My favourite colour is October

Living in the Northern Hemisphere, I’ve come to appreciate the changing of the seasons in this Northerly way – October is the start of my favourite part of the year, this cooler part of the Wheel of Seasons. October is Autumn (I still call it that, and I don’t think I will ever call it “Fall” despite only hearing that from everyone here.) and it means turning leaves, quieting forests, crisp cold mornings and evenings, gathering animals, the last harvests. and the feeling that the veil is thinning.

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Soon, the rain will come, the dark skies and icy wind, muddy paths and wet shoes. The feeling of needing to be silent, thoughtful, ponderous, solitary. Warm clothes, warm drinks, hearty food. I know I will be baking more bread, making more soups and stews, and adding my home-grown dried herbs and spices to it all.

If last year here was anything to go by, it will not even be a pale cousin of what this time of year is like in Germany, but I’m happy just to be able to wear a jersey or coat outside. And boots. I can’t wait to wear my boots and thick socks and take the dogs into the deep forests, where it’s dark and quiet and you feel like you are being watched: Because you are!20150319_090516

On more mundane things, I have a few updates:

I’ve completed Part I of my school and now wait for them to unlock Part II. Not much more to do now – but thankfully, I get time added for this Part II, or I’d never get it done by the deadline from the previous Sections.

Sitting here at my desk without anything to do butwait, I find a kind of peace. A quiet before the storm. The gathering of strength and resolve before the last stretch. A day where I can do what I feel like, at my own pace, on my own time. No demands on me today. My time is my own. So I’m listening to some awesome music to get me in the October mood, and I think I might just go and bake a cake or some bread or something. Or maybe just a brew of oranges and cinnamon to make the house smell like magic.

Another update: We’ve been here for 1 year and 6 days, as of today. My birthday passed quietly. A weekday with the same old routine. It was perfect. Dogs and I discovered a new set of trails, and we’ve been enjoying the cooler mornings – which means longer walks for them. Beginning of November means I’ll have been away from home for 5 years now. December will mean 6 years married to this unique, interesting, adventurous, kind, keen, caring and comfortable man of mine.

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I miss home. When decisions are made and we settle somewhere, I will definitely be going home for a holiday on my own. My blood sings for my home turf, my home earth, my home hearth, my home heart. More lost beloved fur family, and more lost human family while I have been gone. I just hope my Mardi girl can hold out until I can see her again. I still ache when I think of not saying goodbye to my wee Macky boy. Knowing he, and the ones who went before, all lived long, happy lives, loved and spoiled and cared for, doesn’t make it any easier on my heart.

Macky
Macky
My beautiful Mardi Gras
My beautiful Mardi Gras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other, little updates: Odin and Azzie and Gina have made some friends – most importantly is Maximus. He’s a 7 year old Husky mix and he’s absolutely beautiful and gentle and my dogs adore him. Odin also adores his owner, Ellie, and seems to be quite besotted with her. He gives her a full body waggle when he sees her – which is rare for people outside his “pack”, and he did this right from the first time he met her and Max at the dog park.  We also met 2 youngsters (today, actually) called Zeus and Athena, and they seem to get along well too.

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Some things

The training is coming along. Still trying to find my “calm-assertive” side. I tend to not lose my temper, but I get frustrated/annoyed and I am more forceful than necessary (or so it seems to me) – I don’t mean physically (I don’t hurt my dogs – never would, never have) I just mean… I over do the … tone? Trying to find that balance. Sometimes I get it, and it works, and I get instant results, so I just need to keep at it and keep consistent. I’m trying different “people” to “channel” for the right idea on the attitude… but so far Cleopatra hasn’t worked (I have no idea how a queen would act, much less an Egyptian one) and I don’t see Oprah Winfrey as much of a role model I’m afraid (and before anyone harps on about racism, that’s got nothing to do with it – it’s more like I don’t see her as a role model to copy for the attitude I am trying to convey for my DOGS) and I’ve looked at male attitude role models too but I can’t seem to “hold on” to the tone/energy/attitude if something happens on the walk. If nothing happens, sure – we do fine. But if there’s a cat following us, or a loud child wanting to PAT MY DOGS THEY’RE SO FLUFFY I WANT TO TOUCH THEM NOW NOW NOW, or a dog walking in the reasonably close vicinity, or Odin picks up a scent (rabbit, cat, dog, deer, crow – it doesn’t matter, as he just locks on and that’s that) or Gina wants to go home because she thinks my husband will be there (she’s very focused on his scent and can pick it up even if he DROVE BY over 30 minutes before we pass the area) then it all goes back to square one.  I’m trying to visualise as well… but my scattered brain can’t hold on to a positive image either. Negative, sure! Easy! But positive? It’s like the whole thread cutting thing I spoke about in a previous post. Can’t let it go.

