Sunday, August 03, 2014

Me Update: Work, Health, Going Paleo...

I haven't really written much lately, but loads of things have been going on.  We'll start with work...I'll keep it brief...

Our contract is up on1/31/2015.  So far the good new is our work duties for the next contract will stay the same.  We know nothing about funding yet, and we don't know if the contract will have to go out for rebid or not.  Those last two things are the semi-bad news (semi because it isn't really bad yet).  There is nothing I can do about any of it, so I'm not worrying about it.

On to health, the main thing I've been obsessing working with lately.

I was diagnosed with celiac back in April, and I've been eating a gluten-free diet since May.  I was expecting my overall health, which I think is actually pretty good, to improve.  I was hoping that by taking gluten out of my diet, I would improve my depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and anxiety.

It didn't happen.  Maybe I was expecting too much, but I didn't notice a change at all, except I started obsessing working to find really good non-gluten options for cookies, cupcakes, and especially bread.  I bought expensive products and expensive ingredients.  Some of them wound up in the trash.  It became frustrating and made me even more stressed and anxious than I already was.

Between the money, stress, and lack of any obvious symptoms whether I ate gluten or not, I really just got more stressed and anxious.  I was also hoping to lose weight, which didn't happen.  I actually gained a few pounds after going gluten free (I blame my trial-and-error gluten-free goodie quest for this).

Back in May, I attended the Gluten-Free Group of Gettysburg, which is sponsored by the Gettysburg Hospital.  An incredible group!  They had three tables of free gluten-free goodies and three local gluten-free bakeries selling their wares.  It was a great, friendly group of people, too.

The speaker was one of the hospital's registered dieticians, who talked about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Paleo Diet, which is a more restricitve version of the Paleo diet specifically designed to get your autoimmune disease under control and heal your body from the damage that is (in part) feeding it.

It seemed hellish restrictive to me, and while I was facinated by it (people in wheelchairs from MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis have had their symptoms completely disappear!) I decided it wasn't for me.  Don't really have symptoms, do I?  Don't need it.

But I was curious, and I kept the paperwork.  I'd always thought Paleo was a fad diet with a catchy name.  Oooo, let's eat like a caveman!  Ha.  Seriously?  But in the couple months since the talk, I couldn't get it out of my head.  The man's father, who has parkinson's, went on this diet and his symptoms went away.  The moment he went off the diet (because he had to go in a nursing home) all the symtoms came back.  There was just something about the science behind this that one couldn't dismiss.

About a month ago, for some reason I decided to look up the general Paleo diet.  I found myself on a website called, which has extensive information on the science, why's, and how's of Paleo.

I was hooked.  I'm such a science geek, and I just devoured the nutrition info.  I couldn't believe how vegetable oils affect our bodies.  The BS I've been fed about what triglycerides are.  How bad beans and grains, ALL grains, are for the human body!

And this was part of what I needed!  That obsession with finding a wheat-alternative and acceptable, tasty baked goods was doing as much damage physically as it was mentally and emotionally, and I didn't realize it.  When I realized how stressed out I was trying to find pasta and bread I could choke down, added to the Paleo info, it was a no brainer.

So, I'm off ALL grains (including corn).  ALL legumes (including soy and peanuts).  ALL vegetable oils.  Paleo also doesn't allow dairy, but I'm doing limited dairy.  For now, I'm not following the AIP, but I might try it out in the future.

I'm going to stick with this for about 6 months and see what happens.  So far, the changes I'm seeing are minimal, but it's only been about 3 weeks.  I'm down 4lb.  I felt out of control when I was struggling to find a wheat-alternative; now I feel more in control by saying I don't eat grains, so it is now a non-issue.  That one step has greatly improved my outlook and taken a huge stressor off my back.

I'm going to update things here on a weekly basis (fingers-crossed)  I'll also add some really good Paleo blogs on the right bar when I get time.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

What Summer Means to Me

To me, summer is dirty feet.  

I absolutely cannot keep my feet clean in the summer.  I am one of those people who loves to walk barefoot. I always have.  And, thus, I have always had dirty, filthy feet all summer.

When I was a kid, I would be all over the neighborhood sans shoes.  My mother made me wash them before dinner - though I don't know why, we didn't eat with our feet in my house - and inevitably I would get in trouble again for leaving nearly black washcloths in the bathroom.  Still not sure what she was on about there, I was doing what she asked.

