Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope that everyone out there is having a safe and happy halloween. We are having a pretty low key day ourselves. Tim is working and Bella is currently the only one of us in costume...We tried it on her earlier in the week. She is not a huge didn't help that she had just returned from her stay at the happy hound hotel (where she stayed while we were at Rascal) and she was absolutely, beyond words exhausted. She was falling asleep on our laps during the below pictures. Our poor little pumpkin. Enjoy and happy halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rascal Flatts

Tim and I had tickets last night to Rascal Flatts that we bought all the way back in August. We didn't really anticipate this week being as insane as it has been for both of us since coming back from vacation... when we bought the tickets I think we thought, Sweet! Only 4 days after we come back we have something else to look forward to. We didn't really anticipate the lack of sleep or the total thrust back into work. Regardless, we were both excited to go to the concert.

A word on Rascal Flatts- YES I love them. No, I'm not a TOTAL country girl. Yes, I like country music (I AM from the midwest). But what really turned me onto Rascal Flatts? I went to a concert of theirs in 2001, about 2 years after their band signed a contract with a music company. I was in LA at the time and had just recently heard of Rascal Flatts even though I don't believe they were popular yet in the country music scene. We heard that Rascal Flatts was going to be in town and if I remember correctly, the tickets were reasonably priced so we went to their concert at a little dive bar in Irvine, California. I'm not even kidding you, there were maybe 100 people there. We were about 10 feet from the stage and it was so personal and intimate and they were SO FREAKING TALENTED. I've loved them ever since. And so has the rest of the country who listens to country music as evidenced by their massive popularity, multiple awards, top hits, etc.

When I heard they were coming to Tacoma, I thought it would be awesome to go see them again. I bought 4 tickets- 2 for Tim and I and 2 for our friends who also like Rascal. Turns out those friends couldn't go but a couple of girlfriends came instead. It was an AWESOME concert. Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blowfish) who has turned country (weird, I know- but he's actually quite good) opened for Rascal. He also did some Hootie songs-transported me right back to junior high. Rascal was awesome too... it was just so weird. There stage was HUGE, they had all the bells and whistles and there were probably 10,000-15,000 fans in attendance. I wouldn't say I was disappointed because I still love their music and still think they are insanely talented but it was just a completely different experience than the first intimate/personal concert I went to of theirs. I guess that's what happens when musicians' popularity explodes. I'm still glad we went.

And BOY... wow, the compilation of people in the audience was HILARIOUS. It was a combination of people like us, teeny-boppers (yep, I felt ANCIENT around them...) and Washington rednecks that came out of the woodwork. We had quite the time people watching. The best part was at the end when some Washington hicks were hammered, ran into us as we were walking, but continued to vent all about their spouses affairs....all in some Washington twang accent (did not know that existed here). If I didn't know better, I would have thought we were right in the middle of po-dunk Miss-our-ah.

The only bad thing about the concert was that it was down in Tacoma- about an hour drive each way from Seattle. So, we didn't get to bed until around 1:30am. It's making for quite the long friday... but a good ending to a long week. Below are pictures- they were all taken with my iphone so not the best quality but I forgot my camera (shocker, I know).

Picture of the set as we were waiting before the show.

Tim looking like we both felt before the show started- um, sleep, PLEASE?

After Darius' set, waiting for Rascal. Pardon the hair. No effort put into it (should have seen how decked out the teeny-boppers were though... you would have thought that they were going to be in a fashion show the way they looked....I think I cared that much when I was their age so I'm not criticizing, I just think it's funny).

The girls- me, Megan (who is moving to Germany next week to be with her fiance- happy for her but BOO still...going to miss her), and Leah.

Not a great picture but evidence of all the lights/bells and whistles once Rascal was on the stage. We actually had really great seats.

And another picture during Rascals' set. One thing I do love about Rascal is all of their volunteer work- they are known for their work with the make a wish foundation (who I also volunteer for, which is how I know about how much they do for the foundation). They have granted wishes before for kids in the Seattle/Northwest chapter and they granted a wish at this concert too- during one of their songs, they pulled up the wish kid (I would say she was about 10 years old) and had her onstage during the song and let her sing with them. It literally brought tears to my eyes. All in all, it was a great night...great music, great friends...makes the lack of sleep worth it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Miss Bella returns from vacation

Not a Hawaii post, but related somewhat. I'm still trying to organize my life after returning from Hawaii and getting slammed back into the swing of things at work (which has been chaotic at best this week. I'm not kidding about the use of the word 'slammed.' It is most accurate). SO, Hawaii recap to come soon but for now, here's a little recap of Bella's doggie vacation.

