Another Survey

Here in Central PA we were saved from the massive snowstorm that slammed (and is currently slamming) the East Coast. We got snow but maybe 5-6 inches total. It was definitely enough to make taking the dogs out a process but totally manageable.

No updates to share, minus Lucy’s perpetual boycotting of doing her business in the snow, so here is another survey I found on one of the many blogs I stalk.

Household chore I actually enjoy:
Dishes. I love warm water so doing dishes is right up my alley.

Biggest house disaster:
Our guest room. We couldn’t put a guest in there if we wanted to. We’re missing support slats on our bed, the guest room has my dresser in it because there’s no room for it in our main bedroom, we hang our sweaty clothes in there to dry. I could go on and on.

Before company arrives, I hide:
Clutter. I try to put everything in piles and quickly toss all the crap I’ve been meaning to toss for weeks.

Most recent music download:
I’ve been big into podcasts lately after I got hooked on Serial so the last thing I downloaded was a few episodes of the Criminal podcast. Nowhere near as good as Serial but it sort of fills the void.
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The last thing I bought online:
Protein powder. I’m getting more and more into heavy and Olympic weight lifting and I know I wasn’t refueling quickly enough or properly after my workouts, so I’m going to try protein powder.

I hate to shop for:
Pants. I’m 5’2” and nothing ever fits. If the length is good, the waist is too small. If the waist fits, the pants are too long. I love summer because that means skirts and shorts.

Favorite family ritual:
Lately Marty and I have started cooking together on Sundays. We got a Crockpot so every Sunday we alternate whose turn it is to cook a new recipe.
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Honestly, the above picture isn’t that far off from what ours looks like!

I sleep in:
Not much. Take that how you will – in regards to how late I sleep in or what I wear to sleep :-)

I have a style crush on:
The mannequins at Ann Taylor. And Sofia Vergara, but that’s actually more of a body crush. If I looked like her it wouldn’t much matter what I wore.
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I’m currently reading:
Bittersweet. Took me a while to get into it and it’s definitely stranger than I was expecting (in a good way…I think?) but it still sucked me in. Since grad school ended, I’ve been able to read for pleasure a lot more and I have a whole list of books I want to get to. Maybe that’s another post (or series of posts) – book reviews!

How did I ever live without:
My dogs. I know, I know. I’m probably supposed to pick something related to making my life easier (and lord knows my life isn’t easier with two dogs) but having Lucy and our foster dogs make life a million times better!
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Thursday Thoughts

1. I never play the lottery. As in, I’ve bought maybe three scratch-off tickets for myself since I turned 18. Lately, though, Marty has convinced me we should play MegaMillions and/or Powerball. We don’t play a lot, just when the jackpot is insanely high, so maybe three times in the past six months? (Don’t worry, Ashley, not throwing away large chunks of money on a losing proposition!). But it sparks the cliched conversation of “what would you do if we won?”

For me it’s insanely easy. I would quit my job, buy a big home with a huge fenced-in yard and foster (and likely adopt) lots and lots of dogs. I’d up my volunteer efforts with rescue groups, too, because I’d have all this free time on my hands :-)
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2. I think it’s time to invest in some leash training with Isaac. He loves walks and I love going for walks with him…for the most part. Lately there has been a dramatic increase in feral cats all over our neighborhood, even in our own backyard and even in the dead of winter. And for some reason Isaac loves, loves, loves him some cat poop. Dog poop he passes right by; cat poop? To him it’s like caviar.

I’ve become sort of an expert on all the places there is cat poop on our walking routes. Unfortunately, Isaac has also become an expert and because he is strong (an understatement, for sure), I spend the majority of my walks literally dragging him away from cat poo piles. It’s not good for my arms/shoulders and it’s not exactly a fun way to walk for either of us. Lucy and I did a lot of leash training in puppy class. It hasn’t exactly paid off because for the most part she boycotts walks, but I still learned a lot that I’m going to try and put into use with Isaac.

"Yeah, you just try to train me."

“Yeah, you just try to train me.”

To me it’s clear that it is far easier to train a puppy than an adult dog, though. While Isaac picked up “sit,” “stay,” “down,” etc. very quickly, he definitely takes his sweet time following those commands. For instance, I know he knows “down” but he’ll try to get away with sitting and leaning forward for his treat or bobbing his head downward instead actually putting his body on the floor. Not exactly the way it’s supposed to work and he knows that.

So, my expectations are low that Isaac will actually choose to learn how to walk on a leash but it’s worth a try!

