Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

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What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently and I’m mad at him for as many reasons as that state has lakes.

In truth, I never really needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me, and if I’m being REALLY honest that was sort of a crappy move on my part, but I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did. In more ways than one. (It wasn’t just the mirror.)

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone.”Yes,” he agreed, “because they can count on you.” #aww

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just doesn’t feel like real life.

Real life, to me, involves situations like: Can we hang my faux deer head without killing each other even though we’re both covered in the gum we accidentally melted with the hairdryer? (Obviously that example is too specific to be fictional.)

My parents practically filed for divorce every time they put up wallpaper or got in a car to go anywhere that involved a map, so I’m not trying to subject any future hypothetical children to that noise.

I’m not saying I have anything against dinner (I’m actually quite fond of it), but I guess what I’m saying is: the other stuff matters more to me.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

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Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.

Of Cancer and Gift Baskets (Or Smiles and Tears)

Friday my monster had surgery.

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His post-op lampshade situation was short-lived, however.

He figured out how to remove it because he is a canine criminal mastermind — even when he’s high on morphine.

I am supposed to find out this week if his cancer spread and if we’re facing the beginning of a battle — or the end. I try to put it out of my head as much as I can because I don’t want to waste time worrying until I know it’s necessary, but prognosis aside, his three big incisions break my heart. I almost cried when I saw them.

Full confession: I love my dog more than I love most people, so this isn’t easy. Maybe that makes me a misanthrope, or maybe he’s just a very special beast. Either way, I have been loathe to leave my house since bringing him home from the vet. I’ve turned down dinner invitations, hiking offers, and I bailed on book club. I just want to be home so I can watch him sleep.

Here he is crushing Cee Cee the Cancer Lion during a recent nap.

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Die Cancer Lion! Die!

I bought Cee Cee for him the day his initial needle biopsies came back positive for cancer. I cried so much that night that I woke up the next morning with my right eye nearly swollen shut. I had to ice my eyelids before I went to work. (It wasn’t awesome.)

I did manage to drag myself away from my patient this weekend to make an appearance at a baby shower, albeit, a brief appearance.

I probably spent more time putting together the gift basket than I spent at the shower, but I did what I could.

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I like presents.

That’s why I get carried away making them look pretty for people.

Like this one.

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Even boys need bows on their birthday. Fact.

Presents help me deal — and they help me express things I sometimes fail to communicate properly.

That’s also why I cook for people. It’s my way of saying I care about them even if I’m lousy at saying it sometimes.

Okay, enough rambling. I’m off to blast some Matoma remixes and make myself a quiche because I need to show myself a little love via my mouth now.

 

 

Weekend Round Up (Or Kygo and Persimmons, Oh My!)

It’s technically the weekend even though I’ve worked every day. Don’t worry: I have still managed to squeeze in some fun, though.

Friday I saw Kygo with Lola at the Hollywood Bowl.

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It was beyond.

Seal came on stage for a cover of Sexual Healing.

And there were fireworks.

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Tons of fireworks.

Saturday was all about sushi and football.

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As every Saturday should be.

And today I went to the Mar Vista Farmers Market in search of persimmons for a Halloween Party appetizer.

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My search ended in victory.

It’s persimmon season in LA, and I couldn’t be happier. I plan to slice these beauties and serve them with basil, mozzarella, and a balsamic reduction. It’s like Caprese but better because persimmons > tomatoes.

The Mar Vista Farmers market is near a Mexican grocery store that sells my favorite salsa verde in LA, so I try to make it a two for one when I head over there.

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Plus they have goblins. 

And free dog sitting.

I’ve never tried bringing my dog, though. I’m pretty sure Albus would figure out how to break out of the enclosure and head straight for the wild seafood.

Or the goblins.

He’s a magical dog.

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With big magical paws.

Okay, I’m off to watch the Packers before I head to work, but before I go I’ll leave you with a Kygo track because I’m generous like that.

It’s a remix of The Weekend’s Often, and I love it.

My Psychedelic Menagerie (Or I Want to Redecorate My Living Room)

My living room evolved over time and ended up kinda loud. There are a lot of birds and bright colors. Basically, it looks like a psychedelic menagerie of sorts.

Every time I try to photograph the elements, I end up with a dog in the picture.

