Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tune In

Six degrees of separation from my DREAM JOB of working in television is brought to me in only three steps by our current foster pup.

Oliver the foster pup>going up to 30 Rock tomorrow with Puppies and More Rescue for Meredith Vieira Show> TELEVISION CAREER  (#CommMajor #IsellinsuranceNow #SadFace).

Well, if you are home/have a DVR/have access to a television tune into the Meredith Vieira Show on NBC tomorrow  (12/17) for the segment they taped at the last transport on Sunday regarding the rescue that we volunteer for (Puppies and More out of Marlton, NJ). Our directors are going up with some of the pups to show off these little cuties that they save every single month...and Oliver is one of them.

Check your local listings for the air time, but from what Google is telling me (as we've cut the cable cord in our household) it looks like for the Philadelphia area it airs at 1 pm. It's a chance to see all the hard work this rescue does. We're thrilled to be just a small part of it.


This is Oliver, available for adoption through Puppies and More Rescue. Applications can be downloaded at the website, or to see a list of current other puppies and dogs available. http://puppiesandmorerescue.org/

Friday, August 15, 2014

Everyone Loves A Happy Ending

So we did what any logical emotionally compromised couple would do and adopted the only surviving puppy from the parvo litter.

Welcome home Hermes, the new little brother to Homer! 

We cannot thank both Kristin and Andrea enough for being amazing foster parents to this little pup. Onto the next adventure we go with a two dog household....and I'm now incredibly outnumbered by males. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Say Hello, Say Good Bye

Well this started out as a completely different post, but what a drastic turn 7 days can make.

I have always, always, always felt that everything happens for a reason, and God works in mysterious ways. The number of events that have lead to this exact moment, which to me absolutely solidifies my belief in this, is staggering. But in this moment, I feel broken and defeated.

Last Monday we put down Dusty, our family cocker spaniel of 15 years. It's what's best for him, he can hardly walk, and it's no life for him to live having to be carried everywhere. Logical Natalie knows it's his time. Emotional Natalie is having a really hard time letting go, and is a bit of a emotional wreck.

RIP Dusty
15 years is no joke and he's lived a loved life. I begged by father while he was PIA president (sorry, I was 13 and a jerk) by leaving notes on his pillow every night that I wanted a puppy. That fateful March rainy morning when we went to get Dusty I was terrified, but he's been the best and most loyal dog. On multiple occasions, Nick and I would watch him while my parents were away and he absolutely accepted Nick as part of our pack.

One of those occasions was after Nick and I moved into our own home. Dusty came and stayed with us for a number of days, and when he left to go back to my parents, we felt like the house was empty. It was then that we started our quest for our own dog.

We knew we wanted to rescue a dog, since there are so many perfectly good pups that get euthanized simply because of overcrowding in shelters. While searching for pups on PetFinder, we stumbled across Puppies and More Rescue right in Marlton, NJ. We fell in love with the pictures of a pup named Bubba, and you can read the story of our adoption here. I won't repeat myself, but I cannot thank Jennifer enough for being such an incredible foster mommy and welcoming us into her home and life when we came for Bubba.

Recently Nick and I have wanted to give back in some way, and it was his idea to foster puppies for that same rescue. Homer is incredibly friendly and social dog, and we'd love to be able to help those who can't help themselves. We applied and were approved as foster parents, and the first transport we were participating in was last Sunday.

Our two lab pups were amazing, so tiny but so full of personality. Sadly the litter succumbed to Parvo. We had to bring our first pup to the clinic Tuesday evening, and our second on Thursday morning. As of this morning, only one of the six pups has survived, and he's not out of the woods yet.

Obviously this is a freak occurrence. Our director was incredibly upset, and I was blessed to have the two other foster mamas housing the litter find me on Facebook, so we didn't have to go through this tragedy alone. Needless to say our first time fostering was terrible. This is probably the worst and most difficult week that I can remember.

But I believe the proverb goes "Fall down 7 times stand up 8".  I'm not saying I wish this pain on anyone. But Nick and I are going to embrace the sadness, let some time pass, and be ready for the next transport.  There are plenty more puppy lives that need saving.

All I can ask is this: if you can't afford your dog to have puppies, get them spayed or neutered. Or if you can't afford the care of a dog, don't get one. If you're looking to get a dog, think about adopting before 'shopping'. And remember that the people that save those dogs who were dumped on the side of the road, we love them and care for them the second they come into our arms. And our lives are forever changed if/when they don't make it. 

RIP Maggie and Artemis

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Life Updating

Well it's been ages since I posted being as life has been crazy and this relentless winter has been incredibly depressing. Winter is officially that ex that keeps showing up to remind you like hey, I'm still around and you like me right? making it weird because you've already moved on to spring. GET IT TOGETHER WINTER YOU AREN'T WANTED HERE ANY MORE.

