Sunday, November 24, 2013

What to do...

Dear Internet Friends,

You may recall, a few years ago I was heckled in a fairly explicit way by some "youngsters." A few teens and a few "almost teens." Hubs and I were seriously thinking about getting a dog anyway, but this really got the ball rolling and within three weeks, young (yet large) Brubeck came to live with us.

I never had an encounter with said kids again, but on occasion a passerby would cross to the other side of the street as Bru and I approached. Even though my guy is very nice, he's 95 pounds and it feels  nice to be perceived as having protection by my side. All was well in Annapolis.

I could dress him up to be intimidating, but it might be more effective if he didn't have such a great smile. 
A few weeks ago, I peeked out the window when Bru barked at a couple of big kids being rowdy on skate boards in the street. They were making barking noises to get Bru going.

"Hee-ey cute face," the big kid shouted up.

A little surprised, as I was annoyed at how loud he was being, I replied, "Oh, thanks. I think he's cute too," as I proudly patted my handsome boy on his head.

"I don't care about your dog, I mean you!"

Insert record screech sound here. Wha?!?! Kid thinks he's got swagger.  I go about my business until a few minutes later I hear, "Byyyyye, cute face!!"  Dude, this kid can't be more than twelve years old. I'm a little unsettled, but shake my head and laugh. When I told my co-workers they howled with laughter.

Unfortunately, what he bellowed up next left me not sure if I'm prude, or rightfully disturbed. I hesitate before even typing the words....."Oh wait, Caesar wants to suck your boob!!!!" My co-workers were less amused and hubs laughter ceased when I told him that part.

A few days go by, and "cute face," escalates to "where you walking hot-stuff?" Sigh.

"Tell him his Mom's hot-stuff!" one co-worker suggested. The problem is, if he had a proper Mom, he probably wouldn't be saying such inappropriate things, so it's probably not going to help if I can't act like an adult.

Not wanting to evoke any sort of retaliation, while wondering in the back of my mind what he's going to say or do next, much less in a few years, I've succumbed to politely waving and acknowledging the name "cute face." Brubeck has started to low-growl and grumble when we walk past. Other neighbors have seen him throw rocks and try to enter a house, uninvited with two barking pit-bulls inside.  This afternoon, he raised his middle finger when Bru woofed at him from the window as they trampled through my front yard. Kid is officially an ass.

So now dear internet friends, I'm at a crossroads. What would you do? On the one hand, it's kind of funny. On another, more accurate hand, it's not funny at all and I don't know what to do. I mean, my initial thought was to get another scarier dog, but that's clearly not going to work. (It seems I baby the "scary" out of dogs. Oops.) Oh, and kids not remotely deterred by them anyway.

Thanks in advance,

Cute Face

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shopping like a normal person, not a crazy pyrex addict...

I don't think it's any question that I have an addictive personality. When I like something, I like it a lot. There are like five movies in life that I just want to watch over and over. I never tire of painting my nails. Discover a new author? I'm going to read everything they wrote in a month. New song? I will listen repeatedly. Let's not even start on the shoes.

The new pyrex obsession is something that actually has been in the works for years, but just now came to full fruition. It didn't really register that it was something I could have. I just assumed it was expensive and I didn't realize it was usable.

Randomly searching through instagram about a month ago, I discovered that vintage pyrex is totally usable, durable and obviously adorable. People sell and trade it and it's relatively inexpensive. During my first go at the thrift store, I saw a girl with a cute pyrex dish marked for $3. I cursed her in my head for arriving before me and dashed to antique store I occasionally peruse before she could beat me there too. It seemed this was a competitive sport.

Unfortunately, said store is aware of pyrex's current popularity. Most of it was more expensive than what I learned through my research I should be paying. Still, I didn't leave without starting my collection.

