Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spending Time.....

Here is where I've been spending most of my time lately:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A year and a half.....

It's hard to believe I haven't blogged in a year and a half.  But in my defense, I manage about 15 blogs for my classes at SJSU and Sierra College.  So yeah, my personal blog has fallen by the wayside.

I will update soon with what's been going on in our lives - - - - some exciting changes.  Here's a glimpse:

*Shawn received his first paycheck in almost a year and a half.
*We may be moving soon.
*Our current house 'may' be turned into a rental soon.
*We are doggie sitting in a couple of weeks, so lookout for some posts about that.
*I spend almost 5 days a week with my nephews and SIL, so I should post some pics of our times together.
*I've recently gotten back in touch with some old friends.
*We're returning our hot tub (long story).

Pretty boring, I know, but I'll update soon.  I've really got to get back into this whole blogging thing.

Until later my pretties.......

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Little J - Zero to 4 Months Old

Made with love for my Little Love Bug. Love you little guy - Auntie Carol.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hard Times Lately

I sooo wish I could post about what's been going on in our lives, but as we know, cyberspace seems to be forever. I don't want these issues floating out in 'forever land'. But I will say this: My friend Rachel blogged about something super cool today, and I find it incredibly relevant. You can read it here!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


1 TB vegetable oil (I didn't add this to the mixture)
1 pound ground pork (or mix half and half with beef)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, small dice
1/2 cup carrots, sliced, julianned
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Lumpia Wrappers thawed

Directions: mix everything together. Can be refrigerated over night, or made right away.

Tip: Look up a youtube video about how to assemble lumpia. Great youtube videos exist.

Split Pea Soup

1 1/2 onions, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1-16oz. package split peas, rinsed and picked through
7 1/2 cups water
2 heaping TB of low sodium Better Than Bullion
crushed red pepper to taste
1 ham hock or ham bone w/meat
1 bay leaf
1 TB olive oil
1 TB butter

Saute the onion and celery in the oil and butter until soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute a few minutes longer. Add the split peas, water, better than bullion, and ham bone. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Blend half to all of the soup. Separate meat from bone and add it back into the soup.

Optional Toppings:
Sour cream
crumbled bacon
cheddar cheese
greek yogurt

Entire Recipe
1822 calories
46 fat
114 fiber

Yields about 8 cups:
227 Calories
6 Fat
14 Fiber
4 pts. per cup

Yields about 9 cups:
202 Calories
5 Fat
13 Fiber
4 pts. per cup

Yields about 10 cups:
180 Calories
4 Fat
11 Fiber
3 pts. per cup

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #7

From Bell's perspective.

Today started out super slow. Actually, I woke up Aunt Carol at about 3am, and she didn't go back to sleep until about 7am, then I woke her up again at about 8:30 to feed me and take me out. I licked her face until she got up. Aunt Carol can't resist the face licking!

We took a long nap this afternoon, then got up just in time for a walk down to the post office to drop off a Netflix movie. We walked in 40 degree weather for a couple of miles, then came home.

Aunt Carol went to the supermarket to get me some chicken liver, which the store was out of, so she got some other chicken parts for me. They were yummy! All in all I've only skipped one meal while I've been here. I think it has something to do with the hot food they keep adding to my normal dry food. Today was ground chicken breast, a little chicken liver and some chicken hearts and gizzards. Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn cooked for me tonight, which was awesome!

Mom and Dad shouldn't be too bothered by the hot food they are giving me - it's not much, just enough to encourage me to eat my normal food.

After dinner we headed downstairs to the 'movie theater' to watch a movie. I got a little freaked out by the surround sound, but I did ok. About an hour into the movie I was a little antsy, so I sat on Uncle Shawn for a while, then snuggled with Aunt Carol on the couch. I think it's time for bed now that the movie is over.

I hear some rumblings about some other doggies coming to visit - 3 to be exact. They are all pugs, and Aunt Carol says I'm going to have a fabulous time with them because they like to romp around and play, just like me.

Until tomorrow........

P.S. I have discovered that I really like baby carrots as a treat. The humans used to give carrots to their pup Tess, and figured they would give me a few. I really like them, but not as much as the Trader Joe doggie cookies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #6

From Bell's perspective.

Have I mentioned how many treats Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carol give me everyday? It's a lot! But not too many that I can't eat my food.....well, most of my food, anyway. Every time I go out to use the potty I get a treat. In fact, I insist that I get a treat. They think it's kinda funny, but then again, they don't have to live with me forever. I'm gonna milk it while I can. They keep reminding me that mom and dad are coming home soon.

Back to my day.....

This morning I woke up by licking Aunt Carol's face. I was done sleeping and I was just waiting patiently until I couldn't take it anymore - I had to get her up so I could start my day. We went outside for a few minutes, then I ate breakfast. After breakfast Aunt Carol needed to get some more work done so played tug-of-war with Uncle Shawn. He said that I pulled so hard he needed a break. Apparently I'm pretty strong and I might have even pulled a muscle in Uncle Shawn's shoulder. Oh well, it's all in good fun! He'll be fine. Aunt Carol told him to suck it up!

At about 2pm we all got in the car and went shopping. We went to a few different stores, one of which was my favorite - PetSmart. I got to walk around the store, meet some people and go crazy over some squeeky toys. I wanted to bring them home, but the humans wouldn't let me. They said that I would rip them apart in about 2 seconds. Just as well, I've got lots to do back at home.

I was in the car for about 4 hours with little potty breaks here and there. It was exhausting! By the time we got back on the freeway to get home I had conked out. Then, we got back into the house, I ate dinner and then went right to sleep. There was a little cuddle time in there somewhere, but I can't remember because I was entirely too tired.

I hear that I might go on a walk tomorrow if the weather is clear enough.

Oh yeah - I'm getting lots of rest on this vacation. Not as busy as it was over the summer.

Until tomorrow......

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #5

From Bell's perspective.

Today I woke up after cuddling with Aunt Carol all night long. I love sleeping on her bed with her. Uncle Shawn has been sleeping in the living room so I can have a choice of where I want to sleep, but I love the big bed.

I got a lot of rest today. After I woke up, went outside and had breakfast, I got back into bed with Aunt Carol and took a nap. She got up a little while later and headed downstairs to the workout room to hop on the treadmill. I went downstairs with her so Uncle Shawn could sleep a little later. When she started the treadmill I freaked out a little. I almost put my nose right to the treadmill belt, you know, the thing that moves, to see what was going on. In fact, I almost jumped on the treadmill with Aunt Carol. She saw that this was going to be a bit of a problem and took me back upstairs where everything was nice and quite. I heard her tell Uncle Shawn that he's going to have to look after me while she works out because I don't like the machinery very much.

