olivia – week 2

I have a shadow and it’s name is Olivia. Olivia has a shadow and it’s name is Roary. This results in a doggie conga line every time I go anywhere. As I type right now I have to pee terribly but I don’t want to start the party! Fun times at this household.

Anyways, I’m going to keep with the same topics as her week one post so it’s easier to compare her progress. Here we go.

The dog park this past weekend was an improvement. Instead of smelling and running around by herself, she actually interacted with dogs! She ran with confidence and spent more time away from me. Roary even acknowledged her at the park now that she has realized Olivia will be sticking around!

can you tell she's more comfortable? 🙂

She is now eating regularly and taking treats although she still gets skittish if too many people are near her bowl. I’ve been giving her less and less of the the wet dog food to wean her off of it and she’s still eating well which is great. Roary the Fatty can’t keep her nose out of Olivia’s bowl so I’ll be very happy when the wet dog food is gone!

On our walks this past week I’d say she only freezes in fear once or twice which is awesome. People are her main issue now although she did pretty well yesterday when we encountered a lot. Anyways, if they are walking or running towards us she might try to move away in fear or bark. Bark! Can you believe it? That’s not a good thing for her to do of course but at least she’s showing some strength. Also, most of the time she’s still pulling so when it gets too severe I stop walking and wait until she loosens the tension (like last week).

potty training
She has gotten much better at this! I don’t recall any accidents in the house last week. Now that our fence is up (I’m really sorry trees but I needed it!) she has gotten used to going in the backyard regularly. Dare I say we’re done with this issue?!

roary & playing
Last week I saw Olivia pounce Roary’s Christmas stocking. Her first playful act! I have no idea where the stocking came from or how it got to the middle of the living room floor but I froze with excitement. That was just the beginning. Olivia now wrestles and chases Roary in the backyard. It’s a wonderful sight to see considering we had no idea how much time it would take her to relax and open up. A week and a half I suppose!

napping after the dog park.

Roary now expects Olivia to play with her often which Olivia could care less about. Example -> Roary drops a toy in front of Olivia. No dice. Roary then whimpers dramatically like the drama queen she is, “Why won’t you play with me?! I gave you my toy! My life is OVER.” Less then five minutes later Olivia is still asleep and Roary has joined her. It’s entertaining to say the least.

Oh and as a tip to other people with a new second dog:  Since Olivia is so mellow I went ahead and made her and Roary sleep in the same (giant) crate every night. I’d say if you have two dogs that seem to get along just fine then go for it! It might help speed up the bonding process.

the husband
My husband was gone all last week so we didn’t expect much progress when he got home on Friday. We were pleasantly surprised! She’s still jumpy around him but doesn’t run away in fear. She even approached him multiple times at the dog park! We couldn’t believe it. So far he has taken her and Roary on two walks by himself. Before he couldn’t even get her out the door let alone to the street! Amazing.

aww, bonding. can you see roary?

All in all it was an awesome week with lots of surprises. I’m hoping she’ll really shock me and start playing with toys in the next couple weeks. She often sees Roary running around while growling like a maniac with sticks and toys in her mouth you’d think she’d catch on! Maybe, just maybe.

P.S. My next post won’t be about dogs I promise!

Sidenote: I need to get a weekly schedule down for my posts since it’s a little sporadic at the moment. Right now I’m trying to decide on how often I want to write and when it is possible for me to do it! I hope to figure it out soon and I’ll let you know what the plan is when I do. Thanks for bearing with me in the process!

volunteering – day 3

On Saturday my husband and I went back to BARK. The first time I went I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. This time around I was recognized by familiar faces (which was so nice!) and I also already knew what I was supposed to do. Familiarlity = comfort.

There were so many more volunteers this time! I’d say 3 times as many. It was a nice surprise to see so many people wanting to help the dogs and well, last time was super exhausting so more help is awesome!

Lots of people were bringing the dogs from the kennels to the outside runs (so that the kennels could be cleaned) so my husband and I stayed inside to scoop poop and lay new wood chips the whole time. It’s amazing how okay I was with the barking and the craziness this time around. I got my tools and just got to work.

Because of the large amount of people, the chores got done in half the time. I felt like I had barely done any work even though I definitely had!

