How I sleep.

I slumber beneath 150 pounds of mixed-breed dog. You?

Jim snapped this when he got home last night, I guess I was the only one who slept through it.

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When I worked in the pet specialty industry, our marketing department categorized shoppers into groups based on various habits and spending. A key indicator of a top-tier customer was allowing your dog to sleep in your bed.

*This does not happen every night. Only when Jim works late. Or if I get cold.

**I wash my bedding and my dogs frequently.

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A violet-tinged St. Patrick’s Day

When I was little, I was fascinated by the idea of color blindness. It seemed absolutely bananas that what I saw as green, could be purple to someone else. PURPLE!

I was troubled by the idea of purple lawns and a violet-tinged St. Patrick’s Day, but what really got my goat* was considering that my sense of normal might not be the right normal. Meaning, there was a chance that everyone else could see colors the right way, and I was the lone weirdo who’d go my entire life wondering how blueberries got their name.

*safe expression to use when teetering close to 30

Fortunately for me and optometrists wordwide, I outgrew this obsessive fear by adolescence. But the idea that my perception of what’s normal could be off-base has always remained.

For example, I think it’s perfectly normal to have long, deeply personal conversations with strangers.

I also believe that driving in reverse is incredibly difficult, scrambled eggs are gross without ketchup and that everyone should have a dog.

Sometimes, I’m prompted to reassess whether these guiding principles of life do, in fact, apply to all humans. Other times, it’s way more enjoyable to just entertain the notion that everyone’s entitled to define her own kind of normal.

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If I scripted my own notoriety.

My boss sent me this article last month and the last section of questions really struck me. Totally normal thoughts from a person I’ve barely heard of, yet I was fascinated.

Maybe I’m just nosy (pretty convinced this is why I love weeding through thrift stores) but maybe it’s because as a writer, there’s often an innate desire to share your thoughts, so it’s only natural for other writers to choose to read them.

After I read it, I decided that maybe I’d like to be a little bit famous one day. Not recognizable-on-the-street famous, and definitely not can’t-leave-home-without-makeup famous, because that sounds awful.

If I scripted my own notoriety, I’d want to be known for my profound advice and witty observations, but only to the extent that people would read my responses to arbitrary questions in magazine interviews. And maybe, young women would write down inspiring bits of statements I’d made, and tack them to their cubicle half-walls. And miscellaneous strangers would follow me on Instagram (still safe, since I’m not easily recognized, see above).

I think that’s the extent of fame I would be able to enjoy and handle.

In the meantime, here are my own responses to some of the questions Seth so artfully answered:

A few questions just for the fun of it …

Who (or what) has been your greatest teacher?

My parents. Oh my g-d my parents, hands down. They are the smartest and most loving people I know. My dad’s instilled in me the real meaning of maintaining a good perspective in life; my mom taught me, from a young age, what it means to be kind to everyone you meet, and to always follow your passions.

What’s your biggest aggravation or pet peeve at the moment (writing related or otherwise)?

People who can’t efficiently move through TSA at the airport, bad morning DJs and Christian Mingle commercials.

Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.

Gabriel Garcia Marques.

Do you have a motto, credo or general slogan that you live by?

It’s all relative. My brother has this tattoo and I’ll get my own version one day. It’s the only truth in life that will get you through every challenge.

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

Besides attending a Red Sox World Series game? Well. I suppose being happy most of the time in an absolutely mad world is success.

If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go (cost or responsibilities are no object)?

Singapore, to see my bro and sis-in-law.

What would you like to do more of in the coming year?

Writing.

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The Deuce is Loose: Revisited

One of my favorite and most humiliating blog posts is from four years ago, to the day. I couldn’t resist reviving it, even if it makes me gag.

The Deuce is Loose – March 18, 2009

Our current living situation is the only place that our dog, Auron, has ever lived without a yard and doggie door. Because he’s always been let outside to go to the bathroom on a lawn, he was largely befuddled when the only thing we had to offer him was a cement patio. He refuses to go to the bathroom on walks, and instead, will only go on our back patio.

For the 10 months we’ve lived in the condo, we’ve just let him do this and picked up his ‘gifts’ on a weekly basis. It figures that we made it up to the last three weeks of living here for a neighbor to complain about pet waste, and force us into daily poop pick ups. Love those HOA’s.

This was all complicated further by adding another dog to the mix. Sure, it sounds crazy to get another dog when we have such limited space, but to me it was a strategic decision: Potty train puppy prior to living with brand new flooring. (Any excuse to get a puppy is a good excuse to get a puppy).

Enter Bruno.

When we adopted Bruno, he had a stomach bug that he promptly passed on to Auron. For several days last week, both dogs were having terrible stomach problems. If you’ve ever thought about how disgusting it would be to have a dog with diarrhea, imagine having two dogs with diarrhea. On your patio. Nothing pretty about it.

Last Friday morning I was ready to walk out the door to work when I realized that we had forgotten to pick up the dog poo outside. I set down my things to grab (what I used to think of as) the best tool known to man: the ‘Jaws’ poop scooper.

