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Let’s Talk About Service Dogs

•  Fred has a babysitter today.  It’s too hot for him to be outside all day and I need to be outside most of the day.  I can’t leave him home alone for an entire day.  So, Fred has his first babysitter.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy it once I’m out the door.  (Have I ever mentioned he cries/whines when I leave him?)

•  Did you know it’s against the law to refuse access to a service dog?  Yesterday, I had someone tell me Fred would not be “allowed” access to where I was.  I didn’t even have Fred with me at the time.  I had mentioned I might be bringing him with me, in the future, once he’s completed his training.  I was told, “Don’t!”

I was floored.  

I was outraged.

And yes, that’s when I began reciting federal law:

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

•  I belong to a few service dog “communities.”  I’ve heard people express outrage at the way they’re sometimes treated.  I, honestly, didn’t expect I’d run into a “situation” before Fred has even completed his training.  In fact, I naively didn’t expect I’d run into a “situation” at all.  Clearly, people are more educated than that?

•  I realize there’s a problem with some people abusing the laws.  I’ve personally witnessed a woman, in a restaurant, with a dog on her lap.  She let the dog get on the table.  She confided in me “He’s not really a service dog.  I don’t like to leave him home.  I got a little vest for him on eBay.”  SHE TOLD ME THAT!!  Do some people do things like this?  Yes, they do.  Some people will ALWAYS abuse “the system.”  They’re called narcissists.  They don’t care about anyone or anything except themselves.

•  MOST people, however, do the right thing.

•  Not all disabilities are visible.  Don’t judge.  You don’t walk in anyone’s shoes but your own.  That person over there … the one who has a service dog with them, but looks (to you) fine physically?  He/she might be suffering from PTSD.  He/she might have a seizure condition the dog “alerts” to.  YOU DON’T KNOW, DO YOU?

I “look” perfectly fine to most people also.  My physical scars are covered 99% of the time.  An astute doctor, or physical therapist, would notice I don’t use my upper body normally.  Can I get by without a service dog?  I have so far.  It isn’t easy.  The point of a service dog, is to make life easier/more manageable for people with very real challenges.

•  Please ask permission before you pet a service dog.  Please don’t be offended, if the answer is no.  Most people do not want their service dogs pet.  Petting distracts the dog from what it’s supposed to be doing.  You (hopefully) wouldn’t go up and grab a person’s wheelchair, right?  So, why would it be okay to go up and pet/squeeze/hug a dog who is in the process of helping its owner?  Everyone, and every situation, is different.  One person might be okay with petting.  Another person might be okay with it at certain times, but not at others.  If you feel like you just have to pet the service dog, please ASK PERMISSION FIRST.

It shouldn’t be difficult.

It’s all common sense.

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Fred The Newf is 21 Weeks Old!

I can’t believe Fred has reached 21 weeks of age!

Yesterday, we went for a walk to enjoy the ocean breeze.

Fred has become accustom to my ever-present camera, sitting for me while I’m busy shooting, etc.

Fred The Newf – 21 Weeks Old!

I know you can’t tell by the above photo, but Fred began the day looking nice and neat.

Of course, he was a mess by the time I took his photo.

Yesterday, on his 21st week birthday, he also lifted his leg and peed like a boy for the first time.

I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen until he was at least six months old??

(But then, what do I know about male Newfoundland Dogs?)

I guess I’m learning more each day!

Fred has also begun exhibiting a little more  stubbornness  independence lately.

We will be working on that with his trainer.

I think he’s testing me a little bit right now.

Maybe he’s beginning to get a surge of male hormones?

I’ll talk to  our  his trainer this weekend and see what he thinks of Fred’s new behavior(s).

For the most part, Fred continues to be his lovable self.

He is very bonded to me.

He loves everyone, but he would prefer I never leave his side.

I’ve got a few trips coming up and, I admit, I’m a little worried about leaving Fred.

I know he’ll be fine, but there’s so much GUILT when you have to leave a devoted dog for a few days.

But, I don’t want to put him through air travel if I don’t have to.

And, he’s not fully trained yet either … so he can’t go with me everywhere.

I think I’m having separation anxiety before the separation even happens.

Oh, Fred!

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Six Things I Like Lately

I’ve been home a lot the last couple months.

(Having a new puppy does that!)

With all my “leisure” time I’ve been looking at *stuff* online much more than usual.

