Sweet family dog pile

I didn’t look at my timeline prior to beginning this post but I know it has been quite awhile since I have posted anything.  Somehow, even despite my prolonged absence, there continues to be new readers who pop up from time to time.  I am thankful to everyone out there who finds interest in what I have to say.  Writing gives me peace and although I don’t do it enough, when I do, I remember exactly why I enjoy putting finger to keyboard.

So where to begin.  I will start at the present and work backwards because that feels like it makes sense right now.  It is Monday, March 25th, at 5pm PST and I am sitting on my couch with The Shining on TV and two beautiful puppies at my feet.  They are snoozing before suppertime, with light snoring and their ears flipped inside out, after running around on the patio in the afternoon sun.  The windows and sliding glass doors are open, the sun is beginning to descend, and I can hear the water fall from our large, double-sided rock fountain just off the sun room.  That fountain is one of the most beautiful blessings in our home, one that we didn’t realize the benefit of until we moved in nearly seven years ago and saw the high volume of bird activity that our water feature attracts.  The weather was beautiful today – 75 degrees and sunny with a light breeze.  It feels so good to be coming out from the other side of our winter in SoCal, a winter in which we sustained a heavy amount of rain and overcast days.  For us Southern Californians, the lack of sun and the cold weather (a bone-chilling 50 degrees on some days) is somber and depressing.  So, needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed the past two days of sunshine on our warming planet.20190225_090620

I believe I have welcomed Koa in this forum but our newest arrival, Gunner, has yet to be seen.  Gunner joined our family about a month ago, after my coworker from a prior assignment called in need of help.  Heather and her husband, who are also Rottweiler lovers, got Gunner from a breeder just north of San Diego and they readily welcomed him into their family.  Heather’s family consisted of the two of them and their older dog, who they have had for twelve years.  When Gunner, the lively three-month old puppy entered the picture, the older dog was not as hospitable as they had hoped.  What started as minor nips turned into a couple of progressively more violent and frightening attacks on Gunner, as the older dog did not have patience with his puppy energy.  Heather knew she had to do something immediately so she called me, remembering that I had mentioned we planned on getting a male Rottie pup this summer, once Koa was settled, trained and a little older.  Although she didn’t want to give up her new little guy, she knew that she had to make a change, in order to keep Gunner safe.  It only took Hugo and I about thirty seconds to decide if we would take Gunner – he was adorable and in need of a home so it was an easy decision.

Heather drove to our house the following night, with their SUV arriving in our driveway and her husband popping out from the backseat.  Gunner was on his lap, wrapped in a paw print blanket and ready to start the next chapter of his life.  We let Koa and Gunner meet, on their leashes and from a distance at first, but that only lasted a few short seconds.  As they both tugged to get closer to their new sibling, their noses eventually touched, they gave each other a kiss and they immediately became best friends for life.  Since that night they have forged a bond rooted in love and adoration for the happiness they bring each other, Koa giving Gunner a safe place to live and Gunner providing our little girl with the companionship she so craved.

Now, I can’t say that having two puppies, who are mere weeks apart, at the same time is easy.  Because it’s not.  At all.  In fact, just about every other day I have a brief moment where I wonder how I ever got into this chaotic puppy situation in the first place.  And then I look into their sweet little eyes, who are already staring back at me with such extreme love its overwhelming, and I answer my own questions.  Somehow these two little beautiful souls have perfectly filled the void that Kaiser and Nala left when they passed.  That’s not to say that we replaced our dogs or forgot about them in any way.  But it really is magical to see and feel the happiness that they have brought to Hugo and I.  And interestingly enough, both Koa and Gunner truly embody all of the joyous aspects of our other dogs, without even trying.  Koa is channeling my late Nala’s love and calmness and I can feel her energy being carried on through this new young lady.  She is so young and full of life and when she stares back into my eyes, it’s as if she is telling me that Nala is safe and happy, wherever she is, and she would want me to be happy.  And then there’s Gunner, who is not more than fifteen inches off the ground and already 41 lbs.  In fact, I had to weigh him four times the other night, because I couldn’t believe the number that the scale was spitting out.  Regardless, our chubby baby brother has found a permanent place in our family and it couldn’t have worked out any more perfectly for everyone.

