Hope

Hope (12/24/2000 - 04/12/2014)

Hope (12/24/2000 – 04/12/2014)

Two weeks ago we put our beloved Husky-German Shepherd dog, Hope, down. I know that most dog owners will make this claim about their dog, but she truly was the greatest dog ever. Even friends with their own wonderful dogs would argue she was the best. She rarely barked, when she did we all looked at her in confusion about the sound coming from her mouth. She never hurt anyone or anything, one time she was being attacked by a pit bull while we were walking and she just stood there, waiting for the other dog to lose interest and go away. Although we’ve known for a few months it was coming, it has taken awhile to process.

I remember the first day I met her. She was my brother’s dog and he was moving back to BC after spending a few years living in New Brunswick. They flew in from NB and my brother had her in a travelling cage, one which would later become her “house” where she got sent to on the rare occasion she was bad, when she was let out after the long flight she warmed up to each member of my family right away. We took her out to our truck and she jumped into the back like a pro, something she could do without even lowering the flatbed gate.

Having wanted a dog for years I was so excited to take her for a walk around our neighbourhood that evening. Being the responsible new dog owner I took baggies with me to clean up anything she wanted to leave along the way, something I was dreading and didn’t know how I would handle when the time came. I quickly learned that she doesn’t do that, she would never poop anywhere aside from her own backyard. Even when we went camping she wouldn’t poop for the first couple of days until it became absolutely necessary. She never did it within view of people. She was a lady after all.

We became walking buddies right away. We’d wander for hours and only once did she poop on our jaunts. I remember it clearly, we both looked at each other wondering what the hell just happened. I’m sure she was embarrassed that she would do something so horrible in public and I was embarrassed because I had nothing to clean it up with. So we walked away like nothing had happened.

It was in an abandoned lot, so I don’t feel too bad.

As she got older our walks became shorter. She’d still get really excited every time anyone said the W word, but her age would show when she got home. In pain and unable to do much for the rest of the day.

Aside from walks, Hope had three loves: chasing the ball, treats and my dad.

She had multiple balls hidden around the backyard, when she wanted to play she’d drop it at your feet and run after it after you threw it. Jumping so high to catch it, we’d worry she was going to land wrong and break her legs. She would follow my dad around as he cut the grass and drop the ball along his path, waiting for him to kick it and then bring it back to him. She was his shadow. And although she was technically my brother’s dog, she became my parents when my brother moved again and couldn’t take her with him. She remained loyal to Dave whenever he’d visit, but she understood my dad was the boss. She loved all of us unconditionally, but she listened to and wanted to please my dad the most.

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This photo perfectly represents my dad and Hope. We were camping and he was going to the washroom across from our site, she was walking along behind him but knew she wasn’t allowed to leave the site. So when she got to the edge, she sat there and remained there until she saw him reemerge from the bathroom. At that point jumping to her feet and dancing around in circles, excited about the return of her best friend.

Hope gave everyone unconditional love. She loved everyone and you could see that she knew when something bad was happening or you were sad, because she would always come over to you and try to make it better. One of the things that sticks out in my mind the most about her is when I was at my parent’s house watching Toy Story 3 alone with her. The end, the scene with the toys in the incinerator and they all grab hands, just killed me. I was ugly crying, actually sobbing, and Hope looked at me from over at her blanket, concerned. Then stood up and came over and started to lick my hand, then did my most favourite thing in the world where she would snuggle up under my hand trying to get me to pet her. She was there for me and everyone else when we were sick, sad or just needed a friend. She couldn’t say anything but you knew she knew and understood. And loved you no matter what.

When my dad injured himself last December and was off work after knee surgery for a couple of months she would lick his surgery scars all the time. She would see him limping around and grabbing his knee in pain, would then limp over to him herself (with her bad hips and all) and “kiss” his scars better. Without prompting.

At one point, while camping with my brother, she was sprayed by a skunk. A smell that didn’t wash out for about a month. She earned the name Stinky from me, one that stuck with her because of the skunk incident as well as her bad breathe. This nickname then gave birth to multiple other nicknames: Stinks, Stinkenbaum (what I was told by my translate app was Stinky in German) as well as Hoffen, which was German for Hope (she was half German Shepherd, I figured she understood).

