Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Evening Stroll

I went out for a walk after work today.  It was gorgeous out.  The lighting was great, the park wasn't busy and Coulee agreed to attempt silhouette photos for me.

Healthy Lifestyle Rewards

Making the right choice just because you should, doesn't make it easy.  These past few years I've had a horribly unhealthy lifestyle. I never exercise (even the dog walks can't be considered exercise, I go way too slow!), I eat easy to make meals (frozen pizza anyone?) and as you know if you have read the blog before, I've been drinking a lot of caffeine.  The only thing I do right is sleep a lot.  LOL.

I was supposed to go cold turkey on the caffeine a week and a half ago but that didn't quite work.  I went 2 days without and then buckled under the grumpiness pressure and went out and got a "short" chai.  So I'm allowing myself 2 weeks on the shorts before stopping.  They are ridiculously small, and ridiculously expensive, but they have been worth it.  Just another few days to go!  I'm typing this as 6 a.m. and don't have massive cravings so that has to be a good sign.

I've also decided to bike to work when I can.  So far there has only been two days where there was no snow and the winds were less than 60 km/hr but I've biked for both of them.  It is a 14.5 km round trip with a giant hill in both directions (stupid river valley!).  Yesterday coming home was so hard against the wind. When I didn't need to brake going down the hill because the wind was slowing me down so much I knew the uphill portion would be a beast.  And it was.  But I made it.

While plans are nice to have, sticking to them is my downfall.  So this year I have added some incentive.  I figure because I'm saving money not drinking Starbucks, every day I go without, I'm going to set $5 aside towards a fun purchase.   And every day I ride my bike to and from work I also save money, so I'm going to set aside another $5.

As of today, I'm only at $20 but as soon as the weather improves I'm hoping my piggy bank will start growing faster.

Now I just need to figure out what to spend my money on.  Maybe an iPad 2!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy Weekend

I had a busy weekend.  On Saturday Jo, Amanda and I went up to the Pet Expo in Calgary.  It was fun to hang out, shop and see lots of different dogs and people. I bought a few things, but nothing too exciting.

The green thing on Lacey's collar is on of the things I bought - it is to hold tags so you can transfer them to collar to collar. I added it to her collar, but haven't added the tag yet!  LOL
Sunday I went to a Photography Club field trip.  We were photographing people inside. I was pretty excited to go as I was curious to see how to "manage" a model.  I learned a lot.  But most of all, I learned that it was NOT my cup of tea.  At all.  All the fussing to get the model to stand properly, to get the lights in the right spot, to get the lights to the right strength, etc. etc.  It was too... slow?  finicky? staged? I'm not sure.  It just wasn't me and I don't think it ever will be.  There is a lot of knowledge and skill that goes into getting beautiful portrait pictures and it is a learning curve I have no urge to tackle. I'm glad I figured that out.

So instead, I headed off to the dog park to meet Marlin. It was so much more relaxing.  And then I came home and re-evaluated what I wanted to do with my photography.

Last fall I had kind of decided I didn't want to photograph many more dog sport events.  They are a whole lot of fun, but they aren't profitable - at all.  Apparently I've forgotten how much work (and how little money I make) as I've decided I want to do them again.  The days shooting are always fun, the dogs are amazing to watch and now that we have a trailer, my expenses will be less if I need to travel.  So I'm going to give it one last kick at the can this summer and see how it goes. In just one night I managed to line up a Lure Coursing event and an Agility event!  I'm already looking forward to them.

With a little luck, things will start to fall in place.  Just like Lacey always does.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In Her Rightful Place

I am not a "pack leader" kind of girl.  I don't expect the girls to walk behind me.  I don't expect them to go through doors after I do.  They always eat meals before me. Etc. Etc.

So it always makes me laugh when Lacey tucks in behind me at the dog park. We jokingly say that she is in her "rightful place".

Often I'll stop to check on what she and Coulee are doing, feel a little panicked when suddenly I can't see Lacey, only to discover her right behind me.

She doesn't stay there the whole walk but she is definitely there often on the way back when she has had a good run, a good sniff and a good roll in all the stinky stuff.