Since then I've checked the thrift store several more times, but only the same few pieces I wasn't in love with remained on the shelves. Back to my addictive personality, I promised myself I would only purchase what liked and knew I would use. Mixing bowls, and two divided casserole dishes are at the top of my wish list.

This morning, I decided to check the thrift store again. More of the same, more of the same, and what's this?... A divided casserole in perfect condition for $7. It wasn't a pattern I loved. I contemplated it for a moment as my gaze drifted further down the shelfs. Hark! I spied a blue, Cinderella mixing bowl, with several random things on top of it.  My heart skipped a beat. A large-ish woman stood directly in front of it. She was looking at the shelf above. That woman stood between me and that bowl. She immediately became my arch enemy. My eyes narrowed. Must. Get. To. Bowl. I nonchalantly made my way trying not to look too eager, and reached my hand casually in front of the lady just as she reached her hand towards my bowl. We bumped hands as she swerved left towards me.  Praise the lord she was reaching for a cheese tray! With a huge sigh of relief I politely suggested we switch places which she thought was a great idea.

"Girrrrl, I love this place. I got no shame!" she bellowed.

"I know that's right," I chimed in, my eyes bugging out of my face discovering as I moved the random things off my bowl that I had actually found a three piece set for $15. Mint condition. No signs of dishwashing. Minimal gray marks. No chipping. (What? I said I'd done a little research.) AND, they are adorable.

By this time, I had a huge grin on my face and a new friend. She was no enemy! We laughed and discussed how we cleaned our purchases before use.

A shadow fell upon me. By this time,  I had one hand on MY bowls while I inspected a different piece with the other. Sensing danger, I secured my treasures with both hands.

"That's great stuff there," said a tall man in his 50's. His eyes were shifty and he was sizing me and my bowls up. "My son loves it. He keeps trying to steal my Mom's."

I held tight to my bowls*,  realizing just how close I had been to being too late. I exchanged niceties nonetheless, before scurrying away to the register.

Hubs is aware of my new hobby. I was afraid he would make fun of me but I was smiling ear to ear as I described to him what went down with wild elaborate hand gestures and body movements before I unveiled my find. I thought he was being sarcastic when he stated this was great because we needed mixing bowls. I didn't know we needed more mixing bowls. I admitted that I had planned to donate Bru's dogs bowls and replace them with what I thought were our current mixing bowls.

"But then we won't have enough bowls again wife," he stated.

"We won't?... Huh. What should we do then hubs?" I asked with a sly smile.

*resists urge to make Dorothy in her Ruby slippers comparison...oh wait, I just did? Do'h!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Business Trips, Scary Movies and Sensitive Dogs

Hubs and I are still living like a real married couple who eats dinner every night and has weekends together. We even naturally fell into an unspoken routine where we take turns cooking dinner every other night. (Now if I could just get him to put ALL the trash cans and ALL the recycling out at the same time.)

All was going well when his first business trip was scheduled. Part of me was excited to have two days of SSB and the house to remain as I left it each day. The other part of me screamed, "I didn't sign up to be a single (dog) mom," and "but I don't wanna sleep alone." Plus, I've always been the one to get to go on "fancy" business trips.

The first night I went to Trader Joe's and bought the potato chips Nat had not been interested in trying along with a few other not so healthy options. I then proceeded to explain and rationalize my purchases to the unsuspecting cashier who surely was not judging me anyway. "There's no point in cooking for one," she agreed. "Now I always eat half of these cookies raw and bake the other half," she offered in regard to my "break and bake" chocolate chip cookies. I nodded very seriously that I understood.

Back at home, I took Bru on a walk then jetted out for my 3 mile run where I finally made my goal time. I collapsed all sweaty-like on the living room floor upon my return as I didn't need to hide my red face. I felt extra guilty eating my chips, pre-made dip and salad (not SO bad) while Bru ate his Bravo raw turkey meal with kale. You see, Brubeck's chronic ear infections and red itchy belly have gotten increasingly worse over time and we recently made the switch to raw food. More on that later, but he is doing SO MUCH better on this diet!

