10 Things I Learned at Puppy Class (sans Tahn)

After years of thinking, talking, ho-humming and planning, I took the plunge and decided to finally get Tahnee certified to be a Therapy Dog. Choosing the organization, learning the (money, training and time) requirements and finding the best fit for Tahn and me was a bit overwhelming. But here we are, back from our first class!

  1. The most successful way to have a peaceful dog class is to exclude the dogs. (The first class was orientation, the dogs are invited next week).
  2. Leaving my house 2+ hours before the class started was slightly overkill. I’ll never get back those 50+ minutes I spent in the cold, rainy parking lot waiting for class to start.
  3. Considering that Tahn is the oldest (by 4 years) and most experienced puppy (I mean dog) in the class, she will definitely be the star of the class. (This is by comparison to her first rounds of puppy class, as an actual pauppy. She was not the star of that class).
  4. The clicker may be my new best friend.
  5. The clicker may be my roommate’s new worst enemy.
  6. Puppy class on a Friday night is not a way to meet single, eligible bachelors.  (90% of the students were women. The two men that were there were 50+ and with their wives).
  7. The instructor warned us that while our dogs may be very good with their commands at home, they may act like they have no idea what we are talking about in class. (This I actually didn’t learn. I know from experience with Tahn. See bullet #3).
  8. I really, truly, for-realsies not for-pretensies have to ignore Tahn when I first come home/when she’s excited. She’ll. Never. Get. Better. At. Greetings. If. I. Don’t.      I get it.
  9. Read the entire email from the class. BRING THE RABIES VACCINE CERTIFICATE TO CLASS.
  10. Tahn is a really great dog.

(I actually already knew bullet #10, too).

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Tahnee, Things I've learned

Things I like this week (vol 12).

I home sick with a stupid cold this week, but I did find a few things I like, for your viewing pleasure.

  1.  These tacos. I made them Friday night (pre-cold) and I am still enjoying them (during cold).
  2. This video from Smacksy. So cute.
  3. This Super Bowl commercial. I’m sure you’re not surprised. Can I have a horse? How about that cute cowboy? That’s the kind of  man with a white truck that I need to meet…
  4. This post. I think every woman needs to believe Elizabeth’s truth.
  5. And, finally, this post.

Happy Monday

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white trucks, cleaning out closets, and consequences to everything

White pick-up trucks have a visceral affect on me.

White, Ford Ranger, pick-up trucks, specifically.

Previously, the affect was joy-filling excitement.

Currently, the affect is gut-wrenching painful.

The white truck knocks that box of sorrow off the shelf I so neatly tucked away a few weeks ago and throws its wide open, spilling it’s contents everywhere.

I stand there looking at the contents of the box, saying, “You again? Really!?”

But that’s the way it goes I guess. That’s the thing about things. Sometimes when you think you’re over something, (or maybe desperately trying to be over it) certain triggers pull you right back and make you dealwithitnow.

Consequently, this is what I will do.


This past weekend, Tahn and I traveled home to the Bay Area to see Buddy and my newest love, Lily (my brand new niece. And no, Lily’s not her real name).

On this trip home, I decided to clean out the closet of the my previous bedroom at my Dad’s house. The closet that hadn’t been touched close to the 10 years since I lived there.

Hello dust.

Hello old memories.

Hello junk.

Hello whydidIeverkeepthis?

It was overall good, cathartic and slightly odd. I threw away/gave away/ recycled most of everything save a few boxes of photos and cards from my grandma. And of course, a Justin Timberlake doll.

Old habits.


During our stay home, Tahn happily found herself at her grandpa’s. Like old times, he had her water bowl and bed out for her to feel right at home.

Over the weekend, my dad would occasionally leave Tahn alone.

Yesterday, after I returned home, my dad called to tell me a story.

My dad is in the process of putting new doors on his kitchen cabinets. Therefor, his cabinets and all such contents are exposed and open.

On Tuesday, he found a Brillo pad (which is usually kept under the kitchen sink) in the cabinet under the stove.

When he told me this story, he indicated this was a sign of protest by Tahn; she did not appreciate being left alone.

