They touched noses. Two nights in a row. And I have yet to witness it. Hubs said it is a lightening fast interaction that intimates a handshake.
They have of late been engaging in rowdy chasing shenanigans. It’s not clear who is leading this activity nor does it matter. It’s not for us mere mortals to understand.
They are simultaneously interested in each other and the humans they live with. But there’s an underlying fact: they are in competition with each other.
They both know they are very cute. They both have pretty eyes. That is their secret weapon. They are aware that we believe they are both very cute with pretty eyes. And they use that to their advantage, because at the end of most days, they get a special moment to enjoy treats together on the kitchen floor.
Hubs perspective: he has trained Radar very well. Specifically to “leave it” when eyeing a smaller creature, such as a squirrel or a bunny. Radar’s response is a comprehensive lick of the chops.
They like to eat together. Radar waits patiently next to his bowl of food each morning for Karl to come downstairs. He won’t start eating until his friend is present.
In the evenings, they eat together and when one of them is finished, always leaving a little bit in the bowl, the other saunters over to finish. Neither gets pissy with the other-no possessiveness to speak of. It is beyond cute.
Some of us in this house are of the opinion that there will come a time, sooner rather than later, when these two will be cuddling up and grooming each other. I’m cautiously optimistic about that.
While Hubs were on our Great American Road Trip (3,300 miles over 2 weeks), kiddo said Karl missed us. He didn’t eat for the first 24 hours after we left and when we came home he expressed his disgust with our temporary abandonment by sneaking into the shower and peeing all over the shower curtain. Cats are so weird.
Radar spent the better part of the 72 hours of our time at my sister and her husband’s place in far northern Minnesota bonding with his new best friend, Sis’s dog Dingo (a rescue pup just like Radar).
Here they are (bear in mind this is the first time I’ve uploaded video onto YouTube and embedded it in a blog post. I’m learning!)
Hubs and I are on one right now. A great American summer road trip, complete with camper and dog. Traveling Northeast to visit family, biological and otherwise, in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.
I am so grateful to be doing this. After missing out on our Florida vacation back in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and starting a brand new project at work, I really needed a distraction from reality.
And I’m so relaxed. Like itdoesntmatterifwedonthavesuppertill8pm and noalarmsareset relaxed. Like any vacation ought to be.
We set out on our journey on the 4th. Getting onto the entrance of I-25, Hubs turned on the “Road Trip Radio” channel on Sirius XM. At the beginning of “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago (first band we saw live as a couple back in the spring of 1989).
We smiled at each other, taking it as a good omen.
Radar is still a puppy. He panted, tongue hanging out of his mouth, while scurrying from window to window in the backseat. If I only had a dollar for each time we had to gently push him to the backseat. Dude doesn’t want to miss anything. He did settle after a bit, for intermittent spurts of time. The best thing is he didn’t puke. He’s been known to do that on the shorter car rides he’s taken thus far in his life.
Upon arriving to our first KOA in Rapid City, South Dakota and cracking open a semi cold beer (the camper fridge wasn’t fully chilled yet), I mused that I had little recollection of the last few 4th of July’s. I suppose that’s not unusual for older couples like us, ones who are done raising kids.
I added that it seemed this particular 4th of July was going to be a memorable one.
After having a very simple supper and walking around a bit (95 degrees in the shade is why I say a bit) with Radar, we got back in the camper and turned on the t.v. Something I really dig when Hubs and I are on vacation is watching t.v. Now don’t get me wrong; we don’t become total couch potatoes during our vacations. But it’s special in a weird way: we don’t have Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu in our camper (or in a motel when we stay there), like we do at home. We don’t have our “go to’s” or shows we dvr’d. We are at the mercy of whatever channels are available at the campground we are staying at.
That means we watch completely different things than we do at home. And we have fun with it. On the 4th, after clicking through the 8 (?) channels available, we came upon a channel featuring the 60th birthday celebration of a true American icon-Willie Nelson. It was taped probably 25 years ago and to my delight, featured interviews and performances of other icons that where there to celebrate Willie. Ray Charles. B.B. King. Johnny Cash. All no longer with us.
