Friday, September 27, 2013

Walking Stick

The typical order of operations in our humble home happen something like this:

5:30 - Alarm clock rings

5:31 - I grumble and roll back over for twenty more minutes' rest

5:50 - Boyfriend of Amazingness insists that it is time to get up, and I can't call out unconscious

5:52 - Shower Time

5:53 - Young Master sticks his head in the shower to find out what all the excitement is about

5:53.5 - Young Master complains of a dampened head

5:57 - Boyfriend of Amazingness finishes his shower, goes to dress

6:05 - Boyfriend of Amazingness is dressed and takes the Young Master downstairs to start the coffee

6:10 - I finally convince myself that there's life outside of my shower and that perhaps I should get on with it

6:11 - Boyfriend of Amazingess takes the Young Master out for his morning constitutional

6:20 - I finally decide upon an outfit and make it downstairs to greet Boyfriend of Amazingness and the Young Master as they return from their constitutional and settle in for breakfast

6:30 - Boyfriend of Amazingness leaves for work; Young Master's world comes to a screeching halt

6:35 - After five minutes of prompting and persuading, Young Master remembers that there's another human in the household with whom he might engage

6:37 - Young Master and I set out for a morning walk

6:38 - Young Master insists that we must turn back, for he has forgotten his walking Stick

It's the same every morning. We walk out the door, and make it almost to the end of the driveway before he remembers that something is missing, and we cannot continue forward until it is found.

His walking Stick is the length and bredth of my forearm - exactly the same circumference and only gnawed ever-so-slightly about the ends.**1 It is, by all accounts, the only Stick worth having.

It is the Stick with the capital S.

Sure, other sticks might fill the void for a short time. They might help distract him from his missing companion.

But no stick could e'er replace his Stick.

For instance, one afternoon my fabulous sister puppy-sat for us, on a morning wherein the Young Master would not constitute during his constitutional. For fear of regression of our house-trained pup, I called upon my sister for a lunchtime potty run. She obliged most graciously, but somewhere upon the route of the walk his Stick became lost.

Now, "lost" is a strong term. What happened in my sister's words is that Stick was momentarily set aside in favor of a delectable to-go container that had been cast aside by the road. After he "Dropped It," they were both flushed with success and forgot to retrieve Stick before moving on.

This meant that Stick was lost, as was all hope for future happiness.

The situation was easily resolved when I called Sister and asked if she knew where Stick might be. She directed us, we retrieved Stick and the world was right again. But for those short hours, life was the absolute worst it had ever been.**2

And so, my morning routine is set. I rise, I shine, I walk with Stick.

And it is good.

**1 Of note because the Young Master is a "power chewer." Thank goodness for Kong, whose resistance to puppy teeth resets my hope for the future of nice things in my home.

**2 Ironic for a pup whose baby-making paraphernalia has only been missing for a month. To me, that would be a greater catastrophe... but perhaps his incessant licking of his nethers has reassured him that he's as whole as he needs to be.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Never Thought...

I don't remember where I saw the book that noted "Things I Never Thought I'd Say Until I Was a Parent."

But it was exactly what it sounds like, and it was comedy gold.

Within its pages, parents had noted utterances they never expected to pass their lips until they had offspring who started pushing boundaries and learning about the world around them.

Or maybe it never really existed at all... maybe it's only in my mind. A hodge-podge of different executions of the same concept. Like the web page created by a fellow Educator of Organized Religion, where we noted phrases we never thought would come up in a Sunday morning class. Things like "Yes, sweetheart, that's a very fine sword. But it doesn't belong in his tofu box." (Mentioned during a Halloween party, wherein a ninja was terrifying a large box of tofu. Yeah... the context doesn't make it sound any less crazy. But we had fun!)


Having thus far remained childless, I hadn't the need to deploy any oddly-phrased requests in my day-to-day life. I mean, sure... sometimes I have to say some awkward stuff to my EngineerFriends to keep them in line. But nothing really, truly out of the ordinary**1, and nothing in my own home.

That is... until the Young Master joined our ranks.

