Monday, February 27, 2012

New Mom

Dropped Colby off for x-rays today after weeks of limping, meds, and a cortisone shot. He scampered off while I struggled to see him around the corner. Is this what the first day of day care is like?

And yes, I am that person comparing my dog to your kid. And I'm not really sorry!

Not being a huge dog person (I just like MY dogs!), I promise to keep my dog off you at all costs. I just can't promise not to blog about him!

In other news, first blog from iPhone. That's a huge tech win for me!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hope

I've been wondering what to give up or take on for Lent this year. After seeing this picture of Colby in our basement, I've decided I'm going to be thankful. I read somewhere to ponder if whatever you didn't thank God for today was taken away tomorrow, what would you have left. Makes me extra thankful for my loves up there!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My View In The Mornings

...as I drive away.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"No, Really-- It's For Work"

I'm pretty sure B doesn't think I actually work. This week he busted me hauling two kinds of cookie dough, two kinds of cake mix, and brownie mix into the office. My defense, "It's for a cookie dough tasting video!" didn't satisfy him so much as make him more curious.


But, of course, I have proof:

See? That, my friends, is a video of said cookie dough tasting. Can you believe we have a lady at our office who has never tried it? Check out her Cookie Dough Virgin post. Nary a spatula, beater, or whisk had passed her lips until yesterday. I think you can tell from the video that she was terrified!

So it should come as no surprise that our afternoon conversation went something like this:
Me: Sorry I missed you!
B: What are you up to?
Me: Hosting a King Cake Vodka tasting.
B: (silence)
Me: So technically, when we go to refinance this afternoon, I can claim that I wasn't in my right mind.
B: Make sure to say that out loud when yo u get there.

Done. Anything for you, love.

Let the countdown to Mardi Gras begin!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dog Training Through Bacon

Some people train their dogs by using clickers, treats, or other reinforcement methods. Thanks to the UPS man, today I'm training our dog by leaving a box of Benton's Bacon on the front porch while he sniffs longingly from the backyard. I'm coming, Colby!

I should note before you think I'm crazy that we sent a box of this goodness to my brother-in-law who got the regular-looking box and sat it on his coffee table. His dog went nuts and continued to do so until Kevin removed the box from the house (after unpacking the bacon, of course). I'm assuming the boxes, like everything at pint-sized Benton's, sit in the smoke house.

If you're in the market for bacon, I can tell you that Benton's Bacon is honestly the best I ever had and my mother-in-law's worst nightmare. We cooked it for her, once, in the oven and called a week later, when she told us she could still smell it in her drapes.

Scene of the Crime

Colby has been doing so well. He had one 24-hour period in which he got up on our green couch every chance he got, even leaving us with his toys on the floor and going into the other room to do so. And, every time, I hauled him off with a stern "NO".

My sister keenly pointed out that he likely stopped after that day-long stretch figuring, "Whatever, she's at work all day and I get the couch then, so why fight over this little stretch at night?"

So lately we've been leaving Colby out of his crate at night and during the mornings while I'm at work. We wake up first in the morning and we always find him on his little pillow or the hardwoods, but I have no idea what he does while I'm gone as he always greets me at the door (and doesn't chew the drapes, so we're cool).

Then, today, I came home to this.

If you look closely, you'll see what's called a Bully Bone (which is apparently the new rawhide) tucked neatly between the cushions of our green couch. Colby, buddy, if you didn't shed and weren't lazy with your bone placement, you might've gotten away with it!

In any case, do you know what happens to puppies who get on the couch? They go to the puppy pen(itentiary). Consider yourself warned. 


Valentine's Day...

is not off to a good start when your husband has to wait 90 minutes to be seen at the appointment you made him in November by specifically asking for the next "first patient" appointment slot available.

I'm generally sensitive to doctor criticism; some of my favorite people are doctors! But when I got back to my desk after a morning meeting and saw many an email from B saying that he was still waiting, I was just bummed. Even more bummed when he said that several patients were seen before him (and this is no urgent care situation, which leads me to believe these were "squeeze in" appointments). We've been guilty of being the ones "squeezed in" before, but normally that means we're squeezed in for the 7:45 appointment before the day's start at 8am. Today, B's appointment, the first on the books, was at 9am and he wasn't seen until after 10:30. Knowing that B normally goes to work at 8am, you can imagine what this did to his day.