One of my favorite parts was hearing B.B. King talking about how much he loved Willie. Like a true fan. He said that “Always on my Mind” was his very favorite song. B.B. and Bonnie Raitt later jammed together, singing a blues tune I don’t think I ever heard before. It was spectacular. If you can find this show out there on whatever platform you have, I urge you to watch it. Assuming you love music. But, who doesn’t?
The cherry on the top of this 4th of July was the fireworks. I had zero expectations, beyond the anxiety I believed Radar was going to express about them. And we were at a campground, a place we have never been on the 4th of July. Didn’t even know or take the time to find out if they were happening there or if we would see them from wherever they might be shooting them off.
But around 9 something p.m. we started hearing them. Fortunately, Radar was tuckered out from all the excitement and we had the sound of the a/c buffering it. So I went outside to check it out. Wow!! They were lighting up the sky in all directions. People were milling about in small groups, no one too close to each other, looking up at the sheer beauty of the colors and patterns popping up in the sky. I slowly moved in a circle, cell phone in hand, anticipating where the next brilliant display was coming from, attempting to capture it. It was magical and made me feel hopeful for the future.
As an optimist by nature I’m finding the benefits of this partial quarantine. I have, as a matter of fact, rediscovered the joy of cooking.
Since the kiddo has moved in, I’ve fallen away from cooking our evening meals. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just that it turns out that in the years this kid was not living in our home, they learned the joy of cooking. And not the kind of cooking they learned from me (read: I am, until fairly recently, a strict recipe follower). The kind of cooking that is more organic. More intuitive. No measuring involved. They use more spices and a wider, and sometimes unexpected, variety of them.
And it turns out they are a really good cook. Quite a delightful surprise for this mom. The image of my mom pops in my head actually when I watch them whipping something delicious on the stove. Which always makes me smile. I think Bonnie would appreciate this.
A few weeks ago, before this partial quarantine (I am still going to work, folks), I remembered the meatball recipe I saw on my charming blogger friend Annie’s blog. And I decided we ought to try it.
Now, I wasn’t able to find smoked sea salt at the grocery store, so I used plain old salt. But I did find hamburger and italian sausage there. In fact, I picked up a pound of each, then split them up, putting half in the freezer for later. Because I assumed that they’d be so delicious I’d want to make them again. I assumed right.
Hubs and the kiddo raved about them. I thought they were scrumptious, though next time (despite my family’s opposition) I will cut down on the red pepper flakes just a bit.
Last Friday at work, we received a large donation of home chef bagged meal kits. So many that I ran out of room for them in our refrigerators. I decided to take a couple of them home and try them. On Sunday, as we watched the remainder of the newest “Jumanji” movie (recommend this if you want some true escapism), I planted myself in our little kitchen and got to work.
There was something about doing that that gave me such comfort. I was being productive and useful. As there was no instructions found in these paper bag meal kits, I was forced to use the ingredients as I saw fit. I used all of them except the kale, sweet potatoes (the kid made homemade treats for Radar with them) and something called “cashew crema”, which resembled the tube feeding liquid someone donated to our food bank once. When I asked Hubs how I thought I should cook the kale, his response was that it needed to be thoroughly washed…then put down the garbage disposal.
After an hour or so, we wound up with this fantastic meal of whole wheat linguine with flavorful marinara sauce (which I doctored up with the shallot and garlic cloves supplied in the kit, along with a dash of red pepper flakes). Accompanied by baked and seasoned chicken breasts smothered in the prepared pesto sauce with pine nuts and bursting-with-flavor grape tomatoes. And all of us, as Annie would say,”lurrvved” it!
So on account of Hubs and I not spending money on our planned trip to Florida with our friends, I decided to do a little splurge. I went online and bought an “Instant Pot”. And I’m determined this new toy of mine is not going to go by the way of the air fryer I bought a couple of years ago (which is now referred to as the tater tot maker). This sucker is going to get used, baby!