I was hastily picking up the crap, literally, and then grabbed the hose to wash off the cement. I held the scooper on one hand and the hose in the other. I even went as far as to screw on the high pressure nozzle on the hose to make certain that no passing nosy neighbor would see any evidence of pet waste.

My fatal flaw was not paying close enough attention to where I directed the stream of the hose. It only took a split second to have it accidently spray into the scoop, flinging wet fecal matter all over me. I wish my reaction had been video taped because it had to have been epic. I had dog diarrhea in my hair and eyes, all over my arms and clothing. I dropped the hose and fought off my gag reflex while making my way directly into the shower.

I can’t describe to you the foul smell that I am convinced is still on me, days later. I don’t know if I can ever wear that shirt again. Hell. I don’t know if I will ever use a hose again. I’m scarred. Who gets dog diarrhea in their eye?! Unacceptable. I judge myself.

After the initial shock wore off, the whole experience became hysterical to recount to all who would listen. Unfortunately, dramatic reenactments will not be performed due to the graphic nature of the incident.

one-hand wonder

It’s been three days since my surgery and the temporary loss of function of my right hand. I grossly underestimated how inconvenient this experience would be. Yep, pretty much thought I’d walk away with a band-aid and some Advil, not a huge wrapped appendage and pain meds that required showing a photo ID.

How am I typing, you ask? Slowly, with my left hand and the ring finger of my right hand. For some reason, this is the only finger I can type with painlessly.

Here are my initial observations on the experience.

Things that are unexpectedly challenging to do with a bum hand:

1. Washing my hair. Kind of hopeless.
2. Opening any type of jar, bottle, can or container.
3. Starting my car. Putting car in gear. Opening car door. Et al.
4. Laundry. I gave up.
5. Picking out produce. Opening those plastic bags is hard enough with three hands.

Things that are unexpectedly easy with one functional hand and one clumsy, bandaged hand:

1. Anything on an iPhone.
2. Eating a sandwich.
3. Vacuuming.
4. Administering canine ear infection meds.
5. Painting my nails.

I’d like to be clear that I am not feeling sorry for myself. Partially because I know this isn’t a big deal and I’ll be back to normal in a few weeks, and also because I did a Google-image search for ‘hand injury’ and it was disturbingly awful. This is small potatoes.

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a post-surgery cloud of medicated glory

One of my favorite things in the world is to watch puppies play and frolic like mad, and then suddenly, conk out and collapse into a deep sleep, mid-spaz. Then they’ll suddenly awaken and immediately go full-tilt again, until again succumbing to a catatonic slumber.

That’s pretty much been my pattern this week, sans frolicking.

Bear in mind: I’m hunt-and-peck typing this in a post-surgery cloud of medicated glory. Excuse typos and tangents.

The marathon started last Thursday, when I boarded at 6 p.m. flight to Chicago after work. I was accompanying an executive to a TV taping the next day, and by “accompanying,” I mean playing the glorified role of corporate handler. I fly coach and carry my own bags, if that sheds any light on my glamorous image.

We got into Chi-town around 10. After I picked my jaw up off the ground at the sight of SO MUCH SNOW, I headed to a hotel in the city.

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I enjoyed my hotel room immensely and wished I could’ve stayed in it for more than seven hours. But I digress.

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The taping the next day went smoothly, which is not always the case in these types of scenarios, but certainly appreciated. I watched the student interns with a mixture of sympathy and nostalgia. It wasn’t that long ago I was in their shoes. Or was it?

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I stayed a few extra days in Chicago to spend time with one of my best friends. Are there adequate words to explain how good it is to see an old friend? I don’t think so. All the corny analogies in the world can’t sum it up. And, she let me play interior designer and redo her living room.

I flew back to AZ and sunshine on Sunday afternoon and decided, after a hamburger, that Husband and I should go look at a house that came up for sale. Just because. And naturally we loved it. Our offer was in the next day.

It’s not looking like it wants us to own it, though, despite three counter offers. That’s ok – it’s the house’s loss.

Yesterday I had my second of many interviews as part of the process of joining the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s a long process, but an honor, and I can’t wait.

Then I took Bruno to the V-E-T. Furchild has an ear infection.

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In the midst of all of this, I realized that an articles I wrote was picked up by Huff Post. I did the happy dance.

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Then I received an email from the national bone marrow registry telling me I might be a match for a patient. I registered 11 years ago, in 2002, and knew the chances were slim I’d ever be a match for anyone, but lo and behold, it can happen. I followed up for an initial screening and it’ll be months before I know more (still a long shot) but my fingers are crossed. It would be my greatest honor to give someone the gift of health and a second chance. I would expect nothing less from strangers if I was sick or my loved ones needed a donor. Please think about joining.

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Last night I got a pedicure, because pedicures are important. And then I worked out. And then I made cookies. And watched Argo.

Today I had surgery on my wrist, watched a LOT of television and caught up with one of my oldest, bestest friends tonight on her birthday.

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