Friday, September 26, 2008

Cruise Time

Well, only 1 more sleep until vacation. I'm going to keep this post short as you can guess I'm getting things done before leaving. Unlike our trip to Hawaii I won't have internet readily accessible. Okay, it will be accessible, but at multiple dollars per minute, that's not worth it. So this is us signing off until we get back....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

North Coast Greyhound Connection

After adopting Spencer we became members of North Coast Greyhound Connection. This has allowed us to meet with other greyhound owners and also participate as advocates for greyhounds. We go to member events and also attend "meet and greets" where prospective adopters can see adoptable dogs. It also allows us to get Spence out of the house, which he loves. Of course the other kids get their time too, but being members of the group has been great in the short time we've joined.

Ever since we joined Traci (friend/member) told me I had to go on a "greyhound haul." I trusted her judgement and put it on my "things to do list." When the first haul came around I jumped on it. So my first experience with a greyhound haul was this past weekend. Basically a greyhound haul is where the dogs are transported from the track to various adoption groups across the United States. Our group works with 2 specific tracks and actual chooses the dogs they receive in hopes of adopting them. We rotate between the tracks. As our "caseload" gets smaller we are added to a haul and the dogs are delivered via bus or hauler. For instance, this weekend the dogs came from Kansas. The first stop was in Toledo, we were the second stop, and they continued all the way to New Jersey. Most often the dogs are delivered in the morning (2am), but that changes. You never know exactly when they'll arrive until you receive the call. Like this weekend, the plan was to arrive at 8:30pm but they did come until 11:30pm.

It was quite exciting. I arrived with Traci super early. The 2 hours passed more quickly than expected. Other individuals arrived and we all just chilled and had conversation. I could feel the anticipation of everyone. When would they arrive? What are they coming in? What kind of shape will they be in? What are their personalities going to be? And mostly for me, what was this going to be all about?

The assigned collars/leashes marked for the new adoptees were given to members and the wait continued. The hauler arrived without much notice but as they drove into the parking lot my excitement grew. I started videotaping and snapping as many pictures as I could. I will be making an adoption video(s) for the group and I thought this was the perfect moment to start my project. Each dog was collared and leashed, walked off the hauler, walked to grass so they could relieve themselves, and then welcomed with open arms and probably the most love they've ever received in their lives. Immediately upon stepping off the hauler you could see the personalities of each of the dogs.

We then loaded them in the Hound Hauler and headed over to a member's home to give all the pups the TLC they deserved. Free water, nail trims, baths, microchips, washed collars and muzzles, and flea preventative. They must have felt like new dogs. In the beginning I was so focused on taking pictures that I had to remind myself to step back and see what was happening. Not only was this being done but it was all done with hugs, kisses, kind words, and gentle hands...just unbelievable. I've found another nitch in my life where I know I belong! These people haven't spent but a moment with each of these dogs but that didn't matter. Each one received equal amounts of love and attention. I could see that these people genuinely cared about what they're doing and especially greyhounds. It's not just another dog. And even at 2am, there were no complaints of being tired and just wanting to get it over with. When we got done everyone went on their merry way.

I didn't get home until 3:30am and my mind was reeling about what I had just witnessed. In my eyes it was awesome. I looked at Spencer, gave him a big hug and kiss. When I said my prayers I made sure to thank God for the volunteers of North Coast Greyhound Connection. Because of their love and determination we now have Spencer as a part of our family. And even more, we now have an extended family in NCGC. We've not only witnessed their generosity toward animals but also toward each other. It's amazing. I'm thankful for that and proud to say that we're members of an awesome group.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Adventures Of Heidi And Mo'

David and I completed our motorcycle licensing examinations. Mostly it was uneventful. I had printed out the manuevers and practiced as much as I could. As for David, well, you know that's just not his thing. He can drive the scooter quite well, but when it comes it the actual testing manuevers....I'll leave that to your imagination. Neither of us had a perfect score but we passed and at this point that's all we wanted.

