Friday, March 25, 2011

Relocation Nation: Clydas gets his Threads

Today Clydas reminded me just how awesome he is.

Really - he's the perfect dog for me.

Clydas has probably lived in 6 places in his 6 years of life. His ability to quickly adjust to change amazes me. He's dealt with me working AND doing shows. He's dealt with me working AND dating AND doing shows. He's dealt with me working from home. He's dealt with me bringing in a roommate who brings in his girlfriend. He's been on road trips with me (all went over pretty well), writing hikes (where we stop often so I can write and he can rest - he likes these in the summer), camping (which he hasn't loved), Disneyland, and coffee shops too. He's shared his dwelling with cats and dogs (though he seems to love people the best).

He's truely an adaptable dog!

He took to his bed quickly, so I wondered how he would handle new clothes. It's not cold enough to wear them around here. It's a "chilly" 65 degrees. But Clydas is quite possibly the most awesome dog ever.

Or maybe he just trusts that what I do for him IS in his best interests. I'm not sure, but here's what his new threads look like, as well as my "official" review:

The fit is GREAT! If something doesn't fit Clydas right, he tugs at it like crazy and hates it. He LOVES his Tummy Warmer. He's lived in it over the last 2 days. (I never realized how cold he must have been before!) He seems more relaxed in it, wags his nub and everything, so he's very happy with it. In fact, when I take it off, he whines and tries to get it!

Clydas loves everything EXCEPT the hood on the rain coat, but I think that'll be awesome as soon as it's raining. He hates water on his head and in his ears.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Relocation Nation: Getting the T for the Road

Me and The T - during our first summer

Today my dad and I took The T (my 2006 Pontiac Torrent - lovingly refered to as "J's T") into the shop to get looked it. My dad couldn't believe that my car has over 106k miles on it and STILL runs like a dream. It needed an oil change (it was overdue a few months) and a light bulb in the license plate holder (thankfully, I don't drive enough to get ticketed for this - Yeah for working from home and walking everywhere!). It's had a 2 new sets of tires and 2 new sets of brakes, and that's pretty much it. It's never had a major problem. Dad has insisted on many occasions that, with that kind of mileage and no major issues, it's about to blow. My dad is a pretty smart guy so he may be right, but for now The T has a clean bill of health!
Clydas and I are ready to hit the road this time next week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting Clydas on The Kong

I've been debating the finer points of different styles of dog beds for... well, more than a lot of other owners probably would. I guess I have special worries about my dog for a couple of reasons:

Clydas is entering his 'mid-life'. He's acting more and more like an 'adult dog' now that he's on his way to 7 years old. He still reminds me he's a boxer every day though. Sometimes its in the little bouncy step he does when he's out on his morning walk and just can't wait to see what the day has in store. Sometimes it's in the way he puts his chin on my leg when he wants my attention when I'm working, or brings me his toy and will play with it at my feet while I work just to be in the same room with me. Sometimes it's in his annoying persistance to go for a walk that gets me out of a the house. But he sleeps a lot more now, and is generally less easily excitable, which tells me he's getting older - and so is his body.

Boxers are prone to hip dysplasia. I'm moving my aging dog from a warm, dry climate to a cold, wet climate. He also has short hair, but I'm hopeful that the Tummy Warmer will make up for a good chunk of that. True, I'm removing our daily stair climbing (for the next 6 months anyway).

EVERYTHING is changing. Not only for me, but for my dog. While Clydas and I have moved 4 times in his life, each move takes some adjusting to. One as drastic as this requires some extra TLC (for both me and him). Thankfully, we have My Sailor helping to look out for us, it's still quite a transition for all involved, and a lot of things are changing. To help Clydas keep his bearings (and to help with everyone's sanity), I'm keeping some of the old, and adding the new things as well.

After debating eBay vs. pet stores vs handmade I settled on the qualities that were most important to me:
1) Arrival time.  I wanted something Clydas can get used to while we're still here, so it'll be something he gravitates towards since its his from home.
2) SUPPORT. My dog is 55lbs. If I can put my hand into "orthopedic foam" and feel the ground beneath it, so can his hips - and that's no good. It's gotta be the right combination of support and softness.
3) Snug-ability. He needs something comfortable and most of all warm. But I'm not willing to take the added tumor risk that comes with electric heaters.

4) Appearance. Vain as it seems, some dog beds are really eye-sores. I don't really want a patchwork pillow with dog paws all over it.
5) Durability.  I want this pet bed to LAST. Heck, it would be awesome if future furkids could use this one too!

I settled on a Kong product. If you haven't heard of Kong, they make pretty much chew-proof toys and are most famous for the design of their treat toys. I was a bit skeptical when I saw the bed up on the top rack at the store, but nothing else was living up to my standards. I got someone to help, and she pulled it down for me. I was impressed by the price tag (about 1/2 what I'd intended to spend w/ discounts), and it lived up to the Kong name, so I brought it home to see what Clydas thought of it.

