Friday, February 26, 2016

Laundry Buddy

Being the best behaved of the pack has its advantages, and so Ty gets to go with me sometimes when I do my errands. He has such a unique look for a Chihuahua, too, so he's the bell of the ball wherever we go. He's just very exotic looking and outgoing. And as I've always said, he's a team player.

Ty likes to ride shotgun, and has his own bed on the seat. For longer trips they ride in crates hooked onto the seat belts, but for just down the street I let him ride without a seat belt.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yogurt Is Good

It was a real "aha" moment about the third person who told me to try yogurt with the doggies, and the realization that it's something the ex gave them every day. Since I started giving them yogurt with every meal, it's been weeks since we had any tummy problems.

Zoey is having issues today, but it's not as bad, and there's no blood. The yogurt has clearly been a win for my beasts. It's expensive, but not compared to all the vet bills lately. They get the Fage Greek unflavored yogurt.

It's never really been my thing, but I tasted a little bit and it made me think of the sauces I could make with it, since it's similar to sour cream.

The universe seems to reward a good effort, so it's nice reaping the rewards for all my endeavors, which just makes me more focused. Even a couple of the blogs are on the verge of going viral. It's my sister's abundant universe theory.

My own version goes like this: "Resources are plentiful, if you are worthy."

So, it's nice to see the endeavors with the dogs paying dividends along with all my other efforts. I think when you put in the work, success is more of a relief than a surprise. Success is more like a deep breath, and a moment of reflection before getting back to work. The pro golfer or NBA superstar think only of the next shot.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Girls

Zoey may be the princess, but Spot is high maintenance. She gets doggy prozac every day along with her usual chicken and rice with vegetables. But if I fed it to her plain, she would pick out the chicken and leave the rest behind. So, I have to stir in some cottage cheese with every meal. But they also all get yogurt at the vet's recommendation, as well as a liquid vitamin supplement with every meal.

Spot is a magnificent beast, though, so it's all worth it. The vet said that she's the perfect weight, and I said "you don't even wanna know what it takes to keep her that way" haha.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fitness: The Cost Of Success

The 400-ish aerobic arm lifts a day started out about as difficult as I expected them to be. But for whatever reason, I expected them to get easier as time went on. It was something that I hadn't thought through.

As I did all those arm lifts and lifted weights, my arms got heavier to lift with the arm lifts I was doing on the stationary bicycle. And as my arms got heavier, it was harder to do the arm lifts, which built more muscle mass, which made the workouts harder.

It turns out to be good for fitness, but if at the very beginning someone whispered "pssst, it's just going to get much harder," then I'm not sure I would have continued. Though at least I get some sort of runner's high like I used to when I ran track in high school.

Not just the arms, but the legs, too. The first time I clicked up a notch in the resistance on the bike, I spent about a month barely being able to complete my two half-hour sessions every day. But my body got used to the new resistance, and now it's hard to keep my heart rate where I need to in order to burn fat.

Just like in my career, the success in my workouts has come at a cost that I wasn't aware of at first. I've always said that success comes to those willing to pay the costs, and I've always paid the costs, but sometimes those costs make me a bit sore, like today, the first day of my new-and-improved harder workout.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Man Boobs

As my fitness routine has evolved, I've started doing workouts that isolate certain muscle groups. The resistance bands have been awesome, and they were the missing key for me. But I've been doing heavy aerobics for the last couple months just to get improved cardio, and that's been giving me muscle mass in places like my chest.

Even in my younger days when I was in great physical shape, I didn't do much upper body weight lifting, so I've never had man boobs before. Earlier looking in the mirror, I guessed that I'm sporting about a B cup size.

It looks good on me, but it's still a bit disconcerting to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. These days looking in the mirror is like looking at someone else!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sociable Spot & Princess Zoey

Today we had a business meeting here. The girls don't like strangers, but it was Spot that calmed down first and even became friendly. She even is coming out of the "Spothole" and laying on the bed more often.

Zoey is still ... Zoey. Below, she won't let me make the bed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Crazy Play

Ty is a very playful Chihuahua, and would love to play with his sister ... if he wasn't scared of her. She plays with that same crazy energy her mommy, Spot, has. Ty isn't sure if she's playing or if she's going to bite him.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pillow Boss

A couple times in the last couple months I've gotten out of bed, only to decide I wasn't feeling good and go back to bed. Now Zoey thinks that it's a regular option now. She will wait for me in bed for about 20-30 minutes after I get up.