Rar. Not a great start.

Lately I've been in the habit of calling people out on things. Yes, I ask for discounts when something's dinged (even at Sam's and, yes, they told me 'no'). Yes, I call to complain if something is done wrong, but I'm always nice about it and normally understanding. I believe Delta received the brunt of my wrath when I wrote this complaint (and yes, I actually sent this, plus more):
However, on this flight, it seemed that we were merely passengers on a bus waiting for the next stop, in our case, RDU. It was the most expensive bus ticket I've ever purchased.

I thought you should know that you are close to losing another passenger to the low-price battle; I'll no longer simply look for the DL code, but rather the number behind the dollar sign. If travel with Delta is going to be stripped-down service, I may as well fly Southwest and enjoy myself.

I thought I should make you aware of my complaint, and the complaints of my fellow passengers. Most mentioned they would not complain after the fact, as Delta has already ruined one night of their weekend travel and they didn't wish to spend another minute thinking of them.

The upside? They gave me (or, B, actually, as I wrote this on his behalf) 7,500 miles, which did actually help soothe some of the pain (though I'm not sure why!).

The week before we picked up Colby, I asked for discounts on three things at different stores. I teased B that I would've asked for one on Colby as he turned out not to be purebred, but that seemed just terrible. Then, lo and behold, they charged us less for him. Poor Colby. We think you're worth every penny, bud!

So it should come as no surprise that I called the clinic this morning and told them that I was calling to see if  they could tell me anything that I might be able to tell my husband to ever incline him to return to see this doctor. What happened? The lady who answered, Brenda, was fabulous and said she'd check and call me back.

I don't think it'll change B's mind, but here's what she said:
Your husband did have the first appointment of the morning, but he's actually one of the first appointments. She makes 3 appointments for 9am.
Me (internal monologue): Seriously.
The bigger problem arose when we had a last-minute emergency call from someone last night about adult acne.
 Me (internal, thank God): HOW IS ADULT ACNE AN EMERGENCY?
So she showed up at 8:45 and it turned out not to be adult acne but actually skin cancer which resulted in 7 biopsies which, you can imagine, is a very different situation than adult acne.

I told her that I understood. After all, does the Bible say that the sins of the father will revisit the children? I know for a fact that my Dad got called out to emergency surgery while he had people in the waiting room. What else can you do? You go!

Note that I say "I" understood because, believe me, I'm pretty sure B's never going back.

The good news is that I'm off to a cookie dough tasting with a staffer who has never tried cookie dough. Ever. Pray for her. And for us that she isn't the 1 in 1,000,000 who falls sick!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not-So-Newlywed Comment of the Day

B, working hard at the desk, stops for a break and flops down beside me on the couch.

B: What are we watching?
Me: Hoarders: Buried Alive
B (moaning quite loudly): Ooouugh. Can we please not watch this?
Me: Sure! No problem.
(clicks 'last')
B: What is this?
Me: The Notebook.
B: OOOOUUGH. Can we PLEASE not watch THIS?
Me: It was too easy! I had to get you...

It should be noted that B isn't a remote tyrant. Rather he is, in turns, avidly against watching other people in pain (hence, the no-go on Hoarders) and against all things he thinks he should be as a man.

Case in point? After we found Criminal Minds, he told me he'd never even seen The Notebook.

The horror! At least now I know what to ask for for my birthday...

Lunchtime

It's lunchtime! That means it's time to go home and see if Colby ate our drapes. The good news? We didn't pay for them (or we did, if you consider that they came free with a 30 year mortgage). The better news? Since not crating him at night, he's been even sweeter and calmer during the day. We can't figure out if he wasn't sleeping at all in his crate (so he was anxious during the day) or if he's not sleeping at all out of his crate (so he's tired all day). Either way, we have a happier dog and, so far, drapes.

Hide Your Playgrounds!

video
This weekend, we took Colby on a play date with a rescue lab who showed him a thing or two...

