Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ode to a German Shepherd Dog

My dog just turned 3 this month. He is a 90 pound German Shepherd Dog. We named him Orso. Orso means “Bear” in Italian. He is my big bear and I love him so much.

We decided to get a dog when we moved into our house and there had been some break-ins. Since my husband is the one that’s home during the day, and would be spending the most time with the dog, and I would love the dog no matter what, I made him decide on what kind of dog to get. He was looking a labs and labs are so, I don’t know, DOOFY. And common. And big. I didn’t want a lab. When I was researching breeds, I came across the German Shepherd Dog, and thought that would be the kind of dog DH would like because they’re so intelligent and so obedient. So DH flipped to a German Shepherd Dog website and the first page had a picture of two GSD puppies and he was sold.

Did you know that the German Shepherd Dog is the only breed with the word Dog in the name of the breed? Fun Fact.

I completely took myself out of the decision process and let my husband find a breeder and puppies and pick a dog.

That’s how we got Orso.

While my DH did the potty training, takes him to the groomer and the vet, and arranges his stays in the kennel when we travel where we can’t take Orso, I do the rest. I walk him, feed him, let him out, brush him and clean up after him when he tracks mud into the house. I knew that this would happen and I’m okay with it.

Orso is a good dog. He turned out to be a LOT bigger than I had anticipated, (male GSDs usually top out at 80 lbs) but he’s such a lover. Everyone in our family is tall, so it makes sense that we have a tall dog. He’s the tallest German Shepherd Dog I’ve ever seen. His head comes up to my hip and I’m 5’8”. It’s very convenient, because I don’t have to bend over to give him a scritch behind the ears.

He has a very intimidating bark. He sounds like he is trying to take you down and eat you. That is EXACTLY how we want him to sound to strangers. Since he’s so huge, he doesn’t even have to bark to appear intimidating, so the bark is quite the bonus. My DH never has to fear when I take Orso for a walk in the early morning or late evening when it’s dark.

I took Orso with me to go and return a Red Box movie at our local convenience store awhile ago. It was late and dark. Our neighbourhood is rather safe, I was just taking Orso with me so that he could get some exercise. While I was at the Red Box, there were some drunk guys hanging out by their cars in the parking lot. Orso was obediently sitting beside me while I returned the movie when one of them made to approach me. Orso jumped to attention and started barking in the guys face. It was so awesome. The guy looked so scared that I’m pretty sure he peed his pants. He did his job and boy did he get some treats and love for protecting me like that. I’m pretty sure I could have handled some drunk dude, it’s not like I haven’t had the experience before, but it sure was nice to have Orso by my side to do the job for me. And like I said, the look on the guys face – awesome. Also, Orso could tell that he had done a good job and that he is one badass mofo of a dog. I could tell by the way he pranced as we walked home. He kept turning to me as if to say, “I did a good job, didn’t I, Mom?” He’s a good boy.

Badass, big, mean bark, protectiveness aside, Orso is the biggest love you’ve ever met. Once he knows you are okay, he wants to be your best friend. I don’t think he knows how big he is. He’s like a Great Dane that way. He thinks he’s a lap dog. He likes to “sit” in my lap when I watch TV. He knows he’s not allowed on the couch, so he does this by leaning against the side of the couch and putting his head in my lap. His entire head fills my lap. He also likes to “snuggle” with me when I’m in bed reading or writing. He knows he’s not allowed on the bed, so he just wriggles his head under my arm and rests on the side of the bed. He lays on the floor in our TV room and spoons with Huey (laying down, they are about the same size). He adores the boys and would never do anything to hurt them.

I had to run some errands and Dewey wasn’t feeling well, so I left him at home alone. I was only gone 20 minutes. When I came home, I found Dewey sitting at the top of the stairs with Orso sitting dutifully next to him, like best buds.

This dog lives to do what he’s told. He also lives to see what he can get away with. If he knows that I’m paying attention, he will “leave it” for half an hour or longer. “Leave it” is the command for him to not touch something that he’s not allowed to have, i.e. a used Kleenex that he “rescued” from the garbage. All I have to do is give the command. If he starts to waver, all I have to do is say “Ah!” and he goes back to obeying. This does not mean that he doesn’t try a dozen times to nose the Kleenex or do whatever else he’s not supposed to be doing. My favourite is when I see him trotting down the hallway because he’s been off doing something that he wasn’t supposed to be doing. He has the most hilarious guilty face. Dude can’t lie. It’s awesome.