But things have been happening so I'm trying to play catch up.

First things first, my running training fell off the deep end the end of February and pretty much all of March. And we're halfway through April so what training? I'm ignoring you Runkeeper push notifications on my phone. It's snowing again and I don't want to deal with the treadmill, AGAIN. Gosh this bed is comfy. I'll be fiiiiiiine for the hot chocolate run in April, I'll run while I"m on vacation (#LOL). But more on that later.

I had the annoyance privilege of reporting for jury duty in mid March. I thought I was going to have the best and most epic blog to write after that experience. I was so wrong. Or lucky. However you want to look at it.

I was first summoned for jury duty back in September but was able to be excused as I was running a half marathon which was non-refundable (just in case anyone ever tells you running doesn't get you out of anything) the day before and had a friend staying with me from out of town. They excused me and said I would be summoned again in March.

That mid-March Monday I didn't have to report, but Tuesday, I must report. I packed my lunch the night before, labeled it in a clear bag, changed purses because lord knows how many safety pins I have in there to be setting off all kinds of alarms. Had a fretful sleep because I've never done this before and what if I do everything wrong? Wake up and run 4 miles on the tready tread (okay so some of my training was still happening BUT STILL)

Long story short I still managed to set off the metal detector and had to have a romantic wand screening at the court house. There were two judges that day, the group split in half by the magical computer, and the first group left to be interrogated start their jury selection. I was in the second, and they eventually came back in and said you're dismissed, the judge no longer needs to pick a jury. They told us to check back tomorrow just in case, but it's likely we won't have to report again. We didn't, so I'm good for another 3 years. Allegedly.

The following week in March I got to participate in lobbying in Washington DC with the professional organization our office is an active member of. It was my second time going down, and this year I took the train into DC instead of driving which was the most epic decision ever because 1. there is no traffic and 2. an hour and a half of time to read! Unbeknownst to me I booked the same arriving and departing train as a fellow board member so I had a travel buddy which was fun. Our briefing meetings were informative and incredibly helpful as always. Cocktail hour and dinner were a great time to socialize and have some fun.

The next morning I did manage to set off the metal detector going into the Capital due to my abs of steel (#LiesItellMyself SHUT UP). I had to take off my shoes and told them this is just like the airport but they were not amused. All was going quite well until myself and the gentleman I was lobbying with (aka guy who's been doing this for a bazillion years so I can just sit there and nod my head in agreement as he pontificates about our issues) realized our two meetings for the day were only a half hour apart and in two different government buildings.  He left me to to meet with the Congressman alone so he could at least be in the waiting room for our next meeting.

UM, INSERT PANIC MODE. Literally following thoughts cross my mind as I started sweating in my suit since this is only my second time lobbying (thanks Jenn/tumblr/pinterest):

THANK GOD one of the lawyers on staff arrived as he was scheduled to be with the two of us (unbeknownst to me)  and saved me from looking like a complete blabbering deer in headlights. In keeping with my epic adult facade when we met with the Congressman the first thing we talked about were puppies because EVERYONE LOVES PUPPIES. Alright, he had pictures in his office of dogs and sometimes I'm actually quite observant and it worked because he totally opened up to us and was showing us photos of his dogs on his phone. Obviously we talked about our causes as well, but mostly puppies. I regret nothing.

I was super disappointed that at our next meeting we didn't get to meet with the Congressman who is a former Eagles player because I totally wanted to do the E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES! chat with him and then promptly be thrown out by security. It would have been totally worth it.

Vacation followed the next week which was awesome and if you follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram you know I was drunk the whole time enjoying some R&R. Mostly the sleeping. Because let's face it we're much too pale to spend too much time in the sun. And reading. I finally read the first Game of Thrones novel so only 4 more to go (thanks for the spoiler alert about Joffrey this week NICK).

Me, happy I didn't die after 9.3 miles
You know what's not fun to do, fly home then run a race. UNLESS THAT RACE ENDS WITH A BOWL OF MELTED CHOCOLATE AND DIPPIES.  Colleen and I had signed up for the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in Philly back in January because we're over achievers. I mean we had planned on training and then life/snow/winter/more snow/polar vortex/OH MY GOD SO MUCH SNOW happened and the training just didn't. Or we're lazy, WHATEVS.

We were immediately regretting our decision and wishing we had signed up for the 5K until we got there. We actually did okay all things considered. Alright, I did okay, she was kind enough to stay with me the entire run because she usually beats me by a zillion minutes. The bowl of melted chocolate was everything you could ever want. Then I got mad because I love chocolate, and running is torture fun, so why didn't I think of this race a be a thousandaire or something?! Sigh.