B & I have been amazed. We've been trying to figure out ways to get involved in our community and, honestly, make friends. I have great girlfriends here, and we have my high school friends and their husbands (and kids) whom I LOVE, but it's been hard to find people in our stage of life-- we've got free time, but it's later in the evenings (hard on kids) or generally lazy (we like going out to eat!).

We've found several great friends through his work and we're looking for the right church for us but, in the meantime, Colby has definitely made himself useful. How, you ask? We now have several friends on our walking route (though we generally know their dogs names before we learn theirs) and we've been going on puppy play dates; Colby has a blast and ends up exhausted and we get to hang out with new-to-us friends. Score.

This is our new friend Matt's dog, Fuji, who ate Colby's lunch a few times in their playtime, but everyone had fun, even Colby who had to get a bath as soon as we got home.

To new friends and new loves. We love you, slide!

Last Night's Dream

This morning, B woke me up to ask if I was having a nightmare. "You were mumbling and moving around," he said.

No, not a nightmare exactly, but rather a dream.

I dreamed I was on a cruise ship with my mom, dad, and sister. Dad kept trying to sneak into the "gambling room" (as the sign read), which would be so like him not because he was a gambler, but because he liked to think he was getting away with things.

My sister saw Dad's hat and said, "Dad, nice one!" His hat, a wide-brimmed army-green hat read "U.S.S. Maine". "I don't get it," I said.  She replied, "We're on the U.S.S. Star; that's like wearing a 'Joe's Sub Shop' tshirt to eat at Frank's Italian Subs."

I think I'll eat fewer almonds before bed.

While the dream was... odd, I can see where it came from. B and I unintentionally celebrated a "memory land" weekend this weekend. We ate at McAlister's Deli (a mainstay during my time in the apartments across the way from it), enjoying our favorite dishes and nacho cheese dip. We walked on Lakeshore's trail, which I did every day for, literally, years, and made B walk with me when he was in town. And we went to the Baptist church which, while not a tradition for us previously in Birmingham, reminded me so much of home.

McAlister's, particularly, brought back a lot of fun memories. I used to go every time I got back from a trip with my job (I even have their number still programmed into my phone). We went some when we lived in North Carolina, but, as B pointed out yesterday, it just didn't taste the same.

Dad was a huge fan of McAlister's. In general, his favorite (fast) food groups were soup, salad, and sandwich. The fact that McAlister's has spuds (baked potatoes) pretty much sent him over the edge. He would always, without fail, order too much. He'd start with his usual, a chicken salad sandwich (which comes with a side; his pick? Potato salad) and then say he'd also like a baked potato with butter and sour cream on the side.

Now, you can tell (or at least I can) by the pricing that this is no basic Wendy's baked potato. Instead of $1, it's more like $3.29. And yet, dad would always be flabbergasted every time the guy walked out with the food and hoisted a heaping sandwich on the table with a bulging side of potato salad  and then another add another full-sized plate with what can only be described as the monster of baked potatoes. Jim N Nicks, a bbq chain in our area, offers similarly sized potatoes, but only succeeds in doing so by serving, I kid you not, a potato and a half splayed out on a plate.

As B and I waited for our order, we shared my bucket of sweet tea and remembered the good dad memories and also our own favorites, like how B used to always order the chicken salad sandwich until I reminded him, every time, that he hated it here because it was "too mayonnaisey". Did I mention that dad added mayonnaise to his?

Here's to strolls down memory lane. Happy Monday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Did You Forget?

Did you forget what we look like? I can fix that:
It's been a while since I've written much of anything, honestly, and I have to say that I've really missed it. Now I find myself dying to write and yet completely blank-minded. Oh muses, where have you gone?

Whatever. They're still here, the little punks. I just have to bait them out.

I know I told you what we've been up to, but let me tell you what we've really been doing.

B & I have been relishing our time together. We knew that work at the firm would kick up and, boy, has it. He's working at the office from around 8 until about 6:30, then working for a few hours (or more) at home at night. I love having him around and having Colby for him to snuggle on. Seriously, have you tried fuzzy therapy? I might open a mall kiosk and allow people to rub their hands in his fur for a donation to charity.

