The Grumpy Penguin

Kris here,

So some time ago while we were all hanging around and I was probably doing some manly dad things, like grilling outdoors or twisting off tight jar lids or something, when I had the bright idea “Hey Nik and I should write a story!” So I then said aloud “Hey Nik and I should write a story!”

Tina was totally down with this on account of it not including any work on her part, but Nikolai was apparently heartbroken. Do you know how long he’d waited to play with those toys? It might’ve been watching his tablet too but let’s go with the toys thing. He was yelling and crying and calling 911 and generally just making a ruckus that I don’t think was necessarily apt for the situation. So, of course, I sat down and started writing the story about him, out loud, while writing everything to paper. He gradually grew less and less fussy and started laughing because I’m the best and we all learned something at the end (dad had to google because he was making outlandish allegations that nobody was sure of.)

Right after we’d finished writing it down to paper, Nik and I read the story to Tina as a whole instead of the broken sentences I used while I was actually writing it down. Tina did that thing she does where she’s the best and there were suddenly illustrations! And now we have a brief and amusing story that still gets told before bed from time to time – we thought we’d post it on our blog here, in case anyone else was able to make their toddler giggle at the antics of The Grumpy Penguin.

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Izzy – Week 1

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So as Izzy joined our house we got her all the needed things. Tons of treats for training, things to chew on, a bed and crate, and a vet appointment for her first set of puppy shots.

We were all excited! Nik was so happy to have a little puppy he could play with until she nipped him. Yes, my amazing find of a pup had a big problem with using her mouth correctly. Not a great trait for a service dog to have. The risk of biting someone when upset or startled is too high if left unchecked. So, our laundry list of things to work on with her grew. Walking on a leash (for everyone, not just Tina), Not peeing in the house (or submissively to Kris, cause he is so scary!), and not using our mouth to show how happy and excited we are to play with or meet people.

 

I can say that this week we have seen a slow change of understanding that we prefer to be licked not bit and a clear understanding that she doesn’t want to leave my side for any reason. Which I guess is good but also a bit much with a 5-year-old and a puppy.

I have been up and about around the house more often. I am getting up when my husband goes downstairs so I can take care of Izzy and I have been using muscles that had been neglected and are sharing that via the soreness and pain I feel each night.

But I mean, really, look at this girl!

Also here is a little picture of the schedule that I have been trying with her. I am sure I will end up adjusting this as we get farther along.

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And a cute little gif of my pup learning toys are for mouth not hands.

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Well, that is all for this week, I will post a new Izzy weekly update next Saturday!

Intro to Izzy

I have PTSD, anxiety, & depression. I have been in therapy for around 6 months and I have also been seeing a Psychiatrist. All of this was a pile up on me and got worse because I had refused to seek help for it. After being asked by my Therapist Jane, what I was planning on doing when Nik started school I started to worry.

 

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Making me feel older each day!

 

Not able to think of anything and being fed up with taking pills that knocked me out when I had an anxiety attack, I started searching for other ways of dealing with it.

Did you know that when you search YouTube for PTSD anxiety and ways to deal with it, a large portion of videos come up that deal with service dogs. Most of them focused on veterans, but the information was out there. The more I started to search for service dogs the more I started thinking this was a great idea. I had trained several dogs before this point and figured that training my own service dog would be a great way to spend my time.

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So after talking to my therapist Jane I agreed with her and my psychiatrist that getting a service dog could be very beneficial to me. So I began to learn how to assess service dogs and how to figure out which dog would make a good service dog then my hunt for a service dog begin. So I began to learn how to assess service dogs and how to figure out which dog would make a good service dog then my hunt for a service dog begin. I contacted several different agencies to see if they would work with me and training a service dog however majority of them prefer to work with veterans and we would not work with me and had a waiting list of up to two years. So I found a local service that helps you train a dog you already have and is based in San Antonio just south of me so I signed up for it and went in search of a service dog.