In the past couple of years she was no longer able to jump for the ball, even stairs were hard for her. While younger she’d run up and down the porch stares hundreds of times a day to chase the ball or to run after some squirrels that happened to be close to the yard. During a visit to the vet last fall he made it clear to us that she was older, 97 in human years, and wouldn’t have much longer.

We agonized for months about when we would know. While she couldn’t go for long walks anymore and stairs were a problem, she was still smiling and happy to see everyone. When I’d visit my parents she’d always be like her old self, my mom would remark that she would be hiding it from me and that it was not like this at all when I wasn’t around. It was just like her to look out for others, selflessly. Because of this I always joked that she was the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother. They had similar eyes and personality, Hope came into our lives a few years after she passed.

We decided to go to the vets on a Saturday afternoon so we could all be there, well my parents and I, my brother is not living in town and wouldn’t be able to be back for months. I went out to my parents in the morning and we spent most of the sunny Spring day with Hope. Each of us looking for distractions, but wanting to soak up every moment with her. Finally, an hour before it was time to go to the vet, the three of us sat on the front porch as she sat on the grass. We cried and she looked around the yard. I’m sure she knew what was happening and was just surveying her land.

All day we had been giving her treats and food. She was so well fed that last week. But when we got to the vet’s office and I gave her one last treat, one of her favourites, she just dropped it to the ground. When I tried again she dropped it again. It was like her way of saying she was done.

On April 12, 2014 at 3:37pm my baby girl and one of my best friends was put to rest. She was smiling her trademark smile until the very end. It was important to us to all be there, even though each one of us was in our own personal hell, I’m sure. She was there for us through so much and we needed to be there for her. I stroked her fur and reminder her how we loved her, that she was the best dog ever and irreplaceable. The life left her beautiful blue eyes and I knew she was gone before the vet could even tell us. She passed and we spent another few moments in the room alone with her. I rubbed her soft ears for the last time, gave her a kiss and whispered that I loved her.

I know I will never be able to replace her, but I would want to get another dog in the future. My parents refuse, saying that they would never find one as good as her and they couldn’t go through that again at the end. While I think this is true, because the end was truly painful and one of the worst experiences ever, I wouldn’t want to deny myself the pure and unconditional love that dogs give.

Hope passed away on a Saturday, by Monday I had already done this as a tribute to my girl:

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It says hope and Love, on my ankle to remember my walking buddy.

Hope smile

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Kickstarter

Kickstarter says it is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

If you’re the stereotypical “starving artist” or someone without the money but just wants to get their dream project made it seems like a great way to try to raise money. But as someone who has never visited Kickstarter until two minutes ago so I could get the link for the opening line of this blog post, I don’t see it being used that way.

Going off what I’ve read in the media and on Twitter, Kickstarter is a place for actors to go to get money for their movies. The same actors who have millions of dollars in the bank make quirky videos to get you, the people, to put forward your money so the actor can make a movie they wrote.

Obviously right now I’m talking about the Zach Braff project, which you can read more about on Mashable because I can’t figure out how to insert the video into the post.

Braff says he doesn’t want the studios to make it (although it sounds like they would love to get their hands on Garden State 2, but not Garden State 2), because they will try to change the script and want to cast other people than who Braff wants.

Fair enough.

As someone who may invest (but not really because you’re not getting anything back for your donation), why would you give to something that already seem like it’s going to be shitty? I mean, the studio execs make really good money because they have a pretty good eye for when something will fail or succeed and what needs to change in order to avoid failure.

And yes, I know the execs are not always right. John Carter was supposed to be a huge success and bombed. And Pitch Perfect was a bigger success than the studios originally thought it would be.

The point is, Zach Braff has the money he needs. He’s asking for $2 million dollars and while I haven’t lurked over his shoulder to take a peek at the balance in his chequing account at the ATM recently, I feel like if he really wants this made he could do it himself.

And if Jim Parsons really wants to be a pool boy, he could use his Big Bang Theory money to help out.

I don’t doubt Zach Braff will succeed. People will pay money for this movie just like they funded the Veronica Mars movie.

But I don’t get it.