My response?

There are always consequences for your behavior.



What are your current triggers? (Positive or Negative)

Do you have any plans for Spring Cleaning?


Filed under Blogging, Crazy Dog Lady, Life, Stories, Tahnee, Travel, Vacation

Non-Judging in the New Year

be curious not judgmental

2012 brought big changes both physically and professionally for me. As the new year began, I knew two things for sure:

  1. I needed to change the way I took care of my body
  2. I needed to change the place of my employment

To make a very long and boring story short, I quickly realized in January of 2012 (and started to panic in the beginning of February 2012) that the job I moved to San Diego for was not a place I could continue to work.

I made the big, scary decision to leave that job and move on to a completely different job, working for a huge company, and learning a new business.

The transition was easy enough; except for a few hiccups here and there I was relatively pleased.

I spent most of the summer working and trying to enjoy San Diego. However, in this whirlwind of work and play, I soon found myself in a situation in which my personal and professional lives collided.

In fact, it was more like a crash.

As I scurried around trying to pick up the pieces, heal my spirit and move on, I kept being pulled back into the pain, sorrow and heartache of it all.

I  judged myself for making the poor choices that led to this crash.

Over the course of four months, I spent most of my days off in excruciating emotional pain. During my time alone, I would replay the decisions, actions and fallacies I made; judging myself more and more each week. In the quiet of these days, I found myself drowning of the sadness of the situation. I could not go back and change anything.

In addition to my own self-deprecation, I allowed the judgements of others to redefine how I saw myself.

During this painful realization, I had an even more painful self-discovery:

I judge others just as much as I judge myself.

Ironically, the pain of my personal and professional lives meeting was created entirely on others perceptions of me. The two colliding didn’t negatively affect my job (or future career) itself. It did effect the opinions my colleagues and staff had of me.

My pain was solely from the thoughts of others and myself.

This got me thinking, what is the point of all of this? Were the judgements of my colleagues (and most importantly, myself) true? No. Not at all.

What was the point of all the judgment?

I took  a step back from my larger-then-life pity party and started observing all of my daily thoughts, primarily mean and judgmental thoughts of others.

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty to see myself jump to mean thoughts when someone did or said something I didn’t like. I found myself realizing I couldn’t be upset with those who thought bad thoughts of me; I did it all the time.

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, I found myself thinking a lot about changing my negative knee-jerk reactions to thoughts of compassion, acceptance, and grace. To stop the thoughts by no longer giving them power.

So, in 2013, in addition to continuing to take care of my body, I will start to take care of my thoughts. Thoughts about others, and most importantly, thoughts about myself.

(This post was inspired by Amber’s post at http://pandaamber.com/)

Image source: We Heart It


Filed under Blogging, Exercise, Life, Things I've learned

Operation Love Handle – An Update

Just under 15 months ago, I wrote a blog post, “Operation Love Handle“, in which I discussed my Love Handles and how they represented all of the struggle and unhappiness I had been dealing with for the previous 3 years. I discussed changes I was going to make, (including eating only until I was full, and finding new activities) and I discussed how I wasn’t going to focus on losing weight, I was going to focus on being more active, more fit, and more happy.

Well, guys, I’m happy to say, I did it. Not only did I lose weight, but I am much more happy, fit and active.

From January 2012 to January 2013, I’ve lost 25lbs.

January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012

January 9, 2013

January 9, 2013

My goal really was just to lose the 15lbs I had gained over the years. I didn’t think that all of the changes I made in my life would lead to such a large weight loss. But, I’m sure happy it did!

If you compare the two photos, taken close to one year apart, you will notice a few things. Besides a cute new hair cut and new cell phone case (and new bathroom; I’ve moved), you will also notice that I am toned. I didn’t just lose weight. I became strong. I developed arm and core muscles. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had arm and core strength.

What I did:

  1. I changed my diet. Permanently.
  2. I started a new workout I love and did it a minimum of 3 days a week (but usually 5) for 6 months straight.
  3. I started a new job where I walked 7-12 miles a day. (And, if you ask anyone I work with, they would tell you I walk quickly).

