Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Pup At Heart

So, my girl Grace will be 2 in August. For many dogs, this is when they start to mellow a bit and sleep from time to time. I think Grace missed getting that memo from above, because she is most definitely still a puppy at heart. She will run laps and laps around the yard, which I call her "puppy zoomies." She will chase beams of light until she's half dead from exhaustion, and even then she's reluctant to stop. She loves to chew, and gets herself into trouble every now and then by chewing on the kids' toys and shoes. Apparently kids' shoes are a delicacy unto themselves . . . something I would know nothing about.

She also provides me with many reasons to smile and laugh. Even when she's getting in trouble, this dog is wagging her tail and waiting for the lecture to be over so she can get back to playing. This dog never complains about being in the crate or otherwise confined, she just makes the absolute most of her time out of the crate. She loves new people, and I recently discovered that she has the patience of a saint when a baby is pulling her hair out by the fistfull. She was certainly raised right by her breeder - nothing phases her at all!

So every now and then there comes along a dog that just won't grow up. Sort of like Peter Pan, although I'm not sure he ever ate kids' shoes. Grace is one of those dogs. Just a pup at heart.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Outstanding Read

Because Randy Pausch has been on TV, YouTube and all over the news and internet, you may already have heard of him. He's almost 50 years old, a former resident of Pittsburgh, PA, a PhD and former Disney Imagineer. So far, he really doesn't sound like a remarkable guy. But he is, I promise you. Randy is dying of pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his other internal organs. Early this year the doctors gave him 3-6 months to live in good health (I assume the use of the word good was relative in Randy's case). Anyhow, Carnegie Mellon U in Pittsbrugh (where Randy was a tenured professor) asked Randy to do a "Last Lecture." So he did.

The lecture made the news almost immediately, and portions of it are all over YouTube and the rest of the internet. Randy did a spot on Diane Sawyer in mid-March, and I think a lot of people tuned into that documentary. Along with portions of his 90 minute lecture, Randy spoke candidly with Diane about dying from (and mostly about living with)cancer.

The companion to his last lecture is the book, The Last Lecture. It's not a thick book, and most of what it contains is about living out your childhood dreams. It souds hokey, and I suppose in one way, it is very cliched. But it's an excellent book. Even though nothing that Randy said was revolutionary, it was like reading it for the first time. I HIGHLY recommend this book - take your time with it and absorb what Randy has to say. And then say a prayer that Randy beats the odds, and that his wife and kids have many more months and years with him.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summertime . . .

Well, I can always tell when summer is officially here. It means cutting the lawn on a regular basis - and today was the first lawn trim of the season. I was going to leave it until next week, but it really was looking quite shaggy, and so I came home and got the lawnmower out. It didn't take long, and the grass looks and smells great now! My runners are green, and the dogs' feet are green too . . . but that wears off over time.

I doubt I'll be as enchanted with everything the next few times I have to cut the lawn, but I have to admit that I half-enjoyed doing it today. It was nice to get out, get some sun, and get some exercise. That won't hurt me at all!

As an addition to my earlier post about the Cocker Rescue Auction Site, I want to thank the folks that conspired to send me a beautiful bouquet of flowers! They are so pretty, and they smell amazing. The vase and flowers are purple, which was chosen specifically for me, that much I know. The gesture is VERY much appreciated - and the flowers have been greatly enjoyed by myself and my family!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Countdown is On!

Life is just so exciting for me lately, it seems as though I always have something to count down to :) But this coming weekend is one of the more exciting things I have going on for the next few weeks. I'm getting a new puppy! His name is Jack (short for Jackpot) and he's a handsome buff baby that I'm getting from my very good friend Jackie. His dad was over visiting from Russia for a year, and his mom flew here from South Korea, so he's truly an international pup!

Next weekend is a big dog show in Alberta, and at the show are two Specialties, which are shows for Cocker Spaniels only. Jackie brings her nice travel trailer to the show, and we stay on site, which makes life a lot easier. This year the show committee even got pay showers, so we won't stink by the last day! (Vicky and Weeza, you know what I mean LOL)

Anyhow, it sounds like Jackie's husband will bring Jack to the trailer on Sunday, when the family comes to see a bit of the show. Then I'll bring him home with me on Monday. I can't quite imagine with Farley will think, but I hope that Grace will be thrilled to have a new playmate!

So . . . welcome to the family Jack! We can't wait to bring you home!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Digging Out

So as I've posted before, my family consists of packrats. All of us suffer from this affliction. It might not sound serious, but that just means that you've never been to our place. We have STUFF. Everywhere. It's gotten to the point where it's stifling and slightly unsafe. I am tired of tripping over stuff or knocking carefully arranged piles of things over.

