Tag: dog

Success, planning, life examined

Success, planning, life examined by Jeanine Renzoni

It seems like the weather is the mother of fated armchair introspection, of course having an antenna that went out and so the TV doesn’t work helps too. Excessive cold makes it easier to work inside. The shortest day, winter solstice,

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

is almost here – time to turn on the lights and review and plan and adjust instead of letting shadowy destiny arrive as it may.

Why? I worry that if I don’t do something pro-active many of the things I say and think I want, won’t happen. It’s too easy to put off, make excuses, do something that’s immediately more fun or entertaining or comforting – like read another book or go shopping or make cookies.

Outline or Mind map? I like to look at pictures and connections more than straight lines and words – at least if I’m going to look at them repeatedly. And since this process is all about me (or you if you plan to do it too) I want it to be as fun, entertaining and comforting as possible, but still meet the purpose of enthusiastically mapping out my plans, ideals, goals, and yes time frames.

I did a Lumosity brain preference quiz and it identified me as 62% right-brained, 38% left. This is likely too simplified, but fun as an explanation of why some things click and others don’t.

If you like outlines or specific kinds of paper, pens, computer software, iPad, smart phone, collages, paint, markers, stamps, stickers, calendars … use them, be authentic and enjoy it.

The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.  – Anne Lindbergh

I’m doing some trading (my animal training ability for learning how to work in stained glass) and the artist I’m working with (Kathy Heir does lovely glass creations) suggested doing a collage first to clarify color preference, shape preferences and important things I like. Oddly I had just picked up a second-hand copy of Breathnach’s Illustrated Discovery Journal, which basically asked me to do the same thing – serendipity. It was fun and I ended up with an interesting piece I’ve posted in my craft room. If you haven’t done a collage (ever or recently) I’d strongly suggest doing it, cutting and pasting is more fun when you’re older (I disliked it sincerely in 2nd grade).

My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.
My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.

I saw a recent AP from Jack Canfield ( of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) that uses photos and statements. According to him, the research states phrasing as if the goal were already achieved is the most beneficial way of posting/thinking of it to make it real. So instead of ‘I will’ statements change to I am or have or do or … In the world of this affirmative plan, events are already happening, in place, active, not just out there waiting to be started.

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. – Iris Murdoch

I really like dog training, I’m really good at it, but I need to re-think what I’m doing if I’m actually going to make a second truly profitable career out of it. This year I got certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizenship evaluator, completed new simplified handouts for classes, in-depth trained four dogs, made lots of agility equipment for 4H (significant time spent here), volunteered as 4H dog project leader, took agility classes with my own dogs and am on board with S. Garrett’s training PP for the next 13 months. The current balance here is still on acquiring more knowledge instead of being paid for it. So far on the not happenin’ yet are self-produced YouTube/videos and anti-dog bite programs for school kids (although I did segments of this in each class and for the 4H dog project kids/parents). The weather this spring put a dent in the outdoor classes, maybe I need a goal about alternatives related to weather.

I like art and music and writing and gardening and food (know a lot about food and health) … So the process involves finding key things and focusing on key pieces of them that I think (you think) would make an important difference, a needed difference in making success (whatever the definition of success is for you). These are the goals, these are the stuff of dreams, but in this game they are already here, happening and do-able.

Life examined? So far on my 2013 mind map there are some nice completed successes and there are areas of stagnation. I wonder should I keep the things in that haven’t had much action? Were they as important as I initially thought they were? What actually seemed most successful? Am I holding myself accountable (in a friendly, frequently nicely treated way) or would I be fired if I worked for somebody else? What things did I concentrate on that I didn’t put in my plan?

Often a small jot on the plan can be a much bigger task than expected. The good thing about this is learning a lot about – details, deep understanding, process. The bad thing is time is taken away from everything else.

What might it look like if I did an outline?

10 year plan – 2014                                                   Finished

  • joined a professional dog trainers association
  • accepted as a guest speaker for dog club
  • participated in competition
  • submitted 6 articles to dog magazines
  • participated in dog club events
  • finished on training video ea. two weeks
  • completed dog art – photos, drawings, painting
  • put up large Cover-All for training classes
  • added agility equipment and sessions
  • limited novel reading (1/wk)

Two Years – 2015

  • designed a new website
  • competed in 3 agility trials (AKC)
  • wrote 1 dog blog per week
  • edited/completed 1 video per week
  • commissioned for 1 dog artwork
  • finished 15 strong pieces (art)
  • guest trained for other training sites
  • ?volunteered for Leaders Blind puppy trainer
  • attended Clicker.expo

Five years – 2018

  • offering web-based dog training
  • breeding and training service dogs
  • participating in two shows per year
  • attending schutzhund training
  • celebrated 

Ten years – 2023

  • writing/illustrating children’s dog book
  • finishing one great painting each month
  • transferred the training/kennel to protegé

This last section feels too far out, too hard to project as so many things could change and I’ll be past retirement age. I guess I’m not sure what I’m planning to do in retirement, I’ll have to think about it more. Plus the outline format makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s too linear or something, but if it works for you – go for it!


