Dissociative Identity Disorder Blog

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My Fitness Pal Progress :)

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jazz - does this one work?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sunday Post - Must be dreaming Domestic Goddess Again

Sunday, July 13, 2014 @ 6:36 AM

Good morning Dr. Marvin.  We’re back to writing because it still feels like the right thing to do.  Maybe today’s message will be more open and we’ll be able to post to our blog.  We’ll see by the end.  The biggest thing happening yesterday was in writing to you and in the end we did some more direct work on the computer and phone with systems that go with the exercise.  Mainly, we were looking at a tracking system from the new treadmill called “ifit” and then we fell back in love with “myfitnesspal” (MFP) which is one of the ones you had recommended and that we already had on our phone from back in 2012.  So far two days and we’re still using MFP and have been delighted with some of its abilities.

I think one of the most titillating is that it comes with an easy to use scanner, so we just have to place it over food and drink barcodes and it automatically loads it, asks for our quantity AND then it’s absorbed into the program.  We’ve got a lot to talk about, BUT I also want to say that we are offline right now.  For some reason our Internet seems to be down.  We’re less frustrated with it because we’ve got the cell phone with a hot spot, and we’re in the writing mood this morning that doesn’t require Internet.  BUT we continue to check.  It did rain pretty good last night, we did reboot the computer just to check, and it is before 7 am, AND on a Sunday, so it would be of little use to call our Internet provider.  Right?

LUCKILY for US – We’ve got the new MFP on the phone!  Works like a charm.  J

Hmm, we just read over what we wrote yesterday – think it’s about 9 pages and we saved it as private.  There seems to have been some grumbling in it and a few complaints.  I guess we’ve taken it up with the management as much as is going to happen and it should have helped us move on.  I think we’ve made the decision that our goal for today will be to add this entry into our blog to get things started, but to be safe, we’re still directing it to you Dr. Marvin.  I know … it’s ok J

Part of our complaining is because we haven’t gotten to the part where we’re up and at it in taking care of ourselves better or the house.  I know we’ve been here before.  One of the better things was that I went to bed and got about 7 ½ hours of sleep.  I might have had to go to the bathroom once or twice.  But, as restful as we get – especially, without Rich next to us. 

Rich did call last night and we talked a little bit, but he was really tired and down on his luck.  He smiled and appreciated the comment that I think he needs newer and more sensitive poles … we’re SERIOUS about that!  Maybe he’ll be able to pick something up with Tim in MN.  That would be the time to ask since Tim is a pro.  Rich seemed to enjoy talking and he listened to a little bit of what we’d done for the day and that made us feel content.

I don’t think we really talked to Linda much if at all – our Linda.  There is Bob’s Linda and there is Los Vegas Linda – WHO we talked to on the phone for about 45 minutes.  It was a really fun call – mostly about quilting AND then followed up by a conversation about nutrition and vitamins, because by then we were questioning our potassium level shown on the tracking program.  That will be a question for Dr. Marvin on Tuesday.  First did our potassium level show up on the last lab work, and then too, when was our last appointment with Dr. Albright?  Are we almost up to three months since the last time and then should we be making an appointment?  I know she’s going to ask about our diabetes numbers and we’re a bit scared of that, but all you can do is start fresh and start tracking as soon as it comes back to our space.  MFP allows you to add things you want to track, so we added blood glucose for morning, afternoon and night.  I think it will be as soon as we wake up, 2:30 pm, and then 7 pm.  We should probably then confirm what times with Dr. Albright.  I know first thing is good, and it would seem that the other two times cover us two hours after meals – IF we were on schedule.  I’d have to cut out some snacking if we were going to figure out where we really were.

I’m pretty excited for being excited about the programs especially because it is something that Dr. Marvin and us talked about as being a good first step.  First we have to track our food intake no matter what.  He said at first don’t worry about the food coming in as much as just getting used to recording it.  Fine tuning can come further down the line.  Like do you know that 10 – 2 tbsp. of light whip cream is only about 150 calories.  I’m pretty sure later down the line that’s going to be a no-no.  *sigh*

I think that the ifit program is going to be very important with the exercise equipment, but other than calories taken off through exercise, it is really going to be more on the MFP program, because its got such good communication and community functions AND it includes the diet portion of tracking food.  We’ll probably go on for a bit about the program, but it’s a little harder with the computer version being down.  Before that though – it is now 7:11 am, and we’re being such a good Ann we’re going to take our morning medicine J

Good good done!  I know being this efficient … like waking up not as bumbly in the morning – we are going to get toward our chores, but not sure if we should start yet.  Usually, we would put a load of clothes in the washer and check the dishwasher, which means at this point, we’d have to empty it.  Hmm, maybe we would have enough clothes for the washer if we did Maury and the girls’ beds proper .  Wouldn’t hurt to throw in Rich and my bed linen too, but thinking that might be too much.  BUT, wouldn’t it be a good place to start?  PLUS, we could rejumble the clothes in the dryer that never got folded.  Thinking that would be a good start too.  We’ll save the dishes for the next round.  No sense getting crazy about this right?  Here Dr. Marvin you would smile J

Hmm that was a good trip up.  We just put in the linen from the girls beds and Maury’s.  We’ll do our linen next with any stray clothes.  We had washed everything before Rich left so there won’t be much in there.  It’s debatable, but we might push ourselves into a shower and getting dressed for the day?  Hmm, we’ll have to argue out that point.  BUT, while we were in the laundry, we tripped on the scale.  Oh yeah forgot about that … shoot.  We’re down .4 pounds which isn’t a lot, but point would be is that we didn’t go up AND we’ve had two cups of coffee and a bottle of water.  That’s right its water weight.  J  THEN we thought maybe the blood pressure cup we tried to use in our metrics last night just needed batteries – WALLAH it needed two triple A’s and that’s all the new one’s we had.  Perfect AND it worked.  When the computer is up again we’re going to have to add more metrics so we include top and bottom number AND the pulse – though thinking heart and pulse are the same, right?  *sigh*  Ok, we’re not great at this!  We had recorded yesterday that we were going to record at rest times and at activity times, so we’ll throw that in sometime today when we’ve been up for a while.  Only other thing we did was to throw a wet hand towel in with the dryer clothes to refresh that load.  Good Anns!  We also noted that we need to do some picking up yet in the girls and Maury’s room.  That might be one of the next trips up.  I don’t know if we’ll vacuum right away, but that might seem a good idea too to break into it slowly room by room.  We’re so excited they are coming again this weekend (Saturday)!!!!

See if not for me, or Rich, it would be GREAT for the girls to have done this work we’re now starting right?  Hehehe … we’re ALMOST ready to start with all that fur on my floors and carpet.  Thinking we really are going to have to take a shower and get dressed to do all that work.  Maybe, THIS time we can wait as long as one more load through the washer – to adjust the heat in the shower, but then AFTER that!  SO we’re talking a goal of 9-9:30 into the shower.  We can do it right?  At this time we’ll say just how happy Rich will be!  Ok, and us too, but Rich sets the time … we’re thinking he’s home about 4-4:30 pm.  That’s 9 hours down the road.  I think we can do this!  Here again you smile Dr. Marvin J

Shoot … no Internet yet?


I was on my phone doing a little communicating and I was looking through facebook updates, and the (8:10 am) I put it down and WALLAH!  INTERNET on my COMPUTER!!!!  Happiest as all get out!

OK, we’ve progressed things.  We wrote a note to our Linda, then we went in the bedroom and got everything dirty out of it including linen, towels AND a few clothes stuff.  Unfortunately, it was pretty hard so we’re going to have to wait a little to change loads.  Hoping maybe in just five minutes, because we don’t plan on being up long.  BUT, we will have to then fold some clothes, we’re not going to “blah” it, we won’t!  Just a regular doing Ann stuff right?

Good good … we’re back.  We changed loads in the laundry, folded a load of clothes emptied the dishwasher and then put dishes back into it …. Not many.  We’ve been trying to keep dirty dishes down because of the flies.  We opened the sliding door today for the breeze and so far we haven’t seen any flies YAY!!!  We also checked out our email and found we had to reset some settings in MFP because we were getting WAY too many messages, but we should be good now. 

