End of the world? Just as we know it?

Woke up this morning and had REM’s song “It’s the end of the world as we know it” running through my mind 🙂

21st December 2012. (21.12.2012 in normal usage… 12.21.2012 for the Americans)

I’m hoping the “end of the world” just means an end to the bad and a start of a new age – enlightenment sounds so cliche and hippy, but I mean it in the best possible way. A new age of reason, logic, peace… maybe?

Azzie is coming along nicely – a few accidents along the way (like today… but we will not speak of it)  – and we even left her and Gina alone for 4 hours yesterday afternoon (it was after lunch for them too!) and there were no accidents, or silliness when we got home!

We were so proud!

She also sleeps all through the night now – from bed time to wake up time… sometimes she gets us up a little early, but 45 minutes maybe… nothing major. We get up anyway!

She’s also behaving a lot better on her leash (on harness or collar) and responding very well to commands (especially “come” and “sit”) and she even learned “down” and does it easily, as long as you have a treat in your hand 🙂

The snow melted unfortunately, but it came down briefly yesterday and we had a nice covering for the dogs to play in 🙂

We’ve had rain mostly, for the last week or so… and more to come, I believe.

So things are moving along… I am hoping to get back to my sewing as well, now that I know I can trust her alone for a little while.

Need to make some space on the dining room table! See if I can move my laptop over a bit perhaps.

I’ll work it out.

 

 

 

Upon reflection…

Another much better night with Azzie after my husband and I made some compromises with her – I came to some conclusions about myself and about the dogs, and about life in general. Very deep, I know – but it happens sometimes.

She slept 4 hours, did her business outside quickly, and then slept another 5 hours right up until the time my husband and I normally wake up – I set no alarms, but let her wake me when she needed to go out. I was so proud of her! I managed to get at least 6, maybe 7 hours of sleep this way, as opposed to 3 or 4. It caused a marked improvement in my attitude and mental state, let me tell you.

She also vomited up the (entire) soft cloth chew toy that she guzzled down 2 days ago, early this morning. I so relieved that it came out in tact, and that it had not caused any damage to her insides.

She grows daily – she is now too large to sleep in her crate and that’s another reason we came to a compromise: she gets her “in your bed” treat ball, and she happily goes into her crate turns around and sits for it. She eats it in the crate, but then is free to come out and sleep where she wants in the bedroom. Surprisingly, this is not always ON the bed, as I assumed it would be. She likes to be able to stretch out, and to find different areas of the room to stay cool. Berners run very warm most of the time (summer is a nightmare for these poor pups) so she spends a lot of her time (And Gina as well) laying on her back with her legs in the air, on the cold tiles. She gets up on the bed only after I’ve taken her down for her loo break (around 0130) and demands cuddles… then gets off and goes and plops down (The Berner Flop) somewhere to get cool again.

I also noticed (this morning) a wonderful improvement in her eating habits – she no longer hoovers the food down, but actually chews each piece and slowly investigates her food toy to make sure she gets all the yummy stuff out. She even LEFT some kibble in her bowl this morning!

She is also taking her treats so much more gently! No longer biting your fingers or shoving your hand halfway down her throat.

There has been a breakthrough in her attitude, as well as mine, I think.

I hope it continues – I will be disappointed, but not surprised, if she has a few relapses. She’s just pup – but she’s definitely starting to show the gentle Berner nature now, in between stubborn fits, of course 🙂

Gina is playing more with her as well. They sleep next to each other sometimes, in the passageway and on the one bed that I put down in the lounge (there is another bed, but Azzie wants to be close to Gina if at all possible – I think this is why the compromise has worked: She feels like part of the family, finally.)

They are BOTH enjoying the snow so much it’s ludicrous! Azzie does head first plowing and flops over and rolls around in it at every opportunity – especially soft powder snow! Gina eats the icy bits and loves to catch the snow if you throw it in the air for her. She is loving the cooler weather as well. These dogs were born for this, and it shows!

 

Clean slate, fresh start.

Due to some technical issues, I have unfortunately kinda “lost” my old posts and media.

My techno-whiz friend Vanessa (of The Vanessa Macleod Creative Agency ) has done what she can to save my archives (all the way back to 2006!) and they will be available as she gets the chance to import them.

But for now…

It begins again, from here.

 

So this is my first “proper” post on my new host.

A small update, I suppose, as I try and remember what I last posted about and what has happened since then!

First things first – just over a week ago (Saturday 24 November 2012) my husband and I made the decision to adopt/rescue another Bernese Mountain Dog. She was being moved from foster to foster and was already 7 months old and we wanted to give her a good home.

