Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Did It!

Success!  Stepping on the scale last night confirmed that I'd reached my weight loss goal. I was pretty sure I had, because I could "feel" it, but the scale confirmed it.  Hooray!  It was "only" five pounds but it needed to be taken care of before it became ten pounds.  Or more.   I CAN lose five pounds, but not absolutely sure I have the will power or resolve to lose ten or more, plus that would indicate that I'd gotten careless about eating and exercise, and established some bad habits that would be harder to break.  Best to deal with this as needed rather than letting things (such as pounds) pile up (or on).

My weight has stayed within a 6 pound range for about 40 years.   I eat carefully (most of the time) and walk every day thanks to my dogs. I listen to my body and we normally communicate pretty well.  When I "feel" as if I've gained some weight, the scale always confirms it.  This summer has been harder.  Perhaps my age, or perhaps just the temptations, and I lingered near the top of my regular range most of the summer.  We eat out quite often, but I do it sensibly and almost always bring home leftovers for the next day's lunch.  I rarely bake, never chocolate chip cookies which I love, and we rarely have dessert when we eat out.  The heat and humidity this summer made it tempting to walk less, although I still walked every single day.  Argus demands that!  What I did though was get careless about "treats", started feeling a bit deprived I guess, and suddenly I was consistently a pound over my maximum.

I often stop at Kowalskis on my way home from work, to pick up some produce, or perhaps a deli item for dinner.  They have a really tempting bakery and I got in the habit of buying cookies, and unfortunately most bakery cookies are HUGE, three times the size a cookie should be.  Or scones - I love frosted scones.  And those lovely dips they sell in the deli.  I LOVE tortilla chips with a really good dip.  And then there is ice cream, something I buy rarely, but suddenly found myself buying more often.  A small bowl of ice cream at bed time was so nice, such a special treat.  Yep, I know exactly why I was having trouble with those pesky five, then six, pounds.  No surprises at all.

So back to sensible eating.  An apple instead of a cookie, a small glass of lowfat chocolate milk instead of a brownie.  A glass of skim milk at bedtime. No ice cream in the freezer - we'll go back to buying it for special occasions, not every day. Leftovers for lunch the next day.  I still have tortilla chips on hand, but I take a few out and reseal the bag.  No reading the newspaper with a bag of chips beside me.  No cookies in the freezer.  Longer walks in the evening, and brisker ones too.  Having Holly here has helped - extra walks required.

Diets are not a beginning and end.  When they are thought of that way the pounds will always come back.  Diets are really about lifestyle changes.  Eliminating the bad habits that so easily creep into your life.  All the tasty temptations.  Let's hear it for sensible eating!

No lectures about other people's weight issues, although I feel very strongly about what obesity does to our health care costs.  Yours and mine too, unfortunately.  But I am only in charge of my own health.  Nope, I will NOT celebrate with ice cream or a cookie, but one of those expensive fall apples - now that's a treat!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Would Your Dog Protect You?

Would your dog protect you?  Dalmatians are basically a guard dog breed so we assume they will do that, but sometimes it's nice to know that your dog is discriminating, aware of what is happening around you, and will step forward if the situation warrants.  When Jess said she was posting this story to Facebook, I decided that it would perfect for my blog today too.  Meribel is a very friendly outgoing dog who loves everyone - normally.  This is an example of how good dogs react to a suspicious situation.  I hope you enjoy this story.

Have you ever asked yourself if your dog - particularly your Dalmatian, would protect you in a bad situation? Well, I think I got a taste of Meribel character judgement today.

As most of you know, we go walking for about 2 miles every lunch - typically the same route, but today I changed it up a bit. Today's path took on us a fairly busy road, but safe for pedestrians. As we were walking we came
around a bend and about 300 yards a head of us, coming our direction was a thug guy with pants hanging down his legs, a black coat, and a net stocking cap (hairnet type thingy) - kind of lurking along - I am sure you can picture the walk. Behind him about 15 feet was his loud, flamboyant girlfriend (or whatever). She's flinging her arms around, swearing, talking loudly and just being obnoxious

Now Meribel is very socialized and like all busy body Dalmatians, is interested in all people, but watches them and then walks by. As we came around the bend and when she saw this guy, she started to watch this situation very, very intently and as the couple got closer, Meribel hunkered down, got in front of me and started to growl very deeply in her throat. She was not about to let them out of her sight. As we walked past the guy, he glared at me and the dog and just at that time all of Meribel's hair stood up and she growled so he could hear her. The guy didn't do anything, but she must have read something and her whole demeanor changed when we finally got passed the noisy woman. She went back to her sniffing, snooping and looking at everything..

