Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sudo Snuggle

Gus and Fiona seem to be settling in a bit better. They were quite active last night, coming out to eat and run in their Wodent Wheel with Mr. K and I sitting very close to the cage. Gus has even sat in Mr. K's palm for a brief moment and has let himself be pet a bit. Fiona is a bit more timid, which was what we read about the females, but she is becoming braver by the day as well. Working on the bond between Sugar Glider and human can take up to three months, so we'll just have to be patient.
One way the bonding process can be sped up is to wear the sleeping Sugar Glider around your neck in a "bonding pouch" while he/she sleeps during the day. We have two bonding pouches and after some effort, Mr. K was able to shuffle Fiona from her sleeping spot in the fleece tunnel into the bonding pouch. I wore her around my neck pretty much all day yesterday and she only fussed at me once.
When Sugar Gliders are afraid, they make this crazy loud noise called "crabbing." It kind of sounds like a giant locus. It can actually be quite intimidating, but if you ignore it and soothe your little fuzz butt, it usually subsides quite quickly.
We didn't manage to get both joeys into the same pouch because Gus realised what was happening and woke up. He crabbed quite loudly at Mr. K, so we left him alone. Once he was back into a deep sleep, Mr. K scooped him out of the tunnel into the other bonding pouch and I wore him around for the rest of the afternoon. The joeys are so light you hardly notice they are hanging from your neck; even if there are two of them. Gus crabbed at me once as well because I moved the pouch that he was in and took the blanket covering them away so I could get up off of the couch. I gently cupped him against me and his crabbing slowly stopped.
We have also read that it is important to make sure your Sugar Gliders have a means of staying hydrated while in the bonding pouch. The best way to do that is to put a thin slice of fruit-an apple or pear-into the pouch with them. Mr. K cut up two slices and I put them in with each joey. Gus moved around quite a bit and I thought he had eaten some of his, but Fiona hardly moved. I assumed she just stayed asleep, but when we put them back in their cage and looked in the pouches, Fiona's apple had been consumed far more than Gus's. Perhaps she's a dainty eater?
Both Joeys are tucked away asleep in their cage right now. I've thought about scooping them out into bonding pouches to work on our bonding, but I'm not brave enough to get them out. They are so small I am terrified of squishing them by accident. Plus, I don't like being yelled at: I don't want them to crab at me. :) That said, perhaps after lunch I will get up the courage to get them out. The more the Sugar Gliders smell you and associate your scent with warmth and safety the quicker the bonding process will go.
Tomorrow evening we will try letting them out of the cage with us locked in the foyer of our flat. Some suggest putting up a pop up tent and releasing the Sugar Gliders in there with you. The tent would be a safe place for them to roam and to get used to you, but we don't have a tent nor do we have the space to put one up. People have also suggested a big closet, but our closet is not big enough for both Mr. K and I. So, the foyer will have to do. We will have to stuff towels under the door jams to ensure Gus and Fiona don't wiggle out into rooms we don't want them in as well as blocking off the kitchen. Bonding must be  done in a positive way, similar to dogs, and starting in a safe, controlled environment is the way to go.
So, I technically still haven't pet Gus or Fiona, but I have technically snuggled them; even if it was through a polar fleece pouch and I loved it. These little guys are so fascinating and I am so glad we have added them to our family.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blog Alert

Over the lat few weeks triathlon has started taking over my life; in a good way. However, E and I were talking and we decided that perhaps we needed a different platform to chronicle our triathlon training adventures. So, instead of bombarding this blog with triathlon talk, we have started a new blog and I would ask you to check it out. It's not entirely finished, but the basic template and two posts are already up. Please come and check on our progress from time to time and stay a while if you like what you're reading. You can find the link to
Sea, Land and Tires
Thanks from E and I both in advanced for your support.
Happy Monday :)

Welcome Home to Our Fur Kids

Just a little over 24 hours of having our two Sugar Glider joeys home and things seem to be moving right along. Mr. K, Tenie, myself and the dogs met with the Sugar Glider breeder at the train station and went to a nearby Tesco (grocery store) and sat and had a drink to discuss the fur babies. The breeder was incredibly knowledgeable and more than willing to lend us any assistance if needed. She handed Gus and Fiona over in a small carrier covered in a cloth bag to block out light and wind. We were also given a pedigree, which she said most breeders are not in the habit of giving, but that she wanted to track her babies' lineages. We learned that Gus and Fiona's Dad's name is Mongo and their Mama is Dixie. We had a good chat and her two young children came over to check Glacier and Roscoe out and then the family were on their way, minus two Sugar Glider joeys that were safely cradled in their Auntie Tenie's arms.
After our meeting, we found a restaurant and went in for some much needed lunch. Fiona and Gus slept peacefully in their carrier, never stirring. Glacier and Roscoe were well behaved, but both dogs knew something was amiss. Glacier kept trying to vigorously sniff the carrier, while Roscoe minded his own business and expressed his anxiety through other means. He walked quickly and today he's been practically up Mr. K's butt: we both think he just needs assurance.
The train ride back to Edinburgh was completely uneventful. Glacier and Roscoe slept under the table that was between our seats and Gus and Fiona slept on top of it, tucked safely in a pink and floral polar fleece pouch in their carrier. We opted to take a cab from the train station as we were experiencing the tail end winds from gales and it was bitterly cold. We wanted the joeys to be warm and we weren't exactly excited to go back out in the wind, having fought with it all day.
Upon arriving home, Mr. K, with the help of Tenie, gently lifted the sleeping pouch from the carrier and carefully attached it to the wall of the cage; all without Fiona or Gus waking up. We put their food out-a blended mixture of fruits and vegetables over three cat food kibble-and waited. The breeder had told us that they were probably emerge around nine, but the first movement occurred around eight.
Both joeys slowly emerged, carefully exploring their surroundings. Tenie had left by this point, so all Mr. K and I could do was guess what they were doing  by the noise that they made moving around. Surprisingly, Fiona and Gus are pretty quiet and it was hard to figure out what they were doing. They rarely make noise, but we think it's because they are still getting comfortable.
Sugar Gliders actually make a lot of different kind of noises, including barking, crabbing-which is their mad noise-and a few others. We have been trying to let them settle in with as little stress as possible, but there has been some crabbing. The first happened last night when one of the joeys must have startled the other as they were sleeping. The crabbing wasn't very loud and they had not emerged from the sleeping pouch yet.
The second one happened when Mr. K was talking to one of the joeys. It was very curious and kept coming close to the side of the cage where Mr. K was. At some point, Mr. K got distracted and stopped talking. The joey must have lost interest because it hopped back in the pouch and scared the other joey who crabbed.
There was a lot of crabbing today when Tenie, Mr. K and I returned from being out. We got back right around the time when the joeys would have just started coming out and we may have startled them. One crabbed at Tenie the instant she walked into the living room and more crabbing ensued when Mr. K got too close. They have since calmed down and have been quiet.
One of the joeys, we are assuming Gus because apparently the males are a bit bolder at first, is quite active. He/she keeps coming out and running in the Wodent Wheel and eating some of its food. They both were big fans of the polar fleece ladders that Mr. K made and the sticks collected from the park across the street have been big hits. As I type this, both Gliders came out of the pouch and were running about. One little fuzz butt loves the wheel and the other came up to the edge of the cage and licked Mr. K's finger.
It's so hard not being able to touch them. I am so used to puppies where the instant they are handed over, they are squirming in your arms and licking your face. These little guys need a bit of patience and space. It's also difficult not being able to hold them because I can't see them and have no idea what they actually look like or how they feel. It's all very exciting.
Tomorrow we may try transferring them from their sleeping pouch into a bonding pouch while they are fast asleep  so that I can wear them around my neck. The bonding pouch has a zipper and keeps the joeys safe, while also allowing them to be close to your body. This way, they can learn your scent and associate it with warmth and safety. They don't seem to mind us moving around as much, so we'll see where we stand tomorrow.
Glacier is particularly interested in Gus and Fiona. He keeps going close to the cage and watching them. I always knew when they were awake last night because Glacier was on his paws, peering in at the joeys. They don't seem to mind him. I take it as a good sign that they have not crabbed at him yet. Apparently, Sugar Gliders can bond to other animals in the household. There have been incidences of Sugar Gliders curling up with a sleeping dog or sharing a snack out of the same dish as a cat.
It's been a great 24 plus hours and we haven't even touched Gus or Fiona yet. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Maybe I will actually get to feel their little furriness finally?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bringing the Babies Home

Today Mr. K, Tenie, Roscoe, Glacier and I will take a two hour train ride into the Highlands of Scotland to pick up our Sugar Glider joeys. The breeder has said she'll sit down and have a chat with us before we take the little beasties home. I am super excited, but as with most new things, a bit nervous. Here are these little creatures that we will be responsible for,  who can glide around the room and cling to something as little as a piece of paper taped to the wall.
We think the cage is ready and I hope that it is. Mr. K even went across the street to the little park and got branches for Gus and Fiona to chew on and run up. Two sleeping pouches have been also put in the cage as well as the Snuggle Safe heating pad. I am just going to fill the two water bottles we have for them before we leave to ensure they have a fresh water supply available as soon as they get home.
We're not supposed to touch them for the first two days, which I think may be a bit hard. I love fuzzy things and fuzzy things must be pet, snuggled and squished.
Anyway, I best be getting off as Glacier and Roscoe still need to relieve before we trek over to the bus stop.
Lots of Sugie updates to follow.
Wish us luck. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Time to Laugh

