Saturday, July 31, 2010

You know about my mouse fear. Spiders aren't my favorite, and the whole fear of possibly having my skirt tucked into my underwear coming out of a ladies restroom is always a concern. I check 100 times before I open that door to go back into society, always praying my tush is properly covered.
But one of my biggest fears as of lately has been my first real date after the big D. I mean I knew it was going to have to happen sooner or later. I am only 30 after all. And I know it may seem soon to some, but when life lives you lemons you make lemonade right?
I have given so much advice to my friends over the years, I just wanted and wished that I would take my own advice...and so I did. I am getting back out there darn it! Even if it was with a huge shove from my sister (Thanks Heather).
And I hate but love to say, it is becoming more and more apparent of how miserable I really was in my previous life.....funny how you don't see this kind of stuff when you are in it. I love going out, but we never did. I love trying new things, but we never did anymore.

So tonight, I had a fun date with a nice man:) It may turn into nothing but it was still something huge. I had a great time and was able to be myself with someone else. Any of you out there not doing something out of fear I am talking to you. "Get out there! Have a good time because life is too short."

So we'll see where my next chapter leads....but as of right now I had a great night and I can live with nothing ever coming of it, because it is no longer a fear but something I can look forward too.

I think fears are always worse than they really ever truly are. I am not going to lie that it felt awkward even thinking about dating someone else and I was nervous up to the minute before the date. But then all of that nervousness turned into excitement, and I may have even felt a little bitty butterfly:)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Most of you probably have one dog. I have three. Three! This is a blessing and a curse. Look at them, they are so cute. And you know that saying about how owners look like their dog(s), I do think they all look like me just differently:)
But seriously, they are so much responsibility. When you want to leave town, or even walk them it becomes three times as hard. And now with my single status I realize how much more work it is without a partner. Each of my dogs has a story, each is a mutt, and each was a rescue type of situation. I ended up with three because one was his, not due to some compulsive hoarding disorder.

Hoffa is the largest on the far left. I don't even know how old she is but her family was going to take her to the pound because they were moving:( So she ended up living with us. She came with her name and for years all I could think of was "Jimmy Hoffa" but thanks to the Internet I goggled Guam and Hoffa (which is where the original owners got her) and it means hello. Still not great but I'll take it. I tried for weeks to change it to Martha, I would say Martha with the same pitch as Hoffa but she wouldn't buy it. So Hoffa she stayed. She is overweight but seems to hallucinate with any sort of diet I put her on, but god love her she is lazy and sweet.
Next, front and center in Vinny aka Vincent VanGogh or Vinniachendo. I have had him 10 years. My mom and sister saw him in a pet store window when I was in college and decided he HAD to be mine. He is kind of a crank with his old age and my family thinks he has "people eyes" and looks quite human like. I think he may be a reincarnated old man, and sometimes I swear he watches me changing my clothes....hmmmmm.
Ruby is last but not least on the far right. She's my baby at six years young. So much energy! She is great after a run but without exercise she will run laps around the other two and drive me nuts. She was at the pound labor day when we stopped by to "just look" (note to self and all you out there...never stop at the pound unless you are planning on taking a dog home, because you will take a dog home). She was all scroungy and abused, and her big eyes just looked at me and I couldn't say no. This was before our households joined so I had my two and he had two. We found a new home for one but this little pack has been together now for over three years.
They march around together and chase everything out of my yard. They follow me all around my 980 square foot cottage, anytime I move they move. It's just seeming to be getting more and more chaotic and I am getting stressed with my inability to do it all, all the time. But what do you do? Do you try to find one a new home? How do you pick? They are like my I don't think I can even think of it. But then if I had a dream home for one of them and I mean DREAM home and visitation rights it might be better all for us all.
Any advice out there? As for now I am one woman with some would say too many dogs, but on the other hand lots of love from each wet furry nose:)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can you remember not having any responsibility? How you just went with the flow and didn't have a schedule or time clock to punch? Summer time off and playing in the yard in the pool? Ahhhh, those were the days... but sometimes I still get to have them with my little nephew.
The other day I got to. We went to the park and did the kiddie pool in the backyard. It was exhaustingly fun!
I am telling you the boy is so smart! Really to make that lower stool rung his seat?? Brilliant!! And he would just watch his little show from there. I know, I know. I am easily impressed but really isn't it amazing how much they learn so quickly....he's turning into a little boy so fast...
I am so lucky to have him in my life. My sister doesn't really know how happy he makes me. So today I thank her for sharing him with me:) but he definitely got some of those smarts from his auntie!