I want to get a martingale collar for Odin as well as he finds it way too easy to slip out of his skull and cross bones cloth/cotton/whatever it is collar. He also pulls so much that it stretches out and slides off even more easily. That’s just dangerous when it comes to him, because if he slips that collar and chases off after a cat/deer/rabbit/dog … there’s no stopping him. He doesn’t have any road sense (except to be scared of noisy cars and big trucks, but that’s about it) and once he’s locked on, his ears turn off.  *sigh*

We’ve had some really good walks together recently, though, the four of us. So I need to just focus on the good ones. And in terms of him listening to me when we’re at home, he’s come a long way as well. He’s allowed to bark, just like the girls are, but when I say “enough” that means stop. And 99% of the time, he now listens. Sometimes he gives me a last word, because that’s him – but mostly, it’s good. And he and the girls are also much better at the front door, if someone knocks or if my husband comes home. They’re learning to give space and wait patiently. Gina is actually the worst culprit when it comes to disobeying the rules. She thinks they don’t apply because she’s daddy’s girl and he lets her get away with everything.

Husband is off again on another mission soon. Thankfully not months this time – because that would be pretty hectic considering we leave Germany soon!

The dogs and I have been training with the dens (we’re calling them dens, not crates or boxes) and all three of the dogs are doing SO beautifully with it. Azzie goes in on her own, without a word from me, and even Gina is getting the idea now. They lie down, wait patiently for me to let them out, no stressing, no worrying. Odin rushes in a bit, but he’s fine once he’s in. He lies down and waits. Lots of treats and praise and it’s all going well. Only thing is that despite measuring Gina many times, I realised that she’s too big for the XL den, and will also need a giant one, like Azzie’s. So I took the XL back and put in an order for another giant, but there’s a waiting list for them and we’re right at the bottom of the list. For now, I’ll just train her in Azzie’s and hopefully we can get her own one asap. I’m still training them with no door on the den, and one at a time, so it’s fine. But when I start putting them in for a few minutes, with the door closed, then it’s going to be more complicated.  I am very proud though, of all three of them. I was positive and up beat and pictured what I wanted and they complied. I was very pleased.

 

We’ve had some pretty hot weather the last week or so – in the 40’s (Celsius) for a few days in a row, dropping into the high and mid 30’s.  A while back my husband and I bought them a pool (made for dogs – nice and tough vinyl and it can be folded up) and I decided to put it on the balcony for them on some of the hot days – they LOVED it! Eventually Odin even lay down in it to cool down! They all love it and they squash together and splash around in it. I put towels and large dog blankets (made of cotton) down so they can dry their feet off when they come back inside, without making a huge slippery mess everywhere.

 

We’ve also been down to the secret pond a LOT and Odin is getting so brave now that he goes right up to his neck and wants to swim, but hasn’t gotten up the nerve JUST yet – which is probably a good thing, as I feel a bit unsafe on my own there with just me if something should go wrong.

a weight lifted

emotional weights have been lifted

stress levels are slowly returning to a more manageable level

dogs started their medicine dose last night, and this morning when i took them down for their toilet break, G pooped and it was 99% better! I was SO SO SO happy, and so was she – she did her little happy dance and bounced around 🙂

Azzie didn’t go when i took her down, but she went on our walk, and hers was also 99% better! G also went again on the walk and it was good as well.

I am relieved, so happy. I am going to call the vet who helped us and thank him, profusely. And thank Iain too, for being so kind and helpful in setting up the appointment outside appointment hours.

 

Feels like an enormous weight has been lifted.

G also feels less stressed now that she is feeling better, and i walked them both on their street leads (short ones) and Azzie in her harness. I had more control, and Azzie didn’t go nuts and didn’t eat bad things. I kept my manner/body language as calm as I could the whole time, even when I had to correct Azzie’s behaviour. Just a couple of times G had an “uh oh, what now?!” moment and her tail went down, but 90% of the time she was happy, relaxed.

Another morning, another walk

I was cautiously optimistic this morning, after our early morning toilet break – Gina’s poop was… better… showed improvement. But then Azzie went and it started out good, and ended up terrible.

