Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 304 - MMOM

1. My current weather is _______?
Sunny, with a few clouds.

2. What is your favorite sound?
Waves crashing, rain dropping, cats purring...

3. What is the worst flavor of ice cream?
Anything with coconut in it, or raisins - YUCK!

4. What magazine do you look for when you are stuck in the waiting room?
Either some trashy tabloid or teen magazine, I'll deal with seriousness when the bill comes!

5. What is your favorite condiment?
It's a tie, hot sauce and ketchup, I love them both!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 303 - Zzzz...

Today, I'm taking a nap. A few of them, actually. I really need to catch up on my sleep, or lack there of, from the past week! Between two jobs, a class (much loved), and outing with friends (much needed) I am drained. I'm giving myself permission to snooze and re-coupe and not let the self induced belief that lack of physical accomplishment equates to laziness. About to snuggle up with my ghost-pillow, cat and Cubs blanket for some serious snoozin. See ya tomorrow.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 302 - Biter

Today I faced a dog who recently bit another trainer. As we are in the business of not getting bitten, this was quite a scary thing for me. We as trainers make it our number one priority to read a dog's body language and avoid being bitten by respecting what the dog is telling us. So, when a trainer who is 5 times more experienced then I am (literally) gets bitten by an unpredictable dog, it doesn't leave me and my lack of experience feeling very positive for the day's unfolding.

I did my best to put on a brave face for my class and the Biter, and hoped no one would see my fear. I worked dilligently to read the Biter's body language, hoping my fate would not be the same as the previous trainer's. I even, begrudgingly, took the Biter to use as a demo-dog and worked through what I believe was some of his anxiety. By the end of the class, despite some challenging dog reactive behavior, I remained unscathed. I rewarded the Biter for all of it's hard work, and sent him and his family on their way for another week of in-home practice. As they walked away, I watched the Biter chomp down twice on a stranger's hand and wondered if my bite prevention was skill or luck.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 301 - B-Rob63

I have a new blogger friend that I think you should check out at "Seeking My Own Quiet Place". You might ask why I'm mentioning him and his blog here? Well for one, I remember what it was like to be brand new to the blogging world (so please stop by and make him feel welcome!) and secondly, I'm stealing his topic for today's 301st post!

What do I think happiness is?

I don't know that I believe happiness is just one thing, or maybe it is to some? But I think happiness is an energy to be shared and a journey to be lived, definitely not a destination. I think happiness is in the little moments that make up one big life. I think happiness can be a gaze upon a cloud or the look of your loved one on your shared special day. Happiness is a contagious thing, that I know for sure. Happiness is a curing thing as well. Happiness comes in many sizes and forms, and like beauty, is in the eye of it's beholder. People waiting on happiness, I should think, would hardly ever find it as I believe happiness is something you make, share, and most of all, participate in and appreciate in the daily practice of life.

What do you think happiness is?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 300 - Wow!

I can't believe this is my 300th post! While I was looking for one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes which states...

"...You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

I also found this one...

"One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else."

I can't believe how true both of the quotes above are for me! Writing this blog and tackling some of the obstacles written about have seemed insurmountable at times, and as I look back and review some of my writings I ask myself, "How did I do that?". It's amazing not only how I've tackled the things I thought I couldn't (like climbing up a skyscrapers, raising over $1,000 for a charity event, and partaking in my first ever Mud Run) but how my general interest in life expands, and allows new opportunities to find me.

So often I've told my friends that this blog and the events held within it have seemed to magically snowball and lead me to new paths and ideas. Eleanor Roosevelt's quote couldn't have summed it up any more perfectly! What have you accomplished that you thought you could not do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 299 - Mad

It's very easy to get mad, and while I try not to waste too much time on that emotion, the hardest thing I find about being mad, is telling whoever it is that made me mad, why I'm mad! But I did it. And all was right with the world again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 298 - Interpretation

I had a dream about bones this morning. And no, that's not a code name for anything. I literally dreamt I had a broken bone and then decided to extract it from myself. Once extracted, there was a small show of blood, but the bone was in one piece and not broken at all. It did seem pretty damaged, however. While the dream itself was pretty darn odd and kinda scary, I was more afraid to tell anyone about it (so of course I blog about it?), and even more afraid to look up what it meant. According to numerous "dream interpretation" websites, the elements in my dream can signify...

