An Obnoxiously Perfect Weekend

Not to sound like one of those annoying “life is great, everything is perfect, I fart rainbows” bloggers… but this weekend was pretty great.  We didn’t do anything special at all, but I just had this really content feeling all weekend.

When I got home Friday after my track workout, D wanted to go grab something to eat, so me and the dogs rode with him.  It was a really pleasant evening, so we stopped by the park to walk the dogs for a bit.  Usually when I’m walking the dogs, it’s at a brisk pace with me keeping them on task, but Friday we just made one slow, leisurely lap around the 0.75-mile loop, enjoying the beautiful weather and letting the dogs stop every few feet to sniff.  It just set the pace for a relaxing weekend.

Saturday morning, started off earlier than I’d have liked thanks to three STAAAARVING animals.  But if they hadn’t got me out of bed, I’d have missed this.

Besides, once all the furry bellies were full, I ended up falling back asleep on the couch anyway.  D went to the shop, so it was just me and the critters the rest of the day.  I was kind of in domestic mode, and we got lots done around the house.  C.C. even helped me fold and put away towels.

I’ll just make sure this stack doesn’t fall over, m’kay?

I texted my friend Suzan (the one I trade out dog-sitting with) to see if she wanted to take our dogs to the water since this may be our last weekend warm enough to do it, but she was stuck teaching a Common Core workshop (I can’t think of a worse way to spend a Saturday! haha) and couldn’t go.  So me and my two went to the state park at the lake not far from here, but that was pretty much a bust.  The water where they could have waded into the lake was sooo nasty and stinky.  There’s no way they were getting in that mess, so we just walked around the lake and enjoyed the day again.

Bella, my little co-pilot

And on our way home, we saw this sign!  I only caught a glimpse of it when I passed it the first time, so I had to turn around and go back to make sure I read it right.  We’re getting a brewery!!!!

Perrylodgic Brewing Co will be opening in November!

During my conversation with Suzan earlier in the day, she mentioned that she had almost called me to see if I could keep her dog that night because after she got out of her workshop she was only going to be home long enough to let Gnash out before she had to go to another event that evening and felt bad for leaving him so much that day.  I told her that we had no plans and to please bring him over.  He’s such a good boy, and he and my dogs are wonderful together.  They play and wrestle until they just crash.

After they’d worn each other out and settled down, me and D went out to dinner and had a nice night together–something we’ve had far too few of lately.

Sunday I slept till almost 8(!!!), which means it was already full sun and warm, so I decided to wait until the evening to do my long run.  That domestic mode I was in carried right on over into Sunday, so most of the day was spent doing house things including lots of time in the kitchen.  I was already tired when I started running at 5, so I didn’t expect much, but it turned out to be a great seven miles!

And to top it off, I found out it’s National Beer Day!  Who am I to refuse to celebrate that?!  What a perfect way to end a perfect weekend!!

The Personalized Pit Bull

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a huge pit bull advocate.  As such, I follow a lot of pit bull advocacy and rescue sites on Facebook.  Well a few months ago, one of those rescues was holding a fundraising auction, and a company called The Personalized Pit Bull had donated some items to be auctioned off.  One of those items was an 8 x 10 color portrait of your animal.  I bid on it, what I thought was a fairly low amount, so I was super surprised when I got an email telling me that I’d won it.  She asked for my favorite upperbody/head shot of my dog, and I decided on this one.

Smiling big after our trip to the gourmet pet treat store.

 So I sent it in and after what seemed like forever (she’s VERY popular and books people several weeks out!), she emailed me a preview of the finished product.  How cool is this???  I love the whimsical, cartoony style she uses!

