learning

Just Dutch

I began this post a few days ago (the 18th) but didn’t have the energy to put the pictures in. I was more trying to get my thoughts out.

To say today was great would be an understatement.

The weather was beautiful (read: NO RAIN!!!!) and I was having an excellent hair day. I knew that I couldn’t sit around my apartment for another whole day like I had been over the weekend. So despite not wanting to spend money for at least a few more days, I decided to visit a coffee place that I had heard rave reviews about through co-workers and a fellow dog park attendee. Plus, the place in question is having a special: show your student ID and get any coffee for just $1. How cool is that?! So anyway I figured since it was only going to be a dollar I could do that.

So Jayde and I get in the car, I slide my shades on, Jayde sticks her head out the open window, and off we go. Moving car meets red stoplight. At said stoplight (corner of the intersection, really) is a couple who is there pretty much every day. A homeless couple, that is. Today their sign said, “Anything Helps Amen.” Having driven by them many times before, I knew it was only a matter of time before I broke down. While I am suspicious of people, wondering if they’re trying to pull off a scam or other awful thing, the scrawniness of these two and their consistency at the same street corner, and the fact that they are always together… I went to Subway and got a footlong and bottle of water. When I came back around, I had to lean over the passenger seat and get the woman’s attention in order to give her the water and the sandwich. The amount of gratitude in her voice when she saw the bottle of water I was giving her, nearly brought tears to my eyes. I don’t understand how someone gets in the position of being homeless, having to lose dignity and beg from others for food and money, but it is so so sad (the legitimate cases, that is).

The experience shook me. I felt good for having done a good deed. Perhaps that water and sandwich was all they would eat today. But it jolted me, as if the barrier between “oh everything is good and dandy” and the darker side of the world was suddenly taken down a notch. I guess you could say I lost some of my ignorance today concerning the realities of what some people live with and through. There is a big difference between reading about, or seeing videos/documentaries of, homeless people, children with cancer, animal abuse, etc. etc. and actually being there, involved in maybe, or even just seeing with your own eyes, or even better your heart. It’s so easy to views things we see in the media as just another news story or just another statistic. But when you are there, you see the individual or individuals who are affected. It is real, it is raw. It hurts. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

After that experience – still clear as day in my head – I turned on Siri and used Map (tell me you didn’t read that in Dora’s voice xD) as a back-up to get to my destination. I knew the street names and such but I wasn’t sure how far along the streets I was supposed to go. (Yes, I’d be hopelessly lost without modern technology.)

End destination:

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I was tempted to use the walk-up window instead of the drive-thru, but I hadn’t seen anywhere to park and there were quite a few cars. So I waited patiently in line, wondering what I would order. There was no menu to look at while waiting, so I had to wait until I actually got to the window to peruse what they had. I asked the girl (who had immediately awwhh’ed at Jayde and given her a treat – definitely a winner in my book) if my student ID as a grad student would work and she said yes. So I told her since I’d never been there before I wasn’t sure what I wanted yet. I quickly decided on a Caramelizer, iced. She made it right there and I don’t think Jayde ever took her eyes off of what they were doing inside. She was very intrigued, or maybe just wanted another treat. Either way, the girl handed me a large iced coffee drink and said, “Actually the first one is on us. So enjoy!” and she gave Jayde another treat. Um, yes! How awesome is that?! To say I was excited would be the second understatement of the day. And the drink was delicious, just fyi. πŸ‘

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I still didn’t want to go back home right away, so I decided to explore this new section of town I had exposed myself to. I think I learned the layout a tad better, so that’s a start. And I love love love the Spring’s downtown. The buildings, the stores, the shops, the little restaurants and cafes, the statues and other artistic pieces, the rustic look, the majestic feel, the variety of people, the busy-ness of everybody going about their business. While I’m not one for lots of people, today I felt less like a tourist and more like a part of the town. (But I still felt like a tourist snapping photos with my phone every chance I got.) Yes, I actually enjoyed seeing everybody out and about. I didn’t feel crowded or overwhelmed. Perhaps it was because the tidal wave that hit Colorado has now passed and the weather was just gorgeous, so you couldn’t help but be in a good mood and just thankful.

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Peace.

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Agility, Montague’s, & H2O

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The sky tonight.

Boy, do I have a lot to share with you. Lots and lots of photos in particular. Hope you’re ready for it!

Every Wednesday morning, Jayde and I have agility class. We’ve only been going for about three weeks, but we absolutely love it. We’re in the advanced class with two other ladies who have an aussie and a terrier mix. Wonderful people. And if you didn’t already know this, I kinda sorta really have a soft spot for aussies (yes, someday I will own another one!). Indy (male blue merle) is absolutely gorgeous, intense, fast, energetic. Just a blast to watch and I can only imagine what he’d be like to run. (Seriously though, there’s nothing more photogenic than a merle aussie, except perhaps Jayde.) Anyway.

Jayde and I have not done serious agility for quite a while. I’ll be honest, I stopped training at home because the connection was gone when we ran. She didn’t enjoy agility a single bit. And while I adore the sport, I wasn’t going to do it to her if she wasn’t loving it and having fun like I was. But I knew when we moved that I would have to find something to keep us both occupied and maybe to make some new connections with people, and what better way to do that than agility? I went into it with the mindset that we were just going to play, fool around, keep it light, and who cares if she didn’t keep criteria or knocked a bar?

Well, I think it was about two weeks before I actually got enrolled in classes and became a regular. But I could see the change in Jayde the first time we ran a small course together there. She was engaged, she was excited, she wanted more, I could see it in her eyes and her body language. She loved it. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than knowing your partner, your teammate, your dog loves something you do together. It’s a connection that cannot be beat. And that made me love it tenfold. Of course I didn’t immediately assume we were back to our old ways and I could get into serious training. We’re still keeping it a game, if she messes up, I don’t make a big deal out of it like I used to. (If you haven’t ascertained this by now, *I* was the problem in the relationship the entire time – of course).Β Every Wednesday so far she has never become stressed, nervous, or shut down. She keeps her eyes on me the entire time and is so eager to run with me. Like I said, no better feeling. ❀ We’re going to keep playing and maybe I’ll take it more seriously down the road, enter a trial or two, but I’m not ever going to sacrifice my relationship with Jayde again. Love that dog so so much. (I have to add, it’s a shame that dogs bear the brunt of human mistakes and fumbles… but that’s a whole post by itself.)

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~~~

After agility this week, I knew I had to get down to business and work on some homework. So I left Jayde sleeping on the couch, picked another coffee shop off my list, and headed downtown.

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I’m not going to lie. My first impression of this place was “old lady’s house.

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My second impression was, “Holy crap there are a lot of people here!”

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I grabbed a table by the door before going up to order coffee. I couldn’t believe the amount of furniture and people stuffed into such a tiny little area. But somehow, it worked. There were all sorts of baked goodies on the counter. I heard the barista tell another guest that everything was made from scratch “back in the tiny kitchen.” And the menu was very fancy.

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It was a very homey place. Someone appeared to be doing some serious work on her laptop at another window. Another lady walked in with her friend and said, “Oh my, I just might go take a nap on one of those couches!” What looked like a knitting club (or otherwise busy activity) was huddled around a round table at the end of the coffee bar.

I sipped my coffee and set to work with notes on the lecture material, reading other responses on the online discussion forum, and otherwise focused on getting what I needed to do done. Looking back, I think I would’ve liked to visit such a cafe with a more relaxed task instead of something drilling like short answer questions. But, I finished the assignments, packed up my stuff and headed out. This time I took the back door (because I had to park in the back, in an alleyway). And this is what I saw.

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And probably the coolest outside seating ever

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Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Montague’s. It was an interesting atmosphere.

~~~

Later that day, I found a bookstore.

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And perused the downtown just a bit the next day. But it was a tad intimidating so Jayde and I went home. πŸ™‚

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And last but not least, the h2o situation. H2o as in rain. Rain as in flooding. Lots of it. I’m no stranger to storms (and even minor tornadoes) but the amount of flooding going on all around my area is slightly alarming. All I can say is I hope this is as bad as it’s going to get and the rain decides to visit Texas, or Florida, or the Atlantic. Even Alaska. Just go away from here. xP Anyway, please keep Coloradans in your thoughts! ❀

Off to watch a movie withΒ Ashley! Hope everyone has a safe Friday the 13th! (it is only a number after all xD).

Peace & Pawprints

 

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. Β 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 (perhapsΒ thisΒ 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 Β (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. πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

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 AmbernessΒ 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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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 Β 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. πŸ™‚ And of course, we I found a vet that I believe is satisfactory. ;P

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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! πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ˜‰

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Peace&Pawprints