How about you all? Are you like me, rediscovering the joy of cooking? Or rediscovering something else that gives you joy with all this unexpected time stuck at home?
A couple of blog posts back, I christened 2020 as my year of Clarity.
What seems natural to me as a result of this is for me to be experimental. Mostly with my creative writing; but I doubt that my writing pursuits would benefit if I wasn’t also willing to simultaneously be experimental in my day to day life. Experimental with what I do and how I do it. With who I interact with and how. With my choices.
So yesterday was Saturday. I love that day of the week, don’t you? Because of my planning tendencies, I usually manage to make it a decent combo of fun/relaxation and taking care of important shit. Like grocery shopping. Which I did do yesterday.
Saturday mornings I always sit down in front of my computer and do some writing for this blog. Yesterday I think I wrote two whole sentences on one half finished (hopefully not half-assed) blog post.
So that was weird experimental.
What was far more experimental, however, is that Spawn #2 (who recently moved themselves and their cat in with Hubs and I and needs a better moniker on this blog) and I sat down and watched the most bizarre film I have every seen in my entire life: Midsommar. I don’t even know where to start on this one. I don’t know that I can even recommend it. As I told the kiddo, I can’t unsee that. I don’t know that I can properly describe it even. It was a fucking trip.
Let’s just say if you have the right combination of the things, you might appreciate this film. Though I’m not even sure “appreciate” is the right word here. Maybe you don’t appreciate it as much as you arecompelled to see it through to the end because of morbid curiosity.
Here is what I feel one needs if they are to embark on the strange odyssey that is “Midsommar”:
A good block of time. Not that it’s the longest film ever; it’s just that we felt refreshed by the couple of breaks we took throughout the viewing. It’s that intense.
Patience. Much of the first half is, while tragic, very slooooowww moving.
Enthusiasm (or at least a heaping dose of tolerance) for the macabre.
A fascination with human psychology.
No one under 18 (or maybe 21?) in attendance.
A strong stomach and/or a willingness to avert your eyes PRN.
Willingness to hear more Swedish folk songs than you can imagine.
A sense of open-minded curiosity. Morbid works too, as mentioned above.
If you happen to be a fan of MST3K, you may want to consider not taking this film too seriously by making it a game with your friends. You know, the ones you can have a high old time playing “Cards Against Humanity” with.
If you have seen this film, please do me a solid and share your feedback in the comments. I would love to dish (no meat tarts though please) about this with someone!
Hubs and I are back from our trip to Washington DC now.
What I didn’t do
In case you were wondering, no, I did not find myself swept up in a crowd of protesters demanding impeachment for our Bullshitter-in-Chief.
We did not make it to the charming Mrs. K’s Toll House for dinner. The only option for reservations for the night we wanted to dine there was 7 p.m. and that is just too late for supper for the two of us. Next year, we told ourselves, we will plan ahead to ensure we get a table there at a reasonable hour.
What I did do.
While Hubs was busy with work meetings, I embraced my lazy side relaxed. As in, woke up when I woke up. No alarms were set. Took my sweet time getting ready for the day. Indulged in some writing and reading. Caught some morning tv while sitting on our king-sized bed. Probably consumed too much HGTV.
I also talked to strangers.
One morning after breakfast, I chatted with a red-headed woman, her husband and probably 21 year old daughter on the one working elevator. I saw they were heading to the 9th floor, just like me, so I struck up a conversation. Asked them if they were here on vacation. Woman said they just came to see a concert the previous night and are heading home that day. The concert was “The Cult” (an 80’s band, the woman told me; despite being a teenager in the 80’s I’m not familiar with their music) and “Spirit Animal” which she and her daughter just started getting into. I got so lost in the conversation that I almost followed them to their room. It was an “Ope, wrong way!” sort of moment.
