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Just like Animals….

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DRC and I were married over 27 years ago and when we ended up in suburbia the second time… we had nested long enough to want a dog. We got our first Golden Retriever, Brooklyn, from the Calgary SPCA.  She was a year and a half old.

When you become a dog owner, your life changes. Not to compare it to children, but it does take out some of the selfishness in your life. You always have to think about a pet. There is always a responsibility.  We bought our first dog a new vehicle.P1030339

It sounds worse than it was.  We had a sedan and a big flannel sheet (wrong sheet for dog hair btw) and so within a few weeks (and a lot of dog barfing and dog hair) we traded it in for the first SUV and a large metal divider to keep the dog and her hair in the back.  Or so you think.  Dog can be contained… blowing hair…not so much.

P1020721We also bought a leash that cost more than the dog. After 18 years, the leash still works like a charm… they don’t make them good like that anymore… $55 for an SPCA dog in 1997 and $60 for a big-ass retractable leash.

She came with the name Brooklyn.  She had more energy than you can imagine.  The first thing she did when she met us was take a dump. and a pee. At the time we didn’t realize this was a good trait. It meant that in the future she would wait a VERY long time before using her personal space for a toilet.Brook closeupIM000411

We had her for years.  She died a few weeks short of her 14th birthday and she was vibrant until the end.  We put her on raw food when she was 6 and half and it turned her back into a dog with puppy-like energy.

After she was gone, it took a year before we were ready for another. Our home situation was a lot different because we had DRC’s Dad living with us so we weren’t sure if a young dog was in our plans.   We found a 6 year old Golden on Kijiji.  IMG_20140430_175859IMG_20140930_165046We call her a rescue because it was an extremely bizarre scenario.  She was vastly overweight and very needy.  We have since determined that she was most likely a puppy-mill dog who spent most of her time in a crate.IMG_20140512_190355

She is Ginny our present Golden. Her other name is Dog. IMG_3737 She has been the only pet in the house for some time … well other than the pet mice that moved in.  And because of those resident rodents, we decided to get cats. Cats that catch mice. Not all cats hunt.  But then never being a cat owner in the past… I knew none of the cat things that cat owners inevitably know.  Sure I had laughed at the cute cat tricks that showed up on friends Facebook feeds.  But that is not even being close to being a cat owner.

We have chickens, layers who have an impeccable pecking order…IMG_2850IMG_2841IMG_20141027_143849 previously we have had pigs and sheep.  We thought about getting a donkeyIMG_20140524_135520 and goats. Every Spring we get a couple of cattle to run on the property to keep the field mowed…       IMG-20120509-00090 then butcher them in fall for the freezer and sell some of the halves to friends. All these animals are not pets but we do have some animal husbandry going on.IMG_2828

Cats on the other hand… don’t need husbands.  Nor do they need humans at all…. or so they like you to believe.

They arrived in May… they certainly did not look old enough to leave Mama cat… the Great Hunter. I was worried we had them too early and Mama wouldn’t have passed on some of her great hunting skills.  How could these two balls of fur possibly hunt, let alone kill?

For the first weeks they just slept in their little bed, all curled up together.IMG_20140524_205325         IMG_20141204_082405       IMG_20140701_085333Then they started venturing out. They were skittish… they were shy… they ran when we came near.  Dog ignored them.

Slowly they became bolder and ventured out of their garage closet that was their home. When they started exploring… they would not leave Dog alone. IMG_20140627_090252Dog was not interested and was very jealous if we managed to catch the kitties and give them cuddles.  We polled our friends and gave them official names.  Marley and Hattie. Named for Marlborough and Manhattan. Marlborough being the region in New Zealand that is may favourite…think Sauvignon Blanc…mmmm….it being our house wine.   And Manhattan’s, our house cocktail.

But their real names are White Kitty and Brown Kitty.  And Dog continued to dislike them. IMG_20140806_182908_edit They would not leave her alone… she was of course, their older sister. They cajoled, they tickled, they chased, they laid all over her and eventually they wrestled their way into Dog’s heart. It took months. IMG_20140623_175601IMG_20140623_175208IMG_20140625_204335 Dog is almost 10 in human years so that makes her how old?… White and Brown Kitty were merely adolescents, then teenagers…. and now?  Still don’t have that cat thing completely down so not sure how human years translate to cat years but in April they will be a year and already the non-stop wrestling has been replaced with hunting or sleeping.