3. Everyone’s heard of chipmunking food, right?
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Well, Lucy doesn’t chipmunk food, although I’m sure she would if given enough food. But she does chipmunk snow. It is the funniest thing ever. She puts snowball-sized clumps of snow in her mouth then looks at me with puffy cheeks as if it were completely normal to shove snow in her face. And she inevitably gets a snow beard, which is hilariously cute.
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(Lucy’s snow is real :-) )
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At least she’s hydrated.

4. My best friend just had a baby! As in, less than 24 hours ago. And I get to visit the new addition this weekend!! Because I work in athletics, weekends generally mean nothing to me. However, it just so happens that both our basketball teams are on the road this weekend and we’re only hosting a swim meet that my intern and student workers are more than capable of covering. So on Friday night I’m hitting the road sans doggies (!) to spend some quality time in New Jersey. It’s honestly the last weekend until maybe spring break that I’ll have the luxury of traveling anywhere for pleasure so I’m taking full advantage. Quality time in New Jersey with family, friends and a cuddly baby? Sign me up.

5. Related to the above topic, I’m at the age where friends, acquaintances, co-workers, people I stalk on Facebook, etc., are having babies, want to have babies, want to have another baby, etc.

I just want another puppy. Really. It’s no secret that I am completely up in the air about whether I want to have children one day or not. Everyone tells me (and it irks me to no end), “trust me, you’ll want kids.” And how would they know that when I don’t! A lot of women do know, one or the other. But I’m not one of those women.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore babies. And kids. I am genuinely giddy to visit the new baby this weekend. But ask if me if that’s what I want now or five years down the road and I truly can’t give you an answer.

The only thing I can give you an answer to? I WANT ANOTHER PUPPY.

Yes, I want to go through the puppy stage all over again. And then again.

Yes, I want to go through the puppy stage all over again. And then again.

Lucy’s aunt is having puppies any day now (Lucy’s breeder emailed me other day to tell me) and I want all the puppies in the world. I won’t actually succumb to that desire because I’d like to save money and because getting another puppy would completely eliminate my ability to foster. There’s no way we squeeze three dogs into our apartment! And as I told Marty, dogs need foster homes more than I need another puppy. But man do I want another one.

6. Still no forever home for Isaac :-( It’s getting hard for a lot of reasons, one of which being that I just absolutely love him more the longer we have him.

There is no denying it’s difficult caring for two dogs that do not get along (although Isaac begs to differ, Lucy doesn’t share the belief that aggressive humping is “getting along”). But every day he just makes me love him more. From the way he rests his head on my lap while I’m on the couch to the way he runs from room to room in pure joy when I come home from work.

Absolutely impossible not to love this squish.

Absolutely impossible not to love this squish.

Even this morning he shocked me by coming upstairs while I was getting ready for work and just laid at my feet – he never does that! Marty tells me he also stares into the kitchen every morning waiting for me to get home from CrossFit. He really is an awesome dog. No, he doesn’t get along with other household pets but in every other way he is more than the perfect family dog. And I hope I have his energy when I reach his age (by human years he’s almost 64!).

What a Week…and an Adorable Picture

For the better part of the last week, I’ve been battling a sickness that just won’t go away. It started last Tuesday as the viral version of strep throat and then morphed into a double ear infection and perpetually swollen glands in my throat. Two sick days at work and one trip to urgent care on Saturday and I’m on the mend (thanks in large part to the four different medications I was given). I feel way better than I sound although I still can’t hear out of my right ear which is far more annoying than it sounds (no pun intended).

Long story short – I have nothing dog related to share. No stories, no updates, etc. I will say, though, that no matter how crappy I felt Isaac was not to be denied his walks. Three times a day, every day, even if I felt like death. I’m sure I looked like hell walking through the neighborhood while Isaac happily ate cat poop every chance he got because I just didn’t have the energy to pull him away quickly enough.

Anyway, until I have a dog-related event worthy of an update, here’s a cute photo I snapped last night of Isaac and Marty. Too sweet for words.

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Happy Five Months?

Can you believe we’ve had Isaac for five months already??

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

I, for one, cannot believe it’s been five months. Despite him not being our easiest foster (due to his determination to dominate Lucy), these past five months have flown by. We’ve now had him for nearly as long as we had Snowy and just one month less than we had Cindy, who has been our longest foster to date.

