Tag Archives: therapy dog

Today: The weekend according to Instagram IX.

Hello, Monday Tuesday.  It’s going to be one of those weeks, isn’t it?

The weekend according to Instagram IX

  1. Nick and I kicked the weekend off in lovely fashion on Friday night, thanks to the Boston Ballet.  The Ballet generously offered me a pair of tickets to the opening night of Sleeping Beauty.  And beautiful it was.  I highly recommend making it to this show (and grabbing a glass of Champagne on the way in).  The dancers are incredible, the costumes are fabulous, and the music is divine.
  2. My sister and I headed to the Cape on Saturday morning with our parents.  Andrea’s wedding is just two months away (beyond excited), and I got to tag along for her hair trial and a meeting with her florist.  We also swung by a couple of our favorite beaches.  It’s incredible how this winter’s storms have entirely shifted the shoreline in some places.
  3. I love Sunday mornings at CrossFit Southie.  The classes are always small, and I get to spend the rest of the day limping around.  Just kidding… kind of.
  4. For the strength portion of our workout, we were working up to our max reps of bench presses at either 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of our body weight, or at our body weight for prescribed.  I got 2 reps just under 1/2 my body weight, and 20 reps at 1/4.  (Sometimes I think I should carry a calculator around the gym.)  I was working with two women who are stronger than me, which I always find intimidating, but they encouraged me to keep adding weight and pushing it just a bit more.
  5. New favorite app:  Percolator.  It’s much more entertaining in color.
  6. While I pretended to get stuff done around the condo (but mostly just followed Clark around and Percolated him), Nick got the grocery shopping done at Whole Foods River Street.  What a man.
  7. We didn’t have a hospital visit scheduled this week, so Clark took his magical therapy powers (and matching vest) to the college kids.  We spent two hours in a senior dorm at Bentley, just doin’ what we do (i.e. I hold the leash, Clark snuggles with strangers).
  8. It wouldn’t be a weekend without a Polar FT4 shot.
  9. And it wouldn’t be spring in Boston without… Christmas lights?  If I had my way, the Commonwealth Mall would look like this year round.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite photo app?

Today: 12 highlights.

I think it’s safe to say that 2012 was the besssst yeaaaar evaaaaaaaah.  Though I can’t imagine how, I am hopeful that I will be able to say the same about 2013.  Life just gets better and better.

12 highlights from 2012

1.  Getting married

I wasn’t sure whether to lead with that, or save the best for last.  It seems like much of the year (and the end of 2011) felt like a lead up to the wedding, and I loved (nearly) every minute of it.  From marriage prep class to cake (pop) tasting, it was quite a bit of fun.  Seriously.  There was certainly a melt down or two, but when you get to marry your best friend, the silly stuff (like table linen swatches) sort of fades to the background.

More on our wedding:

2.  Honeymooning on St. John

A close second to getting married was the time we spent immediately thereafter.  Nick and I took a ten day honeymoon to St. John, where we swam, snorkeled, explored, sailed and floated to our hearts’ content.

3.  Drinking the CrossFit KoolAid

CrossFit Regionals at Reebok HQ

After months and months of listening to Nick and friends rave about CrossFit, I got my first taste of the proverbial KoolAid while visiting Reebok World Headquarters and Reebok CrossFit One with FitFluential.  I was hooked at 3-2-1 go!   I joined Crossfit Southie and started going to WODs twice a week with Nick.  If you’re looking to be challenged, and to find a great community to keep you going, I highly recommend taking your own sip of the (paleo?) KoolAid.

More on CrossFit:

4.  Volunteering with my therapy (bull) dog

Clark passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog exams earlier this year (I like to think I did a little work, too, but it’s his name on the certificates…).  We’ve made visits to a local children’s hospital (specifically to a pediatric and adolescent psych unit) nearly every week since July and I can say without reservation, it has been the most rewarding and moving volunteer work I have ever done.  It’s such a privilege to be able to connect with such wonderful kids, and the adults who care for them.  Though some visits are more difficult than others, I always leave feeling like my heart is spilling over.  And Clark always looks pretty darn happy, too.

5.  Putting down roots in my ‘hood

Perhaps it’s because our condo was good and renovated by the start of 2012, but it feels like we really put down roots this year.  From Crossfit Southie to our local coffee shop, our routine is very local.  And I love that.  I love that strangers know my dog’s name (I don’t love when they try to feed him Cheetos, though).  I love that I see the same people, doing the same things, day after day.  I love that I have to cross a bridge to leave, and a bridge to come home.

Simply put, I love our hood.  Especially when I’m wearing a (Reebok) hood.

