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Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Walk……

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I try to walk my dogs regularly but I’ll admit I didn’t do a very good job of it this past summer……let’s just say I was lazy.

If walking the dogs was as simple as just put their leashes on, walk out the door and “lady and her two dogs walk peacefully down the street and around the block” I probably would have done a better job of walking them………however that is not the case. A typical walk begins with Cody whining the second she thinks I am getting ready to take her out (her clue is the socks and sneakers replace the flip-flops). The longer it takes me to get ready the louder and more annoying her whining becomes. I get my shoes on, grab some poop bags (better to have extra), grab my cell phone (in case of an emergency during the walk) and then go get their leashes. All this time Cody is whining and Emma is quietly standing at the door hoping to get out without the leash. I use a gentle leader to walk both dogs….they aren’t huge fans of it but it does give me more control. Cody is used to her lead because she has worn it for 7 years so when you say “snout” she walks over to you sticks her “snout” out and gentle leader is attached and she is ready to go. Emma is hilarious when you try to put her lead on, she ducks her head and backs away and when you finally get a hold of her and get it fastened around her snout…….she freezes, she makes like a statue and won’t move a muscle. So now we have frozen dog and whiney dog ready to go for a walk. I open the front door and the fun begins.

There is a bus stop directly across from our house and if anyone is standing there waiting for the bus Emma starts barking her fool head off….I finally get her under control and we venture off the front porch…….off to a good start. There are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood and it seems we all like to walk them at the same time. I have tried going out earlier and going out later but there is always someone else with the same idea. I have one dog that barks and growls at people and one dog that barks and growls at dogs so it is a lose, lose situation for me.

Ideally I should be walking the dogs first thing in the morning and after dinner (before dark)…….but I have found lots of reasons not to all summer…..it’s too hot, it’s too late (after soccer), it’s too early (to get out of bed), my feet hurt, my knees hurt, my hips hurt, (yes, I am getting old and falling apart),I’m tired…….and on and on and on.

When I do decide to take them out I have a regular route I walk which takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to walk…….depending on the number of pit stops needed. Walking these two can be a little embarrassing sometimes…..some poor unsuspecting lady and her little dog get a surprise when all of a sudden a 40 pound Border Collie and 90 pound Lab start barking, growling and lunging at them. Emma is easy enough to control physically because she is only 40 pounds of dog, but the barking is not as easy to control. Trying to control the 90 pounds of dog is not so simple, it becomes a matter of trying to walk past the poor lady and her little “Fifi” without these two vicious sounding dogs tripping me and knocking me to the ground (very embarrassing). I am sure people look at us and think to themselves, “Wow, that woman should get control over those dogs of hers.” Awkward!!

So that is just the beginning of the walk…….as I said, there are a lot of dogs in our neighborhood and they all seem to be out at the same time. By the time we get home after the walk I am frustrated and exhausted and don’t want to take the little monsters out again….thus the excuses not to!

According to “Cesar Milan” ….The Dog Whisperer…..I need to master the dog walk.

Cesar’s 6 Tips for Mastering the Dog Walk –

  • Position matters. Walking in front of your dog allows you to be seen as the pack leader. Conversely, if your dog controls you on the walk, he’s the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.
  • Use a short dog leash. This allows you to have more control. Attaching the leash to the very top of the neck can help you more easily communicate, guide, and correct your dog. If you need additional help, consider the Illusion collar. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind when giving corrections.
  • Set aside time. Dogs, like humans, are diurnal, so taking walks in the morning is ideal. I recommend setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see if his needs are being met.
  • Define exploration time. After your dog has maintained the proper state of mind, reward him by allowing him to relieve himself and sniff around. Then you need to decide when reward time is over. It should always be less than the time spent focused on the walk.
  • Don’t punch out. When you get home, don’t stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.
  • Share food and water. By providing a meal after the walk, you have allowed your dog to “work” for food and water.

So I have decided I need to become more diligent about becoming “the leader” of my dogs and be more consistent with taking them on a walk twice a day regardless of what excuses I can manage to come up with….there are always excuses to not do something, better I should find reasons to get it done than excuses not to.