So both got their sucralfate tablets (thankfully G ate hers without too much nose turning) with breakfast.

*sigh*

No idea why Azzie’s tummy is bad now. Hopefully just a blip on her otherwise excellent tummy health.

Let’s hope G’s tummy starts coming right. I’ve started adding more of her dry food in with the chicken (much to her disgust… she eyes it, sniffs it, looks at me, starts to walk away in rebellion, and then decides that she’s actually hungry enough to eat it anyway) which seemed to help last time she had a problem (which was months and months ago! come on! can’t this come right now? 🙁 i’m having a hard time. I really am. )

I was going to post on google+ again and then I remembered my deal with myself to post here instead and opened my meta.

Our morning walk started out great – Azzie behaving (generally) and listening (quite well) and then as it went on and we got closer to pumpkin time (it’s around 40 to 45 minutes into the walk) her ears turned off and she Did What Azzie Wanted To Do And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It. Including drinking from three separate DISGUSTINGLY dirty puddles, DESPITE me offering her nice CLEAN water from a bottle in their little travel cup, which I lug around with me (and the water too, which weighs quite a lot, lemme tell ya) in my little backpack (thanks to my dear friend from Wiesbaden) everywhere we go. The pack also has a small first aid kit, wet wipes, a toy (blue no-longer-squeaky elephant) sometimes a brush (for when burrs are prevalent, as Azzie goes and zoomies through them and comes out looking like a hedgehog) and a plastic bag, spare poop bags, some chicken jerky (for the dogs) a dog whistle, and of course my keys, my ID cards and my lipice (chapstick to other people)

We got rained on, hailed on, snowed on, the sun came out and the wind blew for a bit, and then it rained some more, hailed while the sun was shining and then it rained some more. Cold, windy, weird weather.

Azzie clearly had a blast, but Gina’s nerves were shot by the time we headed up the long path back to the car. I really try and remain calm and cool with Azzie, for Gina’s sake, but sometimes it’s just IMPOSSIBLE! I ask NICELY and she just IGNORES me completely. I have to shout – sometimes she doesn’t even pay any attention to me then (or very deliberately does what she was doing ANYWAY, WHILE staring at me – as if to say f**k you, you can’t stop me) and I have stamp my feet or make a move toward her quickly and then she thinks it’s a big game and races off in great excitement to the NEXT spot to cause trouble. I really, REALLY hope she grows up when she reaches 3 – it’s in a couple of months. Because I am losing my temper a LOT more than I used to, and it’s affecting G now as well.

So I’ve had to put off the DRP paperwork again, because I’ve been taking care of Gina. was going to go last week, Thursday, after our walk, but we ended up at the vet for 2 hours instead. Then Friday she was too sick to leave alone at home. Saturday and Sunday they are not open. Monday (today) once again, she’s not well enough to leave alone for more than 30 minutes and I know it will take longer to get this done, as the trip to Birkenfeld is 20 minutes by itself. I’m hoping she will start getting better this week, so I can try go see Mr Kupke this week some time! I need to get this done.

Oh and I find out my stupid credit card expires this month and I haven’t seen any renewed card in the mail yet 🙁

I’m screwed if I don’t have any access to my money – husband is away for quite a bit still.

*shakes head*

Trying so hard to remain positive, but I’m struggling.

Why can’t things be simple again?

Why can’t my dogs be healthy?

I know I’m whining and feeling sorry for myself, but I don’t do it often so I think I’m allowed to drop the walls every now and then.

 

another hodgepodge

I’ve been doing all these “things” to try to (almost) force myself to blog more… I added myself to a website “circle” all about sewing, I added an author link on G+ and I linked my blog to some other web groups as well…

I’m also still trying to keep the “blogging tribe” experiment going… I did warn them that I am a sporadic blogger, but I really want to be a more consistent one. Not necessarily daily/scheduled but at least more than once a month!

Thing is, I don’t really have that much to blog about – my daily life is routine: get up, take dogs down, come back, make breakfast for dogs, me, husband, get dressed to go, walk dogs, come back, clean house, feed dogs, do laundry, walk dogs again, do more household Domestic Goddess stuff, feed dogs again, chill for a bit, walk dogs, make dinner, chill, take dogs down before bed, then off to bed… and the next day I do it all again.

Right now, husband is away for a few weeks, so I have even less to do, but I am trying to keep up the schedule, for the dogs and to stop myself from vegging out.

