Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Five

1. This morning has been very eventful and sad.

I walked out to my car this morning and smelled a skunk. Residual skunk smell in the early morning is not too unusual, but I still glanced around. I mean, you just do not ignore the smell of a skunk, you know?

Not 20 yards from my car there was a large (and who are we kidding - ADORABLE) fur ball of black and white.


I carefully walked back to the house to warn A. not to let Belle out front. (She loves skunks.) He asked if the skunk was moving but I only noticed it lift its head. A skunk out in daylight that can hardly move. This isn't good news for anybody-- human, canine, or otherwise.

I looked ridiculous as I tiptoed to my car to make sure the little guy wasn't playing possum (ha!) and ambush me with its sure-to-be-rabid teeth. (Gaaaaah.) Nope. Still could hardly move. As I drove around our circular drive it tried to lift its tail at me, at which time I hauled ass in my little Civic. The skunk's tail was awkward and almost sideways. Something was clearly not right with this animal.

I called A. and he said he'd seen the skunk's behavior. As I continued to drive down the dirt road to the highway I saw a neighbors' two dogs running around. I hoped they wouldn't blaze over to our house.

2. My dear, sweet, sensitive A. had to start his day off by killing an animal in pain or the final throes of rabies. He loaded his shotgun, ended its life and came in the house, only to find Belle missing.

He looked everywhere. He thought maybe she got outside. Maybe he hallucinated and actually shot her, instead of the skunk. He was getting anxious, to say the least.

He finally found her, hiding under a bed at the farthest corner of the house. He is afraid she saw him kill and bury the animal and is now scared of him. Oh, my god. Our Belle, who isn't scared of a damn thing, is hiding. Maybe hiding from A. Oh, hell.

3. My heart is breaking for my little family, and for the poor skunk. What a shitty way to start the day.

4. I figured out that my favorite homemade drink, a Whiskey Sour, is 11 goddamn points in Weight Watchers. That is nearly half of my daily allowance.

Does anyone know how to make a simple syrup with fake sugar? I try to avoid the fake bullshit foods, but maybe I can make simple syrup that is half sugar and half cancer-causing fakeness. Maybe agave would work and be less points?

Suggestions, folks?

On the other side of this expensive drink issue - a fitness questions! What the hell can I do to burn off enough calories to fit in a couple of these a week?! Sprint lunges while carrying a 100-lb bar across my shoulders? What the hell. Aging sucks.

5. I've lost 20 pounds! I did not know I had 20 pounds to lose, not really. The weight crept up  over eight years or so and I still had the mental image of myself as a 25-year-old. I was always shocked by pictures of myself.  Apparently, I can be selective about reality, too, just like Fox News!

I look like myself again, and I feel great. My belly doesn't hurt and doesn't get in the way. My jawline is back! I am pleased. I have 5 more pounds to my "goal weight" but really, I am happy right now.

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


A.'s last day of work was just over a week ago. He's gone hunting twice, and we have some elk in the freezer. He is so much more relaxed and I don't feel like crying every Sunday evening, knowing he is about to start another miserable week at a job he loathes.

Things are good.

A. has set up a schedule for himself, similar to what is recommended for freelancers who work from home. Instead of work, though, he is job hunting, tweaking resumes, and writing cover letters. I am glad that he is only dedicating a few hours a day to this, because otherwise I think he'll get depressed and frustrated. I think having a schedule and treating it like a job will help him focus and keep things in perspective. I hope.

A. has been spending his afternoons working on household projects, decluttering, (WAHOO!!), chopping firewood and cooking me dinner. 

He has dinner ready for me when I get home from work. To a clean house. I could totally get used to this lifestyle. (He is so sweet - he tries to make dinners that won't cost me a gazillion Points. He is so awesome, you guys.)

So far the budget seems to be working out. I discontinued my (rather generous, if I do say) monthly donation to our local NPR station and gave up my locker rental at the gym. I am still making a donation to our state-wide food bank. That will be the last of any charity gifts to go. I've considered giving up my work parking pass, but finding parking nearby anytime after 7:15 a.m. is nearly impossible. Eh. We will eat out much less, maybe once or twice a month as a treat. That is ok. Why not have things in life that feel like treats, rather than entitlements?

If I find enough workout DVDs that I like, I may cancel my gym membership as well. It isn't very expensive, but it would be a few more dollars in the budget cushion.

Do you have any fitness DVDs that you like? I am waiting for a copy of "The Bar Method" to arrive. It is based on the foundations of ballet, and supposedly can tone you up like a mofo. But slender-like and not Hulk-like. I also have the "30 Day Shred" and it kicks my ass. I am nowhere near in shape enough to even attempt something like "Insanity." One of my sisters has already burned her way through that program. She is looking for something else to do - that is harder. She is my hero.

I have a few yoga DVDs that I like quite a bit, and feel covered on that front. Once/if we get some snowpack I hope to do plenty of cross country skiing, too. We can get to free trails withing a 15-minute drive from our house, so it is a pretty inexpensive and awesome workout in the winter.

Do you have any workout or money-saving tips? We do a lot of things already. We don't have a fancypants coffee daily, we cook at home, etc. I've been unplugging everything at night. EVERYTHING. It is awesome - you'd be amazed at the background noise everything makes with plugged in.

I kind of like this - it feels like a competition to see how inexpensively we can live and still be happy. Tips, please!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I believe I've mentioned here that A. is very unhappy in his current job. It is in a field he detests and his workplace is positively toxic. His health has suffered; he doesn’t sleep well, he has frequent headaches and his acid reflux is nearly constant. Not to mention he is very, very unhappy.

He put in his notice a month ago. Next Friday is his last day!

I am so relieved! I’ve been recommending this for months and months, but he finally saw for himself that it was a good and necessary move.

