Living in the Little Boxes (on the hillside . . . and they all look just the same).

Once upon a time, light years ago (also known as when I was in high school), I had this journal that asked various questions and one of them was, “what is your biggest fear?”  I wrote that it would be waking up in my 30s, married, with a couple of kids and living in a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and realizing I had settled.  It wasn’t that I was afraid of being 30, or being married, or having kids or a dog or a picket fence (although I really do not want a picket fence).  I guess I was scared of the possibility of rushing into all of those things we feel we are “supposed” to do, and then waking up one day and realizing I never did the things I wanted to do, or worse, the things I was meant to do.

Enter: 2013.  Here I am: 28, married, no kids yet (but two dogs), and doing something both the husband and I said we never wanted to do: living in a house in the suburbs, in a neighborhood where all of the houses look the same.   Am I living my worst fear?  Have I woken up in a nightmare?  Not a chance!  We absolutely love it.  When we first decided to rent this house we said,  “but we would never buy in a neighborhood like this.  We do not want to live in a neighborhood where all of the houses look the same.”   And now we’re even talked about buying in this area.  I suppose I am like those people who swear they will never drive a minivan, and then the second they are pregnant with baby #2 they hightail it to the minivan dealership.  Luckily for me, I already preempted such crazy behavior by buying a new SUV last month that will accommodate two children and hopefully ward off any crazy “OMG I NEED A MINIVAN” ideas.  Because maybe I can give in to the whole suburbs thing, but I will not give in to the minivan.  😉

Despite the fact that we now live in the suburbs, and love it, we still didn’t think of ourselves as “suburb people.”   I think Dave probably still thinks of himself as a small town kind of person, and I still think of myself as a city girl.  Then, on a plane ride last week on the way back to San Diego, the flight attendant asked us if we lived in the suburbs.  We said yes.  She then asked us if we had dogs.  We said yes.  And then it dawned on us.   Oh my goodness, we are suburb people.  Apparently we not only live in the suburbs now, we also look like and/or act like people who live in the suburbs.  

A short time ago I was single and living in a loft in downtown Los Angeles with a view of city lights and the Staples center.  Now I’m married and living in a house that looks so much like the other houses in the neighborhood that my dad put a soda bottle on the front porch while he was here so he could remember which house was ours after he went for walks.  The only place we can walk is to hiking trails.  We consider driving to the strip mall a couple of miles away “going into town.”  We drive Audis.  We own too many Apple products.  We like wine and cheese.  We subscribe to Sunset and Redbook magazines.  We are kind of like the people I may or may not have made fun of in the past.  We look a lot like a pair of suburban snobs.  Except minus the snob part because I don’t think we’re snobs 😉  Would I change it?  Absolutely not.  I love that I had that time of being a single girl in the city.  But now I love this time of being married in suburbia and planning our grown up lives together even more.

So there you have it.  I’m a suburbs person (suburban person?).  But now this suburban woman needs to get to work.

Goodbye Driving Habits of Yore!

Giraffe Riding Elf on the Shelf for the Car?

Giraffe Riding Elf on the Shelf for the Car?

When I opened the door to my car one morning in early January, I noticed this guy sitting in the driver’s seat.   “I think Santa is trying to tell me to be better about following traffic laws in 2013,” I joked on Facebook.

You see, I had recently received a $400+ ticket for driving 83 in a 65 on the 5 one morning.   A few days before that, I had also narrowly avoided getting a ticket from a red light camera for being too eager to get to that freeway onramp just on the other side.   In San Diego, those tickets are $500.  Y’all, I do like to go fast and I do like to get where I am going as quickly as possible, but I do not like throwing money away.   Especially hundreds of dollars.  Note that my biggest concern here is about wasting money, and apparently not about safety or following traffic laws.   I assume California has figured that out, and that is why the ticket prices are so high.  “You may not care about safety or laws, but I bet you do care about keeping what little money you have left after our high cost of living and tendency to tax the everlivingdaylights out everything possible,” says California.    I was thinking about all of this on the train on my way up to work that morning that I found the Elf in my car.

And suddenly it hit me.  Traffic school.  In the hustle and bustle of the holidays I had completely forgot to take traffic school, and my certificate was due that day!  Panic at the disco!  Or rather on the Amtrak train.  Because that’s where I was.   Luckily I was able to log online and request a 30 day extension.   I signed up for an online traffic school that day and began reviewing some of the chapters.  And then?  I pretty much forgot all about it again.

Traffic school.  Ugg.  In addition to paying an extra fee to the court for the privilege of taking traffic school, you also have to pay the school.  And then you have to sit through painfully boring reading like this:

Your brakes are for stopping the car.  When you want to stop, put your foot on the brake pedal and begin to apply pressure.  You will then come to a stop.”

Seriously?!  How is drawing out every minute detail of how to drive a car going to make me a better driver?  It’s not, y’all.  The point, I assume, is to make it so painfully boring that you “learn your lesson.”  The lesson being not to speed so you don’t get a ticket so you don’t have to sit through traffic school again (rather than not to speed because it is against the law).