It started with my search for a Kentucky Derby dress, and it’s progressed (digressed?) from there.

I thought I’d share a few things I like lately.

(Sorry I don’t have photos uploaded of every item, but you can click on the links to see the items I don’t have photos for.)

 My Filofax A5 organizer (in purple!)  I know it’s weird, but I love my planner.  I may not be organized (yet), but I’m getting there.  And yes, this planner is also available in other colors.  The bright, cheery, cover makes me happy to be organizing my life.


 Vans Unisex Classic Slip-on Skate Shoe.  I particularly like them in black and white.  I love that they’re slip-ons.  I love that they’re funky.  I love that they’re comfortable.  I wear mine with rolled up jeans.  Also ..?  They’re a California classic!  (Unisex so everyone can wear them!)

 Gorjana Taner Necklace  I’ve had one for awhile.  I wear it several times a week.  I get compliments on it all the time.  The cost is reasonable, and the necklace looks good whether you’re wearing jeans or a little black dress.  It also makes a great gift.  (I’ve gifted it twice!)

•  Nars Bronzer Blush Duo in Orgasm and Laguna    I don’t wear much makeup, but when I need a little extra color I wear this.


•  My Lamy fountain pen   I love this pen and I don’t usually like fountain pens.  Maybe because it looks a little funky?  I love funky!  It has a huge clip so it’s easy to attach to anything.  I never have to worry it will get lost.  I first discovered Lamy when my son requested this pen at Christmas.


•  Le Pen 18 Color Pen Set  Speaking of pens, I’m color coding my new planner with these.  I love the way they write.  I love the colors.  I’m not usually a colored pen person, but I’m making a (happy!) exception for these.


 •  HDE Purse Organizer  –  The best ten bucks I’ve spent in months.  I use this is my large tote handbag and it’s WONDERFUL!  I’ve had other purse organizers, but this is the best one I’ve ever tried.  I like that it has handles.  It’s easy to grab it out of one purse and put it into another one.  It has a lot of pockets and holds a ton.  I especially recommend it if you’re carrying a tote for spring/summer season.  (But, it will fit in smaller purses too.)


•  Contigo Autoseal Kangaroo Water Bottle With Storage Compartment  –  Do you ever go to the gym, or for a walk, or for a hike, and wish you had a place to store your key, ID, or a little cash?  This water bottle is awesome.  It doesn’t leak.  I’ve TRIED to make it leak.  I’ve turned it upside down, sat it on its side, etc. and it will not leak.  It also has a small storage compartment.  I can take Fred for a walk, carry a bottle of water with me, and not have to worry about whether or not I have a pocket for my house key.  Awesome!  (And BPA free!)


I hope you enjoyed hearing about six things I’m liking lately.

If there’s something you like a lot lately, I’d love to hear about it!

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March Madness

While the rest of the world concerns itself with basketball,

I’m busy with my own version of March Madness.

I decided to organize my “life,” but now my house is a mess.

I’ve got piles everywhere that I’m “working on.”

I have notebooks, and dividers, and page protectors and they’re all waiting for me.

I never seem to complete a task without some type of interruption ….

Like, for instance, a perfect Orange County sunset needing my attention.

Perfect sunsets can’t wait, can they?

And, of course, I have a constant Interruption-Maker in my life now …

Fred The Newf – 20 Weeks Old

Fred is SUCH a good puppy, but he IS a puppy.

Last night he decided he needed to sit on my lap.

Yes, all 75 pounds of him.

There was no turning him away.

He is, after all, just a very young baby.

He doesn’t understand his size … he just knows he’s still a baby and needs some cuddle time.

And, maybe that’s one of the best things about Fred.

When I have a lot to do, and start feeling stressed,

I have no choice but to stop and take care of Fred.

If that means sitting on the floor cuddling my seventy five pound puppy, so be it.

I think it’s probably the best thing for both of us.

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The Weekend

I had a relaxing weekend – and I needed it!

I think Fred enjoyed himself too.

Fred cleans out the last of a peanut butter jar.

I had a lot of catch-up stuff to take care of over the weekend.

I also took Fred for a walk in Laguna Beach.

I try to get Fred out and about a lot.

It’s important he be exposed to *everything possible* as part of his service dog in-training socialization.

Fred has NO problem socializing when we go out.

