Sitting with possibility.

which way to go decision dilemma choice life tongue in cheek literal

I’ve found myself sitting between two life changes this spring. And also the realization that this is nothing new. I will always be who I am and it’s becoming obvious I’m a sucker for more, harder, higher or just plain different. I’ve been in a near constant state of transition since I graduated high school ten(!) years ago this June. Going big and going new and going crazy may be just what I do.

Currently, and for the past 2-3 months, I’ve been sitting at a fork in the road waiting to see which road presents itself among the land of opportunity. Trying not to force it. Trying not to stress it (at least not unnecessarily). And trying my very best to fully prepare for either outcome–knowing that one or both of my efforts will be wasted energy.

So what are these newly presented paths? The most likely one is grad school. Deep breath. A one year program to get my Master’s in Social Work. While working. With an internship. And havoc wreaked upon my family, our lives, my sanity. For 11 months…

The other option isn’t really an option. I don’t think. Usually. But sometimes a look or a comment or the mere reality of the situation has me feeling differently. So it’s an unknown. I’ve applied for I job I really, truly, believe I’m crazy unlikely to get, yet am uniquely qualified for. And the crazy unlikeliness of it has my feeling like if that were to happen, it would obviously be where I’m meant to be. And so I’d go there. Not even sure of how that would look.

I expect in the coming weeks this all will be sorted out rather quickly. But I’m in a weird spot here. I’ve been for awhile. Unable to fully commit or clearly foresee either possibility. But spending a lot of time making sure I’m fully prepared for both scenarios (applications, resumes, interviews, financial aid, orientations, schedules, etc.). I look forward to the resolution.

Though, to be quite honest, I’m fucking terrified for either to become reality.

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Make your own drama (shoe shopping)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who creates these situations for herself.

Spring has been in the air in Portland. And on the shelves at the mall for…a month or two now? I have a notoriously hard time finding shoes that fit–heels and ballet flats especially. Last year when I got a foot tattoo in January (genius!) I bought some cheapo leopard ballet flats from Payless and ended up wearing them and my one trusty pair of brown gladiator-style strappy sandals to work all summer. They’re now fairly beat up and I’m working more than ever. Need. More. Shoes. (always, right?)

The shoe that started it all (orange not available online)

Long story short(er), I hit a few stores last Saturday and fell for some orange ballet flats. I love orange accents, so the color was perfect but it was at Old Navy and I don’t trust their shoes at all, so I didn’t even try them on. I head home and I’ve got shoes on my brain without time to shop around (ah! first world problems!).

Thus, I’m madly online browsing most of the weekend and find the perfect shoe at a discounted price from Zappos. Free shipping and returns, here quick, yes. Love Zappos.

While waiting for that to come, I’m able to stop by and try the shoe I just ordered on–in a different color and for about $13 more. Shit, I need a half size larger. Not available on Zappos or in store. (meanwhile, I did pick up the cheap Old Navy ones just in case they beat the Lucky flats)

Another online browsing bender. Macy’s has the shoes discounted and another 25% off when you spend over $100. That’s okay, I need many shoes! Ha. Ha.

Lucky Emmie flats in mandarin

So both packages come and the smaller Zappos size ends up being perfect…but was $12 more than the Macy’s shoe (Zappos $47, Macy’s $35) and while you can exchange in-store this color is not available…blah blah blah. Ultimately I’m stressing and scheming over a $12 savings! Isn’t that the life of a deal hunter?! Gah.

Finally, do you think Zappos would notice if I sent back the same shoe in the wrong size? ;)

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Mabel: Our Malshi Puppy

8-week old maltese shih tzu dog pup black and white hypoallergenic no shed tiny teddy bear just leaving mom first petHave you ever, ever seen anything as adorable as the newest member of our little clan? This is Mabel Cutie (middle name picked by the five-year-old, obviously). Mabel is a Maltese-Shih tzu blend (both parents are full breeds) that came to us one week ago, as an eight week old.