Our other regret is not bringing a small bottle of vodka to spike our hot chocolate with because, priorities.
Colleen, looking like a model after 9.3 miles

So in summary: winter is a jerkface, everyone loves talking about puppies, metal detectors hate me, and hot chocolate is the best thing ever after a cold run.

Rapidly approaching in just over two weeks are one of my best friend's wedding, Broad Street, and then another month to get my 5K time under 30 minutes. But I have word from a reliable source that the tiki bar has draft beer again for the season so see ya never!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Year New Things

I've been in a running funk lately. Hell a life funk but I won't overwhelm you with those details. January I didn't skip any of my workouts for my RunKeeper training. I ran almost 50 miles and spent about 10 hours doing it. I've been feeling stronger in my runs and my times are improving, slowly but surely. The weather though has really put a damper on my 4 runs a week training. I don't mind running on the treadmill two days a week before work, but on the weekends when one of those trainings is a distance run, it's torture. I don't care how many movies or playlists I make I cannot run on a treadmill 4 days a week.

Unfortunately with all the snow/ice/sleet, it's not practical for me to run outside. Sure they make special covers you can put on your shoes for running in the snow but I'm just not willing to risk it. I'm too accident prone and cannot deal with a broken bone ontop of everything else. Hell I woke up early yesterday just to do my 3 miles/sprints workout to beat the rain/sleet/snow storm and almost ate it on black ice just getting out of my driveway (luckily the rest of the run was uneventful). I've been skipping workouts and that's not an effective way to reach my goals.

As you may or may not be aware, I have a bit of a stress issue which lead to the finding and repair of a minor heart problem the procedure of which  I had back in November. My doctor had recommended that along with my regular exercise, I start partaking in stress relief activities such as yoga or deep breathing exercises. As if Groupon knew, they ran a deal for 10 Bikram Yoga classes at a studio only 20 minutes from my house.

I bought it on a whim in January and have been sitting on the Groupon for over a month now with the expiration date rapidly approaching. I decided that since I'm in this running funk, and there was no way I was busting 6 miles out on the treadmill today (thank you overnight snow), today would be the day I'd finally attend a class.

Mind you, I took a yoga class once in my hometown gym and HATED it. It was slow, crowded, and the positions were too difficult for me. I never went back. That was years ago and this new studio advertises right on their website that it only offers beginning level classes. I knew to dress lightly and hydrate well since you're in a heated room. I still wasn't prepared.

I arrived for the 10 am class by 9:40 since I was new and needed to register. The 8 am class had let out and they were drinking some sort of green shakes out of mason jars. I show up in capris, and a running t-shirt, whats up guys!

The first thing I noticed is the overwhelming smell of feet. Awesome. That's probably because the shoe rack is right by the front door, but still. Gross. After the initial shock of stench, the receptionist and instructor were really nice helping me register and asking my experience. As I advised I have none, they said that I will be fine, to take my time, and if at any time need to stop it's okay, just do what I feel comfortable with. I was directed to the 'hot room' to place my mat and get ready for class.

HOT ROOM is understatement of the century. It's hot and humid. And smells like feet and sweat. I placed my mat down and sat on it. I was sweating already and not even doing anything. I noticed that most other individuals were lying down on their mats so I did the same. OH MY GOD then just lying down I was sweating even more. I mean, I had boob sweat dripping down my chest already was I breathing too hard?! This is crazy, I thought. I'M NOT EVEN DOING ANYTHING YET AND SWEAT IS POURING OFF ME I'M GOING TO DIE!

Class started promptly at 10 am with the instructor calling out the names of the new people for today's class. She loved my enthusiasm since I was the first name called and my hand shot up like hey guys, please notice all the mistakes I'm making.

It truly wasn't bad at all. Sure, my clothing was sweat soaked about 10 minutes in (next time, tank top all the way), but I held my own in the class. Thankfully I wasn't the only one unable to hold positions. Some of the regulars had to adjust or take breaks as well. I even surprised myself with some of the poses I was able to hold, probably thanks to my running. The instructor was patient and helped explain what the different poses were doing to help our bodies.

Toward the end I was getting uncomfortable just from the heat, and something called a camel pose that when I attempted thought I was going to pass out so I decided to just sit that one out instead (apparently that pose will make you see stars so it's normal, alrightly then). I will admit I was relieved when she announced the final pose. Then they have you lay quietly on your back and give you a frozen cold towel with some essential oil that could have been crack cocaine I don't care it felt amazing on my face (that's what she said).