6.  Making a health plan

After vowing to find a new primary care physician for years, I finally made good on my promise and ended up with not only a great doctor, but an entire team of health care professionals.  Though the months of blood tests, elimination diets, poking and prodding got old fast, I am feeling better than I have in years.  Like, 10 years.  Though chronic illnesses like colitis don’t vanish into thin air, I’ve learned so much about managing symptoms and making changes.  This former pastatarian has forgone gluten and lived to tell of it.  And the weekly B12 injections?  Completely worth the literal pain in the butt.

7.  Reaching the Beach with Team Off Balance

200 miles, 12 girls, 2 vans.  A recipe for disaster?  Or the ultimate weekend?  Thanks to New Balance, we averted disaster and had the ultimate relay experience.  I think of my teammates whenever I hear “Call Me Maybe.”  Fortunately, I love my teammates.  I hear that song a lot.  Still.

More on the 2012 Reach the Beach (MA) Relay:

8.  Becoming an aunt

This should have been far closer to the top of the list (my brain has a tendency to wander, we know this), but becoming an aunt has been a highlight not only of 2012, but of my semi-young life in total.  I could have never imagined loving someone as much as I do my niece.  When my older brother called me from the hospital to say that Nora Elizabeth had finally arrived, I cried and cried and cried.  And when I held her the first time, welp… I cried and cried and cried.  She is just incredible.

9.  Being featured in Whole Foods Magazine

Talk about a big surprise!  I was so honored and grateful for the mention in Whole Foods Market’s Holiday Magazine.  I love our friends at Whole Foods River Street and appreciate how wonderful they are.  And how easy it is to find things like l-glutamine powder and small-ish bananas there.

10.  Watching the America’s Cup World Series in Newport

Being a guest of Nespresso and Emirates Team New Zealand on a VIP boat (complete with the best espresso) in Newport Harbor felt like something that should be reserved for a, welp, VIP.  Somehow, I got a spot on one of the boats and enjoyed a front row view of the match races this summer.  It was, quite simply, incredible.

11.  Trying new things.

Whether it was pea protein, a trip to the ballet, or riding a bike (again), trying new things in 2012 made me quite happy. And quite excited to try even more new things in 2013.

12.  Turning 30

If this is what getting old looks like, I’m totally down.

I hope your year was full of highlights, and that 2013 brings you and your loved ones nothing but happiness.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite 2012 highlights?

Today: A weekend at home.

Home Alone

My older brother and sister-in-law celebrated their wedding anniversary this week, which meant Nick and I got to babysit our niece for the first time.  We partied like animals, singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while changing into PJs at 6:45 PM and reading not one, but two books before bed.  She is just heaven to be around.

Home Improvement

Much of the rest of the weekend was spent working on wedding projects and trying to rectify the broken sink situation.  We made two trips to Home Depot and managed to sneak in a little fun between visits to the faucet aisle.  There is so much to see and touch (and break) in that store.  I was tempted to buy a pink ride-on pony from the Christmas section, but refrained.  Instead, we picked up some PVC pipe for mobility and Crossfit practice at home.  It will also come in handy when I want to turn off the light switch without getting up from the sofa.  Just kidding.  Mostly.

Home away from home

 

We spent this morning at Clark’s home away from home, the local children’s hospital where he does his therapy dog visits.  I can think of no better way to pass a rainy Sunday morning than watching the kids snuggle with the Frenchie, feed him treats, tug on his ears, and hold him in their laps.  It makes my heart swell.

Home cookin’

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m very excited to share that On Tap for Today was included in the North Atlantic edition of the Whole Foods Market 2012 Holiday Magazine’s “On the Web: Fresh Voices” feature, along with my pal Caitlin and the lovely We Are Not Martha girls.  I’m really grateful to the team at Whole Foods for including me, and was sure to pick up a few copies today after grabbing groceries at River Street.

On the menu tonight?  Enough vegetarian chili to feed an army.

 

Homemade

What would Sunday night be without a do-it-myself manicure?

I live for rituals.  And weekends at home.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Packing up goodies for Kasee, my #atxbos match
  • Getting ready for the week ahead
  • Seating charts 🙂

What’s your Sunday ritual?

Today: 21 hours.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Monday was a long day.  I was awake (and mostly functioning) for 21 hours straight.  When you’re up and about for that long, you’re bound to see some shi things.

4:00 AM Nick was planning to take an early class at CrossFit Southie, so when I woke up for no reason, just an hour before his alarm would go off, I knew my chances of falling back to sleep were slim.

5:45 AM When my alarm went off as Nick was heading out the door, I wrangled the Frenchie and took him on an extra long walk through the neighborhood.  We saw not one, but two dead pigeons.  That seems to be happening a lot lately.  It’s a bit concerning.

7:40 AM I was off to work in record time, and about to turn the corner to my office, when the biggest rat I have ever seen came sprinting towards me.  It was as big as, like, my dog.  Or Splinter from TMNT.

