Archive for July, 2011

July 31, 2011

The Tale of Amberjack

As most of you have realized from the pictures popping up on my Facebook page, I have recently adopted a Jack Russel Terrier named Amberjack.  I didn’t just go to the pound and pick out a dog.  Oh no.  This story actually goes all the way back to June 19th while I was still in Phoenix.  I was up late at night in my dorm going through picture after picture on the Petfinder app, just looking at dogs in case I decided to adopt one.  I wasn’t REALLY thinking about adopting a dog, but I indulged myself in this search process to get the urge out of my system.  Well, this was a bad idea.

Before long I came across this:

Jack Russell Terrier Amberjack

This is a picture of Amberjack from June.  I was convinced she was a Chinese Crested (those dogs that win the ugliest dog contests) because of how…interesting…she looked, but then I read her story.  She and her sister, Flapjack (my sister loved this because it reminded her of Pancakes on The O.C.), were surrendered to the Animal Rescue Foundation.  Amberjack had demodex mange, which is the lowest form of mange caused by a high amount of fleas.  She was expected to make a full recovery, but at the moment had no hair : (  She was only three years old and was already suffering from something that wasn’t her fault.  So, of course, I immediately felt like I needed to adopt this dog.  I think I have a Corduroy complex from that children’s books (must buy the broken toy!!!).

I put this adoption idea in the back of my mind because I wasn’t even coming back to Tulsa for another month.  I figured by then she would be in a nice home.  But, I did save her to my favorites on a whim.  When I got back to Tulsa in late July, I casually opened the app again to check on Amberjack’s adoption story.  This unfortunately did not exist, but there were new photos of her with a huge improvement in hair growth.

Amberjack Jack Russell Terrier

I told my mom about the dog (she was here to help me move in), and my mom urged me to go see her at the vet’s office where she was being held.  My mom had doubts that a Jack Russell would be calm enough for an apartment, but we called the vet and they said we could come in at any time to see her.

This was mistake number 2 for someone who was not going to adopt a dog.  Not only was she super tiny, cute, and still a little pathetic looking (which made her more cute to me), we got more information from the volunteer that showed her to us.  She said the dog had just finished recovering from Kennel Cough, and had not been very popular at all (it sounded like no one else was interested in adopting her).  Amberjack likes being held, but was very nervous and shaky when I picked her up at the vet.  I got her health records when I left, and as soon as we got in the car, my mom told me “You have to get her.  She’s much calmer than I expected.”

Sooooo I filled out the application even though I was really nervous about adding a dog adoption to my already stressful move to Tulsa.  I couldn’t bear the thought of this dog being at the vet’s office any longer (she had already been there over 2 months).  I figured there was a chance I might not even pass the adoption screening process since I lived an apartment, would be gone for long periods, and hadn’t actually owned a dog by myself.  But sure enough, while on a break from panels at Comic Con, I got the call that I was clear to adopt her as soon as I returned to Tulsa.

Now just a small FYI, dogs are not cheap.  Between the adoption fee, apartment pet deposit, and Petco supplies, my bank account took quite a hit.  Luckily, though, most of these costs are upfront.  I won’t need to buy leashes, collars, cages, beds, etc. too often.  I won’t even need to buy food that often because she eats so little at 11 lbs.

Since I picked her up on Monday, we’ve had our ups and downs:


-The volunteer told me she wasn’t completely housebroken, but she has been almost perfect about just going outside and has quickly gotten used to her outings schedule.
-She doesn’t bark, bite people, or chew on my belongings.
-She seems to have bonded with me within minutes of being in my apartment : )


-She started SHRIEKING when I left the second time after putting her in the cage.  Maybe she did the first time, but she might have waited until I was gone for a few minutes.  I worried about how loud she was and was paranoid that my neighbors would call and complain and I would have to give her up.  She has gotten better the past few days since I put old t-shirts of mine in the cage (they smell like me), gave her trick toys with treats stuffed inside, and put her in the closet (door is open) so she is more in the center of the apartment to bother less neighbors.
-She is very clingy and wants to be in my lap a lot.  I’ve had to work on saying NO a lot and also working out compromises like her being on the couch only if she is laying on her bed that is *placed* on the couch.
-She loves squeaky toys, but she is able to take the squeaker out of the thin ones in 30 minutes flat -_-  I don’t think she gets it that once the squeaker is out it won’t squeak anymore…

To deal with some of the downs, I think I’m going to sign up for obedience classes at a local dog club.  I think it would be good for both of us and would help her socialize with other dogs (she gets super scared when another dog is nearby).  My friend recommended getting her into agility training after obedience training because of her breed.  Maybe she’ll be ready to zig zag through poles and jump over hurdles by Christmas : D

Amberjack the Jack Russell Terrier

But for now, it’s me and Amberjay (my pet name for her) against the world out here in Tulsa.