As we lay quietly at the end I realized that I thought about NOTHING the entire class. I was entirely focused on my body and the movements it was making. It was refreshing for me to take a break from my head because there is no off switch. Running is when I tend to sort out my problems and issues of the week to find solutions or just work through them. Yoga just had me focusing on myself and quieted those ever nagging voices, which was incredible.

Overall, I did notice a difference after the class. The tension and stress that I carry in my lower back and shoulders is GONE. Usually only a massage can get rid of that (with my masseuse scolding me for carrying a heavy purse and being so stressed, like I enjoy being stressed or something) but here I am 90 minutes later feeling relief I haven't felt in months. I guess we'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

I will definitely be going back for my 9 remaining classes. I don't think I'll be getting a membership or doing Bikram Yoga on the regular, but it's nice to have an exercise option for if I'm feeling overwhelmed or need to just zone out.

After class some as I sat in the reception area putting my shoes on some of the people were drinking their green smoothies again. So I came home and did the same...with a Bloody Mary. Hey, it's red and made of tomato juice and vodka is made from potatoes and I don't have a mason jar so whatever. You know me, I can't get too Zen over here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Must Be Wednesday!

Monday my credit card number was compromised and fraudulent purchases made on top of an incredibly crazy stressful work day.

Tuesday I broke the Tupperware containing my lunch.

This morning at my follow up appointment with my general doctor after my heart surgery, she lovingly pointed out the 6 pounds I gained over the holidays. I countered that no sane person is going to say no to cookies that only come around once a year and I'm back to healthy eating plus running 4 days a week, thank you very much.

Next she mentioned that the heart problem I had has a small chance of re-occurrence as the pathway closed could just make a new one. Fantastic.

Then she pointed out that I'm now 28 year's old and asked when I'm going to have a baby.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Excuse me while I find a straw and steal the Gentleman Jack bottle from my boss's office.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Multi-tasking Runner

The goods.
This week officially started the workout regimen for my 2014 goals. And by regimen I mean running my little heart out and some upper body lifting to start. I'm using a free, 16 week, 10K training program off my RunKeeper App. I figured this was perfect for me as it has a prearranged running schedule and forces me to log my workouts to keep me accountable. All the while preparing me for the 15K I signed up for the beginning of April and taking me right up to (hopefully) Broad Street in May.

For my birthday Nick got me new running shoes AND a Garmin which I'm super stoked to have gotten. I was hoping to get the watch for two reasons:
1. Doing intervals and monitoring speed is easy on a treadmill. Running outside I'd use the Run Keeper App through my phone which I wear on an arm band to track mileage and pace. However I can't continually monitor my time/pace since it only updates me at the completion of a mile and I can't see the screen. The training program I'm using incorporates sprint workouts and specific timed runs. Thus the watch makes my life so much easier to stay consistent in my training.
2. Since I had heart surgery and was fully cured/cleared, it's probably a prudent idea to track my heart rate when I exercise. So now I'll get to wear a heart monitor strapped to my chest that will be recording for ya know, emergencies or freak heart issues.

Because of the weather (oh hey Antarctica, didn't realized I moved to you!) I've been on the treadmill in the basement this week. I love my treadmill for interval work outs but for steady running I'm good for about 2 miles before I hate my life. At least running steadily outside I'm planning my route, trying to not get hit by cars, and have a kick ass playlist to keep me moving. In my basement I'm thinking of all the excuses to jump off and just do something else more inviting like snuggle my dog.

On a sort of unrelated note I decided I was watching too much Netflix and not doing enough reading as of the end of last year (Sons Of Anarchy WTF! WHY IS SEASON 6 NOT ON THERE YET?!) So I've also made it my resolution to read before bed instead of watching an entire series an episode. This was solidified when a co-worker lent me Stephen King's "Doctor Sleep" since I just finished "The Shining".  It took me all of 3 months to read that because  I discovered Netflix in the interim (even though we've had it for the whole time I've known Nick but I'm just capitalizing on it now. YOU GUYS, SO MANY SHOWS I NEED TO WATCH). I absolutely cannot take that long to return the book to her. Plus I got 10 books for Christmas. Ontop of my what I've already downloaded to my Kindle.  My nerdom is showing.

Fresh kicks.
This morning as I drug my toasty, half asleep self down to the chilly basement and was dreading my 3 miler on the treadmill I thought, why not try to watch Netflix while I run? I can't read on there, but I can watch it right from the app on my Kindle, have headphones plugged in so can hear everything clearly, and am distracted by the plot lines.

AND IT WORKED! My three miles flew by, I caught up on another episode of Orange is the New Black, and I get to read before bed tonight. Now I can feel less guilty about watching so many shows since I'm working out WHILE watching them and still getting my daily reading time in.

Multi-tasking at its finest my friends.