Summer Ass-Kicking: 100 Words for 100 Days

As I mentioned, I’ve been feeling out of touch, low, and pessimistic. Things got better with a holiday to plan but, once over, the bland feelings returned. I hesitate to call them by another name as they seem to be related more to boredom than to anything insidious. It is an overall flatness, a disinterest in all activity. Perhaps I am regressing to teenagehood as it doesn’t feel dissimilar. Perish the thought.

Every day is a winding road

As I stew, burrowing further into mindless routine, complaining yet doing nothing to pull myself out, I refuse to acknowledge the obvious. Nothing changes if nothing changes, as the motivating author of a Life Less Bullshit is always pointing out. It is easy to push this away, in favour of wallowing. My friends, do I like a wallow. I am just so good at it too. It isn’t as if I have such a plethora of skills to engage. It seems a shame to toss this one after honing it for three decades. What will I have left but brownie eating and being bad at bowling? These abilities are not in as high demand as you’d think. It seems there aren’t as many prizes these days for the worst bowling score one can achieve while actually trying. What is the world coming to?

This was my prevailing opinion on the matter until this morning. Strange that my mental ass-kicking should come on a Monday. The bus was late, my feet were still sticky with mud from my morning hike, and I scrolled through the emails on my phone with impatience. I could previse the way the rest of my day was going to go and it wasn’t optimistic. Ever anxious about exceeding allowable data, I almost never click on links without access to wifi. The messages I can’t read via my inbox either get deleted or saved for later. Sometimes later comes, most times it doesn’t. I realize now I am the one who loses out the most with this disorganized and hasty practice. Lucky for me, Amber Adrian is a blogging endangered species who still sends the full text of her posts to email subscribers. If not, I would have missed out on this bit of brilliance:

But you know what doesn’t help the drama? Excusing yourself. Because that makes you less you. Because doing the things you love keeps your engagement with life at a steady burn and being engaged with life makes everything better…

And this too:

For now, it seems to boil down to “do your shit and let yourself feel as good as you can as much of the time as possible.”

Oh, and this:

I am not nearly the special feelings snowflake I thought I was. If I feel scared and lonely and joyful and overwhelmed and stuffed with love for things, you probably do as well.

I will stop before I just copy and paste the whole dang thing. It isn’t a long piece but it packed all the protein I’ve been needing into easy to swallow bites. In that way it proves everything I’ve been telling myself isn’t true, which is kind of annoying. No one likes to be as wrong as I have been. I am forced to deal with the idea that if a woman, whom I have never met, living in a place I have never been, can write something simple yet has a profound impact on me, it might be possible for me to do the same for somebody else. The more I write, the more I will want to write. The more motivated I feel to do something I enjoy, the more pumped I will be for other things and the more interesting my life will become.

In essence, I need to stop wallowing and get out of my way. Darn it all anyway.

every day is a faded signIt isn’t going to be easy to keep me accountable. The lure toward mindlessness is powerful after months of indolence. As if it was Kismet, not a week ago I learned about the 100 Days Project from my friend at NEPA Pets. Several wicked minds in New Zealand know what it is to want to do a thing and be unable to show up get it done. The concept is as uncomplicated as it gets. It is so hard to do on one’s own. This is where the internet comes in. Starting July 11, every day for 100 days, people around the world will do the thing they haven’t been able to do. The range of projects is as diverse as the people starting them. There are photography schemes, physical activity goals, plans for interior decoration, phone calls, and love letters. It is a glorious pile of desires to create and be and do.

It felt like hubris to join in, but I signed up anyway. From now until mid-October I am going to write at least 100 words every day. They may not be good words. They may not make sense. They may be stream of consciousness or they may be gag-inducing poetry that would make even my eleventh grade English teacher wail. They are going to be mine. Even though it isn’t July 11, it would be too easy to wait and forget and excuse myself, so I am starting four days early. With no expectations, no rules, no strings beyond 100 words, I am going to get this done.

Even if I have to run over myself several times in the process.

Announcing a Change of Scenery

Gosh, I have been so good with this whole NaBloPoMo thing until now. It’s the first time I really am sneaking in an attempt at writing only slightly before the stroke of midnight. Not bad considering there is only one week left. I’m doing much better than I expected.

I have a good excuse so even if I hadn’t managed to slide open my laptop before Friday ended, I would have given myself a pass. After all, I just spent the last two hours in conversation about art and writing with a literary genius. Well, a literary genius and the 1,699 other people in the audience. Oh, and Alanis Morissette was there too. Regardless, I figure if I just soaked in two hours worth of advice from a woman I have admired since I was a teenager, I can be forgiven for being too spellbound and overwhelmed to have a whole lot to say myself.

Besides, there is something more important going on here than my inner wranglings and my sudden onset of celebrity-star-struckedness. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but there have been a few changes around here. A house-cleaning, if you will – a simplification. The Art of AJ has done it again. Thanks to her magical work, I am so pleased to show off Rescued Insanity – The Next Generation!

Or something much less cheesy.