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In between puppy play time, three meals a day for growing bellies, and obedience/socialization class, I have been slowly but surely continuing to inch towards finishing my degree.  I can now happily and proudly report that I only have a little over four weeks left until my Bachelor’s degree is finished!  With a taxing job that begins shortly after 3am during the week, plus double puppy trouble and the remainder of adult life commitments, needless to say I have been busy.  But it will all pay off soon, when I have that piece of paper and upgraded resume to boot!

Finally, the other happy happening to report is the joyful ten years of marriage that Hugo and I recently celebrated.  I couldn’t imagine life without him because my life is defined by his friendship and love.  When I met him over fifteen years ago, I had no idea what life would have in store for us.  We have taught each other and grown together, transforming from kids with throwaway jobs and nothing to lose into adults with careers, a gorgeous home and two little pup kids.  My love for Hugo continues to grow, day by day, and it surprises me to see that the trajectory continues up, without an end in sight.  He has shown me what a true friend looks like and what a real man is, and because of this I find it difficult to find many people in the world who stand as tall or as strong, in terms of character and dignity, as he does.  Hugo, you are the love of my life ♥

 

A long hiatus…but we are back in the game

Happy New Year to everyone out there in the world reading this.  I wish you nothing but happiness, success, and love in 2019.

Speaking of happiness and love, I would like to introduce Koa.  Born on November 1st, 2018, she is approximately nine weeks old now.  Hugo and I got her two days before Christmas and we couldn’t be happier having new life and love in our home.  Koa came from an outstanding breeder in Temecula, CA – Vom Bustos Hause.  Frank @ Vom Bustos Hause truly values the Rottweiler breed.  He loves his dogs and breeds for both temperament and good blood lines/healthy dogs.  She is absolutely wonderful and we couldn’t be happier.

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She walks on the leash already, listens to us, and greets us with love and enthusiasm when we walk in the door.  What more could a dog mother and father ask for?  She had her first experience with our UPS driver today – when our driveway sensor went off, she ran to the door like an alert Rottweiler should and she greeted him with excessive tail-wagging and happiness.  I then received my final books for my next college classes and we resumed our day.

Speaking of school, I am embarking on my final four months of classes.  I logged on today and begrudgingly began my schoolwork once more.  It is tough to get the ball rolling after the holiday break but I know in the end it will be worth it when I have my Bachelor’s and I am finally done!

Work has been stressful (as always) so I visited the chiropractor today for an adjustment.  My neck is cramped, my shoulders are tight and my patience is low (nothing new really, just the same old nonsense that I take way too seriously).  Hugo always tells me to relax and not worry about things but that is easier said than done for some people.

Our neighbor Mark finally has some good news – his recent blood test said that his cancer cells have died off and he is doing really well!  He and his wife Pat are incredibly optimistic.  So happy to see them be positive and hopeful for this new year with a fresh start.

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Just like a puppy in your home breathes a fresh start and reminds you of innocence and love, I hope I can continue to remind myself that life is simple and all too short.  After watching our last dogs greet the end of their lives this past summer, and watching the cycle of life continue with our new girl, I have to remember that life is short and incredibly valuable.  None of the other stuff is important.  Maybe our girl Koa can teach all of us a thing or two – be kind, be happy, and live each day as if it is both your first and last.

Frustrated but loved

Just enjoying a beautiful Wednesday afternoon among the best of company – Hugo and my mom.  What could be better.  After so many weeks of sadness, frustration and aching pain, I feel mentally and physically defeated by my chronic knee injuries.  I am off work again for at least six weeks, as my right knee heals from the most recent trauma, my first PRP injection and the cumulative effects of my recent surgery and years of damage.  It has not been an easy road and I have to admit, it is wearing on me.

I feel defeated about having a chronic injury and the negative stigma that injury brings with it for work purposes.  Despite everyone telling me to just not care about what other people think, it is not always easy.  I have never been concerned or consumed with what others think about me but for some reason, when it comes to work and my reputation, I take it a little too seriously.  I have worked really hard over the past eleven years, not for others but for myself.  I pride myself on being a hard worker and busting my butt for my work product.  Then, being hurt repeatedly over the years, which is always a result of work itself, I feel as if I am viewed like a chronic issue, despite the injuries not being my fault.  If you work hard and put yourself out there in my line of work, injuries are sometimes inevitable.  Ever since my first knee trauma, my knees have turned into my weak point.  I always seem to hurt them and as my injuries and surgeries have progressed over the years, my knees have weakened even further.

