Monthly Archives: September 2013

Packing & Puppy Politics

My last two days have been spent taking care of my friend’s sick dog, rather than working on the RV like I’d planned, so there’s not much to update on today. I slacked this week and did shitty on my exercise schedule. Rather than playing online tonight, I’m spending the night going through some of my remaining stuff and sorting it… Keeper stuff for the storage shed, stuff that needs to go to donation, and stuff for the motorhome. There really isn’t much left to sort through, but those little things seem so tedious and time-consuming. Of course the biggest stuff was the easiest, so that happened first. The (huge) storage shed was crammed as full as you could get it, and I worked through that bit by bit, and now I am sharing one of the smallest sheds you can get with a friend, and there’s still room to spare inside. I just feel scatterbrained and apathetic a lot of the time. I would rather spend hours looking at land for sale online, or browsing through places to rent on the coast, than sort paperwork that I need to file. Really though, it’s the little things that will matter in the end. Crafts correctly sorted into totes, all my stuff in order… When I’m living full-time in the RV, things being in their proper places will make a world of difference. I got the second-smallest model I could find, so it’s not like there’s room to be a slob or have any clutter.

I’ve started thinking about where I want to keep things in the RV. Originally I figured I’d use the big bed above the cab to store all my stuff, but I’m thinking that’s going to be too much weight, and it’s also going to make me top-heavy, which is the last thing I want, so I’m re-evaluating that…

Been thinking about getting another dog soon. Kedric seems lonely, and it seems weird to just have two of us, so I’ve been digging through the internet, trying to weigh my options. I don’t want to wait a year, because I don’t want a new puppy driving him insane in his old age. He turns 12 in December. So I figure now, while he’s still full of life, and not a grumpy old man or weak and wobbly would be best. Especially because he just needs a friend. The complicated thing is where to GET a dog. I’ve done rescue before, and helped with other rescue organizations before, so I recognize the incredible need there is for people to adopt. But then I have to guiltily admit that I want a purebred. So I’ve been looking at both Petfinder and actual breed rescues, just searching for the right dog to pop up… And it’s not appearing. So I’ve also been searching through breeders. For those of you unfamiliar with Border Collie politics… Holy shit. (Prepare yourself!)

The Border Collie was originally bred for herding. Owners did not care how the dogs looked, as long as they could get the job done. So Border Collies come in every package imaginable. Everyone pictures a black and white, semi-long-haired dog with tipped ears when you say “Border Collie”, but that is not always the case. Border Collies come with floppy ears, tipped ears, prick ears, short hair, long hair, medium hair, and curly hair. They can be anywhere from 25 to 60 lbs or so, and come in a full rainbow of colors and body types. Some look more like whippets, some look more like German Shepherds… Nobody cares. The dogs, after so long of being bred for brains instead of looks, were the smartest dogs on the planet and could do just about anything – from service dog work to narcotics detection. Border Collies are used in Search & Rescue, agility, lure coursing, and sledding. They have even been used in protection work and as therapy dogs. There is little in the world a BC can’t do. So the AKC wanted this dog in their kennel club. The herding people fought hard to keep the dogs out of the club, because the only thing the AKC really breeds for is looks, not abilities. They couldn’t care less what the dog’s instincts were, as long as it conformed to a written standard on what a BC should look like. And what should a BC look like? It should look smooth on the outrun, calm on the lift, and steady on the fetch. It should look capable at the shed, and patient at the pen. But as to its color and conformation, there has never been a standard. So the AKC added the BC to its roster, even though most BC breeders opposed this, and now there is a war at hand. There are people who breed AKC-style BC’s, which are gorgeous, fluffy, and tend to be, for the most part, either completely uninterested in anything other than taking up space on the couch, or completely hyperactive and somewhat nuts, loving the sound of their own voices. I’m sure I’ll get comments about how that is not how all of them are, but I’ve met a fair share of them, and most fall into one of the two categories. The problem with the AKC dogs is NOT that they’re pretty. It’s that the breeders tend to breed only the best looking dogs with no regard to instincts, so most AKC dogs just don’t have the abilities bred in anymore to perform hard farm work or trial courses. Of course, the secondary problem is that in breeding for large, square bodies with incredibly lush coats, you end up by default with a dog who generally couldn’t do the trial work even if it DID have the instincts, because the coat gets caught in everything (and overheats the dog), and they don’t have the shape and fluidity of a working dog. They can’t really flex at a gallop, and they can’t really do the slinking walk up either. On the other end of the spectrum, ABCA breeders are breeding dogs with brains to dogs with brains. Some of them are lurpy, some of them are just so homely it’s hard to look at them without wincing. But no matter how funny-looking the dog, when it is in motion on the hillside, it is a work of art. It is pure beauty, and few can argue with that. The talent and instinct of a well-bred herding dog at work is an amazing thing to behold.