And that’s it. I started moving more and sitting less.

I didn’t notice any results for months. After all, I gave up eating meat and officially started my diet in October 2011, but didn’t start seeing changes until I ate well and exercised. I started The Bar Method at the end of January 2012 and it wasn’t until the end of March 2012 that I started seeing a small result.

Then, I started a new job (and all the walking) in April 2012, and by August 2012, I really started seeing the weight shed off.

It has been a journey, to say the least. I was challenged by my new workout, new schedule, and lack of free time that came with my new life. It wasn’t easy; it wasn’t easy working out for close to two months with very little results. But, I knew my body and I knew I had to be patient, keep working, and I would see results. And once I did, it was very exciting!

My brother taught me in high school that success breeds success. I found this to be very true this past year. Once I started to feel successful and stronger during my workouts, it lead to me feeling accomplished and more confident. My confidence gave me the courage to step out of my comfort box and make friends, try new activities, and allow myself to enjoy my life more. I then started losing weight, and I felt even more confident about myself and my professional goals.

Don’t be disillusioned, though. 2012 was not an easy year for me. In some ways, it was the most challenging year I’ve ever had professionally and personally. But, through my highs and (sometimes) low lows, I stuck to my diet and exercise; they were my anchors when the world around me was chaos. For the first time in my life I found comfort and solace in exercising. I used to be that girl that would roll her eyes when people would gloat about how important exercise and eating right is for their well-being.


I’ve an avid believer.

This year, I have two life changes I am making. (I’ll discuss it in a future post).

Until then? I’m enjoying my new body, my gained confidence, and my renewed belief in myself.


Filed under Blogging, Exercise, Life

2012 in review

WordPress.com made a review of my blog in 2012 – I’m looking forward to the new year and many, many more posts!

Happy New Year! See you in 2013.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Learning to Find Time

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been losing my time. My self.

At the start of my First Summer in San Diego, I had two goals:

1. Have fun.

2. Make money.

And I did. Lots. Of both. I took a second job at my beloved Bar Method Studio, and jumped from weekend to weekend – working, entertaining (beloved) visitors,

attending very wonderful friends’ weddings,

attending AWESOME sporting events,

and meeting real life race horses up close and personal.

My summer? It was fantastic. My only regret? Not learning to surf.

But here’s the thing: from working two jobs, never having a day off, and continuous fun, I somehow lost a sense of me. I lost the time I used to spent doing things I liked – things I needed – to be a happy person.

I stopped writing. And blogging.

I got involved in a messy, toxic relationship – one I’m still dealing with the residual pain and nonsense.

I stopped walking Tahn. This summer? From my busy lifestyle, and my very physical full-time job, and the Bar Method, I got in the best shape of my life. My dog? Gained weight. Gained 12 pounds.

I lost time for myself.

It wasn’t until the excitement of the Summer passed, and leaving my second job did I realize how unhappy I was.

It wasn’t until I took my days off – to cook, to clean, to read, to walk Tahn, to sleep, did I realize how unbalanced my life had become.

It wasn’t until recently – almost 3 months after the CrazyFunSummer did I have the urge to write – to blog.

I’ve been reading a few books – books on how to simplify your life, your thoughts, your self. Recently, I read this from one of my absolute favs, Anne Lamott.

I hope you click over and read the fantastic article. But, if not, here is a quote, summing up what I’ve been working towards/thinking about/ attempting lately:

“I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day”. – Anne Lamott in Sunset Magazine


Filed under Blogging, Exercise, Friends, Fun Things, Life, Living Simply, Money, Tahnee, Travel, Vacation

Tales of Tahn: Hot Dog, Hurt Paws

When I woke up this morning at 3:30am to get ready for work, I was greeted by my happy, silly, and slightly tired dog. I sluggishly got ready for work, knowing I’d be off early and could come home and rest. Then I remembered how my roommate and I agreed that we were going to take our dogs for a hike this afternoon. We’ve been busy in the past few weeks and they both haven’t been walked enough.