I know I shouldn’t be concerned with what others think.  I know I should just focus on myself and continue to work as hard as I can, within the parameters of an injured body part and a partially defeated heart.  I know I am stronger than anyone who doubts me.  But I am human and sometimes, our feelings feel deflated and our souls long to have others truly understand our position.  When I feel as if I am being unfairly judged about my condition, I just wish I could have an honest conversation with whomever is doubting me.  I long to show them that I am hurt and just trying my best to navigate through life, like everyone else, with my own personal baggage.

After days and weeks of mulling over these feelings, I break down from time to time.  Hugo is always there to lift me up with kind words and strong hugs whenever I need him.  I am forever grateful for his unwavering love.  Just last night, during a moment of tears and frustration, I told Hugo I was feeling depressed over the situation.  Alone with Hugo in the living room, as my visiting mom was upstairs momentarily, Hugo replied, “Don’t be sad, you have your loved ones around you.”  He couldn’t be more right.

Why do we love leggings, ladies? I think I have the answer

Because they’re awesome!  I could wear leggings every day, all day.  Even to bed.  Form-fitting, soft, snug and figure-flattering, who doesn’t enjoy a sexy pair of well-made, skin-tight pants?  Leggings are cute and easy, two things working women need in their lives.

After seeing the television ads for Kate Hudson’s company, Fabletics, I finally decided to visit their website a couple of months ago.  I fell right into their VIP offer that includes 2 pairs of leggings for $24 as an introductory offer.  The only catch is that you have to either keep or cancel their VIP membership after capitalizing on the offer.  Despite what you do with the VIP status, the leggings and that price are excellent.  I would recommend that everyone, or every lady, checks out these hot pants.  For $24, you really won’t be disappointed.  In fact, you may react like me on a recent laundry day.  When taking my clean laundry out of the dryer, I had a full-blown meltdown when I realized I forgot to remove the leggings from the full dryer cycle, exposing my new spandex to roughly fifty minutes of hot temps.  Despite my oversight, the leggings fared fine in the heat so I dried my tears and lived to wear my jet black leggings another day.

Unhappy but determined

It’s funny how you can’t deny or change who you are at your core, despite how hard you try.  That can be both a good and a bad thing, sometimes at the same time.  My current work environment does not make me happy and I don’t feel appreciated by my supervisors.  I am a skilled and determined employee.  I pour my heart into my assignments and genuinely care about doing a thorough, respectable job, for myself and the organization that I serve.  The most frustrating thing I am finding as of recently is not feeling like my authentic self is not appreciated.

Now, don’t misinterpret what I am saying as I have no intention of appearing conceited or needy for attention.  I take pride in my work ethic and am fully conscious of the high percentage of sub-par employees with whom I populate our office with.  I know my worth and I am not afraid to say it.  I am proud of how far I have progressed in my organization in the short eleven years of my employment.  I am also fully aware of how many coworkers put out a mediocre product, it is no shock to anyone as they are transparent with their lack of interest or hustle on the job.

So, given that I bust my hump, day in and day out, routinely coming into work with aches and pains, even limping at times, one can see how I would be frustrated when my upper management lacks any empathy for my recurring injuries, given my undying dedication I routinely exhibit in my workplace.  If one of my bosses called me at 2am and needed a favor, I would be there and they know it.  When someone has a complicated task that they need to entrust to someone they know will deliver, on time and well-done, I am the one they call.  So it is reasonable that I feel let down by the very people who employ me.

But it’s not personal, it’s business.  And even I have to remember that at times.  Hugo is constantly telling me that I need to distance myself from caring so intently about my career because, in the end, it is just a job.  None of the people I work with will be there fifty years from now, when I am waddling around after knee replacement surgery, which is inevitable, needing a hand up the stairs.  You know who will be there, my Hugo.  My eternal best friend and the love of my life.

Despite feeling unhappy at times and frustrated with things that I definitely can’t change, it helps to put pen to paper and vent.  It also helps to take a moment to realize that despite how certain individuals treat me, I will continue fighting on.  I can’t change my devotion and my intense interest in doing a good job.  That drive is inherent and honestly, I don’t want it to change.  I will always work hard and be determined to be the best because that is in my blood.  And deep down I know that one day I will settle into a position with like-minded people where I am appreciated for who I am.

 

Circle of life

I am beyond excited for December 28th now.  Not only because the date is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season but mainly because that is the planned date that we will be picking up our new female pup!  We are so fortunate to have found a local, ethical breeder who has true respect for our favorite breed, the Rottweiler.  Vom Bustos Hause is owned by Frank Bustos and based in Temecula, a few hours away from us.  The mama Rottweiler is pregnant as I type this, with a due date of November 3rd.  Eight weeks after that date is the end of December, when the pups will be weened and ready to go off to their new homes.

