Murray Grooming

Oh man, I did not intend to let so much time pass between blog posts! I knew it would be hard to get back into the groove of writing on the regular, but I don’t think I realized HOW hard. Anyway, I’m here now and you can breathe easy because I know you’ve really missed these tiny missives of mine.

Did you know that I groom Murray my ownself? It started when he was a puppy. I figured that since I was a hair stylist and understood hair growth patterns and whatever else that there was zero reason to take Murray to the groomer. His first haircut took me SEVEN HOURS. Of course there were breaks and a lot of them, but still SEVEN HOURS. I cut his hair like you do a person, I sectioned him off, and then used my fingers to hold up sections of hair and cut it to the desired length. News Flash: This is not how you cut a dog’s hair. Eventually I took my clippers and just sheared him like a sheep because the first haircut 100% looked like his mom gave him a haircut. His dog mom, not his human mom.  I was very lucky to be in a Flickr group for Wheaten Terrier owners that included a dog groomer (Hi, Annie!) and she has always been exceptionally generous with advice.  I also watched a ton of You Tube videos and I bought the right tools. I even bought a grooming table, but when it arrived, it was damaged, so I just stuck with sitting on the floor. It’s not the greatest situation, but it works for us. I’m pretty good with the Murray grooming now. It helps to have a very cute dog with beautifully curly champagne blonde hair, though. Murray begrudgingly goes through the grooming routine and really does his best to be a good boy throughout the whole process. Wheaten Terriers are supposed to have a very specific haircut. Murray’s curly hair isn’t well suited to that style, so I do a modified Wheaten cut. Right now I’ve left him a bit fluffy and his butt looks so big and I love how it looks when he runs.

My favorite thing is that Every Single Time, when we’re about halfway through, Murray walks slowly away from me, gives a very vigorous shake and then hides in some remote part of the living room (the living room doubles a s beauty shop.) When I call him back to me, he walks the slowest walk in the entire world. I’m pretty sure a snail would get to me faster than Murray does. Once he makes the arduous journey back to me, he pleads with his soulful brown eyes for us to be finished. Oh Murray, a woman as vain as me would ever let her dog go around looking half groomed. It’s embarrassing that this even needs to be addressed.

One of the things I am most proud of training Murray to do is after each comb out and particularly after a haircut, he knows he’s supposed to shake it and then sit in front of me so I can admire him. He almost always sits with a super snotty attitude, like a kid with one hip stuck out, and pretty much rolls his eyes while I tell him how beautiful he is. I love this dog so much. He has the best sense of humor and I am not embarrassed to admit that I am totally jealous of his champagne blonde curls.

BLERG

Today is not a great day. There’s nothing specific wrong, I just feel blerg.

I have one tiny story. Part of our fence fell down on New Year’s Eve. The neighbors who share that fence with us are renters and they were extremely distraught about the whole thing. We’re not so bothered mostly because fences fall down and it’s not that big of a deal. It’s going to get fixed. Well it turns out that they were upset because they have their dogs spend considerable amount of time outside. The dog is a 14 year old Silky Terrier, I think. I told them that they could let her out and if she came into our yard, it was totally fine. She is LOVING exploring our yard. She spends at least 30 minutes in our yard every day, sniffing, looking, trotting around. She even barked at one of the sliding doors. I’m guessing she figures if she gets to go in the year, she should also be allowed to go in the house. Murray has not noticed her yet, which is good news because I am not looking forward to hearing the fit he’s going to throw when he sees a DOG in HIS backyard. I know he’s a bit puzzled by smelling where she’s peed back there, but he hasn’t quite figure it out yet. Anyway, I’m enjoying watching her scamper around back there. I’ll miss her when that fence finally gets fixed.

(The reason it’s taking a while is that wind storm did a lot of damage in our area and our fence is far from being the only one that fell down. I’ve called two different fence builders that won’t even return my call!)

Nacho Party, Yo.

Welp, I finally got Christmas put away. I always regret how much I decorate for Christmas when it’s time to put it all away. Now I have to restyle the mantel, coffee table and the shelf that serves as our odd entry way. My dream for our next house is to have a proper foyer. How I dream of a foyer, I shop for coat racks and shoe storage and cute hooks for our keys and other essentials. It’s important to have goals, at least that’s what they say. Anyway, Christmas is put away and I’m covered in glitter as a result.