Ok, and then we took another short computer break, and then we went back to the bedrooms and finished cleaning both the Girls and Maury’s rooms.  There were scraps, artwork, table tops and a couple extra boxes, plus we put the quilt in Maury’s room out on the back porch to air out.  I might have to send it through the washer though – noticing dog hair on one of the corners I was folding.  I’ll check it next load changed.  I also opened the windows to air out.  It’s not going to be long – next time up before the sheets for those two rooms are out of the dryer.  I might run one more load through the washer.  There were some spare pieces from the kids’ room, Rich’s robe, bathroom towel and maybe two lap blankets from the sitting room.  Definitely, room for another load.  There … we gathered those things and put them in the laundry room.  BUT, putting out the blanket, we must have let in a fly, DRAT!  Ok, letting that go – the rooms are starting already to smell aired out.  The girls’ room still has smells from the plastic on the air mattresses, but can’t help that … I’m going to have to do something with the mattresses too.  I want to blow them up a little more, because there’s been natural use and time gone by.  Better to do that before I replace the mattress cover, sheet and pillow.  I’m thinking though after being in there that I gave Maury the pillows that were in there accidentally.  Shoot.  Forgot.  Ok, maybe that in about 10-15 minutes.  We’ll say then by 10 am J 

Doing well so far.  I saw online that Property Brothers are having a marathon today starting at 10 am.  SOOO, we turned on the TV.  We don’t usually listen to it while we’re writing, but we figured that it might help us pay more attention to the house today.  Again so far so good!

I haven’t had anything to eat for breakfast though, so thinking we’re going to do that next.  I like to thing breakfast should certainly come before 10 am, right?

Good good .. finishing the chili for breakfast … hmm, ONE more meal – we have one more bowl left over for lunch, and then Rich said we’re having frozen pizza tonight. 

Back back.  It’s almost 12:30 pm.  We communicated with both close Linda (Bob’s) and Our Linda (WI).  Last night was Los Vegas Linda.  I’m on a roll with our Linda’s!

Ok, moving on.  That took a little time, so we had to reevaluate our cleaning missions.  Let’s see no shower yet … figure we’re going to have to do that right before 4 pm if we can live with ourselves for 3 ½ hours.  Just there is a lot of sweating and we don’t think we want that AFTER our shower.  Like to be fresh for Rich.  I’m looking forward to him being back, but I’m feeling a little ancy over the work done.  We’ve agreed that we can cut ourselves some slack.  I’m not sure – but, will probably not vacuum the whole house, but we will finish the back bedrooms.  We changed over a load of clothes so the last one is in the washer now.  AND the last loads of clothes from the dryer were the sheets.  We’ve fixed up both the girls beds and their room only needs to be vacuumed, and then before that we’ll try to make Maury’s bed, and then we’ll vacuum BOTH floors!  Neither of them is too big when furniture is considered.

Feeling pretty good about having at least SOMETHING done and we know we’ll be able to have all the laundry done before our shower at 4 pm.  It will have to include folding clothes and putting away laundry, but probably not steaming clothes.  Maybe that will be done after the shower, but then again, we might still be writing.  No pressure.  I did at least 4-5 shirts already for Rich so we are thinking we’re pretty good though never sure on pants.  Let’s think it through what else will we be able to finish?  We’ve stated both bedrooms are getting done.  Maybe we should include at least a full pick-up of all the rooms.  Think we need to do some work in the sewing room, the kitchen table, our desk. Dusting/table tops in LR, making our bed, doing cat litter and garbage … and that will probably be enough for the time.  We might check any clutter in the sunroom too, but for the most part beside dishes, kitty litter and garbage for tomorrow (second time), we would only have to vacuum and make our bed Is this doable?  Maybe we should check our time again.  How fast are we going to have to move?

Why is this so hard … let’s make a list.

Must have today
4-5 loads of clothes/linen
Maury’s bed made
Vacuum Girls room area
Vacuum Maury’s room area
Pick-up sewing room
Make Rich and my bed except green blanket
Clear kitchen table
Clean desk
Start dish washer
Wash glasses
Dust/clean table tops in LR
Kitty litter
Sweep Kitchen/Dining Rm/Office floor
Fold one load of clothes
Put away clothes
Put green blanket on bed

Yay!!!! Got it down … it’s 1 pm now so that means that each of these five groups a new section has to be done one each half hour from now til 4 pm when we take the shower, and then the rest is for tomorrow J

Must have by tomorrow
Steam Clothes
Vacuum sewing room area
Vacuum sitting room area
Vacuum dining room area
Vacuum desk area
Vacuum kitchen area
Vacuum LR area
Vacuum master bed/bath area
Vacuum sunroom area
File paperwork
Finish cutting work on kitchen table

Wow!  Keep adding to it, but I think I have to stop making longer lists!  The goal is to be caught-up by the time we go to Dr. Marvin’s (11 am) on Tuesday.  Maybe we should have started these projects earlier – like Friday or Saturday – but, to tell you the truth, just couldn’t make ourselves go through it and there were other things especially with the fitness program that came up and also had to be done.  Lastly, there has been keeping up with people like Maury, Thom, Joe, Rich, and the three Linda’s.  It’s just enough family and friends J I thought of calling my sister or my Mother, but I would like to save that toward maybe Wednesday – AFTER picking up and doing an extra load or two of clothes.  Just want to get the place up to my code and then keep it there for the girls.  Like to think that Wednesday will STILL be more of a relaxing day!  At least the bedding and two back rooms out of the way along with carpets.  I know JUST until the dogs come again – PSWHOO!

I letting the breeze pass my forehead … shoot only 4 more minutes before the next round. 

Anything else critical that needs to be written at this moment?  I’m going to get it done, right?  Hope Rich isn’t early … we’re pretty gross.  Hehehe – thinking of the laundry … can’t believe how many loads have found odd or missing socks from the girls.  I guess putting them in the laundry isn’t priority one?

Hmm, not sure if we’re behind or ahead – we’ve actually skipped around a bit, because we were better balancing sitting down vs standing up jobs with the time allowed for each set.  It’s now about 2:15 pm, we’ve taken our medicine and are down to the tasks of vacuuming Maury and the girls’ room, sewing room, doing the clothes and making the bed AND showering!  If I had ANY extra time, I would put it into the vacuuming of the sewing room and the master bath/bedrooms.  Not sure if we’ll have that kind of time … resting next 10 minutes, 2:30-3:00, 3:00-3:30, and 3:30-4pm.  Just three cleaning periods left.  It’s going to be tight.  We’ll see how it goes.  Lots of clothes to process.  Hopefully the other three tasks won’t be too hard.  PLUS bed sometimes takes a whole trip up – maybe we can though do it WITH vacuuming.  REALLY need to get the master bath – just not sure if we can haul the vacuum across the house.  BOTH Rich and us are going to want showers and it be good to have the floor clean … still a little messed up from Maury’s crew being over and Missy in JUST the bedroom space.  I know I know … I way over think these things.  BUT something practical has to happen between being up and down, right?

How do other people get through housekeeping?  Do they save it up like us?  We went two weeks after the girls left – one week after Maury left without doing anything.  It showed!  *sigh* we had caught up with Laundry and dishes through last week, but not much more.  It’s a kind of funny thing about houses and how people live.  We have a set standard – of when our house is in good shape and what fall apart means.  I know if we don’t get everything picked-up, washed, and cleaned, we’re not at 100% - Maybe 90%. Rich is now into saying that he does everything 90% which means he’s not finishing perfect.  We’re probably like that … we could find more to clean if we gave it that last 10%.  Looking back I’m sure I could find more to clean.  There are things not even the ones on the tomorrow list that should be done.   
Were done!!!!  Almost … we still have to take a shower.  That’s the easy part.  Got the towels all set and am feeling SO HOT

Pswhoo!  DONE!!!!! Everything on the today list is done!  The shower felt WONDERFUL.  It’s 4:30 pm now and we’re in cooler might we say a little more SEXY Pajamas!  Ok, that’s maybe more a secret.  Now the only thing to do is to prepare for welcoming him in the door.  That’s my favorite part.  We’ve got an Elvis movie – real old – black and white on in the background.  I think we’re about 85% done.  I was watching the property brothers, but the signal went out for a while and I could only get the DVR to work.  Yeeks … watched the show where we were really watching it.  It was an alley scene where Elvis kills the two thugs who beat up his father.  He also beat up the main mobster, but that guy got to a phone so who knows what happens next.  Afraid to turn around because the scary music is on. 

