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Coyoting

This weekend we dogsat for my brother and his fiancé. They’ve got this funny little dog who looks just like this stuffed toy I had when I was a kid. He’s exactly my favorite kind of dog. Gorgeous, smart, and scrappy.

Internet, meet Smelmut:

Smelmut!

If only I’d managed to catch a photo of Smelmut playing with his new cousins! They are adorable together. Whenever Smelmut comes over for Thursday Night Family Dinner, there is much bouncing and dancing in small circles and play bowing. The three little dogs tussle and frolic and fight over scraps. They take turns curling up in each other’s beds and in the laps of each other’s masters. It’s wonderful to see them together.

This weekend was no different, only this time I got to spend some one-on-one time getting to know him. I also almost got him eaten.

Thursday and Friday were really hard on sweet little Smelmut. It was his first time away from his family, and we made him sleep all alone in the kitchen. Except it’s not like that, we’re not evil. Valentine and Theo sleep in a crate next to the backdoor, and he had his little bed right next to them, so he wasn’t actually alone. But he sure felt alone. I could tell by all the barking.

Saturday morning I got up early to run before the heat set in. By seven-thirty it was already seventy-six degrees and rising. Mike was in class, and rather than run alone, I thought I’d bring my back-up. Normally when Mike can’t run, I’ll go with Valentine. If there is one thing that little yellow mutt loves, it’s running. She can go and go and go and go, and I swear to you, there is absolute joy on her face all the while.

Smelmut is another little dog who loves to run. My brother is always talking about how fun it is to take him running, and since he’d seemed so sad and lonesome, I thought a nice run would be just the thing to cheer him. So I leashed him up and off we went.

Read the rest here…

Weather Check

Yesterday marked one-month since we arrived in Los Angeles and started living with my parents. One month with all of our belongings in boxes in their garage. One month of shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. One month of little dogs with muddy feet on white linen slacks, one month of cats leaping from dark bookcase corners.

My parents are incredibly gracious. They even seem to enjoy having us here, and thank goodness, because being able to land here, with them, to have a home base while we gather ourselves together and get ready to move on to the next phase in our life has been invaluable. And wonderful.

Friends keep asking how the apartment hunt is going, but we haven’t even started looking. For one thing, I’ve been too busy at work to do anything else, and as long as Mike is still looking for an apartment manager job, why should we sign a lease? In the meantime we’re enjoying the shared dinners and shared errands and shared Sundays. Mike’s been wonderful about chipping in with chores and cooking, and I’m trying too. The dogs are enjoying the backyard and the cats are taking full advantage of sharing a room with us. They spend their nights tracing our faces with their whiskers, leaping back and forth from our bellies to our pillows and back again.

I’m sure it’s not easy for my parents to share their home with another family, especially one that consists of so many animals. But every time I ask them if we’re driving them crazy yet, they just laugh and insist that Mike’s cooking is worth it. And honestly? I’m a little surprised at how easy it’s been for Mike and me to adjust to sharing our life with another family. Granted the other family is our family too, but I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have enough privacy, or we’d impede on their privacy, or Theo would pee all over the garden furniture and drive my mother nuts, but so far it’s been fine.

Mike and I started running in the mornings, and since he started a part-time job our run has become our one chance to touch base during the day. He’s working nights, I’m working days, so it’s morning runs or nuthin’. As close as we are, it’s become really important for us to have the opportunity, every day, to clue each other in as to how we’re feeling, what’s going on, and where our heads are at. I’ve found that when we miss that hour alone together too many days in a row, I end up feeling disconnected, insecure, and uneasy. Then when we  run we get awkward. We trot side by side, talking small about the weather, our plans for the day. But by the end, sweaty and out of breath, we’re excited and talking about our future, the fixer-upper we hope to buy, the trip to Nepal, the degree Mike will earn, the family we hope to begin.

Do a “weather” check during the day Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you. — From 10 Tips for Happy Couples, by Dr. Mark Goulston.

Mike’s working in a restaurant, so calling him at work is out of the question. And I really don’t feel comfortable taking personal calls while I’m working, because they distract me too much. But the idea is what’s important, and for us, the hour of running is what is keeping us in tune. So what about you? What do you do to stay connected to your partner? Do you have a weekly date night? Do you share a daily meal? How do you manage sharing a life with opposite schedules?

Sat on a fence but it didn’t work

I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately.  And not even pressure from an outside source, just pressure from within.  I’ve been kind of a freaked-out blob lately.  It’s not pretty.

Except that’s not entirely true.  “Freaked-out blob” implies that I’ve spent the last two weeks eating ice cream in the same pair of dirty sweat pants day after day.  While that is certainly how I’ve been wanting to spend my time, instead I’ve actually been relatively productive.  I started running again.  High-five!  My plan is to fit into my pants again by Memorial Day.*  I also worked a lot this week.  A lot.  More than I’ve worked in a while.  And?  I went out with friends, saw a movie and had drinks afterward.  Right there is more activity than I have participated in since the end of January.  I should be exhausted, and I am, but I didn’t end there, you guys.  I also had two snow days in the last week, took tons of photos, kept my apartment clean, washed three loads of laundry, balanced my checkbook, updated my monthly budget sheet and ran errands.

And while that’s great and everything, did I really accomplish anything?  You know what I didn’t do?  My taxes.  Also?  I’m just barely keeping in step with assignments from work, getting them done in the nick of time, that is unacceptable I should be weeks ahead on all of my assignments.  Also?  I haven’t trimmed my toenails in two weeks, I haven’t checked my Facebook page since February and I went four days without shaving my legs.  FAIL.

Is this normal?  I mean, I assume that everyone feels the way that I feel, that I’m not the only person who expects to get it all done perfectly all of the time.

It’s a lot of pressure.

So that’s where I’ve been.  I’ve been trying, managing, ticking things off one at a time and breathing deeply, namaste.  In case you didn’t notice, one of things on my to-do list that didn’t get done was –

Hi! I’m posting! And did you like the photos?  It’s Friday!  I posted!  And I have news!

There is a project in the works, a project that came about thanks to writing that’s happened on this site, a career-type job-ish, and it’s really exciting and totally terrifying.  I’ll tell you all about it next week, when it launches, god willing.  Until then, here’s to a weekend that will hopefully have at least one morning where I can sleep in past six.

*Between the end of November, when our CSA ended, and the end of January, I gained enough weight that even my bras stopped fitting. What. The. Expletive.