This week I have done a much better job of walking the dogs morning and night and trying to follow “Cesar’s” advice. I find I do a lot of street crossing and creating space between us and other dogs by walking out onto the street to avoid a lot of conflict.

Yes.....they look so calm and relaxed here......it's just an act!!....There are no dogs or people around.

I actually had a lady tell me yesterday what lovely dogs I have and how much she admires them every time I walk past her house (she obviously hasn’t seen them at their worst). Any little bit of encouragement though….if there is even one person who doesn’t think my dogs (and their owner) are completely out of control then we are making progress. 🙂

P.S. They actually are walking better lately……less barking and lunging at people and their dogs……due mainly to the walk being consistent and me having more control.

Facebook……

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I may be a Facebook addict……  😦   (I see your heads nodding in agreement).

It starts off with logging on first thing in the morning to see “what’s new in Facebook land” but then I am logging on 10 times a day to see if any of my friends have made updates to their profile,  or have posted new videos, pictures or articles…..

I do recall getting into trouble for writing on walls when I was a kid......maybe this is how my addiction started?

Facebook is my news source. It’s how I keep up with the news and photos of friends and family that I don’t see often enough.

I am not a private person….(unlike my husband who happens to be a very private person)……I don’t care who knows my business…..my life is pretty much an open book. I don’t mind people knowing what’s going on in my life as it is a great way of getting “unsolicited” advice and opinions on situations and issues. I don’t always care for some of the opinions I receive but I can respect people for having them. It doesn’t even mean I will change anything in my life based on what someone else might try to convince me of, just so you know. I basically like people, and I like knowing what is going on in their lives…..sometimes it even helps put everything in my life in perspective.

My husband is the complete opposite of me…..he believes personal lives should stay personal, and doesn’t like people knowing “too much” about him…..He does have Facebook but you will rarely see him on there…..To some extent he’s right about keeping personal personal…..some things should be kept personal, but I still like to tell all there is to tell about myself and my family. I think part of it is because I’m a “girl” and girls like to talk…..and part of it is where and how I was raised. I was born in the city and lived there….not very long 🙂 …..I was raised in a very rural community where everybody knew everybody which translates into everybody knew everybody’s business as well. My kids went to school with the kids of the kids I went to school with and I went to school with the kids of the kids my dad went to school with…..you see how this is going…..everybody knew everybody since the beginning of time in this little community. I have lived the majority of my life….up until 11 years ago in this small rural community under the rules of everyone knows about you and you know about everyone else…..and I liked it that way!

Eleven years ago I moved from my home province and my rural community to my current home in the City to marry my wonderful husband (who I met on the internet…..not through a dating site, just an “old-fashioned” chat room, in fact I have a Facebook friend today from that same chatroom, and yes I have actually met her in person.)……The city I live in is a small city by most people’s standards, but huge compared to where I came from. There were a few things I needed to get used to right away……..like locking the car doors….(weird I know)……locking the house doors at night or when I went out…..(again weird)……and the big one for me to get used to……..NOT KNOWING ALL MY NEIGHBOURS AND THEIR FAMILIES!!

I haven’t really changed in the time I have been here, I still like people and see all people as basically good (until proven otherwise) and I still feel I know everyone even though I really don’t. I’m not saying city people are unfriendly….not at all….., in fact I have found that people are very “friendly” here. I just find I miss the whole knowing everyone and what is going on in their lives.

And that is why I may be addicted to Facebook!!!

I hear my kids applauding right now that I am admitting my addiction. 🙂

Of course I have never acted like this.... 🙂

I have 165 “Facebook friends” made up of family and friends……59 family members…..siblings, aunts,  nieces, nephews, first, second and possibly third cousins……20 are friends that I have met since moving here, and…….86 are friends from my old home that I either went to school with or my kids went to school with or I met and became friends with outside of school. I do personally know each of the people who I have on Facebook, except for 2 who are  my family and friends significant others that I have not had the privilege to meet in person yet.