Living room decor from Dogs Dishes and Decor

I was trying to take a picture of the entertainment center. Pay no mind to the crooked, off-center deer head. That situation was remedied with a hammer, a hairdryer, and a pack of gum. No, really….

Antropologie run on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This was an attempt at photographing my rug. It looks like my spaniel is using it as a Slip ‘N Slide.

Anthropologie Lamp Shade on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I was trying to take a picture of my lampshade, and my dog sat up. (I ultimately put it on a different lamp, but it started here.)

Anthropologie pillow on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Here’s my throw pillow up close. Albus is very into it.

You can sort of see the elements in context from this angle:

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Again, a dog in the photo. I think he’s angry he doesn’t receive royalties for appearing on my blog.

And this angle:

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I am in desperate need of a new couch, but I have been putting off the purchase. I also need to reposition the Beymer prints, but I have one more to frame, so I haven’t bothered….

So, anyway, that’s my living room. And even though it’s not quite done, I find myself restless and wanting to redecorate. Not because I don’t like the room but because I also like these rooms:

Mary McDonald on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I mean can we talk about this wall by Mary McDonald? Source

Caitlin Wilson Anchors Away

Remember when I said I was obsessed with Caitlin Wilson? Well, these are her Anchors Away pillows and I need them in my life. Source

Annsley Interiors on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I live for this room by Annsley Interiors. Source

I’m thinking of moving toward the beach in the next year. Maybe that would be a good excuse to overhaul my aesthetic.

What do you think?

Let’s Show Sandy We’re Stronger Than She Is (Or How You Can Help)

Social media sites have been fascinating microcosms for the minds of my east coast friends this week. From Monday night’s Facebook cries for more Makers Mark on the Upper West Side to Instagram photos of tiny dogs dripping with water, the mood was more jovial in the beginning. When the sun came up on Tuesday and Sandy’s devastation was evident by the light of day, the collective mood on my social media platforms shifted somewhat.

One friend in New Jersey posted: “The Namaste Wagon has drowned.” (Translation, in case you don’t speak yoga teacher: “My car is filled with water.”)

By Wednesday, things were starting to get a bit desperate. “At this point I’d trade my designer handbags for a generator. It’s 60 degrees in here.”

But throughout it all, I have seen kindness and generosity displayed by my friends. “We have fresh water and heat in Williamsburg [Brooklyn]. Come by if you need a shower or a place to sleep.”

Or as one doctor friend in Manhattan put it, “Guys, stop thanking ME for all I’m doing and go buy a Con Ed [utility] worker a cup of coffee. They’re outside in this.”

Gradually, more and more are giving thanks for newly restored heat (“I love electricity so much. It is so sleek.”), asking for information about ferries, and even sharing opportunities for volunteers to carry supplies to fellow New Yorkers trapped in high rises.

And while there are reports of looting, there are some political pundits finger pointing, and there is the brewing controversy over the New York Marathon, I’m choosing to focus on the positive. And I’m looking for ways I can help.

Even though I’m on the other coast and I can’t carry supplies or offer warm water, that doesn’t mean I’m powerless. And neither are you. That’s why I made an emergency donation to the Humane Society this morning, and I made an appointment to donate blood to the Red Cross on Monday.

I made my first donation to the Humane Society in 2005. It was images of helpless animals trapped on roofs in Katrina’s horrific aftermath that turned the tide for me, and I have remained a faithful donor since then.

It’s estimated that 250,000 pets died during Hurricane Katrina. These lucky pups were rescued by a local police officer. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

This poor dog was abandoned and tied to a freeway during Hurricane Katrina. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Though we have learned a lot since Katrina, and the loss of life — human or animal — is not expected to come near that of 2005, there are still many in need of our help.

This heroic rescue worker saves one of Sandy’s furry victims. Photo courtesy of Babble.

These Sandy victims are comforting each other after the storm. I think of my bubba when I see this picture and I get so sad I want to hug my dogs all day long. Doesn’t he look like Albus? Photo courtesy of American Red Cross via Babble.

The ASPCA is a wonderful organization as well, and they’re also doing a lot to benefit the animal community in need. You can read more about it here. Or make a donation here.

Whether your heart calls you to make donations to alleviate human suffering or animal suffering, both are absolutely worthy of your support.

