The Return to Reality

The past few weeks have been amazing! Roland and I toured two countries, Ecuador and Colombia, over a two week period. We have added some awesome memories and stories to our lives as well as accomplishing six of the goals on my 101 Things list.

Standing on both sides of La Mitad del Mundo, otherwise known as the Equator line running through Ecuador.

La Mitad del Mundo

And a coffee tour in Colombia, just to name two.

Hacienda Guyabal

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting pictures and stories chronicling our South American tour.  I’m excited to share the adventures and misadventures. Since we have returned home I have accomplished converting all of the nearly 900 photos I took and have begun the process of sorting, deleting, and editing. I am glad to be home, but I didn’t miss the weather. It has snowed another five inches since our return on Saturday. Dreaming of the 70 degree weather I left behind as a I head back to work tomorrow.

On another note, Ava stayed with my parents while we were away, so my house had a short break from destruction. This morning when I went to the store, I blocked Ava in the kitchen with two baby gates (one above the other, standing about four and a half feet tall). When I returned from the store, she was out roaming the house, both baby gates still in place. She has apparently added scaling fences to her Houdini bag of tricks now. Luckily she only destroyed a box of tissues, a few pens, and a packet of soy sauce which has stained the futon. Will have to develop a new plan for the full time return to work. I still have one day’s reprieve as my roommate, a teacher, has a snow day tomorrow. That leaves about 36 hours to develop an Ava proof plan!

Introducing: Ava Grace

Ava Grace

Ava Grace – Adopted on January 28, 2014. Her name at the time of adoption was Tidbit. Though this name was fitting to the timid puppy I first encountered at the Humane Society, I knew that it was not who she would be forever.

Choosing her forever name was a long and difficult process. After I turned in the application to adopt her, I went home and made a list with my roommate and my boyfriend. This list included such names as:

  • Amelia – My favorite literary heroine of all time, Amelia Peabody.
  • Watson – Roland’s suggestion which I liked, but felt was better suited to a male dog.
  • Grace – I have a close friend named Grace, so this became a middle name to reduce confusion.
  • Peabody – For the same reason as Amelia.
  • Evy – To be short for Evelyn, a character from a movie I love.
  • Gwen – As either Gwenyth of Gwendolyn
  • Naomi – One of my favorite women in the Bible.
  • Bria
  • Tessa
  • Sydney
  • Minerva – Better for a stern cat.
  • Sybil

The list went on and on. For some reason, the day that we brought her home, the name Ava stuck out to me.  Ava was not even on the list. I told everyone that was my pick and they went along with it (although Roland and his roommates insist on calling her Eva, like the robot in WALL-E). When I looked up the meaning of the name Ava, I knew that the choice was made.

Ava means life.  What better name could there be for her? Life is what Ava has regained in her removal from an abusive home and adoption out of a cement and chain-link cell. Life is what you can see returning to her eyes as she learns to be cared for and loved. Life is the resurrection of her spirit, day by day. Life is what you see emanating from her as she runs full speed around the back yard, claiming it as her own.

Ava Grace. I can’t imagine a name that is more fitting to her. I may be the only one who thinks so, but she’s mine and that’s what matters 🙂

IMG_0737 Ava out experiencing snow.

Shopping for Puppy

I don’t know if uneventful trips to Walmart exist, but I have never been blessed with such an experience if they do. Two nights ago I made a quick run to Walmart to grab a few last minute items as I was scheduled to adopt a puppy yesterday (adoption successful! Pictures will follow shortly).

I made my way through the aisles gathering the items from my list: puppy chow, a leash, a collar, shampoo, and a baby gate. Roland had tagged along for the trip and we were standing in front of the chew toy section when we were approached by our first visitor. She was wearing a camo jacket and carrying no items that seemed to come from our surrounding aisles, but she seemed to have been eavesdropping quite successfully.

“What kind of dog are you getting? Oh you’re adopting? Thank you so much for adopting! We have a 6 month old puppy that chews on such and such.” On and on the conversation went. I didn’t actually have to participate too much. It ended with her suggesting that I buy no toys for my puppy, but instead collect 2-liter soda bottles to crush down and give her. “My puppy puts his front paws on the bottle and slides the around the whole house like he’s skate boarding.”  Adorable image, but it was getting late and I was hoping for a quick trip. She thanked me for adopting again and walked away.

Just as we were walking away from the aisle, the passionate Dog Rescuer reappeared with, “A dog bone that you just have to buy! Only $5.87 in Walmart instead of $15 in PetSmart. It will last forever!” (I bought the thing, but I’ll have to take her word for it on how long it will last as my dog has yet to touch).

We make our escape, with a few polite thank yous. Her suggestions were good, but presented a bit enthusiastically for the hour of the night.

We headed for the register, approaching what appeared to be an average Walmart cashier. As the cashier noticed my plethora of dog related items, he began asking questions and I began to regret not using the self-checkout line.

He asked what breed of dog I’m adopting and I responded saying she is a lab mix. “Mixed with what?” he inquires. “I don’t know”, I reply. “Well you need to have her tested!” “Oh really…” I respond with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. This unfortunately does not deter him. He proceeds to launch into a lecture regarding the importance of knowing. He has a St Bernard, Rottweiler, and Shepherd mix and, “He pulled my girlfriend off the back of a moving 4-wheeler!”

“Well that sounds painful,” I responded dryly while marveling at the fact that this person had a girlfriend. “NO, she was protecting her!” This unfortunately sparked a resurgence in his lecture.  I was done trying to be polite and silently waited for my receipt as he continued his monologue. Apparently at some point the social cues set in because he apologized if he had been rude. I just nodded and smiled as I pushed my cart away. Free at last. Until next time, Walmart.