Wednesday Carmen, Glacier and I hopped a bus and headed out to a shopping centre to try to get some Christmas shopping done. It was a blustery day, but the three of us didn't really mind, being able to find shelter in the different stores. Upon arriving, we stopped in at Starbucks for coffee and a sandwich; sustenance is important to maintain perfect shopping form. We then tackled a few different stores, looking for winter boots for Carmen and gifts for her family.
We spent quite a bit of time in Hobby Craft just browsing the different aisles. I looked at the soap making supplies and was not happy with their selection, but was very interested by the mosaic tiles and supplies they carried. Mosaics have always interested me, probably for a couple of reasons, but it is something I just haven't done yet. It may be a new project for the new year though. Carmen made her purchases and we were off to Boots in search of perfume prices, hair ties, body wash and other essentials.
The first thing we went to look for was the perfume I have fallen in love with. Of course I forget who it's by, but it's called Midnight Rose and it is such a lovely scent. Usually I am not a big fan of things that claim to smell like roses, but this fragrance actually really has no hint of roses. We found the section and Carmen quickly spotted the perfume. We went back to  it and she was examining the bottle and the other products surrounding it. Me, being the assuming blind person, figured we were in a perfume section and that I should smell other scents. So, I plucked one glass bottle off the shelf, unscrewed the lid and sniffed. It stank. Not deterred, I replaced the lid and the bottle and moved on to the bottle next to it. I again, unscrewed the lid and sniffed; simply stinky. At the moment Carmen started speaking, I realised my mistake:
"Jess? You  know you are sniffing foundation right?"
All we could do was laugh: a perfect Blind moment if there ever was one.
"I was just making sure  you were  paying attention." I told Carmen between fits of laughter.
That night when I relayed the story to Mr. K and Tenie, I could hardly get the happenings out because I was laughing so hard. They both laughed and Mr. K shook his head saying,
"only my wife," in his tone that means he thinks I'm a nut, but that he loves all of my antics anyway.
I've had "blind moments" before and they are all experiences I recall with a grin plastered to my face: I am sure this one will be no different.
So, to all you blind folk out there, or sighted folk too I suppose, when out Christmas shopping for perfume, please make sure you are sniffing perfume and not make-up!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grooming Routine: Ears

There are many aspects to grooming your dog, whether a working or pet dog. Tuesday we talked about the importance of  oral cleanliness for your dog and today I thought we'd talk about ears.
Dogs ears  are not designed in the same way a human's is; especially if you have a floppy eared dog like Glacier who is a Labrador. The floppy ears serve a lot of functions, including keeping debris and other foreign bodies out of the dog's ear canal, but those floppy, fuzzy ears that you love so much also keep things trapped inside. Bacteria and fungus like to grow and live in dark, warm, moist places. Your dog's ears are the perfect breeding grounds for unwanted friends if not properly cared for.
The first time around at Leader Dogs for the Blind, we were instructed to lift the dog's ear and wipe out the inside with a tissue. We were also encouraged to push the tissue as far down the dog's ear opening as possible in order to reach any lurking ear wax. I have taken this practice and added to it as I felt that just pushing a tissue into the canal would push the wax further into the ear. I honestly don't know what we were told the second time, six years later, as I wasn't obligated to attend that lecture. Since my first experience at LDB though, I took what they taught me and read up on more ear cleaning practices. From all of that information, I came up with my own ear cleaning routine. As I said in the post about teeth cleaning, this is what works for my dogs, Glacier and Roscoe, but may not necessarily be the best routine for your dog's needs. A poodle, for example, has fur that grows in his/her ear canal that needs to be trimmed/plucked out in order to keep the ear clean. Labradors obviously do not need this more intensive ear cleaning.
I first have the boys sit and I then  stand behind him with my feet planted on either side of him. I can also do this sitting on a chair or couch and sometimes do it that way as well. I start by wiping out the outer ear with a clean, non-abrasive tissue. I find toilet paper or a Kleenex works just fine. I never use the same tissue on a different ear. This is to ensure that infection or dirt does not spread from one ear to another or from one dog to another.
After the outer ear has been wiped out, I use an ear cleaning solution and gently dump it down the dog's ear canal. A vet should be able to show you how if you are uncomfortable doing it. Because I can't see the ear canal, I slide the tip of the ear cleaning bottle into the hole and let the liquid pour in. The boys aren't really big fans of the ear cleaning solution as I imagine it's cold and probably blocks his hearing for a brief moment, but the solution is really important; especially for Roscoe since his ears always create way too much wax. After pouring the solution in, I gently massage the base of the ear to ensure the solution has entered the ear canal. I don't let the dog shake his head until I am sure the solution has penetrated deep enough. Some may splash out when the dog shakes, but as long as you got solution in and it remained in for a short time, it should do its job.
 Selection of the ear cleaning solution can be slightly confusing as there are several different types on the market. I usually buy mine from the vet as they are more often than not made from natural ingredients and have a lower alcohol content. The bottle is about ten Canadian dollars and lasts six to eight months, depending on how often it needs to be used. I had ear cleaning solution last me so long that I had to pitch it because it had expired. I am also a huge fan of Halo's ear cleaning solution, but Halo is not available in the UK. It is all natural and works very well from my experience. There are also home made recipes that you can use floating around on the internet and I've used them as well. I've had to tweak a few as they asked for some strange things, but when in a pinch, I made one from water, alcohol and vinegar. It doesn't smell so nice, but it does the trick. Roscoe had a full blown ear infection and when I used this home made concoction twice, his ears cleared up. That said, ear cleaning solutions do not take the place of vet visits and anti-biotics if the dog's ears are really infected. I'm all about treating your animal naturally where possible, but sometimes vet advice and assistance is necessary.
A word of caution with regards to ear cleaners: a lot of them have a  high alcohol content which can dry out the dog's ear. This in itself is not healthy. Dogs, as do humans, need ear wax. It is a defense mechanism against foreign bodies entering the ear and causing sickness. Roscoe is a special case because of his wheat allergy and so has his ears flushed out with cleaner probably every seven to ten days. Glacier on the other paw, only needs his ears flushed out once a month with cleaner. I still wipe his ears out with a tissue, but the cleaner is used sparingly. This is a prime example of how each grooming routine must be tailored to your dog's particular needs.
Another thing to be aware of is that if your dog is getting frequent ear infections, then perhaps something in his/her diet is not agreeing with him/her. Roscoe's body does not like wheat/grains, and we've most recently discovered, something used in dry kibble. In order to reduce the amount of ear wax his body produces, we avoid foods/treats with wheat/grains. We've also added a teaspoon of unpasturized  honey to the boys' diet and have noticed a huge difference. Unpasturized honey has anti-bacterial properties and seems to help with Roscoe's reaction to wheat/grain. I first discovered how helpful honey could be when researching how to go about feeding Glacier and Roscoe a raw diet and was reminded of it when reading a fellow blogger's blog. Knowing that it helped, we gave it a shot and it has made a difference. I even tried taking him off of the honey after he'd been ingesting it for about a month and the wax build up in his ears increased again. So, unpasturized honey was added back to his diet.
Jetta is another example of what a diet change could mean. When she was about four or five I noticed that she was getting ear infections nearly every three months and her mouth smelled yeasty. Upon talking with a friend, who is as much of a dog lover as I am, I began to realise that she might be allergic to chicken. She had eaten chicken all of her life and so her body had stopped metabolizing it properly. It made sense: people don't eat the same protein source every day for their entire lives. I switched her to a grain free, fish based food and her ears cleared up and her mouth stopped smelling like yeast.
My point with all of this rambling is that ears need to be cleaned, but if they are requiring multiple vet visits a year due to ear infections, it may be time to examine the label of your dog's food bag. If you read the post on teeth cleaning, I may sound like a broken record, but your dog's diet is the utmost important preventative measure you can take. If you feed your dog a quality food that he/she can metabolize well and clean his/her ears regularly, you will reduce the vet visits you make and hence save you a few bucks as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree..."

Is it too early for that? Maybe, but I love Christmas and I will find any excuse to start the Holiday season early. Just the other day, while out working with Glacier, I found myself humming Christmas carols just walking down the street. It's like this primal urge that takes over around this time of year and there is nothing i can do about it.
Mr. K and I are going to be spending Christmas here in Edinburgh, just the two of us. All of our friends are heading home for the Holidays and our families are not able to come to visit this year. We will have just brought Gus and Fiona, our sugar glider joeys, home and Glacier and Roscoe cannot go back to North America without having to stay there for another six months and under go expensive blood tests. So, we will be staying here.
I really don't mind. Sure, it's going to be a bit strange, but it allows us to start our own new traditions. Last year, for example, we started the tradition of wrapping our presents for each other in front of one another and then opening them. It's something that probably only two blind people could get away with. I'm sure this year we'll have a bunch more traditions to add to that list.
The one thing I was concerned about though was that we had left all of our Christmas decorations in North America. I had been slowly collecting Christmas Village parts, stockings and whatever else I could get my hands on. I even had two reindeer tree ornaments wearing a cap and goggles and a swimsuit. Some things I had packed away in a box to be later shipped to us, such as my Tinker Bell stocking and Mr. K's Nightmare Before Christmas stocking, but we are still waiting on the arrival of that box. Worried that we'd be treeless and decorationless, I started searching around and found a five foot, skinny tree for ten pounds on Amazon and it arrived yesterday.
It's not exactly the most handsome Christmas tree out there, but I love it. It's mine and Mr. K's first Christmas tree together and that makes it that much more special. I haven't pulled it out of the box yet, but I examined it and it looks like it might actually be quite full for a ten pound tree. Mr. K knows how much I love Christmas and surprised me with decorations for the tree as well.
I was out at a meeting with the Edinburgh Road Club last night with E, discussing how they could assist us with our triathlon goals. The meeting actually went very well and when I got home Mr. K said he had a surprise for me. He and Tenie had been out buying him a hoodie without a zipper or buttons because he is joining a Judo club and in the process of purchasing the hoodie he managed to find me some tree ornaments. There are white and purple sparkly balls and differently shaped blue, green and purple ornaments. I love them. They refrained from buying garland and lights as both types of decorations could prove fatal for Sugar Gliders. The ornaments are shatter proof to  also ensure Fiona and Gus have a safe Christmas too.
So even though Christmas is just over a month away, I am definitely in the Holiday spirit. We have planned our Christmas get together with Tenie, E, Carmen and a few other friends; our tree has arrived; Holiday cards have been bought; and plans of a Gingerbread house making extravaganza is in the works. What could be better?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grooming Routine: Teeth