After that little stint I played tug of war with Uncle Shawn for a while because Aunt Carol had to work. I heard something about her teaching 7 classes next semester and needing to get everything prepared ahead of time. She was on her computer for a few hours while I played and played.

In the evening we all hopped in the car and went to Walmart. Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn bought me a couple of new toys: Another frisbee, which they said they didn't like too much, and a HUGE tug rope. The new tug rope has quickly become my favorite toy. It's pretty beefy! They try to keep me from chewing it, but sometimes they turn their back and I just can't help myself.

After our brief trip to Walmart we went for a short walk, and played with the new frisbee for about 1o minutes. They got a bit cold so we went home. Humans! Hmpfh! I was doing just fine running around in the cold, but they couldn't hack it.

Just as well though, because we came home and all cuddled on the bed while we watched a movie. I love all the attention I've been getting.

I must say though, I'm resting quite a bit more this time than I did last time I was here. It seems like they have figured out that I like to rest a bit too.

Until tomorrow.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #4

Today was an all around busy day. I woke up Aunt Carol this morning at about 8am ready to eat and go outside. Aunt Carol wanted to stay in bed and pretended to sleep, but I wasn't having any of that! I licked her face until she got out of bed.

I ate a little breakfast, then went outside. After coming back in the house, Aunt Carol had to do a little shopping. Apparently there were lots of people coming over today and some last minute things needed to be bought. A house full of people is always fun! I got to meet Shawn's dad and step-mom. They both really liked me a lot, but I was a bit apprehensive to meet them at first, but quickly warmed up to them.

There was a Christmas celebration going on all afternoon, and while folks were celebrating, I went under the dining room table and decided to chew on my new stuffed teddy bear. Aunt Carol was watching me pretty closely most of the time, but when she looked away for a few minutes, I had torn the stuffing out of the teddy bear's arm, set it aside, then ate the material. It wasn't too much, but it was so yummy, I just couldn't help myself. Aunt Carol had a bit of a panic attack after I ate the teddy bear's arm (sans stuffing), but it's material nonetheless. I was told I shouldn't have eaten it, but I'm not sure why they don't let me. It tastes sooooo good.

After I ate the teddy bear's arm I ran around outside for a bit. It was a lot of fun. The kids who came over rode their bikes, I chased my frisbee, then we all came back inside for a while. I had tons of energy running around, tugging on my tug rope, chewing on my kong ball, and snuggling with Aunt Carol on the couch when I needed a break. I was high energy all day, and barely took a 15 minute nap on Aunt Carol's lap in the afternoon. After my nap I woke with a bang and started playing and playing.

Most folks left around 5 or 6 in the evening, but a couple of folks stayed until 10pm. We had dinner around 9pm or so. Aunt Carol tried to feed me, but I wouldn't eat very much. She had to resort to hand feeding me which worked pretty well since I ate all my food, two small pieces at a time. I couldn't resist. Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn are still putting a few tablespoons of chicken liver in my food so I'll eat everything. It has been working like a charm since day 1 of my visit this time.

Did I mention I ate tons of treats today? One of the kids fed me her carrots, and then accidentally dropped a teeny tiny mini marshmallow on the floor, which I quickly ate. But those aren't the treats I'm talking about. I ate tons of treats from Trader Joe's. I have 3 different types of TJ's treats that I'm getting, and I love each and every one of them. Uncle Shawn's dad fed me some treats, so did Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carol. They were trying to distract me from picking up food from the floor that was accidentally dropped.

After everyone left at about 10pm I was so exhausted that I couldn't wait to get into bed with Aunt Carol. She called me up, I promptly laid down and went to sleep. I have a feeling this is where I'll be all night long. In fact, I'm sleeping upside down as I type this. My back legs flailing in the air, my front legs straight and off to the side, and my little tongue sticking out. Nighty night!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #3

From Bell's perspective.

Today was a good day. I woke up late again, about 8:30am. I just couldn't take the rumbling in my tummy, so I woke Aunt Carol up to take me out to use the potty, then she fed me. After she fed me we went for a long walk. Aunt Carol figured that it was going to start raining any minute, and we should get a walk in while we were able. We walked down to the local water district. Being Christmas morning and all, I walked only a little on the leash. I mostly walked off of the leash because there were no people around, and no other doggies. We had a smashing time. I ran and ran and ran! I sniffed around the area where I played during the summer and immediately remembered it. I was a little perplexed because Aunt Carol did not stop to throw a ball or my frisbee, we just walked and walked. Well, Aunt Carol walked, I ran!

After the walk we came back home and took a 2 hour nap. Since Uncle Shawn stayed up almost all night trying to fix his computer, he slept pretty late. After Aunt Carol woke up from her nap, and Uncle Shawn woke up from his night's sleep, we quickly got into the car and drove up to Uncle Shawn's brother's house to visit a lonely kitty named Boots. Uncle Shawn and I stayed in the car while Aunt Carol went into snuggle with Boots, feed him and make sure he had water. A little while later Aunt Carol got back into the car and we left. We stopped by a supermarket before it closed (it is Christmas, after all), then headed straight home.

Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carol cooked a small Christmas dinner of ham and green beans, made me my dinner, then we all rested. I took another couple of hour nap. I am getting used to being on the big bed, not just the bed that Uncle Shawn moved onto the floor. I love being up there. It keeps me quite and sleeping longer, so Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn can get some rest. I will reiterate again though, that I don't generally jump up on the bed unless I'm invited. Tonight I'm planning on getting a good nights sleep so we can visit with Uncle Shawn's family tomorrow.

Nighty night everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #2

From Bell's perspective

We slept in late this morning. We stayed in bed until about 8:30am, because that's when I needed to go potty. Aunt Carol let me go run around outside where I did my business. I also tracked the scent of a cat. I haven't found the cat yet, but I'm gonna, I swear!

Aunt Carol then fed me some more food with just a couple tablespoons of chicken liver. I ate almost all of it. This puts Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn's mind at ease. Not only am I eating most of my food, they are giving me lots of treats. I love it!

After breakfast we got back into the car and headed down to Sacramento to meet some of Aunt Carol's friends from a long time ago. I think she said something about Teen Mania, but I can't be sure. They had lunch with their friends, we sat outside so I could be a part of the crowd, then Uncle Shawn took me for a little walk around the parking lot. Once we were done with our walk we left and headed to Fry's Electronics. Uncle Shawn went inside to look for a computer part while Aunt Carol and I walked and walked. We must have walked for about 20 minutes, but I was running the whole time.

On the way back home, Uncle Shawn and I fell asleep in the car. Here we are sleeping. Aunt Carol apparently took pictures while she was driving, but she was safe because we made it home ok.

