Monday, December 2, 2013

Owned It


Welp. I did it:


Done and done!

Boydoll asked me if I was going to have my story made into a book. 'How many words have you written so far?' He was really excited about my accomplishment, and was blown away by the sheer volume of pages that were saved in Google docs.

Aside from my immediate family and a few internet friends, I didn't tell anyone that I was participating in NaNoWriMo this year - well, aside from the fact that it's big as Dallas up on my blog, but still. The truth is that my story isn't very good. It's not that it's poorly written, although as a first draft I am loathe to let anyone see it. It's the subject matter.

What started at first about a teenage girl whose mother is hospitalized for depression - which in itself is hardly uplifting, has turned into a novel about five different accounts of child molestation that take place over three generations. It was a really intense experience, and there were several places where writing about it pretty much sucked.

Some of the writing I am enormously proud of. The pace and phrasing in several places came together really well. I had an eerie, third-person experience while I was reviewing my story on Saturday prior to the deadline: I could actually visualize reading some of the plot development in a real-life book, as if I had not written the words myself. There are parts that are poignant, charming and funny. But there are also parts that are really hard to read and pretty horrific.

In truth, I am still kind of reeling from writing it. I mean, what the hell? In any format I have ever been apart of, if the topic of child molestation comes up, it's as if the air is sucked out of the room. No one wants to read about children getting sexually assaulted. I know I wouldn't purposely seek out such a novel to read in my leisure time. 

I guess it was a story that I needed to tell, even if no one sees it. The irony of that statement is not lost on me: I should be okay telling this story. Writing my novel was enormously cathartic, even if I hardly want to be the poster child for surviving a horrific childhood experience. 

"And that's all I have to say about that." Forrest Gump  



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013



So, yeah. I'm doing it again. 

I talked a big game and pitched NaNoWriMo to my friend, Cristy

She was pretty reluctant to sign up, but you know what? All that kvetching...and she's KICKING MY ASS. I'm currently over 4,000 words behind my word total if I expect to complete 50,000 words by November 30. 

Cristy wrote almost 5,000 words THE FIRST DAY. Sweet mother of pearl?!

Back to writing. 

Must. Keep. Writing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Threshold

Lately, Pinterest has been my go-to source for finding recipes, in addition to a small obsession I may have with all things Star Wars. And Kello Kitty. And Hello Kitty Star Wars:


Hello Leia

Anyway. I prefer Pinterest over most food blogs because they're tedious and often difficult for my addled mind to manage. 

However, one of the blogs I follow looks like a food blog - it boasts delicious recipes, after all - but it's author, Dianne Swift Adams, is so irreverent and hilarious that I'm completely hooked. In addition to a handful of recipes, it is also the site where one can purchase gorgeous handmade blankets, better known as a Boga Babe.

I *almost* met Dianne once for coffee a few months ago. She was a terrific sport about being contacted with about an hour's notice on Facebook, along with a handful of other friends in the Los Angeles area, while I was getting my car serviced. I'm hopeful we will eventually meet.

Her children, Emerson and Annabel, frequently appear in her blog. Emerson is more often than not wearing only boxer briefs while assisting as sous chef. In her recipe for heirloom tomato sandwich, she addresses this very issue:

'Some people come home, kick off their shoes, and make themselves a drink. My son walks into the house, takes off his shoes, pushes his pants down to his ankles and elaborately kicks them off so they sail into a far corner. If he could he would be completely naked at home but my threshold of scrotum on every surface is lower these days than it used to be. Get your sad skin satchel off my couch and barstools, son. So our deal is at least wear your underwear."

See what I mean? The phrase 'threshold of scrotum' only endears her to me more. As a matter of fact, I'm going to find a way to work that expression into my conversations. Seeing photos of Emerson cooking, regardless of the fact that he's not wearing any pants, I can see Dianne is on to something; get your kids cooking, and cooking young. 

It makes me realize my own failings as a parent because when my kids go off to college, I'm fairly certain they will starve. Girldoll can cook, and easily mastered getting a frozen pizza into a preheated oven - but if given a choice, she prefers to be waited on. Boydoll can handily prepare himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, both BOTH kids will go all afternoon without eating rather than prepare food for themselves. 

I have no one to blame but myself. In an effort to keep a tidy kitchen, I avoided their requests to help prepare dinner. I regret it deeply now, because I believe there is a window of having fun helping in the kitchen...and that window closed for my kids about 5 years ago. 

I don't know. Maybe it's not too late?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crushing

I have to admit something, Internet. I have a terrible crush on a blogger. I recently started reading a blog called The T-Rex Runner, and at the risk of sounding like a Creepy Internet Stalker, I'm fairly certain we could be besties. 

