Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2011 and to welcome in 2012.

I'm feeling a bit melancholy tonight, which is no real surprise. I welcomed 2011 with my sisters at our family Christmas party and I'm finding myself missing that family connection this year. I miss my sisters, and more than that, I miss my mom and dad. Funny, I expected Christmas to be the day that bothered me most over this holiday season and instead it's today. I'm not so good with change, you see, and things are definitely changing in my family.

Ian and I are spending tonight with Gozer watching the various specials. We went for a hugely long walk with her and the neighbour's dogs earlier this evening. It's gorgeous outside: there's no precipitation and the temperature is hovering around freezing. It wasn't hard to stay out there with the dogs for a long time - what a difference from last year, when I was walking around, lost, trying to find my sister's place in the cold Edmonton temperatures! T

Ian, Gozer, and I wish that 2012 brings happiness, good health, and much love to you and your loved ones.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Yesterday's Denosumab

Yesterday was Denosumab day at the hospital. There was almost one one there because of the holidays which made for a lovely experience. I don't normally get such a great parking space or have so much room to myself. There weren't as many muffin flavours in the cafeteria as usual but I'd happily give up muffin flavours for fewer people.

The bloodwork and port access went smoothly. When I settled into the chair for the denosumab appointment, the nurse sternly asked me if I was on any calcium supplements. I tried to be strong but after a few minutes I meekly admitted that I had taken some, and then I ran out, and then I didn't buy any more... but I'd buy some today before I left the hospital. She didn't say that was ok or anything; all she said was that my calcium was low and that I'd have to see the pharmacist.

I was a bit nervous (ok, I might have been freaking out a little bit) to hear that there was something wrong. The pharmacist came with printouts that showed that my adjusted calcium (the one that includes albumin) is 2.05 and should be at least 2.1. Apparently the denosumab works so much better than the Pamidronae did that it's really important to take the extra calcium. There's no cause for alarm right now as long as I start taking calcium and vitamin D and continue to take it.

The pharmacist recommended that I start taking Ultra Tums because each tablet has 1000mg of calcium in it so I bought a bottle of that along with a bottle of vitamin D. I don't want to get into trouble or to reduce the effectiveness of my treatment. I also don't want to feel afraid that there's something wrong until there really is cause for alarm.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New word

We learned a new word while we were away. I'd bought some beef chew thingies for Gozer back before she first came home and we decided to give them to her in her Christmas stocking. I'd looked at the package and I didn't really think much about what was in it. There was some small lettering that said "beef pizzle" but I thought that this was just a special way of preparing beef or something.

It turns out that "pizzle" refers not to a way of preparing beef but a specific part of the bull (not the cow), and it isn't the testicles. The French translation - penis - should have tipped me off, but I didn't read that part. Apparently those treats are made of stretched, dried bull penis. And Gozer loved it. She gnawed on that treat for a couple of hours while all of the people were in another room. Normally she wanted to be in the same room as the majority of people but this treat trumped even that. I never thought my dog would love dried bull penis so much (if you know what I mean).

Of course once we found out that my dog was eating and loving bull penis, we couldn't leave the topic alone. There are a thousand jokes to be made here and believe me, we've been making them. How could we not? If I get too many spam comments from this post, I'll close commenting on this post. For now, feel free to be creative. After all, what's the point of learning new words and concepts if you can't use them?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My new warm coat

While we were visiting Ian's parents I took some time to do a little shopping. I don't know whether or not I've mentioned this before but I've been looking for a warm winter coat to wear while walking Gozer in the winter. I have a winter coat but it just isn't warm enough for me to be out for any length of time when it's really cold out. Add in the fact that I have temperature control issues (I get cold really easily and I start sweating when I'm cold, making me colder) and it's clear that I need a really warm coat.

Over the years I've bought a few winter coats and based on how well those coats worked for me, I developed a list of must-haves for this warm winter coat I wanted. A heavy-duty double zipper is an absolute necessity because a wimpy dress zipper can break too easily or not zip properly in the cold. It's also important to be able to unzip the coat from the bottom for walking or sitting. Storm cuffs - preferably made of ribbing or fleece so that they conform to the wrist and are warm - are also absolutely necessary because otherwise my wrists get cold or I get snow up my sleeves. I love having a hood to keep the wind off of my neck but it has to be adjustable so it doesn't fly off in the wind. For me to stay warm, the coat has to be at least knee length.