Today I tend to get the ring-around-the-heel, and no amount of washcloth application will get it out because that dirt is delicately ground into my skin now.  I need to soak and scrub my feet clean a couple times a week.  I only go barefoot around the house, not outside anymore (rocks, chicken poo, pine needles, etc.), but that is plenty good enough to get my feet dirty.

I have a particular pair of pink flip flops I wear when I walk the dog.  They have soft, spongy, foamy soles that keep wet once they've gotten wet, and often that helps keep my feet fairly clean.  It's usually not enough, though, and I still have to go at them with the pedicure cheese grater thingie.

I was looking at my feet at work the other day, cleverly disguised in nice sandals, and I saw that light ring - I can get away with one more day without scrubbing, but not two - and that's when I realized that this is what defines summer to me.  Not home grown tomatoes, not swimming pools, not fireworks. 

Just dirty feet.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Garden, or Not

We didn't do a garden last year.  I was fed up from previous years of no help weeding, planting, weeding, picking things out to order, weeding, seeding, weeding, harvesting, and weeding. 

Did I mention weeding?

I did plant garlic in the one herb bed we have, and it was a sorry crop.  Small.  Tasty, but small.  I didn't even plant garlic this fall, since technically I'm not allowed to really eat it anymore (but I do).

The garden was in rough shape.  We had a lot of work to do to bring it up to speed.  There was an overgrown butterfly bush in there, the tomato cages are still in place from 2 years ago, and removed an awful excuse for deer/rabbit fencing which was made more difficult due to the wild morning glory vines that were growing through it.

So.  We also are working on doing some layered cardboard-and-hay beds for this year a la Ecologia.  I'm hoping that will work out.  We've gone to a couple of their tours, they are AWESOME and we hope to do more with the techniques they have taught us.

I am planning on using up seed I have from previous years, and I think the only thing I need to order this year is onion seedlings.  Maybe some fruit plants/trees/bushes. 

Two of the four raised beds are cleaned out now.  Onions, spinach, and peas are planted in one with a couple artichokes thrown in for kicks and giggles to see what they do.  The other bed also has peas and a mess of beets.  So far, the peas and spinach are sprouting, but I think I only saw one beet.

We started tomato plants inside.  The are tiny right now, but will be big strapping seedlings before too long.

I'm looking forward to having fresh veggies again.  My health issues forced me to take a good, hard look at my diet and I can tell you, it hasn't been great.  It used to be, but then I cut out a bunch of stuff because of the gastroparesis...things like raw bell peppers for lunch and strawberries and asparagus and salad.  I'm inserting them back into my diet.  I like them.  I need them.  They are back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The (Inevitable) False Start

I officially pushed the Gluten-Free button on Monday, April 14.  I went in to work and made a cup of my coffee alternative, Dandy Blend, only to realize sometime later that day that it has roasted barley and rye in it. 
I threw the Dandy Blend out that night.  Switching to tea and the occasional decaf coffee when I can’t stand it anymore.
On Tuesday night, I realized the melatonin supplement I take before bed has wheat in it.  That also got thrown away; I still haven’t replaced it but I have something earmarked on Amazon.
Tuesday and Wednesday were totally gluten-free.
Thursday I had a doctor’s appointment.  She sent me for bloodwork that needed to be taken while I’m eating a gluten diet, so I’ve been glutening the hell out of myself for the past few days, eating things I’m guessing I won’t be able to again.  Ever.  I will have a Kit Kat before it is all said and done. 
I’m going to re-push the Gluten-Free button after we go out for our anniversary dinner this weekend, so either Sunday or Monday.  Then, that will be it….unless the bloodwork comes back with questions.  I’m also getting tested for milk, corn, and soy allergies since the villi atrophy can be caused by those, too.  We’ll see.
After reading some of the things some people have to deal with, and some things that have been said to Celiac people, I am thanking my lucky stars that I know food as well as I do, that I can cook raw veggies, that I can cook from scratch at all.  Some people think white and wheat bread are….made from different things!  Like there is a grain called “white” and one called “wheat.”  Seriously!  WTF, people. 
I already got rid of some cereal that only I eat, the two bags of whole wheat flour, and the graham flour went out to the chickens.  I kept the all-purpose flour and the regular pasta for the Hooband because he asked me to.  I guess he plans on using them sometime when I’m not eating or not around.  I still need to delve deeply into the cabinets, see what has been lurking there for a long time, and purge it as well.   You know, those things you forget are back there for years?  Those things.
I’m collecting recipes (Oh, that reminds me: Must. Weed. Recipes), and planning meals for the week so there is no last minute what-do-we-want-to-eat-tonight baloney. This is also going to make this year's garden that much more important....but that's a post for a later date!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gut Feelings, Part....Whatever

So.  Switched docs, scheduled another EGD, and had that a couple weeks ago.  This was my third EGD, but my first with biopsies.  If you remember, the doc had told me you can't diagnose Barrett's Esophagus without a biopsy, so he wanted to do one of those.  I was all for it and was just sure it was going to come back positive.

