So, you probably know by now that I have a soft spot in my heart for pets with disabilities. I was born into a family that already had a pet with a special need — my mom had a doxie named Pepper who had 3 legs but 4 paws. If you’re trying to work that all out, I’ll explain: One of his legs had two paws formed on it.

When I was about 6, we adopted a shepherd named Bo from our city. His story was he’d begun being trained for police work, but didn’t make the cut. That worked for me because this dog was my soul. I took him everywhere.

When I was in 4th grade, he developed what we assumed was hip dysplasia – though he wasn’t that old. Several fancy tests actually found he had a genetic condition that caused nerve degeneration in his back end and that he would not be a candidate for hip replacement surgery. This was back in the early 1990′s, before wheelchairs and all sorts of canine PT were popular. My dad threw himself into trying to make his own — and Bo tried every single prototype with the patience and enthusiasm only a dog can muster, but none really fit the bill. Thankfully, we ran into someone who knew someone whose chihuahua had a wheelchair — and we were able to MAIL AWAY AN ORDER FORM (remember that, before the INTERWEBS?) and wait patiently for 14 days while they made him one.

The JOY on Bo’s face when he was able to high tail it through the dog park at the same speed as his BFF, our lab/pit/rott mix Hammer, is permanently etched in my brain.

Since then, we’ve adopted a dog with terminal cancer (Ferris), and currently own a 100% deaf spaniel with spine issues (Bailey), another spaniel with joint issues who is currently losing her hearing (Emmie – and her surgery from last year was SO worth it!), and… well, Gizmo. ;) Bless his heart, but we’ll just call him emotionally handicapped, LOL.

So every year, we’ve donated to PetsWithDisabilities.org. A wonderful organization. And then, about two years ago, one of Sean’s childhood friends started their own grassroots adoption/rescue for handicapped pets. They adopted a dog who turned out to have large special needs and she changed their lives — and now, with the help of volunteers and donors like me/you, they’ve grown and are helping do amazing things for animals with special needs all over the globe. Just this little husband and wife team in a small town in the Pacific Northwest — Heath’s Haven Dog Rescue.

And this year, Sean and I were VERY EXCITED to cover the costs of two wheelchairs for two of their dogs who didn’t have their own – and were stuck sharing with another dog, who was currently on bed rest. Somehow making it full circle and gifting mobility to two pups really made my soul sore – and I can’t believe I forgot to blog it so I could spread the word about their wonderful group!

This is Kiwi – a charming, loves-everything, pittie – in her OWN wheelchair! She arrived at HH’s with a broken back and permanent damage to her back end and ability to relive herself:

And Misty – the gorgeous two-tone eyed Husky, third from the left. She was given a second chance at a good life when she arrived all the way from Canada:

 

2 Folks Left Love Notes


, , , Heart

Be a Good Human.

May 22, 2014 · 3 comments

I had a moment in Target the other day.

Just one of those weird little moments where the universe reaches out and reminds you to get off your high horse and slow down, breathe, and be a tolerable human.

You ever get those?

Last Friday, one of our cats went missing.

I’d been a hot mess. As I should be. It put me on edge and drowning in worry and being frustrated that it was one of those “out of my hands” situations. I had all the worst thoughts (I’ve watched a lot of serial killer beginnings type shows, mmkay?) and it was eating me alive that all I could do was obsessively notify everyone on this half of the planet to be sure if they found him, they’d know to call me — but that I had zero control over whether someone WOULD find him or that zero harm had befallen him.

So my daily mission was endless flyers, endless emails to postings and shelters and rescues and vets, and endless papering of neighborhoods.

I was on such a mission on Monday. All I wanted in the world was to get home so we could assemble giant, laminated, BRING HIM HOME yard signs and then plaster the entire neighborhood with them. But I needed to get gas first. And then I needed to go to Target because we were out of tape for more signs. And I left work behind schedule.

Target was PACKED. My frustration rose. I popped into the only feasible line, the 10 Items or Less lane. There was only a mom and her teenage son in front of me and they were being handed their receipt. I WAS IN LUCK.

Except the cashier, a kid in his mid-20s whose lines I have avoided whenever possible because he will talk to each person for six hours and you will literally stand there for 5-10 minutes after someone gets their receipt, waiting for him to shut up long enough so that they can leave and you can buy your tampons and GTFO.

So he’s asking the kid about his big college plans and the kid is answering, and they’re yammering on, and it’s all I can do to not tap my foot and roll my eyes and sigh loudly and BE THAT PERSON that I never am. I am usually an angel. But CAN YOU HURRY THIS UP BECAUSE OMG MY CAT IS OUT IN THE BIG WORLD WITHOUT ME AND I HAVE SIGNS TO MAKE AND NO ONE CARES. When I hear the cashier say he’ll be moving to another city to attend classes at this one college, because they offer the “best classes for my autism.”