The warmest, lightest fill out there is down so I definitely wanted a down-filled coat. I did a bit of research and I found out that there are different fill combinations, with the most common being 50% down and 50% feathers. I read that the greater the proportion of down, the warmer the coat will be, so I decided that I wanted the the fill to be at least 60% down with no more than 40% feathers.

Surprisingly, out of all of those requirements, the hardest one to meet has been storm cuffs. Even the high-end coats that are super-warm with fill made of 90-100% down don't have storm cuffs. What's up with that? Clearly most super-warm coats aren't made for our Canadian winters. The lack of storm cuffs on winter coats has made this search take much longer than I thought it would.

Lucky for me, I finally found myself a coat that meets every one these requirements, including having storm cuffs! I went to Sporting Life and found myself this Canadian Spirit Rosedale coat in black, on sale for half price, making it below what I'd been prepared to pay.

Yep, I'm excited about this coat. On me, it comes down to just below mid-calf or to about the top of my boots which is perfect. There are zippers at the hem on each side to make walking easier, if I need the room.  It's also got 90% down/10% feathers fill, making it super-warm. The only thing I was worried about was that it was too shapeless on me, or that it looked too much like I was wearing a down comforter because when I put it on it felt like I was wrapping myself in a down comforter.

I called Ian and described my dilemma. He pointed out that the kind of coat I was looking for would almost certainly be a bit shapeless on me and since this one met all my other requirements, I should buy it. So I did. He was surprised when he saw it because the chevron stitching and vertical lines are flattering. It's less of a shapeless comforter than I thought it would be - and did I mention that it's super-warm?

Because I'll be wearing this coat out in the cold and possibly the dark, I need to figure out a way to add some reflective tape or something to it without compromising the integrity of the coat. That way I'll be more visible to drivers and other people. I might be able to add some around the cuffs and hood. I could also maybe make a belt or something with the reflective tape - we'll see. I have to think about it.

I'm thrilled that I found the coat. I'm even more thrilled that I was purchased it for a reasonable amount and that I didn't have to sacrifice any of my requirements for it. I wore it out today while walking Gozer because it's cold and quite windy out there and I was snuggly warm in the coat. I felt the wind as pressure but not as a cold force on me. This coat is definitely everything I wanted it to be and I'm almost looking forward to wearing it in the deep cold that will be on its way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Belated Merry Christmas

I hope that you all had a good Christmas surrounded by the people you love while eating delicious food and giving and receiving great presents. Our Christmas was wonderful: we spent it with Ian's parents as well as Ian's brother and his wife. I always look forward to going there because I love seeing Ian's parents and I enjoy spending time with them.

I had a wonderful time visiting and hanging out with Ian's parents this past week and I'm thrilled that we were there. I do wish I got along better with my sister-in-law, though. She's got a strong personality and when I'm around her I often feel like a backwards country cousin. I also feel like we're not quite connecting on things even though we've got some similar interests; I feel kind of like she's dismissed the possibility of any kind of relationship with me, if that makes sense. At least we're civil and respectful to each other even if we aren't close friends.

It turns out that Gozer loves going to Ian's parent's house and seeing Ian's parents as much as I do! She settled in right away and acted pretty much like she owned the place and every lap in it after only a few minutes. She loved sitting on Ian's parent's laps - or their feet - for hours at a time. On those rare occasions where she wasn't sitting on a lap she was happy to sit on her cushion in the same room as them.

Ian's mom outdid herself again by cooking a delicious turkey dinner complete with a ton of vegetable options for Christmas along with muffins for breakfast and each other dinner. She also made lots of fantastic desserts and cookies. I don't know how she's able to get all that cooking and baking done but I'm selfishly happy that she does it because I really enjoy the fruits of her labour. I've eaten so much over the last few days that even though I haven't eaten much today, I still feel full. It's a happy full feeling, of course!

While I was prepared to stay there for a couple of extra days, between my denosumab early Thursday morning, Ian's plans with friends tomorrow night, and the snow we got today, it was better for us to come home today. I hope that we'll be able to go back for a visit or that they'll come here soon. In the meantime, we've got Christmas books and video games (while cuddling Gozer) to keep up occupied.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gozer's second bath

Gozer's second bath today went much better than her first one. We bought a bathmat for the tub that gave her some traction and a shower head that had a setting for a trickle of water. We didn't have to fill the tub with water, which she liked better, and she didn't have to be doused with water, which she definitely preferred. She still didn't love the experience but it went a lot better this time.

