About That Photobucket Fiasco…

You may have heard about the huge Photobucket drama that happened recently. I had started writing out a whole rant that I was going to post here, but I’m still too frustrated and flummoxed at the moment, to be honest. (Especially because I’ve been using Photobucket for at least twelve years, since I myself was just a twelve-year-old kid.)

For right now, let’s just say that my blog has been overtaken and destroyed by those miserable black and grey “3rd Party Hosting” images. Today I started to slowly rebuild from the ruins. It’s going to take awhile because my Photobucket account randomly won’t let me access certain pictures that are saved in my library.

I’d like to believe that this is just a glitch (that many folks have had to deal with), rather than Photobucket purposefully being evil and waiting for us to fork over the $399 in desperation… but like to believe is the key phrase here and, as Fall Out Boy would say, “The best part of ‘believe’ is the ‘lie.'” But sorry, Photobucket — as Fall Out Boy would also say, “The best of us can find happiness in misery,” and you’re not getting a rusty penny from me, ever.

Also, I just read an article that mentioned an interview with Photobucket’s chief executive, John Corpus. There’s a part that says:

Was the customer backlash expected?

Corpus paused. For 12 seconds.

“No,” he finally said.

If you have to pause for twelve seconds before answering a simple question, there’s something wrong, FOOL.

Also, here’s Ceiba being beautiful (and saving the day, as always).

Mi amor

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A Billion Baths (Just kidding… only FIVE.)

Two weeks ago, don Ubaldo and I bathed all five dogs.

Bath Day 2
After Ceiba’s bath… “Gia, why. WHY.” Sorry, bun.

Bath Day 2
“Don’t ‘bun’ me.”

Bath Day 3
His new collar that I got during my last California trip.

Bath Day 4
Looking quite regal.

Bath Day 5
But still silly.

Bath Day 6
“Hey, Jasmine…”

Bath Day 7
“I have a plan…”

Bath Day 8
“Let’s ignore Gia. PAYBACK.”

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Rain Freeman, Hamstar Extraordinaire

Adorable hamster-sized cabin made by the almighty Mau, and fancy photos by the magical Miss Mari. ❤ All modeling done by Rain Freeman. And yes, it’s exhausting to be that cute.







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Gotcha Day Celebrations (ft. Uncle Mau)

Saturday, June 3rd was Ceiba’s Gotcha Day.

I made biscuits for Ceiba (and the Schnauzer Squad).
I used wheat flour, water, an egg, oatmeal, and bits of hot dog.


Dough 2

Dough 3

Biscuits 3

Biscuits 2


The morning before Ceiba’s Gotcha Day,
I took him to the park nearby and he ran around for a good while.

Ceiba at the park

Ceiba at the park 3

Ceiba at the park 2

Ceiba at the park 4

On Saturday, Ceiba and I went on two walks in the morning, and then my dear friend Mau came over in the afternoon to celebrate with us. Mau coming over really meant a lot to me, especially since he wasn’t feeling very well that day. He still took the time to hang out with us, go for a little walk with Ceiba & Jasmine in the forest on our property, take some fun photos, and watch Ceiba gobble up his biscuits.

I’d actually like to give a shout-out to Mau, because he is a truly special person and an exceptional animal uncle. He is also one of the wisest people I know. He may not realize it, but there have been certain conversations that we’ve had that have been very significant to me and my personal growth.

Mau has made comments and observations that I’ve found to be illuminating. He challenges me to think deeper and be more honest about my feelings, while also helping me to trust my essence and be more gentle with myself. Mau is the kind of person that makes you feel that, if he would want to be your friend, it means that you must be doing something right.

In April, I had a difficult day where I felt pretty awful and sort of stained from a recent situation. I asked Mau if he could come be with me for a bit, although I hadn’t yet told him about what had happened. Right away, he agreed to come see me and offer his support, no questions asked.

Last year, when I rescued a Pit Bull that had been running loose on the highway, Mau helped me to arrange vet visits, drove us to the appointments (as well as pharmacies to pick up medicine), and saved us all by finding someone to foster her. When we rescued three newborn kittens last September, Mau was the one who found someone to adopt two of them. He’s also taken care of Ceiba and some of the Schnauzer Squad when my family and I were at the beach with Grandfather (the dog, not my grandpa). 😉

Mau is very good at creative writing, existing as an awesome human, being a true friend, and making beautiful tiny cabins that are just perfect for hamster photoshoots. He is also the only person that I have a promise-breaking ritual with (long story, but oh my goodness, you don’t know how much fun we had when it was created!), and he even got me an amazing customized shirt that references our ritual.

I love you so much, Mau! Thank you for always taking such good care of both Ceiba and me. We are very blessed to have you as a friend, and I hope you know how appreciated and adored you are. Thank you very much for spending time with us on Ceiba’s Gotcha Day and turning it into a proper tiny party. You know that his Gotcha Day–and our entire lives–just would not be the same without you.