This dream means that you need to think about what you have, what you want, and then focus on stripping it all back to just focus on what makes you happy....(How true!!!)

Damage: Damage can mean anger and resentment... (I'd say I'm angry about some recent changes in my life!)

Blood: To loose blood can signify loss of love. (Umm, yeah...)

Odd how we can dream of seemingly such random things, and yet, years of studies that interpret what they mean seem so accurate (or at least in my case). Dream interpretation dates back to at least 5000BC, and seems to have not weakened in it's fascination for us humans. It's amazing what our subconscious communicates to us in our sleep, isn't it? With that said, I ask you, what do your dreams say about you?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 297 - MMOM

1. My favorite kind of animal is _______?
I love them all, but have to say the cheetah is at the top of my list these days. This is me, with Moya the Cheetah.

2. Do you like your handwriting?
Yes, but I hardly write anything these days. Type, type, type.

3. What is the last movie you saw?
50/50 - I loved it.

4. Do you buy things on eBay?
No... I know it's not the same, but I prefer Amazon. I'm a "one-stop shop" kind of girl.

5. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
A lightly-toasted, golden brown, pefectly melted gooey, grill cheese sandwich. Yum!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 296 - Lost

Agreeing to pick someone up, instead of meeting them at a common place, led me to get lost today and proved quite the challenge. I didn't panic, but I was slightly, umm... aggravated. Yes, that's the word, aggravated, as I screamed at other drivers to get out of my way in my navigational disaster. Obviously, since you're reading this, I didn't stay lost, but challenging myself to find a new route "to and from" proved quite interesting today and I saw new parts of the city I didn't know existed!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 295 - Autumn

Today I went to a house warming party of someone I've only met once. I went out on a limb hoping to get to know more about the hostess, and branch out and meet some new people too. Of course, I was terrified of the fact that the one person I did know, wouldn't be arriving until later. Despite arriving stag, I mustered up my courage and 12 pack, and walked up the driveway. I let myself in, and...

Long story short? I had a blast, and met some great new people. I even met another city girl, who I hope to hang out with in the future! So glad I took the challenge, and the long drive, to attend the party, it paid off!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 294 - 11 of 12

Today I signed up for my 11th monthly event, which is my first ever Turkey Trot. While I would have loved to participate in the Chicago, "Hot Chocolate 5K" for the month of November, scheduling would not allow for it. Perhaps next year I'll be able to enjoy the Hot Chocolate, but for now, it's turkey time!

(P.S. I can't believe we're heading into November shortly!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 293 - Beware

I should have listened to the soothsayer who warned Julius Caesar "Beware the Ides of March", because I didn't care for the movie's (of the same name) ending! While it was not a bad movie, I do not particularly like cliffhangers. I want to be told the whole story and be whisked away to a fantasy land that lasts for the hour and a half that I am in the theater. Point blank, I am a movie-goer who wants to be entertained. I don't want to have to think about it, I just want to enjoy it.

To be fair, despite my disdain for the ending, the movie, "Ides of March" makes you think about the actions and corruptibility of those you most believe in, including yourself. It was well acted, and moreover a well thought out plot that leaves you to wonder where the twists and turns of the movie will end. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), just like real life, the ending is up to you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 292 - Almost Wordless Wednesday

Life in the WINDY city.

(I guess the sidewalk is closed today!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 291 - Do Over

If I could have done a "do over" for today, here's how it would have gone.

If I could have done today over... I would have stayed in bed all day snuggled up under the covers, allowing myself an additional day of rest and relaxation, instead of getting up early to reluctantly go to the gym.