The last time I was that close to a rat (this is gross, but I am going to tell you any way), it had been run over and flattened next to my car.  It was winter time, and the puddle that the flat rat came to rest in eventually froze over.  It was there for weeks.  I had to find a new parking spot.  When the ice thawed, and my overwhelming fear of that dead rat waned, I went back to my normal parking habits.  Little did I know, the dead rat was still there.  One evening, after I had locked up the office, a strong gust of wind lifted the rat and hurled it straight at me.  I think I blacked out, because I don’t really remember what happened after that.

Anyway, Monday’s rat was very much alive and, fortunately, never made contact with my body.  I couldn’t help, however, but to enter a spiral of irrational fears.  What if the rat came back while I was out grabbing the newspaper (I am an old man) at lunch?  Maybe it would catch me by surprise, and bite my ankle, and then I’d have to miss my soccer game.  And probably, I would get rabies.  Or something.  Once I start worrying, and my imagination takes over, it’s hard to stop.

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM Fortunately, my workday was productive and largely uneventful.  Mostly because I skipped my lunchtime walk and stayed firmly indoors.  Two dead pigeons and giant rat?  I was not taking any chances.

5:45 PM I got home just in time to give Clark’s talons a quick trim, his coat a quick brushing, and his ears a quick cleaning.  The little dude has to look his best when he’s making his therapy dog rounds.

We spend an hour and a half visiting some great kids at a local hospital.  I don’t think either of us wanted to leave when our time was up.  It’s so incredibly moving to see children– up against so much– delight in rubbing Clark’s ears and crouching down on the floor to kiss his wrinkly face.  They were curious about his missing tail (perhaps he is, too), whether or not he could fight a lion (I suspect not), and what he keeps in the pouch on his therapy dog vest (treats, obviously).  Clark was in his glory.  I likely would have only been awake for 20 hours, but I had to stay up an extra hour to tell Nick all about it.  I can’t wait for our next visit.

7:30 PM I contemplated taking a nap before my soccer game, but instead I watched half an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  Why do they wear so much under brow highlighter?  Puzzling.

8:45 PM I was about to head out the door for soccer, when I received a very important FaceTime call.  From my three week old niece.  When an infant calls, you answer.

11:30 PM Though we lost our playoff game, we had a great 11 v. 11 season.  It was nice to play on a big field again.  I won’t miss being out so far past my bedtime, however.  I had to employ my very best “stay alert and awake” tactics for the ride home (Call Me Maybe at full volume, a handful of Haribo gummy bears, and the AC cranked as high as it would go).

When I finally made it back to my warm bed, I felt like I had been awake for 400 hours.  In truth, it had only been 21.  And that was plenty.

Also On Tap for Today:

Which critter are you most afraid of?  Snakes?  Spiders?  Teresa from RHONJ?

Today: The power of touch.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Despite my admissions that I hate people invading my personal space, and would rather snap kick a stranger than be hugged by one, there’s no denying the power of touch.

One of the most challenging and moving books I’ve ever read is There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America, by Alex Kotlowitz.  I read it three times the summer after graduating college, before starting work coordinating a mentoring program for at risk kids.  We called them children of promise, but still, they were and are up against so much.  That book crushed me, and at the same time, inspired me and I have continued to go back to it as my career has evolved.  One passage in particular was on my mind a lot this past week.

Kotlowitz describes, with painful detail, the basic needs that aren’t being met for children living in poverty.  Beyond food, shelter, access to health care and education, he talks about the emotional needs of children– the things I likely took for granted as a child– including the power of touch, and such childhood rites of passage as owning a pet. We had fish, hermit crabs, and the occasional hamster, but I wouldn’t say we were an animal family, if that make sense.  I don’t know if we ever asked our parents for a dog (we probably did), but when the first time I read the passage about children wanting pets so badly, trying to take in strays, but ultimately being unable to care for them, it didn’t fully resonate.

And then I got a dog.  And people stopped us everywhere we went, wanting to pet him.  (He is especially popular with kids waiting for the bus on Broadway and MBTA workers). And I found myself snuggling with him for hours.  And I noticed how, given the choice, he’d always be right at my side.  And I loved seeing him race to the door when Nick got home from work.  Having a dog is like having a constant, albeit furry, hug.

While petting a dog is no substitute for human contact, animals can be great sources of comfort and therapy for people in all walks of life.  I am really excited that after two and a half years of training, Clark became a registered therapy dog on Friday night.  We’ll start social and therapeutic visits in the next few weeks, with opportunities to work with children, adults, and the elderly.

I’m grateful for everyone who has helped Clark perfect his snuggling techniques.  He’s had plenty of practice in his three years on the planet. 🙂  Want to spread the power?  Your assignment: go touch someone… in a non-creepy way.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you volunteer?  What’s your favorite way to help out?