Sunday, July 29, 2007

Prayers for Tonya

I'm really not sure if there is anyone reading this blog out there....except for Dave and Katie, I haven't really told anyone about it. But I just think that asking for people out there to pray for my friend will help me feel better. It's really the best way I can help her right now.

Just over a week ago, she found out that she had a mass in her chest. It has turned out to be cancer. The doctors haven't reached a final diagnosis yet, but each time she has gotten closer to a diagnosis this week, the news has not been what anyone wants to hear. The tumor turned out to be lymphoma. Then they found out it was a form of non-Hodgkin's. Which is now likely to be an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's. This week (Friday), she's going to begin the most aggressive type of chemo to fight off the cancer.

It's been really shocking, because Tonya has never appeared to be "sick." She always has lots of energy and a great laugh. She has has two adorable little girls...10 months and 1 1/2 years. She has a really cool Caringbridge site set up, which has been updating almost every day with the latest news. It's really amazing all the people who have signed the guestbook...offering to help with driving to doctor's appointments, watching the kids, providing food, lifting up prayers, etc. If you want the link to her site, please let me know. I'd be happy to share it (but I feel weird to just publish it to the world).

Anyway, more prayers can never hurt. So please keep her in yours.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Gracie's turn...

Here's Gracie! It's finally Gracie's turn for the spotlight on this blog. I was thinking about what I should write about tonight and I thought of Gracie. Then I started feeling guilty about having a whole blog named after Otis and writing about him all the time. So tonight, it's all about Gracie. It's kind of a cool story how Gracie came into my life. Let me share it with you...

Many, many years ago, I got my senior portraits taken. At my photo shoot, there was a litter of kittens. I asked the photographer if I could get some photos taken with them. The photographer kind of laughed and said, "Of course." He said that the kittens were from his house and he brings them with him to the studio for the photos he does with little kids. But I wanted the cats in my photos, so he had no objections. He actually asked if I wanted one, but since I lived with my parents and had a dog at home, I knew that a kitten was out of the I had to say no.

Fast forward a couple of years later to when Stevie getting her senior portraits. She went to the same studio as me and wanted me to go with her. She had the same photographer as me. Even though it was a couple of years later, he remembered my photo shoot. He commented that he should have brought the kittens today. Apparently, he had another litter at his home. He asked again if I wanted one. I thought about it. At this point in time, I was just about to move in with my sister, Rachel, and had no reason to say no. I had always wanted a cat and really liked the ones he had before. So it was a totally spur of the moment thing. I said, "yes," and later that day, my friend Michelle and I were driving down to Lakeville to pick up my new kitten.

I named her Gracie, because her fur is gray and the name was my favorite at the time. She's turned into a pretty large (fat) cat. She's very protective of me and her home. She really does not like kids and strangers (especially male strangers). In fact, it took her many months to warm up to Dave....maybe even years before she would jump onto his lap. The interesting thing about her is that when there are new people around, she doesn't run and hide like most cats. Instead, she sits there and hisses, defending her territory. She freaks out most everyone. Both my nieces say, "I don't like Gracie. She goes hissss."

Actually, having Otis around has warmed Gracie's heart a million times. She really doesn't like to put up with Otis' teasing, but she does and also has learned that she isn't the queen of the house. She's learned that if she wants people to like her and pet her, then she needs to treat them nicely (and not hiss). She's mellowed out a bit and doesn't get so stressed and anxious and puke everytime we have company. She has even started letting some guests pet her. But if she had a choice of whether or not Otis stayed or left...she'd probably want Otis to leave. I think that's normal sibling rivalry, right? Haha.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Intermediate obedience...class 2

Otis and I had our second obedience class tonight. I pretty much knew what I was doing tonight. We did better on our healing....even learned how to circle left and circle right. (kinda sounds like square dancing moves, huh?) Since we did so good, Otis got a special rawhide treat stuffed with peanut butter. We thought it looked like a cigar.

Tears of Joy...

The last week or so, there have been a lot of MN National Guard troops coming home from their deployment to Iraq. It's been on the news almost every night. This of course brings back memories and emotions of my own experience of waiting for Dave to come home. Every time I see clips of soldiers hugging their parents, wife, siblings and children, it makes me cry. I guess the tears are a good thing. The sight of families being united after a year apart is a good thing. Soldiers making it home healthy and alive is a good thing. Little kids being able to give their dad or mom hugs and kisses is a good thing. For the soldiers and their families...being able to put behind them a time of uncertainity and lots of stress is a good thing. It's definitely tears of joy that I cry for these families. I am happy that the soldiers have made it home and I'm happy that they get to live amongst their families again.