So where does that leave me? In the middle, of course. I never fall into the black or white, I ALWAYS end up wandering around the grey spectrum. When I was little, my mother raised Shelties, so I’ve always loved the tipped ears and sweet expressions (and pretty sable coats). What I am looking for is a dog that was bred with good intentions (to WORK), but comes in a pretty package. Not a big, boxy, flowing-haired dog, but pretty. For this, I feel like a terrible BC person. I do not agree in the slightest with what the AKC has done to the BC, but at the same time – I don’t want to own a homely dog. My thing is – I don’t own sheep right now, so I don’t NEED a dog that can work. But I don’t want to support a breeder who doesn’t have the breed’s best interests in mind either. I have found many breeders who have some really pretty dogs, but *only* in black and white. I’m not sure why this prejudice exists in the BC world, but over the decades, breeders favored the black dogs, so even if a chocolate/red, blue, or sable pup popped out along the way and was showing interest in stock, the breeders would choose the blacks over the colored pups. This means that the gene pool of dogs with REALLY good herding instincts tends to be predominantly black (or tri, which is mostly black). What I am looking for in a breeder is someone who raises ABCA dogs (not AKC), is breeding dogs that have the desire and talent to herd, has colors other than black or tri, has dogs I like the look of (medium build, rough coat, tipped ears), and is hip/eye testing their breeding stock. You would think that I’m looking for a unicorn breeder. And not just ANY unicorns, but ones who can only live off sugar cookies, and who crap rainbow sparkles. It’s just… not to be found. Anywhere. There are breeders who breed color, but the dogs don’t really work (even if they have instinct). There are breeders who have herding, colored dogs, but they don’t hip or eye test. There are breeders who have herding, hip and eye tested dogs, but no colors… UGH! I have literally gotten to the point where I’ve decided that in the future, I will be breeding Border Collies. I CANNOT be the only person out there looking for this combination, so any pup I don’t want to keep for myself, I’m sure someone will want to buy. It is seriously driving me to insanity. I have looked at probably every breeder in the US at this point who has a webpage (any webpage, no matter how terrible). I’ve seen some really nice herding, colored dogs in the UK, so I’m not sure what’s going on over here. Of course, if you ask opinions anywhere online, you will get yelled at from both sides of the spectrum. You want a brain-dead colored dog?! You want an ugly herding dog?! All I have to say to that is… Border Collies were never bred for looks, so they come in every look imaginable now. I’m going to pick the dogs I like the looks of best who are registered with the ABCA, since that’s the best compromise I can come to at this point. It just really sucks that if I decide to go with a registered dog, I will not be satisfied on all the items that I’m looking for, since nobody appears to be breeding them. There’s a reason I keep going back to look at Petfinder and breed rescues, and that’s because it hurts my brain less. Also, the Pit Bull cause is near and dear to my heart (so many amazing dogs being put down because of a bad rap), so every time I get done searching through BC’s, I look through the Pittie database as well. I’ll be the weirdo with 15 Border Collies and a Pit Bull in the future, for sure.

Anyway, it’s Monday, so here’s my weekly breakdown. It sucks, but at least I didn’t gain anything (surprise).

Starting weight: 272
Lost this week: .2
Total lost: 15.4
Currently: 256.6

Starting BMI: 43.9
Lost this week: 0
Total lost: 2.5
Currently: 41.4

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Categories: dogs, dreams, goals, weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something else I’m working on…

So this has not much at all to do with RVing, but everything to do with getting to where I want to be in life. After deciding that I wanted to re-seal Flash’s roof, I realized that I was scared to actually get up on it. No, I don’t have issues with heights. The fact is that she’s a 1978 model, and I have no idea what water damage could be hiding up there in the roof, which means I don’t want to risk falling through the roof and ruining it, if there is any structural damage which I can’t see from the outside. Let’s be clear about something from the get-go: I am not a small girl. I look at that lovely expanse of previously-sealed aluminum roof, and I can vividly imagine my fat ass falling right through into the kitchen sink. Yeahhhhh… Not so pretty. So I went to Lowe’s to buy a ladder. I was looking for a 7′ ladder, which would be the perfect height. 8′ was too tall to secure to the back of the RV without creating added clearance issues, and 6′ was too short. Did you know that there are no 7′ ladders to be found, like… anywhere? I ended up at Home Depot, and they had the exact same selection as Lowe’s. 6′ seemed to be the only real option, although it was a bit too short. Ladders are rated by weight. Before deciding I needed to buy a ladder, I would have never known this. My happy ass just tromps up whatever ladder is handy. I never realized I was jeopardizing my life by not looking for the weight limit. So the options laid themselves out: a green one for skinny people, a blue one for overweight people, and a red one for what I can only imagine are huge, burly dudes who do a lot of roofing. I hate the color red. I know, it doesn’t make much sense. You buy a ladder to get a job done, not to look cute. But really, I just can’t stand red, and stood in the ladder aisle of Home Depot for probably a good 20 minutes, wondering if I should buy the blue ladder (which I ALMOST qualified for) or the hideous red one (which sadly, was made just for my big ass – not just burly roofers). I threw down my gloves. Fuck that red ladder. I’ve been wanting to get back to eating right and exercising every day anyway, so now I had something to work toward: not breaking my ladder (and dying in the process). I grabbed the blue ladder and triumphantly headed to the front to buy it.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been using the blue ladder, despite the fact that the giant sticker on the side of it warns me that I could possibly die by doing so. I guess it’s a warning not just about the ladder, but about my weight in general. My current weight can and might kill me, whether or not there’s a ladder involved.

