All posts for the month January, 2011

Idiots and Animals

Published January 29, 2011 by Hemlock

Copyright MB 2010I took Terra for a walk yesterday down at the local Marina. This was our first walk around people, and I have to say that she did pretty darn well! I was quite proud. She wore her purple jacket, and I do admit that I used a prong collar on her. She has a habit of pulling when she gets excited, and since breaking my wrist last year I just can’t handle the torque on my wrist when it’s cold. They’re safe to use, when used and fitted properly, and are considered a self-correcting training aid. I’ve been avoiding using one on her, as I didn’t want people to see an AmStaff with a prong collar on and then freak out when they saw her thinking that she needed the prong collar and then in turn assuming that she was some vicious-man-eating-creature-from-the-guttural-depths-of-hell (you know… all 42 pounds of her). She doesn’t; I only put it on her for my ease.

What this post is about, though, is the fact that I ran into an ignorant dumbass who has no business owning a dog. This woman was walking her very large lab on a retractable leash and absolutely refused to control her dog. When she, and her dog, were about 10 feet away, her Lab rushes at Terra. Terra, in turn, panicked and did her best to hid behind me. At this point, the woman starts hollering that I’d better get my dog away from hers, and get my dog under control. I told her that she better lock her damn leash and keep going or I was going to be calling animal control or the on-duty Ranger. As she walked away she never locked the leash or recalled her dog, and poor Terra was petrified and just wanted to get out of there. I, however, wanted it to be a controlled exit, so due to the lack of control of the other woman, her damn dog was hounding us until he hit the end of his leash. Copyright MB 2010

I’ve always been very firm on having my dogs on a very tight heel, and this is no different with Terra. In fact, due to the prejudice again the breed, I’m borderline obsessive about it with her. I don’t want there to be any risk of someone blaming her for something she didn’t do. I understand that people fear the breed, but that’s not the way it should be. For one, I’ve personally never encountered a human-aggressive AmStaff. However, I’ve had to protect my sisters from a Black Lab that did want to cause harm to them. You know who came to our rescue, though? Our dog Cougar, who was an AmStaff. She jumped an 8 foot fence when she heard the girls scream behind me when the dog charged us, and was there by the second charge. The only reason why I beat Cougar there was because I heard the aggressive barking coming from the yard across the street from our backyard. I just happened to be outside, but didn’t realize I’d closed the gate behind me when I went charging through.

I got into a physical altercation with the dog, and I know for a fact that this dog would have mauled my sisters if it hadn’t been for me and the dog. The entire time that I was trying to get the girls back onto our property, Cougar stayed between us and the other dog. She never once attacked it, just kept it at bay. Eventually, the people who owned the dog ran outside and tried to get their dog, but it turned on them in the heat of the moment. My step-dad eventually made it out to us, and made sure the dog couldn’t come back after us. Cougar stayed with us, and escorted us into the house. That dog became a Hero that day. We found out, later, that the Lab had a history of aggression towards humans. They eventually moved and we never had to deal with them or their dog again.

Copywrite MB 2010That experience really soured me on Labs for quite some time, and for a while I was even a bit closed minded about them. However, as I matured, I began to realize that it’s not the breed that’s a problem, but the people who own the animal. This is particularly applicable with AmStaffs. This is a breed that was actually bred to be averse to human-aggression. What good is a fighting dog that turns on its handler? In addition to that, they were also bred as family dogs and babysitter dogs. I know people will have their opinions, but I hate the closed mindedness. Frankly, I’d be more concerned about a Chihuahua than an AmStaff.

Whenever topics like this come up, people try and quote bite report statistics, but the problem with those reports and studies is that anything that doesn’t look like a particular breed is automatically lumped into the Pit Bull, or Pit mix, label. Also, when small dogs bite, it’s not reported. This also skews the results. When I was working at a local vet office the most people-aggressive dogs we dealt with her Labs, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, Miniature Poodles, and Chihuahuas. That’s just my experience, though.


First (again) exercise update!

Published January 27, 2011 by Hemlock

Okay, so I’ve decided that Thursdays will be my official weigh-in day. As of this morning, I weighed 141 on an empty stomach. I exercised for about 40 minutes with Dance Central and according to the exercise setting burned approximately 100 calories, but that doesn’t count going through and learning the routines. My heart rate was elevated for about 25-30 minutes of the 40 I messed around with the game. I also threw the ball around in the backyard with the dog, though I’m not sure that it counts. I also made an attempt at using my husband’s pull up bar. Let’s just say that I’m not capable of doing a pull up anymore; gone are the days of being able to go up and down the peg board at school multiple times in a row. So, I settled for 15 men’s pushups, and 20 pull situps.

I really need to working on increasing my water intake. I despise water with a passion, though. It’s so gross tasting… to me at least.

