Nose studs unite!

When I was in the hospital after having had Leo, I lost my nose stud somewhere along the way and didn’t notice until after I was home.  I’d thought maybe I would go to a piercing parlor and have them put in new jewelry but it took me awhile to recover and after a couple weeks it seemed like the hole had closed up and I didn’t want to bother with getting it pierced again.  It seemed strange that a piercing I’d had for years would close up so quickly, but whatever.

Fast forward to last night when my niece decided it was time to get *her* nose pierced and she and her mom invited me along.  I decided I would get my nose pierced again, and then decided I wasn’t going to after all (who needs that pain for a third time, right?).  I waffled back and forth the whole afternoon and when we pulled up to the parlor decided I’d get it done after all.  My nose piercing is my one claim to rebelliousness I have left!

We had to wait quite a long time and it was closer to 8pm before they called us back.  They had me on the table first and the apprentice explained that she would set up the materials and place the dot and everything and then the pro would come back to actually do the piercing.  When she heard I’d only had my jewelry out four months she thought maybe the hole was still open.  She use a “hole-finder” needle and was able to get it about halfway through but didn’t want to press her luck.  When the piercer got back there he was all business.  Poking the needle this way and that, then eventually checking out the hole from inside the nostril, then BAM! the needle was through.  Let me tell you, it may not have been an actual piercing but it still smarted pretty good.  They didn’t want to have to pierce me with another hole, they said, because even though my nose will be sore for about a week or so it will stretch and heal MUCH more quickly than a new hole.

I chose a different kind of post than I’ve ever had before, it’s threaded.  Basically the post goes though the hole from inside the nostril until the post pokes out on the outside of the nostril, and it has a hollow tube.  The jewel, or topper, has a solid post and it slides into the tube that’s coming out of the nostril.  It’s different, and I like that I won’t have to constantly be on the lookout for a piece of metal coming out of my nose.  I was always adjusting my nose screw because the curly/bendy part was always moving forward when I would talk or blow my nose or whatever.

Then it was Grace’s turn.  She took it like a champ and was super excited after it was done.  I told her that her mom was pretty cool to let her 12-year-old daughter get a nose piercing.  My mom had problems with my extra earring holes in my ears, let alone giving the okay to do my nose.  Then again, I wasn’t into facial jewelry in those days so it would have been a moot point.  But still!  She ended up getting a threaded piece of jewelry as well.  The nice thing about this is that with a regular nose screw you cannot change it for at least three months.  With the threaded jewelry you can swap out the post the next day, they said, because the main part of the post remains in the nose.  Cool, huh?

nose studs unite!

nose studs unite!

My nose was sore last night and it was hindering me from yawning because every time I’d start to yawn my nostrils would flare and that would hurt and that would break the yawn.  It was so unsatisfying!  Grace and I were lamenting our poor ability to yawn and then Velvet yawned a huge yawn while we were driving home.  She was rubbing it in our faces!  But as of about thirty minutes ago my nose suddenly hurts a lot less and I’ve been able to yawn successfully (and satisfyingly) without pain.  I am still contemplating getting my other side done, but I’m also thinking about getting a lip piercing so I purchased a fake lip ring off eBay to see how I like the look on myself, a try-before-you-buy kind of thing.  We’ll see.  Jesse is not a fan of facial jewelry, so who knows if he’d even still give me smooches if I got one.

I made chicken stock a couple nights ago in the pressure cooker and when I went to strain off the veggies and bones a bit of stock splashed out and hit my stomach.  Holy scalding pain, Batman!  It frickin’ hurt, BAD!  Not more than a splash got on me, but it was enough.  When I checked later, there was a spot the size of a dime on my stomach that was all read and the skin was already peeling off.  The next morning that patch was irritated and after my shower the skin came off completely.  So now I have a lovely scald wound from a dash of a splash.  I’m ruined!  Just kidding.  It’s actually on one of my stretch marks so maybe it’ll get rid of it in that area.

Awhile back Benny’s eye were super red so I took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with pink eye.  We were given eye drops (which Benny hated) and his eyes seemed to get better but then Luca seemed to come down with it.  Took him in, same diagnosis, same meds.  I noticed that both their eyes still seemed red so I called the vet to see if I could get drops for both of them to medicate at the same time.  If it is pink eye, they’ve probably just been trading it back and forth.  They agreed to give me the drops so I’ve been medicating the pups since last Wednesday.  As per usual, Benny did not like the drops.  In fact, he flat-out bared his teeth at me when I attempted it the first time this go round.  However, I’ve learned a couple things recently that has helped me.  Benny doesn’t mind the drops if the bottle isn’t close to his eye!  So, if I hold the bottle above his head and use my left hand to kind of tilt his head up, he will stare at me and let the drop fall in his eye!  So much easier!  Luca, however, doesn’t like it when it’s too far above his head (and I don’t blame him; I’d think the farther away the drop the harder it would hit the eye).  And of course I give them a small treat after each drop.

