From Fear to Love

IMG_1433People often refer to dogs as a man’s best friend and it is not until you have a dog, you can truly understand what this means. Sunday, I had to make a choice to euthanize my dog, Lady and it was a difficult decision. Lady has been with me almost 15 years and when I woke up Sunday morning, I did not realize it would be the last day we would have together. In the past few weeks, she had begun to deteriorate pretty quickly but I was not thinking the deterioration was the precursor to death. I did expect that I would lose Lady within a year though just do to her age. I felt like she was already at life expectancy and that each day was borrowed and possibly a gift. With all that being said, I was still not prepared for the choice I had to make.

I have not always been a dog lover at all. In fact, I was terrified of dogs up until the point I got Lady. Yes-terrified. Not scared or fearful, but literally terrified of anything furry with four legs and the potential of a bark. Yes, even 5 lb dogs! This strong fear came as a result of being chased by a mean Doberman Pinchon when I was about 8 years old and it literally made me afraid of all dogs after that. I was at a friend’s house outside playing and the neighbor’s dog got loose and started running over to play with us. I had never been around dogs…not sure they even allowed dogs in the projects for real. So since I had never been around my dogs, my natural instinct was to run away-WRONG CHOICE. Why? Because if  you run, the dog will run after you. And he did. He wanted to play, but I thought I was being chased by the Loch Ness Monster.  In my head, that dog was larger than life. Anyways, I ran so hard and stumbled and fell and the dog was all on top of me growling and barking, probably because I was screaming and snotting a gallon of tears every second. So sad it was that he was playing and I was having an anxiety attack. And so sad the next 15 years as I would jump on couches to avoid 5 lb poodles and skip doors that had a “beware of dog” sign when I sold donuts for church fundraisers. If it meant I came back with every box of Krispy Kreme I left the starting point with, I was serious about not having anymore dog encounters. So..you may ask how did I go from fear to love?

It started on a trip to New Zealand April 1999. Marcus and I were there for a month and stayed with a couple that had a German Shepard that lived with them. Obviosuly, I was not aware I had signed up to live with a dog for a month. I tried not to stand on their coffee table, but stayed crouched in a corner and scaling up the walls when we first arrived. Slowly, but surely though my fear eased up as he never barked at me, never bit me and never acted mean towards me. In fact, he seemed like a protector to all of us that stayed there. By the end of the trip, I was no longer afraid of the dog at all. But, just THAT dog. So, on the trip back Marcus mentioned to me I should get a dog when we get back to the States so I would not revert back to my fear of dogs. I fought it a little, but trusted him and decided to give it a try.`

IMG_1431My journey with Lady started 14 years ago in April 1999 when we picked her out and brought her home at six weeks of age. Even after my time spent with the dog in New Zealand, I was scared of my new little puppy at 6 weeks of age. I remember holding her in the car on the ride home and feeling so tense as she moved around and would not be still. Even with me getting her and picking her out, I did not think I was signing up to love her but just to simply get over my fear and check that box off my life record. We brought her home and of course, I am clueless because this is my first and only pet. Clueless that she was going to cry at night like a baby and boy was I frustrated the next morning. I remember telling Marcus I wanted to take her back and did not want her because at that point-I had no allegiance and could not come up with a good reason why I was going to allow this furry animal that was a box-checker to keep me from sleep. Just did not seem like it made sense to me. Marcus convinced me to keep her and said the night crying would stop in a couple of days and it did. So, I made it through that and I was officially a pet owner I guess. I would feed her and play with her every day, but I did not feel an attachment to her. That all changed very quickly when after a couple of weeks having Lady, we had to take her to the vet because she was sick. There had been a problem with her litter and she needed additional shots for whatever she had and she had to spend the night at the vet. I cried and was emotionally shaken that she may not be ok and was unsure what to expect. But, I remember being completely and totally caught off guard at my emotional reaction over this. That is when I knew that somehow unbeknown to me- I had in a very short time become attached to Lady. The fear had moved out and love had moved in. That was the first and only time Lady was ever sick until Sunday.

So basically, in two weeks after having her, I realized I was really liking my dog and did not know how much until she went to vet. So, now after almost 15 years…I definitely have been attached to Lady and love her dearly. I have so many fond memories of Lady and will always remember her as my first dog and all that she represents to me and all that she was to me. She was indeed loyal, protective and dependable. Sounds like qualities of a best friend doesn’t it?

I remember sitting and playing with her, remember our many walks together, remember her chewing phase where she chewed everything she came in contact with, and remember when we went to obedience training classes. At one point, we even took Lady and had professional dog portraits done…yes, we treated her like she was our baby. I remember the times I was pregnant and she was extra close to me and seemed to have a sense I needed extra protection and care. I remember all the times she would wag her tail, perk her head up and run to me as soon as I walked outside. I also remember her mischievous times where she would dig holes in my backyard and the times she would get off her leash and run away skipping through the neighborhood like a free bird. So many memories and I am thankful for the 14 years I had with her.

I miss her tremendously and will have to restart and get used to her being gone. My fear of dogs is gone. What remains now is love for my dog, Lady.

