Humidity- a Short Poem 

Mountain View

She grasped my hand for

The first time. Tentatively,

Unsure if she feared my pulling away,

Or that I would stay.

 

In broad daylight, the scandal felt

More dangerous, heavier, truer

Than it had in my head.

 

Fears, love, pride all raced.

I think she felt it too- her voice starting

Awkward excuses that she knew

Didn’t ring quite true.

 

Just as quickly as we had been more,

We were once again two

Friends walking down the street.

 

**I’m not sure if this picture properly portrays the sticky, humid heat that I’m going for here. What do you think?

Jillian 

You are Not Alone

Thought of the day… 

quote

My 36 Project

Jillian loves the Packers  I thought about it for a while, and even though I didn’t complete 100% of my 35 Things to do Before 35; I still really enjoyed the process and am going to do it again. Here are my goals to accomplish before I turn 36!

Activities

1. Go to afternoon tea

2. Canoeing at Cook Park

3. Tree to Tree obstacle course

4. Go horseback riding

5. Take a vacation- even if it’s just using the days off to stay home

6. Spa day with Chelle

7. Hike Dog Mountain

8. Go to West Coast Game Park Safari

9. Visit Seattle

10. Volunteer at a homeless shelter

11. Frame my two unframed pictures

12. Do a painting

13. Go to a play

14. Go on a picnic

 

Finances

15. Automate emergency fund deposits- and keep them that way!

16. Invest in stock (any amount, even one share. Maybe Acorn?)

17. Decide if I want to save to buy a house/townhouse/condo

18. Do Suze University

19. Check credit

 

On-going goals

20. Visit grandparents once a month (0/12)

21. Send a card or care package every week (0/52)

22. See a friend once a week (0/52)

23. Practice yoga once a week (0/52)

24. Exercise at least twice a week (0/52)

25. Buy myself flowers once a month (0/12)

26. Do purge of belongings once a month (0/12)

27. Use all four free car details (0/4)

28. Post on blog once a week (0/52)

 

Personal

29. Lose 40 pounds

30. Do a cleanse

31. Use my Happy Herbivore meal plans for at least a month

32. Run a 10k

33. Focus on giving fewer things and more experiences

 

Puppies

34. Take Lambeau to two puppy classes

35. Take Riley to a third training class

36. Adopt Lambeau!

 

Jillian and the No Good, Very Bad Two Days 

 Alternate title: The Day I Lost My Precious Shiba Inu.

Spoiler Alert! Scroll really fast if you want to avoid…

I found her. However, it was unbelievably horrific for me. And everyone that had to be affiliated with me. The first picture is just minutes after she was found, and the second was today (three weeks later). She is back to her fluffy, healthy self. 

Here is what happened- a cautionary tale about how serious it is when a Shiba Inu gets out off leash (something no one without a dog like this doesn’t understand without seeing first hand), but also a story about how there are some amazing people in the world. 

I live in the biggest metro area in my state (Portland, Oregon, so still not anything that huge), and I went to see my sister one Sunday afternoon. My sister lives about an hour and a half away from me, in a much smaller city (it’s about 30,000 people). 

Riley was playing with my sister’s dog, and the two dogs escaped out the front door on Sunday at 1:30 pm. Two of us chased them on foot, and two chased them in an SUV. My sister understands what Shibas are like, so she knew a car would probably by needed to keep up. We were only able to catch my sister’s dog right away. She ran for about a mile, but stopped when my sister caught up and called for her. 

No such luck with Riley. Shiba Inus are very known for running and never coming back. I had been running and calling her for a mile, and I hadn’t even stopped to put on shoes. She just kept running and didn’t even think of stopping. She crossed traffic and ran into a park. None of us were able to see where she went from there. It became obvious to everyone in the park pretty quickly what we were doing. A few people had seen her and tried to direct us to where she had gone. One person lent my sister his bike. Another man helped us look all afternoon. Later that night I ran into the same man again when I was looking with my family. Right after I walked away from him he called out to me- he actually spotted her. Sadly, I was unable to catch her. She was too scared and too far away. It was pitch black at the time and we lost her quickly. This is worth noting. It now gets dark here at about 5 pm, and it was POURING rain almost the entire two days Riley was lost. So, most of the time we could barely see. We looked around the clock and were freezing and soaked most of that time. I forgot what it felt like to have dry feet. At one point I was convinced to stop at Taco Bell for food and the cashier (out of the kindness of her heart) offered me free stuff. Umm, she thought we were homeless. That’s how run down, wet, cold, and traumatized we were. Again, I would like to point out how nice people are. Even though I didn’t need or accept free food, it was nice that she cared. 

