Tag Archives: dogs

End of a Rough Year

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I don’t know about you, but I have had one hell-of-a-year this year.  Multiple jobs, multiple people in and out of my life, and multiple changes for me.

Let’s just do a quick recap.  At the beginning of the year, I was working with my sister and then chose to go to work full-time for one of our clients up in Aspen.  That turned out to be too much commuting and way too much time away from home. After a few months of that, I found a different job working in an office in Basalt.  Turns out the owner of that company is/was a complete crook. I walked out on that job after he kind of/sort of fired me…but wanted me to stay till the end of the week (so he could scam some more people out of their money…and he wanted me to be there to help).  Needless to say, I did not stay and I did not help him.  I walked out of the office that afternoon and never went back.  Even left a high dollar laser printer behind so as not to ever have to step foot in that place again.

I decided that I was going to go back into full time dog training and pet sitting.  Well, unfortunately, that is still not and never has been a way for me to make a good living.  I cannot support myself or my family on the money I make as a trainer.  I love the work and I am still doing that on the side to make some extra money.

I applied for numerous jobs after leaving the Basalt company.  20, 30 resumes and applications were sent out.  Week after week, nothing.  Then finally a few phone calls started coming in.  After many interviews and 2 job offers, I chose to go with the Real Estate office job.  I had to fight for that position though because I was up against another person that had years of real estate experience, but not the same level of computer skills that I had.  I could really see the potential in the industry for growing and learning and for a real career.  The other job offer I had was working in medical billing and paid $5 more an hour, but I couldn’t see myself being challenged or happy in that position.  This last time, I wanted a job that I would love and stay with for years.  The paycheck wasn’t the determining factor – mainly because the 2 previous jobs paid really well but I was completely unhappy there.

Over the summer, while I was looking for another job, I found myself falling back into old destructive habits again.  Drinking a lot more than normal.  Actually dated a guy, if you could call it that – not sure I really want to get into the details on that one.   The point is, that I went right back to the old self-destructive way of living when times got hard.  My son was very disappointed with me and that really, really hurts.

I dropped by motorcycle at the end of the summer and broke my arm – not so bad that I went to the doctor or hospital, but bad enough that it ended my riding for the summer and fall and significantly interfered with my ice skating and skiing activities.

My Ex-husband remarried in November – that was a little harder to take than I thought it would be.  However, after a little bit of time, I am feeling much freer than I could have imagined.

Really, for every bad thing that happened, there has been a good thing to counter it.  After all the bad jobs, I do have a good one now.  I have a lot to learn in this new industry, but I feel like it is right for me.

Looking for a new job can really make you question your abilities. With all the knock downs of my skill levels and qualifications, I have learned humility and to accept criticism better – although it still hurts like hell and I don’t like being told that I don’t measure up sometimes.  One thing I have always prided myself on is that I do a good job.

I would have to say the lesson for the year has been that I am not all that good at everything and there is always room for improvement.  It really has been a very humbling experience this year.

How has your year been?  What lessons have you learned?

There is always hope.

There is always hope.

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Many changes lately

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So, I have been through many, many changes in the last 6 to 8 months.  I guess, really, in the last year!  I moved from Tennessee to Colorado.  Quit my job that I had been at for 8 years.  Started working with my sister.  Quit working with my sister and started working as a personal assistant for a couple up in Aspen.

This is the first time in over 14 years that I have not worked from my home.  This is the first time in over 14 years that I have had to get up everyday, get dressed and head out to work for the full day.  It is taking a little getting used to, but I am getting used to it.

And so are the dogs.  They do give me the sad face every now and then, but they are adjusting.

Look at those faces!  So sad. :(

Look at those faces! So sad. 😦

Driving back from Grand Junction.  Love this one particular mountain.

Driving back from Grand Junction. Love this one particular mountain.

I haven’t been only working, though.  I did manage to get to Grand Junction three weekends in a row.  I love this mountain and against all my better judgement, I did take this picture while driving down the road at 75 MPH.  (I know, I know.  I am shaking my finger at me too!!)

How would you like to see this coming at you?  Don't worry, it was a Cabela's in Grand Junction.

How would you like to see this coming at you? Don’t worry, it was a Cabela’s in Grand Junction.

My son and I wandered around the Grand Junction mall one weekend.  We went into Cabela’s and spent about an hour looking at all the fun camping gear.  As we were leaving, I looked up and saw this.  Awesome!!

My son is loving the new independence.  He is really stepping up and taking on the additional responsibilities very well.

I am learning new habits as well.  Like… I need to spend Sunday’s creating and preparing meals for the rest of the week so we don’t have to eat cereal every night.  I am learning to create lunches ahead of time too.  I have recently tried the salad in a jar method and I really like it.   Here is the link if you want to try it:  Salad In A Jar

I gave the freezer meals a try too, but I either need to find a timer that I can turn my crock pot on later in the day or some other kind of gadget that will not cook the food so quickly (in a slow cooker, go figure :/)  Here is the link for that: Freezer Cooking

Household chores have had to be moved to Saturday’s and Sunday’s – just like in the old days.  I can’t just get up and do it when I need to stretch or feel like it.  Now I have to plan a specific time to accomplish all my household chores

Of all the adjustments, surprisingly, that is the one I am having the hardest time adjusting to.