What’s different about Isaac is that for the majority of these past five months, he’s been healthy, which most certainly was not the case for our other long-term fosters. (I consider Buddy a “quick” foster because we only had him three months but even he had a host of health concerns). Isaac’s missing fur on his sides was not deemed to be caused by anything significant and his thyroid levels returned to normal really quickly once he was put on medication, which he no longer has to take.

So for five months we’ve enjoyed a healthy and fun second dog – certainly a change with no surgeries, medications, etc. to worry about. But that also means that for five months this perfectly healthy and handsome dog has been searching for his forever home and has yet to find it. Five months of his life that weren’t spent with his perfect family.

The longer we have him, the more I fall in love with him. Partly because it’s pretty obvious he also loves me, not to sound too self-centered. But he follows me pretty much everywhere and Marty says that every morning after his breakfast, he stares at the garage door waiting for me to get home from CrossFit. I can’t tell you how great of a feeling it is to have such unconditional love! I don’t even get that from Marty :-)

A very, very common sight when I'm home.

A very, very common sight when I’m home.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that if he got along with Lucy we’d keep him, especially since he’s not getting any adoption applications. He is such a fun, healthy and active dog. But he doesn’t get along with Lucy, even though he probably thinks he does. She is getting very aggravated (as are we) with his persistent humping and let’s face it – he’s not getting any smaller and she’s not getting any bigger, so he will always win.

While it is possible to teach an “old” dog new tricks, it certainly isn’t a guarantee. Isaac’s learned “sit,” “down,” “touch” (i.e. “come”) but try to teach him not to hump Lucy? So far an utter failure.

I know Isaac’s perfect home is out there – a dog-free home with plenty of open space for walks and running (he loves running through the park next door to us) and maybe even kids; he’d be fabulous with kids. I’m sure people are turned off by his age (8 1/2) but I’m not exaggerating when I say he has the energy of a two-year-old dog, if not younger.

Hang in there, Isaac. We’ll find your forever family soon!

ALWAYS happy. Except when I cut our walks short.

ALWAYS happy. Except when I cut our walks short.

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year! Better late than never, right?

We had a thrilling New Year’s Eve here in Central PA.

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We did absolutely nothing and it was glorious. I didn’t even make it until midnight which was more than fine with me.

I referenced in an earlier post my dog-related New Year’s resolutions. But what about my non-doggie resolutions? There are a few smaller ones (save money, lower my stress levels – stress literally made me sick last year, work on becoming more disconnected from technology) but here’s the biggie:

Figure out my life.

Vague, right? I know. What I mean by that is figure out where I want my career and my personal life to go. I don’t have to actually get there this year (nor do I expect to), but I need to at least figure out the direction I want my life to take. Thirty isn’t old but it also isn’t young and I need to make some big decisions before I get too far down this current path.

As my friend Tiff would say, it’s time to put my big girl panties on and make some critical decisions.

"I've decided we need to walk."

“I’ve decided we need to walk.”

What a Roadtrip

We survived!

Ok, from this photo it looks like we barely survived!

Ok, from this photo it looks like we barely survived!

We were gone from Tuesday, Dec. 23 through this afternoon (Dec. 28). We traveled from Central PA to Northern NJ to Southern NJ back to Central PA with a car packed to the brim with gifts, dog supplies suitcases and, of course, two doggies. But we made it. We got to visit both families and while Isaac saw more than his fair share of timeouts (definitely no improvement in that area!), we’re all back in one piece.

As is the case for anyone who has to travel over the holidays, it’s not exactly relaxing. You’re spending two, three, four days in someone else’s home, sleeping in someone else’s bed, eating someone else’s food, etc. It’s 100 percent worth it because it’s simply not the holidays without family, but it is definitely exhausting.

She's pretty much been asleep since we walked in the door.

She’s pretty much been asleep since we walked in the door.

We made the most of our time in New Jersey, that’s for sure. I saw both my mom and dad’s sides of the family, had a wonderful Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house and had plenty of time with Marty’s family. Santa was more than kind to us – and the dogs, too. We really are so fortunate.

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And for me personally, I can’t overstate how much I enjoy being home. I more than just love my parents – I truly enjoy spending time and hanging out with them.

My dad.

My dad.

No matter what else is going on in my life or what else might happen down the road, I’m never more comfortable than I am at my parents’ home so for that reason alone, holiday travel is worth it.

Now we’re back at home and fortunately have a few days of relaxation to recover from the holiday travel!

