Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

When I Grow Up….

As a kid I wanted to be any number of things. One week a teacher. The next a singer. There was a step up in to our sun room that made an ideal stage.Another week and actress. That was short lived when I got the lead in the school play in elementary school and could only manage to remember half of my lines.

When the Summer Olympics came on I wanted to be a gymnast. Our living rug had a cream colored border around it that closely enough resembled the out-of-bounds line on the large floor routine mat. Never mind that I couldn’t do a cartwheel or headstand. I was certain of my gold medal future based on my ability to do the classic gymnastic power run with a graceful leap of some kind in the middle across said rug.

By the end of middle school I had decided I wanted to be a landscape architect. Even in to high school when applying for colleges I was certain thats what I wanted to do. I had nearly changed my mind in a career day in high school when a local landscape architect came in a showed us her design…for a prison parking lot. Parking lots? THAT”S what landscape architects do? Based on all the parking lots I’ve ever been in I HATED landscape architects. It didn’t sway me. I applied to various schools with good programs and got in to all of them…except the one I wanted. It was known to be a very difficult one to get in so I can’t say I was surprised. I was accepted for a different program at the school and decided that was maybe a better plan.

Did I make the right decision? My wallet says no as a landscape architect gets paid A LOT more than I do. But my heart says yes. I realized after the fact that a landscape architect spends less time outside than I was looking for.

As far as what I want to be when I grow I’m still undecided. My current career is ok but I’m not sure if it’s the most ideal job for me. This unsettled feeling makes me mildly disappointed in myself. when I was younger I had it in my mind that this is the age when I’m settled in to my career and settled in to my own nuclear family like the one I grew up in (except I’d have a dog).

So looking back, I didn’t become a teacher (unless you count all the times I trained new folks at my old job), singer (unless you get trapped on a road trip with me), actress, or even a landscape architect. I don’t have a little nuclear family ( I don’t even have the flipping dog). To say my life didn’t turn out as I’d expected is putting it mildly. I try to look on the bright side. One day it will all come together. My personal/family life will come together (admittedly from more effort from me than I’ve exerted to date) and I will find my ideal job/career that will lead to contentment. That is my hope. I’ll check back in around 20 years and see how different that life is than the one I expect it to be today.

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Puppy Love

On Tuesday, I returned from a three week trip to the East Coast. While I had a blast, there was one thing that made me look forward to coming home – my little dog Toby. Fortunately, he was able to stay with my mom and his brother while I was gone, but he was still missing me and I was missing him.

Mom said that the first night I was gone, he sat by the front door waiting for me to get home and didn’t understand why I wasn’t there. He slept on her bed that night, which made his brother jealous. Riley kept positioning himself between Toby and Mom, making sure Toby knew whose bed it was.

Toby took to sitting on my bed and staring out the window. He’d rest his little chin on the windowsill and sit there for hours. He’d only bark if someone walked by with a dog or a small running child. He continued to sit at the door in the evenings, hoping I’d come through. The entire time I was gone, he was a bit down, not his usual perky self.

He continued to mope around the entire time I was gone. Mom would send me frequent pictures of him. It made me sad to know that my little guy was so upset.

On Tuesday, I came home midday. Usually, when I come home after being at work or the store, I walk in and both of the dogs have to sit and stay for about 10-15 seconds before I open the gate and greet them. I do this in part to calm them down and make it so they aren’t jumping on me and going crazy. Well, I knew that neither dog would have the control to do this when I walked in the other day, so I walked in, dropped my bags, and opened the gate so they could come to me. Both of them were super excited and jumped on me. Toby, in particular, was so excited that he scratched my arm and upper chest trying to get to me. When he gets really excited, his puppy kisses have just a touch of teeth in their. I was definitely getting little puppy nips. They both ran around, sniffing me and my bags, for at least 20 minutes. It was a great way to come home.

For the rest of the day, I had a shadow following me around the condo. Toby wouldn’t let me out of his sight, even when I went to the bathroom. That night, he was so excited that he got to sleep in my bed with me there. We both fell asleep and slept like rocks. It was like everything was finally right in the world again. If you ever want to feel loved, get a dog.