I changed up the treats because the usual training treats weren’t really holding their fancy for this situation.  I busted out the Fruitables and they seem to really like those.  I bought a variety of flavors and they really enjoy the blueberry flavor.  I barely opened the vanilla and they seem to like that as well.  Of course, maybe their desire for them is because the cookie is larger than the regular training treats, who knows?  I dropped an apple slice on the floor the other day and broke it in half and gave it to them and they just chomped it up.

I’ve read up recently about the benefits of chlorella, so I decided to buy some from Amazon.  It’s a blue-green algae and it’s supposed to bind to metals and help with energy and a whole host of other purported benefits.  I’ve  been adding it to my kefir smoothies the past two days.  It’s too early to tell if I’m experiencing any benefits yet.  I also ordered spirulina but it hasn’t been delivered yet.  Fingers crossed I start to get more energy!


The word of the day is: Treats

And by treats, I mean dog treats.  I have been picking up the training with the dogs again and only had a few bags of treats left so I went to Amazon and ordered some more training treats.  I love the Prime shipping with Amazon, our stuff comes so quickly!  Yesterday I received a bunch of treats and dogs were very excited about it.

What do you mean I spend too much on the dogs?

What do you mean I spend too much on the dogs?

I actually received two smaller boxes after this with a couple more treat bags.  And then Best Bully Sticks is having a semiannual sale where everything on the site is 18% off, so of course I had to take advantage of that sale and purchased more treats.  The difference is, the Amazon stuff are for training and are smaller pieces, and the BBS items are larger and for longer chewing sessions.  Either way it was somewhat of a pretty penny spent, but I think it’s worth it.  And I make sure to buy things when they are on sale, so at least it’s less than it could have been.  *Justification*  Ezra helped me move the bags into the book bedroom and he thought that was pretty cool.  I kept sending him back to the kitchen to get more bags and he would come back and say, “I got five bags!” and then, “I got six bags!” and the last time, laughing crazily, “I got seven bags!”  It’s the little things, folks.

I’ve been working with the dogs on targeting, which right now I’m just having them target my hand.  We are also working on sit, down, wait, and loose leash walking.  The walking part Benny has while inside the house, in the backyard he is mediocre and in the front outside the house goes ballistic.  I keep telling myself baby steps, Ashlin, baby steps.  Eventually I WILL be able to take them on walks.  I think I need to practice more while inside the house and backyard, and then up the treat game while in the front, use more exciting treats, because right now they do not give a crap about the treats when we are in the front yard.

I started something new with Benny while training “wait”.  He does the wait fairly well, so I start placing a treat on the floor where he can see it, and then I leave a spaced out trail of treats where he cannot see it (because he is still waiting) and then I tell him to “find it!”  He gets the first one easily since he can see it, and then he has to use his sight and nose to find the rest of the trail.  He seemed to like the game pretty well.

Luca, on the other hand, does not wait very well at all.  Basically if he’s sitting and you take a step back he gets up to follow.  I tried the find it game with him as well but he not only didn’t want to wait, he had a harder time finding the treats on the floor.  In fact, Ezra helped him twice by pointing to where the treats were.  Ezra does pretty well at the find it game:)

Leo had a good run of sleeping straight through the night, and then the past few nights he’s been getting up again.  Wednesday night he was UP THREE TIMES.  Last night it was just around 3am and then he didn’t get up again until 9:30am!  I was so jealous when Jesse told me that.  I was really dragging this morning and would have LOVED to stay in bed when my alarm went off.

I’ve been piling up baby clothes that Leo cannot fit in to bring to the DI, and I asked Jesse if he wanted to get rid of anything.  He went through his clothes and created a large pile of stuff, and then I started going through my own clothes.  A lot of my shirts don’t fit me anymore (some still had tags on them) and it occurred to me that they were rarely worn and still looked mostly new.  I asked Velvet if she wanted to go through them before I donated them and she did.  She ended up keeping all of them but maybe three, so I’m glad someone I know is getting use out of them.  In the end we ended up donating maybe five garbage bags of clothes to the DI.

