That balance thing…

A while ago I wrote about finding balance. There was too much going on in my head and too many things I wanted to do, something had to give. Your feedback helped, I prioritised the things that were important to me as well as being ones I could realistically accomplish. My health is important, at 45 and with a family history of bowel and breast cancer I am becoming more aware of what I eat. Although I haven’t gone the whole hog in quitting sugar I have reduced my intake and I’m eating more whole foods rather than reaching for what is convenient. This has been a relatively easy step to take and experimenting with new recipes has been fun, plus it makes me feel better.

I put ‘The Artist’s Way’ and ‘The Barefoot Investor’ aside for now, although with a restructure looming at work I may need the finance advice more than anything else on my bookshelf. The weekly online photography course with David duChemin has also taken a bit of a back seat but not because I’m not interested, I’m just a little distracted and finding it hard to focus (pardon the pun). What I am doing is following David’s advice from the first week of the course which was to care deeply about your subject or be deeply curious. It wasn’t difficult to think of something that I care deeply about and as a result I have been taking my camera to the shelter each weekend and photographing some of the dogs. In doing this, I am becoming more familiar with my camera and thinking about the result I am seeking rather than just taking aim and shooting. Not all dogs make it easy, there are plenty of missed opportunities, blurry faces and lots of close ups of their nose or chest as they jump up at me while taking the shot.

Art class, like volunteering is a non-negotiable and it is 2-3 hours a week where I can work on my drawing and be with like-minded people. It is therapy and it helps to shift my brain from worrying about the pettiness that can make a working day unbearable to worrying about which shade of blue is needed to make those hills recede into the background. My trolley of art materials is fully loaded and I have finished one surprise pet illustration and have two landscapes on the go with a couple of potential commissions waiting in the wings. Meanwhile Hubby and Bundy make the most of the peace and quiet by sharing the floorspace in front of the television for a weekly dose of rugby league.

Have I found balance? Yes, to some degree but there is still more I want to achieve and I’m hoping that the cooler weather will help. The hot and humid weather really wore me down, zapping my energy and my motivation. Thanks again for the helpful advice. Have a great week!

 

Remembering a special birthday

Today would have been Maxi’s 16th birthday, roughly 112 dog years. I miss her and think of her every day, sometimes I imagine her still standing at the front fence, barking at me as I pull into the driveway. Although some memories bring tears to my eyes it is easier to remember the happy times now and I want to share them you. Happy Birthday my sweet Maxi girl, may you be happy and pain free wherever you are ❤

Our beautiful Maxi girl
Maxi hated selfies
A golden sunrise and a splash in the surf
Maxi’s favourite spot for an early morning run

She loved a good roll
Maxi loved the beach and rolling in smelly things
Running free by the water
Maxi doing her happy dance at dinner time

What breed am I?

Meet Puppy. Puppy is a mixed breed, a friendly boy who found himself homeless and at our local shelter. His paperwork said Boxer x Bullmastiff however when I saw him on Sunday I found myself baffled, I just couldn’t see it. Puppy has a boofy head, short fluffy ears and his multicoloured coat is quite soft and almost silky feeling, size-wise he is about the same height as a Dalmatian. Thankfully Puppy got adopted and was going home on Monday, however I’m still left wondering with no chance of a resolution. What breeds do you think Puppy resembles?

Puppy the shelter dog
Puppy the shelter dog
Puppy the dog in motion
Puppy in motion

Wordless Wednesday: Happy

Keep your dog safe at Christmas

Our dogs have always been part of the fun at Christmas, presents from Santa and a special meal on Christmas Day. Everything from a chunky bone to roast chicken or beef, not to mention a few treats such as pigs ears or kangaroo chews. There are however, many ‘people foods’ that dogs shouldn’t be given at Christmas time and if you’ve got a puppy then there are also inedible objects that should be kept out of reach like Christmas tree decorations and pine cones. Below is a handy checklist from PuppySpot and it provides basic advice on how to keep your safe pet although I would add ham or ham bones to the list of things you shouldn’t feed your dog.

Merry Christmas and stay safe!

Holiday Dog Safety Checklist
Holiday Dog Safety Checklist

…and then there was one

Our dog Maxi.
Our girl Maxi. February 28, 2001 to September 26, 2016

One week ago today we said goodbye to our dear old Maxi girl, she was almost 16 and it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. We have had Maxi since she was a tiny pup with huge ears and a dangerously happy tail. As a pup she loved to pull washing off the line and dig up plants, destroying garden beds and leaving unseen holes in the lawn. We called her the ‘Diggingest Dog’ after one of my favourite childhood books. As an adult Maxi loved going to the beach and bouncing through the waves, she still loved digging holes, we have several still to prove it. She had a phobia of storms and refused to walk through doors or gates if she thought there was any chance of them touching her. Her snoring was loud and so was her bark, she kept many a salesperson and religious door knocker from our yard. I loved her soft fur and her friendly, happy face, she was a beautiful, sweet natured girl.

Maxi had been struggling with arthritis for a few years yet still loved her walks and always had did a happy dance at dinner time. The memory of her goofy smile and dancing feet as she impatiently waited for dinner always brings a smile to my face. Recently her struggle intensified, her evening walks reduced in number and distance until she was restricted to sniffing around in the park next door. She loved that park. Hubby and I were preparing ourselves for the inevitable however it happened sooner than we thought and it makes me sad that we did not even get a chance to take her to the beach or let her eat all of her favourite foods.

I was not ready but I don’t think you can ever be ready to make a decision that will end the life of someone you love. Maxi was in pain, she was distressed after falling and not being able to get up again, it was heartbreaking and it was time. The vet came to our house and we took Maxi outside to her favourite spot in the yard, the spot where she can see everyone coming and going. It was a beautiful day, she had some roast beef and with her head resting on my lap I said goodbye as the tears rolled down my face. I kissed her forehead and closed her eyes, it was peaceful and quiet. Maxi was gone, she was no longer in pain. I sobbed for hours.

One week later and I still can’t believe she is gone, her absence all too real when I enter the house and see her empty bed. Maxi had been with me for a good chunk of my adult life, she was with me through many ups and downs, sensing sadness and knowing just when to rest her head in sympathy on my lap. Such a beautiful, sweet natured dog, everyone who met her fell in love and she loved everyone. Bundy still looks for Maxi, he is not anxious but will seek her out and he occasionally sniffs her bed and checks for leftovers in her bowl. I do not have the heart to put her things away, it makes our house feel empty and I’m still not ready to say goodbye.