Uncle Mau

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June 3rd: Happy Gotcha Day, Ceiba Soul!

Gia, Ceiba, Mau
June 3rd, 2017 — Celebrating with Ceiba’s Uncle Mau. 


It’s been two whole years since I officially brought you home. You became mine and I became yours, a mutual new immersion that we were still figuring out.

You were don Ubaldo’s dog at the time, and I had slept over at his place so that I could help bring you to my house the next morning. My mother lent us her car, but we had to be back in time for her to take my little brothers to school.

I woke up before dawn. The sky was still black, not yet ready to wake up and paint itself a new palette. We went outside and called for you, but you didn’t appear right away, and my heart didn’t know what to do with itself. I was so worried that something would go wrong and I wouldn’t be able to take you back with me.

Once the three of us were actually in the car and it was running, you started to panic. You cried the whole damn drive. You cried all day, actually. It’s okay, though. You and I were both really good at crying, back then. (And okay, sometimes we still are! We can both be anxious little peas in a pod.)

You also fell into the big koi pond. Twice. I still remember it: the splash and plunge, me hollering for don Ubaldo, him suddenly at my side. I went into the water, pajamas and all. From outside of the pond, don Ubaldo reached down and grabbed the front half of you, while I got the lower half of you and helped to lift you out. The bottom half of my body was soaked, and all of you was dripping wet.

Don Ubaldo thought that because there are so many plants floating on the water’s surface, you thought that you could just walk on top of them. I think that he’s right. I also think that you also didn’t know what glass was, because you walked straight into a large window and bumped your big, beautiful head.

June 3rd 2015
Ceiba exploring on his first day home. 

I remember that don Ubaldo and I had tea time an hour earlier than usual because we deserved it. Well, I had my tea and don Ubaldo probably had coffee. He also made me a delicious avocado sandwich. You were with us in the kitchen, but you were very anxious. You kept drooling all over the floor, and I kept cleaning it.

Don Ubaldo gave you one of his old socks (my dear Dobby), and after he left for the day, you carried that sock around with you everywhere. That sock was your anchor, just like you had already become mine. I wanted to be yours, but we weren’t there yet. That’s okay too, though. You are a very personal dog. You care a lot about developing specific relationships with people over time, and when you’re not ready, you’re not ready.

So at first, we had a sort of love triangle between you, don Ubaldo, and me. I think don Ubaldo and I were both a little jealous during the transition from you being “his” dog to “my” dog. Okay, at least I was a little jealous.

You used to go wild trying to chase after don Ubaldo’s motorcycle when he would drive away. I remember that during one of your first days living with me, we were out walking when don Ubaldo showed up on his motorcycle. He was on his way home. When he drove off ahead of us, you pulled me so hard that I think I ended up on the ground at one point. I’m very happy to say that now don Ubaldo can drive past us and, while you’re interested and aware of him, you stay calmly next to me.

I remember one of the first times that I took you to the vet. You were very nervous. I suggested that our vet offer you some of the pieces of hot dog that I had brought along. She tried, but you would have none of it. You pressed yourself against my legs and refused to accept the hot dog from her. However, you would take the bits of hot dog if they came from my hands.

Ceiba and Buzz
When Ceiba first met Buzz. 

The other night, I didn’t sleep very much because I wasn’t feeling well and I had a lot on my mind. Finally, around 4 or 5 in the morning, I decided to finish watching a movie on Netflix before starting my day.

You got on the bed with me and rolled onto your back. I love how you hold your legs in the air. Sometimes, when you’re really happy, you even kick the air repeatedly. I pet you, kissed your belly, felt how warm your skin was against my hand, and smelled your special Ceiba smell. Sometimes I watched the movie and sometimes I watched you. (Also, I recently got to watch you watching fireflies for the first time. That was one of the best things ever.)

You’re my right hand man, buddy. I don’t know where I’d be without you, or if I’d even still be here, to be honest. You taught me to believe in love again, to believe in life again. You’re one of the most precious things in the whole wide world to me. You are one of the very best parts of my world, a piece of my heart that gallops around outside of my body and also looks quite cute sleeping on my couch. Sorry–your couch, now.

We’re about to embark on a brand new chapter of our lives soon. Some of it’s going to be very anxiety-inducing for both of us. But there will be a lot of goodness and opportunities in store, I promise.

And we’ve already made it through a heck of a lot, you know. Definitely before we found each other, but also afterward, once it became you and me: learning how to mesh together and make magic. We were already “complete” on our own, but then we started creating something more beautiful, brilliant, nuanced, complex, sometimes stressful, altogether glorious, silly, serious, sacred. Together. If there’s one thing I believe in, I believe in us.