I tried to imagine what could it take to get me to donate to a Kickstarter. I never watched Veronica Mars but I love, love love Friday Night Lights. Would I throw in some money for Coach, Mrs Taylor and Riggins to come back for a 2 hour movie? Nope. If they needed money to fund the new Pitch Perfect 2, would I do it? Nadda.

I just feel like if I’m giving my money to some creative project I would rather give it to someone who actually needs the money to get their dreams made. When you’re a star and you can’t get a studio to back your creative vision as is, then why should the people?

Why doesn’t Zach Braff believe in his own movie?

What do you think? Have you ever given to a Kickstarter and are you a fan of actors who have the money asking people for more? I’m genuinely curious.

oh so shiny

If you tell me to eat a food because it’s good for me, I will probably attempt to eat more of it. Unless it doesn’t taste good, then I’ll probably not eat it.

Here’s what I have learned, if you tell me something will make my hair shinier and healthier, I will find a way to consume it regardless of taste (I usually blend up the foods I don’t particularly like into a smoothie to mask the taste). As a curly/frizzy haired lady who applies a lot of heat to her hair, I’m always looking to keep things shiny and defrizzed.

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Here are things I have consumed for shiny hair:

  • Kale
  • Fish oil (important to find the one that doesn’t give you fish burps)
  • Fish
  • Broccoli
  • Various nuts
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Skim milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Whole grain bread
  • Pregnancy vitamins

Granted, many of these foods I eat because they are tasty and I genuinely like them. And of course I want to reap the other health benefits, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I mainly wanted a natural way to make my hair shiny.

I think the weirdest one is the pregnancy vitamins (just buy your usual brand, but the ones made for expectant moms). They have more zinc and folic acid, both which help your hair become shinier. It’s a bonus if you ever find yourself pregnant unexpectedly because your kid isn’t lacking the nutrients for however long it takes for you to figure out you’re knocked up.

Bonus tip: Use coconut oil as a leave in treatment instead of buying the expensive stuff from your salon. Just apply to your hair (if you have the solid stuff just warm it up in your hands and spread on), concentrating on the ends. Leave on at least 20 minutes, I like to wrap my hair in a towel while waiting to warm it up if I’m only leaving it for 20, then shampoo and condition as usual. Depending on how much you use, you may need to shampoo twice before conditioning.

In the name of beauty I have gone to the gym with the oil in my hair (all ladies gym ftw!) and walked the dog. I also like to put it in before starting my house cleaning so when I finish hours later (I’m a fan of procrastination), it’s had a deep soak.

Any other tips for someone who may need to add a little shine to their hair?

Sometimes people are assholes.

Having work in customer service for so long you’d think it would be hard to shock me, but it happens all the time. I’m constantly amazed at the way people will treat another human being in order to get what they want regardless of whether it makes sense or not. Or how we treat people for no reason.

Today I happened upon a tweet by The Province that was asking people in customer service to share their worst experiences as someone who works in customer service. I like when news sources crowd source their stories through social media, it gives everyone the option to participate and give their stories. Even if I’m not going to read the story that comes of it, I’m always happy to read the retweeted answers.

When The Province put out their tweet today I responded with the first two horrible customer service stories I had, in my brief 140 character tweet I simply said that I had once been called a dumbass and on another occasion a racist (in 2 different jobs) for enforcing company policy. I sent the tweet and didn’t think much of it, I checked my feed a bit later and noticed I had gotten a response. One was a retweet by The Province and another was this classy reply.

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Apparently this dude, Anthony Di’Amonte (aka DirtyBoss13), decided that I was deserving of his one and only tweet. He has been online since January and decided today was the day he would make his first tweet and it would be to me, someone he doesn’t know or follow, to be mean for no reason.

Did it hurt my feelings? No. The guy doesn’t even have the balls to put his own picture in his profile, which is the most pathetic type of person on social media to. He follows various hockey twitter accounts, like Don Cherry and the Canadiens. His first follow was Billy Talent and has only one follower.

So no, his sad little existence does not hurt my feelings.

After receiving that tweet I reported him for spam, which is basically just blocking him since they don’t shut down accounts unless there have been a few reports.

The only thing I felt was sad that people like this exist. People that need to take a minute out of their day to be an asshole to someone else all because of the anonymity they have online hiding behind a picture of a billiard ball. Or cartoon character. Or whatever.