Anyway, the point is that last night, after posting my “Goodbye 2012” post, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t finished traffic school.  Talk about an EXCITING Friday night.  If there is one thing I know, it is how to party.  I finished the remaining chapters, took the final exam, and I scored 97%.  I missed one question about when you can enter a bike lane to turn and it is almost driving me crazy enough to look it up.  Almost.  But it’s done!  WOO!

And with that I have also decided to be a more law-abiding driver.  Not just because I don’t want to pay for any more tickets or because I don’t want to take traffic school again.  I realized that I make tons of excuses for my driving.  “Everyone is driving that fast!” “I have a really long commute and it will take me FOREVER if I actually drive 65.” “There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to drive 85 on that long expanse of the 5 through nothingness.  There is nothing dangerous about that!”  I say.  But the bottom line is that I drive that way because I am constantly stressed out and I always think I don’t have enough time.  I thought that getting places faster would make me feel less stressed out, when actually the pressure I put on myself to get places faster stresses me out more.   So I’m going to stop doing that.  I’m going to stop putting pressure on myself to get where I am going in an unrealistic amount of time.  I will leave with plenty of time, drive at safe/legal speeds, and slow down when lights turn yellow rather than speed up.   Hopefully this new plan will not only save me money and time (in terms of the time I spent dealing with the ticket and traffic school), but also make me safer and less stressed.   You win, California.  You always do.

Post-traffic school exam, Dave made a pizza and I made us each a cocktail, which we consumed while watching the very first episode of Matlock, and then we promptly passed out on the couch and woke up at 2 a.m. to go to bed.   Like I said, we know how to party.

Goodbye, 2012.

I have been meaning to get back into blogging again with a “recap of 2012” post, and then I woke up this morning and saw that today is February 1, 2013.  Say WHAT?!  Apparently February 1st is my annual “Hey You, Remember When You Used To Blog?” anniversary.  I still can’t believe that 2012 flew by so fast and here we are all full-force into this 2013 business.   Without further ado, let’s get all caught up on 2012. 

I wish I had been a better blogger in 2012, because it was packed with so many new experiences and fun (as well as not so fun) memories.  It would be impossible to try to go back and recap it all now, but here are just a few highlights:

January

Dave and I started the year off engaged!

He liked it so he put a ring on it. ;-)

He liked it so he put a ring on it. 😉

February

I took a weekend trip to Portland to dress shop with my mom & two closest friends.   Picked out my dress within an hour at the first place I went.

A dress that is actually long enough for me.  CRAZY!

A dress that is actually long enough for me. CRAZY! (Excuse the non-flattering look)

I also got to show a little Portland beauty to my native-Texan maid of honor, Krissi (Um, it was cold, y’all.  Note to self:  Don’t go to Multnomah Falls in February.)

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Multnomah Falls with Krissi and Rin!

Oh, and approximately 20 years late, that same weekend, I got my ears pierced for the first time.  Click that link to go see the fabulous photo commemorating the event 😉

March

Dave and I started invisalign.   It was a rough start, but the progress has been amazing.  I wish I would have started sooner!  Click here for more details on getting invisalign and a lovely pic of me getting fitted for the molds.   Apologies for this semi-groddy picture but I am excited about the progress so far.  The top is from around March 2012 and the bottom is from January 2013.  My teeth look even better when not in super-close up mode (so the buttons aren’t quite as obvious).  I am scheduled to be completely done in January 2014.

10 Months In....

10 Months In….

Dave and I also went to Charleston for a wedding (our second trip together) and finally took a carriage tour (LOVED it!).   I am really beginning to understand why those Citadel guys are so obsessed with that city 😉

Our horse... post tour :)

Our horse… post tour 🙂

Me & My Handsome Husband-To-Be at the Boyd-Lynn Wedding :)

Me & My Handsome Husband-To-Be at the Boyd-Lynn Wedding 🙂

Rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? Little did I know.... ;-)

Rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? Little did I know…. 😉

April

Dave surprised me with a trip to the Wild Animal Park for my birthday, including a giraffe safari ride.   One of the best days of my life!  (for a girl who is obsessed with giraffes!)

<3 <3 <3

May

We took a long weekend trip to Atlanta to visit Dave’s mom after she had surgery, and threw in some wedding planning and an engagement photo shoot while we were there.  My mom came along for the ride. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

Stone Mountain, GA.  Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

June

Flew by.  It was a whirlwind.  Tons of work.  Tons of wedding planning.  Began trying out the train commute from San Diego-LA.   Hiked this “mountain” with Meghan and Dave and almost died.

Iron Mountain.

Iron Mountain (I thought we were almost to the top before we turned a corner and saw this).

July

We turned a long weekend in Portland for a bridal shower into an epic Oregon tour with some of our best, non-northwestern friends 🙂  We ate a ton of delicious food, went on a Goonies tour in Astoria, went wine tasting, drove (almost) to Mt. St. Helens, tried Voodoo Donuts for the first time, went to a beer tasting… It was a couple of days packed with fun (and often unintentionally color-coordinated outfits)!

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Straight from the airport to Multnomah Falls. Where else??