Hmm, somehow he got out saved by the mobster’s girl, but thinking that wasn’t the final battle because the whole town is owned by the mobster and he’s pretty frickin mad.  It was a nice few moments though without the heavy music.  Then Rich called.  He’s going to be home in about 40 minutes.  He’s almost to Sandwich, but he has to go to the other guys house also in Sandwich to exchange gear, and THEN he’ll be home.  Whoops mobster’s girl gets shot and now we’re back between the mobs drinking establishment and the good guys … the bad guy framed “Danny” into singing for him instead of the good guy and of course there is always the “good woman.”  YAYYYYYY!!!! Finally a song!  You know in an Elvis movie there is going to be singing.  It’s a swoony love song.  He must be at the good bar.

Ok, we should look around to see if everything is in order.  Rich laughed at us when we told him we planned our whole day for him to arrive between 4 and 4:30 pm – instead of 5:30 pm.  It was a nice laugh.  He told us we’d make pizza when he got home and we made sure he knew he had to take a shower while it cooked.  Hmm, maybe we missed something with the bad guy because the show ended and it was a happy ending at the good guys place.  Whoops sometimes people lose the bad guy and there’s not much to be done about it.  Now we’re watching our Property Brothers … thinking we’re losing our focus … the current couple at the 5 pm hour was a nice black couple that know what they want and they get along and are funny.  A lot of couples are like YEEKS screetchy brakes…  Too many obstinate problems and downright B-like. 

Rich is coming home, rich is coming home!  We got a little off-focus and ate 3 SLIM slices of stale French Bread, but it came in at 180 calories.  Just had a problem waiting … so at this point if we DID stick to the food budget, we would only come in at 664 calories left for the day – don’t know after the bread if we can do it and now my stomach feels a little bad …. Maybe drank too much water too.  UGH!  Ok, lets go back to Sweetie is coming home!

Saturday - the 12th Just gearing up for life

Saturday, July 12, 2014 @ 10:18 am


Hi Dr. Marvin.  It’s taken a couple of days, but we’re going to try writing this morning.  We’ve been up over 3 hours and just fumbling around FB and emails.  Maybe we’re into a little bit of a depression again this morning.  Think it has to do with the gloominess around me with the weather.  House seems dark because of the cloudiness and rain.  Hmm, turn on the lights then?  Maybe that is a good idea, thanks!

Hmm stopped to finish off the ice cream too … maybe that isn’t the best idea.  Let’s not talk about that right now, k?

Ok, I know we’re not supposed to eat ice cream for breakfast.  And, that’s how people get big.  REALLY don’t want to talk about it…

So where else to go. 

We’re looking over at a sad picture of Dakota.  Katherine cut off all his extra hair … I don’t like that so much, though I can really appreciate how cool and free he must feel.  This is the before and after pictures.

Katherine says he was having trouble sitting still in the cropped picture so she was holding him steady and he wasn’t a big fan of that.  Just that I know he’s cooler now ... I guess SD has been near the 100’s of late.  Everyone is supposed to get the polar vortex tomorrow – or there about … ok, the bottom line is that we’re kinda missing our big bushy dog.  He doesn’t look like a collie now.  I know Katherine did the right thing, just ok, we’re still mopey.

We did take all our medicine this morning.  That was a good thing.  We’ve been put on alert in that Maury said he’d be here about 2 hours ago.  We had to get up and get showered, dressed and cleared dirty dishes right away.  I’m thinking now that he must have gone out last night because he’s not here yet which means he slept in.  I suppose he could have done that on his own by never leaving the house too.  We stayed up and watched a few movies last night. 

Hi it’s us again … we just got back from taking a nap.  It’s now just after 12 pm.  A few minutes after we woke up Maury called and said he’d be here just before 1:30 pm.  He was leaving as he called.  He was up late last night and slept in.  He should be just stopping by and then going right away.  He hasn’t made his plans for the day, but wouldn’t want to get stuck out here I guess. 

Maybe we could say something more positive in that yesterday we were able to talk to all three of my sons.  Maury was a short talk and more based on what his next plans were.  And, then Thom called.  That was like a long almost 2 hour conversation, and then we called Joe to talk to him to about stuff on the top of general life. 

The call to Thom was based in mostly things going on with him.  He didn’t seem to know or remember that we were getting a service dog.  So we filled him in there.  He says after being in his place for a year – if things are still going his way, he’s going to try either buying the house from his landlord or getting permission necessary to getting a dog.  He said he would have to make a promise to keep the dog out of the special room – cushioned floors and rice paper walls.  You can take a look at the pictures in FB when we get together, but this is the front of it J

Nice, hmm?  It stands alone and has a place to park up to three cars.  We went over room by room with the 16 pictures he showed us.  He hasn’t done much decorating in the 7 or so months he’s been there, but has the main things in the kitchen, dining room, LR and Master BR.  The rice paper room and the two extra bedrooms are pretty bare.  One has a rack for hanging clothes.  We sent him a picture of the steamer and suggested it for him.  We saw his wrinkled T-shirt on the rack.  Sorry this is just a Mom thing I think it’s a major answer to something we had such problems over.  Still have to do the work, but it is available to us. 

We didn’t talk very much about his job other than how well he’d done with his 6 month review.  I do like the part where the boys will talk to me about stuff, but when it gets to their social life – it’s like ok, Mom I …  [more editing]

We just took our afternoon medicine – it’s just over 1 pm.  Maury in a half an hour … We’ll have to get a handle on ourselves.  I don’t expect he’s going to be here long …. Just enough to drop the car. 

I’m now thinking of you stating something toward not taking care of other peoples programs.

The house is still a bit of a mess – I’m not done putting away the laundry from a couple of days ago.  And, other than dishwasher haven’t done anything today – especially vacuuming the floor.  Thinking Maury was right as he headed out last time.  If I just left the dogs fur on the ground I could almost pretend they were still here.  I think Maury knows I’m having a hard time with it, but like his brothers more able to cut it off and say – Mom’s problem.  They’d be right.

I’ve talked to almost all my boys about the gym equipment.  I don’t think I told Maury about it.  Thom was like you should really get a small TV to watch to forget about the actual exercise time and Joe was like – good idea, but that he and Cari usually agreed on the expenditure of money and he of course would hate that it’s on credit.  He was able to follow the logic as was Thom.  I’m thinking Rich will too, but he’s going to say that we needed to be holding back and that would be too much money into the equipment.  I know he’s still paying off people and he had to put money down on taxes this week.  It didn’t seem to matter L

Hmm, back.  It’s now about 3:15 pm and we’ve just said goodbye to Maury.  He was here for about an hour and talked about general stuff. 

I did talk to Maury about the exercise equipment, but not much further past then his confirmation I haven’t told Rich (Maury was shaking his head) and the part about putting some of it on credit.  The good part to all that is that talking to Katherine yesterday too – she said that she will start training Dakota on her treadmill.  Good boy …. It’s like if he can do it so can I?  Just we have to start before he gets here.  Maury says we should be able to get over the depression part, because the girls, he and the dogs will be coming back – actually this next weekend.  He said he’ll bring them on Saturday and then probably go home so he’s ready for work on Sunday morning.  AND, he’s bringing the dogs! 

So that’s it for that – we did ask about the quilting weekend and he said he would talk to the girls.  I know that Isa won’t be a problem, but I need to assure that Ame isn’t going to be stuck with something she’s against.  BUT, other than that – the plan seems pretty firm in place.  The quilting girls know, we have yet to arrange the room, but we’re excited about it.  I will still want to pull a sewing project for Isa.  I think something to do with sorting and maybe bringing my plastic 10 drawer container so she can be matching colors.  I have to think it through yet.  I think ironing and folding are past her age level.  Maybe push comes to shove that I could work with her and we could go through scraps together.  That way as she got bored, she could walk away – I could develop another stack, and then she can check back into the project …. I think that’s what worked before with the clipping of my patches of sewn tails.  She didn’t have a lot of consistency built up in time, but she could come back to things and her accuracy was perfect.  The girls can sleep in the car on the way up. 

I suppose it would be an alternative to pick the girls up on the way. 

Hmm, faded off there a bit …. We went through a few things in emails.  One of our favorites is to follow some of the real estate – especially mobile homes in the area.  I know we had to put on a roof, but we really do have one of the best houses and we’ve been looking for over a year.  Some are newer and have real walls that are dry-walled instead of panels, but other than that haven’t seen much that’s better and I think CERTAINLY nothing is better in size or room placement. 