As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have all my other furries done.  Bella was up next, and she was a tough one.  I have more photos of her than any of my other animals (or people for that matter), and not a damn one of them were suitable for having a print made from.  She’s a big ol’ clown, so in most of her photos she is upside down, half under a blanket, one ear turned inside out, with her bottom teeth sticking out.  haha  I tried sending the artist a couple of photos, but she nixed them both because she didn’t think she could get a good rendering from them.  (I was grateful for her honesty!)  So over Labor Day Weekend I had a photo shoot with Bella and finally ended up with one I thought might work.
I emailed it to her Tuesday, and yesterday she emailed me this!
While I do love it and think it’s adorable, I don’t like it quite as much as Harley’s.  In the artist’s defense, though, I realize that brindle must be terribly hard to do.  I’ll still definitely be getting C.C. and (the dearly departed) Lucy’s done too.
Tell me about your rescued pets!  If you bought them from a breeder or if you breed yours, I don’t want to hear about it.

Who Dat Doggy Daddy?

Y’all have heard me speak often of my two dogs, Bella and Harley.  And if you know me at all, you know that they are shelter dogs because I would absolutely have it no other way.  They were both adopted from a bully breed rescue, but all we knew was that they had physical characteristics that put them in the “bully breed” category.  We’ve never really cared what their breeds were, but we’ve always been curious.  Well, I had a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket a few weeks ago, and I broke down and gave in to the curiosity.  I ordered a Wisdom Panel 2.0 DNA test for each of them.

The kits were delivered from Amazon within just a couple of days, and the whole process of collecting the sample and returning the kit was super easy.  Each kit came with two cheek swabs, an activation code, and return postage to the lab.  Harley’s results were ready two weeks from the day that I mailed them, but for some reason Bella’s took almost twice that long.  I had made my guesses on what the results would be, and I was dead-on with some of them and completely wrong about others.
This is Harley.  My guess for him was most, if not all, American Staffordshire Terrier.
7-27-2014 - Harley's 5th birthday 2
This is Bella.  I had guessed her to have some sort of bully breed  (we had always labeled her an American Bulldog mix), mixed with Boxer and some sort of herding breed.
7-20-2014 - Bella 2 (cropped for painting)
Well for Harley I was half right.  I was completely right about the American Staffordshire part, but as it turns  out, HE’S the one with the Boxer in him!  The DNA report goes back three generations, and his family tree shows that one of his parents was an AmStaff/Boxer cross, and the other was an AmStaff mix.

In addition to the primary breeds, the report also listed the top five breeds that are likely to have contributed to the mixed breed based on other markers that were present but less detectable.  I laughed out loud when I saw English Toy Spaniel on his list.

And as for Bella, I was mostly right about her too.  I was completely wrong about the Boxer part though.  That’s nowhere to be found in her lineage.  But I was right about the other stuff!  She’s our little Bulldog/Belgian Malinois mix!
What’s funny is that I thought that she might have SOME herding breed in her, but she is made up almost completely of herding and hunting breeds!
For the price I paid ($65 each), I’m very happy with the service and the results.  I feel like they are very accurate.  I’m sure I could have gotten a more detailed, more accurate result if I’d been willing to throw down a few hundred bucks for an actual forensic DNA test, but for a cheap, commercial, just-for-fun test, I feel like this was definitely worth the money.

These Things Make Me Happy

The fabulous Kate at So Cal Runner Gal recently did a post, and I absolutely loved it, so I’m stealing it!  Her post was inspired by this question that she saw on Facebook:

My list right now would be…
  • The way my hair feels, looks, and smells right after I leave the salon
  • Cool nights and sleeping with the windows open
  • Snoring dogs
  • Smiling dogs
  • Seeing muscles beginning to develop where there used to be none
  • Falling asleep to the sound of a cat purring beside my head
  • New outfits
  • Vacation days and sleeping in–just because
  • Planting flowers

  • The year’s first blooms on Lucy’s rose bush.  I planted it at her grave in our yard the day after we buried her almost 5 years ago.  The new blooms remind me that she lives on.

"Hello? Can everybody hear me?" *tap tap tap* "Is this thing on?"

I have clicked the “Create new post” button at least a dozen times over the past couple of weeks and then just sat there with my my fingers on the keyboard not knowing where to begin.  How does one pick up where she left off when it’s been almost a year?!  (Just how in the HELL has it been almost a year anyway?!?!)  I have no good reason for my absence, really.  When I’ve taken a hiatus before, it was because things were full of suck and I just didn’t care to talk about it, but that wasn’t the case this time!  2013 didn’t suck at all!  It didn’t involve much running, and I spent way more time working than I would have liked, and sure it had it’s sucky moments, but overall it didn’t suck!