However, it occurs to me that we should do a major declutter around the house and get rid of more things.  I have an entire bookshelf filled with books that I’ve been trying to sell and really I should probably just donate them because apparently you can buy books at $0.01 in a lot of places, and I’d rather donate my books at a good price so I can write it off on taxes later.  I also think a lot of people are like me and now get books in electronic format and simply are not buying physical books.  There is something to be said for the tangibility of books, but I really like how ebooks take up no space whatsoever.  And then I could use that bookcase for storing other items.  Like my many bags of dog treats.

Jesse is getting excited for elk hunting, I think.  He’s bought a few game bags and new knives, and other hunting gear.  Fingers crossed he gets something!  Also fingers crossed that Dustin and his son get elk because they don’t like the meat, they just like the sport, and then we get the meat!  Jesse has it all planned out how he’s going to process the buck, what pieces to keep, organs for the dogs, and then we’re also going to retain some bones for the dogs, too, like ribs and stuff.  This will be a really healthy way to supplement their diet, where they typically just get chicken.

Mister still hasn’t come home, I don’t think he ever will.  But Jojo is still around.  She mainly only comes in when the dogs are kenneled, but she’s been braver lately, creeping in when no one hears her.  We installed a new dog door that she was timid to use but I think she’s got it down now.  The last was so ratty it was barely hanging on to the frame.  This one actually has three doors/pieces to keep out the weather and it seems so much more energy efficient.

I’m not sure if our peach trees are going to survive.  They were both split down the middle but they might pull through.  On the other hand, I don’t like how close they are to the back fence.  We have grapes on the back fence and I have to duck under tree limbs and the grapes are being eaten by wasps and yellow jackets and I do not like being forced into such close proximity.  So maybe we will just dig up those trees and not have peach trees in the yard.  Jesse doesn’t like peaches anyway….

I was also thinking of maybe hiring someone to clear out/strip all the weeds/vegetation from the yard so we can start fresh.  I was thinking we could get someone into there with a small cat tractor and it could have some kind of a rake attachment that just pulls out everything, but Jesse said it doesn’t work like that.  I also want to change our plans for the layout of the garden area vs the strip of grass/turf area.  It’s all in flux, and really it depends on what kind of money we can scrape together.  *sigh*  A girl can dream about a nice backyard, right?


It looks like our skunk problem has gone away, for the time being at least.  Jesse has been locking up the hens at night and I think he’s been perhaps feeding them their scraps in the coop at well, making it less enticing for vermin to come into our yard.

Mister kitty is still missing.  Well, missing may not be the right word.  We think another family in the neighborhood took him in.  I was going to put up fliers but I figure if he left us to go to another family nothing will be solved by us forcibly removing him from them because he’d just go back.  So at this point I choose to believe he is living as an indoor cat somewhere in our neighborhood.  Every day I come home from work Joline meets me under the carport and I ask her if she’s seen her brother that day.  She meows back at me but as I’m not fluent in cat I cannot say for sure if she is telling me the truth.

Benny has been flipping his ears frequently again and when I looked in his right ear it was all kinds of cracked up in there.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t mites but I had Jesse take him in to the vet to get it looked at.  Apparently the last time we were in there for Benny they were supposed to give us ear medicine to squirt in his ears but they never did.  They gave it to us for free this time, so that was cool, but the vet didn’t tell Jesse what the problem with the ear was and Jesse didn’t think to ask.  I’m considering checking out a new vet, this place doesn’t really seem on top of things.  We put the meds in Benny’s ears last night and he didn’t love it.  I make sure to give him loves and treats after it but he really resists the procedure and we basically have to force him down to make it happen.

Speaking of not on top of things, we still haven’t received Leo’s official paperwork, like his social security card.  At least, I don’t think we’ve received it yet.  For a few weeks in the beginning, maybe even the first couple months, I may have received it and just spaced it and put it somewhere.  I’ll have to call about it this week.

The dogs have been driving us crazy lately.  They started pulling out towels and sheets from the alcove in the hall and chewing them up and taking them into the backyard.  I was finally motivated to organize the upstairs bathroom closet to clean off some shelves but I haven’t put up all chewables yet.  The pups have also been getting into the clean cloth diapers and the unused disposables and shredding them.  Apparently we cannot leave anything remotely enticing around.  *sigh*

Jesse tells me we have a lot of grapes on the vine but I haven’t been back there yet to pick some.  Last year I was all about the grapes and this year I’ve been slacking.  It looks like the hens love them, though.

