Puppy Parenting 101

Welcome to puppy patenting! Where the nights are short and the days are long. The food is over cooked and often a little bit cold.

Puppy parenting, where your Friday night date is a Wonder Puppy play date and your pockets are littered with stinky puppy treat crumbs.

Puppy parenting, where the main topic of conversation is the color, consistency and frequency of his poop.

Welcome to puppy parenting, where you get stopped every 3 -5 feet on a walk because he is so unbelievably adorable and where you discover it’s all worth it because of the unconditional love you’ll receive every single day for the rest of his life.

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Stress! Who Wants It???

What an amazing realization!!! It feels so amazing to learn and grow!!! Do you know that stress can be a VERY good thing? Yes!!! It can. Check it out,…

You’re be-bopping along through your day and all of a sudden you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel anxious because you feel you are unequipped to handle that situation. You feel the tension in your shoulders, you can feel things going on in your body stirring and prepping you to get the hell out!!! But wait!!!

You stop for a minute and take a deep breath, say to yourself, “This situation is uncomfortable for me. Why? because I don’t know how to handle it”. What does that really mean? Does it mean you truly are inept?

No! It doesn’t,… unless you believe that you are in fact inept. However, if you believe that you can learn and grow this stress feeling is a signal to you that you are currently in an amazing position of opportunity.

Amazing opportunity? Are you crazy? Who really feels like a stressful situation is an amazing opportunity. Uhhh,… ME!!! That’s who.

When you feel stress you have an opportunity to turn tail and run the other direction OR you can take that stress and allow it to fuel your desire to grow and change. You can overcome that particular stress by learning new skills.

When you learn new skills and overcome stressful situations you become more confident, you feel more freedom. The feeling of freedom allows you to follow your dreams, live your passion and inspire others.

Department Heads Agree

Life is like a raft. If you intend to get anywhere you need a certain amount of balance.

My raft is a shared raft and is usually pretty balanced. Keri and I have agreements that keep us balanced for the most part. I’ll oar and she will rest and vice versa or we’ll oar together if we want to get somewhere quicker.

We’ve been at this shared raft business for awhile now and we pretty much know what to expect from each other. We hit some rapids every now and then, but we’ve managed to stay afloat and continue to oar in the same direction. It’s true that we’ve made a few course corrections along the way, but being flexible is a big part of the balance.

We know that Keri is the head of the research department and I am the head of the experiment department. It’s good that we know these things about each other because it helps us to understand how and why the other one operates the way that they do.

Recently, as you probably know, we brought aboard a new member of our shared raft. This adorable little fur ball, named Marbles, has disrupted our balance just a bit. We are acclimating rather well, all three of us.

However, the sleep deprivation has added an extra challenge. Lack of sleep causes the experiment department to be less receptive to guidance from the research department. Luckily, these two departments have worked well with each other for quite some time and are aware of what’s intended.

Both departments have agreed to be more sensitive and more receptive. Research shows that well planned experiments generally end with positive results. We intend for our shared raft to continue on the course we have set out without too much detour given the added adorable member.

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Turns Out, Misunderstood is Not So Bad

Do you know that song, Leader of the Band, by Dan Fogelberg? I love that song. It always reminds me of a time when I was younger. I was in middle school and my favorite teacher was, Mrs. Kellert. She taught one of my all time favorite classes. Any guesses as to what that class might have been? I heard some guesses. Yes, I did really enjoy my art classes, but that’s not the one I’m thinking. Oh, yes, I loved P.E. too, but ,Leader of the Band, reminds me of my creative writing class.

One of the reasons I loved that class was because some of our homework was to keep a journal, which by the way I was already doing on my own. I also really loved it because Mrs. Kellert would often write back in the journal. It was like having a journal that gave advise on all the things I wrote about. I loved it!! It felt like Mrs. Kellert and I were connected and that she understood me. I felt special in her class.

Another reason I loved that class so much was because it was a class that was easy for me. Most of the classes at that time in my life, I was pulling a C or a D, even a F in some classes. So, to have a class I enjoyed AND was making an A in was all good.

Until one assignment came along. I don’t even remember what the objective of the assignment was, but we were to choose a song and write about it. I picked Leader of the Band. I wrote out what I thought Mrs. Kellert wanted and I felt like I had an ace in the bag.

With a great big smile on my face I reached out to receive my homework paper back and to my surprise I did not ace that homework assignment. A little red frowny face was drawn on my homework with a little red “F” and the comment that haunts my brain to this day, “I don’t think you understood the assignment”.

Oh man! I was crushed. I thought she understood me. I thought we were connected. I thought I understood the assignment perfectly. This “F” clearly indicated on this particular assignment, that was not the case. I was truly bummed out.

I must have gotten over it, because I remember being in contact with Mrs. Kellert even after high school. I don’t remember what my final grade was in that class, but I do remember how Mrs. Kellert made me feel special.

