Adventures in trying to make some Christmas spending money ~ the dog

Being in Grad School and unable to get paid for working for the next two years, I decided to sign up on a national dog sitting service that matches people to watch other peoples dogs in their homes instead of having to take the dog to a nasty kennel.  Brilliant.  I’m an animal lover.  We have a mini-farm already.  It will be like having a fun sleepover for my own dogs.   So, I signed up on the site and reservations poured in.

Yesterday, the first dog was dropped off for a 10 day “vacation” with us.  For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him “Rover“.  He is a 70 pound German Shepperd, Leonberger mix. He is excellent with my children because he comes from a family with 2 small children too.  He does awesome with my two little dogs too, Milo & Kisa, because the owner says she takes him to the dog park regularly to socialize.  He sleeps in his crate inside at night and all goes well…. but it’s only the first night.

This morning I let Rover outside to do his business and after a few minutes I went out into the larger yard to lock the chickens up in their coop area (though they were already there, scared to death of Rover already) because Charlie had warned me that most dogs are “bird dogs” and like to chase/eat birds (aka: our chickens)….

Rover followed me out into the larger yard (the mini-farm side).  He & the goats sniffed each other a little and then Rover went about his business sniffing the rest of the yard.   I go to the barn to do the feeding rounds and Rover follows me, sniffs around more and all of a sudden, he starts chasing the goats….

After about five laps around the outside of the barn, Pecos gets smart and comes inside the barn with me, but the baby goat (Hondo jr.) is still running in circles around the barn being chased by Rover…. Finally Rover catches him right in front of the barn and he has Hondo Jr.’s entire rear neck area enclosed in his jaws, and Rover is trying to pull him down to the ground.  He hangs there for a while and won’t let his jaw grip budge…. and poor Hondo jr. is loudly crying in his sweet little goat cry/panic….

Meanwhile, I’m standing there in horror, having flashbacks of those super sad Saturday morning PBS animal shows when the Lions catch those poor baby deer (or whatever they are) and hold them until they’ve stopped twitching and then tear apart their lifeless bodies…. So I thought, ‘I may get torn to shreds here but I have to save my poor baby Hondo jr., I’ve been waiting my whole life to be in the middle of those PBS shows to save the poor underdog, slowest runner of the pack’ (it’s the social worker in me!!).

So I spring to action and pry Rover’s jaws/teeth apart with my hands and Hondo Jr. runs right into the barn and I follow, slamming the door to lock Rover out.  Both goats were shaking like a leaf, Pecos because he’d nearly witnessed the death of his BFF and Hondo jr because he almost met his maker in the jaws of a mother-approved house guest.  Ugh.  I feel so bad!!

So I definitely think Rover is some kind of wolf/lion mix LOL!  And I’m definitely learning some important lessons like, don’t create a potential farm animal massacre in your backyard just for some Christmas spending money.  Geez.  (I hate not being an independent woman & not bringing in a paycheck). T minus 9 days until his reservation is over… then I will have $162 to buy new farm animals and get some PTSD therapy…..  OMG!  Traumatic morning.

P.S.  My husband said “I told you so”…..

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Holiday haters gonna hate

Thanksgiving is a week away and after that, the countdown to Christmas officially begins.

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year.  There is something that feels magical about it.  No matter how hard I fight it, it still pulls me in. The reason, the cold cozy weather, the food, the family time, the charity, the giving, the Christmas movies on TV, the smell of fireplaces going in the cold crisp winter air, cinnamon, Christmas music, anticipation of snow, and eager excited children.

I also love Christmas because I am such a nostalgic person. I remember the excitement of the season year after year as a child.  And almost every year, the sights, sounds, & smells take me back to feeling that same magic.  My heart would flutter with excitement seeing all Christmas lights & decorations, like a kid in a candy store.  Eyes wide, heart excited.  I think it’s even more magical now that I have children of my own.  In a way, it lets me re-create the magic of my childhood for a 2nd time.  Priceless.

One thing I can do without, is all of the people who complain about “the stress” of Christmas and not feeling “into it”.  Family members, friends, co-workers, all have their complaints: stores are too busy, shopping

is too rushed, cooking is overwhelming, gift giving is stressful, in-laws are unpleasant, etc.  It’s become customary to say that we are “so busy with the holidays” anytime anybody asks you how you are doing, even if you aren’t busy.  I’m guilty of this often.  The gasps I would hear if I actually said I was enjoying the season and I didn’t feel an ounce of stress.  People would think I was nuts.

We are all entitled to our opinions and we are all allowed to vent and complain from time to time.  However, my message to those people who year after year complain about Christmas, is 6 simple words that have been spoken many times before… Life is what you make it.  Period.

I remember some years ago, it became a CHORE to shop for Christmas.  I was so stressed out about spending money that I didn’t have and picking out things that people would like, that I literally HATED Christmas.  Why?  Because I was unconscious, like a lemming, swept up in the frantic glittery frenzy.  I lost sight of what was really important about the season.  I let myself get hung up in expectation & what society (& myself included) was feeding me about what the season “should” be like.  Shopping, Shopping, Spending, Spending, Consuming, Consuming, Stressful.  Rushed. Expensive. Busy. Elaborate. Forced. Unpleasant.

It took me several years to step back from that way of thinking and say, okay what do I want to take away from & make out of this season?  What does it mean to ME?  What do I WANT it to mean to me?  What is really important? And lastly, but probably most important now, what do I want my children to appreciate most about this season?  The answers became clear.  Not gifts.  Not shopping.  Not consumerism. Not over indulgence. Not STRESS.

Just like all the other cliché sayings out there:  Perception is Reality.  Life is not what happens to you but how you react to what happens to you.  Yada Yada Yada. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  If you ALLOW yourself to be swept up in the materialism of Christmas, what the media sells you, what those around you expect or impose on you, then of course you will feel out of control of it all and stressed out.

Although, I’m sure that when I get to the point of cooking huge meals for the family, my kids, their kids, etc. in the future, I will be singing a different tune.  But for right now, I’ve got sight of “it” and I hope it lasts.

If you’re one of the HATERS, the next time you say “I hate Christmas time”, think about why?  Examine your own internal thinking.  Do you hate the gift-giving/shopping?  Do you hate your own self-imposed expectations?  Perceived expectations of others?   Do you hate that you’ve bought into society or the media’s idea of it, instead of defining what it will mean to you & what you will take from it?  Does the season have any deeper meaning to you or is it just a required routine? Or do you just simply hate the colors red & green together? Hey, it could just be that simple. LOL!

I think it’s hard to really enjoy something without having a personal reason to celebrate it.  It’d be like celebrating Julia Robert’s birthday every year but having no idea why, just going with the flow.  Kinda pointless, eh?

Again, Life [Christmas, or insert noun here], is what you make it.

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