Saying this, you would think that I could treat our house a little better toward cleaning up.  It does put a little change in perspective to think the girls are actually coming back with the dogs in ONE WEEK!  WooHOOO!!!!  There are some things I haven’t done yet in their rooms as to cleaning and washing sheets.  I’m really being terrible.  I suppose  if you were here, you might say something like what is one thing that I could do right away.  Grrrr… do we REALLY want to play the Dr. Marvin game?  Maybe we could do SOMETHING!  We won’t be seeing anyone now before Rich gets home tomorrow – and because it’s only in Madison, he might get home around 4-5 pm.  We’ll have to plan that. 

 “Our Linda” the one we communicate daily with from the sewing group, then the Linda from Los Vegas … she just wrote and asked for the phone number again, and then Rich’s friend – Bob – HIS Linda.  After we talked with you on Tuesday we went out with Bob and Linda to a Bohemian restaurant.  It was very relaxing.

Are we back there again?  How did that happen?  We should get it cleaned up before they come through again.  What’s it going to be like when we have our own shaggy dog problems?  Hehehehe … I sure hope he likes the sound of vacuums and doesn’t bark at them.  I didn’t think I could handle Maury’s dogs and the cat while they were here – and vacuum, but no excuses now, EXCEPT we’re finally in the wind-down part of the day.  Maybe if we get through it we’ll change and watch some movies again.  That sounds a lot easier than cleaning or sewing. 

Hmm, is that a constant thread – go toward the easier?  Probably we’ve talked about this before. 

We recorded a few shows from the dish “blockbuster” free movie section yesterday.  We watched one where there was a girl with three chances and she had a charm necklace where she could do the moral dilemma 3 different ways and choose the version she liked the best.  They we watched before that something?  Don’t remember which.  I’d have to have something jar my memory and not sure if it would be important enough. 

AHA!  We found something interesting to look at for a little bit … perfect for this little bit of space.  We just remembered that the treadmill was attached to some kind of “ifit” program and that we hadn’t checked that out.  Looks on surface like an online club with app that pulls together weight, diet, and exercise.  We’ll be back.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dakota is at Katherine's! See Pictures Below!

