Archive for March, 2012

Advantage: Dog

Posted in Uncategorized on March 28, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

One of these days, I will be a mom. It’s definitely something I look forward to in the future. In the meantime, I enjoy spending time with my nieces, baby-sitting my friends’ children, and teaching junior high school girls at my church. I also love being a pet-owner. Until last week, it was a pair of cats. But then I introduced a dog into the mix; and over the last 7 days, I’ve decided that everyone who wants to have kids should be required to own a dog first.

I’m compiling a list of valuable lessons, courtesy of my dog, Penny, that I will take forward into parenthood.

  • Dogs/babies get up early. So do you. This might be the biggest adjustment for me as a long-time night owl. Since the dog sleeps while I’m at work, she’s ready to go when I get home. My bedtime is pushed back until all her needs are addressed.
  • When you DO finally get in bed, sleep comes in short bursts; it’s more like napping. One ear is constantly trained to capture movement or restlessness in case you’re needed again. If you weren’t a light sleeper before, you are now.
  • The needs of your dog/baby ALWAYS come before your own. In fact, they rank ahead of your morning coffee. Ha! Food, water, and bathroom breaks all trump whatever you have on your list.
  • There’s no such thing as a quick escape from your house. It’s not just you anymore. Now it’s you plus a constant companion. If you’re the type who tends to run on the late side like me, multiply it times SIX!
  • Time is of the essence, and so is your time management. Thankfully, the more I have on my plate, the more disciplined I am. My new family addition requires that I budget my time wisely, but so far, that’s nothing but positive.
  • You have more stamina than your dog/baby. While they may exude more energy in a half hour than you have all day, they wear out a lot faster than you do. What gets me up the crack of dawn and outside to walk Penny multiple times per day is the knowledge that she will collapse next to the chair after dinner. Wooo!
  • If you leave it on the floor or within reach, it will end up in their mouths. Enough said.
  • Dogs/babies know only what you teach them. They’re a clean slate, but they learn exponentially. And they respond to your tone of voice much quicker than they understand your words.
  • Everything gets dirty quicker: your clothes, the floor, the kitchen, YOU. Dogs/babies are messy. Might as well get used to it. You can still be a clean freak, but it won’t be nearly as easy. Ha!

In barely more than a week of dog ownership, it feels as though I’ve attended a semester’s worth of parenting classes. My priorites have changed out of necessity; but so far, it’s more than worth it. More smiles, more laughter, more work, but more rewards. I didn’t know it was possible, but more than ever, I look forward to being a mom … to my dog, two cats, and a human.

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Sports Never Cease to Surprise!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

It’s been 24 hours since the news broke … Peyton is choosing Denver! Peyton Manning will play for the Broncos next year, instead of suiting up for the NFC West champion Niners or staying close to home with the Titans. WHAT?? My reaction then and now remains the same. It may not be completely real to me until I see him step on the field in his #18 Broncos jersey this fall. But digging deeper, there are two sides to every story; and after time to process, my reaction also has two faces, two variations, and I’m still waffling back and forth between the two.

The Peyton face: Not kidding when I tell you this, the phrase “He’s PEYTON MANNING!” (with emphasis) has come out of my mouth at least two dozen times since I heard. Fellow football fans keep asking me what I think, and that’s my initial reply. Why? His name conjures up all the images, statistics, and track record you need to understand what he can mean to an NFL franchise. In Peyton’s 13 healthy seasons, the Colts reached the playoffs 11 times and the Super Bowl twice. They were perennial contenders, even when they didn’t have elite personnel around Peyton. The Colts won the 2007 Super Bowl and built a new stadium on Manning’s back. His cerebral approach and infamous work ethic only enhance his deadly accuracy. His signature style of calling and changing plays at the line of scrimmage forces defenses to scrap their game plans. Four MVP awards and a continual assault on the passing record books make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he retires. And Peyton raises the level of play around him because he demands the same excellence of his teammates. He’s a winner!

During the pursuit of Peyton Manning, two questions lingered. Is he healthy after multiple neck surgeries, and is he too far past his prime? As part of the recruiting process, Peyton went through an extensive physical from doctors hired by the Broncos, and he passed with flying colors. He also threw the football for a Broncos contingent that included John Elway. Who better to evaluate Manning’s status than a Hall of Fame quarterback who blazed the trail in Denver? Elway also won his Super Bowl rings at age 37 and 38, which is older than Manning even after he celebrates his birthday this week. Questions answered.

The Tebow face: Let me be clear about Tim Tebow. Even if he wasn’t a Denver Bronco, I would still be cheering for him to succeed. After watching him run my favorite team for the better part of a season, I’m sold on everything he brings to the table. Competitive fire, mental and physical strength and toughness, amazing leadership, the ability to inspire greatness, and a never-say-die attitude. Whether or not you like his unconventional style and unique skill set, you can’t ignore the 6-game win streak, AFC West title, and playoff win by the Broncos after Tebow won the starting job. Despite constant volatile criticism, you never saw him get defensive or fire back. His grace, humility, and unwavering commitment to his teammates are just part of the reason Tebow-mania consumed the NFL last season. His jersey sales were second only to Aaron Rogers in 2011. Millions of football fans can’t be wrong about his charisma, character, and impact on the field. Just like Peyton, he’s a winner!

Tebow’s entering his 3rd season in the NFL. It’s way too early to give up on him. I wish the Broncos would keep him in the fold. I don’t want to see him playing anywhere else but Denver. I already know it will sting to see him in a different uniform. Down the road, we may look back and recognize him as a once-in-a-lifetime player. But Peyton’s already there. It’s likely only two teams will ever get to claim him, and I’m proud to say Denver is one of them. The Colts’ loss is the Broncos’ gain. There are only a few quarterbacks that I would choose over Tebow, and Peyton’s one of them. I never thought I’d get to make this choice but he’s PEYTON MANNING!!!