He is also very beautiful. His tan is a dark red colour and his face is almost all black. He has these “please love me” eyes - the perfect puppy dog face. I fell in love with his face the first time I saw him. His ruff is so fluffy it’s almost like a lion’s mane. The only thing wrong with him is that his left ear never stood up. He has a section of his ear where the cartilage never fully developed, so his ear flops over. It drives my husband crazy, and he can’t not talk about how much he hates the dog’s floppy ear. When Orso’s ears are both up, he looks like the most noble, beautiful prince that ever was.

I love my big huge Orso-doggy.

Orso and I after our walk on his third birthday

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This is my THIRD attempt at sitting down and following up on my post from Feb 16.

I keep getting distracted with tangents. Good tangents. It feels good to write. REALLY good. Really, really, really good.

As you know, I've been in a dark spirally place lately and I'm letting it just be out there and I'm feeling all exposed and terrified. That's still true.

I went through something a year ago and I went to a counselor about it and she advised me to allow some good in my life. No. That's not quite right. She INSTRUCTED me to do something good for myself and DEMANDED that I allow myself some good.

She also advised me to write it all out.

In this post I talked about fear of looking imperfect. Well, you should have SEEN how well groomed I was when I went to meet this counselor. There was no WAY I was going to allow her to see how incredibly flawed I was. Nails were done. Make-up: flawless. Hair: perfect. No lint or dog hair: check. Yeah she saw right through me. THANK. GOODNESS.

I can't play poker because you can read my face like a book. I have the definition of the opposite of a poker face.

I heeded her advice/instructions (whatever) and made a list of good things. I started wearing make-up more often and started looking myself in the eye. I started wearing perfume on a daily basis instead of just for church or special occasions. I started wearing nail polish. I started making the time to do my nails so that I could wear nail polish.

In the last few months all that has gone by the wayside. I have gone off track. I have let myself talk myself out of the good. Thus the downward spiral.

Yesterday, as I hugged Dewey goodbye before he left for school, he said "you smell like Sunday". I was wearing the perfume I usually wear to church. I thought it was so cute.

I've been trying to fight myself, my own worst enemy, and rebel against the negative voice in my head and allow good back in.

Here are some of the good things:

It's good that I'm in my head so much too. I really think about things. I think and think and think. Because of this I can see all the angles. I see all sides. I debate things out in my head. I think things all the way through. I think things sideways. I think things up-side-down. It makes me creative. It helps me to empathize and sympathize. It makes me see the little things. It makes me smart. It makes me not think like everyone else. It makes me good.

I CAN look myself in the eye. I do not need to be ashamed of myself because I am NOT a shell. I am whole and I am real. I am not pathetic.


I can get the house clean. So what if it's not perfect? It's not like Child Protective Services is going to come along and declare our home a disaster site. I can get it clean enough. It just won't be House Beautiful perfect.

Yeah, stuff is boring and bleah, but that's life.

I was actually looking forward to being forty, and I'm mostly okay with it. My life has most definitely not been wasted. I am not a waste.

I really can't make my husband happy, but it's not my responsibility to MAKE him happy. He needs to achieve that on his own.

I CAN get motivated, just not right now.

I have gone from eating fast food and drinking Dr. Pepper 5 times a week to once a week with success. I have seen improvements in how I feel and in how I weigh. I just need to keep up the good work and not go off the bandwagon. I have the self control I need. Next is seeing if I can go two weeks without. I know I can do it.

I can motivate myself and I DO deserve it because I am awesome.
I AM good enough.

If I disappeared I wouldn’t be here and that would be sad.

It would not be better if I’d never existed.

I love my boys and they know it. I am not a terrible mother. I’m just not June Cleaver nor Carol Brady and they are not real people.

I am not fat nor ugly and there are lots of times where I’m okay with looking at myself. Even when I’m naked – that’s saying something!

I’m pretty awesome.