So today, I'm trying to dig out a bit. My bedroom is a household full of stuff crammed into a tiny room. It's very claustrophobic, and I think that anybody that's seen it would agree. I've gotten rid of one garbage bag of stuff already, and the day is only half over. Right now I'm taking a break . . . it's all fairly overwhelming. But hopefully by the end of today I will see some progress and feel better about my room.

If there are no blog posts for more than a week, send in the troops to dig me out!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Back Home

Well, I've been home from Vegas for a couple of days now. What a trip! That is a VERY, VERY cool place to visit! There is something to see everywhere you look, and there is most certainly something for everybody there. You want to gamble? You have your choice of casinos . . . from busy, noisy and smoky to classy, quiet and sweet-smelling. You like shows? There are shows for every taste - comedy, musicals, artistic . . . and every night of the week, if not twice a night. You want to shop? This is a mecca for shoppers, with high end stores and outlets as far as the eye can see. It was just amazing.

We spent some time on Monday at Siegfried and Roy's Magic Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which was great. It was a super hot day, so we spent most of our time in the shade, just taking in the signs. We watched the dolphins for a while, and then checked out the white lions and tigers, and the snow leopard and panther. It was very relaxing, and well worth the $16 each. Monday night we saw Cirque de Soleil's "Le Reve" which was absolutely amazing. The stage is water, and the acrobatics are just incredible. The men . . . oh, the men. I'd have taken any one of them home with me in a heartbeat.

Tuesday we went to the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, which is an outdoor mall of all kinds of stores. Wow, I spent a few dollars there ;) I got some VERY cute outfits for my nieces and nephew, as well as a few items for me and my parents. Tuesday afternoon we spent some time at the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand. I LOVE that hotel! The Lion Habitat is very cool - and best of all, it's free! We really enjoyed it. We had dinner at the MGM Grand Buffet, and it was awesome. Great selection and very yummy food. I would recommend it to anybody.

Tuesday night we saw two shows - Cirque de Soleil's KA and the Blue Man Group. KA was quite different than Le Reve, but it was good in its own right. Very acrobatic, with a bit of martial arts mixed in. The stage moved all over, so that was pretty cool. I preferred Le Reve, but both shows were good. The Blue Man Group was awesome! So funny, and a really enjoyable show . . . I loved it! I laughed SO hard!

Wednesday we flew home at the crack of dawn. That was horrible, getting up after just a couple of hours of sleep, but I was ready to come home.

So in a nutshell, that was my trip. I'll try and post pictures within the next few days . . . when I am feeling better and have some time to download and re-size.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pondering . . .

As I'v been getting ready for my trip to Vegas, I've been thinking about one of the strange things that women have been doing for many, many years. Removing all hair from the legs. I don't understand it, really. And whose idea was it to start waxing legs? Goodness, but it HURTS! I mean really, why is it necessary to pull the hair out by the roots?

There are benefits to waxing, for sure. Once you get on a routine, the hair comes in lighter and finer. It lasts for a while, unlike shaving, which has to be repeated quite often. The legs feel smooth and you don't get that stubbly feeling. But still, it hurts like heck!

Yes, I waxed today. Did my legs and did my mom's as well. We purchased a wax pot and stuff a few weeks ago, so that we could save money over time, and do it ourselves. I have a friend that is a trained esthetician, and she taught me the proper procedure. Still, it hurt. No matter how good you are, pulling anything out by the roots is bound to be uncomfortable.

So I pondered traditions, and what made women decide this was a good idea. Anybody know the history of it?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Last Day

You know what I re-discovered today? That the last day of work before you start a vacation feels infinitely longer than any other work day. Yes, it is a scientifically proven fact (I'll get right on finding the research references for you LOL). Never mind that you can hardly sleep from the anticipation, but then you're also dying inside to be done work. I think that's true regardless of how much you love your job.

Case in point - I really do love my job. And right now I'm very busy, which makes the time just fly by. But today, even though I was doing stuff all day long, the time dragged by. Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. The funny thing is that I'm not even leaving for 2 more days . . . so the excitement is only going to grow.

I love the feeling of anticipation that comes with a vacation. It makes me feel like a 5 year old all over again!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cocker Rescue Auction Site

So, a couple of months ago, a friend of mine that runs a Cocker Rescue based out of New Hampshire asked me if I would think about being the Site Administrator for a new Cocker Rescue auction site. There used to be a fabulous site, but the woman that runs it came down with ill health, and she just isn't able to manage the workload right now. I'm a big supporter of Cocker Rescue, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to work on my site administration skills while making a valuable contribution.

