Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mouthy....

That's me! :) I've come to accept that I'm the most opinionated, mouthiest woman and that it's a load of trouble for me. I'm either too quiet and allow things to fester and blow up at people OR I am mouthy at random people. Like tonight for example. Took Steve out to see The Dark Knight to show him how much I appreciate him for being a grand husband. During the movie (which is entirely inappropriate for any child IMO under the age of 10 and that's being liberal) an infant started crying. People in the movie started getting cranky and yelling at the parents to take the kids out, finally they did. This occurred not once, but twice. Socially, the parents have a responsibility to remove their child from the setting the moment the child becomes fussy. Of course, a parent really should not be bringing their child - infant or not to the movies in the first place - unless age appropriate of course. Please spare me any stories of how you personally might bring your infants to the movies and they sleep through it. And certainly there should not have been any children under the age of 10 (again being liberal) in that movie. For me, this was another no brainier like Resident Evil.

In public situations, I cannot control what other people around me do, only how I react. The baby cried - in a theater, during the movie. During a very LOUD movie. The baby was sitting in the row directly in front of me probably half a row down. I am with children ALL DAY. This was my little break away from children. And guess what? I choose to just block it out and enjoy the movie. They want to be rude? So what? I could either miss the movie and get up and go get the manager and report the disruption or zone more into the already loud movie with explosions and enjoy myself. I chose the latter, but became quickly annoyed at the group of people who kept getting louder than the BABY telling the parents to take "that damn kid outside". Yep, I ignored my own good advice and got royally ticked off at those people instead. I was fuming! And when we exited the movie I noticed one of the loudest hecklers to the parents had three small children themselves!! The Joker was totally, graphically sadistic in this movie. What the heck are parents thinking today?!

Yes, I am that "b$%!h" that is going to totally judge you when you bring a child to a totally inappropriate movie. Yep, I just think there are certain things that kids just should not see or hear. I went to the grocery store at 11 pm tonight and was just shocked to see little kiddos there. At 11 pm - I wanted to scream, "Don't you people know about bedtimes?!" And of course, it was young parents. Probably no older than 19.

And then it hit me - that while I've become more empathetic in some ways and a ton less snotty in areas where I deal with cashiers and such, I've become a total brat in others.

I am very judgmental in some areas. I HATE when people are rude to servers, cashiers, etc. I go out of my way to be polite to people behind registers and counters. Anyone that has to deal with customers, I try to be extra special nice to. I go out of my way to be nice to parents with small children. I know that that's tough - so I try to give them extra patience because I know I need extra patience. But as I soon as I see someone gabbing on their phone, or complaining about this or that, I just shut down. As soon as someone starts acting snobby I just close off. I just don't want to put up with it and if I'm not getting paid to grin and bear it, I'll be damned if I'll bear it off the clock OR keep my mouth shut about it. What I found most amusing about the people complaining about that poor parent (which YES I feel was irresponsible and selfish for not removing their child in the first place) was that some of these people were gabbing on their cells before that baby started crying and that when they all started yelling at the parents, they were LOUDER than the baby's fussing. Get a grip.

I guess for me, I see so much selfishness around me that I feel totally suffocated by it and lash out at it whenever I can. Which, I'll admit isn't the most healthy thing to do.

Jesus taught us that the mouth speaks from the overflow from the heart. I think there is some serious battle going on in from heart. I long to be honest with people - talk to them straight instead of sugar coating a lot of things that I do. BUT I don't like hurting people's feelings. I think I need a bit more balance in being honest and having more flavor in my honesty - more grace. Something I am very much lacking in. But my tongue has been quite the problem for awhile now.

Anyways, off to bed for awhile.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Taking it Back

At some point during blogging, I stopped blogging for me and I started blogging for other people. "I can't write that because someone might read it and hurt their feelings..." and on and on it goes. I do believe that when I blog, there is a certain level of both personal responsibility as well as overall responsibility - but at the end of the day, it is still a personal blog of thoughts, experiences, and of course - opinions.

For the last few months I have played back and forth with the idea of returning to work full time. I've applied at various places of employment but even though I serve complete idiots sometimes at the gas station, have decided that it's the absolute best place for me. I got the feeling fairly recently from a friend of mine, that's it's a pretty "low" job - and some customers certainly reinforce that impression - acting as if because I am behind the register of a gas station I'm the stupid one (when most of them cannot even figure out how to pump their own gas, how much their car takes, or even what kind of gas to use...) but you know what? Who cares. I don't need anyone - friend or not, to validate my job or what I do. When I was a top sales rep or successful manager at T-Mobile, I was beyond stressed out and I didn't have any power to help customers walk away happy. Sure, there are still unhappy customers. But how many other businesses can say they are so strongly contributing to the community and even cares about the customers who come out to support them?