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Protect Your Four-legged Family

I had a very upsetting incident yesterday evening.  I was about to go to bed when I saw that I had an email on my phone. I decided to check it before turning out my light.  It was a lost dog alert from HomeAgain – a company that microchips dogs and then helps locate them if lost. I signed up to get the lost dog alerts in the hope that I could help someone find the member of their family that wondered off.

Max, the dog upstairs

Well, I opened the email and realized that the alert was really near me – just around the corner. It took a moment for the picture to load, but when it did, I realized that it was the dog that lived on the third floor of my building! I knew Max! He was one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met. Super friendly and likely to kiss you to death. The biggest problem, though, was that Max is a pitbull. I was afraid of what would happen if someone found poor Max wondering about.

Good news, though – I came home today and saw Max’s family walking him outside. I was so relieved to see him padding along after his dad. I don’t know if his microchip or the lost dog alert helped with it, but they very well may have.

Riley, my moms dog

Both my dog and my mom’s dogs are microchipped, and I strongly believe that all dogs should be.  Collars are great, but they come off and get lost.  This little chip, no bigger than a grain of rice, is implanted under their skin between their shoulder blades.  Our boys had it done when they were neutered and already unconscious, but there is no need to knock the dog out to do this. It’s not any more invasive than their rabies shots.  Any vet, any shelter, any animal control agency these days has a scanner than can read the information on the chip – usually the owners name and contact information.  It truly could save your dog’s life.

My boy Toby

It’s not expensive – it cost only about $30 when I had Toby done two years ago.  The additional services from HomeAgain are completely optional, but still only $18 a year.  Besides having peace of mind that your dog has a much higher chance of getting back to you, many local municipalities offer a discount on licensing fees. I saved about $10 on Toby’s license last year, so in only 3 years, I’ll have made up the difference!

For your dog’s sake, as well as your own, microchip your dog so if he/she is missing, you have a much better chance of seeing your best friend again.

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Creature Features

I’m a creature of habit.

My life, and in particular, my mornings run on the power of routine.  When I was in high school, waking up for the day was a real challenge, just ask my mother, whose job it was to wake me up.  I would drag myself out of bed, get dressed and rub the sleep out of my eyes, then drag myself downstairs for a bowl of cereal before going to school. 

Unfortunately, an adult can’t function this way.  Well, an adult that has a job, at least.  And now, it’s not just me, I have a dog who really appreciates a walk in the morning (and I really appreciate not having to clean up doggy messes) so I have to get up a little earlier.  So I designed a morning routine that allows me to walk the dog, wash my dishes and still have time to sit and have a cup of coffee or two before I have to leave for work. 

But I also have some bad routines.  I got myself into a cycle of inactivity.  Yes, I walk with my dog, but for a long time, I wasn’t doing any other regular exercise.  I’ve been slowly gaining weight and feeling more and more sluggish since I left college. 

This year, for some reason, I decided to change.  There were several catalysts for this change.  Lots of people I knew were competing in marathons, triathalons and bike races.  My mom started a ‘boot camp’ class.  I read some great books on the biomechanics of running.  My feet started feeling itchy and ready to hit the road, a completely unfamiliar sensation. 

I started out slow, irregular and unsure.  I was running but there was nothing making me do it.  Then I realized I needed some reason to run, or at least to get started.  I signed up for a 5k this month and began a training program to get me ready.  I bought new shoes, I bought a watch to time my runs, and I started blogging about it.

Vibram FiveFingers Sprint, my awesome running shoes.

I made it part of my routine.  And it worked.  I’m getting to the point (I’m not there yet) where I like to be out running.  I like how I feel when I’m done, but it’s still a challenge to get myself going.  But, three times a week, I take the dog and hit the path. 

I still get passed by almost every runner, but my endurance is building; I’m running 9 to 10 miles a week.  I still have a hard time motivating myself out the door, but I do it, and I’m almost always happy I did (that one day, in the rain, was pretty freakin’ miserable, but otherwise, it’s been mostly good).  But more than that, I feel like I belong out there, running with the runners. 

It’s just what I do.

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