I do miss the ocean and I get homesick. It’s hard to stand, but I can visit and I have great memories.

I have a pretty extensive music collection that I can turn to when there’s nothing good on the radio. It’s not the universe trying to tell me something.

My clothes are not cool because I have a conservative job so I have conservative clothes. My shoes are pretty cool. Also, I don’t go anywhere cool, so what do I need cool clothes for? AND, some of my clothes are cool.

So I drive a Hyundai. It was the first brand new car I ever owned. It gets me where I need to be. It’s not like I drive anywhere that I need to roll up in some fabulous car.

My house can be cleaned and decorated – and it will be.

I’m a pretty good cook.

I envisioned that I would be married in the temple, have some children and a dog and live in a house. All of those things are not only true, but I love my husband, children, dog and house.

Everyone has their moments when they want to run away.

It’s true that I need to spend more time with my dog. He does love me the most, but that’s because he’s a dog and that’s what dogs do.

I'm off to walk my dog now, bye!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Outward Appearance

My other main issue with perfectionism is that my outward appearance has to be perfect. If it’s not, I don’t want to be seen in public. I wish I could be invisible.

When I was a kid there was no way on earth that I would go anywhere wearing sweatpants, let alone pajama pants and slippers (stay tuned for rant on THAT another day), or not wearing at least mascara and lip gloss. My mum has very light eyelashes and when she wasn’t wearing mascara I would inform her that her eyes were ‘bald’. Daughter-of-the-year award.

I could never show anything negative in public. No crying. No yelling. No losing it. No smudged make-up. No chipped nail polish. No rips. No tears. No bad hair. That’s why I would hold everything in until an appropriate time.

Most of this was ingrained into my brain by my Nana. I love and admire and miss my Nana. I don’t blame her. She was teaching me how to be a respectable lady. I am such a perfectionist, that I took that training and RAN with it. My Nana is an extreme perfectionist. I love her so much because we speak the same language. I know what I’m going to be like as a grown-up because I’m going to be just like her. My Nana is my father’s mother mentioned in my last post.

Towards the end of high school, I figured out that the way I saw myself and the way that others see me is something COMPLETELY different. The flaws that I see, like the loose thread or the hair on my shoulder, are barely visible to others and not worth beating myself up over.

I have relaxed a lot over the years to where I have gone out in public not only in sweats, but also in pajamas, and there are more days than not that I don’t wear make-up.

Being a mother will do that to you. My mum told me once that once you have a baby, you’ll drop your pants for anyone. She was referring to the numerous people that take a look at you while you are attending your several doctor’s appointments and while giving birth, but it applies to the rest of your life too. Having a baby proves to you that you are not the centre of the universe. That child becomes the centre of the universe. That child needs to be provided for and that takes precedence over a shower sometimes. If that child needs milk or cereal or medicine, you go out in your jammies and you get it. Because it’s for your child and who cares what you look like, you’re on a mission. If that child spits up all over you right before you leave for work, you wipe it off and in your sleep-deprived haze, show up for work with some of it still in your hair. Or on your face. Or on your crotch (true story). Sometimes you only manage to line one eye. That’s life and you won’t die if your neighbours see you in your sweats without your teeth brushed with last night’s make-up still on picking up cough medicine at four o’clock in the morning. Or four o’clock in the afternoon. It happens to all of us.

When he was two, Huey had the croup but we didn’t know it. He had this awful horrible cough and we had been up with him all night. We had run out of the cough medicine that the doctor had suggested we get, so I had to run to the 24-hour grocery store to get some more. I had not had much sleep. I was worried about my baby boy. I was in my jammies. My teeth were most certainly not brushed. It was 4 a.m. My shoes were not tied. I was not wearing a bra. My hair was a mess. I had not thought to put on a hat. When I took the medicine to the register, the cashier cheerily asked, “How are you today?” It took all I had to not say “it’s four o’clock in the morning and I’m buying children’s cough medicine in my jammies. How do you THINK I am?”

So what I was trying to get at is that I’m trying to embrace my perfect imperfection. I’m trying to be who I am and be okay with that. I’m not a rapist or a psychopath or a murderer or extortionist. I have room for improvement, but so do you. I am trying so hard to be okay with myself. I have spent my entire life being not okay with myself because I’m not perfect. Not one part of me is perfect. It’s so agonizing to me that I can’t look at myself and say, “Well, THAT part of me is perfect”. It’s agonizing to me because I’m a perfectionist.

It’s okay that I’m a perfectionist. I own it. It makes me strive to be better. It helps me to appreciate beauty because I see all of it. I have a nit-picky eye for detail so I really really notice the little things. I love that I can see the little things.

It’s also okay that I’m not perfect. That not one aspect of me is perfect other than I am perfectly flawed.

I own my flaws. They make me interesting. Perfection is actually quite boring when it’s achieved. It’s the mistakes that make things interesting, unpredictable, exciting, and more valuable.

I’m embracing my darkness. I’m letting it out for others to see. I feel naked and exposed and terrified. I’m hoping that no one notices. I’m hoping I’m right about the loose thread.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I am the first born child of the first born son of a first born daughter of a first born son.


I’ve read articles that are for and against the whole birth order thing, but for me and what I’ve observed in my life, it rings pretty true.

I’m also married to a first born child. No WONDER my life’s a mess! Just kidding, I love my husband.

I am a perfectionist. I have always been a perfectionist. I accept imperfectness in others, but it is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable for me to be imperfect, however, I expect others to accept my imperfectness.

Make sense? I know, not so much.

Talk to my husband and he would laugh in your face about me being a perfectionist because NOTHING in my life is perfect. What does he know? He’s the type of perfectionist that does not accept imperfection whatsoever. That’s a whole other issue and I don’t want to get off topic. This is MY forum, so it gets to be about me.

My dad is a real perfectionist. So much so that it paralyzes him. He’s so concerned about being perfect that he’s incapable of doing anything for fear that it won’t be perfect. He blames his mother.

He asked me one time if I ever felt the pressures I do to be perfect from him. Nope. Never ever once. The only thing I ever felt from my dad while growing up was love and acceptance for being so awesome. He explained to me that he was pressured so much to be perfect from his mother that he was determined to not burden me with that issue.

Too late, Dad, sorry, I was born this way.

It seems to be ingrained in me to be the most perfect that I can be to the point that I am afraid to start things or attempt things because I’m so afraid of failing. Failing is not acceptable.

The very very worst thing I could do in this world would be to disappoint someone or let them down. It started out with fear of disappointing my parents, and it continues with the terror of letting my boys down. It’s the reason that I can never say no.

I did something (only once) that let my parents down in the worst way possible and I didn’t die and the world didn’t end, so I’m slowly getting over my fear of disappointing people. I still never ever want to let my boys down, though. I think that has more to do with being a mother than with my in-born perfectionism complex.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Don’t be sad.

I’m okay. Sorry for yesterday’s post.

This blogging thing has its benefits. When I have thoughts bouncing around in my head, the only way to get them out is to either a) say them out loud, or b) write them down. I don’t usually have the time to write things down, thus I talk. A lot. More than I should.

I’ve also found that saying things out loud tends to make them bigger, but writing them down just helps me to get them out, get them in order, and make them go away. Blogging yesterday was a good purge, but not necessarily the best forum. Maybe next time I’ll just write it in my journal.

I do keep a journal, but it’s for the deepest darkest weirdest most inappropriate thoughts that I need to quit dwelling on and just get out of my head already. Yes, there are more deep, much more dark, and weirder thoughts in my head than what gets posted here.

So for the one other person reading my blog (hi, Jezz!), I just wanted to let you know that I’m okay. Not better, but okay. I don’t feel like that every day. Just feeling a little hopeless lately, but not so hopeless that I don’t know that I will get through this and life will be hunky dory later.

In the interest of full disclosure, however, I think it’s good to put out there that not everything is sunshine and roses. I think it’s nice to read that other people want to give up on themselves and have times of woe. It’s refreshing to read about other people who struggle with their self worth. It’s good to know that you are not the only one out there. It’s comforting to know that you are not alone. Others feel sad too.

I had this experience on my mission where there was this girl who hated me. She hated being around me and couldn’t stand even the sight of me. She complained to my mission companion about me constantly. My companion finally got fed up with her and told her that if she had such a problem with me then she needed to resolve it with me.

So she pulled me aside and listed off all the reasons why she didn’t like me. First of all, I was completely taken off guard because I had NO IDEA that she didn’t like me. Also, I really liked her, so it knocked me right on my butt to have all this vitriolic negativity come hurtling at me from left field. Secondly, her main reason for disliking me was because I WAS SO PERFECT. I had no flaws.

Double-you. Tee. EFF.


That’s dumb. You hate a person because they’re perfect? That’s super dumb. That’s on you. That’s YOUR problem, not mine. How do you expect me to fix this problem? Be NOT perfect? Um, no, but thanks for your advice. Have a nice day!

Also, I am SO imperfect. If she had taken the time to get to know me, she would know how excellently imperfect I am, but whatever. That was over twenty years ago.

Months later I ran into her again and she told me how happy she was to see me and how great I was and all this blabbity blah. It was too bad that she hated me so much, we probably could have been really good friends.

So to make my point, sometimes to avoid people hating you, you should allow them to see your flawed imperfectness.

Not really.

My point is that it makes you more human when people can see all of you, not just the face you show the public.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Good

You probably shouldn't read this post. Especially if you know me. Definitely shouldn't read it if you like or care about me.

I've been feeling really blue and melancholy lately. I feel like crying all the time, but I don't. It's like the morning sickness I had when pregnant with Huey. I felt like I was going to throw up all the time, but I never did. I often wished that I would puke already and get it over with. I learned that if I ate before I got hungry, then I would not feel sick so much. I kinda wish I could just bawl my eyes out and get it over with, but I can't cry. I just feel on the verge of tears.

Sidebar: Here's something that I like to listen to when I'm feeling blue.

When I was growing up I would have quarterly meltdowns. Things would build and build and build, and then I would explode in a mess of tears and snot and I-can't-do-anything and I-wish-I-would-disappear and I'm-not-good-for-anything. My mother would try to calm me down, but it was futile. After I came down from my tantrum, she would try to encourage me to not let things build up, but deal with each thing as it happened.

Try as I might in my life, I have found that to be impossible. I have also found that I think that I DO deal with things as they come, they just tend to affect me in different ways at different times.

It's kind of like that scene in "When Harry Met Sally" when Sally calls Harry to come over because she just found out that her ex was getting married. She was moaning and whining to Harry about how terrible she is and things kept coming up and she said "and I'm going to be FORTY!"

That's how I get. I feel like nothing's good about me, and the deeper I get into my downward spiral, the more things I think of that are terrible. And down, down, down the rabbit hole I go.

It's like I'm in a deep pool and I don't have the strength to kick myself to the surface, so I have to sink to the bottom so that I can push myself back up to the top.

I feel like it would be better off if I never existed. Like everyone would be better off without me. Like nothing's good and I should just disappear because I just bring everyone down and I don't contribute anything. I get so down on myself and these thoughts of nothingness just bounce around and around inside my head and my self-talk becomes extremely destructive. I hear all the criticisms I've ever heard in my life and nothing good can squeeze through the cracks.

I get so deeply stuck inside my own head. I'm my own worst enemy. I tell myself these terrible horrible things about me and I believe them. I can't talk myself out of myself. If that makes sense. I'm not very good with the affirmations. I can't even look myself in the eye because I am so ashamed of myself. Of this pathetic shell of a person that I've become. How I'm so scared to be happy that I've become numb. I'm afraid to feel because I'm afraid of feeling bad. But I feel so bad. And so not happy. Sometimes, not all the time.

I can't.

I can't get motivated. I can't help my boys be sucessful. I can't keep the house clean. My job bores the HECK out of me. I hate myself. I'm no fun. Everything is bleah. AND I'M ALREADY FORTY!

(you were supposed to laugh there)

I can't make my husband happy. I can't get organized. I can't get caught up. I can't do anything good for myself because I haven't done my chores and I don't have the time and that's so selfish.

It's not so much that I can't, more that I don't want to. I just want to sit on the couch and watch movies and do nothing and not talk to anyone and not have anyone talk to me and not feel anything real. I just want to feel through those fake people on the screen. I don't want to eat anything and I don't want to do anything that's good for me. I don't want to do anything that will make me feel better, but I do want to do things that will give me pleasure. Those things are (in order) sex, Dr. Pepper, and cheeseburgers.

Sex is temporary and doesn't give lasting pleasure, but just makes me crave it more, Dr. Pepper makes it so that I'm jittery and can't sleep, and cheeseburgers make me fat. None of these things make me feel better for more than half an hour. Sex is the only thing of the three that are good for me, but eventually you have to put your clothes back on and deal with your life. Right now, that is so not fun. Right now my life is so boring.

I'm so tired all the time because I'm so bored. Nothing is fun.

I know exactly what I need to do to make my life better, but I have no motivation to do it because I have such a low opinion of myself. Why should I do something good for someone who is so pathetic and low. She doesn't deserve it because she is so not good enough.

I am not good enough.

I should just disappear.

It would be better for everyone if I never existed.

I am a terrible mother.

I am fat and ugly. I hate looking at myself.

I can't stand myself.

I miss the ocean and I am so homesick I can hardly stand it.

There is nothing good on the radio.

My clothes are not cool.

I drive a frickin' Hyundai!

My house is a mess and it's not decorated.

I hate cooking for my family.

Nothing is the way I envisioned it to be.

I just want to run away and take my dog with me. He's the only one that I deserve to be around. He's the only one that doesn't ask for anything. He just gives and dosen't expect anything in return. He makes me feel good. Everything we do is the best ever.

I think I need to spend more time with my dog. I can't afford not to.

Monday, February 13, 2012

IIIIII-eeee-iiiii-eeee-iii will always....

You are going to hate this post. ESPECIALLY if you are a Whitney fan. Hate away, I don't care. I am in a crappy mood on top of how pissed I am at the whole Saint Whitney crap. So this is an extra ranty rant.

I am not disputing the extreme talent that Whitney Houston had. Not at all. Every time I hear her rendition of the U.S. National anthem from the Superbowl in 1991, I get chills. I'm getting chills just writing about it. And I'm not even an American.

That being said:

  • First - That is a Dolly Parton song, Dolly sang it better, and it bugs me that Whitney gets so much credit for that song.
  • Second - She was a drug addict.
  • Third - when was the last time that she released an album? Her drug habit prevented her from doing anything in the last fifteen years.
  • Fourth - because she was a drug addict, she chose to kill herself.
  • Fifth - what a waste. She wasted her life and her talent.
  • Sixth - poor, poor Bobbi-Kristina.
  • Seventh - she did this to herself. She made a bad, bad choice. Because of that choice, she took from the world an amazing talent that should have been used for good. This woman was a role model to so many young girls and she ruined it.
  • Eighth - Drugs are bad, m'kay?
Whitney Houston has gone the way of all those talents who have gone before her - Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Sid Vicious... Now she's just another poster child for why we shouldn't do drugs.

Addiction is a real thing. It sucks. It ruins your life. It takes away your ability to choose. You can choose not to start. Once you choose to start, sometimes you can't choose to stop. Sometimes the only way to stop is through death. For those who have overcome addiction: awesome for you. That's so great. You have overcome something powerful. Not everyone has the strength to overcome addiction. Whitney Houston was one of those people.

I'm so sorry she died. I'm so sorry she wasted her life. I'm so sorry for her family. I'm so sorry for her daughter. I'm so sorry she got involved in drugs and was so messed up. I'm so, so sorry.

Don't do drugs. They're bad. You can't get addicted if you never try them. They will hurt you. They will hurt your family. They will hurt the people who love you.

I think it's an incredibly selfish thing to get hooked on drugs. You become a drain on your family, loved ones, society, and yourself. You become the absolute worst version of yourself. I'm sure that you can quit anytime, that you're the exception and look at Robert Downey Jr. and Anthony Kedis. Sure, sure that's all fine and good, but I think you're making a terrible gamble. You're gambling your life.

I think it's nice that folks want to honour Whitney for her amazing talent and for the talent she inspired in others, but let's not put her up on a pedastal. She was a drug addict. She wasted her talent. She wasted her life.