I can’t sum up how happy and overwhelmed I feel at the thought of our new puppy joining our family.  It was a rough summer, that included knee surgery and the painful loss of our two beloved dogs, and Hugo and I are ready for happiness to once again be the presiding emotion in our home.  After months of deep sadness, fading hope, declining health and feeling broken losing our two best friends, I have so much love to give to someone new.  Our ‘someone new’ isn’t even in this world yet and I already love her ♥

Since she will be of European descent, with her father being a Serbian show champion, Hugo and I intend to pay homage to her German ancestry by naming her accordingly.  I have been trolling German dog name sites, compiling a list of suitable two-syllable names for potential future use.  If anyone reading this has any good name ideas in German for a bad ass female Rottweiler, please do share.

Hugo and I debated getting two puppies at once but we decided the cons might outweigh the pros.  The cons include difficulty in training two puppies at the same time and being overwhelmed, almost outnumbered and possibly taken over by puppies.  Some of those actually might be pros if you think about it.  The pros, on the other hand, include the fact that we would have two adorable puppies in our home at once, they would be brother and sister, and it would bring such joy to my heart watching them have fun together.  As I type this, I realize I am going to keep hounding Hugo about getting a second puppy in late December because it really would be amazing.

I really can’t wait for all of this love to enter our home again.  But rest assured, the fond memories of Nala and Kaiser will forever be imprinted on our hearts. We buried Nala yesterday in the same spot as Kaiser and Hugo is currently working on sealing both of their paw prints.  Once the sealed prints are ready for outdoor exposure, we will place them on their co-ed burial spot and remember them every time we walk past them.  Sometimes I catch myself looking out of the window and looking at their grave, just sending them love and wishing they were close to me.  But, like Hugo says, they still are.

Beautiful private rocket show from our balcony

20181007_192447My husband loves space.  From space travel and the discussion of life on Mars to touring our local Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Hugo’s inner little boy ignites when he hears Neil deGrasse Tyson speak.  I love how he loves it and because of his passion and fascination with the cosmos, I have slowly but surely become more engrossed with it all.  Sometimes at night we will shut the television off, grab a blanket, and lay in the middle of the driveway, watching and waiting patiently for shooting stars or the recent Perseid Meteor Shower.  On that particular night, our sick and dying Kaiser crawled on the blanket with Hugo and had a quiet moment alone under the night sky.

Last night, at 7:22 pm, we ran upstairs and perched ourselves on our western-facing 2nd floor balcony, ready for the rocket launch that Hugo had heard about.  From what he saw on TV, Vandenberg Airforce Base, which is about 100 miles northwest of us, was scheduled to launch a SpaceX rocket.  We waited for ten minutes, re-positioned ourselves in an open field adjacent to our house, and waited some more.  Nothing.  The only thing that happened was a scary bug crawled over my exposed sandal-clad foot, causing me to descend into minor panic.  And that’s when we realized we had the wrong night.

So, tonight, a little past 7 o’clock, while my husband was working and I sat online shopping for school books, Hugo texted me that it was about to start.  It being the SpaceX two-part launch that included a satellite being sent into space and the ‘first part’ (what I gather is part of the rocket launching mechanism) returning back to the launch pad at the base.  We both got into our respective positions, me at home and he outside of his car at work, and waited.  With the live stream countdown hitting zero, the bright rocket show began.

Over the course of a few minutes, the launch and separation illuminated the night sky so beautifully.  I toggled between taking photos, listening to the SpaceX commentary regarding the success of it all, and texting Hugo with excitement.  It is because of him, after all, that I got to enjoy such an awe-inspiring moment.  There’s something about watching an object lifting off from our planet and traveling out into the dark unknown that gives me chills.

The most marvelous part of learning to love and appreciate space, and all of its unique and limitless possibilities, is that I feel more centered and humbled.  By taking a few moments, like this launch or our night sky viewings laying in the driveway, you realize just how small we are down here on Earth.  My favorite part of that realization is the fact that our problems, worries and frustrations, despite feeling overwhelming and grandiose at times, are truly so small.  We are all just little ants floating on a big mass of water and dirt, surrounded by darkness and the unknown.  Now that is pretty cool.