He's been with us for just a few days more than a full month. And every single day has been full of "Honey, look what he's doing now!" and "Aww, aren't you just the cutest when you [snuggle in daddy's armpit] [have peanut butter all over your face] [insert typical puppy activity here]..." and "No. NoNoNoNoNo. That is not how we treat [the coffee table] [new insect friend] [mama's arm]."

But on occasion, a form-letter response isn't what the situation calls for.

On occasion, I say Something I Never Thought I'd Say, Until I Was a Parent.

   10.     Oh, oh dear. No, honey, I'm sorry... You killed the bug. You can't play with bugs after they die.

    9a.    Sweetheart, don't lick Daddy when he's in the shower.

    9b.    Okay... hold still, please. Lets get those icky bubbles off of your tongue.

    8.      Oh, honey! Did your fart scare you?

    7.      I don't know what you just fished out of the couch, but spit it out. We don't eat couch treasures.

    6.     Could you not with the teeth, please?
    5.     Honey, if you don't belong in the refrigerator, then your tennis ball doesn't either.

    4.    No, no, no... it's okay, sweetheart. Look! There's no other doggy in the oven. See? Just you!

    3.    Seriously?! We're in the car! What did you find that crunches?! Stop crunching!

    2.    There's room for exactly one tongue in my mouth, and yours isn't it.

    1.     I'm going to die in this burrito of hell**2, smothered by body heat and dog kisses. But at least I'll die happy and loved.

**1 At least, not since the licking incident.

**2 A phrase I coined whence my two male counterparts undertook sleeping upon either side of me on top of the comforter, while I was underneath trapped by their body weight on the blankets and the overwhelming body heat emanating from each party.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hypertension and Perma-Scowls

It's not any new news that I can get a little stressed.

What's new is that I appear to be managing it like a hormonal pre-teen... that is to say, Not Well.

It started last week, when Boyfriend of Amazingness looked at me across the dinner table and expressed concern. When I asked what the cause of his concern might be, he gestured around his mouth and said "Something's wrong. Right there. Your face looks like that all the time."

I sighed and expressed the same hangups I've had for years: Fall is a rough time of year for me. I try to work through it, but there's a lot to worry about. This year those worries are compounded by my concerns about the new house and the Young Master. I love my life, but parts of it just Stress Me Out.

But then, over the following 48 hours, I really focused on how the muscles in my face felt. And he was absolutely right.

I was developing a perma-scowl.

Fast-forward just ever so slightly to this morning, when employees at my place of business were offered an opportunity to take part in a biometrics screening.

Doctors checked height/weight, body mass index, cholesterol and (of course) blood pressure.

My numbers were great across the board: I'm right in my normal range for height/weight, BMI, cholesterol and sugars...

But my blood pressure (which is typically a nice mellow 108/68) was a whopping 125/95. That's shot right past "Pre-Hypertension" into "Stage 1 Hypertension," and was more than somewhat startling.

There are any number of reasons why the numbers might have been high:

   * I had just finished my morning cup of coffee

   * Boyfriend of Amazingness was out of town last evening, which meant that the Young Master was a handful and a half during the night and morning routines

   * I was super-late for work, which always rattles my cage

   * I had forgotten about the screening altogether and had to run down the stairs to make it to my appointment on time

Any one of those could have spiked my typically-solid BP, so I'm certain that the combination was a set-up to fail.

Nonetheless, the results were right there on the little meter: "Stage 1 Hypertension." Coupled with my previous perma-scowl diagnosis, it got me thinking.**1

I lost my father because his heart failed him. And that, in turn, broke my heart.

There are a lot of hearts counting on me to keep ticking well into the future.

After all, Boyfriend of Amazingness won't snuggle himself, and the Young Master's belly is in need of near-constant attention. I've got things to take care of, and I've got to make sure I stick around to take care of them.

So I ask you, my ReaderFriends: How do you fight stress? How do you stay Zen? How do you keep ticking?

**1 Admittedly, I let the diagnosis stress me out too.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Everything has a story.

I don't know why this crossed my mind as I drove to work this morning.

Maybe it was because I was on a little adrenaline rush, having remembered my coffee before I drove out of the driveway (giving me an opportunity to run back inside, kiss the top of the Young Master's noggin one last time, grab my coffee and go) thus avoiding an unfortunate under-caffeination event.

