Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Terrible

I woke up emotional today. I'm not sure why, but then again, does there have to be a reason? Some things just "are", I suppose. I then headed into a very negative environment, well, a decent environment with one very negative person in it. Before I knew it, I felt like my day was spiraling into the abyss of hell.  

When I'm feeling "if-y" (translate that into angry, sad, and frustrated all at once), I tell myself to find the positives in the day and count my blessings. I know it's cheesy, but it works for me (okay, most of the time). Before I knew it, I had a much longer list of things to be happy and grateful for than the crappy things I was previously focused on. And then I found, that the more I focused on the "happy", the happier I became. My terrible Tuesday ended up being a most terrific day after all - and for that I thank the power of gratitude!






Monday, March 30, 2015

95th

Site Seeing Shadows

Taking in the View

My Couch Potatoes

Friday, March 27, 2015

Beatloaf


"Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beatloaf, I hate meatloaf!" - Randy, from A Christmas Story

I put a spin on an old classic tonight and made mini meatloaves. Okay, so they were really more like meatloaf-meatballs, but I thought they were pretty awesome. The funny thing is, I combined 3 different recipes in order to make them, and topped them off with a variety of glaze and cheese combos which made the end results even more unique. Talk about your artistic liberties! Green pepper, onions, Heinz 57... those are just a few of the ingredients used. Thankfully the audience I was cooking for enjoyed the end result which included an exclamation of, "This is the best dinner ever!". Who knows, maybe even Randy from the movie, "A Christmas Story" would have liked them! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Couch

Tonight class is cancelled. I'm not going to the grocery store and I'm not stopping for gas. I'm going directly home. I'm doing absolutely nothing and going to love every minute of it. There is a couch, a blanket, a TV and left over Thai food all with my name on them just waiting to share in my company. I can't wait. If you know my busy schedule, you'd know the seriousness of this post. I cannot wait to just veg out and relax! Ommmmmm....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holly

During a weekend, group dinner outing I sat next to a lovely woman and shared in much wine and conversation. As the night began, I noticed we each took one mussel off the appetizer plate and watched it settle onto our dishes. As I've never had a mussel before, I watched how she worked the shell and followed suit. After all, I didn't want to look like an ignorant mussel-virgin! Soon, the shells gave way to that chewy little morsel of meat and my internal monologue concluded that, "mussels aren't bad!".

As the conversation continued into the night, the new bride sitting next to me shared that she was working on trying/doing 52 new things this year, one new item per week. Now, if you've read my blog from 2011 you'd know that this is my type of subject matter! I immediately got excited, shared some of the contents of my blog and felt like this dinner date was kismet. She then informed me that she had never had mussels before and trying them was on her "try something new" list. I laughed and exclaimed that I had never tried one either and consuming one was on my "scary" list! 

Unbeknownst to either us, we were sitting next to fellow mussel explorers and life adventurers who had just completed an item from our respective new and scary checklists! I've never met anyone who was so like-minded in the pursuit of trying new things and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone! It was, at least for me, an instant connection and a great affirmation to continue to do "one thing every day that scares you". In addition to the mussels, thank you Holly for being someone new, no matter how brief the encounter, and awesome in my life too. You rock.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Walter

Car ride!

This is Walter. As I look at this picture, I wonder what he sees and what his thoughts are. Whatever they may be, I know that he is living in the moment and not thinking of anything other than this instant captured in time. He has no worries, except perhaps wondering when the next car ride might be. Oh, if we could all be like Walter.

Walter is a client of mine who I get to enjoy on occasion, not full time. Walter allows me an outlet to hug, love and take care of a dog without the full time ownership responsibilities. Taking care of Walter is a great experience in that I get my dog "fix", and right about when I think I cannot handle the responsibility anymore, my time with him comes to an end. And then the wait begins for the next round of Walti-sitting.

Walter lets me cry without asking why. Walter listens without judging and always knows how to make me laugh. Walter is a reminder that life shouldn't be taken too seriously, and to live in the moment, for truly, that's all we have. I love Walter as if he were my own pet and have seriously contemplated dog-napping at times. It is said that dogs have a way of finding those who need them. He finds me every time. He knows when to put his high-energy Boston hi-jinks aside and when a cuddle and nap is needed. He curls up, and fights to keep his eyes open. That's Walter. 


Walter napping in my lap...
It's a good feeling to know that his parents trust me with him. As they are empty nesters, this is their "kid". They trust me with his life, and couldn't bear to think of leaving him with anyone else but me when needed. It feels good that people have that kind of confidence in me as well as my training abilities. 

