Friday, August 26, 2011

Not "Just a Dog"

Just a Dog 

From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up. It's just a dog."
or "That's a lot of money for just a dog."
They don't understand the distance traveled, time spent or costs involved for "Just a dog".
Some of my proudest moments have come about with "Just a dog".
Many hours have passed with my only company being "Just a dog"
and not once have I felt slighted.
Some of my saddest moments were brought about by "just a dog".
In those days of darkness , the gentle touch of "Just a dog" provided comfort
and purpose to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it's "Just a dog", you will probably understand phrases like
"Just a friend" or "just a sunrise" or "Just a promise".
"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust,
and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of "Just a dog" I will rise early,
take long walks, and look longingly to the future.
For me and folks like me, it's not "Just a dog".
It's an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just a dog."
It's the thing that gives me humanity and keep me from being
"Just a man " or "Just a woman".
So the next time you hear the phrase "Just a dog",
smile, because they "Just don't understand"..
Author unknown. 

"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.  It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them." 
~John Grogan
 My dear friend Chelsea's little dog went to be an angel yesterday.  Will you please send some prayers up for her if you feel so inclined to do so.  I cannot even begin to imagine what she is going through right now.  You see, me and her, we are A LOT alike when it comes to our dogs.  We both know that our dogs are not "just a dog."

Most of you that know me, know that I can tend to take a while to open up to you if I don't know you.  The case wasn't so when Chelsea and I met for the first time.  We clicked instantly and it seems like our friendship formed an instant bond the moment we met.  Chelsea is one of the most down-to-earth girls I know and is a wonderful friend to me.  She's so caring and compassionate to those in her life and really cares about the people in her life.  She's one of those people, that when you talk to her and confide in her, she really listens and really cares about what you have to say.  She's also one of the only people I have ever met that gets my obsession and love I have for my dog Macy.  Probably because she is the EXACT same way I am with Macy as she is with her dogs.  She gets that I love my dog more than anything and would drive to the end of the earth for her, because she would do the same for her dogs.  This must be why we get along soooo well ;)

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  ~Roger Caras

So, please friends, say a prayer for her if you will.  Little Kayli was her world before her son was born.  Her heart is broken right now and I just hope that she can find a little bit of comfort in the fact that Kayli is running around like crazy with my first love, Mouse, in Heaven.  I just know it!

"A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty." ~John Grogan 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Randoms

Oh I am so glad it's Wednesday.  And I am soooo ready for this month to be over.  Been a rough one, minus the vacation of a lifetime, of course.  That, my friend, was incredible and something I hope everyone gets a chance to do in their lifetime, but work and some other stuff this month...not so much.  However, I have been taught that I need to learn how to deal with my frustrations.  I am not so good at it...never have been.  Why oh why do I like to keep everything so bottled up inside of me is beyond me...but me and God...we are working on it.  It's been a lifelong process...He's been teaching me a lot these days. 

Psalms 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." 

I have aaaamazing friends.  I find it fascinating that some people can know me so well to just be able to hear my voice and know how I am feeling.  Some friends are definitely angels that God has placed in our lives to help us along this journey.  I just hope that I can be half the friend that some of my friends are to me. 

I love my husband to the moon and back.  He is my soul mate, no doubt.  Speaking of soul mates, we just went and watched the movie "Crazy, Stupid, Love."  It's such a good feel good movie!  You should go see it...with your soul mate. 

We also ate some yummy mexican food for dinner.  I can't wait to eat all the leftovers tomorrow for lunch. 

I am about a quarter way through the book The Help right now.  It's getting good!  I can't wait to finish it and then go see the movie.  (I have no idea how to properly site book titles and movies.)

I have stumbled upon an incredible blog and it has spoke mountains to me.  Angie Smith is a very moving and touching writer and gives God all the glory He deserves.  I promise you that something that she has posted over the years will move you if you are ever in need of a little faith and encouragement.

It's almost time for Macy's yearly checkup with the cardiologist.  If you pray for dogs, like I do every single night, will you say a little prayer for her that she remains healthy please?  And will you also pray for my friend Chelsea's dog who just had surgery?   xoxo

I wish this heat wave would pass!  It's so too hot to even go swimming.  And my hoodie collection is getting neglected.

I ran 4 miles today.  Longest I have ran in a while.  It felt so good.  Thank God for treadmills! 

I love watching The Bachelorpad more than I care to admit.  

I don't know what to buy my husband for his birthday, he's going to be old.  Any suggestions?

I think I work way too much.