Beer tasting in Astoria... YUM!

Beer tasting in Astoria… YUM!

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Oregon Wine Country.

 

August

A crazy amount of work, and finalizing wedding and honeymoon details.  While I booked hotels for the honeymoon, Dave tried his hand at reupholstering some chairs.  To think we almost got rid of this dining set… We LOVE it now!

Before (right), and after (left).

Before (right), and after (left).

Oh, and despite swearing for years that I would rather do pretty much anything other than run… I took up running! 😮

Brand new (girly!!) running shoes 🙂

I started a couch-to-5K program and was up to 2.25 miles shortly before the wedding!  Sadly, due to the craziness of wedding prep, honeymooning, holidays, and various sicknesses… I totally fell off the running bandwagon.  But I really want to pick it up again ASAP.  Even though it makes me want to die.

September

On September 8, 2012, we tied the knot on Dave’s family’s farm in McDonough, GA!  The week leading up to the wedding and the wedding day itself is deserving of its own separate post.  But for now, a pic!

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

October

Epic 3 week honeymoon in Europe!  Also deserving of separate post(s)!  Below are pics from Ireland and Rome.  We also went to Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice, and London.  More posts to come! 😉

 

Ireland!

Ireland!

Rome!

Rome!

November

We hosted Dave’s parents and my mom in San Diego for our first married Thanksgiving!  I left the cooking to the seasoned chefs:  Dave and our moms.  I set the table and warmed the rolls.. that counts for something… right??   This trip is also deserving of its own post, so for now I will just leave you with a picture of the food, because, why not??

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Thanksgiving Feast

December

I dubbed it “Christmas Tour 2012.”   We flew from San Diego —> PDX —> ATL —> San Diego.   Also deserving of a separate post.  There were some sad/scary health events, quite a bit of work, and then Dave caught a cold…. But overall it was so great to get to see both of our families for Christmas!

Christmas Day Fashion in McDonough, GA ;-)

Christmas Day Fashion in McDonough, GA 😉

And there you have it.  My 2012 at glance!  Whew… Now I think I need  a nap 😉

Cardboard Box Diet Week 5: The “OMG I’m Running!” Edition.

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Click on the photo above to go to Lauren’s blog and see answers from other participants 🙂

So… I fell off the wagon and off the face of the earth a bit… as usual.  But I’m back, because there has been a MAJOR change in my life.  MAJOR.

  • Weigh-in: I still have not weighed myself.  I was in Target last weekend with Dave and I said, “Oh, a scale.  I need a scale!” and he was like, “Didn’t you just donate a scale to goodwill?”  Ugg. Yes.  Yes, I did.  One of these days I will get a scale and weigh myself!
  • Exercise completed: Here is the major, major change: something has possessed me and I am now attempting to do the “Couch to 5K” program. I’ve contemplated it before, but honestly?  I have always hated running.  And I have several friends who are runners and I think, “Ok that’s great for them but I’m not going to run unless I am running for my life.  Ever.”  Dave prefers running outside to working out in a gym.  I attempted to run with him once, and after what was probably less than a quarter of a mile I thought I was going to die, and I never tried that again.  (To be fair, I hadn’t attempted to run in years, and I had two large cups of coffee and a bagel right before running.  Apparently you are not supposed to do that?  Weird.)  Then a couple of weekends ago I was in Portland, and the wife of the couple friends we were with (who has ran 5Ks, 10Ks, and I think a half marathon) told me that she never used to run, but her husband was into running and then she started Couch to 5K.  And now she’s a rockstar.  I was a little jealous of my friends getting to run along the river next to our hotel in the morning when I couldn’t run more than a block or two.  I thought, hey, if she can do it, I can too.  And wouldn’t it be fun to be able to run around a river while on vacation, and be able to work out with Dave?  Yes, you heard that right.  I thought the word “fun” in sentence referring to running.  I do not know what sickness has overcome me.But friends: the sickness is legit.  Dave and I went for a walk/run on Saturday morning and on Sunday morning (both times walk/running the equivalent of a 5K.  Go big or go home??).  Sunday afternoon we went to a running store and I spent an ungodly amount of money on a pair of running shoes.  Ok, it wasn’t “ungodly.”  It was $100.  But I am clearly not the type that blows money on athletic shoes given that the only pair of running shoes I own I purchased at an adidas outlet for $20 in high school (*cough* fourteenish years ago? *cough*).  Also?  Those $20 shoes are white and still in great shape.  Shows you how much I work out 😉  But they were causing my old lady hip some pain so I had to go out and splurge on running shoes that actually fit me.  I know, crazy.

    Then, on Tuesday after work?  I ran on my own.  Without Dave.   I know.  Crazy talk.  Currently I’m on week one which just involves alternating running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds.  I never thought in a million years that I would voluntarily take up running.  But I’m actually super excited to run a 5K with Dave in the fall!  And super excited about the possibility of running in Hyde Park when I’m in London during the honeymoon.  When I lived in London, I only walked through Hyde Park.  Usually while eating a very fattening but very delicious pastry.  Who have I become?! Seriously.  It’s crazy.