If I could have done today over... Once at the gym, I would have been motivated to do a full workout, instead of doing only two out of the 4 exercise routines I was supposed to do. (But I would have kept the yoga and stretching!)

If I could have done today over... When listening to two people argue on the phone for nearly 90 minutes, I would have hung up on them and told them to call me back when they figured it out.

If I could have done today over... I would have left work at 10:30am, before the phone call, and the rest of the stresses of the day would provoke me to write this post, and would have avoided a headache as well.

If I could have done today over... I would have made it a clear, non-rainy night so I could sleep peacefully and not have a cat staring at me as if to ask, "What's that noise outside?".

What would your "do-over" be?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 290 - MMOM

1. The thing that scares me the most is __________?
Not figuring out, and accomplishing, what it is I was put on this planet to do.

2. Do you like nuts in your Chocolate Chip cookies?

NO! I don't like nuts in any of my desserts, but will eat almost all varieties on their own, raw.

3. If you couldn't change the channel, what tv show would drive you from the room?
Most of them! Especially American Dad? I don't even know if that's the right name, seeing as I loathe the "adult" cartoon so much.

4. Pulp or no pulp in your Orange Juice?

I don't do orange juice at all. Am I the only one that thinks orange juice does NOT taste like oranges?

5. Who do you miss the most?
My dad.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 289 - Corn

Today I participated in the World's Largest Corn Maze 5K Run/Walk. Boasting 250 turns and curves, I have to admit that this maze made me dizzy at times! There were also plenty of times I would have loved to cheat and cut under the ropes that tied off the maze, ensuring that we completed the full 3.1 miles of corny craziness, but I didn't. Below are just a few pictures of the event. After having nearly tripped over 3 different downed cornstalks throughout the maze, this event allows me to appreciate the flat paved streets of my "normal" 5K events!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 288 - Moya

With much anticipation, my "Meet a Cheetah" day as I've come to call it finally arrived! If you're a new reader to my blog, earlier this year I participated in the Chicago, "Run for the Cheetah" 5K event and by raising $1,000.00 I was allowed a VIP invitation to the Cheetah Conservation Fund's annual gala. By attending, myself and a guest would not only get to meet Dr. Laurie Marker, founder of the CCF, but a cheetah as well!

This is Moya, a one year old male cheetah.

The inspiring, Dr. Laurie Marker

Moya getting a tasty snack (raw chicken)

Part of my tasty dinner

Prior to dinner, I took plenty of photos of Moya, and got to speak with Dr. Marker and her staff in depth on numerous occasions. The highlight of course, was getting some one on one time with Moya, getting to pet him (I never thought his fur would be so "bristly"!), and have my picture taken with him, Dr. Marker and one of his handlers. The evening, the people, and the energy were all awe inspiring and served as a reminder that life is bigger then what you know. You have a purpose bigger than yourself, and it's up to you to follow your heart to find it. I cannot wait to continue my volunteer efforts with the CCF and see what role I can play in saving this amazing animal.

Where will your heart take you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 287 - $9.50

Upon leaving work, I tuned in to my favorite AM radio station, only to hear that my commute home would be a minimum of an hour and a half thanks to the Korean President's motorcade shutting down one of the main highways in my route home. As I calculated, I was not willing to spend the next 2+ hours in my car, so I made an impromptu trip to the nearest mall and spent those two hours in a movie theater instead of sucking fumes on the highway. It was the best $9.50 I've ever spent to avoid a headache.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 286 - Cancel

At a friend's request I sent out a group invite over a month ago, and I was happy to see that everyone accepted. I looked forward to catching up with my 6 friends over dinner tonight. But sadly, one by one, everyone seemed to come up with an excuse, a very lame excuse I might add, as to why they could no longer attend. As the list of attendees dwindled, I decided to say "Screw it!", I'm going to cancel with the group, and go to dinner with my closest friend out of the attendees. I was not going to let a group of poopers dissuade me from a night out!