The first dog I meant was named the doctor he was a great Dane who was a year and a half all he did really well on all of the tests that I performed with him. However, when it came to dealing with my husband he wanted nothing to do with him. His barking and hiding from my husband were a sure sign that he wouldn’t be acceptable as a service dog since he would need to interact with a variety of people on a daily basis.

Then off to see a sweet little girl Great Dane pup.

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First meeting the sweet puppy, I had to take a deep calming breath as I looked at this adorable little pup with honey colored eyes. Kris looked at me and raised one eyebrow, seeming to check on my mental state. I smiled at him and then explained to the woman what tests I would be doing and that it would take a little bit of time. Each and every test I put her way she seemed to know just what I wanted. I held her and checked out her ears and mouth and saw some fleas on her chest. Well… let me tell you. I have a huge problem with fleas. To the point that my husband, therapist, and psychiatrist all thought I might have OCD because of the way I react to them. Typically by scratching off my skin or boiling myself under unhealthily hot water.

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Even with that said, I couldn’t deny how she seemed to just gravitate toward me and sat with me when I got down on the ground. She even now is super close to me at all times. She loves to just sit next to me and chew on toys or hang out in the kitchen with me.

I felt she was going to be amazing as a service dog. Everything in me told me that this was going to be awesome. So we took her home.

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I am going to hold off here and have our first week with Izzy in another blog post on Saturday. Where I will post about Izzy each week and blog about our progress into becoming a fully-fledged Service Dog!

 

In which Kris does some idea… borrowing

Kris here,

Don’t tell my wife, but I’m super jealous she gets her own segment on our site with an acronym and everything. So in my own creative way, I’ve decided to…well copy her exactly. We’re married so it’s basically my idea already anyway right? I’ve decided to name my segment… let’s see “Kris’s really awesome project,” K.R.A-. Waaait a second. Let’s just call it a work in progress.

This week I’d like to discuss a small book series I read hundreds of years ago when I was just a lad, The Enchanted Forest chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. A series of 4 books that are each pretty small, only 2-300 pages each, but is by far a favorite series of mine to be re-read at least every 2-3 years in its entirety. I’m relatively sure Patricia Wrede single-handedly sparked my interest in both humor and reading when I was about 7 or 8. The target audience here is definitely children to young adults but..well listen, don’t pretend you didn’t expect it knowing who’s writing the blog okay.

The series revolves around the Enchanted Forest in a world of her own, but with multiple (and hilarious) references to fairy tales that were pretty prevalent while I was growing up. I don’t want to spell the books out and ruin the fun or spoil it for anyone Googling the series, although to be honest, I think after 27 years your right to spoiler warnings is dissolved come on now.

Cimorene the princess would love to learn Latin, sword fighting and magic, but since she’s a princess, she gets to learn dancing and manners and embroidery. After running away to ask a dragon to capture her, she lives a good life chasing off princes and melting wizards with her dragon Kazul who likes having someone around to clean and make cherry’s jubilee. Some story happens and she goes on an adventure meeting a witch who keeps everything very clean and has a painted sign indicating that she’ll have none of your nonsense, a king of the Enchanted Forest and a poor dwarf who keeps spinning straw into gold in return for firstborns unless their parents can discover his name. Only no one ever guesses his name, so he keeps accumulating children, he even changed his name to Herman to be easier to guess and moved way out away from civilization but they keep finding him.

In short, if you ever get the chance – read these books. They’re relatively short, they’re light-hearted and the characters are hilarious and I love them. I’ve also read these to Nik as bedtime stories and hopefully one day…he’ll forget and I can read them to him again.

Big dreams & little buckets

Tina here.

You know, the problem I am realizing more and more as I get older each year is that I am a dreamer. I can come up with ideas and plans that are so fantastic and beautiful sounding. I can even come up with what needs to be done to make it happen. However, I am horrible at pushing forward with anything.