Sometimes when I have had a bad night where I just can't sleep or a bad day filled with emotional drain and exhausting thinking, I swear my legs turn into concrete stumps I can barely lift when I try to run. Other times, when I am restless and frustrated beyond belief I feel as light as a feather and like I could run for miles and hours.
Today was a concrete day. I felt like I had a ton of bricks strapped to my back. I didn't want to be by myself for even one minute. And I was snappy and agitated most of my day, yeah a real peach to be around:)
Tonight I found myself exhausted from the day long struggle in my mind, but mentally restless. So I went to this concert out at Sauvie's Island with a friend. It's at the Kruger Farm which is beautiful. It smelled earthy and the sun was setting as the band played. Kids were running everywhere and people had brought their own picnics. I tried to mentally relax and take it all in, but found myself still anxious and really not thinking I wanted to be there.

Then I saw this sunflower. Like it was put there just for me. And all the bricks just fell away and the concrete melted off my legs. I felt calm and relaxed. I guess I just needed to see something to remind me I am not alone in this huge world. There is something out there so much larger... And he makes a pretty fabulous sunflower sometimes just for me:)
By now you've seen my new banner! My mom's photography could make a paper bag beautiful! She's good!
She even took cute pics of my shoes!

You've seen my running shoes, which are self explanatory....not too fashionable, even though I did ask the guy at the specialized running store if they had cuter. You should have seen his face after he passionately made me try on 6 different pairs and encouraged me to "feel" which one "felt" right. He was appalled and just said "no those are the ones you like and there are no other colors" which I love because they are like running on clouds:)

My other shoes are less function and more fun! I have my kid at heart Converse, which I find classic and fun. Have you seen all the new colors they have out? And you could match your kids too! My nephew Carter was wearing his little red ones the other day as I had worn my black pair and I must say, it was fun to match him.

Then there are my boots. I love them! I am actually dying for a red pair but I got these babies at Goodwill for 10 bucks last summer. They make any dress a little spicier and fun!

And then, I have tons of heels and wedges but I just got this flirty pair in D.C. You can wear them with dresses, shorts, or jeans and they just kick it up a notch ;)

I love dressing up but I also love being comfortable...
Do you need a pair of converse or boots? They may change your look a little, but they'll also put a little pizzazz in your step:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My girlfriend is in her first trimester and is oh so sick. Really sick. I am talking, she takes sick to another level and really makes childbearing not look fun at all. She hasn't been eating much due to her constant nausea, and even sleep is rare with her relentless feeling of an empty or nauseous stomach.
I have been trying to find something she can eat pretty much every other day when I see her. It is a challenge, but I found a fruit smoothie usually appeals to her and she can keep it down which is a plus for obvious reasons.

Last week she was just trying to make it through her morning and needed a ride to work due to her queasiness. I offered to drive her and planned on picking up a tall fruit filled breakfast smoothie for her on my way.

I hate being late or really even on time. I like being a couple minutes early. So I was supposed to be at her house a 7 am. At 6:45 I was pulling into Jamba Juice for the little piece of relief heaven. As I was squinting from my car I realized they didn't open until 7 am.
Inner dialogue: "What am I going to do? I hate being late and they aren't open yet! Don't they know there are pregos out there that can only eat their smoothies?!"
Then this nice employee saw me (probably having my inner dialogue and looking distressed) from the window and flagged me in!
"Oh yes! I won't be late and I'll be able to get her a smoothie." Inside I rushed. I told the sweet guy behind the counter about how my prego friend and I owed him for opening his doors early. And as I am saying this I realized I did not have my wallet......

How many times it this going to happen? I get in such a hurry, and yes I am on time or early but I forget half of myself at home. Again he was beyond sweet and insisted I was good for it and that I could come back and pay later. Again inner dialogue: "What? Are you kidding? When was the last time someone gave you something for nothing? And just believed you would come back to pay later? " This is so rare. And so refreshing. I mean, it may seem small but he did something big. He was a nice guy. And it does seem this nice guy phenomenon is harder and harder to find but I saw it with my own eyes! So I know it's out there.
Most of my friends say this stuff only happens to me but I know that is not the case. One of my girlfriends was in a Starbucks drive-through line last week and the car in front of her bought her coffee. How nice is that? It makes you feel good and makes you want to do better for someone else. I am not saying you have to buy someone something, maybe just taking one of your extra cupcakes you made a for party over to your little old lady neighbor. Or trimming back you neighbors bush when you are out doing your own yard. Sometimes just saying hi to a stranger might be just what that person needed to have a little better day and a little easier time with whatever they maybe dealing with in their own life.