Well, let's just say it's been a real learning experience! I clearly did not know NEARLY as much as I thought I did LOL I have relied more on tech support over the past month or so than I ever thought I would. Granted, tech support hit a few glitches along the way too, so it's not all my fault. I'm not really sure, but I kind of suspect that the folks that asked me to take on this role are questioning their choice. But I've learned, so that certainly helps.

Today was the launch of the actual Spring auction . . . and we discovered very quickly that using shared servers does not provide enough bandwidth for our auction. It is just way too intensive. So as I type this, I am trying to get the Name Servers changed, so that we can be hosted on a Virtual Private Server, and not experience interruptions to our service. When I woke up this morning, I couldn't have typed that last sentence if I'd tried . . . I don't think I even knew some of those words. I've come a long way baby, in just 9 hours!

Check out the auction at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Learned Something New

I've been grooming dogs for about 9 years now. I've done a lot of dogs, and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the whole thing. For my breed of dog - the American Cocker Spaniel - I use a heavy duty dryer on a stand. It blows significantly more air than a regular human blowdryer, and I can use variable heat settings. About 8 years ago, I bought a second-hand stand dryer made by Edemco. I didn't pay any more than $100 for it (new ones go for about $700 depending on the model), and it was already about 20 years old at that time. It worked like a charm, but in the fall of 2007 I decided that I needed something stronger. So I ordered a brand new dryer with my bonus money from work.

I ordered the Edemco F7001, which is one of their top of the line models. I got a good deal on it, and I was super excited about it. It had variable air flow control and variable temperature control. I really wanted both of those features, because it's nice for grooming puppies and adults.

I got the dryer, set it up, and began using it. I played around a lot with the temperature control, but couldn't quite figure out how to work the air flow control. I put it out of my head.

Last week an online friend was asking me about my dryer, because she wanted to buy one. She pointed out to me that it should have air flow control as well as temperature control. That tweaked my memory . . . but I still couldn't figure out how to make it work! Today I was grooming a Sheltie for a family friend, and I played with the air vent cover on the side of the dryer . . . and voila! Now I can control the air flow!

So an old dog CAN learn new tricks!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Getting excited!

So, in just 5 more sleeps, I get to go to the City of Sin, Las Vegas! I've never been before, and I'm so excited, I feel like I'm about 5 years old :) We have tickets to see Cirque de Soleil, and a reservation to eat at a cute little French Bistro called Mon Ami Gabi in the hotel Paris Las Vegas. I'm not sure if the reservation will stand, as it depends on what kind of adventures we find, but it's fun to think about eating there, anyhow. It comes highly recommended by both Frommer's and a co-worker that I trust.

We plan to tour the strip, preferably with some kind of exciting beverages in our hands, and we also plan to sneak in some outlet shopping. It will be a packed 2 days (and one night), but we are definitely going to make the most out of it! I can't wait! Have I already said that?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am women!

Okay, so the more correct title for this post would be "we are women" since it's about both my mom and I. But that doesn't have the same ring to it . . . hence my exectuive decision to title it as such. My mom and I had the most productive weekend that we've had in a long time. On Saturday she worked in our back room (the computer room), getting the rest of the Christmas stuff put away and getting rid of junk. As a previous post pointed out, we're ALL packracts, so this is a huge job. I raked the backyard, making sure the dead grass was gone. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was hard work!

On Sunday I started raking the front lawn, and got about half of it done (with my mom helping). Then we decided to trim the top of the cedar tree that grows in front of the house, as it was growing over the roof. We propped up the ladder, and I hiked up there with my trusty Japanese saw. It looks small and ineffective, but it actually has pretty good cutting power! Still, my arms were pretty darned sore!

We used to have this big stump in the middle of our front lawn. A few years ago we cut down the flowering bush that was there, but were unable to get the stump out. It's been a humungous pain to cut the lawn around. Well, my mom decided we were going to try and get that sucker out. I was doubtful, I'll admit it. But she did all of the work - digging the dirt away, hacking at the roots with an axe, and trying to get it out. She got to a thick, stubborn root, and her arms were tired, so I had a few hacks at it. Together we got it out! Talk about a sense of accomplishment and empowerment!