Why I am addicted to facebook…..As I said it is my news source. I hear right away when someone has been born, has died or is getting married…..and I like keeping up on those things. My newspapers here will not have any of those announcements in them for my friends and family that do not live here….and that would be most of them. I get to see pictures of newborns and also pictures of not so newborns that show me how everyone has changed from day to day and year to year.

Contrary to what some of you may believe….FACEBOOK IS PUBLIC….if you don’t want someone to know what is going on in your life then don’t write about it on Facebook, but more importantly, don’t tell anyone else about it because there is nothing to stop them from putting it on Facebook. Don’t get all upset at people when they talk about stuff on Facebook that you want kept quiet, especially if you haven’t told everyone to keep it personal. I understand not wanting your affair posted on Facebook but if it’s a somewhat public thing like a wedding or a birth announcement, then it seems to me Facebook would be the place to share your good news……with all your “FB friends”.

If you post a picture on Facebook….it is public, if you don’t want someone to “steal” your pictures, then don’t put them on Facebook. I do “steal” people’s pictures from Facebook….it’s what I refer to as my public photo album. I love when friends and family post their pictures and videos on Facebook….it’s my chance to get an up close and personal look at people’s changing families that I might not have a chance to see even if I went back for a visit.

I very recently read an article that said you can have too many Facebook friends:

Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar has conducted a study of social groupings throughout the centuries, from neolithic villages to modern office environments.

His findings, based on his theory ‘Dunbar’s number‘, developed in the 1990s, asserts that size of the part of the brain used for conscious thought and language, the neocortex, limits us to managing 150 friends, no matter how sociable we are.

The professor of Evolutionary Anthropology has applied this theory to see if the ‘Facebook effect’  has stretched the size of social groupings.

He compared the online ‘traffic’ of people with thousands of friends to those with hundreds.

His findings show that there is no discernible difference between the two.

‘The interesting thing is that you can have 1,500 friends but when you actually look at traffic on sites, you see people maintain the same inner circle of around 150 people that we observe in the real world,’ said Dunbar.

‘People obviously like the kudos of having hundreds of friends but the reality is that they’re unlikely to be bigger than anyone else’s.’

Dunbar defined ‘maintained’ friends as those you care about and contact at least once a year.

He has also found that women are better at maintaining friendships on Facebook.

‘There is a big sex difference though … girls are much better at maintaining relationships just by talking to each other. Boys need to do physical stuff together,’ he said.

Addictions expert David Smallwood claims that many who use Facebook become hooked on the urge to acquire more friends in an attempt to appear popular and successful.

So according to this guy I have too many Facebook friends…..15 have got to go. The question is…..which 15 of my “Facebook friends” do not  qualify as my “maintained friends” those I CARE about and contact at least once a year. I believe I will look into this and see if I really do have too many “Facebook friends” and do some purging if necessary.

In the mean time I will continue with my Facebook addiction and enjoy knowing and seeing all about my “friends” lives…..let’s just say Facebook is a virtual version of where I grew up. If you’re my “friend” on Facebook then to me you live in my virtual rural community and I know all about you and you know all about me…..(even the stuff you didn’t want to know) 🙂

Soccer Scoring Pie…….

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Soccer Scoring Pie……. Most recent updates

What a Day!!……

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Yesterday was an incredible day……. 😀

It started pretty early for a Saturday. It was 6:30 am when I decided the pups decided they had whined long enough and I needed to get out of bed and let them out. I got them both leashed up and took them for a 45 minute walk…..a really good walk where we saw no other dogs to get Cody all worked up and only a couple of people for Emma to bark at (still working on getting her to stop barking at everyone). When we got back home I fed the poochies and then relaxed for a bit before getting ready to head off to Sarnia (a two hour drive away) for soccer.

Just before noon we left for Sarnia for Erika’s second to last soccer game of the season. This season has been an up and down battle between Cambridge and Sarnia for first place…..below are the standings before they played their game against Sarnia (which would be Sarnia’s final game of the season), tied at 30 points each.

Standings before playing final game against Sarnia

A win for either team would put them in first place, however it would be Sarnia’s last opportunity to finish in first but  Cambridge still has a game left to play, so their destiny was indeed in their own hands……!

