Hard to believe, isn’t it.  Last year was a whirlwind of good, bad and not so bad.  But I survived it and, honestly, at this point I’m just putting 2011 behind me.

I enjoy writing, I enjoy blogging but I haven’t been doing it lately.  I don’t like the fact that I haven’t been blogging or writing or keeping up with so many of my personal and business “things” that make me happy and feeling more satisfied with my life.  I’m going to change that.  Now.  So, my one goal for 2012 (I have actually set two — one personal and one business) is to be engaged in the things I enjoy.  Pretty broad goal, isn’t it.  If I were coaching me I’d slap my hand and say “MAKE IS MEASURABLE” but, I have a lot going on now, don’t really want to get in to all of that here but I have a lot going on and am working more detailed on those things.  So, there you have it.

Oh, and Panda and Jeeves are both doing great.  :)




My baby’s home


It’s been so long since I’ve written on any of my blogs that I doubt anyone even reads them any more.  But, dang it, I just need to vent.

First, mom and dad moved here in early December.  That was a good thing, a very good thing.  Unfortunately, my dad ended up in the hospital right after that which was stressful, very stressful.  He was in the hospital basically all of December.  He got out and I got sick.  Knock me flat on my back and feeling like crap sick.  Did I mention this is December and January.  Sucks.

Well, now my baby is sick.  I know.  She’s a dog.  But, she’s MY dog and dang it she’s pretty important to me.  Heck, I have tears streaming down my face right now because I’m thinking about her, sitting on my couch and SHE’S NOT HERE.  :(

Usually when I’m sitting on the couch this is the face that’s staring back at me.  She’s usually sitting right at my feet, or if I’m lucky (because I do like my space) she’s laying on her blanket (the one my mom knitted for ME but she has claimed as her own) with one eye on me to make sure I’m still there.  Instead, I’m staring at that blanket where she was laying this morning with her adorable puppy dog eyes telling me that she wasn’t feeling good.

Since Panda came to live with me in August she’s has very quickly wrapped me around those adorable paws of hers.  When I say she’s part of my life I mean it.  If I’m going through a drive-thru I know which ones give the best dog treats.  I go to the bank that has the best dog treats in town.  She is with me all the time and I love it.

So, what’s going on.  Wednesday I worked from home hoping to get caught up on things since it’s been such a crappy month.  Of course, Panda was on her bed in my office doing her lazy thing.  I heard a noise and looked over and she had puked.  It was rather gross and definitely not a normal occurrence with her (she’s only thrown up one other time).  I wasn’t thrilled but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Then on Thursday evening I was petting her and giving her a massage and I noticed that one of her folds was red which probably meant it was infected.  It’s something that is common in bulldogs but I felt horrible because my baby had a boo-b00.  :(   Since this is the first time she’s had a skin infection since I’ve had her I didn’t have anything for it so I knew we’d need to go to the vet on Friday to get something for her skin.

Friday morning I woke up and she had (OK, this is where it might get kind of gross so, you’re warned) diarrhea.  Of course, it was in her bed (blech) but when I took her outside it was the nastiest runniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Not good so I called the vet so we could get her checked out.  Definitely not a fun morning.  But we got to the vet without any mishaps (ie accidents).

The vet was running late and they had a student vet there so we got the royal treatment.  A very thorough exam and highest praise for how wonderful my sweet baby is.  The student vet and our regular doctor both raved on how wonderful Panda was.  They both were amazed by how cooperative she was why they poked and prodded and pushed and examined her.  I was proud.   They did a stool sample to rule out a parasite and when that came back OK gave her some barium and let me bring her home.  The doctor explained that the barium coats the stomach kind of like mylanta so if everything was fine it would calm her stomach and come out and we’d be fine.  If not, the barium would allow them to see her digestive movement in xrays today.  (See Panda has a bad habit of eating things she shouldn’t, like stuffing from her toys, so if something was stuck we’d be able to see it this way.)  I brought her home, well, actually I brought her to my parents because I needed to run an errand and didn’t want her home alone.  My parents took her out every 20 minutes because she still had diarrhea and when I got her we did the same thing until she fell asleep at 9.  At one point she had some blood so I was worried but the vet office was closed so I just watched her.

She slept in my room that night so I could hear her better.  She slept great, I didn’t.  Normally, Panda wakes up between 8:30 and 9 and can’t wait to get out of her crate.  She does a lap around the house to make sure everything is OK then bounds to her spot to wait for me to serve her breakfast.  This morning I woke her up a little after 9 and had to coax her out of her crate.  She walked to the hall and sat down.  When I called her for breakfast she wasn’t excited at all.  But, she did eat. Then I took her out and nothing.  No diarrhea but NOTHING.  I brought her in and she just laid down.  The cat came in and nothing from Panda.  The cat was twitching his tail and everything and Panda just laid there.  Definitely NOT her.