The American Red Cross has been heralded as an incredibly efficient organization and one that brings extraordinary relief to devastated areas. Even if you cannot afford to make a monetary donation, you can help their relief efforts by donating blood. I mean, we all have that, right? Growing up, my dad donated regularly. I remember him coming home with the band-aid covered cotton ball on his arm about once a month. He may not have donated a lot of money to charities, particularly when I was young and money was tight, but he gave what he could: he gave blood. Since I’m financially backing the pups, I’m giving the people my blood. Seems fair.

If you want to read about other opportunities to help animals, the Petfinder blog has a comprehensive list here.

We’re Freezing Our Assets and Our Dinner (Or I Have a Freezer Fetish)

I recently registered for a financial planning course offered at my church. Though I have grown up a lot since my 20s, there’s still room for improvement. Plus, there’s a lot of instability in my industry, and I want to make sure I’m preparing myself properly for it.

Also, Albus was concerned we were spending too much money on lift tickets and not saving enough for retirement.

I think we need to talk about your mutual funds.

My parents are beyond fiscally responsible, and they could have taught me most of what I’m learning in the course, but they’re not patient people. And impatience? It runs in families… so I’m as bad as they are.

So, that’s why I’m paying Dave Ramsey to teach me the things my parents could — because his course was cheaper than the family therapist we’d need if my parents taught me this stuff. (See? I’m already being financially responsible.)

I’m learning all kinds of things I sort of already knew, but the difference is I’m actually putting them into practice willingly. And Albus has gotten into it.

He’s a financial gangster.

Obviously, I need a budget that includes a savings fund, but I need one that doesn’t make me feel too deprived either. I’m not capable of eating the same entrée night after night, but I also can’t justify wasting money by throwing away leftovers.

I’m still working out the kinks in my budget to balance quality of life in the moment with quality of life in the future, but I’m already seeing some great results from my efforts.

One way I’m working around the variety versus spending dilemma in the food category is to make dishes I can freeze. That way if I find myself running low on money in that section of the budget I have tons of options in my freezer that will satisfy my need for variety. I keep the containers small so they represent single serving sizes for a single girl like me. (Not only does freezing make financial sense, but it’s also super helpful to have meals made ahead if you work long hours and come home ravenous like I often do.)

My freezer situation.

My labeling system was inspired by my grandmother. She has a crazy enormous freezer in her basement that is filled with everything from frozen vegetable stock to pot roasts. (Don’t they all? I think that might be a requirement for being a grandmother, actually.) And everything is labeled with masking tape and a sharpie. Personally, I went the painters tape route because I like it better.

So, the freezer is one tool that keeps me on track financially. Menu planning is another. Look out for a post on that soon.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to put on my Ravenclaw pin, grab my owl, and hit up some bars for Halloween in my Hogwarts garb.

Once I get my owl away from the candy gummies, that is….

And, yes, I have a category in my budget for barhopping….

Baseball and The Evolution of My Bookshelf (Or I Paint an Old Piece of Furniture)

When I was a kid, I remember my dad listening to Detroit Tigers games on the radio while he was tinkering with the lawnmower or whatever. Today, I’m bringing back the radio. Sort of.

See, TBS has made the sound scheduling decision to air reruns of The Mentalist instead of game four of the ALCS. Reruns. Instead of a pivotal game in the American League Championship Series. Since I can’t miss the game, my life has been reduced to listening to ESPN radio online while I write my post about my bookshelf redesign.

So anyway, let’s talk about the bookshelf instead of TBS. I’m not sure I’m done tweaking the accessories, but here’s the evolution of the piece….

The bookshelf project began with a bargain purchase at the National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop. And a power sander.

After painting the piece, I tinkered for absolutely forever with the accessories.

I tried a combination of books and white pieces, but decided I hated the books. Also, Albus broke the gravy boat when he investigated it with his face.

This gravy boat talk bores me, lady.

So, after brooming the books, I tried a different arrangement of white dishes, minus the broken gravy boat.

But I didn’t like this either. It looked like my Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers were getting married or something.

So, then I tried this.

And I THINK I like this. For now.

But I still don’t know what to do with the TOP of the bookshelf. I mean, I think this is too busy looking.

And I know I’m not getting any points for my floral arrangement here. They were clippings the gardeners left on the sidewalk, and I thought they were too pretty to go in the trash.

So anyway, that’s where I am right now. Sort of liking the shelves. Sort of stumped with the items on the top issue.

And now I need to deal with my bedroom chalkboard wall redesign. More on that later.