Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Living with a Man

I live with a man and his name is Colin Farrell. No, mine is the four-legged variety and, dare I say it, much more adorable. He even brandishes the full title of totes adorbs!

We're going on nine months of living together and it wasn't until the other day that I realized exactly how much of a boy dog my boy dog really is. So I thought I would put together a little list of things I've discovered on how it is to live with a new boy in the house.

1. We don't have the same schedules
Apparently Colin doesn't understand that I work all day. I wake up and he thinks it's play time. Yes, let me rush out of bed to walk you and feed you. I'm good with that but I'm still wiping the smeared mascara from my eyes when you're in full-on play mode. It's the same before bed. "No, Colin it's time for Bedfordshire. Mommy has to get up and do this all over again tomorrow." What about the mile walk we just took? Or the playtime with the neighborhood dogs? Or our playtime and cuddle time?

2. We NEVER agree on t.v. shows
I own it, I sometimes have bad taste in t.v. Okay, terrible taste. I knew this would become a problem when I cohabited with someone else but I did not think my dog would have such strong opinions. Without fail, if there is a Real Housewives show or Hallmark movie he jumps up onto the couch "pretending" that he wants to cuddle. But he sits on the remote and changes it to sports EVERY TIME. Then he proceeds to roll around to hide the remote underneath him while he directs my hand to scratch his belly. He will continue to do this until I hide the remote from him. It's a daily fight.

3. We don't agree on socializing
Technically, I'm an introvert. I can function in society but after a full day of meetings and people, I need a dark corner and fetal position to regain energy. Compared to Colin I'm an extreme extrovert. Colin has decided that I am the only biped that he needs to know. Well yes, I'm the staff. And to be honest humans aren't all they're cracked up to be. My version is occasional contact with the outside world whereas Colin is known as the Mrs. Kravitz of the neighborhood: he peeks out at the neighbors through the window and collects information about them. Perhaps this is why he wants nothing to do with them??

It is different sharing your space. You have to reset your routine and there are always growing pains- like the fact that half of my socks have been chewed up and right now the right sock I'm wearing has holes in the bottom. Yes, there are adjustments but once you get through those growing pains you can't imagine your life without him.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meet Colin Farrell!

Okay, MOST of the time he is Colin, he's really only called Colin Farrell when he misbehaves. I've already had to say, "Colin Farrell, get your nose out of that girl's crotch!" a message now both the two-legged and four-legged versions have had to hear.

I love my new dog but I will admit this has not been an easy journey. Now doing a 360 review of my experience I'm going to write this so that others may have an easier time when they're ready to adopt a pet.

Everyone should know what dog will fit their activities best. There are advantages to puppies and there are advantages to older dogs. Different breeds have different needs as far as needing mental challenges, jobs, and exercise.

I knew from Michelley that I love the intelligence, sweetness, and quirkiness of the Sheltie so I felt secure there. My only caveat was that I didn't want to get a sable that looked like her. I should have also been more specific that I want to train this dog for herding and therapy work. It takes different mindsets and being specific can help match the right dog for you. Colin will be great at these but it was a leap of faith.

Rescue Dogs
This is the first place I went. People with full-breed dogs get shamed all the time from owners with lovable mutts. The first thing they ask is if you would adopt a pound puppy. I love all animals but I don't feel like I need to justify liking a certain breed.

I did try to adopt rescue Shelties. The process is ridiculous and defeating. "Are you home 100% of the time?" they ask. "No, I telework once or twice a week and go into the office three days." "Mmm, no, you can't have this dog. "Are there dogs in your neighborhood?" they ask on another. "Yes! It's a very dog-friendly area." "Mmm, no, this dog doesn't like dogs. Sigh.

AKC Breeder of Merit
I thought this was a HUGE deal. I know I like Shelties so okay, I'm going to look at AKC Breeders of Merit. Sounds like this means something right? No, it means the breeder paid for that certificate. According to an interview on the Today show, AKC has only 9 inspectors of kennels and no idea how many AKC registered breeders there are. So how are the standards ensured?