We went out again and this time I had to drag her to get her to even walk on the grass.  That’s when the real fear set in.  So, I jumped in the shower and called the vet to let them know we’d be there soon.  I told the vet what was going on and she was concerned too so took her back for xrays, a rectal and abdomen exam.  The xrays came back fine.  Well, sort of fine.  There is no blockage and everything is moving fine but it also showed us a good picture of her spine and hips.  Her right hip looks great.  The left hip, not so much.  I’ve suspected this but today it was confirmed.  There are also some issues with her spine.  I can’t remember exactly what the spine problem is but her vertebrae aren’t they way they are supposed to be.  Made me feel like I’m not a complete loser because I’ve always thought it was uncomfortable for her to sit and this confirmed that I was right.  She’s been on glucosamine and the doctor said she seems to be comfortable so we’ll stick with that for now.  If she starts acting uncomfortable or in pain we’ll add an anti-inflammatory but for now we’re OK.

The doctor was very concerned, though, because Panda was very uncomfortable/irritated by the abdomen exam.  She said it was a complete change from her exam the day before and that was concerning to her.  She also said she was dehydrated.  She wanted to do some blood work but said Panda really need some fluids.  That’s when they told me she needed to spend the night there.  That’s when I lost it.  I cried.

Yes, I cried because my dog had to spend the night in the vet hospital.

This afternoon I brought Panda’s food for the night.  (She has a sensitive stomach and I didn’t want her to get an upset tummy from eating something new on top of all this.)  The vet had her blood work back and everything looked good.  When I came in Panda was very excited to see me.  :)   She still hadn’t had a bowel movement but was being a real trooper with her IV in.

And now, I’m home.  Missing her terribly and just waiting for morning to come so I can hear how she’s doing.  Assuming she’s hydrated I’ll get to bring her home tomorrow.  Yes, I’m still crying.  After I left the vet I went to my parents house and stayed there most of the day because i didn’t want to come here.  I swear, I haven’t been in my house without my dog since I got her.


I just want my puppy back and I want her to be better.  I’m going to watch a movie but it will be so weird to not have her sitting with her head in my lap begging me to let her on the couch with me.  I’m sad because I can’t give in tonight and let her up to lay across my legs and snuggle in.  I won’t hear her noisy rumble when she falls asleep or be able to rub her silky ears.  I won’t get to wrestle her awake tonight and beg and plead with her to get up so she can go to bed so I can sleep.

Gosh, I just love that rolley-polley pumpkin butt.



Do you make goals for yourself?  I do, sometimes.  I’m not very good at goal-making but this past year on December 31 I decided to make some goals for the year.  I posted them on my blog, as a private page that only I could see.  :)   And kind of left it at that.

This evening I went back and looked through some of my goals to see how far I’ve come.  I’m going to share a few of them here with you.

I gave myself 13 goals for the year.  Looking back now I realize that a few I achieved but in a different way.

For example, I had a goal of being more intentional on getting rid of the last bit of debt I had, instead I went further in debt by buying a house.  But, I’m OK that that particular goal got adjusted.

I also had a particular savings goal in mind and I’m not sure if I will achieve that exactly.  Part of that is because my expenses have gone up because of the house.  But, again, I’m actually OK with the fact that I’m behind on that goal.

I set the goal to be more active in my financial record keeping and budgeting and that I have achieved.  I also set a goal to go on at least one non-working vacation and I achieved that.  I set a goal of at least one long weekend away per quarter and so far I have achieved that.

One sort of lofty goal that I set for myself was to read 100 books this year.  I’m at 80 right now (I think) so I’m a little behind my schedule but I’m pretty confident I’ll achieve that goal as well.

It’s funny, though, I always tell people I mentor to put their goals where they can see them constantly and I didn’t do that.  I wonder how I would have done if I’d taken my own advice and kept my goals in my face all year.

Maybe I’ll try that in 2011.


My nephews and niece are a pretty important part of my life.  They have their own toys, bedroom, and bathroom at my house.  They have toothbrushes and their own cups in a cupboard that they can reach.  None of the kids have their own animals at their house so going to Aunties was pretty cool because I had a cat.  They knew the rules, they could play with the cat but if he went under my bed he was off-limits.

When I brought Panda home the first thing I asked was how she got along with kids because there are children at my house.  Well, Rider, my oldest (almost 7) nephew, grew up with my parents dog.  Now, granted, my parents dog is psychotic, but he knows how to behave around a dog.  Rider is great with Panda.  He can feed her (we have a special food routine where Panda has to sit until invited to eat) without a problem.  He can take her outside, he can walk her (the dog weighs almost twice what he weighs).  He can get her to sit or calm down.  Rider absolute loves Panda and she loves him back.