I've been doing gut research a lot and as you may know you can't get away from the gluten issue when you do gut and food research.  The more I read, the more I wondered if that may be part of my problem.  So, as I was laying on the bed with a tube in my arm, chatting with the doc, I asked him if he could do a Celiac test, too.  They biopsy your duodenum.  He hedged at first, saying I didn't have a history, but then said he could do it because I have Gastroparesis. I was sure this test would come back negative.

I'm glad I didn't bet money on it.

The Barrett's test came back negative, which is great news!
The Celiac test came back positive.  I need to go on a gluten-free diet.

So.  They said I have mild Celiac, which just means my damage in my intestine is minor...for now.  Who knows how long I've been symptomatic?  Also, I don't know what my overt symptoms are.  I don't have gut pain, cramping, or diarrhea.  I'm curious what my symptoms will turn out to be, and I'll really only know as they disappear.  I'm hoping it will turn out to be the cause of my sleep problems, irritability, depression, and fatigue.  I'd love to lose all those.

I pushed the Gluten Free Diet button yesterday.  I did some grocery shopping to pick up thing on Sunday.  My god, gluten free bread is expensive!!  $5-7 for a small loaf.  I bought a mix for $4 instead and made my own.  As I get better at this, I'll lose the mix and just do it from scratch, but right now I'm happy to rely on the ready-made stuff as much as I can while I learn.  

The boards say you can see results in as little as a week.  I'll check back in on this next week!

Friday, February 28, 2014

39 Things to do Before I Turn 40

My birthday was Wednesday, I turned 39.  As I said in a prior post, aging doesn't really bother me too much.  Maybe that will change, but right now I just get amused by people (mostly women) who freak out at a grey hair or a wrinkle.  I love the silver in my hair; I think it looks like glitter.  How awesome is that?

I decided to try something this year, and maybe (hopefully) it will be come a yearly thing.  I wanted to come up with a list of things I wanted to do before my next birthday, in this case before I turned 40.  I had a mental list of things I wanted to do this year anyway, so why not put it on paper and make a game of it.

39 things is harder than it sounds.

So far I have 12 on the list.  I will keep adding things; I have a year, right?  Some are pretty innocuous, others more challenging.  Here's what I have so far (I'll add to it when I come up with more):

  1. Take the Cold Forging 1 class (this is silver and copper work)  Signed up for the March class
  2. Take the Beginning Lapidary class (stonecutting)
  3. Get a massage a month   January and February are down
  4. Go back to Brevard, NC with the Hooband
  5. Drop 15lb
  6. Got to that climbing wall in Manheim, PA
  7. Try snowboarding
  8. Got to a drive-in movie with the Hooband
  9. Make one garment a month for myself   January is done
  10. Learn to knit   I'm in the process of teaching myself and I hate it
  11. Go rollerskating again
  12. Get a cover for my old, fading tattoo
I'm trying to avoid things like "Go for more walks with Tillman" because that is pretty vague.  What is more?  How many?  Being specific is best.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My First (Finished) Crocheted Garment!!

I do a lot of artsy-craftsy things.  I used to make Temari balls.  I make jewelry and sell it on Etsy (visit my Etsy store, see below on right for widget).  

I also learned to crochet in college and over the past couple years learned that there is more than the one stitch I was taught then and have been experimenting with a variety of different patterns.

I just finished my first sweater!  It is a free pattern from Lion Brand (with a free membership), and I just fell in love with it at first sight:

Image of <font color=red>Ladylike</font> PulloverI also happened to have a J Crew sweater I'd gotten from Goodwill two years ago that developed a half dollar-sized hole in the upper left shoulder.  I couldn't repair it, so I decided to unravel the entire thing and reuse the gorgeous denim-blue wool yarn.

I got a LOT of yarn out of it, four huge balls in fact.  I used nearly 3 in this sweater - it was the perfect yarn for it. So, I still have a ball left to do something else with.