This is Bella and her friend Kee. According to the staff out at the place she stayed, our girl is quite the energy ball. NO, YOU DON'T SAY. I didn't say it to them but I was chanting in my head, "I told you so! I told you so!" Another phrase that sticks out in my mind from her stay, "She's quite the character and doesn't stop- full of piss and vinegar the whole time." YUP, that's our girl.

Bella playing with her ball. This picture cracks me up because I can tell that she looks exhausted but is just pushing it to keep going and going. We are so lucky we found such a cool place to leave her. The dogs literally run all day AND we get the added bonus of the staff there emailing us these pictures while we are away. It was so nice to know that our puppy was doing well.

More pictures of Bella and her new friends.

Bella and her buddy Dixie. Apparently this was her new BFF for the entire 10 days she stayed there. And yes, she stayed 10 days. She was here for a day before and a day after we returned. It was kind of nice to be able to organize for the trip and return after the trip without having to worry about her.

I picked her up on Monday night and this was right after I brought her home. The staff told me when I picked her up that she would probably totally crash out because she didn't stop once for 10 straight days. Again, SHOCKING! She was SO excited to see me when I picked her up... probably because she knew she'd finally be able to relax and rest without having to be an ADD puppy because OMG THERE ARE SO MANY DOGS AND TOYS HERE! I MUST PLAY WITH THEM ALL... AT FULL ENERGY! EVERYONE MUST LOVE ME! So she went NUTS when she saw me, anticipating that she would finally be able to CHILL THE HELL OUT. Two minutes (no exaggeration) after being in the car? Could not hold her head up for the life of her. I had to wake her up to go inside to eat (which is when I snapped the above shot). She definitely needed to eat, though. Since she ran so much during the prior 10 days, she was looking quite skinny. Like, rib effect in full force. She's not sick so we think that all of the running just burned her food right off her.

Her new "scarf"from her new favorite home away from home.

And yep, the staff were right on. She did not really wake up (or want to wake up) for ALMOST TWO DAYS. I have never seen her like this EVER. It was HILARIOUS.
A sidenote: The place had called us during the time we were away because she had a growth on her head. I had noticed this before we took her there but I guess it had gotten kind of bad (though it didn't bother her at all). When I picked her up, I realized that it had almost tripled in size. UGH. So back to the vet we went... turns out that it's just a benign tumor that boxers are prone to that run a 4-6 week life cycle of growth and then shrink up and go away. Phew. For a second there since she was so NOT our dog by sleeping so much, I thought that we'd gotten a different dog back. Nope, she's still ours... frequent trips to the vet proved it.
I took her back to the happy hound hotel today because I am at a client in the dirty south of Seattle (read: an hour drive each way...or more with traffic. How did I do a commute like this in Phoenix? WOW) and Tim is working so I needed a place for her to stay. She awakened from her two day slumber INSTANTLY when we pulled in. It was hysterical. The staff there said, "Wow, she recovered quite nicely!" as Bella is bounding around trying to show everyone how happy she is to be there. Our little ball of energy absolutely loves the happy hound hotel. It's so comforting to know that when we are away, she is happy. And well taken care of. And loved. And still ready to come home to us at the end of it all.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And we're off to the islands...

Well... almost. 12 hours and counting... To celebrate. And surf. Aloha!

Miss Bella now on vacation at the Happy Hound Hotel. Here she is a couple of days ago in her raincoat. She is not loving this Seattle rain but I'm sure she is having a BLAST right now. And guess what that means? We are without puppy and I would say that our vacation officially starts NOW.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Broken nose and my problem with google

So, Tim has long arms. This becomes a problem when he's sleeping because they become erratic arms. As in he has no control. WHATSOEVER. It's not like he can help it, we all have our weird sleep habits...and this just happens to be his. (I have to say, as a sidenote, I am just SO GLAD he doesn't snore).

I have told him for several months that he keeps whacking me in the head in his sleep. And that I have physically MOVED his arms out of my way to prevent getting hit at night. Which by the way? A word about getting hit in the middle of the night?

Reminiscent of coming up the stairs as an innocent 5 year old and my dad screaming BOOOWOOOOBOOOO with arms over his head, sometimes a mask on. And then me, a little 5 year old girl, almost bursting into tears from the mixed emotions of being scared out of my mind and laughing at the hilarity of the situation (meaning, PHEW. It's just my dad being silly. No bad guy). But then again, I probably could have had the child equivalent of a heart attack because my heart was beating so rapidly.