In light of last week's successful vet visit-and a good question from Jen who writes Paws for Thought-an examination of my dogs' grooming routine seems, to me, to be a good topic. By no means is the routine I do with Glacier and Roscoe the only way to care for your dogs and I think different things work for different dogs; I've just taken what I've learned through trial and error over the last nine years and used it. The grooming routine actually does not take that long to perform, but my reasons behind each step are numerous, so I thought today we could talk teeth.
When I first went to Leader Dogs for the Blind in 2002 and was matched with my first guide dog, Jetta, teeth brushing was encouraged, but not emphasized the way it is now. We were told to just wrap a piece of gauze around our finger and gently rub the dog's gums/teeth with it. The rough material was supposed to remove plaque and all other things you didn't want on your dog's teeth. We were also told to let them chew on Nyla bones and the chewing action would also help with the cleaning process.
I found this all fascinating as we had a Yellow Labrador at home named Sasha who was almost 13 and aside from my silly, little self thinking that dogs needed their teeth brushed, he had never had his teeth brushed. I remember being very small and finding an extra tooth brush in the bathroom drawer. Knowing how important it was for me to brush my teeth, I went off to brush Sasha's. My parents told me that wasn't necessary and that I should stop brushing his teeth. That dog was so patient that he just sat there letting me scrub away even though he had never had it done before. I learned a few things from both of these experiences.
First of all, dogs do need their teeth brushed. I kept up with the gauze for a year and then thought that it was ridiculous. I had seen doggie toothbrushes and toothpaste in pet stores and so on my own steam, I went and purchased a small, soft, finger toothbrush for Jetta. I also continued to let her chew on Nyla bones and a few other edible, natural chews such as Bully Sticks. Leader Dogs for the Blind, and a few vets, had told us that around age five the dog would need to be put under for a teeth cleaning. When Jetta turned five, we checked her teeth and the vet said that the cleaning was not necessary at that time. That saved me five hundred bucks. He told me to carry on. It was just by chance, but I had selected the correct toothpaste for her and that in combination with her hard kibble and bone chewing had kept her teeth shiny.
Upon my second visit to LDB to get Glacier, the tooth brushing routine had changed a bit. A soft toothbrush similar to the one I had for Jetta, was given to each student with a tube of doggie toothpaste. We were shown how to properly brush their teeth and were told that when selecting a doggie toothpaste to make sure there was "an active enzyme" listed on the label. It is this active enzyme that keeps cleaning the dog's teeth even when you are done brushing. Do not rinse the toothpaste off as you will be removing this active enzyme. Try not to brush their teeth right before food eating time or water drinking time as both processes could remove the active enzyme. Also, never use a human's toothbrush on the dog's teeth. The bristles are much too rough and could tear up the dog's gums. Some people choose to use a soft bristled child's toothbrush, but that is your choice and I personally don't do that.
So what does Glacier's and Roscoe's teeth cleaning routine look like?
I try to brush their teeth at least three times a week. Am I always successful? No, but I really try because it could save a very expensive vet visit to have their teeth cleaned by the vet later on.
The brushing lasts for at least thirty seconds on each side of the mouth. If you just sort of stick the brush in there and wiggle it around, you are not doing anything for the dog. Think about how long you are supposed to brush your teeth and try to apply that to your dog. Sometimes it's hard because you may have a wiggler, but be persistent and make the experience positive.
Make sure you get both sides, top teeth and bottom and front teeth as well. To ensure this happens, you could always start on the left side of the mouth at the top and move around to the other side. When you've reached the right side, switch back to the left, but start on the bottom teeth. These bottom teeth are a bit more difficult to get because of the way they are placed.  I usually have to replace the toothpaste when I reach the bottom teeth as it has either been used all up or Glacier or Roscoe has licked it all off. Dogs like the toothpaste and they will probably spend more time trying to ingest it than letting you brush.
Roscoe lets me brush his teeth with him just standing up and I stand beside him. While Glacier sits with his back to me, my knees on either side of him. From there I can reach around to both sides of his mouth. I always come from the side of his face and not over his head. Dogs are not big fans of people/animals coming at them from above their heads or head on.
I use a small, soft finger toothbrush, a different one for each dog. If Glacier has a mouth disease that we are unaware of, I do not want it spreading to Roscoe and vise versa. I have purchased toothbrushes here in the UK and have not been happy with them. Perhaps it the type I bought, but despite being a finger toothbrush the outside is hard and clacks around against the dog's mouth. They are also much too big. Glacier and Roscoe will be adding toothbrushes to their Christmas list as these ones are not satisfactory. The banging on their gums could potentially damage them and also probably does not feel good. Also, with the toothbrush being so big, it stretches the boys' cheeks out too far; again, not comfortable. So, when selecting your dog's toothbrush, keep the size of their mouth in mind and the material of which the brush is made.
Bones, Nyla and natural, are all an important part of the boys' teeth cleaning routine. They are allowed and encouraged to chew on bones in order to get the spots I may have missed. Plus, chewing is a stress reliever for your dog and both of these dogs need that from time to time, since they are always guiding Mr. K and I around. They also eat a combination of wet and dry food, but not served together, to ensure they are chomping kibble. The chewing of the kibble is supposed to clean the inside of the dog's teeth as well as the bone chewing. That means, as long as you feed your dog a hard food and let them chew on bones or edible chews, the teeth brushing only needs to focus on the outside of the teeth.
With all of this in mind, it is important to note that bad breath does not only come from a dog's, or human's for that matter, mouth. Eating poor quality food can lead to stinky breath as your dog is not metabolising it well. So, if you are a consistent brusher and your dog's breath is still horrific, perhaps an examination of the label on their food is in order.
All complicated reasons aside, brushing your dog's teeth is a very good practice to get into. It also gives you a reason to spend some time with your dog, and if done properly, can strengthen the bond that you share. Dogs always have stinky breath and there is no way to completely eradicate it, but a few simple steps can reduce it and also improve your dog's health. So what are you waiting for? Go and grab a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste complete with an active enzyme and get brushing! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Less Than A Week

I know I just wrote about how the time flies, but as I sit down to write this morning, I am again amazed at how quickly time really is going. In less than a week, Gus and Fiona will be coming home. Yes, that is right-Mr. K and I have named our two Sugar Glider Joeys Gus (after the mouse in Cinderella) and Fiona (from Shrek). So, do you know what that manes? That means that L^2 of A Dog's Eye View is our winner for the babies' name guessing game.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging program for a very important announcement. Congratulations to L^2 for using the  clues and cleverly guessing both Joeys' names.
L^2 and I will have to work out the prize as originally I had thought I'd give away some of the soaps/bath salts that I make, but I'm thinking the travel may be rough on the items. So, L^2, please send me and email and we'll discuss further how we're going to get your prize to you. And for those of you who haven't read her blog, you really should go over and check it out. It is full of a lot of interesting and eloquently written thoughts on life and a lot of adorable pictures that she takes herself. (A link to her blog can be found under  the heading "Impawtant Places").
 Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging program.
I can't believe it's been nine weeks since we spoke to a Sugar Glider breeder and were told we'd be able to bring our newest furry family members home. The cage has been assembled for almost a month and we've been slowly adding necessary items to it in order to provide Gus and Fiona a safe environment in which they could thrive. Last night Mr. K even got a bit creative and braided fleece into two ropes that both babies can use for climbing. He also made his own version of a sleeping pouch, which took some patience as far as I can tell. He also attached a sheet of dark fleece to the roof of the cage that dangles down the back to serve not only to block out drafts, but also to ensure Fiona and Gus keep their food and other such things in the cage and not on the flat's walls. Apparently they can be messy eaters. Even though Mr. K woke me up at 3 AM to view his handy work, and I am sure I did not show my enthusiasm then, I am incredibly impressed at his craftiness and I think it's great he's as excited about bringing these fuzz butts home as much as I am.
I'm not going to lie though: I am also scared sh**less. Here we are bringing tiny creatures with opposable thumbs into our home. The breeder sent us photos this week, as she has every week since we sent our deposit in, and there was one of one of the joeys clinging to a piece of paper on the wall, just hanging out. All I can say is that this is going to be an interesting ride.
I wonder what Glacier and Roscoe will think. E has just acquired three phairits  and Glacier has been introduced to them on more than one occasion. He is very curious, but is gentle and is good about minding his manners when I ask him to "sit" or "leave it." I know Sugar Gliders aren't exactly the same,  but at least I know his prey drive isn't that high. I think he wanted to play with them. So, I think Glacier will be interested by Gus and Fiona, but I'm not really worried about him. Roscoe won't be a problem at all. He'll be curious at first, probably a bit wary, and then want to get as far away from Gus and Fiona as he can. At least, these are the reactions I think our boys will have to little flying squirrelish things invading their flat.
Regardless of being slightly terrified, Mr. K and I are both quite excited. Tonight we will order the fruits and vegetables we need to keep Fiona and Gus healthy and set aside a  night this week to chop, blend and freeze a month's supply of food. The breeder also wants to sit down with us and have coffee before we take the Joeys home and that puts me at ease a bit. As I said above, I  can't believe how fast nine weeks has gone by. I am excited and scared, but I suppose these are all feelings first time parents feel when they are about to bring a human baby home. Puppies I'm more excited about and less afraid as I kind of know what to expect, but Fiona and Gus are a whole new species of animal and I'm just hoping that we can look after them as well as we do our dogs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Ten Out of Ten

