Wednesday, 29 January 2014

100 Happy Days

If you follow me on Twitter you might have noticed me using the hashtag 100HarpyDays recently.

It's an adaptation of "100 Happy Days" where the idea is you tweet/update your status/in some way share on social media a picture of something that made you happy that day. The theory being that by finding things that make you happy- however fleetingly- every day for 100 days in a row helps you notice the things that make you happy. It forces you to stop and smell the roses and appreciate the little things.

Focusing on the negative is one of those qualities that I know I have and wish I could stop, when I'm not sleeping properly I'll get up in the morning and say "Oh it took me ages to get to sleep last night I was tossing and turning until 4am" instead of thinking "Once I got to sleep I was out cold and slept like a rock for four hours". This challenge is designed to be something that doesn't take up any time at all but can have such a positive impact by reminding you that there are things that make you happy even on the worst days of dreary January.

You can sign up on the 100 Happy Days website with your email address and letting them know what platform you'll be using as well as how you'll be marking your posts, they recommend just #100happydays but you can personalise it which I did. If you want it to be even more private then you can email the website directly with your pictures. When the 100 days are up they round up all the posts you made and send you the full list, complete with pictures, of what made you happy over the past 100 days.

So far it seems to be working, I must admit that I haven't been taking pictures but that's because a) my phone hates twitter so it's a real faff to upload pictures and b) some of the things that have been making me happy aren't things I know how to take pictures of. I've missed a few days here and there but that's what happens when you're having fun!

Check out my Twitter to keep up to date on what's making me happy

Joy Harpy xx

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Monday, 27 January 2014

The Beautiful Boys

Last time I introduced you to the four girls in the litter and this time it is the turn of the boys!

The one on the right does have a tail, I'm not sure what he's done with it though.
I don't care how cheesy this is, I squealed for about an hour when it happened.
There were only (only!) three boys and they were the first boys Lily had ever had, it also helped to address the massive gender imbalance in our house over Christmas.

Pre-Puppies:

Females                                           Males
Mother         x1                                 Father       x1
Daughters    x2
Cats             x2
Dogs            x3
Guinea Pigs  x5
Total = 13                                        Total = 1

Post-puppies Dad was still out numbered (17 vs 4) but at least he wasn't quite so alone! Now, without further ado:

Introducing...

Alvis!
Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
 

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
 
This little guy was the closest we had to a runt coming into the world with a birth weight of just 164grams (compared to Gypsy's massive 200) because he was so scrawny compared to the others his slim hips stood out and given that puppies don't really start out knowing what their legs are for and mostly just seal crawl everywhere I nicknamed this one Snake Hips.

Badger!
Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
 

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
 
Also known as Brutus, he's our second biggest puppy coming in at 184grams. "Dachshund" literally means "badger dog" in German as they were originally bred to flush out badgers from their setts for hunting. Although I don't think this little fellow will be doing anything quite as dangerous Badger seemed an utterly appropriate "B" boy name.

Cosmo!


 
I'm not sure where this name came from, but it's magical enough to suit him! Cosmo is a real sweetie and unlike some of the others (*cough* Foxy *cough*) doesn't object at all to being stolen away for cuddles and kisses.

Well that is all of them, unfortunately I am back up north in Glasgow for university at the moment and won't be seeing any more of the puppies until the middle of February, when I will be gathering more pictures to flood the internet with. Until then normal service will resume, which is to say I'll probably plan lots of posts, half write them, get distracted and never post anything. C'est la vie.

You can also follow me on Twitter for more pupdates as and when my parents notify me of adorable goings on back home!

Joy Harpy xx

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Here Come The Girls (Picture Heavy!!)

...I've just realised I don't actually have an even half decent picture of all seven of them together. Ignore the crappy flash and focus on the adorable puppies.

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
Can you find all seven?
For the first few days all they do is eat and sleep, it's a bad idea to seperate them too much from each other or their mum because it can disrupt the bonding and create rejection issues. Oddly enough a solid mass of teeny tiny puppies is in someways more adorable than singular puppies.

Puppy with mother dachshund
See, bonding.

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy Tails
I love how their little tails all stand to attention when they're feeding, they still don't have wagging down, but they'll get there.



Aren't they the cutest little balls of fluff you ever did see? To be honest they are all still to small and dependent on their mum to have much in the way of noticeable personality, but some are bigger than others and there's variation in the coats so we've managed to differentiate them all and pick names at least! After ten days they were big enough that we could steal them away from their mum one at a time for very quick photo shoots (complete with sausage dog appropriate back grounds...)