We wanted to get Gozer nice and clean not just because we're supposed to wash her every few days but because we're getting ready to go to Mississauga for Christmas and we want her to look her best. Or as best as she can considering that she went out for a walk in the rain after her bath. Traveling with a dog is much more complicated than traveling alone: we have to wash her coats and towels and gather up her food, her crate, her toys, and I don't know what else. I thought that getting myself organized was hard!

I hope that Gozer's mostly clean, shiny cute state will be so distracting that no one minds her occasional barkiness. Her barking is adorable when she's playing with her toys but something dramatically less than adorable at night. Hopefully she'll be good while we're there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oncology appointment yesterday

I saw my oncologist yesterday for my regular visit. Well, it wasn't my oncologist because she was away so I saw someone who's been helping out at this cancer center. Apparently there are two oncologists at this center on maternity leave so they're a little shorthanded and this oncologist was called in from Hamilton.

I actually really liked this replacement oncologist. She and her nurse (who she'd brought from Hamilton) was very thorough in taking my history and understanding what's happened with me. She and her nurse both had an efficient yet caring manner. They dealt with me as though I will be their patient from now on, which I liked because I felt like I didn't have to worry about my care: I won't slip through the cracks the way I did when I first started going to this cancer center if my oncologist is out for a while. Of course I really want my own oncologist to come back but at least I'm getting great care when she's not there.

My CA 15-3 tumour markers were 40, up from 37 last time but still in the low zone. The oncologist ordered a mammogram for me (it was supposed to be ordered before yesterday's appointment), which is scheduled for tomorrow. She also gave me the prescription I'll need for the denosumab when I start getting it at home in February.

I'm happy I have an actual prescription for the denosumab instead of the cancer center calling it in somewhere because I have a bit more time to decide where it goes. I'm not happy with my pharmacy because when my prescriptions come in boxes one pharmacist tapes them together even though I've asked them multiple times to not do that and there's supposed to be a note on the file. There are two problems with this approach, especially with the pain medication prescription: first, I can't get the boxes open when they're taped together because of the way they open; and second, out of the four boxes I get, only two have a label on them. I'm hugely uncomfortable using pain medication boxes that don't have pharmacy labels on them.

I'm going to talk to the pharmacy (preferably the pharmacist who's doing this) one more time about this issue and if the next refill comes with the boxes taped together, I'll find myself a new pharmacy. I'll have to be sure that they can fill the denosumab, of course.

At least I'm happy with the cancer center and my tumour markers (and therefore my cancer) are still stable. Now that's some great news!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A clean Gozer

Gozer had her first bath today. I managed to get through the experience with only one set of scratches on my shoulder, although Ian's forearms are much more scratched up. It turns out that Gozer doesn't like the sound of the water going into the tub or the feeling of water being poured over her body. She'd be happy to do without the lathering bit, too, or really any part of the process.

Unfortunately for her, there are more baths in her future because the bumps on her belly are still there. Because the antibiotics helped a bit and Gozer was quite dirty, the vet thinks that the bumps might just be reactions to the dirt and possible allergens on her skin. The bumps were there when she was being fed the natural lamb meal and rice kibble we first fed her so the vet doesn't think the bumps are a food allergy.

To cleanse Gozer, the vet recommended that we give her a bath every other day for about a week using a mild oatmeal and aloe vera shampoo to soothe her skin. If after a week the bumps are better, we're to go in and get her a conditioner to use after bathing. If the bumps aren't better, then she wants us to use a medicated shampoo. Of course if Gozer gets super-itchy after being bathed and develops new bumps or sores, we'll stop using the product.

She didn't lick her belly at all afterwards so I'm beginning to think there is something in the environment causing the bumps. She looks so much better after having the bath: her white fur is whiter and it's all fluffy and pretty. I hope that she becomes more used to having a bath and begins to even enjoy the process.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shopping for Gozer

We took Gozer shopping while the house was cleaned today. There's a Ren's Pet Depot about a 15 or 20 minute walk away so we went there. While Gozer was fairly well-behaved most of the time, Ian had to take her out of the store a few times when her barking, lunging, leaping alter-ego showed up. One of these days we'd love it if she didn't bark at other dogs.

