Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Agility dog

Schatzi and I have been in an intermediate obedience class for the past couple of weeks and it’s been so much fun. In the puppy class, we worked on things like “sit”, “stay”, “down”, “come”, and “heel”. In this class, we’re more fast paced, working on heeling in a pattern, heeling at different speeds, jumps, bridges, and turns. And, it’s in this fast paced, sort of agility class that Schatzi’s potential has been realized: as an agility dog.

Let’s face it: in her puppy class, Schatzi was a slow learner. She was that kid in the class who was always staring off into space, daydreaming about chasing birds…except that she really would chase them. It was so hard to get her to do what I wanted her to do because she couldn’t really focus. I had resigned myself to having a sweet, yet dumb dog. Here's a picture of Schatzi getting distracted by her favorite toy, Noah.

The instructor of our puppy class recommended we take the intermediate class because she thought that Schatzi, as a sporting dog, would have a much better experience. And Schatzi has! When we run and heel at a pattern, she heels beautifully, watching me for direction, rather than pouncing fuzzy dandelions in the grass. She leapt over jumps perfectly on the first time and we were even able to raise them a little. I think now that we’ve finally found something interesting for Schatzi to do, she might be a little easier to train.

Here’s some pictures of this growing agility dog! She’s up to 20 pounds and no longer fits perfectly in my lap (although she tries!). She's becoming a better retriever every day...and a better pet with better housemanners...there is hope!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Much ado about...nursing

I've been a little remiss about posting because I still can't find my darn camera...and I'm scared of Joe's digital camera...guess I'll have to get over that and just post some pictures. But, until then, I'll just write some text and you'll have to bear with me.

So, ever since my BSN program, I've had an interest in nursing research. At one point, I contemplated entering UW's BSN to PhD program, but married life, Joe's grad school, and the subsequent moves have changed that plan a bit. Being a rural nurse and somewhat frustrated at the lack of autonomy and collegiality with physicians, I decided to join the most feasible graduate program in nursing: family nurse practitioner. While I love clinical practice, I'm not sure that it will hold my interest forever (although, unlike some graduate nursing degrees, it will hold a JOB forever!). So, I've been thinking more about additional graduate tracks to gain research experience, such as UW's distance Doctorate of Nursing Practice program and various distance PhD programs.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Missing college...

Today, while procrastinating on all the cardiology literature I need to go through (and all of my other homework!), I was checking my email and found a little surprise from my friend (and fellow Motherpucker...that's our IM Floor Hockey team from Bellarmine!), Tony. He sent me this picture with a little reflection on how OLD we are getting and what a long time ago this sophomore year pumpkin patch trip seemed like.

Ah, I miss college. Maybe grad school was a subconcious effort to recapture that undergraduate feeling, but I certainly missed the mark! My undergrad experience at Seattle U was wonderful and I'm not sure I really appreciated it at the time. I remember feeling stressed and overworked a lot...not partaking in the unique college joys of partying, streaking, and other eyebrow-raising activities because I felt too busy. But, SU was the one time in my life that I had friends all around me just across the street, who were always up to something fun...the time I had a fairly flexible schedule...the time when I had time to reflect and grow, serve through Campus Ministry, OAs, NSNA, Belize. It was a rich, fun time and I am a bit nostalgic for that.

I guess it's always a challenge to grow up and get out into the real world. I remember making fun of those recent college graduates who still hung around SU, not being able to let go and move on. But, now, I can better understand their dilemma...grow up and leave this amazing community OR just hang around, enjoy the richness of my environment, and let people think I'm a slacker? It's hard to make your own niche in the big wide world after you've carved one so nicely after 4 years at SU. So many facets of your life have to change: who will I hang out with? what job will I love as much as my coursework? what church will I go to? how will I express my faith in my daily living?

But, to paraphrase a wise Engaged Encounter minister, there is sacredness in tough things. And so, myself and my wonderful community of SU friends are moving out into the world, trying to carve out our own paths and trying to carve them in a manner that reflects the people we have grown to be. We have community through email, rare visits, phone calls, and silly blogs like these. And, we are finding community in the places we have landed.

But, wouldn't you give anything to just have one week back in good old Bellarmine without any responsibilities? We should create a retreat like that!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Conquering the french knot! (Do not read this entry if you are getting married this Sept.)

So, September is the new June when it comes to weddings. We've been invited to 3 weddings on 3 consecutive Saturdays, each a 5 hour or more drive away from Idaho Falls. Sadly, we've had to weasle out of the middle wedding of our good friends, Toby & Carmella. Gas, hotel, kennel costs...all on a grad student budget! So, that leaves my cousin Larenda (and her fiance' Kelly)'s wedding on September 9 and our good friend, Anne, and her fiance' Eric's, wedding on September 23.