Her name is Azerenka Victoria – we call her Azzie.

She is a gorgeous girl with enormous paws (larger than a Great Dane’s, actually) and lots of puppy manic energy.

She’s learning fast – very intelligent, like the rest of her breed – but we are in the middle of house training her. Yes, 7 months old and not house trained. She’s from a litter of 11 so she was initially used to fighting for every scrap of food or treat or anything, and she never had her own toys.

She’s come a long way in the week or more that we’ve had  her – no more hoarding of toys, no more snapping at Gina when it came to food, no more panicked hoovering of her food to the point where she can hardly breathe.

She’s calmed down, has learned “sit” and “wait” and “uh uh” and “no” and “good girl” and is happily going in to her crate at night.

She has, quite understandably, quite severe separation issues, but we will work on those once we get her house trained – she’s growing DAILY, literally, and soon she will be too large for her crate, so we need to work on the house training first! Right now my husband are exhausted, as we have to take 2 hour shifts to take her downstairs to pee or poop (or both!)  – slowly extending the time by a few minutes each night. But it’s slow going – we don’t want to have any accidents, so we go backward in our training with her.

Gina has bonded quite well with her – after the initial posturing and figuring out who is in charge – G is starting to stand up for herself (a lot of that confidence is from playing tug of war with my husband – he goes on hands and knees and uses his teeth like a dog) and there is no more tension between them. Sometimes Azzie oversteps a bit, she’s a puppy – but Gina very clearly and quickly puts her back in place, without drama. She’s a gentle soul, our G-Girl, and she’s being every bit the “big sister” – including bad habits! But we’re working on that too.

One thing at a time, and baby steps!

Secondly – SNOW! SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW!!! It’s WONDERFUL!!! Bloody cold at night, when husband and I do our shifts taking Azzie down… but I’m still enjoying it immensely! My only issue is that my snow boots don’t do well with lots of water – they handle snow fine – so I get soaked, cold feet when we walk out in the slush, or in the wet grass. Meh. So I’m going through a lot of socks!

 

Thirdly – due to the new puppy and our tiring schedules with her, husband and I have not been swimming, and I have not been running since we got her 🙁 We can’t leave her on her own yet, as she barks (LOUDLY! She has a HUGE bark) and we don’t want her to be a nuisance. We’ll work on that later. I told husband he needs to go though, on his own. I will give him his training schedule and he must just do it. However, with all the snow and icy weather, the roads (especially the very long, steep hill up to the swimming pool) are pretty dangerous, and Helga sometimes gets so cold she doesn’t want to close her door… Plus, husband is so tired from our up and downs at night that he is just not up for it.

We’re hoping that as we get the time extended between pee breaks, for Azzie, we can start finding a bit more energy for other things!

 

Try Something New

My husband and I make a point of trying something new whenever we can.

Food is a large part of our lifestyle – we both love good food and we are always trying to maintain a balance between healthy food and tasty food and of course, new kinds of food!I do my best in the kitchen – I love to cook – and 95% of the time, my “concoctions” come out really well. There are quite a few experimental dishes that are now my husband’s firm favourites and I make them at least once a week. Shrimp and rice (with garlic and olive oil and lemon juice and a dash of cream) or couscous. I prefer rice (brown or wild) to plain white now, and so does my husband.

We also eat wholewheat pasta and wholewheat/wholegrain breads.I’ve changed my husband’s eating habits quite dramatically over the last couple of years, and now that I am living with him and cooking for him every day, even more so. I’ve cut his salt intake drastically, upped his vegetable portions and introduced him to leaner meats. We tried out some bison burgers the other day (80% bison meat, 20% beef) and also got some ground bison. One of my husband’s new favourite dishes is a simple one that my mother often made (and still makes!) for dinner – with ground beef (which we substitute with bison as often as we can afford – it’s a very expensive menu item change!) and chutney (not Mrs Balls, unfortunately – a beloved local favourite and ingredient in almost every single dish made by South Africans! ketchup and some soy sauce (low sodium, of course!) and well fried onions and sometimes some mushrooms and green bell pepper.

Through trial and error, I also discovered a type of fish that is sold at the commissary, called tilapia, which tastes remarkably like hake – which is another firm favourite of South Africans. I made beer batter and nice chunky oven chips to go with it. I also throw in some PEAS – which are not my husband’s preferred vegetable, but are definitely mine!These are all things we would never have discovered if we didn’t both have the “I’ll try it once!” attitude.