No, seriously. (Even though that's exactly what Creepy Internet Stalkers would say.)

Aside from being clever and hella funny, Danielle (aka T-Rex) is a runner. What I adore about her blog and about her running philosophy in general is her humanness: she struggles with injuries, awkwardness, and bad running days. Still better yet, Danielle isn't a vegan. Her blog frequently includes a relevant and kicky GIF, each with their own unique subtitle that makes her  point even that much more awesome. 

The other thing I love? Despite the fact that Danielle is running a marathon in all 50 states, finishing up her master's degree, and (huge respect) in recovery for eating disorders...she responds to nearly every comment left on her blog.  

I have read other running/fitness blogs but instead of feeling inspired, I come away feeling like I suck. And then there is the issue of jargon and that unsettling feeling of being left out of a secret that everyone else seems to know. 

Anyway, I have been chuckling all morning over this post about all the things that might get one hidden from Danielle's Facebook feed. I relate so very much. At least Danielle is forthright in admitting the Facebook Love. I am a coward and frequently have to dramatically announce to my friends that I'm taking a Facebook hiatus or delete the app (gasp!) from my phone so I can't absentmindedly while away the whole fucking morning. 

I don't utilize the hidden-feed feature nearly enough. As a matter of fact, I have only done it to three people of the 400+ people that I'm Facebook friendly with:

1) The egregious political and conspiracy-theory poster. I had no idea when I accepted a friend request from this acquaintance that I would be put off by his outrageous posts. I don't have a problem with people whose politics differ from my own - but I do have a problem with comments with the purpose of pointedly baiting people, only to get into intense and angry debates. No, thank you. I had merrily gone along in my life prior to this. Now when I see this individual, my reaction is a visceral one: Run away as fast as I possibly can. 

2) The relative who discloses too much personal information. I had to hide a relative who posted about her first post-divorce sexual encounter. ::shudder:: HOLY HELL. I so wish I could unsee that.  

3) The frequent checker-innerYou know, that red pointer-thingy that shows where this person was: 


View Larger Map


There she is eating breakfast. Oh, wait. Now she's at the Farmer's Market. And there she is at the pharmacy! I only wish I was exaggerating. Aside from my kids, I don't need a blow-by-blow of anyone else's whereabouts.  

*****

It's early yet, so Danielle hasn't replied to my comment...not that I have looked or anything. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a pretty blog.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Challenge Accepted

In a recent post, I wrote about how Cooper was determined to try to break free of his plastic collar after his surgery, which included a photo added later in the day. The caption under the photo of Cooper wearing his new ProCollar read, "Try and get outta that, you little shit.' I hesitated writing those words - partially for profanity's sake, but also because those are fighting words. I should know better than to tempt the universe.

I suppose it was just a matter of time. It's sort of like the Tootsie Pop riddle, 'How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?', except our version was 'How many days can Cooper go before destroying the inflatable collar?'

After submerging the inflatable insert to find the leak and
repeatedly duct taping spots, the insert never stayed inflated.

The answer to that question is four. Within four days, Cooper managed to get the ProCollar over his head and pop the insert. Arrrgh! 


Cooper and collar numero dos.
All that rebelliousness is hard work!

Thankfully, Petco replaced it. Let's hope this collar lasts 5 more days until the sutures come out. 

*crossing fingers*




Thursday, September 26, 2013

Neutered


Momma...do I have to?

Before: On our way to the veterinarian, right before we got out of the car. I know intellectually that it's necessary, so why am I so sad? I'll tell you why. Aside from worrying about my chocodile being put under general anesthesia, I will kind of miss Cooper's testicles. They were like two jolly fellows bouncing around between his thighs. It was like a train wreck; you couldn't *not* look. It gave him swagger, sort of like his balls made him a force to be reckoned with...which I suppose is the way nature intended.


Hey! You said I was going to get 'tutored'!

After: 'Um, Momma? YOU SUCK.' Cooper came home tonight groggy, and slept most of the evening. He cried a little before crashing hard under the table by my feet. We all fussed over Cooper, with Mr Doll whispering to him that it was all my doing. 

How's the cell phone reception? Can you hear me now?

This morning: Within thirty minutes after coming out of his crate, Cooper had tore his bonnet. I frantically taped it up with Boydoll's help. I was in tears while I watched him try ripping it off, and then run from me every time I tried to get him to stop. I had visions of him tearing his stitches. Here is the frantic email I sent this morning, looking for a sub to teach my spinning class:

Help!! I am home with our puppy that was neutered yesterday, 
and even with his cone on I cannot leave him alone for a second :(

He has ripped the cone off once already and the limited duct tape 
that I had on hand to repair it is being stripped away. 
If he gets it off, he will tear his sutures in a second.