After we got back home Aunt Carol, Uncle Shawn and I all took a nap on the big bed. I must add though, that I'm very respectful of their bed. I don't jump up unless I'm asked. My Mom and Dad taught me well!!!

We all woke up, played for just a little bit, then Aunt Carol and I went back to sleep while Uncle Shawn worked on his broken computer.

Here is a picture of me sleeping on the big bed:

Don't mind the sheet hanging from the window. Apparently the shade broke and they haven't replaced the curtains yet. They will soon - they told me that they just installed curtain rods and bought new curtains. I have a feeling they are going to wait to hang the curtains until after I leave. I don't mind though, the sheet keeps the room nice and dark so I stay asleep longer in the morning. I kind of like it.

All in all, the last two days have been very restful. I have slept a lot, and taken a few naps. I knew I was going to have a good time at Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn's.

Before I forget, Aunt Carol wants me to mention that I ate ALL my dinner tonight. Not a drop left. Even with all of the treats they are giving me, I still ate all my dinner. I really do like the liver with my food. Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn think they have found the trick to me eating. Well, it's the liver and the fact that I remember this place that's doing it. I have a doggie smile on my face all day long. They pet me all day long, take me with them wherever they go, and give into my every whim. I really do like it here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bell's Christmas Vacation Day #1

Since this has pretty much turned into a doggie blog, something I was not intending, but with all of the blogging I do during the semester for my classes, my personal blog has fallen by the wayside.

The following 11 or so posts are from Bell, my friend Leah's doggie. She came to stay with us during the summer (see posts below), and now she's back at our place for Christmas and the New Year while her family has flown halfway across the country to spend the holiday's with family.

Without further ado, here's the story of Bell's Christmas Vacation, from Bell's perspective......

Thursday was a really fun day. Mom said that I was going to go somewhere fun. Mom packed the car with my very comfy doggie bed, and I thought to myself, "Oh no! My family is leaving me again!". I was a bit sad, but Mom guaranteed me some fun, and told me that she was going to return. There were some familiar things about this drive. Something looked and smelled the same. It was only when I arrived at THE PARK that I remember having lots of fun here.

Mom played with me for a few minutes until I heard someone yell my name, "Bell". I turned, and standing there were Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carol. Oh yeah, I've named them Uncle and Aunt - I hope Mom doesn't mind.

Back to my story - I heard someone yell my name and I ran right up to them. Uncle Shawn and Aunt Carol seem to think that I remember them. Hmmmm, I'm not so sure, but I was super happy to see them. I was excited about my adventure. They put me in the car, then they talked for a while. *Hmph - humans!* I just wanted to get going. After a few minutes, we left.

Right as we left, I jumped right onto Uncle Shawn's lap in the front seat of the car, but not before covering Aunt Carol in face kisses. This is how I rode all the way back to their house, on Uncle Shawn's lap. I even fell asleep. Here's a picture of standing on Uncle Shawn in the front seat.

This seems to be the only way I'm content to ride in the car now, which is fine because Uncle Shawn loves to cuddle with me.

After we arrived home, we soon headed out the door again. We went to a school to play with remote control helicopters with Uncle Shawn's two brothers. We had a short, but fabulous time! I chased my ball and caught my frisbee a little, but not too much because I heard my Mom tell Aunt Carol that I haven't exercised too much lately, and that we should ease into it. Aunt Carol made sure I didn't run too much, although I wanted to keep going and going. I had a feeling I would have more opportunity at another time to play, so I was content.

After we got back home I hung out with Aunt Carol on the couch for a bit. That was nice! I snuggle right up next to her and even tried to sit on her lap.

That evening we just hung around the house. Aunt Carol went to the store to get me a treat - some chicken liver!!! Apparently this used to work with their pup Tess (I hear she's in heaven now), and it works with me like a charm. They bought a container of chicken livers for about a dollar, boiled them, and add only a couple of tablespoons of mashed up chicken liver to coat my food. I ate the WHOLE THING because it was soooo yummy! (As an aside: Aunt Carol and Uncle Shawn's vet recommended they do this with their last pup to keep her iron levels up. So they know it's safe for me to eat, especially since they are giving me just enough to encourage me to eat.)

When I was done eating, we all piled onto the big bed and snuggled for a bit and watched some TV. That's where I slept all night! It was glorious! I love sleeping on the big bed.

I think this vacation is going to be better than my last. Until tomorrow........

Friday, November 5, 2010

Brownies from 1934

One of my students recently did a speech on her great grandmother. Apparently, Mrs. W. D. Johnston submitted a very early recipe for brownies to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup of shortening
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 ounces of chocolate
1/2 cup of sifted general purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of nutmeats (optional)

*Cream the shortening
*Add sugar and cream together
*Beat eggs and add to mixture
*Add milk to mixture
*Melt the chocolate and add to mixture
*Sift in all dry ingredients
*Add nutmeats
*Stir all ingredients together

*Place in a shallow, greased and floured 9x13 pan and bake in over at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes
*Remove from oven, let cool and cut into bars

This recipe is a far cry from the thick, fudgey and cakey brownies with all of the additions we use today. This is a simple recipe from the 1930's - pure, a little sweet, but very 1930's. Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Nursery Letters

I painted these letters for my BFF's adorable kiddo. I designed the bottom, then Stacy sent me suggestions for the top half of the letters. I didn't like them at first, but now I love them!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 13

This morning I woke up with a bang again (this is how Carol knows my tummy is feeling better - I have TONS of energy.....well, that and my *ahem* -you know- is a bit more firm). I woke up Carol to take me outside to go potty. After coming back in she gave me a treat. I went back to sleep for a little while, then wanted some puppy love. Carol laid with me on the floor and pet by belly - my favorite. Every time she would take her hand away I growled. It was so cute. Carol thinks I'm getting a little demanding, but hey, I'm on vacation, right? (Plus, Carol and Shawn are suckers - they love me).

I'm going on a walk now so I can get out some energy. I will write more later!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 12

Well, my tummy was a bit funny in the morning (a bit of gas, and some not so firm....uh, well, you know). I wasn't interested in breakfast even though Carol begged me to eat. I wasn't interested. This seems to be a common theme - no breakfast early in the morning, but I get hungry around 10 or 11am.

Carol ran out of Trader Joe's organic doggie treats (and she returned the BIG BOX of doggy treats, fearing that is what made my tummy funny yesterday), and made a special 30 minute trip to Folsom to Trader Joe's to get me another box of treats. Mmmmmm, I love those treats, and I know those don't do anything weird to my tummy.

