Friday, April 29, 2011

NYC Puppy Class

When the weather starts getting nice, the Long Island puppy group comes to NYC for a monthly puppy class.  It's important to expose the dogs to the new sounds, smells, and activity of the city
Sophie's sister!  Can you believe it?
.  Especially when the pups are accustomed to peaceful suburbs.  Today was the first puppy class since last Fall and it was a great big success.  13 people and 11 dogs (9 black labs + Sophie + Poodle) did obedience work in Riverside Park and went to the dog run for play time.  Then we all walked over for lunch at Big Nick's.  Let me tell you, it is NOT easy to find a restaurant in Manhattan that welcomes (or has room for) 11 wiggly, squirmy, panting puppies.  I was so pleasantly surprised that they didn't give us a huge hassle.  They even brought us ice cubes for the pups and cleaned up a little pee accident!  The dogs did remarkably well in the restaurant, literally piled on top of each other under the tables.  Unfortunately, it was hard for the humans to have a conversation, eat, and keep the dogs in line, so I have no idea how the food was and didn't get much opportunity to catch up with my puppy raiser friends.  On the other hand, the day went down without a hitch (aside from the bitchy waitress who made a huge fuss about her asthma/allergy attack).  The BEST part was that Sophie got to play with her sister, who is over 60 pounds (to Sophie's 45) and black, but otherwise has the same silly temperament.  Sophie and I both really enjoyed getting to know her a little bit better.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comfort Zone

First time Sophie's been left alone out of her crate without Pauly to 'watch' her.  I came home after my 20 minute outing to find her huddled in the back corner of her crate.  Such a sweet baby!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

50 Things You Need to Give Up Today (reposted)

Looking up - the falling petals look like snow
 I think this list is so great that I am reposting it from another blog (Marc and Angel Hack Life).   I'm pretty good at numbers 3, 21, 24, 31, and 43.  I intend to improve on numbers 1, 8, 16, 22, 23, 33, and 42.  I challenge you to acknowledge your strengths and try to improve on your weaknesses.    