On a related note - some customer/people etiquette tips. Sometimes, the person behind the counter does know what they are talking about. The gas at Huey's Mart is going to be just as good as Shell, Chevron, Exxon, or any of those other places charging .20-.40 cents a gallon more. But I guess I can be grateful that people hold this opinion and I don't then have to deal with (as many) gas snobs on top of gas idiots. :)

The 13th was my birthday - it went by pretty quietly - I spent it with my family and my close friend Barbie called me and chatted me for a LOOONNNNGGGG time even though she went through her own hell of a day (you can read a portion - just a PORTION of it here). I thank God for such an amazing friend. Her husband is currently on his second interview for a job here in Vegas - PLEASE pray that they get it. It would be such an amazing blessing to have my best friend in the same city as me.

(May 2007 - Ahhh too long ago!)

Speaking of Barbie -- the kids LOVE her, but Anya especially. She calls her, "Dr. Barbie" and calls her on the phone. A customer at the store had a Barbie Jeep so I snapped a picture. Look who came to visit Mommy's store? It's Dr. Barbie! Even doctors need gas for their cars! ;)

Maya is coming along pretty well. We've set an appointment for a highly recommended dog school which I'm really excited about. Steve and I will going to observe and see how their methods work on Maya. If it goes well, we'll begin planning to send her there. It's a chunk of money (ouch) but it's lifetime training. Owning a dog isn't an easy thing, or an accessory, it's a responsibility - like being a parent. A responsibility to society to teach one's dog how to behave in public so that other people or their or public property isn't destroyed or harmed. A personal responsibility so that our families, friends, and selves are not harmed or our things are not destroyed. And of course - a dog is a living, breathing animal and deserves to be taught what is expected of them so they can be happy, balanced, and accepted in their home. We've been doing the best we can with Maya - regularly exercising her, discipling her, challenging her, and of course loading her up with hugs and kisses afterwards - but she still lacks some working knowledge and basic obediance that we feel is important. People balk at spending so much money on a dog, on an animal, but for us it comes down to being responsible to ourselves and those around us and caring for God's creations as He has charged us ("take care of it" - Gen 2:15).

When Steve and I met, we were both pretty passionate about what we believed in and held opinions about, and at the time were doers - not just talkers. Last night, we met our first possible foster dog - Juno. Sadly, Juno was just going to be way too much for us to handle - even though he was such a doll and so pretty. Juno's story is really heartbreaking. He was rescued about a month ago (so hot hot outside). His owner tied him up outside his door all day and then beat him up (a little baby puppy less than three months old!) with his fists. Thankfully, there are rescue groups out there that are going out and taking these dogs out of these environments and keeping them safe. The coordinator already has two other dogs lined up to see how they do at our house with Maya. I'm hoping it works out and that we can make an impact at least one dog at a time. I'm really grateful to our friends who have been so supportive of us while we've been wrestling with this next step on whether or not to bring in a foster. It's really important to us to back up our words and passions with actions and to serve something outside ourselves.

Maya, she's becoming more and more bonded with the kids. Which of course is something I love seeing. We're working on the chewing - she's a little mouthy which is completely normal as she won't reach adulthood for another year or so. Maya always sits by the bathroom and watches the kids get their baths. But the other day, she decided that she was just done with watching and was getting in on the action.

Went to Lowes last night and priced our Spring Pole for Maya. Almost all set to build! Cannot wait to get started. When the coordinator was here to view our home (may I add that our house was completly wrecked since we miscommunicated on when we would meet up for this) her husband and her just oohed and ahhed over how healthy Maya looked and sweet and gentle she was. Big, proud grinning Mommy moment for me.

I think that's my drain for now. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

All Things Maya

Got a crazy busy week this week, plus my birthday is only I believe 8 days away, and our anniversary and I work cover another vacation this month SO I'm very busy from this point out. Whew! However, I do certainly want to dedicate some blogs to Breed Prejudice, including both stats of pit bulls (which isn't a breed for those of you who don't know) as well as other breeds and of course how I personally feel this isn't any different than say racial profiling. That said, I am very sad to learn that some insurance companies will not insure families if they have any pit bulls in their homes. While talking to someone about this today, they made the comment, "Because pit bulls are such vicious animals,"

Ahhh... the Pit Bull Rescue Center (also an educational resource) has their work greatly cut out for them. That said, I am certainly glad I do not have this issue and am very glad that we have such great insurance. We've gotten very lucky in quite a few areas lately.

That said, enough with the negativity and on with the pictures of my Maya girl!

