Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dog whispering

The other day a friend forwarded sent out an e-mail to the group about a puppy-dog that was looking for a home.  She called him "Stinky McStinkface" and said her vet had estimated him to be about 5 months old, of uncertain breed.  She said she'd love to keep him but couldn't, as she already has 2 dogs and a hectic life. 
In a swift moment of weakness I e-mailed her back and said "oh let me come and meet him, we have been thinking about getting a 2nd dog - and if it doesn't work out, since I'm unemployed I can at the very least help foster him until we find a suitable home".   Cute Boy instructed me to drop everything and go get him, and announced that he had already named him Harvey.  
Harvey seems to have a mild case of demodex (skin mites), had sores on his feet from nails rubbing and needs to have the balls lopped off, but other than that he seeems to be a healthy and happy pupper - remarkably calm.
I am doing my very best to head the wisdom of the Dog Whisperer and try to remain a calm and confident pack leader.  Having to put on a show for Harvey might be the best thing for me right now, because I am feeling anything but calm and composed about being unemployed.  Teetering on the edge of panic even, but hopefully that is temporary.
The first night went well, our 11 year old dog Daisy is cautious about the new addition, but so far things are good.  The 2 cats went mildly apeshit, Herman freaked right out and in the span of 20 seconds taught iBite to hiss, never seen him do that before.   After vocalizing their displeasure they both headed for higher ground and observed Harvey from the safety of the dinner table.
iBite seems really pleased to finally know how to hiss and has spent the past couple of hours quietly hissing himself to sleep. 
Harvey paid no attention to the cats but set about exploring the new digs and pretty quickly settled down in a dog bed and took a nap.
He still seems a little timid but should perk right up once he figures things out.  Hopefully everything will work out for the best for this little guy who has been a little down on his luck lately.
If anyone cares to guess the breed(s), leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mea culpa, doggy style

Came home this afternoon after a successful trip to the bike store, where I scored a round skewer for two dollars. I will need this skewer thing for the next 8 weeks, when I embark up on something called Vision Quest Coaching, in my attempt to become a bad-ass cyclist. Or triathlete. Or perhaps the fastest unemployed person on two wheels!
Coming back home I noticed that the family room floor was awfully crunchy and a swift inspection revealed kitty litter all over the floor. I use the fabulous crystals that absorb odor and fluids, and generally work great when placed in the litter box. Strewn all over the floor, they are just annoying.
As it turns out, the cat had not miraculously stopped shitting over the past few days (which would have been nice), instead the dog had figured out how to snake her long nose into the Booda Clean Step Dome and snatch what I can only describe as crunchy dog snickers bars. Yuck.

I also came home to one guilt stricken dog who stood in front of the door with the tail between her legs. The damn dog just HAS to be Catholic, she was born guilty. Every time she does something bad, she comes and confesses and then crawls into a corner and mutters Hail Marys to herself in Doggish, until repenting is complete.
Next step is to secure the lid firmly to the base using a bungee chord. Stay tuned for further updates from the Poop Snatcher.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Job hunting from vacation

My first day as an unemployed person is over and done with.  I will admit to sleeping in a little bit (after first getting up and feeding the zoo) but since getting out of bed I've been busier than an one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Resumes have been written, edited, e-mailed and re-edited, thank you notes and e-mails composed and sent, calls returned, visitors greeted and so on and so forth.
Oddly, most people are taking the news of my layoff a good deal harder than I am, so seemingly my role in the whole episode is to convince well meaning friends that I am doing just fine and do not need heaping helps of Prozac to get through the day.
Turns out being unemployed is no picnic, not yet at least.

I have a few options that I am exploring, and honestly have to say that I have been really touched at all the outpouring of support and positive vibes sent my way.  Former clients and customers are getting in touch landslide style, all offering to recommend me to their mother brother aunt and father that may be hiring.
Three of us got laid off the same day and one has already found a suitable job.  Personally I want to take a couple of days of vacation (yes Americans, I said vacation - google it!) to clear my head.
I have a couple of options I'm looking at and am actually really hopeful regarding a certain position.
I don't want to say what it is out of fear of jinxing it - but hopefully before too long I will have good news to share here.
In the meantime, life poolside is grand - I might get tan one day, and continue to work hard biking, running and swimming.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I believe... change is a-comin

One of the blogs I subscribe to offered up a real treat today.
It quotes a piece that NPR did on 7 year old Tarak McLain, who was born in Thailand but now lives with his family in Austin, Texas. The kid is remarkable.
For the 100th day of kindergarten, their teacher asked them to bring in a 100 of something - and this is what Tarak did. He wrote up his 100 believes. 30 of them are listed below, I'm not sure where the other 70 are. For the full effect, I recommend listening to Tarak read his list - click on the "listen now" button on the NPR website.