It’s cleaner, it’s brighter, and it’s a whole lot more comfortable. The new look feels a bit like a liberation. There is so much room to kick off my boots and flail around. The furniture has been pushed aside and it is time to dance! I’ve always flirted with the line between pet blog and personal blog and now I feel like the scenery matches the direction. It’s a new era, in a way, with one hundred percent more authenticity and without losing an ounce of Shiva.

Thank you for sticking with me after all this time. For listening to my stories and hanging in there when they dried up. The Petosphere is a beautiful place. I am so grateful you still consider me a member. And thank you to AJ Emm for putting it all together so quickly. Everyone of you means a lot to me. I definitely could not and would not have pulled through alone.

Happy Friday!

Simplify and Beautify! I Will Have Both!

My goal these days is to combat the overwhelm, end the glorification of busy. I was caught up in that wicked trap of thinking the more I did the more I needed to do for too long. It didn’t make me a better person. Mostly, I just did a whole lot of things as quick as I could, praying it was “good enough”, before leaping into the next task. It did no one any favours. No wonder I spent every weekend passed out on the couch, using Shiva as a pillow, ignoring all the work I had to do around the home, wondering if I was ever going to stop dreading Monday.

No more.

Granted, there are always going to be times when the sheer amount of stuff piles up and I feel that familiar rise of panic. Tis the nature of the beast. But I am going to try very hard to cut down on my thinking I need to do all the things all the time as fast as possible.  I’d love to say I am going to eliminate this train of thought entirely but then I would just stress that I wasn’t doing it properly and it would be one more thing keeping me up at night. So I am going to try. When I feel my shoulders tensing in anticipation of an immense workload, instead of ducking my head and attempting to bulldoze through like Shiva on an agility course, I am going to take a deep breath and ask for help.

That’s the goal, anyway.

Project Simplification Commence!

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Part of this whole mental conversion is taking the time to enjoy, to get to know myself better, and figure out what is important to me. Not to my boss or my barista or that person I see at the bus stop every day, but to me. It’s not an easy process. Especially when life interrupts in its typical jackass fashion. Being instinctively lazy, I’ve been tempted to avoid a lot of the hard work. That’s why I have to make at least a part of it a little more fun.

This is where the blog comes in. I have finally – for now – figured out what I want to do with this space. It only took me three? four? twenty thousand? years? Now that I know, I want its appearance to match its direction and purpose. After all, the online world is a strictly visual one. However, the thought of embarking on a redesign makes the ol’ panic crawl up from my belly. And what am I supposed to do when I get that feeling?

Ask for help.

This is where the brilliant and creative AJ Emm comes in. The same talented individual who envisioned the current style, has agreed to tackle its next incarnation. I have no idea why. I guess she likes a challenge. I feel so lucky to get to work with someone as kind and helpful, someone who knows what I want without me having a clue how to articulate it.

Stay tuned for Rescued Insanity: Simplified

In the meantime, you have an opportunity to receive a bit of AJ’s genius yourself. She is so generous with her skills, she wants to give you a gift – a custom portrait of the special pet (or person) in your life. I almost don’t even want to share this amazing opportunity with you as I kind of covet the prize for myself.  Who wouldn’t want an adorable keepsake like this?

max_patches_3-01I am lucky enough to know both of the animals featured in this portrait and trust me, this is the closest the two have ever gotten to each other. AJ is magic like that.

Want to enter? Check out the details below!

 
 
 
 
 
 

One lucky winner will receive a single pet illustration or a digital portrait,

custom made based on their own loved ones pictures.

(If you have already ordered a portrait or want to order one to ensure holiday delivery,
the cost will be refunded to you or you can choose to have a second custom piece created.)

 

Click here to order your portrait now, Save 25% by using coupon code UNICORN at the check out!

and enter below for your chance to win.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Should We Put the Extendable Leash Behind Bars?

Is that were it belongs? Many people I’ve talked to would be thrilled if extendable leashes, such as the infamous Flexi, were outlawed. I gotta say, I have cursed them multiple times myself. It often seems to me that the length of the leash is inversely related to the size of the dog. The tinier the puppy, the further he is away from the human at the other end. Not only does this strike me as dangerous, it’s also really annoying for everyone else on the sidewalk.

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Naturally, this is a stereotype. Before I get all sorts of hate mail, I’d better correct myself. There are many wee dogs who are calm on a leash and walk beautifully beside their handlers. There are also many large dogs who tug and yank and scream at the end of a long, extendable line. It’s just the latter don’t get walked very much after their people end up in the hospital due to one too many shoulder dislocations.

One councillor in my municipality has proposed an end to these types of leashes on city streets. As quoted in a CBC news article, he believes:

“The length of the leash allowed dogs to go to further into private yards and defecate and then leave the stuff behind. Also, if it’s too long it allows an unruly dog to be more free to lunge at a person.”

Speaking from personal experience, a dog can lunge and defecate regardless of the length or style of leash.

We actually purchased a retractable leash for Shiva before we even brought her home. My childhood dog used one all the time so it was just another product I assumed we’d need. I thought they were better than boring old 5-foot lines. Most have more comfortable handles and they are advertised as giving dogs more freedom. How could that be a bad thing?