Normally, I'm strictly a wedding registry shopper. I mean, Joe and I appreciated all of our wedding gifts, but the registry gifts were SOOO convenient. First of all, we loved them (we already picked them out...duh!). Second, we had a use for them (see previous sentence). Third, if we had duplicates, we could return them easily. The non-registry gifts were more challenging and we got some WAY out there a plastic Coke lamp and a leopard print blanket (I have to ask...were these regifts?!?). So, following the golden rule, I generally buy off the registry.

But, now I'm deviating from my normal plan. I really wanted to get these 3 awesome couples something special...something they never even knew they wanted. But, time being limited and my skills also being limited, I couldn't think of anything. Suddenly, yesterday, it came to me. One of my favorite wedding gifts was an "Our first Christmas" ornament. I loved opening it and thinking of the memories we would make together. So, I decided I would embroider such ornaments.

I picked out a cute pattern and all was going well until...I read the directions. The stupid pattern requires French knots. Well, I avoid these suckers at all costs because I don't really know how to do them and it's really difficult to learn stitches from a diagram. But, today, I finally figured it out...without the stupid diagram. Whoo hoo! I feel like a rockstar.

That is all. I will post pictures when the ornaments are done. On the back burner, school started this week and so did Schatzi's intermediate puppy class. More on those topics later....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fun, fun, fun in the sun...

Since we had to return Noah and Amy to Kevin in Coeur d'Alene on Friday, we decided we would spend the weekend up there with the Jacksons and Cleto-Doruths. The rest of the family was there to celebrate Priscilla (A. Becca's Yorkie)'s birthday (I know how it sounds...crazy, but true), so we got to enjoy everyone. After a late, tiring road trip to CDA on Friday, we slept in a bit on Saturday and then U. Mark took Amy, Joe, Sydney and me out on Lake CDA for some tubing. None of us were wearing swimsuits, but we decided to get in anyway. Joe & Amy joined Sydney on separate tubes and they looked like they were having so much fun, I decided I wanted a turn...jeans and all. However, as soon as Sydney was safely back in the boat, U. Mark took a devilish turn. I should have known something was up because as soon as I got on the tube with Amy, she started yammering away, "Ok, you and me, we're on a team...a team against U. Mark. So do what I tell you to so we don't fall off!". It was an exhilarating ride and no one fell off until Joe joined the two of us...then Amy got dumped over backwards. I had so much fun! I never realized how much work tubing was, arms and hands were so tired from holding on and my back and abs were stiff the next day from trying to obey Amy's "lean this way NOW!" commands. What a workout!

Below, is a picture of Sydney on her separate tube with Amy & Joe in theirs. And then, there is a picture of the water falls that we went over....just kidding! I just threw that one in there. Joe took a picture of this diversion while he was on his pump route at work.

We finished off the day by catching a matinee of "Talladaga Nights" (funny, funny, funny if you like dumb movies!) with our favorite curly-haired friend, Kevin Eddy. Go see dumb movies with him...he's a riot! Joe says he loves having Kevin with him because Kevin laughs so loud at the movie that Joe doesn't feel self-concious.

We capped off the weekend with a leisurely drive home on Sunday, taking the scenic route through Salmon, ID. In Salmon, we stopped at Bertram's Brewery and ate outside, so Schatzi could join us. Best beer, brats and sauerkraut EVER (okay, except for maybe Berlin, but how often do we get to go there?). When we got home, my college buddy, Tony Pehanich, called and we had a nice phone visit (give a shout out if you are reading, chief!), which we hadn't done in too long. Nice way to end a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Houseguests and fish smell after 3 days...

...except when it's your godson and sister! :) After a LONG, LONG road trip (the trip from Lewiston to Idaho Falls is already testing, let alone with a 3 month old baby and a 3 month old puppy!), Amy, Noah, Schatzi, and I arrived in Idaho Falls Monday night. Between the busyness of a baby and the busyness of a puppy, there has been little time to post, but here I am finally. I wish I could post pictures, but my camera is MIA again. I hope that it will turn up somewhere soon!

It's so wonderful to have Amy & Noah here. I miss them both so much and our road trip has reinforced the fact that, yes, we do live quite a distance apart, which is a little hard on everyone. But, I've been trying to enjoy my Noah time while I can. We'll take mom and baby back to Coeur d'Alene, where they'll stay for a week. Then, they (with Mom and Kevin) will drive back to Idaho Falls to celebrate Amy and my birthday.

I've loved getting to know Noah better. He's a fat, fat baby! At 16+ pounds, he's the size of most 6month olds. He's smiling, laughing, and reaching for things. During a late night diaper change, he suddenly realized he could grab my hair AND suck his toes...that made him laugh! Amy's been avoiding milk products like the plague because she and her doctor think maybe Noah has some allergy to milk that is causing his rectum to be inflamed (protein-induced proctitis). We've seen some progress with Amy's new diet, but his ice-cream-loving mama hopes he'll outgrow this soon.