Generally (amazingly, ironically), I'm not a dog person. I don't like the way my hands smell or feel after I've petted one. I lose patience for things that can't talk or reason. I feel guilt for leaving them alone during the day and I project emotions onto them with an alarmingly high frequency. Just last night I threw Colby's hedgehog in his crate and he trotted in behind (a first!), so I softly shut the door. As soon as I did, I panicked and started to pepper B with questions. "Should I open it?" "Was that too fast?" "Did I mess it up?" We've spent hours on the floor by his crate in hopes that he'll find it a safe space that's his own. B reassured me that Colby could give a damn; he didn't want to stay in the crate either way!

But with Colby, I find myself literally drawn to being with him. I want to lay on the floor and snuggle with him. I'm still not a face-licker (disapproving of the action for myself as either the licker or the lickee, in case you're curious), furniture-sitter, bed-sleeper, or table-food-sharer when it comes to him, but I will brush that soft hair every chance I get and, whenever I do, I swear I feel my blood pressure drop.

So while B works, Colby and I sneak in an extra walk in the evenings, then, like last night, build a fire in the fire pit and await the arrival of Colby's best friend (What? B's way faster than I am, so he's clearly the favored playmate).

If Colby sees us (and, of course, beloved Hedgehog) as his lovies, then, to be honest, I can't help but feel the same way.

Where was I? Oh right, getting back into this "writer" thing. I think I'll work on theme, flow, and not meandering... next time.

For now, we're doing more laundry (hello dog hair!) and actually running our vacuum, but we're also meeting new people, including Colby's best friend, a pup named Milly. They both get walked in the morning and as soon as they see each other, they start to run. It'd be a downright love story if Milly wasn't already heavily involved with a pooch named Moose. Did I mention they're both basset hounds? The ears on those two!

Plus, it's nice to know someone's actually using our front sitting room or, as my coworker calls it, Doggy Television.

I can't complain about our life right now. We could get more sleep. We could eat better meals (though slow-cooker pork is pretty much my hero this week). But the thing I'm most focused on is just being here. Now. I'm looking up and realizing how fast (almost) 3 years of marriage has gone, how fast (just shy of) 6 years post college has gone, how fast (nearly) 30 years of life has gone and I'm thinking not about what all I want to do, but just generally how much I want to enjoy it.

Tonight I plan to enjoy it by giving Colby a bath. Happy Friday, indeed.

iPhone Upgrade

Verizon Guy: Nice iPhone!
Me: It's my husband's.
Verizon Guy: What are you using?
Me: A Chocolate Touch.
Verizon Guy: You HAVE to upgrade.
Me: I know, it's a dinosaur, but hear me out-- it holds battery for five days even after 2 years of use and spent a night outside in the rain on the driveway last weekend without missing a beat. How can I upgrade now?
Verizon Guy: Hm. That is a good argument.

While he was setting up B's phone, his cell rang with a work call. He spoke for a few minutes then started saying, "I think I'm losing you. You're going in and out." for about 30 seconds before hanging up, prompting me to say, "Well, that's awkward." He replied, "I know, right? Can you hear me now?"

For the record, I really did leave my phone out in the rain overnight on the driveway, so from about 6pm to 1pm the next day. Oops. But it's fine! Long live the Chocolate Touch!

Happy Friday! And Remember...

When in doubt, it's best to carry all your toys. And a leaf. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Good In Blogging

Just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean I haven't been reading. In fact, I think I've been reading more. As blogs grow, I feel like they've moved from simply updates to annoyances (why do I need to know this?) to, generally, vehicles for good. Good news. Good ideas. Good will.

The last one is what gets me today. Multiple times lately I've seen blogs do good-- real, tangible good.

This family of 6 went suddenly to a family of four over the course of four months. Her blog friends sent up a fund to help her the blogging mom cover the cost of the headstone from her son's dead four months earlier and her husband's more recent funeral expenses, plus basic things, like groceries. The goal was set for $35,000. So far, over $31,000 has been raised., according to the fundraising page. A modest goal? Sure. A noble effort? Definitely. The best part, at least to me, is that you can see all the donations (and kind notes), which show that the largest donation was $1k, followed by 2 at $200, and all the rest were $100 or below, with the majority around the $20 mark. Most people start their notes with "you don't know me". How amazing is the internet?