The girls were so pumped for this game……..and so were the parents……..nervous, excited, tense, hopeful…….some parents just wanted it to be over……..win or lose.

Cambridge scored first……early in the game…….an awesome goal crossed by Aubrey and scored by Kayla……great teamwork!!!!.The girls battled right to the end and both teams had chances but the goalies played the ball well throughout the 90 minute game.

I have never seen a happier team of girls…….(and parents)…….in Erika’s soccer history as I did when that final whistle blew and Kayla’s goal stood as the lone goal of the game, giving Cambridge the win!!! Erika has played some exciting games in her “soccer career” but none to match this one. (I have however, seen this kind of excitement before in hockey…….when her team won Provincials after a 6 period game).

The thing is, this wasn’t their final game of the season……just the most important game of the season. A loss to this team would have meant they would have to win in their final game against Windsor on September 11th in order to finish tied for first place, then a tie breaking game would have to be played against Sarnia (likely in Sarnia again) and they would have to beat them in order to finish in first place. If they had tied this game it would have had them still tied for first place and again Erika’s team would have to win their final game in order to finish in first place, and other teams would still have a chance to finish ahead of them. By winning this game they managed to put themselves in first place and no matter what happens in their final game they will still finish with top points in the league!!! (As the standings now show).

Standings After the Sarnia Game

This was not just another game, played in the heat after a two-hour drive……this was the game of the season!! The win would move the girls from WOYSL to OYSL…..it’s what Erika has been striving for since she began playing Rep Soccer. The girls knew what they wanted from this game and they battled hard to achieve those results. It was by no means an easy victory but it was still a victory. They should be very proud of themselves for what they accomplished in this game and in this season. I know we are very proud of them!

(Erika will be less than impressed that I posted this first video of her)

A happy girl being congratulated by the parents!

The team cheer

Hugs and Happiness!

The Team Captains.....and Little Taya......So Happy 😀

More Hugs

Can't wipe those smiles off...... 🙂

It was an exciting and happy drive home with Erika making plans for her own self-training as she prepares to make the jump from the Western Ontario Youth Soccer League to a Level 1 team in the Ontario Youth Soccer League. Well done Cambridge United U16 Girls!!!!

When we finally got home it was well past dinner time (that would be “supper time” to some) 🙂 so we decided to go out for a celebratory dinner….Erika’s choice of restaurant, so East Side Marios it was!! (East Side’s is never our choice). Erika thought it was a perfect choice since the game they will play to finish their season will be against the “East Side Kickers” in Windsor.

The Winning Team!!

All in all a Great Day and a Great Memory!! 🙂

Where Did The Summer Go?…..

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I can hardly believe that in just two weeks school will be back in again for another year. Erika may have trouble believing it as well since she is the one that will be going back to school. It seems like not that long ago everyone was counting down to the end of the school year…..but in fact it was nearly two months ago now! 🙂

This was a typically busy summer for us with lots of travelling to soccer……..Windsor, Sarnia, Barrie, Ajax and London (even a trip to Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York States before the season got underway), a family visit from New Brunswick which we all enjoyed immensely, and…….we even managed to take a few days off together……referred to as vacation time…..We still have some time to take but we need to figure out when we can fit it in…..We are thinking it will probably be in September before it starts getting busy at work again……We have no travel plans, just looking forward to some time off to take it easy.

The weather has been hot and humid this summer with very little rain. It made for little to no grass cutting but meant that the air conditioner was on more than usual. I am actually looking forward to fall to enjoy the cooler weather……I would rather sit around with a sweat shirt and jeans on than melt in shorts and a tank top.

Since we only have one child still in school, gearing up isn’t as bad as it used to be when there were four to get ready…..the expensive items are new uniform pieces…….however we do still have to get off our butts and go get what she needs.

The really great thing about the end of summer and back to school is……….NO MESSY HOUSE WHEN I GET HOME FROM WORK……not saying Erika is a messy kid or anything but she doesn’t always clean up her dishes etc. after lunch. During the school year we all basically leave the house at the same time in the morning and Erika doesn’t get home much before we do at the end of the day, so whatever condition the house is in when we walk out the door in the morning it generally still is when we walk back in again. The one thing I never looked forward to when they were all in school was making lunches……day in and day out…….trying to come up with non-boring lunches…….not something I enjoyed doing. Erika obviously doesn’t need me to do that for her any more so I basically “LOVE BACK TO SCHOOL”.