It is scary, for sure. He does not have another job lined up yet. I hope that he will find ways to stay active and remember his self worth, even if he is not earning money. I, personally, think he will contribute to our family in a wonderful way, regardless of income. Money isn’t everything. But happiness is.

I’ve been ruminating on happiness for some time. I’ve been freaking out about the role money plays in structuring our lives, and effectively stamping out happiness. Of all the distractions that cost us money, time, and happiness. Really, is an iPad or iPhone necessary? And not only that, is it necessary to improve upon models annually and for consumers to updgrade? What is upgrading, after all? The smartphones and super gadgets are all cool, and truly feats of engineering genius. I appreciate that, and don’t think innovation in and of itself is a bad thing. But most innovation just creates products we’ve been trained we need. We automatically value innovation and equal it to “progress.” Do we really even need cell phones, let alone smartphones? Not really.

It is a spiraling train of thought, and I often find it overwhelming and frightening. But I really, really want to find a way for A. and I to define our lives the way we need to in order to be happy and not to meet some standard forced upon on us and approved by the current capitalist system. It is not working, this mainstream idea of the good life. (I don’t think we are any “better” or whatnot than the mainstream, and am not interested in being contrarian just for the sake of it. I just don’t know if we can find happiness this way.)

We are going to be a one-income family for a while. For how long, we do not know. I’ve been considering things to cut back on or even eliminate entirely both to help bring some breathing room into our budget, but also to remove unnecessary distractions. I want to chuck the TV altogether, but A. really enjoys watching baseball and hockey. Of course, with the hockey players on strike that argument is currently moot. Unfortunately, I am a simpleton that cannot keep myself from getting sucked into the TV. If it is on, I am a zombie.)

I have an iPhone, and I do use it quite a bit. I will readily admit that it is fun to do all the stuff you can with it. I love having a live calendar and adore Instagram. But otherwise? I wonder if it is just a harmful distraction. I ignore A. more than I think I do, I am sure. I do not need Words with Friends or the Rachel Maddow app. (Though I looooove having access to her show - I have such a huge crush on her.)

Should I unplug? Suck it up and pay the early termination fee from Gigantic Cell Phone Company and get a pre-paid, less sexy phone? I would save $540 a year. And would hopefully quit ignoring A. Why am I so hesitant?


Friday, September 7, 2012


We need more of this in the world. More selflessness and more caring.

I can't tell you how much I needed to hear this story about a guy moving his hummer in front of some kids in a crosswalk to keep them from being run over.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Five

1. Health Kick Update!

I've lost 11 pounds and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. My gut feels better, I don't feel uncomfortable. It is great. I'd like to lose 12 more and that will put me at my goal. My goal is 7 pounds heavier than the itty-bitty weight I'd managed to stay at all throughout my 20s without any effort. (Why, oh why, did I not realize I was smokin' hot?!?! So many days not in shorts, skirts, or a bikini and FOR WHAT? Anyway.)

I do not think Itty-Bitty Weight is going to be possible without tears.So, in my late 30s a 7 pound compromise it is.

Weight Watchers is pretty easy, for the most part. Although I am so very sad at how points-expensive alcohol is. DAMN IT THAT IS NOT FAIR. I am also so much more active and it just feels so good! I am still a total weakling and totally out of shape, but am slowing starting to get better.

Of course, last night I went out of control and ate 5 slices of this AMAZING thin crust, wood-fired pizza at a new restaurant in town. So. Yummy. Also had two dirty martinis that were so damn good they went down smooth. I haven't had a martini in about three years. They should have been more difficult to drink.

Yay for a good restaurant with a great bartender!


2. It is a damn good thing A. and I are going to get fire wood over the weekend. If that doesn't earn me about a gazillion points I will be seriously distraught. It is so much work to get fire wood! Carrying trees! Huge trees! All fucking day!

3. The original plan was to spend all weekend getting firewood. However, A. received some bad news this morning.

A. grew up with three families, basically. His family spent holidays, went on vacations, went camping, etc. with two other families. Well, the mother in one of the families, B,  was diagnosed with cancer throughout her body a couple of months ago.

She is not doing well. Her pain cannot be managed and so they've called in Hospice. All of the kids are heading back to be with her again. (They've been there every few weeks since the diagnosis.) The saddest part is her daughter is eight months pregnant with her second child and cannot travel to see her. It is really difficult on the daughter.

So, A. is losing what is like another mother to him, too. I am so heartbroken for all of them. I've met B and visit her frequently. (They are in a town about 45 minutes from here.) She is a really wonderful person.

I've watched this before with my own mother. I would be surprised if she has another month.

So. Long, shitty story short, we will be spending one of our weekend days visiting B and the family.

4.  I am so worried about A. He hates his job SO MUCH, has been applying to other jobs and not getting anything, feels like a failure with FIVE FUCKING DEGREES, has an employee he supervises that his boss HATES, the stability of his job is actually totally up in the air, and now this. I just wish I could love and hug all of this away for him.

5. We have not adopted a new pup yet. We are going to talk about it more this weekend. I am calling a couple of nearby shelters to see if it is possible for Belle to come with and meet potential siblings.

I'd like to foster, though the (HORRIBLE) shelter in town does not have a fostering program. They try to deny they are a kill shelter, but they are. If they do not have enough room, then someone gets put down. I can't think about it because I literally start to spiral into a super freakout. Then I want to adopt all the babies.

I honestly do not know how I will walk out of there with one pup and know I am leaving the others behind. Oh, God.

Bonus: I've often thought I should try to start a no-kill shelter in town. I haven't the foggiest idea how to start. I suppose the Humane Society or ASPCA would have some info?

Happy Friday to you! Hug those close to your for me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

To Increase Our Family or Not?