I only know this now because I really delved into what it meant. I was surprised at allowable practices. For instance, my dog came from one of these. But she never told me that his bark was softened, a controversial procedure where they puncture the vocal chords, he had worms and was severely underweight, and didn't have some of his shots. Had I known ANY of this I wouldn't have adopted a dog from her. I don't want to encourage her business.

Visit the Kennel
Yes, if they discourage you write them off right away. I looked at another place and it was a six-hour drive so I google earthed it. Terrible conditions, no open space for the dogs to run around, and backed up next to train tracks. Um, no.

What I should have done is visited the kennel in PA where Colin came from. Because when she brought him down he was terrified of me and all people. By then I had committed to this dog. Yes, that's on me and it took several hours for him to come up to me. Let's just say the first few days were not necessarily happy ones. Once I got past the fact that I was not adopting a well-adjusted dog but instead rescuing and rehabilitating a dog full of fear of the world, well I was committed. Now every day is a little happier because one day he wags his tail, another day he allows a neighbor to approach him, and yet another he plays with abandon.

So although this experience was not what I first anticipated, it certainly is rewarding. I view Colin as my little rescue dog which he certainly is. Regardless of where he came from his life is now one where someone truly loves him for who he is and will work to give him the best life possible. I trust that God has a reason for bringing us together and I look forward to a lifetime of adventures with my little Swiss bear.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dating Through the Ages

Going grey has really changed my self-perception and my awareness of the world. When you make the decision to go grey you really are making a stand for yourself. You undergo a lot of criticism and some of that criticism turns into accolades, some to quiet acceptance, and some remains criticism.

You also learn that your dating pool doesn't really change. It only changes when you change the way you see yourself. So if you see yourself as successful and together, then that's what you attract.

Now it's the dating mix, the mix of age ranges. I'll always get the same: men my age, men entering the winter of their life, and little puppies.

Older Men
Let's start with the older men (age before beauty!). The older men I attract are searching for their lost youth. It annoys me to no end. They're typically trying to display how much energy they have and how in shape they are. All the while I'm thinking, "Really? You're still insecure and shallow after all these years?" I also find that they're searching for someone to make them the center of the universe. Their problems are always bigger, their successes must in turn be bigger, etc. I watch my friends in these relationships and realize they don't have a partner they have a man baby. Now it's different when they're fathers but still that need to be the center of the universe has tended to remain.

I have to categorize these men into two groups: the 20-somethings and the 30-somethings. For some reason I attract a lot of 20-somethings. Makes me feel like a pedophile, it's weird. The good thing is they're not at all threatened by your success which is refreshing. For the most part I figured it was some kid living at home that wanted a place to crash. That or they want an experienced woman in the sack. I don't think that's out of the question. However recently a Millennial actually convinced me to give him my number. Well, that's what research is for! It starts out well enough and then he jumps right into what he likes about older women. He also texts on a Friday afternoon for weekend plans. It's too much of a hassle in DC to go out during the week so I always have weekend plans and politely declined. "You're even booked tonight?!" Mr. Presumptuous asked incredulously. "Yes." See there's no finesse, no wooing, and it doesn't mentally spark my interest. And if you can't mentally spark an interest with me, it's a no-go.

The 30-somethings are a mixed bag. I spent the weekend at a wedding with 30-year-olds. Lovely people who had some interesting life stories. There was always that one or two in the group that got blackout drunk. One in particular made an inappropriate comment. I knew he was just what I call "wasty pants" but some other girls heard it. They couldn't let it go. Instead there was this big drama created under the guise of protecting me. No this was all about drama, something I have no room for in my life. The whole thing got blown way out of proportion and reeked of mean girl mentality towards this guy. But then I noticed that little things often get blown out bigger than they need be. When I dated men in their early 30s there were arguments about stupid things that I'd scratch my head over. It just all became too silly and too dramatic.