Well, Tim's arms? At 3am when I am in a dead sleep and I get a WHAAACK to my head temple?

About as scary as that 5 year old experience. And then I'm awake the rest of the night trying to avoid the erratic arms.

Earlier this week, it got out of control. The right arm found my nose and decided that it was going to destroy it. I woke up and WOW. Once my heart slowed down and I realized that I just had another encounter with The Arms, I could only think "uh oh" due to the throbbing in my nose.

I thought it was probably just bruised but it was the middle part of the underside of my nose (not the bone on top). Weird, right? So I look this up on the internet.


This was a HUGE MISTAKE. Again.

Apparently if nose injuries are serious enough to this septum (the part dividing your nose), it can COLLAPSE.

1) Pain in septum part of nose that won't go away. CHECK
2) Nose congestion. CHECK


I think had a panic attack, I'm pretty sure (I restrained myself from googling panic attacks) because after I brushed by teeth after about 4 days of dealing with nose pain and the inability to even touch my nose LIGHTLY with a makeup brush to apply makeup, I thought that my nose looked crooked on the one side. Kind of indented. It had already been swollen and slightly discolored all week but CROOKED? INDENTED? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!


So I kept asking Tim if he thought my nose was collapsing and what I should do and he assured me that it looked fine but I swear it looked funny. And my heart was beating 100 miles per minute (or whatever the measurement is that=really fast heart rate) and I'm actually debating TAPING and putting stints in my nose with TOOTHPICKS before going to sleep. As if that would prevent collapse. See, google, what you did to me? If I hadn't looked at you, I would have just gone on my merry way assuming that my nose would heal and be just fine. I'm pretty sure I stayed awake mostly all of that night. Or at least kept waking up to touch it to make sure it was still in it's proper position. Google? Here's my middle finger for that crappy night.

Well, I called an ear, nose and throat doctor for an appointment. After the intense, unsubsiding pain for a week, I thought, I'd better get this checked out because I don't want to do a nose dive while trying to surf and then see a nose, MY NOSE, floating by me along with my surfboard to get eaten by Hawaiian sharks. (THIS IS WHY I HATE GOOGLE. IT TURNS A REASONABLE PERSON INTO A COMPLETE IRRATIONAL PERSON). I guess I should clarify here. It's not TOTALLY google's fault. Google is just the messenger and you shouldn't blame the messenger. BUT WHY can't the search results deliver results other than the WORST POSSIBLE? I think I am going to boycott the internet. Well. At least in cases such as this one. And any other injuries/illnesses that I might experience.

It's now 4 days past that, the day I was supposed to go to the ENT doctor. Well, due to the October 15 deadline at work and complete insanity that work is at this time of year as a result, I stopped freaking out about my nose collapsing, probably because it wasn't on my list of things to think about and do in order to meet the October 15 deadline. And this morning I realized that, hey, it might even feel a tiny bit better. So I didn't go. If it's feeling better, that's progress. And seriously, it's not like it was THAT hard of a hit. I've been hit on my nose much harder. So I'm ok. Even though in every situation, google's search inquiries make you think that the worst possible scenario will happen to you RIGHT NOW. And then makes you freak out. When you shouldn't. And you know, rationally, you shouldn't. But after a few irrational days, your rational self FINALLY returns and you realize how ridiculous the whole thing was. But at least a mildly entertaining story to tell.

I will say, though, that Tim's erratic arms are still not fixed. I got whacked in the throat last night (a new spot!) I am thinking in investing in some rope to tie his arms behind his back at night.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Current headlines

I just have to say: that balloon boy drama in colorado? WOW. Something is weird about that story... and that family? I saw that wife swap one time and that family is seriously WHACKO.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starting to celebrate a week early.

Our first anniversary is next week and to celebrate we're heading back to the gorgeous island of Maui where we got married (sidenote: did I mention we are learning to surf!?!?) Most people know that the tradition when you get married is to save the top layer of the cake to eat on your first anniversary. Well, we haven't really operated in any "traditional" way in regards to our wedding so no point in following tradition for our first anniversary either, at least in regards to the cake.

This was technically our wedding day cake that we ate on the beach after we got married. At this point the cloud cover that was over us while we were being married had cleared up so it was pretty toasty in the sun. We didn't eat much of that cake, needless to say. Too hot.

