Doggy Dental Care

My youngest pup Isabelle has some stinky breath. When we first rescued her she has a lot of issues with her gums, resulting in her not liking the chew bones much, and gum bleeding when she did. There is a lot of plaque buildup on her teeth, which is cause for alarm — poor oral hygiene can cause a lot of long-term problems for dogs. At our vet’s suggestion, she is going to enjoy toothbrushing with me at night before bed.IMG_20161212_184526.jpg

Enter the doggy toothbrush. I’ve tried using a regular toothbrush, because we happened to have an extra sitting around. She has a pretty small mouth/jaw, so it’s tough to get the toothbrush in there, but it was working ok. But then I got a chance to try this toothbrush set from Next Level Pet — it’s so much nicer! The large toothbrush has two ends: a bigger end for big dogs, and the smaller end for smaller mouths. It also comes with two “attachments” that you can put on your finger. One is a normal brush type, the other has rubbery nubs for massaging the gums. The package includes a recipe for doggy toothpaste on the back, but for now we are just using water.

Here’s to hoping for a healthier mouth and no expensive dental bills!

Becoming a runner

What does it mean to be a “runner”? Is there a certain distance that you need to go? A certain number of races you’ve participated in? A particular speed at which you need to be able to run?

No.

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Anyone can be a runner. Whether you can run an ultra marathon or you struggle finishing 1 mile, you’re still running. Or jogging, in my case. But it’s still happening. And if you want to be a runner, then you are.

I’ve always been drawn to the idea of running. Many times over the years I’ve started a couch-to-5k type of program, only to find myself giving up when I felt like I couldn’t make it over a mile without giving up. Does this sound familiar to any of you?

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My running companion Kingsley

Here’s the thing — I’m still running. Even if it’s only 2 or 3 miles, and even if I need to take a 1-2 minute walking break every now and again. And tomorrow I will run a little bit longer, or perhaps a little bit further. Eventually I will reach my goal — and then it’s time to set a new one!

Washi Washi Everywhere

Like many other scrapbooks, planner girls and bullet-journalers out there, I am addicted to washi tape. You can’t have just one roll. Or 10. Or 20. I don’t actually think there is a limit to how much washi one person really needs. There are so many holidays and themes, and you need washi to match all of them!

I already have a pretty decent collection, but I am always looking to add more — especially the adorable Boston Terrier roll from Recollections (birthday or Christmas gift, anyone?)

Recently I was given the chance to try out a washi 12-pack from United Tapes for free in exchange for my review of the product. I was able to order it from Amazon and (thanks to Prime!) it arrived within a few days. You get 12 rolls of washi (each 10 meters long) for $15.97 – that’s only about $1.33 per roll!

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The rolls are what I would consider the “standard” size, so there is plenty of washi there. The colors are bright and all of the lines and edges are crisp. The tape peels up from the roll easily. And like any good washi tape, it is easy to re-position. Because lets be real, how often do you get it lined up correctly on the first try?

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The parts of the tape that appear white are actually clear, so if you’re planning on putting these tapes onto paper that isn’t white, or into a dot grid or lined book, just keep in mind that you may be able to see a little bit of your background through the washi. I put some in the top of my bullet journal and I could see the grid shadowing through, but not enough to bother me.

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United Tapes also has a set of gold/silver metallic tapes — I didn’t get a chance to try those ones out, so I can’t attest to their quality, but they look beautiful!

Which of the tape rolls is your favorite? I love the multi-colored chevrons and the orange bubbles. I used the blue stars and the blue and red stripes on my “Election Day” spread this week though, and they will be perfect for 4th of July, Veteran’s Day (tomorrow!), and other patriotic holidays for my fellow US folks.

 

21 Day Fix — check-in

I am just starting Week 3 of the 21 Day Fix

I never feel like I am hungry or not getting enough food. When you are eating whole, healthy, wholesome foods, a “little” goes a long way! The part that has been the hardest for me is getting all of the fruits containers that I am supposed to be eating. I am not a huge fruit eater most of the time, so I’ve been reminding myself to sneak fruits in for my snacks and breakfast as much as possible.

Almost all of Week 2 was a cheat for me, which I am sure will show in my final results. We were out of the state for my sister’s wedding for several days, which was ended with and followed by a nasty cold/flu thing that I am still struggling with. I haven’t been getting a workout in for several days (mainly because breathing is hard just sitting), which is definitely catching up with me. I also fell off the wagon a bit as far as food choices when we were traveling, although I did my best to make appropriate choices for 2 of the 3 meals each day.  I did eat cupcakes and drink a copious amount of alcohol on the wedding day though, and I feel no guilt for that 🙂

I will post my start and end numbers once I finish up with Week 3!

Living with Depression and Anxiety

Living with depression and/or anxiety is a struggle.  When you live with both you get double the struggle. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which one is the hardest on any give day. Every day is different. I may be at a 5 or 6 in terms of depression, but an 8 or 9 for anxiety. Maybe my anxiety isn’t as bad that day, but the depression is through the roof.