She returned with the treats at about 4pm. She gave me 3 treats I think. They were sooo good. After I played in the house a bit with my toys, Shawn and Carol decided I needed some more exercise. They took me to the water district play area again. My friend Ace was back with his mommy, and we romped around and played catch and fetch! It was so much fun. Then, about 10 minutes into our play time the two big black retrievers came and joined us. We had so much fun romping around and catching the frisbee. Well, I caught the frisbee, the other pups romped around and played with a ball. Ace tried to out run me, but I was too fast for him.

When we came home I rested for about a half hour, then Carol fed me. She mixed a bit of wet dog food in with my dry food again, but I was only partially interested. She hand fed me until I was fully interested, then I finally ate the whole bowl. With a full tummy, I feel asleep. It was nice.

After a couple of hours of resting, Carol feel asleep around 9pm, and I hung out with Shawn. We cuddled in the living room - it was nice.

I heard I'm going home tomorrow, and I can't wait to see my family!!! I miss them TONS and can't wait to get back to my normal schedule.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 11

Today was an especially interesting day for me. We didn't do much in the morning, but around noon Shawn's brother and sister-in-law came over. That's when the fun began. We BBQ'd outside for a little while, then came in the house to eat. The humans had chicken and pork with rice, fruit and veggies. I had my normal fair, with extra treats. Shawn's brother Jonathan gave me some doggie treats.

About an hour or two later Shawn and his brother went downstairs to put up some more lights, run wires and then finally work on Jonathan and Sharon's car. It was midnight before they were done. While they were downstairs Carol kept me upstairs because there are remodeling tools downstairs that I could possibly get hurt on, and they didn't want that. I really wanted to be with Shawn, and got super anxious when I couldn't get to him, but Carol kept cuddling with me and reassuring me that he would come back soon and that everything was going to be ok. I got some more doggie treats (perhaps too many).

They got done super duper late, then Shawn had a business call until almost 4am. I was up almost the entire time.

As a result, I got little sleep, and started to have a funny tummy during the night.

At about 6pm though, Carol and Sharon took me for a walk on the doggie path. We only walked about 2 miles, but it was a good workout. I didn't get to play fetch or catch the frisbee because Carol wanted me to rest a bit. But perhaps tomorrow.....

The Story of Bell - Day 11 - Special Note to Mom

Hi Mom - Carol said that your flight was delayed. I just wanted to say that I miss you, and can't wait to see you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 10

Today was a packed day. This morning Shawn and Carol's sister-in-law came over and we took a 2 mile walk downtown. We dropped some letters off at the post office, then we headed to the Farmer's Market. Lots of people were stopping to pet me, and even some kids were petting me. It was heaven. I even met another dog at the Farmer's Market, it was really cool.

This afternoon we all took a nap together. Shawn played with me for a little while, and Carol cuddled with me for a long time. I fell asleep on Carol for a while. Then, Shawn's brother and his wife came over. When they walked in the door my booty almost fell off from wagging so much. I really like those guys! I hope they come back.

After dinner we all went to play fetch with the frisbee and ball. I met another dog who's name is Ace I think. We played together for a long time. Ace's mom was super talkative, which was ok as long as they kept throwing the ball and frisbee. I caught the frisbee most of the time, but even when I didn't, Ace was a perfect gentleman. Sometimes he would pick up the frisbee, but lots of times he left it there for me to get.

After about an hour of playing on and off, we came back to the house and I fell asleep on Carol again. It was so comforting. She was petting me the whole time I was sleeping. I loved it!

Tomorrow we might go to the lake, if we have time.

I will write more then......

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 9

Nothing too exciting happened today. We hung out all day at the house, then went to play catch at a nearby school. We had a good time. There was lots of cuddle time with Shawn and Carol. Gosh, those two LOVE to cuddle with me.

I'll write more tomorrow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 8

(From Bell's perspective).

Today was a bit more mellow than yesterday. I think the tiredness of walking 3 miles in the morning, playing in the afternoon and then going to play with the frisbee and tennis ball has finally started to catch up with me. I still have tons of energy, but I'm not bouncing off the walls anymore.

Carol woke up this morning and took me back to the dog trail. We planned on doing on 2 miles this morning, but we met a woman who's name we don't know, and her dog Latte, and ended up doing three whole miles again. Latte is a 12 year old pup, and had tons of energy. Latte was being walked off of her leash, so she and I became quick friends since I was off my leash too. Latte was a submissive pup too, so we got along really well. I must admit though, I listen much better than Latte. When we were romping around the walking path, I would listen to Carol when she called me. Latte would ignore, ignore, ignore, then finally respond to her owner. Responsive or not, I had tons of fun with Latte this morning.

This afternoon was quite uneventful. Since I was so tired, I just hung around the house all day without even really playing with my toys too much.

This evening though, was fun, traumatic, and a learning experience. We went to a new area to play with my ball and frisbee, and within the first 10 minutes, Carol accidentally threw the ball into the Blackberry bushes. If you know anything about blackberry bushes, you know that those suckers hurt! I wouldn't dare go in there to try and find my ball. Good thing we were right down the street from Walmart. Carol left me with Shawn so that she could replace my lost ball. When she got back with my new ball, she noticed that I was covered in something. Shawn was on the phone taking a business call at the time, and maybe didn't notice what happened, but I was probably running a bit too fast trying to catch the frisbee, and I slid across the grass and into some poop. You read the right - poop! I'm not sure if it was deer poop, or dog poop (we're guessing the latter), but it smelled SO BAD. Carol and Shawn immediately took me back to their house, thankfully they have a blanket covering the backseat of the car. When we got there they gave me a bath. This was soooo not a happy time (see the first pic above). They washed my whole body, paws, belly and all, even though the poop was only on the front right side of my chest, and halfway down my right leg. They washed the poopy area three times to make sure I smelled wonderful, and that I was completely clean. (Even after 3 washings, the part of me covered in poopy still smelled a little, so later tonight they washed that area of me just one more time. Now I smell really good - like Boysenberries. At least that's what the doggie shampoo smelled like.)

After the bath they took me to play some more since I'm afraid of the hair dryer. Running does the same thing, and I get to play - so they thought this was a good idea. We went back to the water district (see the second picture) to play some more. After the water district, I was still a bit damp, so I stuck my head out the window and Carol drove around town a bit. They had to stop by the grocery store, so off we went.

Carol and Shawn (more Carol) have been really concerned about the amount of food I have been eating, or not eating I should say. I eat some treats in the morning, then maybe one or two small treats throughout the day, then I barely eat a cup of food at night. Well, this means that I have lost a bit of weight while my family has been on vacation. I just don't think that Carol and Shawn know my schedule, and how I maybe eat alone. My food at their house is always with them, and I am a bit apprehensive to eat around them. Even taking treats from their hand is a bit hard for me still, but I'm getting more used to that.