These stories of these soldiers and their sacrifices that keep appearing night after night remind me to be thankful that I've only had to go through one deployment. It also reminds me to be thankful for each day that I get to spend with my husband and my family.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lovin' the weekend

Weekends are the great...weekends in the summer are better...Minnesota weekends in the summer are the best!

Today was a beautiful day. It was in the 80's, sunny skies, light and variable winds. Dave and I slept in and after we woke up, I made French toast. We didn't have too much time until Dave had to go to work. Rachel came over and we went to the swimming pool. Actually, first we went to the store and bought ourselves floaties for the water. So we hung out at the pool for most of the afternoon under the sunny skies. It's so nice just to relax at the pool -- hanging out in the sun, getting hot and then going into the water and laying on the floaties to cool off.

After the pool, we went to the mall and did some shopping. There were some great sales going on. I bought a new dress, two skirts, a tank top, a bikini and a shirt for Dave. Rachel got the same bikini and the same skirt. She also got a bunch of other stuff, including two shirts I picked out for her.

By the time we were done shopping, it was time for dinner. We went over to my parents' house and had a delicious dinner. My mom made pasta with a choice of a red sauce or a white sauce. I had both. We also had garlic bread and salad. Nothing beats my mom's cooking.

After dinner, I had to go rescue Otis from his kennel. He was so happy to see me. We went on a two mile walk. The sun was setting and the temperature was perfect. Otis and I practiced healing (that's when Otis walks on my left side).

That's pretty much my day. Thought I'd write about something different today instead of just running and Otis. Not that anything exciting happened. It's just so nice to be able to not think about work or anything else stressful...and to just enjoy the day and relax under the sun and be able to go shopping and enjoy the company of my family. The only thing that would have made my day better was if my husband could have spent the whole day with me. But someone needs to make money, so I can shop!

Until next time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're in!

Can I get a "Hurray!!"?

Team Kickass won the lottery. We get to run the Twin Cities 10-miler in October! We got our confirmation email today. The only not so good part is that my dad, who signed up as an individual, didn't win a number for the race. Either did Rachel's friend, Sara. But there are ten of us that get to run. It's going to be lots of fun. Okay, I'm probably kidding myself about the fun part, but it is going to be a great experience.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Intermediate Obedience...Class 1

Today was my first time "handling" Otis for his obedience class. (Dave has always done it, but he has a night class on Tuesday that conflicts with Otis' class.) Otis is now in Intermediate Obedience, which is the last session he needs to take until we can start agility training. I finally get my chance to show what a great obedience team Otis and I make...well, that's my goal. Tonight was a different story.

Tonight was all about Otis teaching his mom how to obey. Otis knows all the obedience tricks...heal, sit, stay, front, etc. Me, on the other hand, I'm a little rusty. It's been a good ten years since I've done the handling. I've watched Dave a few times, but it's really different when the leash is in your hand. I guess it wasn't all that bad. I had Otis' attention the whole time and he did good. But it was me that had to learn what the commands meant, not Otis. And he did decide to test me on a few 'waits,' but I showed him who's boss. This week we'll have to practice those tricks I didn't remember -- finish (getting Otis back in healing position after a front), stand, spin, and I think that's all.

In any event -- 1 class down, 7 more to go.

7 more classes until agility!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Otis is a Canine Good Citizen!

Hurraayyy!!! Otis passed his big test. He's officially a canine good citizen!! What a good boy!
Otis enjoying the busy bone I promised him he'd get for passing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Otis' big test

Today is a big day for Otis. He takes his Canine Good Citizen test. Passing the test means that he can go onto Intermediate Obedience. Then he can do Agility! I'm hoping he passes. He was all ready for it a month ago, but we were out of town on test day. That means a month has passed without any obedience classes -- so he's going to be excited to be at school...and he's probably a little out of practice on his obedience skills.

I think Dave and Otis have a very chance of passing. We'll have to get Otis his favorite treat if he passes...a busy bone.

Good luck to my boys!!

Dave and Otis in the Total Puppy class practicing agility.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Waiting, waiting and waiting

We registered for the Twin City 10 mile race on Friday. And we are anxiously awaiting whether or not our team will be chosen in the lottery to participate. Isn't it kind of funny that we entered a lottery so we can run 10 miles???

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the race on October 7. According to the website, the TC 10 mile is known as, "the shortcut to the capitol." It starts downtown Minneapolis, near the Metrodome. Then the course runs along the Minnesota River, eventually crossing the river in to St. Paul. It continues down Summit Ave. and ends up at the state capitol.

Our team is awesome. My husband, sister, brother-in-law, dad and several friends comprise team "Only Kick-ass Remains." It'll be the first time for all of us to run this particular race. Legend says that this race is really challenging, since the course is fairly hilly. So I'm definitely going to be training hard the next couple of months for this. I really want to do well....our team better get picked in the lottery!

Only 86 days left until race day!