We’re still standing still on working on the back yard.  Maybe in the fall we will work on it, get some grass growing or something.  I read a lot of blogs from folks who live in less arid climates and I’m always so envious to see the lush greenery.  Of course, they have to contend with crazy mugginess but I could probably deal with that.

Jesse only has one year left of school before he graduates and we’re tentatively looking at the Pacific NW as a place to relocate.  I really liked my time in Eugene and Corvallis, so maybe around there somewhere?

I’ve been on an Amazon spending spree lately.  Today I purchased a mini stair stepper, a rowing machine, and a gazelle elliptical.  Jesse and I have been talking about trying to work out more and even though we have a rec center membership to a place that’s maybe half a mile away we almost never go there.  Plus, they have a very small cardio area, and they close at 9pm.  I figure if we have some stuff at home, maybe we’ll use it.  I also saw a slide board and those look kind of cool but I don’t know how often I’d use it.  I bet Ezra would love it…

Ezra’s birthday is coming up so I’ve been scouting Amazon for gift ideas and I’ve found a bunch of cooperative games that I want to get him.  Have you heard of cooperative games?  They are kind of neat in that you all work together instead of against one another.  It teaches teamwork.  I bought a game for Velvet for her birthday and it’s freaking awesome!  It’s called Hanabi and it’s most definitely not a drinking game.  Everyone gets four cards and they have to face outward so you don’t see your own, and everyone has to give clues about the cards and you have to try to remember where they are in your hand in order to play them in a correct order.  I really liked it, and that got me interested in more cooperative games, so now my Amazon wish list is filled with them.

I’ve been making us kefir smoothies and have lately started putting in spinach and turmeric and cinnamon.  Mostly it’s made up of kefir and fruit, but I’d like to get it to the point where it’s less fruit and more veg.  Something to strive for, anyway.

37 weeks and counting

I am now officially 37 weeks, 1 day pregnant.  I’m so close to the end goal and while I’m really hoping I hold out until my official due date (May 10th), this baby is feeling quite cramped and I’m a bit worried he’s going to be huge.  At this stage I am less worried about a uterine rupture and dying (which is what I worried about earlier in pregnancy) than I am about being able to labor unmedicated.

I used to think people who birthed with no meds were crazy.  Why not take advantage of science when it allows you to birth virtually pain free?  *Those* people were crazy hippies who just wanted to flout their ability to withstand pain and rub it into the rest of our faces.  But now after having read up about how one intervention leads to another and it can snowball until you end up with a c-section (witness Ezra’s birth), and the fact that doctors try to use as little interventions as possible in a VBAC candidate, I’m left looking at an all-natural birth.

I don’t typically handle pain well.  Being uncomfortable, sure, I can deal with that, but flat-out pain, not so much.  I’m trying to tell myself that because I won’t have pitocin this time (which severely increases contraction length and strength) and no manual breaking of water, it should be a more mellow labor process than last time.  Even just typing this is making my heart beat a little faster.  It’s freaking me out!  So maybe I just won’t think about it now.  Maybe I’ll put off thinking about it until I’m actually in labor?  Yeah, that sounds like a solid plan.

I do need to get my hospital bag put together.  Some stuff for me, some stuff for Leo.  Even Jesse has asked me when I plan on getting that together.  Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend.

We had the dog behaviorist trainer come over and she liked the stuff we’ve been working on so far and had some other ideas for training on resource guarding.  We also worked a bit on the issue of the dogs chasing the cats.  Her steps made sense, but we not going to be able to implement them at all because it all revolves around the dogs basically never having access to chase the cats, and short of keeping the dogs crated at all times there is no way to prevent that.  We’re not going to close the dog door, and we’re not going to keep the cats inside with a litter pan.  She did acknowledge that we have to pick our battles, and that’s just one I’m not going to choose to do.  She also recommended getting a flirt pole to exercise the dogs.  I thought walking/running was the best way to exercise, but apparently something in which they are physically *and* mentally stimulated is the best.  I don’t know if I’ll have Jesse make one or if I’ll just buy one.

I’ve just been reading up on articles that say you should never get littermates because it can lead to something called littermate syndrome in which the dogs bond to each other instead of humans.  It makes a lot of sense, but then I also see articles that are refuting this theory.  I still go around in circles on keeping Luca but I think we’ll keep him.  He does exhibit some of the symptoms to a certain extent, like how he always needed to be near Benny and would freak out when separated, but lately he’s been calming down on those traits.  Who knows.