Shower time was when I started to remember all the scary movies Nat and I have watched over the years. Was this house built over ancient Indian burial grounds? I thought about when Liv Tyler went to get her phone in "The Strangers" and it was gone from the charger. O.M.G! We actually had to stop the movie shortly after that because my heart was pounding so hard. To be safe, I perilously placed my beloved phone on the side of the bathtub and looked at it every few seconds just to make sure. If an intruder came in, I was at least going to have my phone. (So I could request they let me make a quick call before they chopped me up...?) Really, they probably were not going to invade though, because I left a LIGHT on downstairs.

Bru and I made it through the night and in the morning I had to get up early and take him on a walk because normally Nat does that. How do single Mom's to actual babies get themselves ready AND their children? I don't even know because I was almost late to work from stirring Bru's raw meat and kale medley and I didn't even have to dress him or take him to daycare. That night, I didn't have any shower terrors, but Bru was unsettled and prowling all night.

Nat finally arrived back we had sushi delivered and I told him we could never watch another scary movie again if he thought he was ever going on another trip. (Actually, we were really fine, but I did miss him and I was really happy to have my hubs back.)

Now, in regard to Brubeck. His ear infections have been attributed to an overgrowth of yeast. After a little research, we decided to try the raw diet. In the wild dog they didn't carbs the way they do now from normal dry dog food. Carbs turn to sugar which leads to over growth of yeast. Simply put, the raw diet is much closer to what they eat in the wild, but this food has been tested for bacteria. (You can't just go buy ground beef and give it to them- it is assumed that is going to be cooked.) I'm no expert by any means, but it's been three weeks and his belly is no longer inflamed, his ears no longer need to be cleaned every day, and he's not shaking his head nonstop. Bonus, his coat is softer and he has more energy.

Now, for a quick all natural EASY recipe. I found this on pinterest and modified it a bit. It's a great breakfast, snack or desert. I read that almonds are OK in small doses for dogs, (it may upset their stomach) so I feel its OK to share a few bites with your pup.

Banana Cookies

2-3 brown bananas
2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 egg
2 cups of almond flour (Trader Joes, it's just grated almonds instead of flour)

Mix, scoop, bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's like we just got married...

Nat and I have been married for two and half years now. When we first started dating, I got off of work at five and he went in at five. He was bar-tending and I was drinking so I saw him a lot. Throughout the years, his hours have drifted a little closer to mine, but he's always worked weekends,  and I've always boasted part of the reason why we get along so well is because I have most of my weeknights to myself.

Last week, Nat started his "fancy new job" as a wine rep. This means, he sells wine and works pretty close to normal business hours and has most weekends free. It also means we eat dinner together every night just like a real married couple! We can go to brunch on Sundays and I can give him "man-stuff" to do on the weekends such as, taking down light fixtures so I can spray-paint them, and rotating mattresses. I was a little fearful that by Thursday we would be sitting on the couch looking at each other like, "YOU again?" but so far, so good.

I have discovered just one downside. I no longer have time for my SSB.  Secret Single Behavior as first described in Sex in the City.  For example, if I want to eat a slice of watermelon, a few spoonfuls of peanut butter and an entire bowl of guacamole (hold the chips-just because) somebody's going to be there to give me the side eye.  If I don't want to dry my hair at night, but instead try the latest pinterest craze which will inevitable NOT leave me with the beach waves I desired in the morning and I'll have to straighten it anyway, hubs is going to see the unsightly million braids, or sock bun or headband roll around before bed while we hunker down on the couch debating the worth of the Garbage Pail sticker collection some crazy is trying to convince Chumlee and Rick to buy for thousands of dollars.
The ONE time the weird night-time hairdo translated to proper day hair. 
This morning while Nat was in the shower, I tried to Nair my legs while sitting half naked in my bathroom removing polish from my finger nails with the door open because all those chemicals smelled terrible. Of course this is the one time hubs showered more quickly than I anticipated. He walked by the open door,  took one look at me with my hair piled on top of my head, green cream all over my legs and an atrocious odor permeating into the hall and just kept going.