I’m an adult, I can handle someone else and their stupid need to be an asshole to feel good about themselves. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a teenager nowadays, hopefully assholes like Anthony Di’Amonte (aka “DevilBoss13”) don’t pick on kids, but I’m kidding myself if I actually believed this.

The takeaway here? Go out and be nice to people. Speak nicely to whomever you deal with in customer service, even if they’re not telling you what you want to hear (they’re far more likely to give you what you want, even if it’s not everything). Go have meaningful and interesting conversations online, don’t abuse the medium that I love so much, instead contribute to something that could really impact someone.

And put your picture on your social media profile, don’t be a coward.

Most of all, don’t be an asshole.

English really is my first language

English is my first and only (fluent) language. You wouldn’t know it if you listened to me speak sometimes. Here’s a few things I’ve eff’d up lately:

– I called my toes “feet fingers”

– I told someone I was going to punch them with my foot…. aka “kick”

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I googled “foot punch” and this is what came up

– your ankle is apparently your “foot wrist”

– I ran for my ringing phone after painting my toenails and yelled “crap! I wrecked my toe makeup!” (apparently I have problems with feet related things)

– “build a cake” which I believe is the complicated way to “bake a cake”

– I’ve completely forgotten my left and right. This hasn’t happened while giving someone directions in a car (recently, at least)

– Couldn’t remember the word candle so I called it a “burny thing”

It may be important to know that while I’m not an ESL student (although my parents were… hmmm), I used to teach ESL. It’s probably good that I got out of the business.

Pins I’ve Pinned

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The other day a male coworker saw that I was on Pinterest and asked me what it was all about. He had heard of it, but being a guy hadn’t tried it out since it tends to be geared towards the ladies.

I proceeded to go to my page and immediately realized how stupid the whole thing was.

I tend to go through phases, I’ll pin a lot and then I’ll only browse the site every other week. I mainly do it if I’m bored at work and there’s nothing happening on Twitter, Buzzfeed or Facebook. This was the first time I tried to explain to someone else what the whole purpose was and I couldn’t really justify spending time collecting all of these pins.

It’s almost the same as cultivating a beautiful vegetable garden on Farmville and never reaping the benefits of the onions, peppers or pumpkins I’ve grown (I have a recipe pinned that could use all of those ingredients!).

I’ve pinned a lot of stuff, but most of it I will never use or own. I have about 35 boards on Pinterest, many of them for clothes I’ll never afford or shoes that would cost a couple months rent. Sure it’s nice to look at the pretty things, but I felt ridiculous trying to explain the point to my coworker because it’s not like I sit and stare at my previous pins of gowns and coats. I pin them and never look back.

Crafts are another thing I tend to pin, sometimes I’ll buy the supplies to do them, and then I lose interest or attempt them and fail. Or I wont read the instructions upon pinning them and then when I do right before I attempt to do it I know that I would never be able to execute all 37 steps.

That’s not to say I haven’t pinned things that have come in handy, it’s just hard to explain why I need to pin inspirational quotes or nail art. I love my board with hair inspiration, on bad hair days that would normally call for my hair to be piled into a messy bun I’ve found some great ideas for cute updos that get compliments from others. When I went in to change my hair up in December I look through and pinned many (many) Alexa Chung photos for inspiration of my long ombre-bob.  And when I moved into my new place and wanted to get rid of the dirty white walls it was Pinterest that inspired me to choose a greyish-blue hue that I love.

What I’ve really found to be the best pins are the recipes and household hints. Anytime I’m find a recipe that this picky person thinks she would like I pin it and then later when I’m looking for dinner ideas I have helpful photos to remind me. In the past I’ve tried keeping a folder in my bookmarks for recipes, but I think it’s the visual on Pinterest that draws me in.

One of the most recent Pins that I’ve found most useful is the one for spinach ice cubes. I tend to buy my spinach in bags or plastic containers and although I’ll try to add it to everything (mostly shakes though) I always end up with too much and have to throw some out when it goes bad.

Not anymore.

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The other day I found this just as my latest spinach purchase was about to expire, so I got out my blender and froze them into ice cube trays. Use them for smoothies as you would your frozen berries or ice cubes.