Before we left the house we had just under 1/2 tank of gas. I said to David we should probably get gas, but more than likely we'll be fine with the amount I have. That's the last we spoke of it. I'm not a person that plays what I call Gassy Gone. I never have less than a 1/4 tank of gas. I'm paranoid about that stuff.
The trip over to Norwalk, the closest testing station which is approx. 20 miles away, sucked to say the least. Our test was at 11am and David had to be to work at 12:30. In order for him to get there on time he drive his truck and I drove the scooter. At a temperature in the low 60's, a speed limit of 55 mph, and the windy wanting to whip my butt across Rt. 250, you can only imagine how uncomfortable I was. I definitely understand why bikers wear leather. Thankfully I had stowed a pair of knit gloves in my hoodie pocket which I quickly put on. That took care of my hands, but the wind whipping around my head was so loud, which made my ears hurt and deaf for the next several hours. Almost the feeling of leaving a loud concert. I was wearing my "Jackie O" sunglasses, meaning they were huge, but the wind still got around them and I could feel my eyes watering to the point of blurred vision and tears staining the lens. To top it off, as tight as my helmet was, it kept wanting to pull up, so I had to drive with my chin down as much as possible. I was so thankful when we arrived to the testing station, but was dreading the ride home.

We took our tests and headed back to Sandusky. On the way back I came up with the idea of going the back roads through Perkins into Sandusky to prevent the hard wind on Rt. 250. I turned down Mason Rd. and jetted off. I was surprised that David didn't follow me but didn't think much of it. I continued on the road and it seemed to take forever to get to where I thought I was going. It was the weirdest thing. I started to become lost. I don't become lost. As long as I can remember I was the family navigator telling the 'rents where to go from daily jaunts across town to jaunts across the country. I guess I was born with a sense of direction. Not so yesterday. For the first time in my life I wasn't sure where I was. I became inpatient so I turned down a road I had heard of before. Next thing I knew this road "hit" NASA Plum Brook, which followed around to another road. After I was on that road I saw Campbell St. I thought to myself, "I know Campbell St! I grew up on Campbell" I followed it. That road went from a good road, to a country road, to a country road overgrown with grass, to rock road, then to straight dirt, and finally a cornfield. Once again I had come into contact with NASA but figured I could follow the truck tracks I saw, around the site. I quickly found myself in the middle of a corn field, off roading poor Mo'. What was I doing? Put a visual in your head....Heidi, on a scooter, jittering around as I baja over rocks. I went up a hill and as I came down Mo' stalled. "What?! Don't you do this to me Mo'! There's gas it that tank!!" I attempted to get him started and he was having none of it. So there I was, in the middle of a corn field, with a stalled scooter, and lost as all get out. How did this come about?

I gave David a call to let him know what was up, but it wasn't like he could come to the rescue immediately as I had no idea where I was. All I could say was come out near NASA. In the meantime I has to try to get Mo' to a point where I knew I was. Mo's not that heavy but let me tell you, he's heavy enough and quite awkward. Put the awkwardness together with how heavy he actually is and I felt I was going to die as I tried to move him. I got out of the corn field. Then I hit that rocky area. Boy was that fun. I had to get a running start to get him over the rocks. I could only imagine what NASA security were doing as they were watching on the security cameras. By that point sweat was dripping and my legs were burning, and I wasn't even close to getting anywhere. I was stopped next to a cornfield and that's when my mind began to get the better of me. I had never watched Children Of The Corn but could only imagine what it was about. I just kept thinking, "Nothing better come out of the corn...." I also kept thinking, "This is the type of stuff horror stories are made of." You know....lost, stranded female, with a broken down vehicle. Great.

I finally made it to an actual roadway and a rural USPS carrier stopped to see if I was ok. We talked and he helped point me in the right direction. I called David to say where I thought I was. He was coming with some gas and the Aveo. At that point I wasn't 100% sure it was the gas, and was worried that if we couldn't start it then what would we do? We can't tow or haul it with the Aveo.