Here it goes.
  1. I believe life is good.
  2. I believe God is in everything
  3. I believe we’re all equal.
  4. I believe we can help people.
  5. I believe everyone is weird in their own way.
  6. I believe hate is a cause for love.
  7. I believe that when I meditate I feel peaceful.
  8. I believe we should be generous.
  9. I believe brothers and sisters should be kind to each other.
  10. I believe kids should respect their parents.
  11. I believe I should not whine.
  12. I believe people should wake up early.
  13. I believe people should go outside more.
  14. I believe in nature.
  15. I believe people should use less trees.
  16. I believe we should help the Arctic and rainforest animals.
  17. I believe people shouldn't throw litter on the ground.
  18. I believe people should not smoke.
  19. I believe God is in good and bad.
  20. I believe in magic.
  21. I believe people should not give up.
  22. I believe love is everywhere.
  23. I believe that God helps us to have a good time.
  24. I believe we live best in a community.
  25. I believe we can protect people in danger.
  26. I believe we should help the poor.
  27. I believe it's OK to die but not to kill.
  28. I believe war should not have started.
  29. I believe war should stop.
  30. I believe we can make peace.
Sounds like a pretty decent set of believes to me.
On a personal level, I would like to believe that in my life, a change is coming - a change for the better.
Today I was laid off from a job that I have held for the past 9 years. Out of those 9 I enjoyed 8 great years and have been fortunate to work with some exceptionally good people. I'll miss them. Then there are a couple that I won't miss, but that is how the world rolls.
I will admit that even if I saw the writing on the wall a copule of days in advance, I am still a little bit stunned and shell shocked. But I will be ok. Between Cute Boy and I, we will work things out somehow.
Maybe now is the time to back to school like I've been wanting to or start brushing off that old resume and start applying for fresh jobs. Either way, I am going to take a few days to ponder things over, gaze at the ocean, ride my bike, swim, run and figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I am ready for the next adventure - bring it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

28 degrees: Unacceptable.

That is the forecasted low for tonight. Mother-effer, that is COLD and really out of character for Florida.
To add insult to injury, the heater in our house is broken so there will be no warm air flowing through my newly repaired ducts. The experts we have checked with suggest replacing the AC unit and air handler/heating thing at the same time since the AC is on the fritz as well. Since I don't have the big bucks handy I am going to just have to suck it up.
I'm pretty good dealing with cold, contrary to popular belief. I don't LIKE cold but that doesn't mean I can't HANDLE it - I'm from Iceland after all.
For tonight, I have a plan. It's pretty detailed and involves layers, hats, beanies and fuzzy animals. The dog (comes equipped with undercoat and overcoat and a generous layer of insulating fat) will serve as foot warmer and each cat will be strategically placed on either side of me. That will a) keep me warm and b) keep them from tearing at each other. Blankets will be sprinkled liberally on top of the whole set-up and my space heater will be right next to me burning kilowatt hours like it's going out of style. And under all that, I will peer out, one hand on the remote, watching reruns of Obama's inauguration.
Any complaints from the furry ones about inappropriate use will be filed away under "when you vacuum up the hair you shed on my floors by yourself we can talk about this".

I won't be cold, I'm not even a little bit worried. In fact this might even be fun, sort of like going camping but still be in my house with running water etc. As long as the pipes don't freeze.
But the scheduled workout, that damn 4 mile run, well that might just have to take place indoors as much as I hate the treadmill. We'll see....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Running osmosis experiment: failed

Dang, it's Sunday again!
Kept busy all week trying to get back in shape and do that work thing. 
Now that I have a coach, my workouts are on a schedule and I am expected to perform certain things. Looking at my schedule for this week it feels a little like I am going to have to perform a miracle (small one) to fit it all in, but I think I can do it.

Until now I have been working to improve my running through unconventional methods such as osmosis.  I have spent some time hanging around faster runners and even sometimes go watch them race.  I had expected that simply being around faster people would make me faster. 
So far it hasn't, but maybe that is just because I haven't spent enough time doing it.
Well, now we will never know, because coach Helen doesn't believe in this theory.  Her philosophy is somewhere along the lines of "if you want to be a good runner you actually have to do some running" so gone are the lovely weeks of low-to-none mileage.
They have been replaced with strategically structured workouts with pickups, intervals, long runs and all kinds of things.  I am a little skeptical, but will give it a try.  I will be sure to update you on my progress right here on this very blog, as soon as there is anything to report. 
Now all I can say that all this running is making me very tired and I expect that condition to remain.
But, I will keep on keeping on, and we will see where this running theory takes us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am thoroughly over this crap.