We ended up buying her two new coats. One is similar to the one she got when she left the Humane Society and the other is a fancy waterproof outer shell with a double-layered fleece detachable liner. The shell and liner can be worn together or separately so it's basically a 3-in-1 coat. It cost more than some coats we've bought for ourselves!

We also bought her some new toys: a Nylabone bone, a Nylabone ring, and a stuffed hippo. She hasn't shown any interest in the Nylabone products but that might be because she's so much more interested in the hippo. She took it right away and likes playing with it to make it squeak. She's also spent most of the evening asleep between my legs on the chair with the hippo in her mouth. You'd think her jaw would get sore but she seems quite content.

We also bought her some hypoallergenic shampoo. The red bumps on her belly are still there even though the antibiotics end tomorrow. She also scratches at her belly a lot and worries at her paws with her teeth so we think she might have sensitive skin. Of course we haven't given her a bath yet so her fur is a little dirty, which could be contributing to her itchiness.

We spent about an hour at the store and we have very few things to show for it. Making decisions is hard! Will she want this toy, or that one? This bone, or that one? This brand, or the other one? At the same time, it was kind of fun because we got to see her reaction to the toys and squeaks and we could try on the different coats. She wears different sizes depending on the brand so trying things on is important. I love that I can take her into the store with us (even if she does bark).

Shopping for Gozer is nearly as much fun as shopping for myself... and only slightly less expensive. Watching her carry around the stuffed hippo makes the adventure well worth the adventure.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gozer progress report

Gozer and I are doing very well in our behaviour modification training. I'm thrilled with the progress we've made!

Ian crates her when he leaves for work and before I look at her, talk to her, or let her out of her crate, I've started ignoring her completely for at least 20 or 30 minutes. She has to be completely calm and relaxed before I let her out and I have to wait so she doesn't associate me getting up with her getting out.  I've also stopped giving her looks, hugs, and pets in the half-hour before bedtime so that I'm not withdrawing my affections at the same time as she goes in the crate and she doesn't associate the two things. She still sleeps on the chair with me before bed so she's in physical contact with me but there's no targeted affection.

Another thing we're trying to promote is a feeling of independence in her. Ian had wanted me to crate her when I had my bath but I've been using that time for her to be on her own outside of the crate. At first I was letting her into the master bedroom while I had my afternoon bath in the master ensuite but she ends up sleeping on the bed, which is something we don't want her to do just now (or maybe ever). Because I'm trying to ignore bad behaviours, I'd just grab her collar without touching her fur and, without saying anything, lead her down off the bed. 

The person we saw last Monday said that it is more important to develop her feeling of independence than it is to keep her off of the furniture. However, I don't want her to get used to sleeping on our bed when she has a perfectly good ottoman to sleep on in the living room. Today, after she realized I was running water for my bath, she went and slept on her ottoman all by herself. I closed the door anyway, of course.

Gozer is also behaving a lot better on our walks although when she does behave badly, she turns into a wriggling, leaping, barking, demonspawn of a dog. At least she's good about walking beside me instead of in front of me and she's very good about waiting to cross streets or giving up on yummy-to-her smells.

She's also learning that we control the food and the exit doors in the house and will wait for permission before eating or going through a door. She still has a lot to learn, as do I, but we're definitely making good progress.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Old tv series

Occasionally I get tired of watching regular television. As much as I like watching such compelling shows as Judge Judy or People's Court, the people and the cases featured can be rather tedious. I also think of my mom when I watch these shows because she used to watch them, too, and sometimes those memories are more than I can handle.

On days like today, where I'm feeling a bit sad and upset, I also have no patience for movies. I was thrilled to find the perfect solution on Netflix: the original Alfred Hitchcock Presents series! I remember watching the "new and improved" version when I was growing up. I also have hazy memories of watching the re-runs of the original episodes but I could be mixing up the show with something else. The original version is so much better than the 80s remake and it's a pleasure to watch each episode.

I've been immersed in the series for most of the day and I feel like I'm discovering an old friend in each episode. I love the stories, the acting, Hitchcock's statements, the set design, and the costumes. I'm watching episodes shot in 1955 and everyone is wearing clothes from that era and are surrounded by items from that era. It's like taking a peek into the past, being able to see how people lived back them. Well, how they lived according to television, anyways.