I turned a corner, believing I had made progress only to find that I had a ways to go. And let me tell you, country roads have some mean hills. Up and down, up and down. My legs were screaming at me and then I'd hit the top of the hill and the scooter would want to go faster than I could run. All I could think was, "I didn't run today so this will be my workout." And that I was thankful that I had a good breakfast at Bob Evans so that I had enough energy for what I was doing. I couldn't believe what was happening. This is stuff that happens in movies, and not to me. I kept saying things over and over....things that aren't appropriate for this blog.

After hauling the scooter, which I believe was approximately 2 miles, I had gained my surroundings and was able to tell David exactly where to go. From my previous directions he was already heading my way so he was there within moments of my last phone call. He jumped out, we put gas in the tank and it still wouldn't start. After multiple tries it kicked in and started. He added a bit more gas and were ready to hit the road again. At this point it was 12:25. If you remember back, the whole point to me driving the scooter was so that David could get to work by 12:30. So much for that plan. I needed the car to go to Cleveland in the afternoon so we decided that I'd follow him to work and then we'd switch out. David made it to work just a few minutes past his start time, but there were no problems since he had called in to let them know.

This is stuff that you just can't make up. Thinking back, had I continued on the same road I was originally on, for just a few more miles I would have been fine. David thought nothing of me turning off. He thought I was stopping to get gas, not taking another route. Obviously the gas situation wouldn't have changed. But I'll tell you this, I'm not going to trust the gas gauge again. That sucker said I still had a bit of gas. I definitely wasn't on "E." Ah well. It was a pain in the ass and a very trying moment in my life. But I've lived to tell it and I got to say that it does bring a smile to my face. Hopefully it will bring a smile or even a laugh to you too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Long night

Last evening was interesting. Around 5pm the 'rents and Sita came over to have some pizza. The wind had already picked up and we even had some rain. We didn't think much of the wind and rain and continued about our business of eating. At approximately 6:40pm the flickering of the lights occured. On, off, on, off, and then they settled at a weak glow....something I had never seen before. Mom ran out onto our enclosed porch and yelled, "You gotta see this!' By the time we got to the door she was running inside yelling, "There's a down wired! It could be touching your house! Grab the animals!" Complete chaos for a few moments until we realized that the down wire near our house was our cable. But up the street sure enough there was a big ol' tree and electric pole down.

I grabbed the police radio which was lighting up. It seemed like all hell was breaking loose in Sandusky for the next hour. Mom and Dad decided to leave shortly after our losing power. Sita hung out for a bit. Shell called letting us know she didn't have power but my parents did. According to two of my friends they also had power. So the power outages were obviously spotty. Sita and I hung out on the porch taking it all in. The breeze felt good and the digs were digging watching everyone...even though Viking barks at everything.
It started to get dark and Sita had to leave. With us getting closer to fall we're having less of daylight and by 8pm I had very limited light. What was I to do for 2 hours before my "bedtime?" I had no working flashlight and there wasn't enough candlelight to read a book. I sat and continued to take in the breeze on the porch and tried to catch a few winks of sleep knowing it was going to be a long night. This wasn't quite successful with Viking barking and woofing at every little thing.

10 pm rolled around and David gave me a quick call to let me know they were doing well. They had driven up to the Minnesota game and were driving through the night to get home. They hit nasty weather on the way there and on the way back. The last time they drove to Minnesota they had blizzard conditions. Maybe God's trying to tell them something.....dunno.