We got a puppy? Um, what?!

Yeah, that’s pretty much still my reaction. Previously pet-less for our 6.5 year existence as a family, I always envisioned a more gradual foray into pet parenthood. And then this little girl happened. Already we can’t imagine life without her.

My better half has wanted a dog always. Somehow he got me to “agree” to a dog when we moved into out of the house we rented from my parents. I don’t remember making this agreement (I believe I allegedly made it like nine months pregnant), but there it stood. When Dot was 20 months we moved home to Portland and into a rental. With a huge, non-fenced yard. And I think we even agreed to no pets.

A big relief for this mama.

A year later we bought our first home. With a nice sized, fenced yard. The previous owners had a large dog (he did a number on the hardwoods and some of the molding). But I was in school and soonly pregnant and we were swamped.

No dog. Not even a cat.

You see, both of us (us being the parents) grew up with cats. Lots of cats. And while we liked them well enough, when it became our decision to have pets or not the amazingness of a pet hair-free household was something we really appreciated.

So we held out.

And added a new daughter instead of a pet. More than a fair trade, I say!

And this new little girl grew to be a serious animal lover. Her first birthday was puppy-themed. Her lovey is a stuffed dog named “Baboo”, the way she pronounced puppy around 12 months.

I began to want a pet for her.

Last spring we even went so far as to visit animal shelters looking for a cat. We didn’t want a kitten. We wanted a young-ish to adult cat, agile yet good with children. We didn’t find one and left spitting cat hair out of our mouths and wiping yucks from our eyes and off our clothes.


This fall Dot and I happened to be stopped at a Petco-adjacent Starbucks one weekend morning when they were holding a cat adoption. There were a handful of adorable kittens there and we both were almost immediately head over heels.

Our “baby” was now two. So far as we know (or, I say) we are done having kiddos. And in many ways life has slowed down for a second. Tony works predominantly from home. Our weekends are generally homework free (save whatever the kindergartener has). Now might be the time to bring a new force into the house.

A nearby dog shelter was having a special cat adoption showing a few weeks after our kitten run in. We stopped in and were sorely disappointed by the cat selection. But we spied a beautiful  seven-year-old poodle mix. Poor girl did not deserve to be in a shelter. Alas, we were in a hurry to get home and get our little one napped, so we headed out.

shelter dog small seven year old adult poodle mix mutt adoptableI couldn’t get that dog out of my head. I looked at her head shot worthy picture and fell in love as the hours passed. I began to imagine our life with a small dog. I’d never had a small dog before (we got a golden retriever mix when I was 11), and even though my partner’s dream dog was some sort of Rat Terrier, I’d never wrapped my mind around the lap dog option.

That was a Sunday. The shelter was closed Monday and only open 11-5 through the week. We were both swamped at work and couldn’t get there until Wednesday right at closing. By then she was adopted. I was devastated and the children, especially Dot, were too. We’d never even “met” her to see if she was good with kids, yet we’d already arranged our family around her being a part of it.

I realized I was ready for a dog. Or at least willing.

Just a few days later was Tony’s birthday, and I gifted him this card (with sleeping puppy on front):

birthday card gift dog you can have one pup happy birthday congratulations on your new puppy.And we began the search. We looked for a poodle mix, young but not necessarily puppy. We favored dog shelters. We didn’t have a ton of luck. It was Christmastime at this point and seriously cliche to get a pup, so we sat back and hoped to see an in flux of returned gifted pups.

Meanwhile my co-worker has connections to this litter of Malshis. She had adopted two puppies last year, and the canine parents had another, surprise(!), litter. I hadn’t paid much attention before, but now my interest was piqued. Another co-worker was also taking one of the seven pups. At this point there was 3-4 more weeks to wait. So we continued our search. But as time went on these adorable baby-baby puppies moved to the top of our list.

We read books on both the Shih tzu and the Maltese. I asked endless questions of my co-worker with the 10-month-old sibling set. Housetraining? Vet costs? Exercise needs? Shedding? All the answers fit in with our needs and wants. And the dogs were adorable. They don’t call this particular mix the Teddy Bear dogs for nothing.

Finally the day came to meet the litter. We tried to go in with an open mind (I loved the brown ones and am partial to girls, always. Tony liked the black and wanted a boy to at least attempt to even the household gender score). There were five boys and two girls and our little girl picked us–or, more specifically, Dotter.

We adored her and the following week was both horrendously long and way too short to prepare for such a life change. We named her Mabel, which means “loveable” and Dot added “Cutie”. I call her Mabel C. :)

designer breed puppy portland oregon malshi eight weeks two months fluffly no shedding dog housetrained good with kids

On the bathroom counter while I get ready.

And then, last Friday, she came home. It’s been a change, and there’s been some shit on the floor, but you know what? I love this dog. I’ve never loved a dog before, but this girl is my BABY. She sleeps on my pillow or curled up in my neck or directly on my head (and, much like co-sleeping, I imagine the day will come when we regret not training that out of her right off).

I’m surprised by how much I like her. And by what a sweet, good and smart dog she is. The first two nights she woke a few times (and ultimately early–like up for the day at 3:30am!) but that changed quickly. And she’s done a good job with the times we’ve had to leave her, so far a few 4-5 hour periods. Just this weekend she figured out how to go up and down the stairs.

There are a lot of parallels to having a new baby. Love, change, work, devotion, expense. It’s a new family adventure that we’re happy to be on…together :)

maltese shih tzu fluffy girl first pet tiny teacup two year old toddler playful happy love Mabel

Posted in Family, Life, Puppyhood, Tips, Tricks, and Experiences | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Whole30: the solitary version

rounds two 2 second whole30 strict paleo detox new yeargreen tea bone broth kombucha breakfast lunch at work on the go meals

Day one: sugar detox prep (good meals, green tea and a thermos of bone broth)

I’m currently on Day 17 on my second Whole30. I did my first go-round last February and in to March. I ended up taking pictures of all my meals. Which I shared on this blog. Which posts to Facebook. My pictures even inspired a post on Everyday Paleo.

beef stock grassfed paleo whole30 primal detox

The first week or two I drank a lot of beef broth/bone broth. Nothing beats homemade stock. Try adding a little apple cidar vinegar and garlic--Mmmmm.

Not to mention the countless tweets, twitter check-ins, instgrams, etc. that I probably cannot even recall. The beauty of starting something like the in the new year is that everyone, and it does seem like everyone, was gearing up for a whole30 or 21 day sugar detox or some super on-track sustained paleo effort. I was at an off time last year and missed the bruhahaha.

So this year, I’m with the crowd…but I’ve tuned out. And that’s weird. I mean, it’s nice in many ways, but to have an online community (or any community!) engaged to a somewhat equal degree is a gift. And can be a powerful motivator.

So what’s it like without that camaraderie? Without the over-sharing? Without the noise?

Well, first of all it’s not that big of a deal! For the most part the days slip by. And without similar minded folks constantly slipping by my twitter feed…I kind of forget about the whole thing. That being said, I’ve kept extremely busy. Working more than usual and busting ass around the house on the weekend is a good way to keep on track (take note, naysayers who think making food changes when you’re busy or stressed is a one-way road to failure–distraction is good! Just stay prepared).

at the office on the go breakfast lunch dinner eating whole30 paleo primal strict clean eating resolution new year coffee cold brew concentrate bone broth

One day last week I left for work at 7:30am and came home at 10pm. Turns out I didn't have a chance to eat my lunch, but breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as cold brew for coffee and a thermos of bone broth were all with me.