Please let me know if you can teach my cycle 45 today at 12:15. 
I'll swap classes with you for a future date! I'll buy you lunch! 
I'll be your best friend! Heeeeeelp!

It will be amazing if the bonnet holds up for 10 days, but he finally settled down and stopped fighting the cone by this afternoon. It's been a long day. 

*****

ETA: Despite several duct tape reinforcements, within 36 hours Cooper succeeded in tearing the bonnet off completely. 



Revenge is sweet.


It's come to this. Boom!
Try and get outta that, you little shit.




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recipe For Disaster...Or Not.

Now that my palate is officially reset after not eating refined sugars for almost three months, I decided to try out some low glycemic dessert recipes.

Here are the ingredients to my avocado pudding, minus the unsweetened vanilla rice milk:


2 small avocados
1 t mesquite powder
2 1/2 T cocoa
1 c rice milk
2 T coconut crystals

Blend well and enjoy. What? Yeah, it's weird...but pretty yummy. It also satisfies a sweet craving without setting me off on a tear eating the house down. 

Here is a link to my friend's blog and her banana pancake recipe: 


I have seriously made her recipe five times over...I love it! 

A *different* Cowgirl, who helped me make can peaches, gave me this recipe for coconut whipped cream:


Chill coconut cream in fridge overnight before opening. Open from bottom of can into large mixing bowl. Add a scant amount of flour, agave syrup to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons) and beat with hand mixer until thickened. 

Right after I whipped the coconut cream, I put it on the banana pancakes and then refrigerated the remainder. 

I decided to try a dollop of the whipped cream...and liked it even better after it had chilled in the fridge. I put fresh raspberries on my chocolate pudding, and I was pretty stoked with my treat:

Avocado pudding: Eat yer veggies

(Almost) all done! Yummy!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Period.

I was talking with my hygienist today...well, she was talking, I was lying there with my mouth open and my teeth being picked out of my head. 

Anyway. She was telling me that her kids were doing homework at the table together. Her daughter announced that all the fourth grade girls were going to a special class to learn about their periods. 

Her son replied, 'That's silly. Why have a special class only for girls? Everyone knows a period comes at the end of a sentence.' 

I'm still chuckling. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Peachy

Yesterday, Babydoll and Cowgirl canned peaches and nectarines. It was my first time canning whole fruit. My previous experience was about 10 years prior after picking bags of fresh apricots from a friend's tree and making preserves for the first time.

It was a blast! Seriously, I  completely geeked out over canning. Cowgirl referred to it as 'homesteading', an expression that I loved. It was enormously satisfying and a fun way to spend an afternoon; two hours felt like only 20 minutes had passed. 

Canning itself isn't difficult - it's just time consuming. I learned that creating the seal is key: it's what keeps the food airtight and from spoiling. I also learned that it takes 24 hours for the jars to cool and for the seal to fully set. All our jars put up perfectly...but I'll know for next time they need to sit undisturbed after being pulled from the canner, instead of tapping each one to test for a good seal. D'oh! 

Foreground: Boiling peaches to remove skins
Background: Warming agave syrup and water 

Pretty peeled peaches! The shine makes them look candied...om nom nom!

White nectarines in spiced syrup, sweetened with coconut crystals
and 'spiced' with whole cloves and allspice.

Finished product! Canned peaches, cooling on counter top.

The aesthetic alone totally makes me swoon. And to think that this was the way families preserved their foods for the winter months gives me a historical hard-on. In all seriousness, I have an enormous appreciation for how difficult meeting just the basic needs of a family were two centuries ago. It was a full-time, dawn-to-dusk endeavor. 

Now that my confidence is up, the sky is the limit! I'm thinking of trying a few of the more exotic recipes - like Okra Pickles, Cinnamon Watermelon Rind Pickles, a homemade ketchup or chutney...you know, since I'm completely sick of peaches. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Metabolize This

Three months ago, I stepped on the scale to weigh myself...and I weighed more than when I was pregnant with either one of our children.

It's one part age and a slowing metabolism, and one part poor nutrition. I have developed some terrible habits while I was depressed in the last year: drinking soda, eating out more frequently (minimum of 3-4 times a week), eating meals while watching TV or looking at my phone, exercising less and eating larger portions, and less-than-stellar food choices (candy bars, frequent high-calorie coffee drinks, minimal fruits and vegetables, white flour and tons of processed food). These poor habits crept in slowly, and started a spiral of starving myself during the day in an effort to lose weight...only to hit a blood sugar crash and sabotage my efforts by eating the house down, while I was preparing dinner. And then I'd eat dinner. 