While at the grocery store they picked up two more things for me. They bought me a can of Iams dog food, and a savory bacon sauce to put on dry dog food, also from Iams. They are trying to entice me to eat more. Well, it worked like a freaking charm!!! Carol got my bowl out and put a whole scoop of food in there with a few tablespoons of wet Iams dog food from the can, and man did I chow down. When she noticed that I was chowing down, and had actually licked the bowl clean, she gave me a second helping. I finished 2 whole scoops in a matter of minutes tonight. Yep, they are happy campers now that they have figured out how to get me to eat. They haven't tried the bacon sauce yet, but I'm sure I will love it. There's enough for me to take home when my family comes back from vacation. But for now, I'm hoping they will stick with the wet dog food (just a few tablespoons) to coat my dry dog food. They are trying to be cautious and not change my diet. But hey, at least I'm FINALLY eating!!!! And since I have lost a bit of weight since coming to Shawn and Carol's, we are all happy to get some food in me. Plus, with all of the exercise, I need to keep my calorie intake up. I hope mom and dad won't be too mad that they have had to try a number of different things to get me to eat my food.

After we went to the supermarket, I was exhausted!!! The final picture to the side is of me in the front seat with Shawn. When I get tired in the car I like to cuddle with Shawn, sit on his lap while we are driving so he can pet me. (Carol and Shawn are such suckers!).

Until tomorrow...... Little Miss signing off.......

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 7

(From Bell's perspective)

Today I woke up with a bang. Actually, I woke up pretty early and tried to go back to sleep, patiently waiting for Carol to wake up. Carol is my morning person, and Shawn is my night time person since he stays up well into the night. Carol let me out, and tried to get me to eat breakfast, but I wasn't interested. I was holding out for some treats.

At about 10am I went in to see what was taking Carol so long to come and get me for my morning walk. She said she was going to skip the walk this morning, but I wasn't having any of that!!! I barked and growled until she stopped working and took me out for my walk. A girl's gotta get some exercise, right? We drove down to the dog path and walked for about 3 miles. A lot of that time was off the leash because there were very few people around. Every time we noticed someone on the path, Carol put my leash back in, just in case. After the walk we came home and I went right to sleep again. I think I got a treat when I got back, but I can't remember. But I do remember not eating breakfast even though it was down for me.

Carol was gone part of the day, but Shawn and I hung out a bit while he was working. I slept most of the time, which was nice. When evening rolled around we went back to the water district by the house and played for a while. It wasn't too intense, just enough for me to get some energy out.

When we got back to the house tonight, I whined and whined until they gave me my favorite toy (which was Tess' toy, but I have taken a liking to it). Here is a picture of me playing with the toy:I think my dad mentioned something about me chewing up fuzzy toys like teddy bears and the like. However, I found this toy by accident, and I LOVE IT!!!!!! I can't get enough of this toy. Carol doesn't let me chew on it very much because it's was her last pup's toy, but she does let me play with it. She watched me the whole time though and makes me stop chewing if she catches me.

After I played with the fuzzy toy, I finally ate dinner and put Carol's mind to rest (man, that girl worries about everything.....especially me). I didn't eat all of it, but I ate some. I then went into the living room and laid on the bed because it was getting close to my bedtime. Here are a couple of pictures from bedtime tonight:In this picture I have my head by the pillow. I had just moved it from being on the pillow. I didn't want any incriminating evidence. But as you can see, I sleep with my tongue hanging out a little.
I'm glad this picture was taken, because it finally proves that I sleep a little weird. Shawn and Carol think this is one of the cutest things I do; I sleep on my back with my legs straight out, and my front paws bent with my head twisted to the side. They think it can't be comfortable, but I sleep like this for hours every night.

Well, as you can see I'm a bit tuckered out (so are Shawn and Carol), so I will post more again tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow or the next day we can head down to the American River so I can romp around. It will be SOOOO fun! Good night.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 6

This morning Carol woke up extra early to take me for a morning walk. We ended up walking for over an hour, and logged at least a few miles. We met a woman on our walk that has a pup just like me, and I warmed up to her right away giving my signature puppy smile and wagglin' booty. I love meeting new people.

After we got home I ate breakfast and promptly took a nap. Long walks in the foothills makes me a bit sleepy.

This afternoon was uneventful. We didn't do much because Carol and Shawn decided that I needed to have a little break from all of the exercise. They don't want me to go back to my owners with any overuse injuries. So I played in the house for a while.

This evening we went back to the water district that has a little secluded place that we can play. No long runs chasing the frisbee, just some light running and catching the frisbee in mid-air. I met my large labrador friends again while we were there. They are so much fun to romp around with. They are very large puppies, but know how to romp with the best of 'em.

Carol thought she outsmarted me by crushing up a cookie in my food so I would eat it. Well, over the last couple of days I have learned to lick the cookie out of my food bowl and leave my food behind. I do eat some of my food, but not as much as I normally would. I have a feeling Carol is going to change her tactic pretty soon with the food. I will have to outsmart her again, she just doesn't know it yet.

I have heard some rumblings about going to a lake so I can go romp around in the water. Anytime I near water, it draws me in. Carol said that if I go in the lake, Shawn is going to give me a bath afterward. It's ok though, as long as I get to romp in the water I'll take the bath in stride.

I'm not sure what they have planned for me tomorrow, but I'll be Carol will wake up and take me for an early morning walk again, followed by breakfast and a nice puppy massage. It seems like it's a morning ritual now. This vacation is awesome - puppy treats, long walks, lots of playing, puppy massages everyday.........but I do miss my family and can't wait to get back to my normal routine.

Until tomorrow, Little Miss (aka, Bell) signing off.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 5

(From Bell's perspective)

Today I woke up with a bang, and energy to spare. Carol was awake for a little while before I was. I slept in a little with Shawn. But Carol got up at about 8, after working on her classes a bit, to take me for another hour long walk. We are really bonding during those times. She has figured out that I like to run and jump and have a lot of fun in the morning. If she lets me run around a little bit before my walks I am a lot better walking on the leash. I don't pull nearly as much, and with her training me a bit, I walk right next to her most of the time.

After my walk I came back home and took a nap. I love all of the exercise I'm getting, but I really like my naps too. After my nap we went and played catch at a new park. There was water there and I romped around in it a bit, against the wishes of Shawn and Carol. I stuck my tongue in the water too, but Carol freaked out and yelled and me to come to her. Apparently she didn't want me drinking that yucky water, especially since my tummy is better now.