At first, he didn't even step on it, unsure if it was a think for people, but after some encouragement (namely, putting his blanket on it and encourage him to chew on and play with the bed) he realized it was for him.
This video is from tonight:

The critics have it! The Kong Bed is a hit! Check one more thing off the list.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

8 days and 14 hours and Redecorating

That's how much time I left in California.

When I think of it like that, I realize how precious this moment is. Yes, I'm very excited to be moving on to forge a new chapter in my book, but at the same time I find myself nostalgic. The interesting thing I notice is that, the more nostalgic I become, the more I realize a chapter has closed. I haven't been able to participate in the things I love over the last year or so, so I haven't really forged too many enduring friendships here. I have my old friends and I am confident their love will follow me where ever I go. I feel the same way about my family. Their love and support has been a huge part of my ability to do this move.  

Last weekend Mom and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got me some new bedding. I've been in desperate need of it for some time.

My current bedding is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but it's definately showing it's age (and not in an "oh, that's so quaint" sort of way). It's full of rich dark colors, which is a beautiful contrast to the bright sunny days we have here in So Cal.

Well, up north there will be less bright sunny days, so I want to something bright to help liven up the place. While fall colors are my favorites (deep reds, purples, golds, oranges...), they can be a little heavy/gloomy when it's overcast outside nearly all the time.

So here's what I got:
Pretty cool, eh?

My Sailor likes it because it means I have to keep Clydas off the bed. But I'm getting Clydas his own comfy places today. Hopefully he'll like them more than than the bed to help keep the transition easy.  Just have to get a black blanket to go with it and I'm all set! My Sailor is on painting duty on arrival, so we'll work out what to paint the rooms when we get a chance. I'm thinking, for this room... maybe a solid color accent wall behind the bed with the black pattern continuing? Any suggestions from out there in the blogosphere?

I'm also working on getting Clydas a dog bed. More on that later, but it's been quite the journey! Do I go cushy or supportive? Round or square? Bolstered? Pillowed? Ah! Too many options! (The saner side of me finds it incredible that I'm being so indecisive about a DOG BED. I mean, the dog sleeps on my terry cloth robe if I leave it on the floor. I doubt he'll be as picky as I am FOR him.) I'm looking to get 2 - one for the bedroom (warm and snuggly one) and one for the living room near the fireplace (more supportive probably). Does that sound cozy or what?

My Sailor is picking me up a work desk before he comes over. YEAH! An actual desk! I work off a large folding table right now. It works great for the space I currently have in my bedroom, but I can't wait to have an actual office space in the next place. Yeah!

I am looking forward more and more to getting moved in and set up. Then I can spend time on weekends doing my crafty stuff. I can find a yoga studio to get out and meet some like minded folks. I can try new places and pick my local haunts and all that jazz.

All in all, I feel the timing is right for this. It's what I needed...
 And not a minute too soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and a good stiff Tea

Ever want to give yourself a raging headache?

Try relocating, planning a wedding, and working full time hours at the same time.

Blogging, I fear, has taken the back seat on that priority list.  Though I'd love to tell you all about a great trip to Disneyland with a good friend I had on Sunday - and I'd LOVE to throw up montages I've been working on about previous trips. But honestly - I haven't worked on any of that. Having time for myself hasn't been plentiful lately.

All that said, I have managed to stick to my promise to take 30 minutes out a day just for me.
Usually this involves a great cup of tea, something to do with water, and a book that has nothing to do with Washington, travel, or weddings, etc. Lately, that book has been the first in the Kingdom Keeper's series. A book series ment for young adults, the premise is basically "What if the park came to life after all the guests left?" Perfect for an imagination like mine that needs an escape.

Disneyland on Sunday was a great escape. It wasn't as sad as I thought it would be to say goodbye to all the places there I know so well. They were an escape when I needed it most, a place to make memories with the ones I love, and a place that allowed my imagination to roam free, if only for a little while. Where Mice could fight fire-breathing dragons, and win.

Like many other things here, I'll be taking Disneyland and all the memories I've made there with me. I'll be writing for the magazine from a distance, and I'll visit as often as I can. Pluto danced with me and I couldn't think of a better way to cap off my Disneyland day.

But this experience has been an enlightening one as well. I've caught up with a few long distance friends that I've truely missed, and found comfort in their ongoing support. I've needed a big life change for a while and they don't get much bigger than this.

Do I miss single life? Sometimes a little (I don't miss dating - just the simplicity of it in a few ways). But mostly, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful for all the support and love in my life.