Age-Appropriate (for me)
By 40 Life has kicked you down a few times. If you've lost a close loved one there is just so much you let go of- little things just don't have the impact they once did. Men my age understand that a woman my age wants some advance planning for a date and definitely in the beginning. The ones that really peak my interest are the ones that give good woo. I like some good woo: someone who picks me up, holds the door open for me, has a conversation with me, and ends the date respectfully with a kiss. There's something to be said to not revealing everything about yourself and letting tension build.

I've found through this research that I'm not missing out from these younger or older guys. Now I understand that these are just my experiences thus far and there are always exceptions to the rule. But I've found that I'm happiest with someone nearer my own age. It helps clarify what I DO want in a partner and I think that's half the battle.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Product Watch: Best Shampoo

I have hair the consistency of a horse's tail, and an unruly one at that. My hair has ALWAYS been coarse, thick, and curly. Before you wax poetic, it's not that lovely kind of curly where you have billowing tresses perfectly framing your face. No, it's more like crazy cat hoarder who always looks disheveled and might be a little touched in the head.


I have learned that product is not so much my friend as it is my necessity. My hair has tried every shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in serum on the market and yet I just came by the greatest shampoo and conditioner yet: Sake Bomb by Drybar. I LOVE this shampoo! I have tried everything from Living Proof to Biolage and everything has left my hair rather lackluster. I'm always surprised that raved-over products on Sephora look terrible on me.

And so as I washed my hair with Sake bomb, I went selfie-crazy. Well, it was for this blog post but it was awesome to have a great hair day! And though this is all in fluorescent lighting it will at least show how soft my hair is after these products. So after a lifetime and closet full of products, I can finally start to pare down. All I need is the following:

Sake bomb shampoo
Sake bomb conditioner
Purple shampoo for brightening occasionally
Perfect 10 leave-in for heat protection against blow dryer/curling iron
Coconut oil for occasional deep conditioning
Aveda control paste for humid days
Kerastase Elixir Ultime for post-style seal of any stray hairs

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Date for Three

Last week I had a date with an attractive and interesting guy. Little did I know it would be a date for three. Although physically there were only two of us that showed up at Bar Dupont, in actuality his ex was everywhere.

Mr Ex has been single-ish for six years now but, as I quickly learned, is still married. That's actually not the worst part. I realize that Life is not always black and white. After some probing on this bizarre subject I found out that they're Swiss, have two lovely children that he does not want deported if they divorce. Can we say complicated?

Already my alarms are going off, when he gives me the full details. May I just say Eek? Mr Ex's ex has not worked in over 20 years, doesn't really take care of the kids and he supports two households: his and his ex's. Whoa, what?! She doesn't work, she doesn't really take care of the kids, but you pay for her livelihood? You also put her through college twice, equal to the number of times she dropped out on your dime. And oh! You put a girlfriend through school and supported her non-working ass and she dropped out too?

I think your cock is doing the thinking for you, Mr Ex.

Unfortunately I have no poker face. I sat there in horror, mostly that he has been suckered by at least two gold diggers and now he's confessing this all to me- a virtual stranger. Alas, a virtual stranger who blogs. But as I have the Asher Curse upon me, meaning that everyone tends to tell me their life stories, I just sat and listened. I should have had that extra glass of wine.

Needless to say that over the next couple of hours I heard the downfall of Mr Ex's life; how his ex maxes out his credit cards on the dates she goes on, how his mother passed recently, how he is completely unavailable to his kids, how he accidentally drank a friend's $25,000 bottle of wine and poured most of it out... ugh, I can't go on. I sincerely bid him the best of luck and went home in an Uber.

Perhaps the one funny part was the next day when I was telling my friend about the date. "But was there chemistry?" she asked. Seriously? Have you not heard the story (and there were many other shake-your-head moments omitted here). Good God, no! There comes a point when a cool handsome guy is a meaningless shell- it matters what's going on inside. Even the mere thought of a relationship with a guy in that much drama and crap... no, No, NO!!!