So, I wonder, how do you get everything done and work a full-time job outside your home?  I can definitely use all the tips I can get.

Resolutions or Goals? Which do you set?

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I used to sit down every year and write down all my resolutions for the year.  And always at the top of the list was to lose weight and exercise, which morphed into eat right and be more active.  Always, that was on my list.

Then my resolutions changed to goals.  Goals with tangible check points so that I could actually see progress and measure success or failure.

This year, I was so sick, I did neither.  But this morning, feeling actually human again, I had a couple of ideas that I will try this year.

  1. Put God first in my life.  I have definitely strayed away from God recently.  But as soon as I turn back to Him,  miracles begin to happen in my life.  Once again reaffirming to me that He is always there, I just have to turn to Him and ask and, hardest of all, accept His love and kindness.
  2. Take care of me.  I am guilty of taking care of everyone else before I take care of me.  And I have learned, over and over again, that I can’t take care of anyone else until I am able to take care of me.
  3. Put my family first.  In starting a new business this year, I know that I will have the tendency to put that first-above everything else.  I must, must, must put my kids first and not the business.  Even though this business is important to me, my kids must know that they come before the business every time.  I think it will be something as simple a cooking a meal each night and eating at the table instead of in front of the TV or computer.  Making that daily connection with them that we have neglected for quite some time will make a difference.
  4. In order to accomplish all of my goals this year, organization is going to be key. I think I will pull out that book that has been my “go to” organizational tool forever.  It’s called “The Family Manager’s Everyday Survival Guide” by Kathy Peel.  I have lived with this plan for years and years and when I actually follow the plan – it works!!    Basically, it is about compartmentalizing your life and prioritizing, breaking down huge goals in to manageable small bites that can be accomplished a little at a time.

Enough talk, now it is time for action!!

So, do you have resolutions or goals?  What are they?  Are they the same every year or do you like to change them up each year?  Are you like me and can’t even remember what you set as your goals last year? (ha ha)

Been Very Busy Lately

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I am the type of person that becomes obsessed with an idea once it takes hold in my pea-brain.  That can be a good thing and that can be a bad thing.

I will follow through and research to the point of being ridiculous!  But once I am done researching and following through on my latest obsession, I know enough about the current topic to make an informed decision.

The bad thing is I obsess over the latest thing to the point of excluding all else in my life.  I leave other things to flounder and survive on their own while I chase down information on my latest object of desire.

What is the latest “thing” I am obsessing about, you ask?  Dog training.

I thought at the beginning of 2011 that I wanted to be a Style Consultant because I really like fashion and clothing.  I explored, researched, spent money on, and totally dove head first into that for the first 6 months of the year.  In the end, I discovered that I had spent way more than I ever intended on clothing I “just had to have” and had made zero on the adventure.

I discovered too that even though I really like clothing and fashion, I don’t want to make it my career or life.  It’s way too expensive for my income.  I think the biggest struggle I had with it is that it seemed a little superficial.

I really had to convince myself some days that clothing was really important to your self esteem and confidence.  More important than the War in Iraq or the homeless on the streets or the millions of people that are unemployed.  When the tornado hit my town, I struggled even more with the concept of fashion being really important to me.  I was thankful to just be alive and have my home in tact.  Clothing just didn’t seem all that important any more, but I pressed on with it anyway.

The last Image Workshop that I did, one of the ladies has been unemployed for over a year.  The only reason she has a home is because her grandparents left their home to her in their will.  She came to the workshop and listened to me talk about buying clothing and budgeting for it and how important your image is to getting a job.  Then, when they served lunch, she let it slip out that she had not eaten in 2 days.

That was it.  That was the end of it for me.  Yes, looking good and taking pride in your appearance is very important to your self esteem and confidence.  Yes, you should put effort into looking your best.  However, whether you are wearing the latest trend or a shirt that accentuates your small waist just doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t eat.

I realized right at that moment that I couldn’t talk myself into making this be more important that it really was.  My heart just was not in it anymore.

As you may know, I have 4 dogs.  I post pictures and talk about them all the time.  I have had dogs in my life all my life.  I put myself through a dog training program.  I have helped many people train their dogs.  I started a program here in Cleveland, TN at the local library for kids to build their reading skills by reading to dogs.  I have never struggled with whether dogs are important or not.  There is no question or ambiguity in my mind that they are very important and relevant.

To me, there is nothing more fun than teaching a dog a new trick or watching a dog’s owner learn how to communicate with their dog and form a stronger bond with that dog.

I have dreamed of having my own training center for years and years.  And I finally have the courage and confidence to take the steps necessary to make that dream come true.  It started off as just calling around to see what would happen.  I figured if I was met with any resistance then it wasn’t meant to be.  So far, there has not been one obstacle placed in my way.  Well, except my own self-doubt and fears of failure.  But as far as location, equipment, money and time – all have fallen into place without a hitch.