It was only AFTER I started the pattern that I actually read some of the details.  Isn't that always how it is?  This was considered a project for an "experienced" crocheter.  I felt I was intermediate at best.  There were some things with the pattern that confused me, but it turned out I was just making it harder than it really was!

And here is the finished item:

I'm very happy with it.  The body was worked in the round, once piece.  The sleeves worked separately and attached just below where the lacy part starts.  I didn't make the turtleneck part quite as long as it called for (6" instead of 8").  I can always add on if I want.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Old Man Winter is Still Kicking

After 8 inches of snow a couple weeks ago, followed by a bunch of sleet and freezing rain last week (none of which has melted because it's been so cold), we just got whumped with about 16" of snow again today, to be followed with anywhere from 1-6 more tonight depending on who you believe.

Not to mention another possible storm this weekend with 4-6".

Then, if you believe them, it will be near 50* three or so days next week, so maybe we will have flooding, too!

We haven't had a serious winter like this in a long time.  At least 20 years.  It is rare to have this many snow storms and this many days of such cold.

Tillman loves it, though, as you can see.

Matt and I built a snowman this afternoon, too!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Gut Feelings, 4: New Doc, New Diagnoses

So.  A new doctor, a new diagnosis, a new eating plan, and a new set of questions.
First, I like the doctor.  He threw his pen down 4 times in shock of what tests and procedures had NOT been done at various times in my medical story.  I like that.  He is a squirrelly little guy, not what I expected, but he definitely knows his stuff.  I like him.  But of course I liked the other guy, too, so we’ll see how this goes.
He wants to do another endoscopy on me with biopsies this time, as Barrett’s Esophagus cannot truly be diagnosed without biopsies to check the cell structure.  He will also measure the hiatal hernia and a few other things that have never been done before.
He diagnosed me with gastroparesis, which is delayed emptying of the stomach.  Literal translation is “stomach paralysis.”  Mine is not bad, thank goodness, as some people are on all liquid diets or feeding tubes because they can’t tolerate foods at all.  I knew I had delayed stomach emptying, but my previous doc left me feeling that it was a minor symptom of my existing gut issues.  I had no idea it was an actual condition or something that stood on its own, so to speak.
There is no cure, no drug to fix it, and diet changes only manage symptoms.  You can’t make it permanently worse by eating wrong, but you will exacerbate the short-term symptoms.
Turns out the diet for this excludes EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN EATING THE PAST FEW MONTHS to control my acid reflux:  nuts (because they are alkaline), dried fruit and whole grains (because they soak up stomach acid).  All these things take so long to digest they are not recommended for GP.  Great.  Also, no (NONE) raw veggies (this means no salads), no veggies or fruits with skins (apples, green beans, dried beans, celery, figs, etc.).  No berries. 
All veggies need to be cooked.  I can have potatoes (white or sweet) without skins, most other root veggies, some greens, cooked peas (shelled), carrots, tomatoes (but I’m not supposed to have them because of the GERD), etc.  No beef or pork.  Chicken and fish are ok but I can only have 2oz portions at a time.  Protein drinks, soups, purees, smoothies, juices, etc., are recommended as supplements.  Dairy is ok. 
So, at this point I’m wondering if the GERD exacerbates the gastroparesis, or vice versa.  We will see how things turn out as I change my diet yet again.  I’m eating a small meal about every 2 hours.  One thing I can say is it is helping me with some slow weight loss.  My meals tend to look like this:
  • 9:30 – Cascadian Farm granola with almond milk 
  • 11:30 – an Orgain shake  
  • 1ish – leftovers or soup or something similar.  I hate soup. 
  • 3ish – crackers with almond butter and a banana   
  • 4:30 – yogurt or cottage cheese and a hardboiled egg or something  
  • 6:30 – dinner.  This is my biggest problem, as my husband is a serious carnivore and I     can’t really do that anymore.  So, I make a “normal” dinner, then eat what I can.  I usually go to bed hungry and wake up even hungrier.
I didn’t have any of these gastroparesis symptoms until a couple years or so after I started taking Prilosec.  I really do think the meds caused it or made my stomach somehow lazy, but very very few studies have been done on anything with GP, so the doctor pretty much told me the answer was no, there was no correlation.  Right.
I’ve found a fantastic resource in Crystal Saltrelli, CHC.  She is a certified health counselor who has gastroparesis and has worked to gather information to help sufferers deal better. She has videos, books, podcasts, a blog, and has worked to put a lot of information into the hands of people who have this condition.  I'm grateful she has.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Old Man Winter is Serious This Year

I like winter - no, really, I do - and this year is really no different.  I enjoy the break, the time to reflect on the past year.  Plan the next year.  Nest.  Replenish the soul, so to speak.  Don't want to sound too flowery, but you know what I mean.

