Friday, July 31, 2009

Sit. Stay. Good blog reader.

Okay, so my last entry was a wee bit depressing. I get that way sometimes. What can I say? I'm over it. Nothing more to see here, people, move along, move along. Let us all forage ahead into this (new and much less emoish and/or low-on-meds) (but high on parentheses) post. I'll hold your hand, I promise.

Did you know that I'm a dog trainer? No? I am forced to point out that you must have been remiss in reading my profile. Go ahead, go check it out. I'll wait.


Yeah, it's short. I'm not one for going on and on when a few succinct sentences will do, as I'm sure you can tell by my concise, to-the-point, no frills previous entries.


Anyway, I fell into dog training when I needed a p/t job that would allow me to work around my husband's (then normal) working hours. My dilemma came in the fact that I'd rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue* than work in customer service, yet I also keenly felt the need to avoid living in a cardboard box, screening my cell phone calls for creditors and my mother-in-law.


Being left with few options, I jumped on the opportunity to apply for the dog training position open at my local PetSmart. The minor detail that I'd never owned a dog didn't slow me down in the slightest. After all, how hard could it be? I lied my way through the interview and VoilĂ ! A new job was all mine.

Two years later, I left PetSmart as quote "the best trainer they'd ever had" unquote (thank you Manager Joe, you are obviously a man of keen and savvy business sense) to become the head trainer at my local humane society. Not only the head trainer, but also the program creator and curriculum writer. People, they *headhunted* me. I'm, like, all in charge and stuff. SO. RAD.

I no longer have to lie about my experience. Well, not much. There is still that bit about how I got started in the dog training world. Seriously, you expect me to tell clients I learned from PetSmart? Ha. Dream on.

The coolest thing is I *love* training. I dream of making training my full-time job, which due to the low pay for all non-Totally-Overboard-Dog-Whisperers and/or non-English-Dominatrix-But-Somehow-Still-Cute people such as myself, will not happen until my husband is recognized for the genius he is and given an approximately 92.8% raise. For now, I toil away the days as an Executive Secretary (impressive, no?) and spend my (precious little) spare time working hard as a free-lance trainer.

>>Note: You know that saying "choose a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life"? Two words: totalcompleteabsoluteutter bullshit. Missed the mark on that one, Confucius, my friend. Reeaaalllly missed the mark.<<

I've begun branching out to working with private clients and teaching things like agility and therapy training. Of course, I still have my classes at the humane society; my little program has taken off and is doing quite well for itself. Clients love me and are recommending me left and right. Well, maybe just left. ANYWAY. Point being, I'm making a (small, inconsequential) name for myself in my little town. Yee haw!

(If you ever tell anyone I said yee haw, I'll hunt you down and teach your dog to pee on your leg.)

(Don't doubt me. I have the power**.)

This past weekend, due to the (spectacular) behavior of dog that I (spectacularly) trained, I interviewed with a local vet who wants to be able to recommend a (spectacular) trainer to her clients in need. As a result of said interview, I now have a vet pimping my services. *And* she wants to me to run classes at her clinic.

I so rock.

I made business cards (which I would love to share with y'all because I worked really hard on them and they look freaking awesome and professional and not homemade at all but seeing as how they have my phone number on them I think I'll take Paranoid Interweb Guidelines and Why You Should Never Post Personal Info for $1000, Alex) and I am working on a tri-fold flyer (flier?) showcasing all my (spectacular) training services. I need to come up with hourly prices and packages and shiny pictures and a website and reference quotes from previous clients and OH MY GOD I'M A REAL PROFESSIONAL NOW.


I must needs go locate a mop, as my head has just exploded.

*gold star if you can name that one
**gold star and a cherry on top for that one

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Living With the Lack of Me

On a random whim today I looked up an old childhood friend. We're talking from waaaay back, like pre-k back, childhood BFF. I figured it would be pretty much impossible to find her because, really, it's a big big world (points to anyone who knows that one) and her name isn't all that uncommon. Imagine my surprise when I was able to track her down in less than 30 minutes, and confirm it was definitely her in less than an hour. You know why?