I was fly fishing in some of the most beautiful country over the weekend. It was great; we camped in a really isolated spot on Saturday and just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. Belle even had a great time!

Belle was a total trooper. She swap through the large stream without hesitation. While I was holding her on her leash, she kept circling me. First, shed run into a faster current and run up it, biting at the water. Then she'd hit the less fast but still deep water and run through that, sprinting for land. Then she'd haul ass around me and do it all over again. You'd never guess she's 12.

We are considering adopting another dog. I've found about 28,397 on that I'd like to adopt. Both mine and A.'s main concern is whether the new pup will be someone Belle will take to. We don't want her last few years with us made miserable by a dog she can't stand.

When we puppysat Smuckers, we had him for over a week. Belle didn't pay him the slightest attention, but rather hid in her favorite spots most of the time.

Smuckers was rambunctious and kind of crazy and she just didn't want to put up with it. The last thing I want is for her to hide. I want her happy and playing and smiling, like she was this weekend.  So, we are hoping we can take her with us to meet any potential new babies and hope that she sends us a clear signal if she likes someone.

I hate for her to be without a companion all day, I hate that there are sweethearts needing to be adopted. But I don't want to disrupt Belle's life more than I have to.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Five

1. I went to a driving range last night and tried to swing a golf club for the first time in my life. A. is a pretty good golfer and was quite patient trying to teach me the basics.

He laughed a lot.

I looked like an rusty robot trying to swing a club while having computer glitches. It was pretty awesome.

The weather was perfect, the grass was green, the company fantastic. It was a great night.

2. Boy, I miss the hell out of Buster. But I am spoiling the shit out of Belle, and boy, that is fun as all get-out.

3. I am trying to wrangle all my electronic clutter. (HOLY FUCK, THIS IS A BIG, ANNOYING PROJECT. Any tips?)

I'd like to consolidate my online photos. Which site do you prefer: Picassa, Flickr, or Photobucket? I kind of hate the Picassa desktop application and prefer GIMP for photo editing. Is it worth it to buy a Pro account at Flickr?

4. I am applying for two jobs. I loooove the first position, but might not be very good at it. The other I would totally kick ass but love it less.

5. A. and I will be attending our first Rockies game of the season tomorrow. I cannot believe how bad the team is this year. They make their past few seasons look stellar in comparison. The past few seasons have not been stellar.

I am looking forward to a stadium beer and hot dog, the sound of the crowd, the crack of the bat, the breeze in the air. Oh, I can't wait.

What are your weekend plans?

Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thank You, But I Would Really Rather Sleep In

The past weekend was filled with family. A.'s mom retired so we all put together a small, sweet, SURPRISE retirement party for her. We totally got her; she had NO IDEA. So fun! She even asked A. and I to come up for the weekend a few days earlier and was totally perturbed when we told her we had plans. She was so happy to see us. So. Fun.

The four nieces and nephews on that side of our family where there, too. They have almost grown out of the stage where at least one is crying at nearly all times, and boy, it makes a huge difference in my ability to enjoy having all the little monkeys around.

I am quite thankful, however, that I do see these little people so frequently. We all just fall into step and march along, quite comfortable with each other. I am delighted to help them out with projects and am also not the least bit hesitant to remind them to tell someone "thank you." It is a nice, warm, encounter with these guys. I like it.


Regardless of my ability to insist on manners from small people, it seems I am still incapable of becoming an actual adult. And it is starting to make me feel like shit.

I simply cannot get to work on time. I am always 15 to 20 minutes late. (Part of this is I am burnt out, but 99% of it is something else all together.)

It's almost as though I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what a relaxing, early morning looks like. And therefore, I have no ability to get up and create that morning, because I just don't even know what it looks like.

I have never been a morning person, even as a child. And it is especially horrible in the winter. I have distinct memories of feeling positively miserable in the morning and eating breakfast before elementary school, all the while it was still dark outside and gloomy inside. That has never left me. I hate winter mornings so very much.

I am so embarrassed by this, but maybe if I admit out the the Internet Universe I will finally find a way to deal with it.

It makes me feel so stupid.


What do you like to do with your time in the mornings? Watch the news or read the paper? Catch up on housework so your evenings are free? Talk on the phone with family? I need to come up with a small, easy activity that will motivate me to change. I just can't take it anymore.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Five

1. My day started with A. delivering the news that the little Mountain Bluebird pair that had taken up residence in one of our birdhouses has been run off by the goddamn sparrows again. A tiny egg was on the lawn, smashed up, and the bird box was empty.

2. Does anyone know if it is possible to discourage sparrows from nesting/hanging out but still encourage other birds? Fucking sparrows.

3. I am pretty crabby today.

4. I am experiencing steady success with Weight Watchers. And yet, last night, I went off the rails. I just HAD to have a giant piece of cake, a beer, and of course, CHEESE. Now I have to be really good for five more days. Sometimes I am stupid.

5. I've been fly-fishing quite a bit already this season. We had virtually no snow in the area, so the rivers are not very high or fast. It is too bad, but it has extended the season!

My first catch of the season was a 16-inch cutthroat. Not bad!

Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Heart's Chambers are Filled with Friends

Last week I was in Washington, DC* and New York City visiting and celebrating with friends. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken. I am still bouncing around, happy from it all.