Dakota is at Katherine’s! See Pictures below :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 @ 10:26 AM
Good morning.  This is us and we’re thinking here something between writing a normal blog entry – the kind we don’t do very much anymore and writing just an entry about Dakota.  Maybe we could do a bit of both?
The situation with Dakota keeps going forward though it is slow.  But, because he lives so much in the forward part of my brain … he is being thought of all the time.  I’m so grateful for Katherine and her keeping me in touch with what is going on with Dakota that words cannot express.  The biggest change from the last post to this is that Dakota is officially living with Katherine and both are VERY excited about that.  I think Katherine’s first impression of the dog was that he’s a sweetie.  That feels good to me!
There was a little bit of problem in communication between the rescue people and Katherine, but it worked out and Katherine picked up Dakota 6 days ago.  Somewhere in-between there we talked with Marie one of the rescue people and she seemed very nice.  I think she was concerned that their dog go to someone who would be loving and responsible.  I guess we passed, because within a couple of days the arrangements were made to have Katherine drive over and pick him up.  I think they met pretty close to the rescue place.
There were a few problems right away that needed to be addressed.  The first was that Katherine was alarmed at what had happened to the genitals during the chemical neutering.  Marie and Dale too both decided they would never put another animal through it and that would probably be a good deal.  Katherine said Dakota was acting gingerly, but when she got home that night she called the vet clinic and they discussed getting him on medicine right away.  I don’t recall if it was anti-inflammatory or anti-biotic and I think there might have been steroids too.
Katherine had talked to me on the way home about the situation and she asked me to look up chemical sterilization to see what it said.  I think the most alarming to me was that it was supposed to be done if at all between the dog’s age of 3 -10 months, and our dog was closer to 1 ½ years.  The posts we were reading talked about negative things like his private parts becoming enlarged like our dog’s had been and the danger in all that.  We were also concerned that the dog didn’t lose the testosterone which would cause problems like the running or lifting of his leg on everything.  Mostly though we were worried because of the problems with someone not doing the procedure correctly which in some cases had led to death.
The vet said that most likely Dakota should go through the regular neutering process and that it should be done soon.  There was some more advice gained from Katherine’s specialist, but the bottom line was that he was neutered properly on Wednesday.  That was a huge worry off our mind.
The next sets of problems were just how unkempt the dog was.  Katherine had discussed it right away and had talked about the grooming he was going to need because of all the matting and that there was so much fur he was overheating.  That was put off until after the surgery.  Though last time we talked to Katherine on Wednesday, she was just coming home with our dog and had to carry him in the house after the hospital because of his sedation.  She was going to trim the underbelly part while he was still sleepy.  And, then work on the other a little later.  I believe it was going to be an outside job from that part.  The other grooming part was going to be getting him in for a bath.  She had the kind of space to do that indoors, but she said she’d have to wait at least a week with that because of the incisions.  The vet had showed her details of the surgery and that because of the chemical there were special needs during surgery due to the amount of tissue damage.
I was so relieved that Katherine had talked to someone so quickly and that it was taken care of proper.  The problems hadn’t slowed Dakota down all the way.  He is Katherine’s 11th dog and they are sleeping in the house and because of Dakota’s over-heating … he has a kennel write below one of her air conditioners.  But, when he is outdoors with the other dogs – he is having the time of his life running and playing.
It was a little funny the first day, because Katherine said the pack was teaching him the ropes which mean he didn’t get to have anything.  He would go for toys and eventually his food and the other dogs wanted to make sure he knew he was low man on the totem pole, but Katherine was happy with his manners which rolled into “oh that’s no problem behavior” conveyed to the other dogs.  I think he was faring better the next day and now it’s been a couple days so we’re not sure how it is going at this point.  Maybe now they are letting him play with some of the toys?
Katherine didn’t think he had been out much before because he reveled in it so much at her place – especially because of being able to play with the other dogs.  Katherine says that the training might last up to September and that she was going to have to start from scratch.  The first problem had been that Dakota had an accident urinating in the car on the way home, and then she found he really wasn’t housetrained.  She said he also didn’t walk well on a leash which was another surprise, but I’m very confident in Katherine’s abilities to train – just we’re going to need being patient and admitting that it will be some serious time before we see him.
We do trust Katherine and we’re looking forward to the updates on how well he’s doing and even some of the fallbacks.  I think in life most things are two steps forward, one step back.  I’m sure there will be problems, but they will be addressed as they happen.  I do know that Katherine isn’t going to start until after he has a chance to settle down with being at a new place, getting comfortable with the pack, and then of course, doing some healing with the surgery.
When I talked to Katherine one day, she said that we should be writing a book about the transformation of Dakota from a “reservation dog,” to a proud service dog.  I guess I really hadn’t known he had come directly from the reservation just that he’d been given back to Marie and Dale’s rescue operation.  I’m very grateful that through them he is coming in our direction.  I asked Katherine if she’d read the book, “Follow My Leader,” by James B. Garfield.  She hadn’t, but we told her and since then have sent her a copy through Amazon.
Follow My Leader was a book like Katherine had just thought of with Dakota.  Basically, it is about a boy named Jimmy who was about ten years old.  He’d gotten into an accident with a firecracker and has to learn to accept his situation and through that experience meets a teacher who taught him to read braille and walk with a white cane.  And then, she introduces him to the idea of getting a Seeing Eye dog.  And, that’s what the rest of the story is about – jimmy and his dog Leader.
It had been one of my favorite books growing up.  I tended toward books where the people/kids inside were learning things and sometimes had come from behind the odds.  I think the book will be there midweek this upcoming week and I hope Katherine likes it too.  I just know she’s going to love it!
I think our blogs become our “books,” and one day might get them all published, but for now we’re very happy with making blog posts.
Oh man … I don’t think we’ve posted pictures that we’ve received since then from Marie’s blog.  Here are the pictures of our dog.  We’ve got her posted on our computer screen so we can sneak looks at him all the time.  I think he’s just the most beautiful dog in the world!
Dakota 1 Dakota 2 Dakota 3 Dakota 4 Dakota 5
Doesn’t he have just the nicest smile???!!!  He also seems to have wonderfully warm, wise and comforting eyes.  Just very excited about him and we are imagining him with us all the time – especially when we sit out on the front patio.  Maybe we’ll get out there some today … I think we have almost finished a couple more books since we’ve last written.
We’ve talked to everyone we can about getting Dakota.  Dr. Marvin is excited like we are … and Rich is holding his own.  He keeps reminding us of things that will be different when we get the dog, like getting dressed in the morning so we can walk him.  We always knew that was going to be a stumbling block.  But, hope to figure it out by the time he comes home.  We did tell Katherine we’re planning on being very patient J
The two last books we’ve written have been kind of a slide …. It’s like information is still coming in, but they weren’t as exact as offering to teach much.  The second to last book we read was another from Cesar Milan called, “Be the Pack Leader.”  And, then the last book has been recommended by a friend of Katherine’s called, “Healing Companions,” by Jane Miller.  I think I will have to look for another book this time in more depth.  These last one’s have been more “feel good.”  I have to keep reminding ourselves if we REALLY want an in-depth book, we’ll go back to the one on Dissociation by Paul Dell.   Maybe at this point is when all the folks who tuned in to catch-up on Dakota can tune out again … Oh wait, just one more thing.
Maury stayed over some time last weekend when Nikki and the girls were out of town.  Things there aren’t going well, but for now the part I wanted to mention is that he brought his dogs and we had a very good time with them here.  We wanted to practice a few things that we’d read about in Cesar’s books.  The first was not making eye contact, touching, or talking to the dogs until they were calm and peaceful, and the second was getting Lady to sit before giving her attention so she wasn’t all up in our face due to over-excitement.  I’m glad to report that both worked although especially with the sitting we had to repeat and reinforce often with her getting treats (couple kitty foods) for sitting, and then we would go on telling her what a wonderful dog she was and petting.  I think she grew to expect that that was what she was supposed to be doing with us.  I’m VERY happy to have been given the chance to be with her, and between both Lady and Max, it was good to see how much couch space an 80+ pound dog will do!
They are going to be welcome back as guests any time.
Ok, maybe now we can go on with some of the other things.  By this time the kids are almost through school if not have already stopped.  Isa is going into 3rd grade, Ame and Jasmine are going into 8th grade, Austin is going to be a freshman, in high school and Jade is going to be a sophomore.  I don’t know how long we’ll be getting pictures, but saw Jade and Adrian dressed up for his senior prom.  They looked really nice together.  We also saw Austin with his Mom ready to go out after his celebration, but he didn’t look quite as happy.  Poor Austin, I don’t think photos are his favorite thing.  We’re also hearing about Joe and Cari’s new baby – Alexander and getting five month pictures from Mike and Laura.  Their little one is turning out to be such a happy infant!
That’s as far as we go on the Grandma front.  I think our next overnight weekend is actually going to be with Ame and Isa on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – last of the month 23, 24thand 25th.   We’re very happy about that.  We’ll then also have to see when we can get Austin again.  We want to ride out some family planning before that to see how things go, but always looking forward.