The boys' vet visit couldn't have gone any better. I was impressed at the cleanliness of the building and all of the staff including the vet, were incredibly friendly and helpful. When the vet came out and introduced himself, he offered me his elbow and guided me back to the examination room. Normally, I would have just had Glacier "follow," but it gave me a chance to talk to the vet without being interrupted by giving Glacier cues as we walked. E ever so kindly had given up her afternoon to walk Roscoe to the vet as Mr. K is still fighting off the creeping crud I may have dragged home from the gym. Both boys were very well behaved and that put me at ease.
The Guide Dog Association has agreed to take us on, and although I believe our dogs are stellar, I kind of feel as if we are under a bit of scrutiny to ensure we measure up. I don't think the Association views it this way, but it was a relief when the vet proclaimed that both boys were a "ten out of ten" with regards to their health. After listening to Roscoe's heart beat he said that it was "a heart of an athlete" and was absolutely amazed at Glacier's shiny, white teeth. He asked about any health history that he may need to know about and I told him about Glacier's velcro/string/pen cap/everything else eating that resulted in surgery a few years back. He looked at Glacier's small, neat scar and was impressed by how well it had healed and how clean the incision had been.
I went on to tell him about Roscoe cracking a tooth when he was a puppy and having to have it removed at Leader Dogs for the Blind and also about his wheat allergy. He asked how the symptoms manifested and I explained that paw chewing and ear infections ensued if Roscoe ate anything with wheat in it.
I asked the vet to check the boys' claws and if he could trim any that may be too long. It turns out he was satisfied with my human toenail clipper trims and only took the tips off of both dogs' do claws. Glacier and Roscoe received their annual vaccinations, minus the rabies shot since theirs is good until 2014 and I was sent home with packages of dewormers and flea/tick treatments. What was interesting to find out was that Heart Worm does not exist here in Scotland. That means, Glacier and Roscoe do not need tablets to ward this mosquito born disease off. That said, fleas are quite prevalent and they will need flea/tick treatments every month, whereas in Northern Ontario the treatments were needed only every two to three months.
When we were finished, the vet told me that his only suggestion would be to continue doing what I'm doing. He was very happy with their weights-Roscoe weighing in at 29.9 kilograms and Glacier at 32.9 kilograms-and said that he had no complaints. After weighing Glacier he laughed and mumbled something about me having a lot of dog to handle. He complimented the dogs on their outgoing personalities and fitness. He asked about the dogs' food and I explained that they were on Orijen Adult in the morning-a hard food to help clean teeth, which also happens to be grain free-and Nature Diet, a wet food also with good quality ingredients. The best part is, we walked out without having to pay a bill.
Some schools in North America cover vet costs, but Leader Dogs for the Blind does not. That is a factor that should be thought about before selecting a school in North America. The Guide Dog Association also pays, or assists with the  cost of, dog food for their dogs, but Mr. K and I chose not to put Glacier and Roscoe on the brands that are provided. I read the ingredients for both brands and was not happy with the ingredients. One food's ingredient list starts off with "maze and maze flour," which means the first two ingredients in the food is corn; completely unacceptable by my standards. It is a personal choice what a person feeds his/her dog. That choice may be taken away by necessity, but Mr. K and I have the choice and so Glacier and Roscoe will continue to eat premium dog food, minus the maze.
All in all, I am so happy with our visit. The vet and his staff were great and I am very grateful that the Guide Dog Association is willing to take us on. It is really nice to have your efforts validated by a professional. I work really hard to ensure the boys' teeth stay shiny, their coats brushed and clean and their claws filed down. It's not a whole lot of work and it is a labour of love for sure, but again, it is so nice to be recognised as a good handler who takes very good care of her charges.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vet Visit

Glacier and Roscoe have been fairly lucky in the last little bit in that their vet visits have definitely decreased since we got all of the DEFRA vet paperwork situated for our trip. That is all about to change. The guide dog Association has agreed to take us on as clients, which gives us legal protection against access discrimination and a few other perks, and so today the boys' presence is requested at the vet's to ensure they are both healthy. It's probably about time they were introduced to their new vet anyway. Guide dog schools and pet dog experts alike, suggest that you should take your dog into a vet when it is healthy. That way, if something should happen, the vet knows what your dog looks like healthy and has a reference point.
Both boys are blowing their coats, but other than that I can't see anything that the vet may notice about them. Their claws do need trimming though and I am hoping the good doctor will be able to do that for us. I have been using human toenail clippers to take the tips off their claws, but the claws are way too thick for me to get all that needs to be taken off. Dog claw trimming tools make me nervous, especially since Glacier is horrible about having his claws trimmed. So, it's the vet or a groomer's job to cut those down. Otherwise, Glacier and I may end up not speaking to each other for a few days.
Yesterday was grooming day here and so both boys have clean teeth, ears and brushed coats. They are ready to wow their new doctor with their good looks and charms...well, Roscoe may be ready to charm, but Glacier is just a big oaf. As long as the vet clears the boys, we will be able to sign on with the guide dog association, hopefully sooner rather than later. It's also a timely visit as both dogs are due for flea/tick/dewormer treatments.
Despite there generally being negative feelings surrounding the vet-for some animals any way-I think this visit will be relatively easy. Ear/eye/lung/heart check and they are good to go. I don't think the vet  even has to get a fecal. I'm sure Glacier and Roscoe would be relieved to know that. Then again, the claws do need trimming so it may be a bit more stressful than I originally thought. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"The Waves of Time Pass Us By"

I woke up early this morning feeling rested, hungry and a little sore from yesterday's run on the treadmill. Normally, I like running outside better, but E and I thought that if we ran on the treadmill instead of the road, we'd get a better gauge of how far we're going and how fast. We set the treadmills at a five percent incline to try and simulate outside running and I managed to run five kilometres in 36 minutes, with a 30 second walking water break at the 2.5 K mark. The break gave me time to recover a bit, but the water part was lost as I ended up dumping the water down my front instead of into my mouth. That's a way to cool off. By the end of our run, the treadmills told us that we had also run up 23 metres. I was very pleased with my results. I wasn't even sure I could run 5 kilometres at all. I know when we get outside, things will be a bit different and reaching that 5 K marker is going to be harder, but I was excited to know that I could reach my goal with relative ease. That said, that time has got to come down.
Speaking of time: aside from my slightly groaning leg muscles and a grumbling tummy, I was surprised to be reminded by my phone's date function that it was almost three months ago to the day that Mr. K and I embarked on our great adventure and flew to Scotland; Glacier and Roscoe in tow. I think I talked about being surprised at how quickly the time had flown by last month, but I guess it is still slightly startling. There is still an excitement to the place, but a certain comfort as well. Sometimes I feel like we've been here forever and at others it seems as though there is a new cafe to try or a new park to discover just around the corner.
Time really never slows down for anyone and lately it definitely has wings where my life is concerned. If I stop and think about the fact that somehow Mr. K and I managed to get everything in order to move to another continent and that we're living here, my heart still flutters. It's just absolutely amazing and I am thankful to have been given the means to make my wish of living in Edinburgh come true.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Reading Fiend

I would have to say that most of my symptoms have cleared up. I'm a still a bit stuffy and a little weaker than I'd like, but I'm definitely on the mend. The thing  about being sick though was that I needed something for my brain to do. If I was lying absolutely still, minus the one day I spent sleeping, I felt all right and couldn't turn my brain off. I wanted to be doing things, going places, seeing people...you get the point. I'm a "doer" and don't stay still well, even if I feel like death warmed up. A solution to my problem was a good book.
Books, especially audible books, that are read for pleasure don't take much energy. If it is a good book, then I am invested enough to forget that I have to lie still and heal. I have always loved books and I think it stems from a teacher I had when I was a  kid. She taught me how to read braille and my treat for doing well on homework/tests was that she would read to me. Personally, I love books in braille and I think it is a very important skill for all blind people to learn, but that can be discussed elsewhere. Getting a hold of braille books though is a bit more difficult than going to a Chapters or Amazon online and picking out whatever you want. So, the next best thing is an audible book. The only problem with audible books is that a bad narrator could turn a perfectly good  book into a cheesy piece of junk.
Luckily for me, Mr. K managed to find The Wheel of Time series in audible format, read by two great narrators for me. I have just started reading the first book about two days ago and am already more than half way through it. The book is incredibly well written and the characters are very well developed. If you are a fan of the Fantasy genre, I would say that this series is a must read.
In fact, I had heard that for a long time, but had refused to join the band wagon. I was sort of the same way when Harry Potter came out. A lot of the times, if a book/movie or anything like that is trendy, it is usually not very good. Okay, maybe not most of the time, but I think some times.
I finally buckled with Harry Potter and fell in love and the same has happened with Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time." I can't put the stinking thing down and the best part is that there are twelve more books to read after this one.
So, even though it's not in my preferred format, braille, The Wheel of Time series is a hit so far and is a recommended read; at least from me it is. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Creeping Crud