  • Staying at my friend, Doe's, house. This place will always, always, feel like home. I love it there (and Doe) so very much.
  • All the green things and flowers that grow in the area this time of year. It is so diverse and rich and wonderful. 
  • Hanging with JV and little V, who is almost one! 
  • Brunch with JB and Bibliodiva. Funny story: JB used to annoy the HELL out of me. And now he is someone I love. Quite fiercely, in fact. And Bibliodiva is such a good friend. I mean that in all its possible depth. We've stayed in touch over the years and have grown closer. I do treasure her so. I think of her often in my day, but most especially when I wear a slip, knit, proofread, and shine my shoes.
  • The National Gallery East Wing. I love visiting Rothko. 
  • Who am I kidding? I love the West Wing as well.
  • Traveling with V. There is nothing like a train ride with a sick one-year-old! (I thought she did very well, but her mama was pretty stressed.)
  • Lunch at Union Station with the woman who has had the most profound impact on my professional self, as well as personal. She knows exactly when and how to call bullshit to facilitate the most growth. Love you, L!
  • Meeting Alice.
  • Dinner at a fantastic Lebanese restaurant in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Old Town, VA with my most favorite Republicans. They also happen to be my favorite everything. 
  • Meeting my sister-in-law and her honey in Hell's Kitchen. I think I had the best burger I've ever had. It was so fun to see them on their own turf.
  • Walking around NYC and not getting lost! Go, me!
  • DPR getting hooded with his PhD from Columbia. I might have cried a bit. Frequently. We have known each other since our first semester of freshman year. For nearly eight years we were inseparable, and then I made a questionable decision and moved away. (Grad school.) I am insanely proud of him. 
  • Partying with old and new friends alike!

I miss all of these people so much. I am so fortunate to call all these fine folks my friends, but I still reserve the right to complain that we are nearly 2,000 miles apart. Regardless of who moved first.

I even met a bloggy friend, Alice!!!!! I even got to hear this story - IN PERSON! I didn't experience any awkwardness, especially as she is the very same person in real life as she is online. She is genuine, and I just adore her. Thanks for meeting me in a sketchy Rosslyn bar, Alice!

Stupidly, I did not take any pictures with Alice. I took very few pictures the entire week. This did not surprise A. one bit. As he said, "You get distracted, you know, because you experience the moment, rather than photograph it."  Or, I am a simpleton who cannot remember to get my camera out of my purse.

It was truly a fantastic week. I saw so many people dear to me. I missed a few, too. (RB!!)

Friends are good. They are powerful, indeed.

The title of this post may seem a bit much, but I stand by that statement all the way.


*I feel like a goober spelling out "Washington, DC" instead of just stating, "DC." A. says it is a stuck up Washington-insider type of thing. I don't think so. Do you think of "Washington, DC" or "DC" when you think of that bastion of corruption and super inflated egos?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Five

I am trying to remind myself that all people deserve respect in that they, too, are human beings with their own dreams, disasters, loves, and losses.

But it is so hard in the face of so much stupidity, selfishness, and just plain meanness.

I have a long way to go.

Suddenly, I have become and "involved" sort of person. I am serving on a community committee to form and improvement district through the county and serve on a committee of our local Main Street Program.

Much to my surprise, I am loving it.

My Thesis Advisor is also on this committee. I decided "fuck it," I am doing what I want and giving this man not one more ounce of control over my life, ever again.

4. A. and I watched We Bought a Zoo last night. A few things:

  • I cried my eyes out. So many, many things in this movie resonated with me, quite deeply.
  • I HHHHHAAAATTTEEEE crying at movies, books, etc. I try to avoid such experiences whenever possible.
  • If I were guaranteed to have my child be that little girl, Rosie, I would get knocked up RIGHT NOW. She would be fun to raise. Oh, my lord, did I ever adore her. 
  • I want to buy a zoo. 
I leave tomorrow for DC, then I am taking a train to NYC for my best friend's graduation. Mr. Smartypants is getting his PhD. I am so stinking proud of him.  Holy cow, you guys.

I cannot wait! Friends! City noises and commotion! Food!

I am soooo looking forward to the food! I miss good restaurants. Which is a bit of a problem, what with all this Weight Watchers nonsense. I finally, actually, stuck to it for a week and lost 3 pounds! Now I shall gain that all back and more, I am sure! And I will be disheartened.

I'll do the "don't eat bread at dinner," " choose one: a drink or dessert?" kind of stuff, but it shall be no match for the yumminess I have in store. Besides, I am so far removed from such possibilities in my everyday life I am not really creating behaivors I could possibley carry out here.

In other words, this next week is a Special Occasion. And I shall take full advantage of it.

Yay to fabulous restaurants!  DCers - what are some of your favorite places? Also, want to try to meet up somehow?

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheese is Expensive

I still miss Buster so much. But, I am feeling a bit better. I do smile when I think of him, instead of cry every time.


So. For the very first time in my life, I am going to try to lose weight. I don't say that as anything but a naked statement. I was pretty lucky to have the metabolism of a chipmunk for most of my life. That has, ahem, changed

I have joined Weight Watchers online. No way am I going to "meetings." Not an option. At all. A. is totally on board and helpful so far. Although, he brought a cookie home for me last night, which was sweet. He chirped, "It is a zero-point cookie!" He is a cutie.

I am clueless as to how to go about this. They seem to have a lot of articles and stuff so I think I will be able to figure it all out. I know quite a few people who have been on and remain on this plan, and it seems pretty healthy. So, that is good, I guess.

I am not going to lie: I do not have the best attitude. I do not mind cutting back on portions too much, but damn, I do mind having to pay attention to that yummy micro-brew beer I enjoy while watching the baseball game. And cheese. CHEESE! Cheese is so "point" expensive. CHEESE. 

My concession today is to drink my coffee black. I just earned myself two points of cheese! I do not mind this too much. However, if this is how I am going to start my day at the office I will need to bring in some good coffee. Now I am looking forward to going to the local coffee roaster and picking out a couple of new coffees. I can't get anything too dark as my coworkers will likely freak out. I do not know the first thing about different kinds of roasts and beans, so this little project should keep my occupied for a while.