Because she has a career.

Because she has made something of herself.

Because she has done something with her life that has actually had impact.

I'll admit it helped that she's still using her maiden name. But basically, she's worked hard and her name is out there for all the world to see.

I had a fleeting thought about contacting her but dismissed that readily. After all, what would I say to her? "Hi, not to be stalkerish or anything, but this is the girl you were friends with back in preschool. I moved away, we kept in touch for a few years, letters, visits, blah blah, do you remember me? You do? Awesome. How did I find you? Oh, well, your career in the sports world made it pretty easy for me to track you down. No, I swear I'm not a stalker! You just kinda randomly popped into my head and I decided to see if I could find you, just to say hi. No, I've got nothing better to do. No, I pretty much don't have a life. You do? Well okay then, have a good one, gotta go, bye!"

Yeah. That wouldn't be awkward at all.

Honestly though, there was no way in hell I was going to drop her an email. And my whole instantaneous rejection of the idea of contacting her got me to thinking. Why? What would be so bad about just sending a short-but-sweet message?

But I knew why.

I don't want to tell her about my life. I don't want to admit that while she went to college on a gymnastics scholarship, I had a baby at 17 and trashed my high school GPA. I don't want to admit that while she earned her bachelor's degree, I chose to work full-time at some random job and dropped out of community college. I don't want to admit that while she built a career and worked on her master's degree, I continued to flounder around in the working world, trying to make my way up the administrative assistant ladder. I don't want to admit that while she followed her dreams, I let mine die, smothered under the weight of bills and jobs and family responsibilities.

I am ashamed of myself.

I feel like that's a horrible thing to say. After all, I am completely blessed. I have an amazing, utterly wonderful husband. He is my heart and my soul and the love we have is more than I ever dreamed possible. I have two gorgeous, healthy, incredible children. They are my living, breathing miracles, the personification of everything that is wondrous in this world. The three of them are, quite simply, everything to me.

Material things? Got those too. A home. A job, a car, cable and a cell phone. A laptop with high-speed internet connection. I may be on a budget, but at least there's enough money in my bank account to create a budget. I'm going on vacation next month, for God's sake.

My life is not bereft.

But the things in my life that I am proud of, the things that I feel lucky about, did not come from me. They are not things I had to work for. Not things I earned or achieved. Everything that is good in my life was given to me; whether by fate or a quirk or the grace of God, everything important has come to me without any effort on my part.

But my education? Nothing. Wasted potential. My career? Non-existent. Wasted potential.

Just ... wasted. I've done nothing with myself. Nothing my parents can be proud of, nothing for my children to look up to, nothing for my husband to brag about.

Nothing that gives me an ounce of satisfaction with myself, with my efforts. I can't even say, hey, I tried dammit. Because I didn't try. I just dropped out. I feel like such a loser, sitting here at almost 32 years old with no education and no career.

It sucks.

Of all the things that make me unhappy about myself - my weight, my fitness, my housekeeping ability, my appearance, my bumbling social skills - my lack of a college degree and career are the only things that I feel like I had 100% control over and simply blew. Things could have been so different, if only ... if only.

It's all on me.

There are no excuses. Nothing for me to hide behind. No one for me to blame but myself. I stand alone, pulled down by the weight of my own shortcomings.

The thought of shouldering these regrets for the rest of my life makes me want to sink down to the ground and weep. The weight of this burden is unbearable heavy, yet I see no way to change this outcome. I am held fast by the extraordinary realities of my life - chains that I willingly embrace and clutch tightly to my heart. I unequivocally refuse to give up an inch of what I have been given.