Maybe it was because I had such a wonderful night's sleep, with the Young Master nestled on the bed (instead of wreaking havoc throughout the bedroom) and Boyfriend of Amazingness snuggled in next to me, the cool night air blowing on us through the fan in the bedroom window and the sound of rain pattering on the roof.

Maybe it was because it's hard to have a bad morning after you get a good night's sleep, and this morning didn't fail to deliver. The morning walk was brisk and pleasant. The coffee was flavorful and warm. I even got out the door (almost) on time, so that the hour-long lunch I took today won't leave me having to work extra-late to make up the time.

For any of these reasons - or perhaps even one that didn't cross my mind - the stories were littering my mind this morning.

The one that begs to be told, thought, is The Story of My White Sunglasses.

I'm an East-Coast lady. I grew up here. I went to school here. I met my man here. My home, my family, my love and my life are thoroughly rooted on the East Coast and that's where I spend my time.   So it's notable that I've traveled West only once.
It was with a former male counterpart that I Went Forth. We had both graduated from the local community college with our Associate's degrees. As a gift, his mother and her husband (so noted because he was not Ex's father) took us on a cruise.

In Alaska.

Like you do.**1

The cruise was lovely. After a rough start to our travels**3 , we embarked from Seattle and spent five days exploring the beautiful Alaskan coast and her cities. Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau boasted adventures so very different from East Coast life.

The cruise ended in Seattle again, where we disembarked mid-morning and spent a day sightseeing before our flight home in the late evening.

We took in the sights on a double-decker bus, stopped at a plethora of little shops, rode to the top of the Space Needle and visited the local aquarium.

It was there that I got my White Sunglasses.

It was sunny and bright for a day in Seattle. "Only 70 days a year you can see Mount Rainier from here," boasted the tour guide on the bus. And indeed we could - she stood majestically on the horizon, clearly visible through the city haze.

Although the shops were lovely and full of beautiful trinkets, it was the aquarium that my travelling companions wanted to spend most of their time in.

(Noteable Note: It was the Space Needle that I most enjoyed. I got a keychain and everything. It was awesome.)

It should be said that I don't really like aquariums. I think sea life is icky, and it exists in a dark world where it's not nearly as glittery, bubbly and sparkly as The Little Mermaid had me believe. Octopi aren't cute, they're like enormous water-spiders. Sharks aren't fascinating, they're terrifying. Even dolphins weird me out. Sure, they're cute from afar... but I don't want to look into a tank and have one look back at me.

All that aside, the Seattle aquarium was one that I quite enjoyed.

It was the coastal wildlife exhibits that fascinated me most: The birds and other fauna that live at waters' edge and live solely on the fish therein.

The puffins in their enclosure nested comfortably, and had me homesick for my Mom, the puffin enthusiast. I had just spent more than a week away from her, and hadn't been able to even chat with her on the phone, much less actually check in and make sure she was okay. My father had passed away less than six months prior, and this was my first trip away since. I wasn't available by phone**4 and I definitely couldn't get home in any short order if she happened to need anything. It bothered me to be so disconnected, and so close to getting home but so far from being there.

So I did what any overwhelmed youngun (for indeed, I had only just turned twenty and was not yet a biological adult) would do:

I got the snuffles.

Not wanting to bring my travelling companions down at the end of a week spent indulging their son and his fiance (me), I hastened to the gift shop and found myself a pair of sunglasses.

Being a tourist shop, they offered only "in" styles. The pair that fit me were movie-star glasses: Large, facially-dominating and framed in white. But they hid my puffy eyes, so they were exactly what the day called for.

And now, they don't fit with  my wardrobe at all.

But I still keep them, and still use them from time to time.

Usually as a hairband...

But sometimes for their intended sun-shielding purpose.

And it's fun to remember their story.

**1 She says, tongue firmly planted in cheek. When I graduated with my Bachelor's degree, my loved ones and I went to Panera Bread. Because that's what I wanted.

My Besticle asked "When are you going to have a graduation party?!"

I didn't want one. I didn't have one. Plainly put, I just don't like people enough to party with them.**2

**2 Okay, no. That's not true. I just don't like having parties that focus on me. "Look over there!" is a more applicable status quo for me.

**3 Ever spent the night in the Baltimore airport with a cranky boyfriend, two crabby parents and a grandmother who doesn't want to make waves but is obviously in excruciating pain and just needs to lay down in a real bed? Don't. Somewhere there are pictures of my plight that night.

**4 A story for another time: How I almost got my mother arrested while I was on vacation...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Inspire Me

Inspiration is important to writing, folks.

I mean, certainly a willingness to write, an understanding of the process and having a story to tell are important, too.

But without inspiration, what is there to generate the desire to share?

I Googled this (in part because my Muse is on strike today, and didn't care to raise her voice towards generating worthwhile ideas. I'm letting her get away with it... for now) and found an article that (wait for it...) inspired me.

Inspiration through inspiration.**1 What's not to love!

I stumbled (through the power of Google) across a website called, that talks all about the writing process and offers support to writers through the process.

The article I found today was called "31 Ways to Find Inspiration For Your Writing" by Leo Babauta.

What originally caught my eye was the quote at the beginning of the article: 
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London
Oh, Mister London, you bludgeoned the words right out of me.

My friends, there's a reason it's called the Writing Process. While I'm fortunate that my thoughts come together in (mostly) full sentences, and that I was a student in an English class that cold-cocked me into a high standard of grammar, there are oodles of occasions when I just don't have anything to say. 

Or that I do have something to say, but don't know how to say it.

Or that I don't care if I say it.

Or any mix of the three.

On these days, intrepid writers would make themselves follow one of these tips for inspiration, so that they could get back to work.

That's the process.

You write. You run out of things to write about. You seek inspiration. You write again.

Unless you're an amateur writer, such as myself, who doesn't get to write for a living but instead has to carve the time for it out of a packed schedule bristling with un-inspiring activities.

For my part... typically on those days where creativity escapes me, I just let myself Not Write.

Which is wrong.

(Not Write = Wrong. Har-de-har, I'm full of 'em today...)

But I'm also fortunate that my writing is pretty nonchalant, and that I don't really have to worry about who it's reaching.

This blog isn't making me famous.**2

It's not as though the whole of cyberspace is hanging on my every word, waiting for the next literary feat to leap from my lips.

I'm not writing Shakespeare. I'm filling out a high-functioning journal.

But there are writers who are much more fortunate (less fortunate?) andve a devoted following of readers with high expectations.

And for them, the process is so remarkably important.

Babauta explains:

No matter how much you love writing, there will always be days when you need inspiration from one muse or another.
In fact, I would argue that inspiration is not just a desirable thing, it’s an integral part of the writing process.

Every writer needs to find inspiration in order to produce inspired writing. And sometimes, it can come from the unlikeliest sources.

It listed a couple of typical solutions:

* Books/Quotes/Other completed written works
* People Watching/Harmless Eavesdropping**3
* Music/Art/Dance/Other visual arts

But some atypical solutions presented themselves that I hadn't considered in the past:

*, to share in what other artists and writers find inspiring
* Breaking Routines, to unlock inspiration lost in your mindless schedule
* Travel, to find new locations and discover new discoveries

But my favorite of these new options was a small, unassuming paperback called "The Pocket Muse" by Monica Wood. Written by a woman who, like myself, yearned to quit her "real" job and instead follow the path her writing told her she should take towards authorship. A woman who did just that: quit her job and chose to write.

The book is laid out in a visually interesting fashion, with inspiration on every page from her story in the introduction down to each carefully-selected image with accompanying query.

But perhaps the most striking concept within its pages was this, that I'll leave you with today:
"It is the deepest desire of every writer, the one we never admit or even dare to speak of: to write a book we can leave as a legacy. And although it is sometimes easy to forget, wanting to be a writer is not about reviews or advances or how many copies are printed or sold. It is much simpler than that, and much more passionate. If you do it right, and if you publish it, you may actually leave something behind that can last forever." - Alice Hoffman, from The New York Times
Through my writing, I could live forever.

And that would be inspiring.

**1 Inspiration inception? Nah... maybe that's too much.

**2 I'd love if it did. But I'm 200 posts in, without a single comment or response from readers. I'd say I'm pretty much shouting into the proverbial void here. And I think that's pretty okay. It opens up opportunities to plagiarize my own thoughts and opinions when I get around to writing a real book, and no one will be the wiser because no one will have read it in the first place.