So, with that said, my friend and I went to dinner, had a fabulous waitress, fabulous food and even more fabulous dessert. The best part of the night was getting free cappuccinos from our waitress, complete with rock candy stirrers! After dinner we walked, talked and shopped in efforts to burn at least a few of those delicious calories off our tummies.

Lesson of the night? 1) If you want something done, do it yourself. 2) As Joe Clark (remember the movie, "Lean On Me"?) would say, "Don't let the dastards get you down". (I met him, he's a cool cat) and 3) Dessert fixes everything!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 285 - Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 284 - Undercover

As a dog trainer I'm always up for learning more about the craft and more so, finding out how my competitors train. I always wonder what makes them different, and what makes them successful. So when the opportunity came to go spy, I mean attend a different, local training facility, I jumped on it. Following here is my take on my recent visit wherein I accompanied my friend, who accompanied her friend who was training his dog. Please note, participants names have been changed for security purposes.

I have to admit, when I found out my friend, Under Cover Agent Snack Cake was attending a competitor's dog class with one of her friends, Civilian A. Gunner, I was a bit envious and thought, "I want to go see too!". And when that thought became words, Agent Snack Cake invited me to tag along! Upon arrival at the training grounds, Agent Snack Cake and I parked in the back of the dimly lit facility and that set the mood for our stake out. We watched and waited for Civilian A.G. to show up to no avail. I had hoped for a pre-class briefing to discuss what role would I play, what would be my cover? But alas, it did not happen. With 5 minutes to spare before class start time, I told Agent SC that we should go in. That's when we realized Civilian AG already arrived and was working with his dog inside the classroom. Obviously, our surveillance skills need work.

Once inside, there wasn't much for me to do but observe, and that was just fine with me. As I watched the instructor direct his students to correct their dogs, I couldn't help but wonder where had the humanity gone? Why were these students putting so much faith in instructions that physically hurt their dogs? My sad realization was that they had given the rolly-polly man a God complex which he did not deserve. Not once did the teacher actually teach his students why they were doing the things they were, and not once did a student ask. At my age, I've learned to ask and question authority, respectfully of course. Why didn't these people?

While I did learn one trick of our mutual trade, I found myself utterly disgusted with the instructor as he harshly smacked the muzzle of an overly stressed dog in efforts to get it to "behave". I couldn't help but think, "If he had done that to MY dog I would have...". And that's about when our under cover surveillance session was over. My report to headquarters stated that from my surveillance I learned how to be a more compassionate trainer, and will continue to explain the "why" to my students and hope that they feel comfortable enough to ask me questions. I will strive to keep an open dialogue and a much needed open heart when dealing with the public. More then anything, this stake out of sorts led me to share this quote with you...

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” - Buddha

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 283 - MMOM

1. The best part of waking up each day is __________?
Working out and breakfast! I love breakfast!!!

2. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
I always have to think about my age, I tend to assimilate my age with whatever age group is around me.

3. Red or Green Apples?
Honey Crisp - they're both!

4. Do you forgive easily?
Probably too easily.

5. If you could live in any home on a television series, which would it be?

The Jetson's house, everything gets done with a push of a button!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 282 - Marathon

Today I woke up at 5am on this perfectly good for sleeping in Sunday. I got dressed and joyfully walked down the street to the Chicago Marathon's Mile 8 Volunteer Check In station. How quickly my enthusiasm diminished when I was met with, "You're not on the volunteer check list". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd randomly get up at 5am to volunteer for something I hadn't pre-planned on doing. Besides, if I wasn't pre-involved, how would I know where to go? Despite this logic and e-mailed communication, I wasn't deemed an official Course Marshall volunteer. I got denied my marathon participation jacket and hat, and got demoted to "Gatorade Girl". I took my credentials and walked toward the Gatorade station, but nearly turned back to go home. "Pshhh", I thought, "I got out of bed for this?".