So there is the reason for the blog post - we proved that we don't need no stinking men to do the grunt work. It might take longer, but we manage just fine!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Although the day doesn't officially start for another 2.5 hours, I wanted to wish all of the mothers out there a wonderful, happy Mother's Day! This goes out to human moms, dog moms, cat moms, and all other kinds of moms too. This is a day to celebrate somebody that has made an impact on your life in some way. Of course, it is meant to celebrate your mother - the person that gave you life, that nurtured you when you needed it the most, and that raised you into the human being that you are today. For me, this person is incredibly special. I am SO very lucky to have the world's best mother (feel free to disagree . . . but I would debate your arugments any day!). Not only is she my mom, but she is also my best friend. I can talk to my mom about anything, and know that she will provide me with honest, heartfelt advice. Growing up, she taught me about strength, independence, perseverence and the importance of educating yourself. She demonstrated that a strong, independent woman CAN succeed - in life and in business.

She raised me to be honest and ethical, and she raised me with a sense of responsibility. I see so much of who I am today in the person that she is. I couldn't be prouder of that if I tried. There is nobody else in the world that I want to be like as much as my mother. I'm not one of those women that shudders when somebody tells them that they're like their mother - I beam with pride. My mother instilled in me values that will take me far in life, and that make me a reasonable person (well, most of the time - hormones can mess with that!).

So Mother's Day is all about celebrating my mom, and thanking her for everything she's given me over the years. Not the physical gifts, but the things that I will carry with me forever. Threads of my mom, woven into the fabric that is me.

Thank you Mom, I love you always and forever.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Small Pet Peeve

So, I work for a company that is situated about 40km (roughly 25 miles) north of the city. The company is generous enough to provide bussing to and from work. The bus ride ends up taking anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes, depending on traffic. There are several busses that do various routes within the city. Folks that have been working at the plant for a while understand bus etiquette . . . we disembark in rows, starting at the front, we talk quietly (if at all) in the mornings, you check with the person behind you prior to fully reclining your seat. Most of the time, bus-riding is a congenial, relaxing experience.

But once a year, the idyll is shattered by the influx of summer students. Don't get me wrong, most of the summer students are great, and many of them contribute a lot to the company. But it appears as though a lecture on bus etiquette is required during orientation. They race to the front of the bus to get off first, they slam their seats back without looking, and they yak on their cell phones (rather loudly, often) for the entire ride. For the first few weeks of May, the adjustment period is a bit painful for us "veterans."

So it's a small pet peeve, but being that it's the first week of May, it has recently surfaced again. I promise, I won't complain about it again. At least not until next year ;)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thankful Thursday

As the weeks of Thankful Thursdays go on, I half feel like I'm running out of things to write. I don't want to write about the small, seemingly-insignificant things that I appreciate, I want my posts to have depth and meaning (and an element of humour as well). But in all honesty, how many "big" things can I be thankful for before I start sounding corny or insincere?

So this week, I'm thankful that I have a good job. Those of you that know me might remember that this time last year, I was in a miserable position at work. I was in a job that was a bad fit right from the start, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. It was a very tough few months, but then I moved into Internal Audit, and despite everything that you've heard or said about auditors, they're a really good group! The work suits my nitpicky personality, and I continue to learn new things all the time (which is an important element of a job for me). I'm happier than I was a year ago, that's for sure.

So while this isn't a huge, meaningful relevation, it's still something that definitely makes me happy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Something for everything

I was going to title this post "Another one of my favourites" but I think that post title has been used too much lately on my blog. So, I thought of something else appropriate . . . since the "food" I am about to discuss really DOES go with everything!

That "food" (which is in quotation marks since I'm not really sure it's the right word) is maple syrup. Nectar of the Gods for sure! The real stuff is best, but even Aunt Jemima will do in a pinch. Yesterday a good family friend brought a HUGE jug to the house. Her sister's husband's family makes it and sells it, and so she got some for us, because she knows my dad and I LOVE it. I was so excited I was almost giggling :)

I love it on breakfast sausages, ham, scrambled eggs and pancakes or french toast or waffles. I'm sure it's equally as good on all other types of food, I just haven't tried the combinations yet.

For those of you that don't love maple syrup, I really, honestly think you're missing out!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for my love of reading. The enjoyment that I get out of sitting down and reading a book has enhanced my life immeasurably. It provides me with an escape outlet to other worlds, time periods and places. When I'm having a rough day, or I just need to get away without spending big bucks, I can open up a well-written book and get lost in it. Reading has educated me - thankfully enjoying a wide range of book genres has helped. By reading biographies, I have gotten to know famous people. By reading business books, I have learned about the intricacies of business, the management of people and how to make ideas work. By reading dog books (non-fiction), I have learned an immense amount about training, health, structure, behaviour and various breeds.

I enjoy reading books, magazines, newspapers and blogs. This love of reading has led me to enjoy crossword puzzles and word searches, as well as to enjoy writing. I have a bigger vocabulary than most of the non-readers I know, and I can spell very well.

So I'm thankful for my love of reading, and everything it has added to my life.