After getting home from work I put on shorts, laced up my shoes and drove the four of us to a nearby trail. It was in the 80′s with a light breeze, beautiful outside. We happily started our hike down a very steep hill, firmly reminding the dogs not to pull us down the hill. We chatted of the guys we were seeing, talking a mile a minute while the dogs pranced around with joy.

I didn’t know that less then 40 minutes later I would be sprinting back up the hill by myself to get water from the car.

I didn’t know that I would have a dog who was overheating and getting worse by the second.

I didn’t know that once I got the water, got back to the dog just as fast as my legs could carry me just to find my roommate, with a look of horror on her face.

“She started crying a little bit ago” she said.

I did know that crying was a very, very bad sign. She only cries when she’s really sick.

I didn’t know that I would beckon her into a nearby brush just to watch her collapse and bury her head in the weeds.

I sat next to her, helpless. I found myself in a situation we all have to face someday; realizing she might die right here, right now.

I didn’t know what to do.

I decided to send my roommate home. I gave her the keys to my car.

“Get more water.” I said. “We’ll wait until she can cool off enough to walk.”

I started going through the symptoms of heat stress: vomiting, refusal of water, severe panting. Her paws seemed to be hurting her too – it seemed they were hurt from the ground or the rocks.

I found myself pouring the little water we had left into the cap and giving her little cap fulls at a time.

I watched her painfully lift her head from the brush to grab a drink – then bury it down again.

I knew two things for sure: I had no way of getting her up the two huge hills that separated us from my car. I knew she wasn’t going to walk at all. One of two things was going to happen. Either we’d wait until she cooled off and regained her strength, or she would overheat on the trail and I’d watch her die.

Just as my roommate was getting ready to leave, she saw a young family approaching us with their dog. She told them about our situation, and asked if they knew of anyway to get a car on the trail.

The man looked at me, sitting in the bushes with my dog.

His wife turned to him, “you can carry her, right?

I sat there shocked before I said, “oh, no. I can’t let you do that. She’s 70lbs.”

Sure I can.” He said. “No problem.”

I watched him immediately walk over to my dog.

His only was concern was if she would be friendly to a strange man.

I told him her name, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t say anymore.

I saw this man pick my dog up and cradle her over his shoulder. He didn’t complain about her weight; all he said was how she was such a great dog.

I watched this man carry my baby a half a mile up two huge hills. He took two short breaks and pet and loved my dog the entire time.

I found myself supporting her shoulders as it got really steep.

At the top of the hill, I watched him carry her past the summit to the water fountain. There I saw his son filling up the water fountain with fresh water for my dog.

I watched her cool off quickly and her spirits immediately lift. I stood there for a few moments before I realized I didn’t even know this man’s name – the man who could have just saved my dog’s life.

I had enough sense to ask his wife for their name and address to send him a thank-you note.

I thanked them and they left.

I gathered my sick dog into my car and brought her home. It took her a long time to get from the car to my apartment.

After a call to the vet, it seems her heat stress was fading and he thought she would be okay. His only concern was that she injured her paws and he wanted to see how she did in the morning.


About halfway into our walk I noticed Tahn was getting hot and tired. She’s a black dog, and it was a warm day. I was worried the ground was too hot for her paws, but when I touched it with my fingers, I felt it was fine. Apparently it was not. My roommate’s dog also seemed to have hurt paws and was very hot too – but, unlike Tahn, she didn’t lay down and refuse to walk. Tahn went from needing a little break to refusing to walk very quickly. I knew I needed to act fast, because heat stroke happens fast and once a dog (or human) has heat stroke, they need immediate medical attention. Knowing we were a good half-mile in, I knew that was not an option. My priority was to keep her cool. I didn’t realize at first that her paws were hurting her too.

The man and his family also had a dog – a dog who walked further on the same trail as Tahn and also had a thick coat. He seemed fine and his paws weren’t burnt. I really don’t know what happened.

I do know one thing for sure : that man – Bobby – could have very well saved my dog’s life. It’s possible she would have not gotten heat stroke but her paws are injured enough that she probably couldn’t have walked the hill for few hours. We would probably still be in the bush.