We DID, however, indulge in the cake we got for our reception that we held here in Seattle a month after we got married in Hawaii. It was AMAZING. It was a cake from metropolitan market here in Seattle, a natural/organic grocery store (seriously, can you expect less from me?) The cake was phenomenal. It was 3 layers, obviously, and each layer was a different type of cake. One layer was white cake with raspberry filling, one layer was chocolate with chocolate mousse filling and one layer was marble cake with buttercream filling. I should note: the largest layer was the marble cake because it was hands down the best. And lucky for us, we had TONS of cake leftover after the reception. So much so that it dominated about 65% of our freezer. For about two seconds (aka: a month) we considered saving part of it until October 20, 2009 for our first anniversary. After eating cake for that month, we decided that we could eat cake every day until October 20, 2009 but it still wouldn't be gone and we would instead be participating in a contest of "who can gain the most cake weight?" And then we decided that we could throw away just SOME of it and keep some for our first anniversary, you know, the tradition, but the thought of that just seemed gross. I mean, really, year old cake? Even if it's frozen? Ick. I have a weird thing about old food. I am a complete fanatic about those use-by dates on perishable items. Even though cake doesn't have one, it just doesn't seem right that it's ok after a year. But then again, it is a tradition and I don't think anyone has ever died from it. But if it made me puke, I would rather die.... Anyway, point is, we chucked it. All 25 pounds of it in our freezer. Gone. I think I may have even taken some to work until people started to beg me to stop bringing in cake. After we did this, Tim made the comment that next year we'd just have to start our own tradition and get a new metro market cake to celebrate. Marble, of course.

Well! Guess what?! I totally forgot about this little comment but Tim didn't! I came home yesterday to a 1st anniversary cake from metropolitan market courtesy of my nice husband. Marble cake with buttercream frosting. YUM! And it was just baked yesterday morning so it was definitely fresh. I would say better than what would have been sitting in our freezer had we have chosen to keep it. And now we get to lead up the whole week to Hawaii with cake every night. Only thing that might be bad for is my body in a bikini but oh well!

On an unrelated note, well, maybe it's related, Tim got me a present yesterday when he was in downtown Seattle trying on some new work gear. It's not the most romantic present ever but it certainly is thoughtful. I had a creepy incident a year or so ago around the holidays with some random dude. Ever since I've been a little bit freaked out of being places by myself, not during the day but at night. And since I'm home by myself a lot of nights due to Tim's schedule, he thought I should carry around a little bit of protection: enter- pepper spray. We live in a really safe neighborhood and I hope to god I never have to use it but then again a year or so ago I was in a really safe part of town and had the little incident with scary dude. So, if nothing else, when I'm out and about at nights or if I'm working late at nights, I can feel a little bit better that I can protect myself. I still want to take some self defense classes. I think it would be awesome if something ever happened to be able to shock someone by being a little karate girl and whipping out some awesome ninja moves. But as of now, I would fail miserably in that respect. And you might ask, why did it take over a year (maybe two...) for me to get this sort of protection? I don't KNOW! Call it procrastination. Or thinking I was fine... and I have been.

And here's my new little red bomb on my key chain. And no, for anyone that's wondering, this is NOT my anniversary present from Tim. Well, I don't think so anyway. It would be quite the funny story to tell.
Tim did, however, pick up an awesome present for both of us yesterday in the form of new snorkel gear for our trip which is great because it's good stuff and we don't have to rent the crappy stuff on the island. It's pretty exciting, even though I forgot to take a picture of all of it. And did I mention that we're also learning to surf?! And I get to eat more cake tonight...and tomorrow... and the next day? And in 5 days we leave for the islands?! Where I will then be parked on a beach for 7 days straight with a Maui mojito. Except for when I am learning to surf. And when I am all dressed up celebrating our actual 1st anniversary with Timmy.
I cannot wait.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Let's just see how ridiculous we can get.

The dog's presence continues to uproot our lives in ways we didn't know were possible. It has been a Learning. Experience. Like one of the ones in which you can never really prepare for, nor even begin to expect because there's just so much that would blow all expectations out. of. the. water. So many things you never would have considered that happen- that you never would have put on the list of "things to consider if I get a dog." Or maybe that's just me in my ignorance as an animal abuser. Who knows.