Growing Up is Hard to Do

Posted in Uncategorized on March 8, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

I still remember crying when the Boston Celtics traded one of my favorite players Danny Ainge to the Sacramento Kings in 1989. He was part of the core five that won a pair of championships together. Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, and Danny Ainge. I lived to watch their games, even owned a poster which featured all five (still have it), so when Ainge was traded, I was heartbroken. There was absolutely no way to convince a young girl that dealing Ainge for a center named Joe Kleine could make the team better. I felt betrayed, and I knew my Celtics would never be the same.

Not sure that irrational fanatacism ever goes away completely. We eventually understand the sports industry is driven primarily by money. But no matter how old we get, a chasm will always exist between head and heart when it comes to our sports heroes. It still hurts when our favorite athletes move onto another chapter in their careers.

Peyton Manning IS the Indianapolis Colts: the most famous player in franchise history. Their number one draft pick in 1998, he led them to 11 playoff appearances and a pair of Super Bowls; helped them win a ring while racking up four MVP awards; and became the face of the franchise as well as an ambassador for the NFL. He’s a future Hall of Famer with an Indy children’s hospital bearing his name. Peyton IS the Colts … or rather, he WAS until this week when the team cut him loose instead of paying his $28 million dollar bonus. Granted, he missed last season after multiple neck surgeries and may not be the same player when he returns; but after a few tears, the marriage ended with no backward glance. Loyalty flies out the window in the face of business.

If there’s any consolation, Colts fans, you can be sure plenty of other people feel your pain. Not that long ago, it was Packers’ fans mourning the departure of Brett Favre, and to make matters worse, he eventually landed with their chief rival. The Niners bid farewell to not one, but TWO Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Joe Montana and Steve Young, and then they let Jerry Rice finish his career somewhere else. Johnny Unitas was shipped from the Baltimore Colts to the Chargers to play out the string. And these painful sports divorces aren’t limited to football. Lebron James stunned the Cleveland faithful by announcing his unceremonius departure on national TV. “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky won four Stanley Cup titles in five years with the Oilers, only to ask for a trade to the Kings. Albert Pujols earned a pair of World Series rings with the Cardinals but didn’t like their contract offer this winter and took the money and a fresh start with the Angels. Johnny Damon stabbed the Red Sox crazies in the heart when he donned pinstripes with the rival Yankees.

Whether it’s the decision of the player or the team, it never gets easier to see our favorite athletes wearing different uniforms, throwing touchdowns, hitting home runs, or wooing fans in a new city. When you’re a kid, you have no idea why your hero deserted you or how you’ll survive. When you’re an adult, you realize sports is NOT just a game; instead, nearly every decision comes down to the bottom line. When you’re an adult, you’re expected to be rational. You can’t cry and throw a fit and refuse to come out of your room when your favorite player is traded. But admit it — that’s what we all WANT to do now and then, right, even if the tantrum only lasts a moment? So go ahead, Colts fans, we totally understand.

Doggie Days

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 by amylawrencepxp

“The more boys I meet, the more I love my dog.” – Carrie Underwood

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but it IS funny! Catchy line from one of my favorite country music artists. The lyrics describe dogs as loyal and friendly, valuable qualities in any companion whether human or canine.

Loyal and friendly top my list of reasons to adopt a dog. I’ve been mulling over this decision for years, even coming up with “pros” and “cons,” but it never seemed like the right time…until now…maybe. I’ve straddled the fence. Because my work schedule can be crazy and because I like to travel and stay busy, a dog would require adjustments to my lifestyle. Because my home is already run by two cats, it would take a very specific dog to fit into the mix. Because I recently took care of a friend’s puppy for a week, I would only want an adult dog. Ha!

I grew up with dogs; in fact, I can’t remember a time when my family didn’t have at least one. Australian shepherds, German shepherds, a few mutts, a dalmatian, even a Siberian Husky shared our various homes. My mom’s latest dog is an Aussie with a giant bark but a sweet temperament. I talk to her on skype and leave her messages on the answering machine. She stares at the computer when my mom listens to my radio programs on-line because she recognizes my voice. The right dogs are excellent sidekicks. They don’t care if you mess up or fail miserably; they’re still happy to see you. They’ll protect you and your home, and they always enjoy going along for the ride. So many “pros” to having a dog! But will I have time to devote to a dog who can’t be left alone all day? Do I really need to run my own zoo? Am I turning into the “Pet Lady”? Will another animal disrupt the cats? Do I want to spend the money to properly care for another animal? Do I want the added responsibility?

A few months ago, I decided I would ONLY adopt a dog if I could find the perfect fit. I started researching on the internet. (Word to the wise, do NOT look at dogs on the web unless you’re serious about taking one home. It’s dangerous for your heart.) I narrowed my search parameters: adult female Aussie, housebroken and crate-trained, friendly, fairly calm, healthy, up to date on her shots, and beautiful. Not too much to ask, right? I honestly didn’t think I’d find anything close. Who would give up a dog like that? But then I discovered Sadie — from her description, she seemed made to order . Surely, she was too good to be true, and how would I ever know since she was also 500 miles away?

While I was visiting my brother last week, I sent an email inquiry about Sadie on a whim. Not only was she still available, but I was able to make a small detour on my way home to meet her. We hit it off instantly. She’s sweet, social, and well-behaved with a gorgeous red merle coat. It was love at first sight. And that’s the last “pro” I needed to tip the scales. I hope to bring Sadie home by month’s end. I promise to post pictures when she officially joins the family.