Depression isn’t just “being sad”. Anxiety isn’t just “being nervous”.  For me, life with depression and anxiety looks like:

  • Uncontrollable sobbing when you read an article about someone suffering, losing a child, losing a parent, losing a home, etc. Or cute animals. Or happy people. Sad people. Natural disasters. Violence. People having babies. A community supporting its’ members. Basically anything, really.
  • Physical aches and pains — headaches, body aches, muscle tension, upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea.
  • Wanting to get a ton of stuff accomplished but physically/mentally not being able to. I. Just. Can’t. I want to, but I can’t. There is no other way to describe it.
  • Feeling like your friends and family secretly hate you and talk about you behind your back.
  • Not wanting to go hang out with friends because you aren’t sure if you can park in their driveway or not.
  • Avoiding crowded places because there are just too many people and you feel overloaded.
  • Not having the mental or physical energy to get out of bed and start your day.
  • Always assuming the worst case scenario. Someone is late? They probably got in a car accident. Or they don’t want to actually hang out with you and are just going to blow you off. They’re cheating on you.
  • Needing space at the same time that you don’t want to be alone.
  • Uncontrollable emotional outbursts.
  • Constantly feeling like you aren’t good enough and are letting the people around you down.
  • Sitting on the couch staring blankly into space because you have no interest in doing anything.
  • Not enjoying any of the hobbies and activities that you used to like, or know that you like, or think that maybe you like but you can’t remember because it’s been so long.
  • Avoiding social activities because there may be someone there that you don’t know.
  • Calling people, businesses, etc after they are closed because you don’t actually want them to answer. Hoping for voicemail every time you call someone.
  • Constantly cancelling plans with people because you just can’t do it. It’s not the same reason every time, but it seems like there’s always something.
  • Not being able to focus on tasks, or starting new tasks before finishing others.

That is certainly  not an all-inclusive list, but it does touch on what I experience on a daily basis. What does depression and/or anxiety look like for you? What techniques do you use to manage day-to-day activities?

Hiking the Harris Ranch Trail to Drift Creek

This past weekend Josh and I embarked on our first overnight hiking trip together. We recently celebrated our two year anniversary and this was our celebration trip. We hiked the Harris Ranch Trail to Drift Creek – around 6 miles round-trip – located in the Drift Creek Wilderness portion of the Siuslaw National Forest.

I had to work Saturday so we got a bit of a late start. We arrived at the trailhead around 5. The hike down to the creek was all downhill, and took us about an hour and a half. There were 4 or 5 other groups camped along the creek in the well-established camping spots. We didn’t want to be close to anyone, so we continued along the trail. Parts of it were quite a bit overgrown and full of underbrush that we fought through. There were also a few downed trees over the trail that we needed to scramble over. However we found a few good camping spots with existing fire rings and settled on one about 50 feet back from the trail. We picked a great spot, because right behind our tent we found this old car, rusted away and buried in overgrowth.

 

Drift Creek was beautiful. Summer is winding down right now and since it’s been relatively dry  the creek was low. We didn’t attempt to ford it but there were plenty of spots that I would have considered it if I’d brought an extra pair of shoes. I imagine the creek gets a lot deeper and faster in the fall and winter.  The creek was also loaded with bright red crawdads

 

The hike back up on Sunday was KILLER! I am still quite a bit out of shape, so 3 miles uphill with my pack on took a lot out of me. I was grateful for my trekking poles because they helped take some of the weight off my legs, and helped me keep my balance. We took plenty of breaks on the way back up to enjoy the scenery. Mushroom season is upon us, so we got to see a lot of different varieties growing near the trail.

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t rely on just one headlamp, even if you’re in a hurry to pack and can’t find one.
  • Freeze-dried scrambled eggs aren’t very appetizing. Everything else we had was good though. I enjoyed the Chili Mac with Beef
  • Pillows are useful and shouldn’t be skipped over.
  • Magnesium fire starters are useful but take a bit of practice.

 

We’ve decided that for future trips we are interested in investing in hammock tents. If anyone has suggestions or recommendations, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!

Shitty realities

I’ve been a long-time user of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Every once in awhile I will go off them for a bit, only to meet the harsh reminder that anxiety and depression are REAL illnesses with a need more medication. It’s not just in my head, it’s not something I can get over, I NEED those medications to function on a day-to-day schedule.

About a month ago, through my lack of ability to schedule things and some major frustrations and ball-dropping from my former doctor, I went cold turkey off of my current meds. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (AKA withdrawl)  is a very real thing.

The first week was the hardest, the second week slightly better, the third ever slightly better, and here we are in week four now.

After the first few days of being off I was looking into vitamins and supplements that could help ease the transition. After reading a few articles and learning about what has worked for others I settled on my “plan”.

  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • 5 HTP
  • Turmeric
  • Magnesium

Most of the major physical symptoms have gone away, but I still feel less energy and more general malaise than “normal”. The “brain zaps” still happen somewhat regularly, but they aren’t as bad or as frequent. My mood and anxiety levels are returning back to their baseline, instead of staying elevated and constantly spiking.  It’s hard to which improvements are because of the vitamins and how many are because my body is slowly adjusting, but I’m definitely giving the vitamins their credit.

 

Have you ever experienced antidepressant discontinuation syndrome? What have your experiences been like? What worked or didn’t work for you? Share in the comments 🙂