"When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you.
So starting today…
  1. Give up trying to be perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  2. Give up comparing yourself to others. – The only person you are competing against is yourself.
  3. Give up dwelling on the past or worrying too much about the future. – Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  Don’t miss it.
  4. Give up complaining. – Do something about it.
  5. Give up holding grudges. – Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.
  6. Give up waiting. – What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.  Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action.
  7. Give up lying. – In the long-run the truth always reveals itself.  Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  8. Give up trying to avoid mistakes. – The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.
  9. Give up saying, “I can’t.” – As Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”
  10. Give up trying to be everything to everyone. – Making one person smile can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  Start small.  Start now.
  11. Give up thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  12. Give up setting small goals for yourself. – Many people set small goals because they’re afraid to fail.  Ironically, setting these small goals is what makes them fail.
  13. Give up trying to do everything by yourself. – You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you work together, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone.
  14. Give up buying things you don’t need. – Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Read I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
  15. Give up blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can live your dream life depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  16. Give up making mountains out of molehills. – One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  17. Give up trying to live up to the expectations of others. – Work on it for real and exceed your own expectations.  Everything else will fall into place.
  18. Give up the ‘easy street’ mentality. – There is too much emphasis on finding a ‘quick fix’ in today’s society.  For example taking diet pills to lose weight instead of exercising and eating well.  No amount of magic fairy dust replaces diligent, focused, hard work.
  19. Give up making promises you can’t keep. – Don’t over-promise.  Over-deliver on everything you do.
  20. Give up letting your thoughts and feelings bottle up inside. – People are not mind readers.  They will never know how you feel unless you tell them.
  21. Give up beating around the bush. – Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Communicate effectively.
  22. Give up avoiding change. – However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace change and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.
  23. Give up your sense of entitlement. – Nobody is entitled to anything in this world.  We are all equal.  We breathe the same air.  We get what we give.  We get what we earn.
  24. Give up waiting until the last minute. – Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
  25. Give up being dramatic. – Stay out of other people’s drama and don’t needlessly create your own.
  26. Give up being anti-athletic. – Get your body moving!  Simply take a long, relaxing walk or commit 30 minutes to an at-home exercise program like the P90X workout.
  27. Give up junk food. – You are what you eat.  Read The 4-Hour Body.
  28. Give up eating as a means of entertainment. – Don’t eat when you’re bored.  Eat when you’re hungry.
  29. Give up foolish habits that you know are foolish. – Don’t text and drive.  Don’t drink and drive.  Don’t smoke.  Etc.
  30. Give up relationships with people who bring you down. – Saying “no” to right people gives you the time and resources required to say “yes” to right opportunities.  Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.
  31. Give up being shy. – Network with people.  Meet new people.  Ask questions.  Introduce yourself.
  32. Give up worrying about what others think of you. – Unless you’re trying to make a great first impression (job interview, first date, etc.), don’t let the opinions of others stand in your way.  What they think and say about you isn’t important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.
  33. Give up trying to control everything. – Life is an unpredictable phenomenon.  No matter how good or bad things seem right now, we can never be 100% certain what will happen next.  So do you best with what’s in front of you and leave the rest to the powers above you.
  34. Give up doing the same thing over and over again. – In order to grow, you must expand your horizons and break free of your comfort zone.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
  35. Give up following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t find the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  36. Give up persistent multi-tasking. – Do one thing at a time and do it right.
  37. Give up thinking others are luckier than you. – The harder you work, the luckier you will become.
  38. Give up filling every waking moment with commitments and activities. – It’s okay to be alone.  It’s okay to do nothing sometimes.  Think.  Relax. Breathe.  Be.
  39. Give up making emotional decisions. – Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence.  Slow down and think things through before you make any life-changing decisions.
  40. Give up doing the wrong things just because you can get away with it. – Just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean you should do it.  Think bigger.  Keep the end in mind.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  41. Give up focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  42. Give up taking yourself so seriously. – Few others do anyway.  So enjoy yourself and have a little fun while you can.
  43. Give up spending your life working in a career field you’re not passionate about. – Life is too short for such nonsense.  The right career choice is based on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.  Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
  44. Give up thinking about the things you don’t have. – Appreciate everything you do have.  Many people aren’t so lucky.
  45. Give up doubting others. – People who are determined do remarkable things.  Remember, the one who says it can’t be done should never interrupt the one doing it.
  46. Give up fussing with every beauty product on the market. – Good looks attracts the eyes.  Personality attracts the heart.  Be proud to be you.  That’s when you’re beautiful.
  47. Give up trying to fit in. – Don’t mold yourself into someone you’re not.  Be yourself.  Oftentimes, the only reason they want you to fit in is that once you do they can ignore you and go about their business.
  48. Give up trying to be different for the sake of being different. – Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity is conformity.  When people try too hard to be different, they usually end up being just like everyone else who is trying to be different.  Once again, be yourself.
  49. Give up trying to avoid risk. – There’s no such thing as ‘risk free.’  Everything you do or don’t do has an inherent risk.
  50. Give up putting your own needs on the back burner. – Yes, help others, but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
And remember, mistakes make us human, failures help us grow, hope keeps us going and love is the reason we’re alive.  So keep learning, loving and living.  Never give up on yourself."

Home sweet home

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Today Erika taught her mom, my mom, my friend Lauren's mom (Lauren, we miss you!), and me how to make Pysanky.  Erika learned how to make the Pysanky at the Ukranian Museum and she was psyched to give us all an arts and crafts lesson.  Pysanky are traditional Ukranian Easter eggs.  They are made by melting beeswax and using a special stylus to "draw" with the melted wax on the egg shell.  You are essentially drawing the negative of what the egg is going to look like, since the wax is what eventually comes off, revealing your design.  So the idea is that you draw a bit, and then dip it in special liquid dye, and then draw a little bit more.  You are covering more and more of the egg, so what's left when you're done is different colors that you covered with wax as you worked on the egg.  I would say that it took us about two hours, start to finish, to each make one egg.  The designs are very intricate and you are constantly melting the wax in your stylus over a candle.  At the end, you burn all the wax off the egg to reveal a gorgeous pattern.  If you're interested in making your own Pysanky, the supplies can be purchased in NYC at a store called Surma in the East Village.  It was really fun and even though my mom and I are not artistically gifted, we created beautiful eggs and had fun doing it. 

Marilyn, Mia, Mom, and Erika hard at work

Erika's first Pysanka

Erika, Marilyn, Mom, and Me Pysankying


Burning off the wax to reveal the colors underneath

One of Mia's beautiful Pysanka

 Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011


There are very few people in this world who will go out of their way to do generous and kind things for others, without seeking acknowledgment or reciprocation.  I am lucky to count so many of them as my friends.

Today I am grateful for:
Friends especially the new ones who seem to have materialized from nowhere and yet been a part of me forever, Time, Pajamas, Fresh Air, Mindlessly Uplifting Girly Movies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Leftover Pizza, Sleeping Lap Dogs, Optimism

Is there such a thing as...

a dessert hangover?

