George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190818080414286_COVER[1]

But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I started seeing recently did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

Running, PokemonGo, more running…and just a touch of dating!!

Favorite people and Pokemon!

I just read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess and found she is playing PokemonGo and so am I (along with a gazillion other people around the world!!)… here’s a link to Jenny’s blog just in case you’d like to read more… and she is absolutely correct – this game does help with anxiety 🙂

the bloggess
The Bloggess

 

…and I totally get her comment on the rats… why on earth are there so many Rattatas wandering about? Here’s one sneaking up on George my therapy dog

image of George the Therapy dog with a PokemonGo Rattata
…wha? is there something behind me?

…on being sick 😦

Now, back to staying fit and healthy… well that’s a bit easier now. It’s winter over here in Australia and of course I’ve had all my work colleagues sneezing, snuffling and coughing up a lung all around me. And one by one, we have all succumbed to the dreaded bug/virus/plague from hell!!

I’ve managed to catch it twice in a month, both times I had to take time off work because I was so sick. Seriously, wtf is it with colds these days? I’m sure back in the day you had a runny nose, sore throat, bit of a cough and then you’d be right as rain within 7 days. Now it seems the cold has mutated into an evil demon that causes all of the above, plus fevers, crashing headaches, doing weird things to your voice – well, more like losing your voice and squeaking like a demented mouse!! and keeping you out of action for weeks.

Running, because, running…

Anyway, I’m all better now, thank you for asking 🙂 and back to running. I ran in the Swan River Run on Sunday and managed a really good time. I’m so glad I’m back to being fighting fit… more pics on the run soon… for now, here’s a pic of one of my morning running routes – it’s so pretty!!

Canning River
The beautiful Canning River in Perth Western Australia

Love and romance

…and on a final note – I haven’t updated y’all on my relationship lately, suffice to say it’s had a few ups and downs, which is normal (although it never feels that way when you are going through it, does it?)… this morning Nick sent through a text of a saying he’d found: “we come by love, not by finding the perfect person, but learning to love the imperfect perfectly” …and you know what? I think that is just perfect!! 🙂

cute couple holding hands

 

 

 

 

…pet therapy

I read a while back that owning a dog encourages people to exercise more… which somehow does not surprise me – especially when my dog George gives me those sad puppy eyes and is all like “so, hey human – walk me?!?” or when I get home from a rough day at work and he’s bouncing all over the place in total joy that I’m home…

cat tree
who said dogs can’t climb!!

He’s actually a certified therapy dog and we volunteer at a dementia residence on weekends and he’s also an ”approved wellness activity” at the university where I work. The students and staff love him*

He’s a fixture during exam time and he helps students de-stress before they go into their exams. He has his own facebook page and he gets messages from students and staff to come visit and hang out with them for a while. I even put up a fb status recently saying my dog had the exact same number of friends as me and right up two of my friends went and friend requested him to make sure he was in the lead!! 

…and more George at his Facebook page 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

* side note: George is a spoodle (or cockerpoo in the US!) a spaniel/poodle cross and low allergy because he doesn’t shed hair and as his handler I’m careful when I notice people who are uncomfortable around dogs.

staying healthy and looking after yourself after a relationship bust up…

If you read my first post you will have seen that a while back I lost a guy I was dating because I went for a run on New Year’s Eve… now to be honest, I don’t seem to be real good at holding onto relationships – but then again I am very good (nowadays) at letting go of toxic relationships, which is a very good thing!

My most recent ex (the one who dumped me via a text message) and really it was barely 5 months, so does that actually qualify as an ex? or just dating? Really, just dating if you ask me! He was very full on and the whole thing got really intense really fast. He was asking to move in with me within a few weeks and I’m all like – wait, what? move in? umm no! seriously, just no!!

I also want to be with someone who is committed to their own well-being. I think it is very hard for someone to truly love and care for you if they treat themselves like a garbage dump both physically and emotionally!

Anyway, once it was done and dusted I found myself in the very fortunate position of heading off to a health and wellness retreat. I had originally booked it for both of us as he had (early on in the dating time) said that he wanted to improve his health and ease up on the drinking – mind you when I first mentioned the retreat he was all like – hell no, hope you don’t think I’m doing that… Actually, no.

So I took myself off for a bit of pampering, healthy fresh food (no-one has fed me 3 meals/day since I was a kid, it was lovely, but a bit odd and took some getting used to); bush/country hikes (lots of hills) and massages and a natural pond to swim in and like-minded people who are passionate about health and well-being. My hosts were Jenny and Neil at Nature’s Paradise in Mundaring, Western Australia Nature’s Paradise – just so, so beautiful and tranquil…

…some pics of where I was staying:

…and yes I am very fortunate to be able to take myself away for a few days and totally rejuvenate spiritually, emotionally and physically. What I would like to say to you all is that whenever you find yourself in an emotionally distressed state, please try to nurture yourself however you can – if you can go away for a few days do so. If not, do things that make you feel good, eat well (don’t be tempted to eat badly because you feel sad or hurt or angry or damaged), try to get some exercise, spend time outdoors if you can and nurture yourself. You will find it easier to heal your heart if you look after the rest of you 🙂

That’s not to say that a girl’s night out (or in) and a wine or two and some trash talking is not also part of the healing process too – because it is! 😛

…and now the final pic for you – a mommy kangaroo and her joey that hang around the retreat – just seeing them made me feel way better!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Kangaroo and Joey