But oh, the yearning, the sheer ache, for what could have, should have, been earned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blogging on Blogs

In case you are looking for some insight to my character, I thought I'd post my daily internet "must reads" for your perusing pleasure. I am quite sure that clicking on these links will open a whole new world of understanding for you in regards to who I really am, my loves and hates, my passions and my obsessions, what drives me and what makes me the shining light of humanity that I truly am.

Or hey, it'll give you something to do if you're bored.
I love sarcastic humor, and this blogger has it in spades. But although she writes about her children and her life as mommy bloggers tend to do, she also throws in some wonderful gems that are insightful and thought-provoking, and have nothing to do with the joys of parenthood. An (almost) daily poster, you can't help but be envious of her ability to pull a great post out of just about any situation.
A total non-mom blog. This blogger writes about anything and everything, which although includes stories about her two sons and her life as a stay-at-home mom, it also showcases her thoughts on gays, education, politics, music, and life in general. Quite possibly my favorite blog.
Matt Logelin's wife, Liz, gave birth to their first child (Maddy) and died 27 hours later. This blog is all about his life as a widowed father. Matt is a fabulous writer and photographer, and his blog brings both laughs and heartache on a regular basis.
Now this is a mom blog, and it's one of the best! Jana Matthews is a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids, 3 of which were born a mere 8 months apart (a daughter and twin boys). She's got a parenting style that her kids hate but other moms love, and she writes about their day-to-day life in hilarious excerpts. Plus she's constantly giving cool stuff away - what's not to love?!
Y, the blogger at Joy Unexpected, posts about life in L.A. (that's California, not Louisiana, people) as a stay-at-home mom with three kids. She struggles with her body image, weight loss, and other typical women's issues, and she writes about them in a compelling, honest way that just draws you in. Y never pulls any punches, and her impact is a great one.
I just recently started reading Barefoot Foodie. This blogger had a baby a few months ago, so her posting has slowed down a bit. Still, when she manages to hit the internets, she makes up for her lack of posting with her no-holds-barred, most-people-only-talk-about-this-stuff-when-they're-trashed, be-careful-you-don't-snarf-on-your-keyboard style. Awesome ... and not for the faint-hearted or easily offended!
I was originally drawn to Crystal when I stumbled across a link to her Crazy Chronicles, the autobiography of her terribly difficult, sometimes disastrous, life. The CCs are extremely heart breaking and extraordinarily compelling. But what keeps me coming back are her 'everyday life' posts, full of self-deprecating, sarcastic humor. This is a chick who isn't afraid to laugh at herself (or her husband, kids, and anyone else she encounters that lends her some blog fodder).
Jen is a beautiful writer who draws pictures and tugs on heart strings with her words, but is so down-to-earth that you want to chill out with her over beer and pizza. She draws you in to her world and leaves you with the hope that tomorrow is always a better day.
Shauna lost 165 pounds - half of her body weight! She blogged about it on the way, and now as a successful loser, she continues upon her journey of life, love, and maintaining diet happiness. She's funny and real, and more than worth the read even if you're not a card-carrying member of Weight Watchers.
A departure from my norm, this is a blog authored by an ER nurse. Skewering doctors, patients, and co-workers alike, Nurse K brings to life the most ridiculous, annoying, and downright absurd realities of the ER. Occasionally her medical jargon is over my head, but for the most part she's right on the level of the layest of lay persons.
"When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong." So says the subtitle of this blog, and it's an apt description. Jen does a fabulous job of adding witty and entertaining running commentary to go along with the pics of the Cakes from Hell. Good times.
Customer service sucks because customers suck. Read hysterical, true stories about customers from hell told from the employee's side of the counter.
Ever had something go completely wrong? FAIL. Ever witnessed something ridiculously, stupidly wrong? FAIL. Ever want to be highly entertained by these sorts of things? FAIL BLOG. 'Nuff said.
Fmylife stands for f**k my life. And why might some one's life be f**ked? Read all about it here. Prepare to laugh your ass off at other people's miseries.