And Dog?  She hates to admit it… but when she went on a sleepover recently, she missed them like crazy.  Upon her return, the first thing she did was search them out.  We have officially been replaced.IMG_20141212_124146IMG_20150109_122145IMG_20141205_120411IMG_20150204_161024_editIMG_20150130_090028_edit

And DRC and I?  we gaze out on our deck to see the 3 of them curled together on Dog’s deck bed…and our hearts swell…  The dog bed being the catalyst… the straw that broke the camel’s back…. the deck bed has become the shared sleeping quarters for these animals. It broke the barrier for the Dog… that and the cold.  Two little furballs keeping her warm was just to hard to resist.   We feel we have a perfect little furry family.IMG_20140705_101723

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Sharing

 

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Compromise or Sacrifice – is society getting it wrong?

With the latest edition of the REIN Report Magazine out on the stands now and me being featured as one half of a ‘power’ couple in it… I thought I would tackle a topic that is often misunderstood… and once understood fully can make a  big difference in a relationship whether in marriage or  business.

We are often told that we need to compromise as we work our way through life that way everything will work out for the better for  everyone. Well after helping to run many many businesses and having been successfully married for 27 years…  I beg to differ.

Compromise is Selfish

Compromise is the easy way out… or… actually… the selfish way out. Think about it.  Compromise is not committing.  Compromise often entails inaction.  If you compromise… you believe it smooths the waters and you won’t be  criticised for  trying to keep everyone happy (“ah, what a ‘nice’ girl she is”)  Continual compromise,  instead of standing up and saying NO or YES becomes a  wishy-washy route through life. Sure it helps you, externally, look a bit self-righteous and noble for ‘doing’ the right thing, but if you are not strong in your beliefs and convictions, your strength of character and who you are begins to disappear… until one day you wake up and say “How did I get here?”

Conversely Sacrifice means you actually took a stand.

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 In the world in which most people live the word sacrifice means giving up something, becoming an emotional or business martyr. In fact, sacrifice, when done correctly, means you took a thoughtful stand for something or someone that matters to you. When you consciously make what people call a ‘sacrifice’ you were willing to drop something or give up an opportunity because you felt strong enough about why you were doing it OR for whom you were doing the sacrificing. It shows empathy, it shows thoughtful decisions and it shows that the issue or other person meant  a lot to you.

In a compromise, both parties give up something… both parties go away feeling a bit disappointed, but the expected outcome was reached. That of no real solution.  And as human beings, we tend to dwell on the negative… you know that compromise that made you a bit mad? Well guess what?  It is likely to make you a little madder with time. And as the continual compromises we are asked to make pile up well you can see the bad place that would eventually lead to.

Sacrifice means that you fully and consciously give up something.  Sometimes it is because you want something in the future…  or maybe even in the present and that thing…. is worth it. But mostly it is because of who or what the sacrifice is for.  It works great if the people who are in your life have the same philosophy.

The other form of sacrifice is that you give up something for someone else.  Imagine that… you make someone’s day, life, hour, minute…by sacrificing your needs or wants…. not only are they really happy, you have the satisfaction of being the person that made it happen. Its win win.

The typical emotion associated with compromise is frustration,

The Typical Emotion associated with sacrifice is sympathy and compassion. That sure puts it into another light.1Compromise leads to pain

I know the argument is often… ‘but what if I am the only one doing the sacrificing?’  Well then maybe you need to re-think that relationship.   Sacrifice is one sided…but not always by the same person. If it is that imbalanced, then it is not a true and healthy relationship. Once you give up something for someone else… (with a smile on your face and NOT looking for a  constant reminder of your good deed)…. you will find that you will have a lot given back in return. Believe me.  Try it.  You will be surprised.

Marriage Vow of Entrepreneurs: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, In Business or in Health…”

When my husband and I had an opportunity to take over a business (REIN) that we had been managing, we decided to run with it.  Literally.  You want to be all-encompassed?  Try owning a business that is so unique in its structure that there were no others out there to get advice from…  add to that we decided to expand  it into 4 cities (from the existing 2).  That meant that we travelled to 4 cities 12 times a year.  You want hotel and airline points?  Let me tell you how to do it, I have become a master  😉

When they say that a business is actually a separate living being… they aren’t lying.  This business definitely had its own identity.  It morphed, it grew, it grew some more, it gained staff, the business even got its own  attitude… and along with all of this it also got headaches, it got belly aches, growing pains… (hmmm, sounds like a teenager. I wonder if that is why we didn’t have kids because we were raising a business instead?).