How about you? Have you ever tried to lose weight? I am certain my downfall is going to be in the evening, after dinner. I am pretty sure I snack a helluva lot.

Also, are any of you coffee connoissuers? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dogs Everywhere

It is so strange to be a family of three. It just does not feel right. It feels so empty and awkward. I miss my boy, Buster. 

I feel guilty that I think this way, as though I am betraying Belle. Beautiful Belle, who is right next to me.

A. and I are trying to establish some new daily routines with Belle, so that all of us can adjust and move on as we must. The lucky girl gets lots of extra walks, as that is about her favorite thing to do. (Her absolute favorite is chasing something at full speed.) 

Swistle articulated how I am feeling perfectly: I know Buster is gone, I just don't believe it yet.


On Saturday, a very sweet, little, female pit bull pranced right into our house. She was quite affectionate and seemed submissive to Belle. She loooved to give kisses. After many phone calls, left messages, and contacting the sheriff, we took her to the local shelter. We just weren't sure she and Belle would get along overnight, and she was a total spazz in the house. I never knew dogs could bounce off of walls. Literally. Cats? Sure. Dogs? Holy shit, annoying.

Anyway, turns out she belongs to a neighbor that moved in a few months ago. A. feels bad that he took a neighbor's dog to the pound, but how could we know? Hopefully they will get her an ID tag with their number on it.


A. and I are going to visit his folks next weekend. A good 50% of the reasoning for this trip is so Belle can hang out and play with Sadie, A.'s mom's dog. She needs some good dog time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Buster, 2000 - 2012

He looked up into A.’s eyes as he went.


After slow but steady improvement, Buster’s health took a quick and decisive turn for the worst Friday night. Belle, A., and I went down first thing Saturday morning and spent some time with him, loving on him, calling him all his many nicknames. Then we let him go.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done.


Buster. Silly Goose. Goose. Orange-headed Goose. Damn Goose. Buster Butt. Orange-headed Mutt. Damn Mutt. Super Mutt. Littlest Boy. Little Guy. My Baby.


I remember exactly when I fell in love with Buster. We were snuggling close, and I was petting the back of his neck. His hair changed from super soft orange to soft orange and black to course black and blond. I was studying the different colors and textures.

If anyone hurts a single hair on your body, I will kill them. The thought came to me clear as day and as genuine as a sunrise. I loved every single hair on that dog and every breath he took.

Buster was simply the sweetest dog. There is not other way to describe him, cliche as it may be. He was 100% love and innocence. He was the epitome of a good dog. He was perfect. Really. He trusted everyone. He was so loyal. My goodness, it warmed my heart to see how much he loved A. Buster would look me right in the eye and just love me.  His big, beautiful, incredibly dark brown eyes, rimmed in black. I am so glad A. was his daddy. Anyone less tender and kind could have really hurt Buster.

Buster just wanted to be with the people. (Though kids? Not so much.) He always wanted pets and loves. He’d stick his nose under your arm or hand and nudge you for pets. His ears were the softest I’d ever felt. That was his favorite spot. If you rubbed his ear just right he’d lean in and moan. He was a champion snuggler. He’d curl up with us, right in our armpits. He’d have his nose one inch from my face and snuggle in for a long session of cuddles. He’d sleep on my feet. He always let out a big sigh when he was settled in for the night.I miss the weight of him so, so much.

We always teased him, saying he wasn’t very bright, but that is not actually true. He was a very quick learner. He figured out to tip over the auto-waterer thing when it was almost empty. He’d just take a paw and knock it over, matter-of-factly.

His favorite place in the house was a spot where the sun shined just right in front of the wood stove. He’d just lay there and cook himself, happy as can be.

When he was happy and content he would roll over on his back and squiggle and scratch, using of his hind legs to really get some momentum going. He’d stand back up and shake, then pant and grin at us.

I could go on and on. I loved everything about this dog.

I am not used to talking about him in the past tense.

I feel like I am still supposed to go to Fort Collins and pick him up. How is he just gone? Just like that? I watched him go. I knew the very instant he was gone. It literally took my breath away.  I just don’t believe it. And, yet, I have cried for days straight. I cry at the slightest mention of him or when I look at the places he liked to nap. I look outside our window and can imagine him trotting around, just as I’d seen him do just days ago.

How is he just gone? I am so very, very sad.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Five

1. I am exhausted. Basically, on Wednesday night it seemed that we would be saying bye to Buster if his health did not improve within a couple of days. Of course, he woke up perky the next morning. (Yay!!! Roller coasters are fun!) It was a tiny improvement, but it meant a lot to me. Wednesday night he didn't really care I was there to visit. He did not attempt to get out of his crate to see me, or go outside or anything. Thursday he walked to his potty appointments and up to me and was perky-ish. He did not wag his tail, but he definitely paid attention to me. 

He is slooooowly improving and is not out of the woods yet. I have been working half days and driving to Fort Collins for 15-minute visits with Buster. Totally worth it. I even brought Belle yesterday and they set it up so she could visit him, too! I am telling you, the CSU Vet Teaching Hospital is fucking fantastic.

2. Apparently, the Universe did not think I was freaking out enough about the well-being of dogs. When Belle and I were walking up to the hospital entrance yesterday we had to make way for the Humane Society van. They were unloading a hurt dog for emergency treatment. Oh, hello. My heart is dead now, thanks. 

My mind raced through all the possible worst-case scenarios of how this poor pup came to be in this sad situation and I walked in to the hospital crying. I had left the day before crying. 

I am a real treat to be around, lately.

3. So, this extended (and unexpected) puppy hospital stay has put a rather large DENT in our budget. LARGE. 

But I still want my new dryer!!! (Insert self-pitying sniffle here.)