Chest cold returned with a vengeance. Unasked, unwanted, unwelcome. Slept 10 hrs straight and woke up feeling a wee bit better but still not quite my usual self. My lungs burn and energy is at an all time low.
I'm not even up for playing Wii Fit, which should really bring into focus what a sad shape I'm in.
iBite the Cat thinks I'm one big giant heat-pad, put on this earth for his pleasure and comfort. I'm too weak to swat him off constantly so every time I nap pass out, I wake up with him on my head or on my chest. He's purring with pleasure, I'm gasping for air.
I want a Coke so bad, but can't bring myself to get up off the couch and to the fridge to get one.
Can someone get me a Coke, please?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Plodding along

Cute Boy has always said he could spot me in a crowd of thousands from a mile away because of the way I walk. I always assumed this was because of my gazelle-like grace and it appeared to him like I was floating on air. Makes sense, right? Me, light as a butterfly.
Turns out I interpreted his comment very wrongly, basically I couldn't have been further from the truth.
A few days ago as we walked out of the grocery store he pointed out a girl in the parking lot and said "look honey, she walks just like you!". Excited, I looked up expecting a fellow gazelle stepping lightly to the ground, but instead locked in on a woman clonking her way through the parking lot. Shocked, I looked around - surely he couldn't mean that ogre - but there was nobody else around.
I looked back. The clonker was headed for her car, full speed ahead. I don't know how to describe it, but it is almost as if she didn't have hip joints or any flexibility. Anywhere. When she walked, she sort of hiked up a leg using her shoulders or something, slung it over, plonked it to the ground and returned the fozzilized hips to neutral. Rinse, lather, repeat for the other side. Over and over and over until she reached her car, loaded her bag and hucked herself in the front seat. All with the grace of a troll.

I watched in silent horror. There was nothing fluid about this gait. It was the kind of gait that is so horrible that gazelles would DIE if they ever saw it. The kind one would only expect to see in movies like Godzilla. It was the gait emploied by Edgar from the movie Men in Black. And that my friends, is my gait. I'm a clonker.
I need to get myself to a therapist of some sort to have this checked out, but maybe - just maybe - we have now discovered the reason for why my running sucks!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yaaawwwwn. And a coach.

Well, back to work today. Getting up early wasn't very hard as I've been getting plenty of practice lately - but finding motivation and staying on track proved a bit more challenging. It's good to be getting back into the ole routine though - although I still need to work on getting to bed earlier!

Other than that, the latest news is that I got myself my own private ass-whoopperer (a coach). She's a little energizer bunny who runs like the wind and gives the boys a run for their money on the bike. She doesn't love the pool in the same way I do, but that is fine - as I already belong to a masters team complete with what might be the best swim coach in the world.  So with all these resources at my disposal, if I don't go ahead and improve this up and coming season, I only have myself to blame.
Coach Helen sent me a form to fill out, so tomorrow come up with a list of events I'd like to do and goals I'd like to meet. Sounds pretty official, and a little somewhat scary. 
Once we review the plan, she will write me up a schedule and then comes the hard part.....  - I am going to have to follow it. Yikes.
I think it's going to be awesome, but I also think I'm going to need a healthy dose of self discipline - wonder if I can find some for cheap during all those January sales that I see popping up everywhere!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A step at a time

So far 2009 seems to be functioning properly, like a good new year should.
This morning we got up early (I have a feeling that is going to be recurrent theme for the year) and made our way out to the beach for a morning run.
I love mornings, not many things better than being at the beach just as the sun is coming up. Cute Boy on the other hand loathes mornings and claims that it physically hurts* him to have to get up early.
Having to get him up, dressed and out the door is no easy task but somehow I managed to get both of us to Silver Beach on time, running shoes laced up and water bottles rolling around in the back seat. We were greeted with a gorgeous sunrise, a light breeze and a bunch of tourists - some crazy enough to be hopping around in the freezing ocean at 7:30 in the morning. Must be Canadians.
I did an easy out-and-back with Shirley, 20 mins each way, and called that the long run for the week. She bounded like a gazelle and chatted the whole way - I gasped for air and moaned "yes" and "no" as appropriate. It's just so much better to have a running buddy, preferably someone that is just a little faster for optimal torture inspiration.
The remarkable thing was that I enjoyed just about every minute of this run - but by all means don't let that get out or the gods of running will strike me with the side stitch from hell or a black toenail or something equally awful.

*That statement has not yet been evaluated by the FDA and thus should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. In short, I'm calling shenanigans on the whole "you don't understand how it hurts me to wake up" thing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - it's here!

Hot damn.  2008 done and gone, just doesn't seem like it stuck around for very long.
The picture above is from my hometown Akureyri, Iceland - where people know how to celebrate a new year (well they pretty well go apeshit around the entire island).

Here in Florida, we rung in the new year with a few friends in a fairly vacant downtown DeLand - amazingly enough on any given Tuesday you will find more people hanging out than were in attendance at the local pubs on New Years Eve.
I guess all the hard core cats went to Orlando or Daytona, but we opted to stay local and take it easy.  I was the DD (designated driver) as I can't take more than one hangover every 8 months or so, and my last one was still too fresh in my memory.  Surely a sign of old age.
Today Cute Boy and friend Brian are licking their Patrón inflicted wounds and catching up on sleep missed in the last hours of 2008.  After generous helpings of eggs, bacon and hash browns stomachs and heads seem to be feeling better, nothing like a little bit of grease to ease the pain.

2008 was a pretty fine year in retrospect.
Many goals accomplished, but a good few slipped by.  If it had to do with running, it pretty well didn't get done the way I'd have liked, but that's what 2009 is for.