Poor little Azzie

My poor little Azzie monster, she got herself another hot spot AND an ear infection at the same time, in BOTH ears. Thanks, Georgia summer.

This hot spot was so enormous that the vet was astounded at the size of it.

20161025_150402 20161025_150408

They had to sedate her to shave the area, and to apply all the ointments and shots and the medication to her ears. The vet said that she would be a bit “strange” after the sedation, for at least 24 hours. Bernese Mountain Dogs are very sensitive to the effects of anesthetic and sedation, and generally need less to get them “out” than most other breeds, so it’s more than 24 hours since she came round from the sedation and she’s still not quite “herself” yet.

I am very grateful that this was nothing malignant, or difficult to treat. So we’ll get through this post-sedation funk with my poor little Azzie, and hope the hotspot clears up as quickly as the last one did.

As20161026_145844 I write this, she is sitting close by my chair, resting against my legs. When she is … lucid… she has become even more of my big fluffy black shadow dog than she was before. When she’s in sleep mode (which is about 90% of the time at the moment, due to the sedation after effects) she plops down anywhere and tries to find a comfy position. The first night was the worst – she could NOT get comfortable. She cried and whimpered and whined from the moment she saw me down the end of the passage at the vet office and came running – wobbling is more descriptive – to me, until about 4 am the next morning. It was a difficult few days as my husband had to be up incredibly early in the morning and neither of us got any sleep in our worry and care of her, but she is feeling much better, thankfully. The other two dogs were very worried about her, and they didn’t sleep so well either. Weirdly, Gina has been much more her “old self” (before we got Azzie) while this has been going on. It’s like as Azzie’s loud, proud and crazy personality lulled, Miss Gina’s personality rose to fill the “gap” created. She’s been playing with Odin in the mornings (and at the dog park) and is very feisty and silly and runs around outside and does her own thing – investigating bushes and rushing forward on the walks to walk next to Odin, who is always in the lead… while Azzie has fallen right back behind me, and sometimes just stops and stands there thinking about things. It’s a strange phenomenon, and one I should speak to my friend Nicole about at some point – is it normal? I know Gina kinda went into an aloof state when we got Azzie – I think she thought she would always be an “only child” as she had been for the first 3 years of her life before we adopted her.

In a way, I’m hoping that this will help Azzie slow down just a little and grow up just a little, so that her personality can balance with Gina’s, and Odin’s, and they can become a balanced “pack” and be happier in their interactions with the world and other dogs. But if the “old” Azzie comes back I am still just as happy – I just want her to be herself again. This quiet, non reacting version of my poor little Azzie bear is just downright WEIRD, and she barely wags her tail – but that’s getting a little better now. She stares off into space a little bit, but not as bad as yesterday, and she at least responds to her name now.

20161025_150353

 

Blunt Talk Begins

I have decided to create a new category/post type/segment/blog series called ‘Blunt Talk.”

I’m going to talk honestly (thus the “blunt talk”) about the things that people want answers for, but are too scared/ashamed/embarrassed to ask. The weird things, the gross things, the interesting but slightly scary things. You know what I mean, good reader. Things like… ingrown toenails (and how to get rid of them) and yeast infections, and why it’s good to clean your ears (but not with cu-tips ) and better to use headphones rather than earbuds. Maybe it’s things you never learned from your mum (or dad) or it’s things that you heard ABOUT but never really understood, or perhaps urban legends that you’d like to know if they are true. I’ll answer as best as I can (after much research if necessary, of course) and try and come up with reasons and/or solutions if it’s something that can be fixed/cured/treated. Some topics will be from personal experience, some will simply be things that I know people don’t “talk about” but would like to know the answer to (because I know I would!) and hopefully some topics will be from you, the reader.

I’m going to set up an anonymous question thingy, and of course you are free to email me or comment (if you’re feeling brave or your question is something you don’t mind being associated with) on this post and I’ll include it in the next sessions of Blunt Talk.

I’m also going to start handing out my natural herbal/plant remedies where applicable. I’ll talk about what I am/what I am doing too, if anyone is interested.

I’ll start tomorrow (Saturday) with my first topic. Come back tomorrow if you want to know what it is, or subscribe to my site feed 🙂

A tiny bit of inspiration

A little bit of inspiration to put a smile on your dial:

 

The trick is remembering that at all times far more is happening on your behalf than your physical senses will ever reveal.

Like right now.

Because of how much you’re loved,
    The Universe

inspiration jewelry little things

PS. Pity, huh? I mean, you can’t even see the colors you emit when you laugh, your wings ruffle when you blush, or your friends in the unseen walking in your footsteps, sleeping cuddled by your side, and making those wacky finger horns over your head in photos.