So not only do I need to lose weight just so I can actually enjoy more activities, but ever since I gained all this weight in the first place, my knees have been rebeling. I feel lethargic and depressed. And this isn’t to say that I went from thin to fat all at once. I’ve been a big girl most of my life. But after college, when I moved back home, I put on a whopping 72 lbs. Holy. Shit. The day I got on the scale to see just how much I weighed after my knees started giving me shit, I just couldn’t believe how fat I’d become. I mean, knowing you’re fat and seeing the numbers are two different things.

I’ve done the yo-yo routine for a long time, and I’m done with it. I want to get to a healthier weight so I can do more without feeling like someone just kicked my ass… Not just more physical activities, but things like being able to stand on my RV roof without worrying that I’m going to cave it in. I really want to have a healthier lifestyle firmly in place by the time I move full-time into the RV. In a not-so-related note, I’ve been using up all of the chemicals in my house, and replacing them with natural products. Everything from shampoo to toilet bowl cleaner has been getting switched out. I used to work for an herbal processing company, and I could get all my organic body care stuff for super dirt cheap, but since I stopped working there, and it was easier to just buy stuff at any old store, I’ve gotten lazy about buying things that are better for myself and the environment. So I’ve stopped that too. The only cleaning products I’ve bought for inside the RV are natural ones. I obviously can’t find a tree-huggin’, hippie-ass roof seal or seam caulk… But everything that there is a healthier, better option for, I’m going the healthy way. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

So, speaking of pounds… (I do so babble sometimes…)

Last Monday, I weighed myself. I was down 10.4 lbs from my max, which is to say that I weighed in at 261.6 lbs. *cringe* For those of you bad at math, my max weight was 272 lbs. My BMI was 42.2. In non-tech speak: 42.2 is morbidly obese. That means that I am 100+ lbs over my ideal body weight. ONE HUNDRED PLUS POUNDS! I cannot overstate the horror of this fact. What the hell?

Anyway, I plan to leave that number in the past and never approach it again. I am doing a Couch-to-5K (C25K) program for running, which is a simple run/walk program that starts you out walking a lot and running a little, and every week you increase the amount you’re running, and decrease the amount you’re walking. It is set up in intervals, so you aren’t killing yourself. I’ve done the program in the past, but always end up quitting when I get to week 7 or so of the 10-week plan. Just because… ya know… laziness, depression, fill-in-the-blank… So now I’m posting about it here, so quitting would be kind of awkward, wouldn’t it? I don’t actually plan to RUN any 5K’s, mind you… I just want to get my endurance up, and the C25K plan will get me from couch potato to running 30 minutes straight without stopping in 10 weeks.

I also have dumbbells in various sizes, and am putting those to use with set exercises that I do 5x/week (the same 5 days I run on)… I also increase the reps I’m doing with those every week. And to top it off, I am walking my dog every day. He has severe hip dysplasia on his right hip joint, so I can’t do strenuous stuff with him (as much as he’d love to run all day, he pays for it later, and I hate to see him in pain). Before I got lazy the last time, we were walking 2 miles a day… So I’ve started him off at a mile a day, and every week I will up him a quarter mile, and then see where we’re at with how he feels when we reach 2 miles. If all is well there, I may just keep adding more on. He is currently on Adequan once a month, and gets a supplement of MSM/glucosamine/chondroitin every morning, along with 50mg of Rimadyl in his breakfast. He technically should be on twice as much Rimadyl per day, but I don’t want to max him out if I don’t need to, because when he gets worse, what will there be to switch him to? I’m trying to be proactive there. I plan to start him on fish oil as well, and hope that I can keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible on the combination (including walking, which also helps lubricate the joints).

So here’s the number breakdown:

Starting weight: 272
Lost this week: 4.8
Total lost: 15.2
Currently: 256.8

Starting BMI: 43.9
Lost this week: .8
Total lost: 2.5
Currently: 41.4

So I am currently 6.8 lbs too heavy for my ladder… Hopefully I’ll be skinny enough (“skinny” being relative here *lol*) in the next two weeks to officially use it. 😉

I plan to put an update here every Monday with my weekly progress. If you don’t see an update, feel free to kick me in the ass and shake your fist at me.

Categories: dogs, goals, lifestyle change, weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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