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Sacrifice?  HA! Travelling to 4 cities took up 2 weeks out of each month and that meant that life just flew by.  Social engagements took a back seat, golfing ended, movie dates were on the TV.  And we went full tilt.  If we wanted more than just a few days of holidays to recharge (so we could continue to give the business our all), we had to take them in July and December.  So we established European holidays in July and Caribbean ones in December.  Those were the months that REIN clients didn’t want to see us.    The other months they were ready and raring to go ….and their collective being and our full commitment to them dictated the way the business ran.  Remember when I said that businesses are alive entities? (I wasn’t lying)

Compromise?  HA!  That would not have worked in this situation.  Well for one thing… a business is a jealous lover. There is not a lot of compromising that goes on.  She demands sacrifice of time, money, lifestyle.   So that’s what we did.  It didn’t feel like a sacrifice it felt like a lifestyle choice. We saw where it could go and we gave it our all.

Our business also became our social life and social circle. If you are contemplating doing a crazy thing like running a business….remember… you do finally block out or get immune to all the comments from your social network and family that repeatedly say…. ‘you work too hard.’

From the outside looking in, from those who aren’t willing to sacrifice today to win in the long term, of course it looks like you “work too hard” or “work too much”.  But because, inside looking out, you know that you are living your passion and the supposed ‘sacrifices’ aren’t really sacrifice as they bring their own rewards from the choices we made.

What is the quote that now shows up all the time?  ‘Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy’.  That’s pretty black and white but you do actually have to work to accomplish things… great things.  Wild things. Things you never thought you could accomplish.  But you can.  And it takes sacrifice.  Not compromise.

Let me give you another example of the difference between the two.  A few years back I was travelling to Vegas and as we got to the airport we were informed that our airplane was fine but that an earlier one had broken.  So in their infinite wisdom the airline (Allegiant) decided that instead of having 120 people unhappy that day… they compromised everyone travelling to Vegas that day.

They just moved each group to the next airplane.  Instead of sacrificing 120, they compromised 600+ instead and ruined everyone’s first day of holidays and even then 100 didn’t make it.  Oh yes that was such a pleasant time at that airport.  The entire lot of us left with a bad taste in our mouth.  I don’t fly them anymore and neither do many others because of those types of decisions.   Their business motto does not match mine and I ended up upset every time I flew with them.  Life is just too short.

Expected Compromise in Politics Costs us Millions

Politicians are another lot who like to believe that compromise is a productive solution.  You want to get a major bill passed?  You will need to get the votes of all the rest of the politicians with their own agendas and that means that compromise will occur repeatedly when all those “side deals” get added onto the bill.  Those side bills are the biggest compromises and end up costing the city/province/country tax payers millions of unnecessary dollars.

Ever wonder how come we now consume genetically modified food on a regular basis? Or that antibiotics are in our meat and milk? Or why we consume pesticide-ready wheat? Lobbyists are the loudest lot and you can be certain they will get their agendas through as they promise you the sun, moon and stars. But that is different topic for another day.

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 Our current federal government is highly criticized for a lot of things… but one thing they are good at is saying–  ‘my way or the highway’–  who wants leaders who are all over the map and not all on the same page?   Not me. They are in the party together. They need to get it done.  Leaders lead, they don’t follow a vocal minority and that means they have to sacrifice “good press” for policies they were elected on.  No  major compromises.   As a nation, we hardly were affected by the ONGOING recession that devastated the US and Europe and that was singlehandedly due to our leadership before and after the financial collapse.  They are sacrificing votes and opinions but they have kept us on the right track due to not compromising their stance.  Are they right all the time? no, of course not, but are they doing the job they were elected to do?  Absolutely. Yet, once again… the negative will be remembered when they have left their offices.

Look at the results the previous BC gov’t created, by holding an uncompromising stance on transportation improvements. We are now enjoying the fruits of this uncompromising vision.  I wonder if all those people who fought so vehemently against the new bridges, road widening and skytrain extensions are using these advancements to improve their lives? You can bet many of them are!  It now takes far less time to get into the City as a result of our beautiful new bridges and our new connector routes. But are they remembered for it?   They sacrificed popular opinion and got it done. Then they lost their jobs.  My and hundreds of thousands of people’s quality of life has vastly improved whenever we have to get somewhere in the Lower Mainland on one of the new routes.  And I say “Thank you for your political sacrifices” every time I do.