Other things I’ve Pinned and enjoyed include:

I mean, clearly the website has it’s purpose, it’s just a purpose that is hard to justify or explain. Or maybe I shouldn’t have to explain what makes me happy to a boy who just wont get it.

Leave your comment: After 1+ years in existence, does Pinterest still appeal to you? What’s your favourite things to pin? What’s your Pinterest page?

Follow my pins at jen_jennifer

I have no idea what is wrong with me

Every year at this time my face starts to freak out. The cold weather and wind cause my skin to get super dry, and I’m sure while many people have this problem I feel like it comes at me much worse. Because I have eczema and/or psoriasis (no doctor/dermatologist/random person I beg for answers has been able to tell me which it is) it’s really bad in this weather and over the past few years has begun to show itself on my face.

In previous years I have tried every product, home remedy and magic trick to try to get rid of this horrible rash-like thing on my face but it’s hard to find anything that works. I’ve found a few things that help and I thought I’d share because all jokes aside, having this freaky rash-thing on your face is not only embarrassing, it’s painful (I have troubled skin elsewhere on my body, but this is the most painful and obviously embarrassing).

Obviously, flaking the dry skin or scratching doesn’t help with anything. So don’t do that. And once you’re able to figure out how not to do that, tell me what to do.

Last year I was super desperate by April. Usually this flares up in December/January and keeps going, even after the cold weather is gone, until I figure out some magic potion to get rid of it. On the recommendation of a friend I read the book Wheat Belly. Let me start off by saying, I do not think I have a wheat allergy. I believe there are people who do have wheat allergies and they have been diagnosed as Celiacs. I have friends who are Celiacs. It sucks and they think people who don’t have wheat allergies are insane for cutting it out of their diet. But I was desperate, so for about two months I cut it out of my diet. And it sucked.

I’ve never detoxed off of drugs but I’m pretty sure detoxing off of wheat is a version of that kind of hell. I persevered and noticed over time my face and body eczema/psoriasis got better. Then it went away. And it was lovely.

I started adding wheat back to my diet and it didn’t come back. Using my highly educated in medicine brain I deduced that the wheat was not causing this face thing, but maybe contributed. I don’t know, there were probably other factors at play.

So now since my face is being an asshole again (not as bad as before, knock on wood) I’m cutting back on wheat again, but not completely. And I’m drinking a lot of water, as I usually do. I’ve also discovered a few other tricks, such as aspirin. I had read that crushing up aspirin, mixing it with water and putting it on your face was good for pimples and other skin ailments, so I thought I’d give it a shot. And it helps. So much. It not only helps with the pain (because this shit is painful, I cannot exercise because sweat aggravates it and makes it worse because it’s essentially open wounds on my face… I really make myself sound attractive, eh?… crying also causes pain around my eyes. Not that I’m sobbing myself to sleep but even my eyes watering because of the cold or putting in my contact lenses hurts because of the solution). So I put aspirin on my face every other day and it helps with redness and pain. It also helps heal faster.

I’ve tried three and a half million moisturizing different products. No lie. Oil of Olay Regenerist line is what’s working for me right now. Though it can change without warning, a product will be awesome (I was loving Philosophy’s Keep the Peace last year, my face now hates it) and then all the sudden cause my skin to get worse. Natural oils and even Vaseline are my go-to’s that never fail. I was using almond oil bought from Choices until recently (I ran out and haven’t had time to buy more), but recently read that most natural oils will help, so the other day I reached for the extra virgin olive oil and it has proved to be very moisturizing and soothing. I also smell Italian, so its been nice to get back to my roots.

A word about the Vaseline though, do not get that shit in your eyes. I repeat: Do. Not. Get. That. Shit. In. Your. Eyes. Especially if you apply before bed. You will wake up with eyes so swollen you’ll think that Chris Brown beat you in your sleep.

I’m sure this post is probably not of interest to most people, but I wanted to share because I’ve had my moments of desperately trolling the internet for some… ANY… reprieve or cure from this. It’s 25% for vanity reasons, because make up only aggravates and flakes off, but the other 75% is the pain and hopelessness it brings. There were plenty of tears of frustration spilled over the years, which as I mentioned before, only worsens the problem.

So if you’re dealing with similar problems, I hope this helps and please leave your best tips and tricks in the comments.