I love you, my dude. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you, but boy, did I luck out.

Yours always & forever,

Gotcha Day 2

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The Color of Love, or “Bakelite Seafoam Green,” or Thank God for a Good Dog

There’s a whole lot that I want to share on this blog, but for now, this is all I’m ready for. I’ve actually been wanting to write a love letter to my dog for awhile, and although I didn’t expect it to look like this, it feels right in its way.


I’m in the bathroom, fingers squeezed across my face, eyes leaking. I feel a flutter against my fingers, look up and see Ceiba walking away. His whiskers had been visiting me a moment ago, his face briefly touching mine, a tender investigation of my sadness. I call him back to me, stroke him, thank him without words. I think about how tears taste. I wonder how loss smells.

– – –

I sit on the couch next to Ceiba. I read him a poem by Neil Hilborn.  And even though it’s the last lines that really get me, my voice breaks way before then. Luckily, Ceiba is used to my broken bits. He just listens.

This is the poem:

I have been wondering, mostly, if love
and sanity are the same thing. When I say
I am in love I am also saying the world
makes sense to me right now.

I know that love is not the same as knowing
everything, but because she is gone, because

about her there are unknowns that will now remain
unknowable, it is important to list what is mine
to list: she likes hazelnut in her coffee; she is a
better driver when the transmission

is manual; though she couldn’t name it, her favorite
color is Bakelite seafoam green; she loved me once,
though it wasn’t for very long, though it was
distracted, though it shouldn’t have
happened, once, she loved me.

This poem is one of multiple poems that are all called “Our Numbered Days.” Although more than one poem has the same title, each poem is different. The book itself is also called “Our Numbered Days.” And I never realized until someone pointed it out on tumblr (of course), but guess what color the book is? Though I couldn’t name it, it’s Bakelite seafoam green.

Love permeates everything. That’s why I need Ceiba, because he is my primary layer of love, my every day base of beauty, my living light on legs guiding me forward. Sometimes it seems like things shouldn’t happen but they do and sometimes it seems like they should and they don’t and sometimes it’s raining outside and inside you and then the real kicker is that your house literally floods twice, too.

But you know what? Just, thank you God for this good dog. I’m pretty strong and stable now, and most of my days are pretty good. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still days that knock me down and honestly, there are mornings when the only reason I get out of bed is because I have to give Ceiba breakfast.

– – –

Before traveling for the first time after adopting Ceiba, I bought a necklace with a brown and black colored Tiger’s Eye stone. I liked it because it made me think of him, and I let him wear it before I took it with me on my trip. Then I wore it around my own neck, so that it was as if I was taking a piece of him with me.

I like it when Ceiba wears my necklaces first, when I can carry his energy around with me, mix it with my own. I like that loving him is my favorite color, that before him I did not know this color, but somehow he worked better than antidepressants and hours upon hours of therapy and everyone saying that it gets better at some far-off unspecified point that you’re supposed to keep living for.

– – –

Ceiba is named after a tree, and he is my rock. I seriously don’t know how I would have made it through certain life events without him. Which definitely includes recently — I just had one of the most difficult weeks of my life, with one tough situation after another. My emotions have run the gamut from deep, heavy sadness to white-hot, chest-hurting-the-whole-next-day anger.

Thankfully, through it all, I have Ceiba. This makes me think of the One Republic song that says, “I had the week that came from hell / and yes, I know that you could tell. / But you’re like the net under the ledge / when I go flying off the edge / you go flying off as well.

Ceiba is one of my soulmates and there is something in his eyes that brings me home, connects me back to wherever I came from before this, enhances my essence, roots me right. He is, as he has always been, my anchor, holding me steady and keeping me from being completely swept away. He’s the one sure thing that makes sense when the rest of the world doesn’t.

“If we only live once, I want to live with you.”

Ceiba Sunshine

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Dog Books. Dog Books Everywhere.

New Dog Books.png

I recently ordered a bunch of dog training/behavior books from Amazon. I just finished reading (and underlining! I do lots of underlining) the first one — Fight! by Jean Donaldson. I’m thinking of maybe writing reviews on the dog books I read… we’ll see.

My favorite book about dog training and behavior that I’ve ever read is easily The Other End of the Leash. I’m a big Patricia McConnell fan.

The Other End of the Leash is not your typical training manual, but it’s definitely taught me more about dog behavior and how to effectively interact with dogs than any other book I’ve read. I’ve yet to find another trainer that writes in such an entertaining, easy to understand, and relatable way as Patricia does.

I’ll have to take a picture of my whole dog training/behavior bookshelf sometime soon. 🙂

What’s your favorite dog book and why? If you could only recommend one dog book for someone new to the world of dog behavior and positive reinforcement training, which one would it be & how did you decide?

Also, I just found this picture of Ceiba from a while ago and I love it. My marshmallow.


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