I posted an ad on Craigslist (and some friends placed ads other places, and in general helped me advertise that Riley was lost). I got a text from someone who runs a Facebook group for the area, just for lost pets. She quickly added me and I posted our story. Riley’s dad posted a reward, and people started looking. Complete strangers came to help, some from different towns. They searched for hours. At the time I thought it was for the money, but in the end I offered money to all who helped and not one person took it. We needed the help desperately. Every second was living horror and guilt, convinced we would never find her and she was hurt, cold, and/or hungry. 

We looked for Riley for almost two full days with very little food or sleep. This community was amazing, and all of my tips came from there. Sightings of Riley were only thing that gave us hope (and she traveled several miles. Without them we may have never located her). Tuesday morning I was so discouraged and couldn’t get out of bed or stop crying. I was so afraid I would never see her again after Sunday and Monday of searching and not feeling any closer. She is also scared of almost all people, so I knew there were only three people that might be able to grab her.  I was making flyers when my other sister messaged me (from Kansas! Helping long distance!) that Riley had been spotted again. We saw the location and took off. Several people were searching the area. My friend and I turned down a side street at about 8:30 am. He slammed on the brakes and cried out because he saw her. His doors lock automatically and he was trying to open my door and so was I!! I jumped out and she took off. He sped ahead and stopped ahead of where she was. I had her leash, favorite toy, and treats. She ran from him toward me, but was still skiddish. I lured her with her ball. I grabbed at her three times until I had her.
We had a group hug and were in total shock. I fed her a turkey strip treat. She seemed unhurt, but was filthy and lost almost three pounds. Riley seemed just as shocked as we were. She was so happy when she got food, water, and felt safe. She slept for four days straight. The vet examined her and she had a few cuts on her paw pads, but nothing major. I have a step tracker and I walked/ran over 50,000 steps while Riley was lost- roughly translating to 25 miles. Much of the time I was on a bike, and some of the time I was in a car. That time isn’t even counted in the 25 miles. I can only imagine how much ground Riley covered. 

Besides that I never want my dog out of my sight again, I thanked that Facebook group and community SO MUCH for their help. I would never have expected all of the love, help, and prayers from total strangers. One helper cried when I called to tell her we found Riley. Again, a total stranger that just loves animals and wanted to help. Sometimes from trauma comes beauty and love… And that I guess is the circle of life? 

I will have an upcoming post about how to keep a Shiba Inu inside and safe. It’s an ongoing battle, like wrestling a fish. I swear. 

Happy thanksgiving, all of you in the USA!

💛 Jillian 

What Makes You Feel Beautiful? 

Jenny Feldon

A while ago, I read a book called “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon. I thought it would be a fluffy, summer read kind of thing, but it was so much more. Jenny’s writing style reminds me of Cheryl Strayed and her book, “Wild”. She is brutally honest, and let you see her heart and soul. I love honest writing, writing that makes a difference to me long after the book is finished.

The book is about when Jenny and her husband move to India temporarily for his work, and everything that means. The struggle to adjust to the culture, experiencing so many new things, how it affects their relationship; it’s fascinating. It made me think about marriage and how I live my life in a different way. I think it’s really important to constantly examine your life, and this pushed me to do that.

There was one passage in particular that truly struck me (the passage is above). I took a picture before I even had a blog, because it meant that much to me. I liked to go back to it and re-read it. Here is the passage for anyone who can’t see the picture:

“Yeah, sure.” I blushed under his gaze. “Thanks.”

Jay never told me I was beautiful. I’d been wounded by the absent compliment more than once, frustrated that he seemed indifferent to my appearance no matter how much effort I put in. Don’t you think I’m pretty? I’d ask. Of course I do. I married you, didn’t I? he’d answer, as though that were good enough.

I wanted him to think I was beautiful, or at least tell me so, even when I wasn’t. Because I wasn’t, always, but I longed for him to see me that way. My desire for his acceptance and approval hadn’t disappeared the day he put a ring on my finger. Sometimes I’d stand in front of the mirror, staring at myself, trying to see what he saw, wondering what flaw rendered me so ordinary to the person who was supposed to love me most.