PUNCH to the Be-A-Human-Face.

So this kid, in all his awkward social glory and over-chatting weirdness, is autistic. And, likely, these elongated sort of one-sided weird interactions he has with people and all his stuttering stem from that.

And then I felt like an asshole. And my entire mood shifted to grateful, pleasant, understanding. Just this weird physical lightness and a mental reminder that we’re all human, we all talk too much, and that even without the autism, we should all just calm down a bit and let the little stuff slide.

So I put my stuff on the belt and he grins. I grin. And he goes, “How, how, how is your (makes lengthening motions with his hands and I have no idea where he is going with this), your TALL husband?”

Well knock me over.

He REMEMBERS me. AND Sean. Taken aback, I said Sean was good, and he grinned and nodded and followed it with, “I haven’t seen you guys in FOREVER!”

He rang up my tape, and we talked about his anxiety about his upcoming move to the college 4 hours away – it’s his first time away from home and his uncertainty was palatable — and I hoped the lady behind us would let it slide as well.

And then I told him he’d BE FINE, and wished him luck, and headed home feeling just a little bit better about everything.

(And in case you’re wondering, Runaway Cat is now home and grounded for life!)

3 Folks Left Love Notes


Balance > Heart

Remember that time, two years ago, when I was all … LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I’M GONNA DO BEFORE I GET KNOCKED UP? Yeah, me neither. I pretty much wrote it and then maybe thought about it two more times.

For funsies, I thought I would revisit the list to see where I’ve ended up, though!

The Before Baby List

  1. Ditch any credit card debt completely. - This is one we actually did, much to our own disbelief and how counterproductive having an Amazon Prime account was. ;)  
  2. Get to a healthy weight – complete with healthy habits. – AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  3. Get Gizmo to the point he comes when called and is generally not shut down by the presence of a small human. - You know, thanks to luring all the neighborhood kiddos over with promises of petting the other dogs, he’s pretty much at this point – again, to our own disbelief!
  4. Finish lingering home projects. - See response to # 2 above. We have finished many, but Pinterest has created many, many, MANY more.
  5. Save for pre-baby needs - Doneso!
  6. Save for pre-natal and delivery cost - Doneso! 
  7. Visit CA to see family, friends and Disneyland pre-parenthood.  - WE ACTUALLY DID THIS. I assumed this wouldn’t happen but it did earlier this month. 
  8. Visit WA for at least one last pre-baby lake adventure. - We did this in August 2013, go team us!
  9. Have a honeymoon do-over – you know, one where Sean doesn’t get the flu and spend it hurling all over, preferably where we need to use a passport. (est. $3,000) - Not really, unless you let me count the trip to Disneyland… which I do. 
  10. Develop and maintain better time management/organizational skills. - I bought several fancy planners I do not use and endless office supplies, does this count? 
  11. Boost savings - Yes.
  12. Set aside for maternity leave - Yes.
  13. Put more effort into discovering who I am and who I want to be – passions, hobbies, routines – and developing that person. - Um… sure, why not? Does obsessively watching the birds in my backyard count as a hobby?
  14. Expand my local support network – aka invest in friendships. - I’m going to totally do this… soon. Honest. #LifeOfAnIntrovert 
  15. Tuck away for first year of daycare costs - Yes.
  16. Finish my allergy immunotherapy  - NO. I was on year # 2 and doing fantastic when our allergist pulled out of my physician’s office and to continue, I’d have to shell out again for the testing at her new clinic and start alloveragain. I said screw it.
  17. Install Cat Fence In  - We own this. It is not installed.
  18. Better establish date night. – Kind of. If you let eating popcorn and discussing Game of Thrones like a religion count.
  19. Take a dance class with Sean. – Does “in the kitchen” count?
  20. Learn about, and better embrace, both our German & Italian heritages. - In progress, actually! :)  
  21. Make an effort to learn our DSLR. – OR sell it on eBay. 
  22. Take a gun safety course with Sean (I grew up shooting guns and yes we own one, but wow could we use a refresher). - Scheduled!
  23. Obtain an additional work certificate (i.e. project mgmt, resource development, etc). – I was going to do this but I took naps instead.

3 Folks Left Love Notes


, , Balance > Life

Then Make it Small.

November 22, 2013 · 4 comments

Have you seen Man of Steel?

No? Go see it.

If you have, you’ll probably remember this scene that wasn’t that vital to the overall plot – yet some resonated with me on a level that is nearly embarrassing. SPOILER ALERT.

It’s the one where little Clark becomes completely overwhelmed and shuts himself into the hall closet at school. When his mother shows up to address the situation, Clark explains, “The world’s too big, Mom.” Her solution? “Then make it small.”

I’ve been feeling a giant desire to make life simpler lately. I yearn to live in a time that I’ve never even existed, before the interwebs and cellphones and this mass push to pay for more things and keep up with the Jones’ – but if we’re being honest, I equally have no desire to ditch my connectivity to the world and go live off the land somewhere in Nowhereville. Sorry, ya’ll, this girl has a smart phone addiction and would probably keel over and die without Google. ;)

But it has manifested in my remembering that this is the only life I get, so I better start building and living the one I want. None of that over-the-top LIVE WITH INTENT and BE AUTHENTIC buzzword stuff here, but just a general reminder that there’s little point wasting energy to maintain negative or flat relationships, put more energy in building positive ones that help me grow into the person I want to be, making time for hobbies that suit my general personality as an introvert without apology or concern for who I might offend with my anti-socialness, to stop spending so much time mentally at war with myself, so on and so forth.

To find ways to worry less – which, if you’ve met me and come face to face with my Over Planner Personality, might be impossible, LOL. I am very much so one of those “All Work and No Play” fools and I’m not even sure why. I don’t like work. I do, however, have a Gold Star Sticker mentality and love the kudos I get for it (and thus, Le Problem). Maybe I measure myself against my productivity, or I feel like I have to somehow make up for all the years I was set on “ALL PLAY” or something, who knows. Either way, I need to remember to HAVE. FUN. IN. LIFE. Because no surprise here, this is all I’ve got and I won’t get to be 30 again tomorrow (well, technically, I will – I’m 30 for 70 more days, but now you’re ruining my clever sentence THAT WAS SO DEEP, damnnit). You get the idea, here, kids. Carpe Diem and all that jazz.

I am slowly trying to just be. Find a calmness in a world of endless rules, ideas, and status quo. A world that pushes for us to do more, be more, have more, MOOOOAR. It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

And, so perfectly timed, the lovely Kerri posted this blog post. My general theme of making my world smaller, so that I can in turn do more of what I want (and be bigger in the areas I actually appreciate), isn’t just blog related — but it is a shockingly fantastic post nonetheless and I uuuuuuurge you to read it.

 

4 Folks Left Love Notes


Balance > Life

I love smoothies.

In the sense that I love, and could subsist solely on, smoothies that basically taste like Jamba Juice made them for me.

The problem with Jamba Juice, though I love them, is that they typically put a shizload of sugar in theirs and they are not as closely located to me as my kitchen. And thus, thanks to our little $32.00 Ninja Storm (we got ours at Walmart), I have spent the last week having a smoothie every single day and OMG I ONLY WANNA TALK ABOUT SMOOTHIES.

We actually just ordered a reconditioned VitaMix, but seeing as it ships in “1-900 days” (I kid, I think it said 18-25, but same difference), I busted out our Ninja and decided to see how it would handle leafy greens. Answer? LIKE A CHAMP. Such a champ that if I don’t find I use our VitaMix oodles more or with enough improvement in the first 30 days or whatever the happy guarantee is, it’s going back.

Anyhoot – This one is awesome, and I guarantee you that you can not taste the vegetables. I’m serious. And I know you might be making a face like YOU DON’T KNOW MAN, I TASTE ALL THE VEGETABLES, I disagree on this one. And if you’re still convinced, add another 1/4-1/2 cup of frozen berries and I promise, you’ll feel like you’re finally consuming dessert and nothing more! Tip: I blend the leafy greens and the water first on their own for a few seconds, just to ensure they’re pulverized.

Serving Size: Makes (2) 16-20 ounce smoothies

Calories: Roughly 300-320 per smoothie – plus about 20g protein and oodles o’ fiber!

  • 1 cup (about a fistful) fresh loose spinach
  • 1 cup (about a fistful) fresh, torn apart kale
  • 1 cup sliced up fresh pinenapple
  • 1 peeled orange – really, just peel it with a peeler and leave the white stuff on. You can’t taste it and it’s chock full of nutrients!
  • 1 large banana
  • 1-1.5 cup frozen raspberries (use at least one frozen item if possible, to keep it thick and cold)
  • 1/4 cup water – or more, just decide how thin/thick you want it and you can always add more after!
  • Optional Items Included in Nutrient Count: 1 scoop preferred protein powder, 2 tbsp chia seeds (I put these in everything, it’s a sickness, LOL), 1 tbsp ground almonds (I ground raw almonds in our coffee grinder), 1 tsp melted coconut oil

ENJOY!

 

2 Folks Left Love Notes


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