To be real.

I find myself in a somewhat profound space lately sitting with the weight of understanding that we have but one life. And it’s passing and we are living it, whether we are able to acknowledge and embrace that fact or not. I can speak only for myself, but I want, desire, and strive to live a full life. To be a whole person. To be an authentic being muddling through in the same vein we all are.

authenticity defintionI have many thoughts, observations, insights, theories and fears that have build up over unplanned writing sabbatical. I think I’ve learned to better express myself in the course of my “real” life (i.e. non-virtual). I like the person I am, and I have developed a wide network of relationships with amazing people whom I cherish. I would say I am “real” with many people in many different facets and strive also to be “real” through social media and other mediums.

I’ve always felt blogging was my most authentic outlet–more than a status, a picture, or a 140 character snark. When I engage in those platforms without this, I lose the depth of myself–the current under the surface, if you will. It is easy to veer into “image crafting” which we all see and consciously or unconsciously respond to on Facebook/other daily. I always want to tell the whole story and the back story. And it’s okay if most don’t want to listen.

I do struggle now with a new identity as a professional. I have been blogging off and on since I was a sophomore in high school and the weight of it seemed very different. I am eager to explore the nexus and/or balance between expressing the whole of my worldview and experience within the context of professionalism.

That is my long way of saying I am ready to be back in this space, though I have many considerations over the content/context, whilst being clear on my own intent.

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It’s been 440 days since I wrote a blog post. Written like that it seems so much longer than to just say “last April”.

I’ve done a lot in that time–most notably complete a graduate degree. A crazy, trying, and rewarding, jam-packed, twelve months that left no time to write for pleasure (much less introspection or self-actualization). I thought often of this blog though. I come back to it constantly (even in it’s inactive state) as one of the biggest joys and possibilities in my life. Likely not this blog specifically so much as writing, creating space, being authentic, finding footing on a platform (but, please God, not one of those platforms so many spew from), and perhaps above all leaving a trail.

I so love the process of checking in with self and others via the written word. In a more formal, free, and permanent fashion than a social media status. I love to look back occasionally and recall, relive, realize and recognize. Even more than that, I find much comfort in the idea that my thoughts, my process, my life exists somewhere outside myself, both stuck in a moment and progressing through the years.

There is much settling to be done in my life over the upcoming months. I feel like I legit missed a year of my girls’ lives and my marriage began to more closely resemble and series of co-parenting business transactions. The deficits in connection are real. Not to mention the more mundane things that matter little in the grand scheme but are necessary evils to daily living: organization, cleanliness, maintenance.

I guess what I’m saying is, more to come. Four hundred and forty days worth. And a lifetime beyond that…

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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 , , | 3 Comments