Andy’s in Las Vegas at his conference and I’m caught in between missing him and the relief of being alone. I hate it when Andy is gone for too long, but when it’s just a few days, it’s not so bad and there’s something nice about just needing to tend to myself and the pets. I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have the animals. Would it be too lonely? Probably. These two furry knuckleheads keep me from getting too relaxed.

I got an offer from Amazon to try Prime Fresh for 30 days for free. It normally costs $299 a year. They deliver groceries and many other products, sometimes the same day, depending on what time you order. I’m taking advantage of the free 30 days, but I won’t be signing up because the grocery thing was the big pull for me, but I’m already so hermity, the last thing i need is another thing that makes it easy for me to stay home.

Right after Christmas, HBO showed all 5 seasons of The Wire in High Definition. We recorded all the episodes and I’ve been watching it since. Man, I love this show. The characters are so beautifully written. The story lines are engaging and feel authentic. I’ve already seen the series all the way through at least twice, so I’m not binge watching them, but during this time of television show famine, I like sit down and watch a couple episodes at a time.

One last thing- I watched the Golden Globes last night and Holy Mother, it was boring. I guess the A/C wasn’t working because everyone was sweaty and fanning themselves. That’s not good form when you’ve got a room full of people wearing varying levels of compression garments. Also, how pissed would you be if you spend hours on getting yourself looking pretty just to sweat through it? Those poor celebrities!

It’s time for me to party with some nachos. Peace out!

MURRAY

Yesterday marked 6 years since we picked up Murray, so today marks the date when I was pretty sure I had ruined our very nice life by getting a puppy. So many of you know this already, but those puppy days were so very hard on me. I was still deeply grieving the loss of the kitty love of my life, Petey, and Murray was such a hard baby dog. At first I thought it was me. I mean, Cesar Milan said it was me. Several dog training books and websites insisted that the humans needed to firmly, yet gently, let Murray know we were the boss. I cannot tell you how gratifying it was to have an experienced, well respected dog trainer struggle with my dog. Murray’s puppy days are a tear-stained, blurry mess to me. I recognized he was cute, but I was not in love with him.

When Murray was around 8 months old, I had a tearful conversation in a parking lot with our dog trainer about how I wasn’t sure I could keep Murray. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be challenged every single day by my pet. The dog trainer was extremely understanding and even encouraging of me finding a new home for Murray. He assured me that there were people out there that would happily take Murray and I could find myself a dog that better suited me. I had horribly mixed emotions about the whole thing. I made a decision in that moment, a decision to recommit to the process of training Murray and to do my absolute best with him before I let go. I knew that if I did my best and it still didn’t work, I would feel okay about finding Murray another home.  As I said yesterday, I worked so hard with this dog. There were two obedience classes a week, private lessons, practicing on our own every day.

All that training was totally worth the effort because not only did I love the process, but it got me a very well behaved dog who is aces at obedience, I have an amazing bond with this furry dude. I am madly in love with Murray. I love how ridiculous he is. I love what a charmer he is out in public and I especially love that he makes everyone who comes into our house like he loves them SO MUCH.

Most of you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, so you’ve already seen Murray today, but have you seen Baby Murray? Here he is:

So sleepsy

At first. he was called Oliver. That is clearly not his name.

NOSE

Ready for work!See that red leash in the last photo? Murray spent the first year of his life tethered to the coffee table if we were not in the room because you could not trust him. At a year, we still couldn’t trust him a lot, but he was strong enough to move the table, so, you know, there wasn’t much point.

Happy Home Coming Day, Murray Don Carlo Anchev. You are so loved.

Loose leash

I got three great tips on how to manage the afternoon slump. The first one was to save something I really want to do for the afternoon, the second was caffeine and the third was to do some simple physical task like fold laundry or straighten up. I think all of those are great and I’m going to give them all a try.  Today I took a nap, but that leads to me staying up too late, so, not so great.

Today I took Murray over to this borderline hidden area of our fancy pants outdoor shopping mall and did some obedience training with him. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked seriously with him and the look on his face when he realized that I wasn’t just playing was priceless. He was all, “what the hell, Lady?” I’ve worked SO HARD with this dog on obedience stuff, I’m very proud of how well he does, even after an extended break. He’s just my very favorite dog. After we got home he fell dead asleep on the sofa and didn’t get up until it was time for dinner. Having to use his thinker for good instead of for evil was exhausting, apparently.