We were stopped every few feet by people wanting to pet Fred, ask questions about Fred (“What kind of dog is he?”), and/or have their photos taken with Fred.  I know puppies attract attention, but Fred REALLY attracts attention.

Fred, apparently, is a crowd stopper.

I blame it on his cute puppy face.

But …?

I imagine Fred will be a crowd stopper when he’s full grown and GIGANTIC also.

There’s just something about a Newfie that people love.

They’re like teddy bears who have come to life ….

Fred (20 weeks old) enjoyed watching sunset in Laguna Beach.

Fred did a good job minding his manners.

He didn’t jump on anyone.

He let people of all sizes and shapes pet him … and enjoyed every minute of it.

He sat when I asked him too.

He listened to me.

And, 99% of the time he did what he was supposed to.

I thought it was pretty remarkable for his young age.

Fred still has a lot to learn.

But, I can honestly say, he’s way ahead of schedule with his training.

I’m very lucky to have such a motivated, intelligent, eager to please, dog.

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Fred’s Latest

I’m sorry, but I haven’t taken a single “real” photo of Fred since last weekend.

This week was all sorts of crazy, and I’m glad it’s over.

But, I can give you an update on how Fred is doing.

Yesterday, I took Fred to be weighed.

Fred weighs SEVENTY FIVE pounds and he is VERY, VERY, TALL!

You can see in the iPhone photo below, Fred still has a mouth full of both baby and adult teeth.

FullSizeRender 18

Fred, happy, at 20 weeks of age!

One of Fred’s brothers (who was the smallest in the litter) is now fifty six pounds.

Little brother may catch up and pass Fred someday, but Fred continues to be very big/tall for his age.

Fred is doing very well with his training.

He really amazes me.

He’s learned so much more than I would expect at four and a half months old.

Of course, he’s still a young puppy and he definitely has puppy lapses –

Especially when there’s a lot of excitement/distractions around him.

Fred LOVES people … especially the girls next door who play with him.

And, the neighbor down the street who keeps buying him toys.

And, everyone else he encounters.

A female golden retriever lives a few houses down and she flirts outrageously with Fred.

I can’t say I blame her … after all, a new handsome guy has shown up in her life.

Fred seems to think he belongs in a show ring.

Sometimes he tosses his head in such a way …

It seems like he thinks he’s damn good looking.

Can “showiness” be passed through dog genes?

Fred seems to have gotten a big dose of showiness from his parents.

Other times, Fred has ATTITUDE like I’ve never seen from a dog.

He doesn’t show attitude by misbehaving.

No, he just gives you a look of total disdain when he disapproves.

I admit, it sometimes makes me laugh out loud.

I’ve never met a dog who can communicate as much with facial expressions as Fred can.

It’s hard to believe Fred has only been “home” for ten weeks.

He’s such a big part of my life already.

Fred is loved.

And …?

Fred is very loving.

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The Roller Coaster of Life

Yesterday, in ONE day …

I had really GREAT NEWS in the morning,

And, later in the day – really BAD NEWS.

I was emotionally drained by 5 p.m.

[Here’s a random, beautiful, sunset photo of two children playing by the ocean.

It makes me feel better about life when I look at it ….]

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

I think most of the time I stay on an even keel.

But, yesterday wiped me out.

All the experiences we go through help us get stronger and grow, right?

Or not?

I’m still on a HUGE organize-my-life kick.

Yesterday, I started organizing a new (pretty!) purple Filofax planner.

Have I ever mentioned I like the color purple?

I’ll try to post a photo of my planner once I get it a little further along in my set-up.

(Because it really is pretty!)

Some of you may be aware, there are a lot of women who go all-out crafting and decorating their planners.

I had no idea this was a “thing” until someone mentioned it to me about a day ago.

I’m sure it’s fun, and cute, and a great hobby.

It would be nice to look back at pretty, decorated, pages (diary-like) someday.

Right now, however, I’m just trying to get my (very busy!) life in order.

The first step of getting organized is knowing your priorities, right?

For instance, I bought a bunch of stuff to get organized with …

I should probably figure out what to do with it?

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Where Did I Go?

I had a one day, unexpected, trip out of town.

It was related to a corporate project I’m working on right now.

I could, maybe, have crammed in a blog post, but I was feeling a little meh.