Allow me to share some highlights…

  • We split a week between Destin, FL (my favorite beach spot within a reasonable driving distance) and New Orleans where we celebrated our 6th anniversary in May.
We usually go to Destin in the late summer, but  from now on we’ll be going early in the year!  We were there the second week of May and it was GLORIOUS.

Anniversary dinner at Cafe Giovanni

We even had the opportunity to volunteer at Villalobos while in New Orleans!
D with one of the adoptables at Villalobos.

The famous Cafe Du Monde.  Who knew “beignet” was just a fancy word for “funnel cake”?

Jazzin’ it up.
  • We saw Kevin Nealon at Zanies in Nashville… HILARIOUS!  (But now I’m pissed because I know I took pictures that night and now I can’t find them!)
  • D and I both took up a new hobby.
  • I became more involved in rescue by volunteering locally and doing some volunteer driving on transports.  

I cry every time I see this picture. I’d like to cut a body part off of whoever cut her ears like that.

  • I started a new program here in town inspired by Abbi’s Miles & Mutts!  We take local shelter dogs to the park for exercise and socialization and to hopefully meet potential adopters.
Chops – ADOPTED!

D with Einstein – available for adoption

Me with Chops again

Cola – available for adoption.  She’s my pick of the pack right now.  I started this program last April, and she was already in the shelter then… who knows how long before that.  She’s been overlooked so many times… the “large black dog” syndrome.  She is such a fantastic dog and excellent running partner.  She sat a distance record for herself this weekend at a local 5-mile race!  I’m getting her out and networking her like crazy trying to get her out of that shelter!  If you’re looking for the perfect young, affectionate, high-energy black lab girl, please contact me!
  • Bella had her second surgery on her knee.  This was definitely not one for the “doesn’t suck” category, but it was a major event of 2013.  Financially anyway.  She reinjured it only a few months after her ACL repair and had to have meniscal repair too!  We were referred to an orthopedic specialist at UT Knoxville Veterinary Hospital for this one, and they did a wonderful job getting her back up and running.
  • Lots of fun times with the furry kids. 
Bella knows no stranger.  If you are at the dog park and you have a ball, she is your friend.

The old girl, C.C., enjoying some sunshine.

Bella’s first hotel stay the night before her appointment with the orthopedist in Knoxville.

Summertime fun.

Harley never got in the pool.  He was more interested in the water hose.  He loooooves getting sprayed.

Redneck baby gate.  This is how you allow your dog to get some sunshine after surgery when stairs are still off limits.

Nothing like a pittie smile.

More dog park fun.

Supporting a neighboring county’s humane society at their Barktoberfest.

Harley’s new friend, Gnash.  Bella and Harley have a new pupsitter, and Gnash is her dog.  Instant buds.

Bella and Gnash.
  • Saw Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band in concert.  AMAZING musicianship!

  • Crossed a major item off my bucket list and went to a Cardinals World Series game!  Remember Game 3?  The one that ended in extra innings on an obstruction call?  The one they’re calling the most bizarre ending to a World Series game in history?  Yeah, WE WERE THERE!  It was a night I’ll remember forever.

So there you have it.  That’s my year in a nutshell.  I actually didn’t realize how fantastic it was until I started looking back through a year’s worth of memories in photos.  It may not be that exciting or interesting to some, but it’s my life, and I freaking love it.

Tuesday Tidbits

  • We were under a heat advisory all weekend long with temps of 100+ and heat indices of 110+.  I knew if I was gonna get a long run in it was gonna have to be super early.  I got up at 4:45 Sunday morning and was out the door at first light to get in 8 miles while it was still bearable.  Tell me I ain’t dedicated.
  • I took a couple of vacation days for yesterday and today to go with the holiday tomorrow.  We weren’t going anywhere, and I had no plans, but I just really wanted a couple of days off to do my own thing.
  • One of those things yesterday involved buying the dogs a kiddie pool.  They weren’t very interested in it.  Bella drank out of it, and Harley barked at it.  Oh well… can’t let it go to waste!
  • I cleaned out my truck today.  That’s pretty monumental.
  • Is there anything in the world sweeter than a sleeping pup?
  • Don’t forget to enter my Glass Dharma giveaway here!