Since we finished the chores early, we were able to spend more time on the hike and with the dog of our choice. My husband’s favorite dog, Rocky, is actually ‘reserved’ for one of the regular volunteers (which is so great for Rocky but sad for him!) so he decided to take his next favorite, Spot.

cutie rocky

There’s another picture of Rocky in the volunteering – day 1 post. He’s such a looker! Not that I’m attached or anything…

spot & the husband

My pick of the pack was the same beagle from last time, Heidi. She is just too sweet.


I hung out with her for a bit before AND after the hike. At one point my husband came up to us to say ‘hi’ to Heidi and she did the following:

may I have a belly rub please?

Cue the ‘Awwww’. I bet you can guess where she’s going to end up! Answer: my house.

We discussed adopting or fostering the two of them because well, we just can’t help ourselves. My husband and I are crazy but I don’t care!

The plan. The plan is that we’re going to give Olivia, our first foster, a couple more weeks before we take on any other dogs. We want Olivia to be super comfortable at home since we’re officially going to ADOPT her next Saturday. YAY!! We planned on adopting her the whole time. We just wanted to make sure that she would be happy at our house first before she became a part of the family.

Back to the plan. We agreed that we would only foster and not adopt Heidi and Spot. If we keep adopting dogs then we won’t be able to help nearly as many. Of course we are madly in love with these dogs and know that it’s going to be horribly difficult to give them up if/when the time comes but it’ll be for their happiness and that is the MOST important thing.

I’m pumped and a bit terrified if only because Spot is a BEAST (giant). I bet I’m going to have some entertaining stories soon enough. This house is going to be a zoo!

introversion, intuition, feeling, judging

As you know, this blog is the first step in my search for a new, more fulfilling career. Yesterday was my second step. I put in my four weeks notice at work. GASP!

I have no job lined up yet but I just had to do it. It’s really tough to take a leap of faith but if I hadn’t done it yesterday then I probably would have stuck around for a couple more months or even longer. That wouldn’t be good – not for me or my husband’s happiness.

I personally love change but the unknown is scary AND having to tell my bosses what I was doing made me want to barf. Seriously all morning before the meeting all I could think to myself and type to my great friend Katie was ‘Barf!’ or ‘I want to Barf!’. It pains me to bring stress or trouble to other people’s lives so even though this decision is going to make me happier and healthier I was still worrying about the workload I’d leave and the people that would have to take it on. I want to help not hurt. This, I think, is a good example of my personality and brings me to a little research I did.

I needed reassurance for this big career change so I explored online and found this personality test. The test gives you results based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. So I am a INFJ – introversion, intuition, feeling, judging.

16 personality types

With a little more googling I found these shenanigans about my personality type (found here):
INFJs, making up an estimated 1% of all people, are the most rare type (males even more so). They are introspective, caring, sensitive, gentle and complex people that strive for peace and derive satisfaction from helping others. INFJs are highly intuitive, empathetic and dedicated listeners. These traits tend to act as a “tell me what’s wrong” sign on their forehead, hence the nicknames Confidant, Counselor or Empath. INFJs are intensely private and deeply committed to their beliefs.

What’s my conclusion from all this? I’m destined to be the next Mother Teresa! OR I definitely should be helping someone or something because that’s what makes me sing!

I should just believe in my gut and trust that I am making the right decision but man did this test make me feel better about my choices. If any of you are looking to change careers and aren’t exactly sure what you might like to do I would definitely check out the websites I linked to above. If you’re curious here are a couple careers I found for my personality. Very interesting!

  • Clergy / Religious Work
  • Teachers
  • Medical Doctors / Dentists
  • Alternative Health Care Practitioners, i.e. Chiropractor, Reflexologist
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Counselors and Social Workers
  • Musicians and Artists
  • Photographers
  • Child Care / Early Childhood Development

These results are funny because many of the careers on this list I’ve already considered or done.

Here’s to heading in the right direction!

calorie counting troubles

Aside from my major sweet tooth I’m a healthy eater and exerciser these days.

A few years back when I was in graduate school, in Boston, all by my lonesome, I took a break from my semi-healthy habits. During the day I was still eating well with oatmeal, turkey sandwiches, and salads as my go to meals but at night…oh at night. At night I worked at a pub that served awesome food so I failed there and then if I wasn’t working I was eating whole bags or tubs of whatever I felt like that night. Eh.