I've been trying forever to get a picture of this, but when she does it to Marlin, if I try and get in behind or beside them, she comes to see what is happening.  So the other day I finally had the idea to photograph her from the front while still walking.  It was a little awkward, but I finally have a picture of something that is oh so Lacey.

1.5 years later

I took this picture of Coulee in Oct 2009...

And this one just the other day...

I don't think she looks like the same dog!  Maybe it is just her wild ear hair. LOL

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nose Kisses

One of my favourite things Lacey does...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tooth Fairy

Coulee was pretty upset that we lost her tooth when it broke.

She's hoping when we get the rest of it pulled at the vet tomorrow, the tooth fairy will bring her goodies when she leaves it under her pillow.  Keep your paws crossed!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jack Sprat

I haven't been trying very hard to find this little guy a home.  I made up a poster, but didn't distribute it.  I want him to find a good home, but I worry about sending him off with strangers.

He is fun and playful. We've never had a kitten in the house and he is quite the entertaining mischief maker.

He is oh-so-cuddly!  He loves to snuggle up on your neck, or in the crook of a leg, or wrap himself around your head.  When he is happy and snuggly he loves to knead (not always so pleasant when he is wrapped around your head!).

He would love to be friends with Lu, unfortunately the affection doesn't flow both ways.  Although I haven't heard her hiss at him in a few days.

He is OK with the dogs.  He'd rather they didn't exist, but he is comfortable walking by them and is obsessed with Coulee's fluffy tail.  Poor Coulee is afraid of the little dude and tries to avoid him whenever she can and it doesn't help that he attacks her tail the moment she starts to wag it.  I think with time, he would become quite comfortable with dogs.

Someone please take him from me before it is too late!

My Starbucks Addiction

I don't drink coffee, I can't stand the taste. I don't drink pop, the bubbles hurt my mouth and throat (I know, I know... weird, but true). I can drink regular black tea, but I don't really enjoy it. I went through University and my early adulthood without drinking any source of caffeine.

Then one day, I discovered Chai Teas at Starbucks.

It was a slow growing addiction that took years to develop. In the end though I was buying a Venti Chai every day (sometimes 2) AND made my own at home as well.  I was probably drinking around 60 oz (~7.5 cups!) of tea a day.  That equals: 900 calories, 15 g of fat, and 360 mg of caffeine.

Thinking about Starbucks or driving by a Starbucks literally makes my mouth water.  I think about it ALL the time.  I don't just like the hit of caffeine, I love the taste as well.

A month ago I woke up and we had no Chai at home and I decided before I even got out of bed, I was going to start breaking this habit. Having Chai in the house just made things worse for me. I can't resist something when it is so easily available.  My only source was now actually going to a Starbucks. I dropped my consumption down to a Grande once a day (16 oz (2 cups), 240 calories, 4 g of fat, and100 mg of caffeine).

I was pretty tired and grumpy that first week.  It was hard.  It was especially hard on the weekends or the days I only worked an afternoon shift.  I was trying to drink my tea mid day so that I wouldn't NEED it first thing in the morning.  But drinking tea first thing was a habit I really missed.  When I finally got my tea for the day it was bliss.  I instantly felt better, more active and happier.

After 2 weeks of that, I cut myself down to one Tall per day (12 oz (1.5 cups), 180 calories, 3 g fat and 75 mg of caffeine).  I am now at the end of those 2 weeks.

In 4 weeks I only cheated twice - the day I drove to Cranbrook to go skiing I drank 2 Grandes (I told myself that I didn't want to fall asleep while driving) and yesterday I got a Grande instead of a tall (no reasonable excuse for this one, I think the thought of not drinking them regularly any more pushed me over the edge).

Today is the last day of daily teas and in fact, I just took my last sip. I will allow myself to get one on "special occasions" - i.e. when I meet a friend, or have a long drive or a particularly sleepless night.

But honestly, I don't want it to end and I find myself thinking of ways to prolong the inevitable (I can get a Short Chai, what about getting one every second day, what if I reduce the "shots" of chai mix (I've neglected to mention that for a few years, I've been getting an extra shot of chai in my orders), etc.).

I'm not sure if my addiction is to the caffeine, the habit, or the flavour.  When I look at how much caffeine is in coffee as a comparison, I'm drinking next to nothing. A Tall Pike Roast (i.e. regular coffee) at Starbucks has 260 mg of caffeine which is more than 3 times what I currently get. So you'd think that no longer drinking caffeine at this point would be a cake walk.  But it isn't.  I still feel a major difference after I drink a tea.