In other news, Schatzi has graduated from puppy class (not exactly with honors, but we'll take it!). She starts her intermediate obedience class on August 22nd. She's growing like a weed. It's pretty incredible. Joe, Schatzi and I were running in the park last night and Joe and I both realized that our dog can finally outrun makes me glad we've been diligently working on "come" and other commands so hard while she was little and we could still physically enforce most of them. Now, her nose is coffeetable height and she's trying to jump to reach counter and tabletops...another challenge! These newfound traits test our patience, but we really are enjoying her more now that she's grown a little. At 13 weeks, she's learned to settle down a bit more and rest in her special spots around the house, so we can all be together more. It won't be long before she can jump the baby gate that confines her to the kitchen, so we are extra motivated to teach her how to behave in the rest of the house.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A week in review...

It's been awhile since my last post, so I'll try to summarize our week.
Woke up in Spokane at my Aunt Becca's house. Schatzi terrorized Priscilla for a few hours, then we hit the road to Moscow so Joe could attend his meeting. Kevin, Mom, Amy & Noah picked me up to see newborn Kaleb (Rebecca Clapperton's new baby) and then we visited the Kaufmans for a few hours. Headed up to Orofino to stay at Lola's in the evening, but got delayed when Highway 12 was closed due to a fire.
After breakfast at our favorite Orofino restaurant, Ponderosa, we headed up to Johnson's Bar on the Selway River for the Altmiller family reunion. Everyone had a good time meeting Noah and Schatzi for the first time and Schatzi had a great time playing with her sister, Brookie, who belongs to my grandparents.
Drove back down to Lewiston and went to the Kaufmans to celebrate Steve's birthday. My grandparents and Mom joined the celebration. Jeff had a great time shooting with my grandpa and his dad and brothers. Joe flew home that evening. :( Miss that husband of mine already!
Lazy day...whoo hoo! Took a glorious morning nap at my mom's and then spent the rest of the day working on my Europe album.
The Jacksons came down to Lewiston because Uncle Mark had to do a deposition at Juvy Hall. Hails and Syd met Schatzi for the first time (except Syd thinks her name is Yahtzee!). We watched Nanny McPhee and ate shortbread cookies. Uncle Mark got done early and spearheaded a clean-up of Grace (our car). She looked like new (inside AND out) until a thunderstorm blew in that evening! Tuesday night, Schatzi and I went to the Kaufmans' to camp out with Jeff. Since there was a storm coming in, we set up camp in the living room and Jeff and I pretended we were soldiers, heated up an MRE, and patrolled the outside perimeter while Schatzi took a potty break. Fun times!
Had a great breakfast with Dad Kaufman, Jeff, Hank, and Ed at Jeffrey's restaurant before Lola and I drove to Vantage, WA to pick up Amy & Noah. (Poor Schatzi thinks she lives in the car!). After a long day in the car, we dropped Amy, Noah, Lola, and Schatzi back at home and went to Steve's new house in Palouse for a housewarming party.
After a rough night's sleep (between Noah and Schatzi) we got an early start (too early!). Then, took Noah & Amy to the Eddys' for some quality time while Lola and I ran some errands. Now we are back at home, hoping for a quick nap before Tancie and Lauren get here this evening.

It's been a fun week and I've got to see so many family members! Tomorrow, I have to work, so until later....that's all for these wildly exciting adventures.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Euro trip 2006 (part 2)

Okay, too many pictures for the last posting.

Cinque Terre : Joe & I on our balcony one evening; Phil, Joe & I on the trail between the towns of the Cinque Terre.

Paris: Joe & I, at the Eiffel Tower.

Euro trip 2006 (Part 1)

To celebrate finally getting all of our Euro trip pictures in an album, I thought I'd post some highlights of our trip from London to Rome.

London: Here's the changing of the guards. We were only there for a short day...enough time to get over jet lag and then a quick trip to Brussels.

Amsterdam: We stopped in the Netherlands to visit a friend, Meinou, who took us to Zuiderzeemuseum (a period village). There's a picture of Steve and me at the train station.

Berlin: Left to right: Joe and me at the Berlin Wall, a picture of Joe at a museum, the gang traveling (and drinking!) on a German train.

Venice: Us on the train to Venice with some newfound friends; Joe and me at a romantic trattoria in Venice; Steve on some canal steps.

Rome: Steve, Jen & Joe at the Coloseum; Jen's henna tattoo (Phil got one to match!); Steve, Chase, and Phil, showing the hands that touched the Pope; and the Pope himself.