He is going to KNOW all my secrets. I mean, he knows I not so secretly watch Snooki and JWoww and will even deal with Chelsea Lately occasionally, but he has NO IDEA about my Breaking Amish obsession much less Sister Wives and The Vanilla Ice project! How am I going to keep up with all my trash television? Trash television is when I do my squats and crunches and lunges, ect., so this could actually be a huge problem.

In closing, I'm two and a half years into marriage and feeling like what newlyweds must have experienced in the 50's. I'll now be accepting your best marriage advice in regard to keeping my SSB!

Until then, Nat just went to Home Depot to get supplies for man-stuff, IE fixing the front porch steps, (I didn't even know he knew how to do that! What else is HE hiding?!?!) so I have to catch up on my squats and Sister Wives.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mia becomes Maya

Being a first time foster was full of unknowns. I swore I would not keep "the dog." The problem was that the potential adopters were just not right and I knew it was not just because I had fallen in love with my foster. 

I spoke on the phone with a "match" the rescue had put me in touch with. She lived 3 hours away, worked 9 hours a day and had four cats. Now I don't have anything against cats, but my head was filled with visions of high energy Mia crated for hours on end, with sulky, glamourous cats slinking around her crate purring, "We are Siamese if you please." I knew the woman would not have the energy to take care of her. I voiced my concerns to the rescue and the next day I had a great chat with the lady and we mutually agreed, Mia was not the dog for her. 

Saturday, I met with a couple of empty nesters. I had high hopes as they had a Terrier Mix and were the parents of the gal who brought Mia to our rescue and knew how sweet Mia was. (She told me Mia looked so much better in the weeks time we had kept her.)  I honestly loved the couple. Mia and her potential doggy sister however stood and stared at each other. They didn't dislike each other, but let's just say, Mia was not impressed. The family ended up deciding to adopt a puppy. 

Mia was not impressed

The rescue had one more family lined up for me for the weekend. A family with with three daughters and a young son. They had recently lost their elderly lab. In my heart, I knew they were going to be the ones. I also knew, if they weren't, I couldn't do the roller coaster of emotions anymore and she would stay. 

The parents arrived with their oldest daughter and the elementary school aged son who had once been bitten by a "small dog," and claimed he was a little fearful. Everyone was shocked by how small she was. After we showed them how tough she was playing with Bru, Nat took Bru on a walk so they could see Mia by herself a little bit. He told me he was convinced they were going to want a larger dog we were going to keep her. Mia performed her best Meerkat impression and did sit and shake and wooed them with everything she had. I knew they were perfect.

The son, still a little confused about the recent loss of his dog had many questions about her age and recent spay surgery and overall skinny figure. "I mean,  could she...D-I-E?" He spelled out. I melted, but I think I did okay explaining that she was getting healthy now. Their daughter cried because they were rescuing this time instead of buying. As I packed her belongings I was fighting back tears, but I could tell they completely understood my struggle. The Mom asked me if I was sure and then she promised me this would be Mia's final move. The Dad asked me if I thought we would foster again, which made me laugh as I told them I didn't think I was cut out for it. 
I thought we had a "No Dogs on the Bed" rule? Oops. 
Over a month has passed. I have kept in touch a little bit and Mia, is doing fabulously. They have changed the spelling of her name to Maya, which phonetically is the pronunciation to which she answers. (A detail which assures me even more, we did the right thing.) The son is no longer afraid and Maya has her choice of beds every night. 
Tech Savvy Pup. 
My family, friends and co-workers all saw me cry over this little girl I called Meerkat Maya. They said we did a great thing, but didn't think I should do it again, for my own emotional health. At the time, I agreed. Looking back, Maya is exactly where she is supposed to be because of us. I told Nat a few weeks ago, I might be ready to do it again soon. But you know, with a young puppy, because the have no idea what is going on and won't get so attached to me. He looked at me like I had three heads. Until then....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mia, Part II

When Nat arrived home Saturday night, we discovered Mia was a little timid around men. She sniffed him a little and let him pet her, but mostly stuck close to my side, or played with Bruby. Nat determined then, that  I was "her person." 