  • Splurge/Guilty Pleasure: So… on Wednesday, after running/walking on Tuesday night for 30 minutes and then walking for 30 minutes on Wednesday morning to the office… I totally thought I deserved to eat 5 cookies for a snack in the afternoon.  They were little cookies but still.  5?!  Maybe I need to work on treating myself to just 1 or 2 cookies 😉  Also, my favorite drink at Starbucks is a venti iced coffee with white mocha and peppermint.  I try to stick to one or two pumps of white mocha because it is crazy fattening.  The morning of the cookie incident, the girl at Starbucks thought she knew my drink and thought I wanted 3 pumps and I thought, “eh, I ran last night.  I deserve 3 pumps.”  Unfortunately, that was my same rationale for eating the cookies.
  • Success story: Beginning Couch to 5K!  And all 3 times that I’ve run so far I have ran the entire time I was supposed to (and technically the two times with Dave we did 40-45 minutes rather than the 25-30 minutes of C25K… So I was going above and beyond.  Well, Dave made me go above and beyond ;-)).
  • Recipes/photos: The first pair of actually female athletic shoes I’ve ever owned!  At the running store, I assured Dave that nobody makes female running shoes in a Size 13, and so I was just going to ask for mens shoes.  But he persuaded me that it was worth asking, and as it turned out… they had 4 different shoes in a women’s 13.  They were way up in the rafters and took forever for someone to find… but they existed!Image

Also?  Post-run on Sunday, Dave and I rewarded ourselves with a super healthy meal.  A BLTA with homemade mayo made by Dave, and sweet potato fries.  😉  YUM!   I believe there is a verse in the Bible that says, “She who finds a husband who cooks finds a very good thing.”  And all the people said, AMEN. 😉

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The Cardboard Box Diet Week 2.

 

You can see answers from the other participants, and read more about the CBD here!  Now, my responses for this week:

  • Weigh-in: Still starting point… I forgot to find/buy a scale. I *feel* like I have gained weight this week, but that was really just how I felt yesterday and probably a result of SITTING ALL DAY trying to plan a honeymoon.  Seriously.  Dave and I were both on computers for most of the day and we managed to book 3 sets of plane tickets, hotels for our first 3 nights, and a rental car for Ireland…. But we still have another set of plane tickets, 3 sets of train tickets, and 9 more hotels/B&Bs to book.  What have we done?!  I know once we take the actual trip it will be awesome, but at the moment it is a bit of a logistical nightmare.  Oh, and we still haven’t bought plane tickets to our actual wedding yet… Better get on that 😉   Anyway, all of that to say I basically sat around all day eating and internet browsing.  But finally around 6pm we took the dogs on a 2.5 mile walk.  So I did physically move a little bit!
  • Exercise completed: Hmm…. nothing real yet.  A walk with the dogs on Sunday, and yesterday… And walking to/from the train on the days I took the train.  Desperately craving a good hike, and I really want to bust out my 30 day shred DVD.
  • Splurge/Guilty Pleasure: Sooo…. I keep having this problem where I get lunch from the ADR (attorney dining room) at the office, and I will make a great choice like a salad with fat free dressing.  It comes with a drink and dessert, and I even pick sparkling water for the drink!  ….but then they have these small cookies… and I usually take 3 or 4 small cookies for dessert.  I also really love getting the paninis (in addition to the fat free salad).  Maybe if I cut out the paninis and limited myself to 1 or 2 cookies I could get somewhere!
  • Success story: On Sunday I was hungry before brunch, and I chose to eat a banana instead of one of the chocolate chip cookies I’d baked the night before.  And then when we went to brunch, I stopped eating when I was full (which was half of my crabcakes benedict).   Usually when I go to brunch and the food is good, I keep eating well beyond when I’m full.  So I consider that a success (even though the calories in half of that breakfast were probably more than my daily allowance should be!).
  • Recipe(s): I really need to start thinking of healthy recipes!  Right now all of my favorite recipes involve 3 of my 4 favorite foods (carbs, cheese, and chicken–chocolate rounds out the top 4 but I tend to not mix that in my pasta bakes ;-)).  Dave makes these really simple and delicious tacos using 2 cans of salmon and 1 can of rotel drained.  Ok, and shredded cheese.  Maybe if I could get some low carb or whole wheat tortillas and go easy on the cheese I would feel like it was really healthy.
  • Photo: 

Source: poptartcreative.tumblr.com via qora on Pinterest

Okay, how cute is that photo?  Loosely related to losing weight/getting in shape, but definitely related to being healthy.  Sometimes you just need to put down all of the electronic devices and GET OUTSIDE for awhile 🙂   Also, on a semi-related note, I keep trying to get into twitter and I’ll post one tweet saying, “ok, I don’t really get this but I’m going to give it a shot.” and then I forget about twitter again for a year or so.  Really contemplating attempting to jump on the bandwagon again.  As if I need anymore social media in my life 😉

The Cardboard Box Diet.