Sick of me posting about being sick yet? Well, I'm sick of being sick. :)
All I want to do is drink coffee, get a good workout in and stay up past 8 PM. My sore skin has turned into a full blown head cold. Mr. K made a wonderful dinner of duck and mashed potatoes last night and I couldn't even taste it. I was so sad.
This morning I woke up to my nose dripping freely and some seriously watery eyes. Besides not being able to train, we're supposed to have a combination American/Canadian Thanksgiving supper today and I probably won't even be able to taste it.
I've decided I'm still going, but I'll just have to hope that some of this congestion disappears by then. I really want to be able to taste Tenie's pumpkin pie! I also think it will be good for Glacier to work over there and then have people other than Mr. K and I around to provide some stimulation. I thought that maybe I'd be better by today, but this one seems to be holding on. I guess the best thing is to accept my fate, keep snoozing on the couch, drinking more tea than I have ever in my life and hope that things will be better tomorrow. I am sure the vitamins and orange juice I've been consuming by what feels like the truck load will eventually kick in. Not to mention, the facial steam I've given myself with ukaliptus oil should also start moving this crud out. As one of my very perceptive readers pointed out: it's like your body has to break down, once you've started a heavy training regiment, in order to be stronger. This happened to me every time I came back from summer break to swimming. So, I suppose this is no different.
Anyone have a tissue?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sick Day

Perhaps there is a flaw in my philosophy. Then again, maybe I'm fighting off a modern version of the plague. I thought that if I took an entire day off of training, then I'd be a lot better today: I was very wrong.
Yesterday I was up for a wapping four hours before I crawled back into bed and stayed there for pretty much for the rest of the   day and night. Mr. K made tacos for supper and I managed to dig myself out from underneath my pile of blankets to eat a good amount of taco meat,  rocket, carrots, cucumbers, cheese and taco shells crumpled all into a bowl, but I promptly fell asleep on the couch while trying to watch reruns of Home Improvement with Mr. K. He woke me up at the end of the first episode and convinced me that I'd be better off back in bed. So, back to burrowing beneath the covers I went. I slept solid until just after midnight and was back in bed by 2 AM.
Mr. K woke me up this morning around 6.30 because he had made me a gigantic fruit smoothie. I thought I was feeling better. That is, until I took Glacier and Roscoe out for their morning relief time. By the time I got the second dog-Roscoe-back into the flat, I had had enough. I had Mr. K download the first book of The Wheel of Time series on to my Iphone and then climbed back into bed. I managed just two chapters of a book that I was really enjoying before I was back asleep. I snoozed for another four hours and only woke up because Carmen texted me to say that she was coming over to pick up the turkey that is being cooked for tomorrow's combination American/Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.
Thankfully, Carmen came baring gifts of de-congestants and pain killers. I have been fighting a fever since yesterday morning and that has made my skin extremely sensitive. It is so bad that just my clothes brushing against it is painful. The pain killers have taken the edge off of my sore skin situation, but my sinuses have taken up the attack.
All I can keep thinking is that I'm wasting valuable training time. I know that is silly because I know there is no way I'd even be able to walk to the gym. Just walking from the couch to the kitchen to retrieve more tea or orange juice is more than I can stand.
Besides my guilt over training, I also feel bad for Mr. G. He's been such a good boy this whole time, curled up on his bed beside me. I also woke up at one point yesterday sandwiched between Roscoe and Glacier. I vaguely remember Roscoe hopping up of his own  accord and so I just invited Glacier. I just needed the comforting warmth and weight of their furry bodies. I slept soundly with my boys squishing me. I know Glacier would rather  be working or out for a run, but he's been patient with his bathroom breaks being his only escape from the flat in the past two days.
Regardless of what my mind wants to do, my body is not cooperating. I may be stranded on this couch tomorrow as well. I really hope I start feeling better, but this feels like just the beginning. That said, if I hav to take the weekend to recover in order to get in consistent and quality workouts for the next two months, I will do it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Listening to Your Body

Yesterday was a beautiful run. Not only was it a crisp autumn-feeling day with fallen, crunchy leaves and the dogs running like crazy men, but the run itself felt so good. E and I are still on intervals of running and walking, with the majority of it being running. Our intervals have jumped up to three minutes running and one walking eight times through, which makes a total of 32 minutes actually dedicated to the workout. It's not incredibly far, but it is where I am at and I feel good about it. In a week and a half I have gone from two minutes running/one minute walking to almost  doubling the running time. I know E is a bit further ahead in her running fitness, but we both have our strengths and weaknesses and we are working together.
Glacier and Roscoe were beside themselves with excitement. As soon as E arrived both boys started hopping around and wagging their tails. We snapped their leashes on and I think they knew where they were going. They both tried pulling us down the street to the start point of our run, but I was having none of that. Excitement is okay, but controlled excitement is better.
As soon as we reached a crevice in one of the old walls that lines our route, Glacier and Roscoe were put in a  "sit stay" and the leashes detached. E tucked the leashes away in the wall where no one would find them and the boys were released. They took off like shots and ran the entire way. They met other dogs, pedestrians and even stopped to say "hello" to a man feeding bread to the ducks. Glacier even leapt gracefully over a walled entrance way in order to not be left behind. It was quite impressive.
On the way back, Roscoe was pretty worn down and kept pace at my right heel, while Glacier sniffed about; the same as last week. I knew they were both worn out though because when the leashes were put back on, neither boy was trying to drag us down the street. They both drank their fill of water upon returning home and passed out for the rest of the afternoon.
The first two sets of our run yesterday felt a bit tough. Our muscles were cold from the chilly Scottish wind whipping off the "Waters of Leith," a river we were running beside. Once we had struggled through the first eight minutes though, things started feeling good and we ran smoothly. The minute recovery felt great and we both recovered quite quickly. On the seventh interval we even raced up a short but steep incline and although it challenged us, it felt great. I felt like I could have probably gone a few more rounds, and I think E did as well, but I didn't want to over due it. Just because you feel good, it does not mean you should go crazy every time. We're just in the beginning stages and it is really important that we find a balance between pushing the envelope a bit and over doing it.
Being too aggressive could be detrimental to our progress. It could cause injury, which would lead to time off or it could also lead to a depressed immune system. A depressed immune system then leads to sickness and missed sessions. Training consistently and solidly is more beneficial than going-excuse the expression-"balls to the wall" every time and inconsistently because you've made yourself sick or fatigued your body. E says sometimes that she feels we are not working hard enough, but I explained to her that aerobic fitness is more important than bulking up quickly or sprinting crazily through a workout. A lot of the time, slow, controlled workouts show more results than mad dashes. For example, moving slowly through a sit-up works more muscles and uses more energy than if you do them quickly. The slower movements is thus more effective than the fast movements. We're not trying to be  sprinters, but rather, long distant athletes. Even when I was a sprinter when swimming I swam kilometre after kilometre for races that lasted less than thirty seconds.
The funny thing is, here I am talking about knowing how far to push in order to get the most out of your workout and make sure you don't get sick and I am pretty sure I am fighting off a fever. I don't know if it was too much too fast-working out six days a week on the second week may have been a bad idea-or what it was. I can definitely feel it starting, but I keep telling myself "mind over matter." Right now I have my feet soaking in a bowl of hot water, a few essential oils and some epson and dead sea salt in the hopes of boosting my immune system. I have also been devouring oranges and sucking down water, hoping that the Vitamin C will ward off the evil brewing in my system or that the water will flush it out.
The interesting part is that I'm not too discouraged by it. I'm sure I'll end up feeling horrible, but it's just part of the process. I have to get my body used to training again and I'm pretty sure it's just really mad at me right now.
E and I have a session at the gym this afternoon with a personal trainer and will probably get a good cycle in. I plan on going and pushing through, but if things get worse before we're supposed to leave, I will spend the day curled up on the couch with tea. It is my philosophy that missing one day to recover is much better than missing a whole week because you didn't look after yourself. It's also probably better to take a day off and make sure you are well instead of having three crap practices in a row because you didn't give yourself time to heal. I read an article somewhere that addressed "taking a day off in stride." It basically reinforced my feelings about giving yourself time to recover. That said, there is a balance between giving yourself time to get better and pushing yourself to work hard because it will benefit your training in the long run. Training for an elite sport is meant to be challenging and it's really important to realise that sometimes you just have to suck it up and get it done. I kind of sound like a contradiction, but I think what I am trying to say, in a long convoluted manner, is that balance is important to be a successful athlete.
Scratch that, balance is important for success in anything.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Swimming Session Number One

Yesterday was the first time E and I hit the water together. Usually the pool is quite empty in the mornings, but of course, it was a tad bit full. We still managed to find a spot for the both of us and after E warned one swimmer that I couldn't see and that he might want to avoid me, we were off.
We swam almost a kilometre in total and I am very happy with our efforts. Sure we have a long way to go, but the swim is the hardest part for E and I am really proud of her for accepting the workout I had laid out and attacking it with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. We both worked hard and made a few changes to E's stroke. She is a self  taught swimmer and was breathing at the wrong part of her stroke, which was causing her to choke on water and gasp for air. With the small timing change she implemented, she swam faster with less effort and wasn't nearly as  fatigued when she reached the wall. She accepted my suggestions and really dug down deep for the small anaerobic bit of workout I had scheduled in. It was just short distances, but it broke up the workout a bit and gave our minds something else  to focus on.
E can run me under the table as I am still a swimmer at heart. I feel the most at home in the water and had been so excited about yesterday's workout. I definitely need to build up aerobic fitness. I can't believe how much I've lost. However, I felt great after yesterday's water session and I know improvement is possible; for both of us. I covered a bit more distance than E in order to keep my body challenged, but I feel we both accomplished what we needed to in the pool.
Today is our run accompanied by the dogs. I can't believe a week has already gone by and that we'll be running with Glacier and Roscoe again. Sure our workouts are challenging, but you know you're doing the right thing when time just seems to fly. I really appreciate our dynamic. We push each other where appropriate and hold each other accountable during workouts and after. We make sure water is consumed afterwards and I always remind E that she is no longer a regular citizen and that she needs to increase her caloric intake. She jokingly calls me the "food boss." This is our second week and we will be working out six days now. After today's run, we will be half way through the week's workouts and I already feel so much better at this time this week than I did last Wednesday. I love what we're doing and I am so thankful that I have been given the means to reach my goal of training for, and eventually racing in, a triathlon.