I finally asked a friend for help. Our girls play basketball together, and we've known each other since they were infants. She is a personal trainer and knows tons about nutrition and metabolism. I made myself accountable to her by keeping a food journal on my phone and emailing it to her daily. The rules are simple:

1. No processed foods, and I eat only food that I prepared myself. 

2. Drink 64oz of water before consuming any other beverages. 

3. No refined sugar or processed flour, and limit my starch intake to two slices daily of high protein, high fiber bread or whole wheat rounds. 

4. Tons of veggies and variety of fruits. Berries are the preferred fruit for their positive metabolic effect. 

5. One serving of cheese and nutmeat a daily. 

6. Weigh myself once weekly, right after awakening and using the restroom. 

I've lost about 12 pounds so far. I've had to tweak my diet a half dozen times throughout my lifetime, and went through something similar about 8 years ago. When I made many of the same changes as above, the weight came off quickly. 

The fact that it's taking longer both frustrates me and confirms my resolve; no high-calorie dessert is worth the amount of hassle it takes to burn off. While I think the expression 'feeling fit is better than any food tastes' is trite...because OHMYGOD CUPCAKES, the sentiment is certainly accurate. 

Here's a typical breakfast:

Trader Joe's Steel Cut Oats with blueberries

Steel cut oats take over a half hour to prepare, which is precisely the reason this powerhouse breakfast keeps me full and satisfied longer. I add a tablespoon of coconut oil at the beginning of cooking to keep it from sticking and add a nice, nutty flavor, and throw in blueberries right before the oats are done. If I include a poached egg, I'm good to go all morning.

The key is to have healthy food stocked in our kitchen, and to plan accordingly and pack snacks or my lunch ahead of time for busy days. Hopefully these changes will affect my kids in a positive way. For now, it's a source of stress for Boydoll, who would happily consume the cheese food group only: grilled cheese, pizza, cheese burgers and quesadillas. I'm trying not to sweat it; he can make himself PB&J if his palate can't handle the food we're having, but only after he's given it a chance and tried what we're having. 

The biggest drawback to my new diet and preparing all my food? Doing a Thanksgiving's worth of dishes most nights. It is what it is, I suppose. I try and make things easier on myself and double recipes to eat late in the week as much as I can. 

Eventually, I'll earn a cheat day...but for now I am pretty stoked: I can see the weight loss in my hips, stomach and in my face. More importantly, I feel a thousand times better. No more food hangovers or huge sugar crashes, and my anxiety is a now a blip on my Crazy Radar. That alone is worth any feeling of deprivation I might have. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Has To Be Done

I know it does. So why do I feel so damn sad? 



The vet tech told me that Cooper would come home wearing an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking the sutures after being neutered. 

Wait...that makes two animals at home wearing the Cone of Shame?! KILL ME NOW. 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cone of Shame

I had a stressful 24 hours yesterday: Our boy kitty got into some scrap over the weekend. He's so scrappy and abscess-prone that I have an agreement with our vet: if I find a wound or big scratch on him, my vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics without seeing him first. 

Anyway, this last one looked very painful and it was more than a territorial skirmish. He was limping and sore, and worrying over his paw. 

I caught it in time before it did abscess, but Licorice was sent home with pain meds, antibiotics and the Cone of Shame. And strict instructions to stay inside with the collar on for a week. 



It hasn't even been 24 hours before our son accidentally let him out. I called for him and went looking a dozen times yesterday to no avail. I was really worried that he would strangle or get hurt worse with that thing around his neck, and Boydoll felt horrible. Last night I woke up a couple hours after I went to bed, and thought I'd try one more time. I was enormously relieved to hear him banging into things in the driveway, trying to get to me. 

I was so worried that he wouldn't come home. He was gone over 12 hours, and I was so sad. Even with the cone, he was head butting and purring while I fussed over him and he slept quietly the whole night. My poor man must've been exhausted! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Adolescent

Eventually my blog will return to other subjects...but for now it seems to have gone to the dogs. Cooper is six months old now.


Cooper at six months: one part dog, one part worm.

Dude is seriously gangly.

It blows my mind how quickly he's grown. Cooper loves small, tight spaces to nap, and has long outgrown most of his usual spots: the small china cabinet for my teacups, our wood buffet cart, under the hassock or under the beds. Of course, our bed is his favorite place. If he pushes off the wall with his back feet, he can still wedge his body under the frame of the bed. This would be fine - except once Cooper squeezes under there, he can't get out by himself. 