So next time you are wanting a change – try something new! Most of the time, it works! When it doesn’t, you simply learn from your mistake and move on! I’ve made quite a few culinary woopsies and my wonderful husband just says, “Well.. maybe don’t make that again…” or “Not your best, babe.”I take it in, and I look for something new!This afternoon, for a snack, I tucked into something different: an Oriental Pear. I didn’t know what to expect (I hadn’t read anything online about them) and I was rather pleasantly surprised! They have the consistency of an apple, but the delicious flavour of a pear. There is also a very faint tang of anise or something like it. I’ll definitely be getting them again – perhaps next time I will grill them (or as the American’s say “broil”) with some honey and nuts?

Try something new! Open your mind! Broaden your horizons!

Hair, What do do?

While I am enjoying my long hair again, very much, I am also itching for a change. I’m a Libra who likes change… IT HAPPENS! Husband doesn’t want me to shave my head – but I think he’s safe on that, as I’ve been there, done that and don’t really need to do that again! – but there are lots of other options that I want to explore. I’ve had very short hair before – pixie cut, after it grew back a little after shaving it – and of course I’ve had medium length hair in the “growing” phase (which I HATE!!!) and I’ve gone from honey blond to black to red and back again.I’m not someone who likes to spend a lot of time on my hair – definitely not someone willing to spend an hour on my hair in the morning when I get up! I’m a wash and go kind of person. With my current long hair, I’m a wash, wait to dry, pin up, pop into a pony tail or a plait, and go, type of girl.I’ve always been a very outdoorsy, active person, so I never really had time to be all “girly” – also, when I was working a full time job, I never had TIME in the morning to do this (And I was NOT sacrificing my sleep – which I got precious little of, as an insomniac of note – to fiddle with my darn _hair_ no thank you!) and I also lacked the inclination!

Nothing much changes – I want something that suits me, something interesting, something SIMPLE, something easy and something that I can maintain easily on my own. How short do I want to go? Tuck behind the ear, short? Or pixie short? Or just on the neck, still able to put into a little paintbrush pony tail, kinda short?I have an oval face, hair that is very fine but not too thin and hair that is naturally straight. It only starts to “wave” and kink on the ends if it grows long, like it is now.

Balance

Since I was a very young girl, water has always been something that both drew me and scared me.I grew up near the ocean (two of them, actually) and almost every single day of my young life was spent swimming, surfing, paddling and playing in and around that icy cold water. I loved it – I was petrified by the depths, as I sat on my little foam surfboard waiting for a wave, but I was also comforted and comfortable floating on my back in the calm, warmer water of the Inner Kom.

Just before my mum, my brother and I had to leave that beautiful little seaside town (and I both loved and hated it – but that’s a whole other story) because of the crazy things happening in our life, I had a life changing experience in those waters. The once exciting and exhilarating feeling of being on top of those foaming waves on my little surfboard, was replaced, in a moment, by bone deep sheer terror. It must have been 30 years ago that it happened, but I still bear the scars. It was something I kept to myself as well. Never told my mum, or my brother. It just wasn’t something I wanted to share. I don’t know if they noticed my change in attitude toward the ocean down the road from us – probably not, as I managed to keep up appearances pretty well for a little girl (I’m good at that, apparently – a life skill learned very young) and we left soon after my incident.I’ve been to “visit” my old home town quite a few times – watched it grow from tiny little “dorp” to thriving town – and every time we get near to the Kom, my heart pounds in my chest and I feel cold. I can’t take my eyes off it, but I also desperately don’t want to look.The reason I’m telling everyone my little childhood escapade is to shed some light on my current day decisions.Recently, my husband and I have discovered (with great happiness) that our post is one of only 2 in the entirety of Europe that has a pool. An indoor pool. It’s not “heated”, but it is very warm nonetheless. Especially when it’s 1C outside and snowing and you can frolic around in the warm water while you watch the snow flakes coming down…My husband is a water bunny. One of his great joys in life is to swim. Whether in the ocean or in a pool, he doesn’t care. He loves the feel of water, the depths, the breadths, the possibilities. And, while I have definitely moved on from my childhood phobias (where I could not even go in to water above my knees) swimming is not my number one happy-making activity. I prefer to run. I am a runner. My husband hates running – not really his fault, as he has been forced to do it at manic paces for PT, which has also caused him great harm. His knees are shot from it. Swimming makes it all better…

I know swimming, when done correctly, is one of the best forms of full body exercises there are. Running can’t hold a candle to the pros of swimming. I know this. This is why I want to compromise with my husband: he wants to go swimming at least 3 times a week, if not more (he’d swim every day if they were open!) and I do still want to swim, just not as often as he does. So I’m thinking maybe once a week I swim with him, and then the other two days (and one on the weekend too, perhaps) I will go running, instead. I think this will force me to get my butt back in gear, as I have let it slide for quite a while now. I’ll make the decision about whether I will run with G or not, later.One day, I will run a marathon.I have to start somewhere…