That year I gained 10-15 pounds.

To counteract my eating I would go to the gym. Research tells us that eating healthy is WAY more beneficial in losing weight than just exercising (unless you exercise all day long) so the weight stayed on.

I think my turning point was my engagement. I felt like crap and definitely didn’t want to feel or look like crap on my wedding day.

The first thing I did was improve my eating. I cut back somewhat on all of the junk and restaurant food. I kept up my exercising which was cardio and weights but added yoga for the first time and also swimming. The gym at my school was ah-mazing so to me it was fun to trek in the snow (I’m from FL so yeah), swim in the toasty pool, get ready for the day and then head to class. It was a nice routine for me.

All this was working. The only downfall was my calorie counting.

I think those calorie counting websites are a great tool to help you in the beginning of your healthy living overhaul. They can help you gain the knowledge you need to make the habits a lifestyle and not just a diet. BUT I didn’t kick the habit once I had gotten back to my original weight. For a couple of years I would track every calorie in and every calorie burned. Each time I gained a pound or lost a pound I internally freaked out. I probably only fluctuated 5 pounds or so which is NORMAL but at the time I didn’t think so.

Towards the end of my calorie counting I began reading healthy living and healthy food blogs. They were (and still are) great sources of postivity and inspiration in my life. Then one day it just clicked. What the heck am I doing sitting here trying to figure out how many calories my turkey sandwich has?? I’m wasting my life worrying about this stuff! I’m done with calorie counting and bringing myself down with negativity. Done and done. It was such a crazy epiphany. One morning I was calorie counting and by the afternoon I was this brand new person! I guess things finally just clicked.

Of course I still struggle with a negative body image once in a while but if I eat a whole box of mike and ikes one night, the next morning I have the choice to eat healthy again. No big deal! My life won’t be ruined because of that candy – maybe my mobility for the night will be and you’d like to think I’d learn my lesson by now!  But hey, it’s okay.

Now I have to tell you I have a naturally thin frame so some might look at my before and after pictures and say ‘There’s no freaking difference! She’s too skinny!’ but I was eating terribly and wasn’t happy in 2008. I mean I cried (not from happiness) trying on wedding dresses! How sad is that? Anyways, I now know that it’s not about the scale but about how you feel overall. When I have a good, healthy, balanced system going I look like the image on the right – like right now!

2008 & 2011

Today I focus on the meal at hand and mainly how I can add veggies or fruit to it. For exercise I focus on yoga 3 times a week (per my  2012 Resolutions) and training for a 10k in March. When I attempt to stay on track with this I feel balanced, I sleep better, and I’m SO much happier over all.

You can be healthy AND happy without overanalyzing your body and everything else for that matter! As my husband says, “Just Chill.”

volunteering – day 2

Holy eye-opening experience batman.

I drove past the house of my most recent volunteer adventure twice before I saw another car pull up and decided that I should actually stop. I was alone in a somewhat scary part of town in front of a super old house that was painted all over with crazy sayings and colors. What in the…

Once I was inside I met everyone. The people running the show as well as the regulars were major characters – lots of piercings, tattoos, and expressive clothing. To prove all negative stereotyping wrong they were all SUPER nice and welcoming. Note that I was still a little uneasy so I decided not to take any photos while I was there just in case anyone objected.

Now the organization serves vegetarian meals to about 30-100 low-income families and the homeless every Sunday. I was there to help prepare the meals.

A man delivered some expired food from local grocery stores. We then sifted through the boxes and decided on what to make for dinner and dessert.

While prepping the food, everyone made small talk. Some people had regular jobs some had no jobs, some people couldn’t even afford Starbucks if they wanted to (this shocked me and my naive self). No matter what their troubles were in their own lives, they were still there working away to help people less fortunate than them. Amazing.

I interacted with people that I would never speak to or even really run into normally. It was a breath of fresh air. Again, an eye-opening experience.

I do have one regret from the day and it’s that I didn’t stay for the completion of the meals and the delivery. I’m not sure if I got the whole experience because I didn’t interact with the actual people that I was volunteering to help. Not to dish out excuses but my sister was alone with Olivia and since Olivia’s too scared of her she hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day. She ended up peeing in the house but I thought I should get back to take her out. Maybe next time I’ll stay for the whole thing. I’m hoping to bring along the family then too.