It’s also an opportunity to practice personal discipline and re-examine my own reasons. Why am I doing this? Well, because it works. Because last year after a whole30 I got a 40lb deadlift PR that I haven’t been within 15-20lbs of since. Because starting last October I spent three weeks away from home followed by the holidays. And while I don’t struggle immensely to stay paleo in even the worst of situations, vegetable oil, soy, sugar, and sometimes cheese or even corn sneak in.

lamb stock broth whole30 paleo clean eating nummies

At the farmer's market they were out of beef bones so I tried my hand at some lamb stock. Here are the bones roasting.

A whole30 for me isn’t about a radical change. It’s about a period of consistency. And perhaps also a testing of personal limits.

So to do it in the quiet of my own head and, more or less, in the privacy of my own life. It’s a nice second go-round. Here’s to the next two weeks!

Posted in Cooking, Food and Fitness, Goals, Me, Social Media, Tips, Tricks, and Experiences | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Break: Two weeks in

Did you all know that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) wasn’t renewed before it expired on Jan 1? Working in the domestic violence field this is a huge deal. In the fall VAWA was all over the news–my news at least–and I was able to contact one of my senators, Jeff Merkley, in a somewhat chastising way that he was not yet on board to renew this important piece of legislation.

So last week I’m talking to a colleague who is going to present on VAWA-mandated confidentiality practices and she mentions that at the moment there is no VAWA. And I have no idea.

Um, what? How have I not heard of this. I heard a ton in the fall and then…nothing. It expired and no one is talking about it? Where is the national campaign by non-profits and task forces?!

And she says she wouldn’t have known either…except for Facebook.

OH, I’m taking a break from Facebook.

for the first time since it's creation in 1994 the violence against women act has been allowed to expire


It’s a very interesting lesson in how I consume news. And also “news”. For example, I missed the Oscar nominations because I’m not following CNN and Perez Hilton on Twitter. I missed Lena Dunham’s reaction to basically sweeping the Golden Globes last night too. And I probably have no clue what else I’ve missed because, well, I missed it.

As much as I stay up with local news through the Oregonlive app, it’s quite clear to me that I rely on social media for national, niche, and breaking news. And any celeb or Hollywood gossip that doesn’t make TMZ. Not to mention being totally SOL on any personal news from friends (or, “friends”). That’s a post unto itself.

And on that Golden Globes note, can I just add that I adored this look by my beloved Michelle Dockery? Not that I’m in the loop at the moment, but I checked a couple best and worst dressed lists this morning and heard nary a peep about this look. The hair is what does it in. So gorgeous, flattering, and modern. I love!

But back to the issue at hand. When I first stopped Tweeting and Facebooking, I itched to write a status or share an experience. I noticed how often I’d compose 140 characters in my head. Yikes. The first week I used the Notes feature of my iPhone to jot down things that I wanted to say, but didn’t.

For posterity’s sake,  the a few issues and items as of late:

  • Muffin- So I fell in love with this seven year old poodle mix at the dog shelter before Christmas. Even though we were in to look for a cat. But she got adopted before we got her (in a odd and twisted turn of events). In the weeks since then, we’ve decided we are ready, er, perhaps I should say willing (because I think it’s like having a baby and trust me, you’re never ready) to take on a puppy. We may be bringing a bundle of adorable maltese-shit zhu fluff home as early as next weekend. Anyway, Muffin was returned to the shelter. And I felt torn and somewhat ashamed for moving on so fast after being so upset initially.
  • Gossip Girl- I finally caught up and watched the finale. The end of an era for sure. It was bittersweet, but I was ready for it to go long ago.
  • 2012 Homicides- This article slayed me. My terminology might be lacking but the sentiment is true. The pervasiveness of domestic violence killings is shameful. This is obviously a public health issue and when is it going to be treated as such? And for each woman that dies hundreds are being mentally tortured and/or beat down to an often unimaginable level. 
  • Golden Globes- I was so excited to see Tina and Amy host :)
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