Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Megan's My Name... Dogsitting's My Game

Annie and Louie after a round of puppy combat

Over the Christmas/Holiday break I've been watching pets. I don't mind really as the more the merrier in my mind when it comes to animals. I've dogsat Hunter my roommate's brother's pet, and catsat Runco my friend's kitty. They returned to their respective homes yesterday and the house felt a whole lot quieter. Too quiet actually.

That changed today! Today I picked up Annie a service dog in training for Therapetics. She's an 11 month old puppy, full of energy, sweet, and willing to bring you shoes and socks even when you don't want them. lol I'll only keep her for a few days, but, I do believe being a puppy sitter is a great way to get hands on 'training' if you will for when a puppy comes home for me to raise- whenever that'll be. So far the dogs have played endlessly and I'm learning some new commands and methods of training. Pretty cool. Of course because Annie's becoming a service dog she can go to public places with me. Naturally I took her for a spin around Home Depot, she was pretty good especially for a puppy!

How's your break going?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Wonderland- Blizzard Edition

We were 'treated' (depending on who you're talking to) a nice blizzard Christmas Eve. One of the firsts in a long time around here. I was so excited, but, in anticipation of some serious winter weather (I listen when they issue warnings) I hauled some stuff and the pets over to Jon's as he was better equipped to deal with a snow-in than I. Thank goodness I did! I didn't have much food and the streets became too dangerous to go out. So, we stayed in all day! We missed Midnight Mass, but, I think Jesus understood. Here's a pictorial sum up of the blizzards progression.
First there was the ice/snow mix.

A few hours later....

After the earth is given a nice laquer of ice the snow begins to fall from the sky.

And gradually the landscape begins to transform.

Natrually Louie wanted to be right in the middle of it!

The more that came down the more he wanted to be outside!

Then the wind- Oh my gosh the wind! There were gusts up to 40mph if not more!

Trying to convince Louie to come inside proved to be a challenge. Despite the increasing depth of the snow and the high winds he wanted to stay put.

Before midnight the snow was easily a foot deep... if not deeper.

No worries we got Louie inside! Thought it did involve bribes. A quick pat down with a towel and he was ready to go for another round. Note the soaked through socks on the floor... when I came over to Jon's house I didn't bring any boots at all! So, I braved the cold in my socks to take pics of Louie and the snow. The things I'll do for a good picture!

Merry Christmas!!

From Louie, Mina, Jon and Me- Hope you all are having a Very Merry Christmas!!
More entries to come about the Christmas Eve blizzard we in Oklahoma recieved. I got my white Christmas and then some!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eve of Christmas Eve

Also known as... preparations. Louie was very into it. I love to bake, but, I don't do it often as I don't like to bake and have a batch of goodies go to waste. Christmas is the perfect reason to bake though and I was so excited to be able to spend a day doing that!
I went over to Jon's mother's house for some baking. She was in charge of pies- pecan of course! Oklahoma may not be the deep south- but we're pretty close to it so...

I was in charge of cookies- French ones bien sur! Now, don't judge me too harshly. I do not have the guts to make my own puff pastry- so store bought it is!

I decided to make palmiers. One batch with jam and one without. It was my first time making these delictable cookies (not to mention the first time dealing w/puff pastry) so I was a bit nervous.

During my experimentation Jon's mother used the leftover dough and pecan pie batter to make mini-pecan pies! She's a pie making pro.

First batch of palmiers ready to go!

Mmmmmm..... pie.

My palmiers! Not too bad for a first go. They don't look too pretty, but, they tasted great. I'll work on my presentation next time around.

Jam palmiers. Next time I'll roll in some sugar on both sides before layering in the jam. I loved making these cookies! Pretty easy to make and oh, so, delicious.

I made macarons as well. 'Supersized' macarons! I soooo did not intend to make them this big or chunky. I was in a rush and didn't pay attention to detail. I can hear the bakers at Laudree crying in horror!