P.S For those of you who may need more of a doggie fix-I've been talking more about triathlons and Sugar Gliders as of late-below  is a link that will take you to a beautiful tribute written by a British MP about his guide dogs. It's a heart warming "tail" and is probably one of the best tributes I have read.
MP's Tribute to Guide Dogs New and Old

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Glider Give Away Name Game

Based on popular vote, it would appear that we have a guessing game on our hands, or paws, whichever you may have. The game is simple: guess the names of our Sugar Glider joeys due home November 26th.
The rules are pretty simple as well:
-five guesses per joey (I.E., 5 per baby girl and five per baby boy for a total of ten guesses),
-if I have told you their names already, please sssshhhh
The winner will be announced next Tuesday and depending on where you are located, prizes will be discussed. If only one of the Joeys' names is guessed, prizes will still be awarded to the person who is correct.
Here are your hints.

Baby Girl Hints
-The first letter in her name is F.
-This name can also be a person's name. (I know, I know. I broke my own rule of not naming animals people names).
-Think kids' animated movies out in the early 2000's

Baby Boy Hints
-The boy is named after a famous mouse
-His name is no longer than five letters long, but no less than three
-This too could be a person's name, but I've yet to meet a human with it.

I hope you have fun guessing. Take your time and think about your answers as you have a whole week to come up with your answers. All guesses should be left in the "comment" section of this post.
Happy guessing. :)

The Body of An Athlete in Training

I've been down this road before, but it's been a while since I've eaten my weight in pasta or sweated so much that my shirt could be wrung out. I'm not necessarily at these extremes yet, but I know they're just around the corner. I know the day will come when I will order the biggest meal out at a restaurant, polish the plate till it shines and still want more. I also know the day is coming when the clothes I just bought won't fit properly anymore and the time will come too soon when I'll need to purchase new runners because the ones that are only two months old have been worn down to the bare minimum. Yet, I keep doing it, despite all of the changes. Some of them I welcome and others are just a byproduct of engaging in way too much physical activity that I learn to live with.
For those of you who have ever begun a new exercise regiment, whether for leisure or to get fitter, have you ever noticed  that the first place for you to lose weight is in your boobs? I mean, really now. Why is that the first place for it all to start disappearing? I think it is some kind of unfair law that says, "you ran and/or walked today so it's time for your chest to shrink." How does that sort of activity even effect your chest anyway? I have been blessed with a very good metabolism and so I don't feel I need to lose weight, but there are a few squishier spots I wouldn't mind tightening up. Of course, these aren't the places that tighten up first; go figure. Let's  take the one place on my body that doesn't need  shrinking and shrink them! The irony of it all.
The funny thing is that some body parts  are shrinking while others are expanding. When I was swimming my back was quite wide at the shoulders. After being out of the water for three years, my shoulders look more feminine, but after using a Gravity Machine twice in the last few days, I can already see my shoulders slowly expanding out again. Today our workout is in the pool and I know that in a few months my shoulders will have filled back out because of all of the water sessions.
There is another thing that is not shrinking and that is my appetite. When I was still training and competing in swimming, I ate like a horse. I probably weighed about 120 pounds and could out eat guys three times my size. I can remember coming home from practice one day and shoveling in six chicken legs, two huge helpings of salad and mashed potatoes and probably three pint sized glasses of milk. The food just kept coming and I just kept eating. Another time while out with friends for chicken wings, I ordered twenty and ate them all, including the celery and carrot sticks and plate of fries that came with them. The server was astonished and told the table of guys behind us that they should be ashamed because "that little girl over there just ate more than all of you."
We aren't even that far into our training regiment and I already ate a sandwich and a piece of cake for breakfast. Okay, perhaps I could have foregone the cake, but when I get hungry like that I just eat whatever is available and the cake was right there! Eating is something I should not stop doing though if I am going to be training in triathlon. It is a long distance event, utilizing three different sports, which employs a whole bunch of different muscle groups; feeding those muscle groups so that they can recover and continue on training is so important. Sure, if you are working out to lose weight  you should adjust your diet and make a healthy lifestyle change, but when you are training for a sport, calories are important. That said, they have to be good, high energy calories. I don't think that cake I ate this morning is included in that category, but it was right there!
Not that this is a particular change to my body, but I also need to be aware of my water intake. calories are important, but if you are not hydrated, your body is not able to process anything you have just eaten. Our bodies are made up of 75 percent water, it's no surprise then that keeping oneself hydrated during exercise is an integral part of training. I think a huge mistake most athletes make, me included, is that as soon as you're out of the training environment it is easy to forget that water bottle. I'm really good at having my water bottle on me at the gym and on the pool side during swim practices, but as soon as I get home, I get busy and forget to keep drinking. Just because the workout has stopped doesn't mean the after care, such as hydration, should stop. Actually, that is probably the time to be hydrating. Having a glass or a water bottle around and sipping from it all day long is a really good and easy  way to stay hydrated. Guzzling a glass of water really doesn't do much since your body pretty much just passes it through your kidneys and you just pee it out. The small, spaced out sips allows for better absorption and thus better hydration.
None of the stuff listed above is inherently bad. In fact, they are more changes than anything and I don't view them as negative changes. These changes just come with the territory of training seriously for a sporting event. I am just astonished that only after a week and a half, these changes are already apparent. Perhaps, if I hadn't been an elite athlete  before I wouldn't be as sensitive to the changes as I am, but it is still interesting to me that your body responds so quickly to physical activity. So, despite the sweating, sore muscles and needing a whole crap load more food, I am very excited about my progress and can't wait to see where all of this takes me.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sugie Gossip

In just under three weeks Mr. K, Tenie, me and the dogs will hop a train and be off to collect our new furry bundles of joy. Mr. K and I are getting increasingly more and more excited to start bonding with the two Sugar Glider joeys that we purchased from a Scottish breeder. We've had a bit of time to prepare our flat and ourselves for the babies' arrival, but now feel that we're about as ready as we can be. I am not under any illusions that everything will be smooth sailing or that we won't have a million questions and perhaps a few freak out moments once the joeys are home, however, I'm really looking forward to the experience of raising two well mannered, well bonded Sugar Gliders.
I feel like all I've been doing is reading forums, internet articles and browsing Sugar Glider specific online shops. I've asked a lot of questions on the Sugar Glider forum we joined and can't really do anything more but wait. Owning these little guys is nearly as complicated as owning a dog. People say it's not, but we've had to purchase a lot of stuff that is Sugar Glider safe and make sure we have the right environment for the little fuzz butts. That said, I think an amount of work goes into owning any kind of pet and if a person wants an animal that is low maintenance then perhaps they shouldn't get one. Even fish require particular conditions to thrive and some species can be even more complicated to take care of than a cat.
Sugar Gliders are technically considered exotics as they have not been domesticated long enough to be considered otherwise. As far as I can tell, they have been popular pets for about twenty-five years in North America, but only about ten in the UK. That means, there is a lot of conflicting information about diet and such things. I have gleaned, from everything that I have read, that feeding the Sugar Gliders a diet that, could be compared to a raw diet for dogs in its quality rather than specific foods, is the best way to go. There has to be a specific ratio between vitamins and minerals,  otherwise the Sugar Glider's health can be compromised. What makes the diet a bit easier is that it can be blended and frozen into little ice cubes to be served later. So, preparation may take some time on a Sunday night, once a month, but that really isn't that bad. People who feed their dogs a raw diet would find these preparations a breeze as there is no raw meat to be concerned about; just fruits, vegetables, eggs and a few other supplements. All of these ingredients have specific ratios of course.
Food is not one of the things we have ordered for these little munchkins just yet. We want things to be as fresh for the joeys as possible. However, the cage is up and assembled with a Wodent wheel already in the bottom. Ladders and a hammock have been added to the cage for some climbing fun and there are two water bottles located at each level for optimal hydration opportunities. To add to the cage's homey feel, we've ordered a tunnel to hang from the roof, a sleeping pouch and a Snuggle Safe heat pad. This heat pad has gotten rave reviews and can be apparently used for puppies, kittens and/or small animals such as rabbits. The pad has a scratch/bite proof cover that you place over the pad after heating it up in the microwave. It stays warm for up to 10 hours and all of the reviews back this claim up. The pad is safe because there aren't any electrical cords for chewing or accidental shortages and the animals can't burn themselves because of the cover. The important thing to note when using it with small animals, or any animals in a cage, make sure they have room to move away from it just in case they get too hot.
Mr. K and I have also ordered two bonding pouches, which are little pouches with a zipper at the top and a mesh ventilation window that the Sugar Glider sits in when sleeping during the day. This pouch allows the Sugar Glider to be close to you-you wear the pouch-and get used to your scent without you handling them before they are comfortable with you. The zipper ensures no escaping, even though most Sugar Gliders aren't going anywhere during the day as they are completely passed out. So just think, any time I'm just sitting around messing about on the internet or maybe even doing the laundry, I'll be waring a little pouch containing a tiny sleeping creature or two.
We opted for the cage pouch over the nesting box that some would suggest because we think the pouch will be easier to keep clean. Sugar Gliders need a dark, warm place to sleep in during the day, especially if you are not carrying it around in your bonding pouch. The cage pouch is to act as that safe, warm spot for snoozing. Nesting boxes apparently are more difficult to keep scent free. If you do not put it up against the ceiling of the cage, the Sugar Gliders may decide the roof of the box is a good potty area. The sleeping pouches can be removed and just thrown in the laundry, whereas, a nesting box has to be taken out and sprayed down. A lot of nesting boxes are wooden and wood holds in stink. The sleeping pouch also seems cozier and these little monsters are all about comfort, warmth and snuggling.
Besides the pouches and tunnel, we also purchased some yogurt drops, which are a treat for the Sugies. These treats are used to help with the bonding process as well. If you've got a nippy Sugar Glider, you distract it with food. Sounds simple enough? I'll let you know. Sugar Gliders aren't really biters unless you continually provoke them, so hopefully Mr. K and I won't end up with too many nipped fingers. We also purchased the supplements needed for maintaining a Glider's health and are just waiting on all of that stuff to arrive. In the mean time, we'll keep "glider proofing" our flat-similar to puppy proofing only a bit more since these guys can climb/glide-and wait excitedly for November 26th.
There is one thing I forgot to mention: we have finally decided on names. Should I tell you, or shall we make it a guessing game?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