The next day I stopped by again, paid for my smoothies 24 hours later, and left him a little card for his niceness. And I plan to pay it forward somehow....being nice can be contagious, especially when it is from someone you don't know well or even at all .

I did it. It was not easy but I did it. I pulled my big girl pants up and just decided it needed to be done.
The last time I made it, it was for him. It was his favorite summertime dessert actually. But as it was his, I am sure it is many peoples all time favorite.

I baked an apple pie! I got this recipe from here....and let me tell you it is amazing. And soooo easy!

Seriously you can assemble this baby in 20 mins tops and then bake it for 45-60 mins. I know it says 60 mins or longer but you can smell when it's done :)

Ahhhh, I am starting to have little moments where l feel a little like my "old new self" know what I mean?
I am sure they will get more often and frequent but for now just knowing and witnessing them once in awhile is comforting. I know it will get better, it just takes time and perseverance.

Any berry pie recipes out there to die for?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last year I started running for the first time in my life. And I have three, yes three dogs (aka furry children). So I would walk them and then run, or run then walk them. Which ends up taking up a huge hunk of my day. And actually it's just my one little humming bird that NEEDS her daily walk. Her name is Ruby and she is like a humming bird. She never stops. Even when she sits for you, she is so full of love that her little tail keeps going a mile a second.

Last year I started running WITH her. First a mile, then two, soon 6 miles! This little energizer bunny just keeps going. Then one day last year I came home to see she was dragging one leg and actually walking on her knuckes (Which is very disturbing to see by the way). So I frantically ran her to the emergency vet where they did not give me much hope as to her recovering. They used words like wheelchair and neurologist. For a dog?? I was so shocked. I work in healthcare and can understand this on a human level but my little dog? She was going to be a "special needs" dog and her running days were over. She had to be on strick kennel rest for 2 full weeks (which was soooo hard since she is such a go-getter). And then slowly but surely her little foot came back and she walks normally again.

Her leg has been fine for almost a year so I thought I would give it a shot again. If she pulled at all on the leash I was going to forfeit the whole idea....but she must have known this because she ran like a champ. She stayed even with me the whole time, actually not even running. She kind of quickly walks which made me feel incredibly slow.

She did 4 1/2 miles with me first time out! And really no panting, no real exertion, not really even running. And her form was like 90lb golden retriever! She acted like she was born to run and that she was just taking me along. And as people passed they all gave me and her a little smile, I mean it's not every day you see a 9lb terrier/poodle running trails in Portland.

So she is going to keep coming until I see even then slightest twitch of a problem.

She loves it, and she actually smiled the whole way home....and I have a new running buddy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I have found my fridge is looking very empty, depleted, vacant, drained....maybe even kind of ghostly. All of these words can also accurately describe how I have been emotionally feeling this week.
It's intriguing to me how emotions can affect us so physically. I don't eat but I can run for hours, which just shows how the mind is much stronger than the body. It is as if my body and mind have just gone into survival mode, where you really only need the bare necessities and that is primarily family and great friends.
So to remedy this problem I hang out with my favorite little man, my nephew Carter, who feeds me animal crackers, goldfish and anything else he can find....he's great therapy on my tough days...

How can you stay too sad with that face??

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When I was a little girl my grandparents took me to the California coast with my siblings for a week. We stayed in a beach house where we would get up early when the tide was low to search for the best shells and hope to find a real message in a bottle. I fell in love with the ocean during that week and I became obsessed with whales and anything marine. I don't know if it's just been lack of time but I have not been to the coast in a year (actually since hood to coast last year, which is not a real relaxing visit). But really to visit the beach and just "BE" it has been years....
One of my best girlfriends lives on the Oregon coast part time and I have not been able to get out to see her place, that is until yesterday. Why did it take me soooo long?
We all had a blast, but most of all the dogs. And you know a tired dog is a good dog. They ran up and down the beach with big doggy grins for two days.

Sand covered and exhausted I brought them back home, and I came back with a little more perspective as to all I have been NOT doing and NOT feeling. I love the ocean and the vastness of it. The sound of the waves on the beach and the smell of the ocean air. And I could literally "feel" how not in charge I am, how there is a reason for all of this that I can not see right now. Which is very comforting and helped me to relax, I think a big part of me healed right there on the beach somewhere between a tennis ball throw and a "drop it!" command to my little clam digger Ruby Tuesday.
So maybe I need to find myself a little beach girlfriend has the right idea :) The dogs already voted yes on this idea....and really lately their opinion is the only one that counts:)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sometimes I feel like my life is a movie. Really it's more like a bad comedy filled with one liners like "are you kidding me?" and "yes I am not joking..."