And that is all.  Have a great night!

Friday, August 19, 2011

California Road Trip of a Lifetime Day 8 - San Diego Zoo, Petco Park, Old Town, The End

Day 8 of our California road trip was was our last full day in San Diego...the last day of our road trip of a lifetime...

The San Diegor Harbor

We started out our day by eating breakfast and then heading to the Seaside Village down by the harbor.  It is a little outside area on the water with restaurants, shops, beautiful boats and walking trails.  It's such a cool area to spend a couple of hours.  Andrew and I walked around for an hour or so and then decided to head to the famous San Diego Zoo.

The zoo was incredible!  It sure lived up to its expectation of being America's favorite zoo.  It was beautiful!  There were palm trees and lots of greenery all throughout the paths that made for some good shade and pretty scenery.  The zoo had every animal you could think of!  The whole time Andrew just kept saying "thank you so much for bringing me here."  He was in Heaven with those animals!  Kid in the candy store?!?!  Yes, most definitely!

The camel...with a lop-sided hump.
The beaver...making a dam.
Must've been a rough day...I feel like this sometimes too.
My favorite part of the zoo was the koalas, pandas, and giraffes.  The koalas and pandas were soooo cute and fluffy! 

The line for the panda exhibit was so long!  Everyone wanted to get a peak at the fluffy cuteness.   Thankfully Andrew didn't mind waiting in the line with me.  I couldn't wait to get a peak at the little guys!

It was this little guy's one year birthday too.  He was hanging out in the tree in the most awkward position.  He must have been pooped from his birthday party and cake that he got earlier that day.  Isn't he cute?!?! 

And who doesn't love the giraffes?!?  I sure do!  I loooooove them!  They are such incredible animals and the exhibit at the zoo let you get up close and personal with these amazing and ginormously tall creatures.  It was incredible!

The zoo also had a bus tour and an aerial tram you could ride around the zoo that took you on a tour of the facility, we chose not to do these things, but I am sure they would have been pretty neat!

After several hours at the zoo, we went to see Petco Park.  I've been there before and just knew Andrew would love it, and love it he did.  Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, is such a nice baseball park.  There is a park within the park where people can sit and watch the game on the grass or from the big screen.  It's so cool!  I wish there would have been a baseball game when we were there...better luck next time!

We then went to Ghiradelli's at Gaslamp Quarter to enjoy another delicious sundae after the zoo and baseball park...yummmmmmm!  I wonder how many calories are in this pile of heaven?

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel for some r & r before dinner and of course to watch a little shark week.  Thanks to google we found a famous mexican restaurant in Old Town.  Old Town San Diego is said to be the birthplace of California and is a neat area with lots of restaurants guessed!  It's like a little Mexico in the downtown area.

We had such a good day at the zoo and at dinner, enjoying each others company, the beauty that is San Diego, and awesome weather to top it all off!  I am so sad to see this vacation come to an end.  It was AMAZING!

I've been on a lot of vacations.  I am very thankful that I have a husband who understands my love for traveling and is willing to go with me.  In the past, we have mostly went on beach vacations, because who doesn't love a good beach with lots of relaxation?  This year though, we chose to do something a little different.  We decided to fly to San Francisco and drive down the coast to San Diego.  And I tell you that without a doubt this is the best vacation I have ever been on.  We had So.Much.Fun!  It is always great to get away from all the "commotion" that normal life brings with it.  It's even better to get away to one of the most beautiful places in the world with my one and only and enjoy each others company more than ever!

 We did it!  And I now know where Andrew and I are moving when we retire...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

California Road Trip of a Lifetime Day 7 - LA, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna, San Diego

Today we got up early and had the best free continental breakfast yet! It had “eggs with cheese and peppers” and waffles. Delicious! We headed out the door early and headed to Hollywod blvd. On our way we stopped at Rodeo Drive and took a stroll among the rich and famous. We then took Sunset Blvd to Hollywood Blvd and did the whole touristy thing, that we said we were not going to do, and walked the walk of stars, saw the Kodak & Chinese Theaters, and then saw the famous Hollywood sign. I must tell you, if you have never seen this before, it's nothing spectacular. It's really just a block in the big city of LA and full of tourists. It is nothing like I would have thought.

We then headed to Venice Beach to see the “freak show.” I was a little disappointed, there weren't many freaks out. But the pier is lined with tons of little shops and people selling anything they could think of, including one guy selling a kick in his rear for $1, and some pretty crazy people out there doing the strangest of things. There is also the famous “Muscle Beach” along the pier where big bulky gross looking boys lift weights and wear speedos. Not my thing, but may be yours....