Two things lately in regards to the dog:

1) Training
So I would have THOUGHT (when we initially got a dog) that we would be able to train it. I can be patient, I know what to do, it shouldn't be that hard, right? Well, I quickly learned and heard from quite a few people that enrolling your puppy in puppy classes is SO beneficial and crucial. So we enrolled her in puppy kindergarten. People were right. It was SO worth it. Just having the consistency of one hour a week to just work her made her such a better minded puppy. We then recognized the benefits of formal training (not only for her but for us) and enrolled her in a second obedience class. We got discouraged when it seemed repetitive and like we were just paying to teach her to continue to sit for an hour a week... which she already knew. So she hasn't been in a class again since that (which was the beginning of August).

Lately we've been noticing that as she's going through her terrible teenage days, she's picking up some bad behaviors. We're not sure if it's a stage that she'll grow out of or if she needs more formal training to break the behaviors before they become habits. These behaviors are: horrible recall ESPECIALLY when out and there are other distractions around (think ADD puppy). Not that I totally blame her because why would we be exciting when there are new, awesome things around? So by saying that she's sucking at that is kind of setting her up to fail because at this stage in her puppy hood I can't really expect recall to be 100% all of the time. BUT. Still. I would like a LITTLE bit of a response. And no more of this run towards us and then promptly jet away. That's annoying. She's also taken to dominating smaller dogs. And biting on other boxers that she can dominate. I'm not sure where she got this behavior but it bugs me. It's not ok. She doesn't bite us or any other dogs BUT boxers (and then only the ones that she thinks she dominates) but I don't want the dog that bites someone else's dog, much less their puppy. Seriously, not ok. It's not always even biting, it's sometimes just mouthing but I just don't like it. We've tried EVERYTHING to stop these behaviors. Working with her on a long lead with treats/toys for recall, teaching her nice play with a puppy in front of her by NOT using her mouth, putting her in a submissive position when she starts to mouth/bite, giving her time outs, "clicking" at her with a training clicker when she bites, etc., etc.

Sometimes I don't feel like we're getting anywhere, sometimes I do. I think it just depends on whether she feels like listening or not. (Which, by the way, is annoying).

Last week at the advice of Bella's brother's mom, we went to the place that they train at to see what class Bella should enroll in. Upon meeting the trainer Bella continued to jump on her (oh yeah, another bad behavior) and lick her (obsessively, oh yeah... another one). We were not off to a good start. We told her about the recall and the biting and she seemed a bit concerned, like we are, which is why we were there. So then she tried to sell us on a three week training course. You take the dogs there all day (12 hours), every day for 3 weeks. And then they are trained, POOF! Sounds perfect. What's the catch? It's $1200!!! I mean, seriously?! SERIOUSLY. Jaw dropped, catch it, SERIOUSLY?!! How much more money can we really spend on this dog? I can totally understand how this training camp would be great but really, she's not THAT bad of a dog. She listens perfectly at home, she is really good 99% of the time. Do we really need a $1200 camp for that 1% of the time? I don't know. Sigh.

2) Boarding/Daycare
I knew that boarding would be an issue when we got a puppy since Tim and I do like to travel. We got lucky with Bella as a puppy since my friend Gina and her boxer Dallas took care of Bella when we were out of town. Since Gina got a new puppy, I knew that she was out as our puppy sitter so I had to find a place to board Bella when we are in Hawaii and to put her for puppy daycare during my busy season on the days that Tim is working. I THOUGHT that it would be easy. Nope. I was becoming thoroughly discouraged trying to find a place. I did NOT want to put her in just any old boarding place where she gets a 2X2 concrete space and you can pay an extra $20 a day for her to get a 30 minute walk. HA. A 30 minute walk a day for my very energetic boxer? Not ok. Or how about the place that said that they wash out their "kennels" every day if they go to the bathroom in them but if the dogs choose to hold it, they get taken outside for 3 potty breaks a day. Which costs $5 a time. ARE YOU JOKING? That just seems ridiculous and almost cruel.

At almost my wits end, I got a recommendation from a friend for the Happy Hound Hotel. I email the owner, get information, and trying not to get my hopes up too much, I drive out there last week with Bella to meet her.


Each dog has his/her own ROOM with hardwood floors, their own big padded doggy bed, food/water bowls, a window, and their names are written on the door of their room. They get "cookies" every day before nap time and bedtime on their pillows and the best part? They have acres and acres to just run all day with the other dogs there. There is a schedule out there so they basically eat when they get up in the morning then spend all morning running and playing with their buddies (or going on off leash hikes with the staff) and then they nap from 12-4. Then they eat dinner and run some more after dinner. Then at night, there is quiet time for a couple of hours where the dogs and the staff just kinda hang around in this big play room- getting pet, brushed, loved etc.