Right now Netflix has only the first 61 episodes (the first three seasons) available. I hope that they add the remaining four seasons before I'm finished watching these first three. This might not be the best use of my time but I'm enjoying it so it can't be the worst thing for me to do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Things are looking up

Things are getting better. I heard back from the dog training facility and there's room for Gozer starting on January 8 and going for seven weeks. Hopefully by the end of it I'll be able to handle Gozer easily.

We had quite the walk today. We met a few dogs on our path and one of them seemed really interested in Gozer. I asked the owner if it was ok for her to approach and he said that his dog wasn't that good on the leash. It turns out that "not that good on the leash" means "will bite my dog". They were sniffing snouts when the owner tried to pull his dog away and the dog bit her on the face. Gozer wasn't hurt and no skin was broken (thank goodness!) so Ian thinks it was a dominance thing and not an attack. Gozer reacted by barking like crazy while I pulled her away. That owner could use some obedience training with his dog.

Last night was a bit tough for Gozer because her crate was in the living room instead of the bedroom. She barked a few times before I went to sleep and at least once after I was in bed. If she barked after that, I didn't hear it. In the morning Gozer didn't pee as much as she normally does so Ian was worried that she'd soiled her bed (another sign of separation anxiety). Fortunately, her bed was try and didn't smell so she was probably just a bit dehydrated. I know that the pee habits of our dog might be a little TMI but this is an important subject to us.

Gozer spent quite even more time in her crate today because I had an appointment with my psychologist. My next appointment will be in January (although I could see her next week if necessary) and she wanted to be sure that I have my coping skills and techniques in place for the holidays. I think I'm in good enough shape to handle things - not that I expect much to come up. The point is that I have the tools I need and the more I use them, the better able I'll be to handle things as they come up. This is definitely good news.

Monday, December 12, 2011

More about dog training

I'm feeling a bit better today although I still had moments where I felt inadequate and that I couldn't train Gozer right.

Fortunately, we started the behavioural modification program at the vet's today. We were given a number of good tips that will hopefully help us deal with Gozer. For example, because she fixates on me so much, I have to give my bedtime goodnights a half hour before bedtime and then completely ignore her while Ian puts her to bed.

The person also suggested that we take Gozer's crate out of the bedroom so that she can develop some independence from us. Well, from me, anyways. She'd prefer to follow me everywhere, if she could, and to always be at my side, which is where her separation anxiety comes from. At least we caught it early.

I've also sent in a request to join a dog training course that starts in early January. I felt that the only way I could get over my feelings of inadequacy was to take steps to gain more knowledge. Sometimes a whiny pity party is what I need but it's not a long-term solution. I'm learning that it's better to face whatever's bothering me instead of avoiding it; in this case, facing my feelings of inadequacy about training Gozer means to learn how to train her.

You know, I knew that owning dogs and cats were really different and that there were dog people and cat people but I never really understood the differences. Well, now I know. When you own a cat, you basically just accept the cat for what it is and allow it to be itself while you be yourself. You can train it to do things if you want to but training isn't required. Owning a dog means calmly training it and being its pack leader. In fact, you bond while training the dog whereas you bond with the cat when it cuddles.

Owning a dog is rewarding but it's more work than owning a cat would be. I think it's safe to say that I am and always will be a cat person. At the same time, I'm learning to be a dog person, although it will take some time before I'm comfortable in my new role.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A sad start to the day

I've been quite busy over the last few days and so I haven't been sleeping well, leaving me feeling extremely tired. I've also been feeling a bit inadequate because Gozer isn't behaving well and I have no idea what I'm doing with her and I wasn't happy with the things I made in my metalsmithing class. And of course I'm still feeling sad about my mom. It was cold yesterday and I was flooded with memories of being in Edmonton after my mom died.

With all that going on it wasn't really a surprise that I had a huge meltdown last night. I started quietly crying in my bath and when I went to the other bedroom I started sobbing. I also started feeling like I was useless and that I couldn't do anything right. I knew that this was (and still is) a complete exaggeration but that didn't seem to matter at the time.