Rich is having a fishing weekend now.  He left yesterday and he left me in pretty good shape with chili mac which is one of my favorites and saved for when he goes out of town.  It usually lasts the weekend, but we like it breakfast, lunch and dinner.  AND, we heard that we were supposed to make him a pizza dinner when he gets back on Sunday.  I am pretty sure we can do it, but will have to get instructions again on how long to cook the sausage before putting it in the oven on top of the pizza.  I can do it!  He went out with one of the older guys and neither is in contention for prizes this year, so it was supposed to be a relaxing weekend.  Rich planned very hard for two weeks to make sure that all his lawn and boat duties were taken care of AS WELL as making sure Ann was in good shape.  See above!
There have been normal things going on.  We have continued to take piano lessons, but wax and wane as to getting practices in.  I might have to cancel Monday’s appointment if I don’t make practice essential over this next three days.  It’s going to be at 11 am Monday which doesn’t give me a lot of time, and after that we’ll meet at 10:45 am on Wednesday mornings until the fall schedule starts again.  I think that Michelle is getting us closer to her yoga lessons.  It is fine … just a little harder to move in the mornings.  I’m more than willing though to make adaptations for her, she’s made plenty for me.
Sewing hasn’t gone real well since the last time we met in early May.  I only have now one week to get the butterflies finished before we meet again with the WI girls if I’m going to send the quilt top home with Linda so she can finish the quilting.  This is the first time I thought that out – how quickly that Saturday is coming up.  It would make a lot of sense then if we did some sewing today and tomorrow.  We had cleaned up the room a bit, but it still gets claustrophobic fast with the steaming stuff in there – especially like now when we have clothes to steam.  For the record we did catch-up on things, but are now easily behind again … I should probably put in a couple loads of laundry over the weekend too … just having gotten that far with anything … it’s already 11:37 am.  Hmm, I’m writing my blog – maybe that’s something I SHOULD be doing too?  You know cleaning-up?
Ok, maybe just a little.  Ok there … started a load of laundry AND the dishwasher.  It looks like we need to do a load of colors and a load of white – shouldn’t be too much problems.  Hmm, air started up too so we closed the sliding door and front door.  Rich had it set on 75 so there isn’t any problem there BUT, we moved it down to 72 degrees.  I looked just briefly out the sunroom windows and it seems like the flowers are really blooming out there and the rose bush in front is going like gangsters!
Rose bush 6-14
Really pretty isn’t it?  This was from a couple of days ago.
Maybe I should have started my shower before doing the dishwasher and washing machine?  Naw we’ll let them go.  I could stop them to assure I got a good shower, but not really in the mood for much … we would like to push ourselves to get out some today.  It would make a really good report to Rich when he calls tonight J  I should also make a pie before those strawberries fail, but not so sure I wouldn’t eat the whole thing over the next 24 hours before Rich got home.  Hmm, moot point if we don’t get showered dressed and out the door to pull rhubarb, hmm?  Mostly we are foreseeing just going out to the patio to read and people watch a bit.  Rich did mow before he left so the place looks fine.  Place inside is looking good except I have to make the bed and fold a blanket.  Hmm, should go through the mail AND we should go through the papers in the cubbies again, and what else is on our to-do list except to make Emilie’s quilt?  Let’s see shower, dressed, read books, play piano, household, and quilt.  That’s pretty much our full agenda.
Oh AND write!  Ahh Just got off the phone with CS … she’s going through some troubles and changes, but we invited her down for a couple of days.  She said possibly like June 26th, 27th – not sure how long, but it would be like a Thursday or Friday … She has to work around family schedules and Doctor Appointments.  Just wanted to let her know that maybe coming down might give her a small break.  It sounded like she was pretty stressed.  We wanted to balance that too – earlier in the week we might have Ame and Isa … think we already said that, but the two should balance out … we would just have to wash sheets in-between.  Now that I’m thinking of it, Maury might work a half day Thursday, so we’d probably suggest CS come on Friday or after.  AND THEN … we would like another chance at getting Austin over.  Hmm, forgot one thing … Rich said something about trying to get in a trip to New Mexico!  That be so great.  He wants to see his daughter … and that’s really understandable.  I think too he had like 3 fishing trips planned for June so we’re really going to need locking down dates soon because things seem to be filling up.
Hmmm, we took a break.  We switched loads in the laundry, BUT by the time we finished we weren’t able to make the bed.  Maybe that comes next.  It’s also 12:45 pm now so we decided to eat lunch … of course, more chili!
As to other things now … I think Rich and us are getting along pretty good.  I think the biggest difference is that he’s got fishing again and that’s motivating him to do more and more.  He set up a to-do list two weeks ago so he could be ready for this weekend and he got everything done that HAD to be done.  He says the hips allowing him to feel much better and he’s moving again which also helps him feel better.  Couldn’t be more pleased for him J
I think the only other thing we have on our mind right now … oh except making the bed.  There just made the bed and checked on our machines.  That was a good deal. Anyway the other thing would be our general meetings with Dr. Marvin. … I think we went a little bit of a break one week, but in general we’ve been just talking about what’s been going on AND for the hard part talking about weight.  That seems to be causing the system a great deal of difficulty.  The only thing he really suggested was that we start recording how much and when we were eating.  That lasted for a couple of days, and then someone got really angry at him.  It was a bad deal for us though because we get really iffy if things aren’t going well with Dr. Marvin.  He of course explains carefully, he’ll be there throughout, but for us its still shaky ground.  So for the last couple of weeks we’ve been saving just the last 15-20 minutes to talk about it.  He’s sneaking in a little more at the beginning, but he’s doing a lot in reading our body language.  I’m aware there are times we’re sitting back relaxed and just talking, but then there is a lot of time on this subject, where we are staring at the ground and unable to talk with him well.  Or, there are times when we are sitting at the edge of the couch and we’re rocking terribly and sounding very shaky.
He has confirmed with the safer parts that he’s going to be there to see it through.  We’re scared of what see it through means.  It seems each time we go into it there are problems with the past that we usually don’t have to deal with.  It’s a bit on the scary side.  It is like for some of it … tiny bits at a time – people inside need to hear that things are going to be ok and that bad stuff shouldn’t have happened.  We are about 293 pounds into believing bad stuff happens to bad people.  This really is against where we normally feel on the outside day to day.  We do seem to hold on more to trying to keep a schedule, be with Rich, and in taking care of household.  Other than getting opportunities to be with family … it’s really about all that’s expected of me … yet we feel on some days we’re just on the cusp of surviving.
Things like washing clothes and dishes and even vacuuming seem like daunting challenges, and we’re aware of how little we like to be outside the home for things like even the reading or to take pictures of flowers.  We’d in some way really LIKE to go out … I know that it seems better or ok after we get out there, but the getting part is very difficult yet.  I don’t think the warmer weather helps much either.  It Is now about 1:30 pm and I think we’re going to have to make a few realistic goals.  As soon as the washer gets done (dishes are on dry cycle), then we’ll go take our shower, and then when the clothes dry then we’ll fold them, and hopefully, it won’t be so long for the second load – less crowded so it will give our hair a chance to dry and to finish any writing or other computer we may have in mind.  Hmm, just remembered to plug in the Kindle … it was on way past low.  Maybe it will be enough time to charge that too.  I know I could do it outside, but not as freeing.
Everything in the household part beside that is done.  We have another goal though we have to do … We have to pack the quilt to go to T’s if she still wants it.  I think we have the box and it’s only our own fears of doing more keeping us from it.  I really hope that Rich will just take it in for us, but I know if we at least get it in the box and addressed that the next part would be easier.  Still have to get piano in … and what would it take to do the sewing?  Maybe if we just looked at the butterflies?  We have a horrible image that we really wrecked them up.  Maybe that’s something we could do now.
OK You!!!  They aren’t really terrible.  Some of the stems in the middle – the body part of the butterfly is too short, but maybe what is going to happen is that we need to square them up.  Maybe some of the pieces are pulled.  In reality there are 27 done – so only three more to go.  That wouldn’t be bad, right?  Then we’d have to sew the sashing, and then the borders, and then get the backing ready.  Theoretically, this shouldn’t take us too long.  I’d still like to go with getting it all done by Saturday.  Hmm, then we would have to think what we are going to do next?
Thinking thinking … took a little ride on the Internet … still thinking, but maybe what we’ll do is go back to the old pattern with the scrap quilt, and what we have in mind is to make something for Dakota.  I don’t know if he’s past the chewing or what kind of bottom he has with the kennel.  I also wouldn’t know whether to try more a pillow or more a blanket.  Maybe we are going to need waiting for the next time to seeing Katherine before we decide on something.  I had discussed it before we think in that we wanted something that was ours that he can pre-smell.  We’re really thinking that is a good thing … just want to make sure he doesn’t play chew the blanket AND we have to find out with his house training how it would affect him.  Before he went through the surgery he was lifting his leg on objects … so we’ll want to make sure the blanket/pillow isn’t a target for him.  Maybe if that was trouble than maybe Katherine could save it for times he’s getting brushed or something.  I’m PRETTY sure though that with 11 dogs … Katherine isn’t brushing dogs any toooooo frequently!  Again, a subject of another conversation.  J
Now I think we’re in the avoidant stage.  We don’t really have too much to talk about, but don’t really want to stop because then we’ll have to do those other things.  Hmm.
If we were Katherine, we’d have definitely moved on to the next thing.  Hmm, we also have to think of where we are with her stuff.  That might need to be rebooted.  Maybe we should save it for tomorrow.  Hopefully, we’ll get a cleaner start and the dishes, laundry and maybe even a pie will be made!  There won’t be too much to clean up with only one person.  We’re thinking, we’re thinking.  Maybe bills/paperwork also tonight and we at least finish the three butterfly AND take time to read AND maybe then distress with TV.  Why does it seem all these little things are so hard?  We’re not even talking about crossing the street for mail.  YEEKS!  Not that too!  It be a lot!  Hmm, we’re going to have to steam by tomorrow too!  Drat … feel like we’re falling behind.