July 8, 2011

Worst. Flight. Ever.

Two weeks ago I was working on lesson plans and just decided to go home for the following 3 day weekend.  I hadn’t planned to visit home anytime soon, but I really needed a break from Institute life.  Airfares were okay, so within half an hour, I had booked a red eye flight home for the upcoming Friday.  I had to work my ass off all week to make sure I had as little to do as possible once I came home.  This included using our surprise afternoon off for additional lesson planning…boo.  I didn’t get all I wanted to done, but I got a good start on most things.  Friday came soon enough, and by 11:50 pm, I was on my connecting flight to Atlanta, ready for the three day pseudo-break.

It must have been about an hour into the flight that we got the snack and beverage service.  I had apple juice and pretzels, and then tried to get as comfortable as possible in the middle seat (in an exit row, so I had a lot of leg room).  I was fine, but then suddenly had a huge wave of nausea hit me.  I never get sick like this, so I tried to just sit through it, but within minutes decided I had to get up and get to a bathroom ASAP.  There was no way I was going to throw up in front of people.

I stood up fast and hit my head on the ceiling.  This didn’t phase me much because I was focused more on my destination.  I remember being behind this guy walking SO SLOWLY in the aisle, and when he finally sat down, I made my way forward.  I kept hitting almost every seat, which should have been a red flag, but about 8 steps away from the bathroom, I felt myself crumple to the floor.  The last thing I remember was hearing everybody gasp and get up around me and then I must have blacked out.

When I opened my eyes, there were a few passengers around me and a couple flight attendants.  One of the flight attendants said I fainted and then had a seizure.  WHAT???  I remember thinking, “Oh, this is a dream.  Wait, no, this is real.  Yes, I remember falling and now I am on the floor in front of a plane full of people.  Greaaaaaaaaaat.”  They asked me my name and age, and I also gave them my seat number for good measure (I had this urgent need to prove that I was okay).  I told them what led up to falling while I mentally asked myself the following questions:

Did I throw up? ::Checks face, clothes, and floor:: No.

Am I clothed? Yes.

Does anything hurt? My knee, kind of.

Did they have to shoot me with some type of shot to wake me?  I don’t think so.

Two of the passengers with me were physicians, and they had a brief debate whether I actually had a seizure and why I would have collapsed.  The same flight attendant who told me I had a seizure started talking about how planes can have weird effects on us.  I was like lady, I just flew to Russia and back, and China and back the year before.  I got this plane thing down (or at least I did).  Then she said alcohol can make it worse.  I told her I hadn’t had any alcohol for a week at least, and she stopped talking.  The group around me on the floor finally decided that this was probably a combination of dehydration and exhaustion, and eventually my “seizure” was downgraded to just shaking.

The minute I had regained consciousness I felt fine.  I didn’t feel nauseous, and I was able to get up and go back to my seat without any help.  I was just mortified about the whole incident, and still had about an hour left to go on the plane.  Just FYI, there is nowhere you can hide on a plane.  I did suffer minor bruising on my knee and face, but otherwise was left fairly unscathed.  The paramedics checked me out when I got off the plane, and reported that my blood sugar, blood pressure, and pulse were fine.  They thought it was ridiculous that I was told I had a seizure because I wouldn’t have been aware right afterwards if that was the case.

Despite being fine, the experience was really traumatizing.  TFA Institute staff always says to take care of yourself, but it’s really difficult when the expectations are so high here.  No matter how far ahead I get, I always have something that I have to be working on.  Luckily, we only have a week left and then my time will be mostly my own again.  I’ve never felt like I couldn’t push myself just a little more, but apparently even I have a limit.  My goals for this week involved drinking (non-alcoholic drinks) and sleeping more, both of which I’ve been able to more or less accomplish.

I haven’t cried almost at all since induction started, but I had way too much time to think on my way back to Phoenix.  A few tears came out quietly when I let myself think about everything I force myself to bottle away when I am here to keep it together.  Most heartbreaking of all?  Remembering how happy I was on that roof in Russia with Nikita.  I boxed up those feelings when I drove to Oklahoma, but they’re definitely still with me all the time.  His package is also MIA in Russia right now (USPS tracking status just says “Arrival at Post Office June 15 RUSSIA”…that’s specific).  I haven’t lost all hope that he’ll get it, but I’m thinking it’s likely I’ll see it returned before he would ever see it.  As long as it isn’t lost forever, I suppose that will have to do.  Please think positive postal service thoughts in the meantime ❤