I don’t really know what else to say but this: during this whole ordeal this afternoon I couldn’t stop thinking about how last night I got up to use the restroom and found Tahnee laying on the ground next to my bed, on the side I was laying on. She wasn’t laying on her plush bed a few feet away. Instead, she was laying as close as she could to the bed as possible; her paws under the frame. I remember looking down at her and thinking, “Wow, this dog loves me.”

Maya and Tahn, right before Tahn started refusing to walk.

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driving with my windows down

On the way home from my Bar Method class today I rolled my windows down and let the warm air in.

It was perfect outside.

And, I realized that up until very recently, I never drove with my windows down.

I had three reasons:

1) It was usually really hot outside in Sacramento and sitting idle with the windows down made me sweat. I hated sweating.

2) The wind messed up my hair.

3) Allergies.

My not-having-the-windows-down-ever rule was, at times, an irritant of my friend/family member/ boyfriend. I may or may not have had multiple fights about this.

Fortunately, in San Diego, sitting idle with your windows down at a traffic light is quite pleasant; it is rarely too hot to make one sweat.

And, for the most part, my allergies are very mild if non-existent.

Yet, for months living here, I didn’t drive with my windows down. Sure, we’ve had a handful of rainy days. Some chilly mornings. For the most part, however, we doing just fine weather-wise. 65 degrees and sunny. Mind-blowingly gorgeous.

Still, my car? Windows = up.

Why the change? Why are my windows down?

The first few months in San Diego were kind of rough. I didn’t have Tahn. Although I loved my roommates, I was a transient waiting for my own place.  And mainly, my difficult transition was due to my previous job. Yep. The job that I moved to San Diego for.

To make a long story short, I left that job two months ago and started with a new (and really fantastic) company. And officially one month into my new job, I can say that I still really like it. I would say I like it more and more everyday.

So here’s to driving with your windows down.

And having messed up hair. ;)


Filed under Things I've learned

The Socialpunk Trilogy

A little while ago I was contacted by Monica Leonelle, blogger and author of The Socialpunk Trilogy. She asked me to write a review on her new book, Socialpunk.

Since I love to read, I was happy to participate. The book is not my usual genre; it’s a bit fantasy and set in the future. I was pretty skeptical I’d like it, but I decided to read it anyways.

My thoughts:

I really, really liked it. Socialpunk grabbed me right away and I read it in a few hours. It has everything in a a book I love: romance, action and suspense. Although it is set in the future, (in a world we do not live) Monica does an excellent job making you feel like you’re right along with the characters, describing their environment really well. I would say this a mix of Twilight and A Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. It has the romance and fantasy of Twilight, with the suspense of A Girl with A Dragon Tattoo (and without the super intense stuff).

My only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough! She leaves you on the edge of your seat. I’m definitely going to be reading the next book in the trilogy (Socialmob), which comes out in July 2012.

My Interview with Monica:

BrittanyandTahn: What motivated you to start writing?

Monica Leonelle: I was inspired by the city of Chicago, by social media issues in our current world, and by the cyberpunk genre. The book is a bit like the Terminator series and I reference that a couple times just for fun. James Cameron is basically my favorite director ever, and he really inspires me with his world-building and storytelling skills.
BandT: Who is your favorite character in Socialpunk?
ML: I would have to say Ima, as she’s the main character and the book is told entirely from her point of view. What I love about her is how much she changes from the beginning of the book to the end. She feels very guilty and is constantly struggling with right vs. wrong. She’s probably one of my favorite characters out of all the ones I’ve written.
BandT: What is one book everyone should read?
ML: When I was a kid I loved this book called The Girl With the Silver Eyes. Here is the exact cover of the book I had: http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Silver-Eyes-Apple-Paperbacks/dp/0590442481. It’s one of my absolute favorite YA novels, and, surprise! Maggie Stiefvater loves that book too. This was the first novel that made me want to write fantasy and science fiction.

If you’re interested in learning more about the book, visit http://socialpunktrilogy.com

Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire (http://proseonfire.com) and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (http://proseonfire.com/free-writer-toolkit).

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