I wanna live in Japan. That had been a dream of mine since I was 12. I went to Japan for 3 months on the good graces and EXTREAM amounts of patience of my Uncle and his newly married wife, my sweet Aunt. I was 17 and earned the money to pay for the ticket all on my own. However, my money was already earned and burning a hole in my pocket. I fully aware that I would have spent the money on random nicknacks or books if it wasn’t about Japan.

I wanna be a Teacher. I was inspired by some of my Jr. High and High school teachers. History mostly. I wanted to teach. I loved working with other people and I loved helping my friends and peers. Hell, I was a peer to peer counselor! However, in my all knowing wisdom of so close to 18 I can taste it, I got pregnant. That in and of itself didn’t disqualify me from going to school and making my dreams come true, but overloading myself, not asking for help when I should have, and not seeing a problem for what he was doing. I have tried to go to school since but a large part of those attempts has been extremely difficult and with an onset of untreated PTSD, I developed extream anxiety and depression when it came to dealing with new people. Maybe if someone like my husband could go with me I could push along, but the problem with that is that one of us has to work. I want my husband to have the chance to go to school if that is what he wants. Hell, I am more than willing to do whatever I need to for him to follow his own dreams. However, one of us just hit our 10 years at a single job… It wasn’t me.

I want to live clean and get healthy. I am so sick and tired of people telling me what I already know. Yes, I am EXTREAMLY overweight, yes I know what that can do to my body, yes I am aware that I can’t continue to live this way without consequences. How about you come over and teach me everything you do and how to overcome my downfalls and self-hate to learn a new lifestyle. Oh, what’s that? You have your own life. Yeah well, stop trying to tell me how easy it is unless you understand the shit I have to wade past just to get into the freaking club. Eat healthier, I have, you know what happens, I loose about 15lbs, which at this size is so not hard to do, then I bounce back and/or don’t loose anymore. Oh, but don’t worry, I am told that when I REEEEEALLY want it I will make it happen…

I know way too much about Tiny houses, crafts, and visas. I have studied every single way that you can legally get a visa to live in Japan. Think you don’t qualify for one. You could be wrong but you have to meet some qualifications first. I have so much useless information about things I will most likely never do. I want to start my own company but my own lack of solid skill/commitment keeps me here, behind a keyboard telling no one how sad and pitiful I am.

Oh, and my latest dream, an RV. Why? Because I worry that my terrible habits are going to land my family without a home and at least with an RV we could travel and find a place to work with a home over us like turtles.

Wow, this blog turned into a bummer. Sorry guys, this was a much-needed rant.

Choooriiiing

Kris here,

Chores get a bad rap in our society nowadays, or at least from everyone I’ve ever spoken to about them. It’s basically like work except you don’t get paid for it, am I right? I’m about 6 forks away from donating my dishes and replacing them all with paper plates and paper towels! Wellll okay that would be a bit extreme. But if everyone hates chores so much, why does everyone do them? Well it’s crap you gotta get done! You have to take out the garbage if you don’t want to live in an ant and roach colony, you have to wash dishes if you don’t want dried and caked versions of your dinner stuck to the plates you’re eating off, and if you don’t mow your lawn the stupid HOA complains non-stop! Also you can’t play outside and you get ants, at least in Texas.

Recently I’ve been subconsciously shifting a lot more of my “but I don’t wannaaaa” tasks into the ‘ugh fine’ pile and it seems to be working pretty well, so I’m thinking it’s probably just mine and others’ attitude that’s souring the perception of these things. A lot of people I’ve been watching on YouTube or speaking with in my day to day interactions seem to have a few mental lists – the two specifically I care about in this segment are the “goals” list and the “chores” list. In fact, I did that some weeks ago. Here’s an example of mine:

Goals:
Full time billion dollar author
Smartest person in the world
Speak a bunch of languages

Chores:
Dishes
Laundry
Lawn mowing

I think if my goals said, having a fabulous lawn to frolic in or hosting dinner parties, this would be a fine matchup! You know what doesn’t earn me my first million writing? Yeah, folding laundry that’s right. “But Kris, just make a 15.9 step plan for each goal and implement them biweekly,” I see you thinking. Yeah maybe, but that’s essentially what a New Year’s Resolution is and, as I discussed in that same blog previously referred to, everyone breaks those! I don’t want to throw myself under any buses here, but I spend a considerable amount of time balancing my time between the things I need to do, like cleaning or paying bills, and the things I want to do, like playing Overwatch with Nik or watching anime with Tina.