"And Listen to the Music of the Night"

Yesterday was my best friend Tenie's birthday. A surprise party for her has been in the works for the last week and a half and I'm happy to say that we managed to pull it off. All of the important elements for a surprise party were utilized; deceit, lies and secrets.
We planted a fake party idea of going out to eat and dancing, which we eventually did, but we left out one important detail; the fact that the party was a masquerade party. Mr. K and I told Tenie she was to come to our flat around 5:30 and the three of us would take a taxi together to our dinner destination. Glacier and Roscoe would be staying home and we told her we needed a set of working eyeballs to help us get to the restaurant. Sometimes being blind has its perks: you can use it as an excuse to deceive your best friend. She was also told not to peak in the bag she was carrying to our flat because her outfit for the evening was hiding in there. She arrived quite promptly and Mr. K and I gave her gifts in the hopes of keeping her busy for an hour and a half while the other girls decorated her flat.
Around 6:30 I figured we could start getting ready and pulled out Tenie's bag of wonders and presented her with two outfits to pick from. Both were fancy dress, but very different in style and she was very confused. She settled on a knee length black dress and a pair of boots. I pulled on a halter dress and a pair of black wedges and we were off. Mr. K took Roscoe out to "park" and called the cab, telling the company Tenie's address. When the taxi arrived, we made Tenie wait outside with my hands pressed over her ears while Kim told the cab driver to take a long, crazy route to her flat so that she wouldn't be suspicious. Just as she was about to hop in I pulled her sleeping  eye mask out of my pocket that I had pilfered from her bed side table the day before and told her she had to be blind folded until we reached our destination. She accused me of being a thief and then was a good sport and put the sleeping mask on.
Upon arriving at her flat, the cab driver parked a ways down to further the confusion. Mr. K had brought his white cane and so guided both Tenie and I. Tenie's not good on heels when she can see, so we took it slow to the flat door. I had to remind her at one point that she was not guiding me for once because she was guiding me out into the road, despite holding on to my elbow. At the door we had another bout of me covering her ears singing "happy birthday" loudly and annoyingly while Mr. K buzzed in. We didn't want her to hear her buzzer because she definitely would have known where we were. We were let in and Tenie knew the instant her booted foot hit the first step that she was at her flat, but the blind fold stayed put.
We reached her living room where I faced her into the room from the doorway and she took her blind fold off. Everyone said "surprise" and the sparklers on her cake were lit. She quickly had to blow them out as her very, over sensitive smoke detector went off. We all laughed as that smoke detector goes off even if you turn the stove top on. It just made the whole thing  that much more perfect. For her birthday, one of her flat mates had bought Tenie her own mask and they disappeared to fashion it to her head. My mask had gigantic peacock plumes sticking off of the forehead and Mr. K wore an elephant mask while we were at the flat. He had to take it off once we left because his pupils do not dilate and he needed to put his sunglasses back on to avoid a migraine.
Once masks were secured, we ate very, tasty, rich chocolate fudge cake. I couldn't even  finish my piece because it was so rich. We had ordered it from a local bakery-the woman who owns it is a chocolatier-and it was decorated in shimmers, black and whites to match the masquerade theme. We had black and white garland around the flat and other decorations. Phantom of the Opera was also playing on the television. We drank some pink sparkling wine  and then it was time for Tenie to decide what she wanted to do for dinner. We gave her the choice of staying in and eating pizza, which she found funny as we were all dressed up, or going to a nearby Indian restaurant. She opted for number two and we were off to stuff our faces.
The food was delicious and surprisingly inexpensive. I ate so much I could barely move and was glad my dress had an empire waist line as I felt like I was going to burst. Once our plates were polished clean, we readied to go dancing, but not before the owners of the restaurant could take pictures with us. The masks were definitely a hit.
We found another taxi that seated six and headed downtown to dance, masks and all. When we first arrived, the club was practically empty and we enjoyed a lot of extra room on the dance floor. I'm not sure if it was because it was Guy Fox Day, also known as Firework Day, but the club stayed quite empty for a while. Towards the end of the night though, it was pretty full and we finally decided to go because people had sore feet and there were just too many extra bodies squishing us. So, it was off to find a taxi again. We waited for a while, despite having phoned for one, and got the thumbs up by the police as they drove by for our dress.
Eventually, we found a six person cab and I was dropped off at home first. I loved wearing the mask, but my nose was so itchy from where the mask had sat all night. It had actually been heavier than I thought as well and so I felt sweet relief once I had untied it from the back of my head.
I think it was a great night. It was so nice to be able to celebrate Tenie's birthday with her again. Ever since she moved here in 2008, we obviously have not celebrated birthdays together and that was a bit odd at first as we've spent every birthday together since the age of seven. To me, the night was perfect: good food, good friends, great cake, fancy dress and masks and fireworks that kept going off randomly. It wasn't my birthday, but I think it was one of the best ones I've been to.
Happy birthday again Tenie. I hope you had a great night. We love you.

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Poetic Life

A friend and I were conversing via email and he pointed out something to me: he defined life as having a realistic and a poetic side. I had never thought of it this way, but as I reflect on this statement, I have come to the conclusion that he's incredibly right. What's even more interesting to me is that I have a tendency to mix the two. Sometimes this gets me in trouble, but I think it's also the reason I can continue living my life as a blind person in an able-bodied world. I've been called a dreamer and a romantic as if those were bad things, but I wonder what is so inherently bad in actually enjoying life? It is this poetic side of my life that enjoys the beauty of crunching fallen leaves; a dog nudging me along when out running and my legs hurt; it's the giddy excitement I feel when decorating for Christmas or when a friend opens a Christmas gift. It's the part of my life that makes me love fairies and watch Disney movies and enjoy them just as much as I did when I was a kid. I also think it's the part of me that tries to believe that there is good in every person. It is the part of me that feels that ordinary life events can be extraordinary and magical. The best part is that, for the most part, I have people surrounding me  who let me indulge in my magical moments and giggle along with me at ordinary things made extraordinary. This afternoon was one of those magic moments for me.
I'm not one to follow celebrities about and harass them. I do not read magazines to find out who is doing what, but ever since we have arrived in Edinburgh I wanted to have lunch at
The Elephant House
where JK Rolling wrote the majority of the beginning of the Harry Potter series. I love little coffee houses and to be in the place where one of my favourite book series was written was magical to me. This afternoon, after Tenie had a meeting with her potential PhD advisors, we finally made it to the Elephant House for lunch and a great cup of coffee; or two.
The Elephant House is way bigger than I thought and is, of course, extremely busy. Since it is located relatively close to the university, students are everywhere sipping tea and satiating their need for caffeine. There are the inevitable tourists mixed in too, tucked into delicious dishes just enjoying the atmosphere. There are elephants everywhere-the website states over 600 of them-including one table set with elephant carved chairs. The Elephant House also has a great view of the Edinburgh Castle and the Grey Friar Graveyard where some of the characters' names and the inspiration for Hogwarts Castle came from. I'm not sure what it was about the place, but I am completely tickled that we finally got there. Perhaps a coffee house is not poetic to some, but to me it was absolutely perfect.
I believe there is value in taking the time to enjoy the magical moments that life offers. I am completely aware that reality trumps dream land, but I think that as grown-ups we lose some of our ability to be poetic and that is sad. Find your magical moments and live in them. Sure reality is necessary, but so is poetry. Your poetic moments may not be the same as mine, or even your partner's, but that is the beauty of it all; share them with someone and give them the gift of living in the present and embracing beauty where it occurs. Our world is too full of horrible/terrible things that, of course, we cannot ignore, but never noticing the beauty is, I think, detrimental to one's health.
What are your poetic moments?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Very Proud