    Our Tiny Gym

    Where membership is free and there’s no waiting for machines!

    (If D gets in my way, I can just smack him.  That was frowned upon at my previous gym.)

    This giant monstrosity is our new Bowflex Revolution.  Loving this!  I was always pretty self-conscious doing strength training at the gym.  I always felt like I was crashing some kind of frat party or something… damn bunch of pretty-boy muscle heads…

    C.C. always “supervises” me.
    I love that it stands up to take up less space.  Although that’s not really an issue for us right now, but it’s nice to know it’s an option.  And it DOES make vacuuming easier.  And it leaves plenty of floor space should I decide to take up pole dancing or karate.  Both viable options.
    Bella and Harley suffer from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

    The Bowflex came with this awesome accessory rack (thank goodness–like we need more crap stacked in the floor).  And there in the corner is my new pride and joy–a Sunny Health & Fitness indoor cycle.  I could tell you all about it, but there’s no sense reinventing the wheel.  Janae just bought the same one and has already posted a full and very accurate review here.  Most definitely worth the money!

    After laying down all that cash, I thought our gym was complete, but DUDE, we have GOT to get a TV for that room.  Music makes the time in the saddle tolerable, but the view kind of sucks.

    And, who knows… if I happen to come across a good deal on a Craigslist treadmill…

    Three Things Thursday – Running, Eating Disorders, and a Poop Assist

    1.   I finally ran yesterday for the first time since the half last weekend.  I had every intention of lacing back up on Monday, but life, weather, and timing conspired against me.  It was a meager three miles on the treadmill at a slower pace than I ran my half marathon and it felt harder than it should have.  I sure it was because of the walking lunges I’ve been doing.  My butt and legs already felt busted before I ever took the first step.  But in a good way.

    2.   I read this article a couple of days ago and was completely flabergasted by the “orthorexia” part.  Are you freakin’ kidding me???  Eat a healthy diet and you’re labeled as having a disorder?  Give your body what’s best for it and you need behavioral therapy?  Pathetic.  Absolutely pathetic.

    3.   Harley ate part of his blanket.  I didn’t even notice until he tried to pass it.  You haven’t lived until you’ve pulled the last few inches of a two-foot-long piece of fleece from your dog’s ass.

    Three Things Thursday

    1.  The wasps have been so horrible this spring that we haven’t been able to leave the french doors open like we usually do.  So last Friday D went to Lowe’s and bought a sliding screen door.  It’s been fabulous.  Tuesday afternoon, me and the dogs were there at the house with the French doors open and the screen shut.  The neighbor behind us cranked up his lawn mower, which always sends the dogs running to the door to check it out.  Or if the door is open, they run OUT the door to check it out.  (Who doesn’t see where this is going?)  Seems that pit bulls don’t have a very good memory.  Bella stopped short of the screen door.  Harley, however, did not and plowed right through it.  It ended up being okay though.  The frame was okay.  D did have to put a new screen in it though.  We now have big blue X’s in painters tape across the bottom of the screen at their eye level so maybe they will realize something is there when it’s closed.

    2.   I think I’m the only female on the planet that has never done the in-the-car-with-sunglasses-on self-portrait.  Until yesterday.

    3.   I just recently heard the term “mercury retrograde.”  I’m not into astrology or anything, but a friend of mine is and she mentioned that we were in mercury retrograde until April 23rd.  I don’t know what it all technically means, but she said that this phenomenon is the cause of a lot of annoyances, mostly dealing with technology, communication, travel, mechanics, etc.  Funny what you don’t notice until someone points it out!  Just in the past few days two of my rural carriers’ strobe lights on their delivery cars stopped working, and the gas gauge on my Tahoe has been going all wonky.  Coincidence?  Probably.