After the freak show we headed down PCH 1 and ate lunch at Charlie's Pizza in Redondo Beach. It was great pizza! The rest of the day was spent driving in stop-and-go traffic down PCH. Hind sight 20/20 we probably should have gotten on the 405 Hwy...But we didn't, we drove through Huntington Beach, which was packed with tons and tons of surfer dudes and girls walking around in biknis. Come to find out it was the US Open of Surfing that weekend, no wonder it was so crowded!  It did look like a cool beach town with a lot of neat shops though.

We drove through Laguna Beach and hit the end of PCH for us. Laguna is beautiful and the coast is lined with million bizillion dollar homes and beautiful beaches. Then we hopped on HWY 5 and headed south to San Diego! After hours and hours of driving, we finally made it around 7 pm.  We booked a hotel close to the airport and the harbor.  Once we got into town we settled into our hotel and then ventured out to find a place to eat.  We drove down to the harbor and ended up eating at The Fish Market.  There were tons of options for fresh fish and since Andrew and haven't really ever ate anything except for catfish and talapia, we were a little overwhelmed with all the options.  We settled on crab cakes.  They were pretty good.  The restaurant seemed like a pretty cool one and I am sure the fresh fish is delicious.  I think we were both just exhausted and too overwhelmed to really figure out what to order.  After dinner we drove down to Gaslamp Quarter.  Its an area in downtown that is lined full of shops, restaurants, bars, etc.  It was packed full of people!  There wasn't a parking space in town, so we just drove through it and then headed on back to the hotel.  Too much time in the car today with LA traffic made for an early bedtime for us. 

Tomorrow...we are going to the zoo!  Stay tuned...

Monday, August 15, 2011

California Road Trip of a Lifetime Day 6 - Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles

We woke up in Solvang and enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the hotel. It was free of charge and even included “eggs with cheese in the middle" husband quickly corrected me by telling me they were called “omelets.” My bad!  Nonetheless the breakfast was good and free, much better than the last not so much so-called deluxe continental breakfast we had in Monterey. We then walked the main street of Solvang. Solvang is said to be the “Danish capital of the U.S.” It is a very very neat city lined with really neat boutiques, restaurants, wine tastings, and yummy bakeries.  If you are ever in the area, you should really stop through Solvang.  It's so neat!

We shopped a little and then decided to do a wine tasting. There were little wine tasting places on every corner, or so it seemed! And I hear there are some pretty awesome wineries into the countryside. The wine tasting was neat! We tried 6 different wines, saving the best for last...the dessert wine..Muscrat...delicious, didn't even taste like wine, and from what I hear, that's the problem??!? We also got to taste a warm cider wine made out of merlot, apple juice, brown sugar, and spices and it was amazing! Would be perfect for winter blizzards.

We didn't do the tasting at the Wandering Dog Wine Bar, but we stopped in to see the "dog."  They have a black lab there that greets all the customers.  Andrew had to get his "dog fix" for the day. 

After a few hours in Solvang, we headed south to Santa Barbara. We ate lunch outside on the patio of a neat little sushi place. It was great sushi and a decent price! A little limited on time, we decided to only walk a few blocks around the town. Santa Barbara is gorgeous! Cute spanish style town with lots of great shopping and beautiful scenery. Andrew was in Heaven ;) It would be a great town to spend a few days, that's for sure!  I can't wait to go back!

Next stop...LA. We continued to drive down PCH 1. We got some awesome recommendations from Andrews friend Rachel on what to do next. We passed through Malibu and decided to stop in Santa Monica. On our way Andrew noticed all the cars that drove by...Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Maserati, Range seemed to be a requirement to live in this city.  In Santa Monica, we explored the Third Street Promenade, ate dinner at a little mexican joint, named Baja Bud's, pretty good food, very fresh, very fast. I recommend the nachos. The promenade was pretty cool too. It is a car free street guessed and more shopping, with a scattering of restaurants and such. Seems like a pretty neat town. We saw the SM Pier from a distance, but decided to bypass an upclose and personal look, since we had just seen something similar in Santa Cruz.

We found a place to stay near LAX, and decided to crash early, we were exhausted! I believe the hotel we stayed at was called Wingate Wyndham Hotel. It was the nicest hotel thus far and similar in price range to all the others. The bed was comfy too!

All-in-all today was another good day. Pretty scenery down the coast, of course, and a cool change of pace.