A Doggie Christmas

The good thing about dogs? They could not care less if you got them one gift or 100. They’re ecstatic either way! So this year I went low-key; just two bags of homemade treats from a local store and one new Nylabone each. Yup, they were more than satisfied with their Christmas gifts.
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And Isaac was more than interested in the gifts Marty and I got each other…

"Anymore gifts for me??"

“Anymore gifts for me??”

He's just so darn happy.

He’s just so darn happy.

All in all, a solid start to Christmas!

A Christmas Survey

I think we’re just about ready for Christmas! Shopping is pretty much done and wrapping is almost complete. As usual, Marty and I (and the dogs!) will celebrate Christmas a few days early; this year we’ll celebrate on Monday, Dec. 22 since we’re leaving for New Jersey for the holidays on the afternoon of the 23rd.

I’ll be sure to post a quick recap of the doggies’ Christmas celebration on Monday night but for now, here’s (what I thought was) a fun survey for the holidays!

Favorite Christmas Movie
I’m going to cheat on the very first question because I have two: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon version ONLY) and White Christmas (I may or may not have a crush on Bing Crosby). It’s a tradition that my family watches White Christmas together, so guess what we’ll be doing when we arrive in New Jersey this week?! :-)
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Favorite Christmas Song
Since I have an aforementioned crush on Bing Crosby, just about any of his songs but I love his versions of White Christmas and The First Noel.

White or colored lights
Both! But if I could only pick one for all my decorations (inside and out), I’d have to go with colored. Hard to believe these are now considered “vintage” but they’re the lights my family still uses to decorate the tree.
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Christmas Eve traditions?
I’m pretty sure a lot of families have this tradition, but we always open a new set of pajamas on Christmas Eve (yes, even at the age of 30).

How did Santa deliver gifts?
We didn’t have a fire place growing up so he used the front door of course! :-) His presents were always mixed in with gifts from my parents.

Christmas Day traditions?
My dad’s famous French Toast. He only makes it three times a year (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) and it’s to. die. for.
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Favorite Christmas cookie?
I guess they’re not technically a Christmas cookie since you can make them any time, but Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies (with walnuts). Growing up I’d help my mom make at least one batch a year. Probably one of my favorite desserts ever, to this day.

Favorite Christmas candy?
Um, I don’t know that there are really any Christmas-specific candies that I traditionally eat, but Reese’s Christmas Trees are delicious. :-)
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Eggnog…yes or no?
Yes. I never really liked it growing up and while I hardly ever drink it now, I’m a fan.

Do you send Christmas cards?
You bet! Who doesn’t like receiving Christmas cards?!

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Books. Lots of books and money for books. Since I’m officially done with grad school (!!), I’ve been reading non-stop. Oh, and a CrossFit jump rope so I can practice double-unders and stop doing this to my hands:

Pretty much as painful as it looks.

Pretty much as painful as it looks.

Resolutions…2015 Version

I know, it is isn’t even Christmas yet and I’m already talking about New Year’s resolutions. I honestly don’t know why I bother to make them because, like almost everyone else in the world, I never follow through. For instance, here were last year’s resolutions:

1. Find Snowy her perfect forever home – DONE

Violet (aka Snowy) and her sisters in her forever home.

Violet (Right) (aka Snowy) and her sisters in her forever home.

2. Budget money so we can juggle Lucy, her constant vet visits and any other potential future fosters – Not so much. I definitely paid more attention to my money and where it was going and we were able to afford what Lucy needed, but I definitely didn’t save as much as I wanted.

3. Continue to work on my patience when it comes to Lucy and her stubbornness – Again, not so much. I mean, I guess I worked on my patience but without any actual improvement.

"Keep working on that patience, Mom."

“Keep working on that patience, Mom.”

4. Take the dog(s) for at least six walks a week; we all need to watch our weight and Lucy always has energy to burn off! – Sort of? Since getting Isaac in August we’ve walked at least 14 times a week and same when we had Buddy, but Lucy has definitely not gotten as many walks as she needs. And now she’s fat(ter).

Buddy, always up for a walk.

Buddy, always up for a walk.

One out of four. Pathetic.

I have a lot of non-dog resolutions rattling around in my brain for the upcoming year but this is a dog blog. So in keeping with that theme, here are the resolutions I will make and may or may not achieve:

1. Shift into a career that allows me a more “regular” schedule to continue fostering and allow me to help SNORT in more ways than I am currently able.
2. Keep on top of cleaning! That means vacuuming, dusting and even just keeping the dogs themselves cleaner (wiping paws, more baths, etc.).
3. Continue fostering.

That’s it. Not exciting but with effort, all three are doable.