Tonight we are heading down to meet a friend of Shawn's, it should be fun. Maybe I will get to go on a walk, or romp around a bit more.

I forgot to mention a couple of things from my post earlier this week. Carol has nicknamed me "Little Miss". I really like the nickname, especially when they say it in that really fun and friendly tone of voice.

Oh, and another thing - Carol made me a really thick bed out of blankets when I first got here. I only use it sometimes because I prefer the big bed on the floor, but I have to admit something...... I started chewing on the tassels last night and Carol caught me right after I swallowed a whole tassel. All day today Carol has been watching me closely because she wasn't sure if I swallowed it, or if it was already missing from the blanket. I'm not going to tell you how she knows this, but Carol found the tassel today - - - uh - - - in a pile in the backyard.......not that she was FRANTICALLY looking for it or anything. She shouldn't have worried so much cause us doggies eat random things all the time.

I might post again tonight, but will probably wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 4

This morning Carol took me for a long walk. I woke up with a bang, ready to go out. Carol put my leash on me and we started on the dog trail. I pulled and pulled because I had so much energy. I think I'm going to win the battle of the leash while I'm here. Then we went to the water district to run around a bit. There was nary a soul in site, so Carol took me off my leash so I can run, jump and hop around. Good thing too, I had tons of energy. We circled the large building three times and I got to get some energy out. When we were done with that, Carol put me back on my leash and I was much easier to walk. At this point Carol had me walk right next to her, correcting me when I tried to get ahead of her.

I forgot to mention, while on the little stint on the dog trail, some folks came towards me and wanted to pet me. I got a bit anxious and tried to hide behind Carol and when they put their hand out to let me sniff, I instead growled. Not sure what that was all about, so Carol is going to tell my mom and dad about it. Perhaps I'm just anxious without my family? When Carol and Shawn took me on a long walk yesterday, I was just fine. Maybe the folks looked a bit mean? I'm not sure, but from now on when Carol walks me along, she will not stop to talk to folks. When we stopped to talk to Shawn's sister and brother-in-law, I was just fine and they pet me and I loved it. So I'm not sure what happened this morning.

Back to my day..... This afternoon Carol went shopping and I slept while she was gone for a couple of hours. Then this afternoon I slept for another couple of hours. I think Carol and Shawn have been doing a good job of wearing me out with exercise, walks, the frisbee and playing inside the house. They have also been petting me A LOT. When I say A LOT, I mean hours and hours a day.

It's about 3:30 and I just woke up. Carol said that I will get another walk tonight, but that maybe we should skip the frisbee today.

Oh, I forgot to mention....... When Carol got home from shopping, she gave me the BIGGEST box of dog treats I have ever seen. Apparently she went to Costco and they had organic doggie treats. Mmmmmm, I love them! She said that I can take home whatever I don't eat this week. Considering it's a 3.5lb. box of treats, I will probably go home with quite a few.

Until later.......

As I suspected, we went out last night to play. Shawn and Carol decided that I should take it easy since I have been going on walks twice a day, and playing catch/fetch twice a day. They took me back to the water district since they have an area of grass with a picnic table. I play catch while Carol threw the ball into the air, and I was fetching when Shawn would throw the ball. When we were just about to leave, two very large labrador retrievers came up to us. Carol freaked out because she didn't know if they were friend or foe. Turns out they were as friendly as I am. I ran up to their owner, booty a'waggin' and wanted her to pet me. Then a fun game of fetch ensued with the three of us. Since I was already pretty worn out, I ran just a little bit longer, but the decided I had had enough. We then went home.

Carol and Shawn cuddled with me for a little while, then they watched some TV while I slept on the hardwood floor. At about 11pm Shawn came out and cuddled with me some more and we feel asleep together on the big doggie bed.

I might have forgotten to mention that Shawn and Carol rearranged their house to make me more comfortable. Since I like to sleep in the living room, the big dog bed (the queen sized bed) was moved into the living room. Carol and Shawn said that this is what their last dog loved, and thought that I would like it too. Yep, I sure do. And I love cuddling up to Shawn in the middle of the night and I especially like sleeping with my tongue hanging out.

Tomorrow is a new day, but I think it will be less busy. Carol's online classes start tomorrow, so I don't think I will get as much activity. But we'll see. Night night.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 3

(From Bell's perspective) Today has been really fun so far, and it's only 1:20 in the afternoon. When I woke up this morning, Carol let me out, then we came back in and she gave me a puppy massage. Yes, that's right, a puppy massage. She used to do it everyday for her last pup Tess, and just continued on with me. I loved it!!! I think she's going to do that every morning since she gave me a puppy massage yesterday, and today.

Shawn and Carol took me on a long walk this morning after my massage. We met some of Shawn's family on the walking trail, by chance. We weren't even planning on meeting up with them. Shawn's sister is so nice, she pet me a little bit. We then continued on to the Placerville Farmer's Market, which is actually quite small. I met a bunch of doggies along the way, some of which wanted to meet me, but their owners wouldn't let them. After the Farmer's Market we continued on and walked to the post office to drop off a letter in the mail. We then turned around and stopped at Round Table so Carol and Shawn could pick up a salad. Carol got me a large cup of ice water, which I drank a bunch of. The ice was a little odd at first, but I quickly figured out that it was nice and cold, and I drank some of it out of a cup.

The picture above was taken after we got back from our walk. You can't tell by the picture, but the fan was on low, but still going pretty fast. Carol mentioned that Tess used to love to lay in front of a fan during the summer, and thought I would like to try it. She was right. I had a good time laying in front of the fan for a while, but now I'm cuddling with Shawn on the big dog bed on the floor. I don't use the bed Carol set up for me too often, as I prefer the big doggie bed we can all cuddle on. I really like it when all three of us can cuddle together. That's my favorite.

I need to take a nap now. While our walk was only about 2 miles this morning, I'm a bit tired. Perhaps I will update later. I heard some rumblings about going to play with my frisbee again before dinner, so I need to get some rest while I can.

Until later.....

It's about 10:30pm and I'm pooped, but Shawn and Carol won't stop petting me, so I haven't slept much today. I did get a bit of rest this afternoon, but not too much. We went to play frisbee again, it was pretty fun. It was hotter today then it was yesterday, so I only played for about 10 minutes before I laid down. I drank a ton of water while playing too, so that probably had something to do with it. When we got back to the house I cooled off. We had dinner and then Shawn and Carol pet me for about 4 hours. It was heaven. I know that seems like a long time, but they are used to it.

