So: looking on the bright side

Vintage abstract green background with flower

image by bigstock

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And in my case, when the daily grind gets busier, chaotic, and stresses some people out, I actually like it better. I like to have a full to-do list. I like the rush when you’re working towards meeting a deadline. And yes, I really enjoy pulling ideas out of the ether at the very last minute.

I’ve always been a fan of lots going on. It’s fun.

Maybe that’s because I really try to keep things positive and not take life too seriously.

I slowed down for the first 2 months of this year. And I really didn’t like it much. Too much television. Not enough reading and writing. Definitely not enough gardening.

And that’s why it’s back to vibrant chaos. Action-packed fun. A little less sleep but a lot more living.

Today’s gratuitous dog photo is a blast from the past — our first dog:

our bulldog Daisy



So: calm

Barter Books in Alnwick Station, Northumberland looks like the kind of place I could lose myself for hours, days even. It is a secondhand bookshop that looks like so much more than just a bookstore. It’s a destination with wifi, a restaurant/cafe, fireplaces, and big comfy chairs. Heaven. If you’ve been, please tell me about it—I’d love to visit one day if it’s fabulous as it looks.

I found out about it today, thanks to my friend Clare when she posted this video to Facebook:

Encouraging messaging is very important to me because sometimes when things aren’t going right, all I need to hear is a few words to get my head on square and my courage in the right place. And when the going gets tough or I have to do things that I’m really not sure that I know how to do (or that I’m brave enough to try), I often think of the words on this poster:


Image from Barter Books

It was my avatar on Basecamp (a workflow system) at work for a good long while and seeing it every time I logged in worked wonders for me when the workload was extremely heavy and the pace was hectic. It reminded me that others were watching.

You’ve heard the phrase “fake it ’til you make it”. There’s a bit of that in here. By keeping calm and carrying on, you don’t have to say a thing. By just doing what needs to be done, you calm yourself down, you give yourself purpose. And when others see how you are reacting, they realize that maybe it’s ok to do what needs to be done too. But most of all, it gives you focus. And breathing room to think while you do.

I’m certainly not suggesting that you lie on your back in the face of adversity or challenge. You should know me well enough by now that I’m not passive. And I’m opinionated. But there’s something to be said for collecting your thoughts, pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, putting nose to the grindstone, and moving forward positively, verses wasting energy getting angry and not completing what needs to be done. There seems to be a lot of that in the world right now and maybe if we all just calmed down, things would be better.

Anyway, after yesterday’s beastly rant, even with the gratuitous bulldog photos*, I wrote this post to remind myself that my silly first world problems need to be addressed as such. And I am, as Fransi reminded me, I was overly tired and that made Monday worse. Still tired, but Tuesday was significantly better. But tonight is a “bye” from the DIY. We are focused on keeping Guinness calm so he can carry on tomorrow and feel a lot better than he has.

Guinness is a great, but seriously dopey patient

Guinness is a great, but seriously dopey patient. He is spending the evening bonding with the sofa and so are we.

Guinness is doing great. His fractured and abscessed tooth was pulled and the rest of his teeth were cleaned. I’m not poking in his mouth tonight, but I bet his smile is dazzling. His skin tag by his eye has been removed via cauterization so he may not have to wear the comfy Cone of Shame after all. Apparently a thorough pedicure was our free gift with purchase—definitely a bonus for a black dog with black nails. He’ll also have to eat soft food which as you might guess will be such a hardship. He ate an entire packet tonight no problem. I only hope we can ween Guinness back to his usual mostly dry stuff with a touch of wet!.

Godiva and George each reacted to Guinness’ leaving for the vet this morning in different ways. Godiva got mopey as expected and refused to hang out with me while I watered the veggies. When Guinness and Bruce were leaving for the vet, George tried to squeeze out the door, just like he did when I took Guinness to the vet last week. He stood at the window and watched Bruce’s truck roll out, but unlike Godiva, I think George just wanted to go wherever Guinness was going!

waiting for Guinness to return

waiting for Guinness to return

There were lots of sniffs all around when Guinness came home, especially Godiva. Both George and Godiva are extra tired tonight, as if they stayed up all day patrolling, waiting for Guinness’ return.


