Is this real life? Not at all…

It’s been three weeks since I moved to a new city, a new state, a “new” job, and a new way of life. A more independent way of life. A “big girl” life where bills visit my mailbox, the apartment doesn’t stay clean on it’s own (thank you, Mom!), and the outside world is suddenly on my doorstep, ready or not.

Three weeks since I started this new chapter of my life, starring myself & Jayders. Three weeks since I paid for my first month’s rent + down payments + pet fees. And in two days, rent will be due again. Hello life.

I’ve learned some things about myself since moving away from my family, my friends, my hometown, and everything familiar & comfortable to me. I guess that happens when you step out of your comfort zone, but then I can’t say for sure that what I was living in WAS my so-called “comfort zone.” It seems so natural to say that your hometown is where your heart is, where you know the street names, streetlights, and places where the cops sit to catch speeders, where your old high school friends acquaintances return to settle down with families & careers. I remember an incident in my freshman year, during a history class. Some students were having a discussion about moving away and how they couldn’t wait to get away from that small, crappy, boring town. A guy suddenly spoke up louder than the rest: “Why wouldn’t you want to stay? You know where everything is….” etc. etc. I remember my internal reaction to this statement being, “He doesn’t get it.” Even though at that point in my life I had no confidence in myself and was pretty convinced I wouldn’t want to move anywhere else because of my fear of the unknown. But that’s what my gut told me.

While I only have a short three weeks between my “old” life and the life I’m living right now, I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that I’ve changed, grown into a different person.  I can’t imagine going back to living the way I was in Iowa. By that I think I mean living under the expectations [real or perceived only by myself & yes that is a trick statement], the pressure [again, same], the questioning [not necessarily bad, but irritating after a while], the drama [mostly family stuff]. It might sound cliche to say that I needed to get away from my hometown because it held (holds?) too much ‘bad’ history for me, personally. Or maybe saying that I felt stifled there, among everybody and everything, is a better way to put it. I don’t know. All I know and am slowly starting to understand is that being away from home, away from anything and everything I know, has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel more free to be myself and listen to my own wants, needs, & gut instincts without worrying about what others think, what my parents would expect, what I *should* be doing.

So. Here are some things I’ve learned, realized, been struck stupid by, since moving away from home:

  • You really can get another sandwich [or stuffed kong] out of a supposedly empty peanut butter jar (sorry for all the times I discarded the “empty” PB jar, Dad!)
  • I really don’t need/care to have a t.v. This might seem obvious to those who knew me well but I figured that I’d be some what put off by not having a t.v. around, just because there has always been one around… yes, faulty logic, but still.
  • I’m more independent than I thought. By that I mean independent is something I am. I think it was covered and hidden by all my insecurities and fears throughout the years. I never really believed in myself or had confidence in my abilities, always relying on someone else to back me up or take the lead. But now that I’ve grown and realized that “It’s all in what you believe” I have had a mass adjustment to my thinking (perhaps this might show that a bit). That could be an entire blog post in itself – including the subheading of “No one is coming/No one cares.”
  • One person generates more dishes than I thought. I have been trying to keep up with making homemade dinners (versus just frozen entrees, mac n cheese, etc.) so that adds to it.
  • Jayde has shown – so far – the marks of an exemplary apartment dog. She’s adjusted better than I had ever hoped!
  • My learning of street names & locations of certain destinations has proceeded much faster than I thought it would I can make it to work and back without using my GPS. I know what (most) streets turn into what (most) other streets. I know the rough layout of both main streets on both ‘sides’ of town. Next thing on my list is learning the relations between various streets, where they intersect, etc. so I can find the best/fastest routes to get where I’m going.
  • I have trust issues. I knew at home that I didn’t trust many people and mostly kept to myself and my family and friends. But perhaps it’s because I’m in a new city surrounded by exactly zero people I know that it has shown its true colors. I’m not just distrustful of people; I’m almost downright defensive. I’m very cautious and I always watch my back when I’m out with Jayde  (both in daylight and at night). For some reason, I’m very suspicious of people. For instance: “Why is that guy looking at me? He said hi?! What’s he saying hi for? He’s got to have an ulterior motive….” Perhaps I sound a bit paranoid, but I don’t feel paranoid, or feel as if anybody is “out to get me.” I’m just very suspicious and pretty much keep to myself.

That’s all I have for that list for now. Perhaps I’ll add more later. Anyway I have a paper that has to be done and some readings to get started on. Hopefully next time I’ll have pictures for y’all. 🙂

Peace&Pawprints

Now taking donations of winning lottery tickets

At this very moment I am sitting on my couch in my living room (it feels so nice to say that!) with a bottle of h2o beside me and a good book. My stomach is full of the (failed) fried chicken, green beans, and sweet potato fries I made for dinner tonight. My sweatpants are cozy and comfortable. Behind me an incoming storm blows ominous breaths through my window, creating a melody of Mother Nature’s mood & manmade window blinds. A flash flood warning just beeped on my phone. Good thing I have nowhere to be the rest of tonight or tomorrow except my cozy apartment (I guess I *should* go to the bank tomorrow but…. we’ll see :P)

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I finally went [back] to work yesterday. The restaurant that is my home yet is so unfamiliar to me right now. The job duties were fine; I could reel off the menu items, procedures, sidework and whathaveyou without blinking an eye. My new co-workers, on the other hand, will take a while to get used to. Right now I do not associate them with the restaurant that is so familiar. I kept looking for all my old employees, as if I was back home. This restaurant is much busier than my old one though and I can tell that I have some learning to do about endurance. Same goes for Jayde while I am working later hours.

I absolutely love coming home to Jayde. She usually greets me with a yawn & stretch followed by a body wiggle and circle tail wags. She rubs against me like a cat, back and forth, and happily leaps into my arms if I invite her up. Her bright eyes stare up at me, waiting for me to feed her, take her out, pick up a toy, grab the leash. She holds no resentment for being in her kennel for such a long period of time. How many humans can you say that about? 🙂

Today I woke up to Jayde’s very faint whine. According to her, I had slept in much too long. It was 8am, which is around the normal time we’ve been getting out of bed since we moved (2 whole weeks already! wow!). After feeding her breakfast and getting dressed, we went outside for the morning potty break (Jayde’s, not mine ;P). I brought her chuck-it and my book, in case she wanted to play. The morning was absolutely gorgeous and we both enjoyed soaking up the cool morning air.

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After we came back in, I started two loads of laundry then set to work cleaning. Someone once told me that when I got my own place I would take pride in keeping it clean and smelling good. This said person also told me that cleaning would help me relax. Now, while I do take pride in keeping my apartment clean, I can’t find the enjoyment in cleaning. I wish it would do itself. But it is satisfying knowing that once I sweep up all the hair, dirt, sand, and unknown particles in my kitchen it is no longer there. Same goes for vacuuming. One dog sure does drag in a ton of sand and dirt. Seeing the vacuum full of all the dirty stuff amazes me that it came out of my carpet in a week. Too bad the scrubbing part doesn’t have a satisfying after effect. xD

I finished one book today, and started another. Then Jayde and I went for a walk. With the squirrels we encountered, it was an adventure in itself! One squirrel got up the tree all right, then promptly lost it’s footing and nearly fell on my head. Another squirrel (a black one, something I’d never seen before) boldly came down the tree while we were eight feet away and took off for another tree. Jayde was rarin’ to go. She stalks the trees before we get within a hundred feet of them, just in case there is a squirrel hiding in the upraised roots.

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Later in the afternoon we walked to the office to get our mail. It’s always exciting to get letters and packages. I was excited when my modem came. And my blank checks came today. Anything from the UPS man is exciting I think. xD That being said, you can guess my excitement at seeing a bubble-wrapped package from Amberness in my mail box! What was inside was a plethora of goodies. The fruit snacks, the much needed chocolate bars (eeeeee!), the gum, and the Target bag made me smile. But it was the letter and the gift card that brought tears to my eyes. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a good friend but today I feel blessed beyond measure. ❤ With her gift I was able to stock up on the necessities of milk, bread, and peanut butter, something I was holding off on doing until I was sure of my incoming money flow. So thank you, Amber, for brightening my day and helping me breath a little easier. 🙂

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I am soaking up the free time I have with Jayde and with my books right now. I’m not sure how much free time I’ll have once class starts and I start working more hours. Jayde and I also visited an agility class which we hope to become involved in once I get the extra money. The people I’ve met so far have been so nice and their methods are exactly what I use, so I am extremely excited about that. I have the urge to get knowledge, share opinions, have long talks about dogs and training and puppies with likeminded folk. I want to meet more people, more dogs.

All in good time, right? All in good time. 🙂

Peace&Pawprints

Hallelulah I’m connected to the outside world again!

Jayde and I are settling in nicely to our new apartment. Together we’ve been exploring the city just a little bit. Compared to my hometown, this city is huge so it’s going to take a while to get used to the difference in traffic and number of people. We’ve found some awesome hiking trails and picnic spots, as well as a particularly popular tourist spot that every.single.person. mentioned to me before I moved.

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While we haven’t quite settled into a set daily routine yet (I’m sure that’ll happen once class starts and once I’m settled into my work schedule), we do manage to go for at least one walk a day, as well as fit in at least one chuck-it session a day, and we’ve been working on lots of tricks, old and new. We’ve found a few training clubs that I’m hoping to join once I get some money flow going. Classes for agility, at the very least, for Jayde’s mental stimulation and interaction time with fellow dog lovers, and perhaps a canine freestyle class. I also found a couple groups on meetup.com that consist of dog owners and lovers  in my area who meet every week or every once in a while for a walk or a dinner or some other get-together. Our first encounter with one will be this Sunday, and I am very excited to see how it goes. 🙂 And of course, we I found a vet that I believe is satisfactory. ;P

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Jayde at vet

I am excited to begin working/making money (always a stress point, unfortunately) so that I can do a few things:

  • Begin saving
  • Explore the coffee shops, cafes, shops, & restaurants that appear to be endless in this city
  • Settle into a routine and schedule
  • Get enrolled in an agility (& maybe a canine freestyle) class with Jayde
  • Get photos printed & buy frames to hang them in
  • Get the last few necessities that I need for my apartment (like a floor fan)

Another thing to look forward to is class, which begins next Monday. I have a virtual orientation on Thursday to attend. It is exciting because it is something I am looking forward to studying, yet it is nerve wracking as I take on the demands of class once again. Wish me luck! 🙂

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I will admit, I am writing this through a bout of insomnia that has hit me the past couple of nights. Tonight This morning I woke up at 4:30 and could not get to sleep. So I pulled out my computer. Perhaps getting all of this out will help. I have been meaning to blog since Monday but couldn’t get the right words to flow. From here on out, I’d like to post about mine and Jayde’s adventures and explorations at least twice a week. It is going to take a change in perspective as well as a change in the silly expectations I hold for myself of this blog, i.e. in-depth, thought provoking, or otherwise interesting and exciting posts. I’ve been finding that simple posts by fellow bloggers have sometimes been the most enjoyable. And of course I need to adjust my perspective and realize that my life can be exciting if I look at it with the right attitude. 😉

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Peace&Pawprints

 

The Next Big Adventure!

This will probably be the only post you’ll see from me for at least a week. I am getting Internet in my apartment on the 19th.

The past few days have been long, stressful, and tiring!

On Wednesday morning my uncle and my dad brought the u-haul trailer and we loaded ‘er up with a couch, mattresses, a box spring, and lots & lots of boxes, with a few lamps and odd baskets thrown on top. And a broom. That afternoon I went with Ashley to our good ‘ol Starbucks, the place that had been our second home the entire school year and summer. We gave homemade cookies to the baristas that had become like friends and had our last specialty drinks.

At the buttcrack of dawn on Thursday, we loaded up the last few things, I got Jayde settled into her kennel seat, said my extended ‘see ya later’s, and hit the road. The worst part was saying bye to Ashley, and then to Parker. Gosh I’m going to miss that little man so much. 😦 At least I can Facetime and text Ashley though. (She’s off to Nebraska to study forensic science, something she’s very passionate about. So as much as I’m going to miss her, I’m so happy she gets to go to the school of her choice and study what she loves.)

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The ride was riddled with gas and bathroom breaks. We drove straight through Nebraska (I didn’t realize mountain time began in Nebraska!) and then hit Colorado. Okay. When I think of Colorado, I think of mountains (as I’m sure lots of people do, right?). Lots of big, rocky, jagged peaks poking holes through the clouds with earthly tones of red, browns, & greens breaking the blue monotonous sky. Well, my uncle led the way and he took his old trucking route that he knew best. Let’s just say the edges of Colorado make Nebraska & Iowa seem anything BUT flat. We didn’t see mountains until we were actually in the Springs!

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Jayde was absolutely phenomenal the entire way. She slept peacefully in her kennel, got out for all the bathroom breaks and did her thing, then went back to sleeping during the ride. When we finally got there, we found out we couldn’t move in until the next day, Friday. So we spent about an hour and a half searching the town for a restaurant and a motel that would accept dogs. To say it was frustrating after a 9 hour drive is an understatement. We were all tired and worn out from the drive and just wanted to fill our bellies and go to sleep. It’s a huge, busy town with confusing streets (at least to me). When we finally did those things, I did not sleep well at all. Not sure if it was the bed or the whole ordeal (probably both) but I woke up feeling like I had fallen off a mountain in my sleep.

After breakfast – we got up early and our appointment was at 10am but we were ready to go by 9am – Mom and I went to find coffee while Dad and my Uncle Bob went back to the apartment to see if they could start unloading. Mom and I trailed in not long after and went straight to the office to check in and sign the lease. Holy moly I felt like I was signing my life away – which I guess I kind of was. 😛

A nice neighbor helped us take the couch and mattresses up the stairs (well, one went up over the balcony instead of up the stairs :P) and we started getting everything set in place. Boxes upon boxes piled up in my new bedroom. The coffeemaker got settled in its spot on my counter beside the sink in the kitchen. Jayde’s kennel is my end table in the living room. 🙂

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After everything was unloaded and pretty much settled, the u-haul trailer was returned to the company and Uncle Bob & Dad brought lunch back. Uncle Bob left soon after. He’s one of the best men I know and was such a big help on this trip. He towed the trailer and helped pack and unpack. I am so blessed to call him my uncle. ❤

Mom and Dad helped me get everything organized, then we found a bank and got my checking account set up. After that we went shopping for necessities and groceries. (Mom basically led me to have green accents in my apartment, of which I happily complied. xD) They were such a big help and bought everything for me to get me started off right. When I saw that they wouldn’t let me pay for anything, I was so touched. They are so good to me and I’m so thankful to have such wonderful people as my parents.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I was Friday night. I had stress cramps and didn’t feel good. Honestly, I was dreading Mom and Dad leaving the next day, because then I would be truly alone. I gave them my bed and I slept on the couch.

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Saturday morning we woke up bright and early. The three of us explored town a little bit and found a dog event, which turned out to be an annual event held by the All Breed Rescue & Training group of Colorado Springs. We looked around there for a bit, I signed up for a couple contests with Jayde that were later in the day (with the mindset that that would distract me from being alone), and then we had lunch. After getting back to the apartment, Mom & Dad left. I tried my best not to bawl my eyes out and chase the van down the street. In other words, I tried not to let my fears get the best of me – and I succeeded.

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All my friends and family have been such good support yesterday and today (Sunday). I appreciate every single call and text. ❤ Amberness lifted my spirits by proclaiming that I was now independent and could do whatever I want so why not order pizza and sit in my apartment naked?! While I didn’t take that offer, I do appreciate her wonderful reminder that this is a new beginning of independence that I need to embrace.

And of course, Jayde has been an absolute angel. She’s enjoying the dog park, and is learning the layout of her new apartment and grounds. She’s so well-behaved and has been so calm, taking everything in stride. Even more so than I realized, she is my rock.

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We found a couple awesome public parks to visit and explore. One is the Bear Creek Dog Park and it is the biggest, most beautiful dog park I’ve ever seen. There are so many trails for humans and dogs. Underbrush trails for the dogs to explore, a creek for the dogs to splash around in, some uphill trails to give legs a work out. And it is HUGE.

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I am slowly learning the layout of the town. The streets are much more confusing than my small hometown and the traffic is much busier. With the help of my GPS and my iPhone, I’ve only managed to get lost twice, and that was mostly on purpose because I was exploring some streets. They seem to just randomly change into different streets without notice.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of stories and photos to share later. I need to edit the two sessions I did before I left Sioux City, also. I have lots of good books to read. Before we left, Ashley gave me the Manson book she won from Goodreads. I’m going to read it asap and get it back to her so she can read it. 🙂 Because I have my own apartment now, I have:

  • my own bathroom (no more crowded dresser!)
  • no TV (stupid thing, anyway. I only want to get one to watch movies on.)
  • peace and quiet whenever I feel like it! (reading time!)
  • loud music whenever I feel like it! (with respect to my neighbors of course :P)

I’m trying to stay positive and to look at what I do have. But it is so hard to look at pictures of Parker, Mandy, Buddy, & Secret, and my niece, and my sister, and my parents, and Ashley & Amber, and know that I can’t see them any time I want. 😦 However I know that if I brood on that, I’ll never figure out this whole thing called “independence.” And that is the ultimate goal. ❤

Peace&Pawprints

Just this little thing called reality

A new adventure. A new state, a new city, new people, new dogs, new sights, new sounds, new backdrops, new experiences, new trails, new parks, new roads, new houses, new independence, new responsibility. New everything.

Tonight was the last night of work at the place I’ve worked at for the past 5yrs. To say the emotions were almost overwhelming is an understatement. I’ve been with that restaurant since the very beginning: 8 managers, 3 managing partners, 4 or 5 kitchen managers, and dozens of co-workers; the ups and downs; every change & adjustment; and all the best times & the worst times of my life. It was my first job, and an extremely positive one at that. Honestly, I never considered it a job because I loved it so much. That place – the building, the knowledge that came with the job, and the company itself – holds more memories than I could ever count. So when I walked out the doors for the last time, I felt the finality of it. The end.

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That’s what my life has been like the past week or so. Moments of sudden finality. Realizing the moments of “end.” Not all have been pleasant (although some definitely have). Most of these moments I’ve balked at with my innate fear of change, but then have quietly resolved myself for what’s to come, as a necessity. I believe my last shift tonight at work was one of the biggest so far, the biggest end, the biggest door to a new beginning. New.

~~~~~~~~

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On the same point, I am thankful that I have these reminders of reality. More and more I’ve been looking at Jayde and wondering how she’s going to adjust. Not necessarily because I am worried that she *won’t* adjust but more so because she has no warning of what’s to come. In a little less than a week her world is going to be flipped upside down and she’s not going to understand why Mandy & Buddy & Secret are no longer there every day. She’s not going to understand why she has the new house our new apartment all to herself for extended periods of time. Her entire life she’s lived in a family, with people walking in and out (at all hours, at that) of the house, other dogs always around her, a doggy door that gave her freedom to go outside or inside whenever she chose.

And put in that perspective, the changes I am going through and will go through are minimal compared to her’s. At least I have time to mentally prepare myself.

Peace & Pawprints

My Reading List!… so far :]

With this blog being [hopefully] more focused on certain topics [read: dogs: Jayde, particularly] I have been searching WordPress for dog blogs. Photos are a plus, but I look for blogs that talk about dog training, dog behavior, the dog-human bond, and daily stories & lessons learned from our four-legged friends. So far I’ve come up with quite a list that I have greatly enjoyed reading. I’m still trying to decide whether I want to make a blogroll list on the side or make a page dedicated to other blogs. Decisions, decisions. 🙂

Happy Reading!

Denise Fenzi – A blog that leans more toward technical dog training but still provides easy reading for those not so interested in dog competitions. Has some very informative articles on dog behavior, training, socialization, etc.

Wilde About Dogs – Very informative blog on dog behavior and training.

MyMegaeDog – This blog has lots of fun stories & informative lessons from dogs.

The Unexamined Dog – Lots of fun photos and interesting stories from a life with dogs.

Responsible Dog – It’s All About Dogs! – Lots of good articles on responsible dog ownership & dog training.

Peace, Love, & Fostering – A blog with lots of beautiful photos and great stories about fostering & dog training.

No Dog About It Blog – Photos & stories about dogs.

The Doggerel – An awesome blog documenting the adventures of a young couple with their first dog. Training, thoughts, & lessons learned.

Love & a Six-Foot Leash – Beautiful photos and wonderful dog stories.

Tesla’s Training – A blog documenting one dog’s lessons of new tricks, often accompanied by videos and photos. Very fun to watch & read along with the lessons!

My Positive Dog Training Blog – Lessons & information on positive training methods.

German Shepherd Adventures – Stories of German shepherds. Love. 🙂

Eileen and Dogs – Information and stories on positive training methods with some photos thrown in.

Foster and Photograph – A young lady’s adventures with her border collie and all her foster dogs, accompanied with some beautiful photos.

If you have any recommended blogs, please share! I love reading anything and everything related to dogs. 🙂

Peace & Pawprints.

Meet my co-star

As I mentioned in my first post on this blog, one of my goals is to make this blog more of a dog blog. Particularly with the adventure I will be embarking on within the next month with my girl, Jayde, blogging will be a perfect way to document lessons, things we do, and of course lots of photos. So my theme for this blog (if you can’t tell by looking through my categories) is ‘dog.’ 🙂

Here’s an introduction to the co-star of this blog, Jayde the German shepherd. 🙂

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Full name: NoraJayde von Holtgrew (aka Heather’s Dare To Dream)

Nicknames: Jayders, Jayder Jues, Juicer, Big Ears, Radar, Gremlin

Breed: German Shepherd Dog

Sex: Female

Birthday: March 13th, 2007

Favorite toy: the Kong

Favorite activities: chasing squirrels, squirrel-watching, playing Kong, playing chuck-it, learning new tricks

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I’d always dreamed about getting a German shepherd. After having poodles as family dogs (Ebonie, Andre, & Frenswa), three rescue mutts (Maggie, Mandy & Buddy), and an Australian shepherd (Violet), I got Jayde from a breeder in a small town about a half hour’s drive from my house when I was 16yo. She was originally going to be my juniors/confirmation/show dog, but I quickly fell out of that world (thank god). We then moved onto agility, which was much more up our alley. Along the way she gained some titles, learned lots of tricks, and taught me many things about life. She is still teaching me something new every day.

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The name ‘Jayde’ came from jaden, which supposedly means ‘purple’ (or so I was told). When Jayde was born, to tell her apart from the others, her breeder put a purple band around her neck. She was known as the ‘purple girl’ before they settled on the name Nora. Instead of calling her Jaiden or Jaden (because there was no way I was name my dog Nora), I shortened it to one syllable and added a ‘y’ for some character. It wasn’t until later that I realized jade means green. xD But oh well. Jayde stuck and I love it. 🙂

So from now on, any post specifically related to dogs (Jayde or other) will be placed under the category Pawprints. General stories (dog or otherwise) will be under the category Daily Tails.

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Peace & Pawprints.