By morning, she was sneaking into our hearts and earning nick-names such as "The Little One," and "Meerkat Mia." See Exibit A. 
Meerkat Mia. (Within days, she would put a paw on Bru's back to stand even longer.)

Mother's Day was our first full day with Mia and I had invited my family for dinner. I had not mentioned I had taken in a foster dog and had visions of the two dogs chasing each other,  growling and jumping on the dining room table and ruining dinner, but it couldn't have gone more smoothly.  Fortunately, my parents (large dog lovers) were quickly smitten with The Little One and impressed with Bruby's quick friendship. They almost immediately suggested she had already found her forever home and we keep her as Bru's girlfriend. Mia slept underneath my chair during dinner. My Dad agreed I had become "her person." I cried at the table, again overwhelmed at her growing attachment. It just wasn't my goal to have two dogs. It wasn't the plan.

The Little One, and The Big One

Monday night, they had their first spat. Mia decided underneath the dining room table belonged to her. I'm not even sure what she did, but at one point I looked up and Bru was sitting up straight, just showing his teeth. No growl, no movement, just big, white, shiny, teeth. "Brubeck!" I exclaimed. "Put your teeth back in your mouth." He did, and dinner continued accordingly. Until that is, he walked by and she growled from underneath. All in slow motion, Bru lunged under the table, I reached and missed his collar.  Mia scrambled backwards and Bru's tale slipped between my fingers. 

"NAT!!!" I screamed.
"ARRRFFFF!" Mia squealed.
"WooofRRRR!" roared Bruby.
"STOP IT!" my mother in law added. 
"BRUBECK!" came the deep voice of my husband.  (All at the same time of course.) 

There was lots of bumping, banging and loud dog sounds under the dining room table, before Mia slipped under a chair and sprinted through the kitchen, down the hallway and onto the couch where she crouched down, tail between legs and shook. I scooped her little shaking, whimpering body up while Nat grabbed hold of Bru who was meekly venturing into the living room looking confused. Nobody was injured. I immediately felt guilty for comforting Mia, when she had clearly started the drama. My mother in law also, "Team Keep Mia," assured me it wasn't smart for Mia to have started a fight with a larger dog. This was all normal dog pack behavior and ranking had to be sorted out. 

Once Mia stopped shaking, (ok, and I stopped crying, AGAIN) I sat on the floor and assured Bru he was still a good boy. 

I was in over my head, and I knew it. 

The Little One is a tough one. "I'll get you!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Story of Mia

One of my first posts this year,  I mentioned I wanted to workout more and foster at least one dog.  I can now say, I've done those things. I recently started teaching boot camp style class with my awesome co-workers. But this post is about Mia. This little yellow foster dog I took in for one week, and with whom I fell madly in love.

When the rescue group DogsXL Rescue asked me to take in Mia, a 40 pound lab mix, they hadn't yet picked her up. When I arrived at the "home-base" (an actual home in Baltimore, MD) with my friend Katie I was overwhelmed. As far as I'm concerned, the woman who runs this rescue is a saint.  All the dogs coming into the rescue start at her house, and fosters come and pick them up to care for them in a safe home environment, rather than a cold, loud shelter until they find their forever homes.

Katie and I entered the home at the designated time to pick up foster dogs, and were greeted with organized chaos. People doing paper work, giving injections, and so many large dogs. I told them I was there to foster Mia. "Ooooh, mini-Mia," the volunteer joyfully stated.