And all of the wonderful indicators that I'm heading the right direction.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Relocation Nation: Emotional Processing

Most of the time, when I talk about the big move coming up, I'm ready to say goodbye to my hometown for a while and blaze a new trail in Washington state.

But every once in a while, I miss home.
The thing I miss most?

 My family.

We have a close, casual relationship. They are a huge support and help with this new chapter of my life and I'm going to miss going out to breakfast with my parents on weekends, and getting the "Wanna do dinner together?" random phone calls. Sure they could still call me, but it'll be a 2 hour flight and a few $100 plane ticket to take them up on it.

Yes, I'll be visiting home often, I'm sure. ESPECIALLY with the wedding right around the corner.

I had a good cry about it a couple of weeks back. I knew it was coming. It's necessary to moarn the past to move into the future sometimes.

But knowing I'm building a stronger present and future is worth every tear and moment of homesickness.

And knowing that My Sailor is taking this adventure with me?


Relocation Nation: Etsy & Clydas

Clydas is almost ready for the move.


He just needs one more thing - the bed I'm going to pick out for him this weekend. It's a gift from My Sailor to the #1 pup! (How sweet is that?) I'm shopping for a dog bed that helps support his joints, yet is soft and comfortable for him, and possibly has it's own warming unit. So we'll see what I find. I have my eye on a Foster Smith bed but I hear CostCo has some great ones as well.

See, Clydas is a boxer. That means he has a short nose AND short fur. Dogs with short noses have trouble regulating their tempurature. Dogs with short fur have trouble staying warm under 60(ish) degrees.

The average temp lately at our new home? Around 48. And it rains almost daily.

So Clydas needs some extra gear to make the move as comfortable as possible.

I've replaced his seatbelt harness he's had since puppy-hood with a new one, to ensure the vinyl strap that attaches him to the seat belt is solid.

Clydas also needs something to keep him warm.
I'm unsure how he'll react to booties, so he's going sans-footwear for now.

After searching high and low, I found something I am really happy with on This craftsmen has been making custom dog coats for about 16 years. I love supporting the little guy, and Etsy is all about the handmade crafts.

I ordered both of these in burgandy, so Clydas is bound to be the best prepared boxer on the block!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

President's Day Weekend Montage

So if you've been following my blog, you know I was lucky enough to visit My Sailor over President's Day weekend.

While we're looking forward to seeing each other in late April, that's a LONG stretch. On my end, time is FLYING as I prepare for the move, sketch out wedding ideas, speak with vendors, and try to get everything else done.

One of my pet projects are montages. They are a good way for me to focus on great memories in my "downtime". In fact, I wish I had more downtime! I haven't been able to touch My Sailor's Christmas trip to California, or our engagment weekend in Disney World yet! I'll get to them... eventually.

But here's a little photo recap of the President's weekend trip! We went to Amelia Island and Fernandia Beach in Florida, and Kings Bay and St. Mary's in Georgia. It was a wonderfully relaxing few days!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nonsense and Non-Stress

Just thought I'd share a few thoughts on last weekend. Click here and follow the blog My Sailor and I have to check it out.

I have so much going on in my head right now about the relocation, work, etc, that I'd like to blog more, but if I do, I won't get to bed for another hour and morning feels like it's coming earlier and earlier lately.

Goodnight Moon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Relocation Nation - You can take the girl out of California...

But I don't think you can ever take the California out of the girl.

The other day, I was caught saying "Dude!" about something cool. Yup, that's right. "Dude" is part of my vocabulary. It most likely always will be long after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bill and Ted are distant memories.

Here's a short list of the things I am planning to do before I leave this beautiful state behind for the splendor of the green Pacific Northwest:
1) Disneyland solo.
2) Disneyland w/ friends.
3) Spend as much time with family as possible.
4) Enjoy at least one good hike in the countryside.
5) Enjoy some good time on the beach.
6) Enjoy as much time outside reading in the jacuzzi as possible.
7) Throw 1 dinner w/ friends.
8) Take a tour of Stone Brewery.
9) Get the T serviced for the long drive north.
10) Go to the movies with my brother at least once.

Top 10 things to do when I'm in Washington:
1) UNPACK and decorate the new place.
2) Enjoy a fire in the fireplace and a glass of wine.
3) Get Clydas a good dog bed.
4) Explore the antique shops on the waterfront.
5) Try the 2 sushi places.
6) Buy a Mountain Bike.
7) Find a good breakfast/coffee shop spot.
8) Try out the little local movie theater.
9) Meet the other 3 boxer dog owners on the apartment property.
10) Take the ferry to Bremerton and Seattle.

So there is plenty to do in the next 3 weeks. Obviously some of my Washington top 10 can wait until My Sailor joins me,but I'm looking forward to getting set up and starting something new, even if leaving my hometown is a big sad and scary.