What do I do, Internet? Keep the dryer or return it? It hasn't even been delivered yet, so I am sure returning it won't be a problem.

4. My heart is so heavy for A. He loves Buster so much and is so, so tender toward him. It is amazing. And heart-wrenching.

5. On the drive home last night, a car came up on me really fast and then passed me on a two-lane highway with a double yellow line! I was so pissed! I flipped the driver off.

It was a highway patrol.


Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So many cycles!

In other frustrating news, over the weekend I bought myself a brand-spankin' new dryer to replace ours that has not been drying worth a damn for a few months. It takes nearly two to three hours to dry a moderately-sized load of laundry. Uncool

On Saturday, I’d had enough. I replaced the venting tube, dismantled the damn dryer and vacuumed every possible hiding place for lint to build up. I felt empowered and kick ass as I tore apart an appliance that could electrocute me. (Yes, I unplugged it first.) 

Still no improvement.

So. I decided to buy myself a new dryer. I did not want to mess with having someone come out and maybe put in a new heating element or some such. If I was going to spend that much money, I wanted a new goddamn dryer. (For those who may not know me well, I agonize for weeks over spending $40. So to just buy a dryer on a whim? Uncharacteristic.)

I marched downtown and bought a dryer. For me. A dryer. For me. New and shiny. It arrives on Thursday.
I have never owned a new washer or dryer. Or a new dishwasher or fridge. I have to admit, I am really, really excited for this new dryer! It is huge and fancy. It is not one of those super fancypants front-loading pretty ones, but it is still pretty spiffy. It has more options than our current machine, which offers HOT or LOW and that is it. What about medium? Why no medium?

It can sanitize. You guys! I use microcloths to clean everything in the house - including the toilet (not the inside of the bowl, but everything else). To know that I can sanitize those fuckers before using them again DELIGHTS ME TO NO END. 

[Cleaning info tangent: Currently, I wash the cloths in hot water, then again in cold water with bleach. Normally, I would dry them on HOT AS HELL as well, to kill any leftover grossness. I have a designated set of cloths for the toilet, because I was never convinced they would be clean enough to use for anything else. Even if this new dryer does sanitize, I am still not ever using them on the kitchen counters. GROSS. The end.)

Yesterday, I went out back with Belle. As we were returning to the house I noticed the dryer vent on the outside of the house. I was convinced it was a rigid plastic vent and so never bothered to check it while searching for the cause of the dryer shittiness. But, no.It is not rigit, it is flexible. It is some flimsy metal dealio. That was squished against the house.*


A. pried it open for me, and removed a couple of clumps of lint I'd missed.

I put in another load of laundry to see if the dryer worked any better. I hoped, silently, that the dryer would still be a piece of shit. At the sound of the buzzer, I slowly opened the dryer door, dreading what I might find.

The clothes were dry and piping hot within 35 minutes.

Damn it. I wanted my fancy new dryer. But I suppose the responsible thing to do is to return it, seeing as how I have a dryer that works pretty damn well, apparently.

But I don't want to. I am thisclose to pouting. For real.

Our budget has no wiggle room right now with Buster's treatment and the oodles of tests and whatnot he had to get diagnosed with lymphoma. We rarely have wiggle room as it is. I am usually quite okay with this. I have never been in a place in my life where I have extra money to spend on things for fun rather than necessity. Rather, growing up and for nearly all of adulthood I have not had extra money for fun stuff. We've been a bit more comfortable lately, before the Buster Cancer. I have a hard time buying stuff for myself. But that is another post for another day.

I try really hard not to let myself want things, as I usually cannot have them. This usually works.

But, damn. Once I let go of that hesitation and guilt and just BOUGHT MYSELF A FANCY THING, I do not want to give it back.

Anyone need a dryer? Do you know of a family who is in a dire financial situation who needs a dryer? I will gladly give them mine. So I not feel like an asshole about keeping the shiny new appliance.

* Also another story for another post: We figured out the dryer vent got smooshed in when A. FELL OF THE ROOF and hit it. He was fine, but damn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling Helpless

(Please forgive the state of the grammar and spelling throughout - I just don’t care to edit today.)

I will try not to drown you in details. There are many, as we went through two weeks of unenlightening vet visits and test and whatnot to figure out what was going on with Buster. But first! He is still with us!

Buster has lymphoma.

We made many, many more trips to the vet and were finally sent to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. (Excellent institution, if you ever find yourself needing their services. Also, not nearly as expensive as you might assume.) After more ultrasounds and aspirates, the folks at CSU determined he has Stage 4b Lymphoma.

The good news, is that 95% of dogs treated for this go into remission and get another year or so of happy, healthy, comfy living.

So, we decided to go with the most aggressive treatment. It is not nearly as horrid a process as that which humans undergo. He might feel a little nauseated or have a bit of diarrhea for a day or two. He has actually tolerated chemo quite well, so far. He gets one treatment a week for three weeks, then a week off for a total of 15 treatments.

His appetite has returned, and he was getting stronger. He looks much, much happier. He is still too skinny. He hangs out with us and goes for short walks around the house. He wags his tail and suns his belly on the front lawn. He trots over to me when he hears me opening a treat bag. These are all improvements.

A. took Buster down to Fort Collins today for his third chemo treatment. Upon arrival, his vet thought his breathing was labored and admitted him into critical care. They are measuring his vitals and will likely do another chest x-ray. This completely blindsided me. I guarantee he has not had any labored breathing, at least at home. (And I watch this dog obsessively for any signs of change - of whatever sort. I have an entire binder I created to keep all his discharge papers and prescription info, and I write a daily journal entry of every damn minute detail of his behaivor. I am a pain in the ass! I am THAT PERSON!)