So, I am really looking forward to 2012!  I hope to finally be able to relax and enjoy my life by finally being where I am happy and satisfied.

Do you have any big plans for 2012?  Do you obsess over an idea like I do?  How do you manage everything?

Philosp

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My Dad sent me this PowerPoint Presentation today and I really wanted to share it with more than just a few email buddies. So, I am sharing it with everyone!!

The pictures are spectacular and the ideas are phenomenal. I hope that you will enjoy it and take it to heart.

Philosop

You never know, do you.

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1978 was when all hell broke loose in my sister and my world and she ran away from home.   She was 15 and I was 12.

She was being tormented and emotionally abused and I was completely powerless to stop it.  She finally had enough and ran away from home.  Our step-father was mean, abusive, manipulative, a drug addict and an alcoholic.  Our mother was addicted to prescription pain killers and also an alcoholic.  They were completely out of touch with what was going on in our world.  And so my sister did the only thing she could do in order to survive.  She left.

I had spent the last few years watching the systematic destruction of my sister and had become pretty good at becoming invisible, or so I thought.  You be good, you do everything your told, plus some and everyone will leave you alone.  It worked pretty well on the home front.  I thought it worked pretty well wherever I went.

I just figured out today, that this is not so.

When I started high school, I was terrified.  My big sister was not going to be there to protect me.  I wasn’t going to have that automatic in with all the older kids.  You know how terrifying it is to be a freshman – anything is fair game on freshman. I did what came the most naturally to me.  I tried to become invisible.  I tried to blend into the walls so that I wouldn’t rock the boat or draw attention to myself.  So, I drifted through my entire freshman year like that.  Just trying to not be seen.

The next year, I was ready to come out of my shell, a little.  My girlfriends were trying to talk me into joining a club or team so that I would have something in my life.  I tried out for cheerleading, which was a colossal failure.  First of all, I am not that coordinated when it comes to dance routines; and second of all, I am not outgoing – at all.  So my next trial was the cross country running team.  There I fit right in.  I could run for miles and escape my troubles.  I had an excuse to stay after school and not have to go home.  And I was actually pretty decent at it, who knew?!

Lately, my sister and I have been having a conversation with a person on facebook.  We were talking about the old stomping grounds in CT and she was curious how this person knew both me and my sister.  There was only a couple of years that any one person could have gone to school with the both of us.  It would had to have been between 1975 and 1978, because those were the only years that we actually went to the same school, just not at the same time.

Turns out this person was was a freshman when my sister was a junior. And this same person was a Junior when I was a Sophomore.  So I actually ran with this person on the cross country team for 2 years before they graduated in 1980/1981.

This person witnessed my sister and I going through some of the toughest times in our lives.  During those times, both of us thought we were so alone in the world.  We thought no one cared about either one of us, that no one noticed the pain we were going through.  We both found solace in alcohol and drugs during those years of our lives.  We didn’t think anyone noticed us at all.

Now, almost 30 years later, this guy remembers both of us.  It made me feel comforted in a creepy sort of way.  Here we were so desperately alone in the world, and yet we were not alone – ever!  I am sure that this person was watching us spiral out of control with our drug and alcohol addictions.  Possibly this person was feeling powerless or maybe he didn’t care at all, who knows.  What does matter, is that he remembers us now.  Maybe our decent into hell, kept him from following the same path.  He seems to really have a good life now.

I guess my point with all this rambling is that you never know how you touch other people’s lives.  You never know if, just by saying hello to someone, that you just made a big enough difference in their life to keep living theirs.  Just by acknowledging to that person that you see them, you could be giving them strength.

So, say hello to that wall-flower or smile at someone on the street, you may make a difference in their life today!!!

Very Disturbing

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Chelsea

I read a very disturbing article today and I can’t get the horrible images that it described out of my head.

It was an article about dogs being eaten as meat in China and other countries.  It described, in way too much detail, how dogs are brought to slaughter houses and the horrible way in which they are slaughtered.

I, honestly, thought I would throw up.  I cried and I grabbed up my black lab mix dog, Chelsea, and hugged her with all my might.  I could imagine this horrible treatment happening to her because of the vivid description given and it is breaking my heart!

I love my dogs as if they are my children.  Ask my children, they will tell you.  They are a part of my family.  I miss them when I am traveling and away from them for more than a day.  I miss them following me around the house, every where I go.

The thought of anyone treating any kind of living thing the way these people are treating these dogs just makes me sick!  One of the questions asked in the blog/article was, “Why not eat dogs?”  Basically, they were talking about it as if it was the fix-all for the over-population problem and the hunger problem.

I say, “NO WAY!!!!” Have you ever seen the horrible conditions and the mess that was made out of the horse slaughter issue?  And you want to go down that path again for dogs?  NO WAY!!!!

How do you feel about this?  I know that I am not sharing the link for the blog or article, I don’t want to perpetuate it.  But, could you ever imagine slaughtering dogs as a solution to overcrowded shelters and hunger?