I decided to head up to bed, which was a total waste of time and energy. I had no white noise other than the sounds of nature. That doesn't get it. David and I both agree that at least one fan needs to be running at night, even in the middle of winter. We could hear everything outside which would set Viking off. At 11pm a neighbor had someone stop by his house. He banged on his door and no one answered, however his dog went nuts inside. The guy ended up leaving but the dogs barking ensued for the next 2 and 1/2 hours. No joke. Thankfully Viking wasn't aroused by the barking. But it made it impossible for me to sleep. It was also hot in the room. Even with the windows opened there was not enough cross ventilation. I tossed and turned catching a few moments of shut eye here and there.
At 3am I heard the trucks roll up and they stayed for awhile fixing the issue. It was kind of funny as I saw a repairman in a bucket slowly move past my bedroom window. Viking's barking continued on. They left after a good 45 minutes but I still didn't have power. I then heard the chainsaws up the street clearing the debris. Kind of scary hearing a chainsaw at 3am. Thankfully I knew why I was hearing it. At just before 4am the power kicked on. Whew! Within 15 minutes David was home and we finally got to bed. Thankfully I got at least 2 hours of sleep. And to think, I was worried about him getting sleep.

In the almost 3 years we've lived hear we've lost power countless times and twice it was due to a downed tree/pole on our street alone. Kind of scary. At least this time it was in the summer and not in the middle of winter. Even so, every minute that passes without power seems like hours.

It was a long night but I think it's going to be a long day.....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lure Coursing

We had a ton of fun at North Coast Greyhound Connection's Meet and Greet today. It was the grand opening of the Erie Metroparks Bark Park and we were invited to host an event. This was our first official Meet and Great and Spencer's first event where he could run with the other pups. Boy did he have a blast. We didn't know what his reaction would be but once they started the luring he was darn near the only one squealing, and couldn't wait to take off. He gave us his quick answer. Too funny. Originally we weren't sure if we were going to participate in the event given his history of a broken pelvis and the parvo that's been going around, but we got clearance from Doc and boostered his vaccines to cover all of our bases.

Lily had to stay home given her size and that all greys aren't small dog safe (Lily-sized small dog), but Viking got to participate. He was unable to run with the greys but he got to take part in the lure course. Once again, we weren't sure what he'd do, but he absolutely loved it too. I got to say I was quite impressed by both of our boys. They can run!

Check out of Flickr account for more pics.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Tank

It's kind of ironic that I post this topic almost immediately after posting about trying to be my green. Ah well. With David recent job change where he will no longer have access to a company vehicle we needed to find something afforable for him to go to and from work. You'd think we'd be upset after just getting rid of the Alero and purchasing the scooter, but we're still happy with our choice and getting rid of the Alero and the "negative debt" definitely helped us.

David has wanted an old beater truck as long as I can remember. We were always looking the the perfect truck. Something affordable, that ran well, but nothing amazing. With David's new situation we went on the prowl and found this:

Meet The Tank. He's flippin' huge. I darn near need a step stool to get into him. We got a great deal on it and it's really in great shape with decent mileage considering it's a 1989. The last owner only had it for 5 years and put less than 500miles on it. However, he put a ton of work and money into it. We have the receipts of upgrades/repairs he had performed. The interior has very little marking. The outside needs a bit of a touch up here and there, which David would like to pursue getting repaired. But all in all we're happy with our find. Obviously the rims and tires aren't stock. Those were added by the last owner. This is going to be a to and from work vehicle and not something we plan on riding around all the time. (Remember we're trying to be a green as possible by doing our part. Hey, at least we're "recycling" a vehicle, right?) We think it will also come in handy with hauling anything if need be and barreling through snow in the winter.

Financially, the scooter and truck combined add up to what we were paying total for the Alero. Although we had hoped to lessen our output of money with the scooter at least we're not increasing the output. Good to go. And, even more, David's not really had experience with fixing cars, etc. so he's looking to this truck to get some experience in doing so. Nothing extreme, just oil changes and things like that. Since it's not under warranty or anything it's not like he has to worry about breaking a contract, which will put his mind at ease and allow him to investigate his vehicle more.

David's pumped. He's been waiting awhile for this.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I'm been on a mission recently. Big surprise, I'm always doing/changing something. Gotta keep life interesting. So my recent challenge to myself is to make my lifestyle more green and cruelty-free at the same time. Let me explain....