The Bloggess, a favorite of mine, got press attention for the giving, which was deemed The Christmas Card Miracle of 2010, she orchestrated, which was so simple it was genius-- match people who want to give with people who are in need. She offered 20 gift cards to people who posted that they were in need. She received over 500 responses, some in need, some wanting to give. What started as a happy lark steamrolled into $40,000 of reader-to-reader exchanges of gift cards and straight-up cash donations.

This sweet family lost their son in a freak flash flood incident this fall and struggled to fit their newly-shorn family of three into the life they'd built for four. As the worried about their daughter, friends rallied around the girl's fanciful Christmas wish; on her list, underneath seeing her brother again,was "Meet Justin Bieber." And you know what? She did. Through the power of PR, Twitter, friends, sorority sisters, and hope, she and her parents were flown to a music awards show (gratis), given tickets, and allowed in to hear his sound check. The blogging mom never asked for this; people simply realized, "this is how I can help" and did it.

Don't worry, I'm not turning my blog into an aggregate for hope and causes, but I am mindful now of being more involved. This posts, these people inspire me and remind me that there is an overwhelming amount of great and good in our world, sometimes it just needs to find its mate for that perfect match.

If you're up for being inspired, read the stories above. Good prevails!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catalog Living

Do you ever open a magazine and dream that one day you'll have those perfect white kitchen cabinets or that just-so placement of perfect picture frames? Do you ever open a magazine and wonder who the hell lives like that, and how on earth do they have 80 pictures that fit just so into those darn perfect frames? Welcome. We've been waiting for you:

"It took some work, but Gary was confident Elaine would stop whining about wanting an 'open concept' home." ~Catalog Living: A Glimpse Into the Exciting World of the People Living in Your Catalogs.

Long-Suffering Hedgehog

Dear Long-Suffering Hedgehog,

You are a friend,














a nap buddy,













and clearly a stress-reliever.













In all seriousness, Colby has a hedgehog chew toy that he has never made squeak (and hates when we do). Instead, he sleeps with it and sits to come back in to get it if he forgets to take the toy outside with him.

Dear hedgehog, I love you. And I may go back to Wal-Mart and buy 10 more of you.

Thanks for taking one for the team.

Love,
A

Colby's Favorite Things

Pulling on the rope





Getting loved on by A




More love from B















Sleeping on his back. Alll day.

Lunch with Colby

I would promise that I won't become one of those people who only blogs about her dog, but, well, I can't. Not because he's adorable and lovable, which he is, but because he's constantly teaching me things.

For instance, don't take the curves too tightly on Ridge Road unless you want someone (with four feet who shall remain nameless) to spit up in your car. Lesson? Go slower. Enjoy life. Why hurry?

I say "spit up" because you can't say someone who hasn't eaten all day has "thrown up", because there is, inherently, nothing to throw. Colby's our night-owl eater--breakfast at 1pm, dinner at 7 & 11. Lesson 2? Eat when hungry.

But today, Colby's been teaching me about slowing down in general. I come home for lunch to let him out and play for a while and, whether it's the Vitamin D or the fuzzy therapy, this kid's been good for me. That doesn't mean, of course, that B doesn't occasionally hear about how hard it is to come home every day and go back, and it is. But for those blissful 50 minutes, I sit in silence and read or pet or eat or play, which makes me a better cube-mate back at the office.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Last Night

This little man got carried to bed.

While he may look light on his feet, Colby is shockingly stout (and stubborn) when being nudged by B at 2am who, finally finished with his weekend work, was trying to put the little guy to bed in his crate.

Colby, logically, had no interest in moving and was likely loving the fact that we'd (assumedly) forgotten all about the "sleeping in his crate" thing for a night. I'm not sure I would've gotten up either!

Just so we're clear, Colby's "crate" is large enough to hold me and is filled with his bed, towels, and about 4 toys on average. This is not a suffering dog.

B working until 2am on the other hand? That may count as suffering. At least the pup stayed up with him, or outlasted me at least.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's Time

I've been quiet since July 22nd and, well, it's time.

It's been 6 months and 2ish weeks since I've written, so a cursory catch up is clearly necessary, as well as some form of an explanation.

Where have you been? you ask, if indeed you're still there. Friends, I've been everywhere.

I've been under my house in Florida, where we (and I use "we" very loosely here) finally trapped our friend the opposum while B was taking the Alabama bar, meaning we had to leave our little house guest unattended while we headed for Montgomery, trusting that he wouldn't thwart our fail-proof weight system and make himself at home in our home. No, we didn't leave the AC on when we left.

I've been in Montgomery, where B took the Alabama Bar while I worked from the hotel room and finalized our plans to head to Birmingham as soon as the Bar was over to close on our house the next day.

I've been in an attorney's office, signing legal docs to tie myself to B (again) and to our first home. Happily!

I've been driving a moving truck due-West on I-10 leaving Florida in my dust, but not my rear-view mirror because, did you know? Moving trucks (quite logically) don't have rear-view mirrors. Sure, if you had a rear-view mirror, you'd be looking directly into the front of the ginormous truck you're driving, but it's still odd feeling. When you're moving, you literally can't look back.

I've been calling my sister on my first grocery run in Alabama to tell her that being "at home", to me, means buying the large-size can of Crisco, because I can afford to invest in something I certainly don't want to move. Ever.

I've been unpacking, buying furniture, settling in, and, finally, hanging pictures (um, this week). We love our house. Our home.

I've been getting typhoid shots and taking malaria pills to enjoy an amazing vacation to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We watched monkeys, crocs, and sunset after gorgeous sunset as we watched the curtain fall on our life pre-law firm and anticipating what the next act might bring when B started at his firm. The malaria pills, if you're interested, were optional, but the lady told me, "If you get malaria and then happen to get pregnant any time in the next year and get so much as a cold, go directly to the hospital because maternal mortality rises dramatically as a result of the virus." B could've cold-cocked the lady, as I'm already a nightmare when sick. Now I'll assume I'm dying, at least for exactly one year post-vacation, when I get a sniffle.

I've been wondering, is it cold-cocked or cold-clocked? My office of editors is firmly divided.

I've been spending some time with B at his family's lake house in upstate Georgia, and enjoying the calm before the (much anticipated!) storm.

I've been transitioning to work back in the office and to B at work with the firm, and loving that we're both pleased as punch with where we are these days.

I've been cheering on Alabama at football games, taking B's Dad to his first SEC game, savoring the National Championship, and, subsequently, mourning the transition of another college football season into (ick) NBA games.

I've been enjoying holidays. Our first Halloween that actually brought trick-or-treaters, even the older kids who came through twice. Another wonderful Thanksgiving with B's family, then a pre-Christmas gathering with all my siblings and their 9(!) children followed by Christmas with B's family and his grandparents. We rung in the New Year with B's best friend from childhood in quiet upstate Georgia with a low-key dinner, Champagne, and football.

I've been researching B's birthday present, a rescue golden, who became a reality two weeks ago when we brought Colby, 18-months, home to his forever home. His fuzzy therapy is the closest I've been to God in a while, especially when I find him napping on the dining room floor and can drag him onto my lap. Overnight I became that person who wonders why I can't bring a dog into a grocery store.

I've been applying to the Junior League (and waiting to hear), meeting with PEOs (another volunteer league for women's education), dining with our fabulous neighbors, hosting low-key dinner parties, and generally trying to get involved with our city, which I love. We're shopping churches and suddenly wondering why they don't have puppy parking.

I've been taking walks with B every morning before work (and sometimes before sunrise), which as been blissful as we've been able to talk about ourselves and our hopes, then watch that come true as our walks changed from "maybe a dog" to "Let's go, Colby! Let's GO!"

I've been researching puppy trainers.

I've been missing you, and this, and writing, and experiencing via this blog. There are things I couldn't write about and, as a result, I let them keep me from writing at all. Suddenly I am the cow in the field separated from the other green acres only by the vent that crosses the gate-less road; it was always here and available to me, I just had to have faith and step over.

Over it (all of it) I am and thus, I'm here. It's time.