The end of summer marks the return to normalcy…….the Tim Hortons line is busier, school busses are back on the roads, kids are walking all over the place to get to their schools, crossing the street in front of you, the Mall becomes quieter during the day (except at lunch time)…….all the things that say “let the school year begin”.

As much as I enjoy summer, and it shocks me  how quickly it goes by, I have to admit I am looking forward to Fall and getting back to normal!! 🙂

We will see how long my enjoyment lasts once homework and projects start again……… 🙂

What about you? Do you look forward to the end of summer or do you wish for it to last longer?……I think I know what my teacher friends might say to that! 😉

Forgiveness…..

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None of us is perfect!!…..We often say and do things that offend loved ones. I am as guilty as the next person!! 🙂

All of us have done or said things that are hurtful to others at one time or another, and we may not even realize it. Forgiveness is an important part of strong, healthy relationships. I recently came across an article on forgiveness while I was struggling with my own inability to forgive. I have since tried to apply it to my life and feel it is important enough to share with others.

Forgiveness allows us to get over our anger and feelings of resentment or strong desires to hurt someone back who has hurt us either through words or actions aimed directly towards us or towards people we care deeply about. Forgiving involves changing your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in how you view the one who has caused you the hurt. Bad feelings and judgment towards this person are reduced, not because they don’t “deserve” that treatment, but because we are willing to view the person with some compassion, and love. Sometimes it takes us a very long time to get to this point, because we want to strike out and hurt the people who have hurt us, we want to make them feel as bad as they made us feel. When families and friends can’t find a way to forgive, relationships suffer. Healing is impossible because the offended person becomes obsessed with being wronged and looking for ways to strike back at the one who offended. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in how someone has hurt them that they make the following  statements a way of life:  “I will now hurt you for all the hurt you caused me.” , or “I will never forgive you for, or forget the things you said or did to me.”  This becomes a very unhealthy way of life. Unforgiving responses of blame, anger, and hostility have actually been linked to poor health, particularly coronary heart disease and even premature death. Most people who have forgiven others will tell you how much better they feel as the emotional burden they were carrying was let go.

Numerous family situations present the need and opportunity for forgiveness. The following  is an exercise I came across very recently and have decided to apply to my own life.

First, reflect on areas where you may harbor resentment, bitterness, and lack of forgiveness in your relationship with family, friends, work associates, or others. Do you hold grudges? Write these down. How old are these feelings? Do you bring up past events in arguments? Are there patterns of behavior that continue to offend you? Are you willing to push yourself to forgive?

  • I have done this part of the exercise and decided that for my own sake I need to forgive the “individuals” who have hurt or offended me or my family even though their actions continue. I have held grudges for a long time because of hurtful things said and done to me by others but have now come to realize that this is not a healthy way for me to respond.  Some of my bitterness towards others goes back a long time, and yes, I do bring up the past in arguments because I haven’t been able to let go of it before now, because the hurt was too deep. Sharing this  with others is a way of allowing myself to heal from hurts caused by other peoples words and actions and to be able to stop retaliating…..as difficult as that is for me.

Second, reflect on situations where you may have hurt a family member or a friend. Have you taken responsibility? Did you apologize? Have you taken steps to change recurrent patterns that offend? You may be standing in the way of reconciliation if you’ve never taken responsibility for your part of the problem.

  • Being the type of person I am I have had trouble admitting that I also played a part in disagreements with family members. I have felt very hurt and offended by comments that were made to me and because I also held on to comments and situations from the past, what someone might think was a little thing became a huge thing in my mind and became too much for me to just brush off so I retaliated by being hurtful back. I have recently come to the conclusion that sometimes people speak without thinking how it may affect another person and don’t even realize that the words that come out of their mouths actually hurt and offend and when this happens I need to take a deep breath and remember that hurtful comments are generally made by people who have their own issues to work through and are more of a cry for help than an intended offense. I must treat these people with kindness and hope they can come to terms with their own unhappiness or bitterness that causes them to behave the way they do towards me and others.