No one except Boyfriend of Amazingness, and maybe my Mom.

But they're not telling.

**3 This is crucial, and something I do often. But it's vital, my friends, to remember to engage only in harmless eavesdropping. If you're at a mall and someone approaches your bench (perhaps to sit at a neighboring bench) and happens to continue their conversation within your earshot, you're welcome to half-heartedly listen for any tidbits that might inspire you. It is NOT acceptable to follow someone as they have a conversation, stare at conversing parties, or to lurk in corners trying to catch a juicy scoop. What you're more likely to catch is a bop on the nose, and not an undeserved one at that.

Monday, September 9, 2013


My high school graduation song was called “Graduation,” by an artist known as Vitamin C.

I know... it's so original.

I have to admit that I groaned when it was announced that my graduating class**1 had chosen it by "popular vote" (wherein the popular kids voted and the rest of us let them). The song was cliché, it was preppy and it was a montage of stereotypical high school moments that stereotypical high school types could relate to. Although it set my eyes to rolling about my brainpan, it was an understandable choice for my classmates to sing as they vied for attention on what would probably be the only day of scholastic achievement in their Podunk lives.**2

And so, realizing that this would not be my only day of scholastic achievement, I set my distate aside and learned the damn song.

On graduation day, I stood up and sang:

“And so we talked all night about the rest of our lives:
Where we’re gonna be when we turn twenty-five
I keep thinking times will never change
I keep on thinking things will always be the same.”

I got the experience over with, and I scampered out those swinging double doors. I left my Alma Mater behind me and didn't stop for even a moment. In fact, I didn't even bother to remember Graduation Day as my fifth high school reunion tootled past.**3

I graduated high school in 2005. That was eight years ago this past June. And I haven't wasted time reflecting on it since that day.

But the start of the school year echoed with unsettled resonation in my belly this year.

This is my second autumn during which I haven’t headed back to school. It’s noteable to me now because my most recent alma mater stands between my new home and my workplace: I drive right by it twice a day now, so the increased student activity this week caught my eye (and threw off my commuting schedule).

Last year, it knocked my socks off simply to be part of the world of graduates - I reveled in the new-to-me world of working full weeks (and even time-and-a-half overtime, instead of just extra straight time when I should have been studying) during what had been scholastic semesters. I could keep reading for fun well into the autumn when the weather got cooler and I wanted to stay inside with fresh applesauce and a fun chick lit. I didn't have to abandon my sitcoms in favor of an evening session with Developmental Psychology or Algebra for Almost-Idiots.

This year, it took a sturdier revelation than The Beginning of The School Year to rattle my hosiery. Sure, the fall semester was the catalyst... but that only set in motion the real focus of my unease.

This year, I am 25 years old.

I have survived for one quarter of a century.

I have met all of the biological markers (16 = car; 18 = graduation; 21 = drinking; etc) that society imposed.

I have a beautiful home, a wonderful man to share it with, gainful employment and reasonable health.

I'm officially on my life's path.

No more "I'll get there..."

No more "Next Steps..."

I'm there.

This year, I am the personification of That Future Self that we sang about on Graduation Day.

I mean, of course I've done oodles. But What I Expected and What Came to Pass are two different pictures entirely.

Did I know then that - just weeks before my freshman semester began - I would abandon the college into which I had been accepted in favor of living at home and commuting to the local Technical Institute instead?


Did I know then that I would decide that my first degree wasn't what I wanted to practice for the rest of my life, smack dab in the middle of my final course for that very degree?


Did I know then that the boyfriend I had only just met would propose?

Well... I hoped. Every girl hopes that her high school boyfriend will propose. But I didn't know.

And I certainly didn't know that I would choose to finally leave him less than two years after that proposal and accept that Mister Available - especially Mister Available-In-High-School - is almost never Mister Right.

Nor did I know that Mister Right would mosey into my world just a few months later, right when I had decided that hope didn't have a place in my world anymore.

(Mister Right tried to hide his Right-ness behind exhaustion and Pennsic grime. It didn't work. I found him anyway.)

So it seems the song was right to ask those seemingly pointless questions.