This has got to be one of my favorites. I don't know why - but for me it really captures Maya's really gentle nature. She may be able to run 2-3 miles with me this morning, walk another one to practice leadership, do 45 minutes on the treadmill and STILL not act tired - but she's such a gentle girl.

I really like this one too. These are the rare moments of really chilled out that I see.

Here she is snuggling on the couch.

And who can resist this one?

Finally, I read the following - short - blog by a Protestant Pastor that I really liked. Good to know that there are Christian leaders adopting Pit Bulls and likening it to their Christian walk.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Breed Prejudice - Grrr....

Hello family! :) I recently found out that my family is reading my blogs. Quite the shocker for me since I don't always control my tongue or my thoughts very well here in Blogging Land. Papau made the point of telling me how negative I am in my blogs - which has stayed with me and made me consider almost every word, thought, and motive today. It doesn't mean I didn't vent about select co-workers who bully others, or that I shied away from thinking poorly about the customers who didn't want to wait in line and cut in front of others in the gas lines or that I didn't snicker about the people who are never satisfied. IE - Papau now is giving away FREE bottled water for his customers waiting in line, 99% of them say, "Thank you! This is just what I needed!" But today someone complained that it wasn't soda. Can't please them all. :P

But it did make me ponder how negative I am, and ungrateful. It certainly made me think back to all the things I should be grateful for - a good family, patient parents, a surprisingly wonderful job (hey there is always free entertainment!), a fantastic pet, and of course the Gospel.

Something to ponder and remember every time I want to open my mouth . . . . .

Maya's doing fantastic with the treadmill. We just turn it on now and she gets right on. Right now, I have to still very closely supervise (ie sit in a chair right next to the treadmill while she's on it) but am hoping with a few more sessions I can fold laundry, sweep the floors in that room, etc while she is on the treadmill.

I was sick for almost two whole days (yes again, perhaps this is my season to be sickly) and so we got back into routine this evening - FINALLY! I picked up a bike from my local Deseret Industries and have been biking with Maya about 4 miles a night. We rode our bikes and scooters as a family tonight to Maya's doggie play group and it was so much fun. Maya took a rest while we waited for her BFF Nacho to arrive. Here she is looking all fantastic.

The kids had a blast too - even though Paul fell into some rocks when he turned his bike too sharply. But he's such a champ and after I washed out his scratches with some water, he was totally fine and ready to go back to playing hard.

Meanwhile, Anya continues to think that Maya is her personal pony or something. Maya is such a fantastic dog that she doesn't mind when the kids tug her tail, look at her ears, use her as a pillow, or even sit on her. What a good girl. We discovered that Maya is afraid of fireworks (sadly pretty common for pets) so we've been using Cesar Millan techniques to try to confront her fear. We've not been babying or consoling her so as not to indulge her fears, we did use the forward motion and corrections/distractions. We'll see how well these worked next time the fireworks fire up.

And here is Maya and her man, Nacho. He's such a great Boston Terrier - so well behaved, obediant, and such a great playmate for Maya. Maya's got some obediance training coming up - my birthday present, and I cannot wait to see how she reacts. Steve says that if she begins behaving in the areas we are currently struggling with (stealing food for example) then we can consider the second dog. Yippie! I'm so excited. Cannot wait! We've met some really great dogs.

I will say this - and yes it is negative. I'm becoming really frustrated with how people imagine pit bulls. Just tonight while Maya was sitting nicely at the curb waiting for us to cross, a couple jay walked to get away from her. And I honestly don't see the pit in her except in her muscles during swimming and from her chin. Plus, there are tons of pitties in rescue and animal shelters. It's SO sad. There are three fantastic pitties that we are considering bringing into our family. Because pits are great dogs. I love how Cesar explains breeds - it's just the designer outfit they have on. Pits are no more prone to agreesion for example than another dog. But because they are a power breed, they can cause more damage in less amounts of time. They've got a bad rap because of irresponsible, bad owners who were clueless when they got the dog. If you are considering adopting a dog and are of the active type - please consider rescueing a pitbull. They are incrediably loyal, wonderful dogs. Of course, there are exceptions - those who have mental issues that come down to neurological issues which can occur with ANY breed of dog - or even any mutt/Heinz 57 dog.

Okay, enough rambling out of me. I'll try to stay off my pitbull soapbox. :) Although, to warn you - I'm sure I'll write another blog like this in the future as I become increasingly frustrated with people's stereotypes of those of so awful dangerous pit bulls. :(

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

People Training with Maya

I had forgotten how much I really love being a dog owner - dogs in general. I'm now behaving like my toddlers to my husband, "Can we adopt another pittie, please oh please oh please oh please..." I am in love with Pitt Bulls now. Totally and completely. There are times when I wish we had at least a second smaller dog, perhaps a lap dog, but I love Maya so much, that I just want another Pittie for her to play with and for us to love on.