And suddenly I was all done

I sat down this morning, after a 4 day weekend (in honour of military veterans) at my computer, loaded up my school software, scrolled down to my next module and got going.An hour and a half later… I have finished my school work. Completely! No more modules. No more chapters, or sections. No more review quizzes.I am definitely going to go over it all again, obviously, with a colourful marker and some fresh note paper to do scribbling calculations for RX and compounding and ratios and proportions and all that fun stuff… but generally… I AM DONE!It’s taken me 11 months, to the day, to complete this. Pauses for many things like travel and sickness and moving and things like that, have added months to my work time. I could have (should have?) completed it in 6 months. But I am proud of myself anyway – I still have 2 months left to run through modules if I so choose.

Everything else, I have made copious notes and I have my books, and my husband’s books too (since he’s in the medical field as well) and now I can turn my focus on the test exams and examples and all that fun stuff.Then of course comes the task of trying to find a place to sit and write my exams. I think there are 2 of them – no exam for the M$ Office stuff, I don’t think.But right now… I am just sitting here, basking in the glow of actually Finishing.

*pats self on back*

Well done, me.

Whirling Dervish

Every now and then I wake up to find my brain spinning and hurtling in circles and I feel lightheaded and nauseas and weak and pathetic.

Vertigo, or an inner ear imbalance causes great mayhem to my head and body.I don’t know what triggers it, and I don’t really know why it goes away either. I just hope it does.Sometimes, it stays only for an hour or so, other times I will be a quivering wreck well into the night – unable to sleep, as closing my eyes causes me to feel like I am being grabbed by the hand and swung in fast circles like one of those handheld little paper windmills that children used to play with. Same whirring noise in my head as well.My ears ring, my head feels thick and heavy and filled with frothy cream or thick clouds. My eyes even jump around when it’s very bad and I cannot focus on anything without feeling like I’m going to take a nose dive right between my own legs. The world twists and doubles over and I struggle to stay upright.I alternately sweat profusely and then shiver like a wet cat in the rain. What makes me feel the worst is the nausea when I move my head too quickly, or I bend over to pat my dog or tie my shoes or even just look up from my keyboard to the window.I would rather have the sinus headache, than this. I can at least deal with that, treat that. This spinning chaotic lightheaded mess, I cannot handle and I cannot fix. I just have to ride it out, hope I don’t have anything important to get done that day and plead desperately with my brain (my inner ear!) to settle and leave me be.Tucking my hair behind my ear causes my head to whirl and my stomach to churn. That’s just not right.I feel pathetic. Weak. This thing is invisible – I cannot explain or prove it. I feel like a disappointment, especially when there are plans.Not even a cup of tea can make it right! That’s sacrilege!Anyone else ever had this? How did you deal with it? Do you know your triggers? How to prevent it?

So Many Exceptions

Something I noticed a great many years ago, is there are always exceptions to a rule.In languages, English is the worst when it comes to the exception. Most other languages are very straight forward and the rules apply 99% of the time. Not English, however. sometimes you wonder why they MADE a rule when most words falling under the supposed rule are exceptions!One place that the rule always applies and, as far as I am aware (of course I’ve not ventured into quantum mathematics or anything on that level!) there are no exceptions. †I think that’s what makes mathematics such a “universal” language.In life, there are also exceptions – observations, biology, weather, geography and another place I’ve discovered exceptions is the military life.There are always people who feel they are entitled to something simply because they fall under some sort of “exception” rule – mere technicalities, but people take these things very seriously.Learning to handle these people, these “above the rest of us” types, has been an experience that has taught (and keeps teaching!) me patience and given me a solid sense of humour when it comes to these things.I am not someone who holds myself above anyone else – I am me, and I am unique. I don’t lump myself in with any specific group, as my opinions can change in a heartbeat (I’m a Libra!) and I like to look at things from all perspectives.

This doesn’t mean that I just give in – I can†see†all the other sides of the argument… but it doesn’t mean that I†agree†with them! As I have tried to explain to my husband on occasion, I am not someone who likes to be “boxed” or “labeled” because when I make a decision or say something or do something that is the “exception” to the rule that falls under the label or box I’ve been put in, people seem surprised. I don’t like cages or limitations. The tiger that prowls my back has many meanings – one of them is my fierce independence and I suppose you would say “wild” nature. Don’t think you can know me just from a few meetings or an observation: I am far more than I show on the outside.Revel in your exceptions! I certainly do!