I nervously looked at Katie. "Um...who?" We both had actually thought she said, "meanie-Mia," but caught on when presented with a tiny pawed dog, with her tail between her legs and shaking.  I was terrified. They had picked her up in West Virginia just that day and were as shocked by her size as I was. Her ribs were showing, she had recently had pups, been spayed and was no more than 30 pounds. I reminded them my dog was 95 pounds and I couldn't possibly take her home to him, while they simultaneously handed her leash to me. I suggested that maybe there was another dog I could take. They motioned towards and giant yellow beast who looked out at me from her crate and said, "WOOF," just as I was kneeling down. Mia jumped before putting her two front paws on my knees, and looking me right in the eyes and sniffing my cheek. The volunteer said they would switch the paper work and I could take the bigger dog. "NO," I said, wrapping my arms around the little one. "I'll take her," I said firmly, though I was shaking myself and held back tears. Apparently, Katie was by this point practically cowering in a corner herself, saying to herself, "Don't do it," in regard to taking the larger dog.

Tiny as she was, Mia would be better off with my one big, quiet dog, rather than a house full until another foster could be assigned. Worst case scenario, I would have to keep her separated from Bru, but I knew I had to get this dog to a calm atmosphere and get her healthy. Katie sat in the backseat with Mia to comfort her on the drive home and I immediately burst into tears, overcome with emotion.

We drove through torrential rain, with my windshield wipers on as fast as they could go and I asked Katie how we were possibly going to introduce them. Little did I know, I had nothing to worry about.

The initial meeting was rather uneventful as Katie held onto Mia's leash and I tried to embrace my inner Ceasar Milans calm energy. Within moments they were walking and sniffing side by side. We let them off leash in my back yard first. No problems.
My tear stained face. Miss Mia sneaking her way onto the couch and into my heart.

The meek and frail Mia stuck by my side, while I held Bru at a safe distance as he kind of wanted to play already. We fed them dinner separately and let them sniff a little more. She was getting a little braver. He put his head down submissively, and let out his playful woof. Her hair stood on end and she showed her teeth. Were they nice teeth, or playful teeth?

Suddenly, she ran across the living room and jumped onto the couch. Bru chased her and she repeatedly bopped him on the nose with her front paws. Katie and I froze in shock. Bru LOVED it. Mia lunged halfway back across the room and circled around, Bru right behind here. She bounced off the seat of the couch, landed on the back of it, hit the window and came flying back landing half on the couch and half on Bru. She rolled head first on the the floor, spun around kicking her back feet off the bottom of the couch and sliding across the carpet on her back. My mouth was hanging open, Katie was still frozen and the dogs were officially friends. 
Bop, bop, bop!!!
Bruby could fit her whole head in his mouth and she didn't mind one bit. When she needed a break she would come to my side, but mostly, she kept going back for more. I was a little nervous Nat was going to be upset about my bringing such a small dog into the house, but was relieved by how tough and sassy she was. "This little dog bamboozled her way right into DogsXL and right back out," I told Katie. She fooled everyone with her size and then pitifulness.

To be continued...

"Mom, I AM playing nice. She likes it when I put her whole head in my mouth."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 Thus far...

A few weeks after the Forever 21 excursion, I packed my finds into my luggage and headed West. ALL the way west to hang out with two of my best friends in San Diego, California.   Leaving gray, cold, sleety, Maryland to meet up for a girls trip with my two best friends was just what I needed to get me though the winter.  We went hiking, shopped at the street market and consumed the best sushi I had ever had. 

I don't have an official "bucket list," but while sipping a white wine over looking the Pacific Ocean at the Hotel Del Coronado, I realized I was fulfilling one of the items on the mental bucket list .  In my teens, I was obsessed with Baywatch and had great aspirations to become a lifeguard though I didn't swim well and my eyesight was completely dependent on coke bottle thick glasses. All the same, when the Baywatch gang went to the Hotel Del Coronado and Summer was haunted by a ghost I knew I would visit one day.  So there I was relaxing with some of my favorite people in the world rocking my faux Chanel and then of course there was this chick at the table next to us in real Chanel. Do'h! I looked like this.