So I should probably change the name of this blog to “the bimonthlychelle” at this point given the frequency of my updates… I do want to update more!  I really do!  And now, I’m adding a weekly feature that might get my blogging self in gear! 

I’ve been telling myself I need to get back in shape for probably a couple of years.   And then I got engaged in January and I was all “OK.  Now it’s seriously time to get in shape!”   And now…  The wedding is just over two months away!  And the closest I’ve come to “getting back in shape” is going on a 5 mile hike on the weekends… followed by consuming half of a large pizza for a reward.  True story! 😉

I am not, and hopefully never will be, the type of person that goes crazy cakes on a diet and eats tasteless food, or practically starves herself and works out three hours per day.   However, right now, I do absolutely nothing.  I don’t work out and I don’t remotely watch what I eat.   I don’t consider myself fat, but over the past few years I’ve put on 20-25 pounds and my clothes are fitting very tight (some not at all).  Luckily for me, I’m super tall so I hide 20-25 pounds fairly well.  But I’m at the point where I either need to buy new clothes, or drop some pounds.  And the thing is… I am like this because I don’t work out at all or watch what I eat at all.  And the reality is that it’s not healthy to never work out or never watch what you eat.  Even if you’re stick skinny, it’s not healthy!

Enter: The Cardboard Box Diet.  It’s a new thing started by LaurenFromTexas, and it’s not an actual diet.  It’s just about a group of girls out here in the blogosphere committing to make healthier decisions, and in a sense keep each other accountable.  You can read more about it here.

I think that is just what I need!   When I have someone around who is working out too, it really keeps me motivated to work out.  Otherwise, I’m all “you know, I could work out, but I could also just get a piece of banana bread and sit down and watch TV.”  And I generally choose the latter.   In college I managed to work off 50 pounds because I started going to the gym all the time with my friend Juliana.  And my mom visited last June and went to the gym with me every day.  I felt great, and was already noticing results by the end of the week.  But then my mom went home… and I have probably been to the gym 5 or 6 times in the YEAR since she visited.   I hope having to blog about this every week will help me get it together.  I will not go hungry.  I will not work out a million hours a day.  And I’m not going to eat nasty “fat free” or “low fat” foods.   But I am going to start making a conscious effort to work out more.  And I am going to start watching what I eat more and try to make healthier choices when I can, and maybe say no to second and third desserts now and then.   My current diet generally consists of sweets, carbs, and occasionally some meat thrown in.  Maybe try to work in more fruits and veggies?  It’s good for my sanity, my general health, and my hopes of fitting in my wedding dress and not looking like a hot dog come September 8th 😉

So without further ado, my answers to this week’s questions (will be the same questions every week):

  • Weigh-in: Starting point.  I can’t find my scale, and I’m pretty sure I gave it away when I moved.  I’ll buy one this weekend and get on track 😉   I am pretty sure I am 20-25 pounds over my ideal weight.  I won’t list my weight but I will list pounds lost (or gained).
  • Exercise completed: I have started walking to and from the train station when I take the train to work.  It’s a little over 1.5 miles each way.  Dave and I have been trying to get in at least one 5 mile hike every weekend.  I would also like to bust out my 30-day shred DVD and do that a few times per week.
  • Splurge/Guilty Pleasure: Um, the list of healthy choices this week would honestly be shorter than my list of splurges.  Let’s check back next week 😉
  • Success story: I’ve been walking to work instead of taking the shuttle.  The shuttle costs $0.50 each way, so technically I’m getting a little exercise AND saving money!  🙂
  • Recipe(s): Check back next week.. I am not rocking in the healthy meal ideas at the moment.  Last night we made homemade pizzas using buttermilk biscuits (I just squish them really flat to make mini pizzas).  We topped them with marinara sauce, grilled chicken, carmelized onions, goat cheese, and fresh basil from the garden.  DELICIOUS.  But not the healthiest thing ever.
  • Photo: Right before I started law school was when I was at my lowest weight as an adult.  I wasn’t do anything crazy.  I just worked out regularly and ate small meals all day rather than 3 large meals.  I didn’t deny myself any foods I wanted, and the extent of my “making healthy choices” for food meant not choosing something deep fried when possible.  The craziness of law school (and my job), got me in the habit of eating three large meals, and often waiting to eat until I was starving so then I eat waay too much.  Hence the weight gain.  But I think I can get to the place below again 🙂

Me (on the right), 20-25 pounds ago at the beginning of Law School.

Speaking of My Ninja Dog.

Adding to the list of differences between Ellie and Cosmo, Ellie LOVES backyards.  She will run laps and bounce around like a baby deer and “secure the perimeter” (aka run around all of the edges of the space she’s in and sniff everything out) and smell every square inch of the yard and hunt for bugs and lizards.  She LOVES it.  Cosmo, on the other hand, is not a fan.  The only way he’ll go into a backyard is if you go out there with him.  Even then, the only thing he likes to do is lay in a patch of sun on a patio.  He’ll only go in the grass if he has to “go” (if you know what I mean).  Sometimes he won’t even go over there.  I’ll have to physically pick him up and place him in the grass to get him to go.