 

  • Notes from the Universe, www.tut.com – Mike Dooley

Musings

My heart is still very sore over the loss of my Macky-Moo. But it’s now an ache that sits quietly and doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to burst into ugly tears at any moment. It’s a bittersweet ache.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life, about death, about the circle of things. I’ve always liked the symbol of the circle. Infinity. Life, Death, Life. Things carry on, whether we want them to or not. We can’t stop time. We can’t stop the world. We can’t step off and wait until our heart feels less broken, or our mind catches up with us after a trauma, or while we catch our breath and try and get a grasp on WHAT just HAPPENED?!. The Earth keeps spinning. Mother Earth.

I’ll die one day too. This thought used to terrify me when I was younger. Much younger. I thought about these things when I was a very young girl. Especially after losing a member of my family, whether they were human or animal. I could dwell on it for days. A dark cloud settling over me. Because I was such a solitary child, I don’t think anyone really noticed. Which is fine. That’s the way I wanted it. I didn’t like to talk about the way it made me feel. I could talk about it now, I suppose, but years of keeping it all inside make me loathe to start doing that.

Now, being older with more life experience under my belt and knowing that I’m a survivor and that I am stronger than I appear (outside and inside) the thought of Death simply makes me sad – leaving behind the ones I love: human and animal. Not having done the things I wanted to. Said the things I wanted to. I’m not scared of dying itself. I’m scared of what follows. Not for me, but for the people I leave behind. What makes me feel small is that the world WILL continue turning. The Earth will carry on without me (for the moment) and my energy will go … somewhere…. but I have no control over that. I think THAT is what scared/scares me. The way Death takes over and you no longer control anything. Even if you never really controlled anything.

cropped-20150308_085839.jpg

So after losing Macky, I’ve been dwelling. Thinking. And I’ve been trying, desperately, to live in the Present. For me. For my dogs. For life in general. For the Universe, Mother Earth, The Goddess – whatever you want to call that overwhelming force that binds us all together – so that I don’t go weakly, but I do go calmly, serenely, without TOO many regrets.

With this new thought pattern and attitude comes a curiosity (caused by a dream I had) to explore new ideas. Or old ideas, as the case may be.

The Moon. I’m drawn to it and always have been. Now, I am trying to be more aware of the Moon. Of how I feel at what point in the Cycle it is. I am a woman. I am attuned to the moon. I want to see where I go from here.

The cry of a crow. When you least expect it.

And there it is

So, people – there it is. Goal weight. Or should I say _initial_ goal weight (I still want to lose a little more, but this was my first goal to reach, to keep me motivated)

I wasn’t expecting it, as I’ve been feeling a bit meh the last few days (headache, etc) but still eating (nothing stops me eating – not even food poisoning – I’m African) and running with Odin (who is doing superbly, by the way) and of course all the walks with the pack. It was a nice surprise, I have to say! I was expecting maybe 1 pound less than yesterday ( I did acknowledge that I’d been pretty good about my portion control since the weekend, when I binged on pizza and beer with my husband) but instead I found 2.5 pounds dropped off. It’s a good feeling. Now I just need to maintain, and/or drop a little more and then I am going to start weights, and get some tone to my jiggly bits.

Yay me! Of course, waking up this morning my knees were incredibly sore :/ Just my body reminding me that I turn 40 in a few months – another reason I wanted to reach this goal weight before that day. Psychological barrier and all that.

40. Quite honestly I never thought I’d make it to forty, much less be married to an American and living in a foreign country. I couldn’t “see” my life passed around 25. That was my “I am a grown up now” age, when I was a young girl. 25 was OLD. 25 was a “real grown up with a job and stuff” but I never wanted kids or to be married – I was never one of “those” girls who planned my wedding and picked my dress out before I’d even turned 14. I played with dolls, but I made them do crazy stuff like bungee jump and ride motorbikes and do karate. I never gave it a thought, really. I was too busy playing “Thundercats” and climbing mountains and riding around on my bicycle (while I had one, anyway – it was called Lightning and I pretended she was a horse) until the street lights came on and I headed home to read books until much later than I was meant to be up, and eat peanut butter toast.

Life has been… interesting and a challenge at times. I’ve been through some hectic sh*t, but I’m stronger each time I come out the other side. A bit more worn and dirty and cynical and jaded, but much stronger for sure. I have many scars – both physical and emotional – and while I do try to be open-minded and easygoing, I DO have certain things that rile me up no matter how hard I try not to let them. But I’m not ashamed of that, or any of my scars. My life is my life. It’s made me who I am and what I am. If I was not who I was at the time, I would never have made the decision to break out of IT and get into photography, quit my job and start riding horses all over the place. I would never have met my husband, because I wouldn’t have been house/dog sitting so much.

So many paths taken that have led me here. Nearly 40 and living in Germany, on an American military post, with my gorgeous husband and 3 beautiful furry children.

Life, huh? It’s cray-cray.