Once she decides that it's been too long, she'll start barking at me from the bed. These are reminder barks, and she'll get progressively louder if I ignore her. Sometimes I'll go back and flop on the bed for a few minutes to pet her, but that just makes her more upset that I'm not staying in bed.

"Pet, I'm still here waiting to cuddle..."

The way I know she is saying "pet, you forgot to come back to bed" instead of saying "pet, you will come back to bed now!" is that as soon as I say "Zoey, come here" she will come sit by me and not pursue the matter any further. Once I call her to me, then she is up, too. It's just funny that she will suggest that I come back to bed so we can cuddle.

If Zoey reminds me to come back to bed, her mommy, Spot, reminds me that it's time to get up. If I sleep past when Spot thinks I should sleep, she jumps on the end of the bed and will sit on my feet until I get up.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Smokey And Ty

Smokey loves people. He was the easiest dog to socialize, because the day he realized that food came from people was the same day he decided that he loved people. His entire world is based on food, and so it's not surprising that he doesn't like other animals, which he sees as competitors for his precious food.

Ty loves people and animals. If it moves, Ty wants to be friends with it. He's friendly and sociable, so it was no surprise that he tried to make friends with Smokey. Chihuahuas generally prefer people to their own kind anyway.

The surprise was that Smokey started letting Ty cuddle with him. Smokey and Ty's daddy, Lenny were enemies up until Lenny succumbed to his heart condition. Ty is also not submissive to Smokey, just like Lenny was.

No, I was originally just happy they weren't enemies. The fact that they're actually friends makes me very happy, because it's me and 4 Chihuahuas in a small space, so it pretty much all has to go according to plan for this situation to work.

Smokey and Spot still bicker like an old married couple, but they don't fight for real like Smokey and Lenny did. For the most part, the whole pack gets along famously.

Below is the baked penne I made for my sister who was having a bad day the other day, right before it went into the oven. It had fresh minced garlic, with Italian sausage, bacon, mushrooms and 3 cheeses on top. Of course, when I delivered it, everyone was drinking that 8% pilsner, and I ended up doing my workout drunk that night, which I hadn't done in probably 30 years.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Drunk Aerobics

Tomorrow is my day off, yet today I drank four glasses of eight percent alcohol pilsner my brother made. I knew it would be tough getting on the bike for my second workout of the day. By minute twelve, I was audibly moaning. Then minute fifteen came, and I convinced myself that I deserved the pain for not sticking to my fitness plan. After that, the other fifteen minutes went by fast.

Then I finished, and I'm glad I stuck to the plan. Especially since I made my baked Penne for my sister who was having a bad week. The second workout of the day doesn't erase my sins for today, but at least it mitigates them.

Zoey continues to be really clingy. It's been a tough transition from her seeing me as her pet, to her following orders, but she's doing OK. It rained all day today, so she still hasn't gotten a walk this year, since she was sick for a couple days.

Recently I switched to resistance bands from barbells, and it's the best thing I've done health and fitness wise. The weights gave me a whole different body, but with elbow and other injuries from all the high impact workouts. My muscles think the bands are the same thing, except with low impact!

Earlier Zoey was playing with me just like a cat would, so hopefully the better weather will come back, and we can start doing some walks.

The last few months have almost been like waking up from a coma. While I was asleep, everything in my life changed. But I'm healthy and most of my dogs survived the ordeal.

My brother wants to spend a month over the summer redoing the little motorhome pad I'm parked at, so I have an adventure ahead of me as I move my new business forward. Or I can just park on the street while he's doing that--I'm still deciding.

He frowned when I said "I'm going to be like Caine from the old TV series 'Kung Fu' and wander the earth, dispensing justice."

The beauty of it is that if I wake up tomorrow and my house is parked in a different location, then my socks and underwear are still in the same drawer! It's a comment my later father-in-law made. And there's a reason people buy RVs in their late 40s: freedom.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Whatever I did to deserve a scolding, Zoey is letting me have it today. She kept trying to nip at me when I was on the bike, and she's been trying to jump in my lap all day and scratch my face like she does. She would bonk me on the nose with a rolled up newspaper if she could.

Ty got to go on errands with me, and I was petting her mommy, Spot this morning in bed. Zoey normally lets me know what's on her mind, but today she's being extra obnoxious. It's almost like being married and trying to figure out when I'm in trouble!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Spot Walk

Today was the 2nd sunny day in a row, and also the 2nd sunny day of the year so far. So miss Spot got to go for her first walk in about 6 months. She did great in a remote rural area, but she's never done well in a busy neighborhood around a lot of people and other animals.