Cause I think I've got one.  Happy Birthday, Oli! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Lamb Time

A friend recently bemoaned on a rainy, cold day in NYC, "isn't it lamb time yet?"  It was definitely lamb time today in beautiful Morningside Park.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"On this night, we all recline"

Sophie is partaking in the reclining.  Happy Passover!

Squealing Pups and Shameless Fraud

I must share this video of a 4-day old litter of future service piglets puppies and their wonderful mama (thanks to the doting grandma for sharing).  Who knew the milk bar would be so noisy?

I also want to share this article about service dog fraud (thanks to Elin for sharing).  In addition to the problems mentioned in the article, I would add that the fraudulent service dogs are actually endangering the public and the legitimate service dogs.  What's the solution, though?  Should the policy that prohibits asking for proof of service dog legitimacy be revoked to protect those who actually have proof, which would simultaneously intrude on their privacy?  What are some other alternatives?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Deep Breaths - a lesson in patience

I always tell prospective puppy raisers that one thing a good puppy raiser must possess is patience.  Some dogs test this virtue more than others, and I must say, in the battle of the wills this weekend, Sophie has won.  Sometimes Most times she is a perfect angel, an absolute pleasure to be around, a dog that shows promise for a wonderful career ahead of her.  Other days, she has the devil in her.  Let's just say, the devil seems to be getting a little too comfortable in Princess Sophie's body over the past few days.  My left knee is killing me from a jam-packed day of walking and training her yesterday.  It hurts so badly that the only way I am going to survive a week of full-time Sophie duty (my parents are traveling), is by putting her in a gentle leader for a few days.  For anybody who hasn't tried it, the gentle leader is a collar/harness gadget that slips over the dog's nose to give the handler more control of the dog's head and limit pulling.  It works like a charm and greatly increases Sophie's one-week survival outlook.  It's totally cheating for trainers to use it, but this week, I'm going to be a cheater.  In addition to losing all self-control, chasing children, birds, and squirrels, Sophie has flipped her entire bowl of food all over my living room and tripped my neighbor - and this is just the past 12 hours.  Her only excuse for these puppy nutsies is that she may be coming into heat and her hormones may be raging out of control.  We've all been there, and for that, I will cut her some slack.  If only I could just slip her a Midol.  Reminder to self: I love my puppy.

Check out the bulldog that came skating through puppy class in Columbus Circle yesterday.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This is what I came home to this morning:
I had to tip-toe in to get this picture
"Oh, hi mom" - said in the best Eeyore voice you can muster
I had a lovely coffee date yesterday with two of the most stand-up gentlemen I know, Luis and Tuesday.  As we leave Starbucks, Luis scolds Tuesday, who is charging ahead into the beautiful day, "Tuesday!  Ladies first!" and Tuesday drops into a heel to let me go ahead.  It was a glorious, hot day in NYC and I can't think of a better way to spend it than by sitting outside, sipping iced tea, and listening to Luis talk, bounce ideas, and tell stories while getting "snuggles" from Tuesday (Pauly will be perfecting the "snuggles" command ASAP).  Tuesday convinced me that he really is the most emotionally intelligent dog I've ever met.  In true Golden fashion, he wants to be in the middle of the conversation and/or on top of its participants at all times.  However he alternates laps and leans with the skill of an experienced party host who knows just when to bounce to their next guest.  As they showed off their arsenal of party tricks, I was most impressed by his "whisper" command, which means to bark softly.  It took a couple of loud barks, but then he whispered a hushed bark.  I'm sure you dog handlers can appreciate the difficulty of teaching this one!  Luis and Tuesday have achieved a unification that we hope all our dogs will achieve with their partners.  They are truly different aspects of one personality - Tuesday the goofy, outgoing side and Luis the pensive, noble side. 
I suggest you check out their website, pre-order their book, and pencil in the nearest book talk/pawtographing event near you.  I promise it will be your pleasure meeting these guys.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hello Blackbird Hello Starling

Rocco figuring out how to carry a 4ft stick

Erika, Pauly, and Rocco

Some lovin'
Some more lovin'

My sweet Paulywog

It's a beautiful day in NYC

Fast friends

Friday, April 8, 2011

Opinionated Procrastination: Government Shutdowns and Non-Profit Management

Government Shutdown
Dear friends, I am disappointed in you.  My Facebook newsfeed is seemingly void of any discussion of America's most current and shocking failure.  Pia, the stunning and talented American Idol was sent home last night because of your failure to vote.  Instead, I am seeing a constant stream of poorly informed chatter about government shutdowns and Obama's failures.  Don't you understand that a talented Jersey girl's dreams were crushed, just crushed last night?