It was awesome. The owner of the place was absolutely phenomenal. It was a little pricey but it's basically like a vacation for dogs. Bella got to play there for an hour with the dogs that were boarding or were in daycare while I talked to the owner and toured the place and Bella LOVED it. I can't wait to take her there... she probably won't want to come home. I know that we'll feel so much better knowing that she will actually be taken care of while we're gone.

So that's basically what's new in Bella's world. She's a puppy teenager so we're trying to figure out training and she goes on her first puppy vacation next week (which means, also, that we go on our Hawaiian vacation next week- yes!) She will also have a place to play/stay while I'm working long days in busy season when Tim's working which will also make for a very happy dog. Perhaps just by being at the place she'll board at, some of her behaviors will be tamed so we won't have to even THINK about a $1200 training camp? That would be fabulous. Because another $1200 on the dog? I just don't know about that.

So while this has all been a learning experience, it's been good. A good learning experience. Because we are growing. She's teaching us, without knowing it. She's teaching us patience, she's teaching us how to be good parents. And I think, I hope we are succeeding. If a happy dog is any indication, I'd say we are.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So, I filled everyone in about my torn achilles a couple of posts ago. Basically it has little tears all over it and has anyone ever had one of these? OHMYGOD, it HURTS. AND? When you reluctantly go to the ortho surgeon AND the chiropractor in the same day to try to just get it fixed, you learn that a) it takes weeks or maybe MONTHS and b) if you aren't careful you could injure it so badly it ruptures. Mistake of the day: googling ruptured achilles. Even if the pain wasn't making me sit on my ass, after that I would have not moved for YEARS just in case it decided to rupture. (Seriously, gross).

I like to think I'm fairly tough and can tolerate pain well. But wow, I think maybe this achilles issue is making me a wimp. I can't even WALK a mile without wanting to curl up in a little ball or at the very least, chop my foot off. No matter how much I ice it and stretch it and stay off of it (now that I know that's what I'm supposed to do- thanks ortho surgeon and our favorite chiropractor, Dr. O!), it STILL won't totally heal. Which really hampers my lifestyle, not to mention the plans I have for Hawaii...which is rapidly approaching (try less than 2 weeks on for size). So it NEEDS TO HEAL.

Well. I spent all last week stretching and icing and stretching and icing and again and again until I'm fairly sure that the thing is sufficiently stretched or at least numb for a couple of months due to the mass amounts of ice I've put on it.

Last weekend we decided that it would be ok (maybe even good for me!) to go to the dog park and walk around a bit to get it to loosen up. The doctors said that if I stretched, iced and rested for a while then the next step is to walk a bit to use it. So, FINALLY, after what seemed like forever, I decided, I should walk. A bit. At the dog park. Because it's part of the healing process. And it's awesome since I HATE being inactive. Hate it. And it lets the dog get some massive energy out- bonus!

Side note: we made this decision about the dog park after going to the dog store to get Bella a raincoat and fleece since we are entering our rainy/cold season and she doesn't have much fur to keep her warm. $150 later, we are on the way to the dog park, sort of in a state of shock. Because, SERIOUSLY. How are coats for DOGS $70?! I mean, it's a DOG. But everyone in there was giving us their opinion about how these two coats were the best. So she now has a pink raincoat and a pink fleece. That were $150. It's like gucci for dogs. Seriously ridiculous.


Well, three boxers at the dog park on Saturday had different ideas about how good of an idea it was for me to get out, including my puppy (probably the worst of them all). If anyone has ever been to an off leash dog park, you know that it's like Disneyland for dogs. THEY GO NUTS (understatement). And they usually pay no attention to anything but each other especially if they find a group of dogs that they get along with and play with. Well, boxers in particular seem to find each other and bond together to play. And they are BLIND when this starts to happen.

So we've been at the dog park for about 30-40 minutes when Bella finds a 6 month old boxer puppy that she decides she wants to dominate. Groan. We hate this behavior but Bella is in her "terrible teenage" years as we are calling it and is trying to exert her power over what she can (including us- she has been so rebellious lately. It's beyond annoying). So she starts to dominate this puppy. We of course intervene. But THEN! Yes, we're saved! Adult male boxer romps on over. HE puts Miss Bella in her place. Awesome! After he tells her what's up (and how she shouldn't beat up on little puppies and she actually gets it), the three of them start running around. And then....