Portland Oregon is not a hot place, but every single summer for the past decade I have lived here I have suffered the 2 weeks in the summer of record highs that always tease me into almost buying an air conditioning unit. I live in my 980 square foot cottage that transforms into an oven for these 2 horrible weeks each summer. Last year I actually broke down and decided to buy a little piece of cool heaven (aka air conditioner) about July and every place in town was out of them. Go figure.

With my new independent woman status I decided I will not suffer another summer of sweaty-ness. Oh no, I will be cool and comfortable in my cottage darn it! So I was declaring this to my dear friend earlier this week. She smiled with excitement and proudly offered that she had an extra window unit in her garage! Yes! This is it! I will be cool and comfortable and it will be free! As I fantisised about needing a sweater while watching a movie due to my overly cool house she told me a would you say... fine print aspect of this air conditioning unit. "oh I think it's been in the garage for 10 or 12 years" ( I don't care as long as it works! is all I was thinking).

I went deaf to anything else she was saying. All I heard was air conditioning, and I was ready to have a movie night with my girlfriends. Enough said, air conditioning.

So she helped me load the ba-hemith heaviest air conditioner on earth into my car. And yes it had been in a garage for 10-12 years so it was a little dirty, but in my true fixer up fashion I thought "she'll clean right up." And in my getter done fashion I found my 60 something next door neighbor to help me unload it into my garage when I got home. As we lifted it out of the car and began to settle it down out popped this little gray mouse!

Picture this: My neighbor is now screaming and almost dropped the unit on me, then I began screaming and now running from a 3 inch mouse in my garage. Screaming and running, screaming and running, the mouse took off and we laughed for a good minute. I decided even though I was definitely sweating to death, this baby would have to spend over night in the garage until I could confirm there were not any other rodent tenants residing in it.
Now let me tell you, I can dress any gory wound and perform CPR. As well as clean up any human bodily fluids with ease but a mouse scares me to death. So I left it for tomorrow since I was exhausted and utterly grossed out.

The next morning I got up with the goal of conquering the air conditioning unit issue. I was desperate people. We are talking 98 degrees with serious humidity. So I cleaned it, shop vac-ed it, and ran it for 2 hours in my garage. No sign of mice and beautiful priceless cool or should I say cold air was wastefully spewing from it. So optomistically, into the house it came.

Actually one of my besties beefcake hubs brought it in and set it all up for me. He is an angel. So here were are my little oven is now an icebox. nice I was actually calling and bragging to friends and family. It had been running beautifully since 11am and now it was peak heat hour 4 pm. Life was good. WAS good.

As I was bragging on the phone to a girlfriend my jaw dropped as a saw now a new little brown mouse causually show himself from near the air conditioner to my bedroom. Eeeeeek! I am now screaming and running, screaming and running, and now shutting the little mouse in the bedroom.
My thoughts: "What am I going to do? It's in the house! Are there more? I have been running this air conditioner for hours and it's so fabulous but now I am grossed out and completely distressed about how and who is going to get rid of this intruder. Does this mean the air conditioner has to go? "

I started my phone calls. Beefcake was busy at work, GI Joe (my other girlfriends hubs was 2 hours aways), none of my girlfriends (even though they love me) would even come over due to mouse fear, so I called my surrogant dad Danny (a nurse I work with....who calls himself King nurse Danny...).

Shortly after I hung up the phone with a bribe of a cold beer, I had Danny and his wife over to help with the little mouse fiasco. By now the bedroom is a sauna since the door is closed to keep the mouse in there. So Danny, in true mouse hunter fashion, spent an hour of his time in a very hot room trying to capture this mouse. And let me tell you it was ugly. This mouse was fast and smart. It was like a movie. The mouse went right as we went left, things were knocking over, curse words were flying and I continued to scream like a typical girl. We completely lost him in the room several times. But after an hour we came out victorious and my house is officially mouse free.

The air conditioner continues to be a God send, which is also mouse free. Danny can add mouse hunter to his resume. And I continue to laugh about the entire event, which humor is a much needed part of my life right now.

Moral of the story: Nothing free is ever easy and thank goodness for my awesome friends who can help me in the masculine stuff I currently can not handle. It's nice to know I have people I can count on, even if it's just for a little brown mouse :)

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