If I have not said it clearly before, I reiterate it now: if you're in a relationship that is relatively happy, go hug that person and thank him/her for not being a total headcase. If you are single, Honey I'm deep in the trenches with you, perhaps on the front line.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Breathing New Air

I recently went on a trip to Northern France. It wasn't a long trip just 10 days, but it came at a time when I definitely needed to get away.

With the sudden passing of my dog, wondering whether my job is worth dealing with the constant political crap from Congress, and meandering around with no real purpose... Yes I needed a vacation. It got to the point where I couldn't hear one more negative thing from anyone or I was going to burst.
I'll be the first to tell you that if you get to that point you should have taken your vacation a few months prior.

For me I make traveling a priority. It isn't that I have wealth beyond means it's just what I prioritize. So this year I made it a priority to go somewhere big for vacation. Last year, I stayed closer to home but still traveled the Northeast.But then I thought about my family (who prioritizes different things) and how this might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. And with that come all of these pressures to make it the best trip possible. Thank goodness I don't look at it that way.

I pared it down to what I really needed: 1) forget about my life in DC for a bit; 2) take some pretty pictures; and 3) breathe new air.

Honestly I think these goals saved the trip for me. Nothing went smoothly and as far as pleasant and relaxing trips this one would never make the list. But did I accomplish my goals? YES! And because I let go of any expectations past those 3 little goals I had amazing moments. I breathed the air of Bretagne/Brittany, saw jaw-dropping castles, and stood on the grounds of William the Conqueror and D-Day.

I was also rewarded with moments when I could feel the presence of my Mom and Michelle. I could feel my dog walking through the maze of Chenonceau with me. And I had a truly miraculous moment when I looked upon the English Channel at St Malo. I remember a conversation with my mom over 20 years ago that one day I would go there. She believed me, she believed IN me and I could tell her in that moment that if she hadn't had so much faith in me I would never be there. Immediately a rainbow appeared. That's so like my mom to respond with beauty and grace. The next day I knew exactly what direction I needed to turn my life to and the fear of floundering disappeared.

As far as pretty pictures, well, here is a sample taken from the true star of the trip, my phone. Between the Google Translate app and the camera, my phone delivered and made sure that I could speak only French to the French. And I'll say this, for as much as I butchered their language, everyone was so lovely. Most importantly I learned that letting an experience be organic will allow Life to teach you and guide you. Had I tried to force it to be something else I never would have figured out my next stage in Life and THAT is truly a blessing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DIY Bookcases 4: Finishing

Yeah, when you get all the framing done there's this moment of panic when you think, "AAACCK! I have a little uneven gap!!" Especially if your house has had any time to settle chances are everything isn't perfectly flush. And then you have these screws that aren't perfectly flush...

Have I identified that I am NOT a carpenter?? If you didn't guess it you'd know now. This is an imperfect project. After all it was built by yours truly. That doesn't mean that it doesn't look good or I'm not proud of it but I do know that a skilled carpenter would not have made my myriad of rookie mistakes.

For the nails I used a whipped putty to cover the holes. For the screws, I used a wood putty. This is a great molding putty that can turn screw heads into looking like little wooden knobs or smooth the surface. Again, if you have a nail gun I think that's preferable and then all you have to do is cover the holes with a little putty.

After that it's my favorite part- CAULK. I have come to love vinyl caulk- it covers all manner of sins. Gaps? vinyl caulk to the rescue! It seals everything and makes it a smooth, cohesive unit. You'll need two bottles of this and I recommend asking a worker at the hardware store which brand to get. That plus a caulk gun and you'll spend under $15 to elevate your bookshelves and really make them look finished. Look at the picture and see what it looks like before and after- amazing, right?

Next, I bought some semi-gloss white paint. For some reason it did nothing so I ended up taking my leftover matte white paint from the ceiling and painted two coats. Then I went over with a coat of the semi-gloss paint. I'd recommend two coats of that though.

Another day spent organizing my books and there's the finished product! All done for about $350.00