I seem like I am adjusting well, but I really do miss my family. Shawn and Carol seem to have a different schedule than I'm used to. Shawn stays up really late, and Carol gets up really early, so my schedule is kind of off right now. I'm fitting in well though. I must say, I'm pushing the envelope when it comes to attention. Those two seem to give in to my every whim. I sit on Shawn all the time so he'll pet me. He can sit there for hours and pet me, it's odd (even Carol thinks so). ;)

Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight. I hope my family is having fun on vacation. Personally, I think I will need a vacation from my vacation. Isn't that what all the humans say??? I will write more tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 2

(From Bell's perspective)

Well, it's day 2 of my vacation. I'm a bit more used to my surroundings now. After a 2 hour nap, Carol and Shawn took me for a walk around the neighborhood at about 11:30pm last night. I was resting well after the walk until I hear something outside at about 2:00am. I darted around the perimeter of the house to secure things. That's when I spotted a cat! I tried going after it, but Shawn and Carol stopped me. I never made it past the driveway. Man, I could have gotten that cat. Oh well, there's always tonight!

I woke up this morning and went outside. My tummy is still giving me a bit of trouble, but I suspect that will subside since I haven't eaten anything. Carol seems pretty nervous about my lack of eating and keeps trying to hand feed me, put my bowl near me, and she has even had a conversation with me about my food intake. Maybe I will eat tonight?

Carol took me on a very fast walk this morning. I keep hearing something about leash training, and we did a little bit of that today, but I think I will out-will them. We'll see! But the walk was great fun. Then at about noon today they took me to a school that had a H.U.G.E. field and I got to chase the ball and catch a frisbee for a little while. Once we got back to their house I fell asleep on the dog bed (the queen sized one on the floor). Actually, if you look at the picture above, I feel asleep on Shawn's pillow. No worries though, I asked permission to use the pillow! Carol took the picture with my tongue sticking out while I'm sleeping. I asked her not to take it, but she did anyway.

It's 2:30pm and I'm going to go back to resting for a little while. I heard some chatter about going out and catching a frisbee again. I need to get rested up for that! I will update again later once I find out what tonight has in store for me.

Later today.....
At about 6pm Carol drove about a half hour to go to Trader Joe's to get me a BIG BOX of cookies. They are organic and soooo yummy! I still haven't touched my food, but I have snacked a bit on the cookies, which makes Carol happier. While Carol was driving to Trader Joe's, Shawn took me for another walk. I walked on the leash a bit better and didn't pull as much, but I still get really excited about walks.

Then, at about 8:30 tonight, Shawn and Carol brought me back to the school to play with the frisbee. We only played for about 10-15 minutes before I laid down. Boy was I pooped. Once we got back to the house, Shawn turned on the air conditioner and turned on some fans. I'm laying in front of one of the fans right now. It feels really good after running at top speed after a frisbee. Carol said that this is what their dog used to do, and thought that I would like it. Wouldn't you know, I do!

Tonight is a movie night, so Shawn and Carol are just hanging out. I think I'll just hang out with them and get some more love. They have been petting me a lot, and I think I'm going to try and continue that trend.

I will write more tomorrow, but I must add, this vacation is so much fun so far (but I can't wait to see my mom, dad, brother and sister. I know it may not seem like it, but I miss them a lot).

Update at 10pm - Carol outsmarted me. She got out a cutting board and a large kitchen knife and shaved some of the yummy cookies into my food bowl. She also left some chunks in there as a treat. I ate my whole bowl of food! Carol and Shawn are sooo happy that I ate. How could I deny the food with bits of treats??? I sure hope they do that tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Story of Bell - Day 1

(From Bell's perspective)

Today was an adventure! I got to drive with my daddy all the way from San Francisco to Davis, where I met some folks who seemed really friendly. They threw my frisbee for me for a while, I drank a bunch of water, then I got into a car I've never been in before. I was pretty excited for a while, in fact, almost the whole drive to a place these people called Placerville. I guess I should mention that these people call themselves Shawn and Carol. They explained that I was going to go on a mini-vacation with lots of walks, maybe a hike or two, tons of treats, and I will get to play a lot of catch. Of course I was excited!

On the way to Placerville I stuck my head out of the car window, but only when the car was going slow, and Shawn held me so nothing happened. It was heaven. I accidentally drooled a little on the car, a bit on Carol and a lot on Shawn, but hey - I was too excited about my adventure. Shawn crawled in the backseat with me about 10 minutes into the drive, and I spent the entire 45 minute drive in his lap. About 20 minutes before we arrived at their house, Shawn and I fell asleep together. Carol mentioned how cute that was! I must say though, I am a cutie!!!

We finally arrive at their house and I sniffed around a bit, then immediately saw the BIGGEST dog bed I have ever seen in my life in the master bedroom. I knew I was in heaven!!! Carol and Shawn hung out on the bed with me for about an hour, but they saw that I was getting really tired and let me have the big bed all to myself. I must add though, that this bed is on the floor, so I assumed it was for me. Carol and Shawn said that I was right and they said that I can have the bed the whole time I'm on my vacation (Carol and Shawn DID mention though, that I'm not allowed on the beds that are raised off the floor, or the couches). Carol made me my own comfy bed on the floor, but I prefer the BIG BED that is right next to the master bed. I can stretch out all I want and I'm so excited.

I have to admit, I'm a little apprehensive about this place, but since Carol and Shawn have pet me for almost the entire two hours they have known me, I think I'll be ok while my mom, dad, sister and brother are out of town. Carol and Shawn seem like nice folks, and I can't wait for my walk later on tonight.

Oh yeah, Carol said something about a walk tomorrow morning, and I'm excited about that too.

I think I'll take a nap now. I'm pretty tired from the drive, and from being so excited when I arrived at Shawn and Carol's. I will update Carol's blog again tomorrow when I have time.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli

1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 TB. olive oil
1 TB. butter
1 large, chopped onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (or paste equivalent)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with hand
1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed (or white beans)
3 cups water
3 tsp. chicken better than bullion (or 3 cups chicken stock)
4-6oz. ditalini pasta (or other small pasta)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese as topping or parmesano reggiano

Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary until veggies are softened. Add broth, crushed tomatoes with juice, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stir occasionally so the flavors can meld. Add beans and pasta, raise temp a bit so the pasta can cook for 8-10 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread, and top individual bowls with some fresh grated cheese.

Verdict: So good! Shawn and I both loved this, which never happens.

The above recipe was adapted from the recipe below. I made it as the recipe states and there was far too much pasta and not nearly enough broth. So next time I make it, we will use the above quantities.