Personally, I think I need to expand the list of chores I’m committing to each week with more useful tasks sprinkled into the boring tedious things and I think I can easily set aside a few hours a week to just plow through them. Things that slip through the cracks when I get distracted, like my Japanese studies or writing manuscripts and outlines. I’ve already implemented a lot of changes to my approach to long-term goals this year, I think shifting my priorities around for the short term items will help get me closer to my goals… which should, in turn, make me rich enough to pay other people to do all this stuff for me!

A podcast a day…

Kris here,

I’m going to start out my blog this week with a pretty controversial, I think highly contested topic – so try to grit through it. Housework and yard work is terrible. I said it! I would almost rather pay bills than I would fill up a bucket with hot water to make my floor stop being dirty. To a lesser extent, I can kind of feel the same about commute time – driving, walking, running, boating, the time it takes to travel from where you’re at to where you want to be gets pretty tedious, pretty fast. Luckily for all of you, there’s a quick and easy solution as long as you have some sort of listening apparatus.

So last year sometime I hopped on Google Play and noticed there was an entry for podcasts. I’ve never cared about podcasts or wanted podcasts or listened to podcasts or podcasts podcasts, but I was bored so I figured I’d give it a check anyway. There are so many niche interests that you just don’t go around online finding people talking about that you can dig up in podcasts though, I think everyone should spend some time looking around for something random you like – it’s fabulous how fast my house gets cleaned and how surprisingly not dead I am afterward when I just get a couple hours of episodes lined up and plow through ’em. I know I touched on The Worldbuilder’s Anvil a few weeks briefly, but I figured I’d list a few of my own personal listening library a little more in detail to provide a taste of the things you can find and so you can all judge me to make yourselves feel better today.

* Side note: I’m an infuriating person to read or watch things with because I can’t not talk about plot holes, incorrect science and bad grammar- but after starting podcasts, I think I speak for at least nobody in saying that I’m much more tolerable now that I have an outlet.

Startalk Radio
Neil Degrasse-Tyson has a podcast series, did you all know that? Apparently he has for years and years – his soothing scientist voice mixed with science-y topics is the best.

The Worldbuilder’s Anvil
The guys I plugged in one of my last posts, but they’re pretty hilarious and have a few days’ worth of content, all of which is fabulous if you’re a creative type who likes making up stories, worlds, or lies.
http://gardul.com/category/podcast/worldbuilders-anvil/

Writing Excuses
I honestly didn’t really expect to like this one as much as I actually do – these guys are hilarious and cover a huge array of topics which are fascinating if you’re into story telling and writing. Also, the hosts are authors and some of their stories are REALLY GOOD AND AUDIOBOOKED FOR DRIVING.
http://www.writingexcuses.com/

Grammar Girl
Discussions about correct usage of words and grammar in context? I can’t be the only person interesting in these things…right!?

A Way with Words
You’re all probably getting the gist of a pattern here I’m assuming – most of what I’m interested in is literally language, words, grammar and storytelling with a little science mixed in. These guys are less ‘everyday’ use and more of a ‘ohhhh THAT’S what it means and where it comes from’ type of listen – but it’s relaxing and I like the hosts!

I’ve got a few more I personally listen to, but the point of this post was more about the idea of podcasts and getting deeper into your own interesting hobbies, even while you’re stuck doing something as amazing as sorting through 15,000 boxes that have been stacked in your garage since you were 6. They’re also really good for just filling in the quiet when you’re doing the things you enjoy but don’t make noise, say crocheting or running.

Already listening to podcasts? Let me know what you’ve got on your list and I’ll check it out!
Stay curious out there,