My time with Walter is time to emotionally decompress. Even though I am the one hired to perform a job, I feel like he's the one doing all the work. Well, except for the fact he can't drive. Walter reminds me that life should be about the simple things. Think and live in the moment, don't dwell on the past. Don't take life too seriously, pee every chance you get, play, eat, sleep, and repeat. Walter is my emotional retreat, and with that written, I leave you with this quote...

"I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source." - Doris Day




Monday, March 23, 2015

BS


As a Chicagoan, I don't care that I should expect snow through July.
I still say...



Friday, March 20, 2015

Escape


I plan on making my escape.
Hopefully.

http://www.doaroomescape.com/




Thursday, March 19, 2015

Play

"Want to play Wii sports?", he asked.  
"Sure!", I replied enthusiastically.
"Want to open that  bottle of wine in the fridge?", I questioned.
"Yeah!", he replied.


That simple conversation led to two bottles of wine and roughly 3 hours of fun. I know I stumbled to bed far too late for a weeknight, and I'm pretty sure I should never play the Wii Sports and Resorts boxing again, or table tennis for that matter, but I totally owned the 100 pin bowling challenge! It was an amazing night of silly fun that was worth being just a little too tired to roll out of bed on time the next morning. And that led me to think...

Why is it as adults that we forget to play? I had such an amazing night of fun and felt so much more relaxed, comfortable and happy with my play-partner afterwards. The noticeable benefits of the play session were immediate for me, and I even questioned, "Why haven't we done this sooner?". Playing helped us both forget about the stresses of the day and I'm pretty sure we both went to bed tired and happier than we were before. 


So why don't we play more often if it's so awesome? Why can't we have those easy conversations these days with other adults like, "Hey, wanna build a fort?" and we just go do it? Why does there have to be so much, "I'll check my schedule", or "No, I have X, Y, and Z to do today"? Non competitive play is important for adults, and we do far too little of it. If you were your own child, you'd be yelling at yourself to "Go out and play already!" but yet, play seems to be like a PG-13 movie in reverse, no one over the age of 13 permitted. And if you're reading this, I challenge you to change that.

Play with your kids, play with your partners, play with your friends. Just play. Go find some ridiculous Groupon activity to enjoy (I've bought plenty over the years!), or for simplicity's sake whip out a board game. This, "The Benefits of Play for Adults" article is a pretty great read and lists not only the great benefits, but even ideas of how to incorporate play in all avenues of your life. What are you waiting for - go play already!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring




It's finally Spring! Well, at least on my fingertips. I'm sporting a new hot pink polish called Tulip and loving it. I know the real Spring (season) is right around the corner; well actually it's only officially two days away. 
                 
                    Are you ready?






Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish

This is how I American-Irished it today.
Happy St. Paddy's Day


Corned Beef and Cabbage: As Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs

The wearing of the green is nearly upon us, and so the season of green beer, bagels and milkshakes has begun. While there’s nothing particularly Irish about shamrock-shaped cookies or green-frosted cupcakes, you might be surprised to learn that the traditional St. Paddy’s meal—corned beef and cabbage—is no more authentic. Like many aspects of St. Patrick’s Day, the dish came about when Irish-Americans transformed and reinterpreted a tradition imported from the Emerald Isle.
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Dublin but in New York City, in 1762. Over the next 100 years, Irish immigration to the United States exploded. The new wave of immigrants brought their own food traditions, including soda bread and Irish stew. Pork was the preferred meat, since it was cheap in Ireland and ubiquitous on the dinner table. The favored cut was Irish bacon, a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. But in the United States, pork was prohibitively expensive for most newly arrived Irish families, so they began cooking beef—the staple meat in the American diet—instead.
So how did pork and potatoes become corned beef and cabbage? Irish immigrants to America lived alongside other “undesirable” European ethnic groups that often faced discrimination in their new home, including Jews and Italians. Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis and lunch carts, and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that couldn’t be easier to prepare.
After taking off among New York City’s Irish community, corned beef and cabbage found fans across the country. It was the perfect dish for everyone from harried housewives to busy cooks on trains and in cafeterias—cheap, easy to cook and hard to overcook. It was even served alongside mock turtle coup at President Lincoln’s inauguration dinner in 1862.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pat

It's Monday again. And the fact that it's still not light out when I wake up in the morning does nothing to help encourage me to get out of bed. Much less go to the gym. Oh, and did I mention it's a weight training day? I hate lifting weights. I love cardio, but consistently have to "talk myself into" alternating upper and lower body strength workouts. I loathe them. 