Despite all the baking I managed to get to Best Buy to buy Jon's gifts AND I was able to wrap them while the macarons were cooling I wrapped them up. All in all a very busy and successful day of Christmas preparations.
The irony is that we're under a blizzard watch today and we probably won't be able to have a holiday gathering if the weather does what the weather man is predicting. Ah well! Still it was a fun day and I will take a White Christmas if it means staying curled up on the couch with Jon watching the snow come down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pretty Things Part Deux

A peek at my favorite ornaments on our (roommie et moi) Christmas tree at home.

A ballerina ornament that Jon got me during an ornament exchange game I refused to play. I wish I could look this pretty when striking a pose!

Mina's Christmas ornament. It embodies Mina's personality to a T!

Humor and truth embodied in this one.

A present from my roommie to mark Louie's first Christmas.

Still plenty to do before Christmas! Most of my gifts have been bought, but, I still have to brave a store or two for Jon. Tomorrow I'll be baking goodies galore with Jon's mother. Hope everyone is hanging in there and enjoying the holidays despite some of the mania that goes with it.

Edited to add: Forgot to mention. Instead of doing those last minute Christmas things I need to do, I am taking a day off and being a couch bum. I slept in until 11am, and haven't done anything remotely productive since. I should feel guilty, I should feel stressed... but, I don't! :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pretty Things

I am a Christmas junkie. I love decorating the trees, baking desserts, wrapping presents, buying gifts (as long as I minimize my exposure to the mall- I still get ticks when I go there thanks to my retail days), and so on. So, when we put up the tree at Jon's new house and decorated it I just got giddy inside. I can't help myself!

I swear I was a raccoon or a moth in another life. I love the glow of Christmas tree lights.

The ornaments are from a package Jon bought at a store. Not very personal, but, better than nothing! I do love how they shimmer.

Jon does have a couple of fun ornaments- Simpsons of course!

Had to get a shot of the puppy in front of the tree. It's his first Christmas afterall! (I know like I need an excuse to photograph my dog!)
Just you all wait- you haven't seen the tree and decorations at my house yet! ;-)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Brief

Oscar is doing much, MUCH better! Thank you all for the kind thoughts- each one was appreciated.

Watching a friends cat- Runco. He can't stand the dogs, but, gets along with Mina. It's been interesting to say the lease.

Jon's grandmother passed away a couple of days ago. Funeral is Saturday, and I'm probably not going. Mixed feelings about that.

Last week of lessons- kids getting ready for Christmas and the holiday break has been very draining. But, teaching them Christmas/Holiday music has been a lot of fun.

I'm sick. Sinus infection. So today I took the day off and am taking drugs. Hopefully recovery will occur soon. I'm optimistic.

Am gearing up for some serious Christmas baking next week.

Oh and I haven't bought one single Christmas present. Not uncommon for me and I'm positive I'll get those done before Christmas Eve day- which would be a huge accomplishment.

And how are you doing?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poor Wittle Guy

Oscar, looking too cool for school, and Mina
Last Monday afternoon I threw away some chili Jon brought over for lunch. I had some, but, it was just too greasy! After I chucked it out I took Louie over to the vet's to get weighed so I could give him the right dosage of flea and heartworm meds. My visit didn't last but 10ish minutes as I chatted with my vet about becoming a puppy raiser for Therapetics. Because of this short visit I didn't put Oscar away figuring the food was disposed of, what's the worst he could do?
Was I in for a surprise!
Got home and sure enough Mr. Mighty Eight Pound Dachsund knocked over the trash can, got the lid out of the way, and dug into my what was left of my lunch. My roomie and I didn't think much of it, though we were pretty sure he was going to have some...erm... "intestinal issues". Well, we were right about that, but, wrong in thinking that'd be all.
This morning I woke up to Oscar shrieking and whining. Now, at first I thought he had a sore back and tried to get him to lay still, but, he just wouldn't settle! Finally he went to Tia's room and did the same. Of course I can't fall back asleep, I'm tired, cramping, and annoyed at this point and figured Tia could deal with it.
His shrieking, however, didn't stop and we both noticed how bloated his stomach still was. While obsessing at work my roomie began to panic our called our vet Dr. Wendy asking if there was something we should do. Dr. Wendy reccomended we get him in in case he has pancreatitis as that can happen when doggies consume too much fat. So, after teaching one lesson this morning I ran back home to get Oscar to the vet. I told her everything I knew and had observed and sure enough he's got it along with some GI irritation.
He's being observed right now and recieving anti-biotics and pain meds (he seriously does not like pain in the least- can't say I blame him) and should be good to go home this evening. Poor little guy! We'll keep him rested (thanks to meds), feed him bland food, and spoil him further and he should make a full recovery.
Moral of a story- Never, EVER, underestimate what damage a small dog can do!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thinking Warm Thoughts