So back to the personal side of things.  Begin looking at compromise and sacrifice in a different light. Where, in your life, could a simple sacrifice today make for a much, much better tomorrow?  Where are the little daily compromises chipping away at who you really are?   If you don’t like something… then consciously make a decision under the new ‘rules’ of compromise and sacrifice.  But before you make that call make sure you have measured the consequences of you making a stand. Remember there are repercussions for all your decisions…..AND those repercussions are sometimes so absolutely fantasticly positive they make your cry……and sometimes they absolutely suck.  And they also make you cry.

So when you decide where and when you till take a stand….make a sacrifice… make sure it’s worth it.    Make sure you are sacrificing without compromise or expectation.   Although it goes against the current mass thinking – you will be surprised at just how wrong that thinking really is.

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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Sharing

 

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Blood stain on your new shirt? no problem…really, no problem at all.

This is just a random post. Do you know how to remove blood from clothing?  It always amazes me when I can successfully remove it.  I learnt my lesson a few years back,  I cut my finger just before going on holiday… I actually tend to do this quite frequently, I think the distraction factor of an imminent holiday makes me careless in the kitchen.  Last February I actually went as far as slamming my thumb into my car door… yes, the car door I use most days and close successfully.  And had to then go to Hawaii with stitches and finger rubbers….  oh yah, it was all very attractive.  And no I did not take pictures… I was too mad at myself.

Anyways, a few years back I cut my finger in the kitchen, got the blood on a pair of grey jeans I needed to take with me to Europe.  And then I didn’t do what I normally do and tried something new and then I ruined the jeans.  I went as far as bleaching them, then I went to the store that sold clothing dye and tried to dye them back to the correct colour.  Ok,  what was I thinking?  I was completely out of my mind.  The end result was that I changed the colour scheme of what I was travelling with and re-packed.  This was all on the DAY WE WERE LEAVING.  Insane.

So I never waiver from this method now.  If you get blood on your clothes,  take them off… then run cold water over onto the stain and let the stain soak in cold water.  It has to be cold.  This even works on blood that has set.  I know cause I just tried it.  I had blood on a shirt that I didn’t realize had blood on it until I took the shirt out of the closet to wear again.  After a few hours, the stain was almost gone.  Then I just squirted some Oxy Clean Baby stain remover on it while it was still wet and the blood was completely gone.  This was on a baby blue shirt.

I use Oxy Clean Baby stain remover because I want to believe that anything with the word Baby on it is gentler on me, we and the environment. I may be out to lunch on this but as we use a lot of stain remover on Don’s shirts for the necks…I feel that maybe its gentler on his neck the next time he wears the shirt.  And we all know that not all the soap residues wash out of our clothes…. or do we?   Soap doesn’t wash completely out of clothes.  That’s why people with soap allergies have issues… there is only so much rinsing a washing machine can do.

And there you have it,  a random blog on getting blood out of clothes.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Sharing

 

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Dry spell…or a spell of dry weather….would definitely prefer the latter.

So I had a dry spell.  I guess this is what my husband calls writers block, fortunately as an author he doesn’t often have it…. but regardless… I had one and I had guilt over it.   I had full intentions of writing more in the New Year.  But January 1st came and went and the only blog post I put up was a picture of Char and I cooking on New Year’s Eve in our chef’s outfits.  Which turned out very great btw.  At 2:30 am when we were still dancing, we realized we should really go to bed or we reckoned the next day was going to be more than tough.

So I apologize to all my avid followers… heehee… all 5 of you?  Here finally is a post and its about nothing.  Recently I cleaned up the pictures on the hard drive of this computer.  It was full and all my various food pictures were struggling to fit.  When Don gave me that great Canon at Christmas 2010… all the pictures got a lot larger.  Seemed a shame it have such a great camera and take pictures the size of a small point and shoot camera.

I discovered I had purchased an external hard drive and forgot about it.  I decided that no time like the present to sort out how to attach it to this computer and then….. what turned out to be the arduous task of moving 10000+ pictures over to it.  To improvise I also had to find a USB hub, which I also had kicking around.  The problem with ‘old’ anything in computer world is that also means ‘slow’  The little box kept popping telling me that if I used a high speed USB, things would be better.  Well I had all the time in the world….