Organization Project

I love organization and I like for most things to be nice and neat and not scattered. It gives me a sense of peace and serenity. When things are not organized, it causes my blood pressure to rise quickly and I feel out of control. I did not know this about myself until recently and the more I encounter dis-organization, the more I realize how much it bothers me. I am not anal about it. But on a scale of 1-10, I am sure I weigh in around a 7 or 8. You see, anal to me is everything has to be organized whereas for me, most things have to be organized, but not all. For example, anal organizers tend to organize their pantry in alphabetical order and their spice racks. They can even go so far as to organize their closets by putting all their white shirts together and then progress from left to right by shade variations.

Me…my pantry is not in alpha order and in my closet, you will find a red shirt next to a white shirt. But, in my pantry I like all the cereal boxes together and do not want my syrup by the spaghetti sauce. And in my closet, I want all my suits together and shirts together but the colors do not have to go from white to pink to lilac all the way to black. That to me equals a 7 and not a 10.

Well recently, I decided to take my closet organization to the next level and organize my shoes. I took pictures of all my shoes and then made labels to put on the outside of my shoe boxes so I can quickly know which shoes are in which box. I love it!!! It has made my mornings smooth because I am not flinging shoes all over the place and I am not opening five boxes to find my favorite pair of black heels.

I saw this idea a few years ago in a Costco magazine where this lady started a business with this same concept. Her business uses plastic holders that you drop the pictures in and then adhere that to your shoe box. I thought that it was a novel idea, but that novel idea came with an expensive tag. I decided I could do this myself and so I did with no money spent. I just spent a Sunday taking all my pictures and in my free time, I get a few pictures and tackle a few shoeboxes at a time. It has worked out great.

 

Remodeling Mice

As you have followed my blog, you have seen several posts about redecorating my house. You may think it is one of my favorite pasttimes as much as we have done. I have enjoyed painting and changing the colors around the house, but if you ask my husband, he may say differently since he ends up being the subcontractor and I serve as the general contractor!

Well, we embarked on another house project but this was due to no fault of our own. One day we came home to find we had no electricity in our family room. We discovered that a mice had gotten in the house between the two floors and chewed some electrical wiring which caused us to lose power completely in the family room. As a result, we had to cut the wall open to fix the wiring and try to clean out the area where the mice had been. That led to sheetrock, new wall, and re-painting. My family room had custom paint with a sponge design in it so I was a bit disappointed because I knew it would be hard to re-create. We decided to not try and go with the custom look and just searched for a comparable paint color. The whole process of getting the wiring fixed, wall done and re-painting spanned a period of 2-3 weeks and we were finally complete.

I would have never thought that mice would cause us to go into remodeling mode. So tiny, but created much damage and expense unnecessarily. You can see the transformation pictures below:

All Apple

I got my iPhone February 2010 and that was my first introduction into an Apple product. I got the iPhone simply because everywhere I went I saw them and people kept raving about it. PLus, I was disgusted with my cell phone, the Motorola Krave. Up until that point, I had never been that big on having the latest and greatest cell phone. So, when I got the Krave I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone of both price and style. My husband was in the store strongly persuading me for once to get what I want and stop being cheap. You see, I was in the store and loved the Krave but did not love the price. It literally had just come out the week before and it was $300. Well, I stepped out of my safety zone, bit the bullet, and bought it. I loved it the first two years, but it quickly was out of style and too cumbersome to use. It was not a smart phone either.

So, when I got the iPhone, it was my first smart phone and I was instantly in love. Well, in the past two weeks I have bought an iPad and an iMac. Now, I can truly say I am in love with Apple. I have not quite learned about the things both devices will do, but as I keep learning daily I continue to love the seamless integration between all the products and just the capability of them. It has been interesting switching from a PC to a Mac and just like they say…I am not sure I will go back. The iMac has the brightest, clearest screen and graphics that I have seen. The greatest fun I have had so far has been in iPhoto. I imported all of my pictures and I have been able to organize all of them by events which is wonderful. My pictures have never been that organized! Also, I can use my wireless keyboard from my iMac with my iPad. This comes in handy when I am typing notes on my iPad or responding to my email and do not want to use the touch keyboard on the iPad. Again..a seamless integration of all products.

There is so  much more I can continue to rave about, but I will save for a later post. I am only a week in so I am sure there is more to come. As of now, I can say I am truly an Apple girl!

The Office

As you read my blog, I know that you have become accustomed to my moods of redecorating. This year, we re-painted the kitchen and we ended the year painting our office. We painted it when we moved almost 4 years ago and as soon as the color went on the wall, I didn’t like it. But, Marcus had already primed and painted halfway and it was too far to turn back. The color then was not horrible, but just now what I thought it would look like. I wanted a more muted mustard yellow and it came out brighter than what I wanted. The color I chose this time was in the blue family and I love it! It is nice, calming and soothing. I enjoy my new space!

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Christmas 2010

We had a great Christmas a week or so ago. We opened gifts on Christmas Eve morning so the kids could have the time to play with their gifts before we got on the road the next day for traveling. There were surprises all around and here are some pics that captured some of the moments.

You’re on my street!

Nice sunny Sunday and the family is strolling through town looking at some of the new neighborhoods and we came across the most interesting sign. It was a sign that read “Lauren’s Street.” Our daughter Lauren thought that was so cool and we did as well. We paused to take a picture to capture that unique situation. We all laughed and smiled about it and continued our Sunday driving to one of my favorite places…Target!