I was browsing through some picture files and found these. I took them back in October, or was it September, when the weather was a nice 60-70 something degrees and I could open the window. The past week or so winter has made itself known in Tulsa. Mind you I love cold weather, just not being cold (makes perfect sense right?). So, for fun I thought I'd post pictures from warmer days.

And what those warmer days mean for my pets!

Despite his size Louie can actually wiggle himself out of a window at our house
Far too easily actually

Don't even get me started on Mina's mad escape artist skillz!

(Suffice it to say, sometimes despite the nice day I still had to close the windows!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Theme

Car died in the parking lot at the vet clinic-seems the battery is having some issues.

Then my laptop's battery charger goes caput.

Which appliance, toy, essential everyday item is next? Nobody knows....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hi, I'm Megan and I'm a Sucker

Last week Jon and I were invited to go to a Christmas Party for Therapetics, an organization that trains service dogs for those with disabilities. One of my bosses is their executive director (she's seriously one helluva superwoman!) and she's been slowly wearing me down to go and see what this organization does and to agree to be a puppy raiser/trainer. I've had my reservations; what about food and vet care [all covered by Therapetics as I came to find out]? Will it be okay that I have Louie and Mina? And many more. At the same time, however, I thought it would be a wonderful thing to do. So, I went to the party, ate the nice food, and was introduced to some of the dogs and the people that they helped.

I was in before I knew it!

I was introduced to a young woman named Amanda. She's around my age, if not younger, and suffers from MS. I met her dog Uli, who was recently placed with her, and we got to chatting. I listened to lovely stories about how the dog sleeps during her classes at OCU, grabbed a scarf for her when she was cold (without being asked to), and so on. What really got me, however, is when I found out that thanks to Uli (and a specially designed harness w/a handle) she was able to stand up and put on shoes for the first time in years.

Could you imagine? I put my shoes on standing up several times a day! It's something I don't even think about. And here Amanda was, talking about this activity as a major milestone. All thanks to her dog learning how to brace and stand still to assist Amanda.

So what could I do? When the puppy raiser coordinator, Lisa, contacted me via email asking if I wanted to be a raiser I couldn't say no. A litter of Golden Retriver puppies is due in January and if all goes well I will have a puppy to begin raising and training in March. It's a committment it is. There are classes to go to twice a week, paperwork to keep track of, and so on.

Maybe I will be the one who has to suffer all the headaches, and the final heartbreak whenever a dog I raise goes to someone leaving me forever. However, I've come to realize that's a small price to pay to give someone more freedom in their life. These dogs are given to people who need them at no monetary cost to them* which is extraordinary considering that most people who get service dogs must pay thousands of dollars. Therapetics can do this, in large part, thanks to the volunteers who raise the puppies helping to curb costs to those in need. To see tears of joy when a person describes what their dog does for them, how much they mean to them and to see the dogs themselves lovingly and protectively look up at their companion is very moving. When I add it all up, I think I can deal with a little bit of heartache.
*They are required to come to the classes to learn the commands and work with the dog that will be placed with them once he or she reaches maturity.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Introducing My Piano!!

May not be much to look at, and no it's not a concert grand, but, it's all mine and plays better than no piano. I'm a lucky, lucky gal!

Photos Coming Soon!

The camera is back in action!!! My friend Scott_O., a talented architect and fabulous photographer came to my house to drop off the photography book I ordered. Of course, I took advantage of him and showed him the camera. After messing with a dial everything was coming out clear!! Hallelujiah!!