So, a few weeks ago, Ellie was out in the backyard doing her thing, and suddenly I noticed something strange:  I could hear a girl playing outside, but I hadn’t heard a single sound from Ellie.  I know my dog, and I know she is basically a grumpy, old lady when it comes to children making noise.  In other words, there is no way she would not let out a least a bark or two.  I went out to check on her and discovered the reason for her silence (and a reason for my heart to sink): the bottom of the gate was pried open, and Ellie was nowhere to be found.  She wasn’t wearing a collar.  We were in an unfamiliar, new neighborhood.  So my mind immediately went to the worst conclusion:  she was gone forever and the picture I’d taken of her that morning was the last picture I’d ever take of her:

Talk about heartbreak!  Dave and I both hit the streets looking for her, and she was nowhere to be found.  Ellie knows her name, but she tends to respond most to “Where’s Ellie?!”  (she comes running like “omg! omg!  I’m right here!  what’s going on? Is something cool going on??”) or “Do you wanna (go for a walk)?”   If you say “Do you wanna” around Ellie, she instantly perks up and her ears go up as straight as can be, hoping for those sweet final four words “..go for a walk.”  I like to tease her by saying things like “Do you wanna….. cupcake?!  Do you wanna… ride a pony?!”   Ok, this sounds really weird on a blog but it’s really funny in person.  Trust me.   The point is, basically I was unshowered, in PJs, running through my new neighborhood in a crazed state and on the verge of tears yelling, “where’s Ellie?” and “Do you wanna?”  I am pretty sure all hope of making friends with my new neighbors is shot as they now must be pretty convinced that I am a full-on crazy person.
We then hopped in the car and drove up and down the busy street outside our neighborhood because the people next door said when their dogs get out they always run out to the busy street.  I was half scared to look, because I did not want to see her lying in the road, hit by a car.  No success.  No Ellie.  We got back to the neighborhood, resigned to go inside and start making lost dog signs, when Dave saw the mailwoman and thought to ask her if she’d seen a dog.  She zoomed past our mailboxes and we thought our chance was shot.  But then she sat in the truck stopped at the intersection, looking for directions or something.  So we asked her if she’d seen a stray dog, and sure enough she had!  She told us exactly where she’d seen a little black dog with no collar hanging out in a random yard two neighborhoods down the road.  We had driven through that neighborhood but didn’t see anything.  So we hopped back in the car and hurried over there.  We parked the car and began to walk around, calling out Ellie’s name.  And suddenly Dave’s voice perked up.  “Ellie.. Ellie?? Ellie! Get over here!”  And I looked his direction, and there she was, running toward us.   I scooped her up and burst into tears.  Holy cow I’m tearing up right now just recounting that.  So I guess I’m out another neighborhood of potential friends, since I was standing in the middle of the street unshowered and in PJs in the middle of the day blubbering over my dog.  They’re probably thinking, “Hey lady, try taking a shower before noon.  And also, try putting a collar on your dog, and keeping your gate shut.  Also, why did you name your dog ‘Do you wanna’??”
Who cares what they think?! We have Ellie back!  Unfortunately, she did not learn her lesson because pretty much every time I let her in the yard she runs STRAIGHT for the gate to see if it’s unlocked.  We should have let her rough it on the streets for a night and maybe she would have learned her lesson 😉
In related “ninja dog” news, yesterday she flipped out on the dogs next door and kept jumping at the brick wall between them (yes Ellie, I’m sure that is effective), and she managed to cut one of her claws open and it started bleeding everywhere.  So of course I had to hold her while we waited for the bleeding to stop (Dave LOVES any excuse I have to hold Ellie ;-)), but I couldn’t let her get blood on my new beige couch, could I?! 😉
You can’t tell from this picture but my work laptop is actually on the table.  Holding injured dog with one hand, doc reviewing with the other.  I know, I am such a dedicated working (dog)mother 😉

Ten on Tuesday

I have totally fallen off the updating wagon because I’m in one of those busy periods at work where everything that I do that isn’t work technically takes away from my sleep, and if you know me you know I need my sleep 😉  But quickly, some Ten on Tuesday questions from RootsAndRings.

1. How do you feel about April Fool’s Day?
I hate it.  First of all, I’m what some people call “extremely gullible” although I like to consider it believing the best about people (I like to assume that people aren’t lying to me).  Second, I have no desire to prank people, and will find ABSOLUTELY NOTHING funny about being pranked (especially anything that results in me getting dirty or inconvenienced).  It will absolutely not be one of those “laugh about it later” situations if someone pranks me.  It will be an I WILL CUT YOU LATER situation.   😉  All of that said, I can’t deny that I have thought about telling my family I was pregnant and/or eloped in Vegas on more than one occassion…  😉

2. Do you like birds?
I like them from a distance… I am pretty sure if a bird comes anywhere near my head I’m going to get pooped on, so as long as they stay out of my bubble I think they’re cool.