But mostly, I let it go. There were other people who filled that void. Whose compliments lifted me up and made me whole. My parents, my girlfriends, my co-workers and classmates. Years before the cultural phenomenon of the Facebook “like,” we traded support like currency, banking a gorgeous here and a brilliant there, knowing that when we needed it, a whole slew of love-isms would come back to us in spades.

-excerpt from “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon

Jenny’s words resonated with me, deep down. I had struggled to explain to my husband how I needed positive reinforcement. It always ended up coming out like I was begging for compliments. Compliments that felt awkward to him, and often undeserved to me. When it comes down to it, it was the way I wanted him to see me. Not as I always am in the moment, but as I am as a whole person. The person that should matter most.

This is a danger in relationships, I think. When you have something that you really need, really want to express, but don’t know how. Then you have to find a therapist, book, friend, pet… Et cetera to help you find it.

The plot of my obsession over this thickens. One day I thought, I should blog about that! So I took a chance and I contacted Jenny to see if it would be okay to use the passage. I told her how much I loved it and waited… Not really thinking she would get back to me. THEN SHE DID!! Oh my gosh, I was totally star struck 🙂 Part of her email is below. She was so nice, and I was happy that I let her know I loved her book. How cool is this?!

Jillian,
… THANK YOU for reading and for your incredibly kind and thoughtful words about the passage. It means the world to me that my words resonated with you, and especially the words in that passage, as it was both one of hardest to write, and the most meaningful to me in the entire book… Of course you can quote or photograph the excerpt… Thank you so very much for reading the book and for taking the time to write this email. It touched me deeply and I’m grateful.

All my best,

Jenny

I feel so honored that she wrote me back. It’s wonderful that I was able to touch her! It was a little hard for me to reach out to her (but not as much as it would have been in the past). I was worried she would think I was crazy, and definitely thought she wouldn’t have time to answer. I’m so glad that I was brave, because I feel so much more confident now.

I know that I deserve someone who gets me, but I truly think it is more about me. Getting myself, loving myself, and knowing how to express what I need. That is how I can feel beautiful 🙂

Tell me what you think- and if you have any reading recommendations for me?

Jillian

Questions to Ask When Looking For a Therapist 

I’m not sure if anyone has really noticed, but I’ve been pretty absent for a while now. I’ve been going through a rough patch, and honestly haven’t had the motivation to put myself out there much. However, I am strong and I have a lot of great support.

I have been working with a therapist, which I think I mentioned before. I was so nervous and intimidated about how to go about finding the right one. I started by checking out who was covered by my insurance, because that just made sense. I knew I wanted to see a woman, so that helped narrow it further. Then I looked at who was conveniently located, and who had availability after work. The last thing I needed was to take time off work once a week!

I also asked my awesome friend, who is a therapist herself, for some advice on how to choose. She gave me these GREAT questions to ask both the therapists I talked to and myself. My favorite part is that she also gave possible “right” answers to the questions. I wanted to share, just in case anyone else is considering therapy, and she gave me her permission.

For me, the first step of looking and calling was the very hardest. I’m not great at talking and honestly still dread going most weeks, but I always feel better after my sessions.

??????? For the therapist 

What theories/frameworks do you use? Why those theories and not others? (You’re looking for why they think it’s effective, not what they personally like.)

While researching about this, I found that there are so many new techniques and ideas. How do you stay abreast of all this knowledge (looking for “attending training, conferences, reading”)

What role do you think medication plays in mental health? (You’re looking for an answer like “it depends”. Some psychiatrists think “non-compliance” to medication regimens is tantamount to revolt)

I know everyone is different, but what is the time-range for this therapy to show effectiveness?

Have you treated anyone with issues similar to mine? What was the outcome? What ingredients were the cause of that success/failure? How will we measure progress?

What’s expected from me? (For instance, are there homework assignments?)

When do you start thinking about termination (ending the relationship), and what will that look like? (e.g. will it be a shared decision, is there a set number of visits and then review, etc)

??????? For you 

Did you feel heard by the therapist?

Did you feel like the therapist respected you?

Was the therapist condescending?

Did the therapist seem like a real person, or were they playing a role?

Was the therapist passive or active in the session? What do you like better?

Does it seem like the therapist will be open to hearing about all your feelings, including frustrated feelings relating to them?

Did the therapist have a positive outlook on life?

Did you feel better or worse after the session?

Did you feel comfortable with the therapist?

Does this seem like a safe place to express your thoughts, concerns, and feelings?

I didn’t ask all of these questions, but even thinking about them helped me realize more about what I was looking for. Good luck in your journey!

Jillian