Spot did pretty good. She barked once at an old man, and again at a friendly Labrador who gave her a puzzled look. But unlike previous incidents, she didn't pull at the leash or flip out wanting to bite everything.

She did was Zoey does on walks: she barked and moved on. And she didn't even bark at other dogs barking at her through fences and behind windows. There was a lot of noise and distractions, like squirrels, cats and cars driving by, and kids screaming from backyards, and she took it all in stride!

The tally for me today was: half hour on the bike, 360 arm lifts, 120 crunches and two dog walks--not bad.

Zoey is having tummy problems today and didn't get to walk. She tried to take comfort with her mommy, but her mommy growled and nipped at her. I got the impression that Spot had enough energy for 3 walks, so we'll try a longer one next time!

I settled on my new business cards. I think all that's left to do is get a business bank account and then I can start advertising!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Social Butterfly

It's probably been a couple decades since I went to three parties in three days. Some of the stout my brother made was almost 14 percent alcohol. They have two guest bedrooms because some people drink two beers and can't walk!

Still working out 6 days a week and mostly eating right, so it's been nice to have that much needed fun time, though I think each stout undoes about 30 minutes on the bike ha ha.

Today was the first sunny day of the year, so it was nice to take Ty for a walk after my workout this morning. I might try Spot tomorrow if it's sunny.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blanket Armor

Smokey and Lenny fought to the death any time they were in fighting range, up until the time Lenny passed away. So, when Smokey and Spot started fighting after Lenny passed, it was very troublesome.

But it became obvious that neither really wants to fight. For one thing, Smokey wasn't scared of Lenny, but he's scared of Spot. And Spot doesn't really fight. She's what they mean by "all bark and no bite," because all she does is scream and nip. And so to Smokey's credit, that's how he fights with Spot.

Lately they've been fighting under the blankets. But they're always under different blankets when they fight, so they both bicker and nip at each other through their respective blanket--kind of like a knight in armor, except it's blanket armor.

I hear growling and I look over, and all I see is two puppet like things nipping at each other. So it's not like real fighting. Another reason Smokey doesn't fight for real is because it would be three against one if they actually fought. And sometimes Ty acts as referee, since he is all about the rules and fairness.

Actually I wonder how Smokey can be such a grumpy old man and still get along with the pack. I think at some point Smokey got too old to care if he's the alpha male any more, and now he just goes with the flow. He even likes to cuddle with Ty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pouty Girl

Today when I was on the stationary bike, Zoey did her usual sneering at me for about half the workout. I looked back at her and said "awww poor Zo Zo doesn't like my bike" and she huffed, and jumped onto the couch. She landed almost on top of Ty, and then started nipping at him. He stood up, and then she just started spinning in circles right next to him, until he got the hint and left. I wish I had a camera handy. Ty wishes his sister wasn't crazy.

"Who, me?"

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snack Time Angst

Spot is a magnificent beast, but she can be prone to foul tempers, like sometimes during snack time. While the other 3 Chihuahuas constantly wonder if it's pancake-o-clock, Spot only eats her pancakes about half the time. The other half the time I give her a piece of pancake and she starts guarding it, growling at any dog that gets near her. So, I take it away, usually giving it to Smokey.

At that point, Spot usually gives me the icy glare of death, like she was cheated out of her snack. Sometimes I even have to crate her until the foul mood subsides. Sometimes I just go straight to putting peanut butter on hers, but she's been getting some junk in her trunk, so I've been dialing back her calories.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bossy Girl

Now that I'm hustling to be self employed, I've had to leave the doggies alone more often. Spending a year focusing on my health was time well spent, but now a brother's got to eat. And Zoey isn't taking it very well. I'm not gone 8 hours a day and I've already decided not to do that, but she gets clingy when I leave her alone for more than a couple hours.

And when Zoey is clingy, Zoey is bossy. She started jumping on my shoulder and doing a jump-climb behind my back sometimes, which was almost cute until she did it to me shirtless after a workout. She sharpens her claws like a cat; the only dog I've ever seen do that.

Her claws give her cat-like climbing ability and traction, but the first time she tried to climb my back without a shirt on, I screamed like a little girl. That didn't have any effect, because she did it a second time, and I screamed a second time. There will be no third time, because now I just change shirts after ever workout.