If they don’t think he is strong or well enough, they will postpone this chemo treatment for at least another week. While I don’t want him being treated if it could further kick his ass, I also want the cancer to be attacked! Don’t let the cancer have a week off!

You guys. We only agreed to do this because it seemed to make him feel so much better. My heart is breaking all over again. We won’t put him through treatment if it doesn’t make him feel better. That is all we want.

He is so sweet. I am not ready to let him go, dammit. But, I suppose I never will.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pro tip: Elderly Dog Owners Should Only Wear Waterproof Mascara

Oh, my. Buster is putting A. and I through an emotional wringer. 

He stopped eating again. Friday's visit to the vet involved phrases such as "last resort," exploratory surgery," and "get emotionally prepared."

A. and I were to discuss whether we wanted to have the vet perform exploratory surgery on Buster, and what to do depending on what she found. Do we wake him up, or say goodbye?

I was a fucking mess on Friday. So was A.

Buster continued to get weaker and weaker. The dark, dark color of his diarrhea scared both A. and I into immediately thinking he was dying. I mean, it was one of those instances where you just know what you are seeing is wrong. (Although, he has had no accidents inside; he still asks to "go outside to go potty.")

So we took him to another vet on Saturday (because they were open. And maybe because I wanted another opinion.). I asked the new vet to do a complete exam, blood work and an ultrasound on his belly.

Again, his blood work came back perfect. The only thing she found on the ultrasound was his spleen looks slightly enlarged, but she could not find any masses, pockets, or fluid in his belly. His coat is shiny and soft. His eyes are bright. His tongue is pink and his gums are healthy. She did not see any reason to rush into immediate surgery, and thought he was healthy enough to try and give a cocktail of meds some time to make him comfortable.

Good? Bad? What is wrong with my baby?

The second vet has him on steroids, a morphine derivative, antacid and nausea pills for the next few days. The concoction seems to be helping him feel better. Buster eats his treats and spits out the pills, so I have been prying open his jaw and shoving them down his throat. He loves me. 

The meds seem to be helping keep him more comfortable. He is eating treats like nobody's business, but still has no interest in food in his bowl. He trots over when he hears the word "treat" and enthusiastically gobbles them up, then looks up in anticipation for more. 

Yesterday, he trotted around outside with us for well over a half an hour, wagging his tail and looking much perkier. But he is still not near his normal, happy self.

Then, last night, he started panting heavily and kept asking to go outside every hour. He would try to poop, but couldn't. Is he constipated from too many treats? Is there some sort of fucking tumor pushing on his belly and innards making him feel like he has to poop, but of course, can't? Do we get biopsies? Are those possible without major surgery? Do we do major surgery? If it is early cancer, do we treat him? Jesus Fucking Christ, I am losing my mind.

And I know that A. is going through hell. He is so tender and caring and loves this dog so much.  He just wants to make him happy and do what is right for him. It is killing him that he can't just make it better for Buster, like he always does.

I am so frustrated and scared and sad. I am scared to be optimistic. I am scared not to be.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Attachment Disorder

I am always on a mission to remove clutter from the house. I moved to DC on an airplane and shipped my books. I moved back to Wyoming on an airplane and shipped my books (and my nicer kitchen things, CDs and photos). I am pretty good at not getting too attached to things. 

It is so much easier not to have stuff.Before, my extracurricular activities did not generally require props. Now, my hobbies require things like fly rods. Before I just required cash to go out for drinks, dinners, symphonies, plays, etc. A.'s hobbies come with entire ice shanties, a bazillion ice-fishing poles and do dads, rifles, vests, blinds, ETC. So, my lifestyle has changed enough that it follows that my physical environment has also changed.

But. I am itching to just really overhaul the whole house

A. is relatively on board with my decluttering and helps often, though he is not willing to go as minimalist as I think I want to go. And I do have to give him plenty of credit - he has gone through most of his stuff and whittled his possessions down to a fraction of what he'd been holding on to prior. Now I am trying to REALLY force myself to look at my stuff and see what else I can get rid off.

My goal: A comfortable space that is easy on the eyes and easy to (keep) clean. A place for everything and everything in its place (without having to first move 18 other things to put/get it in/from its place).

Here is my conundrum of the day: I have some really nice 9-inch cake round pans. I have not made a round cake in, oh, seven years? I am rather miserable at leveling off the cakes, frosting them and generally having them look presentable. I should probably give the pans away, yes? But they are of fantastic quality. They feel so, so good in your hands. And they bake up delightful cakes without any scorching.  I also have a really high quality bundt pan that I use about once a year. Ok. I use it maybe once every two years. It, too, is great quality but was also a gift from a very close friend. It, too, turns out great cakes.

A. and I do not bake cakes too often. (Not because I don't love cake; I do.) With just the two of us, we either gorge on cake for a few days and feel horrible, or we are reasonable about it and then I have to toss a brick of a cake out a week later. I work for a nutrition program, so bringing in half of the cake for my co-workers doesn't work so well. My co-workers generally follow what we preach and don't regularly eat sweets. I would still end up throwing much of it away.

Maybe I should start attending a local Lutheran church so I can bake cakes for the coffee hour after services.

Or maybe I can freeze half the cakes> Do cakes freeze well? Pre-frosted?

Anyway. All of these lovely, heavy, gorgeous cake pans take up a helluva lot of space in my over-crowded kitchen cabinets. If I had more space freed up in my cabinets I could store the rest of my small appliances out of site and off my counters. 

What is more important - keeping these high-quality baking pans or having a clear counter? I think I want the clear counters more.

Oh, man. I think I am going to get rid of them. 

How do you do it? Do you have ample storage? Do you have items on your counters, and do you mind? Do you have lots of gadgets, pans, etc.? Should I just stick to boring rectangular cakes and call it good?


