping on the bed (but Gina told him no, and Azzie poked her head up from my side of the bed where she likes to sleep, so I told him “not yet”) and then went back to the lounge and fell asleep on Azzie’s bed.

Took them down individually at 0600, and he is a bit of a whiner when we are separated – he stands on the balcony and whines and makes a weird half yawn half grumble. It’s quite loud. So there’s separation anxiety there which we will have to work on. I’m already doing the DT, DT, NEC (Don’t Talk, Don’t Touch, No Eye Contact) thing when I come in through the door, because I found he was hanging out RIGHT by the door and trying to get my attention as I came in which I know is not a good start. I want him confident and happy, without clinging to me. But it’s only day four, so I’m not worrying too much. We’ll start with the separation training soon. Husband will have to help with that when he gets home, as well.

So I was pretty pleased with him this morning, and the girls for being so polite and gentle with him.

For our morning walk I took Odin and the girls to one of our favourite spots – one of the start points for the Bear path. I parked, he hopped out OVER the back seat from the boot. Full of energy.
I put his harness and lead on and off we went. Girls went off lead the WHOLE WALK and they were AWESOME :) I was so proud. It made my life so much easier, as I wasn’t having to keep such a watchful eye on Azzie and worry about Gina getting stressed. They were both happy and playful and unstressed the whole way.
I decided on a shorter walk this morning – so that I didn’t overexert Odin, as he’s healing nicely, but by the end of the day and so many walks, he’s pretty sore. Plus, I had a feeling he would be racing around with Azzie again this morning, so I added that to his energy levels and thought it would be fine.
I was right! I even took him off his lead this time and HE came back before Azzie did, when I called :)
I was SO proud! All three had a blast – running around and playing and chasing each other. Just a few minutes, but Azzie was exhausted and Odin was WELL pleased with himself. Then we carried on back down the other path to the car.
He was interested in the horses in the paddock there, but not scared and not at all aggressive. He perked his little ears up, gave the air a sniff, watched them for a few seconds, and then carried on walking and sniffing things.
It was an awesome walk.

early morning zoomies in the farmland

more farm zoomies DSCN1868 DSCN1875 DSCN1879 DSCN1886 DSCN1889 DSCN1892 DSCN1896 DSCN1897 DSCN1898 DSCN1899 DSCN1904 DSCN1909 DSCN1910 DSCN1914 DSCN1917 DSCN1920 DSCN1921 DSCN1922

Tick tock and flying solo

Today is Monday (it happens to be Easter Monday, which means everything is closed of course, but that’s ok because I got everything done that I needed to, yesterday) and it’s one day to go before the arrival of our wee boy, Odin.

I’m waiting on information from my husband regarding Odin’s crate (is it ours or does it remain the shipping company’s?) but I have decided to take Helga anyway. Driving Naartjie (my little orange car) around is fine for short distances and not very high speeds, but the trip tomorrow is far and we need to travel quickly as well. There should be space in the boot for half of the crate and the other half can be put in the back with Odin – he only needs one side :) I’ll make sure he is comfy on his side of the car, as best I can. Since she has been “sleeping” for a little while now (despite my best efforts, the battery was not charged enough, eventually, so I let her rest) I am borrowing a portable jump starter from my wonderful neighbour. I will bring this with, just in case. Don’t want to be stuck in Frankfurt with a scared dog and a dead car. My neighbour says it starts up the BMW’s (even their BMW station wagon) at least 2 times without needing to be recharged so I’m hoping the long trip will help boost her battery enough that it won’t be needed.

Girls and I had a lovely walk this morning – but I don’t take photos on post: it’s not allowed – and a really good walk yesterday too. An hour long walk in the farmlands. They were awesome. Azzie well behaved and Gina happy and waggy tailed.

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On another note in my weight loss/fitness journey – I decided to drop myfitnesspal and head on out “on my own” and see if I can continue the loss without using that site to count my calories and mark my exercise. It will take immense self control and I need to keep an eye on my portion sizes, as that’s what stuffed me up in the first place. Keeping my meals small and my snacks smaller, I have lost a hell of a lot of weight. Plus, I’m exercising as well (calisthenics) and of course, still walking the dogs. We’ve been walking very far in the mornings which has helped my calorie burn a great deal, so hopefully we can continue that when Odin arrives. He might need a bit of a chance to “catch up” fitness-wise, as he’s been a stray his whole life and he also had surgery on his broken leg and dislocated knee – but my husband says he is doing VERY well and full of bounce and energy again.

sometimes I wonder about people

I’m all for sprucing up your home and hanging your photos etc, when your HG arrive and you’re all flushed with happiness and a feeling of “finally this is home…”
But… at 20:30 at night? Really? You feel that hammering things into the wall in the late evening is “OK” ? Why couldn’t you do it during the day? Or wait until tomorrow… it’s a 4 day weekend… nobody would mind if you hammered things into the wall then.
But no, you feel you need to bash away at the wall for 30 minutes or more because it can’t wait until tomorrow and regular hours.
*shakes head*

Sorry. Just having a “moment” – apartment living. Woo.

On a shiny note: The moon is kILLER out there tonight! SO beautiful! Got an aura around it too. Gorgeous!

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