Three boxers collided with my left leg. As I was trying to avoid getting in their way since I know they are ignorant when they're playing, I'm being gentle on my right achilles so I'm not exactly speedy in getting out of the way. And, therefore, my left leg gets left behind in their path of destruction. I am gripping my leg hopping around on my right foot (the foot with the torn achilles) so I am in double pain. I can't put my left foot on the ground because it hurts so freaking much and my achilles is then subsequently THROBBING, which I assume is its way of yelling at me to STOP putting pressure on it.

Fighting back tears, Tim helps me out of the dog park. And I never tear up when I'm hurt (I think this is how Tim knew it was not good). As the night goes on, my left leg turns all sorts of shades of black and blue and we realize that I have severely bruised the muscles internally on that leg (as well as external bruises, obviously). I literally could not straighten it out, could not walk on it. Seriously, the only good thing about this was that I forgot how bad my achilles hurt. The stupid leg hurt like HELL. I spent the next 2-3 days (with Tim home from work to help me) alternatively icing my bruised muscle left leg and my torn achilles right leg, all the while unable to walk on either. I couldn't use my left leg but if I used solely my right leg, uh, then I would make the achilles worse and remember my fear of the ruptured achilles? Yeah. So I was completely immobile for 2-3 days. Each day, I was able to use the left leg a little bit more and finally was able to hobble into work yesterday. But I'm still icing each leg. And stretching. And resting. And repeat. I have resigned myself to sitting on my ass until we leave for Hawaii.

It was totally a preview of myself in 70 years when I have to be carried to the bathroom to take a piss. Totally humbling. I am lucky that my sweet husband stayed with me to carry me around and help me stretch, ice, rest, rub muscles and repeat. And not like I ever really took my healthy legs for granted, but WOW. I cannot imagine not having legs. That sucked.

And, pictures of the terrible teenager in her new jacket (the fleece one). We've been breaking it out every morning since it's been freezing. She loves it. Haven't had to use the rain coat yet, surprisingly. I think she looks adorable in her new fleece and she's also very cuddly in it as well.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stuffing my treehugger views down your throat.

I'm on an email chain from my favorite naturopathic doctor around who runs a holistic wellness center in the city that I work in. I did a "boot camp" (aka: kick your ass group training) a couple of years ago from this wellness center and learned TONS from Dr. Mark. It also confirmed by belief that my passion is and will always be nutrition and whole body wellness and living a whole, natural, balanced life. Aka: point your finger at me and yell treehugger. Whatever.

Like I didn't already KNOW THAT but meeting him and talking to him was absolutely phenomenal (oh, and I got into really awesome shape...though really just got massively toned since I lost no weight or body fat % at all in the entire 6 weeks, which is good- I didn't need to). I still think about one day getting my master's in nutrition or EVEN doing the naturopathic doctor thing and eventually starting my own wellness center although I know it's probably not as lucrative as my current career. But I would LOVE IT and accounting is always useful in any field. Some days I really do love my job in accounting and just do the nutrition/wellness stuff as a hobby and am fulfilled by that and think I can have a life like that forever. But then other times, I realize how excited I get for my Whole Living magazines, Nutrition action magazines, Yoga magazines and Eating Well magazines but then my Journal of Accountancy magazines will sit dormant for about 3 months until I open them to look at the contents and say: Pass. No thanks, not today. Magazines are minor, I know, but it's a little thing that kind of exemplifies what I am really interested in. Although I do love the people side of what I do now in accounting. Who knows. But the point is, I LOVE THIS STUFF-nutrition, wellness.

Earlier this week our firm administrator sent out an email on flu shots and how "we are strongly, strongly recommended to get them." This follows a little experience at Tim's work where he came into contact with a patient with a fever and his company then proceeded to make him go to urgent care to get tested for H1N1, which he refused. Tim and I have been talking all week about how silly this is when if you take care of yourself, your body has a natural immune system that will fight off the flu. And why inject yourself with something so unnatural as a "quick fix" but you might still get the flu anyway? And what about side affects? And why not just combat all fall/winter illnesses by beefing up on vitamins, natural supplements, sleep, exercise that BOOST your immune system? I am a total proponent of western medicine in some cases and believe that it is POWERFUL. I also just think it's very much TOO relied on in some cases, especially when we can look to the natural to heal.