Ok, in all seriousness, folks, I don't watch American Idol and I'm slightly embarrassed for even knowing about this Pia woman.  I am disappointed, though.  I'm disappointed that people make poorly educated statements blaming Obama and the Dems for this government shutdown.  First of all, the government is shutting down because of our representatives' inability to compromise and play nice for the sake of the American people.  In case you missed Kindergarten, a compromise (definition: to come to agreement by mutual concession) requires give and take from all parties.  So 50% of this crises cannot be blamed on Obama & Co (and I think that's being generous).  Secondly, the reason Congress is getting paid while other deserving and essential employees and troops are not is because the Republicans failed to pass a bill that would stop Congress' paychecks in the event of a shutdown.  Hear that?  So before you go copying and pasting Facebook statuses blaming Obama for the troops and employees not getting paid while he and Congress get their paychecks, let's all remember that Obama & Co not only agree with you, but they tried to do something about it.  Oh, and please, get your shit together about Planned Parenthood before you spout made-up non-facts on the Senate floor.

Non-profit Management
On a very different note, I would like to vent briefly about how not to run a non-profit.  Over the past few weeks I have been stockpiling frustrations with the many non-profits I am involved in and I have compiled a collection of non-profit no nos.  To be clear, this is not directed at any particular non-profit and is based on experiences with at least 5 different organizations and I am not naming names or calling anybody out.
  1. When people make a donation, do not include a donation slip in your thank you letter.  That's just tacky.
  2. Do not affiliate with poorly planned and distasteful events (eg. beer pong tournaments), even if it does mean money for you.
  3. Do affiliate with well-planned, well-organized, and tasteful events (eg. book talks, walkathons, picnics), even when they may not be all about you, especially if it does mean money for you. (#3 is also known as cutting off the nose to spite the face)
  4. Do not host an upscale volunteer dinner and tell volunteers that they can't bring a guest/date (even at a charge), especially when the volunteers don't know each other.  Who wants to show up at a formal reception when they don't know a single other person?
Now I must get back to my seemingly hundredth paper in 2 years on the obesity epidemic.  If you haven't had enough frustration, anger, or disappointment in your day, I suggest you check out the pretty colors in this video. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Submit Thesis, Buy Shoes

Today I:
Completed masters thesis
Will submit masters thesis
Bought celebratory long-awaited Tom's shoes
Bought celebratory lily at Trader Joe's
Visited with peacocks at the Cathedral
Totally rocked a challenging and stressful midterm

If this fella is going to be a main character on my blog, I think we ought to name him.  Suggestions?
Blurry phone picture, but this is the albino peacock.  He needs a name, too!

Pauly thought this was quite the formidable bird.
Submit thesis: check, Buy self pretty things: check

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sick As a Dog

Just when I thought Paulywog was getting better, he took a turn for the worse last night.  Sorry if this is TMI, but there is nothing like emergency bloody diarrhea hours after your vet closes for 2 days to really make you curse the powers that be.  Pauly and I are, unfortunately, pros at the bloody diarrhea emergencies.  His fecal always come back negative and a week of Metranidizole fixes him up. Why am I so cheap that I didn't just take him yesterday when the vet was still opened? I always struggle with whether the vet visit is really necessary and then end up thinking the post-visit relief was worth every penny. Like all life lessons, that one never seems to stick long enough to get me through the next health crisis.

Kicking myself in the ass for thinking he was getting better and didn't need to go to the vet, I called Dr. Fierman's office at 8:45pm and left a message saying something along the lines of "I think your office is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but Pauly is sick and if you happen to come in and could give us some antibiotics that would be awesome".  At 11pm Dr. Fierman called back and left a voicemail for me saying "Pauly shouldn't wait until Thursday.  Please take him to the emergency hospital on 55th street tomorrow.  Call me back anytime tonight, you won't be disturbing me".  Dr. Fierman is the best vet in the entire world (Cathedral Dog and Cat Hospital).

So how do you get a 70lb lab from 110th street to 55th street when he isn't allowed on public transportation?  I've heard there are emergency pet ambulances, but that seems extreme.  Not to mention, how much would an emergency vet cost?