I’m guessing they were from New York or New Jersey based on the woman’s accent. I wondered if they drove here or flew. I wondered if this quick trip was planned months and months ago or if it was maybe more spontaneous, like last week. Maybe the daughter was online and happened to see that “Spirit Animal” (she was wearing their shirt) was on tour in DC last night. Maybe she showed her mom a video of one of their songs and mom said “let’s do it!” and off they went to share this experience together. I think they have a close relationship. I hope they appreciate it, because the fact is many people don’t share any closeness with their adult children.
While in line at Burlington Coat Company, a hispanic woman showed me a package of lotions and body sprays she had purchased. She said she was going to break them up and re-package them for 4 people. I told her that was a smart idea. She noticed right before she was going to check out there were holiday gift bags hanging on racks for purchase. She briefly considered it then said “no, I’ll get those at the Dollar Store”. I told her that’s what I would do. She thanked me.
Later, while shopping again (this time at Marshall’s), I was behind a middle aged black man in a leather newsboy cap. He asked the cashier if the color of the winter coat he was about to purchase was blue or black. He said he’s colorblind. I piped up and said I often couldn’t tell the difference between navy and black too; however this coat was definitely navy blue. He went on with his purchase and a couple of moments later, asked me if the gray towels he was going to buy were gray. I told him that they indeed were.
The art I saw
One of the days I was there, I took the Metro into DC to do some exploring. I found myself looking at a lot of art. I don’t think I fully realized just how much I appreciate art until this day.
I snapped pictures of the pieces that I especially appreciated. The ones that made me think. The ones that drew me in. Here’s a few samples:
I also visited the National Portrait Gallery, enjoyed a delicious burger and beer at Dogfish Head Brewery with Hubs and our friends John and David, and visited The National Museum of Women in the Arts, where I was awed by an exhibit from Judy Chicago entitled which depicted Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief. Click this link for more info if you are so inclined: https://washington.org/event/judy-chicago-end-meditation-death-and-extinction It was absolutely stunning and emotionally moving. I’d share picture of it, but photography was not allowed at that exhibit.
The most important “take away” for me from this trip to our nation’s capital is that I must return there next December, as, thankfully, this is an annual work trip for him.
November is a special month for me. It’s been that way for me for years now but I’m only now starting to appreciate it.
First off, it’s the month both my mom and sister were born. So I have people I love to celebrate and honor.
Then there’s the crisp fall air and pretty blue skies here in Colorado mixed in with the golden and rust hues of the trees. There’s gaining an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time.
And the new clothes. Cozy sweaters and leggings. Fun boots to wear.
And Thanksgiving this year is right at the end of the month. The perfect holiday, in my opinion. No expectation of gifts or the shopping for them that stresses me out. I’ve always enjoyed my Thanksgivings, though none of them end up being the same.
There was the Thanksgiving when Hubs and I were new parents living in Lubbock, Texas. We did not have the funds to travel to Minnesota to be with our families, so we made the best of it by hosting a lasagna dinner (I had yet to make a Thanksgiving feast on my own at that time in my life) for new friends Hubs made in grad school.
There was last year, when we opted to stay put in Colorado and got invited to church friends home for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner that included the bonus of lively conversations.
This year, Hubs and I are flying our two adult spawn and one grandchild out to Colorado to spend an extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend with us. I will massively enjoy the planning aspect of it (as a medium recently told me, I’m a “chip off the old block” because my mom was a compulsive yet very talented planner Of. All. The. Events.).
For my small and beloved family, I will be making homemade comfort food (in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. Yes, I said Friday-because I think Black Friday should suck it). I will be choosing an array of family oriented “feel good” movies for us to enjoy. I will be determining games we can play together that interest all ages, from 5 to 52. I will be reserving tickets to a movie or live show that we can all enjoy together.
Note to self: I will keep it together if any of these plans go kaflooey on me. Appreciating that we are all together in one place for this specific and relatively short period of time will be my focus. Like Clark Griswold taught me.