Admittedly, Cesar's techniques are not for the un-committed and they are VERY hard work, but so amazingly fulfilling. I cannot tell you how much I just want to break down and cry (out of happiness) when I see how fulfilled Maya is (and submissive) after we follow through with a Cesar technique. It's amazing! We recently started her on this treadmill we picked up from Craigslist. I admit, I secretly was skeptical that we would be able to get her on this treadmill and was regretting the purchase from almost the time we picked it up. BUT I pushed those thoughts aside, and just as I've been diligently walking her every day and night, I began training her on the treadmill. Below are her second and third sessions on the treadmill. The third session (second video) is totally without a leash!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

I am so proud of my girl. We are now walking three miles a night (yeppie!) or jogging three blocks and spending 2 hours at the dog park with a jog afterwards. On a personal note, I finally have found a way to ordered my much needed Topamax and hopefully combined with my now very active lifestyle, I will achieve pre-Paul pregnancy weight. Here's a hoping. :)

During our three mile walks, we have had some really great training opportunities. For starters, there are a lot of breaks in the sidewalks for roads into communities, washes, and parking lots. Even though there are a TON I've been able to take this chance to train Maya to sit at each of these breaks. More and more she is sitting before I even ask her. She is becoming very submissive to me now - today I was able to stand outside with the door all the way open without her running out but rather sitting calmly at the door inside waiting to be invited out.

At the dog park, I am learning that Maya is in reality a very SMALL dog. Whew! There are two Great Danes there (I had NO idea they were THAT big), a Great Dane/Mastiff mix, some HUGE German Shepherds, and even Siberian Huskies (which have always been a book favorite of mine BUT not a real life favorite as I am terrified of them). There are a few American Pitt Bulls (and mixes) as well as Boxers and I just love them all. Maya gets a chance to run run run - which she loves and to mingle with other dogs.

I do feel a little bad for my husband though - while I've focused in so intensely on Maya's training during this highly important time (ie her first months with us), he's handled the kids while I bike, run, jog, and swim with Maya. Maya seems to have boundless energy - however as we've been consistent with her exercise, we've been seeing her (finally) show that we are tiring her. I think it was all the pent up energy from the various shelters (absolutely not their fault - thank God these shelters even exist) but that we are finally breaking through it all.

As I've scanned through Craigslist to find a suitable pittie companion for Maya, I've been reading heartbreaking stories of abuse, neglect, or families being moved or relocated and not being able to bring their pets. It's so sad. I wish I could adopt them all. Poor things.

I finished Cesar's Way which I think is just the best book ever (along with Be the Pack Leader). The downside is that I am trying really hard to 1) not give people un-wanted advice about dogs now and 2) not be judgmental when people make statements like, "My dog doesn't need exercise," or "We just let him in the backyard and he's fine." I literally cringe when I hear statements like these now. I recently watched a dog training DVD (not be Cesar Millan) that was based on reward only incentives. I gagged. Really? Not to humanize my dog, but balancing a dog is very similar to discipling children. I'm not opposed to positive reinforcement (I believe it's very powerful) but I am entirely opposed to ONLY positive reinforcement. Make sense? So this DVD was very hard to watch. For example, it talked about dog proofing the house - which to an extent I agree with. Just as I would cover or protect the electric outlets from Paul and Anya, I would also teach them to NOT touch those outlets. I also believe in house proofing one's own children as well as child proofing to keep them safe. Balance.

On the a short religious note, I am enjoying the break from thinking about all these things and just enjoying Grace Point. Even if I don't always theologically agree with Protestant stance on things, I really do enjoy it there. Of course, right now I don't always theologically agree with the LDS church on things either - perhaps I'd be better as an agnostic. Not a bad idea. ;) All joking aside, Steve and I have been considering attending two LDS services a month and then two GP services a month. What an amazing husband I have - who certainly does not want to attend LDS services whatsoever, but is willing to do so to worship side by side with me. How amazing.

I've just requested Bart Ehrman's books on historical Christianity. Quite the interesting fellow - admittedly one of the best New Testament scholars out there, but now an agnostic. I actually have three of his books in print - Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and Faiths we never knew, and Lost Scriptures: Books that did not make it into the New Testament. But I'd also love to read some balanced reading on dog behavior and physiology and people training. ;) I'm also open for e-books on biking, skating, or running. So please leave your suggestions in the comments! Finally, I was recommended the book, "Eternal God: A Study of God without Time" by Paul Helm, anyone know if this comes on e-book? I just am not sitting down enough to read but am certainly on the move enough to listen to whole books.

Thanks everyone! :)