You might notice that there's something almost alphabetical about the names, you'd be right and yes that is deliberate, helps us keep track of who came from which litter and what not.

Without further ado:
The Ladies
Dita...
So named because my sister has a massive girl crush on Dita von Teese.

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
A little more camera shy than her namesake, this is one of the few in focus shots I have of Dita

Echo...
Originally we were going to name all the girls after flowers, but do you know how hard that is? My suggestion of Edelweiss got nixed, so we came up with Echo instead.

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
She looks massive in this one, she's really not.

Foxglove...
This little one is definitely a shaded red, the rest we still aren't absolutely sure about (it can take up to six weeks for their adult colours to come through and sometimes they change again before six months) so she quickly picked up the moniker Foxy that lends itself quite well to a floral full name.


Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy Shaded Red

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy Shaded Red
She looks like she's smiling, right? That's not just me?

Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy Shaded Red
Gypsophilia...
I thought our 'G' could have been Gypsy Rose but we already had one pup named in homage of a burlesque dancer and my mum didn't want to take it to far, and gypsophilia are such pretty flowers that we went with that.
Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy
Long Haired Miniature Dachshund Puppy

So there you have the girls, check back in a few days or subscribe and you'll be able to meet the boys!

Joy Harpy

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2014: Plans and Resolutions

I'm not one for make promises to myself, they're too easy to break. So forget diets, regular gym attendance or whatever other lies are most commonly spouted. Assume I wish I was doing them all and assume that wish will be on going for many years to come with no hard efforts made towards them. There are some things I'd like to get done between now and next January, but if I don't then ce la vie.
Alternatively, never start.Source


Read more books
Last year I achieved my GoodReads Challenge of reading 52 books in 2013, I've set myself the same challenge for this year. One book a week seems utterly achievable but given the upcoming final exams I have I might have to review my usual guideline of not counting books I read for University. Last year I mostly just used GoodReads account as an easy way to keep track of and list books I'd read, I might try this year to actually write up a few reviews (especially if they can then double up as blog posts...) I'd like to try read some more non-fiction for pleasure as well, escapism is all well and good but learning things should be fun too.

Buy fewer books
This might seem to contradict the previous entry, but it's totally connected! I own so many books that I've never read, I've bought them with the best of intentions or because they're 50p in a charity shop and catch my fancy and then I get home and I usually read one but by the time I finish it I'll have bought another book and it's newer, so I want to read that one. This year that will change! I am determined that at least every other book I read will be from off my shelf. The fact that I got a eBook reader for my birthday last year means I can easily download millions of free classic books as well, so I shouldn't really want for reading material. And libraries, libraries are fantastic places (although as a student they do currently feel oppressively like why-do-you-never-have-enough-seats-and-only-one-copy-of-this-particular-book-if-it's-listed-as-essential-reading-on-seventeen-different-courses-land)

Sew a dress
I have owned a sewing machine for about six months now, and aside from a few bits of nothing that I used to see if it worked and a really awful Christmas decoration that I "created" I haven't really used it. I started following some sewing blogs to get myself in the spirit of it and I really enjoy reading them but I've been sat on the sidelines long enough. Although I'm not vain enough to think I'll be able to whip up something magical in an aftertnoon like some of the lovely ladies (Dolly Clackett and Cassie Stephens are two of my favourites) I'm trying to be inspired rather than intimidated by them. I've never followed a sewing pattern before so I'll probably start with something smaller than a dress but I would love to have a homemade (perfectly fitting) outfit for next Christmas day, which gives me almost the entire year to procrastinate and still get it done.

Get braver with my photography
Cameras are something that have always been around in my life, my dad was a cruise ship photographer and then an investigative photojournalist before getting married and settling down so I got a good grounding in taking pictures from him. The problem now is I need to make myself take more pictures and try new things, not just record events-create something beautiful. I'd like to develop my own style and I'd like to attempt new things. More street photography, not just landscapes and still life. Start posting to my tumblr again.

Graduate from University
I seriously cannot wait for this one, I am just so impatient for a change. I don't even know what I want to be doing but I want it to be different, I feel like I've just stagnated at uni. I've realised just how much I'd despise going into academia- which at school was something I sort of fancied (yes, I was a weird teenager, get over it)- and once I had that revelation I just wanted to get out. I didn't because it seemed stupid to already be in so much debt and have nothing to show for it but I am counting down the days. I do worry that once I've been gone six months I'll be longing to be back, but for now it cannot come soon enough.