It's been a while since we've had a   Kyo update, but through my powers of observation, I would say he is still in training and doing well.
Last night while perusing Facebook I discovered that a new photo of Kyo at a Chamber of Commerce meeting had been posted. All I can figure is that he is demonstrating his mad skills as a service dog in training, but as I can't see the photo I can't be one hundred percent sure.
The photo of the Moose at his very special meeting can be found
For those of you who may not know, Kyo is a dog I rescued from the Guelph Humane Society in March of 2009. He came to me morbidly over weight, terrified of traffic and having no house manners. With a lot of patience and some training, Kyo became a well behaved, well adjusted member of society.
Upon our move to SC it became quickly apparent that our move had been too much and that I was not able to provide the stimulation he required as we were living in the middle of nowhere. Kyo was used to getting walked twice a day, participating in obedience training sessions with me throughout the day and just sitting out on the front lawn people watching. We had a huge backyard in SC, but he really needed structure and because of being blind and living in an inaccessible area, I was not able to give him what he needed.
He reverted back to his old habits of destroying things when he was bored and his separation anxiety also returned. He was becoming aggressive towards Glacier when out playing in the backyard and this was effecting mine and Glacier's working relationship. I knew that he was very trainable and a great dog, but that he needed a new environment. So, I started searching for the right home for the Moose, as he was fondly known.
In October of 2010, PAALS said they would take him after Mr. K and I had paid for his hips/elbows to be checked for soundness.
When I was living in SC I tried to volunteer with PAALS as often as possible and would get updates because I was there. Since being away, I haven't heard much, but was really excited to see this photo of him up on the PAALS' facebook page.
All I can say is that I am super proud of him and the people working with him. Kyo was a great dog for me, being the best snuggle bug a person could ask for, and I really hope he can go on to be a fully certified service dog in order to make someone else's life easier. Even if he doesn't make it and he becomes someone's pet, I know he will be well loved and he will thrive. There is no way someone won't fall in love with him: one snuggle session with that 85 LBS dog and you will never want to let go. :)
Good boy, Kyo! We miss you and are proud of you. :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Day Three: Sunshine and Tired Dogs

Yes, that is right: I said tired dogs. Of course the people were tired too, but Glacier and Roscoe had quite the romp this morning under blue skies and sunshine.
I am waiting for our luck to run out with regards to the weather, but so far, every time we've been out to run it's been gorgeous. That is a blessing in Edinburgh, especially since it's considered winter here now. Winter usually means dark clouds, biting winds and rain; at least that is what I've been told. I've yet to see it, but I've probably gone and jinxed it now by running my mouth.
So, with good weather and the notion to try a new running path, E and I strapped on our new shoes and hit the pavement around 11 AM. The path E had picked for us is pretty secluded from roads and she said she's seen a lot of off leash dogs running along it. We both decided that the boys may enjoy a good run too and so with permission from Mr. K, Roscoe was allowed to join E, Glacier and I.
I can't tell you how good it felt to jog along the path, the wind blocked by old stone walls and foliage and Glacier and Roscoe galloping on ahead. E and I both laughed when she noted that it's good to know that our average pace  was fast enough to keep up to a dog's quick trot. Sure, speed may not be our forte yet, but with each run I can feel my stamina growing. We were able to run for longer sessions and I recovered a lot quicker on the walk portions of our route. I think we'll probably be able to bump up the amount of running on Friday; our fourth run. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
The trail was much busier than our regular route, with cyclists, pedestrians, dogs and children in prams. It gave E and I a lot more time to work on working on moving together and getting successfully around obstacles.
The boys usually ran ahead, sniffing bushes and greeting every willing or unwilling passer by. They ran so hard that both of them had slobber plastered across their faces. When E and I were actually running, they were more inclined to stick closer to us, crunching happily through fallen leaves, but as soon as we slowed into a walk they were off exploring everything in sight-or not in sight.
After our eighth interval of 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking, we turned around to head back home. Roscoe was completely worn out and ran perfectly at my right side. We joked that he was pacing us. Glacier, on the other paw, ever full of energy despite a lolling tongue, was busy sniffing and greeting. He would fall a ways behind, too interested in the smells of a bush, and would come hauling butt when he was called as if to pretend he was always right beside us.
It was a fantastic workout and I am so incredibly impressed with both mine and  E's  progress. We are not only becoming stronger physically, but as a cohesive unit and that is so exciting. I don't know if E will ever know just how much I appreciate her joining me on this journey. Quite frankly, and with the risk of sounding sappy, I would not be able to do this without her. It would be physically impossible. I am even more grateful to her for being a dog lover and not even flinching when I asked her if the boys could join us on our run. Hearing those skittering paws racing up from behind us, or beating out a path ahead of us made the workout all the more enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Running Feet

I hit the ground running both literally and figuratively Friday morning and have barely stopped since. Friday's run went well considering both E and I are new at this whole running attached to each other thing and Tenie came over for some chill out time that evening. She is up on an archaeological dig from Monday to Friday and usually gets back Friday evenings. We had thought to take a bus out to Hobby Craft to get a few bits we still needed for our Halloween costumes, but time was not on our side.
So, bright and early Saturday morning, Tenie, Glacier  and I hopped that bus and ended up out at Hobby craft, searching the aisles for cogs and charms that would make our costumes look more Steam Punk. We didn't stay long as we had a hair appointment and were back on the bus not long after making our purchases. We stopped briefly back at Tenie's flat where I sucked down a cup of coffee and Tenie attempted to paint our goggles black and gold for effect. We weren't there long before we were on the move again.
On the way to the hair salon, we tried to mail off a broken guitar Mr. K needed to return and a ziplock bag of cloth with mine and Mr. K's scent on it for our Sugar Glider babies to have in their sleeping pouch, but the post office closed just ten minutes before our arrival. We back tracked to the salon and enjoyed an afternoon of hair cuts and Tenie had some highlights put in.
After our primping it was time to scarf down some food and get our costumes on. I think I found time to have a nap somewhere in there before heading out. Tenie and I dressed up Steam Punk style and Mr. K, Carmen, Tenie and I ended up at a pub called "The Auld Hoose." AKA The Old House. It was an enjoyable evening out and I pretty much collapsed into bed when we got home.
Sunday I slept in, but Tenie arrived mid afternoon and we were off again, making a few purchases from the drug and grocery stores. Mr. K was making American style biscuits and gravy and we needed a few more supplies to make them complete. I also grabbed a peppermint foot lotion from The Body Shop as E, Carmen and Tenie were over for foot soaks and foot massages.
We ate our fantastically unhealthy, but tasty meal and I made a foot soak for all of the girls to enjoy. It was incredibly relaxing.
Monday was another early morning for me with Glacier and I heading out to E's flat to start our second triathlon training session. The weekend had a few late nights, some sweets and a few alcoholic beverages, so mine and E's bodies were protesting the whole way through the core workout. I felt like my bum was too heavy and E's arms complained the whole time. I was glad to discover though that the sheering pain I had endured all weekend in my calves due to our first run had subsided. This meant, a pain free run.
Our second run went very well. We are still running with my arm draped over E's forearm, but will soon switch to a tether to keep us together. I want us to be moving smoothly as a cohesive unit before I wean us off of the arm attachment style. That said, we were very much in sync the whole run and didn't even break stride when I had to step behind E three times when other people passed us. Her verbal warnings about uneven ground are well timed and I'm really starting to learn to read her body language. I'm very excited about and impressed with our progress in such a short time.
Both days out we ran into our own cheerleading squad. It is amazing to me that complete strangers are so supportive of us just out running. The first day out an older woman walking her dog saw us, smiled and then gave us the thumbs up. The second day one of E's friends came to the park during our workout to shout words of encouragement at us as we ran past. He used to be a marathon runner and so his encouragement was really appreciated. Another older woman told us that she was impressed by us as we ran by.
Today E and I met at a local cafe to talk with a representative from Scottish Disability sport. Basically, this guy's job is to assist disabled athletes get their needs met with regards to training within an able-bodied club. We talked about how to get a tandem bike and what clubs I should try to join. Our conversation lasted over an hour and E and I both left feeling encouraged and excited. We have the support we need. The rep stated at one point, "I ask the hard questions." I'm really glad we have his assistance because I feel that clubs/sporting organisations are going to be more obliged to help us out with a professional on our side.
E and I also had a heart to heart after the rep left. She told me that she recognises the seriousness of this commitment and my goal to make the 2016 Paralympic Games. She went on to say that if, at any point, I am out performing her to tell her and I can find a new guide that is more suited to my needs. I was very impressed by her professional attitude, but I'm quite certain that that won't be a concern as long as we both stay as committed to this as we are now. I too have a responsibility to her in that if she decides that this is way too much for her, then I need to be willing to let her back off and find another guide. Again, I don't think this will be an issue any time soon.
Tomorrow is another running day and we may also be off to get me signed up with the local gym. We discovered that people with disabilities get a significantly  discounted monthly fee and that makes both Mr. K and I feel better about the cost.
So, all in all, it's been a very busy few days and I'm not sure it's about to slow down. E and I purchased brand new running shoes  to get our training "off on the right foot" so to speak and we get to try them out tomorrow morning. Of course, mine  are predominantly purple. Tomorrow I also have a few errands to run, such as getting registered  with a surgery (AKA Doctor's office), but I will make greater efforts to update more frequently.
E and I are also going to try a new route for our run tomorrow to keep our growing guiding/guidee relationship challenged and sharp. I figure the harder we make it in the beginning, the easier it will get. So, wish us luck with our new shoes and new route tomorrow. :)