Next week Andy is out of town for a work conference, which means I am left to my own devices. The good parts are that I will eat Early Dinner every single night and I’ll go to bed early. This morning I asked Andy if he had hired someone to come in and make me breakfast while he was gone- I think that spousal substitutes should be a thing- and apparently the answer is no. This is going to be a rude awakening, I can tell you that.

Listen, Christmas is still up in my house. I thought about taking it down yesterday, which was the 12th day of Christmas, but uh, I didn’t. It’s all still so pretty! My tree was cut down right before Thanksgiving, it arrived Thanksgiving weekend and it’s still gorgeous. I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth. I wonder if I should look into Valentine’s ornaments.

The good and the not as good.

When are you getting out of a slump, some days are good, some days are less good. There is really no magic. Tuesday was great. Wednesday was 50% great. I see my job in this as making the most of the good and not getting caught up in the bad because this is a process and one does not go from slumped to pumped (what?) in no time.

The daily walks are helping a lot. A LOT. Blah, blah, why do I ever stop with the daily walks when I know how much they matter, but I do stop and then I start back up and it’s like magic. There are always Murray walks, but I don’t count those because I can make those really sort or even cheat and just take him to the park to run around. The thing that interests me the most about these walks is that I’m only walking for 30 minutes, at whatever pace suits me in that moment and I feel so happy when I’m done.

The cooking is helping, too, even though it’s also sort of a pain in the ass. I mostly enjoy cooking and I’m good at it and Andy really, really appreciates it. The thing about it, though, is that when it comes time to make dinner I rarely really want to do it. I’m always glad after I do, but I force myself to do it. Tonight we had apricot and mustard glazed pork chops, buttermilk mashed potatoes and haricot verts. It’s was delicious and I will absolutely make it again. Tomorrow night is super easy, roast chicken with potatoes and carrots and a spinach salad. Cooking at home is so much cheaper and healthier than going out or picking up and it’s nicer, too. I mean, you can wear lounge clothes, so that counts for a lot.

What’s not working is not having something to do in the afternoons. That’s when my energy wanes and I think I need an assignment during that time to prevent the slump. Maybe I should do another walk? Plan to run errands? How do you work-a-day types manage the afternoon slump? Maybe I need an afternoon snack/caffeine break. I don’t know, but I need to do something.

Tomorrow the housecleaner comes, so tomorrow will be a good day because any day where my house is cleaned without me doing it, is good.

Cute Up Your Game

Listen, I have not even been back to blogging for a week, but no one will never accuse me of not loving a project, so here I am, starting something. I notice that a lot of my friends are looking to up their game this year and far be it from me to not fully support that effort. I know that sounded a little jokey, but I truly do love it when someone is putting their efforts towards doing something new or better.

I mentioned before that at the end of last year, I was greatly inspired by a fashion challenge. I looked for others and in the end I decided that I would do one myself. I hope that my friends will want to participate. I set up some rules because rules are fun to make up.

  1. Use the prompts each day as inspiration. Follow them exactly, don’t follow them at all. It does not matter.

  2. Do one day, do all days, do no days.

  3. Post your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #cuteitup

Yay! Let’s do this:

Sheet Pan

I made this new to me flank steak fajita recipe tonight. I’m experienced in fajita making, but why not try a new thing? The recipe was from a cookbook where everything cooks on a single sheet pan. I am certain the dish washer (Andy) will appreciate fewer dishes being dirtied. According to every single person who has ever cleaned up after me, including myself, I am an extremely messy cook. I do not set out to make a mess, but a mess happens. If I’ve just watched Top Chef and I’m feeling very inspired I will use the so-called clean as you go method. If you are unfamiliar with this process, let me save you a ton of time and effort and tell you that it is a drag. I just like to get in the kitchen and make the biggest mess possible and then set a beautiful table and serve dinner. Boom!

The fajitas on a sheet pan turned out very nice! Except, you only dirty one pan with fajitas no matter how you cook them, unless you do them on the grill and then no pans get dirty. So, no offense, sheet pan cookbook, but you didn’t save me anything. Also, I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly because it called for 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and that is entirely wrong for fajitas. SO WRONG.

Today was a major struggle for me. Nothing specific was wrong, I’m just in the process of getting myself out of the dumpy place I spent too much time last year. Part of getting to a better place is subscribing to the whole idea of faking it until you make it. Lately, whenever I am faking it, I sing song in my head, “FAKING IT.” Like this right here. It amuses me and it makes the thing that feels hard in the moment a little bit easier.