 

 

An interesting article

My friend Steph posted this article about a topic that’s quite inflammatory and divisive and seems to be intensely debated over the last year or so. I know where I stand – I don’t see why women who choose not to have children are vilified and called “selfish” and asked “WHY?!” as if it’s some kind of crime to make a choice that doesn’t affect ANYONE else except the person who makes the choice.

But that’s my opinion.

 

A quote from the article…

Today, 19 percent of women end their potential childbearing years without having had any children—making childlessness as common as it is irrationally controversial. We had the chance to talk about the topic with Meghan Daum: author, LA Times columnist, editor of the forthcoming essay collection Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, which is out tomorrow, March 31.

By email, Daum and I discussed everything from why childless-by-choice people are often forced to produce a “why?” for the (sometimes) well-intentioned crowd who demand an explanation for their decision to not procreate; the hubbub around egg freezing; what drives people to remain child-free; and why the phrase “child-free” itself needs to be retired.

 

Thoughts?

A New Year

So. 2015 huh? And still no flying cars.

Tesla’s are cool, of course – but they don’t fly…. yet.

ISIS are making a concerted effort to f**k the world up.

America slips deeper into idiocracy. (That movie is a scary warning, which unfortunately no Americans seem to take seriously)

My home, South Africa, begins to twist into “new Zimbabwe” thanks to Zuma and the ANC “gang” – with farm attacks and “reallocation of land” and load shedding and all that fun stuff. Apparently Zuma blames the “white colonials” for all the trouble they (the black people) are having now in South Africa. Yeah. Because it was so rosy before they arrived, right?

Dogs are doing well (although G is having a bad tummy morning – but I know the reason why and I have taken steps to sort her out)

Husband is still away. They extended his mission time.

So there went our Nordic dream trip. Yay army.

One good thing came of all that mess – in trying to sort out a shengen visa to travel around Europe, I discovered that because of various factors (foreigner, married to a US military member, living in Germany on orders) I can actually get a kind of residence permit, which will allow me to travel Europe without the need for a visa! Yay!

So this afternoon I’m off to see Mr Kupke at the “government house”  (not the Rathaus, he was quick to clarify) and begin the paperwork for that.

I just let Gina out on the balcony for the 10th time this morning, and 7 seconds later she was at the door, asking to come back in – I timed it. Seriously. She’s worse than a cat. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with this in and out and in and out and in and out every 2 minutes, so she can now sit there and chill until I feel like opening the bloody door again.

UPDATE: there was a reason for her restlessness – she is quite unwell. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea. So I rushed her through to the vet. No parasites or Giardia, thankfully. But she will have to fast for today and see how she does tomorrow with a little bit of chicken or something. Danke schon, Doktor Dehn.

Been a few months now as a vegetarian and I’m doing well. No anemia, no weakness or issues. I’ve been using an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps me count calories etc and I have been slowly and steadily losing weight. I’ve lost 10lbs now, and while I have hit a slight “rut” now, hovering around a weight, I just need to be disciplined and stick to it and I am sure I can lose some more. I’m close to my goal weight. I just need to stay on track.

We’ve had loads of snow, but I think it’s now petering off a bit. We’re heading into March (it’s Gina’s 6th birthday tomorrow!) and it’s starting to warm up. Then again, Germany (Baumholder especially) likes to keep us on our toes when it comes to the weather.

20150213_085115 20150130_090802 20150119_093015 20141231_094730

 

Today is the day, and why I can’t give up cheese.

As I wait for the US to “come online” I count down the minutes until my Facebook account disappears forever.

Not discontinued, but actually gone. Deleted. All trace of me removed. I feel a bit weird, but also good. Had a strange dream last night about it – cutting a line, flying out into a grey/black world like a kite let go. I could see lights down below, but I was… free? Alone, but free. I think I had wings, but I don’t remember. I looked down, not up.

Today’s the day.

 

I tried to give up dairy too, as I am a vegetarian (lacto-ovo… sparingly) and I know what goes down in milking sheds/factories.

But then there was macaroni cheese. Linguine pasta with creamy alfredo sauce and portobello mushrooms. Chocolate milk. Ice cream. Whipped cream on apple pie. I know it’s wrong. So very wrong.

I tried soy milk.. it was ok – but tasted weird after a while. I tried almond milk – didn’t like that at all. Even tried rice milk (nearly gagged) just so I could say I had.  I’m not a vegan – I wish I had the discipline, money, time to be. But I am still a vegetarian.  Some days are harder than others (I gave up meat because my conscience/heart wouldn’t allow me to enjoy it anymore, not because I don’t like the taste) and I struggle. But I’ve seen my health/body change already in just a few months of being serious about it again.  Lost weight, lost fat, feel lighter and more energetic. I just get so _bored_ with the options available here.  That’s what makes it difficult – lack of choice and variety.

So maybe when we move back I can get into it better.

Big things ahead. We are hopeful, after such a long time.

 

Stay frosty.