After all of this, we turn down a side street and there was a mom, her son, her daughter and their little Chihuahua out.. The Chi was very cute and wearing a cast so we stopped to talk to the family. Now, after this whole incident, I was very curious to see what Meribel would do. Would she continue to worry about the prior situation, or would she go back to being the busy body dog who has to know all dogs and loves children. As we got closer, Meribel got down to the same height as the Chihuahua and did her "See, I'm small too... Don't you want to play?" thing. As we were standing their chatting, the young girl came up and wrapped her arms around Meribel, who preceded to cover her in kisses. My brown dog could switch gears that fast! So after a few minutes and Meribel giving up on the Chi - who wanted to be friends, but wasn't sure about the big dog, we headed on our merry way.

As we we headed back to the office, we had to cross a bridge over a major freeway, but it's the homestretch and a daily routine.. Meribel pretty much knows the people we meet and they know her.. As we came up around a corner, she stood up as tall as she possibly could - on all fours, her hair standing up and there is this low, deep gutteral growl. "What the h*ll?" Up a head of me was that same couple.. He's lurking along and the girlfriend (or whatever) is still reading him the riot act! Meribel watched them with an evil eye as we walked by, along with the grumbling under her breath... We caught up to the guy a head of us (who she always talks to) and she again climbed all over him and was her usual self.

To me this is the PERFECT dog temperament and exactly what Dalmatians are supposed to do. Would Meribel protect me - absolutely - no question in my mind! It was absolutely fascinating to me that she could switch gears back and forth that fast.

I do love this breed and love this dog!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Your Daily Chuckle

Short on time this morning, so you'll have to settle for this picture.  One of the oddest looking mixed breeds I've seen lately.  Let's hope this combination does not catch on! Dalsets?  Basmatians?  This little dog is supposedly a Dalmatian/Basset Hound cross.  Certainly looks the part!

Some interesting discussions on Facebook, including whether dog show judging is political and whether or not there are actually "fixed" dogs in the ring.  My answer to both questions is "occasionally".  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Never Too Cold To Swim

It was supposed to be a weekend spent on yard work and house cleaning, but like most other weekends it was also filled with dog-related activities.

The Japanese Beetle grubs did a real number on my back yard last summer, leaving large bare patches that were quickly overwhelmed by the clover that is always waiting to move in. The yard has also been invaded by large clumps of some kind of coarse grass that I've been killing and digging. This weekend I finished up the recovery work, fertilized, and planted new grass seed.  Fall is supposed to be a good time for reseeding, but obviously Mother Nature will need some help with the watering as the drought continues.    Next year I'll be on top of the grub control, now that I have identified the enemy.  My yard looked SO good last spring, until the beetles began to eat the grass roots and kill off large patches of lawn.

On Saturday I went over to take a look at Louis, who was Lucas in the Argus/Reebok litter that it now 14 months old.  I sold him to a pet home with the agreement I could show him if I wished, as he was such a handsome pup.  He's now a very handsome adult dog and could certainly be shown and win, but like his sister Letty he has "tail issues".  Unlike Letty who just carries her high, he also has a funny corkscrew twist to his.  Their mom has a new litter this fall (no not here - I leased her last year), and we'll be curious to see if the tails are so weird this time.  With entries so low in this area, it's hard to find points, and as a State Employee I continue to lose purchasing power because raises are non-existent.  Money is going to be tight around here next year, so we'll be showing no extra dogs or doing unnecessary dog show trips.  Louis is a much loved pet and it looks as if that will be his career - keeping his family entertained.  I got a cute video of him doing tricks that I will post later.

This was Fernly's weekend to swim.  The weather was a bit chilly but that did not slow her down a bit.  On Saturday she & Argus went down to Hidden Falls Park on the Mississippi where she splashed in the shallows, bravely ventured out over her head, came up splashing and swimming, and decided it was FUN.  There was cold wind blowing, so we did not stay too long as Fern was shaking with the cold, but insisted on going back into the water.  On Sunday we went to Lake Como and got a chance to play in shallower water where Fern learned to retrieve sticks.  Had hoped to stay there for awhile but it's hard to find a time when other people and dogs are not intruding in our space.  Fern's definitely going to be a "water dog".  Argus is more of a splasher, and does not understand the need to retrieve more than one or two sticks.  Fern acts more like many of the older Paisley Dals who loved the water and would retrieve sticks from the water forever.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for a few more water adventures this fall.

Fern's socializing is going well, although yesterday she decided that the vacuum cleaner is actually a monster that wants to eat her. She's never been very comfortable around the vac, but this reaction was stronger.  We'll have to do some desensitization, to convince her that "vacuums are our friends".  Stay tuned.