There are a few reasons that I wanted to stop drinking tea.

  1. The Expense - A Venti Chai is just under $5 a day and this does add up.  Although as I don't have any other frivolous spending habits, this reason is not a major motivator for me.  I don't buy shoes, I don't buy clothes, I don't eat out, I don't drink alcohol much... I just drink Tea!
  2. The Calories - 900 calories a day helps explain my expanding waist line!
  3. The Addiction - It really bothers me to NEED a tea to function properly.  
This last one is what really gets me.  If I had never starting drinking caffeine in the first place, I would feel as good when I woke up in the morning as I do now after drinking a tea. 

So here goes nothing!

My next 2 weeks will be completely caffeine free (and please don't tell me there is caffeine in chocolate - there is, but it is really, really minimal and you can't tell a caffeine craving girl to give up chocolate too - that would push me over the edge!).  After that, I'll allow myself to have up to 2 "talls" a week but only when I NEED them.

I'm hoping one day my mouth will stop watering at the sight of a Starbucks.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Canine Cameramen

I tossed this video together in about 30 minutes using iMovie.

Role Reversal from Wendy Devent on Vimeo.

How fun is that?

And yes, Coulee and Lacey were the cameramen for this short film.  :)  I bought one of these.  More to come on that later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Testing 1, 2, 3

My grin was almost as big as Lacey's.  :)
I got my camera back today, so of course I had to make sure it works...  Coulee didn't mind performing for the camera.

No problems.  And do you want to hear the other good news?  The dog park was finally reopened too!

Which means we actually saw another dog.  (Lacey did make this one cry though - not sure if she nipped her or just scared her.  Either way, we obviously need to work on those dog skills again! LOL)

Lacey says she is sorry.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Drive

Just some pictures from my drive....

Ski Day!

I went to Cranbrook this weekend to go skiing with my dad and celebrate his 65th birthday (which was in January).

Neither of us had been skiing for a very long time (we are guessing it had been about 8 years!) so it was quite the adventure for us.  We weren't sure how our legs were going to handle it and how our coordination would be, but we did pretty good!

I'm sure it helped that the snow was amazing!  It was probably some of the best conditions I'd skied on.  It was warm, sunny, wasn't windy and the snow was soft, not too heavy or thick and not at all icy.

It probably helped too that there was no crowds to get in our way.  I've never skied with so little people.  We couldn't figure out why no one was there.  It was our first time skiing in Kimberly so I have no idea if that is how it usually is or not.  The views were amazing too.

And the skis have sure shrunk over the years!  I can't believe how short they were. They seemed to work OK though!  

We had a great day! It made me wonder why we don't go skiing more often.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Not Lupus!!!!!


I'm Not Freaking Out

Thanks for the comments and emails about Coulee.  So far no test results regarding her auto-immune (they are thinking we won't hear now until next week) but we have discovered that her Creatinine levels are a little high.  So today we've followed up with a urine sample to see if this could just be "normal" for her, or if we should be concerned. (High creatine levels can indicate kidney problems.)

I'm not freaking out yet, but it has been all I've really been thinking about since I heard about the levels last night.  I'm hoping the urine test today will bring some peace of mind and it is taking all my will power to not call the vet to see if they've done the test yet.

Her paw has been good but her nose bleeds happen about every 2nd day. At least that is how often I notice them.  It really is a tiny amount of blood so who knows if it is happening more often and she just isn't leaving any evidence behind.

She has been a little more lethargic this week (barely got up the other day when Jack came back to the house and I would have expected her to be a little more excited than that) and panting a little more out on walks and stopping more for rests but that could be the warmer weather and because I've been throwing the toy down some pretty steep coulees lately.  Not sure if I'm just become paranoid or what, but Marlin has commented on this as well.

I don't mean to be such a downer on the blog. It is just such a good place for me to keep track of what and when stuff is happening.  Feel free to ignore the ramblings and just enjoy the pics.

On a positive note, Coulee has been embracing the warm weather and all the mud that comes with it!  She had her first bath of the season last night.