This song will be shared. Because it’s the song that I imagine will play at the end of the movie of my life (yes, I have a rich fantasy life). Accompanied of course with images of my beautiful family, which will have expanded by that time in probably unexpected ways. The setting will be our dream home/cabin in the woods on a lake in Wisconsin with plenty of windows, a stone fireplace, and a couple of happy canines.
A few weeks ago, I joined a new Facebook group. I’m not calling it out by name because many of the things said in this group are quite personal and I want to respect that. I’m even going to avoid giving the basic stats of who is in this group, as a matter of fact.
So in this group, there was a thread I found really interesting. It was prompted by this post. I enjoyed following the thread that ensued and started thinking about the specific things I myself don’t do. It was a challenge for me, as I’ve been so focused these days about what I “do” do (and writing blog posts about that). So I decided to mix things up a bit for today’s post.
Here’s what I came up with:
Things I don’t do (that I’m probably supposed to, according to societal norms of white Gen X ish middle aged females, with a few random “dont’s”mixed in for shits and giggles):
I don’t exercise on purpose.
I don’t get manicures.
I don’t clip coupons.
I don’t sew. That’s Hubs’ forte.
I don’t clean up dog puke. Again, Hubs’ forte.
I don’t have my work email linked to my cell phone.
I don’t have my very own car to drive. Hubs and I share one and I’m cool with that.
I don’t put a strict limit on my daily carb intake.
I don’t scrapbook.
I don’t wear Spanx.
I don’t drink decaf. Fully loaded, dark roasted coffee is my jam.
I don’t cook foods for my loved ones that I don’t like to eat.
I don’t poop in the presence of Hubs.
I don’t (and won’t) throw my family members or friends “under the bus” with my blog posts. They deserve my loyalty and respect.
Now, you may have noticed that there is little explaining on my above list. That’s because I think it’s a shame that we, as women in this world, due to largely manufactured societal pressures which are reinforced in a bajillion ways on the daily (the “perfect” photos of your Facebook friends, commercials on t.v., magazine articles, etc.), feel guilty for not doing the things we’re “supposed” to do. I think we need to cut that shit out. Who’s with me?
For the love of God, people, please add a few of your “dont’s” in the comments!
Right now, life is very good for me and mine. I love my life here with Hubs and Radar in Colorado. I love my job. I’m excited about the opportunities it presents to me.
I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to these past couple of weeks, however (though I did manage to finally re-vamp my About page). I’ve been busy “doing” instead of writing; taking care of business rather than simply “being”. This is on account of me being left to my own devices with Hubs having to be out of town for work more often and my compulsion to stay on top of all the social planning that comes with the looming Thanksmissween holidays.
Speaking of which, Halloween is coming up next. Just 15 more days. I’ve been consumed with figuring out costumes for the two of us and Radar. And planning a Halloween potluck costume contest extravaganza for work. I’ve got a freaking awesome costume figured out for myself, btw. If it turns out the way I envision, I will surely post a pic or two in an upcoming blog post.
Radar is the best boy ever. We have totally bonded with him. He is so very smart. Two Sundays ago, this dog that started as a raving lunatic in beginner obedience training at PetSmart graduated from “Intermediate” obedience training, as a matter of fact. We plan to move on to “Advanced” obedience training in 2020. I’ve been tempted to write more posts about him, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best path for me right now. So instead, I’ll share recent pics of him to get it out of my system:
While Hubs was off doing his work stuff in another state, I did take a little “me” time and watched an amazing movie on Netflix: “Bathtubs Over Broadway”. I seriously could write a whole post about each and every detail I adored about this movie, but instead I’ll just give you a quick summary:
It’s a documentary by Steve Young, a former writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He happens upon industrial show tune albums, created between the late 50’s and 80’s for big company’s sales conventions, which were used for bits on the show. He uncovers this totally unknown-to-the-general public genre of music and essentially becomes obsessed with it. He becomes a rabid collector of these albums, making friends with other collectors along the way. He meets and has lovely interviews with some of the composers, writers, producers, and performers of these industrial show tune albums.