I will explain, 2 weeks ago I got the worst influenza I have ever had. I had nothing but time on my hands as I slowly recovered.  Today, 2 weeks later I FINALLY could go back to Bootcamp and be pathetic and short of breath.  Anyways that’s another story…. I slowly dragged all the picture files over to the external drive.  Then after I got them all over there, I tested my ‘screen saver’ picture rotation.  We discovered a few years ago that you could put pictures onto a screen saver rotation and then you would actually get to see all your holiday pictures that you forgot you took. Once I was assured it would still run through the holiday pics, I deleted them off the hard drive… meanwhile praying that I didn’t inadvertently delete anything I couldn’t live without.

Really, what was a I worried about.  Just because its was external I didn’t believe it was as ‘safe’ as the hard drive on the computer… the hard drive that is accessed every day and bombarded with Temporary Internet files and a variety of other strange things from the internet.  Who was I fooling?  The external hard drive just sits there and occasionally makes a sound as its accessed.  And that’s it.

So after all was said and done, I got a huge amount of space back on my computer hard drive. Now I can proceed to fill it up with useless information that will just further confuse and irritate me in the future when I have to figure out how to get rid of it.  But such is human nature… that’s why Storage businesses are so prevalent and why Storage Wars is such a popular show… human beings just can’t seem to deal with things in the present… they have the ‘need’ to hold on to stuff for that inevitable rainy day.

And on that note, here are some of the pictures that I found I have on my now-external hard drive. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Sharing

 

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Blog update from my phone?! Who knew…

Woke up to a grey, cool day so I decided that today would be a good as day as any to get our planes, trains and automobiles in order for our trip.

Those last details like which bus, train, tube or all of the above to move us from point A to point B. When I get all engrossed in the travel, I start to feel we are already on holidays! Especially if I use Google Streetview, my brain thinks I am standing on the corner I am looking at. Its great.

Maps printed, car rented, tickets in hand…now comes the hard part of packing for the trip. We go through a number of weather zones so its VERY easy to overpack….which is my tendency. Just take laundry soap and all will be well.

Ok…update over. Let’s see if this mobile posting works!
twitter: @conniejcampbell

Sent from my Blackberry

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Sharing

 

Committment phobia? Here is a book for you

So lets just say I read this book because I was so impressed with the last one by Elizabeth Gilbert, well actually I was mostly impressed with Eat Pray Love.  I almost gave up on it… I think it was page 172… or that’s the random page that I have been using when I relate how I felt about that book.

I did almost give up on her…. after page 172, I changed my mind.  She is a bit neurotic… actually very neurotic would be more accurate.   She went on and on and on about her inner turmoil around her marriage and its demise and then her rebound relationship with the young man… but this review isn’t about that book, it’s about the follow-up to that book.  We all know that it is a hard act to follow… I mean how many authors get a movie about their books?  So a REALLY hard act to follow, especially when its only her fourth book.

So when it appeared at the bookstore with a 40% sticker attached… I decided that it was the book for me.  I must say I was swayed because the cover said it was a love story… and I thought that it would be a nice read about how they reconciled their different heritages, lifestyles, monetary levels and lived happily ever after.

I disagree now with the label ‘love story’ but I don’t disagree with much else in this book.  Gilbert, with her usual neurosis and excellent writing style writes about the next stage of her life with Felipe.  All is going well as they spend time jetting between the US and a variety of other countries.  Then the unthinkable happens,  a red flag goes up and Felipe gets refused entry into the US.  They insist with the amount and length of his trips that have been occurring, he isn’t simply doing business in the US, but must be considering the US a more permanent stop and as he hasn’t been given approval for such status, they deem Felipe a threat to the Homeland.

Felipe is forced to leave and head off to Australia but not before the officials ask why they don’t just get married as it would solve all the issues?  Gilbert balks at the idea,  actually they both do.  They had taken, as a couple, a firm stance against the institution and all it stands for.  With her divorce and its monetary leash and Felipe’s own bad experience, they had vowed to never tie the knot.

So they begin the long arduous job of securing just the right to get married.  Gilbert had decided that they should continue to travel around during the process instead of just staying in one spot and waiting it out.  And so the book takes the reader through all types of conditions whilst she researches marriage and its meaning in the areas they visit.

The book is a great read.  The reader finds out where a lot of our western ideas about marriage come from and how much they have changed over the last 1000 years.  From when the Church got involved to when the Government decided to try and control it and its contractual obligations.  I was very surprised at some of her findings.

Gilbert is an excellent story-teller and I found in this book, she curbed her neurosis a bit so as to not overwhelm the reader with too much information about her innermost thoughts.  I would recommend it as a summer read.  It won’t disappoint. ( book review of Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert)

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Sharing

 

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