Quick Buster Update:

Buster's x-rays came back fine. There are no suspicious masses or a plugged up Buster belly. The vet prescribed him some super stinky, mushy canned food and he ate that with a bit of enthusiasm. Now he is back on the "recovery" blah food and is not too interested. 

He is also on pain meds, because over the course of positioning him for the x-rays, his yelps confirmed that arthritis has set in. (My heart broke with every little yelp. The vet would run in my room and tell me what caused the yelp and that he is better. She is very sweet.)

It is amazing, and perhaps pathetic, how much this furry, goofy creature means to me. I wish he could talk and tell me what is going on.  I am hoping that once the pain meds have been in his system for a while he will perk up

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In a Mood

I am still feeling all sorts of unsettled. I want to gut the house and do some small renovations! I want to totally revamp our budget and save more aggressively for retirement! I want to go minimalist and get rid of everything! I want to figure out what the hell I really want to do in a job and get moving! Let's move! Where!?

And yet, I do not have the money or energy for any of this. It is definitely time to do some adjusting with the crazy meds. I am starting to slip into BLAH. A. feels like I am disconnected and it makes him feel unwanted. (He knows my depression is the cause of my mood, but he still feels this way. I am so glad he is honest and can tell me this stuff. And I am thankful I can understand this, too.)

Thankfully, I have a routine appointment with my doctor on Friday, so I can address this right away.


Due to some PISS POOR management by the doctor/owner, the office A. is contract with might be going under. This will affect us financially, but we will manage with little discomfort. But still. A. has seen two of his co-workers get laid off. It is hard not to just feel like shit when faced with this situation daily.


Buster is not doing well. I took him and Belle in for their annual wellness exams last week, a bit earlier than usual. Buster had been throwing up for a couple of days, and then  wasn't eating. Neither of these behaviors are  typical for this little guy. He normally inhales his food. He does not chew, he does not take his time, he just inhales and swallows. So, his lack of interest is a major alarm. And, we are pretty lucky that we get one Annual Barf from both dogs and that is about it.

The vet ran blood tests and apparently his blood work is spectacular. He could "live forever!" she said. (Don't tell me that; I will expect him to!) Anyway, it is a relief that his kidneys and liver are in good health. We put him on some tummy meds and a special diet of some super special, expensive canned food for sensitive tummies. It kind of breaks my heart to see that they make such food. Upset doggie tummies! 

He hasn't thrown up since, but quit eating again yesterday.

I am taking him in for belly X-rays later today. I don't know what I prefer: they find something and so we have something to fix (with surgery?!?!) or find nothing and continue to wonder what is wrong. 

The vet also thinks arthritis has finally set in. Maybe he is just in a lot of pain? (OH. GOD. My baby.) We were holding off on starting pain meds until his belly settled down. I hope we come home with something for him tonight. It might improve his sad mood, at least. 

So, this sucks.


Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer. I am just IN A MOOD, you know?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I am starting to feel very, very ANTSY.

I feel like I am about to burst or something. Do you ever feel this way? It is as if The Universe is urging me, through some strange Spiritual Barometric Pressure, to get my butt in gear and start actively shaping my life.

I have been coasting, now, for quite a while. Since finally finishing The Masters, I have simply sat back and enjoyed the ride. For perhaps too long. I do not regret taking this time to chill the fuck out. The constant pressure of having The Masters hanging over my head -- and knowing I was doing it to myself, thus creating a fantastic emotional spiral of shit -- took a huge toll on me. I needed to give myself a break. I needed to heal. To unlearn the process of constantly berating myself for being such a failure. Remember how to ignore That Voice. To gain a new perspective and forgive myself.

However, it is time to put myself out there. I am beginning to feel the atrophy of My Person. 

It is time to start painting again, and not worry about the result. Just paint. The doing. The result is NEVER what I expect (or want, truthfully) so why worry about it? 

In fact, what I am most excited about right now is finding my style. You would think that I was doing this while earning my BFA. No, no. Instead of trusting myself and accepting what my art was, I fretted and stewed. I constantly compared my work to everyone else's, and thus, learned to hate my own creations. (Yes, there will be many therapy hours devoted just to this crap.) (Also, it did not help that there was a gaggle of male painters who sort of fancied themselves as the next group of Pollock*, Calder, and de Kooning American Male Geniuses.** (BARF.) And the faculty all fell for it. It kind of sucked to be a girl in my program at the time.)

I have been drafting an email that I want to send to Black Sheeped, my friends W. and KNC, and an amazing artist just down the road from me that I discovered through Google+. I am going to ask them if they have any suggestions of exercises and advice for me as I embark on this discovery. So far, my plan is to just DRAW EVERYDAY for 30 minutes. And keep drawing. And drawing. With different materials. 

I am just going to focus on this for a while. 

It is also time to put in a serious and diligent effort into finding a new job. A. is miserable where he is and job hunting has really kicked the shit out of him. If I can find something in a new location, we can move and that would do him a world of good. 

I do not feel pressure or even responsibility to find a new job to help A. feel better. I just want to. We talk about this a lot. As far as I am concerned, it is just another manifestation of how I am loving him right now, if that makes sense. 

Besides, I am coasting an a nice, even plateau at work, and nothing sends me spiraling into boredom (and less productivity) than a plateau. It is time to move on.

So - wahoo! I am back at the wheel!

* Jackson Pollock was born in Wyoming! Connections to Wyoming never cease to make me proud.

** I am always bitter that more women aren't recognized in art history, or are recognized with the requisite preface or "woman." Just like someone is "adopted" or "black." Can't we just be human first? Sometimes those distinctions are necessary, but lately I feel like they just serve to further keep up divisional borders.  ANYWAY.