Snow monster – the devil’s in the details

The noise, loud exclamations coming from a small sturdy child in a pale pink with purple pockets and purple collared snow suit. She had red cheeks, pink Hello Kitty fleece hat on crooked and large brown eyes once she got close enough. Her words never stopped, but they weren’t always understandable even though there was lots of volume. Her mittens were snow encrusted and pulling themselves off her hands. She pushed one back on and then attempted to clear the brunette chunk of wet hair from her mouth after it had escaped from Hello Kitty coverage. She was playing in the wet packing snow of the front yard of her family’s white ranch style home on this sunny, mild winter’s day. The family’s chocolate, pudgy, wildly leaping year-old lab interfering with her snowman making plans. And she was yelling at her dog with much animation and little effect.

Seeing a known neighbor, she wanted to know if I would help her roll some snow balls to build a snowman. I said my gloves weren’t very good for this kind of wet snow. She immediately ran at high-speed to the house for a sturdier pair. She came back out the garage door still talking and still running. Her dog hopping and weaving beside her, but never knocking into this dynamo of motion.

We rolled snow, picking up grass and leaves and sticks as she exclaimed about her love of things purple and the size of the snowballs and whether we’d be able to pick them up. I asked if we should also make a dog snowman. She thought this was an odd idea, but quickly agreed and began rolling more snow, further and further looping paths on the lawn, her snow boots sometimes loosening on her feet, but never quite falling off. Finally accomplished, snowman with grass stained features and snow dog promptly sat on, bounced on and jumped on and crushed into an indistinguishable pile all to delighted laughs and then mild dismay since I would not help make another and I was leaving, headed on my walk down the gravel, snow-covered road.

Novel, Dogs supportive??? – NaNoWriMo

I did not stay up until midnight so I could start writing at 12:01 a.m. for National Novel Writers Month.

Jazzie and Max supporting my decision to write fiction and patiently waiting for my daily completion of 2000 words for NaNoWriMo.

I did not skip breakfast or my morning workout. I figured, start as you plan to proceed, reasonable, practical, healthy, steady, favorite coffee, comfortable chair, heater on by my feet, hubby told to go away, dogs ready for fun breaks and then freak, freak, freak! Because 50,000 words turned in by the 25th or so, is frankly a really big number and I’m more used to shorter offerings of the less fictional kind.

What did happen last night in my sleep were vibrant and weird dreams, I thought at one point when I woke up, I should write down some of this to use tomorrow or the next day. But I was tired and sleepy and thought I might remember at least part of them, maybe tonight I’ll get my notebook, flashlight and pencil ready for any nocturnal plot lines.

So far this morning when I started writing I seemed to track immediately off course, so much for planning.

We were supportive, but this is taking too long. How many words did you write so far? How many are you going to write? Boring, boring, boring, boring…

But then again that’s the way my planning has always been and the writing is going and so far its interesting. I’m  at 1300 words, trying to skip any editing – not hard lining that or anything really, whatever goes, goes. The plan, and this part is intact as of yet, is to write in two blocks daily, as much as flows. So far I don’t have many characters and I thought I was going to aim for comedy, maybe not? Maybe that’s the funny part. Well my dogs say its time to stop writing and go outside for a fun break, I’m on board for that part of the plan.

You want my opinion, reconsider before you get too far into this. There are so many other things we could do together like…


Journey on Daily Effort to Learn New Things

Clickers used for clicker training Taken by Elf
Clickers used for clicker training Taken by Elf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I started this blog to practice writing, practice getting thoughts to screen (or paper as they used to say). I don’t know that practice necessarily makes you better, but it does make doing something easier. I’m doing the same thing with guitar; spending some time with it daily. It’s been, hmmph, about 9 months now. I’ve got calluses on my left hand fingertips. My rendition of what to do with a Drunkin’ Sailor is quite jaunty.


This journey to daily effort on different interests started when I quit working so regularly; work for someone else cuts into the time that would be used for things that actually are deeply interesting. But initially I found I was just doing easy stuff, like reading or doing needed articles, like setting up my dog training business or cleaning. Then I started a weekly on-line dog training program which included lots of 5 minute segments. Of course, my dogs wanted to practice these. You think I’m joking? I’m not, they wait patiently while I do  computer work and after about two hours have passed they nudge me and stare or go get a toy and demonstrate. So the brief segments and expansion of new endeavors enlarged.


Last year I spent daily time on photography, this year if the light is right I’m shooting photos of something.

Laundry dries even when there’s first snow on the ground.

Two years ago it was Spanish, mostly to get ready to go to Nicaragua, but it was also a needed review. Before that it was dressage riding and then clicker training the horses. Almost forgot; facebook, google web page and dog training blog…I think that was last year that I started, it’s hard to remember a time without having facebook and a web page. Those are definite learning curve time-sucking projects. Not saying they aren’t worthwhile, but I’m thinking any new learning that needs significant effort to master is worthwhile.


Drawing and artwork, I’m not doing daily. I did a speed rush back to carving to get a chair ready for the local business supporting ‘chair affair’ auction.

Relief carved Puppy chair for local chair affair auction.

I could tell that I hadn’t been practicing; less flow to the work and more struggle. Three years ago it was watercolors, but only for 3 months. Earlier this year I worked on acrylics and light and detail.  And I did a large 40″ X 48″ poster of a dinner celebration for a window at work, the emphasis was light, color and speed of rendition. Sometime soon I’m moving toward more abstraction and color, maybe when its cold and gray outside.

Acrylic on poster paper 40X48″, Celebrate the Season.

Creating, that’s what I want. There seems to be too much copying and passing on and not enough original, not enough depth, not enough talent developed. To be able to share, be interesting, pique curiosity or just offer comments and different perspective that’s why I’m practicing blogging.