Before I knew it, I was meeting other volunteers and hanging up Gatorade signage. Soon after introductions, I was laying out out first level of cups. Each batch of "Gatorade" was 5 gallons of water per every 1 gallon of Gatorade, stir, and pour.

"Half full only!", an experienced volunteer yelled as I started pouring the Gator concoction into the cups. "They'll throw it on you!". I didn't quite know what he meant by that, but I found out later. I continued to pour and layer my cups, and 4 layers later, here's what my table looked like.

It wasn't long before we heard announcements that the first wheelchair marathoners were coming through, quickly followed by the Elite runners. Neither groups would take a beverage we were warned, as their goal was all about speed. In a blur, they were gone. With under a 5 minute mile to their name, there wasn't much to see.

Before I knew it, the "regular" runners were coming, and the handing out of the beverages began. "One foot on the curb!!!", we were reminded. This made sure we didn't go too far out into the street consequently impacting running flow. "Hold the cup by the top or bottom, not the middle!", we heard. This would make it easier for the runners to grab their beverage of choice. After what seemed to be 5 minutes of holding a cup out by my side, it was miraculously gone. A blur had gone by and sucked it out of my hand. Such an odd feeling. I quickly got another cup and waited. It was almost as if I were fishing, but the goal in this case was to allow the fish to get away with the bait!

As more runners passed, I began to get splashed with left over Gatorade as they tossed their semi-empty cups to the ground. Now I knew what the senior volunteer meant! As my arm and shoulder grew tired of holding out the offering cups, I found myself moving onto other tasks, like keeping new and fresh cups of Gatorade coming. If I thought this task would keep me Gatorade free, I was wrong. Pouring is not my forte! Soon I found my volunteer jacket (yes, I finally got one!) soaked in grossness. The day continued, and the Gatorade, cups and all, continued to flow. Towards the end of my volunteer shift, I found myself shoveling hundreds of cups into garbage bags. Now I've shoveled many a things in my life, but cups has never been one of them!

Walking home, I smelled a foul scent and checked my shoes to see what I had stepped in. I found my shoes were clean, but the smell was now emanating from my Gatorade soaked jacket. Eww! I had become the smelly kid! I didn't let that deter me however, from picking up a "Denver Omelet to go please", on my way home. Upon arriving home, I quickly got out of my Gatorade Gear, changed, and enjoyed my breakfast. It was only moments later, I dozed off to sleep to enjoy a quiet Sunday, all to myself.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 281 - HD

Thank goodness I decided to pull my hair back and into a ponytail today. Little did I know it would come in handy for my late in the day, fear tackling mission! I was "volunteered" into riding a Harley Davidson today. Okay, now no one really had to twist my arm on this one, especially since one of my goals is to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but I was admittedly a bit nervous when the idea was sprung on me.

As I walked out of work, friends greeted me and I overheard something about, "Let her ride..." I immediately got nervous as I had not pre-planned any type of motorcycle ride, and didn't have time to talk myself in or out of action! A shopping excursion delayed my mission, but did not prevent it. As we exited the store, I found myself handing over my car keys and asking for an explanation on how to get on the two-seater. "Good Lord, please don't let me kick him in the head", is all I could think as I hoisted myself onto the bike. With a rev of the engine, that joyfully set off a near by car's alarm, we were on our way.

While I did have faith in the driver, my mind wondered upon such thoughts as, "This thing doesn't have any seat belts". Quickly followed by, "Well, if I fall off, I probably wouldn't want to be strapped to the bike anyway.". A few blocks into the ride, I felt pretty relaxed and got the feel for the bike (or at least I hope I did!) and was loving it. I relaxed as the wind invited me to do so, and thought too bad the roads aren't endless and the daylight is never ending. I could ride all night.

What activity makes you feel free?

Could this be in my future?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 280 - Friday

(Sorry readers, that's all I really have for today.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 279 - Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for...

Winning $15 via a lottery ticket...

Friends who stick around, or in some cases, come back...