Momma, I'm stuck...again.
  
Our vet recommended that we wait to neuter him until he matures a little more (physically, obviously). She said that it doesn't really hurt to wait until he's almost a year, and there's less health risks to waiting than a there would be for a female dog.

This is the complete opposite to what the puppy class trainer thinks: "Cut 'em off! He's a total punk, and all he is thinking about is sniffing butts." The trainer is completely right, so the people pleaser in me is struggling with my inner rule-follower. It's a dilemma.

Regardless, Cooper is completely obnoxious. Aside from the constant gratuitous looting of items that don't belong to him, Cooper is a total shit. He is a terrible bully to Riley, and highlights of last night included Cooper being hauled off and sequestered in a time-out in the kitchen...twice. It's like our early childhood days with the kids all over again. 

Components of what used to be my pen.

Also? Dude REEKS. He's emitting these nasty, funky pheromones and if it's been longer than a week since his bath, I have to wash my hands after petting him. He's the most physically affectionate dog I've ever owned, so this means I'm constantly hand-washing. 

I consider this a quality problem, obviously...but it brings new meaning to being so 'stinking cute'.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bird Dog

I'm finding it impossible to believe that 7 months ago we put Cafe down. I actually found myself angry about her loss the other day, as if my recent struggles were because her constant vigilance isn't around to protect me anymore. There are weeks that pass and I don't think about her at all. It's not because I don't miss her - nothing could be further from the truth. But, with two teenagers and a busy household, there's not tons of extra time for insightful reflection or feeling sorry for myself.

One of the things that keeps me busy and moving forward through my loss is Cooper. Recently, when trying to determine if our on-the-cusp-of-being-too-old puppy should be kept in puppy class or moved into the Novice class, I had this conversation with the trainer:

Trainer: So, tell me about your new baby?

Me: He's a Labrador retriever. 

Trainer: Okay. I'm deducting maturity points for being a Lab...and also for being a boy. We'll put him in the puppy class. 

 At five months old, he's moved past the adorable puppy phase and right into bratty adolescent. He's either sleepy and endearing, or full-on Asshole Mode. 

In an effort to get away from Cooper's overwhelming attentions, Riley has taken to jumping into my lap. This would be fine - if he didn't weigh almost 100 lbs. It also doesn't work, because if Cooper feels like Riley is inaccessible he becomes frantic to get to him...and then their are two dogs wrestling in my lap. *sigh*

It's in everyone's best interest to keep Cooper occupied (read: exhausted). Here are photos of today's walk around the lake, and Cooper's first experience seeing ducks:


There's not a whole lot of complex thinking at work here...just happy thoughts!


This is one of my favorite places to go running.


Vigilant look-out bun, keeping an eye on the dogs.


Bird dog...seeing ducks for the first time! Um, intense much?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Snapping

This is a game I call Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the game always seems to take place in my lap.

There's generally lots of teeth and sneezing. If you listen closely, you'll hear the clicking of teeth...sort of like doggie castanets.

Riley and Cooper: Animal Kingdom

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Never Forgotten

How can four months have passed already? I am missing our old girl dog so much today that it physically feels like a hole in my stomach.

The puppy has been a welcome distraction, but coming back from the vet this morning with Cooper the feeling of loss rushed in so strong, I was overcome by it.

January seems like years ago, but I miss my girl as much today as I did in the first few weeks without her. I guess grief is like that. I adore the puppy and Riley is my best boy...but Cafe was my guardian. Without her, I feel unprotected and left on my own.

I wasn't going to share this photo with anyone because it is from the quiet moments I had with Cafe, minutes before she died - but somehow the gesture of sharing it makes me feel less alone, and closer to her. I miss you, Girl.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Parasite

About 5 days after we brought our pup home, I worried that we had 'broken' him. He began retching bile last Friday, and refused to eat the following morning. This was, of course, followed a night of puking and diarrhea. Poor bunny cried to be let out every time he had to vomit.

In an older dog, I would have taken the wait-and-see approach - but when the afternoon nappies became lethargy, I knew it was time to call our vet. Since the pup had been straining, I worried that there was blockage if some sort. After probing his tummy and a quick x-ray, nothing was revealed. It was determined that he had a case of irritated bowel, you know - just from the newness of being in a new environment. He was given fluids under his skin, and prescribed anti-nausea meds. By the evening puppy felt so much better. He ate a small meal of the bland wet food the vet gave us and began to turn the corner.

Our vet had asked for a fecal sample to make sure pup didn't have worms, so the next day I brought one in. Spooning into a fresh turd and putting it into a sandwich bag has to be one of the most incongruent, contrary acts. It's just so...wrong.