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Posted in By AnnIt's all about communicationWorking with Katherine at the Animal Psychology Center

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Should we go over an update AND Reading work of Al Parr’s book on ‘’Training Dogs Cesar’s Way?”

Should we go over an update AND Reading work of Al Parr’s book on ‘’Training Dogs Cesar’s Way?”

Greetings!  It’s me again on a Friday afternoon.  I talked to Katherine earlier this week.  It seems that Dakota has missed the problem with the Kennel cough at the Rescue place run by Marie and her husband, but he has gained an infection problem with his neutering, so had to work that off.  The word is that Katherine might meet Marie for a drop-off sometime next week, we’re not sure when.  I am worrying about when we’ll be able to get Dakota … first, because we don’t know how much training time he’ll need with Katherine, and second, is that we don’t know when we’ll be able to get the scooter or HoverRound.  The HoverRound is going to depend on what Medicare makes out of my medical records – we saw our doctor a couple of weeks ago.  We either may or may not get the HoverRound and we just have to wait for that.  Even though we can’t walk or stand for over 5-6 minutes, it may not be enough because I think their intent is to give them to people who have trouble with ANY walking within the house.  I can get up for these brief times and go chair to chair – so the decision will just depend on their criteria.

The Scooter however is ours for sure.  It is my mother’s and she doesn’t use it anymore.  But, we aren’t planning on being up in Minnesota where we can pick it up until July 24th through July 28th.  That’s about ten weeks away.  I don’t know if Katherine was intending to keep the dog that long.  The trip to South Dakota would have to be after that.  And, as an aside – we have until about that time to purchase some kind of ramp for the scooter.  We were looking at the Ramp King.  I think the Ramp King Elite is the one we want and sells for $160 at Amazon.  We’ve got more time and need to find out if we could get the HoverRound and its size dimensions.  We’re arguing in our head about whether we should have one OR two machines, we know we have the one, but if Medicare and our supplementary could buy the second it would be newer and better shape.  One is more for internal within a building while the other is external for being outside.  I’d like the option of being able to bring it in a store with Dakota.  We’ll have to wait and see.  I also liked the idea of Rich going on walks with us, but he said he wouldn’t use either machine.  So, maybe what we’re talking here is a back-up.  Just have to wait it out.  It could be another couple of weeks before we hear.
We did this week go in for our MRI as was part of the doctor’s evaluation.  The last MRI was done 8 years ago.  It doesn’t seem like that long, but I guess it was.  We talked over the results of the MRI with Dr. Marvin on Thursday, and he said that we should expect a call from our regular physician within a week and she’ll talk over the results too – with a little more authority on the subject.  Psychiatrists have to be medical doctors first, but since they don’t practice or specialize in medical, they aren’t the best resource for checking on these things – THOUGH he does have access to the test results and he DID share them with me.  I might need to spend some time on the Internet really understanding the terms.  We’ll give you a brief idea where we’re at.  Hmm, doctor might call us back Monday – we just checked.
The lumbar spine is normal alignment without any fractures.  There seems to be a fatty change in the L4 and L5 endplates which is progressive since the 2006 exam.  I think the fatty changes make treatment less successful.  There is progressive loss of disc height at L4-L5 and L5-S1.  It seems that my posterior spinal and bilateral psoas muscles (loin muscle) have fatty atrophy which means that there has been a gradual loss of muscle or flesh usually because of disease or lack of use.  I have had a progression of bone disease – arthritis in L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1.  I have a disc protrusion (bulge that cuts off nerves) in the right paracentral disc and right posterolateral disk.  Stenosis is present in three places – L4-L5 mild spinal canal stenosis, moderate right neuroforaminal stenosis and mild left neuroforaminal stenosis.  In the L5-S1 I have a mild diffuse disc bulge with some bilateral stenosis.  My understanding of stenosis is that it’s a narrowing or constriction of the spinal canal – which could pinch nerves.
Hmm, that was pretty heavy and we’re still not sure what it all means as to treatability … we could get some cortisone shots I think, could go through physical therapy, and then if those two failed we could go through fusion surgery … but, most likely we’re going to be told that weight loss will help take pressure off the parts that carry so much pain, so that’s where the rest of the appointment with Dr. Marvin and us was focused.  I think we were in a depressed mode throughout and it didn’t get better until after we left.  One of the first lines of defense he’s drawing is that we should be recording everything we eat.  So that’s where we’ve been the last 24 hours or so.  We weighed in today at 293 and we’ve used our phone app recorder to note the food and drinks we’ve been having.  Most of that has been uploaded to Dropbox, so then the question will be if we can dictate it if we want to.  I think half the punishment of noting what you’re eating is that if you eat anything you HAVE to mark it down and nobody really wants to hear that they’ve gone off-course.  Of course it could work in the opposite too, but less likely because we’re not all that positive about it.
Of course, we know that exercise and weight loss has been all along a part of getting a dog.  It is to get us out there in the world and more active.  Just at this moment we’re feeling the heaviness of our commitments AND we added to that the REAL problems that are happening in our back that prevents us from doing any of the above without pain.  It’s just hard.
BUT, then again … we know we have to move on so that’s where we are right now.  We told you about the first book we read by Cesar Millan, but then we read a second book by Al Parr (2014) on Cesar’s training methods, and since then we’ve started another book again from Cesar directly.  I think the last (third) book is “Cesar Rules.”  Earlier today though we focused on the 2nd book by Al Parr – It is called, “Train Dogs Cesar’s Way; Cesar Millan:  His Life, Techniques and even Case Histories.”  All three books are on Kindle.  For Parr’s book, we skimmed the whole thing and took some pretty serious notes on things that really interested me.  It is now an eight page outline of the material he covered.  I was surprised by the number of things he took explicitly from Cesar’s philosophies.  It’s kind of an outline of them.  I did also read the case studies, but I wasn’t interested in them while we were taking notes.
I think the next best thing I can do is to re-summarize the notes more briefly than I had last time.  I’m going through a process of trying to internalize the notes.  Everything fits in what we’ve heard of Cesar AND Katherine before.  I think Katherine has a lot of good ideas specifically and can help us with ACTUAL training, but Millan does a lot more writing so he’s the one we’re gravitating to right now while we wait out the literal training that is going to take place with Katherine.  Some of the things that Parr says, we skipped because we’d heard them so often, but some of his basics, we recorded just because we wanted to get the gist of what was being said in an outlined form. So without further ado we’re going to jump in from the start.  Again, this is Parr, writing about Cesar Millan’s methods, and we are condensing the material into bite size bits that work for us.  Hehehe Kibble if you will!
The first thing that is always said is that we as the people who own or train dogs are the Pack Leaders.  This is REALLY familiar!  We are then asked not to humanize the dogs because it leads to stress and anxiety for them and it is better to understand their psychology which is understood from their point of view.  The goal is to have balance people, dogs and relationships.  Millan underscores as noted in the first book that first think in achieving balance is exercise, then discipline (setting rules, boundaries, and limitations), and only then adding affection.  He states as leaders, we are always responsible for projecting calm-assertive energy and we should place the dog’s needs first.
He gives us ideas on how to become the pack leader which always follows the format just noted.  We should do things like claim the dog’s favorite spot as ours; claim his favorite food, his favorite toy and the door coming in and out of our houses.  In general you block the dog until he is calm and submissive and then YOU as the owner of these things can share with the dog, but he has to understand they are all yours as the leader of the pack.  He also discusses being leader as you walk by walking at least 45 min in the morning using a leash, not talking to the dog as you walk, having the dog beside or in back of you – not letting him lead, commanding the dog through body language and giving him quick sideways jerks on his short leash until he corrects his walking behavior and is relaxed again.  You want to in general create a “zone of walking where you can both enjoy the process.”
One other thing he notes here is to say that you are ALWAYS conditioning the dog voluntarily, or involuntarily.  Voluntary control is the times you mean to be training the dog, and involuntary control is training that just happens as the dog pays attention to you and your behavior without you intending to be teaching him.  And, as a leader you always have to assert calm and firm dominance, establish rules of the dog staying submissive, learn to give affection after they have earned it and are calm and submissive, and that you need to avoid the dog being dominant.  Things that you can do for the dog are to control your voice – clear and strong without yelling, show calm assertive energy for the dog to be healthy and secure and to give your dog a social role which leads them to his sense of purpose.
I didn’t record all the axioms that were listed, but some of my favorites were:
  • Living in the present – in the moment (not past or future)
  • Take responsibility for leadership of the dog
  • Understand that in 10 seconds a dog can change from follower to leader or back again
  • Dogs lead with their senses – first nose, then eyes, and then ears
  • All dogs need to spend time “waiting”
  • Imagine and visualize positive and don’t nurture the dogs fears and instabilities
  • Challenge his mind and work for affection (after calm and submissive)
  • Realize the dog needs on-time AND off-time
  • Let the dog earn food and water and experience in the world by walking which will stimulate their mind and exercise his body
  • Dogs need to work (activity) for food and water to feel fulfilled
  • Packs help to accomplish balance
Parr then went into talking about conditioning.  He established pre-conditioning with Pavlov’s dogs by its salivating, next ringing the bell before being fed, and then letting the dog eat uninterrupted.  Conditioning was then the repetition and reinforcement of the above pre-conditioned behavior – usually 2-3 times a day for several days.  And then, Post-conditioning is the measuring of the saliva; ringing the bell without the dog being fed to see how much the dog learned to salivate.  He stated the basic components to classic conditioning were the unconditioned stimulus – that which elicits the normal response (food), unconditioned response – natural reaction to the unconditioned stimulus (salivating), the conditioned stimulus – that which “comes to elicit” the target response (bell), and the conditioned response – which is the natural reaction to conditioned stimulus (salivating due to the bell).  He states that a dog is conditioned when he “learns” to “respond” automatically to some sort of “stimulus” with fear, joy, excitement, or anticipation.
The next thing Parr does is discuss conditioning the dog – our service dog if you will.  He states that it can be done with both voice and hand signals, but we should always use one-word commands with the same tone and inflection after we say the dog’s name to get his attention.  With conditioning it is better to move slow and practice one thing at a time.  He explained the optimal hand signal space as being in front of the dog’s head and that it is a good idea to wean him of the verbal commands.