So, here I am, post lower body workout selfie just to document that I actually showed up give myself the proverbial pat on the back that I need for doing a job well done, at something I never want to do! Yep, I'm awesome. (Damn, I should have flexed). 


What should you thank yourself for today? 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend

Woo-whooo! 
My boss just told me to leave, early.
Who am I not to follow orders?
(ok, at least the orders that directly benefit me?)



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Listen

How do you talk to someone who doesn't want to hear it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pole

If you (ladies) ever get the chance to take a pole dance class, I highly recommend it! I attended a Beginner class at Chicago's Corporate Pole tonight and loved it. Yes, I spun on the pole. Climbed it, eh, not so much. But I was definitely airborne on certain moves and enjoyed the challenge of a completely different type of workout!  While it's relatively newer to the states, pole classes have been around Europe for the past ten years. Better late than never, America! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Registered

How sad is it that despite going into a store and knowing exactly what I wanted to buy off of a gift registry, I still took an hour and a half to complete my purchase! I blame that on slow customer service and poor store layout and not my inability to shop! There's got to be a better way of doing these things!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Puppies



Trainer issues: 

Four puppies.
Two can play together, but only with each other.
Two others could play together, but don't.
Managing two play groups when not well matched = grr!



Friday, March 6, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Acting

I started an Intro to Agility class tonight. I wasn't overly impressed with the curriculum, but was thankful to have an outline to follow knowing that I can tweak it however I see fit. It feels like years since I've been involved in Agility (ok, it has been years), and I can't remember the last time I actually taught it or thought of a course layout. So yeah, class was a bit nerve wracking. 

Despite my first day jitters, my students responded well to the basic exercises, and seemed to enjoy the equipment prep.The best feeling was, despite learning only the targeting basics and some foot and body work, my students all left with smiles on their faces and shared the group consensus that, "Class was fun!". Phew!

I'm always relieved at the end of a class. Not out of dread, but rather, I want to make sure that clients are satisfied and it's solely on me to make sure of that. It's a pretty big responsibility. I was poignantly reminded this weekend by an ex-teacher that being one (a teacher) is all about acting. And she was right. I can't allow my tiredness, any sickness or ill-feeling to shine through. I must perform. And the best thing about "performing" is, no mater how badly I feel physically or emotionally going into it, by the time class is over, I usually feel 100% better. 



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Trainers

10 Things You Didn't Know About Dog Trainers from The Modern Dog Trainer. I love numbers 2, 7 and 10 in particular!
1. Dog trainers love dogs – sometimes their humans not so much.

2. Dog trainers don’t like being asked at parties what to do about your dog eating his own poop (or insert any dog training dilemma “here”) any more than a doctor likes being asked about that suspicious bump.
3. Dog trainers see the good, the bad, and the ugly – and wake up to do it all again every day.
4. Dog trainers’ dogs are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination – we have the same struggles as every dog owner – please don’t expect perfection from our beloved dogs.
5. Dog trainers are human. We have our strengths and weaknesses, our passions and our “eh” moments.
6. Dog trainers have working hours, and non-working hours, just like any other profession.
7. That emergency training problem you have that was months, or maybe years developing? It is not going to be “fixed” on a Sunday evening at 9:00 p.m. for Monday morning.
8. When you don’t have money for dog training and want your dog trainer to give you a discount or a free session, we don’t pay our rent, our bills, or buy groceries. For many dog trainers, this is their livelihood, not just a “hobby.”
9. Do as your dog trainer says, not as s/he does.
10. When what you’re doing isn’t working, try doing what your dog trainer suggested.
Being a dog trainer takes a certain kind of person. They must love dogs, enjoy working with people, be self-motivated, and compassionate. We salute all dog trainers who pursue education and modern practices to improve their service to their community.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Why

I started this post once or twice over already. Bitching and kvetching about the weather and it's related delays. I'm really trying to find the gratitude in today, but just can't seem to get there. Just yet. I'm hoping as the day goes on, that I'll find something more positive to focus on. But right now, I'm sick of the cold. Wet. Ruined shoes and traffic delays. Which makes me question...


Monday, March 2, 2015

Sunset

More sledding this past weekend and another busted sled to show for it (ok, this time it was an inner-tube). But check out this gorgeous sunset. Happy Monday.