I am so so glad I didn’t chicken out. It was a wonderful experience.

olivia – week 1

Olivia has now been with us for a whole week! I thought everyone would like to hear about her progress so here ya go – a couple of random tidbits.

The day after we got her we took her to the dog park. I thought it’d be a good idea since she probably hadn’t had the freedom to roam and play in years. She was pretty scared of all the commotion and dogs but I think she enjoyed smelling everything and running a bit. Hopefully tomorrow when I take her she’ll interact with the dogs a little more.

Even after a day I could tell she was already more comfortable with me. Multiple times she would run away in the park to smell and then run right back. It totally made my heart melt.

olivia running back to me


look at those hound eyes!


Since she’s super shy the main issue of the week was making her eat. The first thing I got her to take was some cheese and a dog treat. Then, I finally emailed BARK after 3 days of no meals and they told me to use wet dog food which definitely did the trick! Ah, mommy relief.

Again with the timidness. At the beginning of the week it was walk ten feet then freeze from fear or pull so hard that I’d almost face plant. The fear I would ignore until she started walking again but the pulling was a different approach. She would get too scared when I’d try to ‘bite’ her or snap her leash (the cesar way) to correct the issue so instead I would stop and not move until she backed up and loosened the pull. This teaches her that if she doesn’t pull she gets to keep walking. Multiple times I stood there like a weirdo in the street for what felt like 10 minutes but it didn’t matter. It was for the good of the dog. It even helped Roary with her patience and pulling too! <- added bonus.

potty training
Pretty much every day we’ve had an accident inside the house so to potty train her this week I have frequently spent 10-25 minutes of my life shivering in my slippers and parka waiting semi-patiently for her to pee outside. As of now I think I have only given up 2 or 3 times! Success.

roary & playing
Roary is one hyper pup. Hyper pup + Chill hound = well not too much. Olivia has had a couple bouts of playfulness that are SUPER exciting but she doesn’t play with Roary just yet. She just ignores the craziness.

Oh but my sister told me that she picked up a toy today! She didn’t seem to know what to do with toys earlier in the week so this news is awesome. I might just die if she runs after something that I throw. To dream!

the husband
The toughest thing about Olivia is not her issues but that I have to do most of the training on my own because she’s too scared of my husband at the moment. We wouldn’t want her to go back into her shell and never come out so once she’s improved and isn’t scared of him we’ll introduce him back into the training.

at the park

I think she has made great progress so far. I can’t wait to see how much more she will improve in the next week!

Sidenote: Tomorrow I’ll be volunteering at a new place so check back in to see how it goes!

P.S. don’t worry about Roary! She’s still my best buddy and is spoiled rotten.

the job hunt

How in the world do I convince people that I truly want to change careers? My gut is telling me this is what I need to do is that not good enough?

Yesterday afternoon I had a job interview for a great non-profit. I was super excited because I really thought I was going to get it – I even have the same alma mater as the interviewer, that’s always a plus! But it didn’t go very well or at least I’m pretty sure it didn’t. The woman wasn’t convinced that a person with a Masters in Fine Arts would truly want to completely change careers, get paid way less, and work part-time. But I DO, I REALLY do! I even explained how I was going to keep making art on the side while working at her company. That way I still get to help people and create – my two loves. Alas, I couldn’t say anything to wipe the disappointed (?) look on her face.

Depressing. I came home after my 10 minute interview and then sat on my pretty bay window and cried while the dogs stared at me. I was just so excited to get out of a job that pains me and be free to pursue my other passions. I know I know, this sounds SUPER dramatic but I’ve been wanting out of this job for a while now so to be so close yet so far is a total bummer. Ah, the ups and downs of the hunt.

I’m going somewhere with this venting don’t you worry.

After stuffing my face and getting over my sad self I felt a little better. And after a semi-good nights sleep I felt MUCH better. It’s a brand new day. There are new jobs to hunt and more connections to be made. I applied to another job today and decided on which volunteer opportunity I’ll be taking part in this weekend. Everyone loves a plan!

I just need to stay focused on my goals and stick with the plan. If I waiver one day I can jump back on route the next. Eventually it’ll all work out the way it should. That sounds convincing, right??

A little interpretation of this post for your viewing pleasure: