Saturday, July 25, 2009

Here's some pictures of new dog in our life, Dori.

The other morning I came down after my shower and wondered if they were ready to go for our morning walk. They were laying identically, on the right. Of course, as soon as Maggie saw me with the camera, she spoils the shot, but you can see, they were laying on their left sides the same.

Then, later after we got home, I see the same thing but opposite. I just thought it was funny.

Today, just after noon, we took the girls to the park. We go to visit this park everyday. It was better lighting that we usually have so I brought the camera. I think we got some good shots.

Dori loves this park. Here she is with Dad holding her leash. Maggie's in front of them, just behind Dad in this shot so you can't see her.
She seems to be saying, 'Hurry up, Mom. What's taking you so long?'

Daintily raised paw. Hmmm, someone must have been here recently. Maybe me!

This is the two of them together. Even when they met at the shelter, they seemed very comfortable together just like this. (I think Maggie's butt is getting smaller . . . .)

OK, Mom has the leash now. Oh, this place smells so good. It's nice to be in the sun for a moment!

Dori and Maggie walking the Dad, together.

Maggie tends to be very independent. That is her leash trailing behind her. Dori seems content with Dad beside her, even though still unsure. Notice the tail is not tucked by not raised yet. Also, the ears are still laying down.

Finally, a great shot of Dori. This makes me very happy, to think she is smiling, ears half raised. She seems to say, 'I am doing my favorite thing in my favorite place!'

Friday, July 24, 2009

On Being Diabetic

First of all, I would like to say what I understand diabetes to be. For the majority of people with diabetes, an organ has ceased to perform it's function. Usually, it's the pancreas. What occurs is that foods that are typically high in carbs like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes are improperly processed and become sugar in the blood. With a type II diabetic, a lifetime of eating poorly and/obesity can lead to diabetes. There is a type I diabetic which is also known as juvenile diabetes, prevalent in children. Diabetes is also thought to be hereditary. Actually, I knew that white bread turned to sugar in the stomach long before I knew much about diabetes.

I have diabetes, was diagnosed probably the year or so before I turned 40. My mom found out she was diabetic the year before I did. My grandma, my mother's mother, was diabetic and I believe her mother was also. I also ate the stuff that was cheap and would fill my stomach for most of my life, leaving meat or vegetables for others. I have had many jobs, not all of them, that were sedentary. I was hired for my brains (?) more often than my body's ability to perform. Thus, I sit. A lot.

Since childhood, I have had a food aversion to eggs. My mom says this didn't happen till after I realized where eggs come from. Honestly, to me they smell like rot, which is more intense than the thought that they come from chicken butts.

After I had my daughter, I discovered I had a hiatal hernia. This is a hernia at the opening from the espophagus into the stomach. This problem makes it difficult to enjoy dairy projects. No more milk, cheese, ice cream and problems with dishes that included these items, like pizza or breakfast cereal. I do dream about drinking milk occasionally, but, to drink a glass of milk, while it won't trigger an allergic, life-threatening reaction, makes me feel as if I am choking AND about to vomit.

So, with the foods I need to avoid because of diabetes, I can eat vegetables and meat.

However, diabetes affects more than just what you can eat. All that sugar in the blood causes issues with circulation and makes other organs shut down. It affects eyesight. I can tell that my blood sugar is elevated because it makes my vision blurry. If it's elevated for a while, the vision problems can cause headaches. Not as severe as a migrane, thankfully, but fatiguing, and the patience goes much faster than I find acceptable.

Diabetes affects everything I have to do. I have to be extremely careful when trimming my toenails, because sores tend to take longer to heal. As the diabetes gets worse, they won't heal, until gangrene develops and the toe has to be removed. Or the foot. I actually am in fear of any sores on my feet or lower part of my legs ~ shaving my legs has become delicate sugery. Actually, I'm in fear of any sores I can't see.

I have two dogs, now. But I forget that I'm allergic to them. When they touch me on my legs, the inside of my arms, or my neck if I'm cuddling them, I will develop hives. I have as much hydro-cortisone as I do body lotion, and that I have to be religious about using.

I sleep with my feet off the end of my bed now, because I can't stand stuff touching my feet. I have to wear very loose, old worn-out or hand knitted socks to bed; how sexy! I have taken to wearing men's shoes as they are made looser in the toes, causing fewer issues with crimped up socks or toes. I love having pedicures but have become particular about who touches them. Many of those people who give pedicure have a very gentle touch which drives me crazy. I fear that I will kick one of those caring people someday. My fingernails are so paper then, that they are razor sharp, and developing an itch can create sores, too, even in my sleep, that don't heal and leave scars that never fade.

Eating out has become a pain in the behind. Tonight, we went out to dinner. It wasn't bad enough that I had to create my own meal from the menu, but the food when I got it was so badly cooked, I couldn't eat anything but the overcooked chicken.

The thing that has saved me is walking. Walking, or any excercise I suppose, lowers the blood sugar. This is especially true in my case. My dear husband has had a back injury and really didn't want me to leave the house without him. When my blood gluclose monitor started registering closer and closer to 300 points, he finally relented into letting me walk with a neighbor. That was in early May. It's now below 200, but that's not where I want it. I used to be able to maintain 97, so, I have a long way to go to get back there.

My concern when I hear people are diabetic is when I hear they don't have health insurance. I was that way for many years also. I have health insurance now, but, unfortunately, it does not cover diabetic testing supplies. I feel relief in that if anything catastrophic happens, I have some insurance. I don't have a doctor, and haven't seen one for years, except for my chiropractor. He helps me too, I believe.

I was given a meter about a year and a half ago and it came with two vials of strips. If I was seeing a doctor, he would want me to check my blood sugar three times a day. That amount of test strips for my meter would run about $100 a month. I can't afford that, without the help of insurance. I made those two vials of strips last more than eighteen months. I didn't want to give up that meter because I see that it is considered the most accurate meter on the market, but when the strips were gone, I had to switch to another meter. I started using it this week. I hate it. The strips come individually wrapped. By the time I got the strip out of it's precious packaging, I was so frustrated I was sure that my blood sugar was probably airborne. In fact compared with the next days result, the difference was about thirty points.

A couple of nights ago, we were walking in the park with the dogs. There was one particularly beautiful scene where the evening sun was coming through the trees, so beautifully highlighting the branches that are covered in moss, the dust in the air. I thought, this is the scene I want to remember this when I've lost my toes and feet and lower legs and knees, and I started to cry as I told this to my husband. It was so beautiful and I don't want to forget what I have to lose. I love that I have the dogs to walk, it's good for them and it's good for me to keep moving.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This day

OK, it's Monday.

I wanted to get everything done that I should get done everyday but still somehow manage to miss things.

I should be getting the dogs walked and the plants watered, fill the bird bath, take my vitamins, and eat breakfast, do the laundry a couple days a week, run the dishwasher once a day, open the office, check the mail, answer the phones, process the payments, AND THEN, get on the computer, checking my e-mail, our e-mail, myspace, facebook, twitter, ravelry, goodreads and then start working on lunch for my Superman all by noon. You would be surprised at how often I miss stuff in this list.

Today, I was looking forward to getting this stuff done and sat down at my desk to knit and finish Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's 'Yarn Harlot'. I was so looking forward to that, but it was not to be. Dori had nightmares again last night.

Keep in mind, when this sweetheart is awake, she doesn't make any noise. I have yet to hear her growl, whine or bark when she is conscious. A couple of times, I've heard her growl or bark (as if she were a different breed of dog like a mastif, very low and old sounding) in her sleep, usually for a couple of minutes and whatever was happening in that dream is done and she sleeps soundly again. Last night, several times and for quite some time, she barked at something. Superman never heard her because he sleeps so little, he was up and back down on his recliner by one am.

I would gently try to rouse Maggie if she were doing this in her sleep, but Dori is so insecure that waking her seems cruel. Can you imagine waking to my touching her or leaning in close and calling her when she barely lets me touch her otherwise, how that would terrorise her further? I just laid there and try to imagine where she walks in her subconscious. Does she still imagine the fight for survival she was rescued from, defending herself from the other 200 dogs she had to deal with for food and water? When she wakes up and finds she's here, does she feel relief?

So, this afternoon, I tried to catnap before going to the library for the knitting group. I wondered if anybody would be there, and then thought, yeah, knitting in the air conditioned library sounds like taking a dip in a cool body of water.

The office was busy today. We leased four units today. Two of these, my dear husband tried to lease while I was asleep. He was OK until the second one. First of all, I hadn't vacated that in the computer yet, so he was having a difficult time getting the tenants info all input. Then, I realized this is the ex-spouse to a current tenant. A tenant who has been faithful and easy to take care of. An uncomplicated tenant who I knew was separating from the spouse and was having a hard time of it. The ex didn't say anything about having been a previous tenant to my husband. That fact feels deceitful to me. When I realized what happened and told him, I asked if he thought we should call my good tenant and warn them that the ex leased a unit, perhaps a new lock on the unit may be a good thing. Of course, I realized, they may have thought it would be easy to divide everything if the ex leased here too, and so, my calling may have just confirmed that all was OK. My husband thinks we had no choice to rent to the ex, which is not true, we can refuse to lease to anyone for any reason, and that we have no responsibilities. I can't call my supervisor to see what she thinks, and the co-worker who trained me couldn't answer either, as we are prevented from giving any unauthorized information about tenants to others.

All of that left my blood sugar soaring. So, off to the library knitting group I went. I was an hour late, I considered not going, then realized it's going to be almost two weeks before the next group (oh, that sounds so long) and went anyway. There were just four of us that showed, disappointing when compared with the dozen knitters who were there last week, but four of my favorites. This is the project I took, since it was at my desk, all basketed up and ready to fly. I immediately worked through the yarn I had and got to sit there chatting. Which happened to two of the other ladies as well. Monday is just an off day, I think.

I realized, almost mid-sentence, while we were chatting that I was late getting back to close the office. I was telling them about a video I downloaded last night of me taking my dog for a run around the complex, and how it wasn't till I saw it that I realized how big my butt was. I was going to post it here but, but I can't make it work. I think I lost my motivation, anyway, sorry.

I guess, I'll go put on some jammies and wait for "The Closer" to air so I can go to bed. What a day! I hope your's was better than mine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update on Dori

Got this note in our e-mail this morning.

"I just wanted to check in to see if everything was going okay with all of you and Dori. I fell in love with her while she was here and saw her slowly grow into a very happy girl. One thing I wanted to reiterate is how crucial it is to never let her off leash outside. We just heard that one of Dori's buddies from the same rescue got away from his owner this past Saturday, while on a walk, and is still missing after three days. He got scared when someone jogged passed them and bolted. Dori is a very special little girl and we are all so happy that she has found a wonderful home with you all. If you ever have any questions or need anything, feel free to call. ~ Jennifer"

I'm going to answer her, but have to think of a way to say, well, we've removed the second leash we were using to walk her, just in case she bolted.

I have done more research on the reports online that I can find. There was a rescue from a property that had about 200 dogs. There was some speculation from neighbors that this person had property at least twice before and raised dogs to sell in less than humane conditions and had sought out this particular area as it was known for laxer legalities in animal treatment. They had to compete for food and water. I think that the owner was a man, because Dori seems more skittish with men than women.

I think also, that the dogs probably slept in dog piles for warmth and companionship, because she does try to lay near Maggie in the truck when we go to the park. They have separate kennels so they don't sleep together and I wonder if Dori would sleep better if she were nearer Maggie. Maggie is not used to sleeping near anybody, not sure how accepting she would be.

Dori doesn't eat what we give her right away. She waits until she thinks we are not watching her. Last night, while we were eating our dinner and Maggie, who has taken to eating her dog food when we are eating, was at her bowl, Dori came out to her bowl and ate a few bites too. So, for half a minute, we were all eating dinner at the same time. She was eating the second day the second day she was here.

I think the shelter folks, being limited with time and resources, were able to get her to walk with them, knowing that whoever adopted her would want a dog they could walk with. She loves going on walks and we have been walking her in the morning before we open the office and then again after dinner. When we want her to come with us, we simply lift our end of the leash and she comes out of her kennel to go of her own power, without having to give the leash even the slightest tug.

We have discussed how the two girls will benefit each other, Maggie will calm Dori's fear of people and Dori will calm Maggie's fear of dogs. Dori is still so extremely shy of us or anyone one else, but she does look us in the eye, and watches our every move. We can offer her a treat and she takes it from our fingertips.

They seem very comfortable walking side by side with me, at my side or between Superman and I. The girls and I walk in the morning with another lady in our neighborhood, Shirleen. She tries to get Dori to allow her to pet her and does seem disappointed that only Maggie will allow her to scratch her itchy places. Dori is satisfied with a touch of her nose to the back of Shirleen's hand. Erin brought her husband Nick by yesterday. Erin and Shirleen are in my knitting group, and I had been talking about my new dog at the last meeting. Erin was hoping to see Dori, but that was all she got to do. Dori came out when I picked up her leash, saw strangers and went back to her kennel. Maggie, on the other hand, was all for saying 'hello'.

We have yet to hear Dori's voice. She does not whine or bark. Last night, after Superman fell asleep, I listened to Dori growl in her dreams. I very nearly woke him up to hear it. It was so soft, though, I'm not sure he would have heard much of her.

Dori doesn't get on the furniture, I wonder if she's ever been on any furniture, at the shelter they had a bench like a park bench. She waits when the patio door is open for us to go through first. She gets behind me if we come across people on our walks, especially bikes, then goes back to our side or slightly ahead once we've passed them. She often looks over our shoulder to see what or where we're at. If we touch her, she won't look at us while we do so. I lift her to get in the truck and try to scratch under her head and behind the ears. She seems to take is for what it is, she doesn't recoil or snap at me for touching her, but she is happier when she's set down.

I think the thing the makes me happy for her right at the moment is when we are through the door, her ears are up, not completely, and the tail is up, and the last couple days, wagging. When Dori and Maggie are side by side on our walks is a very happy sight as well, but that wagging tail is, oh, so, sweet.

UPDATE, UPDATE!!!! ~ This evening we came out of the house to get in the truck to go to the park, Maggie jumps into the truck then I pick up Dori. In the moment I have her in my arms, I'm thinking I'm going to get a little lovin' in, so I start cooing at her softly and scratching under her chin and she loves it! I can feel her tail wagging against my rib. Dad gets to love her a bit, too, before I put her in the truck. When we get to the park, we open the door and Maggie jumps out, I pick up the end of the leash for Dori and she comes from the backseat and into the passenger seat and hops out on her own, too! We walked really slow, because it's hot and Dad's overdone it today, and she walked right next to me the whole time! When we got back to the truck, she walked up to the truck and hopped in on her own (I'm trying not to think it was to escape me and my need for snuggles) and then out again when we got home. It made my heart very happy!!! (I really overdid the exclamation points on this paragraph, sorry!!!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Upside Down and Growing

Here on the facility, we don't have much room to garden. There isn't a back yard that's just ours, we just have this little patio area for privacy. In front of the office there's a little area we took nasty overgrown sticker bushes out of and put in some rose bushes and an awning that we've hung some baskets on. That's it. The rest of the facility we've just got to keep from overgrowing. That in itself is a lot of work. Blackberry bushes are the jungle that we try to keep at bay here.

So, we like vegetables and had seen the planter advertised everywhere for growing tomatoes upside down. When I looked into it, I saw that it doesn't come with a plant or seedling or even a seed. I was going to have to do some homework and pick out something. To make matters worse, I also see that not only can you grow tomatoes upside down in this overpriced plastic bag but other vegetables like peppers and cucumbers.

I look around on the internet to see if anybody has posted anything about the planters and how they worked out. I found has postings about her gardening including the planters. Then, there were some truly innovative people who made their own upside down planters out of various things like shopping bags and 5-gallon buckets. We liked that idea better so we tried it out.

I picked up a 2-gallon bucket and brought it home. Superman cut a hole in the bottom with a power tool, either a drill or saw and we put the little tomato through. Now, I picked the healthiest plant I could find, when really I should have gotten the smallest because we really butchered the poor thing getting it into the bottom. Also, I picked up a Roma but it turns out someone has mislabeled or switched tags because these look more like an Early Girl. But as you can see it's clearly surviving my lack of green thumb just fine. We lined the bottom of the bucket with coconut husk stuff in the garden department, seems to be used for lining shelf or window boxes but very little dirt has fallen out, perhaps a little dust sediment the first few weeks.

We planted this in early May and now we have some color showing.

We also got two pepper plants, a red and a yellow. We love cooking and eating these because they are sweeter tasting but in the stores here we find they are four and five times the price of green peppers. We wonder what color they will end up being since the tomato is not a Roma.

We were hanging them on the cyclone fence but almost immediately we could see that the fence would not handle the weight for long. We put hooks on the wall on the opposite side of the patio and we were moving them from one to the other as the sun moved so that they would have a full day's exposure. Superman started thinking about a hanger of some kind that could be wheeled around the patio when the plants started getting bigger and we could lift them anymore. He put this together.

He used 2 x 6's (I think, it may have been 2 x 8's) and put swivel wheels underneath that supported 300 lbs each.

So, far we seem to be successful. I worried at one point that bees wouldn't be able to find the blossoms and polinate the plants but they apparently did, the tomato has about a dozen fruits on it and the peppers both have 6 or 8 on them each. We wheel it around slowly on a daily basis and have good stretching to water it in the morning, once a week we put a weed and feed on them.

We feel proud of our unique container garden.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Welcome Dori

I have a dog.

There was a dog in my house before and I know she respects me, gets excited about whatever I'm doing and all that. Maggie is clearly her Daddy's girl.

Maggie is a Rat Terrier, about 7 1/2 years old now. She spends most of her days in a kennel and sleeps at night in our room, usually on the LoveSac we got her Daddy last year when his back was so bad ~ she thinks it's her giant dog bed and, OH, so comfy. She has a schedule, too. She sleeps till I get up in the morning, between 6:30 and 7, comes downstairs and Daddy takes her outside the front door. When I come down, about 7:30, I feed her a little breakfast, a heaping teaspoon of moist dog food on a paper plate, then we go for a walk, a little over than an hour. She gets a treat, then sleeps most of the day, except to great various customers in the office, a few are especially favorite, occasionally a visit with the FedEx guy who brings her treats. At 4 o'clock, Maggie reminds us she gets a turkey dog. After the office is closed at 5, she sometimes goes with Daddy to the bank to make the deposit or stays home to watch me putter around and make dinner. After dinner at about 6 when go for a walk around the facility, then back in for more naptime, until the last trip outside then to bed for the night.

As a dog, it was a quiet existence. She did not run into others of her kind often, so, she really did not have anybody to speak dog to.

We wanted to get her a companion and have looked around for a few months. I have been watching a couple of different shelter websites, Daddy's been looking at but not real actively as there is now a 'rehoming fee' of a few hundred dollars with every dog now. We weren't being picky, did not need a dog for it's breed but more for it's temperment. It couldn't be a puppy, but not an old dog either. Something very similar in size, mature to Maggie.

Back in March, I'd heard about some dogs being rescued and brought to the shelter. I remember that I felt bad hearing about how the dogs were roaming almost wild, no human contact, competing for food, no medical care. I don't know what the circumstances were that the owner had that going on, but I felt bad for the dogs. From what I know of dogs, which I admit is very little, they crave human interaction. They need a human to greet and get food and compliments from, to walk and play with.

I had looked at Dori's profile on the shelter website and showed it to my husband. Her eyes were too sad, he thought, so, I dropped it. I was sure that someone would got to meet her in person would love her and take her home. Sooner or later, because at this particular shelter they don't have a policy of putting animals down that haven't been adopted after a certain time.

Three months later, I'm still seeing her picture on the shelter website.

Last week, I made him look again, suggested my husband think about this dog and what it's been through. Now that she'd been at the shelter for so long, she probably thought of the shelter as her home, what that must be like in her head. I called and talked with one of the people there who probably had walked her only once or twice the whole time she'd been there.

We drove an hour on Tuesday to get to the shelter to actually see her, my husband went in, but, they were so busy he only got to visit her a few minutes. I was out front on the grass with Maggie, we didn't get to meet her at all.

We went back again last night, hoping with the extended hours we would all three get a little time with her. We didn't think we'd get to look her eye to eye, or that the two dogs would instantly roll around on the ground like littermates. The thing that was important to us was how the two dogs saw each other.

They did exactly what they were supposed to do. They touched noses for a brief instant, sniffed behinds (that's how dogs greet each other, by the way) and when we walked the garden path behind the shelter, they walked side-by-side. No hackles, no vocalization of any kind like growling, barking or whinning.

They seemed instantly companionable, not best friends like in the movies. Dori has been in an unstable environment for a long time. Trust is her big issue right now. She doesn't trust Maggie or me. She is wary of my husband, but I think that may be because the owner before the shelter was a man. She and I ran around outside for a few minutes last night. At the gate when we were done running around, she touched me with her nose. When we went to bed, I laid on the floor of the bedroom, extended my hand and kept my head turned away. She touched my palm a couple of times with the tip of her nose. She laid on the floor in the corner all night, but I don't know if she slept because every time I lifted my head her head came up too.

We found a pet crate on craigslist this morning, so my husband went to get it and a collar and leash first thing. While he was gone, the behavior person we didn't meet with last night called to ask questions. She has walked Dori, morning and night since she arrived at the shelter. She's worked with her quite a bit to build trust and when I told her about the touching my palm thing, she said she had just gotten her to that point recently.

It will be a very long time, but we hope that with us she will become a dog, that the two of them together will calm Maggie and give her more activity in her life, someone to walk with and talk to, to look for.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Greetings and Salutations!!!

I'm a little nervous about this but thought I'd give it a try for awhile. I'm not seeing much being posted similar to what I could be writing about. Hopefully, I have to something to say that people want to write about.

I am:

A KNITTER!!! (Lots of blogs about that, no surprise.)

A diabetic. (Also, lots of blogs about that too.)

A Self Storage Facility Manager. (Ok, I've found a few blogs about that, mostly to sell seminars or services or some products. I'm not planning on going there.)

Wife of Superman.

Mom of an Independent Woman, just turned 21

Step-Mom to a Twenty-nearly-Thirty-Something with two kids of her own

A Dog owner.

Which brings me to the exciting new thing that happened today. We, Superman and I, have a dog. Maggie is a rat terrier and I became her 'mommy' when I married her 'daddy' less than two years ago. Never had a dog before. TODAY, we adopted a dog from the local dog shelter. The reasons are wide and various, and I'll go into it some other time, but for now we welcome Dori into our home. She is a Jack Russel Terrier mix with issues, so I hope everybody is thinking good thoughts!