3. How often do you wear your hair in a ponytail?
Uh, unfortunately pretty much every day I put my hair up in a bun.  It’s just so easy.  Once upon a time I actually took the time to style my hair…

4. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Nope.  I mean, you can be attracted to someone at first sight, and then it ultimately turns into love and I can see how it would feel like it was love at first sight since you had feelings from the first moment, but I just don’t think it’s possible to love someone just based on sight.   That kind of thought process is why Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were all “What?! I thought we were going to raise our kids in Minnesota!”  “What?! There is no way in Hades I’m moving to Minnesota!” after one month of marriage.  Friends and neighbors, whether you want to have kids and where you want to raise them is a conversation to have pre-marriage.   Yes, I just used the Kardashians for an educational moment.

5. What is your favorite appetizer?
Hmm… I don’t really have a favorite.  If I’m at a restaurant I rarely order an appetizer because I know I’ll get full from the dinner, unless I’m STARVING when I get there and think the appetizer will get to me faster. 

6. What is your favorite brand of heels?
I went over this in a recent post, but my favorite brand of shoe in general is “shoe that will actually fit me and not make me look like a drag queen and/or a person with absolutely no taste in fashion.”  It is an extremely difficult task for my size 13/14 foot.   Oh, and every now and then I find cute shoes with 4 inch heels, but lets face it, there is no need for me to be 6’8″ even if I could manage to walk in those things 😉

7. Are you a picky eater?
Not really but the few things I don’t like tend to be things that almost everybody LOVES and it makes me look picky.  I absolutely can’t stand mashed potatoes, beans, mushrooms, or pickles.  Luckily or unluckily, Dave is fully aware of the foods I don’t like to eat.  He frequently offers to make me things like mashed potatoes with a side of beans, or almond encrusted beans.   He’s joking… I hope 😉

8. Is there a tv show you like that nobody ever talks about?

Dave and I watch quite a few discovery channel shows that I never hear people talking about.  Ax Men anyone?!  Ice Road Truckers?!  Generally I am always working while these shows are on, but they are fairly entertaining (and educational… you know, if I ever find myself driving a semi on an ice road or hunting logs in swamps in Louisiana….).

9. Do you prefer hot tea or cold tea?

Generally only iced tea.  Although I do like a spiced chai tea (with milk) every now and then.  I love sweetened black iced tea from Starbucks, and love, love, LOVE cold sweet tea (the southern creation).

10. Gayle or Peeta? (If you don’t know how to answer, read The Hunger Games.)
No idea.

On Being Tall: If The Shoe (Doesn’t) Fit.

Despite being a “freakishly” tall woman, I’ve never been one to hate my height.  This is despite the facts that:

  • I am a full foot taller than the average woman;
  • I’ve frequently been made fun of;
  • I am stared/gawked at everywhere I go;
  • People whisper things behind my back everywhere I go;
  • Complete strangers ask me very personal questions;
  • Complete strangers ask me very offensive questions (e.g. “Are you really a man?”);
  • Everything is extra-cramped to me (e.g. leg room on planes, buses, cars, bathroom stalls…);
  • My head is constantly in a danger zone (because people like to hang signs, light fixtures, cabinent doors, pipes, and fans at about 6’… as if its unthinkable that anyone in the world would be taller than that);
  • I frequently trip over things that are out of my line of sight (the ground is really far down, y’all);
  • It is ridiculously difficult to find pants, dresses, and shoes;
  • There is an extremely limited pool of men who are taller than me (although luckily I found an amazing one so this is no longer a concern 😉 ;-)).

None of these things really bother me (unless it’s that time of the month, and then you better just watch yourself before you try to say something rude to me in the grocery store line.  You’ve been warned, strangers of the world!).

Besides, there are tons of perks to being tall:

  • I can see over pretty much anything;
  • I can reach pretty much anything;
  • I can hold things out of the reach of pretty much anyone;
  • In crowds, my entire head is above the cloud of heat/sweat/BO that everyone else is stuck inhaling (fresh, cool air… be jealous shorties!);
  • Nobody ever forgets me (this can be a con too, but I largely think of it as a pro);
  • I can pretend everyone is staring because I’m a famous celebrity and/or extremely attractive;
  • My long legs make a great slide/climbing device for small children (which will come in handy when I have some);
  • Allegedly we tall people (even women) make more money than shorter people;
  • My height can be very intimidating (which comes in handy when dealing with opposing parties, jerkfaces, and strangers on the street when walking alone at night).

Both of these lists can go on and on.  The point is:  I’m comfortable being tall, and I like it.  However, the one thing that can send me into a sudden pit of anxiety and despair is attempting to shop for shoes.   Unfortunately, several weeks ago, Ellie chewed the toe off my only pair of “go to” shoes for dresses.   Ever since, I’ve been desperately searching for a pair of shoes because I’m going to a fancy-pants wedding next weekend and I need fancy-pants shoes.   Unfortunately, the only shoes I can find that could possibly work are shoes with huge 4″+ heels.   Besides the fact that I do not feel the need to be 6’8″, that type of shoes presents several other serious issues (see notes above about tripping and hitting my head on things).  

Yesterday I went to Nordstrom Rack with a friend who wears a size 8.5-9.  She had several AISLES of shoes available to her.   After looking at the couple of hideous pairs of shoes available in my size,  I felt a wave of anxiety come over me, and I contemplated whether I needed to find a paper bag to breathe into.   Especially after hearing her say something along the lines of “it is so frustrating having all these awesome shoes available but nothing to wear them to!”   I can’t imagine how difficult that must be… as I sit and look at the 10 pairs of shoes available in my size, which consist of shoes for trannies and middle aged psychologists who like to express their individuality through fugly shoes (excuse my french ;-)).

Why, in this internet age, does it have to be so stinking difficult to get a decent pair of shoes in a size 13?!  I understand every store not carrying tons of 13s because it wouldn’t be very profitable.  But what about making that size available for all shoes on the internet?  It’s seriously the only thing that sometimes causes me to rage out about being tall.   To be fair, it used to be impossible to find anything but boy shoes in my size, and now I do have quite a few pairs of very feminine shoes that go with my work clothes and casual clothes.   But I don’t get the luxury of finding a particular pair of shoes to match certain outfits or dresses.   It’s more like: find a pair of shoes that fit my feet and are not hideous, and then look for the clothes to match.  I’ve been browsing Nordstrom.com, Zappos.com, and Barefoottess.com for weeks and I can’t find any shoes that would work with a cocktail dress with a reasonable heel height (not to mention browsing for shoes for the wedding since practically the day I got engaged).   Finding the right pair of shoes for me is like discovering the a sunken ship full of buried treasure on the ocean floor. 

I stand out enough without wearing flipflops or man shoes to a “black tie optional” wedding.  Come on, shoe gods!  Help a tall girl out and magically make some cocktail-attire appropriate shoes appear on the internet in a size 13!

March Maddening.

Somehow Dave convinced me that participating in a March Madness bracket pool this year was a good idea.  Let’s see… I know pretty much nothing about basketball, and especially nothing about any college basketball teams.  So what would be a good idea?  Attempting to predict the winners of 63 college basketball games.

I used an extremely scientific method to choose my winners: (1) What was my opinion of the school’s colors?; (2) What my opinion of the school’s mascot?; and (3) What was my opinion about the state the school is in, generally.   The ultimate tiebreaker for me, between two blue teams that it made it to the final and both happen to be from states that I have no feelings about (Kentucky and Kansas) was the fact that about 8 years ago I randomly happened to be watching a college basketball game, and Kansas happened to be playing, and I thought one of the players was cute.  Therefore, I decided that Kansas was my favorite basketball team for the sake of any March Madness conversations that came up that year in college.  If you know me, you know that I have a tendency to make decisions very quickly.  Luckily for me, those quick decisions are always very scientific and very rational 😉

Unbeknownst to me, it turns out the two teams I put in the final are currently ranked #1 and #3 in the country.   The only thing I did know for sure about March Madness is that there are upsets, and I understand upsets to mean a lower ranked team beating a higher ranked team.  So I was pretty sure my final two picks would not make it to the end, but I refused to change my bracket and upset my very scientific method.  Besides, what did I care if I lost?  I picked Norfolk State over Missouri because Norfolk State was green and yellow which reminded me of the Oregon Ducks.  Also, I have no idea what exists in the state of Missouri, but I have been to Virginia.   Not exactly a winning strategy, y’all.  But guess what?  Norfolk State, a #15 seed, beat Missouri, a #2 seed, in the round of 64.   I was the only one in my bracket pool who chose Norfolk to win that game.  Also, of the first 9 games that happened, I picked the right winner for all of them.  All of a sudden, I became obsessed.

I am normally not a competitive person at all.  But I have somehow lost my mind over here.  It drives me nuts being at the bottom of the bracket.  I don’t mind losing, but I don’t want to be the biggest loser.  Also, if I am the biggest loser, I don’t want to lose by a lot.  Unfortunately, my strategy for picking teams has me poised to lose by a lot.  All of a sudden I care way too much about something that I didn’t give a second thought to (or even a first thought) a week ago.  I keep refreshing the ESPN page on my phone, and turning every game on for the last 5 minutes and almost having a heart attack every time as the team I chose to win either wins or loses by one freaking basket.  They should have a disclaimer for this thing because I’m pretty sure my heart might give out.

The craziest thing about all of this is that I have sooooo much else to be dealing with right now.   My actual job and planning my wedding just to name the obvious.  But let’s see… It could also help to grocery shop, get Ellie’s nails trimmed, find a dress for the wedding I’m going to in two weeks, work out, finally draft all of those travel posts I’ve been intending to write, read one of the million books on my “to read” list that I “don’t have time to read.”… But no my friends.  None of these things matter right now.

I found myself kind of hoping that Kansas would just lose last night and put me out of my misery.  But then when I was watching the final 5 minutes of the game* and I was like “NO THEY CAN’T LOSE!”  And luckily or unluckily they did not lose, and I am destined to be obsessed for at least another week.

*Is there any point to watching the entire game, when it just goes back and forth the entire time, and is super close the entire time?  Besides the redundancy, I don’t think my heart can handle such back and forth when my bracket is on the line 😉