Shiva’s reactivity quickly put an end to that line of thinking. It only took a few episodes before the line snapped and the leash sat at the bottom of a garbage can. I was just grateful said snapping happened in our backyard and not on a city street.

Despite this bad experience, I am not wholly against these tools. Long lines are quite useful for those working on recalls. In the appropriate places at the appropriate times, I see nothing wrong with giving your dog wider space to roam. Many breeds – like beagles, greyhounds, and Siberian huskies – are difficult to trust off-leash. Extendable leashes enable these dogs to enjoy a run without worry. In my opinion, it would be a shame if this was no longer a possibility.

We all have our biases. Most dog walkers are responsible and don’t allow their canine companions to roam aimlessly into the road or on private property. I know when I rant under my breath about the three Chihuahuas yapping at the end of their extendable leashes, that most people who walk small dogs pay much closer attention to their charges. But it still annoys me.

Once more it seems to be a case of the few ruining it for everyone else.

What do you think? Should municipalities place restrictions on the length of leashes? Do you think this is a problem even worth debating?

Every School Needs a Puppy Room

Halifax is again making national news with the addition of a “puppy room” to the Dalhousie University campus. I used to think I had attended a fairly decent school for my undergraduate program eons ago. But I don’t remember seeing a single animal on the grounds. Unless you count the pronghorn mascot statue.

http://www.cbc.ca/video/swf/UberPlayer.swf?state=sharevideo&clipId=2312530963&width=480&height=322

While this story is great and I am glad students have this chance to unwind, it’s amusing to me how revolutionary of an idea it seems to people across the country. Animal lovers have known the emotional and mental benefit a furry body can provide for decades. It’s about time the rest of the world caught up.

Do you think a puppy or kitty room would have helped you get better grades?

Welcome to the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers hosted by Kol’s Notes, PupLove, Rescued Insanity, Woof Woof Mama & I Still Want More Puppies!

Today’s giveaway is sponsored by Squirrely Dog. Click here to enter to win great smelling, natural shampoo & conditioner for dogs, plus be entered to win our Grand Prize package worth more than $1000!

The Insanity Increases in Number

We’ve had a bit of a surprise ending to an otherwise normal Saturday. First a walk at the park, then a very positive agility class, a trip to the aquarium to check out some fish, and finally… On short notice, a very special guest has crept into the lives of those at Shiva’s House of Deluded Dreamers.

The puppy isn’t yet sure what to make of our visitor. All she knows is, she isn’t very happy at being kept out of the office. What’s going on in there, anyway? Why can’t she see?

All a Shiva can do is whine her dis-satisfaction and hope the humans will eventually give in. Until then, she is going to be one curious canine.

Poor Sheevs. Secrets are just no fun at all.

BarkWorld Bound

I can’t keep the happy news to myself for one minute longer. You may recall that I entered a contest held by Iams Home 4 the Holidays in an attempt to win my way to this year’s BarkWorld Conference & Expo. It was the one in which I posted a video of my cat shedding sixty pounds of fur all over me. I am not joking. Every time I picked him up, he left several cats behind on my skirt. You can watch the damning evidence here.

He’s not sorry at all, is he?

Well… I didn’t win. But that’s okay! The author of Mayzie’s Dog Blog did and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. It was hard to shrug off the loss but since I never expected to attend anyway, I put it out of my mind. Until about five days ago.

On my way home from work I saw a message on my phone from the very kind and generous founder of the social “petworking” event. Before I could talk myself out of it I responded and several emails later I found myself the recipient of an offer I could not refuse: free airfare to Atlanta, Georgia and a pass to my very first pet blogging conference.

I’d normally insert a “woo hoo” here but that doesn’t seem to cover it. By the time October rolls around I am going to be in incredible shape after all this happy dancing!

BarkWorld Expo

It’s hard to put into words how excited I am about this incredible opportunity. BarkWorld is the only industry-wide educational conference featuring social media and lifestyle discussions for pet lovers from all areas of interest. There will be keynote presentations from Twitter, ASPCA, Meetup.com, and the director of the HBO documentary Madonna of the Mills. I have no idea how I am going to decide which educational sessions to attend. Have you seen the presenter list? With speakers like the brilliant Dr. V of Pawcurious and Andy Hartman, the VP of the United States Dog Agility Association it’s going to be hard to contain myself!

If that wasn’t enough, there are a multitude of activities in between sessions. From dog yoga, to a charity HOWL-O-Ween costume party, to a special tour of the Georgia Aquarium. The latter could be a life list item all on its own.

And I haven’t even mentioned the best part! Guess who else will be there? None other than two of my blogging heroes, Kim Clune and Amy Burkert. Not that I will be brave enough to actually speak with either. But I look forward to learning a lot from their sessions and bragging on Twitter about being in the same room with them.

I mean, wouldn’t you?

It all came together so quickly I still can’t really believe me going to BarkWorld is a real thing in the world. But somehow it is. October 25th can’t come fast enough!

I can’t thank founder Denise Quashie enough for this opportunity. I will do my best not to spend the entire conference hiding under the table.