reality check

Today I went to the chiropractor to get a massage. Because massages are the best thing ever. Besides puppies and ice cream.

I was quickly impressed with my miracle masseuse. In a mere 30 minute session she provided a whopping dose of perspective I was thankful to receive.

Long story short: she’s a 22 year old single mom raising a four year old and a five year old while working two jobs. In the past two years her mother died, her brother went to prison and her sister fled to Mexico to follow a deported husband. You can’t make this stuff up.

Despite what I took to be a lot of stress and burdens, she was cheerful and optimistic. She didn’t utter anything resembling a complaint and instead talked about how much she liked her jobs and what she was saving up for to buy her kids this Christmas.

The office strictly prohibits tips since it’s not allowed in medical practices, so I plan to stop by her other job this week with a random gift. She deserves it.



puppy love

This Thanksgiving we boarded the dogs at the PetSmart PetsHotel. They’ve stayed there several times, and this is the only place I trust to take care of the furry four leggeds.

I experience extreme guilt leaving them there. I get incredibly nervous and talk to the employees too much, while giving unnecessary instructions. All tactics to avoid tears. Basically, I become one of the crazy people I would poke fun at when I still worked for PetSmart. It’s not pretty.

But – if you’ve ever boarded your dogs, or done anything undesirable to them, you’ve learned that they’re a strangely forgiving species.

Feed them the same food daily for life? No resentment.

Leave them in a crate for 10-hour stretches? No grudges.

Dress them in absurd Halloween costumes for your own amusement? No sulking.

No matter what we put them through, they love us unconditionally.

Nevertheless, I’m always puzzled that they’re so overjoyed to see us after we’ve ditched them in a small glass cell for a weekend, (that I view as the most stressful treatment imaginable). Every time we pick them up they’re absolutely gleeful and ready to kiss attack us.

Which has led me to develop a new theory:

When we drop the dogs off at the PetsHotel and disappear for several days, they think that WE are the ones who’ve been abducted and are missing, while they hang out with all their doggie friends and eat doggie ice cream. They feel terrible that their human counterparts have been taken and missed all the fun, while they get a staycation. They feel bad for us. I can tell. And with this theory I can distinguish a large portion of my pet parent guilt.

Since Last Thanksgiving


Got engaged.

Completed a year of my MBA program.

Had a sibling move to Singapore.

Started a new job.

Went shopping too often.

Planned a wedding.

Ran a half marathon.

Donated my hair.

Went to a pet blogger conference in Ohio.

Got robbed by Mexican police.

Was in one wedding and attended three.

Watched one of my best friends become a mom.

Toured wine country.

Addressed a terrifying roof rat issue.

Recovered an escaping dog four times.

Learned what an escrow account is. And why I owe money to mine.

Developed stronger faith.

Spent the night in the E.R. while Jim lost his appendix.

Have tried to pick my battles and let more go.

Experimented with vegetarianism.

Road tripped to San Diego and Vegas.

Have been learning to count my blessings and understand what I’m really thankful for.

Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles (and a kitten)

I’ve wanted to try this place forever and finally got the chance yesterday. I wasn’t expecting much more than an interesting experience, but the food and service were fantastic. Probably the best waffle I’ve ever had, and the fried chicken was incredible. I don’t think we’ll be hungry for several days after consuming a week’s worth of calories in one sitting. But it was worth it.

When we went to leave we discovered a newborn kitten wandering blindly through the parking lot. I am not a cat person, at all, but my heartstrings were aching for this little thing – it was barely the size of my hand. I sighed, and went to leave, but then realized I’d probably cry later if I kept thinking about it out in the cold. I made Jim pull over as I called the Humane Society.

I (foolishly) thought that they’d be able to come pick it up, but I guess they don’t offer roadside assistance. They told us to take it to a local emergency vet who would treat it free of charge. I told the operator that this cat looked so awful I was afraid to come into contact with it, to which she replied, “the only thing you could catch from it is ringworm.” I’m not eager to catch ringworm. I also wasn’t really in the market for rabies.

Nevertheless, I grabbed a towel and swooped up the kitten. It looked like it’s eyes had been gouged out and was pretty disgusting. The occasional mew was the only way we knew it was still alive. We ended up taking it all the way to the south Phoenix Humane Society where a vet tech was immediately paged.

His reaction: “OH MY WORD!” He said it might still have eyes but had such a bad infection he couldn’t tell. Shudder.

It was bad. I don’t know if the little thing will make it, but karma can’t help but reward us on this one. Warning, photos below are pretty gross.


A few weeks ago we went to Ben and Katie’s house for a birthday party. I was a big fan of the refreshments – smore’s and hot cider. Made for a perfect fall night, which is hard to come by in Arizona. I guess I must’ve raved about the experience a bit much. Because when I came home from work yesterday, Jim had built a firepit in our backyard, so that I could have smore’s ANY TIME I WANT!

Happy girl.

Happy not only for the smore’s accessibility, but also for the fact that neither human nor dog was harmed by the large flames in our backyard.

Dessert is the most important part of any meal. Actually, it’s really the most important part of life. But just so you know I don’t exist on processed sugar alone, here’s what Jim made for dinner…complete with a homemade marinade.

And yes, apparently I’m eating meat again.


Marijuana is apparently now legal for medical use in Arizona. Huh. Didn’t see that coming from this state.

Here’s an excerpt from CNN on 11/14/10:

By a narrow margin of about 4,300 votes, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana, state election officials said Sunday.

With all precincts reporting, the “yes” votes on Proposition 203 have 50.1 percent of the vote to 49.8 percent of “no” votes, according to unofficial results posted on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website. More than 1.6 million votes were cast.

I’m not going to get on a soapbox here, but 4,300 votes is not.a.lot. Not at all! That’s madness!

It hurts my heart (and head) that more people don’t vote. I have a hard time with it. But for that, there’s the serenity prayer…

Also in pot news, there was the Harry POTter premier tonight. Jim and I aren’t huge fans, but we dabble. I had a colleague offer us free passes to an early screening tonight, complete with a $20 allowance for junk food. We couldn’t say no. We really like junk food.

The movie was good. You’ll really like it if you’re into wizardry and demonic serpent monsters.

The best part was our free goodie bags – complete with Harry Potter scarves and glasses. See below:

Habitat for Humanity

…was a good time. Despite waking up at 6 on a Saturday morning and driving completely across town. It was good to wear a hard hat again. (Yes, again, I did work for a mining corporation).

I learned how to shingle a roof.

And use a nail gun.

And not walk backwards on a roof.

It felt really good to give back and physically see the difference you can make.