So I have set myself a few goals for these 3 weeks of “alone time” and I will do my best to both blog about it and also complete said goals. Or just blog about not completing them. Failure is always an option. I’m a starter, not a finisher.

This hodgepodge post is to “catch you up” to where I am right now: sitting at my awesome (and quite neat at this time) desk, with dogs lolling around in their spots, licking ice cream from their sweet white furry lips. All the fans are going, as it’s heating up already. Going to be pretty warm today (29C) despite the fact that it’s already August and it should be cooling down rapidly. *shrug* Germany has not exactly been “normal” as far as the weather goes, this year. We had snow and negative temperatures, in May, so I’m not really counting on this “summer” to end too soon. The whole week is going to be a scorcher. So husband left one of our air conditioners (the big one) up in the apartment for me, and of course there’s the kiddie pool downstairs and the bath upstairs, to keep the pooches cool. I really need to invest in those cooling mats. I think the dogs would like them. Or a cooling vest. They did well this morning on our walk, though – we stuck to the shade, took lots of little breathers under trees, and I gave them lots of water. Azzie is on the bed – it’s her new favourite place. I worry when it gets quiet though – she really is like a toddler… you’d rather there was noise… or you know they are up to something!  I’m going to go check on her in a second, when I am done with this post.

The Dog Food Adventure is going well. I’m going to bake some eggshells today, and grind them up – a major source of calcium and other nutrients – I’ve gathered quite a large amount. The girls LOVE their “meats” in their meals now. Gina loves the ground beef (93% lean) and Azzie loves her chicken. Azzie eats anything I put in her bowl, but I have to be sneaky with Gina. She has, however, been eating her veggies (carrots and green beans and a small amount of potato) in the stews I’ve made for them. I’ve also ordered something called “Longevity” by Springtime Inc. It’s a powder that you put on their food, once a day, which apparently is so good for them that there are now 19 year old herding dogs running around like 4 year old pooches, amongst other success stories. The Bernese Mountain Dog group that I am on swears by it – especially for big dogs like ours, so I am looking forward to that arriving. It helps to heal previous damage as well – so I am hoping it will help Gina’s back left leg to heal properly. I want to start running with both of them.

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As for my running – I ran a proper race! Only 5km, but it was my first actual race (for myself, not for my school) in over 20 years. I was pretty proud of myself. I ran 95% of the way – only walked (briskly!) up the very long, steep hills, and only for a minute each time. I finished in a time of 33 or 34 minutes (not too sure, as I was so excited about actually doing it that I forgot to start my stopwatch until I was at the end of the first street!) which was a pace of around 6:25 or 6:35… either way, I was pleased as punch for actually DOING IT!  My husband was proud of me too – but he laughed at my time 🙂 That’s ok. My goal was to just FINISH it and finish strong. I sprinted to beat another runner, at the end. Unfortunately my husband didn’t see my epic finish, as he was standing off to the side with the dogs, because they were worried about me “running off” without them. Silly girls. Next time, I will take them with me! So we all need to get fit again. Apparently you can win a prize too, if you are the first to cross the line with your dog!

Rule #1 Cardio - 1 (1)

My sewing has had a pause again – I did complete 95% of a black micro suede wiggle skirt, but I made a miscalculation on the amount of fabric I needed, so it was shorter than planned, and I have to still do the kick split at the back. I will post photos when that’s done. One of my goals in this “alone time” session is to make something new. So I’m looking at my patterns, and my fabric and trying to decide what. I might make a nice comfortable top, or maybe some yoga pants.

I haven’t done yoga in weeks and weeks. Makes me sad. It’s almost impossible to get down on the floor to do anything, without the dogs getting all excited and literally climbing all over me. Gina crawls under my Downward Dog, and Azzie thinks my Bridge pose is so she can sit on my chest. So it’s been complicated. I really do want to get back into it – and that’s another goal for these 3 weeks.

They are doing construction outside our buildings right now and since yesterday we’ve had to move our cars to parking places across the road and quite far down. Annoying, but hopefully it won’t be for long. Thankfully the buildings where I am parked are not full, so there are free spaces still. I left a note on my car windshield so that anyone whose bay I am in can come find me if they need me to move one of the cars. I’m polite like that. Can’t say the same for the rest of the people around here. There is a serious lack of respect for others, sometimes. And, as you know, don’t even get me started on the dogs stuck inside all day. *deep breath* *counts to ten*

So that’s a catch up, for now.