When I woke up I was still feeling very sad and still crying and I took half an ativan. I"m finally feeling better now. We spent some time this afternoon taking Gozer for a walk and then making some seasonal displays with branches and stuff Ian's mom gave me. Doing something creative helped me take my mind off of my perceived inadequacies, which made a huge improvement in my mood. Having a nap afterwards has also made a huge difference in how I'm feeling.

This evening Gozer seemed to want to play but didn't want to chase any of her usual toys. Ian brought out a small, quietly squeaky cow and she loves it. We've never seen her so attached to anything before! She made it squeak a little bit and then just carried it around with her. She even took it with her onto her ottoman and slept with it in her mouth - which was adorably cute, by the way. When we went downstairs she carried her cow with her and is sleeping contentedly on her cow (when it's not in her mouth, that is). Maybe she'll be calmer when we leave if she gets to sleep with the cow? I hope so.

Watching Gozer happily walk around with this little stuffed cow - with a cow foot on each side of her mouth - had me collapsing in giggles at just how cute she is. I may not know what I'm doing in raising a dog but I know how to love her and I want to make her happy. Watching her carry around the cow showed me that she's going to be all right, even if it takes a while for me to figure out how to train her. I'm not inadequate; I'm just learning. And it's ok to be sad when I remember last year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Walking the dogs

I think I mentioned before that we're looking after the neighbour's two shih-tzu dogs at the end of December. In order to be prepared to do this, we've been trying to take the two dogs out walking with Gozer. Tonight was out second full attempt and it went quite well.

One of the dogs didn't want to be out and kept dragging behind and turning around to go home until we reached a point where it was clear that we were heading home. After that, the three little doggies walked almost side-by-side ahead of us so we were treated to a view of two pom-pom tail bums and one snake-tail bum. The two neighbour dogs haven't yet learned the trick of getting the leash out from under them, which means that they can end up hamstringing themselves if we're not careful.

After the walk was over we brought the other dogs home and our neighbours invited us in for a bit. Those two dogs are spoiled! They have a huge toybox and a ton of pig ears and feet and other bones for their dogs to gnaw at. It turns out that Gozer also likes pig ears and bones. In fact, she got herself a bone and carried it around when she wasn't gnawing at it. That bone came home with us - she was awfully cute carrying it! Of course we won't let her have the bone when we're not able to supervise her in case there are spurs or anything.

The neighbours also have a ton of treats for their dogs and we ended up bringing some home after giving Gozer small pieces of each one. I tell you, if she goes over there to visit, she's going to get spoiled with food and bones and toys. She didn't do much playing with the other dogs but all three were quite content to hang out in the same room together.

As we walk the three of them more frequently, they'll get used to the way we walk which will hopefully make looking after them relatively easy.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Party and Gozer

Last night's party was fun. They had some actors through dinner doing a murder mystery version of the Scrooge tale and a hypnotist after dessert. The hypnotist stuff was funny at the start while the people were doing some "whitewater rafting". It became much less funny when the hypnotist gave one guy the suggestion that he couldn't say the number six and then put the guy in several situations where he needed to say the number six. The guy is a smart fellow so used all sorts of tricks to define the number six without being able to say it. It's funny if you think that people who stutter or stammer are funny... which I don't. At least now I can say that I've seen a hypnotist in action.

Poor Gozer had a tough time while we were gone. she was frantically panting when we got home and had clearly been trying to escape the crate; her bed was turned around and the blankets were pulled into the crate. We took her outside right afterwards and she had a very big poo, followed by two more poos on the walk we took afterward.

When I left for my metalsmithing class tonight she was howling :( It was so hard to hear her howling and barking and to have to leave her but I did. When Ian got home she was in a panicky state again.

I took Gozer in to the vet this morning for another booster shot and we talked about her behaviour last night. The vet and I agreed that she's showing early signs of separation anxiety. She's got a program they're starting there to heal deal with separation anxiety that involves the mild anti-anxiety drug Reconcile (fluoxetine, or Prozac for dogs) and behaviour modification training. I've signed us up for it and she started taking the pills today. We'll go in to start the rest of the process on Monday.

Gozer also has some bumps on her tummy and the vet gave me some antibiotics for that. It turns out that Gozer doesn't like taking pills by themselves so I lightly covered each one in peanut butter. She loved that.