What You Wearing?

One of my friends started doing a fashion challenge in November and I decided to play along. The woman hosting the challenge came up with a different theme for each day and you used that as your inspiration for how you dressed. It was pretty much the best thing I could’ve done because it reminded me that I have a lot of great clothes that aren’t cuffed jeans and that I know how to put together an outfit. The demands of December meant that I had to make some choices on how I spent my precious mental energy and I dropped the fashion challenge for December. This fashion challenge got me thinking about writing a (listen, I am loathe to use this word to describe what I was planning on writing about) fashion blog called Cuffed Jeans and Red Shoes. ISN’T THAT A CUTE NAME? I decided on that because I don’t wear jeans if they aren’t cuffed. I’ve tried, but I just cannot do it! Teensy cuffs, big cuffs, single cuffs, whatever. Those jeans are cuffed. And of course, I love red shoes. Actually, I love any color for shoes that aren’t black or brown. I have black and brown shoes, I just do not love them as much as I do my red shoes.

Here’s a photo of some of my outfits from November. The person’s who was setting the challenge up isn’t doing it any longer, but there are tons out there. You can find them very easily on Instagram. I highly recommend this if you’re in a rut with how you dress and you’re looking to up your game a bit. I’m looking for new outfit challenges right this second and as soon as I find one I like, I tell you. I promise.

IMG_3732-3

I’m not suggesting that I’m any sort of an expert, but I know what I know and part of that is understanding that taking some risks with your clothes is important. It doesn’t need to be a big risk like mixing patterns to be meaningful. Just adding an unexpected pop of color with a scarf or necklace, trying a style you were convinced you couldn’t pull off or just finding a new outfit from pieces you already had in your closet. Here are the most important parts- you don’t need to be a particular size and you don’t need a lot of money to look cute on a regular basis.

So, I’ll be writing about this stuff from time to time and you’re going to love the hell out of it. WAIT AND SEE!

Well, looky here.

Everyone on the Internet is taking down their Christmas decorations, but not me. This year I ordered a tree that was cut down and shipped to me within 24 hours. It’s the freshest tree I’ve ever had and I’m not ready to give it up. Maybe next week I’ll take it down, but for right now I’m still enjoying it. I think I might even enjoy it MORE now than before Christmas because there’s no pressure right now.

I admire people who can resist the siren call of New Year resolutions/goals/intentions/etc, but I am not one of them. Honestly, I don’t even try to resist! Come on, it’s a New Year, anything is possible! Last year, I tried setting just 3 goals a day for myself to increase productivity and it worked beautifully for me, so I’m doing the same thing for these goals. Just three.

Here we go:

  1. Walk every day for 30 minutes. There are only 2 rules for this one. It must be 30 minutes and it must be every single day. I might give myself a break for illness, but maybe I won’t! We’ll just have to see.

  2. Just do it. If I think up something, I’ma just do it until I don’t want to do it anymore. I have a tendency to think a thing to death, so this year I want to try doing a thing to death. When I thought this one up I was mostly thinking about various projects I think up for myself, but who knows where this will take me.

  3. Up my game. I know this seems vague and I guess it sort of is, but it’s very specific to me. 2014 gave me some huge challenges that I full on admit kicked my ass. In the midst of those challenges, I forgot I was in the game and so the idea of upping my game was completely out of my question. This year, I am back in it win it, so that means upping my effort. It means tablecloths, date nights, exploring new places and outfits that don’t include jeans. And other stuff, of course, but I cannot list everything out for you every second.

I’m in love with these three goals because with the exception of the first one, they fly in the face of all goal making advice. They are all hugely meaningful to me and they are perfect for where I am in this moment.

As for this whole blogging thing. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a new blog and then I realized I had this ol’ dusty blog right here and all the kids nowadays are into reuse, recycle and repurpose, so I figure I just use this thing instead of starting something new. I’m making room in my life for blogging in a real way (setting a reminder each day, ideas of subjects to write about, etc) and so my thinking is if I really do want to keep a blog, I will. And if I just keep trying to scratch a phantom itch on a missing limb, then I’ll know that and move on and away from blogging for good.

I’m so relieved the holidays are over and we’re back to regular life, even if that includes the Christmas tree for now.

Now I go to the bed and sleep.