(Allergies – and my always terrible sinus issues that come with them.)

If you live nearby, you probably know the pollen count here is currently off the charts.

I guess that’s what happens when summer arrives in March.

In any case,

I’ve been very busy with several things.

One of my projects is an attempt to streamline both my business and personal  chaos  schedules.

I feel very fortunate with my work lately,

But … it’s time to update my systems.

What worked great two years ago, doesn’t necessarily fit my business now.

It’s so hard to keep life BALANCED, isn’t it?

I also have a tendency to put everyone, and everything, ahead of actually taking care of myself.

(I think this is a common problem with women/moms?)

I’ve been researching *better ways* to get/keep my life organized.

Currently, I keep track of my various meetings/appointments on my iPhone.

I also use a “list book” my daughter gave me.

Everything (work/personal/random) goes in the list book, but I’m realizing the way I use it now isn’t working well for me.

I like having everything in ONE book, but I can’t always find things when I need them.

My ONE book has a zillion post-it flags on various pages, etc.

So …?

I’m branching out and I’m going to experiment with several new organizational systems.

If possible, I’d have my home, my business, my travel schedule, and my personal life put into perfect order by tomorrow.

In reality, it’s going to take  quite a lot of  some time.

Every week, so far, I’ve been finding a few things around the house to throw away or donate.

It doesn’t sound like much but it’s easy to do every single week no matter how busy I am.

Slowly, gradually, I’m decluttering.

I’m also about to begin experimenting with new planners for scheduling my time more effectively.

I’ll still keep appointments on my phone, but I want to be able to SEE my life (and upcoming weeks/months) too.

I want to be able to plan in more detail than I can on my phone.

I’ll share with you what I try.

What will work?

What won’t?

Of course, what works for me might not work for you.

And vice versa.

Do you have a planner of any type?

Do you use it for work and personal/home stuff?

Do you use multiple planners?

No planners?

How do you keep your life organized?

I’d love to hear what you’ve tried/liked/disliked/had success with, etc.

I’m spring-cleaning my life!

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March Heat Wave

It was hot, hot, hot here over the weekend!

I had lots of family at the house for the weekend ….

And now, sadly, everyone has left.

On Saturday evening, Fred made his first trip to the beach.

Fred has been hiking on the trails above, and around, the beach before.

But, this time it was ALL ABOUT THE ACTUAL BEACH.

I was having one of my traditional beach nights with my friend, Nike.

Nike explains “waves” and “ocean” to baby Fred.

Fred, clumsily, attempted to walk and run on sand.

He liked the ocean water, but then a wave hit him and scared him a little.

He watched other dogs dig in the sand, and then he tried it for a minute or two himself.

Nike brought her dog, Reggie.

Fred had a joyful time playing with a dog-pal.

Reggie is a very fast runner and Fred is … not.

Sometimes, when Reggie would get tired and stop to rest Fred would sit on him.

It was Fred’s way of trying to make Reggie stay with him and play.

The problem is Fred, at four months of age, is bigger than adult Reggie.

Reggie was patient with puppy Fred.

When he got tired of it, he’d give Fred a little growl to say, “You’re way too giant of a puppy to sit on me buddy – get off!”

It was pretty funny.

Poor Fred … he’ll never be as fast as Reggie.

He’ll also soon realize he can’t go around sitting on his friends in an attempt to keep them close.

(Thank you Reggie for helping to teach this to Fred!)

Sunset was beautiful.

Fred The Newf enjoying a California beach sunset.

The two dogs played until around 9:30 p.m.

When it came time to leave, Fred was so tired I wasn’t sure he’d make it back to the car.

He was asleep before I pulled out of the parking lot …

With a huge puppy smile on his face.

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Fred Friday

It was very warm here yesterday.

Fred The Newf, my son, and I went swimming.

It was supposed to be my son and I swimming,

But, well ….

I couldn’t help it Mom!

I have more family arriving today.

Temperatures are expected to soar this weekend as we endure our first summer heat wave of 2015 … in March.

I’m sure Fred will find his way to the pool and/or ocean more than once over the weekend.

I’ll try to take some photos of him for you, too.

I need to put him next to a person (for a frame of reference) so you can see how big he is now.

Hint:  He’s HUGE!

I can’t believe how tall he’s gotten just in the last week.

It really is amazing to watch how rapidly a Newfoundland grows!