I live in the southest-centralist part of PA, right on the Mason Dixon line near Gettysburg.  We haven't had a good, hard winter here in years.  I mean one where it was cold and snowy for extended periods of time.  We had a couple good blizzards in 1993 and 1994, a couple more in 2010.  But the last two winters were especially wimpy with snow, and any cold we had was a day or two here and there, but there didn't seem to be a commitment.

This year is making up for all that.

It is only February 2nd, and we have already had more snow than (I think) the past 3 years put together.  We've had weeks in the single digits, day and night, with a few nights dipping into the negatives, especially if you count wind chill.  Wind, oh, yes, it's been windy.  And tonight into tomorrow we are going to get another whumping of snow, maybe 6-8" or more.

We've heard next weekend there may be a storm of 32-46" or more.  We'll see.

And today?  Yeah, it was 53* outside.  I almost got out the short sleeved shirts.  Almost.

We just can't get over this weather.  People are making jokes about global warming, of course.  I'm kind of liking it.  This is one of those years we will talk about for, well, years.  

(This post's theme song is the tune I sing whenever I drive in the snow: Slip Sliding Away by Paul Simon

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gut Feelings, 3

I’m off coffee, which wasn’t too difficult because I only drank a cup a day and that I nursed along all morning.  More out of habit than for the caffeine kick it would seem.  I’ve switched to Dandy Blend and like that very much.  I almost never have any citrus.  I think I miss that the most, I used to have lemon or lime in my water all the time at home, and grapefruit and clementines every day during the winters.  I use zest instead of juice in recipes to get the flavor without the acid.

Tomatoes I do have occasionally; when I eat pasta, I usually put a tablespoon or two of sauce on my pasta, then embellish it with some olive oil.  That seems to work well.  Alcohol is trickier.  I seem to be OK with beer, but not with wine.  I haven’t had a mixed drink with liquor since before May.  Oh, that’s not true, I did have a small glass of the mint julep liquor I made and it seemed to go ok.  But my favorite cocktail was the Sidecar:  lime juice, sweet and sour mix, brandy, orange liquor.  Doubt I’ll ever have one of those again.

I do still cook with onions and garlic, but I find I’m cooking less because I have less time to do it in.  I find we’re eating more pre-prepared meals: frozen veggies, a burger, and another easy to prepare side.  Tacos from a kit, just veggie chopping.  A frozen chicken spinach lasagna.  Chicken on the grill with 2 sides.  Bagged salad.  Applesauce we canned last fall.  For anything more than this, planning and prep needs to go into it, and I am the only one in the house that does that.  So, it is all on me.  Another stressor.

I’m going to the gym once a week for their BodyFlow class, which I love.  A mix of Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates (heavy on the yoga, though).  I can’t believe it, but I started running with Tillman a few weeks ago.  Right now it is only once a week for about half an hour.  We run until I can’t breathe, then walk until I recover.  Rinse and repeat.  I may add a 2nd gym trip in each week, but I want to talk to the doctor first.

Ah, yes.  The doctor.  I’ve decided to get a 2nd opinion so I have an appointment this week with another GI specialist.  This one is a DO, not an MD, so we will see if he is willing to play ball with me in my decision to get off my meds.  I have a LOT of questions and the thought of going back to my other GI did not appeal.  Last time I was in there and asking questions, he did a lot of head shaking and Tsking.  It really rubbed me the wrong way.  I like him, and I like the “get you off all meds” stance, but don’t treat me like that when I have questions!!

I did a lot of research about the Omeprazol (Prilosec, Nexium) that I’ve been on for 15 years.  I don’t like what I’m reading.  Besides deficiencies in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and others, it also appears that if you stop taking it cold turkey you get what they call “acid rebound.”   It is better explained here, but basically your stomach goes into overdrive making more acid than ever before, which means your symptoms are worse than ever before.  Most people go back on the meds immediately when this happens.  It also happens with H2 meds (Pepcid, Zantac).