He wasn't any better this morning so I spent an hour pouring over online reviews of emergency hospitals and local vets.  It's a Tuesday, so luckily many vets in my neighborhood are open.  The emergency vet would have cost $150 for the visit + any tests and meds.  Let's not forget that I do not currently have any income.  Not to mention the challenge with getting him there.  Reading the reviews from people whose dogs had true medical emergencies, I also didn't feel like all the technology and intensive care was really necessary for our current case.  Luckily, a local vet agreed to see him.  $212 later, fecal tests were negative and he got a week of Metranidizole ($7).  The skies opened up and we got soaked in a downpour on the walk home.  Pauly and I both need a hug and a smile today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hugs and Smiles

Sometimes when you're having a bad day, all you need is a hug and a smile.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Carrot Story

"Soon as she says 'go', that stick is mine"

"Try and catch me"

"Yup, just as good as we thought"

"I'm sorry, did you want a bite?"

"Good down!  Now staaaaay while I get this morsel"


"Nope, still working on it"

"I've got schmutz, you say?"

"Alright, I guess you can have a crumb"

"Wasn't that fun?"

*just for the record, P got a carrot too

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nature in NYC

A drop of color on a dreary day.  One of 3 peacocks that roam free on the grounds of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This guy was just squawking at Pauly and I on our walk.

Whirlwind Week

First things first in case you get bored and don't read past the first paragraph: Please visit my friend Erin's blog and fill out her research questionnaire about your dog.  I know her hypothesis and I'm curious to see her findings, which will only be valid if enough people complete the questionnaire. 

This has been a totally whirlwind week.  On Sunday, I went to a neighborhood in Queens called Jackson Heights, which is a predominantly Indian neighborhood.  Thanks to my Queens-native classmate, Hannah, we went to the most delicious and inexpensive Indian lunch buffet ever.  For $10, we gorged ourselves on hot, fresh, authentic Indian food that was better than any I've ever had (other than homemade by Jay's grandma and aunt).  After our feast, we perused the shops filled with jewelery and saris with gorgeous beading and colors.  A severe food coma ensued and I believe I sat on my couch for the remainder of the afternoon. 

Also this week:
  • All-day job interview at Yale: went well but I don't think it is the job for me.  Beggars can't be choosers, but I'm looking for a career, not just a job.  Great job, not great career. 
  • Pet therapy at the hospital: Pauly was so popular and it was a shame that we could only stay an hour before sprinting off to Connecticut.  For the first time, we even got people out of bed to help me walk him down the hospital corridors.  One lady in a full-leg cast even hobbled with us all the way to the elevators when it was time to go.
How could this not cheer you up?
  • In Connecticut, I spent the night with my mom's best friend, Kate, and her granddaughter, Zarah.  It was cozy and fun and I loved spending time with them.  I'm not a big fan of kids, but I really love Zarah.  Seeing them more often would be a major perk of a job in CT. 
Pauly, Lia, and Zarah (May 2010)
  • For my Urban Space and Health class final project, we need to create a poster/movie/podcast about "participating in the city".  After meeting with my professor, I decided to do a movie about being the Area Coordinator for the GDF and film puppies participating in the city.  I think it will be fun and, as my professor says, how can you not win with puppies?
  • The Daily Show: I must say, Jon, you disappointed me.  After seeing Colbert, I had my hopes up for Jon Stewart.  I like his show better, I think he's smarter, and I think he's kinder.  I was so psyched to see him live.  Major letdown.  Everything from the interns who greet you and psych you up, to the warm-up comedian, to the q&a, to the show was so much worse than Colbert.  At Jon Stewart, I felt like I was just watching the show, with an audience about 3 times the size of the Report, and it didn't seem like Jon was enjoying it or enjoying our presence.  At Colbert, I felt like I was chilling with Stephen and that he was feeding off our energy and vice versa.  I still like the Daily Show better, but if you are going to see one live, I give Colbert 5 stars and Jon 3 for the fun-factor and the entertainment factor.  
  • Haircut: I had the greatest haircut yesterday.  Julie, the best stylist ever, always does such a good job and I find the salon really relaxing.  For the first time, she blew it out straight yesterday after the cut and I got to feel pretty all day.  Unfortunately, this April showers thing cut the prettiness short, but it was fun while it lasted.  I have yet to see it curly, but I think it's really short!
Paulywog isn't feeling well, so we have been doing lots of snuggling and taking it easy.  I woke up at 2am and at 7am to take him outside because I didn't want any accidents and both times he just looked at me like "Leave me alone, mom, I'm trying to sleep".  He was right, I packed him so full of rice he didn't need to go.  We both went back to sleep and snoozed until 12:30.  He's still snoozing.
Sweet, sick Paulywog