Weight: 141
Goal: 120

Food Diary:
1 cup black coffee
Some Club crackers
8oz. Chocolate Slim Fast w/Whole Milk
Personal Pepperoni & Mushroom pizza @ Lampost

Exercise Diary:
40 min Dance Central
40 min played with dog in backyard
15 pushups
20 situps

I wish I wasn’t the oldest

Published January 27, 2011 by Hemlock

I have a bad case of Sister Envy.

For those that don’t know, I have two younger sisters ages 17 and 13. I was raised by my grandparents, with only a bit of contact with my mother until I was 7. At that point, I lived with my mother off and on for the next 9 years. Most of that time was spent with my Grandmother, though. During this time frame, I was abused by my first step-dad, gained a sister, celebrated a divorce, acquired another step-dad, and then finally gained another sister.

When my middle sister was born, I was home schooled and my mother was working a lot so for the next couple of years I found myself babysitting a lot. Too much responsibility for a child my age. When my youngest sister was born, again I was called up on to babysit a lot. By this point, I was suffering from a severe case of Anorexia Nervosa. This wasn’t due to a body image issue; I’ve never had a problem with my self image and I’ve always been a very confidant person. My disease was a diagnosis based upon the original Anorexia Nervosa, not the ‘new and improved’ version you see on T.V. dealing with poor body image. My anorexia was induced due to stress. When I stress I get nauseous so I don’t eat. This in turn causes me to stress about not eating which causes more nausea; it becomes a vicious circle. Eventually I began to stress about the fact that was dropping weight which made the situation worse and I wasn’t physically able to eat. In the end, on a visit to my grandmother, I was forced to remain in Santa Cruz and I was given an option: Either seek treatment on my own, or be put into a hospital. I chose to avoid the hospital and began seeking therapy with a woman who specialized in Traditional Anorexia Nervosa as well as weekly visits to an acupuncturist. In the end, my recovery took roughly a year before I was able to sit down and really eat a meal. I went from about 120 pounds, down to 93 pounds, and then by the time I was eating regularly I was up to 115 pounds. It’s something that I still struggle with.

Now, how does the sister envy fit into all of this? My middle sister got the benefits of being the oldest without the downside of getting the short end of the stick. My grandparents were pretty old fashioned and I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or color my hair until I was in my late teens. By that time, I didn’t have much interest in it. When I lived with my mother, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or really express myself in any way.

Fast forward to my sister: by 12 to 13 years old she was dying her hair pink, blue, black (natural blonde), was wearing makeup, wasn’t forced to babysit and all of this was Mother Approved. In addition to that, she’s had hardly any responsibility with my Mother paying for everything. It’s very clear to both myself and my youngest sister that we aren’t even in the running of Favorite. My youngest sister is a lot like me in many ways, but Mom is still much more open about what is and isn’t allowed with her.

In the end, what’s been done has been done, but I’m envious that my sisters have been able to experience vacations, have had their cars given to them, that they’ve never had to worry about money, or having clothes full of holes on the first day of school. They’ve been able to experience life in a way that I haven’t. Part of me really wishes that I’d been an only child. Age-wise, and method of raising, I’ve been an only child (I’m 10 and 14 years older than my sisters), but I have the misfortune of looking back and seeing things from the outside in. Whereas, my sisters have only experienced life the way it is. I’m jealous… plain and simple.

In the end, I really hope that I don’t ruin my first born the way I’ve been ruined. I want my kids to be able to experience their childhood.

Some days… I wish I were a guy

Published January 26, 2011 by Hemlock

I’ve officially decided that being a girl is overwhelming. I’ve never been much of a girl in the traditional sense. I don’t dress girlie, I don’t wear makeup, and I don’t generally do my hair. For me, it’s about ease… I don’t like being as lave to my mirror. However, as I’m closing in on 30 I’m finding that my taste is changing and I’m desiring to embrace my femininity a bit. I never had a good example for makeup from mother as her makeup was usually applied for work (exotic dancer… more ‘normal’ than most of the girls she worked with, but it’s essentially stage makeup), and my Nana doesn’t wear makeup.

When it comes to clothing, I would have to say that I’m a bit old fashioned, and I don’t like bright colors. So, when I dress to go out it tends to be very understated. Compound that with my normal everyday clothing of jeans and a black t-shirt, I’m just a boring tomboy.

For the last two days I’ve been watching one of my favorite YouTube gurus, Michelle Phan.  I’ve been following her for just over a year, and her skin care tutorials are excellent.  Most of the supplies can be found in your kitchen, and are very gentle and non aggravating.  Her makeup tutorials are very nice too, but the few times I’ve tried them out, it’s been a disaster.  It’s not her, though, it’s me.  It’s a disaster when I try to figure out what colors to use, and the techniques are hard as well.  To top it off, I feel completely inadequate when I don’t understand something, or can’t do it.  It drives me nuts.

I spent all of last week trying to figure out what my overall skin tone was but couldn’t.  So, in turn, I was unable to figure out what my undertones  were.  I don’t know how important undertones are, but I know that general skin tone is important. Cool, warm… I have no idea what the hell I am.