I have more metalsmithing tomorrow so hopefully Gozer will be fine with Ian for the day. She's very attached to me and has a hard time when I'm not here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Christmas party tomorrow

Ian's Christmas party is tomorrow night. I bought six different dresses online over the last few weeks and of those, only two looked good. I'm sending the other four back because they just don't look right. I'd have worn last year's dress the dress from two years ago* but I've lost about ten pounds since then and it doesn't fit. Besides, I couldn't make these dresses for what I paid for them.

These are the two dresses I ended up liking and keeping:
Dress #1, by Armand Basi

Dress #2, by Suzi Chin

Obviously both are knee-length on me but fortunately they look good at that length. I have a slight preference for dress #2 because it covers more of my back meaning I don't have to worry about my patches showing through. It also has a soft, warm, stretchy lining which I think will keep me warmer than I'd be in dress #1. I do love dress #1 because it is gorgeous but I think it needs to be saved for a non-winter occasion. I'll save it for another day.

Aside from finding myself a dress for the party, I've done no other shopping in preparation. I'm going to wear the shoes I bought a couple of years ago because they're comfortable and look nice. I've got enough hosiery that I'll be able to figure out something to go with the dress and shoes. I also have plenty of makeup so I didn't need to get any of that, either. Hopefully this means that I'll be relaxed before tomorrow night's party.

* For some reason, as I was writing that, I completely blocked out the fact that I didn't go to last year's party because I was in Edmonton after my mom died. It's weird: I remember what happened last year but somehow it's like it all happened in this alternate world.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Gozer ... and my mom

One of the other reasons I haven't been posting as much is that my mom killed herself a year ago and that's been weighing on me. It's hard to believe that a whole year has passed because it still feels like it happened just yesterday. I have been feeling sad and I have been missing my mom. I miss talking to her and I miss having her in my life. I wish she was still here - only happier than she was when she died. I have no idea whether there's any kind of life after death or anything like that but if there is, I hope that she's happy and content now. 

Having Gozer has helped deal with it because I have responsibilities to her. I can't just curl up and cry all the time, even if that's what I want to do, because she has to be fed and walked and cuddled. I have been taking the time to remember and mourn my mom but I'm not wallowing in it like I might have otherwise done.

Owning a dog is a lot of fun because I do love having her warm, furry body nearby all the time but it's also a lot of responsibility. A dog has to be walked in all weather, even the rain. Walking a dog in the rain isn't as fun as you might think it is. Gozer was so happy to be home out of the rain that she ran around like a crazy dog for a while. That's my girl, all right! Here's a really good picture of her that was taken by Ian's mom:

Look at that adorable face!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Bit of this, bit of that

It's been a couple of days since I posted because nothing really had been going on. I could have posted about how cute Gozer is and the cute things she does - like new moms do with their babies - but I didn't think that would terribly interesting. She does do incredibly cute things all the time and I find myself exclaiming over how adorable she is but if you're not here seeing it, well, it's just not the same.

This last week had been raining and humid and now we have that sour smell in our basement again. This time it's drifted upstairs, too, so our whole house has the smell to some extent. Nothing seems to be wet and there don't seem to be any leaks so we have no idea what's going on. We thought that maybe the traps under the sink or shower might have run dry so we've poured water down there but it hasn't made a difference. I hope it dissipates soon.

We took Gozer to meet Ian's parents today. This trip was a big one because she had two big car rides, went into someone else's house, and meet other people. I'd bought a seatbelt contraption for Gozer before and we tried it out on the drive down but it didn't work so well. It was both too big around and too short for her and at one point she wriggled out of it! Ian's parents gave us one that they had and it worked so much better. Gozer was able to stand up and look outside or lie down and sleep, all while staying safely belted in.

Gozer did very well in the other house and meeting people. She managed to sucker both of Ian's parents into letting her cuddle with them for a while :) She also cuddled with me, of course! She was very good about going into her crate and staying there quietly when we needed her to do that. She behaved herself very well all day and we're very proud of her.

It turns out that I'm not so good at training Gozer. For example, I forget that I'm not supposed to call her name when she's being bad and I let her stand up on her back legs and lick my face. Then I remember that I've never had a dog and that we've only had her for nine days and I feel better because I don't have to be perfect. However, I do want to get better at training her so that she doesn't develop bad habits that we have to undo later on so I need to get to reading the books I bought. I'll spend some time on that over the next few days.