Ally (my 6 1/2 year old niece) also loves the dog.  Panda is  bit bigger than I think she thought so Ally gets a little overwhelmed at times but, again, Ally can walk her on a leash without problem.  If Panda gets overly excited Ally gets a little anxious but for the most part they are great together.

Then we have Kyle.  Kyle will be 4 in December and Kyle isn’t too fond of dogs.  He hasn’t been around them much and one time he had a dog snap at his face.  Of course, the more afraid he would get the more excited Panda would get because Kyle would start running around trying to get away from her.  Well, we had a break-through this week.  Kyle was in the office and wanted me to put Panda in her crate but I told Kyle to tell Panda that he’s the boss.  So, he did.  And Panda listened.  It was so neat to see.  The next day he was in the office and Panda came up to him again and Kyle put his hands on his hips and said “I’m the boss!”.  Panda sat down in front of him and it’s been a very happy boy and dog ever since.  Kyle also got brave enough to give Panda a treat and now he loves to give her treats and asks me when he comes if he can.  He tells her to sit then gives her a cookie.

I’m one happy Auntie with three kids who now love my dog.



Almost two months ago, July 26, 2010, my Grandma passed away.  The weeks following her death were filled with booking plane tickets and traveling to Southern California for her funeral and memorial service.  It was a bittersweet time.  It was the first time since my Grandpa’s funeral that the entire family was together.  So, for that it was nice.  Since returning I’ve been busy with work and supporting my mom while she and her sisters cleaned out the house they grew up in.

It wasn’t until two nights ago, as I was trying to get to sleep that it really hit me.  My Grandma is dead.  I know, that probably sounds harsh but it really just hit me fully and completely.

When my Mom and Aunts were cleaning out the house to prepare it to sell they gave everyone the opportunity to select items that they wanted to keep.  I have so many memories from that house that I had to be careful.  I remember drinking apple juice and 7-Up from Grandma’s champagne flutes — but I don’t drink champagne so I don’t really have a need for champagne flutes.  I remember the great fun we had as children making card trains around the entire house — but I don’t really need 10 more decks of cards to remind me of those memories.  I remember the great pride my Grandma had for her involvement in the city K-9 unit — but the autographed picture of “her” K-9 team won’t fit on any of my walls and, honestly, it doesn’t really “go” with my house.  I remember the hot dishes she’d have warm on the stove for us after driving in for our visit — but I don’t need another set of dishes.

But, you know the one thing that my Grandma always said was how important memories are.  And, my memories of the times and lessons taught by Grandma are more important that the dishes, or cards, or autographed pictures.

My memories of being six years old and watching the K-9 and talking police car at Grandma’s first dinner will never go away.  The memory of helping Grandma the day of “her” dinner when I was 30 and seeing her, at 80, ability to organize a community dinner to raise funds for “her” K-9 program can’t be beat. I don’t have any THING to remind me of my graduation trip with Grandma from California to eastern Montana to visit family but I have the memories.

But, I do have a few things of hers.  I have her china cabinet which was one of her first major new furniture purchases.  It was the cabinet that sat in the “formal” dining room where we had all our family holiday meals.  It was the cabinet that she stored her pictures and other important papers and where she kept special dishes.  It’s going to go in my dining room and will store my great-grandma’s crystal luncheon set and some other items that are special to me.

I also received an ocean picture that was painted by my great-grandma’s sister-in-law.  Grandma gave me this when I told her about buying my house because she wanted me to have something of hers to decorate my new home with.  I will also receive the picture that hung next to the china cabinet for as long as I can remember.

I will also be getting the wrapping paper that almost all my birthday presents for as long as I can remember were wrapped in.  I was surprised that she still had it, but excited to get it.  I’m also getting a couple pairs of shoes that were hers.  Both are about 40+ years old, but I remember sitting on Grandma’s bed with her one visit and she told me about the red pair and how they were so expensive when she bought them (about $30) but that she loved them.  (I also happen to like them and can’t wait to wear them.)

But, the important things I’m getting won’t sit in my house and I won’t be able to wear them.  What I really received from my Grandma is her legacy.  Her strength as a woman and her drive to make things happen.  Her great love of her community and her desire to help others.  Her dedication to her family and the importance of memories and traditions.

What hit me two nights ago, though, is how much I’ll miss her.  The past few years her hearing has been bad and she’s tired so easily and with me living so far away I didn’t get to see or talk to her that much.  But, still she was there.  But it hit me, she’s not there anymore and I miss her.

But, yes, I have the memories.