Everyone knows that I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several months now. As stated in previous posts, It's been awesome and I can't believe how much variety I have to choose from for food. In addition I tend to stay away from most "junk food." You know I gotta have my ice cream and sweets but other than that I think I'm doing quite well. So with my "success" and easier transition than expected I thought it was time to take it to the next level. Now I'm not going to get all crazy on ya'll, expecting people sit around the fire singing kumbayah or chant, "peace, love..." I'm also not going to go out and protest about animal rights or anything. It's just not my thing. With that being said, I also think it's important that I take my own personal changes to be more green and make conscious choices on a daily basis.

I have launched my search for new personal products along with cleaning products, etc. over that past month or so. Thanks to the help of Caring they've helped guide me through cruelty-free products along with animal-free products. I have hit a few roadblocks here and there. First, trying to weed through the defintions of organic, natural, cruelty-free, animal-free. The list goes on and on, but it seems like there's a different name for everything and when you really look at them they all mean totally different things in regards to ingredients, where they're derived from, and how the product is formulated. And even though it's one thing, it doesn't mean it's the other. For instance, organic AND animal-free. I've come to the point where I may not be able to have my cake and eat it too, and may have to choose my battle. Meaning, what's most important to me. Don't get me wrong, there are products out there that cover all of the bases, it just takes me longer to locate them. But that's cool with me. At this point my focus is on cruelty-free, then animal-free, and finally products that are as earth-friendly as possible. Meaning, I'm also keeping my eye on the other ingredients in the products, verifying that they don't have some crazy chemical, which would defeat the entire purpose of my mission.

My plan is to slowly transition to "better" products as we need them. For instance, I'm not going to throw out all the toothpaste I have and run out to get the "right" kind. That would definitely defeat the purpose. As I run out of products I will replace them with the products that I have researched. My first purchases were shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, facial cleanser, and lip balm. I chose Giovanni Organic Cosmetics for haircare due to it's accessibilty, but I must say that I'm really interested in David Babaii's line. Nature's Gate was my first pick for deodorant. My face cleaner is now Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash. And my lip balm choice was Merry Hempsters to begin. There are many more products to choose from than expected so these next coming months will be interesting as I try different products to see which ones I like best. So far I've been ecstatic with the outcome of the products I have chosen. Of course you're always hesitant to veer from your normal products but I took a leap and they're all leaving me fresh and clean.

My future transitions will be makeup, detergent, fabric softener, household cleaning supplies, reusable underpads (instead of disposable puppy pads), and toothpaste just to name a few. For most of the items I have already chosen which brands I will start with. I'm thankful that we have Health Plus, a local small store, and Kroger's decent-sized "natural, organic section." It's not like living in a big city but at least I have choices and if I can't find the products I want the Internet fulfills my needs. In the future I also plan to look at alternatives for clothing. For instance leather belts, shoes, etc. Once again, I'm not going to throw what I have out that's in good condition. My plan is not and will probably never be to become vegan, meaning no animal products whatsoever. I personally think that's darn near impossible, especially with food and even more, with eating out. But if I can limit my animal products, especially in simple choices of clothing and products, then why not?

I'm sure a lot of people may say, "Yeah, that's all well in good, but that may get expensive." Very true, but thankfully it's just David and myself, not an entire family to change over. In addition, I believe it's a small price to pay to keep myself and the earth healthier. Heck, maybe with the cost it will help me be even more conservative in my usage of certain products. Now you know I'm not going to let myself go getting all stinky and stuff. I'm sure you understand. And lastly, the products aren't all that much more costly than your other daily products, depending on where you purchase them.

I'm also trying to make general better daily choices. I'm crazy about recycling and am constantly looking to see if this or that is recyclable. Our trash has diminished to less than a bag a week. And the majority of our trash is pet waste. I'm always looking to change bad habits and hopefully am well on my way to reducing my carbon footprint while considering the life of animals.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Low Sugar Woes

This morning David and I got up at about 7:30am. We sat around awhile and then finally got up and ran 3 miles. I hadn't eaten anything knowing I was going to run. If I run I either need to eat about an hour before, let it settle, then run, or just not eat. By the time we got out it was after 9am. At that time we had Alpa coming over to assist us in moving an old chest freezer from our basement to outside.

After the run I was sweating like a pig and knew I needed to get something in me. Both water and some form of sugar. I could feel myself not feeling "right" but was focused on the challenge at hand. It seemed to take forever, it was VERY heavy and awkward. At some moments we didn't think we'd be able to get it out of the house. Long story short, we made it possible but it wasn't easy and all of our bodies were paying for it. By the time we finished hauling it out of the house I was gone.

The room started spinning and I knew I needed to lie down and get something into me fast. It's the hardest sensation to explain other than the room spins, my body temperature seems to rise several degrees and all my body wants to do is either vomit or defecate....sometimes all at the same time. I started by taking a bite of an apple and laying on the kitchen floor. The coolness of the ugly linoleum took the edge off after a few minutes so I was able to get up. I got my apple, a few bites of peanut butter, and some vitamin water down. Usually by that point my body starts to come back. Not so this time. At that point my dinner from last night decided to revisit me from my rear....Onion loaf and french onion soup from Damons, topped off with some wine. I finally made it upstairs only to find myself sitting in the shower and not standing. The waves of nausea kept coming over me. I finished in the shower and the moment I got out the nausea hit hard core and my apple and peanut butter hit me from the front end. Thankfully I have good aim and it landed in the toilet. At that point I wanted to die. I was able to get dressed and made it downstairs.

We decided it was time to get lunch and headed out. The car made my "sickness" worse and I had to tell David to stop by the mall. I was hoping that if I went to the bathroom one more time my symptoms would end. Unfortunately it didn't help and the thought of food made me want to vomit. David reminded me that needed food in me to get rid of the symptoms I was having. We were at a loss of food choices so David became creative and stopped at Target. He ran inside and bought me a plain soft pretzel. It was so hard to eat. It took me forever to take bite after bite. The nausea wanted to take over but I knew I needed to keep eating the pretzel. I finally finished the sucker and within 1/2 hour my body came back to homeostasis and I was my "normal" self.

The scenario is unfortunately something I go through more often than I'd like. I never had this problem so much before I ran, but now that I run on a daily basis it rears it's ugly head here and there. Thankfully I can read my body well and notice the symptoms before they become incapacitating. I've also been able to tweak my running and diet (when and what I eat) to avoid these situations, however sometimes your body does weird things unexpectedly. That or your schedule gets messed up which throws everything else off. And lastly, whenever I increase mileage it's a challenge for me to decide how much and what to eat to get me through those runs.

It's times like these that I can't help but think of Erika. In no way am I comparing my situation with her having diabetes. However, in talking with her, reading her blog, and watching her overcome her struggles I can see how diabetes can be a bitch and attempt to ruin your life in anyway possible. Thankfully she hasn't decided to lie down and take it. She's decided to take control of it in any way possible even in dealing with daily or hourly highs and lows. I can only imagine being in her shoes. I run for many reasons, whether they be personal or private. But one thing's for reason I run is for Erika. I run to thank her for getting me off my ass to run. I run because I see she can do it through her own strength and tenacity, even with obstacles at every step. I run for all of those other diabetics out there that do the same. And even though I'm not the fastest or strongest, I run because I can.

Just as with Erika, I will not let struggles, obstacles, lulls, discomfort, or fear stop me from running. It's with this that I'm announcing David and I will be running a marathon within the next year. Yes, ya heard right....a marathon....that's 26.2 miles. I've had reservations about posting this on the blog but I figured if I post it I'll hold myself to it. As of this moment we've got it narrowed to a couple options and will keep you posted on our choice. Here's to many hours of pounding pavement alone, and some discomfort along the way, but with a payoff of pride.