Co-workers who give me snacks in effort to hold me over when working a late night...

Unexpectedly great weather...

Finally finding Cassiopeia in the north eastern sky...

Co-workers who keep promises they made over 3 months ago...

Great parking spaces two nights in a row...

Re-runs of my favorite shows...

Watching two geese take flight in the moonlight...


A good night's sleep!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 278 - Almost Wordless Wednesday

The Culprit spies a paper bag...

The Culprit destroys said bag.

The End.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 277 - Conversation

I had my first signed conversation last night! I found out, rather quickly, that I was actually afraid to use my newly learned skills in fear of signing something incorrectly. It was hard for me to sign outside of the classroom due to feeling intimidated, so I used very few signs at first. More so, I don't think I even signed a complete sentence! The other signer encouraged me, and I got the basics out like, help, home, potty training/learning, class, and breakfast in the conversation and believe that she understood what I was trying to convey despite my nervousness. If they say practice makes perfect, I have a lot of practicing left to do - which surely will be accomplished as I head off to my new, ASL Beginner 2 class tonight!

What new thing or skill have you learned, and then been afraid to use?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 276 - MMOM

1. I can't stand when someone ________?

2. Do you do daily, weekly or monthly grocery shopping?
I try to stick to weekly, but poor planning lends itself to more like daily shopping trips.

3. What kind of car do you drive?
A (currently) noise free Honda!

4. Crunchy or soft tacos?
Both, just depends on what kind of mood I'm in!

5. What's the habit you are proudest of breaking?
Well... I'd say biting my nails, but I still bite them when I am very, very stressed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 275 - Dependent

According to Webster's dictionary, the word "dependent" means, "not self-reliant: needing to rely on or trust in somebody or something for help or support...". There are 2 other variations of the definition, where one might be dependent on drugs, or someone else for financial support. No matter which description you read, the word dependent seems to have a negative connotation. But what happens when we need to depend on friends? Is that a bad thing?

Of course, depending on how one was raised (a-hem, perhaps like this blog's author?), you might have to swallow some pride, or retrain yourself to realize that depending on and trusting in those who you love, and love you back, is not a bad thing at all. I've had to do that such thing for myself and I can tell you, it's not easy and really, it's down right scary at times.

But, if you can push past your pride and whatever else silly thoughts might fill your head, the benefits of doing so are pretty awesome. I've found that I can open myself to new experiences and deepen relationships by depending on others from time to time. Whether it be for lodging for a night, or help moving, what's there to lose? Go ahead, trust and depend on someone for something.

What do you depend on others for?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 274 - Phone-less

We as a culture, rely on our technologies way too much and become a slave to the things we own. As a challenge to myself, I was to go 24 hours without my cell phone. Now, I must admit, while it was a challenge I planned to face, I had not planned on tackling it this particular weekend. Thanks to being in a rush, I left my cell phone at home Friday morning and was not planning on returning home until late Saturday night. While I instantly realized I had forgotten my device and had time to return home to retrieve it, I decided, "Well, now is as good as a time as any to go without my phone" and continued on with my day.

Immediately thoughts of fear filled my head. "What if I need it?". "What if my car breaks down?". "What if there's an emergency?". The "what ifs?" continued to creep into my mind throughout most of my commute. Despite my initial concerns, I found b
y noon time I was starting to not miss my phone. I was actually thankful to have forgotten it! It was a relief not having to check it or think, "Was that my phone?" every time I heard a slight buzzing noise. By Saturday, I was greatly enjoying the detachment from my phone. I felt free and had no tether and no responsibility to reply to, or answer to anyone or anything.

By the time I reached home again, 36+ hours had passed. I had survived my 24 hour phone-free challenge, and then some. I checked my phone before going to bed and turned it off immediately. Hopefully, I will spend more days "phone-less" in the future, and focus on connecting with the people I care to, face to face.

What item of technology do you feel you can't live without?
Could you go 24 hours without it?