He describes rewards and punishments by explaining the word “mark” as something you use when the dog does something right (could be devises such as bells, whistles or keys to generate unique sounds).  Contrary is “no-mark” which should be used when the dog does something wrong.  Each mark or no-mark is independently created by the trainer/owner, but things used as marks include food treats, positive reinforcement like pats on the head or back of pet, praise, or a favorite toy.  He states we need to ALWAYS reinforce behavior only if the dog is calm and submissive – not over excited or over-stimulated.  To reward the dog with food he suggests placing it within two fingers and a thumb and let the dog sniff and as he’s sniffing slowly lift the treat above the nose height and gradually over the head and then slightly back toward the shoulders until the butt naturally touches the floor.  If he jumps at the hand – take away the treat and repeat the exercise.  When he sits calmly and easily we can give him the treat.  No-mark on the other hand is a matter of saying “Tsch” and poking him with two fingers in the area of his neck or chest.  You can also block him or use your foot to gently tap his flank.  If the dog doesn’t respond then he should have a consequence of being taken away, or giving him a time out, or taking away a valuable resource.  The two finger poke is like his mother poking him with her nose and used to “snap” a dog out of his current behavior.
There are other important factors to training like the “No contact rule” which means “no talk, no touch and no eye contact.”  It is used for meeting a new dog or calming a dog down who is overly excited or seeking attention.  When the dog is in a calm submissive state you can pet or praise him as a reward, but always ignore bad behavior.  Time outs are places with low stimulus until he calms down, and before you leave him you should tell him what to do by commanding he sits or lies down.  Light leash jerks are to help the dog concentrate on walking and not focus on surroundings or other dogs.  You have to get his attention “back in place.”  Parr states that training takes real time to see improvements and suggested we set home boundaries, but we need to have unwavering mental strength and confidence to gain the dog’s trust and respect during the training sessions – it’s never too late to work on training with yourself or other pack members.  He states it is easier to start the dog when young then when older and the dog is in need of rehabilitation
For training new tricks in specific, Parr suggests that the Pack leader always has to be firm and secure and remember his marks for good behavior and no-marks for bad behavior.  The dog has to be paying 100% attention; the lessons should be kept short, we are to speak firmly, but never with anger or frustration, and end the session on a positive note.  It’s important not to overload the dog, because it will cause him stress if we ask him to remember too much or don’t consolidate the lessons with him.  We’re supposed to know the dog’s personal limits and to train in careful stages to keep the dog’s confidence high and to set him up for further success.  Rewards are good and we keep the motivation high and the dogs receptive, if they are first knowledgeable about the desired reward.
Parr then explains a few myths that people have over Cesar’s philosophy and suggests better understanding them to get the most out of the relationship with the dog.
Myth #1 – The first myth is that you only train him during training times.  This is false because you are training the dog constantly as he picks up verbal and nonverbal cues.  Parr gives a list of key words and explains their value in training.
  • Bonding or building rapport – is the quality time you spend with the dog talking, playing and taking him for long walks and this helps to achieve a responsive and attentive bond.
  • Consistency – the dog’s thinking should be built on black and white thinking rather than gray – so we are to use the same commands with all family members while training, praising and reprimanding.
  • Timing – This is the amount of time between dog’s actions (non-actions) and corresponding praise (or reprimand).  There should be no more than 2-3 seconds for him to associate words with his actions.   Do not reprimand actions in the past because the dog lives in the present and he might associate being told off by the action of him coming toward you.  We’re to ALWAYS praise a dog for coming toward us.
  • Repetition – Dogs are creatures of habit and repetition, so for things to be automatic, he needs refreshers throughout his life so he does not lose the conditioned responses.  It is easier to prevent than have to make a correction later.
  • Session length – We are to keep the sessions short and enjoyable to maintain good concentration.  It is always quality over quantity and we need to end the training session on a positive note.
  • Attitude – We need to be responsible in our expectations.  It takes time for the desired results.   It is best to take a long walk to settle him down before the learning session.
  • Praise – We need to praise the dog as SOON as he correctly completes the exercise.  When praising, we have to look directly in his eyes so he understands the connection between our voice or touch and his action.  We can again praise with our voice or patting/stroking, but we shouldn’t over-chatter to confuse him and disrupt his concentration.  We shouldn’t rely heavily on food and instead alternate it with displays of affection – this will especially overcome problems.
  • Eye contact – Eye content is more important than verbal and when there is a close bond, we will find he looks into our eyes and will try to read our intent.
  • Hand Signals – First we work with hand and verbal, and then we wean off vocal.  When using our hands we should keep them in front of and above the dog’s head as that is their best vision
  • Voice Signals – Use one command per one action and use the same tone and inflection – and always say the dog’s name before stating a command to catch his attention.
Myth #2 – You need to understand and communicate in “dog language.”  This is wrong.  You CAN read dog’s body language and need to understand different reasons your dog whines or barks, but as to speaking to them in THEIR language?  Dogs are intelligent animals and understand you are not a dog.
  • Use of the body to communicate
o   If his backside is in the air and tail wagging – he is keen to play and have fun
o   Tail right behind the back legs – he is scared of something or someone
o   Wagging tail (loosely) – he is feeling friendly and happy, if his tail is relaxed and still, he is feeling content, but if his tail is high up and wagging rapidly, it could mean aggression
o   Raised hackles – means he is frightened or ready for battle
o   Rolling over – is a sign of submission
o   Sniffing – the dog sniffs when he is trying to figure out something.  He will sniff to identify a person or other animal.  If sniffing the outside floor, fence, or lamppost, he’s caught the scent of another dog that has marked the territory, and if he’s inside sniffing the floor, plus pacing or circling, he may need to relieve himself.
o   Tense posture – When he tenses and is slightly lowered, he is indicating anxiety (also his tail will be partially lowered).
o   Crouching – he is ready to pounce.  This is a predatory position for both squeaky toy and intruder.
o   Prancing – back and forth with a tail wagging usually means he’s feeling happy
  • Use of head and face for communication
o   Ears – ears close to head pointing back or forwards indicates aggression, perked up ears with head turning from side to side indicates that he is alert, slightly flattened and partially back indicates he feels anxious, perked up and pointing forward means curious or excited (or ready to start a predatory chase), straight up might display a degree of dominance, ears flattened and laid back against head usually indicate fear
o   Eyes – narrowed eyes indicate aggression and challenging behavior, slightly narrowed eyes couple with partially back ears indicate anxiety, wide open and staring coupled with dominant posture and ears straight to convey his dominance, eyes narrowed with lots of white showing indicates fear or submissive, wide open sparkly ready for game or fun, wide open intently focused on something – part of predatory behavior
o   Mouth – lips drawn back to expose teeth coupled with snarling indicates aggression, closed or slightly open indicates alertness of dominance depending on his posture, slightly open mouth makes him look as though he is grinning can actually indicate anxiety, open mouth coupled with panting can indicate excitement and curiosity, mouth open to expose teeth with drawn back lips indicate fear, relaxed mouth slightly open is normally a friendly and relaxed gesture, slightly open mouth with bared teeth indicates that dog ins on guard, open mouth coupled with excited panting can indicate playfulness and eagerness
Myth #3 – The “Dog Whisperer” methods are superior because it’s the most gentle and human.  Wrong!  His methods include quite a bit, but the different methods and techniques are not the most “gentle.”
Myth #4 – A dog that chews things is either terribly bored or simply trying to be vindictive – Wrong!  Dogs naturally chew when they are alone – it is just what they do.  Chewing helps to maintain healthy teeth and gums and achieves for the dog good jaw strength.  Puppies chew to teeth and it’s only a problem if the chewing is destructive to objects.  They need to be taught constructive chewing.  To prevent, we need to dog proof our homes such as moveable things can be sprayed with scents they don’t like (bitter apple).  If we find them chewing on the wrong thing, teach them to “drop it” or “leave it” as you are taking the object from their mouth.  Redirect – actively teach them while you are with them by trading an inappropriate chew object with an appropriate one, especially one good for their teeth and gums such as dental chew ropes and active toys like the “Kong Balls” which can be stuffed with food like peanut butter.  Lastly, give the dog praise for chewing on good objects.  One last thing is to take your dog for a long walk, but don’t “chew him out!”
Myth #5 – A crate is basically a dog cage that is like a prison for our dogs.  Wrong!  Confinement is different from dogs than humans.  In the crate the dog realizes he doesn’t have to do anything like protecting and alerting, or keeping us company.  Because he doesn’t have to make decisions he is hugely relieved.  Crates are nice safe areas for rest or peace and quiet.  They should be comfortable with soft bedding and toys.  If you need to keep your dog or puppy out of mischief, you can crate him for short periods of time, or when you go out.
There are at least five reasons to bond with your dog.  Building a strong relationship with pets is good for pet owners improving physical and mental health and keeping waist lines slim.  Focus on your pet with love and attention and indulge them with playtime and exercise to create a strong, healthy relationship.  A relationship with a dog will take focus, but will relieve emotional or physical stress as the bond is formed.
o   First – Improve emotional and psychological state of being, build coping mechanisms, and stop from feeling lonely by receiving a non-judgmental relationship.
o   Second – Dogs are good for physical health as is the health of your family members.  The relationship lowers heart disease, lowers doctor services, and reduces risk of asthma and allergies, and assists in making friends and improving relationships.
o   Third – Lose weight and improve moods.
o   Fourth – By having a well behaved dog your stress will be reduced.  If they have a strong connection to you, they will crave your attention which makes training easier and less stressful.
o   Fifth – Touching a dog will reduce human stress levels and can even lower cholesterol.  It releases “feel good” hormones including serotonin along with reducing the stress hormone – cortisol, which in addition regulates appetite and cravings for carbohydrates
Remember that affection is helpful to bonding, but it needs to be given at the right time.  Giving attention always reinforces the behavior directly before it, so share affection after a dog has exercised and eaten, and worked through discipline issues such as changing an unwanted behavior into a behavior you asked for, or he responded to a rule or command, or he entered a calm-submissive state.  Dogs WILL improve the quality of our lives, and if a dog were to talk to you he would say, “Affection and food are good, but what we like most is adventure.  Let’s get moving!”
That is it of our summary of Al Parr’s book.  It was a very easy book to read and there are other corresponding books to this one.  He seems to “stay very true” to Cesar Millan’s training methods and philosophies.  As to our own reading experience, we seem to be picking books right now that help us learn the right and wrong ways to handle our human/dog relationship with Dakota.  We’re hoping he is pre-reading too!  *Giggle* I know, I know … animals aren’t people!  I am looking for human checks and balances with Katherine to see if she validates our interpretations of dog training.  We want to know what really works and why.  I like that Cesar’s work gives a complete, but easy to understand dog psychology.  I have a BA in Psychology and have been interested in it for a very long time.  We are especially looking forward to looking into our dog’s eyes.  They say through the eyes we see the soul.  Good Dakota!  Good Dog!