It just goes to show that saying is true, People may not remember what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Thank you, Mrs. Kellert, where ever you are. You’d be proud, I’m still writing.

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Mind Yo’ Damn Business!!!

Why is the traffic backed up for miles? Oh, I see. There’s a police car with it’s lights on and someone has been pulled over. I really do not understand why everyone has to slow down and rubber neck this situation.

Maybe it’s a matter of principal for me, but I purposely keep my eyes focused forward when passing police activity on the highway. I can’t do anything about what other people choose to do, but I have modicum of decorum in this particular area.

Eyes on the road! Let’s get this traffic moving.

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Oh, Please Don’t Ask Me What I Think You’re Going to Ask

There are times in life when you are faced with a situation that creates a reaction in you similar to that of a puppy hearing a strange new noise for the first time, such as a train whistle. You stop in your tracks and pause. Tilting your head one way and then the next, as if a different position of your head could ACTUALLY create a different perspective. Sometimes, you can glean a bit of clarity in that pause and other times you just can’t quite make sense of it, so you just have to laugh.

One situation in which I was able create a bit of clarity involved my dad many years ago. I was probably about 26 years old and had recently called my dad to talk about my relationship with Keri and being gay.

Actually, to be clear, I think in this particular situation my dad was the puppy,… well at first anyway. We chatted for a bit and the conversation veered in another direction and then all of a sudden he says, “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure Dad. What is it?”

“Which one of you is the boy?” Here’s where I turn into the puppy, tilting my head one way and then the next, kinda dumbfounded, “Huh? Wha’? Which one of us is the boy? We’re both girls Dad. That’s what makes us gay”.

He began to clarify, “No, I mean,…”. I squinted my eyes closed tight in hopes he wasn’t about to ask something I didn’t really want to answer, “which one of you,… well, I mean which one of you changes the oil?” Whew!!! With a sigh of relief and a smile on my face I replied, “Neither one of us changes the oil. We take our cars to a mechanic.”

“Well, which one of you does the laundry?”

“We do the laundry together.” Well, we did back then because we went to the laundry mat. Honestly, Keri does most of the laundry. I do help, sometimes. I put my dirty clothes in the hamper, most of the time (embarrassed grin) and I fold.

My dad says, “You know what I mean” and in an effort to dissolve a bit of his preconceived notions about gay people and get him talking about what he believed, I replied, “No, Dad. I don’t know what you mean.” I still don’t know if he had a more specific question that we never covered and honestly I am glad the conversation never took “that” turn.

We continued our conversation in a very civil manner and he did reveal to me that he was grateful. When I asked why, he said, “If God wants me to have a child that’s gay, I can accept that, but I have to be honest. I am grateful that the child he chose was my daughter and not my son.”

Reflecting on that comment now, it seems sexist, but at the time it felt like an honest admission of a loving father who knew his perspective was in need of some broadening. In my entire relationship with my Dad, this conversation included, I never once felt an ounce of judgement or disappointment from him in me as a person. For that, I am grateful.

Our relationship was far from perfect, but I always knew without a doubt that he loved me just as I am. He was a very sweet man. He cried, tears of joy, every single time he told me about the day I was born.

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And the Twirling Stops

Well, I gave it my best shot. I tried for 18 months to let my hair grow long. It was frustrating as hell, and not just for me. Ask my wife. It did get pretty long, well pretty long for me. It was taking too much time and energy to style it in the morning and maintain all day. I just got tired of messing with it.

I tried cutting just a couple inches off the back to see if being off my neck would help and it did. A little bit, but it not nearly enough. It was just long enough to blow in my face and not long enough to pull back. Getting the puppy was the clincher. Up in the middle of the night for potty breaks, with no glasses in the dark and the wind was blowing my hair all in my face. I couldn’t see if he pooped or not. Did he step in it? Where is it??? OMG, THIS HAIR!!!! The sleep depravation did not help.

THAT’S IT!!!

Life is too short to be this pissed off at my stupid hair! Whew!!! Now,… my hair is too short to be pissed off at all. So nice. So easy. Big huge sigh of relief. I feel like me again.

I am really glad I went through the process of growing out my hair because when I decided to embark on that journey, I thought longer hair would help me feel more girlie. It did in fact take me to a more girlie feeling place in my life.

I felt more expressive, more animated and a little more flirty. It was as if the longer hair and all the business of having longer hair tapped me into a part of myself that had been laying dormant somewhere inside me.

The head flips to get hair out of my face, arms in the air messing with my hair, whether drying, brushing, adding product or twirling. OH MY GOD the twirling!!! Purchasing all those barrettes, pins and scarves were all part of a magical set of keys that unlocked the girlie side of me.

A funny thing I’ve realized through this process is, the way I FELT before with short hair and dressing androgynously didn’t really match at all how I was perceived. Since I’ve been dipping my toe in the “GIRL WATER” and have been vocal about my process, I have heard from numerous people that they never thought or perceived me as a butch person. I’ve been told I couldn’t be butch if I tried.

Since I’ve cut my hair, I’ve had soooo many people tell me that short hair really suits me. Which suits me just fine because it’s far less burdensome for me. I feel free. I feel like the pretty little butterfly that I am. Looking back on the process, growing out my hair felt like I was incasing myself in a long haired cocoon. I swear it was because of all that damned twirling and cutting my hair short feels like I’ve broken free. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, You can’t tether a butterfly. :)

The cool part is I don’t feel they way I used to feel with my hair short again. I still feel expressive, animated and flirty. I feel a confidence within myself that I didn’t feel before. So, it seems to me, the confidence was not in the longer hair it was in me, deep within me. I just had to dig it up and now that I’ve got all that extra time in the morning I can start playing with make-up. YAY!!!

I’m sure Keri is very excited.

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Clarity

We all need little eye openers every now and again.

We can commit to a path of doing what we feel is best for ourselves and then one day something gets thrown in the mix and messes up our stride. We may begin to spin out of control a bit and then an eye opener reminds us we can set ourselves back on track.

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Loving My Corny Life

There are times in life when we are are not at our most comfortable, most of the time it’s because we are in a new situation and we’re not accustomed to dealing with the circumstances of that new situation.

Recently, I met a young man who was in this very situation. Jason, my all time favorite rep, brought this young man, Oscar, to my office. Jason introduced Oscar as a young man he has known since Oscar was 15. He is now 22 and they met at a convention of some sort where young people go to meet business people. Honestly, I’ve forgotten the details regarding the convention, but what I do remember is that Oscar wrote letters to everyone he met there and Jason was the only person to respond to 15 year old Oscar’s letter.

Jason has taken Oscar under his wing and has been coaching him on how to meet people in a professional setting and how to get lunch meetings set up. I was delighted to have been chosen as a trusted person to help with this process.

I could tell Oscar was a little nervous, but I thought he did well chatting with a new person in an unfamiliar place. It was a practice run. While we were talking Jason stepped away for a moment. As Oscar and I continued chatting, he began telling me about the things that he forgot. He explained he has a hard time remembering things when he gets nervous. “I can’t remember anything”, he said.

I told him I completely understood that nervous feeling and freezing up. My freeze up occurs when math of some sort is introduced into the situation, however I didn’t believe that he couldn’t remember anything. I told him there’s a great deal of stuff going on when people meet for the first time, not only are you nervous, the person you’re meeting could be too, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t remember their name or fine details that have already been discussed.

I feel like it’s a big relief to people when you’re honest with them and say something like, “I’m sorry, can you remind me of your name”. Almost every time I say something like that to someone they follow up with something similar like, “Oh, I forgot your name too”.

Be easy on yourself and talk to yourself in a positive manner. Begin telling yourself that you can remember things. Imagine yourself the way you would like to be and begin talking yourself into becoming that dream version of yourself. I guarantee in most situations that positive self talk is going to help you feel better. I understand it may feel a little awkward at first, praising yourself and talking yourself up, but the more “up” you feel, the better you will get at talking yourself up and the better you will feel.

If you don’t believe in you, who will?

Who me? A life coach? Yes, I am. Just saying that gives me cold chills (coachills) lol I love my corny life.

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Let it Start with You

Recently, I joined a “Pay It Forward” initiative on FB, in which I invited five people to participate with me. The point of the initiative is to focus on bringing kindness forth into the world. A focus I am truly in support of on a daily basis.

The way the pay it forward works is, you invite five people to agree that they are in, by commenting, “I’m in”. Once they agree then you collect their mailing address and let them know that in the next year when something particular strikes and inspires you to think of them you will send them a surprise. It may be a book, something homemade or even a post card, but it will be unannounced and unplanned. When they agree to be “in” then they pay it forward also, by inviting five other people to participate.

One of the people that commented, “I’m in” was especially please about getting to participate in the initiative. She was very excited to have something to look forward to, something to anticipate. I taught her how to copy and paste via IM on FB and she was delighted to be expanding the kindness by inviting people of her own to participate.

This little initiative kinda brought to the forefront of my mind that it is important to have something to look forward to and the very best way to have something to look forward to is to make it something that is reliable.

By reliable, I mean a guaranteed success. We can’t always depend on the kindness of others, although we are participating in a “Pay it Forward” initiative to expand kindness in the world, sometimes people can feel very isolated and lose sight of the smallest things in life that provide us with that much needed anticipation.

The greatest gift of all is the love we provide ourselves. We can show love to ourselves by creating kindness for ourselves in our everyday lives. I look forward with great anticipation to my Epsom salt soaks. I love caring for my skin by applying warm coconut oil to my skin after every shower or bath. I love to be creative and I look forward to spending time on my drawing app. I like to send a text to my wife every now and then, “I am looking forward to seeing you this evening”.

Life is full of little things that show kindness to ourselves and when we recognize and acknowledge the kindness we provide for ourselves, it naturally creates more energy for us to provide kindness to others.

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