As difficult as it will be for me this is my new attitude towards people…..all people, family and friends included.

Here are some steps to make forgiveness happen:

  •  Set aside time to discuss the issue one on one. Make sure it’s a good time to talk.
  •  Identify the problem or harmful event. You must both agree that you’re ready to discuss the issue.
  •  Fully explore the pain and concerns related to this issue for both of you. Talk openly about what has happened that harmed one or both of you. Don’t try this unless each of you is motivated to listen and show respect for each other’s viewpoints.
  • The offender asks for forgiveness. A sincere apology is a powerful addition to a request for forgiveness. “I’m sorry. I was wrong–please forgive me” is one of the most healing things that can be said between two people.
  • The offended agrees to forgive.
  • The offender commits to refrain from doing the thing that caused the offense.

Expect forgiveness to take time. A relationship has the best chance to heal when each party takes responsibility to make things good again in the relationship. It starts with one person taking the high ground and making a sincere attempt to not cause any more strife between the parties.

What if the other party has wronged you and won’t take responsibility, won’t apologize?

“You can still move ahead and forgive. It may be hard, but if you don’t, you and the relationship will suffer added damage. You put yourself at risk for psychological and physical problems such as depression, ulcers, high blood pressure and rage. That’s no way to live.” I believe that in order to truly move on you must forgive even if the other person never has any intention of forgiving you, or believes they have done nothing wrong and therefore have nothing to be sorry about. I have realized that I cannot control someone else’s behaviour or thoughts, only my own.

Seeking forgiveness from others:

  • Engage in self-confrontation – regularly examine your actions and motives. Ask “Is it I?” – be the first to confess and apologize, and, if appropriate, reconcile and restore your relationship.
  • Self-disclose – share your feelings and story with family members or loved ones.
  • Avoid confessions in which you blame or fail to accept responsibility (such as saying, “I’m sorry, but if you wouldn’t have said that . . . .). Search for solutions instead of blame, even though blame is so easy to do.

Forgiving others:

  • Live your own forgiven-ness – we all have experiences where others have forgiven us.
  • Remember that every person’s sense of worth is important – realize that by forgiving them you aid in their personal experience of forgiveness.
  • Seek with all your heart and mind for anger to be lifted. This may often include prayer, or some other activity to rid yourself from anger.
  • Develop empathy and emotional understanding for the situation of your offender. Try to understand what problems they may have been going through when the dispute took place.
  • Avoid unnecessary retelling of the offense – dwelling on such reinforces an unforgiving heart as well as solidifying the event in your mind.
  • Remember that forgiving rarely entails memory loss but freedom from preoccupation with the offense – do not let your thoughts, emotions, and reactions be consumed by the offense.

Forgiving one another from our hearts helps restore the peace and contentment that should be a part of every family or friendship. But forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. By forgiving another, regardless of their actions, you do yourself a great service. You let go of bitterness, contempt, vindictiveness, and desires for revenge that drain you of mental and emotional energy you could use in other areas of your life. It is important to let these things go because if you don’t, the other person – even if you never see them again – continues to hold power over your emotions and your thoughts – and you.

This has become very important to me…..to be able to forgive…..for my health and healthy relationships with others. I have realized that I cannot possibly be completely there for the people who mean the most to me when I am being consumed by the hurt caused to me by others. 🙂

This is how I am able to look myself in the mirror every day and see a better person than I once was, because I am able to move past the hurt caused by what others say and do by forgiving them and letting it go. 🙂

So for everyone who has been hurt in some way by a family member or a friend, do YOURSELF a favour and forgive them even if they are never able to admit to themselves or to you that they have done something wrong….in the end you have to live with yourself and that’s much easier to do knowing you no longer harbour any ill feelings towards another.

I hope after reading this everyone will understand how important it is to forgive those that have said or done hurtful things to them no matter how big or small and try to find some contentment in life through forgiveness!! 🙂

Soccer Scoring Pie…….

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Soccer Scoring Pie……. Updated results.