So, fyi digital SLR cameras have this cute, indiscreet, little dial next to the window you put up to your eye to take a picture. This tiny little dial will adjust how you see when you look into the camera to take a pic. It's intended for those who take off their glasses when they are taking pictures. But, if you have your contacts in, like me, or are one of the fortunate "sight capable" peeps you will get a very distorted picture unless you turn the nice little dial to neutral. A simple, fix, that took nearly two months and the aid of a saavy friend to figure out.

Lesson learned!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Joke

A little girl sends Santa a letter asking for a baby brother or sister this year for Christmas. Instead of a doll to appease the child Santa sent a letter to this girl simply saying this,

"Dear Susie- Send me your mother. Thanks, Santa"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Forgive Me Blogger for I Have Sinned....

Okay so it's been a little bit since a new 'here's what's going on in my life' post. To be quite honest life just got busy and thus I was T-I-R-E-D. Too much going on, info scattered and jumbled in my brain, and lots of fatigue made it difficult to sit down and sort through it all on my blog. So I will try to give a little recap to catch everyone up on the latest and greatest. Again no pictures because yeah... the camera has just not been taken care of. I think I'm going to make some serious threats to Jon to get that thing fixed... stay tuned.

On with the show!

Thanksgiving was celebrated at Jon's sisters house on Wednesday night. Everything went well- and I didn't have to bake a thing! Jon's sis is amazing, very much like him, in that she LOVES to cook and she handled it all with calm and holiday cheer. If I had to be in charge of an entire Thanksgiving meal for 15 people I would be having a series of mini-meltdowns- at best! We ended the night playing Cranium with Faith's whole family plus a boyfriend. Jon and I totally lost, but, I did know the answer to a little known factoid proving once again I have way to much random information in my brain.

Thursday Jon and his father cleared out the way too small storage unit and dropped everything off at his house. This proved to be helpful come Sunday when the big move occured.

Friday Tia and I rented a U-Haul to pick up the piano in Broken Arrow (a city just south of Tulsa). Thank goodness for Tia's brother and father though! The piano is a spinet or console, meaning it's the smallest upright piano you can get. Still, that sucker weighs easily 300-400 pounds! Fortunatly man power (literally), wheels on the piano, and a ramp got the piano safely in the truck. Add some scarves (yes I said scarves! We didn't pack any rope- real smart move) and we got the piano safely into our house. I've been playing LOTS! The joy of having a piano in my home after 6 years of not having one has been bliss!

Oh and Jon braved Black Friday madness and bought a fridge and a couple of random items for the house. Give me piano moving any day over retail madness!

Saturday brought about moving two loads of small boxes from Jon's parents house to his new abode. That took all afternoon. So the evening was spent in proper style over at a friends house with Wii playing and pizza eating good times.

Sunday- ie "D-Day" ie "The Big Move". Four friends volunteered to help with the promise of two paid for meals as payment. Jon rented a U-Haul and I drove it. Yes, I drove a U-Haul around as I wasn't going to be able to be much help when it came to the heavy lifting- had to contribute in some way! Of course Sunday was cold and dreary with the threat of rain. Still we managed to clean out most of Jon's stuff from his parent's house and all the stuff that was stored at my place (due to the before mentioned storage unit being tiny). This was accomplished in about four hours and we beat the rain. Some doors had to come off their hinges, but, large items were put in place and our friends were rewarded with a large Indian meal bought at a nearby restaurante.

So to summerize... several days of on and off packing and three days of moving culminated in Jon finally out of his parents house and into his own place- FOR GOOD! If I hadn't been so exhausted I think I would've done cartwheels all over Tulsa. However, for me, the adventure didn't stop there. Monday I went down to Norman in a rental car (my roomie works for a large car rental company and it was going to be cheaper than filling the tank my big hooptie car) to see an aunt and uncle I haven't seen in over 8 years! They live in California and they were in town to see my cousin's family. So, I made the trek in hopes of reconnecting with more of my family. The trip was a success. Nothing major really went down, just lots of catching up, and helping with a project my aunt and cousin were working on. I finally got home around 11pm and in bed after midnight.

As a result of all of that 'activity', yesterday I woke up EXHAUSTED beyond comprehension. So that's why this rather long and drawn out post came today.

So there's what I've been up to! How are you all doing?