Steve’s story inspired me on several levels. Here he is, pushing 50 and about to enter a new phase of his life, as this was at the end of the run of “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He pursues this very specific, odd genre of musical entertainment out of a sense of sheer wonder and curiosity, like a dog with a Kong toy. In the end, he proudly displays his “freak flag” with this pursuit and shares the all the wonderfulness of it with the world through this documentary.
I think I ought to add this song to my “Soul Song” playlist ASAP!
So tell me, friends, how are you rocking and rolling right now?
Well, you all knew when Hubs and I adopted Radar, you were going to hear all about it, right?
We’ve had him now for almost 3 months and so far, so good. Mostly.
On the bright side, he has brought us a lot of joy. Ironically, the wonderful dog trainer who we see every Sunday is also named Joy. I like to think that is no coincidence. Radar is a happy-go-lucky, people loving pup. Just a little rough around the edges.
Radar is also the most distractible dog I’ve ever seen. For now, I think that can be blamed on him still being a puppy (the initial guess was he was 18 months old when we adopted him, and according to Hubs, German Shepherds do not fully mature until they are 2 or even 3). Pre-Radar I took great delight in seeing the bunnies when I was out walking around the hood. Now they are my nemesis. On account of the fact that Radar either wants to play with them or wants to eat them. He demonstrates this desire by pulling as hard as he can on the leash that I’m holding so tight my fingernails are making imprints into my palms. The upside to this is that he has increased the speed of my reflexes, as I’m usually able to tell him “leave it!” and yank him to the other side where the bunny is no longer in his line of sight. Of course, he isn’t dumb and he is very obsessive, so there’s usually a few quick turns back so he can give that bunny the evil eye. Then we carry on, at least until the next bunny appears. Fucking stupid bunnies.
Contemplating my next purchase…
I won’t even go into the trauma I experienced the other night, whilst taking the little shit best dog ever out to take a shit. Bottom line, two smaller dogs invaded his space came into our shared front “yard” (we live in a townhome community, people) with their owner and he couldn’t resist bolting toward them, tail wagging, ready to mix it up (undetermined if that was in a good way or not, it’s all a blur to me now). I acquired a banged up knee and a bruised dog mommy ego. Tears were shed.
I may have to take my neighbor, Robin, up on her offer of a dab of CBD infused peanut butter for Radar’s Kong toy. She said it works wonders for her two doggies. Though Hubs refers to it as “snake oil”, so that may be a hard sell.
Radar has gifted me with flashbacks to when our spawn were toddlers as well.
Just like when my kids were little, I can be made to feel bad about my parenting skills. Like when Radar got himself kicked out of the group beginner obedience training at PetSmart. It was our second time there, and while we had high hopes that the furry devil was going to be at least somewhat calmer this time, that is not how it went down. He pulled Hubs and I around. He barked in his loud and scary (to those not used to it) way, which echoes in the store. He was a very distracted distraction for the other canine participants. So that was a bust, causing me to feel that “mommy guilt” that I had shed 10+ years ago.
We are now doing one on one training and this has been quite helpful as well as enlightening. Thank the good Lord for Joy!
When our spawn were toddlers, pooping in the approved receptacle (that would be the toilet, if you wondered), Hubs and I get so excited when this dog poops in the proper receptacle (that would be outside, people). We have figured out that within 7 minutes of chowing down his food, he must have a bowel movement. If we foolishly miss the opportunity to take him out, he will evacuate his bowels on the floor. Lucky for us, he now only does this on the tile floor directly in front of our front door, so clean up is easy! Not like we want to clean up poop of course. But at least it’s not on the carpet. We take our wins when we can.
How about the rest of you dog ‘rents? Trying out some new lingo here based on Spawn #2’s millenial vernacular. How are things going? Please share pics of your furry companions in the comments!
P.S. Funny story that I remembered after watching this sweet music video….when grandson Christopher was about 2, we would ask him “What does the doggy say”? His response: heavy panting. Ha ha!!