A day later, we found out why pup was so sick. His diagnosis of colitis was upgraded to Giardia.

The breeder had actually sent us home with medicine to give puppy over 5 days to treat giardia. Apparently one if her pups in the past had contracted it, so she made a policy to treat all her pups. I remember thinking two things - that it sounded sort if suspect, but also that it seemed like overkill. A couple of the doses didn't get in the puppy very well, so he didn't really get the benefit of the full course of medicine.

You would never know he was sick, though. He's made a full recovery, despite the fact that I have to wipe his ass every time he poops so he doesn't reinfect himself. I'll say that again: I have to WIPE THIS DOG'S ASS. It's a good thing he is so freakin' cute!

Cooper at 10 weeks old

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mind Over Muscle

So I ran a half marathon yesterday, despite the fact that I have only run four times since January - and none of those runs were farther than 3 miles.Yeah. I don't recommend that. I'm so sore that I can barely walk.

I finished 2:40:55 - which was the best of my worst, but I'll take it. Aside from walking at two water aid stations, I ran the whole thing. Every step. One of my favorite signs had a photo of Ryan Gosling and read, 'Hey Girl. Let me rub Body Glide on your chafe.'

The other sign that popped up two or three times and carried me through the event read, 'Someday you'll no longer be able to do this. Today is not that day.'

And it wasn't.

Race day! Right on!

Mind Over Muscle


We Run DC: These beauties were
made special just for this race:
Tiffany blue with white satin laces
and a charm with the race date. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Puppy Love

When we lost our older dog in January, it was very difficult for me. What I didn't anticipate was how hard it would be for our younger dog. As surly and unappreciative as our older dog was, Riley has been completely lost without her companionship. Until yesterday.

We've been waiting on this litter since early February, and the timing was perfect: spring break. It's been a wonderful few days and it is so tender to see Riley with 'his' puppy.

Internet, meet Cooper:


Riley and Cooper



March 24, 2013 Cooper's First Photo
On our way home with our new puppy!



Cooper and Smurf blankie

Snuggle puppy

Precious baby boy!

Right before...brat attack!

Cooper raids Riley's basket of toys.
Puppy Vacation is one of the sweetest trips you can take!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bummer

While I wouldn't describe myself as clinically depressed, most of this winter has seen Babydoll in general malaise. I've heard people attribute these kinds of feelings to the waning light of winter and all - and since this is the second winter I've struggled, I decided to look it up. It's referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

My apologies for the ugly link.  I'm sure it's Blogger 101 to know How To Make A Pretty Link - but, whatever: 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002499/

Yes, the acronym really is SAD. Irony much? Of course, there have been all kinds of upheaval and sadness for me this last week - which I won't go into detail about, anonymous site or not...but none of it has helped the SAD. 

Last night found me pretty overwhelmed and desperate. After dropping Boy and Girl Doll off for club basketball, I had two hours to kill. I searched for a 12-Step meeting on my phone and aside from a meeting across town at 6:00pm that I was already late for, there was nothing until 8 o'clock. I didn't feel like doing anything rash, but I will be honest: I did reflect momentarily on the sense of ease and comfort that the first drink would bring. If I could have done it with impunity, last night would have been the night for a glass of wine. 

In truth, I've never really had a glass of wine. I tasted it a few times before I got sober but never the romantic, paired-with-food adult version. However, I hold no illusions. I know that none of that matters for a girl like me. A person that drinks Japanese cooking wine or Creme de Menthe doesn't give a shit about things like 'oak and citrus notes' or '...finishes on the palette like butter'. One drink is too many and a thousand is never enough. So I decided to get a cup of coffee. 

I know what your thinking: Coffee?! And at night! Scandalous

Here's the other shoe: I don't drink caffeinated beverages, either. Yeah. The blood bank calls me regularly and begs for my blood. The Holy Grail of O+ flows through my drug, alcohol, caffeine and sugar-free veins. It just doesn't get any purer than up in here.

I drove to the nearest coffee house to indulge, and threw caution completely out the window by also ordering pumpkin bread. I know, right?! I was barely able to hold my tears back while paying for my snacks. I couldn't wait to get out to my car, so I could cry quietly alone and feel sorry for myself...while huffing down my pumpkin bread and coffee. 

I made my way out in the rain to my car, got in and sat silently for a few minutes before taking my first sip of crack coffee. Bitter, watery and scorched...it was the worst cup of coffee I've ever had.

WHAT THE FUCK, STARBUCKS? 

Partial story-line credit goes to The Mom of Big Dogs. You rule!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rant-or

Recently, someone asked if I'd ever lost my cool in public. Here is a story of the time I went off on someone:


When I was 18, I used to work at a deli. People could buy cheeses and meats, order a sandwich to go or come over to the small restaurant on the other side of the store. I was the cashier/barista on the restaurant side of the deli.

There was an older woman who was a partial amputee, that used to come into the the restaurant and drink coffee. She loved to make a scene and would dramatically slip off her prosthetic leg and start moaning. Eventually she'd leave, but it made the other patrons incredibly skeeved out. She made everyone so uncomfortable, that the customers and staff didn't know how to respond. No one ever said anything to her.

One day it was raining, and she came in and hadn't sat down for 2 minutes before she started up, getting progressively louder:

Ooooh.

(pause)

Oooooh...uuuuuhnnnnn....

(pause)

OOOOOOOOOOHHAAAAUUUUUUUUNNNNNN!!!

I approached her and told her that I would do one of two things: call an ambulance if she was in pain, or call her a cab if she was not - but that her theatrics were making the other diners uncomfortable and she needed to leave if she couldn't be quiet. She was so shocked that I'd addressed her directly, that she stopped mid-wail and begged me not to kick her out. She said she wasn't in any pain and 'would be good from now on'.

That's when one of my co-workers sharply called my name and said, "Come in here at once!" He hauled me off into the walk-in refrigerator and bawled me out, yelling 'how could you turn an old woman out in the rain?!'

I got right up in his face and told him that she needed to take her crazy somewhere else. If she needed medical treatment, that was one thing - but she enjoyed making a scene and making people uncomfortable. Being older or having a disability doesn't give someone the excuse to be a jerk.

The woman still came in regularly, but she acted like a civilized person after that.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rant-ee

Recently, someone asked if I'd ever lost my cool in public, or if anyone has ever gone off on me. Here is a story a the time someone went off on me:

I was 19-years old and had been recently hired to work at high-end gift store. It was on the main street of our town and very popular with tourists. My first day there, the owner came in to ask me to clarify some numbers on my application and said my writing wasn't 'clear enough'. After I confirmed the information, he re-wrote it next to my handwriting - except that his writing was completely illegible. It was so ironic, that I busted out laughing and made him a little flustered. I wish I could have held onto that feeling. 

My boss was a tyrant from that point forward. A week after I was hired, he brought me outside and screamed at me on the sidewalk, inches away from my face with spittle flying and everything, while people walked past us. It was exactly like a public shaming:

"YOU'RE DOING A SHITTY JOB!! YOUR SIXES LOOKED LIKE CAPITAL C's! YOU NEEDED TO GET OFF THE CHAIR AND HELP CUSTOMERS - AND DUST, AND CLEAN, AND POLISH, AND MAKE SURE THE MONEY IN THE DRAWER IS ALL! FACING! IN! THE! SAME! DIRECTION!  -- SO YOU DON'T ACCIDENTALLY HAND OUT THE INCORRECT CHANGE! IF I'M NOT SATISFIED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE OVER THE NEXT WEEK...YOU'RE FIRED!!"

I went back inside, trying not to cry in front of my snotty co-workers. A week later, he came back in and told me that I had really improved and to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK...except it's hard to receive a compliment when it's screamed at you. He pretty much had only one volume.
I worked there for a year and a half and there were dozens of nights I was alone in the gift store after hours, crying because the cash sheet wouldn't balance and dreading calling him with the final numbers for the night. It never occurred to me to quit.

I read a few days ago that he died, and his obituary described him as 'cantankerous'. Yeah. That's one word for it.

ETA: The one good thing that came of this job: It was the first place I laid eyes on Mr Doll :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Birthday Boy

Today is Boy Doll's birthday. He turned 12-years old.

We are celebrating his birthday at Magic Mountain with two of his friends. Despite the lines, it's been a fun day. Would this have been my first choice? No, but that's what part of being a family is about. Girl Doll's friends have planned a sleepover tonight, trading group texts about what movies they'll watch. While she's disappointed that she can't attend, she isn't arguing or questioning why she can't go. Family is important.

Before I got pregnant, I worried that I wouldn't like another child as much as Girl Doll, or worse - the siblings would hate each other. It was a waste of my energy. Our kids adore each other. And in truth, I could never imagine my life without my son.

In a hurry to arrive, I labored with Boy Doll only 7 hours, compared to the 31 hours if labor with our daughter. I conservatively guessed that he'd be born in 12-15 hours, and because if this I missed the signs of transition. We barely made it to the hospital. My water broke on our driveway as we made our way out to the car, and I was overwhelmed by the need to bear down.

We got to the hospital, and I was still thinking there was another 3-4 hours of labor ahead of me. Remembering my childbirth training, I wanted to use the bathroom - an empty bladder makes for less painful contractions. This was a mistake; I ended up birthing our son right there on the potty. Thankfully, the nurses responded quickly and caught our Boy Doll. I lucked out, and got the same nurse that helped us when I was in labor with Girl Doll. It was an amazing day.

Twelve years later, Boy Doll is one of the kindest, most easy-going people I know. He has taken drum lessons since he was 7-years old, and is one of the best youth drummers in our area - although he is modest about it, and never brags about his natural ability.

It's bittersweet that he is moving on from grade school and entering junior high next year. We've begun the enrollment process for his 7th grade year. All of this makes me excited but nostalgic. I can't believe our 'baby' is in his last year as a preteen!

ETA: Today was a great day. We are all home now, tired and happy from a long day. I know if I blink - we'll be celebrating your eighteenth birthday, so I am trying to savor these carefree days. I love you, son. Happy birthday!

Nov. 2012 - This photo was taken when Boy
got home from 6th grade camp. Best. Hug. Ever.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ten


Over the next couple of weeks, I will post some highlights and favorite memories of my 15 year running career. Here is one of those stories:


April, 2007 - This race was a local 10-miler and one of my best distance races ever. I finished in 1:35. 

A racing event - or any running for that matter, is a tricky wicket. There are so many variables (nutrition, hydration, training) that it's almost impossible to duplicate a successful race. I'll be the first to say that running is a fickle little bitch.

But on that day, running was my bitch. I had been pacing a friend who was running her first 10-miler. At five miles in, I got an endorphin rush and told my friend that I'd see her at the finish line. I took off like a shot and I felt like I could run forever. 

Perfection!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pier to Puke


Over the next couple of weeks, I will post some highlights and favorite memories of my 15 year running career. Here is one of those stories:


In September 2005, I ran the Pier to Peak half marathon. It is the most difficult race I have run. Ever. The event takes place at sea level and makes a 4,000 foot elevation gain to one of the highest peaks overlooking our town. It is absolutely grueling. So, naturally - I ran it again in 2009 and 2010. 

The first year that I ran Pier to Peak was my best effort out of the three races, finishing with a time of 3:16:53. That doesn't seem too fast - but in 2005 I was running a personal best of 2:05 for a half marathon, if that gives any indication to the intensity of the course. 

Mr Doll was out of town, so I had asked My Best Girl spend the night. The plan was that I would leave at 5am and she would drive up after the run later in the morning, and pick me up the top of the mountain with Boy and Girl Doll. 

The kids worked my friend pretty hard and weaseled a carbonated soda out of her to drink during the ride up. What makes this event so memorable wasn't the run itself, but the ride home when Boy announced that he didn't feel good - and then threw up all over himself and the back seat. Both kids were crying and Girl Doll yelled, "Why did you have to throw up?! IT SMELLS SO BAD!" My Best Girl pulled over to the side of the mountain road and we all fell out of the car from the stench. 

While all the other runners wound their way down the mountain past us and onto parties where they celebrated their nubile bodies and added another notch on their Pier to Peak belt - I stood on the side of the road, quickly stripping Boy Doll out of the vomit clothes and into a dry, spare change of clothes I kept in the car...you know, in case of the apocalypse or times like this. I dumped almost a whole container of baby powder on the floor mats and back seat which seemed like a good idea at the time - because who doesn't like the smell of baby powder? Instead of covering the odor, it just made everything noxious. 

Dude. Nothing kills a runner's high faster than having to deal with vomit. We drove the rest of the way home in silence...punctuated by the occasional dry-heave.

Summer 1999

Over the next couple of weeks, I will post some highlights and favorite memories of my 15 year running career. Here is one of those stories:

For my 30th birthday, I was 'gifted' a triathlon. Prior to that, I had never raced in any event. 

I was a total amateur.  Until I began training, I hadn't run farther than a couple of miles in my lifetime, and didn't even know how to swim the freestyle stroke. I took swim lessons and trained for two months. The morning of the event, I worked frantically to get the baby's bike seat off the back of my mountain bike. 

I'm not superstitious, well, not much, anyway - but I remember freaking out when I pulled the bib out of my racing packet and saw my number: 1313We decided that it had to be good luck to get a number like that. And it was. 

I didn't set any records or even place in my age division - as a matter of fact, some tool volunteer disqualified me for crossing a double-yellow line and not adhering to the laws of the road, but I completed it. 

Winning!