I arrived back ready to concur the world.  Or, at least the last few weeks of winter. A couple of days later however, my last surviving grandparent passed away. Rationally, my Grandmother had suffered for far too many years from severe dementia and I am grateful she is at peace. But it's still death and it's still my Mom's Mom and it was and is hard. 

Have you ever heard elders speak of death almost casually in passing and wonder if it's something you get used to? Does it get easier, or is it a matter of circumstance? As I am fortunate enough to have only attended four funerals in my life, this was only the second with an open casket. I was fully traumatized at the first when my Grandfather looked absolutely, positively nothing like himself.  It's scary, and icky and unnatural but this time, the strangest thing happened. As my sister and I stood behind my Mom as she knelt in front of her mother, I forced myself to look at my Grandmothers face. After years of wearing panic stricken expressions from her dementia, her face was relaxed. She finally looked untroubled. She even looked like more like the Grandmother I had known many years ago. I don't know if it made it easier, but I did feel a sense of relief and calm for her. 

Calendar wise, spring is here, but weather wise, Maryland hasn't gotten the memo. I didn't follow through (yet) on my "Couch to 5k app" due in part to cold temps, family distractions and few minor illnesses. Tomorrow, I'm starting a 6 week boot camp class with some of the girls at work, so I anticipate that will kick start stupid running again. Running is so stupid, but I have a few pounds in the middle to loose so I WILL start and finish the app this spring. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Surviving Forever 21

Clothes shopping for travel is pretty much all part of the preparing process for me. I need fresh karma free clothes. After having no luck at my usual stores, I begrudgingly entered the depths of Forever 21 on a Saturday afternoon.  I knew there would be 'tweens dressed alike, all up in my way looking at the things I wanted to see. Boyfriends with glazed eyes would block my view of the one chambray that was slightly different from the five I already had in my grasp.  Mother/daughter duo's would argue about sizes delaying my approach to the leggings I surely didn't need. If I made it through all this, and actually decided to buy some "disposable" clothes in a size XL as would surely be needed in such an establishment, there would still be the dreaded check-out.

These thoughts were quickly forgotten as within seconds I spied an Elvis Presley shirt. The fact of the matter is, I secretly adore Elvis. His story, his smile, his music, his moves, and his terrible, terrible movies. Even his sad and untimely, but glamorous demise. (Yeah, I just said that. What?!)  Without hesitation, I snatched that shirt with the image of Elvis singing sometime after he was gorgeous, but before the alcoholism had completely taken over. An in-between period you rarely see.  I would wear it with leggings, or maybe bright skinny jeans. It would be mine and I would not care if it embarrassed my friends. 

From there, it was long flowing shirts, bright flowers, a few palm trees. My second favorite find was a cream and black vintage Chanel inspired sweater which would match everything in an ironic kind of way.  I broke down and got on the chambray bandwagon because the color and price was just right. 

The accessory section lured me in, but I practiced extreme self control and only purchased two hair adornments which I fully intend to wear. Probably. 

I'm fully prepared for travel. And now, we wait. 

I managed to buy a fully interchangeable, layer-able vacation wardrobe for the first time ever. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day at the Ranch

When my alarm sounded *Monday morning on my day off, I was in no hurry to get up. In fact, I briefly considered going back to sleep, but suspected the day ahead would be worth the early start.

We arrived at Kurt and Kristi's at 9 a.m. and after a quick stop at Cross Street Market in Baltimore for breakfast, coffee and a fresh fish as a gift, we were on our way. An hour or so later we found ourselves in Western Maryland at a cattle ranch. We slowly navigated up a driveway while curious cows casually blinked at us.

I was slightly apprehensive but curious about our adventure. After watching a few too many documentaries on the treatment of cattle and chickens, I do try to buy free range, but even then I wonder. Kurt and Kristi had told us all about this ranch where they had purchased a whole cow and wanted us to get the full experience.  We were kindly greeted by the owners, Celia and her husband along with their giant, white Samoyed dogs who lazily followed us along for the tour. It was cold, really cold, but the sun was shining and it felt good to be outside.

A gorgeous winter day in western MD. 
Celia answered so many of our silly questions like, "how much do they weight?" and was so patient with our provacotive statements such as, "his tongue is like sand paper," (Nat) and "Look!!! He's poo-ing!!" (sadly, me) while we fed the cows and even the massive bulls. I felt special when I unknowingly fed a white calf who had never taken treats from anyone including Celia before.
Casper, taking his first treat ever!
They called me the "Cow-Whisperer" and all was good until "Pop" the head bull decided he liked me too. I gave him a treat as I was about to climb back out of the fence, but he followed me. I fed him another treat, backed away and proceeded to exit again. Pop and his long horns, (NOT just a clever named) followed me along with a couple of other calves.

Entering the fenced in area. 
"Um, guys. I'm starting to freak out a little bit," I said as I gave him another treat. Kurt, helpful as ever, offered little guidance, but filmed by minor panic attack quite enthusiastically. "Stay." I said to the bull after putting another treat in his mouth. No longer the cow-whisperer, Pop moseyed on towards me some more, while some other young calfs closed in as well.

I only have a picture of me with "Pop" behind the fence, but look at this massive animal.  It looks like I'm counting my fingers to make sure they are all still there. 
Eventually, I escaped from Pop, but not from another blonde moment. Heading back to the house several chickens clucked about.  "So these guys just have free ran---oh, free range," I caught myself. Celia smirked and said that yes, they came and went as they pleased and were only put away at night for their protection from foxes and the like. Not one to quit while I wasn't even ahead, I questioned. "But how do they know to come back? I don't think I would know how to find my way home." My friends and husband thought this was hilarious as I insisted, "if I was a chicken!!!" But seriously, who knew chickens were that smart?

In the end, we learned that girl chickens can lay an egg everyday without the help of any boy chickens. The boy is only needed to fertilize the egg to make chicks.

Adult field trips are just as fun as school field trips, if not more! If I were in class the day after the trip and the teacher was asking us our favorite part, she would write down,

Julie said,  "My favorite part was when the roosters came running for the bread from Celia."

Mini Long Horns

*I wrote this last January and I just got around to attaching the photos. I had the Monday off because I was working in retail at the time. Depression was overtaking me last winter and this day was just as bright and cheerful as the photos reflect. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Maybe this time I'll be a runner, unless it's still stupid

Every few years, I decide I want to become a runner, before shortly thereafter deciding running is mindless and stupid. Unfortunately, in the last year, my near militant workout and clean eating lifestyle have deteriorated.  I walk young Brubeck a good 15 miles or so a week but that is the extent of my "work out." I also consume potato chips on the regular. (I mean, regular, regular. Everyday regular. Gasp.)

I just needed a little extra motivation to get back on track with my former figure. Yesterday, I impulse bought a pair of Nike Free Runners in the most obnoxious color I could find.  I downloaded the "Couch to 5K" app on my phone, leashed up Bruby and headed out the door.

We got through the first day. Nice and slow. You run one minute, and then walk two minutes. Repeat a few times.  My running minutes entailed dragging, encouraging and pleading with this 90 pound Great Pyrenees/Beagle mix to step up his meander to a slow trot. Let's just say, Brubeck was not impressed.

Today, we got hubs in on the action and it went a little better.  My boy would still rather stroll and sniff, but I'm hoping since the training starts out so slowly, he might ease into it...and maybe I will too.