*Yes, Daisy was ours. That bulldog was the first dog Bruce and I had together and came into our lives when she was 8 weeks old. We lost her nearly 4 years ago and a month later we got Godiva.

So: why rescue?

The 3G Network: Godiva, Guinness & George

The 3G Network: Godiva, Guinness & George

There are many ways to add a pet to your family. Although our first dog, a bulldog named Daisy, was purchased from a breeder, once we learned how many healthy animals are euthanized each year, we decided to rescue our next dog.

Although we loved Daisy’s sloth and chilled out personality, we wanted a much more active dog at that point in our lives. After a bunch of research, we decided that a labrador retriever would give us the combination of a sweet personality and activity—and all the ball playing that we were used to with Daisy.

Puppy Godiva

Puppy Godiva

Some people think that rescuing a dog means only an adult dog, but unfortunately, there are many people who do not spay or neuter their pets and plenty of puppies end up in city/county shelters. Some never find a home and end up an unfortunate statistic.

Godiva was one of the lucky ones. We were working with a rescue group in East Texas to locate a chocolate lab that needed a home and were asked if we’d consider a pup. She and her litter were dumped at a shelter. When the rescue group showed up to save a few animals, they wanted to give her a chance. So one weekend we drove out to East Texas and had a look at the mangy brown pup. We would have loved to take her home right away, but she needed to have shots, get dewormed, and get fully checked out by a vet since she may never have had any vet care. The following Saturday, we drove back out to East Texas and picked her up at a PetSmart rescue event that the rescue group was putting on.

We decided to call her Godiva, a chocolately, yet free-spirited name that seemed to suit her personality. We knew she was probably born in July, given her age, so we picked Bastille Day (July 14) as her birthday.

Godiva the puppy was everything we hoped she’d be. Curious, fun loving, ball-playing and best of all, a lover of all things water. Our neighbors’ lab Buzz Lightyear (named by the kids in the family) taught Godiva the finer points of lab-style swimming in our backyard pool.

But as Godiva grew, went through puppy school, and continued doing her training to learn how to walk well on the leash and come when called, we noticed that her sleek brown coat was changing. She was starting to sprout a mohawk of wavy fur on her spine. Friends and acquaintances told us she was probably not a lab, but a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. She would get a lot bigger.

But the funny thing is she didn’t. At 64 pounds, she’s the smallest of our three—but the leader of the pack. She is sweet and loving and has the most serious “don’t come near our house” bark. Despite being more than 10 pounds lighter than George (the youngest of the three), she is the frequent winner of their tugging games, wrestling and chase. Ducks fear her. Children gravitate towards her because she’s small which is funny to us since Guinness is the most gentle and loves children the most.

When Guinness showed up, she was thrilled to have a new pal to hang out with—and he did an excellent job assisting with her training. When George came along, Godiva paid Guinness’ training forward and helped George learn sit and down in short order.

Godiva is extremely sensitive—don’t say the word “no” or remark “bad girl” unless you want to see her pout, head down, tail between her legs. But show her a squeaky toy or find her a tennis ball in the bushes outside the tennis court in the park, her tail won’t quit. She is my gardening helper and loves to hang out with me whenever I’m puttering around the urban farm, lying in the sun at the foot of one of the raised beds.

She’s not a Chesie, by the way. At a friend’s suggestion, we did a DNA test to figure out her background. Godiva is: lab (mostly), bull terrier, chow and English Setter!

Some people think that rescued dogs know they’ve been rescued. I’m not sure about that, but what I do know is we are lucky to have Godiva in our lives. She makes everyone around her feel like the most important person in the world.

Full disclosure: we have a lot of friends in the rescue world, Bruce has undergone training to help save animals from hoarder/puppy mill situations, and all three of our dogs are rescues.