So, the only thing to do is to wean yourself off or bear the brunt of 3-6 MONTHS of intense burn.  I’ve been weaning since September.  I’m now at a half dose, 10mg 2x/day, and things seem to be going ok.  I’m having a bit more heartburn than had on 40mg/day, but barely.  It is manageable with diet and that’s the whole point.  It is much much much more difficult to change your diet and lifestyle than to just say “Oh, I can take a pill for that!” but that’s what I’m trying to do.

The new GI also does nutrition and diet counseling, and that is half the reason I’m excited to switch.  I want to lose more weight, I want to eat better so I don’t have to take these meds.  I don’t understand why steak one night is fine but another night causes me problems.

So, I’m excited!  I will let you know what he says. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Tillminator

In November 2012, we had our 13yo Yorkie Max put down.  He was blind and feeble, and had taken a fall that day, and I ultimately made the decision that it was time.  That was the only time I have ever seen my husband, Matt, cry.  

Max was an awesome dog, a 15lb typical Yorkie who thought he was a Rottweiler.  He'd chased a herd of deer out of our yard, was a Might Chipmunk Killer, and just the sweetest thing.  He was my first dog, and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction into the World of Dogs.

A few months went by and I was in serious dog withdraw.  In March I Shanghaied Matt to a local Tractor Supply Store where I knew they were having an adoption event.  We needed chicken feed and it seemed like a good idea.  This is who we met there:

Caution!  Will Double in Size in 2-4 Months

They had Tillman listed as a Dachshund mix, and you can see why with the long body and markings.  We looked at a few puppies (Matt wanted to get a puppy and I wanted to get a rescue) and decided that we were interested in this little guy.  I filled out an application, we went through all the hoops, had a meet-and-greet with Tillman, and decided to take him home.

Tillman was born in Greenville, SC, and was rescued by the group who specializes in getting dogs out of high-kill shelters in the south and bringing them north.  He was born November 2012....the same month we had Max put down.  When we rescued him, he was 4 months old.  We did puppy basic training at a dog training facility right near our house, and that went.....ok.  Hounds are notoriously stubborn.

In June, Tillman was playing with a larger dog at a kennel while I had an outpatient procedure, and the little tyke broke his front left leg.  It was bad, he needed surgery which cost us $800,000 and Matthew's right kidney.  Kidding.  He has 5 pins in his leg now, and had to wear a cast for 4 weeks.
If you experience an erection lasting longer than 4 hours, seek medical attention.
It.  Didn't.  Slow.  Him.  Down.  One.  Bit.

In fact, if you didn't get out of the way fast enough he would stomp on your toes with his stump.  Hard.  It was a difficult 4 weeks.  He was used to sleeping with us by then, but we couldn't have him up on the bed for fear of him falling or trying to jump off, so we put an exercise pen (X Pen) in the bedroom with his bed in it.  We tried to put him downstairs but he would whine and bark, so we had to put it in the bedroom.  Then he was fine.  

I'm wearing my red today.
Then, we had to cart the damn thing downstairs into the kitchen so we could set it up there while we were at work.  I had to come home at lunch to let him outside and take the cone off his head so he could eat and drink.

Every damn day.  

Tillman is a hoarder.  We will give him something bigger than he can crunch and swallow, and he will wander around the house for 20 minutes looking for a place to bury it.  Most often it is in the laundry.  

Is it secret?  Is it safe?
We have decided to just call him a "hound mix" because we have no idea what all is in there.  Maybe beagle, dachshund, coonhound, lab, and/or bassett.  He has a black spotted tongue, extra floppy mouth skin, webbed paws, and loves the water.

Hey guys!  Look what I did with the ball!

He is a ham, he makes us laugh.  He likes to play ball, loves to look out the window at what is going on, and he is a snuggler.  Loves to be on your lap or beside you.  He cuddles with me almost every night, all night.  I don't mind this.  Maybe it is in my DNA, as humans have been living and sleeping with dogs for millenia.

This really does NOT look comfortable...for either of them, really.
After he healed up from his broken leg, we took him to an additional 8-week training.  He did ok, more of the stubborn coming out.  We manage.  He's not good on a leash because he likes to pull, but we got a pinch collar for him and that works well.  He holds his leg at a funny angle, and when he first gets up from sleeping he has a limp.  We're giving him a supplement from Only Natural Pets for that and his immune system.  It seems to be helping, but he'll have these problems for the rest of his life.
But it does not slow him down one bit.  I've been taking him running once a week, and he's fine with that.  He's a high energy dog and that's forcing us to be more high energy, too.

In fact, it's snowing again today, and I will be forced to take the little tyke out for a run/romp in the snow!