I have nothing to prove

Published January 25, 2011 by Hemlock

When Xannatos and I got married it was a small civil ceremony.  Nothing fancy, just family and a friend crammed into an office that was entirely too small for everyone, and though I’m sure his mother was livid, my family accepted it as it wasn’t anything usual for my side of the family.  My mother had been married in a quickie-chapel in Reno when she married step-dad number 2, and Nana got married in a civil union downtown in Santa Cruz… it’s just the way things are done in my family.

Like my Nana, though, Xannatos and I had been committed to each other and our relationship long before any ceremony was performed.  We didn’t need the license to know we were together, or to even keep us together, but unfortunately at the time Nevada didn’t recognize domestic partnerships so we were forced to get married in order for me to get health coverage.

Family Pic @ 'Reception'

Hemlock, Xannatos, his step-brother, his step-mother, and his Dad

Both Xannatos and myself are not big proponents of Traditional Marriage as it’s very religious based, and if you need the license in order to confirm to yourself that you’re in a committed relationship then you have no business being together.  That’s just us, though.

I remember at one point I was talking to my mother about the type of ceremony I’d like to have, she got all offended.  I’ve always been a fan of Pagan and Hand-fasting ceremonies.  They focus more on the respect, bond, and love you have for each other vs. obeying one or the other or proving your union to God and the people around you.

You see, my mother is Christian and very much feels that a Wedding should be fairly traditional and have some mention of God.  Myself, though I was raised around Christianity, but I was also raised around MormonismJudaism, BaptistCatholicism, and Atheism.   In addition to that, one the teachers that I have the most respect for was a follower of Islam (you heard me right… and he was one of the whitest, skinniest, most intelligent men I’ve ever known).  So I come from a pretty eclectic system of beliefs and there’s nothing wrong with that.

One day, I’d love to be barefoot in the middle of an old Redwood Forrest surrounded by the sound and scent of Nature holding Xannatos’ hand.  I just want something between me, my partnert, and the Verse.

And here starts another semester…

Published January 24, 2011 by Hemlock

Today is the start of a new college semester.  I’d have to say that I’m a career student at this point.  I’ve been attending college off and on for nearly ten years now and I’ve gotten absolutely nowhere.  I’ll admit that most of this is my fault, but I do put some of the blame on the Nevada educational system.  The teachers here suck.  I mean, really suck.  It’s a very unfortunate situation, but I’ll make the best of it.

This semester I have Drawing 101 and Journalism 101.  Maybe I’ll finally find my calling?  I’ve always wanted to do a web comic, and once upon a time I could draw.  Maybe I still can?  Or, maybe I’ll become a world famous Journalist?  I’d be okay with that too.

I also have a new addiction: Dance Central.  It’s a game for the Xbox 360 with the Kinect Sensor. I was skeptical at first, and when I first tried it out Xannatos was there and I felt like a complete idiot, but after finally convincing him to give it a go, I now feel better about myself.  So, I sucked it up and tried it out on my own today and made it to the ‘hard’ level of one of the songs.  Between myself and my two sisters, I am now the reigning queen of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face!  That’s right!  I busted my ass and fun!

I think… I think I might be on the mend

Published January 21, 2011 by Hemlock

I think I’ve had a little bit of a breakthrough. I’m home today… kind of in limbo waiting for either AF or a positive pregnancy test. I’m 19DPO, at least that’s what Fertility Friend says but who really knows. I took another pregnancy test just to see what I got since the last one at 15 DPO looked like it might have had a line on it, but was most likely an evap line. Same story today. I’m not going to call the doctor since I don’t see a point, and even if it is positive, I’m not going to schedule any early appointments or have any early blood draws done. It’ll either work out, or it won’t, and nothing the doctors can do will help. So far, progesterone supplements haven’t done anything for me so I’m not worried about taking them.

The above paragraph wasn’t my breakthrough, though. When I came out of the bathroom today from peeing on the cursed stick TLC’s A Baby Story was on.

Now, after my first miscarriage I was addicted to the show in a very unhealthy way. I was obsessed with watching all these successful pregnancies and births, and it was just torture. I think I did it to myself out of Survivors Guilt, or something. Eventually, I realized that I really needed to stop, and I’ve haven’t watched the show since 2007. Sure, I’ve seen a few episodes here and there, but I’ve never sought the show out, and when it comes on I change the channel. No point in starting the cycle over again, and no point in causing myself pain.

Here I am, four years later, and it’s on again. You know what, though? I didn’t change the channel because I was legitimately interested in the outcome of the episode. I didn’t find myself angry at her for being pregnant. Instead, I found myself upset that her pregnancy and delivery didn’t go as planned and then happy for her when she finally got to meet her little one.

… Okay, maybe a smidgen jealous if I’m going to be completely honest with myself.

I think I’m okay with this turn of events. I think I’ve had a chance to settle a bit across the last four years. Each miscarriage has gotten easier to deal with. It’s unfortunate, but after five miscarriages and four years, a person can only stress out so much.