So back to my first sentence- I still get emails from Dr. Mark. An email showed up in my inbox from him today. The whole time I was reading it I was sitting there yelling "THAT'S WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ALL WEEK!!!" It is a total representation of how Tim and I feel about the whole flu shot thing and living a natural life so I am going to post it in its entirety here. Like Dr. Mark says, I'm not trying to push my views on anyone out there (regardless of the title of this post) or discredit anyone who is legitimately sick and needs the care of western medicine, but for just a little bit of a view on how I feel about flu shots via the words of a great naturopathic doctor, here you go:

"Should you or your child get a flu shot?

-Did you know a recent study found that 70% of doctors and nurses don't get flu shots?* Reasons cited included not believing the vaccine would work, believing their own immune systems would be strong enough to deal with the flu and being concerned about side effects.

-Did you know that more people die from malnutrition than the flu each year?*

-Did you know the death rate of children under the age of five from the flu has increased since the CDC started widely recommending vaccines for children?*

-Did you know those with adequate levels of vitamin D rarely get the flu?*

Each year at this time we hear the loud proclamation it's "time to get your flu shot." It seems the drumming of this message gets louder and louder each passing year. Especially now with the H1N1 virus thrown into the mix. The message is clear: Be afraid.

And despite warnings of potential shortages, every other block will seem to have a flu shot outlet. It's becoming an unquestioned seasonal rite of passage to go along with the leaves changing colors on the trees. At this rate, it may reach the lofty status previously reserved only for "It's the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

But the real question is if this is the right thing to do. And if so right, why do so many people need convincing? And if it's not so right, why is it being pushed so hard? Are there reasonable alternatives?

And tell me if this makes sense: A radio ad by Albertson's Sav-On Pharmacy is urging us to come in and get their flu shot. It's just $24.95. And when we do, we'll get a free flu survival kit! Really? Why do I need a flu survival kit if I am getting a flu shot that will protect me from the flu?

Please understand that I am not dismissing the potential seriousness of the flu, be it seasonal or H1N1. But when did the anticipation of MAYBE getting the flu be an automatic reason to do something that many intelligent people believe doesn't help avoid getting the flu AND has the potential to be even worse for your health than actually getting the flu?

The flu on very rare occasions, can lead to serious complications such as bacterial pneumonia- which you may notice is not a viral infection. So a flu should be monitored closely. But in most cases, if you do get the flu, symptoms resolve in a few days with extra rest and fluids. The flu isn't any fun but doesn't anyone remember eating chicken soup as a kid?

I am just not a fan of the blind acceptance being wildly promoted for getting flu shots for the seasonal flu or the H1N1 virus. And it disturbs me immensely the heavy dose of scare tactics often used in the promotion of such vaccines. I've had parents tell me the nasty backlash they've received when deciding not to get flu shots for their kids.


Each person has the right to make a personal decision about whether they want to get a flu shot. I abhor this idea of "mandatory flu shots" being so casually tossed around these days. You may or may not choose to get a flu shot but I encourage you to do your homework and seek more than one opinion. Talk to your doctor or pediatrician. Yet, also don't assume your well-intentioned healthcare provider will have all the answers. Do your own research. Ask questions. Find out the truth. Use this process to educate your family.

Personally, to me the arguments for flu vaccines are illogical at best- and dangerous at worst. And objective medical science is far from convincing me about the benefit of a flu shot. So I choose not to get flu shots. If I had kids, I would personally choose not to get them flu shots.

As a naturopathic physician intensely focused on healthy living, I want folks to be more educated and more personally responsible about their health and not blindly assume they should get shots. Nor do I like to see people get bullied or scared into taking shots when there are legitimate questions to be asked that are worthy of legitimate answers. Especially about a hurriedly approved swine vaccine that has had little testing and where you are not allowed any recourse should there be complications.

This should be about HEALTH and not about anything else. Have we forgotten that our body is naturally capable if we just give it half a chance?

Studies have shown that those with adequate levels of viatmin D as well as vitamin C, Zinc and other immune boosting nutrients are much less susceptible to the flu.* Also, since the immune system is highly tied to the health of your gut, taking probiotics during the winter is a good preventative measure. And even your omega-3 fatty acids promote better immune system function.

As we enter the fall season, get your rake ready and get outside while you can for the best source of vitamin D on this earth. And do wash your hands, get a good night's sleep and dust off your favorite recipe for homemade chicken soup. Those things make sense to me."
-Dr Mark

Also, check out these links for further research (one is from the CDC and one is from a more biased nutrition site):

And that is how I feel about that.