I will miss this view though.

Get a job!
This is probably the main one. I don't know what and to an extent I don't care, I can be picky later about career fulfillment, I want a paycheck and a savings account so that I can afford to live independently for a few years and then go skipping off with a rucksack and a passport to explore the globe with Boy. There are so many stories about lack of graduate opportunities and sky-high unemployment rates though that I'm just going to be grabbing whatever I can get in the short term so I can afford to navel gaze and ponder what I want to do.

Phew. At some point I might try and get around to developing the skill of being succinct.

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Monday, 6 January 2014

Pregnancy and Puppies

Huzzah for not blogging!

I'm tempted to tell you it's because I've been far too busy living a glamorous high flying lifestyle but it's not. Partly I've had nothing to say and partly I've not cared to do anything but sleep, eat and cuddle dogs.

Christmas came and went in a trickle of black and white films (for the past five years or so every Christmas Eve my family has gone to see It's A Wonderful Life on the cinema), long walks, food, and warmth. We didn't even have a Christmas tree this year, we just brought a vaguely triangular plant in from the garden and put a few baubles on it. 

My Dad and sister walking the dogs whilst I skipped around with the camera avoiding puddles.

New Year involved an overnight to Sheffield to spend time with my lovely boyfriend who was busy revising for exams. I think I was asleep by 11 (more romantic than it sounds, I assure you).

The second day of 2014 brought drama and chaos. Our beloved dog Lily was pregnant, and by now overdue; the vet told us to bring her in for a quick check, performed a few tests and told us she needed a c-section to get the puppies out.
Here she is, ready to pop.
When she went into the vets she weighed 8.4kg, two hours later sans puppies she weighed just 5kg. Lily is a long haired miniature dachshund so 5 kilos is about a healthy weight for her but we were amazed at how much of what she'd been carrying had disappeared until the vet told us how many healthy puppies she'd delivered:

SEVEN!

Septuplets! She had one and then five more and then another one. Her last litter was of four and that's a good size litter for a mini sausage dog; it's not unheard of for them to have 8 or 9 but it's very unusual and generally not all of them survive so we won't be contacting the Guinness World Record people just yet but we're still very impressed with how she did. There will be a full post on the puppies soon, but this one is about Lily.
Here she is on the way to the vets, contemplating how children may change her life. Probably.

A c-section is major abdominal surgery so the vet had told us she would be sore and tired, to not expect or allow her to move around too much at first so we didn't. The first night she was home with the puppies though she was very quiet and wasn't nursing properly so my mum and I stayed up again feeding them puppy milk formula and hoping all Lily needed was a good night's sleep. Unfortunately the next morning it was obvious something wasn't right, minutes after we said we'd wait for the vet surgery to open and take her round for an examination she stood up and her stitches ruptured.

It was not pretty and it was not something I was going to stop to take a picture of, basically her insides ended up outside. I flew across the living room and screamed for my mum (screaming for your mother is a completely rational reaction to things that make your blood run cold); Lily was in the car and was speeding down the street before you could blink. My job was puppy guardian and ring the vets to say there is an emergency on its way, get ready.

A few hours later we received another call to tell us to come back to the surgery and bring the puppies for a once over. They didn't say over the phone how it went, or even if we'd be able to take Lily home with us that night, so the drive round was very quiet as we all contemplated the worst. When we got there the surgery was very busy (almost as if their entire day had been forced off schedule by some kind of early morning emergency...) and the cardboard box I was holding soon attracted attention for the squeaks it was giving off. Once one person had asked to see what was inside, everyone wanted to have a look and ask What are they? How old are they? How many? Where's mum, is she alright? 

Eventually though our name was called and we were given the good news that Lily was fine. She's been allergic to the material used in her stitches and that's why she had been in pain and they'd given way, the vet had removed all the old stitches cleaned everything up and given her new ones in a different material. Apparently it is almost unheard of for dogs to have the kind of reaction she did, so don't worry about it being a major risk with any of your pets. The difference was like night and day, when they brought her through from the recovery room she was bouncy, wagging her tail and essentially herself again. She started trying to wriggle her way out of the vets arms as soon as she spotted my mum and then she wanted to dive in the puppy box when she heard the squeaking.

Like I said, I'll do a full post about the puppies soon, but here's a sneak peak of the cuteness in store: