2008 can kiss my (broken) *ss

My final days spent enjoying what's left of 2008? Let's see... backed into my brother-in-law's car with our as-yet pristine Jetta (son of a...!), and fell at the dog park onto the ice with a downward force I can't even imagine exists in nature. My tailbone? Broken, I think.

2008, I'm SO done with you!!!

I have to sign off now, because my head is throbbing. I think my tailbone injury sent shock waves all the way up my spine and through my brain. I have a massive headache.

 

Merry Christmas!


Wishing a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season to you and yours!

 

Everyone's a critic


Seriously, before you freak out about me being on the furniture. I have some good ideas for a post... Something a little more upbeat for your audience during the holidays. You're sorta stuck in this Debbie Downer genre lately... it's overused. What? Yeah, downer, that's what I said. I said downer. Oh, you mean, you're saying, down? Like you want me to get dow... HEY! HEY! Watch the fur, lady - I don't stay this pretty by allowing people to manhandle me all day long...

 

The recipe portion of this blog

I think I mentioned that we're hosting a party this Friday evening, and that I settled on a wine and appetizers theme? Well, I came across a recipe for Maple-Spiced Nuts in the latest Health Magazine, and figured I'd try it since I always like to serve nuts as part of a cold appetizer spread and I also always like to eat them. They came out pretty yummy, so I thought I'd share the recipe. I already had all the ingredients in the house, which I'm guessing most of you would too.

  • 1 and 1/2 cup nuts (I used almonds and cashews and those worked well, but I think peanuts would've been good too)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used maple syrup made by monks and tapped from the trees on the campus of Hubs' college, but I'm guessing you might not have that particular kind on hand...)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • a sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and then bake the nuts on a greased baking sheet for 10 minutes; let them cool a bit.

Slowly bring the maple syrup to a boil in a pot; add the butter to the syrup and stir. Add the already baked nuts to the mixture and coat them; remove from heat and let cool.

In a bowl, mix the cinnamon and chili powder. Remove the nuts from the pot with a slotted spoon and coat them in the spice mixture.
Lay them flat to dry on a cookie sheet or baking pan and sprinkle with sea salt (do this before they dry though - I did it afterward and the sea salt didn't stick at all).

Let them dry and that's it - they're really good!

I'm also planning to make Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp, a recipe I found on Momofonefornow's blog from Pastor Ryan. Also REALLY REALLY tasty.

 

The Grinch can keep Christmas. This year, I don't even want it back.

This season it's been really hard for me to get into the holiday spirit. For so many reasons. It's been a tough few months for us, and we're a bit worn down from it. Hubs and I've been trying to support one another through this rough time, so that's helped a lot. But alas, I'm not feeling the Merry in the good ol' Merry Christmas. At all. And this week there's no hiding from the holidays.

Wednesday kicks off our Christmas celebration with dinner and presents at the ILs followed by Midnight Mass. Then Christmas day we'll attend the extended family party, which should be fun but will also be A LOT of people. I genuinely like Hubs' extended family, but it's never easy to smile and act happy when, after all is said and done, it's only an act. Friday we're hosting a get-together with all of Hubs' high school friends, some of whom are only in town for a short time, and that should be a little more easy going. We've decided on a themed event: a wine tasting party with everyone bringing a bottle of their favorite wine. That way, I easily slip right through the hosting loop hole by only serving appetizers :)

On New Year's Day Hubs leaves for Las Vegas for his final (most likely) bachelor party. The last of his single buds is getting hitched this summer, so the guys need to send him off in style. I'm not sure what Hero and I'll be doing that weekend, but suffice it to say it'll involve a lot of girl stuff.

What? What? He's neutered. He doesn't care. He likes the Lifetime channel.

Happy holidays, everyone!!!

 

Negative? That's affirmative.

Hero and I just survived the dog park in -6 degree temperatures.

 

Reset

Last night I burned the bottom of my slipper off because I had it propped up against the glass partition of the fireplace. Who knew it got that hot? I moved my foot and left behind... a rubber splotch. Hubs, lying on the couch, said calmly, "I kinda thought that might happen." Which is just what he said on Friday night after Hero stole my slice of pizza right off my plate and dropped it *twice* face down on the carpet before scarfing it up. Apparently this weekend Hubs had a short delay from the time he thought something to the time said words of wisdom came out of his mouth. Too bad, because his warnings were always dead on.

Today I went to lunch and then to see the movie Four Christmases with my friend B. It was cute. A nice holiday story.

I also finally feel slightly normal after two and three-quarters months: I'm back on my cycle. That only took, um, forever. But it really feels wonderful, like now I have something in my life I can depend on once again. Who knew something that once upon a time was such a pain in the ass could now be such a welcome occurance?

 

Winter wonderland

Are you beginning to realize that when we have kids, Hero will have an upsetting wake-up call? Because he's totally doted on. He's our baby, and he knows it. We take a million pictures of him, and basically the household revolves around him. He's loved about as much, and as seriously, as a puppy could be.
Anyway, today we took him to the dog park. It's snowing nonstop, and by Sunday we're expected to have about a half foot (which isn't a lot considering, but it's very light flurries). It's about 20 degrees, so it's actually lovely to be outside. And as has been the case for the past week or two, the world here is white.


I really want this... please.... give it... I want it... give it...

 

"Can I offer you a life jacket?"

Just when I really want to throw down and succumb to outright, hopeless MISERY, someone offers me a tiny glimpse of hope. Yes, folks, this is my life lately - people are so relentlessly SWEET, kind, and helpful that I'm simply unable to hit rock bottom, much as I may want to.

Hubs' boss may have two interesting projects for me, both of which would allow me to delve into slightly new terrain on the same professional landscape my career path is already etched from. All I need is a foot in the door, and I must say this man is going out of his way to offer me a crack just big enough that I can wedge my Nine West bootheel right inside.

Who knows, it could go everywhere and it could go nowhere. But it's melting my icy heart that he's determined to keep me in his peripheral vision. They say you create your own luck, and I've certainly done my share of professional networking by weaseling my way into Hubs preexisting professional enclave. But people have welcomed me every time, and asked that age old question, "What do you want to be doing?" Following it up, generously and without fail, by suggesting, "Maybe I can help...?"

This has also been true of my wonderful bloggy friends, who have done the same. Regardless of different fields of work, continent-spanning geography, or the fact that they don't know my real name.

So thank you, everyone, for refusing to let me sink so low that I forget which way is up.

 

Paging the super-ego...

The id is in da hizzouse.

I want to kill someone. I want to grab someone, whoever I can determine to be responsible for this shitty economy and the downspiral of my hard-earned career, AND KILL THEM. I know this is irrational. I know that only people who truly believe they will succeed, do. I know that optimism is crucial and that worse things have happened to far better people. I know all of this. But after I've finished searching, trying, having faith, waiting, and maintaining a positive attitude, I still find myself WANTING TO KILL SOMEONE.

Aren't you glad you only run into me in cyberspace and not on the street? I promise, if the urge to do harm graduates to a strong probability of action, I'll summon one of the higher entities within the structural model of my psyche and beg for intervention.

 

...that ends well

Okay, I fear I may have upset some of you with my JSC story, so I figured I owe you the happy ending. The happy ending is that this woman, suddenly all alone with two children under five, found true love within a year and is now with a wonderful, sane, financially responsible man. Who adores her kids. And appears, for all intents and purposes, to be her "The One."

Happy, right?

 

I'm cute, right? Am I cute?

 

You'll never find it in a psych text book, but...

One of the great things about my life is that I have a sister who is wonderful at empathizing. She does it perfectly. First, she listens. Then she says, "That does suck." Then she may or may not offer helpful solutions, depending on whether I'm open to that or would prefer a good wallow. And then, she offers me a gem or two from her Jerry Springer Collection. Her JSC is an arsenal of stories she has saved up, some about her, most about her friends or friends of friends, that will invariably make anyone else feel lucky simply because they are not that person.

For example, tonight she told me about a friend's friend, let's call her S. S had two children at the time that her life fell apart. Her husband went on a trip to Vegas and came back acting very weird. Saying weird things, moping around all moody and depressed, skipping work. After a week, S confronted him about his behavior, suggesting (as I might do in such a situation) that he get over himself and suck it up. His response? He started accusing her that his children were "the spawn of the devil." S became so fearful for her own and her children's well being that she immediately threw them in the car, with no shoes! (C always adds the perfect level of detail to her stories), and drove them around for two hours. At which point she returned to the house to see if her husband had calmed down. Turned out, he hadn't. He'd taken a shot gun and began shooting off the deck into the backyard, prompting a neighbor to call the police. Then, when the police arrived, he shot himself. S pulled into her driveway and was greeted by squad cars and yellow tape. Later she found out that her husband had lost all their money. I'm not sure if that happened in Vegas, or was not related to said trip at all.

Anyway, that tale has a happy ending (believe it or not, I know it's hard to believe it!). But it served its immediate purpose. All night I've been thinking, no matter how bummed I am right now, thank God I'm not her.

Most people will tell you this kind of misery one-upsmanship is not actually helpful to people who are upset. As a therapist by training I'd tell you that too. But her JSP works every time. Like ice cream for a scraped knee: it shouldn't help in the healing process, but it does.

 

Frozen over. Not hell, but close. We call it... Minnesota.

Eleven below zero.

 

Very cool give-away in blogland! And naughty Hero update...

So I was so excited to read today that Deb at From Stilettos to Sneakers is having her first ever blog give-away! I only glanced at it briefly, but looks like the prize is a 6-month subscription to The Six O’Clock Scramble, which "is an online meal planning service that sends you five quick and easy, healthy, delicious, family-friendly recipes." If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, head over to her blog to check it out! I can't wait to do it!

On a Hero-related note, the little guy stole and destroyed my Calvin Klein silver-rimmed glasses this morning. Not my only pair of glasses, but by far my favorite and an old standby, since they're so simple and you can't go wrong with silver rims. Oh, yeah, and then he bit me multiple times as I tried to oh-so-calmly-and-gently pry my $200 pair of eyewear from his maniacal and evil teeth.

Ah, joy!

I have to write a post about our experience last night at Hubs' boss' Christmas gathering, because it was so wonderful. It's a great community we now belong to, and we're blessed to be a part of such a truly special group of people. But the stories are also VERY funny (those quirky monks and priests!), so I'll share them soon!

 

Some random updates on McLife

  • Last night we went and picked out a new washing machine. I couldn't be without one for very long, because I love clean clothes and laundry. Although probably not more than most women I know who went a period in their early twenties without a washer/dryer in house and had to frequent the laundry matt. I think that stays with you, so that when you outgrow that phase in your life you're never willing to go back.
  • Today I took Hero to the dog park in 3 degree weather. I actually didn't get as cold as I thought I would because since I was convinced I might die out there halfway through the loop and be found this weekend by park patrol, I made a concerted effort to run and play with Hero so that my body temperature would rise. Which meant I lived to see the car again, and we had a blast. Win-win.
  • Tonight I'm going to a social at Hubs' boss' house. All of the men Hubs supervises will be there, including many monks, the previous president of the college, and the current VP. Hubs has an odd supervisory role where he's evaluating men who in some respects hold much higher positions than he does. Talk about nerve wracking. Anyway, they're a very fun crowd and I'm looking forward to it. We've also heard many times over that Hubs' boss' house is gorgeous, so I'm excited to finally see it. I'm not excited to get out of my sweats and apply makeup, but that's the price you pay.
  • I feel like we have a busy weekend ahead (which is how I feel pretty much every weekend). We have Hero's puppy class on Saturday and then also have a Christmas party with our closest sets of friends. Sunday we're going to the orchestra with Hubs' parents and brother and then going out to dinner. In between all that, my goals include cleaning out the garage, a project on which we've made some serious headway the past week or so. We finally listed an entertainment center and boat-shaped sandbox on Craigslist, so were able to get rid of those. Now we still have a dining room table that belongs to Hubs' parents, an old filing cabinet and chandelier that need to go to the dump, and a coffee table we might put in the family room once we fix its broken leg. My goal is to have all major obstacles cleared from the garage asap, which means we need to deliver that table back to Hubs' parents and take the filing cabinet and chandelier to the dump. Then, we're free to organize the garage like crazy! YES! My dream is to have the kind of garage we often noticed on our walks through the neighborhood this summer: the kind that made us go "ooooooo" when the door opened and we voyeristically peered inside and glimpsed the immaculate organizational structure. Hubs just kinda went "huh" but I drooled and always said pointedly, "that's how I want ours to look!" I don't think Hubs shares my need for a garage that's as clean and orderly as the inside of the house, but I for one want our bikes suspended on racks and our tools easily grabbed from labeled drawers.
  • Everyone's comments on the temp thing were SO supportive and helpful you have no idea - so thanks for sharing all your good experiences and making that step a lot less scary! I was so relieved to read how some of you have found good jobs that way, or have a friend or family member who lucked out in their assignment.

That's it for now, no exciting updates as of yet so keep sending positive vibes my way if you've got 'em to spare! And have a great start to the weekend!

P.S. I promise to catch up on my blog reads this weekend! :)

 

A little bit of happy with your morning coffee

Things are looking up, but I can't say more than that yet - hopefully I'll have good news soon, and you'll be granted a reprieve from my constant whining!

 

Change your mind

I spent this morning mourning our washer - it's dead. Repairs estimated at $472, or more to the point repairs estimated at the cost of a new washer. Then, in the midst of a flat out financial tizz, I finally relented and set up an interview for tomorrow with a temp agency downtown.

After all that misery, I spent the afternoon having lunch at the Olive Garden and walking around Target playing with children's toys with my new friend C who is a stay-at-home mom. C tends to hit her wits end around Wednesday, so when she called saying she had daycare for a few hours I jumped at the chance to leave my sorrows behind and get out of the house.

And now I'm back, waiting for Hubs to come home so we can go to the Sears Appliance Store. He's working late, so it's just me and Hero. And I'm eating fish sticks for dinner.

I'm trying very hard not to feel sorry for myself. But I gotta tell you, today it's a challenge.

 

Luck is a four letter word

I just took Hero to the dog park, so typing this post is a little hard because my hands are still a teensy bit frozen. It's 16 degrees here! 16!!!!! Holy. Crap.

Today is Hubs' birthday, so I'm working on baking his birthday cupcakes.

Our washer has been making a really unpleasant clanking noise as it spins out. It's a front load washer and the spinning can be a little intense anyway, but now it's positively frightening. Hero flips out when it goes all jet aircraft on us, and barks at the little window through which you can watch the clothes flying around. I thought this was valiant of him at first, until I realized that the moment I come to check out what's going on he retreats. If it's a monster, I guess he's okay with it eating me. After all, he's got a bone in the living room so he's got things to do. Anyway, the Sears repair guy comes tomorrow. I kinda feel like we might be getting ripped off by Sears. But we don't know who else to call - we don't have a local handyman whose help we can enlist for a significantly lower rate.

Lately I've been stuck in a funk (if you follow my blog at all I realize this is not news to you). I just want a job, and it's screwing everything up that I don't have one yet. Hubs and I are getting stressed about funds, and its definitely negatively impacting our relationship. The baby project is on hold until we're more comfortable because who wants to have a baby and lie awake at night worrying about the price of, um, everything? Not us. A couple of days ago, after substantial reason to think I might need to, I took a pregnancy test and actually was relieved when it came back negative. Since the substantial reasons have yet to subside, I still get nervous just thinking about it. Which sucks, because I desperately want a baby but I'm in this weird place where at the moment, I don't. Or more accurately, I can't. I know it can't be perfect, the whole getting pregnant and having kids thing, but it can be better than it would be if it happened right now.

All of this plus the fact that I have no need for 7/8th of the clothes in my closet and my makeup drawer gets less use than our avacado slicer (which, in case you're not sure about this comparison, gets no use).

We're lucky that we have one problem: my need for a job. We could have more. But we seem to be very unlucky in the fact that a good job is ridiculously hard to find. And I'm not being incredibly picky, although I'm determined to work in a field that utilizes my degrees and professional training (I mean, I gotta justify the student loan!).

I know I whine about the job thing a lot, but I'm doing what I can to remedy the situation. I just hope that things turn around soon. I'm tired of putting our lives on hold.

 

Oh, Potter!

One of my friends had told me that the newest Harry Potter movie was due out around Thanksgiving, so I've been waiting for it - we'd agreed to see it together with our husbands. But turns out it's not due to be released until July 2009! So disappointing!

At least it's Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family. I heart ABC Family.

 

We giveth, we taketh away

We gave Hero a couch. He's never been allowed on our living room sofas, because they're white. So we brought down an old loveseat and moved some furniture around so it would sit directly under our giant picture window. Hero loves the loveseat. He sits on the back of it and looks outside, and lies on it with his ball. And he knows it's his. Well, yesterday bright and early our dog trainer came and told us it's not a good idea for him to have the loveseat, he hasn't earned it. The loveseat should go. Which, decoratively speaking, is a-okay with me because it's ugly. But it's awfully sad for Hero :(

It's a perfect snowy Sunday. Great day to be snuggled on the couch. And I'm wicked sick, which makes it a great time to be stuck indoors.

 

Self proclaimed

Today I count myself among the top ten doggie mamas in the world. Why? Two reasons. First, Hero freaked out for some reason when we kenneled him last night and barked like mad for 30 minutes before I decided that, since his reaction was so unusual, I would give in and go get him. Since Hubs needed his rest (he was exhausted after giving two major presentations to the board of directors yesterday), I slept downstairs on the couch with the crazy little fur nugget. But he didn't really want to sleep. He wanted to keep waking me up to make sure there was really a live person beneath the giant white and black checkered blanket. So, sick as a dog but on the upswing, I got no sleep last night. Hence, this morning, I'm careening on a major downswing.

Still, despite the 20 degree temps and the overwhelming urge to fall into bed FOREVER, we find ourselves at reason # two that I'm self-nominating. I took him to the dog park. My head was pounding, my hands were frozen and so numb I couldn't feel anything except pain (how does that work, exactly, that no senstation other than pain can come through?), but it was well worth it to see the giant dog smile on his face as he ran around like crazy in the snowy woods. And now he's curled at my feet as I lie on the couch by the fire. The thing about Hero lately is that everything you put in you get back tenfold. Trust is being built daily, and it's so rewarding to gain his loyalty and devotion.

 

Wrapping it up

I haven't done a Spin Cycle in so long (sorry!) so I finally decided that I'm going to jump back in. This week's topic is the year in review, so for those of you who haven't been around for the whole ride, here's where I've been in 2008:

  • we recovered from the Wedding Extravaganza of 2007 and I started my life as Mrs. Mac
  • I passed my big certification exam with flying colors
  • Hubs got a new job in his hometown Minnesota
  • we bought our first home
  • I quit my job
  • we moved halfway across the country
  • I struggled to find a new job comparable to my old one
  • we adopted a very bad dog!
  • we lost a baby
  • we contracted a very expensive dog trainer!
  • we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the first time
I think those are the highlights. Hopefully 2009 will bring:
  • a job for me, or possibly a start to a whole new career
  • a baby
  • another year of wedded bliss with my wonderful Hubs

Not too much to ask for, is it? Well, okay, maybe it could be. But I guess when I take a step back and look at what we already have, I can honestly say Hubs and I are blessed in many ways. I can't complain. So, for once, I won't.

 

Start good habits young

Hero just stole half of my clementine. It was a good one, but easy to peel, so I'm not too upset. If I'd suffered through peeling an entire orange and he'd ungratefully gulped it down in one bite, I'd be a bit more pissed off. Whatever, at least he got some vitamin C. I figure it's better if he steals healthy food. When he stuck his snout in my bowl of ice cream and Hershey's syrup last night I was very unhappy with the sugar content he'd consumed.

What I want to know is, how big is his stomach anyway? Bigger than half a clementine? How can he fit it in there when he didn't even chew up it up first?

 

Rearview mirror perspectives

I have a lot of nerve. After whining about the stress of having my whole family here for the holidays, I'm now going to whine about how sad I am that they're all gone.

Seriously.

But I can't help it - I took it for granted that for two weeks straight I could wake up every morning and hear my mom, with her thick German accent, talking downstairs. I took for granted that Jack would accompany me to Home Depot, and share funny stories on the car ride there and back. I took for granted that my sister would borrow my clothes, and that we'd sit downstairs at night and drink milk and eat brownies. I took for granted that my nieces would scream in delight and terror over Hero (at about 6:30am). I took for granted that TO would best my scores on Snood and knock me off the high score board. I took for granted that Mookie would, well, do whatever it is that Mookie does :)

I'm blessed with a family that when they're around, even though they may drive you nuts at times, makes you feel like you're wrapped in a warm blanket and bouncing on a safety net that will never tear or break. To me, family means unconditional love and support. It's supposed to mean that for everyone, but I realize it's the luck of the draw, and I lucked out.

 

Don't mind the puppy gates...

Ignore the puppy gates and believe, as we so foolishly do, that someday they won't be necessary :) Here's the floor! After two days of hard work, and now I'm sick as a dog. But my stepdad is a pro - he was great to work with and I learned a lot and, as I mentioned before, am now addicted to home improvement.

Especially because that room is still a disgusting blue with purple accents, with a textured gray paint under the chair rail. Yes, the chair rail - how not our style! It's next on my project list...

New chandelier (bad picture, but it was really hard to take a picture of that with the window behind it):
Last night I told Hubs I organized all his tools in the downstairs storage room. "Why didn't you leave them in the garage?" he asked.

"Because it's too cold in the garage, and I want to be able to use the tools too."

"Since you're so handy now?"

"Exactly!"

 

A happy holiday, after all

I can't honestly say what was so wrong that first couple of days that my family was here, but suffice it to say I'm over it, I appreciate that I have so many people in my life who love me, and I am okay. Not great, not employed, not pregnant, but okay. It ended up being a really lovely Thanksgiving, with my mom, stepdad, dad, sis, brother-in-law, two nieces, mother and father in-law, and other brother-in-law present. The food was good, the company was good, and I finally was able to just relax a little bit. I was so worried about hosting my whole family that really lost perspective about the fact that my whole family was here!!! It was so wonderful to spend time with them, even though I never felt like there was enough time since I was busy finding extra towels, providing bandaids, showing my mom where to find various cooking utensils, giving directions to the local parks, etc. etc. Not that it was warm enough for local parks - we went from 25 degrees to a high in the upper 30s. Now it's back down to the 20s again.

My sis and her clan left on Saturday morning, and since then my stepdad and I have been installing our new wood dining room flooring! I am so excited about this giant project because I hated the fact that our dining room had carpet. It drove me crazy. So I am thrilled it's now gone, and the floor is 3/4 of the way finished! It's coming out fantastic, and it's pretty exciting that I'm, um, installing my own freakin' floor! Who'd have thunk it?

In my very little free time lately, I've also made some good headway on my novel. Which is fullfilling and exciting and wonderful, although still feels like a pipe dream 50% of the time. Could I be a novelist? It's kind of hard to believe that I actually could, and I figure maybe that's because I actually can't. Then again, someone very famous said 'If you bother to dream, dream big.' I try to remember that every time I start to rain on my own parade.

Hubs is swamped at work as usual, and I'm swamped at home. Hero is being really good! Today I couldn't believe how well behaved he was since I ignored him for about 12 hours straight while Jack and I were using power tools in the dining room. He wasn't perfect while we had a full house, but he didn't bite anyone under 3 feet tall. Which I count as complete success. He bit Hubs and I a couple of times, but we're still working on that...

I'm not sure if I have any other updates... The past week we've put up a new towel rack, fixed all our outside lights (which were on some annoying screwed up timer business and never came on when you wanted them to), and hung a new chandelier in our upstairs stairwell. I've been to Lowes, Home Depot, Menards. I'm seriously starting to get addicted to DIY stuff. A whole other side of me I never thought existed.

As sad as I'll be to see my parents leave this Thursday, I'm looking forward to spending this weekend watching Battlestar Galactica dvds with Hubs on the couch all weekend. And snuggling with Hero, who has become quite an affectionate pooch. But is not allowed on the couch, so maybe I'll watch the dvds on the floor. Regardless, lots of blankets and mugs of hot chocolate are necessary.

 

Fixing things

Yesterday was just what I needed. My stepfather and I spent the entire day doing projects around the house and managed to visit Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards in the process. There was something about working side by side with my stepfather, fixing things in my home, that healed my soul a little. With each screw we drilled, I felt my heart piece itself back together.

 

MacCrankipants

Yesterday we tried a new church. It was very... modern. They had a church rock band. Oddly, although I consider myself a progressive person, I like my church experience to be ultra traditional. I also prefer it to be a different denomination than the one we went to yesterday, but a friend of mine suggested her church, and I felt we at the very least should check it out. But now we're in the awkward position of having to admit we didn't like it... so it might have been more socially graceful to never have gone in the first place.

Things with the family visit are going okay. Hero was a bit of a devil yesterday, raising both my and Hubs' stress level through the roof. He growled at/bit us a total of four times. And we really don't want him to snap at one of my nieces. I think having a total of eight people in the house is too much for him. We're going to try to reinstate all of his training rules today and see if that helps - we'd eased up since we had company and didn't feel like teaching everyone how to train the dog. It's just so hard having so many ups and downs with him - he gets better, he regresses. And our hopes for him spike and decline along with his behavior. Because when it comes to having either a baby in the house or the dog, there can't be a contest. I don't want it to come to that, because I don't want Hero to lose. Of course I love him. More each day. Why can't our love and patience be enough? Or at the very least our love, patience, and the thousand dollars we've thrown down on his account already?

I also do appreciate my family's concern about my job search, but to be honest I have designated times I think about it, and designated times I don't. I don't think about it at nine o'clock at night. I just don't. I don't really think of it past eight. Just like I don't think of death, watch hospital dramas or sad, violent or scary movies right before bed. So when you're watching the ten o'clock news and they talk about the unemployment rate, don't start a conversation with me about how maybe if I volunteered that would lead to a job. I don't want to hear it. I want to sleep soundly, and thinking about the black hole that has become my professional future does not facilitate that.

The thing is, I'm being ungracious. I'm getting irritated with little things and reading into them that my family does not respect me or my household. My mom has overtaken my kitchen, but it's because she wants to pamper me and doesn't want me to be stressed preparing meals for everyone. My sister and her husband have made themselves completely comfortable in our home (including borrowing our car without asking) but it's because they want to make their presence in our home easier on everyone. It's just that when I'm a guest in someone's home, I'm a guest. Meaning I defer control of situations to the person who pays the mortgage. But control is something C women naturally take, and the fact that my mom and sister jump in to do so shouldn't surprise me. It's just that it leaves me feeling relegated to my pre-pubescent days of being the one everyone took care of. And right now, I don't want to be taken care of. I can't be. I want to take care of everyone else. I feel like I'm being robbed of that opportunity. I'm shoved out of the kitchen and told what the plan is rather than asked what it should be.

I'm lucky to have a family who loves me so much. I'm lucky to have people who rush in to take care of me. I know this. But I'm also an unemployed woman who can't find a job and can't support a baby in her womb, so I need to feel like I can do something. Like I'm needed for something. And lately the things I've been needed for during a normal week are cooking, entertaining, cleaning, and running my household. If you take that from my hands, there is little else I feel like I'm contributing.

And the worst part of all (yes, I am seriously complaining about having a family - I do know how ungrateful that is - I do know that people are alone during the holidays and that I'm incredibly fortunate) is that because I feel so teary, in order to keep from crying I snap at people. Because if I don't suck all the emotion out of my voice, I know it will crack and the tears will bubble over and people will rush to comfort me. After which point, they'll walk on eggshells around me. Which would definitely be intolerable.

 

It's out of my hands

My emotions have gone haywire. For whatever reason, having my family here has just made me hyper sensitive to both sad or sweet, touching things. Today I was driving to the bank when I saw a grandfather crossing the street with his granddaughter (who looked about 10). Too old to want her hand held, but he held onto her jacket, just the slightest bit, anyway. I could tell he wanted to keep her safe even though she may not have needed him to in that way anymore. It made me cry. That's when I realized, I've lost the battle. I can no longer predict or control the tears. Thankfully, that time I was alone and in my car. Versus yesterday, when I was with my mom and in the crowded Cracker/Cookie aisle at Cub.

 

Sadness

I can't explain it. My parents are here. My sis arrives tomorrow with her husband and kids. But today while my mom and I were grocery shopping, I couldn't stop my eyes from welling up. I don't know why. Or what. But it's there.

Why? Why, when there's so much to be happy about, do I have to feel so awful now?

 

Kindness


I received this blog award from Momofonefornow over at Stop the train, I wanna get off. She's a mom of one adorable boy, a wife, and a full time student - talk about a busy life! They're also soon going to be starting the journey of trying for a second child again, so hopefully the new year will bring much excitement and good news on her blog and in her life!

Anyway, as part of the award I have to answer the following questions with just one word responses. Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? Dunno
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Brown(ish)
4. Your mother? Here!
5. Your father? Missouri
6. Your favorite thing? Dior
7. Your dream last night? Naughty
8. Your dream/goal? Novel
9. The room you’re in? Study
10. Your hobby? Novel
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Home!
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Apathetic
15. One of your wish list items? Baby
16. Where you grew up? New Jersey
17. The last thing you did? Shop
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your T.V.? Nothing
20. Your pet? Hero
21. Your computer? Fixed!
22. Your mood? Stressed
23. Missing someone? Yes
24. Your car? Switched
25. Something you’re not wearing? Earrings
26. Favorite store? Ann Taylor Loft
27. Your Summer? Fun
28. Love someone? TONS!
29. Your favorite color? Brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today

I am going to pass it on, I promise, but my five minutes of Me Time is up so it'll have to be in my next post! Thanks so much Momofonefornow - the award made my day!

 

A blogger who hasn't been blogging

This week has been stressful. With my family's impending visit, Hero's boot camp, and my job search life has been busy. Each day seems like a never ending to do list of errands and projects. Not to mention that our computer crashed, which in and of itself took 3 days to sort out.

I'll try to sum things up with bullets, because my brain is too scattered for much else.

  • Hero: Hero's been doing really well! He's like a whole different dog now that he's got some basic training under his belt. We've come to realize he's dealt with some bad stuff in the past (not pointing fingers here, but clearly he had some major trust issues that didn't stem from us). He's really thriving in our home, and has become an attentive, affectionate, lovable pooch. It's such a great feeling to bond with him. Our relationship grows stronger every day. The training is $ and very time consuming, but well worth it.
  • Job stuff: This economy blows. That pretty much covers that.
  • Life stuff: Two of my cousins just announced their pregnancies. I'm not okay with it, even though I thought I was totally okay with the whole baby on hold business! I haven't been able to bring myself to respond to their emails, even though I know that's horrible! I just need to muster a little more positive energy before I can pass along genuine congratulations.
  • House stuff: Hubs is letting me move forward with my plan to replace the dining room carpet with the same flooring that's in the kitchen and front hall - I'm so excited! I hate that stupid carpet. It's the one part of the house I'm desperate to overhaul. I ordered flooring that I'm 99% sure is a match, and my stepfather Jack has agreed to work on the project with me while he and my mom are here! (Jack and I will be replacing outside lights, fixing toilets, hanging window treatments, etc. - he's easily bored and very handy, which = lots of fun house projects!)
  • Thanksgiving: My mom and Jack arrive tomorrow. My sister, brother-in-law and two little nieces arrive Saturday. And Mookie comes to town next Wednesday. I can't wait to have my family here. Hubs is a saint for allowing them to descend upon us for two weeks straight.

I'm off to fold some laundry, but I'm definitely going to try to catch up on my blog reads as soon as possible! I miss hearing about everyone's life adventures :)

 

Crash

Our computer went dead this week, and we just got it back up and running yesterday, so I've been totally offline for days! I have a lot to catch up on in blog land - I'll be working on that this weekend! Tonight we're off to see a taping of A Prairie Home Companion - how Minnesotan!

 

Holdin' out for a Hero

The trainer came this morning. She's very impressed with the progress Hero made in just the last week and is very optimistic now about his future. I hadn't mentioned it before, because it was too scary and sad, but she'd actually told us that he might need to be put down after her initial visit - she worried that his personality combined with his biting could be too problematic. But today she said she'd have him back playing with the kids next door soon! She said what she saw during this visit was very encouraging. (We did a lot in the last week to keep his anxiety at bay and set up behavioral boundaries in our home.)


She's a great trainer (she trained our vet's dog, so she's legit - the best in the area) - she was here for an hour and already he's learned a lot. She taught us some good, fast, practical ways to instill in him that calm, controlled, gentle behavior on his part yield positive results (treats, affection, etc.).


So YAY for Hero! Keep up the good work, little guy! On Monday we report back to her about our weekend implementing today's new training, and next weekend we start him in an eight-week class. Followed by one more home visit and then a second eight-week class. I think we can really rehabilitate him! I'm so glad we decided to try. He's worth all the time, money, and energy.

 

The (unemployment) line in the sand

I have to say it. I have to complain or I will explode. I'm SO sick of job hunting. SO SICK OF IT! I've found a bunch more jobs I want to apply to, but now that means I have to write another 5 cover letters. I HATE COVER LETTERS. For the love of all things good on this earth, make it stop. A job would be a fun way to spend a day compared to this nightmare land of limbo. This. Waiting. SUCKS.

SOMEONE PLEASE HIRE ME!!!!! I am worth my weight in gold, I promise!

 

Barack on!




I have never not been proud of our country. I am a grateful citizen. But today I have regained faith in our future. Now, when an African American boy is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he can dream and aspire and think "Maybe someday I'll be president!" and know that it is possible. It is possible.

More powerful words do not exist.

 

In like Flynn

Hubs went to see his longtime family doctor this morning, Dr. S. When I'd tried to get an appointment with him shortly after we moved here they said he was no longer accepting new patients. He was full up, and had been for a while. I asked Hubs if he would try to help me when he saw Dr. S. today. Dr. S. has a great reputation, and while we're trying to get conceive we'd like to have the same family doctor. So Hubs mentioned it to him, and Dr. S. agreed to see me too! In fact, he said that's the whole joy of being a family practitioner, and that he's excited to work with us on trying to start our family.

I'm in! And the truly wonderful thing about setting down roots is that Dr. S. could be my doctor for the better part of the rest of my life. Someone who will come to know me, and who already knows my husband and his parents. I feel like this is a really good thing for us. I'm not sure why it's so important to me, but it is.

 

A side of kindness with your morning caffeine

When I pulled up at the drive-through window at Starbucks at 7am in Hubs' flannel pj shirt (yes, it's back, and I can't promise that I'll take it off) the barista handed me my chai latte and told me, "It's already paid for, by the woman who was in front of you. She left this note." She handed me a piece of torn-off notebook paper that simply read 'Have a great day!'

I paid for the drink of the person behind me, and left the note for him.

People can be randomly nice. Isn't that just so refreshing?

 

A little love goes a long way

Thanks for all the thoughts, everyone, don't worry - we've decided to try to rehabilitate Hero. We're having another in-house training session this Saturday and then have enrolled him in an eight-week obedience class meeting on Saturdays starting in mid-November. So we're giving up our weekends, not our little furry friend :)

This is one of those times where I guess it's good I'm not pregnant - we have a window to see if we can get this dog kid-ready.

 

It's not us, it's him

We had the behavioral specialist to our house last night, and got some bad news about Hero. Apparently we didn't cause this problem. He seems to have a very very very difficult personality, that may never be good around kids. We have several options, naturally one of which is to find him a home that will never have kids in it. The other is try to rehabilitate him. This second option is more appealing, but also more expensive and far far more stressful and work intensive. We just want to be happy. But at the same time, this is the puppy we got. We're not the type to just give up on that.

 

A little bloggy love thrown my way

Steph over at Problem Solvin' Mom gave me this blog award:


Steph's blog is über creative, with tons of ideas for family fun and projects for kids, and also lots of great recipes (I just tried her Million $ Spaghetti and it was fabulous!). Steph often posts great pictures of her adorable kids, and they're guaranteed to make you smile :) She also often takes the time to reflect on the good things in her life, the things that make her happy, and that inspires me to think positively.

For this award, I have to list six things that make me happy, and pass the award on to six bloggers. Steph mentioned on her blog that she was feeling a bit blue this week, and that listing those six things was a helpful thing to be doing. I agree. I've felt a bit blue this week as well, so I'm looking forward to thinking about what brings joy to my life.

  1. My husband. I am truly blessed with a wonderful man. Hubs is kind, open, affectionate, understanding, responsible, and so funny.
  2. My family. I have a great family (albeit a bit of a non-nuclear mess). I have people I trust to catch me if I fall, and people I enjoy spending time with to boot.
  3. Writing. I love to write. It's like my favorite thing in the world, and always has been.
  4. Setting down roots. It's been a real challenge as of late, trying to find a job and make new friends and build a support network here in Minnesota. But it's working.
  5. Sunny days. We have a ton of huge windows in the house, and especially when it was still warm outside we'd gotten into the habit of keeping the blinds at least half closed to keep the house cool. Now that it's winter weather, I've taken to opening all the blinds as far as they'll go and letting the sunlight pour into the house. It makes me happy.
  6. Starbucks. Sorry, but it does. It's the one thing (particularly food-wise) that I LOVE and that I make time for every day. Since I have a habit of skipping meals, this is meaningful.
Now I'm going to pass this blog award on to six others bloggers:
  1. Alison over at (un)complicate me. She's just a terrificly fun blogger with great ideas who always has creative and genuine comments for others bloggers.
  2. Sprite's Keeper created the Spin Cycle (which I've missed out on twice recently), posted every Friday. She provides the topic, and we all spin off of it on our own blogs and then report back to her.
  3. DeeMarie at My Life in a Nutshell has the most creative icon, a little cookie head! Her posts are also always creative and fun.
  4. Trish at The Coffee Shop is one of the first blogs I ever started reading, and her design is fun, homey, inviting, and very creative!
  5. Deb at From From Stilettos to Sneakers has a great blog title. She's was an über successful New York banker and is now a full time mom! (And, she just ran a marathon!)
  6. Cat over at Sealed for Freshness: Zipbag of Bones who is always funny, creative, and honest in her posts. Plus I love the name of her blog!

 

Five minutes have past, please bring on the next emotion

So yesterday I was very rational about wanting to find a job and holding off on the one-way trip to babyville until things were a bit more settled. Today my cousin in Germany emailed me that she's pregnant and I feel the urge to jump off a bridge.

Will someone please stop the rollercoaster?! I want to get off. This ride actually sucks, and it ought to be removed from the park entirely.

 

Trick or treat, I want to eat you!

On Saturday evening we have a behavioral specialist coming to the house to help us with Hero. Why, you ask? Because (whisper) we're afraid of our fuzzy white cute-as-a-button cockapoo. Yes, you heard right. No, I won't repeat it. It's horribly embarrassing but true. He's terrifying. He's all bitey and snarly and we're so freakin' nice to him that I can't understand why he's so heinously pissy!

Yesterday I took him to a wonderful new vet for his allergies and he's been prescribed antihistamines. I hope they work. Anyway, she suggested this animal behaviorist to us. I wasn't sure we needed that kind of intervention, until last night. When he almost ate me as I tried to extract a pair of scissors from his mouth. I didn't get hurt because I was fully tricked out in Hubs' giant leather mittens, my thickest winter coat, and a mouth guard. Okay, not really a mouth guard. But my heart was pounding. He gets so mean. And he can't have the scissors, for his own good! And for the good of our bank account, which he's quickly draining.

We're so ready for Saturday. Halloween's gonna be a bitch cause he *hates* the doorbell.

 

Finally picking up the phone

Today I made plans with a new friend C to hang out on Friday. The catch is that hanging out means spending the morning with her two little boys. CB is three and Q is about 6 months. CB likes me a lot and is the sweetest little boy you could imagine. A few weeks back I was totally looking forward to hanging out with them all. Then we miscarried and I couldn't bring myself to call her. It was just too much to imagine spending a 'kid day' at their house. Really, it was too much to imagine spending any kind of day with anyone for a while.

Since my trip to Austin I've been feeling a lot better. Before I'd left I started to get excited about the prospect of trying to get pregnant again. A friend of mine who'd been through something similar had told me that would happen, but I couldn't quite believe her that it would. Well, it did. It started to seem like a fun adventure and Hubs and I began planning for the future instead of standing rooted in the recent past.

Of course, at the same time I felt like I didn't want to be pregnant again, but thankfully that doesn't seem to be an issue right now. I can't explain that feeling, but I think it has to do with the planning. We're not ready. I don't have a job yet, and that's a big unknown in my life right now, and in our finances as well. When we didn't think we'd get pregnant, and we did, it was a surprise and that made the thought of scurrying to get everything into place seem exciting. But now I want everything to be in place when we get pregnant, and it's not yet.

Really it's just the job. We have the house, the yard, the daycare plan (or at least part of it), the suppliers (my sis is bringing hand-me-down maternity clothes and everything baby at Thanksgiving). We know we can take care of Hero and not accidentally kill him, so that's a start. We feel ready for the responsibility. I'm no longer skipping meals, my most strenuous work out is walking Hero, and I eat super healthfully and take my prenatals. So my body is ready.

But I want and need to find a job (preferably part time) and I need to get that part of my life in order. I've been working on a novel so I'm hoping a writing career could eventually work down the line, but I don't want to depend on that since it's such a big IF. I love to write and dream of chick lit story lines in my sleep, but let's be real: it's not an easy or steady career path. I hate that this job market sucks, and I hate that I was once successful in my own right and now I'm stuck. I miss my old job, and I feel so bitter that everything I worked so hard for has come to a grinding halt.

And, I hate that I can't spend any money. I miss THINGS. I like THINGS. Handbags and makeup and clothes. I need an income!!!

So clearly I have to straighten this out.

All this from scheduling a breakfast.

 

Lazy Sunday weekend recap

On Friday night we hung out with our newlywed pals A and J and carved pumpkins. Mine is the one with the starry eyes, Hubs' is the super happy looking one :) It was really fun - we always have a great time hanging out with them.

On Saturday evening we had Hubs' now ex-sister-in-law over for dinner. Hero was happy to see her (he used to be hers!). But, in a bittersweet kind of way, he also seemed very aware that his home is with us now.

And today was freezing cold, with crazy wind and some snow flurries. We spent most of the day relaxing at home by the fire, just me and my two guys.

And tonight I made Steph's Million $ Spaghetti Casserole recipe for dinner. It's in the oven now. You can find this and more of her great recipe ideas at Problem Solvin' Mom. I've heard great things about it so I can't wait to see how it turned out! Tonight feels like a night we could use some comfort food, as the wind howls on.

 

62% Diesel, baby



Okay, I had to post, because Vin Diesel is my favorite! Yeah, I don't know why. It was The Pacifier, that movie is so cute! Apparently I look like him! Which is a bit ridiculous, but whatever, yay! You and me, Vin. Sweet!!!

 

An apolitical political rant

My MIL and stepfather have gotten into some kind of weird political argument. Via email.

Really? You two better not bring that crap to my Thanksgiving dinner table!

I get differing opinion, I get people being upset about the state of the nation (and, more to the point in our household, the economy!). But neither voter is stupid. Let's just start and finish there. I know a lot of smart democrats, and (yes, everyone, just deal with it, there's an and) a lot of smart republicans. Vote how you want to vote, but if you insist on discussing it, open your mind and ears as you can learn something from either political party. Neither one has all the answers. Nor is either one all bad. Don't be blindly liberal or blindly conservative. Talking about it with respect is the only way to go. Both sides are trying to do what they think is best for the country. Don't villaify. That's just a waste of your good brain power and everyone else's precious time. THINK ABOUT IT. It can't be that black and white. Nothing is.

Sorry, I just had to say that. As a democrat who appreciates hearing a republican point of view, just for the challenge to really test and question my own political thoughts. If they're that strong, then they can accept and withstand a little scrutiny. And that scrutiny can only come from considering the other side of the story.

 

Confessions of an unemployed housewife

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I wore Hubs' old flannel night shirt not only to bed but as a shirt, out in public, for two days straight without changing or showering (or washing my face, but we don't need to go there). I just felt I should force myself to see that in writing.

 

Ripe for the pickin'

"I sell Mary Kay products. I'm a Mary Kay girl!!!"

Seriously?

Talk about rotten luck.

On the airplane to Austin. She's in seat 6C. I'm in 6D. By the window. With nowhere to go but out the emergency exit. I wish I'd paid attention when the flight attendant had talked about how pry that sucker open... does the inflatable slide still come out if you're already at cruising altitude?

I'm bad in sales situations. I hate being strong armed, but I'm also crap at just saying "f*ck off." I for one think it's unfair to corner someone on an airplane. I mean, nowhere to run, you little pink product pusher!

She's headed to a Mary Kay convention. She's excited about it. It should be very inspirational, she says.

Then she tries to schedule a consultation for me once we get back home. I can't say no (being I'm crap at that) so I ask for her card and I tell her I'll give her a call. Nice. Polite. She hands me her digits (along with a few brochures), but also insists on claiming my phone number. How? Just by making things ever so slightly awkward. By putting me in a position where I'd have to be repeatedly firm and rejecting. And I, on my way for a mini break to relax and get away from all things stressful, don't want to deal with awkward situations on my flight.

Natch, now she's calling me. This is made worse by her excellent sales tactic, employed once she had already laid claim to my personal information. "You're not just saying okay now and then you're going to ignore my calls, are you? I hate it when people do that. I wish they'd just say no upfront, and save me the time and energy. I call it "Minnesota Nice" - people just smile and nod their head and then later they blow me off. I hate it when people do that to me."

OF COURSE THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO DO TO YOU! How dare you play the victim? I've hinted every which way till Sunday that I'm not interested! I don't think I should have to be adamant and repeatedly reject you on an airplane! You figure it out! I don't want your pink magic. That's why my face looks like this! (Pained.) (And, I'd like to point out, already properly exfoliated and moisturized.) That's why I'm refusing to schedule the appointment without checking my calendar first. I told you I'm unemployed, how full do you really think my calendar is? Read between the lines! It's subtle, but I maintain that if YOU corner me with something unpleasant on an airplane while I'm trying to get into vaca mode, it's your job to read my cues. I. DON'T. WANT. YOUR. PINK. SH*T.

But now I'm the bad guy. What do I do? Call her back? Ignore her calls like she asked me not to? Allow her to come over with her pink voodoo and strip me of hundreds of dollars in my own home? I feel guilty but I still don't think all this is my fault. That was mean. She's mean. She's a big pink mean person. She tricked me into talking to her just so she could slam me with a pitch while I'm literally buckled in place. Talk about a captive audience.

 

Better now

Austin was awesome and SO just what I needed - sun, swimming, time with my nieces, time with my sis, and time with family. Getting away helped me wipe the slate clean. I'm refreshed and ready to face whatever comes next in my Minnesota life!

Sadly for Mookie though, the Mizzou tigers got trounced.

In another few weeks, my family comes for Thanksgiving! I love this time of year :)

I need a little time to get caught up on all the blog world goings on, but I'm working on it!

 

Austin's powers

I'm off to Austin tomorrow morning to see my sis, nieces, brother-in-law TO, and Mookie (who's visiting at the same time I am). Mookie and I will meet up in Dallas for the final legs of our flight. Mookie and TO are psyched because they're going to the UT/Mizzou game. TO is a longhorn, naturally, and Mookie is a Mizzou tiger fan. So at least one of them will come home happy!

C and I are opting out of the football, but I'm plenty excited nonetheless - sunshine here I come! It's a chilly 55 degrees in Minnesota today, so what better time to take a little vaca? Austin has always had a way of relaxing and soothing me, in part because when I'm there I'm surrounded by family and in part because it's just so nice and warm! I think this trip is just what the doctor ordered :)

I'll miss Hubs horribly, as I always do when we're apart. But Friday night he's having the guys over for poker, and I suspect he'll enjoy the rest of his wife-free weekend doing his 'stuff'. Whatever that may be.

I'll be offline for a while, but I hope you all have a great rest of the week and weekend!

 

A letter to my Hubs

Hubs has been reading my blog lately, which I *love*, but I also feel a little guilty. I worry that he's reading it because he thinks this miscarriage has somehow been too much for me, that I'm not okay and I won't be able to pick up the pieces. And so I just wanted to say to him, I am okay. One of our favorite new songs is "Turn the Car Around" and the refrain says, "How many times can I break till I shatter?" And I just wanted to let you know, Hubs, SO MANY TIMES! For this, for us, for you. You've made me so much stronger, I am so much stronger at this time in my life. I can go through a lot worse (although I hope hope hope we don't have to). I won't shatter. I love you, and you've made me whole in a way that can't be undone.

 

Bravo? Charlie?

Hero is a lovely puppy - he adores people, children, other dogs. He's white and fluffy and full of cuteness. So what could possibly go wrong?

I'll tell you what. Hero is the most stubborn, willful, pissy dog on the planet. Don't get me wrong here, he's definitely squirmed his way into my heart. I love him. But he's got some serious behavioral issues.

I know, I know. You can't see it. It doesn't add up. He's a cockapoo. Can you really be all that willful when your breed name ends in "poo"?

The thing about Hero is that Hero bites. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Hero, the cockapoo, bites. Elle Charlie, self proclaimed (but proclaimed nonetheless) bad ass extraordinaire, is afraid of her cockapoo. I can not say that enough. He's a cockapoo.

I really don't know where he gets this aggression from. He's neutered, and although I joke around about it, we don't yell at or get physical with Hero. We're both therapists by training. We talk, we soothe, and when push comes to shove we usually just give in. Hero isn't ever in any kind of threatening situation. He's never at risk for being harmed. We're not aggressive people, and we don't have an aggressive household.

I talked with Mookie about this the other day, because Mookie is something of an expert on canines. He's a wonderful owner to two dogs, and is endlessly fascinated by the entire species. I daresay he likes dogs better than people.

I told Mookie about an incident we had the other night, where Hero stole a dvd and then hid behind the couch. When I went to get him out, GENTLY, he growled and snapped at me. And then he bit Hubs (Hubs - gentle, patient, therapist Hubs!) twice. Hubs never loses his temper, he was merely talking calmly to Hero and trying to lure him into giving up the dvd.

When I presented this case study to Mookie, he said that Hero doesn't see us as alpha. He doesn't believe that anyone has control of the situation. Which only makes Hero more aggressive and unsure. Maybe because he can sense our anxiety (I'm sure I reek of anxiety - the moment he growls I freak out), maybe because we try to soothe him instead of taking charge. Maybe because he's just an über willful pooch. But regardless of why, Mookie felt that we need to reclaim control of the household, for the good of Hero. He believes in pack mentality - that Hero will be happier, calmer, and more at ease if we establish a pecking order (and he is not at the top of it).

Mookie suggested we do an exercise that a pet expert told him to do on his dog Sadie when she was puppy. It establishes dominance. We're supposed to put Hero on his back between our legs and hold him there until he stops struggling against us. We're not supposed to yell at him or be angry, just restrain him. And then be really nice to him, pet him and soothe him and tell him he's a good boy.

At the end of my conversation with Mookie I was very quiet. "What're you thinking?" he asked me.

"I can't believe he doesn't think I'm alpha," I replied, dumbfounded. "Me!"

"I know," Mookie commiserated, "It's a bit of a blow to the ol' self esteem, isn't it?"

So when Hubs came home that night I told him what Mookie had said. I then vented to him, "Can you believe he doesn't think I'm alpha? Me? Me!? I do everything for him!"

Hubs merely shrugged. "Maybe he thinks you're his servant," he joked.

"Well," I rounded on him, "Do you think he thinks you're alpha?"

I expected Hubs to say that of course not, he doesn't think anyone's alpha. He's an insubordinate little poocher.

Instead, Hubs shrugged again. "Yes."

I balked. "Yes!? You think he thinks you're alpha?"

"Yes," Hubs repeated. "He doesn't fight me when I have him in the submissive position. I put him on his back between my legs when I wipe his paws off and he just rests."

Now I was really getting upset. Why is Hubs alpha and not me? I would say between me and Hubs I'm far more alpha-like.

Later that night, my ego still wounded, Hero stole a tissue from the bathroom. I calmly got a hold of him and gently flipped him onto his back between my legs. He bit me twice and fought me for ages. Finally, he relaxed. But only as a tactical maneuver to gather more strength. Then there'd be another onslaught of his wrestling to get free. I talked to him calmly, but I didn't let go.

When I finally did release him I wasn't sure anything had been established. Mookie said we should do this several times a day, and then of course also when he steals things and we need to get them back.

A little later that night, Hubs let Hero outside. When Hero was ready to come back in, Hubs picked him up, placed him on his back, and began to wipe his paws. Hero was dead dog. He lay between Hubs' legs with his head on Hubs' thigh and just rested, breathing contentedly.

I stared at them. "Whttttttttttt?"

Hubs looked over at me. "He's always calm for me."

"Whttttttttt? You're alpha? And not ME? You and not me?" The proof is in the pudding. "WHY???"

Hubs shrugged again. Hey, when you got it, no need to flaunt it. Which made me even more angry.

"I can't believe this! I can't believe he doesn't think I'm in charge. I can't believe it!"

Again, with the shrugging.

"This is total crap!"

More shrugging.

"I'm not alpha, and I'm the only one who doesn't know it?"

Finally, a laugh. Ah ha. I'm funny, am I? Alpha this, boys. Just you wait! I'm in charge and while apparently that's not clear to anyone right now, just you wait. I'll show you alpha...

"Alpha's not something you do, it's something you are," Hubs told me in a very zen like voice.

Just you wait, gentleman.

 

The last to know

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been.""
John Greenleaf Whittier


***
My subconscious just won't let it go. Last night I had a lovely dream that I went to a doctor who was shocked to hear that my previous doctor had told us we'd miscarried. "But wait, I think I see something!" she said with excitement, pointing out a hazy image on a sonogram. "And I'm hearing a heartbeat!" I heard it too - I felt it, even, in my belly. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.

I got dressed again and the doctor gave me a chicken sandwich (I don't know). I munched on it while I imagined calling Hubs to tell him the good news - it was all a huge mistake. The baby is fine, it's still with us! It's right here, in my belly. I can feel it.

* * *
I woke up with emptiness in the pit of my stomach where the heartbeat had been moments earlier in my dream. It didn't take me more than a millisecond to realize it was just a fantasy. I felt a huge wave of sadness, but then to my surprise was able to get out of bed and on with my day. For the first time I thought that our life is okay, right now. With just the two of us (and of course Hero). I want a baby, we want a baby, but for now we are doing alright. We'll just try again.

We'll just try again.

 

Tagged: Memory lane

I have been tagged by DeeMarie at My Life in a Nutshell to write about a random photo: 4th file, 4th picture on my computer. The photo was taken in Montreal when Hubs and I chaperoned a weekend trip for the junior class of EC. We took 3 buses filled with some 100+ kids and hustled them across the border into Canada, where they could drink legally. I'm not sure there was any other purpose for that trip. (It was not a trip we were excited about chaperoning, nor one we necessarily approved of. It wasn't that we disapproved of college students going to Montreal for a wild weekend, it was more that we disapproved of a college sanctioning, actually sponsoring, the adventure. We were not excited about being in charge.)

The night this photo was taken, Hubs and I, along with our colleague CB, went into Old Town and found a romantic French restaurant for dinner. This photo was taken outside of that restaurant. I remember it was wicked late, and we were finally getting to eat dinner after spending hours dealing with a student who'd lost his passport. Turned out later that he hadn't really lost it, he'd just left it on the bus. But not knowing this, we occupied most of our evening filling out reports at the local Montreal police station. The student seemed either super clueless or stoned. Or both. He wasn't very worried about the fact that he may not be able to cross the border back home to the States with the rest of us once the trip drew to a close. More than anything, he was upset that he no longer had proper ID with which to buy alcohol.

Hubs and I were the first to leave EC several months ago, but CB followed shortly after us. He took a job in Liverpool, England. I hope he's doing well! He was a real character. The students loved him. He'd been the victim of a gay bashing long before I'd met him, and every time I thought of it I felt a knot in my stomach. CB is such a gentle soul, I can't imagine him triggering any kind of aggression. Especially in a city like Boston, which I always liked to believe was a very tolerant place to live.

Anyway... that's the story behind that picture.

Now I'm supposed to tag four more people! Let's see... I am going to tag:
Mel at Where's My Belly
MomofOneforNow at Stop the train, I wanna get off
Seussgirl at One day, two day
Fertilized

 

Spin Cycle: What's lurking in the back of my closet

The next Spin Cycle topic (brought to us by Sprite's Keeper) is fear. And it didn't take me long to figure out what I'm most afraid of. I'm afraid I'll continue to be as miserable as I feel right now. Not miserable like sobbing into a tissue miserable, but a consistent state of apathy with a touch of nastiness. I've been that way since the doctors told us maybe, when I knew full well there was no maybe. The situation was bad and we all knew it. But their insistence on hope made me hopeful, and that hopefulness, once finally crushed, has made me bitter.

I'm afraid I'll continue to be annoyed when the neighbor kids ring my doorbell to play with Hero. When I'm forced to smile at anyone. When there's a line at the checkout counter. When people pop over to see how we are. When the phone rings. When Hero needs me too much. When folks at the dog park walk too close to me. When anyone wants anything at all from me, when I feel like I have nothing to give.

I'm afraid that this minor setback has thrown me back farther than I could possibly have imagined. This loss, so small compared to what other people have experienced. Why am I so angry about it? And when will that feeling go away? Will it ever? My fear is that it won't.

My fear is that I'm not ready to try this again. My fear is that I'm too ready to try this again.

 

Spin Cycle: Use your words

I'm going to try to join in on the Spin Cycle thing. I think I finally understand how to do it. The topic for this week is anger management. So I'm going to write about Hero. Because he and I both need to manage our anger sometimes when we're home together all day long.

The thing that upsets me most about Hero is that sometimes he seems to do things as if he's trying to push my buttons.

One thing that always drives me crazy is when he rings his "out" bell 9,000 times when he's trying to tell me he wants to go out. His bell hangs on the back doorknob. All he has to do is hit it with his paw and I let him out. Every time. Because I want him to get comfortable using it so he never, ever, ever, ever pees in my house. But for some reason, he thinks I'm either deaf, forgetful, or completely stupid.

On a typical day, it goes like this. I'm folding the laundry, and Hero decides he wants to go outside. He's just been outside, so I know he wants to bark at something rather than do any serious business.

Jangle, jangle, jangle

"Okay, Hero, mommy just needs to finish folding this laundry and then I'll come and open the door."

Jangle, jangle, jangle

"I'm coming, Hero. Just a few more shirts and I'll be at your beck and call."

Jangle, jangle, jangle

"Here I come, just..."

JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE

"...hang on ONE SECOND..."

JANGLE JANGLE JANGLE JANGLE JANGLE JANGLE

"Hero, please hang on because when you ring that bell it makes mommy want to shoot herself..."

JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE, JANGLE

"HERO MOMMY'S COMING AS FAST AS SHE CAN FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS DECENT IN THIS WORLD!"

Then I let him out and spend the rest of the day feeling awful for getting all worked up. And feeling rightfully disgraced for referring to myself in the third person.

Hero has his own anger management tales about how I piss him off but I promised he could put his two cents into the next Spin Cycle. Hopefully the topic for that one will be "Why I love my fabulous owners."

 

Is that Eau de Feces you're wearing?

The title of this post will make sense once you get to the end of it. The beginning and middle of the post have nothing to do with sh*t, so don't go looking for meaning where there is none :)

I'm trying to look on the bright side and shake it off, but I'm still feeling pretty bummed about the events of the past two weeks. It's hard to be happy right now. What I can't get past is, who's to say it won't happen again? It's hard to want to try for another pregnancy. But this experience cemented for Hubs and I just how much we're ready to be parents. So we're in a tough spot. Now we really want it. The ante's been upped.

According to my doctor and the ultrasound technician, my ovaries and hormones are perfectly normal. Last time I'd gone off the pill in Boston I hadn't ovulated regularly, and was apparently misdiagnosed by an RE out there with cystic ovaries. No cysts on the ultrasound, so I'm guessing my problems were just a result of being too thin and exercising too much. And maybe being under too much stress. My new doctor always said that diagnosis sounded wrong to him, but I figured my RE in Boston couldn't have been wrong - he was supposed to be The Best. Anyway, we've been given the precursory all clear, so now we just have to start trying. Still, I'm having trouble canceling the appointment with the IF clinic. I can't bring myself to do it. Five years is a long time to be stewing over a diagnosis that will render it harder for you to eventually get pregnant. I can't let that baggage go overnight, much as I want to. I'd love to have 5 minutes with that Boston RE. His hasty diagnosis has caused a lot of unnecessary fretting.

In other very happy news, my oldest, dearest friend P just had her baby girl, Nina Marguerite! Nina weighed in at 7 lbs 9 ounces and was born this past weekend. Both mom and baby are home and doing well! And dad is loving every minute of his new role. I only have a picture on my phone, but I'll post another as soon as I can. Nina is wicked CUTE! I know P will make a great mom and have a household full of love, understanding, and laughter.

I just got back from the dog park with Hero, who rolled in poop. Yup. Right at the end of our time at the park, of course. On our way toward the gate. I am grumpy because I had to give Hero his second bath this week, and he is angry at me because he's all wet. Still, he's loyal enough to be curled up at my feet. Well, either that or he wants to torture me with the scent of wet dog.

 

Octoberific

I found this on Vanessa's blog Random Ramblings and have decided to write why I think this October will rock. So welcome to Elle Charlie's:

[rocktober.jpg]

  • The weather is getting cooler which means we get to use our fireplace, which is oh-so-cozy.
  • In a week I'm flying to Austin to see my sister for a long weekend! And my nieces!
  • I love Halloween, and this year we'll get to see lots of kids trick-or-treating!
  • New season of Grey's Anatomy!

How about everyone else? What'll rock your October '08?

 

Take that!



And that. And that!


On a positive note, Hero's been a huge help this week. We've been doing tons of "positive reinforcement" training (aka treat training) and he's responding so well. He's a sweet pooch, now that he's getting settled in and calming down :) He's definitely become part of the family.

 

Is it in the water?

In other news, friends of our just suffered a miscarriage at I think about 13 weeks. We dropped a tray of brownies off at their house, just to let them know we're thinking of them (we realize the brownies won't actually help, but wanted to express our sympathy). I feel for them - 13 weeks means they probably had about 7-9 weeks of knowing, planning, celebrating, and dreaming. We had one day, and that just about tore us to pieces. I can't imagine loss at that stage. I know some of you have gone through it, and I am buoyed by your strength and courage, and your stories of hope.

 

"Did that chick just bite it?"

So my weekend. It was not good. It sucked, as weekends go. We spent Saturday celebrating with our friends A and J at J's parents' lake house (a more informal post-wedding reception reception) and then went to Hubs' high school reunion. Hubs was class VP, so he had to help organize the reunion, and we had to go. Normally, it would have been a fine experience. Probably not über fun for me, but fine. In this instance, it was torture. All we heard throughout the night (or at least the only question I can remember) was: "Do you guys have kids?" "When are you going to start a family?" Which made me want to punch people. It really did. Even some of Hubs' closer friends asked us that, and didn't seem to notice when my eyes filled with tears. Then again, they were drunk. Drunk parents. Of kids. Kids home with baby sitters. Kids delivered after normal, healthy pregnancies. I wanted to hide in the bathroom more than I think I've ever wanted that in my whole life.

I feel bad because I was pretty shitty arm candy for Hubs. I try to be social and outgoing when we're out, even when I don't know anyone, because I don't want Hubs to feel like he has to worry about or take care of me in social situations. But last night I just snapped. I've spent 3 months in nonstop social situations where I don't know anybody. And I'm getting to know people, but it's a tiring process. I never get to be in groups of people where I'm comfortable. I know it'll come in time. But for now, it can make for exhausting weekends (and often, weekdays). I go to Hubs' family things, Hubs' work things, Hubs' friends things, and it's all new and, to be honest, scary for an introvert. I can flash the smiles and make the small talk pretty well, but it drains me. And last night I was down to empty.

I spent half the night working the check-in table, refusing to leave my post to go into the party even to get food. I made Hubs go instead. When he suggested I take a break and pick out what I might want to eat, I snapped at him and told him I was absolutely not going into a room full of people I did not know. Not again, not this night. No more. My body still feels pregnant, I know there is something dying inside of me, and I just can't even pretend to be a good sport. I can't do it. It's too much. There is too much pain and discomfort. I didn't want to be there, and I shouldn't have gone. Poor Hubs didn't particularly want to be there either, and I wasn't making it easy for him.

Finally, near the end of the unbearable night, I fell. I slipped on the heels of my boots and just... fell. Right on the floor. In front of loads of people who probably thought I was hammered. It hurt like a son of a bitch. And I think that's when I really got it: I can't even pretend to act normal. I laughed and laughed, because the whole thing was so ridiculous. I can't do anything but feel awful right now, and being out, faking like I'm fine, is just insanity. I laughed until I almost cried, and then we finally got to go home. I cried through the entire 40 minute drive.

Once at home, I ate three pieces of banana bread, hugged Hero until I was afraid he might burst, and went to bed, snuggling into Hubs so much that when I woke up this morning he commented, "You were such a bed hog last night!" I don't care - I needed to be comforted. Hubs is being enormously patient, given that he's disappointed and hurting too. When I talk to him about it, he just says he has enough strength. He says that he has it, plenty for both of us. So I guess I'll take him up on that, and lean on him. At least until I can avoid falling on my ass again.

 

You shouldn't have


But I'm glad you did - it makes my face do this - :)

I got an award from DeeMarie at My Life in a Nutshell. She writes a great blog about her life and adventures with work, family, friends, and the very exciting pursuit of the perfect new home!!! I love her blog, and I know you will too, so if you haven't read it, pop on over! She's sweet, funny, and has the cutest icon.

And now, I'm going to pass the award on to two bloggers.

The first is Alison over at (un)complicate me. She's a wonderful, supportive blogger writing about life as a first-time expectant mom! She and her husband J are awaiting the arrival of Cletus, a baby boy (Cletus is his in-womb nickname, not necessarily his name)! Alison always makes time to comment on everyone's blog, and congratulate and offer support to other folks dealing with IF-related challenges. She has two dogs (and gives great dog-related advice!) and lovely, curly hair that I envy!

And second, Ellie at Happy Not-So-Newlywed, who writes about her experiences ttc with her wonderful husband Mr. E, working fulltime with sometimes challenging colleagues, and going back to grad school while navigating the world of IVF. It looks like she and Mr. E are getting their happy ending, so stay tuned to her blog as she makes her dreams of motherhood come true.

So thanks, DeeMarie, for giving me this award, and Alison and Ellie for giving me two of my favorite blogs to check out daily.