1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 TB. olive oil
1 TB. butter
1 large, chopped onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with hand
1 can white cannellini beans, rinsed (or white beans)
2 cups water
2 tsp. chicken better than bullion (or 2 cups chicken stock)
8oz. ditalini pasta (or other small pasta)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
parmesano reggiano

Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary until veggies are softened. Add broth, crushed tomatoes with juice, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stir occasionally so the flavors can meld. Add beans and pasta, raise temp a bit so the pasta can cook for 8-10 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread, and top individual bowls with some fresh grated cheese.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Miss Her

We so badly miss our dog. Here is a little reminder of our pup, who meant the world to us.

Here she is just relaxing in the dining room.

Tess, we miss you so much baby girl. You brought so much joy and love into our lives. We will love you forever more.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Speaking Out

I have been having a great time reading over THIS blog. I spent a year with THIS organization sending teens overseas for mission trips to spread the gospel. It is an inter-denominational mission organization that hosts events in the US to rally support for missions, send teenagers overseas and hosts year long internships for folks seeking after God. I enjoyed my time there, but I have come to realize some of what went on there was quite 'off'. Some would call it spiritual abuse, I would call it 'misguided'. I had amazing times there, and some very difficult ones as well. I am finally able to put into words what I didn't like about my time there, but with most things, there is a good and bad side.

As I think back I snicker at some of the experiences I had there. I also had some interesting experiences overseas serving with that particular mission organization. Here are a few:

1). I legally gambled for the first time while on a mission trip to Russia in 1998. I had a great time doing it and don't regret it at all!

2). While in Peru in 1997 I was severely sick. I was throwing up and *ahem*, other stuff, for two or three days. I couldn't keep a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g in my body. I thought I was going to die, actually, I was praying to die because I felt so terrible!

3). In Kazakhstan in 1996 we had to use bathrooms that were simply a hole in the floor. Not too bad, except they kept the place 'clean' by using large amounts of ammonia to block the smell of human waste. Yeah, that didn't work. People would leave 'presents' all over the place and miss the hole in the floor. Not so great!

4). We spent many a night at the Tyler Rose Gardens with a wonderful group of friends. To this day I still love rose gardens.

5). I met some of the most wonderful people I have ever met while at TM.

More experiences to come.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I was asked to teach a brand new course. I'm a bit apprehensive, as I always am about new classes. But this class is brand new to the university, so I'm especially nervous. We'll see how it works out.

I have ordered the textbook for review and I'm starting to think about projects. The part that makes me nervous is the extensive preparation for this course since it involves A LOT of new technology that I'm not yet accustomed to. I will have about 4 months to prepare, but from what I understand, I'm locked in at this point.

I'm excited, but really nervous about it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Managing Stress

Managing stress has never been easy for me. Logic seems to evade me during high stress times and my emotions run all over the place. I keep tension in my back, neck, arms - in essence, I lock myself right up and everything hurts. Thank God for hot tubs and intermittent sleep otherwise my muscles would never get a break.

Right now I'm managing 6 classes, which is more than I have ever taught - ever!!! This morning I learned that it takes more than double the time to blog for my classes now. You would think that after 2 years of teaching online I would have it down to a science, right? Nope! I have 2 new classes and I feel like I'm starting at ground zero all over again. Such is the flavor of life I guess.

When teaching a 'normal' in-person class there is usually about an hour or two of prep per week for lectures. Then you teach about 3 hours a week. 5-6 hours, not bad. I'm spending about double that time because three of my classes are new. Yeah, I'm going crazy. And it doesn't help that I put TONS of pressure on myself for perfection, connecting with students and making sure I 'look' like I know what I'm doing. The internal pressure is the driving force behind the stress. I must learn to breathe and let things go.

On a bit of a different note, I have finally ordered a new bed. One that should be comfortable. It's a 'tempurpedic' like bed from Costco. If this one doesn't workout, we're returning it and ordering the real thing. But the bed I ordered has some really good reviews so I'll give it a try. Costco has an amazing return policy, so we try to make big purchases there. They will take almost anything back even years and years later. It will be a few weeks before it's delivered, and we can't wait!

Until later.....

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I'm glad it's over. However, I think 2010 is going to be met with a ton of challenges. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to 2010......I think I might just bury my head in the sand, or a pile of blankets for that matter.

Monday, December 28, 2009


We had to put our beloved doggie to sleep a week before Christmas. I don't want to get into details, but she was in the process of dying that night, and we made it a bit easier for her. It was a hard thing to do, but it was necessary. We miss her more than words can express, and are still crying daily because we miss her so much. We will never forget her, nor will we ever own another dog. I maintain that you can't replace kids, and you can't replace a dog. Our lives literally revolved around her and it's hard to get into a routine without her. Our hearts hurt more than words can express.

I'm starting to cry......need to sign off.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My usual morning, is well, unusual. I have no routine, except for being woken up by the dog at 6:30am who wants to eat. You think she would learn by now that I feed her between 7am and 8:30am. If I'm particularly annoyed I will wait a bit longer, or if she's calm I will push it out a bit. But she's the perfect alarm clock, not that I need or want one. Actually, she is the last dog Shawn and I will ever have. We love her, but are ready for some more freedom.

Back to my point - I have no morning routine, except for waking up and maybe eating breakfast, or possibly having tea, it's also a toss up whether or not I will exercise that morning or wait until evening. This morning I fed the dog, made some tea, cleaned the kitchen, started a fire and I'm now grading papers. I typical morning I suppose.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spring 2010

My life is segmented into semester, which I quite enjoy! However, next semester is going to be particularly busy as I am teaching 20 units and have 2 new preps for next semester. One of the classes I'm teaching I have never taught before, and the other new prep, I've never taught online. Yikes! I'm looking forward to the new challenge but I'm a bit apprehensive. I'm also looking forward to expanding my repertoire of classes I can teach. So, here's what's on the schedule for next semester:

Communication, Self and Society - online
Small Group Communication - online
2 sections of Critical Decision Making - online
2 sections of Public Speaking - in person

My in person classes are cake because I have taught PS a million times before and don't need to do any prep. My online classes are a bit more difficult because I need to have everything prepped ahead of time, before the semester begins. When you teach f2f classes, you can prep as the semester goes on. No so in online classes. *sigh* It's gonna be an interesting Christmas break.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Confession #12

Shawn and I are still debating whether or not we want to raise kids. Did you notice that I said "raise kids", not "have kids"? If we decide on a family, we will adopt. However, we will not decide anything until our aging puppy is gone, and we've taken a year to travel. We want to do lots of weekend trips - LOTS of them, and go to a few other places for a bit longer. We also want to do a few more mission trips too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Confession #11

Shallow Confession

I have always wanted to own a house where the bathrooms outnumber the bedrooms. I don't know why, all I need is one bathroom, but the idea has always been alluring.

Having the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms won't do - the bathrooms must outnumber the bedrooms.