If High School Me had seen a snapshot of me today and had to guess what was behind my future smile, would she have known my story?

Not even a little.

High School Me thought she was destined for an easy, artsy path.

I expected I would become the next interior decorator on Trading Spaces.

I would make oodles of money and my high-school boyfriend would jump at the opportunity to marry me.

I would start producing babies with rapidfire speed, and would seamlessly transform to a successful stay-at-home Mom who kept a fabulously tidy house, fabuolusly tidy children and a fabulously tidy relationship with their father - all while writing childrens' books and poetry out of our guest bedroom/office and making more than I had earned working full time(plus) in the "working world."

High School Me wouldn't have anticipated that I would be hired on in small business eighteen months after high school graduation, that I would sit idly by as the company sold out to a faceless corporation, or that I would continue my toils therein as I approached my seventh anniversary of employment despite my languishing creativity.

High School Me would have been heartbroken to know that my father would never see me march to Pomp and Circumstance again, although he would hug me tight on the day that I finished my Associate's coursework just three short months before he passed away.

High School Me's eyes would have widened questioningly to find my name to be on the paperwork for my first home alongside Mister Amazingness's, and that my signature reflected my birth name instead of a married name. And she would have been confused to find that the third resident was a quadruped instead of a toddler.

But most of all...

High School Me would have passed out cold at the idea that my journals and notepads spent years boxed up and collecting dust. She would have cuffed me to find how poorly I had treated my artistic potential. And she would have walked out of the room when she realized that I allowed writing to fall not just from my list of priorities, but out of my life completely.

Maybe it was the English papers that made me feel so literate in High School. The final years of schooling offer options for Creative Writing instead of just book reports, so no doubt the newfound freedom of my pen felt like fresh air beneath my atrophied wings.

But after high school, writing fell out of my favor.

College got in the way.

Work got in the way.

Life got in the way.

And you know what?

I just sat there and let them.

I knew it wasn't right - I had a couple of journals I would dive half-heartedly into on occasion, typically when things seemed darkest. I would have literary diarrhea, purging whatever was bothering me, and then turning back to "real life" and letting the negativity (and, admittedly, the positivity too - writing isn't only for the brokenhearted...) fester until I popped again.

I knew it wasn't right, but I didn't have time, energy or inclination to make it better.

It was on May 23 in the eleventh iteration of two-thousand that I published my first blog post. I had been free of my broken engagement for almost a full year, and had just completed my second (and final of the immediately-planned) college degree. I was looking for a new creative endeavor, and my neverending tirade against my co-workers and celebrations of my new relationship on my favorite social media site prompted me to start something more organized. The blog just seemed right.

I wrote in that first post that "I never intended for [my corporate position] to be a long-term employment situation. I finished one college career and began another, and still found myself toiling diligently behind the same desk and within the same maze of cubicles as months drifted by in a haze. A few years, experiences, and misunderstandings later, I have changed positions within the company, and the company has changed beneath me. I have grown and changed myself, becoming a very different person from the girl who began with this company so long ago."

I was quite serious.

Corporate shackles weren't how High School Me envisioned my future self, especially at the relatively young age of 25.

In recent years I've come to see them more as golden handcuffs; my distaste with corporate employment overshadowed by my fondness for reliably paying my bills and having a little money left over to live comfortably with Boyfriend of Amazingness, enjoy our hobbies and support my family.

My scholastic revelation this year has led to a serious consideration, though.

What's stopping me from pursuing a career in writing, as I so desperately wish to do?

Of course, the immediate answer is money. Writing doesn't pay. Published works are what pay. And significant time must be spent writing before publicity is gained, and even then publicity does not immediately equate with wealth and riches... which makes tossing aside the handcuffs in favor of my laptop and a lawnchair an irresponsible option.

Irresponsibility just isn't my bag.

Recently, with the purchase of our new home and the introduction of our new four-legged youngun, Boyfriend of Amazingness and I have settled into a wonderful routine of domesticity. Which makes it all the more important for me to get up in the morning and go to work, so that this lifestyle that I so enjoy may continue well into our future together.

But it also makes it all the more difficult.

With a beautiful home, a snuggly Young Master and a loving Boyfriend of Amazingness inside, dragging myself out the door just to pay the bills each day breaks my heart just a little more deeply.

"I could be writing," I think to myself as I drive in to work.

"I could be brainstorming," I consider as I stare blankly at my computer.

"I could be plotting," I sigh as I reach for the ringing phone.

But Could Be didn't get me to my two-hundredth blog post, did it?

Could Be whispered gently that perhaps it was time to put aside the status-quo and reach for something better.

Could Be persuaded me that there were more fitting options.

It worked when I graduated high school and made my way into college.

It worked when I started my blog and finally embraced my creativity.

It worked when we moved out of our apartment and into our beautiful home, committing to one another with our signatures and a dance in our not-yet-moved-into kitchen.

In time, I'm hoping it will work for me again.

Two-double-zero blog posts, my ReaderFriends. Thank you for indulging my whims, catching my tears and sharing my sparkles.

It is my fondest hope that we can forge onward into two hundred more, that the sunshine will far outweigh the grey and that there will always be something shiny to share.

**Sunny Smiles**

**1 Note: Not MY class – just the class I graduated with. My class didn’t graduate until a year later.

**2 I’m not being snippy. I grew up in a Podunk town and went to a Podunk school where there was legitimate concern every year whether all of the seniors would march on graduation day. Moving on to college wasn’t often an option that was taken. Graduating from college was even less likely. There’s a reason I fought tooth and nail to get out early.

**3 Another side-effect of not being "part" of your graduating class, and instead graduating with a group of students a year your senior: They don't think about inviting you to the reunions. And your own class doesn't invite you, because you didn't graduate with them. I suppose it's probably fortunate that I didn't leave any lingering marks upon my high school - Otherwise I'd have to go to homecoming or something.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013



That's what I'm hearing today.

I'm hearing your cries, ReaderFriends:

"Why, Sunny? Why don't you have words for us today?"

Well, it's quite simple.
I'm really having a horrendous day. So while I started this cute little story, about how my pup got stuck under the dishwasher chasing a rogue tennis ball**1, I kept allowing myself to get distracted by funny YouTube clips that I thought might pep me up.

The first was this one:

And from there, I got caught up in this:

And then, we just descended into madness.

So I never did get around to finishing my story. But I feel better, so I guess that's what matters.
**1 Before you report me to the ASPCA,**2 let me 'splain.

A tennis ball went rogue this morning during his shenanigans (of which I'll simply have to post a video some time, because it's the most adorable thing ever**3...) and rolled under the old dishwasher that's sitting in the middle of our kitchen floor.

(We replaced our dishwasher. The new one is installed and works. The old, not-working one hasn't yet made it out to the garage. Don't judge.)

At first, the Young Master just pawed at it.

Then he barked.

(Now, as I tell you the last part of this story, please remember that I was in the immediate vicinity and was assuring that at no time was my dog in any danger. I'm a responsible pet owner, despite how these stories sound.)

Upon realizing that the tennis ball responded to his call just as readily as he responds to mine, the Young Master took it upon himself to dive head-and-shoulders under the dishwasher to retrieve the ball.

The dishwasher started rocking.

The dog started wiggling.

The tennis ball remained nonplussed.

Realizing that he would not prevail, the Young Master decided to abandon his quest.


He forgot how to remove himself from beneath the dishwasher.

He barked again, and wiggled more.

The dishwasher continued to rock.

Realizing myself that this situation would not draw itself to a close, I approached the scene and placed one quiet hand upon the washer, and one gently upon the dog's neck.

He ceased movement.

Miraculously, so did the dishwasher.

With a gentle push in opposite directions, I encouraged the two to separate.

It was at this moment that the dog realized his transmission does include Reverse, and he beep-beeped himself right out.

Then he found that there had been an alternate tennis ball immediately behind him during the entire shenanigan, and pounced upon it without further delay.

I was left to retrieve the rogue ball and inconspicuously hide it in a new spot - after all, what's life without excitement?**4

**2 Which, by the way, is my number one resource for pesky pet problems. I blame every ounce of positive return we've gotten out of training the Young Master on them and their humane, responsible and easy-to-implement training suggestions.

**3 I realize that I sound like every other pet parent out there. But seriously. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

**4 Well, look at that. I guess I did tell my story after all.