We were going to have a lady come out to clean our house once a month, but when I called to actually set up a time and set a schedule, she let me know that she had to take over her niece’s clients and was no longer accepting new houses.  I asked Velvet if she wanted the job and she said yes:)  It might be weird that my sister is cleaning my kitchen and bathrooms, but seriously I don’t care.  If she’s willing to do a good job for the money I’m willing to pay, I will pay that money.  I HATE cleaning bathrooms.  And now we can have clean bathrooms again, woohoo!

When things don’t go as planned, oh well

We were supposed to have a behaviorist come and see Benny and Luca tonight to start working on resource guarding.  However, Benny ripped a toenail the other day and we were going to take him in to the vet today so we rescheduled with the behaviorist for next week.  I thought dog toenails were like people toenails in that they would just fall off when injured.  I looked it up online yesterday, though, and apparently it’s one type of injury that you should take the dog to the vet to get looked at.  It’s now been about five days since we noticed the injury.  Oops.

So today I get up and Benny walked by me and I noticed his nail was just barely hanging by a thread, flopping around when he walked.  Completely grossed me out.  It didn’t seem to hurt him much when I gently pulled at it to see it if would come off.  I didn’t want to tug too hard and cause it to bleed, so I just left it there and figured that either he would chew it off or it would fall off somewhere outside while he was running around.  At that point we decided that we wouldn’t take him to the vet after all; his toe itself didn’t seem inflamed and he didn’t pull away when we gently prodded the foot, and we really don’t need a vet bill on top of everything else.  About an hour later I noticed the nail had indeed fallen off and everything looks fine.  We still may do a foot soak with Epsom salt as I hear that is very healing to wounds.

Dad and Dani were supposed to come down this past Friday and stay until Tuesday but Dani got a bad cold and they didn’t want to infect us folk with it, so they stayed home.  Velvet and I had already taken today off of work, so we decided to keep the day off anyway and we went and got pedicures.  It was especially nice for me since I can barely reach my feet these days, but because it was a nail school, the tech I got was very timid.  I wanted to be all, get in there, get those calluses!  But I don’t think she would have understood me.  Oh well, it is what it is, and at least my toenails are pretty.

We went out to eat at Café Rio after that and it totally raised my blood glucose when I tested it a couple hours later but I had pretty much expected that and I figure high numbers once in a while is probably ok compared to high numbers all the time.  Velvet dropped me off back at home, and then it was time to do some training with the dogs.

So far I had done two trainings each with the dogs, using 50 treats each time.  Today I decided to use 100 treats for each dog’s session.  I am still working with getting them used to the harnesses.  Benny actually picks up training pretty quickly.  I would like him to be in a seated position when I work on getting his harness on, but he seems to like being in a down position, so that’s what I am working with.  He seemed to quickly get the gist of my moving the harness up and down, touching his body under the harness and adjusting the fit of the harness.  I also worked on taking off the harness and putting his feet into position to get the harness on.  Ideally he would just step into the harness, but at this stage I will take what I can get.  When he was done with his session I put him in his crate and let out Luca.

Luca took awhile to settle down as he is ALL about the treats and likes to mug me when I sit down.  Luca really doesn’t like having his paws touched, so I had to learn to touch and click quickly so that he was more interested in getting the treat than he was in moving his feet.  Eventually we worked up to me putting on and taking off the harness, adjusting the harness, and moving his feet into the harness holes.  By the end of the session he was letting me move his feet into position pretty well.  He was still kind of weird about me touching him under the harness and adjusting the harness, but I think that was more because he was trying to figure out if I had treats in my hand.

So far for the 1,000 Treat Challenge we are up to:
Benny =  three sessions, 200 treats
Luca = three sessions, 200 treats

I had to open a new bag of training treats, so I think we will be using them at a nice pace.  I had an email from Amazon that the remaining treats are being shipped later than anticipated.  To be honest, I had forgotten there was more to that order that we had not received yet.  All in all, we can probably do a number of 1,000 Treat Challenges at this point, and I’m ok with that.

tired out puppies

tired puppies

While my next skill building I’m planning on is to work on leashes with the intent that we can someday walk these dogs, there was a video that really spoke to me that I watched today.  It was about training incompatible behavior techniques.  For this woman, every time she bent down to pick up something from the floor, her dog would mug her face.  This is something our dogs do as well and I would like to train them out of it.  Eventually she trained her dog that every time the woman bent over, the dog would go into a default down position.

This is definitely something I’d like to work on.  It seems like it would tie in nicely with a “leave it” command.

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions

Ezra, looks over Lincoln Log instructions while sleepy dogs sleep on